Today was an important day – Australia Day, Indian Republic Day and the Disappearance Day of Lochan Das Thakur – so many important events all squeezed into a single day. And it was a public holiday here as well. Nothing like a public holiday on a weekday. And for a good part of the day, I felt it was a Sunday.
I reached the corner of Swanston St and Bourke St around 10:30am and found a few devotees waiting to take part in the Australia Day celebration parade. There were many ethnic communities participating from China, Macedonia, Pakistan, the Punjabi community, the Turks and of course the Hare Krishnas. Even though the day was a bit cold and the crowd turn out seemed a bit low compared to last year, we were happy to be there. We had maya to fight and people to deliver. I took many photos but I am having some upload issues. So, below is just a few for you to get an idea what we were up to today :
Of all the ethnic communities and groups present, I think we were the only ones that looked very young, were singing and dancing. As usual the matajis were the colorful lot with the boring white dhoti clad prabhujis at the back. The matajis had all their various dance moves in place and the prabhujis just had their clappings in place. Prabhus, we need more dance moves !!!!!
I ran around taking a few photos and then my friend’s camera ran out of battery. Later on I noticed that the year imprint on the photos was wrong too. It was showing 2010. Too late now. Anyways, once the camera was in a state of unconsciousness, I decided to join the group and dance too. Phew ! What a work out ! But it was grand walking down Swanston St and past the museum, with crowd on either side cheering. Looked like we were winners of a world cup soccer match and we were being welcomed by the citizens. But the crowd was kind and they cheered for all. And to make us happy, some of them danced too by the road side.
Once the parade was done, by around 12pm, Nanda Mandir prabhu, myself and few others rushed to the temple to make it in time for the lunch back at the temple. And that was how the Australia Day Harinam day out turned out for me. Had heaps of fun ! Many people on the streets, as usual would have wondered why the Hare Krishnas always want to sing and dance. What is the purpose behind this? Lets see what Lochan Das thakur said in the years gone by :
Locana Dasa Thakura sings the glories of Sri Gauranga and Nityananda in the following beautiful song:
parama karuna pahun dui jana
saba avatara, sara shiromani
kevala ananda kanda
bhaja bhaja bhai, chaitanya nitai
sudhrida visvasa kori
vishaya chariya se rase majiya
mukha bolo hari hari
dekho ore bhai, tribhuvane nai
emona doyala data
pashu-pakhi jhure, pashana vidore
shuni yar guna gantha
samsare majiya, rahile pariya
se pade nahilo asha
apana koroma, bhunjaye shamana,
kohoye locana dasa
This song was especially dear to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who translates it as follows:
This is a song by Locana dasa Thakura. Locana dasa declares that the two Lords, Nitai-Gauracandra – Lord Nitai and Lord Caitanya are very merciful. They are the essence of all incarnations. The specific significance of these incarnations is that prosecuting their way of self-realization is simply joyful, for they introduced chanting and dancing. There are many incarnations, like Lord Rama and even Krishna, who taught Bhagavad-gita, which requires knowledge and understanding. But Lord Caitanya introduced a process which is simply joyful? simply chant and dance.
Therefore Locana Das requests everyone: “My dear brother, I request that you just worship Lord Caitanya and Nityananda with firm conviction and faith.” Don’t think that this chanting and dancing will not lead to the desired goal. It will. It is the assurance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu that one will get all perfection by this process. Therefore one must chant with firm faith and conviction.