All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

The Lotus Room @ Earth Garden

The Malta Centre of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math at Green Festival

10-11 May 2008

by Malini Devi Dasi

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For its second edition, Earth Garden invited The Lotus Room, a comprehensive yoga centre which is also the Malta seat of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip, to operate its entire holistic area.

Earth Garden was the most popular family event the previous year in Malta, with over 10,000 people attending throughout the weekend festival (from a population of 400,000). Earth Garden's theme is environmental awareness and protection.

(From left) Indurekha Devi Dasi, her daughter Jahnavi Devi Dasi and I, Malini Devi Dasi, had been planning for this festival since January. Especially during the two weeks leading up to it, we met for several hours daily to prepare an interesting experience for the attendees and to entice people to our area during the event.

The second edition of Earth Garden was again held at Ta' Qali National Park, in the central part of the island of Malta. The festival opened to the public from 2pm till midnight on Saturday and Sunday.

Malta is such a small country that even if you live on the coast, the longest drive to the island's centre may be just 30-40 minutes! Nonetheless, some people camped over just because it was a fun excuse to do so.

On the first day, Indurekha Didi (left) and her husband, John, were on-site from 6am to set up. Jahnavi Didi, with her baby daughter Jayanti, and I joined them later in the morning. Lisa (right), a regular at the Lotus Room and a good friend, came to help us throughout the event.

Unfortunately, the weather was not favourable, with gale-force winds blowing at force 8. It necessitated tying objects and weighing things down with stones!

With so few people attending the festival this first day, we were pleased that some readily joined the seated bhajan sessions.
Determined, we proceeded with our programme despite the grey sky and extremely strong wind.

The Lotus Room had prepared a simple Kirttan Guide including the songs especially selected for the event. It contained the Invocation, Arunodaya Kirttan II (Jiv Jago), Bhajahu Re Mana, Atma Nivedana and Nama Sankirttana (Hari Haraye).

These particular songs were intended to convey the uselessness of this life if not pursuing the devotional service of the Lord's lotus feet, and the great joy to be found there.

Meanwhile in the market area, Jahnavi Didi's husband, Manuel, set up the fund-raising stall of the Lotus Room.
One of Manuel's friends, Stefano, assisted him, while Lisa infected everyone with her high spirits!
Malini Didi's sister and nephew, Lesley and Gabriel, joined forces in the market stall just as the influx of customers began.
Considering the sparse attendance on this first day, the fund-raising stall received constant interest and did well.

By 8pm, it began to drizzle, but it looked like the rain would become heavier. We packed away both the market stall and the holistic area and called it an early night. We wondered whether the weather would be better the next day - it had been sunny and warm for several weeks - but we were determined that, unless it was absolutely terrible, we would set up again for the Sunday, the second and last day of the festival.

Next day we saw a ray of sunshine. Manuel tried extra-hard with his market stall set-up and made it bigger and better.
From early in the afternoon one could see that several more people were about... it promised to be a good day!
The festival was crowded with people and spirits were high. Everybody wanted to make up for lost time and the atmosphere was really great!
The fund-raising team were kept busy all day. Ten-year-old Gabriel turned out to be a gifted salesman, just what we needed for our venture!


Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
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