During a long drive today, I found myself musing on the strange number of anniversaries and occurrences that seem endemic to our year. Much of these musings certainly had to do with the recent harvest moon, an event many astronomers predict not to recur for a long, long time. There are certain events which we celebrate that are, in and of themselves, unique. I use myself as an example: I will only turn 25 once, and I happened to do so in 2015, a year which begins with 2 and ends with 5.
Granted, I’ve never given much over to the field of number theory. Dates and figures are interesting, but they feel coincidental, events that held significance for pre-Rennaisance farmers and similarly superstitious folk. For all my religion, my Hinduism, I profess to being somewhat of the scientific mindset, of a person who seeks rational explanations in all things. Not wanting to impose any judgement on you, dear reader, I simply want to present a few observed facts about our current year, 2015. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about their significance.
- My alma mater, Allegheny College, turned 200 years old this year. It was founded in 1815, three years after the start of renewed hostilities between England and the United States.
- My mother celebrated her 55th birthday in 2015. For the first time in her life, she admitted to being her age on her birthday, rather than her half-joke of claiming to be in her thirties, a tradition my family members have to come to expect from her.
- Leonard Nimoy, Terry Pratchett, Christopher Lee, E.L. Doctorow and numerous other figures in pop culture, the arts and media died in 2015.
- October 21st, 2015 will mark the date that Marty McFly and companions traveled to the future in Back to the Future II. In fact, numerous science fiction and fantasy writers have referenced 2015 in their works, to say nothing of TV and movie writers. Our current year seems particularly portentous for those of fantastic, artistic ilk.
- 25 years ago, Nelson Mandela walked out of his jail cell.
- 70 years ago, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan.
- 800 years ago, the Magna Carta was signed, one of the foundational documents in the definitions of modern republics.
There is, of course, one event that stands apart from this list. It is small, small enough to pass notice in all regards. It’s not an old celebration, and it certainly won’t be celebrated or even talked about by most people in the world. The event will only last for a weekend, even with the months of preparations that have gone into it and the weeks of cleanup that will take place afterwards. Small as it is, though, it will forever leave a mark on the people who come to attend. It may not carry much weight in the passage of time, but in the two-hundred-odd years of history this country has accumulated, it does count for something. I am talking, of course, of Radha Madhav Dham’s 20th anniversary celebration.
On October 23rd, it will be the first and last time we celebrate turning twenty at the ashram. For two decades, the temple has been a center for spiritual practice and devotion in America. For 20 years, Radha Madhav Dham has been nurturing and feeding the souls of many, guiding people to their aim of life and its every celebration inspires devotion to Radha Krishna. We are proud to recognize this, and prouder still to continue to practice our faith, to teach it to those who are willing to learn, to walk the path that others have walked and worked for us, for twenty years and longer.