Category Archives: Events

Purusottama-Adhika Masa

Introduction
Purusottama month, or adhika masa (extra month) is also called mala masa (dirty month) by the performers of karma-kanda because they cannot get any material fruitive results from their worship during this month. Our acaryas say it is called mala masa because devotional activities performed in this month destroy the dirt and contamination caused by sins. It is called adhika (extra) masa because Sri Krsna has placed all His potencies, mercy, blessings in this month, and also because one gets more results from any pious act. Only works of devotion (Krsna-bhakti) give results in Purusottama month.

Of all months, Purusottama is Krsna’s favorite month. Lord Sri Krsna is Purusottama. As Krsna is the supreme among all incarnations, Purusottama is the supreme among all months. Purusottama month is the holiest month, far superior to the pious months of Magha, Vaisakha and Karttika. Purusottama month is worshiped all over the universe by devotees, sages, demigods and even Laksmi Devi Herself. If one sincerely worships Radha and Krsna in Purusottama month, he will attain everything. One who observes Purusottama vrata, will burn up the reactions of all his bad karma and attain the direct service of Radha and Krsna. Purusottama month is the best month for all spiritual advancement because Krsna overlooks all the aparadhas. Residence in the holy dhama in P.M. yields 1000 times the benefit.

Glories Of Purusottama Month (From Padma And SkandaPuranas)
1. Lord Sri Krsna: “Purusottama month has all the power I have to bless its observer. One who follows Purusottama vrata will destroy all his past sinful reactions. Without performing Purusottama vrata, one cannot perform pure devotional service. The value of Purusottama month is far more valuable than all other types of austerities and religious activities mentioned in the Vedas. Anyone who observes Purusottama vrata will return to my abode, Goloka, at the end of his life”.

2. Durvasa Muni: Gopala“Just by bathing in a holy river during Purusottama month, one becomes sinless. The glory of all other months is not equal to one-sixteenth of the glory of the Purusottama month. By bathing in a holy place, giving charity and chanting the Holy Name of Krsna during Purusottama month, all miseries are destroyed, one attains all kinds of perfection and fulfills all his desires”.

3. Valmiki Muni: “By observing Purusottama vrata, one attains more benefit than performing one hundred horse sacrifices. All holy places live within the body of a Purusottama month vrati. Anyone who faithfully performs Purusottama vrata will go to Goloka Vrndavana”.

4. Narada Muni: “Purusottama month is the best of all months, vratas and austerities. Just by faithfully hearing the glories of Purusottama month, one attains Krsna-bhakti and immediately nullifies his sinful reactions. One who performs Purusottama vrata properly will attain unlimited sukrti and go to the spiritual world”.

5. Naimisaranya Sages: “Merciful Purusottama month acts like a desire tree to fulfill a devotee’s desire”.

Quotes-by-Bhakti-Charu-Swami-on-Chanting-the-Holy-Names

The Purusottama Vrata
1. Keep celibacy for one month. (Sleep on the floor – optional).
2. Rise in brahma – muhurta time.
3. Chant Hare Krsna Mahamantra and meditate on Radha-Krsna’s rupa, guna, lila. Daily chant extra rounds: 24, 32, 64.
4. Daily offer ghee lamp to Radha-Krsna Deities or Picture. 33 lamps daily or at least 1 day in the month.
5. Daily aratika and parikrama of Tulasi Devi.
6. Daily mandira parikrama (4 times).
7. Daily offer Radha-Krsna Deities or Picture roses, lotus flowers and 100,000 Tulasi leaves (or as many as you can).
8. One should bathe everyday before sunrise in a holy place. (At least , three days in the month).
9. Daily read Srimad Bhagavatam – Radha-Krsna lila ; acaryas say it is a rule to daily read S.B. 10.14—Brahma stuti.
10. Daily chant Sri Jagannathastakam, Sri Cauragraganya – Purusastakam, Sri Nanda-Nandanastakam, Jaya Radha Madhava, and other Radha-Krsna bhajanas and prayers.
11. Take a vow to remain peaceful and truthful throughout the month.
12. Be careful not to blaspheme any devotees, brahmanas, saints, cows, sastras or vratis. And don’t ask anyone for anything
13. Try your best to please Radha and Krsna by performing devotional austerities according to your abilities. Don’t break your vow in the middle of the month.
14. Eat on leaf plates sitting on the floor (optional).
15. No cutting of hair or nails (optional).
16. No cooking in oil or rubbing of oil on your body.
17. No eating or rubbing of mustard oil.
18. Diets: Best to eat once a day after sunset or noon the following diets: i) only milk ; ii) only fruits (no milk, no veg.); iii)no grains (selected veg., fruits, nuts, milk); iv) selected foods (all categories as per caturmasya standards).
19. Hari-bhakti-vilasa (Vol 4, Vs 437): “During Purusottama month, one should remember Lord Krsna and then donate thirty three milk cakes cooked in ghee to grhastha brahmanas, who are well versed in sastras. Failing to do so, one loses all the piety he accumulated in the previous year.”
20. Acaryas say chant daily some japa of Kaundinya Muni’s mantra: govardhana dharam vande, gopalam gopa rupinam / gokulutsava ne isanam,govindam gopika priyam. “I worship the lifter of Govardhana Hill, Who has the beautiful form of a cowherd boy, and who continually plays with the gopas. He is the Lord of Gokula wherein everyday is a festival.
21. Daily offer 33 dandavats to Bhagavan Sri Krsna or the vaisnavas.
22. Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s P.M. vrata: Perform the Nirapeksa Vrata, which means 30 days of concentrated, one–pointed worship and service to Radha-Govinda Yugala by hearing, chanting, remembering Their divine names, forms, qualities, pastimes. All day and night, hear about Bhagavan Sri Krsna, chant the Hare Krsna Mahamantra, take mahaprasada.
23. Charity: Best days — Ekadasi, Dvadasi, Purnima, Amavasya, Sravana Naksatra Day; DO offer money, gold, cloth, shoes, fruits, etc. to brahmanas and vaisnavas ; Also offer 33 plantains or mangoes plus dana and daksina —when giving dana (diff. items) to a brahmana, one must simultaneously donate daksina (money equal to the monetary value of the dana).

Breaking Purusottama Vrata

1. Bathe in brahma-muhurta time, worship Radha-Syamasundara Deities or Picture, and chant this mantra: “O Supreme Lord, O Sanatana, O Purusottama,
O Lord Hari ! I offer my obeisances unto you. May you and your beloved Radhika, please accept my offerings. I offer my repeated obeisances unto Syamasundara, who wears effulgent yellow garments on His beautiful body.
2. Offer puspanjali and obeisances to Radha-Syamasundara Deities or Picture.
3. Feed and give charity to 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 brahmanas to the best of your ability (e.g., new clothes, two pairs of shoes, Laksmi). The best charity is to give a Srimad Bhagavatam to a qualified grhastha vaisnava brahmana. This act will deliver all your ancestors to the spiritual world and award them the association of Lord Purusottama!

Special Breaking Actions
1. If you ate fruits, ghee, rice, wheat etc, donate the same to brahmanas.
2. If you slept on the floor, give a bed and pillows to a brahmana.
3. If you ate on a leaf plate, feed brahmanas with ghee and sugar.
4. If you didn’t cut nails or hair, donate a mirror to a brahmana.
5. If you offered ghee lamps, give new lamps and pots to a brahmana.
6.* If you broke any rules or regulations during Purusottama vrata, feed different sweet juices to brahmanas.
7. Lord Siva says that the best charity is: “Fill a bell metal pot with thirty malpuas, bind the pot with seven new threads and give to a worthy brahmana”.

Srila Prabhupada – A Short Life Sketch

The text for this article is taken from an email from His Grace Tusti Mohan Krishna dasa.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, was born in 1896, in Calcutta, in a Vaisnava family.

prabhupada-lilamrta2His father, Gour Mohan De, named him Abhay Charan. His father’s only wish was that, Abhay would become a devotee of Srimati Radharani.

Abhay studied under British colonial rule, finally going to university to read chemistry. At university, he became a supporter of Gandhi’s movement to gain independence for India. As a measure of this support, he would only dress in white handloom cloth, woven in India and furthermore, he declined to accept his degree from the university.

Abhay married and went into business as a small pharmaceutical firm to support his wife and family. He met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami, for the first time in Calcutta in 1922.

prabhupada-lilamrta9Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, took a liking to Abhay and told him to devote his life to teaching Vedic Knowledge; more specifically to preach Lord Caitanya’s message to the English speaking world. Although, Abhay accepted, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta within his heart as his spiritual master, it was not until 1932 that he became initiated. He then received both harinama and mantra diksa at his initiation.

In 1936 Srila Prabhupada wrote his spiritual master requesting if there was any particular service that he could render. Srila Prabhupada received a reply to that letter containing the same instruction the he had received in

1922: ‘Preach Krishna consciousness to the English speaking world’. His spiritual master passed away from this world two weeks later; thus leaving these final instructions engraved on Srila Prabhupada’s heart. These instructions were to form the focus of Srila Prabhupada’s life.

prabhupada-lilamrta1Srila Prabhupada wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gita and assisted the Gaudiya Matha in its work. In 1944, during the Second World War, when paper was scarce and people had little money to spend, Srila Prabhupada began a magazine called Back to Godhead. Single-handedly, he would write, edit, oversee the layout, proof-read and sell the copies himself. This magazine is still being published today.

In 1950 Srila Prabhupada adopted the vanaprastha (retired) life; thus retiring from home and family life, in order to devote more time to his studies. In 1953 he received the title Bhaktivedanta from his Godbrothers.

He travelled to Vrindavana, where he lived very humbly at the Radha-Damodara temple. He spent several years there studying the scriptures and writing.

In 1959 he took sannyasa, the renounced order of life. It was then, while staying at Radha-Damodara temple that he started on his masterpiece: translation and commentary of the Srimad-Bhagavatam in English. He also wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets. Within a few years, he had written three volumes of English translation and commentary for the first canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Once again, single handedly, he bought the paper and gathered funds, to print the books. He sold the books himself and through agents in the larger Indian cities.

He now felt ready to carry out his spiritual master’s orders and decided to start by taking the message of Krishna consciousness to America, convinced that other countries would follow suit. Obtaining free passage on a freight ship, called the Jaladuta he finally arrived in New York in 1965. He was 69 and practically penniless. All he possessed was a few copies of the Srimad-Bhagavatam and a few hundred rupees.

prabhupada-lilamrta5He had had a very difficult crossing, suffering two heart attacks and once arrived in New York he didn’t know which way to turn. After a difficult six months, preaching here and there, his few followers rented a storefront and apartment in Manhattan. Here, he would regularly give lectures, kirtana and distribute prasadam. People from all walks of life, including hippies, were drawn here; in search of that missing element from their lives and many became part of ‘Swamiji’s’ following.

As people became more serious, Srila Prabhupada’s followers used to hold regular kirtanas in the parks. The lectures and Sunday feast days became renowned. His young followers eventually took initiation from Srila Prabhupada, promising to follow the regulative principles and chant 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily. He also reinstated the Back to Godhead magazine.

prabhupada-lilamrta10In July 1966, Srila Prabhupada established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness — ISKCON. His aim was to use the society to promote Krishna Consciousness throughout the world. In 1967, he visited San Francisco and started an ISKCON society there. He then sent his disciples all over the world to spread Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s message and open new centres in Montreal, Boston, London, Berlin, and other cities in North America, India, and Europe. In India, three magnificent temples were initially planned: Vrindavana, the Krishna Balaram temple with all its ancillary facilties; Bombay, a temple with an educational and cultural centre; and in Mayapur, a huge temple with a Vedic planetarium.

Srila Prabhupada produced all of his books bar the three written in India within the next eleven years. Srila Prabhupada slept little and would spend the early morning hours writing. He would write almost daily between 1:30 and 4:30 a.m. He dictated his text, which his disciples then typed and edited. Srila Prabhupada would translate the original texts from Sanskrit or Bengali, word by word, and gave a complete commentary.

His works include Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the multi-volume Srimad-Bhagavatam, the multivolume Caitanya-caritamrta, The Nectar of Devotion, Krsna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Teachings of Lord Kapila, Teachings of Queen Kunti, Sri Isopanisad, The Nectar of Instruction, and dozens of small books.

His writings have been translated into over fifty languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 to publish the works of His Divine Grace, has thus become the world’s largest publisher of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy.

Despite his heavy literary schedule, Srila Prabhupada did not let his writing stand in the way of his preaching. In just twelve years, despite his advanced age, he circled the globe fourteen times on lecture tours that took him to six continents.

prabhupada-lilamrta7His days were filled with writing, teaching his followers and the public, and with guiding his growing society, until the day he departed from this world. Before departing from this world Srila Prabhupada gave many instructions to his disciples to follow in his footsteps and to continue the preaching and spreading of Krishna Consciousness all over the world.

He departed this world on November 14 1977.

In the short time he spent in the west, he preached continuously, established 108 temples, wrote more than sixty volumes of transcendental literature, initiated five thousand disciples, founded the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, began a scientific academy (the Bhaktivedanta Institute) and other trusts related to ISKCON.

prabhupada-lilamrta11Srila Prabhupada was an extraordinary author, teacher, and saint. He managed to spread Krishna Consciousness all over the world, through his writing and preaching. His writings comprise of many volumes and are the basis of Krishna consciousness not only for his disciples but for his grand-disciples, affiliated members of the disciplic succession, and for the public at large.

His life history from his earliest days to his passing away in 1977 is vividly described in his authorised biography, the Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta by Satsvarupa Goswami.

 

Remembering Srila Prabhupada – The Mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu

A godbrother of Srila Prabhupada’s remembers their early friendship and their meeting again after many years.

Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor, a scholar and devotee, and a friend of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, gave this interview at his home in Vrndavana, India, in October 1996. The interviewer, Hari Sauri Dasa, served as Srila Prabhupada’s personal servant from November 1975 to March 1977. During that time, he kept a detailed diary that has become the basis of his multi-volume book A Transcendental Diary.

Today in Trinidad and Tobago marks the anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s appearance in this world. Coming to the West in 1965 on the order of his own spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada would champion the mission of Lord Chaitanya and Krishna in 12 years in a way that was unprecedented in Gaudiya Vaishnava history. We present here, a very nice exchange between one of Srila Prabhupada’s personal servants, Hari Sauri dasa and one of Srila Prabhupada’s God Brothers, Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor.

HARI SAURI DASA: I understand that you first met Srila Prabhupada when he was a householder in Allahabad.

Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor
Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor

Dr. Kapoor: I was with Prabhupada for about eight years in Allahabad, from 1931 to 1939. We used to meet almost every day. I first met him in 1931 at the Rupa Gaudiya Math [temple and asrama]. The first time I saw him he was playing the mrdanga [drum] at the matha. There was a discourse that evening, and then sankirtana. After the sankirtana the leader of the matha introduced me to him as a research scholar at Allahabad University and a disciple of Prabhupada [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura]. I had just taken diksa [initiation] from Prabhupada. After that meeting our acquaintance developed into friendship, and friendship developed into intimacy, and so on. We were very good friends. I used to call him Dada, “elder brother.”

After 1939 we didn’t meet for almost twenty-nine years, because I went out of Allahabad. I joined the government service, and he remained there. After some time he took sannyasa [the renounced order of life], and he was going about here and there, so we never met.

We finally met in 1967, here in Vrndavana. In 1967 I retired and came to Vrndavana to settle down. One day I had gone to the Radha Damodara temple. [Bhaktivedanta Swami] Prabhupada had come from the West, and he was staying in a room at the Radha-Damodara temple. I was sitting, waiting for someone, on the verandah just outside his room. And Prabhupada came out.

He was dressed in saffron. I had never seen him like that before. I had only known him as Abhay Babu, as a householder and a businessman. He was now in saffron with a tridandi [renunciant’s staff] in his hand, and two disciples in saffron were following him, like sadhus.

I couldn’t recognize him; thirty years had made a difference in his appearance, and he was dressed in saffron. But he seemed to be looking, trying to recognize me. Then he hazarded a guess. He said, “Dr. Kapoor?”

Oh, I recognized him from his voice! I said, “Abhay Babu?” And he embraced me.

HSD: A very happy meeting.

DK: Yes. He was going somewhere, but he canceled his plans. He took me inside the room and told me all about his preaching work in the West. He showed me the newspaper cuttings and so on. Very interesting meeting, very interesting.

In Allahabad we used to meet almost every day. Sometimes he used to come to my place, but mostly we met in the Rupa Gaudiya Math, in the evening during the discourse and kirtana.

HSD: Can you say something about how Srila Prabhupada conducted his household affairs while he was also developing his spiritual life.

DK: I didn’t know much about his household affairs, because we met mostly at the matha in the evening. He had a shop. He sold medicines, and he also manufactured them. Once he manufactured a tonic, and he gave it to me.

I said, “That’s nice, this gift of yours. I must accept it. But I wish you would give me the tonic which you yourself take the tonic of Krsna-prema [love of Krsna].”

prabhupada2He said, “I don’t have that tonic. But I have the formula.”

I said, “Oh, wonderful! If it is not a secret, tell me what the formula is.”

He said, “No, it is not a secret at all:

trnad api sunicena
taror iva sahisnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniyah sada harih*

This is the formula, and I am going to preach it all over the world.”

*”One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind. One should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all respects to others. In that way one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” (Siksastaka 3)

At that time I couldn’t recognize the significance of his words, but he was going to preach it all over the world. I thought it was just a casual statement. But now I look back, and I can see that he was even then thinking and planning to preach all over the world, which he did.

HSD: Yes, very wonderfully.

DK: Wonderfully. Ten years, I think, only. All the world over he preached. Almost a miracle. Almost a miracle.

HSD: Unrepeatable.

DK: Hmm. Unrepeatable. Even Emperor Ashok he preached Buddhism, he was the owner of such a big empire and even he couldn’t do as much as Prabhupada did in ten years.

HSD: You once told me that you saw a great change in Prabhupada from when you knew him in Allahabad.

DK: Of course, in one sense there was a world of difference between the Abhay Babu I had known and the Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada I met in Vrndavana after thirty years. He was now the president of a huge organization, an international organization. He was preaching all over the world. All the same, he was as humble as ever. I could never have imagined that he could one day become Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada. I could never have imagined. He was so simple. But, you see, he had the blessings of [Caitanya] Mahaprabhu. It is the blessings of Mahaprabhu that made him Prabhupada.

Getting the Most From Shri Krishna Janmashtami

janmashtami1Sri Krishna Janmashtami is the appearance anniversary of Krishna, the Supreme Person. He’s not “born” like we are—He comes and goes as He likes—but He appears here to please His devotees, rid the earth of evildoers, and give the rest of us something worthwhile to talk about.

His pastime of janma, birth, occurred on the ashtami, eighth day of the waning moon in the lunar month of Hrishikesh. Janmashtami is one of the world’s biggest spiritual festivals, and is observed by followers of many faiths. For Krishna devotees, Janmashtami is a day of non-stop chanting, cooking, worship of Krishna in His Deity form, and fasting until midnight, when a grand feast is served.
janmashtami2The Tenth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam describes the events leading up to and including Krishna’s appearance on earth. Srila Prabhupada encouraged his disciples to read about Krishna’s pastimes in the Bhagavatam, cook a feast for Krishna’s pleasure, and chant Hare Krishna all day and into the night each year on Janmashtami.

For those are very serious about advancing in Krsna Consciousness the day of Janmashtami is much more than a ritualistic celebration that we celebrate each year. Here are a few tips for elevating our Janmashtami from the ritual level to the spiritual level.

Fasting

Srila Prabhupada writes in Bhagavad Gita that one’s determination in Krishna Conscoiousness is marked by the effort to keep fast on days like Janmashtami and Ekadasi. Fasting has two sides, one positive and one negative. The negative is that we should not eat or drink for the entire day until midnight, and then to break the fast with Ekadasi prasadam. If we are unable to do that, water is permissible and in extreme circumstances one may take some fruit if he is unable to keep the fast. This fasting helps us the control the demands of the body and allows us to focus on the positive side of fasting which is the increase the level of our spiritual practices like hearing and chanting. Any serious devotee MUST make the effort to keep fast on the day of Janmashtami.

Chanting Japa

chanting-japaKrishna is non-different from His Name, therefore an excellent way to celebrate Janmashtami is to immerse ourselves in quality japa. We can gain so much spiritual benefit from chanting japa on days like Janmashtami. Initiated members of our organisation chant a minumum of 16 rounds of Hare Krishna japa each day, but if you are not initiated as yet you can try to chant 16 or any number you can. And if you are really adventurous you can try to chant with a vow of 64 rounds of japa. Either way chanting is a super way to boost the level of your Janmashtami celebration.

Reading Srimad Bhagavatam or Krishna Book

bhagavatam_bigSrila Rupa Goswami writes in his Nectar of Devotion that there are five most potent forms of devotional service, one of which is to read Srimad Bhagavatam. Krishna’s pastimes are specifically described in the 10th Canto and the details of His appearance are described in the first 3 chapters. When read with Srila Prabhupada’s commentary these chapters unlock very deep meaning and insight into the Lord’s Appearance and the way we can apply it in our own lives and practise. The same can also be read in the Krishna Book which is Srila Prabhupada’s summary study of the Bhagavatam’s 10th Canto.

Attend the Program at an ISKCON Temple near you.

DSC02617The central focus of ISKCON Temples is the worship of Krishna. In fact every day is like Janmashtami for us. But, on Janmashtami every service is done at the temple as if its on steroids. All the stops are pulled out and no holds are barred. The decorations are out of this world, the deities are dressed so impressive that one gets the experience that “YES……Here IS Krishna!”, the kirtan is soul stirring, the prasadam tastes even more amazing (at the time of breaking fast it’s even more sweet), and the atmosphere is surcharged with Krishna Bhakti (devotion of Krishna). Everyone is welcome to take part in our celebration; come and chant, hear krishna katha, take part in the worship of the deity of Radha and Krishna and sit and talk about Krishna with the devotees. It can be a life altering experience.

Listening to Lectures about the Appearance of the Lord

In today’s world almost everything is available on the internet. ISKCON Desire Tree has a MASSIVE catalog of lectures and classes give by Srila Prabhupada and many of his disciples and grand-disciples on the Appearance Day of the Lord. Visit them and spend some time hearing about the pastimes of the Lord from the devotees and if our mood is right we can feel the inner stirring to increase the depth of our spiritual practise.

These are just some suggestions to make the best of your Janmasthami festival and can actually be applied to any special day. We hope this Janmashtami proved to be a revolution in your spiritual journey. Drop us a line to let us know what you did to make this Jamnashtami more special for you or to share any special experience you had.

Lord Jagannatha Rolls Through Town………..Twice!

DSCN2748Our 2014 Ratha Yatra festivals got off to a flying start on Thursday 15th May with Lord Jagannatha rolling down Frederick Street accompanied by the resounding chanting of the Holy Names of Lord Krishna.

Their Lordships Jaganatha,  Baladeva and Subhadra Devi were splendidly dressed and the devotees swiftly took hold of the rope that was attached to the beautifully decorated chariot. Accompanied by kirtan by Bala Krishna Prabhu, His Grace Agni Dev Prabhu, His Grace Gopta Das and Visvarupa Das, the chariot journeyed from the Queen’s Park Savannah through Frederick Street and then onto the Brian Lara Promenade.

Throughout the parade His Holiness Guru Prasad Swami continued to encourage devotees to chant and dance in the ecstatic kirtan. This great festival grabbed the attention of many a passerby as devotees distributed Prasadam(sanctified vegetarian food stuffs) to almost every onlooker.

10330336_10152060652117111_5110117241864859372_nThe parade culminated at the Brian Lara Promenade where prasadam was prepared for over 1000 people. The day’s festivities then continued with a stage program, beginning with the National Anthem and Jaganatha Ashtakham Prayer. This was then followed by a short discourse by His Holiness Guru Prasad Swami as he talked about the importance of this festival. Dances, kirtan, drama and Japanese

10371906_10152060657022111_3293046707223902306_nDragon dancers were also part of the show until final Artik was performed to the deities. The Indian High Commissioner, His Grace Gauri Shankar Gupta as also present to bring greetings on behalf of the Indian High Commission. This, the 5th consecutive year of Ratha Yatra was indeed a grand success thanks to Baladev Prabhu and all the other devotees.

10325338_10152060777302111_2474343168927485729_nAs the saying goes, when it’s nice we should do it twice. and so it was that Lord Jagannatha spread His mercy is South Trinidad on Saturday 17th May 2014 with the second installation of Ratha Yatra 2014.The procession commenced at the Bakal recreation ground near Gopi Trace in Penal and  the chariots looked as majestic as ever carrying Their Lordships Jaganatha , Baladeva, Subhadra Devi , as well as Sri Sri Gaura Nitai and His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The parade began around 2p.m.  and proceeded towards NAMDEVCO Market, Debe. With blissful kirtan beingled by various kirtaniyas, the procession caught the attention of many spectators as devotees danced gracefully throughout.

10403456_10152060780462111_747738260578414736_nOn arrival at the Namdevco Market sight, the stage program commenced with Jaganatha Ashtakam by Paramodara Devi Dasi and kirtan by His Grace Amala Kirtan Prabhu from the USA. A short message was then delivered by His Holiness Bhakti Prabhupada Damodara Vrata Swami. Kirtan and drama then continued deep into the night while all attendees took part in a delicious feast prepared by the devotees of the South Centre.

Annual Nrsimhadeva Yajna

DSCN2688Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha Mandir celebrated their 10th annual Nrsimhadev Caturdasi Yagya on Tuesday 13th May, 2014. The program started approximately 3:15 p.m. after many preparations were done by the resident devotees. Kirtan was performed by Bhakta Avinath at the commencement of the program. Shanta Vigraha Das then began the Yagya by carrying out the purificatory rights, followed by the recitation of the Sankalp.

DSCN2695The discourse was then given by both the temple’s resident sannyasi, His Holiness Bhakti Prabhupada Vrata Damodara Swami along with the GBC of Trinidad, His Holiness Guru Prasad Swami. They reassured the assembled devotees that Nrsimhadeva is the protector of the devotees and that we should take shelter of the Lord just as in the case of Prahlada Maharaj. They also made mention of incidents in the ISKCON Mayapur Yatra where Lord Nrsimhadev protected his devotees in a very personal way.

The discourse was followed by the large fire sacrifice where over 100 devotees proceeded to offer grains into the fire, accompanied by ghee offerings made by the four assisting priests that were present. After the final offering of the banana, everyone was asked to circumambulate the fire while kirtan was being led by His Grace Agni Dev Prabhu.

DSCN2692At 6:15 p.m. all the devotees and guests gathered in the temple hall to witness the maha aratik ceremony of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha and Gaura Nitai. The fiery kirtan was again led by His Grace Agni Dev Prabhu and the devotees chanted and danced in ecstasy.

A sumptuous feast was then served to everyone at the culmination of the event. The program was also streamed live on mayapur.tv by Dattavara Das and a video of the festivities was also uploaded on YouTube can be viewed at the following link: Nrsimhadeva Yajna.

You can also view some photos from the Yajna at the following link: Nrsimhadeva Photos.