For many years the Hare Krishna Youth Ministry has been complementing the Festivals Of India all over North America. This year the Youth Ministry presented an awesome one and a half hour long musical "Devotion--The Yoga Of Love" in which they used many of their talents including: drama; bhajans; kirtans; musical performance; and beautifully choreographed Bharat Natyam pieces. To see more than 630 photos and read Manu Prabhu's reports from the 2007 summer tour, please go here: http://krishnaculturefestivals.blogspot.com/2007_07_01_archive.html
Bringing Krishna Culture Festivals to a City Near You
For the better part of a week the crew experienced the northern city's unique
features most conspicuous of all the daily movements of the sun which set at
about 11Pm and rose again at around 5AM. The temple allowed us rather free
rein of its kitchen so we were sort of ' on our own'
Set up began early -Friday but was still going on Sunday AM because of
numerous additions and rough weather conditions, For example, the night
before the festival at around\d mid-night a strong rain storm charged in
from the west. That fierce energy threw down a couple of free standing
panel displays and sent sculptures flying.
In the Morning the warm if not hot sunshine returned as everything was
replaced and straightened. The temple Kitchen pumped out huge quantities of
fresh feasting preparations, then the parade gathered all the eager devotees
and families for a tour of the area which led them back for the day of days
Hundreds lined up for heaping plates of prasadam as sweet Hare Krishna
kirtan soothed the hearts and minds of all who attended. Being seated
comfortably in the ample facility undoubtedly satisfied everybody.
Two plus hours of scheduled stage presentations followed. This included
greeting distinguished guests, dance, tabla and children's performances,
more awards of volumes of Bhagavad-Gita As It Is and theatrical productions
by Festival of India's members and the efforts of the local devotees under
the tutelage of HH Bhakti Marga Swami.
All too Quickly, the day came to a close, the wonderfully co operative
devotees and congregation performed the demanding task of dis-assembling
the Festival of India displays and tents and stage , winding of ropes and
pulling of stakes and more- yet in a mere two and a half hours of effort,
the work met with its end.
The doors to the truck closed, gratitude was expressed, a quick clean up, a
sampling of refreshment then off into the sunset drove the Festival of India
crew and equipment.
Next destination- Los Angeles, California's Venice Beach~ the biggest and
boldest set up of the season and this after thirty- six hours of driving
time... How do they do it!
Four days of fuel consumption with stops in Winnipeg, Regina and several
other remote outposts certainly delivered a clear view of Canada's vast
agricultural and wilderness bounty.
On Thursday the Festival of India Truck and van pulled in to a truck stop
center in the city of Calgary and by pre-dawn Friday we entered to area of
Millennium Park. That day was spent erecting a horseshoe shaped layout of
exhibit and concessional tents centered around a generous seating area
facing the wide stage platform.
Mighty winds blew through the site in the course of the evening but by
morning only a few signs needed attention before the panel displays emerged
from their racks.
The Hare Krishna Youth Ministry members filled the crowd around the carts
then almost immediately reappeared on stage to round out the gala days'
Again the festival of India crew led the assembled volunteers in repacking
the trailer for the next event Edmonton for which we departed that very
Bidding farewell to Calgary and the bus tour youth, we motored due north to
a new city for FOI- Edmonton, Alberta
Arriving in Toronto, we pulled up beside the solid stone church built in
1896 (the year of Srila Prabhupada's appearance) there we camped for a
couple of days before departing for center Island with a rental pick up
truck to assist in conveying each item of FOI equipment across the impasse of
the bridge that separates the passenger ferry landing from the open areas of
Three days of intense labor had us ' ahead of schedule'
Saturday morning most of the crew joined the parade marching / dancing/
chanting down Younge street in flawlessly sunny conditions.
Shortly thereafter, on the island the entertainment began as
extraordinarily long lines pointed in the direction of the cooked - on -
site Free Feast. Then rain began to fall. Not to dampen the spirits of the
eager crow who simply moved beneath the tent tops and the trees. Soon the
rain subsided though the air had become cool.
Still, Lord Jagannatha's radiant smiles benefited everyone. Dances were
danced, Kirtan were played, and other musical performances and dramatic
presentations captivated all. With more of the same on Sunday preceded by a
fire sacrifice and vows, the whole week end seemed as quick as a lightening
flash. The impact, however, can not be estimated in sense of time.
"A reverse of the set up procedures had every piece of equipment back over
the bridge in the pick- up then to the FOI truck and secured.
By mid-day Monday we began the long haul / a transcontinental Canadian
The next festival was in Calgary, Alberta but 2100 miles of roads separated
us from our service.
Thursday, travel filled every hour of the day until we reached Montrealâ€™s Sri
Sri Radha Manohara temple.
Next morning after a simple breakfast, we headed for Jean-Mance Parc to set up
a beautiful circle of canopies complete with signs in French. Again the
weather supplied no major trouble so by night fall everything had been
Ratha Yatra day began cool but soon gorgeous sunshine blessed the city and
itâ€™s most exalted resident- the Lord of the Universe Lord Jagannatha
enjoyed the company of His devotees to His full satisfaction as did anyone
who witnessed His mood of pleasure.
After the parade that drew in hundreds of enthusiasts reached the park,
Music, Dance, Theater and Feasting filled the lives of the most fortunate
souls. This continued into the evening and recommenced the next day around
noon then again into the chill evening. We found ourselves playing happily
with apparently limitless energy supplied by Krishna. The festival seemed
to never end.
We retuned late to the temple for refreshing rest and woke to the sound of
pouring rain washing the roadways and clearing the air. By evening we were
on our way to Toronto.
Washington, DC In dependence Day Parade and Festival of India:
The typically hot and humid summer climate was especially mild and agreeable
this yea in the DC area.
The set up was smooth and efficient; the festival attracted a steady flow
by the thousands to enter the transcendental atmosphere. Long lines at the
Free Feast and at the Delicious Snacks booths were clear indications of
So many books were being distributed not only at the exhibit tents such as
Changing Bodies and Bhagavad-Gita but also by individual book distributors.
One such devotee reported that she had been working the crowd in various
places but when she located herself near the Fish Out of Water, people
continually approached her to inquire about the deeper meaning of the
sculpture, so she was able to distribute dozens of books through those
There was a bit of Deja vu' in the course of the event when the police and
park officials advised everyone to evacuate the scene. Tornado warnings were
Last year FOI had been hard hit by the destructive forces of nature in the
form of hurricane level winds: therefore, working quickly, the displays were
dismantled and ropes were tightened. The strong wind and hard rains swept
through the area but by the grace of Krishna no damage resulted.
Festival of India crew members remained on site in anticipation of
difficulty but because of that determination the sound system and the
chanting of the Maha Mantra was the first sound to greet the ears of the
Lovely chanting continued to enrapture everyone as the Youth Ministry
members danced to their hearts' content.
The take down extended into the dark night time hours but the road lay
So, by dawn, we were departing the DC area in preparation for the Canadian
leg of the tour.
Singing to the souls
The long shot of the festival before it began.
A kirtan, transcendental exhibits, Lord Jagannatha's Ratha cart, purification... any questions?
A small kid seeing how small the living entity is in the Science of Reincarnation mirror panel.