By the generosity of Mahaprabhu Prabhu and Bhaktivedanta College the students went to Brussels on December ninth to visit two expositions and do some harinama.
First, they went to the Palace des Beaux Arts to see the exhibit entitled Tejas, or the Eternal Energy. It consisted of sculptures of gods and goddesses and descriptions of their roles in Indian culture. In various media the main ideas of Indian culture were presented, including two short films showing the process of making deities: carving the form in stone by using traditional tools and making the deity from metal. The gallery shop was full of literature and souvenirs about and from India. Mahaprabhu sold the shop twenty cookbooks and twenty BBT books on India.
After a lunch in the park, the students went to see the exhibition called Gods: A User’s Guide. The organizers wrote: “Religions are making a major comeback in our society. A timely ‘user’s guide’ can help us to understand how they work.” The multidimensional and extremely interesting world of different religious denominations included a TV section, in which one could watch short recordings of the sacred rites of passage of different denominations. In an interactive TV room one could hear the ideas about the afterlife expressed by believers from different denominations. The students saw a play especially written for the exhibition by Philippe Blasband dealing “with the alarming and terribly topical problem of religious violence.” In the photo exhibit on Ecstasy there was a colour photo of devotees in Poland chanting on the street, and the caption explained that the devotees make the ecstasy available for everyone (picture below).
Indeed, at 4.00 p.m. in the centre of Brussels the students met groups of devotees from Radhadesh and Brussels to perform harinam. We chanted the holy names in crowded and busy shopping streets with great force, the leader’s voice amplified by our sound system. As the maha-mantra penetrated the ears of the public, one saw more and more smiling faces and people looking at us and taking pictures.
It was unforgettable day, and students experienced various aesthetic and ecstatic emotions, which helped us to better understand ourselves and the world around us.