Janmashtami by ISKCON
History of ISKCON
ISKCON is an acronym of International society for Krishna consciousness. The organization was founded by Swami Prabhupada, an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. At the age of 69, Swami Prabhupada left for United States. In 1965, ISKCON was established with its headquarter in New York. ISKCON is a monotheist faith organisation that believes Lord Krishna is supreme to all the other deities in Hinduism. The organisation is famous all over the world. ISKCON took the western countries by storm with its mantra chanting of Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare; Hare Rama, Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Day of Celebrating Janmashtami in ISKCON
Almost every year, Janmashtami is celebrated over two days by various communities of Hindus. Lord Krishna is believed to have been born at midnight so while Shaivyas celebrate it on the second day after midnight when Vasudevji took him to Gokul, The Vaishnavs choose to celebrate the festival on the first day. ISKCON too celebrates Janmashtami on the second day ie. the day after the birth of Lord Krishna.
Festive Activities at ISKCON
An offering of 108 dishes to Lord Krishna known as 'Bhog' takes place at midnight and thereafter it is distributed among devotees . Viewing or darshan of the idol of Lord Krishna takes place. The idol is beautifully decorated with flowers. The platform on which the idol is kept is also equally laden with flowers. Thereafter, Abhishek (bathing) of the Lord takes place with milk, milk products and fresh fruit juices. This is followed by Bhajans (devotional songs) sung with various musical instruments in the glory of the Lord, dances are performed by devotees to rejoice the birth of Lord. Finally plays or dramas are held enacting the various phases and leelas of lord Krishna's life. Reading of Scriptures From Bhagawad Gita especially the episode of Birth of Lord Krishna is a special feature during Janmashtami.
Group Chanting of the Hare Krishna slogan takes place continuously and for a longer period than usual days. This is done to appease the Lord.
Celebration of Janmashtami in Brajbhumi
ISKCON organises 'Braj Mandal Parikrama' every year in the months of October-November. This involves a walking tour of nearly 84 miles to about 12 forests in Vrindavan and neighboring towns of Mathura, Barsana, Nandgaon, Gokul, Govardhan Hill and Radha kund. This traditional walk takes nearly a month to cover all the areas. Devotees of Lord Krishna cover this distance barefoot though shoes are also allowed. This Parikrama is undertaken by the organization to promote Krishna consciousness as well as spirituality. Devotees from all over take active participation to make this event a success.
Worldwide celebrations by ISKCON
ISKCON, celebrates Janmashtami festival at its various centres all over the world. Main Celebrations are held in the prominent cities of United States including New York. Discourses and lectures are organised to mark the festival and spread the accomplishments of Lord Krishna.