“Variety is the mother of all enjoyment.”
In life we experience different people with different flavours, and each provides their own insights, emotions and qualities to their experience. There are the people who are like red chilli powder, fire crackers, say one wrong thing near them and there will be an explosion. There are those who are just like the saying goes, “as cool as a cucumber”, nothing gets them going, even when they need to! Others are like ice cream, soft and sweet – kind and loved by all, but under the heat they can melt. Each person brings their own unique dimension to the world, and what would a meal be without all these flavours. Only spicy food and you’ll get a stomach ache, only neutral and healthy foods and you’ll get fed up and only sweets and you’ll probably get diabetes. We need a combination of all these flavours for the perfect meal.
In Krishna Consciousness we perform acts of seva, selfless service, to please Lord Krishna and those who are dear to Him. To offer Him the best meal, we need to bring all these flavours and tastes together in a harmonious way. Where there isn’t competition between the tastes but harmony. In the same way, just as we would try and offer the perfect meal to Krishna by bringing the variety of tastes together, we should in harmony bring the variety of our skills, talents and resources together and create a beautiful offering to present to the Lord. This is the spirit of Janmashtami; in the Srimad Bhagavatam, just before the appearance of the Lord is described, this verse is given to set the scene:
SB 10.3.1-5 —The sun, the moon and the other stars and planets were very peaceful. All directions appeared extremely pleasing, and the beautiful stars twinkled in the cloudless sky. Decorated with towns, villages, mines and pasturing grounds, the earth seemed all-auspicious. The rivers flowed with clear water, and the lakes and vast reservoirs, full of lilies and lotuses, were extraordinarily beautiful. In the trees and green plants, full of flowers and leaves, pleasing to the eyes, birds like cuckoos and swarms of bees began chanting with sweet voices for the sake of the demigods. A pure breeze began to blow, pleasing the sense of touch and bearing the aroma of flowers, and when the brāhmaṇas engaging in ritualistic ceremonies ignited their fires according to Vedic principles, the fires burned steadily, undisturbed by the breeze. Thus when the birthless Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was about to appear, the saints and brāhmaṇas, who had always been disturbed by demons like Kaṁsa and his men, felt peace within the core of their hearts, and kettledrums simultaneously vibrated from the upper planetary system.
This is the spirit of Vrindavan – where everyone is serving in a selfless cooperative manner to please Krishna, here the clouds, lakes, birds, wind, brahmanas and plants were all playing their functions in a harmonious way to create a blissful atmosphere for the Supreme Lord to come in to. In that way we should come together in this spirit and with our unique abilities serve together and create an attractive atmosphere for the Lord to come. A space where He can pour His love and mercy upon all those involved and all those that visit this wonderful festival of Janmashtami.