Govinda’s temple in Gothenburg celebrated the birthday of Lord Sri Ram by reciting hymns and telling the stories of the legendary prince of Ayodhya. On the sunny Saturday afternoon, 13 April, Govinda’s temple was packed with devotees from different parts of Gothenburg and different countries and echoed with bhajans or kirtans, and by performing puja and aarti. Ujjwal Kishori narrated the importance of Ramayana and interpreted the stories of legendary Ram. Jahnva Karunamayi devi dasi and Arundhati aka Anke Bessler directed a play related to the vital events in the life of Lord Ram.
Rama Navami is the most popular spring festival for Hindus across Indian and among Indian Hindu diaspora. Lord Ram is one of the main trinities of Hinduism (Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma) and one of the avatars of Vishnu. Sri Rama Navami is the celebration of the birth of Ram to Dasharatha the King of Ayodhya and Kaushalya – one of the three queens of Ayodhya. Ram as an avatar of Vishnu descends to earth to vanquish the demon king Ravana to maintain dharma or righteousness.
Ganesh Iyer, a technical consultant and a Tamil-speaking Indian from Mumbai, is one of the regular visitors of the temple especially for Friday sessions on catechism and communal recitation of ‘Hare Krishna’ mahamantra. He said he and his wife like to visit the temple for it is the only truly Hindu temple and welcomes everybody irrespective of one’s cultural affiliation. ‘We enjoyed ourselves in celebrating the Sri Rama Navami festival because of this temple, otherwise it would have not been possible.’
The devotees were offered prasadam or sanctified food after the puja.
Govinda’s temple is the only unifying place for Hindu Indians in Gothenburg. Many Indians living in Gothenburg have formed sectarian societies or communities based on languages, castes and regions and celebrate their respective festivals, but Govinda’s is an all-inclusive platform and run in a spirit of devotional service.
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