Janmashtmi 2017 – official photos!

Jai Shree Krishna!

Our first set of photos are out.. and they look amazingggg!

Here's a preview:

Click here to enjoy the rest of the photos!

Janmashtmi 2017 – 1 day to go!

It’s less that 24 hours away to Janmashtmi and we are just absolutely thrilled and excited!!!

Here’s a behind the scenes montage – a preview of what’s in store tomorrow!!

 

Looking forward to seeing everyone at Geeta Ashram tomorrow!

Click here for our Janmasthmi Programme

 

Janmashtmi 2017 – 2 days to go!

Memories of Janmashtmi

by Namita Soni


Krishna Janmashtami or commonly known as Janmashtami is an annual Hindu festival in the name of Lord Krishna’s birth. In simple words, it’s a birthday celebration! It is observed on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Shravana. Krishna was born in an era of chaos, persecution was rampant, freedom was denied, evil was everywhere. Bhagavan coming in the form of Krishna, was a sign of a new hope. All around the world, people put up dance-drama enactments of the life of Shree Krishna and there is always devotional singing right until midnight – the time that Shree Krishna is born.

Our Ashram is no exception.

I have been attending Geeta classes since I was nine years old. The reason being? I wanted to act and dance! When I first went to the Ashram about ten years ago and I saw the skits and performances put up for Janmashtami, I wanted to be a part of it. I was not aware of the significance of this holy celebration at that time. All I wanted to do was to participate because to me it looked fun! So when my mother enrolled me, I was anxious to contribute to the next performance. Of course, over the years, I did learn the essence behind the festival we celebrate every year and now the excitement stems from more than just the thrill of the performance. It’s the very idea as to why I am doing it and with whom. To be able to contribute and partake in such a beautiful and holy celebration with very important people to me. Janmastami, for me, I believe, brings out the best in everyone.

Throwback to Janmashtmi 2012; I’m the one in the orange lengha right at the corner!

 

We work together as a team, pouring in our efforts to put up a show worth remembering, year after year. I’ve known the children – now adults – at the Ashram as family, some of them being with me for close to a decade or even more. It’s such a joy to share one of the greatest nights of my life every year with my friends and family. We’ve all watched one another grow to become the people we are today, moulded and shaped by the lessons we learn in our classes taught by dedicated teachers which are eventually used in our teenage skits. This is a wonderful way of imbibing the Geeta verses we learn in our classes! Janmashtami is the one night none of us ever forgets and this year will be another achievement to add to our growing list. 

With Janmashtami two days away, I wish everyone a happy one and do hope to see many faces there at our Geeta Ashram!

More on our Janmashtmi programme here.

Shubh Navratri! :D

The Geeta Ashram Youth would like to wish each and everyone of you a Happy Dushera and a Happy Navratri 🙂

We would like to share with you the lessons we learned during these last nine auspicious days!

Five things I learned about Navratri

By Vilsasha Belani

Navratri has just ended and with it, the nine nights of dancing the garba and dhandhiya raas, but I realised that there wasn’t a lot I knew about navratri beyond the “1, 2, 3, 4…” count of the dhandiya raas. So I did what any girl in this amazing age of technology does – I Googled it. So here are 5 new things I learned about navratri:

  1. There are nine forms of Shakti that are worshipped
    When I was little, I was always told that the first three days of Navratri are for the Goddess Durga, the next three days are for the Goddess Lakshmi and the last three for the Goddess Saraswati. But that really is just the simplified version. The Navdurgas, as they are called, in order are Shailaputri (Daughter of the Mountains) or Parvati, Brahmacharini, Chandragupta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and lastly, Siddidaatri.
  2. There is a reason behind the cocentric cirlces of the Garba.
    No, it’s not so there’s more space for the women and girls to dance. The co-centric circles are actually representative of the circle of life. Birth, death and rebirth is a continuous cycle we all must go through, but at the centre of the circle, unmoving and unchanging is the Goddess herself.
  3. The dandiya dance is actually a dramatization of a battle.
    The bamboo sticks or dandiya represent the mighty swords of the Goddess Durga during her battle with Mahishasura. The swishing and striking of the dandiyas together is a reenactment of the Goddess weilding her swords during the battle and bringing the evil king to an end.
  4. The Dandiya dance is not limited to only bamboo sticks
    The Mehr sect in India perform a type of Dandiya dance with swords and shields instead of the traditional bamboo sticks. The Mehr raas resembles strikes in a battle. Watch the video below for a performance done in the Royal Albert Hall:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUaMdVKJVqc 
  5. There is more to Navratri than it being just a celebration of the Goddess Durga
    Like many Hindu festivals, there is a strong social aspect attached to Navratri. It is a festival that brings together communities, old friends and family in this rushed, hulla-baloo of a world. It is one of the times where children can’t wait to go to temple and in between the twirling sticks and clapping, they learn and understand more of their culture and religion. There is no doubt that the spiritual side of this festival is very important, but one can’t disregard the joy of seeing friends, the exhilaration from the beat of the music and silent unity of goodwill as we pray for good in us to trump the bad.

We do hope that you had a wonderful nine days!

Jai Mata Di!