By Dr. Bhakta Chetan Hazare
In a humble attempt to glorify Srila Prabhupada and the ISKCON movement on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee, ISKCON, Navi Mumbai with the auspicious blessings of HH Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja and encouraging direction of the temple President, HG Sura Das Prabhu celebrated a week long festival. The festival was graced by the keen presence of HH Amiya Vilas Swami Maharaja. Wholeheartedly detailing and serving under the guidance of the HG Vaishnavanghri Sevak Prabhu (the Director of Bhaktivedanta College of Vedic Education, Navi Mumbai), the devotees of Sri Sri Radha Madanmohanji celebrated a seven day long festival making the atmosphere spiritually surcharging.
Remembering the pre-eminent Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who signed off his communications with “your ever well-wisher”, and the movement he started, which is working under the direct supervision of Srila Rupa Goswami, the weeklong festival started on the day when Srila Prabhupada signed the deed in New York, USA i.e. on Monday, July 11, 2016 and culminated on July 17, 2016. The festival actually took a voyage of the memoirs of the 50 glorious years of ISKCON’s journey making all feel the real pride in sharing the joy of devotion.
Programs during the ISKCON Incorporation week celebrations
The seven mornings were primarily filled with readings from the Jaladuta diary and Prabhupada Lilamrita. The festival commenced with the first morning discourse on “the voyage to the USA”. Subsequently each day reviewed the chronicles of Srila Prabhupada’s life and that of the movement. The second morning’s discourse glorified the importance of Srila Prabhupada’s commitment and endeavours to fulfill the two orders of his spiritual master, viz. preaching to the English speaking World and Printing books. The third morning’s discourse discussed the accounts of ISKCON’s incorporation. The fourth morning’s discourse elaborated about the memories of the starting of the Jagannath Ratha yatra. Glorifying the one of the munificent and widely reaching acts of Srila Prabhupada of touring the Globe 13 times, the fourth morning’s discourse actually helped to visualize the compassion of a pure devotee and hardships that he took for the benefit of the humanity. Srila Prabhupada’s vision to establish the World headquarters at Mayapur, a home for the whole world in Vrindavan and Mumbai as his office was visited on the fifth morning discourse. Additionally, laying the foundational principle, “books are the basis”, the establishment and services offered by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) were glorified. Standing on the foundation of “purity is the force” and having in the veins the principle that “preaching is the essence”, the seventh morning’s discourse talked about the recapitulated the life of Prabhupada from his childhood to delivering of innumerable souls in this material world.
Glimpse of the celebrations
The evenings were filled with bhajans, kirtans, dance performances, dramas on the life and teachings of Srila Prabhupada. Singing the heart-melting bhajans of Srila Prabhupada, wherein he cries out to the Lord to make him dance as He likes and when he acknowledges the mercy of Krishna, were the highlights of one of the evenings. Children from the Nimai’s Bhakti School took special encouragement and demonstrated an unparallel enthusiasm by presenting two dramas. One was on how Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON and second one on the seven purposes. It was so very invigorating to visit the seven purposes for which we are serving. Two special dance performances were offered to Srila Prabhupada. One was a classical dance performance, Bharatnatyam, on glorification of Srila Prabhupada and the other was a dance performance on “Yadi Prabhupada na hoito”, expressing the gratitude towards Prabhupada.
Expression of gratitude to Srila Prabhupada and to ISKCON was given the central attention in this festival. Each day, different devotees were offering their gratitude. This consisted of offerings by the resident devotees, senior devotees, Matajis, various congregations and especially by children. Special ghee lamps (deep dana) were offered to Srila Prabhupada on the concluding evening of the festival. A special japa card was also released on this day. Devotees offered flower bouquets to Srila Prabhupada on the incorporation day and the gratitude day.
Sri Krishna Prasadam distribution was profusely distributed everyday. Each evening, after the program and kirtan, specially made “Love cookies” and full prasadam were distributed to all. A special attraction of the festival was the offering of two special cakes, one on the incorporation day – Golden Jubilee Cake and two Gratitude Day Cakes on the gratitude day with engraving “To our dear Srila Prabhupada with gratitude”.
All these celebrations were performed under the most auspicious blessings of their Lordships, Sri Sri Radha Madanmohanji and Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. We request all Maharajas, Vaishnavas and Vaishnavis to share this joyful article with everyone. Hare Krihna!