November 13 2008


Today is the full moon night on which Lord Krishna holds His rasa dance with His dearest devotees, the gopis of Vrindavan.

 Rasa dance

rasa dance1

Rasa-purnima is a big festival in Bengal. At Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir we get at least 100,000 visitors throughout the day. They come to see Sri Sri Radha Madhava and the astasakhis,

Radha Madhava and asta-sakhis

chant in the packed temple rooms,

chanting crowd 

panca tattva temple

and participate in the season’s first parade of chota Radha Madhava around the temple compound.

Greeted first by the gurukula boys,

gurukula boys greet deities

the Deities were brought out on Their palanquin

chota Radha Madhava get ready for Their parade

and put on Their bullock cart for Their tour of the compound.

bullock cart

bullock cart1

ready for the first parade

This evening’s parade was the first public outing for our new elephant Laksmi-priya.

 Laksmi priya

 She’s been training for the last few months, carrying several of the gurukula boys on her back.

1st parade

 She did well tonight, but she’s not ready yet to carry the Deities.

The parade went well, with many thousands of pilgrims participating, as the kirtan party and palanquin made its way around Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi mandir,

samadhi stop1

samadhi stop

and lining up for free kitcheri prasadam. Indians are notorious for squeezing into any little space available with little regard for others, but they can queue when they want to, all it takes is a little organization

lining up for kitcheri


Whatever India may be, its people are certainly pious, turning out in their tens of thousands for religious festivals. They are incredibly patient and forebearing

 pilgrims enjoying the night

and often camp out just for the privilege of participating in a festival

under the barn

And when there’s no room anywhere else, they sleep under the trees

sleeping under a tree

Its a wonderful place, Mayapur.

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