Friday, August 1, 2008

KuliMela LIVE - Day 2

The day began with an overflowing gurupuja. Nearly one hundred devotees filled the templeroom - and as Gadadhar (from Italy) sang Sri Guru Vandana, chills chased down my arms as the voices resounded. Srila Prabhupad has united all of us. He believed in us. And here we are, generations later, organizing massive festivals out of sheer inspiration in the message he has given.

The bhajan kutir is the heartbeat of this entire festival. More than the entertainment tent and even - dare I say it? - the prasadam. Sankirtan - congregational chanting - unites us.

After I hosted the japa workshop, I headed over to the bhajan kutir. The combination of actually teaching the nuances of the holy name immediately followed by a heartrending kirtan by Jahnavi (from England), touched me powerfully. I felt deeply, deeply connected with the holy name.

Something momentous happened for me today. For the first time, I sang and danced in a kirtan by Madhava Prabhu, a gurukuli originally from Vrindavan. His intensity drew me - and everyone else - deep into the holy name. In the golden early evening, he began his kirtan. The unique aspect of Madhava's kirtans is that he can sing the same tune for hours, and yet the mood remains fresh and beautiful.

I am in charge of prasadam distribution for the Mela, and dinner along with all of my duties was fast approaching. With a determined stride, I left the bhajan kutir to track down someone to delegate to. I could not miss this. I would not miss this kirtan. And so with some pleading, Kalindi (from England) agreed to take over for me. I returned triumphant.

And so Madhava's kirtan flowed on... and on... past dinner... we didn't care... at one point, after the first part of his kirtan had ended, he said softly, "They say in the spiritual world, every word is a song... and every step is a dance. So, let us stand up, let us dance... let's party and make this the spiritual world." And with a roaring cry, everyone rose to their feet... and Madhava began again.

We halted the mind-blowing kirtan because the evening entertainment needed to begin. The kirtan party missed dinner entirely - nothing was left of prasadam.

It is now 10:30pm, and I am beyond exhausted. I'm hovering in an "is this real?" kind of space. I have been so immersed in the service of prasadam distribution as well as the two japa workshops I am hosting (plus other intense services) that my capacity to absorb other aspects of the Mela has maxed out, such as the seminars and the entertainment.

I believe you all would love to read pages and pages on this festival, and all of the amazing events and revolutionary concepts getting planted here.

I feel infused with an otherworldly inspiration.

P.S. by the way, this is my 100th post, so as this is a pretty impressive landmark for me, I would like to thank all of you for reading this humble blog. I encourage you to check out some of the archives as well. All of your feedback and your encouragement inspires me to continue.

Thank you.

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