Beatle George Harrison donated Bhaktivedanta Manor Temple in England will reportedly dress a herd of Jersey cows in multi-colored decorations to celebrate Lord Krishna’s birthday Janmashtami on August 21 & 22 in 2011. Participating children’s faces will be painted blue like Lord Krishna by volunteers to help them get into the festive spirit, reports suggest.
Claimed to be largest festival of its kind outside India, it hopes to attract over 70,000 pilgrims. “You will get to experience a glimpse into the mystic East, with a magnificent shrine, colourful costumes, enchanting music, beautiful exhibitions, meditation and exotic food set in a picturesque setting”, organizers claim. It will include dramas, cultural dances, and musical “extravaganzas” on the main stage, besides a dedicated children’s tent and illuminated displays of Krishna’s pastimes. Pilgrims will be served with free prasadam (sacred vegetarian food).
Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, applauded efforts of Manor Temple to highlight the Hindu principles of cleanliness of soul and mind, mercy, austerity, greed and violence free living, eternal relationship with God, truthfulness, etc.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this Manor Temple would focus in this direction.
George Harrison is said to have once chanted “Hare Krishna” mantra for 17 hours non-stop on a car journey from France to Portugal. In 1970, George produced the Radha Krishna Temple album with the devotees, a track from which featured in the top ten record sales in that year. Just before Srila Prabhupada, founder of Hare Krishnas, died in 1977, he is said to have removed the ring on his right hand and said to the disciples around him, “This is for George, give it to him.” Harrison donated the Manor building and estate in 1973.
This Hindu temple, one of ISKCON’s (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) most prestigious, is located in Aldenham near Watford in borough of Hertsmere and county of Hertfordshire in East of England (United Kingdom). Besides a temple, it also runs a College of Vedic Studies, primary school, and pre-school. It has organized a farm based on “traditional principles” and runs a Goshala with reportedly 46 cows and oxen basing on “symbiotic relationship between men and cows” and has recently completed its ‘New Gokul’ complex, claimed to be Europe’s largest cow protection project. It provides comprehensive wedding services with vegetarian meals and Sanskrit shlokas, and calls it a “transcendental religious experience”. Its daily activities start with Mangal Arati (singing of prayers) at 4-30 am, and include circumambulations around Tulsi (holy basil) plant, with temple closing at 9-30 pm after Shayan Arati. Manor claims itself “a God-centred community which gives refuge to people from all walks of life” and a rural retreat which “serves as a window to Vrindavan, Lord Krishna´s eternal home”.