Monday, March 23, 2020

COVID-19 impact: ISKCON Vrindavan limits daily Sewa, sanitized flowers for Lord Krishna

Shree Banke Bihari Ji Temple closed till March 31

Temples of Vrindavan are world-famous; some for their grandeur and some for their antiquity and legends associated with them. Thousands of devotees visit this small town daily from far-flung places of not just India but the world. But, amidst the threat of novel Coronavirus, temples are closed and visitors are few. From Shree Banke Bihari Ji Temple to the ISKCON Temple, all big and small temples have been shut down as a protective measure against the spread of COVID-19.

The deserted front gate of ISKCON Temple, Vrindavan

A priest inside ISKCON Temple amid the shut down

Rare sight of the empty hall inside Shree Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan

In an attempt to safeguard the Temple premises against Coronavirus, ISKCON management has cut down the daily offerings to deities. These offering also include grand flower decorations known as Pushpa-Sewa. Management has also minimized the quantities of items that are being procured from outside. Every article before allowing inside the Temple premises is being sanitized first, including flowers.

At ISKCON Temple, daily Sewa and offerings are being observed as usual but on a small scale. Daily flower offerings to deities including Lord Krishna, Shree Radharani, Balarama and Nitai Gaur have been curtailed to 4 Kg whilst in normal days, 60 Kg flowers are offered in different forms. ISKCON management procures flowers for Temple use from cities such as Delhi.

Public Relations Officer of ISKCON, Saurabh Trivikram Das informed that only 4 Kg flowers are being purchased due to Coronavirus threat. He further added that the entry inside the Temple premises is barred for public till March 31. Only 3 priests are exempt and these priests reside 24 hours inside the Temple and perform daily Sewa of Lord Shree Radha-Krishna. In normal days, around 40 devotees offer daily Sewa in the Temple on a daily basis, but in the light of COVID-19 threat, except for 3 priests, no one is allowed inside the Temple.

Sanitized flowers and in-house prepared Naivedyam for Lord Krishna

Temple management sanitizes flowers before allowing them inside the Temple premises. From the supplier’s end, the flowers arrive securely in poly bags. But, before allowing them inside, they are transferred in a sanitized cloth right outside the Temple gates. To avoid any hazard, the poly bags are discarded outside the Temple at a specific place. Following this, flowers are mixed well inside the sanitized cloth to get rid of any potential threat and are then offered to deities.

As per the Temple traditions, Prasad offered to deities are prepared in-house. ISKCON Temple never offers food articles prepared outside to deities as Prasad. Only Temple-authorized cooks prepare Naivedyam inside the Temple kitchen.

No comments:

Post a Comment