On Friday the 10th, and Sunday the 12th August, Radhanath Swami attended the appearance celebration of Lord Krishna at Bhaktivedanta Manor, in the Hertfordshire countryside of England, outside of London. Sri Krishna Janmashtami, as the festival is more commonly known, is celebrated by Krishna devotees around the world. As in previous years, Radhanath Swami was a special guest at the Bhaktivedanta Manor for the festivities.
Over the course of the two days more than 70,000 people attended the festival. Each year it is the largest such celebration outside of India. The grounds of the Manor are transformed with tents and marquees hosting a variety of musical and stage performances. Celebrations go into the early hours of the morning.
Radhanath Swami addressed the festival-goers in the main tent on both days. Speaking on the appearance of Lord Krishna, he commented, “Krishna comes to attract our hearts. In this age Krishna specifically appears in His name. By chanting His names we can attain the highest love of God, prema bhakti.”
Over 1,000 volunteers helped in the weeks and days proceeding the festival. During his visit Radhanath Swami spoke to many of them, remarking how wonderful it was that so many were voluntarily giving their time to serve.
During the event Radhanath Swami was interviewed by a number of radio and TV stations, including the BBC. He also met with local and national politicians and other dignitaries. For many of them, this was their second or third meeting with him.
At midnight on the first day of the festival, the time at which Krishna took birth, Swami led a crowd of 500 in kirtan, singing the names of God. Although many had fasted all day, as per tradition, they sang and danced full of energy and devotion. On conclusion of the festivities Swami expressed his gratitude for being invited to be with them and his desire to be back next year.