Can one expect similar outcomes when traveling on the same trip to Iskcon as well as Ibiza? Well, I didn’t! However, I’ll let you be the judge of it.
A few years ago, we were very fortunate to celebrate the festival of ‘Janmashtami’, Lord Krishna’s birthday, at the ‘Bhaktivedanta Manor’ in Watford, London. This beautiful, lush property spread across acres was a gift by the legendary George Harrison (think The Beatles, think also the song, ‘My Sweet Lord’ ‘Hare Krishna’).
For the festivities, the foregrounds of the manor were transformed into a ‘Mela’ (fair). Around sixty thousand devotees cooked and cleaned, served and enjoyed, chanted and celebrated the Lord’s birthday with great gusto. Radhanath Swamiji (The Head Saint) himself was present there for the celebrations and with great affection, showed our group of twelve, around the ‘Lord’s Manor’.
Post a hearty Prasadam dinner we moved onto the Soho Street Iskcon in London. As midnight approached, the energy levels there were sky-rocketing. Along with hundreds of devotees we danced and chanted ‘Hare Krishna’ in unison on the street. Soho Street, usually a pub hub, was awash with jumping, joyful souls that night. Their joy in celebrating the Lord’s birthday was palpable. It was a magical night and to this day I can feel the vibrations of our collective ‘Dance of Joy’.
Late the next morning, the ten of us from Mumbai and our very dear hosts from London flew to Ibiza. Yes, we celebrated ‘Janmashtami’ in London and then moved on to celebrate ‘Life’ in Ibiza. The stunning view when landing on this Balearic Island is simply divine. The crystal blue of the water was tantalizing me to jump right off the plane and take a dip! That would have to wait for now though. We were buzzing with excitement to explore all the items on our packed itinerary. Partying till the early hours of the morning with our Krishna the previous night had already set our body-clocks on late night mode, but Ibiza runs on a time-zone of its own. We danced all night at ‘Amnesia’, post a superb meal at ‘Tentazione Ristorante’ until 5 am. Through the days, we went by private boat (dancing!) to the picturesque and buzzing ‘Blue Marlin’ in Formentera, and to ‘Juan Y Andrea’, where we bumped into and clicked pictures with tennis legend Boris Becker. Also, through our trip we enjoyed at ‘Malibu’ for day parties, ‘Sa Capella’ in San Antonio, the famous ‘Lio’ and many more hotspots.
The highlight of our trip, however, was on our last evening. We started by enjoying fresh brick-oven pizzas in the old village and then walked around. Suddenly, we found ourselves ensconced in a hippy-parade! For the second time within the span of a week, we were dancing on the streets amidst throngs of revelers. The energy here too was pulsating. This night was ‘flower-power’ night in all of Ibiza. Absolutely everyone including us, was dressed to the theme.
From there we moved on to ‘Pacha’, the most awaited venue of all. Our large group was ushered to a VIP table. The decibel levels here were deafening. The crowd and the DJ were a perfect match to each other, one ousting the others performances. What an atmosphere! Sometime in the next few hours, I sensed a shift in the mood. A changing of gears, which was apparent in the lighting, the music, even amidst the dancing crowds. Out of nowhere, or rather, out of the haze created by smoke, we saw a parade of gorgeously over-decked performers emerge carrying a palanquin. Some remixed version of George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord – Hare Krishna’ started blaring.
Lo and Behold, on the palanquin of gold and peacock feathers was a man dripped in mid-night blue from head to toe, dressed as the ‘Lord Krishna’ himself. I got goose bumps. Was I dreaming of Janmashtami? Was this for real? The energy levels now escalated to an unmatched crescendo. We were all swept up in the moment. There, in the greatest Night-Club in all of Europe, I swayed stunned, mesmerized, joyful, feeling one with the Lord. ‘My Sweet Lord’ ‘Hare Krishna’ everyone!!
picture credit; youtube.com