Janmashtami, birthday of Lord Krishna, is based on calendars followed in India. It is also called Gokulashtami, Krishnashtami, and Sri Krishna Jayanti – all refer to the birthday of Lord Krishna. Sri Krishna Jayanti 2020 date in West, East and Southern parts of India is on August 11. In North India, it is on August 12, 2020. For many, Krishna is the Supreme God. For others, Krishna is one of the many births of Mahavishnu, the one who perpetually takes birth to destroy evil and uphold dharma, righteousness on Earth. For others, Krishna is the guru of personal spirituality, as they read and attempt to live the teachings given in the Bhagavad Gita, the “Song of the Lord”, uttered by Krishna on the battlefield.
God takes human form when the Godliness that is inherent in man is submerged, when the moral code and the spiritual discipline that have been prescribed by the experience of godly seekers are neglected, when man slides into beast from which he rose and becomes a terror to brother man. Krishna is a Yogiswara, unattached to the fruits of His labour. God appeared as Krishna to charm humanity by His pranks, His play, His song and sweetness, and to instruct man by His teaching and Grace. He was born on this Janmashtami Day in the prison where His ‘parents’ were incarcerated by the very evil forces He had come to exterminate.
The Gopis knew the secret of spiritual surrender. Their worship was not tainted by any bargaining spirit. For those who bargain and crave for profit, reverence is equated with the returns; they all homage at so much per unit of satisfactory response. They are like paid servants, clamouring for wages, overtime allowance, bonus, etc. They calculate how much they are able to extract for the service rendered. Be, on the other hand, a member of the family, a kinsman, a friend. Feel that you are the Lord’s own. Then, the work will not tire; it will be done much better; it will yield more satisfaction, and the wages? The master will maintain you in bliss, what more can any one aspire for? Leave the rest to Him; He knows best; He is All, the joy of having Him is enough reward. This is the secret of human happiness. Live out your lives on these lines and you will never come to grief. Na me bhakthaah pranasyathi, says Krishna; My devotees never suffer sorrow.
When you sing sacred songs and sing the Name of God you should contemplate on such underlying truths. The song which repeats the names of the Lord, ‘Hare Rama, Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare; Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare‘, has sixteen words and each of the sixteen signifies a virtue which has to be cultivated along with that sacred song:
(1) full of devotion,
(2) prepared to enjoy suffering,
(3) eager to serve the Lord,
(4) free from the attachment to the transitory,
(5) of correct conduct,
(7) having an unsullied reputation,
(8) with no blemish on his character,
(9) fully content,
(10) endowed with all the virtues,
(11) equipped with the fruits of learning,
(12) ripe in wisdom,
(14) adorned with commendable social traits,
(15) moved by humanity and
(16) fully dedicated to God.
God draws the Individual towards itself; it is the nature of both to have this affinity, for they are the same. They are like the iron and the magnet. But if the iron is rusty and covered with layers of dirt, the magnet is unable to attract. Remove the impediment; that is all you have to do; that is all you have to do. Shine forth in your real nature and the Lord will draw you into His Bosom. Trials and tribulations are the means by which this cleansing is done. That is why Kunthi prayed to Krishna, “Give us always grief, so that we may never forget Thee”. They are like the dietary and other restrictions that the doctor prescribes to supplement the effect of the drug of repeating the Name of the Lord (namasmarana). Sai is Sarvajanapriya (dear to everyone) and so any name which gives you joy, you can take up. Tastes differ according to temperament and the character one has earned by generations of activity as a living being in this world. The proprietor of a coffee house goes to the nearby druggist for a pill to ward off his headache, and the druggist when he gets a headache goes to the coffee house for a cup of coffee which he thinks will cure him. Men are like that. The wise one says, ‘Sarvam Brahma mayam;’ God is All; another, a Yogi, says all is Energy; a third, who is a devotee, says all is the play, the sport of God. Each according to his taste and according to his progress in spiritual activity. Do not hurry or ridicule them, for they are all pilgrims trudging along the same road. ~ Vijayadasami, 1953
Source: Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 5, passim