The recent Aravade Festival
Bhubaneswar, February 2, 1977 Prabhupäda: So today, the appearance day of Nityänanda Prabhu… Nityänanda Prabhu is Baladeva, Baladeva-tattva. vrajendra-nandana yei, çacé-suta haila sei, balaräma haila nitäi
If we want to understand Caitanya Mahäprabhu, if we want to understand Kåñëa, then we must take shelter of Balaräma. Näyam ätmä bala-hinena labhyaù. This bala- hinena labhyaù, this Vedic injunction, means “Without the mercy of Balaräma you cannot understand, you cannot realize your spiritual identification.
So that Balaräma comes as Nityänanda Prabhu. Balaräma hailä nitäi. Therefore we must take shelter of Balaräma. That is… This song has been sung by Narottama däsa Öhäkura. Nitäi-pada-kamala, koöi-candra-suçétala. If we take shelter of Nityänanda Prabhu, then we get peace.
Koöi-candra-suçétala. Just like in daytime, especially in the summer season, we become very much exasperated. But at night, in the evening, as soon as there is moonshine, we become very much satisfied. All day’s labor and fatigue is immediately moved.
So nitäi-pada-kamala, the shade of Nityänanda Prabhu’s lotus feet, is koöi-candra-suçétala, as pleasing as one crore of moonshine. One moonshine gives us so much pleasure. So if we want actually peace of mind, if we actually want to be free from this material fatiguement, then we must take the shelter of Nityänanda Prabhu.
Nityänanda Prabhu is the strength, spiritual strength. And without spiritual strength you cannot approach Kåñëa…….
So we must have spiritual strength. That source of spiritual strength is Balaräma, Kåñëa’s next manifestation, prakäça- vigraha. Kåñëa is manifesting Himself through Balaräma. So we have to take shelter of Nityänanda Prabhu. nitäi-pada-kamala, koöi-candra-suçétala, je chäyäy jagata juräy The whole world is suffering, but if you want peace, then you take the shelter of Nityänanda Prabhu.
On Lord Nityananda’s Appearance Day in Aravade, Maharastra, the birthplace of His Holiness Lokanath Swami, there was a tumultuous sound of
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Thousands of devotees from around Srila Prabhupada’s international temples congregated in this simple village of Maharastra, to once again establish another ISKCON Temple to push on Srila Prabhupada’s global Sankirtana Mission. Literally, in every town and village! The most exquisite Sri Sri Radha Gopal and Sri Sri GOURANGA NITAI were gloriously inundating the devotees with the psunami of Mercy emanating from Srila Prabhupada, the Holy Names of Krsna and association of Goura Bhakta Vrnda.
Srila Prabhupada was overseeing this monumental event, as he personally asked Lokanath Swami, the “modern day Tukaram”, to make the whole state of Maharastra….. Krsna conscious. Devotees, villagers, politicians, press media and even the animals were roaring with the Holy Names of Krsna, dancing ecstatically, as Srila Prabhupada nodded his head and smiled, closing his lotus eyes, while expertly playing his kartals. Then, Prabhupada opened his lotus eyes to see all the international devotees of his ISKCON family, offering their heads at his lotus feet, and then sitting down on the ground to honor Sri Krsna Prasad. Such a simple and sublime Bhakti Process that our Srila Prabhupada has given us.
“So well organized!” many devotees were commenting, upon returning to Sri Vrndavana Dhama. “Lokanath Swami is truly following all the instructions that Prabhupada gave him, one by one, and his disciples are joyfully participating.”
“One of the very best Festivals I have attended in years!”
“Everyone was treated so respectfully; Lokanath Swami was personally serving devotees here, there, everywhere!”
“He has trained his disciples to be particularly conscious of Vaisnava seva.”
“A most glorious event! Srila Prabhupada’s immense pleasure was felt throughout the festival!”
And again, another miracle….. Goura Prema dasi, aspiring disciple of Lokanath Swami and performing Kathak classical dance for Maharaj’s Festivals since she was 3 yrs old, stunned the audience with her swirling and twirling! Although, she has been experiencing some difficulties from the car accident that severed her foot from her leg just three years ago, her amazing intricate footwork was completely mesmerizing! For 40 minutes, she captivated the audience of devotees with prayers from Mirabai and a mala of meditations about Vrndavana. “I remember when her accident happened,” Dina Bandhu commented. “How is she dancing like this? Truly Krsna’s miracle and her great determination to overcome all obstacles in her devotional service!”
Many many devotees were responsible for making this festival such a spectacular success. I don’t know all their names, but you know who you are and Sri Sri Radha Gopal certainly winessed all that you accomplished to please Srila Prabhupada, Lokanath Swami, SRI SRI RADHA GOPAL and the assembly of Vaisnavas. Let us all shower flowers and blessings on Lokanath Swami’s disciples, particularly Gaura Krsna das from Sweden, Premanjana das & Subhadra dasi from Vrndavana, and the temple president of Aravade, Premanand das, who worked over and beyond the call of duty to make this grand event such an astounding success!
Devotees from around the world were feeling the “most safe” shelter of the Holy Names exploding in their hearts during this Aravade Festival. This is the inconceivable mercy of Krsna’s pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada personally told our Lokanath Swami, “I am very very pleased to learn that you are preaching so nicely. May Krsna bless you and give you more and more abilities. Go on steadily with your program. As long as we are following the regulative principles of devotional service, I am always wih you.”
How fortunate we are that the expanded personification of Lord Nityananda or Sri Balarama is always in our presence. His sacred voice in discourses and bhajans soothe the distress in our yearning, burning hearts. His instructions and example of loving mood towards all, are what we aspire to follow in our daily activities. Srila Prabhupada is our moonlike shelter and solace in any given moment. We offer His Divine Grace our hearts and our rounds, each round going deeper and deeper into attentiveness, hopefully producing pleasing service.
Yes, how fortunate we are that Srila Prabhupada, the personification of Lord Nitai’s Mercy, is always present amongst us, watching how we speak to each other, how we serve each other and how we speak about each other…. to others.
If we are always praying to be aware that Prabhupada’s loving Presence, Lord Nitai’s merciful Presence, Lord Balaram’s ever-watchful Presence is ever-present with us….. in whatever we do, say, offer and give away….. then let us pray with more vigor to see and serve Krsna in everyone and in everything, in each other throughout each day, and in others along the way.
Srila Prabhupada continued. “So here in this material world one may be the best of the human being, very exalted position, but everyone is duùké, unhappy. Narottama boro duùké, nitäi more koro sukhé: “Only Nityänanda can make me happy. Otherwise not possible.” Rakho raìga-caraëera päça. So today is Nityänanda Prabhu’s Appearance Day. We shall always pray Nityänanda Prabhu, “Kindly keep me under your shelter so that… I am very duùké; I am very unhappy. Under the shelter of Your lotus feet I shall be happy.” And that is real happiness. Thank you very much.”
Jai Srila Prabhupada!