The Radha Gopinath Temple in Mumbai, India celebrated their annual Flower Festival on January 30th, 2016. Over two hundred western yoga teachers and students joined thousands of members of the Radha Gopinath Temple congregation for the event. Participants of the Bhakti Immersion Retreat held at Govardhan Eco Village rushed to Mumbai for the celebrations. Gaur Vani, of the music band The Hanumen, posted on the internet, “After seeing the new developments at Radhanath Swami’s Govardhan Eco Village (including life-size replicas of the holy sites of Vrindavan), tons of hugging cows, serving with villagers, and loads of kirtans and music and yoga classes we’ve come back to Mumbai for the world-famous Flower Festival….” Sixty students of Jiva Mukti Yoga’s Yoga Teachers Training also joined in.
At 7:00 a.m. on the day of the festival a team of hundreds of volunteers began plucking petals from 2300 pounds of flowers – white and yellow chamomile, orange and coppery marigold, yellow and white chrysanthemum, pink and red roses, jasminum molle and jasmine. This seva continued for several hours as Radhanath Swami gave a talk describing the history and teachings of the path of devotion. Then in the evening those plucked petals were showered upon temple deities Sri Sri Radha and Krishna as Gaur Vani, Vishvambhar and his wife Vrinda lead the thousands of devotees in Kirtan. Finally the same petals were showered upon the devotees.
Gaur Vani posted on Facebook the next day, “At one point while chanting the entire harmonium gets covered in petals. I’m just poking at this flower covered, wheezing box hoping to hit something that sounds halfway decent. Flowers in every pocket, gap, opening, fold, and crevice. Still pulling petals out of cameras and backpacks the next day .
Just prior to the flower showers Radhanath Swami spoke of how bhakti unites us for the common purpose of serving Sri Krishna: “Here are people from Mexico and United States, from Canada and Sweden, from Switzerland and Australia, from Russia and Ukraine, from England and Italy, and a lot of people from India. And this morning everyone was sitting around the same little baskets of flowers, plucking petals, irrespective of what status, caste, sex or economic bracket we came from. Despite our incredibly amazing differences we are one in our love for God, in our compassion for each other, and in our appreciation for each other.”