Vrindavan, 2019.02.08 (Radhamadhav Das): Have you wondered where all the very special native personalities in Braj have suddenly appeared from? Some wear exotic bird feathers in their hair and some have faces painted with earthy colors.
Around twenty spiritual leaders from various tribes across North and South America have arrived in Vrindavan to prepare a first-of-its-kind spiritual convergence at the Kumbha Mela this year. There they will lead the first Kiva here, a ceremonial gathering of various spiritual traditions in a specially constructed Temple of the Heart of Mother Earth.
The Kiva is a circular sacred space with the ancestral fire at the center that in ceremony remains lit for four days and nights, connecting the guardians of the cardinal points and the forces of the Universe. The elders represent their people and culture, both of which are threatened by environmental destruction and reckless policies.
This unique convergence of elders from the East and the West will be celebrated for the sake of unifying all ancestral cultures in one dance, song and prayer for reestablishing harmony with and protection of our Mother Earth, and especially her rivers.
Their traditions have striking similarities with our Vedic culture. They mentioned the respectful touching of the Earth (holy places), obeisances, offerings, chants and prayers. They also see the basic elements of earth and water as feminine (Bhumi Devi, Yamuna Devi etc.) and the basic elements of fire and air as masculine (Agni Deva, Vayu Deva). All elements have their parents and they again have their parents. Their supreme Deity is never single as in the Abrahamic religions, but always the primordial parent couple, which carries different names in different cultures- In the Sanatana Dharma traditions, the Divine Couples: Radha-Krsna, Laksmi-Narayana, etc.
One elder said that we should balance prayer and social action. Prayer and other spiritual activities are very essential, but they should be accompanied with social action like protection of Mother Earth, which carries the prayer into the outer world.
The Deities deserve our reverence, but we should not forget that Mother Earth is also a Deity who deserves our love and care and reverence, directly maintaining us with her mountains and rivers, animals and plants. Shri Krishna convinced the Brajavasis to worship the Govardhan hill and the cows. There is a reason why these elders first came to Braj, and Krishna and all Brajwasis know it.
In Vrindavan, there will be a special event this 11th Feb in the Vrindavan Research Institute at Raman Reti Road from 3:30 PM till 7:00 PM. Local Brajwasi elders will welcome and honor the spiritual elders from America and there will be traditional ceremonies, a special drama, chanting, prayers, discourses and snacks. All are cordially invited. For more information visit www.kivakumbhamela.com.
Radhamadhav Das is a Swiss disciple of Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj. He lives in Vrindavan, where he is building up an eco-friendly spiritual community to serve as a model for natural living. He also serves as research scholar and author of books on Gaudiya-Vaishnava topics. His website is www.nectarpot.com