Summer Solstice Celebration
Since time immemorial, humans have taken special note of the seasonal rest points in nature. Many of the world’s most celebrated religious holidays take place on or around the Solstice or Equinoxes. We find that many are magnetically drawn together as if by some special grace we affirm our humanity and our Oneness in Spirit.
We will celebrate the solstice with:
• Inspiratonal readings
• Festival of light
“Sri Yukteswar sponsored four yearly festivals, at the equinoxes and solstices, when his students gathered from far and near. The winter solstice celebration was held in Serampore; the first one I attended left me with a permanent blessing.
The festivities started in the morning with a barefoot procession along the streets. The voices of a hundred students rang out with sweet religious songs; a few musicians played the flute and khol kartal (drums and cymbals). Enthusiastic townspeople strewed the path with flowers, glad to be summoned from prosaic tasks by our resounding praise of the Lord’s blessed name. The long tour ended in the courtyard of the hermitage. There we encircled our guru, while students on upper balconies showered us with marigold blossoms.
Many guests went upstairs to receive a pudding of channa and oranges. I made my way to a group of brother disciples who were serving today as cooks. Food for such large gatherings had to be cooked outdoors in huge cauldrons. The improvised wood-burning brick stoves were smoky and tear-provoking, but we laughed merrily at our work. Religious festivals in India are never considered troublesome; each one does his part, supplying money, rice, vegetables, or his personal services.
Master was soon in our midst, supervising the details of the feast. Busy every moment, he kept pace with the most energetic young student.
A sankirtan (group chanting), accompanied by the harmonium and hand-played Indian drums, was in progress on the second floor. Sri Yukteswar listened appreciatively; his musical sense was acutely perfect.”
from Chapter 15 – The Cauliflower Robbery, Autobiography of a Yogi, original edition.