Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Sun Shines for Krishna Devotees’ Dublin Festival
By Fiona Gartland   |  Sep 13, 2008

Over 800 people sat in the unexpected sunshine of St Stephen’s Green in Dublin yesterday to witness the spectacle that was Rathayatra, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness’ festival.

Events began at Parnell Square where the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Eibhlín Byrne, started the festival procession by sweeping the ground in front of the chariot, which contained a likeness of Lord Krishna.

The chariot was then pulled by hand through the city streets, accompanied by members of the Indian community in Dublin – women in sea-blue, red and purple saris and men in orange – drumming, dancing and chanting.

The 2,000-year-old celebration culminated beside the children’s playground in the Green, the ancient chants competing with jazz in the nearby bandstand.

Indian music and dancing featured on a purpose-built stage, along with a modern morality play. Events finished with dishes from nearby Govinda’s vegetarian restaurant.

His Holiness Bhaktimarga Swami, known as the “Walking Monk”, was present for the afternoon. The Canadian has walked across his home country three times and intends to begin the European leg of a world pilgrimage by starting a coastal walk from Belfast to Cork today.

He hoped yesterday’s festival would stimulate people to examine the more spiritual side of life.

“We have good education, good work systems, but when do we ponder pilgrimage?” he asked. “Whether in a church, synagogue or temple, how much time do we have for our inner development?”

Bhaktimarga means path of devotion, he said, and his walk was a way to meet people and make friends. On what seemed like the first sunny Sunday in weeks, the swami said the good weather could be attributed to chanting.

“Chanting calms the elements,” he said.