Mauli marks Janmashtami, birthday of Krishna. www.maulirituals.com

As the summer holidays come to an end, a new chapter of celebrations in the Hindu calendar begins with the first being Janmashtami (jan-mash-ta-mi). Celebrated on 5th September this year, the annual festival marks the birth of Lord Krishna.

Krishna is a blue-hued deity celebrated as the adorable, mischievous young boy, who matures into the charming, romantic lover, the compassionate friend, divine hero and the voice of wisdom guiding Arjuna in the epic Bhagavad Gita and as such, he is a manifestation of the guru within. Krishna demonstrates that spiritually is not about sitting in nature, wearing a white robe and chanting all day. Spirituality is to live with joy, love and passion and to follow our inner guidance, which always knows the truth. This auspicious occasion offers an opportunity for devotees and seekers to create a connection with Lord Krishna and in doing so, create a connection to the higher self.

To create this connection and invite the qualities of Krishna into your home and heart, meditate on his image. You may want to go as far as a devotee and that involves fasting all day and breaking the fast just after midnight, by offering janmashtami 'prasad' (holy food) to the idol of baby Krishna. It’s no bad thing to fast once a week anyway and you can break the fast in your own home or head to your nearest temple and join in the festivities.

The main festivities take place at midnight where devotees' gather at temples to the sounds of holy mantras (sacred sounds, syllables, words) being chanted and sounds of a conch being blown symbolizing the destruction of evil. Figurines of the infant Krishna are bathed in yoghurt, ghee, honey and fruit juices and then placed in a cradle, with devotional songs sung. Metaphorically, the offering is an expression of devotion for others.

Who can you love unconditionally today? Make a conscious effort to let go of all that no longer serves you. Perhaps think of someone who you have an issue with and send them love and light, then let them go. Give this day over to love and open to pure joy and the knowledge that we are all one.

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