Several years ago, Br. Dayamrita asked our Satsang what we did for fun. There was a long silence. This was not the silence of sweet memories or the deep silence of the Self! This was the silence of fumbling about for an answer when there wasn’t one. After a few attempts by us to respond, he gently suggested, “Try to have fun.”
We talked about fun in Satsang meetings, tried to schedule it, made up “fun” activities but we never pulled it off. Then for no reason, several of us got very excited and carried away with Krishna’s Birthday this year. We dreamed and planned, decorated outside and inside, made two big altars – one for Amma, one for Krishna and even a little one with an Amma doll dressed as Krishna. We wanted to break pots outside like they do at Amritapuri! Two people made pots, another painted them and we put up poles and pulleys for the pots. We even had a water hose to spray the pot breakers and set up speakers outdoors to play Bollywood Krishna songs!
(Watch Video Here).
And Radha made her famous delicious laddus for prasad!
We didn’t know if anyone would show up! Much to our surprise over 20 people came – one in a Krishna crown! Many brought special food! Pot breaking was a blast for young and old! We didn’t have enough pots so we made water balloons. Even the dogs got involved. Everyone laughed and didn’t want it to end. Then we did a sweet ceremony bathing baby Krishna and sang Krishna songs. People sang their hearts out! Finally, we enjoyed a wonderful feast together.
Navaratri, the ten-day celebration of Devi, soon followed after Krishna’s Birthday. Weeks before a couple of us studied the Devimahatmya, an ancient Hindu text of three stories describing the Divine Mother’s battles against demonic forces – an allegory of our own spiritual development. We planned a gathering for each of the ten days - chanting, a puja and beautiful hymn to Devi, a reading from the Devi Mahatma and conversation about the meaning in our own lives, a meditation and arati. Some of us took on vows to reduce negative habits or take on positive habits. This was a more serious celebration but beautiful and provided a time for immersion in self-reflection and devotional practices, something cherished by many of us.
And we celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, last weekend! Candles were lit everywhere – in and out! Sahaja shared about Lakshmi, the celebrated Goddess of Diwali, and led us in an abundance ceremony. Jovanna led us in a beautiful heart meditation with Lakshmi. We gathered in a circle with candles and sang “This Little Light of Mine I’m Gonna Let it Shine”. It was dark in and out except for our candles and voices… Still singing we each placed our candles outdoors.
These festivals were much more than fun. The laughter, songs, and comradeship created such unity among us, such a feeling of love, of gratitude. We were truly gopis during Krishna Jayanti, part of Devi’s battalion trying to uproot our own darkness during Navaratri and shone our inner light during Diwali. Fun was just the spark that took us higher.