Friday, 8 January 2010

An auapicious start to 2009...

I visited the ISKCON , Mayapur on the 2nd of this month, it was an incredible experience. Though not a staunch believer in any of the many sects professed by the Hindu religion, my visit to ISKCON was indeed one which filled me with pride and a sense of glory for what Bhagavatism has achieved in the international arena of religions.
ISKCON was started by Srila Prabhupada, a follower of Bhagavatism and professing the "Bhakti Marga"... It became an international movement in the 1970's with the establishment of it's first 'mandir' in Chigcago. ISKCON emphasises on 'Bhakti'... singing in the praise of the lord Krishna... as a way to enlightenment and the subsequent salvation.It doesn't believe in the cult of sacrifice or hard hitting ritualism.
My best experience was the early morning prayer "Arty" done at 4:30 am.. in the prayer hall where everyone gathers. What amazed me most was the number of followers from different nationalities, regions, cultures, languages all chanting to gather "Hare Rama Hare Krishna", one ardent devotee whom I had the fortune to meet was a Chinese national, she doesn't know English, Hindi or even Bengali but can speak chaste Sanskrit!!! and the joy she felt while singing along was worth beholding. Then there is this ritual of taking out a procession of the idols of Krishna and Radha every Saturday evening, decked up elephants, two beautifully decorated chariots and scores of devotees take the deities around the ISKCON compound, the entire path is strewn with flower petals and and there is constant chanting of hymns and beating of drums together with the blowing of conch and the fragrance of incense sticks... the atmosphere becomes enchanted and magical and I can tell you that even the most staunchest agonist will become a believer.
The "Mahaprasadam" is another thing of amazement. Probably due to the international presence, a devotee can get anything as the Prasadam, from cakes to pastries to cookies to the very Indian 'mithaies', 'payasam', tasty 'jibegajhas' and what not... of course everything is strictly vegan..they do not believe in partaking of flesh of any kind... This visit of mine will be etched in my memory as long as it can be.. I m definitely looking forward to my next visit to Mayapur soon and hope I'll get another chance to visit soon enough. Hare Krishna...

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