Category Archives: Festivals

4th Anniversary of ISKCON NVCC Pune

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On 23rd Feb 2017 we will be celebrating the 4th anniversary of the inauguration of our temple at Katraj (Pune).
4 years ago the temple was inaugurated by the hands of Honorable President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee. Ever since then there has been a tremendous growth in the services offered by this Cultural Centre to the society at large.
A brief report of the progress of all the activities in the temple will also be submitted to the Deities as a part of the day long celebrations which include Dramas, dance performances and discourses by special guests, all for the pleasure of their Lordships.
Special attraction: Srila Prabhupada will be personally visiting all the departments in the temple on his flower palanquin, an event which occurs only on this particular day.
So please don’t miss it and join us to increase the joy of their Lordships.

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Tomorrow is Varaha Dvadashi 08-02-2017

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Varahadeva is the boar incarnation Sri Krsna. He assumed the form of a boar to lift the drowning planet earth from the Garbhodaka Ocean with His tusks.

The demon Hiryanyaksa had thrown the planet earth into this ocean, but the Lord stabbed the demon with His tusks and saved the earth. After describing the appearance of the white Boar Incarnation that had appeared during the Svayambhuva devastation, Maitreya next described the red Boar Incarnation that had appeared during the Chakshusha devastation. Maitreya related these pastimes to Vidura in the same manner in which he had heard them long ago when Lord Brahma had narrated them to the demigods.

ISKCON 5oth Anniversary Celebration

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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on the corner of New York’s 2nd Avenue shortly after he established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in 1966.

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ISKCON is gearing up for its 50th anniversary, with plans for celebratory events all over the world throughout 2016.

It all began, of course, in 1965, when A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was 69 years old.

Leaving his home in Vrindavana, India, he travelled to New York city aboard a cargo steamship to introduce “India’s message of peace and goodwill” to the Western world.

After surviving two heart-attacks, he arrived in the US with just seven dollars and a case of books to his name. The early days were a struggle, but his deep faith and his spiritual message resonated with some young people, who came forward to become his students.

On July 11, 1966, Srila Prabhupada officially registered his International Society for Krishna Consciousness in New York. At the time, he had one small storefront on New York’s Lower East-Side, and a handful of students.

Today, there are nearly four hundred ISKCON centers all over the world, and thousands of ISKCON devotees.

ISKCON is behind some prestigious educational institutions, such as Bhaktivedanta College in Belgium. ISKCON charities such as Food for Life and ISKCON Food Relief Foundation have fed millions of needy and starving people all over the world.

Many highly influential people are now ISKCON devotees, and ISKCON itself is well-respected by governments of some countries. In the UK, for instance, ISKCON devotees have addressed Parliament and been invited to perform the puja at No. 10 Downing Street’s official Diwali event.

Shri Shri Jagannatha Rathayatra 2016

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When the multi-colored mammoth chariot of Their Lordships Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra will roll through the roads of Pune, its sheer majesty and beauty will at once stun and charm the hearts of the deluge of Puneites gathered to witness the grandeur plus extravaganza of Lord’s sweet and historic stroll. For the first time, after the stupendous installation ceremony way back in Feb 2013, the all merciful Lordships will set out in a castle like chariot to bestow their sidelong glances on on-lookers to inundate their lives with divine love and joy. We heartily invite you all to become a participant in this memorable journey and thus be blessed with an opportunity to pull the ropes of Lord’s Rath.

Lord Jagannath, Lord Baladeva and Subhdra Devi will be enthroned on the magnificent chariot reverentially. Rath Yatra would be inaugurated by performing Maha Arati and by sweeping the road with gold plated broom. With loud chants of Jay Jagannath, the huge ropes which are tied to the chariots will be pulled. The chariot would then roll through the streets wherein Thousands of people would be waiting en route to welcome the Lord and pull the rope; many witnessing the mega procession from their roof tops. Throughout the journey, the melodious kirtan of Hare Krishna Mahamantra accompanied with mrindanga and kartal (cymbals) will keep everyone enthused. People will chant, sing and dance together for the pleasure of Lord Jagannath. Prasadam will be freely distributed in large quantities. It is one of the biggest display of universal brotherhood under the banner of Lord Jagannath.

SRI SRI RADHA VRINDAVANCHANDRA TEMPLE OPENING’S 3rd Anniversary

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ISKCON New Vedic Cultural Centre will be celebrating the 3rd anniversary festival of Sri Sri Radha Vrindavanchandra temple opening on forthcoming 23rd February. The festivities will start the day before with Adhivas (Preparing for the festival) ceremony. We heartily welcome anyone and everyone to be a part of joyous celebration and feast upon the rare fortune of witnessing the purifying Yagya, melodious Kirtans, enlightening Discourse and most certainly, sumptuous prasadam.

 

 

 

Gaura Purnima Mahamahotsav

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Lord Chaitanya, the golden avatara, is none other than the Supreme Lord Krishna, who appeared on the full moon evening in the month of Phalguna. He inaugrated the yuga dharma for this age – Hari-Nama Sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of the God. His apperance day is celebrated all over the universe as Gaur Purnima Mahamahotsava, the day when Shyamsundar (Lord Krishna) appeared as Gaursundar (Lord Chaitanya).

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Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur writes in his Chaitanya-Bhagavata “These two days (Nityanada Trayodasi & Phalgun Purnima) are most auspicious because all favorable planetary conjunctions are present on these days. Therefore whoever observes these two days attains devotion to Lord Krishna and freedom from the bondage to ignorance. (CB, Adi-khanda, 3.45-47).

In his Chaitanya Chandramrita, Srila Prabodhananda Saraswati glorifies the advent of Lord Chaitanya in following words – “The advent of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is like an expanding ocean of nectar. One who does not collect the valuable jewels within that ocean is certainly the poorest of the poor.” He further describes the beautiful form of Lord – “O Lord Chaitanya chandra, Your form is full of blissful pastimes, Your beautiful complexion is as splendid as gold, and You give the nectar of pure love for Krishna in charity. O Lord, again and again I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.”

We are celebrating this holiest of all holy ocassions on 5th Mar and would like to extend a warm invitation to one and all to be a part of grand festivities filled with fasting, abhishek, kirtan, katha & feasting. The schedule of events is enlisted below:

March 4th, 2015 (Wednesday) Adhivas Ceremony @ 7:30PM at NVCC – Kirtans by HH Lokanath Swami Maharaj

March 5th, 2015 (Thursday) Gaur Poornima festival.

Morning – Gaur Katha at 8:30 AM by HH Loknath Swami Maharaj at NVCC. Evening – Abhishek @ 6:30PM; Lecture @ 7:30 PM & Prasadam @ 8:30PM in both temples

SRI SRIMAD JAGANNATHA DAS BABAJI MAHARAJA’S DISAPPEARANCE DAY

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Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja appeared in this world sometime around 1750 A.D. in a remote village in the subdivision of Tangail, in the district of Mayaman Singh, in what is now known as Bangladesh. He belonged to a very aristocratic family. The Gaudiya Vedantacarya Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushana’s initiated disciple was Uddhava dasa Babaji, and his initiated disciple was Madhusudana dasa Babaji, and Jagannätha dasa Babaji accepted Babaji initiation from Madhusudana dasa Babaji Maharaja. According to the Gaudiya-vaisnava-jivana, the diksa-guru of Jagannatha dasa Babaji was Jagadananda Gosvami of Sringarvat, Vrindavana, whose vesha-guru was Krishna dasa Babaji of Govardhana fame.

Jagannatha dasa Babaji’s life and soul was the chanting of the Holy Name and rendering service to Vaisnavas. Although he was almost bent double in his old age, still, during the time of kértana, his body would expand to well over six feet, and his appearance would replicate the dancing figure of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. His favorite disciple was Bhagavat dasa Babaji, who had accepted Babaji initiation from him. Gaura- kisora dasa Babaji took Babaji initiation from Srila Bhagavat dasa Babaji Maharaja.

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Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji’s personal servant and disciple, Sri Bihari dasa, was very stout and powerful. Due to Babaji Maharaja’s advanced age he could apparently not walk. Sri Bihari used to carry him everywhere on his shoulder in a bamboo basket. He used to strictly and regularly follow the vows of Caturmasya (the four-month-long rainy season). In the first month he would take only four bananas each day in the evening. In the second month he would only take guavas. In the third month he drank some buttermilk. And in the fourth month, he consumed only the flowers of the banana tree. He once went to Rishikesh to purify his chanting, which involved the performance of the purificatory practice called purascarana. This penance had to be performed with extreme rigidity. He used to bathe at three o’clock in the morning and chant inside a closed room until sunset without speaking or eating. In order to complete the vow properly one is expected to take bath after each call of nature and even after passing air. Once, after observing this regimen for two months, he inadvertently spoke to Bihari däasa. He began the entire process again and completed his vow in three months’ time.

Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji used to stay six months in Vraja and six months in Navadvépa-Dhdma. According to Gaudiya-vaisnava-jivana, at the advanced age of 146, when he was set to travel to Navadvipa from Radha-kunda, many Brijbasis and other Vaisnavas went to him to inquire why he was leaving Vraja-Dhama at such an advanced age. In a very humble and transcendentally depressed mood he replied, “You can all stay here in Vraja-Dhama because you are all pure Vaisnavas. I am very offensive, and therefore it is better for me to stay at Navadvipa. Their Lordships Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai do not count one’s offenses, as They have appeared to liberate all offenders. But here in Vraja-Dhama offenses are counted and reactions thereto are strictly enforced.” This was his last journey to Navadvipa-Dhama. A few months after his arrival, on the first day of the new moon in the month of Phalguna, a fortnight before the anniversary of Lord Caitanya’s appearance, he entered the Lord’s eternal pastimes.

SRI RASIKANANDA THAKUR’S DISAPPEARANCE DAY

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RASIKA MURARI PATNAIK, also known as Rasikananda Prabhu, appeared in 1590 on the first day of the bright fortnight of the month of Karttika, fifty-six years after Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had ended His earthly pastimes. Rasikananda was born into a powerful zamindar (landowner) family in Royni, on the Suvarnarekha River in what is now the Medinipur district of southwest Bengal. His father was Sri Acyuta Thakur, the king of Rohini. His mother’s name was Bhavani. As he grew up, shining qualities appeared by degrees in his person causing the further exaltation of his family, just as the waxing moon gradually expands its influence in the night sky and causes the sea to rise. At a very young age he became quite proficient in all of the scriptures.

One day, Murari was sitting in a lonely place, wondering when and where he might become so fortunate as to get shelter at the lotus feet of a guru. Just then a voice from the sky addressed him, “Don’t be in anxiety. You will become the disciple of Sri Syamananda.” Having heard this proclamation, Rasika Murari became very jubilant, and began to repeatedly murmur the name Syamananda, as though chanting japa. From moment to moment his eagerness increased without diminution, as tears flowed from his eyes by his chanting of the name of Syamananda. He was in such a state that he spent most of the night sleeplessly, calling to his master Syamananda. Finally, towards the early morning, he drifted off to the land of dreams, where he saw his spiritual master, the very figure of charm and grace. Smilingly, Syamananda informed him, “When tomorrow the eastern sky becomes tinged with pink, you will obtain me.” Then he disappeared.

The meeting of Syamananda and the youthful Rasika is retold in Gopijanavallabha’s Rasika Mangala, a standard 17th century text about the life of Rasikananda. Basically, Syamananda and Rasikananda saw each other and recognized a connection that transcended time itself. Rasika ran up to his future guru and fell flat at his feet, saying, “You are my eternal savior, and Krishna has finally sent you to redeem me.” Syamananda Prabhu smiled with great pleasure. “I have found the future of Vaisnavism!”

RasikanandaPr2Rasikananda, like his guru, was a married man, and so his wife, Iccha Devi, also took initiation from Syamananda Prabhu, receiving the name Syama Dasi.* Syamananda told them to always chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Soon after Syama Dasi’s initiation, the couple left Royni for nearby Kashipur, a popular city with a large influx of wealthy people. Sometime later, Syamananda visited his two disciples in Kashipur and brought a beautiful Deity of Krishna for them: Gopijanavallabha. Seeing how much his disciples loved their newly installed Deity, Syamananda renamed the city Gopiballabhpur (“Gopivallabha’s town”) and blessed all of the townspeople to develop the same love for the Deity that Rasikananda and his wife had. He asked Rasikananda to spread Krishna consciousness vigorously and made Syama Dasi the head priest of the temple.

RasikanandaPr5According to historian Ramakanta Chakravarti, “Rasikmurari was perhaps more successful in converting people into Vaisnavism than any other Vaisnava leader of his time.” His enthusiasm was so pronounced that by the time of his passing away, the region of Medinipur had developed a distinct sect of Vaisnavas in the mood of Syamananda, his guru. These “Syamanandi vaisnavas,” as they came to be called, developed their own style of dress, cooking, tilaka markings, and temple construction. Rasikananda popularized Vaisnavism to the point of creating an entire subculture based on its principles.

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RasikanandaPr6Sri Bhakti-ratnakara 15.82-86 describes: “By the tremendous influence of Rasikananda’s preaching, many rogues, robbers and atheists received his mercy and were delivered from their sinful activities. He distributed the jewel of devotion to even the infidel Mohammedans, as he travelled from village to village, in the company of his disciples. He even converted a wild elephant, which was sent for his destruction, into his disciple and engaged him in the service of Krishna and the vaisnavas. The wicked Mohammedan miscreant who sent the elephant bowed at his feet when he realized his mistake. It is not possible to count the number of living entities that were extricated from the ocean of material existence by Rasikananda Thakur’s association. He was always intoxicated with the chanting of the holy name. Who cannot but be overwhelmed by hearing about his uncommon qualities?”

RasikanandaPr8The vicious wild elephant that was tamed by Rasikananda’s transcendental influence was thereafter known as Gopala Das. Later, two jungle tigers similarly gave up their ferocious nature and became. The classic histories of the period, such as Syamananda Prakasha and Rasika Mangala, tell how he and his wife, with the help of influential disciples, put an end to animal sacrifice in non-Vaisnava areas and convinced people throughout Orissa and its bordering villages of the validity of Mahaprabhu’s message. With his knowledge, purity, and charisma, he engaged Muslims, Buddhists, and various sects of Hindus in the service of Krishna.

RasikanandaPr4Then, on the first day of the bright fortnight in the month of Phalguna, Sakabda 1574 (Christian year1652), Rasikananda quietly slipped out of the village without anyone’s notice and walked to Remuna. It is said that he would spend day and night just gazing at the beautiful Deity of Kheer-chor Gopinath. He would utter the maha-mantra and sit transfixed, stuttering, shedding tears of love. He would point to the Deity as if to say to others, “Don’t you see?” But no one could see what he saw. After having spent his life spreading the teachings of Lord Caitanya and establishing a firm basis for the future of Vaisnavism, he was content to spend his time in the company of the Lord of his life. He discussed krishna-katha with the devotees for a while and instructed everyone to serve Sri Krishna with devotion. Then, after requesting them to begin sankirtana, he entered the temple of Sri Gopinatha. After touching Kheer-chora Gopinatha’s lotus feet, which bestow complete fearlessness, he entered into their ultimate shelter.

RasikanandaPr3Sri Rasikananda had three sons: Sri Radhananda, Sri Krishna-Govinda and Sri Radha-Krishna. The present servants of Sri Sri Radha-GovindaThakura at Gopivallabhapura are their descendants. Late in his life Rasikananda wrote a Sanskrit epic about the life of the person who had taught him all he knew. It was called Sri Syamananda-Satakam, and it remains the most authoritative work on Syamananda’s life. He also composed Srimad Bhgavatastaka, as well as other hymns and songs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appearance Day Festival of Sri Srimad Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Goswami Prabhupada

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On the sacred occasion of the appearance day of our Param-Guru Sri Srimad Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Goswami Prabhupada, we are posting here some of his instructive quotes* and some pictorial reminiscences of his transcendental life.

  1. If to carry out the command of the Vaiṣṇava guru I have to be arrogant or brutish, or suffer eternal perdition, I am prepared to welcome such eternal damnation and even sign a contract to that effect. I will not listen to the words of malicious persons in lieu of the command of Śrī Gurudeva. I will dissipate with indomitable courage and conviction the currents of thought of the rest of the world, relying on the strength derived from the lotus feet of Śrī Gurudeva. I confess to this arrogance.SBSST2
  1. The threefold miseries cannot be vanquished without following the instructions of Bhāgavatam. There are unlimited varieties of distress, and we cannot invent a way to end even one of them. They are caused by nescience in the form of forgetfulness of the Supreme Lord. That nescience both covers the living entities and hurls them into further throes. Until we terminate the cause we will never overcome the miserable effect. If we wish to help others we must propagate devotional service. If the Lord’s message is preached around the world, then all countries and all people will achieve the greatest success of all time.SBSST1
  1. Devotional service benefits all beings in all countries at all times. Those who chant the Lord’s glories uplift every living entity on the planet, including beasts, birds, demigods, asuras, and even trees, creepers, and stones.Bhaktisiddhanta
  1. The sound pronounced by the sadhu and mahā-prasāda are not entities of this world. They are not identical with ordinary sound or ordinary food, which are merely means for gratifying our sensuous inclinations and appetites. Because they are spiritual, the word of God and mahā-prasāda cannot be enjoyed, or in other words, cannot be employed in gratification of the senses. Those who enjoy kīrtana or any spiritual discourse, or eat mahā-prasāda for appeasing hunger or gratification of the palate, are guilty of sacrilegious acts that serve only to prolong the state of sin, and ignorance of the greatest possible calamity that can befall the soul embodied in human form.

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*excerpted from “Sri- Bhaktisiddhanta-Vaibhava” by His Holiness Bhakti Vikas Swami Maharaja.

NITYANANDA TRAYODASHI MAHA-MAHOTSAVA

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Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur, who is accepted as the incarnation of Maharshi Vedavyasa in Lord Chaitanya’s pastimes, writes in his Chaitanya-Bhagavata:

नित्यानन्द-जन्म माघी शुक्ला त्रयोदशी, गौरचन्द्र-प्रकाश फाल्गुनी पौर्णमासी

सर्व-यात्रा मंगल ए दुइ पुण्य-तिथि, सर्व-शुभ-लग्न अधिष्ठान हय इथि

एइ थेके ए दुइ तिथि करिले सेवन, कृष्ण-भक्ति हय खंडे अविद्या-बंधन

Lord Nityananda appeared on the thirteenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Magha, and Gauracandra appeared on the full moon evening in the month of Phalguna. These two days are most auspicious because all favorable planetary conjunctions are present on these days. Therefore whoever observes these two days attains devotion to Lord Krishna and freedom from the bondage to ignorance. (CB, Adi-khanda, 3.45-47)

Kavi Karnapura describes in his Sri Gaur Ganodesa Dipika about Lord Nityananda, “Lord Nityananda Avadhuta is actually the Personality of Godhead Lord Balarama. Always staying among the devotees, He shines with the splendor of thousands of suns. Lord Nityananda incarnates as His plenary expansion as Ananta Sesa. As Lord Sesa, He transforms His body to become the garments, bracelets, and other ornaments worn by Lord Visnu and Lord Krishna. Expanding again as the pastime potency, lila-sakti, Lord Sesa is aware of all the details of Lord Krishna’s confidential pastimes.”

On 1st Feb and 5th Mar this year, we will be celebrating these two all-auspicious festivals, Nityananda- Trayodasi and Gaur-Purnima, respectively. On 1st Feb, we will be fasting till noon and the day will be filled with Katha, Kirtan, Abhishek and nectarean prasadam.

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Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur in his beautiful series of prayers known as Nityananda-Astakam glorifies Lord Nityananda as “the limitless root of the tree of devotional service.” He blesses at the end of this prayer, “May the two lotus feet of Lord Nityänanda appear eternally in the hearts of those who read these verses and remember the Lord.” For reading entire Nityananda-Astakam, Please click  Sri_NityanandaAstakam.

Srila Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya has also wriiten two beautiful prayers called Nityananda-Dvadasa-Nama and Nityananda-AstottaraSata-Nama. One who early morning regularly recites the former is blessed by the author “to become a quick recipient of Lord Chaitanya’s mercy along with fulfillment of all his desires” and the benediction for doing the same for latter is that “one truly achieves the love of Krishna.” For reading these prayers in full, please click on following links:

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We are posting here some pictures from Sri Ekachakra dham, birth-place of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. You are most welcome to feast your eyes on these transcendental glimpses of birth and pastimes sites of Their Lordships.

 

We would also like to extend a hearty welcome to one and all to participate and achieve divine blessings on these two Maha-Mahotsavas in our temples at Camp and Katraj-Kondhwa by pass. The tentative schedule of the festival is as follows:

Morning Katha  by His Grace Ram Nitai Pr from  8:40 AM to 10:00 AM and

by His Grace Rasa Vigraha Pr from  11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Evening Abhishek from 6:30 to 7:30 PM

Festival Class from 7:30 to 8:30 PM by His Grace Swetadwip Pr

Dinner Feast Prasadam at 8:30 PM