Visiting Krishna’s Village of Peace
Indradyumna Maharaja’s Festival at the Poland Woodstock Concert
by Krishna-kripa Das
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Table of Contents
|This summer I went to the best festival I’d ever been to, and this web page is my humble attempt to share my happiness with you. The festival was about giving. It’s about giving happiness, and not the kind of happiness that is mixed with distress, and not the kind of happiness that comes to an end. It’s about that kind of happiness that always increases and doesn’t come to an end, and which satisfies the soul. It’s about giving that kind of happiness that one always wants but never gets in this world. It’s about the happiness that awakens when one comes in touch with God.|
I would like to acknowledge the contribution of my mother, Patricia Beetle, who kindly purchased the airline tickets so I could participate in Indradyumna Swami’s festival called Krishna’s Village of Peace at the Polish Woodstock and so I could visit my Guru Maharaja, Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, at Inis Rath, Ireland. I hope Krishna blesses her abundantly for her assisting me in my spiritual journey in this way.
I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Eddie Johnston who gave me the camera I used to take some of these pictures, and Dharmatma Prabhu and his family, who gave me additional pictures to include in this presentation. Dharmatma’s son, Drdha Prabhu, has a website with more pictures of Woodstock as well. I would also like to thank Mother Ananda Krishna who kindly helped me by translating Polish words into English and by sharing her experiences on this festival and others, in previous years, and thus deepening my appreciation of their value.
I arrived in Berlin, Germany, on August 7, 2001. Indradyumna Swami kindly sent some devotees all the way from Zary, Poland, a good three hours away to pick me up. My sleeping bag was detained in Amsterdam, which I heard is not uncommon, so I had to live without it for a couple days, using the bedding the devotees provided for me. The devotees who picked me up included the driver Bhakta Colin from the UK, a devotee from Hungary, and one from Croatia. They shared what little prasadam (spiritual food) they had, which amounted to two samosas, with me, and I shared mine, pakoras and halava, with them, and thus we all felt satisfied. I realized that I am part of a very international society when at the German-Polish border we handed our four different colored passports to the authorities for inspection. I wondered what they would think of us, but they did not give us any trouble and didn’t even stamp our passports. I later found out that devotees from twelve different countries came to the festival this year.
At the school in Zary, Poland where we stayed, the devotees had set up a temple room in the gymnasium. There we worshipped this murti (form) of Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness along with deities of Gandharvika (Radha) and Giridhari (Krishna). Both the forms of God and those of the saints who represent Him, like Srila Prabhupada, are considered to be spiritual and worthy of worship. Srila Prabhupada taught the whole world how each and everyone of us can become happy simply by adding the chanting of God’s names to his or her life. We who have practical experience of the benefits of the chanting of Hare Krishna always look for opportunities to share this chanting with others, and Krishna’s Village of Peace at the Polish Woodstock festival is one such glorious opportunity.
Sri Sri Gandharvika Giridhari
||Indradyumna Swami, a very enthusiastic disciple of Srila Prabhupada, has been inspired by him to put on Krishna festivals in Poland for many years and has given many thousands of people the opportunity to experience the spiritual culture of India culminating in devotion to Krishna. The tireless efforts of Indradyumna Swami and his followers made this wonderful festival possible. According to the scripture, anyone who participates in the glorification of God, even just by being present is freed from all his karma and receives a seed of devotion to God which, when properly cultivated, ultimately produces a creeper of devotion bearing fruits of love of God, the highest spiritual pleasure and the supreme achievement. By putting on these festivals, therefore Indradyumna Swami and his associates are giving the people of Poland the greatest gift.|
Harinama in Downtown Zary
|The purpose of harinama (chanting parties) and their universality
is described nicely in the great Indian classic Sri Caitanya Caritamrita
by the celebrated author, Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami. “Sri Panca-tattva
themselves danced again and again and thus made it easier to drink nectarean
love of Godhead. They danced, cried, laughed and chanted like madmen, and
in this way they distributed love of Godhead. People generally cannot understand
the actual meaning of chanting and dancing. . . . Not only did Lord Caitanya
Mahaprabhu and His associates demonstrate this chanting and dancing, but
the six Gosvamis also followed in the next generation. The present Krishna
consciousness movement follows the same principle, and therefore simply
by chanting and dancing we have received good responses all over the world.
It is to be understood, however, that this chanting and dancing do not
belong to this material world. They are actually transcendental activities,
for the more one engages in chanting and dancing, the more he can taste
the nectar of transcendental love of Godhead. In distributing love of Godhead,
Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates did not consider who was a fit candidate
and who was not, nor where such distribution should or should not take
place. They made no conditions. Wherever they got the opportunity the members
of the Panca-tattva distributed love of Godhead. . . . The flood of love
of Godhead swelled in all directions, and thus young men, old men, women
and children were all immersed in that inundation.”
The day before our participation in the Polish Woodstock festival, we did a harinama through the streets of Zary. The young lady devotees dancing nicely in unison led the party.
Following the ladies were the lead singer who played on an accordion and others who chanted in response, one of whom carried a microphone, and another, an amplifier. Balloons added to the festive atmosphere. Because Indradyumna Swami’s harinama parties are beautiful to look at and melodious to hear, many people are attracted to them, thus increasing the devotees’ good reputation in Poland.
We walked along the street mall with shops on either side, chanting and dancing as we went. Up ahead we saw a banner announcing the upcoming Polish Woodstock festival. Between mantras the young ladies twirl around which explains why they are looking opposite to the direction we are walking.
After going down the street and halfway back, we stopped walking and chanted in one place for a little over an hour. Half the party is shown below, the rest of the men and the ladies dancing on the right side are not visible. Several times we invited the onlookers to visit our camp, Krishna’s Village of Peace, the next day at the Wookstock festival.
A crowd of curious people formed around our party. The pace in Poland is slower than America, and people were not too busy to stop and watch the festive chanting and dancing for awhile. The following picture shows about half of the crowd.
One of the young lady devotees gathered up the young children in the crowd and taught them different dance steps. The children, eager to learn, were thus amused for over an hour and some followed us part way home.
As the young lady danced with her group of young children (left), one of the young men decided he would start dancing with some of the boys, and he danced, spinning a boy around in a circle (right).
Krishna-kripa das was also seen doing his characteristic dancing in the kirtana (chanting) party.
The young girl in the white shirt grinned as she watched the devotees dance. She imitated them in a teasing way at first, but then she and her friend got into it, and danced most of the rest of the time we were there. Also an older lady, in her forties or fifties, danced along with our party for quite a while, and a very small child, who was being closely watched by her mother, was fascinated by the devotees’ dancing and ran over to try to take part.
After our two-hour harinama that afternoon in Zary we returned to the school which was our base. As we walked the final block curious townspeople watched from their windows as we chanted and danced by. One old lady even clapped along.
(Note: If you have a good internet connection and facility to play videos, click here and see a video clip (3.7 MB) of a harinama at Zary a day or so before the one I described above.)
After harinama, we had a nice lunch, heard Tejiyas Prabhu tell stories about the life of Srila Prabhupada for three hours, and then all gathered for a meeting to discuss the upcoming activities at the Woodstock festival. Sri Prahlad encouraged us to work selflessly, putting personal considerations aside, to make Krishna’s Village of Peace a success.
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