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News 2006
News ->Thousands pray for Janmashtami bomb victims


THOUSANDS PRAY FOR JANMASHTAMI BOMB VICTIMS
(20 August 2006)

Thousands holding hands at the Janmashtami festival as celebrated the the Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford.A bomb was thrown on 16th August 2006 during the festival to celebrate the Birth of Lord Krishna at a Temple in Manipur in India which killed at least five and injured several others. The attacks took place on the same day as the largest Hindu Festival outside India which was being in held at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Hertfordshire that attracts 75,000 over two days.

"It is sad that at almost exactly the same moment when Hindu children were holding hands to pray for victims of terror at 2pm in our temple in UK, terrorists were exploding bombs in our temple in India to kill and maim,” said Gauri Dasa, President of Bhaktivedanta Manor ISKCON temple in Watford which was hosting the largest Hindu festival outside India. “We had organised this prayer to show our solidarity to all those who are suffering, but the terrorist agenda seems to disregard all humane considerations.”

“Terrorism in the name of religion is a real challenge for countries like India, Britain and the USA,” commented Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain. “At a time of heightened security and unease, separatist rebels in Manipur targeted a peaceful community offering prayers to God. This is deplorable and shameful, and the international communities need to rally behind India in its fight against terror.”

The festival which attracts over 75,000 people over two days is marked by costumes, bazaars, plays, singing, dancing, multimedia shows, meditation walks and other shows. The highlight of the festival was to be a human chain to pray for the victims of terror and war.

One of the pilgrims who travelled from Birmingham said "I was very moved when at midnight the whole festival quietened and we found someone to hold hands with. There was silence and the prayer started. I closed my eyes and thought about the war victims in the world and those who died and were hurt at the Krishna Temple in India."

Eight-year old, Shivali Patel from Croydon, whose mother and father are the one of the 1300 volunteers helping at the festival said. "I found my mum and held her hand tight, I then found my brother Rajiv and held his hand. We then prayed hard for everyone in the world who is suffering."

ABOUT BHAKTIDEDANTA MANOR

Bhaktivedanta Manor ISKCON temple, originally gifted to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness by the late Beatle George Harrison. The Manor is nestled in 77 acres of beautiful countryside outside Watford and hosts the largest Hindu festivals in the UK. It has become one of the most important sites of pilgrimage and has a high standard of courses, workshops, civic marriages, cow protection, worship and a monastic facility.

The Founder of ISKCON, His Divine Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had travelled at the age of 70 from India to the west, built over 100 temples, initiated over 10,000 disciples and started a movement which has reached millions of people worldwide and re-established the ancient teachings of India for people of all denominations and nationalities. His translation of the Bhagavad-gita, held sacred by one billion Hindus worldwide, is the most widely distributed and read edition in the world.

ABOUT JANMASTAMI

Janmastami is the popular name for the festival held to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. This festival is celebrated throughout India. People mark this occasion by decorating their homes and temples with symbols depicting the life of Krishna. Special sweets are prepared in honour of Lord Krishna and children dress up to resemble the boy child, Krishna. Miniature cribs containing images of the baby Krishna are also a major feature of Janmastami.

The ceremony of Janmastami involves priests chanting holy mantras and sprinkling the Deity of Krishna with charanamrit (holy water from the River Ganges) and anointing the Krishna Deity with milk, ghee (clarified butter) or honey. Conch shells sound at midnight which is the precise moment of the birth of Lord Krishna. At this time the worshippers break their fast and the feasting begins.

THE BIRTH OF LORD KRISHNA

According to scriptural accounts, Lord Krishna, the eighth son of Vasudeva (father) and Devaki (mother), was born in the sacred city of Mathura, in northern India. Devaki was sister to the ruling monarch of that time, a tyrannical despot named King Kamsa. Prophets had predicted that the eighth son of Devaki would one day kill King Kamsa, thus freeing his subjects from his tyrannical reign of terror. Taking the prophecy to heart, the evil king decided to imprison Krishna's parents, murdering each child at birth until the arrival of Krishna.

Krishna's birth was surrounded by auspicious omens. By divine intervention, Vasudeva his father somehow managed to sneak the newborn baby out of the prison and past the prison guards who were asleep. Krishna was taken to a friend's house and raised by local villagers in idyllic, rural surroundings. Krishna eventually left his rural lifestyle and fulfilled the prophecy by slaying the cruel king, Kamsa.

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