SUMMERCAMP 2006 TRIP TO BHAKTIVEDANTA MANOR
Summer Camp 2006
The annual Summercamp 2006 trip was to the Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford, Northwest Greater London, one of the largest temples in Europe and the UK headquarters for the International Society for Krishna consciousness. Our convoy of vehicles set off for the journey across London early Sunday morning following Aarti ceremony at our Mandir. We arrived at the Manor at 11.30am in time for the Raj Bhoga Aarti, the second of five daily Aarti ceremonies held at the Manor temple. The Raja-bhoga-aarti follows the noon offering of food to the Deities. The priest offers incense, ghee lamp, water, cloth, flowers, camara, and (in warm weather) also a peacock fan.
A picture of the temple altar is shown below. Lord Krishna, stands smiling and playing his flute. Next to him stands his eternal consort, Radharani, who also smiles, happy to see the devotees absorbed in chanting prayers. Present on the altar are also the majestic forms of Lord Ram, his consort, Sita, his brother Laxman and their dearest servant, Hanuman.
Following the Aarti service we were treated to food prepared and served by the temple devotees and we then proceeded to explore the Manor. We toured the grounds, which has beautiful greenery, a lake and a farm.
The farm currently has 30 cows and oxen as part of the Cow Protection Project, the first of its kind in Europe. The cow is considered dear because of her gentle nature and her important service to humanity. Cows provide us with milk, “the miracle food,” which the Vedas consider an ideal food for health. It helps develop the brain for understanding religious and philosophical topics. Since the cow supplies us milk, she is considered another mother. Krishna is known as Govinda, “the Lord of the cows.”
Following our tour of the grounds, we had a picnic, enjoying some of the delights from the manor bakery such as the lovely Cheesecake, which was very popular.
Everyone then relaxed, continuing to explore the Manor, visiting the gift shop, and enjoying themselves before setting off on the journey back home.
Everyone had a great time, we were able to enjoy a day trip that was educational as well as fun and gave the MLVB devotees of all ages a chance to meet and socialise outside of our normal temple environment. For many of us it was the first opportunity we have had to visit the Bhaktivedanta Manor.
Devotees of Krishna perform a daily schedule of personal prayer and meditation, centred around the recitation of the names of Krishna (God). The prayer, or “mantra”, that they repeat is called the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare”, “Krishna” and “Rama” are all names used in the Vaishnava tradition that refer to God and His energies. Because God is spiritual and all-powerful if someone chants His name then they will become purified – materially and spiritually. This chanting is also considered a form of prayer whereby the devotee is appealing to the Lord to please engage the devotee in the Lord’s service.