2019 Janmashtami Festival Guide

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NOTE: Festival Details and Hall Festival details are below this message.

How Do You Spend 5.9 Hours? – An Invitation from Vibhu Chaitanya Das

ISKCON Durban President

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The average person spends 5.9 hours a day with digital media. Most people have developed the habit of looking at their devices as soon as they awake to catch up on what they may have missed during their sleep. FOMO has gripped the world! We spend so much time looking down at our devices that we completely forget our surroundings. The current trend will devolve humans into an even more impersonal way of life. I recently heard someone say that phones were used best when they were attached to a cord.

With most of us spending 5.9 hours on our phones, we can’t claim to not have time. How about we re-dedicate some of those hours to Lord Krishna and Krishna’s teachings? Choose to invest in the eternal, which is beneficial to our mind (no FOMO), body (no text neck), and soul (everybody has one). We are so distracted by social media that we forget to work on the essential aspect of life, which is developing our spiritual life. If we are in proper consciousness, this world can be the best place for spiritual advancement. Regardless of all the special effects technology affords us, no movie director or scientist can truly create a sunrise or sunset. The sky at night, the light of millions of moons and stars, or a heartbeat. God creates the ultimate special effects with a spark of His splendour, and yet we do not take notice! Why? Because we are forgetful of Krishna.

It is described in the Krishna Book that as soon as the Supreme Personality of Godhead wakes up, the Lord washes His mouth, offers respect to the sun, and meditates upon Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sri Krishna Janmashtami is the perfect way to refocus our energy on the Absolute Truth so why not make the time for it?

Sure, social media intrigues and entices but if that post is solely on the material plane it will eventually leave us dissatisfied;  either by our yearning for something we don’t have or for something we may have once had. This dissatisfaction with the present leads to frustration. Ultimately everything can be used in Krishna service. We can listen to a class given by a spiritual leader across the world on Facebook Live, or if you can’t come to the temple every day, you can see Sri Sri Radha Radhanath on our social media. Yet every once in a while ask yourself the question, “Do I really use social media in Krishna’s service?” According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, writing volumes of books on dry philosophy devoid of Krishna consciousness is entirely futile. Wouldn’t this be similar to the avalanche of posts, tweets, and messages of temporary and unimportant information? Scripture defines such activity as atyahara or the need to possessing more and more things in the shape of scientific knowledge or monetary gain.

So, come along to Krishna Janmashtami and like, love, and share the joy of the Krishna kirtan, Krishna’s beautiful pastimes, and Krishna prasada. This Janmashtami let’s go for what is real and truly alive. Let’s be a part of the celebration that magnifies Krishna’s joy in 3D living colour.   

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2019 Janmastami Quick View

 

 

How to make an offering on Janmashtami

This guideline will help you decide the best way for you to make your offering. There are two major categories: an offering directly to Krishna or an offering that can be used in direct service to Krishna.

What is a direct offering?

A direct offering is items that require no further preparation, eg. a flower or fruit arrangement, sweets, milk, cards (Krishna loves birthday cards!) or letters, and lamps. When making a direct offering consider presentation and content. Just as you take out the best China when you entertain important guests in your home, in the same way, you should find the best offering dishes for the Supreme Person. The plate should be free from cracks, dents, and scratches. Arrange the fruit, flowers, and sweets artistically on the plate. While it is convenient to bring milk in its packaging, it is best to decant it into an appropriate drinking cup for Krishna to enjoy. Imagine offering an important guest to drink milk from the packaging? After the offering, you can pour the offered milk back into the milk bottle. Of course, Krishna only accepts our devotion and not the items that are offered, however, the effort of presenting a beautiful offering to Him is an act of devotion. It is not about acquiring the most expensive items but rather our mood and attitude in making the offering.

What is an offering in direct service?

An offering in direct service is items you offer to be used in the worship of the Deities. This includes cooking ingredients such as basmati rice, ghee, butter, sealed milk, fruit, and vegetables; and for puja, bunches of flowers, jewelry, and cloth. 

Both these offerings can be laid out in front of the altar and offered to the Lord with your personal prayers. When leaving you may take your direct offering and distribute it to friends and family as maha-prasad. Offerings in direct service are collected by the pujaris (trained brahmanas who worship the Deities) and are used for the various offerings and deity worship. 

Krishna tells us that he will accept even water if it is offered with love (Bg 9.26). We can attract Krishna’s attention by our love for him. An offering is a simple but intimate way to grow and show our love for Him.