Janamashtami Celebrated at Dayaram Mandir, Queens
Janmashtami or the birth of Lord Krishna was celebrated at the Dayaram Mandir in Hollis and at temples all over New York, the US and the globe on Sunday evening September 2. Dayaram Mandir was beautifully decorated for the occasion. The Mandir was packed to capacity as people flocked to listen to the young eloquent Pandit Krishna Misir of Hollywood Mandir, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He wowed the devotees with his repertoire of devotional songs and his explanation of Janamashtami. Worshippers listened in rapt attention and paid obeisance to Lord Krishna during the pandit’s long session (pravachan) that commenced at 8:00 PM.The message was preceded by bhajans from several well known community singers.
Lord Krishna is said to have been born some 3200 BC and he lived on earth. He is the eight avatar of Lord Vishnu. Lord Krishna birth places are Mathura and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, the home state of most people of Indo-Caribbean descent; these are favorite places of pilgrims. Lord Krishna was born on midnight and temples held prayer services late into the evening to commemorate the birth. The following day, September 3 was a national holiday in India for the festival.
On Janamashtami, Hindus tend to observe a fast avoiding meat, fish and eggs for the whole day and night, worshipping him and keeping vigil through the night at home or at temples. At mandirs, pandits lead congregations in a katha reciting passages from the holy Gita and in chanting verses. There was also bhajan and kirtan singing. People celebrated the occasion with great pomp and ceremony. There was devotional service with worshippers staying awake till midnight to offer prayers amidst great enthusiasm and rejoicing among and devotees. Many went to the inner sanctum of the mandir bowing before the murthi of Lord Krishna and performing oblations, aartie and offering prasadam. Devotees sang devotional songs and some even moved their bodies to the beat of music relating to bhajans dedicated Lord Krishna. After service, people shared sweets and foods.
The Janamashtami celebration is part of a Maha Yajna being conducted at the Dayaram, mandir at 192 Street, off Hillside Avenue, in Hollis, Queens. The Yajna commenced on Saturday evening Sept 1 and will conclude on Sunday September 9. There are two religious sessions each day – 9 AM concluding at noon and 7 PM concluding at 10 PM. Each session is followed by prasad and bhojan and the public is invited at the beautiful mandir. The hosts, Dayaram and Nalinee, and family, provides gifts to the attendees nightly that would include murthis.