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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Experiences of Krishn Janmashtmi 2010 at JKP Radha Madhav Dham!

Experiences of Krishn Janmashtmi 2010 at JKP Radha Madhav Dham

Krishn Janmashtmi celebration at JKP Barsana Dham founded by Swami Prakashanand Saraswati

What a Janmashtmi we just had at Radha Madhav Dham!? It was the first time I had celebrated Janmashtmi at Radha Madhav Dham in a long time and I can honestly say it was one of the greatest Janmashtmi celebrations I have ever experienced.

We began with a sumptuous dinner prasad in the dining hall. And later, a pracharak gave a thought provoking and moving speech on the real meaning of Janmashtmi. Perhaps the part of the speech which most struck a chord with me was when she was speaking of making Krishn Janmashmi ‘your own’. The pracharak spoke about the magnificent Janmashtmi celebrations she celebrated in India long ago, which in her mind, define what Janmashtmi is and she encouraged all of us to have a Janmashtmi of our own which we can always have as something to remember. And I can truly say that Janmashtmi 2010 is one which I will always remember.

At the beginning of the evening program in the temple prayer, Radha Madhav Dham’s special guest the Honorable Sanjiv Arora, council general of India spoke some words of wisdom to the huge crowds. This was followed by some Indian dances and a special Vrindaban mandali, "Makaan Chori" was performed by the Shri Natraj School of Dance. The highlight of the cultural program was the Janmashtmi leela performed by the devotees of Radha Madhav Dham. It was a short and sweet depiction of baby Krishn’s appearance leela. At the climax of the leela, Mother Yashoda and Nand Baba said that it is now time to show our baby to the whole world, and with that, all the brajwasis began to celebrate by throwing sweets and gifts in every direction throughout the prayer hall, to everyone there. By the end, everyone was dancing and singing in unreserved devotion and joy at being part of what felt like the real Janmashtmi celebration of 5000 years ago.

When I went outside I heard lots of guests talking to each other, and to friends and family on their cellphones. The reactions were truly amazing. One man was talking on his cellphone and said something about that even at temples he had visited in various parts of India, he had never seen anything like what he had seen at this temple. Another man, who it seemed was his first time visiting Radha Madhav Dham, was just standing on the temple steps with friends, and said he was just so glad he came.

The best part of the evening was towards the end of the night when the 3000 strong crowd subsided a little, and we all just sat in the prayer hall quietly and reflectively singing Janmashtmi pad revealed by our Spiritual Master Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. After some time, the tempo began to increase slowly but surely, and towards the end of the day (nearly at mid night) we reached the climax of the whole day’s festivities as one or two people got up and started dancing, as if by spontaneous inspiration. After a minute or so, no one was seated. Conches were calling and drums of various tones and sizes were beating in charming rhythms. Some of the people had their eyes closed, some open, some had tears in their eyes, some were sweetly smiling in joy, but everyone was clapping or dancing in some way or another. By the end, at midnight, we all did arti to baby Krishn and to our supreme master Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, with whose grace this whole day was a day to remember, and whose Radha Madhav Dham ashram is the guiding light, and true solace of all spiritual seekers and lovers of God in the western world.

Check back soon, and I will try to post some photos of the amazing event!

Radhey Radhey

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