Topanga Earth Day Festival
Dandavat pranams to all..
Sri Sri Guru Gauraga Jayate, Jaya Jaya Sri.
When Vasanti dasi asked for a report (on behalf of the GVP Sponsorship program, as we received sponsored books for this festival) about our participation in the Topanga Earth Day Festival, well personally I was embarrassed. This two day event in the rural environment of Topanga, California drew about 500 people or so through the course of the two days. There was music and all kinds of clothing jewelry palmistry and environmentally minded booths and exhibits. Krishna Mayi dasi and I were given a table under a big oak tree along with maybe 15 other vendors. Ours was The Spiritual Art Festival table complete with home-made paper banner done nicely by Hilda, one of the teachers assistants at her school. Krishna mayi also engaged another teacher’s aid now teacher Valoria in setting up the table area the evening before opening day.
The first day Saturday April 21 was quite the struggle with the mind for both of us. We loaded up the table with so many beautiful books of our beloved Srila Gurudeva and Srila Prabhupada. We put them on top of Syamarani didis beautiful prints with the thinking of using them to hold the art down from blowing away. We had our postcards ready advertising the First Open Spiritual Art Festival to be held in El Segundo Ca. June 2nd featuring Srimati Symarani Didi..
Somehow though our consciousness was not quite up to par. With all the mundane music, enjoying atmosphere, kind of a free flowing frolicking outdoor party mood seemed to catch us a little off guard. Another excuse is we were recovering from a long work week and Saturdays are usually collapse days. So that whole lack of enthusiasm we are just here out of duty attitude projected out to all those folks who just kept walking by without stopping. Hmm “this is gonna be a rough one.” Even devotees we recognized barely said “Hari bol!” as they continued on there way to I guess more exciting posts and events somewhere in the crowd.
Although we knew our main purpose in going was to advertise for The Art Festival, not having distributed but about 6 or so pieces of Bhakti Art, and maybe only 5 books collecting a grand total of $15 dollars that day, was a little disheartening. Oh well, one more day of toughing it out.
The next day “Earth Day” April 22nd, better rested, full of breakfast prasada, with an attitude that “Things can only get better, we are not giving up.” We fearlessly set forth. It was different immediately. As soon as we even got close while walking toward the Festival, people were taking postcards cheerfully. We set the table up differently this time, making the art more prominent. The music was better one group chanted with a harmonium and sang Om namah Shivaya, the smiles were better our consciousness was better and the day was awesome. 20 pieces found homes. 20 or more books found hands and hopefully minds, and we collected $80 dollars, gathered ten names for the Hari Katha mailer..
and even met a brand new person, Travis, who really connected with us, expressing his heartfelt desire to come to the Badger Festival. He left with a Brahd Bhagavatamrta and Jaiva Dharma volume 1. We handed out at least 200 postcards individually.
It was so so good, fun, enlivening. The vendors were encouraged to have space at The Art Festival and to this date 3 have already registered for it. What was the real difference? Why was one day so horribly frustrating and the next so awesomely inspiring? To me it seemed that it was a test of faith, of love, and of duty. We wanted to please Srila Gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada, and the entire parampara. Despite obstacles, despite poor results and despite the fact that we were out of our comfort zone, we knew that they, our divine guardians and preceptors, our ever well wishers and heartily blessers, our protectors and ultimate best friends, would want us to go out again. To not give up, be fruitive, discouraged, or weak. To try again despite it all. We did, wow are we ever happy we did. Happy that a few of those hundreds, a small percentage for sure, made contact with an opportunity to make progress on the path of bhakti.
The next big event like this is Topanga Days (May 26-28) a three day all out party. Thank Gurudeva for The Gaudiya Girls…lol
Shivananda sena dasa and Krishna Mayi dasi.