Julhana-yatra continues today and thus so does the nectar. This sweet pastime will continue until Lord Balarama's appearance day tomorrow.
In Vrindavan and other dhams there are various methods and periods for which julhana-yatra is celebrated, however as presented in yesterday post, Srila Prabhupada gave us clear direction on both the period and method to celebrate this festival. Also as indicated in yesterday's post, during a Ratha Yatra address, Srila Prabhupada instructed us to celebrate this and all festivals in a grand way.
Now we promised to share some nectar to put us in a brijbasi spirit. Of course for such an occasion there is so much nectar, so we have chosen a selection from Ananda Vrndavan Campu which describes the pastimes of Lord Krishna in Vrindavana. This masterpiece has been graciously translated and dedicated to Srila Prabhupada by HH Mahanidhi Swami (a direct disciple of Srila Prabhupada) Here is an meditative excerpt which will transport you to Vrindavan...
"Krishna entered the swing arena with His left arm resting on Radha's shoulder holding His flute. In His right hand Krishna twirled a lotus flower while His bangles chimed happily. A pleasing peacock feather topped His reddish turban that tilted attractively to one side. Krishna's elegant earrings and ear lotuses swung in the breeze created by the bees circling His head. Fine cloth kissed His limbs, lit by the jewels of His crown and bracelets. Krishna shone attractively with His pearl necklaces tinged red from the rays of His kaustubha jewel. Light delicate footsteps accented His graceful yet playful gait. Jeweled anklets and bells adorned His lotus feet. Krishna, His splendid lips shining, appeared somewhat drowsy from chewing betel nut. Yet His effulgence easily defeated the combined radiance of all the jewels adorning the ladies in heaven. Krishna's effulgence took the shape of a jeweled mace to announce His entrance into the bower of jeweled trees. As Krishna and His servants ascended the dais surrounding the swing, the birds screeched, "Victory! Victory!"
The trees and creepers felt such rapture that their limbs erupted with tiny bumps and honey streamed down like a torrent of tears. When the peacocks stared at Radha and Krishna they thought they were seeing dark rain clouds flashing lightning. Though knowing Radha and Krishna from before, due to their unprecedented love, the peacocks madly cried out, "Keo? Keo?" (Who are these two persons?)
Different celestial denizens joined Krishna and the gopis to celebrate their jhulana lila. In attendance there were charming Caranas, male and female Kimpurusas, and the wives of the Siddhas beating expertly on madala and panava drums with their delicate hands. The spotless heavenly damsels from Svarga and the Apsaras directed by Urvasi held camaras as radiant as waves in the Mandakini River. They showered fragrant flowers from the Nanda-kanana gardens, which glittered like stars as they fell through the sky. In this atmosphere, Krishna mounted the attractive, comfortable seat of the swing. Krishna looked like a regal crest jewel sitting on the cotton seat. The cloth covering the seat was whiter than the foam that appeared during the churning of the milk ocean. Shining pillows also adorned the beautiful seat. Seeing that amazingly wonderful swing purified the vision, and empowered the eyes to see other objects in a fresher way. While the devatas played sweet music, Mukunda and Radha marveled at the intricate workmanship of the jeweled lamps illuminating the swing.
Trembling out of ecstatic love, Radhika and Her friends sat beside Krishna, who rested His left arm on Radhika's shoulder. When the Lord ascended the exquisite swing and displayed His sweet beauty, which defeated the fickle currents of a river of nectarean beauty, the devatas and their wives lost all composure. As the ardent desire of the devatas' hearts to get a closer view of the Divine Couple moved out of their hearts to express itself, it choked their throats. With that hope they left the middle sky and descended to the more favorable lower borders of the sky."
Radha-Govinda Jhulana Yatra ki Jaya!
Photo from Jhulan Yatra at ISKCON Vrindavan
And with great fortune all the assembled devotees are able to swing Radha Govinda! Today and only for the next three days we are able to participate in this pastime since we celebrate Radha Govinda Jhulana Yatra from today until the appearance day of Lord Balaram, which falls on Wednesday, August 1st.
We will have additional nectar in brijbasi spirit for Jhulana Yatra over the next couple of days. However wanted to start the posts with two nice passages by Srila Prabhupada on this auspicious and ecstatic beginning of Jhulana Yatra....
"Regarding Jhulana-yatra Ceremony, during these five days the Deities'
clothings should be changed everyday, and there should be nice Prasadam
distribution and Sankirtana as far as possible. If you are able to do it, a
nice throne may be constructed on which the Deities can be placed. This
throne may be swung gently during Kirtana. That will be very good, and
surely the Deities will enjoy the function."
~ Letter to Jayapataka (Swami), Los Angeles, 1 August, 1969
This week we have had our Annual General Meeting at ISKCON Toronto and thus this quote may resonate in the hearts of many. Srila Prabhupada has given us a full resolution to "frustration and confusion" by fully absorbing ourselves in festivals such as Jhulana-yatra and so many festivals throughout the year...
We have got Janmastami, Sri Rama-navami, Dola-yatra, Jhulana-yatra. So there
are twelve months, but we have got twenty-four festivals as big as this
Ratha-yatra Festival. So if you kindly take to them, then as advised by Lord
Caitanya, kirtaniyah sada harih [Cc. adi 17.31], you will always be in Krsna
consciousness, and there will be no scope of your frustration and confusion.
~ Ratha-yatra lecture July 5, 1970 San Fransisco
Thank you Srila Prabhupada for being the torch light of knowledge for all these nectar filled festivals.
Radha-Govinda Jhulana Yatra ki Jaya!
We leave you with fresh Jhulan Yatra nectar from ISKCON's Krishna Balaram Temple in Vrindavan...
Jhulan Yatra - ISKCON Vrindavan - Jai Gaur Nitai!
Jhulan Yatra - ISKCON Vrindavan - Jai Krishna Balaram!
Jhulan Yatra - ISKCON Vrindavan - Jai Radha Shyamsundar!
Just in the process of catching up with posts and uploads...I guess a never ending process. Anyhow, I was looking for Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundar's 2011 Janmastami pictures and stumbled upon the folder from March of this year when HG Sankarshan Das Adhikari visited our house.
Since this blog is picked up by various news feeds, I have only included a small selection of pictures below... If you want to see a few more, please see pictures by following this [link]
Tomorrow is Pavitropana Ekadasi (based on Vaishnava Calendar calculated for Toronto time) and tomorrow also marks the start of Jhulana Yatra.
Below are the glories of tomorrow's ekadasi...
Shri Yudhisthira Maharaja said, "Oh Madhusudana, Oh killer of the Madhu demon, please be merciful to me and describe to me the Ekadasi that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Shravana (July-August)." The Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, replied, "Yes, Oh king, I shall happily narrate its glories to you, for just by hearing about this sacred Ekadasi one attains the merit of performing a horse sacrifice. "At the dawn of Dvarpara-yuga there lived a king by the name of Mahijita, who ruled the kingdom of Mahismati-puri. Because he had no son, his entire kingdom seemed utterly cheerless to him. A married man who has no son gains no happiness in this life or the next. The Sanskrit word for 'son' is putra. Pu is the name of a particular hell, and tra means 'to deliver.' Thus the word putra means 'a person who delivers one from the hell named Pu.' Therefore every married man should produce at least one son and train him properly; then the father will be delivered from a hellish condition of life. But this injunction does not apply to the serious devotees of Lord Vishnu or Krishna, for the Lord becomes their son, father, and mother.
Furthermore, Chanakya Pandita says,
satyam mata pita jnanam
dharmo bhrata daya sakha
santih patni ksama putrah
sadete mama vandhavah
"Truth is my mother, knowledge is my father, my occupational duty is my brother, kindness is my friend, tranquility is my wife, and forgiveness is my son. These six are my family members." Among the twenty-six leading qualities of a devotee of the Lord, forgiveness is the topmost. Therefore devotees should make an extra endeavor to develop this quality. Here Chanakya says "forgiveness is my son," and thus a devotee of the Lord, even though he may be on the path of renunciation, may observe this Ekadasi and pray to attain this kind of "son." For a long time this king tried very hard to obtain an heir, but to no avail. Seeing his years advancing ever onwards, King Mahijita became increasingly anxious.
One day he told an assembly of his advisers: 'I have committed no sin in this life, and there is no ill-gotten wealth in my treasury. I have never usurped the offerings to the demigods or brahmanas. When I waged war and conquered kingdoms, I followed the rules and regulations of the military art, and I have protected my subjects as if they were my own children. I punished even my own relatives if they broke the law, and if my enemy was gentle and religious I welcomed him. Oh twice-born souls, although I am a religious and faithful follower of the Vedic standards, still my home is without a son. Kindly tell me the reason for this.' "Hearing this, the king's brahmana advisers discussed the subject among themselves, and with the aim of benefiting the king they visited the various ashrams of the great sages. At last they came upon a sage who was austere, pure, and self-satisfied, and who was strictly observing a vow of fasting. His senses were completely under control, he had conquered his anger, and he was expert at performing his occupational duty. Indeed, this great sage was expert in all the conclusions of the Vedas, and he had extended his life span to that of Lord Brahma himself. His name was Lomasa Rishi, and he knew part, present, and future. After each kalpa passed, one hair would fall out of his body (One kalpa, or twelve hours of Lord Brahma, equals 4,320,000,000 years). All the king's brahmana advisers very happily approached him one by one to offer their humble respects.
"Captivated by this great soul, King Mahijita's advisers offered obeisances to him and said very respectfully, 'Only because of our great good fortune, Oh sage, have we been allowed to see you.' "Lomasa Rishi saw them bowing down to him and replied, 'Kindly let me know why you have come here. Why are you praising me? I must do all I can to solve your problems, for sages like me have only one interest: to help others. Do not doubt this.'
Lomasa Rishi had all good qualities because he was a devotee of the Lord. As stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (5:18:12),
yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akinchana
sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah
harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna
manorathenasati dhavato bahih
"In one who has unflinching devotional service to Krishna, all the good qualities of Krishna and the demigods are consistently manifest. However, he who has no devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no good qualifications because he is engaged by mental concoction in material existence, which is the external feature of the Lord."
"The king's representatives said, 'We have come to you, Oh exalted sage, to ask for your help in solving a very serious problem. Oh sage, you are like Lord Brahma. Indeed, there is no better sage in the entire world. Our king, Mahijita, is without a son, though he has sustained and protected us as if we were his sons. Seeing him so unhappy on account of being sonless, we have become very sad, Oh sage, and therefore we have entered the forest to perform severe austerities. By our good fortune we happened upon you. Everyone's desires and activities become successful just by your darshan. Thus we humbly ask that you tell us how our kind king can obtain a son.'
"Hearing their sincere plea, Lomasa Rishi absorbed himself in deep meditation for a moment and at once understood the king's previous life. Then he said, 'Your ruler was a merchant in his past life, and feeling his wealth insufficient, he committed sinful deeds. He traveled to many villages to trade his goods. Once, at noon on the day after the Ekadasi that comes during the light fortnight of the month of Jyeshtha (Trivikrama - May-June), he became thirsty while traveling from place to place. He came upon a beautiful pond on the outskirts of a village, but just as he was about to drink at the pond a cow arrived there with her new-born calf. These two creatures were also very thirsty because of the heat, but when the cow and calf started to drink, the merchant rudely shoved them aside and selfishly slaked his own thirst. This offense against a cow and her calf has resulted in your king's being without a son now. But the good deeds he performed in his previous life have given him rulership over an undisturbed kingdom.'
"Hearing this, the king's advisers replied, 'Oh renowned rishi, we have heard that the Vedas say one can nullify the effects of one's past sins by acquiring merit. Be so kind as to give us some instruction by which our king's sins can be destroyed; please give him your mercy so that a prince will take birth in his family.'
"Lomasa Rishi said, 'There is an Ekadasi called Putrada, which comes during the light fortnight of the month of Shravana. On this day all of you, including your king, should fast and stay awake all night, strictly following the rules and regulations. Then you should give the king whatever merit you gain by this fast. If you follow these instructions of mine, he will surely be blessed with a fine son.'
"All the king's advisers became very pleased to hear these words from Lomasa Rishi, and they all offered him their grateful obeisances. Then, their eyes bright with happiness, they returned home.
"When the month of Shravana arrived, the king's advisers remembered the advice of Lomasa Rishi, and under their direction all the citizens of Mahismati-puri, as well as the king, fasted on Ekadasi. And on the next day, Dvadasi, the citizens dutifully offered their accrued merit to him. By the strength of all this merit, the queen became pregnant and eventually gave birth to a most beautiful son.
"O Yudhisthira," Lord Krishna concluded, "the Ekadasi that comes during the light fortnight of the month of Shravana has thus rightfully become famous as Putrada ["bestower of a son"]. Whoever desires happiness in this world and the next should certainly fast from all grains and legumes on this holy day. Indeed, whoever simply hears the glories of Putrada Ekadasi becomes completely free of all sins, is blessed with a good son, and surely ascends to heaven after death."
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Shravana-sukla Ekadasi, or Putrada Ekadasi, from the Bhavishya Purana.
Yesterday's post was pure nectar from the Groves of Vrindavan with some description and pictures from Hariyali Teej festivities. However it was incomplete since our very own Gaur-Nitai, Krishna-Balaram and Radha Shyamasundar from ISKCON Vrindavan were not in the collage.
We are fortunate since Srila Prabhupada instructed us to do topmost service and day in and day out pujaris and devotees work tirelessly to please Their Lordships.
Let's once again immerse ourselves in Vrindavan as Their Lordship are right in middle of the groves...
Today marks the disappearance day of Sri Vamsidasa Babaji and we are unqualified to glorify this elevated Vaishnava saint since his bhava and renunciation is beyond ordinary grasp.
HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami who occasionally visits Toronto has written a book with research and antidotes of Sri Vamsidasa Babaji who left his earthly pastimes just in 1944.
Our grand-guru (or great grand-guru for many readers), Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, not only met with Sri Vamsidasa Babaji but also wrote about him in Sajjana-tosani. In Navadwip, Sri Vamsidasa Babaji said "Someone very close to my Gaura has come to me." when he blessed Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. But Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura also once told his disciples " But you are not able to understand this bhava."
So to glorify Sri Vamsidasa Babaji we are going to simply repost some pastimes and with this nectar we can get some drops of understanding of his elevated state.
When Vamsidasa was visiting Puri during Ratha Yatra, the cart stopped closed to where he was standing. Despite the efforts of everyone assembled the cart would not move. Then Vamsidasa came and after some intimate conversation with the Lord, the cart moved on with ease.
Once Vamsidasa went to the sea in Puri, to give Bala-Gopala a bath. Arriving on the shore be beckoned the sea 'Come here, come here!' Huge waves crossed over the beach and Vamsidasa was able to bathe his Deities.
While crossing the river Mahanandi, Vamsidasa instructed the boatmen to drop him near a point where he claimed was a snake. When the boatman dropped Vamsidasa and his associates at the point, a yellow snake appeared. Holding his Bala-Gopala Deity Vamsidasa exclaimed, 'See Anantadeva has come!' After some time the snake went away.
Once on a full moon night of Ashvini, Vamsidasa instructed his associates not to set up any tent but camped out in the open. At this time fifty attractive women, dressed in white, came and offered obeisances to Vamsidasa and left without saying. Despite the late hour, they were unescorted, something that never happens in rural India, and none of the locals had any knowledge of them. The devotees concluded that they were demigoddess who had come to get the blessings of Vamsidasa on this auspicious day.
One day Vamsidasa cooked sweet rice for Bala-Gopala, but before offering it he angrily threw it away, accusing Gopala of having already eaten sweet rice with "gur" in the Radha-Govinda temple in Vrindavana. One of the persons who happened to hear this sent a letter to the temple priest inquiring about the offering to Radha-Govinda on that particular date-time. A reply soon came indicating that the offering on the day was indeed sweet rice cooked with "gur".
Once a man suffering from cholera lay outside the hut of Vamsidasa, expecting him to cure him. For three days he lay there moaning with intense pain, without eating and drinking anything. Finally Vamsidasa came outside and place a Tulasi leaf on his tongue. The man was instantly cured and he got up and went home.
When Vamsidasa became too old and infirm, he would have trouble going out to do madhukari (begging food). Once in such a situation he exclaimed to his servant, "Did you hear what Gauranga was saying? He has told Vamsidasa, 'you do not go begging for three days. Now you are too old, so I will feed you.' This Gauranga wants to feed me!" Saying this Vamsidasa fetched a stick and waved it threateningly at his Gaura Deity. "You do not have to go outside for serving me. If You go outside, I will break Your legs!"
And this last pastime recounted above demonstrates why we cannot understand this bhava.
Sri Vamsidasa Bahbaji expressed this bhava in his songs...just see these 2 verses...
kena giya chilama ganga-tire o nagari
nyana kataksa bane gaura kaila mana churi
ami ekhana ki kari o nagari ki kari
"O Nagari! How I repent having gone to the bank of Ganga. Gaura cast a side long glance at me and stole my heart. What shall I do now, O Nagari! What shall I do?"
bala go nagari gaura kallena ki
grha gela kula gela mana kela curi
sajani! ekhana ami ki kari
nayana kone, kane kane gaura kallena ki
ami je prana mari gaura kallena ki
"Tell me O Nagari what Gaura has done to me, He winked and whispered and did, I do not know what to me. O Sakhi! Now I know not what to do, Life is running out of me. O! What has Gaura done to me?"
Gauranga! if we can attain just a sliver of this love of Gauranga our life will be sublime. Gauranga!
Jaya Sri Vamsidasa Babaji
The monsoon season has come (Shravan) and temperatures are cooling in Vrindavan. The groves of Vrindavan are full green leaves, fragrant flowers, chirping birds and fresh seasonal fruits. Of course when devotees see these fresh fruits and fragrant flowers their first thought is how Krishna will enjoy them.
Thus today is known as Hariyali Teej and "hara" (green) is offered to Krishna. Quite often a green dress along with nature's bounty. In the Shravan month in some temples even the jhoola (swing) festival starts from the 3rd day of the bright fortnight and it will continue until Poornima.
Daily after Sandhya Utthapan to the end of Sandhya Aarti, Krishna and His abode his adorned with fresh decoration of natural leaves and flowers. Sweets and delicacies such as Feni, Ghevar, Gujhias, Balooshahee, Imarti, Ladoos and seasonal fruits are offered to Krishna on this occasion. Thousands of devotees will visit different temples and witness Krishna taking pleasure His Vrindavan Groves.
And thus we daily pray to Sri Tulasi Maharni...mor ei abhilas, bilas kunje dio vas
nayane heribo sada jugala-rupa-rasi
My desire is that you will also grant me a residence in the pleasure groves of Sri Vrndavana-dhama. Thus, within my vision I will always behold the beautiful pastimes of Radha and Krsna
We are grateful to Deena Bandu Prabhu, Vallabha Chaitanya Prabhu and Banke Bihari Prabhus for sharing these pictures from Vrindavan dham earlier today...
Tomorrow marks the disappearance day of Sri Raghunandana Thakura on the Vaishnava calendar (Toronto calculations). Tomorrow also marks the disappearance day of Sri Vamsidasa Babaji. So today we will honour Sri Raghunandana Thakur and tomorrow's post will honour Sri Vamsidasa Babaji.
In Caitanya Caritamrta Madha-lila Chapter 15 from verse 112 onwards discusses sweet interaction between Raghunandana and Chaitanya Mahaprabu.
When Mahaprabhu was addressing Mukunda as to who is father and who is son, Mahaprabhu of course knew everything but it gives us an important lesson. (Mukunda is actually the father and Raghunandana is the son but just see... ) Mukunda replied "All of us have attained devotion to Krsna due to Raghunandana. Therefore in my mind he is my father." This shows the importance of a spiritual father who helps us attain devotion to Krishna.
In verse 131 the exalted position of Raghunandana is revealed by Chaitanya Mahprabhu Himself when He states, "Furthermore, it is the duty of Raghunandana to always engage in Lord Krsna's service. He has no other intention but the service of Lord Krsna."
We want to share with you some nectar which we also shared on Sri Raghunandana Thakura's appearance day. Whenever we hear stories involving Gopinatha we think of beloved Gopinatha in ISKCON Toronto who is fed sweet rice every day by His loving devotees...and that is why He is always smiling and a bit chubby. So this story is sweet since it involves Gopinatha nectar but also this story demonstrates the potency of purity.
In the house of Sri Mukunda Das, who lives at Sri Khanda, Lord Sri Gopinath is served with great devotion. One day Mukunda was called out to do some work, and so he instructed his son Raghunandan to worship the deity and asked him to serve the Lord Gopinath that day. He explained to him that this deity is in our family for many generations and thus He has been worshipped by my father and his father and his father on and on, in this way for many years. Just as your mother feeds you and I everyday, so also He has to be fed everyday. Having explained to Raghunandan that this is a very big responsibility and he should be very careful to give his full attention to this service, Mukunda left to do his errands.
Raghunandan meanwhile having been instructed by his father, collected the items for offering to Sri Gopinathji and entered into the deity room. Raghunandan was at that time barely 5 years old and therefore, when he saw that Gopinath hadn't eaten the offering after he had imitated how his father offered the bhoga, he became very worried. Ultimately he simply requested Gopinath with tears in his eyes: "Please eat! Eat!" Gopinath became completely subjected by Raghunandan's simple request, which was made entirely in love, and thus he stealthily ate up everything without leaving any remnants.
After some time Raghunandan's father, Mukunda, returned and asked his son if he had done as he was told? When his son replied "Yes", then Mukunda asked him to bring some of the prasadam. Raghunandan replied, "Prasadam? I offered everything just like you told me, and Gopinath ate everything; so what should I bring you now?" Mukunda was completely taken aback. "This boy is not naughty and is always accustomed to speak the truth. I doubt if he could have eaten everything. I wonder what actually happened?"
Musing on this matter in this way for some time, on another day his curiosity was so stirred that he again requested Raghunandan to offer the bhoga to Gopinath on that day. On this day however, having gone out of the house, he again came in by another way and remained hiding in one place. Raghunandan was very happy to be able to serve Sri Gopinathji again and brought everything into the deity room. As before, he again very insistently persuaded Gopinath to take his meal. As Gopinath had eaten half of a laddu, he saw Mukunda peering out from his hiding spot. He didn't try to cover up the fact that he had eaten what he had, but neither did he eat anymore.
Seeing all this Mukunda was completely immersed in ecstatic love and picked up his son and put him on his lap. He extolled his virtues in a voice trembling with ecstasy, all the while torrents of tears of joy falling from his eyes. Even today, those who are greatly fortunate can still see that half-eaten laddu in Gopinatha's lotus hand.
Jaya Sri Raghunandana Thakur!
This is a nice article but what is more amazing is that this festival is primarily organized by Dr. Jani's family since there are not many devotees in Thunder Bay yet. In addition the Festival of India and Krishna Culture Festival Bus wrapped up Ratha Yatra festivities in Toronto late Sunday and then had an over 18 hour drive ahead of them and had to be performing and serving on Tuesday... All glories to all these devotees!
‘Smile on every face’
Special to The Chronicle-Journal
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 08:00
Thunder Bay got a taste of Indian music, dance and cuisine as the Festival of India returned for its third year.
More than 3,000 people showed up at the Marina on Tuesday evening to enjoy a night of free food and entertainment.
The event’s organizer, Prashant Jani, said it was the festival’s best year yet.
Not only was there a great turnout, but the calibre of performers was higher than in past years, he said.
The performances were also more diverse than ever before, he added. For the first time, the festival featured an act that combined eastern and western musical styles. He was excited to see sitar artist Anwar Khurshid team up with Montreal guitarist Paul Deslauriers for several songs.
“It’s a fusion of east and west,” Jani said. “Nothing like this has happened in Thunder Bay before.”
Jani also arranged for one dancer, 19-year-old Sai Kulkarni, to fly in from India to perform. Kulkarni, who performs a style known as Kathak dancing in which dancers use their feet to make noise, said the festival was “lovely.”
“I think it’s a good way of getting the culture across,” she said.
Local dancers from the World Dance Centre were also on hand to perform at the festival. The owner of the dance studio, who goes by the stage name Dahab, said she thought it was a great way for people to enjoy the food, music and culture of India, and for her students to see dancers from India perform.
Also new to the festival this year was an Indian Bazaar,”where event-goers could exchange fake rupees for henna tattoos and bindi jewels.
The food, donated by the Masala Grille, included a spicy green pea curry, naan bread, seasoned rice and a dollop of sweet, sticky halwa for dessert.
Tripat Pachu, a dancer from Winnipeg who came with the Manohar Performing Arts of Canada, said she was impressed with the efficiency and organization of the festival, and the welcoming her group received in Thunder Bay.
“The turnout astounds me,” she said. “It’s great to see the support and interest.”
It takes the help and donations of many to put on the festival, Jani said. Travelling group Krishna Culture provides some performers, tents and displays, and helps with the event’s set-up and clean-up. Local businesses help publicize the event and the Masala Grille provides all the food at no cost. Festival-goers themselves help with donations as well.
Still, Jani personally puts about $10,000 into the festival each year, in order to donate back to the many performers and organizations who help make the event possible.
“It’s out of love,” he said. “We don’t get anything out of this.”
Setting up the event is tiring work, but it’s fun, he added.
“There’s a smile on every face, so that’s what’s making us do it again.”
This last weekend was Ratha Yatra in Toronto and it was incredible. There are thousands of pictures that will be floating on Facebook as well as on other posts. Just wanted to post a loud "Haribol!" and "Jaya Jagannatha" for the hundreds of devotees and volunteers that make this happen every year.
Whether it be the outside volunteers, the cooks, the cutter uppers, the servers, the kirtaneers, the chanters & dancers and the youth organizers to the performers, cleaner uppers, sankirtan warriors, booth staff and so many more, it was an incredible amount of service to please Srila Prabhupada and the Lord of the Universe, Lord Jagannatha. In addition, Madhua Prabhu as well as the ISKCON kids on the Krishna Culture Festival are a shining example of dedication and service to Srila Prabhupada. They are doing gruelling back to back service as they make their way to Thunder Bay an 18 hour plus drive from Toronto to set up for another Festival of India tomorrow.
All glories to all the devotees!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!