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Fun Filled Spiritual Picnic

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Devotees pray hard and party hard. They like to celebrate. They sing, they dance, they laugh, they joke and they enjoy delicious prasadam (sanctified vegetarian food).

Of course, everything is done by keeping Lord Krishna in the centre and as per his guidelines given in the holy books.

Devotees of New Town (Jalvayu, Greenfield, Alka Awasan, Omni Tulsi society), Kolkata have been practicing devotion to Lord Krishna sincerely.

They celebrate all the festivals and every weekend come together to meditate on the holy names of Krishna and discuss from scriptures like Bhagavad Gita. 

But devotees also had a desire to go for an outing. So, we all decided to go for a spiritual picnic. Everyone happily agreed.

Eco Park is today one of the most famous parks in Kolkata. People from far off places come to enjoy here.

So, we decided to have our picnic at Eco Park. It is near New Town, so it was convenient for all. 

We decided to go on a picnic on Saturday, 1st Feb.

Everyone was enthusiastic to join. The weather god was merciful. Not too cold not too hot. No cloud. No rain.

The park looked beautiful.

We choose to assemble in the Japanese forest of Eco Park. It is filled with greenery and was full of colourful flowers.

We were supposed to reach by 2 pm. But following Indian Standard Time we reached by 3 pm 😊

We chose a spot overlooking a small pond and pagoda as our picnic spot.   

We decided to begin our picnic by chanting the holy names of Krishna.

Before chanting we recited verses from Sistastakam and discussed the meaning of the first verse.

In the first verse Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explains that chanting the holy names of Krishna cleanses our hearts of all impurities and fills it with love for Krishna.

After the verse recitation, we began chanting on the beads which many of us had carried. Those who did not carry beads we provided them the beads. Devotees were trying their best to chant with sincerity.

Since it’s a public place so slight distraction was expected. Few people were walking through that place.

Since Arijit Singh, one of the famous Bollywood singers, was having a concert the next day (Sunday,3rd Feb) so the sound system was being tested. So intermittently the technicians used to play some movie track.

But fortunately, it used to last for not more than a few seconds.

In spite of these minor distractions, we all tried our best to absorb ourselves in the holy names of Krishna for more than half an hour.

Children were thoroughly engaged too. When parents chanted, they were busy in drawing beautiful pictures and colouring them.

They learned moral lessons from Ramayana on the topic – let us build a bridge for Lord Rama.

They also attended a short talk on the subject – Environment Preservation & Go Green. 

Chanting was followed by short and soft kirtan. It was good enough to set the mood.

All – parents & children – were eagerly waiting for the next activity to start.

It was fun time now.

In spiritual life, one of the most important requirements is to have good and healthy relationships amongst the devotees.

So our first activity was “Know the devotee.”

We wrote the names of each devotee on a piece of paper, collected all the pieces and shuffled it.

Each devotee had to come and pick a piece of paper. 

Now the paper they got had the name of a devotee and their task was to introduce that devotee in an interesting way.

During the introduction focus was on devotee’s qualities, their devotional journey and how their presence is an inspiration to all.

5 minutes were given for preparation. After that, each devotee came forward to introduce their partner.

During the introduction focus was on devotee’s qualities, their devotional journey and how their presence is an inspiration to all.

Each devotee has some unique spiritual qualities and these qualities should be appreciated.

Snacks Time

After the introduction it was time for evening snacks and herbal coffee.

We had prepared jhalmoori and herbal coffee.

Jhaalmori is always loved by all.

But everyone liked hot herbal coffee too although they were tasting it for the first time.

Anything offered to Krishna becomes enjoyable!

Evening refreshments was followed by games. For games, devotees were divided into two groups.

Journey to Goloka Vrindavan

For ‘Journey to Goloka Vrindavan’ game, a seven-layer hurdle was created.

Each hurdle was named after the anarthas (vices) – lust, greed, pride, anger, envy, illusion, false ego – which are impediments in our spiritual journey.

One of the devotees of a group was blindfolded. He had to pass through the obstacles to reach the final destination which was Goloka Vrindavan.

The blindfolded devotee had to be guided by his group members.

It was not just the hurdles that he had to pass through but during his journey the other group members were tasked to distract the devotee and he had to be cautious to identify who is the genuine guide and who is the fake guide. 

In our spiritual life too, we have to identify our genuine friend and well-wisher who takes us on the right path and be cautious of those who may misguide us.

Everyone including the children enjoyed the game.

Churning the ocean

As demons and demigods had come to churn the ocean.

So, the devotees divided themselves into two groups for ‘Churning the ocean’ game.

One group became the demons and other demigods.

We did not have Vasuki the gigantic serpent which was used to churn the ocean.

But instead, we had a rope and the demigods with the chant of Hare Krishna tried to pull the demons.

Demons too held the rope tightly and with all their might pulled the demigods. 

And the rope broke 😊.

Well built devotees had to move out and only children and few ladies then participated.

Everyone enjoyed but it was becoming late. So, we decided to windup.

Dinner Time

Dinner prasadam was for all – Veg Pulav, aloo gobi sabji and Jalebi.

It was a fun-filled Krishna Conscious picnic. Children also got gifts.

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