Chakra Announcements

Cheers to the Volunteers

by Caru das

Posted August 4, 2005

While Vaibhavi and I are always biting off more than we can chew, we have been fortunate in eliciting pity from friends and well wishers in different quarters. We could never do most of our festivals, and especially the two big ones, Llama Fest and India Fest, without lots of volunteer help, some of it from far and wide. From Reno, Cindy flew in Thursday night, Herb drove up from Las Vegas, Beth came all the way from Wisconsin, & Lori the judge from St. George, Utah. All worked like people possessed over weekend. I dropped Cindy at the Salt Lake City airport this morning at 7 am. She was going to get off the plane in Nevada and go right to work. Friday morning a fellow from Chicago, working in the area, had all his money stolen by his wife, who absconded. He went to the ATM and couldn't get a dime. Albert came asking for a place to stay and offering to work. Albert seemed a good sort of fellow in a tough spot, so we let him sleep in the motor home. Over the course of the weekend he gave us an incredible amount of hard, selfless work, which made us very glad for our decision.

Bill and Liz come from Arizona to spend the summers in Utah Valley. They help at all the festivals to set up and serve the food. I had this e-mail from them the day after the event.

"Wow! What a super Llama Fest. Your advertising for the event was the best. We saw your signs, posters, street banner, all over Provo City. It sure brought results. You work so hard to sponsor all these events and spread the word about the Krishna temple in Spanish Fork. We love you and the Krishnas and are happy to be part of your activities. See you at the Good Karma Fest.
With Best Regards, Bill and Liz
ps- Excellent article in today's Daily Herald about the event; with pictures. How exciting!"

Vyapi Das, who lives at the temple and works a job, spent his off time for a week mowing grass in the ampitheatre and parking lot. Yogi Shah & Manoj Kithany stood in the sun at the entrance gate collecting thousands of dollars admissions fees over four hours. Sandra & Allen Franks from Orem always offer tremendous help at these events, and have become so expert and proficient in knowing all there is to be done.

All three of the youth groups who work with us sent volunteers: Lightning Peak, Journey and Discovery.

Father Dick from the Episcopal Church and his grandson from Kansas worked for several hours grooming and shearing the llamas early in the day, as did 20 local students from BYU and UVSC. In temperatures topping 100 degrees, that was a hot job, both for the volunteers and the llamas.

Balarama and Sita Priya manned the T-shirts and prize drawings booth. They made 900 dollars on the T-shirts, and gained half a bucket of e-mail addresses from the drawings.

Though I have been married to Vaibhavi for 35 years and never cease to marvel at her enthusiasm and energy, I believe for this event she out did even herself. Save for a few hours sleep, she was working constantly to make the event a success. She even added some new touches. The obstacle course this year sported a brand new water feature. The animals had to pick their way through a little gravel pond. Some were frightened to enter into it and others, once in, found it so cooling they were loathe to get out.

To give the volunteer llama handlers a clear path to follow through the course, Vai cut out from heavy plastic a large number of funny, oversized llama hoof prints. These were nailed into ground at two foot intervals, so all a llama handler had to do was follow in the footsteps of the Maha Llamas.

The Llama Fest is definitely a secular event. We joke sometimes that the festival was conceived to show we can go 24 hours without proselytizing anyone. However, we have found over the years that people follow us around during the event, asking all kinds of questions about the philosophy and wanting to buy books. Jai Krishna unilaterally took care of this department. He arrived at 4 pm , established himself in the temple room, and started answering questions of all comers. Sometimes five people were there with him, sometimes 20. Some people stayed for only half an hour, but most for an hour or even two. Long after the last festival goers had departed and most of the formidable clean up was over, Jai Krishna was still up in the temple room with a large group of students from BYU. They were deep in absorption of the philosophy, but it was 11 pm at night. We had to close the temple and get up for mangal aarti! Jai Krishna had been preaching non stop for 7 hours!

Many other people helped whom I cannot call to mind at the moment. Probably as soon as I post this message several omissions will come to mind, and I shall feel badly. Nevertheless, devotional advancement comes from the recognition that is given by the Lord within the Heart. Though I may have memory lapses and appear ungrateful, He is never so. He knows and appreciates each and every exercise of our free will toward His service, whether it be direct as in the case of a religious event, or indirect like the Llama Fest.




For pictures go to our web site at, gallery/festivals/llama fest. All photos compliments of William Van Der Sluis.