A Warming Up
Posted February 22, 2004
Today (02/19/04), while peeking into the Panca Tattva altar, more finishing touches are being made. The air is heavily paint scented, Srivasa's head is now a satin grey before the black final coat. Bamboo structures surround the Lords, where the craftsmen stand, polishing and painting. Bhima, who is supervising the deity preparations, offers advice as the sweaty labourers work quickly.
On the other side of these walls you find Jananivasa prabhu, preparing the parikrama palanquin for the small Panca Tattva deities. The carpenter has just placed some flashy pink and green cloth, similar to the bright computer touch up deity photos that have graced Mayapur lately, as a base to the altar. Jananivasa figures how to secure the deities saying "In South India they place a ribbon between Their legs, but I think we will just tie the bases and not block Their lotus feet". In the opposite hallway, six Chinese matajis prepare a beautiful silk green and gold embroidered cloth that is 8 meters long, preparing the first outfits for the large deities(and hopefully the small ones too(smile). Constant kirtans take place in the temple room. During the morning program, it is getting close to standing room only for kirtans.
Over at the Gada building, we find a makeshift reception hall for newly arriving pilgrims that is 23 by 22 meters, which has rows of chairs and tables set up to accommodate the quests and satisfy any inquiries. Devotees from Russia, Italy, England, America, South India are signing in. One devotee commented "Just see what Srila Prabhupada has done, yesterday I saw 7 matajis, each from a different country, dancing before Radha Madava, the prediction of Bhaktivinode Thakur has become furfilled!"
Piles of backpacks and luggage are sporadically piled about, behind the juice stand and floor. Devotee volunteers from Chowpatty cater to all, Srila Prabhupada disciples are brought to one section and grand disciples next by.(They were so enthusiastic that they pulled me to one corner and began to register me not knowing that I also was working there too) People could rest comfortably while others would go through the check in procedures. Booths are set up to help people sign up for the parikrama. Also, in the airport, both international and domestic terminals, and Howrah train station, we have booths to directing visitors to our taxis and buses at user-friendly prices.
What a reception hall, a cloth palace with purple silk fluffy walls and a white ceiling! Reminds us of one of the Panadava's palaces. Today they expect 800 pilgrims, tomorrow 2500 and the next day 3500. Bhakti Purusottama Swami has done an expert job in organization. As people check in, a rickshaw cart loads bags and then is driven over to a building or tent complex where another devotee awaits to personally guide people to their room or tent. Constant walkie-talkie contact helps everything run smoothly with the utmost precision.
Need a place to drop off the kids? Marici das and his wife Cintamani devi dasi are overseeing a childrens park with magic shows, Krsna sun art, coloring, face painting, games, singing, drama, and a lot more. So come over and free yourselves of the tots while you explore the festivities.
More and more huts for the gala needs begin to manifest, crowds are also
thickening as we are one day closer. It appears that the multicoloured
sunrays have begun to glow on the horizon. Everyone is waiting for what is
next, the appearance of the Lords.