Janmashtami is one of Radhadesh’ main festivals annually, and we were at a loss on how to progress with the festivities. Normally we would house around 2000 – 3000 people and with the expertise of different devotees, celebrate the birthday of Lord Sri Krishna.
Our question was how to still celebrate the festival, but keep the inevitable stream of people and devotees safe from a pandemic? Even though the devotees living in Radhadesh have till now managed to keep the cleanliness and not suffer the fatalities of the virus. Despite that, we did not want to risk having a change in that field.
Therefore we all gathered up and created a small program for the residents as well as the visiting pilgrims, to maintain COVID regulations, and still have a party!
The day came and we were all nervous on how it would progress. But with a transcendental guest, HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, we were inaugurated in the festivities. The weather was nice, and festivities went on. We had kirtan behind the football field, and swung the deities there. Chotta Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha had a wonderful abhisheka (shower with various liquids) under the expert guidance of Gopi Ramana Prabhu. The deities received many gifts and the devotees could have the darshan easily without any stress. Thereafter we had a short play about the wicked Sankhacuda and how Krishna once again saved His beloved Gopis from evil.
Of course a festival is not complete without a little quiz which was put together by our temple president Syamananda Prabhu. Testing our wits and knowledge about the scriptures and Krsna. The time came when it was midnight and devotees eagerly lined up for a quick midnight darshan of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha with the incredible mountains of bhoga lined up in front of Them. While kirtan, by Ramanaji continued we all said our goodnights to Their Lordships and everyone lined up for the midnight prashadam.
In conclusion, while we don’t know whether we could satisfy each devotee, we still made our efforts to please Radha Gopinatha. Where we could create an atmosphere to immerse into the chanting and remembrance of the Lord.