9th Annual Madhura Utsav at Namadwaar – a Feast of Devotion

A light Krishna leela moment during Bhagavatam katha.

A light Krishna leela moment during Bhagavatam katha.

MANVEL: Saints say that Bhakti is akin to a virus. It cannot be taught; it has to be caught! Bhakti is nurtured, inspired and grows only in the satsang of a Mahatma who himself (or herself) has that true bhakti. This fact becomes more and more evident every year in the annual Madhura Utsav held at His Holiness Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji’s Houston Namadwaar every year end, to all the devotees who flock here from Houston and all corners of the country.

Organized annually by Global Organization for Divinity, 9th annual Bhagavata Saptaha and Madhura Utsav was held from Dec 24 to 31, and was another beautiful experience for all those who were fortunate to be a part of it. With shravanam and kirtanam, the pillars of Bhakti, as its basis and conducted in the presence of Sri Ramanujamji, disciple of Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji, the week-long celebration was full of joy and inspiration, with Sri Premika Varadan-Sri Madhuri Sakhi (Lord Sri Krishna-Sri Radha Devi) in the center.

Sesha vahanam

Sesha vahanam

The highlight events were the sweet nectar of Bhagavatam katha by Sri Ramanujamji in the evenings where he elucidated in detail on Sri Krishna’s birth and His leelas, and the sharing of his sweet memories of Sri Swamiji in the mornings where he shared how being with Sri Swamiji was a constant learning on leading a life in Bhagavata dharma.

Ramanujamji’s expositions on Bhagavatam were so beautiful, deep and unique, and meant specially for rasikas (those who simply enjoy Bhagavatam for the sake of enjoyment). He dwelt in great detail for over 3 days simply on the birth of Sri Krishna and the single sloka “tam adbhutam balakam…” that describes the descent of Krishna avatar. After that, over the next few days he went on to heartfelt descriptions and elucidation of Bhagavan’s special Gokula leelas – Putana moksham, Damodara Leela, the heart-warming, humorous Makhan chor leelas – and finally concluded with a touch on Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s soft prema leelas – Brahma mohana leela, the Venu Gitam, Rasa leela, and ending on an auspicious note with Sri Rukmini Kalyanam.


Another light moment during Bhagavatam katha by Sri Ramanujamji.

Other events during the week included Sri Guru Paduka Pooja, daily Tiruppavai recitals, daily Nama dhyanam, daily Madhura Gitam Mahayagna renditions of Sri Swamiji’s kirtans, daily Ashtapadi bhajans, Vahanam processions (Sesha vahanam, Garuda vahanam and Yaanai vahanam) with kirtans, Nandotsavam where all ladies and children danced around baby Krishna, Govinda Pattabhishekam (celebration of Krishna lifting mount Govardhan maharaj), Deepotsavam, Janavasam, Radha Kalyanam (the divine wedding of the divine couple), Divya nama sankirtan and many other devotional events.

There were also many children’s events and cultural programs through the week – rendition of Sri Swamiji’s songs by the students of Smt. Uma Ranganathan and group of Smt. Neela Iyengar, Smt. Kiran Partha and Smt. Raji Iyer; Hari Kathas by many children Mayuri and Keshav Srivaths and Krithika Dwarakanath from Houston, Chandrashekar Rajesh and Krishnanujam Srinivas from California; a play on the qualities of great devotees by over 30 children from across the USA and Canada; a special Nikunjotsavam concert by Kum. Akhila Mamandur of Houston TX; a quiz program, an outing for children, and more.

Over 200 devotees from Houston as well as visitors from across the USA/Canada enjoyed and served at the week-long Madhura Utsav feast of devotion at Namadwaar.