By Antaryami Krishna Das (BCS)
Dear Vaishnavas and Vaishnavis
I want to share with all of You which I think was one of the best Festivals iĀ“ve ever attended for Years. On the slopes of the Bavarian mountains in the middle of the Bavarian Forest in this beautiful serene surrounding the 25th Sri Narasimha Chaturdasi Festival in Germany took place. Devotees from far and near came to take part in this wonderful Celebration.
More than 540 Devotees from all over Europe came to the place known as Simhachalam, also many spiritual Leaders in ISKCON came such as H. H Sacinandana Swami, H. H. Krishna Ksetra Prabhu, H. H. Kadamba Kanana Swami, H. G. Tattvavit Prabhu, H. G. Dina Sharana Mataji and many other Disciples of H. D. G. Srila Prabhupada among them after 20 Years, H. G. Kripa Moya Prabhu who was very impressed by the devotion and love the European Devotees have for their Lordships Sri Sri Prahlad Laxmi Narasimhadeva. He took practically every opportunity to take a close look at the worship of their Lordships which is done their in the most traditional and grand manner. Before the Festivities started H. H. Kadamba Kanana Swami held his Vyasa Puja celebration at Simhachalam which has become already a tradition over the Years and is anticipated by his Disciples as much as by the Farm inhabitants.
The Festival started on Thursday evening with the inauguration Fire Ceremony and the hoisting the Flag of Sri Garudaji and Sri Hanumanji as a auspicious start for the celebrations. As soon as the Homa was over the sun shone and light rain started to pour on all the assembled devotees which states a very auspicious thing has taken place, deva-snana or showers of the demigods in which they show their approval and blessing. The following days Sri Sri Prahlada Laxmi Narasimha have been bathed every morning with auspicious substances such as fragrant Oil (Friday) and in the evening the Lords Utsava Murti has been placed on a swing in the templeroom where he was gently rocked by around 300 Devotees and been praised by the bhajans of Madhava Prabhu.
The next day at 6 oĀ“clock a bath of Milk (Saturday) was given to the Lord and afterwards the whole Garbha Griha(sanctum Sanctorum) has been transformed into a Forest and the lord gave Darshan to the Jubilant Devotees in a Forest Outfit made out of Leaves and Flowers by the very skilled and Devoted Vaishnavis which offered untiring service in transforming the whole Altar in a place which gave a glimpse of Vaikuntha. During the Day several Seminars took place and in the Evening of Saturday two very talented Vaishnavis from the Czech Yatra gave a Bharat Natyam Performance for Lord Narasimhadeva and all the assembled Devotees. In the Evening the Lord was undressed and then one of the Highlights of the Festival took Place the offering of Pavitrams (pure silk Garlands) which lasted over 2 hours as offerings where done to Lord Narasimhadeva and the Pavitrams where put on their Lordships. To crown the whole auspicious atmosphere H. G. Madhava Prabhu and his Band from Zurich lifted all the Devotees up into the spiritual Realm with his sweet and heart touching Bhajan .
Even the Pujaris wich are used to chant Vedic Hymns for the pleasure of the Lord forgot on one point everything and just sang along the sweet and melodious Kirtan. The next Day the Festival reached ist climax the appearance Day of the Lord! In the morning already everything on the Altar and in the Kitchen was busy preparing for the great Abhisheka ceremony and the offerings which where later given unto the Lord.
The Abhiseka started at 10 am S. I. T (standard Indian time) which means around 11.30 am and again to the melodious kirtan of Madhava Prabhu and 500 Devotees. It started of with a bath of Water and Sandalwood pulp then came the traditional Bath of Milk, Yoghurt, Ghee, Honey and Sugar Water followed by juices from Bananas, mixed Fruits, Mango and the last fruit Juice was Strawberry which was combined with the applying of Whip cream on the Lords Body so it enhanced the appearance of the deep red juice covering the lords body. After that a garland made of āBerlinersā a small round variation of a doughnut was places on the lords body after that followed Dry fruit garlands and then the lord was covered with bananas.
A short clean water bath was given to the lord and then the curtains where closed and the Haldi or Turmeric was applied to the divine Forms. After the altar has been heavily smoked with incense the altar was opened and to the jubilant HARIBOLĀ“s and JAY NARASIMHA shouts from the Devotees the Abhisheka Ceremony proceeded offering different types of Dipas from Eka Dipa to MeruDipa and afterwards bathed with different sacred Herbal infusions and saffron and Navaratna Water. At last 32 coconuts (for the 32 syllables of the Narasimha Mahamantra)where cracked and the juice been poured over their lordships to conclude the abhisheka. After the Altar doors have been closed the Kirtan continued and the Altar was getting prepared for the grand finale. In the meantime the Guests of honour where narrating to the Devotees Narasimha Katha. It was around dusk as the doors opened again and the Maha Arati took place the Lord was Dressed in a Flower outfit and the devotees where first speechless then H. H. Sacinandana Swami started the Narasimha Prayer and all the Devotees glorified Lord Narasimha by joining him.
The cooks prepared more then 220 different preparations and a big Cake wich where offered to Lord Narasimha. After the Arati there was again a bharat Natyam Performance this time one Dance exclusively for their Lordships as it is practiced even today in some Temples in India. The Prasadam was served in the Tent and afterwards the Bhajans continued till late in the night. To make a summary this Festival was a grand success and without the wonderful services from all the Devotees on the Altar in the kitchen and from the management of the Temple this festival would not have been. I would especially like to thank the temple president and his wife Vedanta Krit Prabhu and Arjunia Gopi Mataji for organising, all the Pujaris of Lord Narasimha , Amara prabhu Dasa Nrsimhapriya Devi Dasi, Divya Simha Dasa, H. G. Kripa Moya Prabhu for there tireless service, all the cooks by the supervision of Rupa Vilasa Prabhu from Czech who was in the Kitchen everyday for 21 Hours!!!
And Narahari Dasi Devi Dasi for her service, the Matajis wich made such a miraculous Flower decoration for the Lord headed by Nitya Manjari Devi Dasi and Suchitra Devi Dasi, the devotees from Poland supervised by Marici Dasa from Germany for making the most perfect arrangements to the Devotees accommodation and serving of the Prasadam. Thank you all so much that we have been blessed with a festival which will be not so soon be forgotten!