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Date for Sri Krishna Jayanti observance

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_alum.calberkeley.org)
Date: Mon Aug 21 2000 - 14:53:28 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,

I don't mean to bring up the confusing spectre of the 
panchAngam again, but the date for observing Sri Krishna
Jayanti is a rather complex topic and demands some
attention.

All of the following apply only for devotees in the U.S.
Calculations were made in accordance with rules specified
for each tradition within the Sri Vaishnava sampradAya.
The calculations and dates were then verified directly 
with Srimat Paravakkottai Andavan Sri Gopala Desika Mahadesikan  
of Sri Poundarikapuram Ashramam, Srirangam.

This year, the dates to observe Sri Jayanti in the U.S.
are as follows:

 Tue, Aug 22, 2000: Sri Jayanti (mannAr / munitraya)
                    Janmashtami is also on this day.
 Wed, Aug 23, 2000: Sri Jayanti for all others (Ahobila Matha
                    and Thengalai Sri Vaishnavas)

Once again, I will spare you the reasoning, which is complex
and arcane, and has to do with under which circumstances
the 'rohiNi' nakshatra and the 'ashTami' tithi coincide.


All over India, irrespective of sect, Sri Jayanti is observed
in generally the same way. It is one of the most festive days
of the religious calendar.  Most of you are aware of these
customs.  In anxious anticipation of the birth of Krishna,
fasting is observed throughout the day.  The whole family is
abuzz with preparations for the night's celebrations.  As evening
approaches, little footsteps of Krishna are drawn in front of
the house, leading into the house and to the PerumaaL sannidhi.  
In Karnataka households, little Krishnan is placed in a tiny 
'thottil' (cradle) in the sannidhi, and all manner of sweets, 
fruits, and bhakshaNams are tied so as to hang right above him,
right within his reach.  The kitchen has been busy since morning,
and children are milling around, waiting for the opportunity to
sample the more than 15 varieties of delicacies that have been
prepared to offer to him. Too bad they have to wait till night.

The clock approaches midnight and it is the vRshabha lagnam. 
The ArAdhakar takes a special 'snAnam' as the appointed time nears. 
Devotees read aloud the Krishnavatara Ghatta from the 10th skandha 
of Srimad Bhagavatam. They lovingly focus on the last four slokas, 
which describe in detail the incomparable auspiciousness and beauty 
of the divine baby.  Alvar Paasurams and songs of saints such as
Purandara Dasa are sung. As the worship proceeds, the house is 
transformed into Gokulam (Aypaadi) itself, and all feel overjoyed as 
Krishna's presence becomes apparent:
 
   Running, falling, 
   Hugging each other with joy,
   They search, saying,
   "Where is our lord?"
   Singing all the while, 
   They dance to the beat
      of countless drums! 
   And so it was in Aypaadi.

     ( Oduvaar, vizhuvaar, ugandhu aalippaar
       naaduvaar, nampiraan enguththaan enbaar
       paaduvaargaLum palpaRaikotta ninRu
       aaduvaargaLum aayiRRu aayppaadiyE. -- periyalvar tm 1.2.2)

The worship continues with recitation of the sahasranAma, 
mukunda-mAlA and other stotras.  With great affection all the
day's preparations are offered to little Krishna -- nothing too
spicy or 'kAram', mind you, for their Kannan is delicate.  

As the divine baby is finally put to sleep, everyone experiences 
an unusual sense of contentment and happiness. As they sample
the navanItam and mouth-watering sweets, they are convinced 
that this must be Krishna's prasAdam, for nothing else could
be so tasty. As the night winds down, all are filled with the
memory of yet another fantastic Sri Jayanti.  They need no other
proof of the presence of Krishna, and all sing along the lines of 
Sri Desika, 

  Our beloved who is dark as a rain cloud, who 
  rains the gift of liberation, has arrived!

     ( muththimazhai pozhiyumugil vaNNar vandhaar! )

aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,
Mani

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