Sep 18, 2015

Thousands Celebrate Janmashtami at Radha Madhav Dham Temple

Radha Madhav Dham Temple in Austin to celebrate Shree Krishna Janmashtami

Indo American News
September 11, 2015.

AUSTIN: Over 4,000 devotees, from newborns to seniors, gathered at Radha Madhav Dham Temple in Austin to celebrate Shree Krishna Janmashtami.  The excitement was palpable days in advance when volunteers began preparing for the grand celebrations and decorating one of the largest temples in the U.S. for the occasion.

In anticipation of the festivities, hundreds arrived a day in advance and stayed overnight at Radha Madhav Dham’s beautiful facilities which overflowed in attempt to accommodate over 300 guests.  As the evening approached, the crowds surged into thousands, backing up the main road leading up to the temple for more than a mile.  Devotees were welcomed with dinner prasad as they arrived and food stalls selling samosa, dosa, lassi, etc. were set up for those wanting a quick snack or a light meal.  The temple program started with singing of beautiful kirtans revealed by Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj in praise of Lord Krishna.  A jhula (decorative swing) was set up for baby Krishna and Radha Krishna deities presiding in the temple were decorated in a spectacular sixteen fold shringar. The line of devotees eager to have darshan (vision) of Radha Krishna and an opportunity to swing baby Krishna kept getting longer and longer as the evening progressed into the night and continued from 6 pm till midnight.  Sushree Diwakari Devi spoke about the spiritual significance of Janmashtami.

The cultural program started with hundreds of children, as young as few months old adorably dressed as Krishna or Radha, walked alongside their parents or were cradled by their parents, as they participated in the costume contest.  Children competed in four different age groups and charmed the audience in an overcrowded temple hall.  After that Kathak maestro and disciple of legendary Pandit Birju Maharaj, Shree Murari Sharan Gupta enthralled everyone with a rich blend of dances presented in a pure Kathak style and vividly bringing to life the Divine pastimes and glories of Lord Krishna.

Music of “Govinda ala re ala…” (Krishna is coming…) resonated the hall and peeked the curiosity of the crowd, as a team of butter thieves led by a young Krishna, approached a butter pot hanging high in air.  Aided by loud cheers from the large hall that was packed with people from wall to wall, the team formed a three story human pyramid and after a couple of failed attempts finally helped Krishna break the pot.  The energy and excitement kept growing as the dahi haandi (curd pot) breaking led right into raas garba.  People danced in joy to the live chanting of Shree Radha Krishna’s name and enlivened by a devotional band.

With only an hour to go until midnight, enchanting kirtans of Lord Krishna immersed the audience in devotion.  Shortly before midnight, the sound of thunder and lightning filled the air and a leela (enactment of Krishna’s Divine actions) depicting Baby Krishna’s appearance and His arrival in Gokul was presented.  Everyone rose to their feet and to the sounds of conches, drums, and cymbals burst into joyous outcry of “Nand ke anand bhayo….Jai Kanhaiya Lal Ki” which continued for over an hour past midnight until 1:00am.

Overjoyed with the exciting devotional atmosphere of Radha Madhav Dham and family centric activities of the day, steeped in tradition, culture and devotion, people couldn’t stop talking about their experience and several visitors unanimously commented “this was definitely one of the best Janmashtami celebrations we have ever attended”.

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