Shri Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated on eighth day of first fortnight (Krishna Paksha) of Bhadrapad month. It is celebrated in a unique way in Shri Bankey Bihari Temple that Mangla Aarti is performed on this day. The sequence of activities is described below.
Throughout the day of Janmashtami, we have regular darshan in the temple. After Shayan Aarti (i.e. 930 PM) Bihariji goes to sleep as usual. A Shri Madbhagvatam discourse session, based on Shri Krisnna Janma (tenth Skandha) is organized outside the temple. Entire temple and surroundings are tastefully decorated with flowers, Patakas (flags), hangings and lights. In the Jagmohan (i.e. the elevated hall just outside sanctum sanctorum) a special throne made of gold and silver is placed (this area is generally accessible to visitors for having a closer darshan, but on celebrations it is isolated and Bihariji comes out of inner sanctum, so more visitors may have a closer and wider view).
At midnight Maha Abhishek is conducted in the inner sanctum, the ceremony is not open for public view. In this process deity is given a ceremonial bath by milk, curd, honey, ghee and water. After the abhishek, deity is decorated with fine cloths and jewellery for this special occasion. All other steps of regular Sewa like offerings of flowers, Tulsi, chandan, balbhog, beeri, itr etc are performed religiously. Bihariji comes to jagmohan and occupies the throne there. Darshan opens at around 2 AM. This is a very special midnight darshan session which continues up to 6 AM in the morning. This day Bihariji’s darshan is extraordinarily charming as a birthday boy!
The panchamrit Prasad (i.e. Prasad of maha abhishek, a mix of milk, curd, honey, ghee and water ) is distributed among the devotees. Specially prepared delicacies i.e. Sweets prepared from musk melon seeds, coconut, makhane etc are offered as bhog.
Mangla aarti is performed at 330AM. It is worthwhile to remember that the mangla aarti (early morning aarti ) is not performed in the temple on regular basis. This is only on Janmashtami day, once in a year, that Bihariji is awake at this unearthly hour and mangla aarti is performed. After the mangla aarti, bhog is offered at 5 AM and darshan closes at 6 AM after another aarti.
In the next morning , i.e. Navami, Nandotsav is celebrated in the temple premises. Bihariji continues to sit in the Jagmohan extending his grace and divine charm to one and all. The priests and devotees distribute sweets, fruits, clothes, toys, utensils, coins as part of celebration. Devotional songs congratulating Nand Baba on birth of Krishna are sung in chorus. Everybody feels as if Krishna is born today and in a joyous mood people dance almost hysterically congratulating each other. The temple court presents a picture of almost confusion and chaos and nobody is able to hear what other is saying. Each one is enjoying in his own way i.e. dancing, singing, praying, throwing away gifts or collecting them as Prasad. It seems that everybody has gone mad. It is a mad congregation of devotees celebrating the birth of divinity! Why and how they all have become mad? Probably they are over drunk(?) with the joy of Radha Nam Sankirtan( repetition of divine name Radhey!Radhey!......).
Such celebrations continue till Rajbhog Aarti(1200 noon).
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Mon, 30 July 2012
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