By Girish Parikh
ISKCON Chicago Hare Krishna Temple celebrated Holi on Thursday, March 20;, and Sri Gaura Purnima (appearance day of Sri Chaitanya) on Friday, March 21.
The program on Thursday began in the evening with the chanting of the Mahamantra (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare; Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare) led by Subhkrt das. During the arati preformed by Ishopanishad das, Vrishabh das chanted.
Holika yagna was performed by Vrishabh das and Satchitananda das. The melodious chanting of Sanskrit verses of Brahma Samhita by Satchitananda das created devotional environment. The sound of chanting filled the hall and enchanted devotees with spiritual vibrations.
Sri Chaitanya Jayanti (Gaura Purnima) program started on Friday evening with the chanting led by Sanjay Sharma. Among those who led chanting later include Krishna Smarana das, Jaya Jagannath das, Prembhakti das, Satchitananda das, and Ramshraddha das.
While Abhishek of Gaura Nitai was being performed, kirtan with dancing and chanting filled the temple hall with bliss. And on the left side of the altar was the dancing deity of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Gaura), along with Nityananda Prabhu (Nitai). About 500 devotees attended the program. The hall vibrated with the enchanting chants such as: “Gaura Nityananda bol Hari bol Hari bol”, “Nitai Gauranga jai Nitai Gauranga”, “Jai Sachi nandan Gaura Hari”, and the Mahamantra.
H.H. Romapada Swami Maharaja, Member of GBC (Governing Body Commissioner) of ISKCON announced the name of new interim president (of the Chicago temple): H.G. Krishna Smarana das. Murari Chaitanya das will serve as the vice president, and Nityananda Pran das would become president later, he further announced.
The Swami asked the temple management to focus on three things: Spiritual care of all devotees and spiritual education; improving the standard of Deity worship; and enhancing the Sunday feast program.
Nityananda Pran das honored the couple Visvakarma das, chief cook; and Rohini devi dasi for their services. He also honored Bhakta Jerry for helping with Prison Ministry Services.
The temple management gratefully acknowledges donations and/or service of all devotees, and pray for them and their families’ welfare.
Satchitananda das sang the bhajan “Sundar lala Sachi dulala nachat Sri Hari kirtan men” (The beautiful, beloved Son [Sri Chaitanya] of Sachi is dancing in Sri Hari kirtan) in his melodious voice.
Children performed drama based on the life of Sri Chaitanya, and the Soul Connection group performed music while the devotees were enjoying prasadam. Mathuresh das served as the master of ceremony.
Sri Chaitanya is the combined form of both Radha and Krishna. He spread the devotion to Krishna, and predicted that the Mahamantra “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare” will be chanted in every town and village. The fulfillment of His divine prediction began worldwide with Srila Prabhupada, and later his direct disciples have been extending his work.
The maha-prasadam was served on both Thursday and Friday.
Sunday, March 30, 6 pm.: Program in the temple by H.H. Indradyumna Swami, a traveling preacher from Poland.
Monday, March 31, 7 pm to 9 pm: Hare Krishna Temple of the Heart will present “An Evening of Bliss where East Meets West.” H.H. Indradyumna Swami will be awarded 1st Annual Human Service Award. South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive, Chicago. Contact: Gaurmani das (cell: 773-936-7045); Agnivesha das (cell: 312-282-9532).
Sunday, April 13: Sri Ram Navmi (in the temple).
Sunday, June 29 (tentative date): Rathyatra (route will be announced).
The ISKCON Chicago Hare Krishna Temple is located at 1716 W. Lunt Avenue. Telephone: (773) 973-0900. Fax: (773) 973-0526. (The temple is one mile north of Devon Avenue.) Web sites: www.krishnaevents.com and www.iskconchicago.com. Please contact the Temple for the opportunities for donations and service. Sponsors are also needed for the Temple periodical “Sri Sri Kishore Kishori Bulletin”. (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) Kindly come to the temple regularly on Sundays, and to attend the special festivals. This will enhance your spiritual life, and love and devotion for Sri Krishna. 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 & reporter. E-mail: email@example.com)