by Girish Parikh*
ISKCON Chicago Hare Krishna Temple Celebrates Janmastami and Appearance Day of Srila Prabhupada
ISKCON Chicago Hare Krishna Temple celebrated Janmastami on Tuesday, September 4, and appearance day of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of ISKCON, on Wednesday, September 5.
The Janmastami celebration began at 5 pm with chanting Hare Krishna mahamantra (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare) led by Krishna Balarama Das. During Arati chanting was led by Nirantara Das.
His Holiness Romapada Swami then gave a discourse about the significance of Janmastami, the day Sri Krishna appeared. He urged everyone to get purified by chanting the holy name.
Enchanting chanting and a powerful discourse of His Holiness Radhanath Swami kept the congregation spellbound. He said among other things: “Without love there is no happiness. Sri Krishna is all attractive universal God. Srila Prabhupada said that he had come to America to enlighten, and not to convert.
Gopal Prachand, an accomplished singer and artist, sang the bhajan “Sri Krishna ka Darshan” among other devotional songs. Children of Milwaukee (Wisconsin) bhakti-vriksha sang a bhajan. Children from Bhaktivedanta Center, Oswego, Illinois, presented musical performance accompanied with slides depicting verses from Srimad Bhagavatam.
Kalash Abhisheka to the Deities of Sri Sri Radha Krishna was offered by each of the sponsors.
Girish Parikh then described some of the media work being done, and thanked editors and publishers of newspapers for publishing press releases, reports, etc. about the programs of the Temple.
Children performed the drama “Blind following the blind.” Sanjaya Shrama and his friends performed the humorous play “Who is the real devotee.” It revealed that merely performing rituals doesn’t make a real devotee, what is needed is a simple and pure heart and fulfillment of one’s duties. Sachi Patel performed bharat natyam beautifully.
Those who sang bhajans and led chanting included Mathuresh Das, Ramashraddha Das, Satchitananda Das, Nirantara Das, Bhaj Govindam Das, Ishopanishad Das, Vrishabh das, and Jai Jagannath Das.
The curtain opened at midnight (the time of Sri Krishna appearance) and everyone’s eyes were captured by the beautifully decorated Deities, Sri Sri Kishore Kishori, in their brand new dress. The large hall packed with devotees was filled with chanting “Hathi ghoda palakhi, jai Kanaiya Lal ki …”
Midnight Aratis were sponsored by Bela Patel & Family, Dharana & Family, Sachin Mittal & family, Santosh Pandey & Family, Sunil Madhav Das & Family; and the cake was sponsored by Bharat Patel & family. Anjali Desai and Satchitananda Das sponsored valet parking.
Maha-Prasadam was then served. Over two thousand people had darshan and enjoyed the Janmastami program.
The day after Janmastami is called Parna (meaning a swing — as child Krishna is swung in a swing). The day of Parna is also the appearance day of Srila Prabhupada. It was celebrated as “Vyasa-Puja”.
The celebration began in the morning with offering tributes to Srila Prabhupada by the disciples and devotees. Those who read or spoke included Ramakeli Das, Gaura Shakti Das, H.H. Romapada Swami, H.H. Radhanath Swami, Shyamasundar Das, Satchitananda Das, Mathuresh Das, Sunil Madhava Das, Dayarupa devi dasi, Balarama Das, Bhailalbhai Patel, and Girish Parikh.
Pushpanjali (flower offerings), Arati and kirtan, along with abhisheka of Srila Prabhupada were then performed, and Maha-Prasadam was served.
The master of ceremony was Subuddhi Krishna Das for both Janmastami and Vyasa-Puja programs.
Forthcoming programs of ISKCON Chicago Temple in 2007:
Radhastami: Wednesday September 19
Diwali and Lakshmi Pujan: Friday November 9
Govardhan Puja (Annakut): Saturday November 10
Kindly come to the Temple regularly on Sundays at 5 pm, and to attend the special festivals. This will enhance your spiritual life and love and devotion for Sri Krishna.
The ISKCON Chicago Hare Krishna temple is located at 1716 W. Lunt Avenue. Telephone: (773) 973-0900 Cell: (773) 727-1449, (773) 865-5668, (773) 865-5685 Fax: (773) 973-0526. Web sites: www.KrishnaEvents.com (fill a form on this Web site and stay informed), and www.iskconchicago.com.
If you cannot come to the ISKCON Chicago Temple, please check programs at the ISKCON Temple near you.
*Girish Parikh is a Chicago-based Author & Journalist. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. He was inspired to write this feature-report by Sunil Madhava Das.
Photo courtesy of Satyabrata Mahapatra.