By Romapada Das, International Coordinator, ISKCON 50th Anniversary
Has your temple planned a celebration for the 50th anniversary of ISKCON’s actual day of incorporation? If not, there is not much time left, and you may have to start planning right now!
The 50th anniversary of ISKCON’s incorporation falls on 13th July 2016. Although Srila Prabhupada signed the legal documents on 11th July, the actual certificate of Incorporation is dated the 13th July. Hence, it was from this day that ISKCON became a recognised legal entity.
There is some confusion amongst the actual date as the Vaishnava calendar says that the Incoporation Day falls on 28th July. This date is according to the position of the moon (the tithi), and hence the Vaishnava calendar date changes every year in the same way that dates for Janmashtami move up or down every year.
However, ISKCON GBC and the ISKCON 50th Anniversary Committee have decided that the 50th Anniversary milestones have to be observed according to the solar calendar, since most of our functions need to be external facing. Hence, we appeal to all temples to kindly celebrate the actual 50th anniversary of ISKCON on 13th July and not on 28th July.
We submit below the programmes you can organise on the 13th July:
1. You could declare that week of 11th July to 17th July is your Incorporation Week, and celebrate these programmes on any day that is convenient to your congregation and VIPs.
2. During their morning programs, devotees can sing the songs ‘Markine Bhagavad-dharma’ and ‘Prayers to the Lotus feet of Krishna,’ which Srila Prabhupada wrote aboard the Jaladuta.
3. Morning class could be done by readings from the Prabhupada-Lilamrita about how Srila Prabhupada incorporated inorporated ISKCON.
4. Either after class or in the evening, the temple should hold a “Gratitude Program,” during which devotees can express their gratitude in Vyasa-puja style ‘offerings’ to Srila Prabhupada for starting ISKCON;
5. At this programme you could read from his Jaladuta Diary and New York Journal to appreciate the struggles he went through
6. Temple should also consider staging the play “Swami at Sea,” which is available for download at http://iskcon50.org/scripts-for-plays/
7. Distribute the ISKCON 50 magazine during the programme
8. Display ISKCON 50 Expo panels showcasing ISKCON’s achievements over the last fifty years which will be available for download fromhttp://iskcon50.org/exhibitions/ from 7th July.
9. Before or after the Gratitude Program, devotees can also hold a maha-harinama chanting procession that culminates in a park or public place, reminiscent of Prabhupada’s first Tompkins Square Park Harinamas.
10. Temples can also hold six, twelve or twenty-four-hour kirtans, during which they sing many of Prabhupada’s favorite bhajans.
While these are guidelines, devotees can get creative on the day, week or even months surrounding Incorporation Day – there’s no hard and fast rules for what to do.
But make sure that you do celebrate the Incorporation Day (or Week) and that your main public-facing celebrations are on 13th July.
ISKCON 50th Anniversary
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