For the last four years a Cambodian youth has been inspired to organize an elaborate yearly Hindu worship within the monastery of a major Buddhist temple (Pagoda) in Phnom Penh with the approval and consent of the local head monk. Not only is it a Hindu worship program, indeed the initiative has developed into the manifestation of a Hindu shrine within the Buddhist compound.
On Sunday, March 26th, 2017, a group of devotees from our Hare Krishna base center in Siem Reap traveled to the capital city to attend a shorter version of their yearly event that the group celebrates in the month of December.
As we entered the Pagoda compound we were led to the place where for the last 4 years Bhakta Karaney has been ‘step by step’ unfolding a Hindu rendering of ancient Cambodian Vedic gods and goddesses in an area especially assigned for such worship, reminiscent of a revival of ancient Cambodian Hindu worship. We were pleasantly surprised to see a group of some 30 Hindu Cambodians all engaged in making various arrangements for the elaborate worship soon to follow. Some were making flower garlands for the large stone-carved deities of Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu.
Others were placing candle lamps and flower vases on the small altar that had the small Deities of Sri Sri Radha Krishna along with Deities of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai and a photo of Srila Prabhupada.
They had also prepared flower petals to be offered to all the deities. As darkness set in, the various colored lights placed in front of the altar produced a special effect.
The program began with our intoning the prema dhvani prayers accompanied by harmonium, mrdanga and karatals. This was followed by lighting of a large lamp offered to the main deities and then offering of flower petals by all those present.
Bhakta Karaney personally and elaborately offered a lamp to all the Deities ending with special prayers in the local Khmer language. We then conducted Harinam Kirtan for about 30 minutes. After the kirtan we explained the chanting of the holy name and introduced everyone to the Hare Krishna Maha mantra. We then distributed Japa Malas and had everyone chant together one full round of japa.
To our surprise, Bhakta Karaney had also arranged for a local traditional dance performance meant to please the Lord. After the dance, we distributed some prasadam and books to all those present. Before closing the program we again thanked all who attended and we proposed to have a group photo to commemorate the event. All were very enthusiastic and some of them purchased a japa mala.
Sent by devotees serving at ISKCON Siem Reap, Cambodia