The NRRS (gurukula) did a really special thing for the noon aroti. Krishna-priya and her beautiful mother-in-law organized “Roses for Radharani.” In exchange for a small donation (school fundraiser!), the children were given long stem roses to offer to Srimati Radharani on the altar at the Radhastami noon aroti. In my kids’ preschool class, they also made cards for Sri Radha.
At noon all the children collected their roses and then walked in a single line over to the temple room, where they offered their roses and then placed them in a vase on the altar. Once all the children offered their roses, the altar looked like a real party. Mother Hari-puja’s amazing tiki-flute themed decorations attested to her heart-felt devotion as a pujari. And the kids’ loosely assembled vase and cards strewn about the altar made the scene feel like Radharani was having a good time. You know how it is at a big affair–everything starts out picture perfect and the guest are all in awe of the fine arrangements. And then people start to cut loose and things get a little wild. Well, at this point in the day, it was only the altar that was a little wild.
In the evening the kirtan was loud and Radharani focused. Devotees danced like madmen in a temple room hotter than any Bikram yoga studio. Cake and ice cream were served outside to the sound of the kirtan and when the fireworks started going off without any warning, all the kids abandoned their plates and ran over to be right under the exploding lights. It wasn’t until late, late into the nite, when the fireworks were finished, that the kirtan party left the temple room and headed outside, mrdgangas pounding, kartals clanging. When we got to our car we could still hear the kirtan. There was a burst of lite in the sky. Someone had found more fireworks. And Krishna’s flute, incarnated as the mrdanga drum, serenaded the stars under a canopy of shooting lite, set off for the pleasure of Srimati Radharani.