The marketing skills of the college student from Kazakhstan were on display at the Iskcon temple at Vrindavan, as were those of the young lady banker from the US who was busy distributing earthen lamps (diyas) to devotees proceeding for the darshan of the main deity.

In the land of Lord Krishna at Vrindavan, a horde of foreigners mingle with locals and tourists during the Kartik month. This period, between, October 29 to November 28, is considered the most auspicious month of the year, in which devotees can discard all evil deeds and adopt a pure way of life.

Unmindful of the hustle and bustle around, the college student handed over a hard-bound copy of Bhagavad Gita in Hindi to one of the devotees, saying everyone should read it to receive enlightenment. To a devotee who said he couldn’t read Hindi, the Kazakhstan student replied, “It is okay. Just keep this book at home. It will bring you the same happiness as reading.”

With foreigners so close, can natives be far away.

Certainly not, says Ajeeth Yadav, an auto driver from Vrindavan.

“Don’t go by the almost empty posh NRI residential complexes. They are future investments,” he says. Being born and bred in Vrindavan, Ajeeth understands this well.

Age seems to be no bar when it comes to dancing to the tune of the darling of Vrindavan.

Take the case of 65-year-old Janaki Das from Odisha. She has been in Vrindavan for the last 15 days and has made it a routine to visit Iskcon early morning everyday. Neither has having to bathe at three in the morning nor has the biting cold discouraged her from going on the Vrindavan parikrama (or pradakshina). Her son visits her here once every week.

“We get lot of people from the northern and eastern States. My business peaks particularly during the year-end,” said Yadav, a father of three children.

It is a miracle that the age-old tri-cycle whirls through bylanes without honking. The milling crowd makes way as the rickshaw-wallah yells ‘Radhe-Radhe’.

Bumpy roads and the frequent power cuts are not even discussed by devotees who get soaked here in the beauty of Lord Krishna.

suresh.iyengar@thehind.co.in

(This article was published on November 17, 2012)
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