ISKCON Celebrates Birth of Lord Krishna Amidst a Global Pandemic
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlights the spirit of selfless service and wishes every devotee of Lord Krishna a soulful celebration.
Sri Janmastami celebrations at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temples around the world will look different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ISKCON temples will be hosting simple, socially distanced Janmastami programs where guests and devotees are invited but can only stay for a short period of time and only pre-packed meals are served. All guidelines by local governments such as masking will also be strictly followed.
Thanks to technology, ISKCON temples will also be utilizing live broadcast services to celebrate the birth or “Appearance Day” of Lord Krishna. Broadcast of kirtan music (sacred chants); darshan of the Deities (sacred temple images) and abhiseka (traditional Deity bathing ceremony) will be streamed Live on various social media platforms.
“While the pandemic is a setback and we are cutting down on the grand celebrations, it is now an opportunity for each and every household to invite Lord Krishna into their homes and celebrate this festival with their families,” said Anuttama Dasa, ISKCON spokesperson.
ISKCON is known for its work to systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate the communities it serves in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.
Best known as the speaker of the Sanskrit text “Bhagavad-Gita,” Krishna is revered by all Hindu denominations and students of yoga. He is of special importance to the Vaishnavas, who consider Krishna to God, the “Supreme Personality of Godhead”.
In his Janmastami message to ISKCON, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said, “ISKCON has been spreading the divine message of Lord Krishna enshrined in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita offers practical solutions to everyday challenges and inspires one to serve the people and society. The increasing popularity of Bhagavad Gita throughout the world reflects its universal appeal. My best wished to ISKCON and every devotee of Lord Krishna for a soulful Janmastami celebration.”
The sacred Sanskrit writings from India explain that God is the most beautiful and eternally youthful person—the intimate friend who is equal to all. Krishna comes into this world to teach humanity how to be happy by reestablishing our connection with the supreme person.
The festival of Krishna Janmastami—the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna—has been celebrated since ancient times and is one of the most important and popular of holidays across India. Vaishnavism, the worship of Lord Krishna, is a principle denomination within the broader Vedic, or Hindu, traditions.
The Sanskrit scriptures, the Vedas, teach that Lord Krishna descends to Earth to reestablish religious principles and to save human society from forgetfulness of God. Janmastami celebrates the day that Krishna appeared on Earth, over 5,000 years ago. For devotees of Krishna, it is a joyous occasion, replete with the singing of devotional songs, worship services, an all-day fast, and partaking in a sanctified vegetarian feast after midnight.
The Hare Krishna movement, formally known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), was founded in 1966 by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who brought the ancient Vaishnava tradition to the West.
In 2016, ISKCON celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Since its founding, ISKCON has grown into a global confederation of six hundred temples on six continents.
While some members live ashram (monasteries) similar to monks and nuns most Hare Krishna devotees live and work in the general community, observing daily spiritual practices at home and attending temple on a regular basis.
The publishing arm of ISKCON, the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, has published more than 500 million books and magazines in several dozen languages. It is said to be the largest publisher of Vedic literature in the world.
ISKCON also has affiliated vegetarian food relief programs, including Hare Krishna Food for Life, operating in dozens of countries. In India alone, ISKCON affiliated programs feed 1.2 million school children daily in partnership with the Indian government.