The Deeper Meaning of Janamashtami

Also available in: हिन्दी मराठी

The beauty in our ancient stories is that they were never made location-specific or time-specific. Ramayana or Mahabharata are not just events that happened a long time ago, they are happening everyday in our lives. The essence of these stories is eternal.

There is a deeper meaning to the story of Krishna’s birth too. Devaki symbolizes the body and Vasudev symbolizes the life force (prana). When prana rises in the body, joy (Krishna) is born. But the ego (Kamsa) tries to eliminate joy. Kamsa is Devaki’s brother which indicates that ego is born along with the body. A person who is happy and joyful does not create trouble for anyone. It is the one who is unhappy and emotionally wounded who ends up causing disruption. Those who feel injustice has been done to them end up being unjust to others out of their hurt ego.

The biggest adversary of ego is joy. Ego cannot survive and has to bow down where there is joy and love. A person can hold a very high position in society, but he melts in front of his own little child. When the child falls ill, however strong the person is, they feel a little helpless. Ego simply melts when confronted with love, simplicity and joy. Krishna is the epitome of joy, the quintessence of simplicity and the very source of love.

Devaki’s and Vasudev’s imprisonment by Kamsa signifies that when the ego takes over, the body feels like a prison. When Krishna was born, the prison guards fell asleep. The guards here are the senses which protect the ego because they are turned outward when awake. Inner joy sprouts in us when the senses turn inwards.

Krishna is also known as the butter thief. Milk is the essence of nourishment and curd is a cultured form of milk. When curd is churned, butter comes up and floats on top. It is nourishing and yet light, not heavy. When our intelligence is churned, it becomes like butter. When knowledge dawns in the mind, one gets established in one’s Self. Such a person remains unattached to this world and his mind does not sink in it. Krishna stealing butter is a symbolism depicting the glory of love. So attractive is Krishna’s charm and skill that he steals the minds of even the most dispassionate.

Why does Krishna have the peacock feather on his head? A king is responsible for the whole society and that responsibility can become a burden, which sits on the head as the crown. But Krishna fulfills all his responsibility effortlessly, like a game. A mother never feels taking care of her children is a burden. Similarly, Krishna wears his responsibility lightly and plays his roles colorfully, just like the peacock feather on his crown.

Krishna is the most attractive, joyful space within all of us. When there is no restlessness, worry or desire in the mind, you are able to get deep rest. And it is in deep rest that Krishna is born.

The message of Janamashtami is that it is time to bring a wave of joy in society. Become seriously joyful!

More Comments

  1. Satyam

    This wisdom opens up a new dimension to all of us.
    Thanks @srisriravishankar for this beautiful knowledge.
    Only intelligent people who are sensitive and sensible can understand this knowledge.

  2. Ram

    “kissing the but of some dead guru”
    Inner meaning of this statement is leave aside spiritual advancement you don’t even have a etiquette of talking to a fellow aspiring spiritualist…. first of all a self realised person never dies as he knows he is not the body….and moreover by saying this u have insulted the writer of this article and everyone who is considered to be ur guru….even basic things like reading, writing….according to sastras mother is first guru…..

  3. jayababuraj

    Jai Gurudev. What a beautiful concept of Janmashtami. Like krishna You always lifts me up from the dark ocean of depression with a beautiful smile. You give me correct advises at right time through the book Jeevanakala.It is the most valuable property i have ever acquired.My heartfelt thanks to you my guru

  4. bh. Antun

    Hello, Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada
    I just wanted to say that this is not true.. Krishna is Supreme Personality of Godhead and Mahabharata and Ramayana are not just ordinary stories, these are the transcendental pastimes of the Lord and his devotees… This is very simple; namely God is great and you are not so therefore you are not God, we need to surrender to Krishna… these rascal mayavada impersonalism theories that ”all is one” etc… are not and will never be accepted and authorized.. it is spiritual suicide… we are unhappy and suffering because we forgot our relationship with Krsna and we need to wake up our God consciousness… the goal of all vedic knowledge is to know Krishna, God and to establish loving service and relationship with Him and to go back to Godhead.. there are shankaracarya sampradaya and others in India, and Shankaracarya was lord Shiva; who had a mission to deceive people unto impersonalism…this age is known as Kali Yuga and in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, way of spiritual enlightenment is congregational chanting of the Lord’s Holy Names and the most powerful mantra is Hare Krishna maha-mantra it clears the heart from the dust acumulated in this world and wakes up our real identity as eternal servants of the Lord.. i deeply recommend to everyone from the bottom of my heart to read some of the Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada books Bhagavad Gita As it Is, Srimad Bhagavatam and many many more… and I assure you that you will see what is the real truth 🙂 I hope that this doesn’t offend anyone i just wanted to
    eliminate misunderstandings because i really want to every person be happy and the only what to be happy is to revive our original Krsna consciousness

    :)) want everyone all the best blessings and mercy from Lord Krsna…
    Haribol!! Hare Krsna

    1. Daniel

      Antun, quit your propaganda bullshit. sri sri explains the true meaning of mahabharata, and iskcon has a distorted selfish view of the vedas. its just about big expensive temples and enslaving and take profit of so called devotees. you are right the goal is to know krishna, but it means you find joy in yourself and reach the spiritual level. its not about the history and the persons but the meaning, its a way to discribe and explain the yogic process of meditation. eg. what happens inside of yourself when you meditate and connect with your inner self. the goal is not in an afterlive and kissing the but of some dead guru, but to find enlightenment and joy in every moment, by cultivating your self and get rid of your blind ego (dritharastra) and get guided by higher knowledge. iskcon is dumbing down people and keep them stupid, its only about money and power, so hypocrit. become smart and intelligent by reading vedas, and really be happy NOW.

  5. Shiva

    Humble Request to release a compilation of all these talks on Indian tradition given by you as a book / videos in order to make more people aware on the significance of Indian traditions.

  6. Parag

    Wonderful essay! It is worth reading throughout the year..

    Celebrating the Birth of the Birthless is endless Joy!

  7. Yogesh Fulpagare

    Dear Guruji,

    Your message is really great and this is the real need for the society and every individual to become joyful.


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