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VPS 2005 Radhastami Festival

The 2005 VPS Radhastami Festival

By Rajiv Ramaratnam

The same review appears on Lokvani.


On Saturday, the 17th of September the Vrindavana Preservation Society(VPS) presented a colossal evening of devotional songs and dance to celebrate Radhastami. Radhastami celebrates the birth of Radharani, the object of Lord Krishna’s divine and ecstatic love and the Queen of the spiritual realm. She was born a few weeks after the birth of Lord Krishna. The Radhastami event has held at the Quincy High School in Quincy.

Rajiv Ramaratnam and his nine-year-old daughter Kanika Rajiv served as MCs of the event. An event of this kind was new to VPS in that it had the audience join in and actively participate with the performers who were on stage. Several audience members joined the performers by either singing along or clapping. Many in the audience had brought their own musical instruments and used them during the program.

Mohan Samlal set the devotional tone of the evening by performing several melodious Bhajans. Nikunj Priya Dasi, the secretary of VPS then presented a talk about VPS and its motto, ‘Service is the freedom of the Soul’. More melodious Bhajans followed this presentation. The performers were Jeff Forti, Celia Chadwick, Viryavan Dasa and Daru Krishna.

Nick Cavallo, a volunteer of VPS presented a session on VPS activities in India. VPS has made great strides in the preservation of the holy city of Vrindavana which is situated close to New Delhi, India. VPS efforts in the area include preservation of the Historic temples of Vrindavana, preserving the simple lifestyle of its local residents and a massive reforestation effort. Most recently, some members of VPS visited Oyali Kuppam, a village in South India badly affected by the Tsunami. VPS has adopted this village and has made great progress in its restoration.

Idella Payne an employee of Channel 2, PBS was deeply moved by the Tsunami’s devastation of South Asia that she wrote a song about it. Idella sang this song to the audience after Nick’s talk. The next event was a colorful and well-choreographed Oddissi dance performance by the students of Mauli Paul.

One subsidiary of VPS is the Vaisnava Academy, a South Shore school, that teaches Indian culture, particularly to the younger generation. Havisha Gaddipalli a student of the Academy then presented a talk on her experiences in the school. Kalindi Mehta, one of the Program Directors of the Academy followed Havisha with a speech outlining the agenda of the Academy for the current year.

MCs Rajiv and Kanika then honored the sponsors of the event for their generosity. Rajiv spoke briefly about the 3rd Annual Cricket VPS Tournament played in June- July. This was, by far, the most successful Cricket Tournament for VPS. The Boston Globe ran a two-page article on the event. The University of Massachusetts, Lowell won this tournament for the second straight year. Two key organizers who were the prime movers of the tournament, Nikhil Wadhwa, the games committee chairman and ‘tireless’ umpire Chetan Sharma were honored during this segment of the program.

Two other programs that VPS conducts are the adult Yoga class and the monthly Bhajan programs. The former is conducted every Sunday at 10:30 AM at the Clifford Marshall School in Quincy, concurrently with the Vaisnava Academy, which conducts classes at the same venue, at the same time. The Bhajan program is held on a monthly basis at the residence of interested parties.

Siddanta Dasa, a Yoga instructor presented a talk on the adult Yoga sessions conducted by VPS and Jill Jardine a VPS member, presented a session on the VPS Bhajan program

The final Bhajan of program came from the honorary Keshav Shukla, who then led the audience to the cafeteria as part of a ‘Dol Lila’ (deity procession). At the cafeteria the audience received a complementary meal from VPS’ own Sachi Matha’s Kitchen.

The enchanting and eclectic event of song and celebration was an immensely successful event for VPS. Kanika Rajiv, the Co-MC of the event received accolades from the audience for her performance and for surpassing the other co-host, her proud father. For more VPS activities, please visit www.vps-international.org.

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