Chakra Announcements

Day After Diwali

by Caru das and Vaibhavi

Posted November 4, 2005

Last night's Diwali celebrations were a big success. I posted about 20 photos of the event in our gallery festivals section under 'Diwali.'

Vaibhavi spent lot of time the week before putting lights up around the temple both inside and outside. The temple exterior is already magnificently illuminated after dark by floodlights. In addition, Vaibhavi added lights to the lake and the waterfall, and lit up more of the verandah and the trees fronting the building. Inside, the altar and Deities were made blazingly effulgent with Xmas lights, and, at the final arati, by hundreds of candles.

In winter time when the students are all back in college, when there are no other competing festivals (as there are so many in the summer months), and when we do not charge an admission fee, it is not hard to get a capacity crowd of 400-500. I only put one ad in the Spanish Fork Press, and one ad in the BYU Daily Universe. I sent e-mail to the 5,000 addresses in our database. Vai and I put up 300 color posters. The crowd was 70 per cent westerners (lots of kids wore clothing with BYU logos) & 30 per cent Indian. Dinesh and Kalpana came. Pragna, Yogi, Ramesh and Suman brought the Govardhana Hill, the music for the garbha, and the sticks for dandiya. Manoj manned the gift store and managed the live cow for go-puja. Allen, Sandy, Vaibhavi, and the boys from Journey ran the food booth.

For the food booth I had cooked nut loaf, stroganoff on noodles, rice with mixed vegetables and raisins, and saag paneer. Vai made hallava and Syd cooked papadams. Guests brought extra. Except for a little hallava and some rice left over, everything sold out.

I started at 6 pm by narrating a power point presentation on the big screen of Govardhan Parikrama. The many slides of Govardhan, Airavata Ghat, the field where Anna Kuta was observed, Shyama Kunda, Radha Kunda, tongue of Govardhan, Parikram Path, and Kusum Sarovar enabled me to present many points of the philosophy in depth, which kept the rapt attention of the audience.

At 6:30 pm, Jai Krishna, Zach, Yogi, Ramesh, Balarama, and others took utsava Radha Krishna and Bal Gopal down from the temple room to do a circuit on the Ratha Chariot I encouraged everyone to join in the Rathayatra, and had intended to do do myself. However, it was apparent that a good percentage of distinguished looking middle agers were not going to give up comfortable Sankheda armchairs and sofas because they would not get their seats back later, and have to sit on the floor. I thought it better to continue talking in the temple room, so that there would not be all that dead time inside while the chanting and dancing were going on outside. I heard the Ratha Chariot was glorious having been lit with eight lanterns, but I was neither able to see it nor photograph it.

What I did do was continue on the microphone to about 150 people. By the time the kirtaneers brought Bal Gopal back into the temple room and put him on top of Pragna's Govardhan Hill, I had been preaching for an hour and fifteen minutes. It was wonderful.

Gayatri Jayaraman did a great job with two dances, very adroit. It's fortunate for us such a good dancer is local. Neda Dasi excelled in a dance piece on Lord Shiva. It is astounding that she has never had a teacher, but learned on her own from watching videos.

The comedy 'Scholar & Boatman.' never gets overdone (we do have two versions, long and short-this was the short) in Spanish Fork, because we always have so many new people at our events. I would like to add some additional plays to our repertoire of about 7-8 but there is not such a strong motivation because to the ever revolving audiences they are ever fresh. People hooted at the punch line, 'Sir, you don't know how to swim? You've wasted 100 % of your life.'

Both Syd and Jai Krishna were excellent, having done this same drama many times. Adding to the effects of our dramas is the large rear projected screen behind the actors which puts up images and background scenes appropriate to the dialogue. Most of our dramas I have made into DVDs with the voices, sound effects, and images together. Just put the disk into the DVD player connected to your sound system and digital projector and there you have it.

The evening's final and most participatory event was the Ras Garbha. We rolled up the rugs and pushed chairs back to the walls, making the maximum space in the middle of the temple room. We forbade anyone to sit and watch unless they were over 75. Everyone willingly jumped in. This year we had more dancers than ever before. There were two inner circles with the really good Indians dancing, and two outer circles composed of mixed Indians and westerners. After some initial minutes of cacophony, the uninitiated westerners got the sticks rhythmically clacking in the proper one two three four five beat, and, thus mesmerized, blissfully rotated until the hour got late, and legs started feeling rubbery.

Radha and Krishna, dressed for this special occasion in a unique peacock feather outfit donated by Roshan Khandpur, beamingly presided over the twirling crowd, as the resplendent King and Queen of the eternal Rasa dance.