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Belfast Damsels in USA

by rmadhava.blogspot.com

Posted November 3, 2006


Two young, intrepid Belfast devotees - Deva and Subhadra, (both born and brought up as Krishna devotees) have spent the past two summers touring America with a group of ISKCON youth. Deva tells the story here:

Since its humble beginnings as a two week summer trip in 1995, the Hare Krishna Youth Ministry Bus Tour has expanded into a ten week long adventure travelling across North America, Canada and Mexico, taking in nine rathayatras, thirty seven cities, thirty five US states and nine Canadian provinces. For the duration of the summer two yellow buses become home to fifty youth aged fifteen to twenty-five. The buses are fitted with bunk beds, a stove and oven, a toilet and even a shower!

The tour is organised and run by Manu das and his wife, Jaya Radhe dasi ?both of whom grew up in ISKCON I was fortunate enough to go on the bus tour in 2005 and 2006.

The bus travels from rathayatra to rathayatra and attends one almost every weekend. At each new venue, bus tour participants do a variety of services ranging from setting up the festival site to making garlands, helping to decorate the rath cart, adding youthful exuberance to the parade itself, providing entertainment on the main stage, serving prasadam and disassembling the site after the festival.

This year's entertainment included not only melodious bhajans and lively kirtans from many talented individuals, but also two plays. The first told the story of Lord Jagannatha's appearance on earth. The second was "Big Fish, Little Fish?or "Fish Out Of Water? an ISKCON classic brought into the twenty first century by Bhakti Marg Swami's directorial expertise. In the drama Little Fish struggles to cope with life on dry land, which is made worse by his demanding wife and dead-end job. This is an extended metaphor showing how we try to be happy without Krishna and often fail miserably.

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