Janmashtami – Krishna Jayanthi – Live life to the fullest

For centuries Janmashtami is celebrated throughout India, and it is one of those festivals which binds the whole country together. Krishna means different things to different people, but universally he represents one thing “Celebrate life”. Hence Krishna Jayanthi is all about pure celebration and joyfulness. The first word we associate with Krishna is “Leela” – leela means the path of the playful.  He explored the most serious aspects of life in a playful way. For Arjuna, Kurukshetra was hell; but Krishna was playful even during the war.  There is a difference between being insensitive and being playful. He was playful, but never insensitive.

Today there are lot of management programs specifically dealing with stress management. I always wonder, why should someone manage a thing that they don’t want? It is understandable to have programs like ‘time management’ and ‘wealth management’, but why stress management? Krishna all through his life said the same, he said ‘even if you know that you are going to die the next moment, why should you worry about it?’. Stress is something that we should avoid and not MANAGE. It is not an easy thing, but not an impossible thing either. That is precisely the reason why we should celebrate our festivals, if our life is full of celebrations there won’t be any stress.

We are slowly losing the good things from our culture, which actually made us the most sought after country in the whole world until the 19th century. Celebrations and festivities are on such, we had a reason to celebrate everyday in a year. Be it amavasya, ekadasi, shivaratri, pradhosham or other days, every day of a month was special for us and a reason to celebrate. Today we celebrate only a couple of festivals like diwali and new year and that too watch the TV whole day. I grew up celebrating a lot of festivals, I don’t want to deprive my son that opportunity, so from last year on, I just made sure we celebrated most of the festivals at least in a modest way every year.

Celebrations are the key to human well-being. The very purpose we are working hard is for our well-being, so we should earn money not at the expense of our well-being. Krishna said that everyone should focus on the process and not the fruits. In one of the most famous and also most interpreted verse Krishna says

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोस्त्वकर्मणि॥
— भगवद्गीता २-४७
karmaṇyevādhikāraste mā phaleṣu kadacana|
mā karmaphalaheturbhūrmā te saṅgostvakarmaṇi||
— bhagavadgītā 2-47

It is misinterpreted by many as “one should work without expecting the fruits of the labor”. The reason for misinterpretation is the word by word translation in to English. The actual meaning of the verse is to focus on the process and not on the end result. One can plant a mango tree  and sit in front of it everyday dreaming about eating the mango from that tree, else one can forget about the mango and focus on taking care of the plant, by watering, adding manure and taking care of the plant. The one who enjoys and focuses on the process will get better results than the one who is constantly worried about the fruits. Krishna also adds that destiny is just a string and one can use the string to make a garland out of flowers or bones. No matter how much odds are stacked against us, we can still shape our life (and in a joyful way), provided we enjoy the process. I am going to enjoy my life..