Chakra Announcements

Krsna Enlivens Florida Devotees

by Satyahit das

Posted April 20, 2007

The Alachua and Gainesville temples have become bustling Krsna-conscious places filled with serious-minded devotees. Over a thousand devotees now live in Florida, including many retired temple presidents.

My wife Kelilalita dasi and I just left the usual Alachua Sunday feast with its three prasadam serving lines outside. Every Sunday 300 to 400 devotees attend a stunningly powerful arotik and kirtan, followed by anouncements, book scores of devotee distributors, a class and a feast. Afterwards everyone socializes on the grounds and at around 25 picnic tables under a huge colourfully-striped tent. A number of devotee stalls outside sell books, clothing and musical instruments. Two or three stalls sell prasadam right from the start. Devotees and guests come in all sizes, colours and ages, and are all very happy. This is quite noticeable everywhere.

The Gainesville, Florida temple serves Krsna Lunch at the University of Florida Monday through Friday on the lawn in a large, open, treed area opposite one of thelibraries from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This is a major university, with 45,000 students. On Wednesdays alone during that time span over 1100 plates are distributed at $3 per plate, all you can eat. During this prasadam service a bhajan-kirtan band plays live music nearby forat least two hours. Students take their plates and sit on the grass here and there. Adi Karta prabhu circulates at will in devotee garb,making friends with students or singing in the kirtan.

Two weeks ago a bus full of devotees leftfor Tallahassee at 7 a.m. for the Springtime Tallahassee Parade. The Rathayatra cart was the last float in the one-mile-long parade. Everyone loved it. Devotee women danced up front for two hours straight, while the temple president strolled up front as if he were a presidential candidate for Krsna, smiling and waving at everyone. After two hours we took some traditional Indian sweets offered to their Lordships and then went for another two hours with our loudspeaker on wheels,through a jam-packed market area filled with all sorts of people and stalls.Then we all took prasadam at a park, and the devoteebus drove us happily home to Alachua, while Kripasindhu prabhu spoke nonstopon Krsna-katha.

On April 21 three buses areleaving from the Alachua temple for an Orlando Harinama Rathayatra kirtan parade. On April 28 more buses are leaving for the regular Harinama at the Jacksonville Beach opening. I have only covered a fraction of the devotee activities here.