Wednesday, January 2, 2013

ISKCON Bangalore' Sankalp New Year Celebrations 2013

Grooving, jumping, dancing and shaking a leg to the tap of drum-beats! Well! Could you have asked for an easier and ‘cool’ form of meditation!? Yes! This was what the 500 youth that gathered in the ‘Open Air Theatre’ of ISKCON Bangalore temple on ‘Hare Krishna Hill’ performed through the night and into the dawn of New Year. As the clock ticked away into 2013, the boys danced away to the mystical tunes of ‘Yugadharma’ band! As the temple bell rang twelve, the chanters welcomed 2013 with ‘Hare Krishna’ and cutting cake maha-prasadam!

‘Yuga Dharma’ continued to take us around the world playing us ‘Hare Krishna’ in different genres ranging from the Indian classical ‘Hindustani’ to reggae, rock-n-roll, pop, jazz and pure rock music! But the genre that topped the charts and was the clear ‘Once More-Twice More-Thrice More’ cheered one was from the Middle-East- ‘Hare Krishna Mantra in Turkish tune’! As the Yugadharma Lead Vocalist sang in typical Arabic style, the boys of MMC and FOLK were ecstatic literally ‘belly-dancing’ to the music! After the ‘once more’ performance of the Turkish genre, Yugadharma lead vocalist rightly quipped, “We must be all going to the middle-east and singing ‘Hare Krishna’ in there! That would surely end the terrorism there and in the world!”

But then, Rohith wasn’t joking after all! The MC of SANKALP Sri Sampati Prabhu enlightened the audience on what they were into on the New Year eve night. He explained, “Just as the people of the bygone ages of Satya Yuga had to attain perfection by silent meditation or ‘Dhyaan’, people of Treta Yuga attained it by performing elaborate sacrifices (Yajna,homa etc), and the people of Dvapara Yuga attained perfection by building exquisite temples in glory of Lord, all this perfection is attained in this age of Kali Yuga just by singing aloud and dancing along to the words of the holy name-Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare! Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare! This is meditation- sound meditation-Mantra Meditation! And it’s rocking!”

And The MMC’ians was the best who did that! The boys of ‘Mantra Meditation Circle’ were clearly enjoying themselves in this new form of mantra meditation, dancing away to the sound and words of holy name in different genres of ‘Yugadharma’ band! They were clearly the outstanding dancers of the SANKALP night and as they danced, they put many of the veteran FOLKs to shame! 

It appeared ‘Yugadharma’ this time relived the memories of SANKALP-2009 with the second time performances from then, but Amit Anand had a surprise in store for us with his new instrument ‘Melodica’ which looked much like a kid’s ‘peepi’! and the lead vocalist Rohith rightly quipped, “He stole it from his two-year old cousin!”
But before all these song-n-dance began, the new-year bash started in a typical gala party style! As the FOLKs entered in with freshly adorned white ‘SANKALP’ t-shirts, they were greeted by FOLK Guides with a warm welcome and surprising new-year gift of a silver locket with Lakshmi-Narasimha and Hare Krishna mantra etched on it! The FOLKs prepared for the night’s events with a welcome drink and exchange of spiritual gifts with their new year buddies.

And then there was the BIG BANG! The Special Guest of SANKALP 2013 was led into the arena in grand style! Srila Prabhupada, the commander in chief of Lord Chaitanya’s army marched in regally atop a grand palanquin carried by His beloved disciples to the accompaniment of special glorifications of ‘Jaya Srila Prabhupada-vande guroh sri caranaravindam!’ It was one of those most exciting moments that His disciples had gone through on innumerable Srila Prabhupada airport arrivals, and to sum up the significance of this reception, Srila Prabhupada’s Los Angeles 1970 airport arrival played on the giant screens! Srila Prabhupada’s beloved disciple and the President of Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON Bangalore Sri Madhu Pandit Prabhu garlanded Him both by flowers and then by words!

Sri Madhu Pandit Prabhu enlightened the assembled youth on the position of Srila Prabhupada as follows: “There have been many great spiritual personalities who have started spiritual organizations; and all those organizations carry their name and their legacy. But Srila Prabhupada was an embodiment of humility who never took credit for any of His achievements! He named his society ‘International Society of Krishna Consciousness-ISKCON’, glorifying Lord Krishna and throughout His life and in His works, He only constantly glorified the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna! Hence many people have heard and know what is ISKCON but hardly a few know who is Srila Prabhupada! But this duty is now taken up by Lord Krishna Himself to glorify His beloved devotee Srila Prabhupada and spread ‘Prabhupada Consciousness’! The responsibility is on our shoulders! We have to live and embody ‘Prabhupada Consciousness’!”

Sri Amitasana Prabhu, Vice-President ISKCON Bangalore led the FOLKS in taking sublime resolutions for the upcoming New Year to ensure a significant and over-all spiritual growth of every FOLK. The FOLKS then offered their New Year resolutions at the Lotus Feet of Srila Prabhupada and headed for the most delicious dinner maha-prasadam of 2012!

The SANKALP night entered the New Year with a typical bash with Srila Prabhupada declaring on the giant screens, “Well, our every day is a New Year. Nava-navayauvana. Our Krishna consciousness is so nice, the more you advance, you see New Year, New Year. That's all. Nothing is old.”

And as the night grew and the tempo rose the FOLKs danced along and Srila Prabhupada joined them from time to time on the giant screens! The program received a fitting finale with a grand pre-dawn Guru puja ceremony to Srila Prabhupada to the accompaniment of ‘Sri Guru Carana Padma…’ followed by the feather in the cap to SANKALP 2013- a contemporary dance performance on Dashavatara by the FOLK Dancers!

Surely, anyone who attended SANKALP-2013 could get the feeling of the bright future ahead for Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON, typically demonstrated by every FOLKs’ eager hands going up when His Grace Madhupandit Dasa inquired, “Who will join Srila Prabhupada’s army?” by a resounding “ME! ME and ME!”

The world can get ready for the second revolution in coming, ‘Prabhupada Consciousness’!

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