Ukraine to America, it's Hare Rama, Hare Krishna

Global devotees flock to the ISKCON festival in city

Mumbai Newsline/January 29, 2004
By Prachi Jatania

Mumbai, January 28: SANDAL tilak on Caucasian foreheads. Hindu chants in an alien accent. These saffron-clad global devotees of Krishna stood out among the crowds flocking to the huge Hare Krishna temple at Girgaum on Wednesday.

"Krishna offers the ultimate meaning to life," says petite Tarini Radha nee Tatiyana Matveyeva (35) from Ukraine. She became Tarini from Tatiyana in 1988, captured by Lord Krishna's teachings.

Bright-eyed Tarini cannot wait for the Pushya Abhiseka or flower offering ceremony to be held here on January 29. This event will celebrate the holy bath of the deity.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or ISKCON as it is more commonly known, is pulling out all the stops to make this event a grand jamboree.

More than a thousand flowers will bloom here, with ISKCON flying in a tonne of assorted flora from New Zealand.

Around three thousand devotees are expected to grace the event. Tarini and fellow Ukranian and incense-seller Irini Kuznetsova seemed to be completely caught up in the spirit of the celebrations.

With mehndi colouring their hands and colourful saris draped over their slim shoulders, these European women presented a pretty picture. They were seen showing off their new-found Indian possessions to almost any foreign devotee they could meet.

ISKCON has enough reason to cheer, back home in Ukraine. The former Soviet Socialist Republic now houses 60 teaching centres and 15 Krishna temples.

Meanwhile, over here there's a babel of tongues being spoken. But Kuznetsova or Lila Mayi (46) mingles freely with other devotees at the temple guest house. The language barrier cannot stop her from expressing her deep faith in Krishna.

All in all, for the Krishna devotees descending onto the city, it's one global party.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.