By Parsada dasi
Eight months of steady preaching, culminated in the grandest celebrations of Lord Krishna‚Äôs birth in Prachin Janambhumi (prison house of Kamsa), the real birthplace of the Lord in Mathura.
The Vasudev Devaki Mandir , where devotees hold their regular Sunday program turned into a wonderful glittering palace, with gold decorations, multi-colored lightings, flower bouquets, flower rangoli and the entrance with clay pots filled with fresh water and encircled by beautiful fragrant rose petals.
Students from our Vasudev Devaki Sunday School and the IYFfor girls worked earnestly to get the decorations finished before 5pm, awaiting the arrival of busload of devotees from Vrindavan. His Grace Pancha Gauda prabhu, Temple President of ISKCON Vrindavan graced the function, and upon arrival sang sweet bhajans for the pleasure of Gaura Nitai (our Deities installed on Lord Nityananda‚Äôs Appearance Day), Vasudev, Keshavdev Ji and Devaki.
Accompanying him were our bright-faced students of the Bhaktivedanta Gurukula, they participated very enthusiastically in the kirtan and did book distribution, Mahadevi mataji Srila Prabhupada‚Äôs disciple and numerous devotees from all over the world also arrived.
The programe began promptly with shoba yatra and harinam, led by His Grace Pancha Gauda prabhu. Our students carried their Laddu Gopal on harinam. Taking the usual route passing the south side of Potara kund, devotees happily sang and danced to the front of the new Janambhumi, where hundreds of pilgrims were in line awating darshan. The security forces immediately cleared up space for the devotees. Then the kirtan exploded, Pancha Gauda prabhu had everyone chanting the Lord‚Äôs Holy Names and dancing in ecstasy.
Manager of ISKCON Mathura, His Grace, Karuna Sindhu Krishna Das, explained in Hindi the maha mantra and made them all chant with their hands raised in the air, he also invited everyone to the festivities.
After some time the harinam party moved on past Govind Nagar, an upper class residential colony, then around Potara Kund into Malpura district, where the Lord appeared in the prison house of Kamsa. Malpura was where Caruna and Mustika the wrestlers lived, they were the gate-keepers of the prison. Amazing to say this district filled with cows, as you will see in the photos and the people simple in their demeanor joyously greeted the harinam party. Our mascot Gopal dressed as little Krishna stole the show; he had everyone mesmerized by his beauty.
As we entred into the Vasudev Devaki mandir, we quite surprised to see an entourage of visitors from different parts of India waiting to participate in the festival.
We began the program with a folk dance by our IYF for girls, glorifying Radha and Krishna with the accompaniment of folk songs sung by local youth. Next was a short drama on Krishna killing Kamsa, by the students of our Sunday school.
Pancha Gauda prabhu then gave a wonderful class on the appearance of Lord Krishna, which was translated into Hindi by Karuna Sindhu Krishna prabhu. Next everyone was engaged in chanting one round of japa. Krishna Chand Goswami then did the arati and everyone partook of a sumptuous feast.
Thus ends our first Janmastami celebrations in the birthplace of Lord Krishna, suffice to say the highlight of our festival was harinam where thousands of people participated in the Yuga Dharma in the holy abode of Mathura. Hare Krishna!
For photos of the festival please visit our face book page: