Though I was completely wiped out today after getting into DC at 4am this morning, it turned out to be a beautiful day. It was raining hard when I woke up, groggy and ready to rush to leave for our midday Unity Walk event in DC. My phone showed several missed calls from my friends in Florida, all ringing to say that my dear friend and sister, Ani, had given birth to her little boy five weeks early! He arrived on one of the most auspicious days in the whole year – the anniversary of the day that Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill. He definitely has a blessed future, born to some of the most wonderful, talented and lovable people that I know.
Our event at the Unity Walk was inspiring. A surprisingly large number of people turned up on the wet morning to Washington Hebrew Synagogue to begin the walk to different local places of worship in the name of interfaith. We were sandwiched inbetween a heartfelt call to prayer by a local imam, and a Bah’ai trio. Gaura led a prayer to the guru, and then we sang the maha mantra, explaining that it was the favourite song of Chaitanya, the founder of kirtan. Behind us, Sufi dancers whirled in time – we’ll upload the video here asap.
Later we went to the temple for an evening of kirtan and celebration. I love Govardhan puja. It never fails to transport me to Vrindavan, no matter how far I am geographically. At home in England we normally have the festival partly in the cow barn, and have fun decorating the cows with coloured powders and garlands. There were no cow pujas in Potomac, but there was the traditional Govardhan Hill made of sweet halavah and broccoli trees. Funny how a mound of cooked and decorated semolina can evoke such devotion when meditated on and worshipped with full sincerity and conscious intention. As we circumambulated, my mind flew to the last time my feet walked the dusty path around Govardhan. In the autumn morning the sand was cool, and the air mild – filled with the soft sounds of temple bells and jagged cries of peacocks. It’s one of my favourite places in the whole world.
Speaking of places, and the world (how’s that for a seamless link?) we’re going to Australia tomorrow! Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy! Oi Oi Oi!
Radha Madan Mohan dressed for the festival.
Sri Sri Gaura Nitai
Sri Giridhara Gopal (One who lifts Govardhan Hill and protects the cows) incarnates in rice and lentil form!
Disassembling the hill.
Aniyora! Aniyora! Give me more!
Baby Srinath Jakupko (another name for Krishna as Srinathji – see ‘Go Go Gopalji‘) – a star is born, mark my words.