Team Work – Janmastami 2014
by Lilasuka dasi
The days leading up to a Janmastami festival are often exciting and energy-charged. This year, some specific pre-Janmastami preparations held a special fascination for many.
Doing service together in co-operation with other devotees and friends towards a common goal is truly the key to surcharging both the atmosphere and our own souls with spiritual bliss. That was the scene on the days before Janmastami 2014. As people worked together, the air was surcharged with inspiration and creativity for the Lord.
Some cows at the Goshalla listening to Krsna Book on Janmastami afternoon.
Several days before Janmastami, Vijaya Radha dasi personally approached every devotee woman who lived within a four mile radius of the temple, asking them, “Prabhu, please come to the prasadam room on Saturday morning at 9:30 AM. We’re going to make decorations out of greens and flowers so that Radha Vrindaban Chandra’s altar looks like Vrindavan forest for Janmastami! We can do it! But we need your help.”
And they did it! Picture a scene in the beautiful gopi, Vrindadevi’s grove in the original Vrindavan forest. She dreams of preparing a gorgeous seat for her dearest Lords, Radha and Krsna, in the middle of the woods where they can feel very comfortable speaking and eating and joking and dancing in Each Other’s company. Vrindadevi and her friends gather all sorts of forest greens and wild flowers, and spend the day laughing and making colorful flower arrangements for the pleasure of Their Lordships. Following this mood, the younger and older women of New Vrindaban came together, along with many Janmastami visitors and guests?man and woman alike?using the best flowers and greens that Kali Yuga could provide. Collectively, they created beautiful flower arrangements and long, festive garlands to decorate the altars of the Lord for Janmastami. Surely, Krsna and Srila Prabhupada were especially pleased by this co-operative endeavor.
Matajis team together to create flower arrangements for Radha Vrindaban Chandra.
One long-time resident of New Vrindaban commented, “This is so uniting. We used to get together like this, years ago, for festivals, where many devotees used to join to work on a single project. I feel a real sense of community.”
Another devotee declared, “All of us working together?I don’t mind waking up early for this!”
A couple from Virginia visiting New Vrindaban for their first time exclaimed, “This is fantastic. We’ve found our peace.”
Vijaya Radha, organizer of flower team, and a hard worker pujari, Mangalacarana.
All weekend long, there were engaging activities and teamwork in so many areas. The kitchen devotees worked very hard, culminating in serving out 300 plates of vegetarian prasad on Saturday night, and another 500 plates for lunch on Sunday. There was a fire yajna, cow puja, a swan boat festival, Bharata Natyam dance, a drama towards midnight Sunday, and even some Hare Krsna rap singing! The Lodge was super busy with many satisfied visitors; tours at the Palace went on all weekend, and the restaurant was open through everything, serving extra hungry visitors.
One of the highlights of the weekend was Sunday morning, Janmastami day, as everyone was getting ready to greet the Deities in Their new Janmastami outfit. The excitement was building. The crowd of residents and visitors were gathered before the altar, eager to see Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra. As the kirtan built up, and the altar curtains finally opened, everyone had joyful darshan of the Deities in Their charming New Vrindavan forest scene, amidst the shouting of “Jaya Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra ki jaya!!”
Radha Vrindavan Chandra in New Vrindaban forest