When the late George Harrison, of The Beatles fame sang ‘My Sweet Lord’ (click for You Tube link) he was not referring to Jesus, but Lord Krishna. You can hear him start this popular song with ‘Hare Krishna’. The Chicago Center for Cultural Connections Interfaith Calendar listed August 14th as Krishna Janmashtami celebration when the birth of Krishna is celebrated (it was in 2009) and today’s Columbus Dispatch featured a great article on Bollywood style weddings, ‘Vows that Wow’. Joe Blundo says, ‘The weddings are becoming more noticeable as the Indian population grows: The market-research company Claritas estimated the Indian population in central Ohio at 16,000 in 2009, up from 9,600 in 2000. (Census estimates in 2006 found that Indians represent the largest population of Asians in the area.)’ The 24th of August also marks festival Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan, when sisters place a band of protection and amulet around their brother’s wrists.
The Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India website says the Janmashtami celebration is actually September 2nd (a lunar calendar thing) and explains, ‘Sri Krishna is considered to be one of the most endeared human incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Born more than 5000 years ago in Mathura city, the revered God of Hindu religion and his teachings hold immense relevance. . . . Janmashtami is the joyful celebration of Lord Krishna’s birth. Major celebrations of Krishna Janmashtami takes place at midnight as Krishna is said to have made his divine appearance in that hour. Fasting, bhajans, pujas and many other rituals mark Janmashtami celebrations in India.’ Bhajans or hymns are sung and sweets eaten. There are all kinds of festival gifts for sale including idols. It is a big deal. You can even buy Krishna wallpaper. www.krishnajanmashtami.com/ (Photo left is Lord Krishna in blue, as envoy in Mahabaratha. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma, Wikimedia Commons)
You can read much more about the significance of Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu in the epic; at www.dlshq.org/religions/krishna_jan.htm or on the I love India website which explains, ‘Sri Krishna is considered as the eighth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu’s, (one of three major Hindu Gods) on earth. He is considered to be the Lord’s most glorious incarnations. It is said that his remembrance true heart brings extreme joy and pleasure because Sri Krishna himself was a manifestation of joy at all levels and in all walks of life. No other God in the Hindu pantheon, or for that matter in any other religion, is associated with so many romantic tales and so fully radiating with all the divine attributes as Sri Krishna.’
This is where the ‘Hare Krishna’ expression comes from. It’s basically a Hindu ‘praise God’. The site explains further that ‘Lord Krishna, is the one of the most loved Gods of the Hindu religion. His teachings on various aspects of human life to Arjuna during the epic battle of Mahabharata are world famous. His teachings were written in form of a book by famously known as Bhagwad Gita. Bhagwad Gita literally means divine songs of Lord. Teachings of the lord, are relevant even in the present age. They are being promoted by a number of spiritual gurus. The teachings are found in the Bhagavad Gita which the site says is similar to what the holy Qu’ran is to Muslims or the Bible to Christians.
Serious literature students understand that epic myth conveys deeper truth than literalism, and symbolic language is the currency in much religious and secular scripture from all times and all traditions. The teachings in the Bhagawad Gita spell out the ‘Path to Lifelong Happiness’ through the ‘threefold way of Karma (action), Jnana (Knowledge) and Bhakti (Devotion)’. The sublime Upanishads and other writings are also of exceptional importance in Hinduism.
A recent Newsweek article says that Americans are becoming more Hindu in their beliefs. Whether that’s the influence of Bollywood, increased trade, immigration or cultural shift is up for discussion. The fascinating website www.hinduism.co.za/krishna1.htm has more information on Hindu beliefs. Read more . . .
It’s festival time for Catholic parishes. Visit the St. Elizabeth Festival August 20th-21st, Sharon Woods Blvd. with car show, raffle and tournaments.
Vist the 34th annual St. Michael Festival September 3rd-5th with food, entertainment and many activities.
Meditation for This Post:
‘What did you own, that makes you cry on losing? What did you bring, that you fear losing? What did you give birth to, that you fear its destruction. You didn’t bring anything. Whatever one takes, one must return it to God. Everyone came empty handed and will therefore die, empty handed. . . . Change is the rule of nature. What one understands, as death is actually life itself. . . . Your body doesn’t belong to you and vice versa. . . . Offer yourself to the Almighty Lord. This is the best support.’ from the Gita Saar- the main teachings of Lord Krishna, Hindu Scripture
copyright 2010, Patricia A. Rodemann