By Giridhari and Karunika
Reunion Island is a territory of France in the Indian Ocean, only half an hour by flight away from Mauritius. The ethnicity is mixed. Introducing Krishna consciousness there has been slow but is yielding steady results. In recent years Sriniketan Prabhu, Arjuna Prabhu and Sanatana Dharma Prabhu travelled from Mauritius to Reunion to teach the basics of Krishna consciousness through house programmes. A few eager persons were attracted, very much anxious to be enlightened on the principles of bhakti. Satsang began and several of the more inquisitive new bhaktas even visited our temples in Mauritius to learn more about devotee life.
During the month of Kartik in November Sundarlal Prabhu was invited to Reunion where he joined the Association Sankirtan RĂ©unionaise (a registered association under the auspices of ISKCON) for a 10-day Divali festival. The festival was celebrated in great pomp and show from the 9th to the 18th November by the local people of Saint Andre , one of the several â€ścommunesâ€ť of Reunion Island. The local Municipality decorated the festival site with banners, placards and kaleidoscopic lights. Security arrangement was provided and the Municipality Police was deployed to facilitate traffic flow.
There was a huge and gorgeous parade consisting of different organizations who marched towards the festival site depicting the several pastimes of Radha-Krishna and the gopis, Rama-Sita-Laxman-Hanuman, Shiva-Parvati & Laxmi-Narayan accompanied by musical instruments, dance and other cultural songs. The sankirtan devotees of ISKCON were very enthusiastically and actively engaged for the 10 day festival distributing the mercy of the Lord through the distribution of Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s books, prasadam and the holy names. The sincere devotees who came from different parts of the island were present night and day during the festival to light the hearts of the people with divine wisdom and love.
Although Krishna consciousness is still at its fledgling stage in this island with no ISKCON temple at present, the seed has been planted. The universal search for a deeper inherent understanding of life will draw seekers to the spiritual principles enunciated by Sri Krishna and the adoption of dynamic and devotional lifestyles can only infuse more mercy, meaning and soul-stirring happiness into the hearts of the people of Reunion.
Photos of the event may be viewed here