Colourful dahi handis for sale at Thane
MUMBAI: The festival of Lord Krishna’s birth, Janmashtami, will be celebrated over three days (August 11-13), instead of the customary two days. Temples will be unable to host devotees owing to Covid-19 restrictions, but they are devising a colourful celebration within their portals.
The ISKCON order worldwide will celebrate the birth at midnight August 12. Spokesperson Parijata Devi said, “Devotees will be able to view e-puja and abhishek online. We have an ongoing Janmashtami Katha, stories about Krishna’s birth, that is being broadcast online daily in the morning and evening. Given the pandemic, we will not purchase flowers for garlands and other ceremonies. Instead these will be plucked from our own garden, as well as the temple farm in Talasari. Our tailors and devotees have stitched bright new outfits for all ten deities in the shrine.” Since visitors will be unable to come for prasad, ISKCON Juhu wanted to distribute the holy food to migrants and civic workers but police has asked them to wait.
The rituals of Radha Gopinath temple of ISKCON Chowpatty will go live on Facebook and YouTube. Spiritual guru Radhanath Swami Maharaj said, “The only difference is that this time the celebration is restricted to brahmacharis and pujaris staying in the temple. Each year, maha abhishek of Krishna is done with 1,008 litres of fresh fruit juices, ‘Ahimsa milk’, curd, ghee and honey. This is distributed to devotees. This year since we will not be able to distribute the charnamrit to devotees, we decided to perform maha abhishek with 108 litres only.”
Lord Krishna’s sets of day and night birthday robes at ISKCON Chowpatty are designed with glitter and zardozi, in keeping with the theme of light amid darkness, both during his birth 5,400 years ago and now amid the pandemic.
Elsewhere, Mota Mandir in Bhuleshwar will indulge its bal swaroop (child god) Krishna by placing him in the cradle after the midnight hour of his birth. Administrator BN Ojha said, “The following day [August 13] is celebrated as Nandotsav with the breaking of the pot of curd. Devotees are making enquiries if they can come for Janmashtami. But we are waiting for the government to give a green signal. Our sanitisation and social distancing norms are in place.”