By Janmastami dasa
Dear devotees, friends and wellwishers of ISKCON Ireland,
Today marks the official end of the 2007 Irish festival period and this year has been a very special year for all of us. It marks the end of a year full of wonderful Krishna Conscious festivals including numerous small hall programmes by visiting senior devotees - but most prominently our very special Dublin & Belfast Rathayatra festivals along with a maha celebration of Sri Krishna Janmastami at Govindadwipa. 2007 has been one of our most active years for festivals in recent time and it was clear to all who attended that the festivals were a success.
Just a short while ago I left a debriefing meeting held by Dublin City Council which included delegates from the various government agencies such as the Gardai (Ireland’s police force), the Fire Department, the Health & Safety authority and the transport authority. We work hard to maintain good relationships with these important agencies who have a lot of influence over what we can and can’t do but with an event that is not officially funded and the organisation of which relies solely on the community rather than paid full-time professional event organisers our festivals, although successful, often leave at least a little to be desired in terms of strategic management and all that stuff that government agencies like. Having met with these departments many times before I came to the meeting in the mood of accepting constructive criticism, with the hopes of improving the festival even more than we already have over the past four years of holding it.
That is why I was so surprised that when I arrived and sat down amongst the board of 20 officials, that when they each took a turn in expressing their view of how they felt it went, each and every one of them said nothing except words of praise for the festival, it’s mood, the organisation and the cooperation of those who participated. I was almost a little disappointed when the 20th person, the head of the North-city Gardai who was sitting next to me, finished speaking his words of praise and I realised I had no notes to take and nothing to focus on improving. I love constructive criticism!
My point is simple - this level of praise doesn’t come by accident. It also doesn’t just come randomly as some esoteric gift from Lord Krishna. These people call it like they see it and a successful festival happens purely because the mood of the festival genuinely was great. Everyone was smiling and happy and I have no question that Lord Jagannatha was pleased - you could easily see it by looking at Him.
(See below for pictures!). There is one and only one reason why all of this happened, and that is the genuine sincerity and dedication of each and every one of you who participated in making our 2007 festivals such extraordinary events - they truly will go down in history. So many people participated in different ways. His Holiness Indradyumna Maharaja and His Holiness Janananda Swami with their wonderfully inspiring presence, Titiksu and Sanatana Prabhus of UK Rathayatra fame for their amazing dedication, the devotees from around the world who travelled all the way to Ireland to organise and perform on-stage and worked amazingly hard, our extended community in Ireland who supported us so much and of course our very special Irish festival devotees - you all know who you are - I would ask you to please accept my personal gratitude for the work you put in to making these festivals what they were.
As I left the meeting (one of the shortest I’ve ever attended) I was approached by two different officials. One of them was a senior official in the council’s events unit who suggested that we might apply for funding for our festival because they appreciated what we were doing. Naturally there is no guarantee of receiving the funding as many organisations apply however many of the people who approve it were there in that room and they certainly showed appreciation for what we are doing so that’s a great start.
The second official suggested that we might expand our cooperation with the council and state agencies and consider officially celebrating such events as Diwali and Sri Krishna Janmastami in Ireland - maybe in the Mayor’s office itself. He even suggested that one of the state bands might accompany us in our kirtan :-)
With a mixture of contentment and surprise I left the government buildings with a clear dedication that we need to take this to the next level. To do this we need to keep communicating and work actively and we need the direct involvement of each and every person as every idea counts. What we need even more is people willing to take action so if you are that kind of person then this is aimed particularly at you. We are launching a special ISKCON Festival Forum which will cover all aspects of the ongoing organisation of festivals in Ireland - here all the latest news will be posted and you will also be able to share your opinions and ideas. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to participate then please send an email to that address and you will be added to the forum. It’s not public at the moment as we are changing servers at Krishna. ie but you will be kept up to date with all the latest happenings and have a chance to get involved before anyone else even hears the news. Everyone is welcome to join, as long as you’re committed to the positive development of our festivals.
Just because the state agencies had no constructive criticism - that doesn’t mean you don’t. I would like to invite everyone who attended our 2007 events to please come forward with any comments about how they felt the festivals went and any areas that could be improved. Two important points here; if you are telling me about a problem please also include at least one solution to that problem as I’d like the benefit of your creative intelligence as well as your observational skills. The other point is that I receive hundreds of emails daily so please excuse me if I don’t reply to you in a hurry - I promise I will read what you’ve written and take it on board.
As a special gift please log on to http://www.krishna.ie/festival/2007 to see some wonderful pictures and videos of our festivals. If you have any more pictures please email them to me or if you have lots then post a CD to ‘ISKCON Festival, 83 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1, Ireland’ and I’ll share them around. The website also gives you the opportunity to be among the first to contribute to the 2008 festivals. Presently pictures and videos of Dublin Rathayatra and Govindadwipa Janmastami/Nandotsava are ready to view.
In that spirit of gratitude I wish everyone a happy and spiritually uplifting New Year and look forwarding to working alongside you in
2008 to continue the spread of Krishna Consciosness in Ireland.
Janmastami dasa ISKCON Ireland email@example.com
For Pictures, Videos + More Visit http://www.krishna.ie/festival/2007 Now!