Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Sri Krishna – the compassionate descent into human form of this great avatar of ancient India. “Whenever virtue declines and unrighteousness prevails” the Lord proclaims in the Bhagavad Gita, “I manifest Myself to protect the good, destroy evil, and to establish dharma. For this I am born in every age!” Krishna came again as Mahavatar Babaji who, in communion with the avatar Jesus, has planned the salvation of our own time, a salvation carried out through the Masters of Self-realization: Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswar, and Paramhansa Yogananda.
Krishna, like Jesus after him, was born to high souls who underwent great testing to fulfil their role as parents of the Divine. Vasudeva and Devaki are imprisoned by Devaki’s evil brother, King Kamsa, who acts in fear that he will die at the hands of their eighth son. Even in the midst of the greatest darkness – Kamsa’s reign of terror – from the prison cell emerges a mysterious effulgence, a light that signals the Lord’s hidden presence, the imminence of His coming rebirth into the suffering world, of His reawakening in the souls of beleaguered humanity. Kamsa’s machinations come to naught. Despite prison walls, barred doors, armed guards, shackles, the Lord enters Devaki’s womb, and Krishna is born.
Even as a terrified Kamsa takes up his sword and rages toward the locked room, inside the cell Vasudeva’s shackles fall away. Vasudeva places the newborn in a basket and, sustained by his faith, stands before the barred door. The door springs open; the ring of guards all sleep soundly. Before Kamsa can arrive, Vasudeva is on his way. Coming to a storm-tossed river, he finds the waters stilled and parted, the child protected from the downpour beneath the expanded hood of the divine serpent Adishesha. Krishna is free. And so begins His mission once again to lift mankind from darkness into light.
In every birth this miraculous story plays out: the soul encased in a developing human form, itself encased in the womb of the mother; the little body struggling to be free; the parents struggling to help the child escape confinement; labor, release, breath, and that soul’s mission on earth begins again. Krishnavatar descended from the Divine into human form for one purpose only – to uplift the consciousness of the human race. So too does each child born into a spiritual family bring into the world a ray of that one light so transcendently manifested in Krishna, in Jesus Christ, in every soul as that soul approaches the end of the spiritual journey.
Janmashtami fell this year on September 5. In the preceding months the larger spiritual family had been praying for a young couple and their child as he grew inside the mother. During the three days leading up to Janmashtami the prayers had intensified, for the labor had been difficult and exhausting. We prayed for safe delivery, inner Joy, and the guiding hand of God. On the evening of the third day of labor, as we gathered to honor the birth of Sri Krishna, at 7:32 pm, only minutes into our opening prayer to Babaji Krishna, Jesus Christ and the Masters of Self-realization, baby Henry Krishna entered this world, glowing, gently smiling, peaceful, radiating blessings to all.
The temple in which we celebrated Janmashtami was lit by a gentle effulgence – the image of Krishna garlanded and surrounded by flowers. The gathered devotees chanted to Krishna and the Masters, offering the inner flowers of their devotion to the Supreme Lord. Surely the Masters were with us in the temple, and equally in the birthing room, there receiving the love offered, receiving also the newborn child offered by grateful parents into God’s light. The next morning, Sunday service began with waves of AUM pouring out from the congregation to surround child and parents with the blessings and love of the Masters, to celebrate the arrival of a fellow traveler on the path, a bearer of the Divine spark that unites us all.
In his Baptism Ceremony, Swami Kriyananda addresses the soul of the child:
You have returned to earth to join us in the great
adventure – the search for the highest wisdom.
Be a channel of blessing – of kindness and joy to all. Limit not your sympathies,
but include in them all mankind, all creatures, all life!
O Great Soul! Live in wisdom, in love, in eternal joy.
…know in your inner Self that you have ever been, are now, and forever shall be,
the pure, free, and perfect spirit – the image of the Infinite Lord.
So may we all share in Krishna’s birth among us by offering ourselves – all that we have and all that we are – in loving service to God and Guru.
In divine friendship,