Janmashtami is the day when we celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. His birth was exceptional, because of the dramatic circumstances in which it took place, however, there is a deep spiritual message underlying it. Lord Krishna signifies Prema & Ananda (pure love and happiness). When Lord Krishna was born in the prison cell, all the prison guards fell asleep. When there is no happiness and joy (Lord Krishna), the body feels like a prison. So when pure love and joy (Lord Krishna) is born in this prison (body), all the senses (symbolized by the prison guards) fell asleep. The five senses – the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin – are the guards of the body, and they always drive the mind to look outwards for love and joy. They are actually the guards of Kamsa (body consciousness ego). So they fall asleep when one turns the mind toward the source of infinite love and bliss.
In our Life, there is a perpetual war between two opposite forces. One is that of Love and the other is that of Fear. Kamsa represents the forces of Fear (arising out of body consciousness), which chain us and torment us for 7 births. The 7 births and deaths represent the fears of 7 Chakras and Janmashtami represents the emergence of soul consciousness by transcendence and alignment of these 7 chakras (ashta means eight). At each Chakra, we find ourselves caged and overpowered by the Kansa or fears related to that particular Chakra. At Muladhara, the fear of survival torments us; at Swadhisthana the fear of not being good enough traumatises us; at Manipura the fear of being powerless traps us; at Anahata, the fear of not being loved makes us suffer; at Vishuddhi, the fear of comparisons immobilize us; at Ajna, the fear of opening to know knowledge and insight frightens us; and finally at Crown Chakra, the fear of seeing and accepting reality as it is paralyses us.
These demonic and complex fear based forces of Kansa will continue to kill us until we learn the lessons of spiritual life hidden in these 7 Chakras. Only when we become a humble student of life do we evolve spiritually, emotionally and mentally. This is the birth of Krishna consciousness in us where we discover absolute love, bliss, power, and wholeness in our spiritual Self. There is no longer birth and death, and bondage in us as someone in prison of the mind tied to the shackles of senses. When our limited personal consciousness merges with Universal Krishna consciousness, we experience oneness with the entire creation. Then we see life as a playful celebration, a Leela and Utsav, not a struggle or competition. This is the special message of Janmashtami.