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Orphanage celebrates Damodara

Posted by iskconklnews on November 22, 2010

Gokul Garden’s Visit to Agathian Shelter, PJ

Sunday 31st Oct, 2010: Agathian’s Shelter, Petaling Jaya.

By Bhaktin Brinda

On October 31st 2010, during the auspicious month of Damodara, the children of Gokul Gardenvisited the Agathian’s Shelter in Petaling Jaya. They were accompanied by teachers and parents. Theshelter is a two-story house situated close to the PJ Vivekananda Tamil Primary school. It consists of32 orphaned and neglected boys between the ages of 5 and 17.
We gathered at the temple around 8.30am. The children excitedly did kirtan while waiting for thebus to arrive. When the bus arrived at 9.00am, we boarded it and headed towards the shelter. Wedid more kirtan and the children thoroughly enjoyed the 15-minute ride.
Upon reaching the shelter, we were greeted by the children there. They were very shy at first andhuddled together at the corner of the main hall. The teachers immediately set up a big poster ofMother Yasoda binding Lord Damodara with her love. After that, H.G. Ashtasakhi Mataji took outher Krishna doll and invited the children of the shelter to sit on the floor close to where she stood.She then began to animatedly narrate the pastime of Lord Damodara in Tamil. Some of the childrenknew the story but nevertheless listened intently, interacting and giving answers whenever Matajiposed a question. After the story, Mataji narrated the glories and benefits of the auspicious monthof Damodara. She also held a simple quiz after which we handed colouring books and storybooks tothe children.
Following this, H.G. Sudarshan Prabhu sang the Damodarastakam while he melodiously played onhis harmonium. H.G. Mathura Lilesvari Mataji invited the children to step up and offer ghee lampsto the beautiful forms of Mother Yasoda and Lord Damodara. They reciprocated enthusiastically.By the time they completed their ghee lamp offerings, Sudarshan Prabhu had switched to a catchytune of the mahamantra. The Gokul Garden children and teachers started dancing and we slowlymanaged to get most of the boys of the shelter to dance with us too. The whole event culminated ina whirlwind of sweet kirtan and dancing. The boys were especially impressed by Sudarshan Prabhu’srendition of the mahamantra with his harmonium. After the kirtan, some of them gathered aroundhim while he amazed them yet again with more mahamantra tunes. They even invited him upstairsto play their piano!
Finally, we served prasadam and prepared to leave at 11am. The children and attendants graciouslythanked us, bid us farewell and invited us to grace their home again. We thanked them, conveyedour Deepavali wishes, and left the shelter, hoping to come back again more regularly.

To find out more about Agathian’s Shelter and its founder, please visit

http://poobalan.com/blog/indian/2008/10/15/interview-with-agathians-shelter-founding-member-sivabalan/

Pictures of the event can be viewed from the link below:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2097543&id=1256834212&l=604901d1df

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