It is a university town after all, but it has its colors, its people, its sights and its sounds. The town of Lund, located in the southern Skane district of Sweden, is a charming old setup thronged by old fashioned roads, tiny alleys, picturesque gardens and some magnificent churches, showcasing architecture at its very best. Behind one such monumental church and not so far away from the very exquisite Botanical Garden, lies the beautiful ISKCON temple. The temple celebrates different festivals at different times of the year and offers its devotees different opportunities to socialize, mingle, enjoy, sing, dance, enrich and enlighten. Last Sunday, on the 17th of August, it was one such opportunity, when Krishna Janmashtami, the auspicious day of the arrival of Lord Krishna, was celebrated with full hue and color. A substantial gathering of devotees covering various cross-sections of society, various age groups, various interest groups came and offered rich offerings with a warm smile and a candid heart.
Starting at six in the evening, the temple door opened its arms to the devotees. The first ritual of the evening was the “Abhishek”, when every single devotee could participate. The amazing decorum was befittingly accompanied by the age-old, yet timeless, and evergreen “Sankirtan”. The Harmonium was in full tune, the Mridang was in joyous mood, the Kartala was in twitting vigour. Shortly thereafter, some Bhajans followed. Nothing difficult – just simple tunes, hummable tunes and participation from everyone was the unwritten gesture from then on. One Bhajan followed the other, the large populace had, by then, assembled at the hall. The hall was housing magnificent idols of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Mahaprabhu, Bhagwan Shree Krishna to name a few. The colors of the attires were catching imagination, the sophistication of the deities was leaving everyone speechless. The decoration of the altar left everyone overwhelmed – it had floral aura mixed with glittering lights. The smell of “Agarbati” and the smell of fresh petals and fruits added to the charm. The Kirtans were taking oneself to another world; eyes opened or eyes closed – one was anyway drawn to the sanctity and the euphoria of the moment.
A lecture on the subject of Lord Shree Krishna’s birth followed soon. To those of us that have kids and are preparing their newer generation to fathom the century-old traditional Indian values, the lecture was a perfect gateway to arrive at. The doors of the gate were opened by Locan Das, who is in-charge of the temple and whose demeanor, while speaking, said it all! A calm and composed approach to preaching can be made extremely interesting by having examples, by thoughtful choice of words, and exactly in that domain remained Prabhu! A pin drop silence engulfed the temple hall when all of us listened to the layered emotions that were needed to be heard around the incident of Shree Krishna’s birth, in the context of spirituality.
The “Arotik” was the last glittering event of the evening which was done with the chanting of a pious song and kirtan. The evening festival ended with all of us bowing down to the deities, exchanging pleasantries and doing some warm-hearted talks among friends and family-like friends.
The “Prasadam” made out of devotion was gorgeously beautiful and deliciously palatable. From infants to elderly, everyone enjoyed every single bit of the food offered to them. When all was over, the rains were not! Perhaps, the day had to be like that. Otherwise, how could one find the resemblance to the very similar rainy night when Vasudeva had to carry the little Krishna on his head and cross the furious Yamuna ?
The Author Anwesh Mukherjee
Mr. Anwesh Mukherjee who is a software engineer by profession and is a Swedish National is also a story-writer, a poet and an essayist, who thrives on human values and human emotions, and who embodies in his works, elements from past and present generations of human society. A formidable grip on characters allows him to document complexity and openness with equal ease. The poetic charm gets mixed with a narrative flavor which creates a unique description of incidents in Anwesh’s works. A mind molded in the realm of simplicity of yester-years yearning to reach out to the audacious vivacity of the new age life is a simple depiction of Mr. Mukherjee as an author and a smooth and lucid blend of lyrical words with some commonplace expressions best describes the language the Anwesh the author cherishes the most.