On Friday, October 9th, 2009, the students, teachers and parents of the Bhaktivedanta Swami Mission School celebrated Govardhan Puja with great aplomb and splendor. It was the last day of school before breaking for the Diwali vacations.
The school management divided the teachers into three teams to systematically celebrate the pastime of Lord Krishna lifting Govardhana Hill. One team prepared a life-like model of Govardhana after having studied the history, layout and stories connected with each site on Govardhana Hill. Another team cooked halava, sweets and saffron rice (kesar bhat) and assembled Govardhana Hill with the same. The rice and halava Govardhana Hill was a complete replica of the original complete with RadhaKund, Aniyor village, Kusum Sarovar and many other scared places found on Govardhana Hill.
The third team put together a puppet show depicting the pastimes of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan Hill as well as the story of Kheer Chor Gopinath. This team worked for weeks under guidance from Gandhari Devi Dasi, Spiritual Coordinator, to prepare the puppet which not only enlivened the children but also simplified the pastimes of Lord Krishna.
While the students usually head preparations for various festivals at the school, during Govardhan Puja they just enjoy the festivities while the teachers plan out everything. Gandhari Devi Dasi observed that “Every teacher was abundantly blessed as they were blissfully engaged in serving Lord Krishna in one way or the other. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita that even the slightest endeavor on the path of devotional service can save one from the greatest of sins. So a teacher at the Bhaktivedanta Swami Mission School will find plenty of opportunities to engage in devotional service with the numerous festivals we celebrate from time to time.”
Rama Rupa Dasa, Head Pujari of ISKCON Juhu, performed the maha-arati of the Govardhana Hill and Sri Gopal who adorned the Hill. The parents, children and teachers thereafter circumbulated the Govardhan Hill and received immense spiritual benefit as mentioned in various Vedic scriptures. The children especially cheered as they received handfuls of sweets as mahaprasad [sanctified food] from the Hill and thereafter a wonderful feast in their respective classrooms. They blissfully ended their first term with Krishna Conscious activities which will be followed by more in the second term.