The 10th annual Namadwaar Madhura Utsavam at Houston was held from December 23-31, 2017. Led by Sri Poornimaji and Sri Ramaswamyji, this year’s Utsav was truly unique. What was elucidated on in Poornimaji’s brilliant evening discourses on the Navayogis’ exposition of Bhagavata Dharma in Srimad Bhagavatam, was actually practiced by all devotees during the day, easily with no explicit effort.
The Navayogis speak of how, to get rid of fear, one must hold on to the Lotus Feet of the Lord through incessant Nama sankirtan and reminiscing of the leelas of Bhagavan. True to this, there was constant reverberation of the Divine Name in Namadwaar and every day, different leelas of Bhagavan were enacted by devotees. Special highlights included the Vana Bhojanam – a depiction of the Gopa boys playing with Krishna in the forests of Brindavan, where children dressed up as Gopas and actually played with Premika Varadan and ate with Him; Govinda Pattabhishekam, where devotees and children enacted the entire leela; Kudirai vahanam where the Uraiyur Serthi Utsavam was enacted; Garuda Vahanam which included enactment of various scenes from Bhagavatam where Bhagavan gives darshan while seated on Garuda.
Vaikunta Ekadasi was also celebrated in a grand manner with the whole Namadwaar reverberating with the Divine Name as Premika Varadan-Madhuri Sakhi and all devotees went through the “Vaikunta Dwaar”.
Another highlight event at the Utsav was an entire day dedicated to children. On Dec 30 morning, children helped pull Bhagavan’s Ratha (chariot), then presented a unique music and dance sequence depicting Krishna subduing the different egos of Brahma, Indra, Kaliya and the Gopis. In the afternoon children played Krishna-themed games outdoors, which was followed by Janavasam performed entirely by children and the grand finale of the Radha Kalyanam, also performed by children in their own mandaps to their own Premika Varadan-Madhuri Sakhi.
Every day there was also Madhurasmriti, where devotees shared sweet memories of their experiences with Sri Swamiji in India, and also many cultural performances – Hari Kathas by children from the Gopa Kuteeram Hari Katha Club – Maithreyi Asthagiri, Madhura Sriram, Archana Bharadwaj, Ananya Hariharasudhan, Bharat Salvady & Kritika Dwarakanath, and Aaditya Karthik from Canada; Dance performances by Shweta Srinivasan from Canada, Sanjana Anand from Seattle, Dharshana Dhantu from Atlanta, Pavithra Chandrasekar from Houston, and group of Archana Bharadwaj, Harini Ganesh, Keerthana Venkataraman, Ramitha Venkat, Sahana Ganesh, Sneha Nair and Varshni Venkatesan from Houston; and Bhajans by children from the Gopa Kuteeram Bhajan Mandali and students of Smt. Meenakshi Venkataraman.
Over 150-200 people participated everyday at the Utsav. Many devotees from out of town traveled to Houston specifically to participate in this Utsavam. Several devotees came from all corners of Houston to participate in the Utsavam.
While everyone had a wonderful time at the Utsav, children who participated in the event were particularly very fortunate. A few Houston Gopa Kuteeram children shared about their experience. Click their names to read what they have to share.