|Photo by Gangaram (Patrick Finn)|
From the end of January to mid February, SRI Kirtan visited India. We started our the journey in Mumbai at Radhanath Swami's Radhagopinath temple. He was hosting the annual flower festival, which celebrates the coming of Spring. We shared this beautiful experience with Gaura Vani, Arundhati & Ragunath who were also on journeys through India.
Flowers, flowers,and more flowers.
It was amazing to be part of the joyful daylong preparation. About 200 devotees gathered in the temple to pluck the petals from 2000 lbs. of flowers. The bhava or spiritual mood, grew in power throughout the day as we all chanted Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna , Krishna , Hare Hare. Hare Ram,
Hare Ram, Ram Ram Hare, Hare.
By the evening, thousands of devotees gathered, and SRI Kirtan was asked to begin the evening chanting. Slowly the energy built up, and as we poured our hearts forth in devotion, the curtains opened and the festooned diorama of Krishna Gopinath and Radha was revealed to the gathering. A roar of devotional fervor rose up from the crowd and we continued to chant in ecstasy
|Radha & Krishna showered with flowers photo: Dylan Hawley|
What followed was and indescribable shower of flowers over the Deities, an Abhishek . First yellow petals, then red, then white, pink, magenta, orange ; again and again until the images which almost life size, were completely covered and invisible to the eye.. Just flowers, and more flowers kept coming .
Arundhati, Raghunath & Gaura Vani kept the kirtan going as the flowers moved beyond the deities and began to rain down on the entire congregation. It seemed as though it was a torrential rain of colored flower petals and it continued for hours as we sang to our hearts content.
SRI Kirtan chant as Darshan begins
The joy of the moment was unprecedented. I had never experienced a festival like this before. I will remember and treasure this forever.