Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Janmastami Celebrations

Hmm, a belated blogging, but here goes! All was great for Janmastami 2005! The only regret was that I was not able to serve to the fullness of my capacity due to a relative coming to stay during the period. I was only able to serve one day, but it was nice that it was the actual day (Friday) itself! This year Janmastami was celebrated at Bhaktivedanta Manor for three days continuously!

It is a Manor custom to celebrate the festival on the actual day itself and also on the nearest Sunday for those who were not able to attend. Due to a calenderial (is that a word?) quirk this year, it seems that the Gujarati samaj is celebrating Janmastami on Saturday. So officially the celebration was on Friday and Sunday, but an informal celebration took place on Saturday too! How interesting. I was not able to attend Mangal -arati as my usual practice due to the relative situation, but I ended up being able to arrive there around 18:00 and immediately began my service which was in the queue system.
I was at a good vantage point to see the harinam-parties pass by, allowing me the opportunity to chant the holy names often in my mind and along with the party. The Deities were very beautiful too. As it was not very busy, one of my fellow sevaks suggested that I should take advantage of the lull to view all of the exhibits and the Deities too. Off I went!

And I just LOVED this particular exhibit. Proper rasika-lila with Yugal-Kishor. Amazing. And it was the first time ever that the Manor had done these sorts of outside exhibits. They were very beautiful to see. A ring of jewels on the ground around trees helped me to understand all those sastric descriptions of how the land in Vraja is cintamani. There was even a nice model of Krishna killing Kaliya in the Manor lake. Of course the Deities themselves were looking very beautiful.

Here are some choice pictures of the Deities on Janmastami day:

And a nice close-up:

I was actually lucky to get these particular pics, as the ones I took when I had my first darshan did not turn out very good due to being in a pushing queue. These two poics were taken after midnight (the birth hour) just befoe the curtains closed for the night. I have more pics which I may upload and collect some other time. It was great for me to finsh my service and go off to the main tent to see the Utsava-deities get the midnight arati. It turns out that I missed the abhishek (oh heck!) but I was just in time to wiggle my way through the crowd in the main tent so I could be reasonably close enough to see the utsav-deities midnight arati. It turned out that I was actually quite far from Them, but right up close to a TV projector screen where I could see everything that was going on. I decided to be satisifed with this and chanted along with the 'Govindam' prayers as they blasted into my left ear from the huge 6-foot speaker I was standing next to. I took some nice pics of the utsav-deities while the arati was still going on and while the crowd were allowed to move closer for a more intimate darshan. The utsav-deities looked so beautiful.


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