Submitted by Vasanti dasi
After Shaktifest last May, I became so inspired to attend as many festivals as possible in order to reach the souls coming and attending with the desire to enhance their spirituality and learn about the various paths of yoga and kirtan.
After much research on the internet, we discovered that there are so many yoga and other new age festivals all over California and America.
In the past month we attended three, and for next summer we’ll begin the process earlier of being able to have a booth at the other festivals.
Yoga in the City
On June 30th there was a one-day event at the Santa Monica pier called ‘Yoga in the City’. It was a promotional event for a festival called Wanderlust that would be taking place a few weeks later. Krsnamayi dasi, Sivananda prabhu and I went as we read that MC Yogi would be there for the last hour. He is famous in the yoga, kirtan circle. We were quite impressed to see about 400 participants there doing yoga, and MC Yogi guiding them through with his music and teaching expertise. He ended his class with chanting the Maha-mantra. After the class was over, Sivananda approached the stage and met him and gifted him with a Gopi-gita and few other books, and also gave books to DJ Drez, his DJ for the music.
We distributed many small books and maha-mantra flyers as well as several bigger books such as Bhagavad-gita and Journey of the Soul. We met many nice people and saw some people we met at Shaktifest. I saw this event as a good networking event, getting to know people and what they do and how they can help guide us in this field.
The next weekend we headed up to Ojai for the One Love festival. It was held at a big park in a beautiful setting. Krsnamayi, Radhika and I setup our booth on Friday afternoon just as the festival was beginning. This festival was a bit of in an obscure place, and the music was not very good, so it was not as well attended as others. Yet still, we met so many sincere and interested individuals and distributed a lot of books and posters.
One couple came to our booth and told us that when they moved into their new house, there was some things left from the previous occupants. They found a poster and when they opened it, they thought, “This is beautiful, lets frame it and hang it up.” Turns out it was the poster of Seva Kunja. When they told us that story, Syamarani didi happened to be at the booth (she came to the festival for a couple of hours). We were all amazed to hear how the poster had a life of its own, and now this couple then met us and got more art and Srila Gurudevas books.
The Sunday of One Love was Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Disappearance Day. We made it our goal to distribute as many Jaiva Dharma and Bhajan Rahasya’s as possible. When I would show people his picture, I would tell them that today was the day he disappeared from this world and just by looking at his picture and thinking of him on this day, he is bound to give his mercy. So many people I met were so grateful and thanked me for that opportunity. We happen to have one Spanish Jaiva Dharma as well, and I was praying to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura to send me someone Spanish speaking as Ojai was not a very ethnic place. Finally, I saw a Spanish family outside of the park and approached them and they were happy to receive this divine book.
The weekend after One Love, we attended the Moksa Festival located in beautiful Topanga Canyon. This festival was like a mini Shaktifest. The music was mostly kirtan (or spiritual), and there was various yoga classes being held in the day. Syamarani didi spoke at this event and we showed a slideshow of some of her paintings as she discussed the real meaning of moksa, that the only real moksa is bhakti. The festival was a bit slow in the day, and then became more crowded from 4pm till it ended at 10pm. It was exciting to meet people that we had met at Shaktifest or One Love or Yoga in the City, or even at a program or street that had gotten a book from us. One young guy told us he got a Siva-tattva from us at Shaktifest and it changed his life and now he has an altar in his room with Seva Kunja picture on it. He now got more books.
One man has Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita and he loves it, and he was happy to see Srila Gurudeva’s Gita. He bought it and said he wants to read them both side by side.
One lady was just drawn to our booth – she kept coming back over and over again. Sivananda asked her what her meditation was and she said, Radha and Krsna. He then told her all about Mahaprabhu and explained the verse Sri Krsna Caitanya Radha Krsna Nahe Anya – that Mahaprabhu, being a combination of Radha and Krsna, is non-dfiferent from Radha-Krsna combined. She loved it and even learned it and kept repeating it. In fact, she came over to our house a few days later and was still repeating it.
Radhika was attracting so many to Gurudeva by singing verses of Gopi-gita, hence so many were distributed.
She also had fun with one little boy from India who was so happy to get the Prahlad coloring book. His mother had just told him the pastime recently and she said he can’t stop chanting Hare Krsna, and also asked if Nrsmghadeva was in their pillar in their house.
On Sunday evening as the festival was winding-up, Ramananda Raya prabhu had the brilliant idea of moving the table with books right to the exit. As people were leaving, so many people stopped and our motto was, “Any books for any donation,” knowing we could do this, thanks to the GVP Sponsorship Program. Many more books flew out during this last hour while people were leaving, taking home with them the most priceless gem of the transcendental writings of our Srila Gurudeva.
So many nice connections and new friends were made, and we received many email addresses for the hari-katha mailing list and for informing people of local programs in Los Angeles.
I even received this email the other day:
We met at the Moksha Festival. I love the paintings I picked up and had them laminated… I will drape gold fabric around them once I reach my new home in Connecticut.
Srila Gurudeva ki jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Transcendental Book Distribution ki jaya!