Events & Festivals
One day he heard a divine voice in the sky which said, “O Kamsa, the eighth son of your sister Devaki is going to kill you. Kamsa was furious. His eyes blazed with anger. He called for his soldiers and ordered them to capture Devaki and Vasudeva and throw them into a deep dark dungeon. Devaki gave birth to seven sons. The evil Kamsa killed them all one by one. Being chained in the dark prison, Devaki and Vasudeva prayed to God to protect them.
Do you know anybody who is most beautiful, most intelligent, most famous, the wealthiest, the strongest and the most renounced? Famous people like film stars, sport stars, industrialists, scientists and politicians can attract millions of fans for few years but they all appear, disappear and forgotten with the passing time like shooting stars. God is one, who is the oldest and yet possesses all six opulences in full FOREVER.
The Supreme Lord is called by many names like ‘Krishna’, ‘Christ’ and ‘Allah’. The Greek word ‘krstos’ comes from Sanksrit word ‘Krsta’ or ‘Krsna’ meaning ‘all attractive’. So when we address God as "Christ”, "Krsta" or "Krishna" we indicate the same all-attractive Supreme God.
Hearing the sincere prayers of Devaki and Vasudev, Lord Krishna who is the most beautiful, strong, wealthiest, famous, intelligent and renounced person wanted to protect them. So He decided to come to earth from his spiritual abode as their son.
During the birth of Lord Krishna, the whole atmosphere became filled with prosperity and joy. The trees were laden with fruits and flowers. The rivers were overflowing with water, and the lakes were beautifully decorated with lotus flowers. The birds in the forest began to sing with sweet voices, and the peacocks began to dance. The wind blew very pleasantly, carrying the aroma of different flowers. All the people’s minds became filled with peace and joy. The denizens of the heavenly planets began to sing, offer prayers and dance on the auspicious occasion. The heavenly residents being pleased also began to shower flowers. At the seashore there was the sound of mild waves, and above the sea there were clouds in the sky which began to thunder very pleasingly. Amidst such a wonderful atmosphere, Lord Krishna in order to protect his devotees took birth as the eighth child of Devaki and Vasudeva, bringing boundless joy to both of them.
The day when Lord Krishna took birth is called as Janmastami. This day falls in the month of August or September. The Janmastami festival is celebrated by millions of people every year all over the world. On this day people take bath early in the morning and wear new clothes. In temples the deities of Krishna are decorated with beautiful clothes, jewels, garlands and flowers. People visit the temples to see Krishna and sing songs glorifying his activities. They read the teachings of Lord Krishna written in the Scripture called the Bhagavad Gita. They also distribute these Holy Books to everyone.
At homes lot of sweets, savories and festival meals are prepared with love and then offered to Lord Krishna. These foods are then shared and relished by one and all. People visit their friends and relatives’ homes and exchange sweets and good wishes. On this glorious day all people chant the names of Krishna for bringing peace and happiness to everyone.
A special bath of Jagannath takes place on the Purnima of Jyestha month, to commemorate the appearance day of Lord Jagannath. According to Skanda Purana when Raja Indradyumna installed the wooden deities he arranged this bathing ceremony. This day considered to be the appearance day of Lord jagannath. ‘Niladri Mohadaya’, a religious text written in Oriya records the rituals of the festival. Lord Jagannath in His early form was being worshipped as Nilamadhava by a Suara chief called Viswabasu. The story is nicely told in the drama Jagannath Priyan natakam. Till now it is the Daitas and Suaras who have the exclusive right to conduct the festival.
On the previous day of Snana Yatra the dieties of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra along with the Sudarshana are ceremonially brought out from the sanctum in a procession to the Bathing pandal. It is at such a height that visitors standing outside the temple also get a glimpse of the Deities.
On the the day before the bathing when the Deities are taken out in procession, the whole process is called Pahandi or Pahandi vijay. For this festival the Bathin pandal is well decorated with traditional paintings of trees and gardens. Flags and arches strung with mango leaves are also put up. The Deities are profusely decorated with flowers. All kinds of perfumes such as Dhupa, Aguru etc. are then offered. In Puri the bathing procedure is as follows, After Mangala Arati, the Suaras and Mahasuaras go in a ceremonial procession to fetch water from Golden well in one hundred and eight, vessels of copper and gold. All of them cover their mouths with a piece of cloth so as not to contaminate it even with their breath. Then all the vessels filled with water are preserved in the Bhoga Mandap. Then they purify the water with turmeric, Benachera, Chandan, Aguru, flowers, perfumes and medicinal herbs.
The bathing festival takes place during the morning hours of the purnima tithi. The filled vessels are carried from Bhoga Mandap to the Snana Vedi by the Suaras in a long single line procession.
After the Snana Yatra, the Deities are kept away from public view for fifteen days and during all these days the daily rites of the temple remain suspended. When Jagannatha was absent from the temple, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who could not see Him, felt separation and left Jagannatha Puri to go to a place known as Alalanatha. As Jagannatha himself instructed, after this ceremony, he is not seen for a fortnight. The Deities are kept on a special “sick room” called the Ratan vedi inside the temple. This period is called ‘Anabasara kala’ meaning improper time for worship. During these fifteen days the descendants of Viswavasu repaint and restore the Deities and Jagannath’s fine decorations. On the 16th day the Deities in their new forms after renovation become ready for the public view darshan. The festival of the first appearance of the Lord Jagannath to his devotees is called Netrotsava.
-by -Ramsevak das
There are many Bhagavat Kathakaars who can make the audience dance and cry and sing and laugh, but only as an entertainment. Neither does the speaker believe in what he is saying for he is only making a business and audience too are coming to just have fun time like they go for cinemas. They are not coming for solutions from their disease, but are coming to see how this can also be used to fit their agenda for enjoyment in their current diseased state. This is never the case in ISKCON. Here both the speaker and the audience are qualified. The speaker must be a surrendered disciple of exalted vaisnavas coming in strict disciplic succession as per bonafide vedic scriptures and the audience too are trained in what they should be looking for as they are tutored in understanding the goal of life and are making many material sacrifices lovingly to express their desire to get qualified. That is why kathas in ISKCON reach its pinnacle in pure, unadulterated devotional ecstasy , free from any tinge of material dirt.
Lal Govind Prabhu is one such speaker whom we are fortunate to have. He can defeat any professional speaker in his presentation, what with orchestra accompaniment and singing in perfect meter various folk and vaisnav songs and graphic powerful depiction of the subject, but at heart he is a pure loving devotee who is to out make people understand the message of Lord Chaitanya under the instruction of his Guru. He started at the age of 16 and now when he is only 32, he has already delivered more that 13000 lectures around the world. Here is person who really practices what he speaks. His father who is a well to do diamond merchant has provided all facilities for his son to do this service to humanity and he, like an ideal son, is using it thoroughly in his beloved Lord’s service. Such a devotionally powerful combination in one’s own family is rare to be seen. He made his purpose very clear when he spoke on how people who call themselves devotees get desi ghee from remote villages for their own consumption, but when it comes to offering lamps to Lord would use some low grade oil. Lord should be provided the best of what we have. His graphic narration of breaking of the bow in Sita Swayamvar created an euphoria amongst the audience and was greatly appreciated by devotees. Murari prabhu in his comments mentioned that if we could have such narrations of Lord’s pastimes, people would loose taste in contaminating movies and TVs automatically. As for me , my favorite was deliverance of Ahilya, especially how she conquered the heart of unconquerable Lord by her genuine repentance and many other valuable lessons. For the first time I felt the burden of my titles in mundane education (avidya) coming in the way of taking up this process of attaining real vidya. And as for my mother who would usually just partially understand whatever is spoken told me that for the first time she understood every single word that was spoken. Everyone had something nice that touched their heart. For the first time in my experience a lecture would go on till 10 pm at night and nobody even comes to know of the time. This is the ideal response a katha should evoke. As for the CDs, almost all that were brought got sold out, including the order that they had brought for Aravade centre. To conclude in Jivanand Prabhu’s words, this was the best Ram Navami festival that he had seen in last 14-15 years in his association with ISKCON Pune.
-by Seema M.P, TATA Motors
We have experienced two days of nectarian association in the form of soul touching kirtan and thrilling preaching experiences in the form of lectures from HH Indradyumna Maharaja in Pune. He paid a short visit to Pune during 6th and 7th April. He arrived at around 9:45AM on Saturday at Pune Airport where we welcomed him with kirtan and garlands.
In the evening he came to NVCC to give a youth program in the Bhakti Vedanta Community Hall at NVCC where more than 300 students from different colleges in Pune and more than 200 congregation devotees eagerly waiting to listen from him. Maharaj created a big roar in the audience just by his presence. Then he lead an outstanding kirtan before he lectured for which the audience could not withhold themselves from dancing but danced all over the hall. Then he lectured on the topic of Practicing Raganuga Bhakti. The lecture was filled with practical realizations of how one comes to the devotional service and progresses. He wonderfully explained how Srila Prabhupada emphasized "Work [Preach] now, Samadhi Later". Then he shared adventures in the preaching during his preaching in France. The class ended late and still the audience was eager hear more such stories!
Maharaj planned to visit Dehu dham next day early morning. When he visited Dehu Dham, he was ecstatic. He appreciated the vibrant spiritual atmosphere there. He was excitedly photographing almost every Warkari from the sacred birthplace of the great saint Tukaram. He came back to Pune by afternoon and drowned us again in the nectarean kirtan and blissful association during Sunday feast Program at NVCC. In the lecture itself Maharj expressed his appreciation to the devotees here. He also told that, at the age of 19 he got personal instruction from Srila Prabhupada, The Founder Acharya of the International society for Krishna Consciousness. Prabhupada instructed him," Preach boldly and have faith in the Holy name". Till date he travels all over the world in full filling this order of his spiritual master as his life and soul. What an example of inspiration for millions of people all over the world.
He also announced that he is going to visit Pune next January along with his entire "Krsna Fest" team which is world famous for its cultural performances. He will be putting up the event for the devotees, well-wishers, general public and university students across Pune. The magnificent show was put up for the first time in Gujarat this winter, where it received and overwhelming response by the audience "I couldn’t believe my eyes! Americans and Russians have opened my eyes to my own culture!" said one inspired new-comer.
-by Kiran Cheetirala (M Tech)
20th April 2013, 6:00pm onwards: Kirtan, Abhishek, Darshan, Pravachan and Prasad
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religion and the rise of irreligion the Lord appears millennium after millennium. When the Lord comes to this world he doesn’t take birth like ordinary human beings but appears out of His own sweet will. Whenever there is a need for the protection of devotees the Lord appears. The Supreme Lord incarnates in many forms like Matsya the fish, Varaha the boar, Narsimha the half man half lion. All these forms of the Lord are very attractive to His devotees who take great pleasure in talking about his pastimes.
One such famous incarnation of The Supreme Lord is Lord Rama. The birth of Lord Rama is celebrated as Rama Navami. Lord Rama was born to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya in Ayodhya. He had three younger brothers Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
The Ramayana narrates the history of Lord Rama – the great King, Husband, ideal Son and Master.
Lord Rama was an ideal son. He always obeyed his father and had great respect for his mothers.
He was a perfect King and ruler. Lord Rama ruled for 14,000 years. His reign till today is called Rama Rajya. When Lord Rama was ruling his people there was no famine in his kingdom, no scarcity of food and no disease ever affected anyone. The people in his kingdom had a strong bond of love with Him. They lived only to serve and please Him.
He was very strict with troublemakers and punished them when necessary. He was handsome, strong, brave, chivalrous, fair, just, gentle, sweet, kind and always merciful to His devotees and all the citizens.
The festival of Ram Navami marks the birthday celebrations of the Supreme Lord Sri Rama. According to the ancient Vedic calendar, it falls in the Spring season. It is considered auspicious to undertake a fast on the day in the name of Rama. Devotees perform elaborate worships and chant the name of Rama. Temples of Rama decorated with flowers, leaves and have special services and bhajan sessions throughout the day. Stories from the Ramayana are read out in joyous public gatherings. Most people fast until midnight.
One significant and popular element of the celebration is the Ramayana parayana, a discourse on the Ramayana, by a devotee of Lord Rama. It usually lasts nine days, beginning on Ugadi and ending on Rama Navami. The main significance behind the celebration of this festival is that the character of Lord Ram signifies an ideal son, an upright husband, a righteous King, and a loving brother and an ideal person, someone who follow the right path against all odds in life. He was also the true embodiment of humanity. So celebration of Ram Navami is a special way to remember all the noble deeds performed by Lord Ram. So in true sense it is not only a festival to enjoy and have fun but also an occasion where lot of ideals can learnt and taught. It is a celebration of goodness and its victory against all evils. Sacred places associated with Rama, like Ayodhya, Ujjain and Rameshwaram, draw tens of thousands of devotees. In Rameshwaram, thousands take a holy bath in the sea and worship lord Rama. Many places in North India host fairs in connection with the festival, culminating in spectacular fireworks on Rama Navami. The birthday of Sri Rama, indeed, signifies an event worth of remembrance by everyone who cherish the time honored sublime values of human culture and civilization. Devotees stay awake on the ninth night, in anticipation of Lord Ram's birth. A Yagna is performed and they sing devotional songs in praise of Lord Rama and rock his image in cradles to celebrate his birth. A special worship is performed the next morning as a token of gratitude for His mercy. Ram Navami is a festival of celebration and brings its devotees true happiness and joy. It gives them the strength and courage to fight against all odds of life.
Rama means ‘bliss’ and so Lord Rama provides bliss to all those who remember Him and pray to Him. Therefore let us all remember the activities and instructions of Lord Rama; follow them and achieve happiness.
-by Ramsevak das, M.Tech, IIT Kharagpur
Pune, the city of great heritage and culture witnessed yet another wonderfully organized festival 'Anandotsav'. The Barsana Group in assistance with ISKCON Pune presented a spiritually and culturally rich festival at the Alpabachat Bhavan on January 13th..
The venue was tastefully decorated with beautiful flowers, huge pictures of Lord Krishna with His associates and delicate chandeliers made of crystals. The atmosphere was further enhanced by the beautiful displays of various pastimes of the Lord, zulan, nauka vihar, 56 bhoga offerings. The welcoming of the guests was Vedic and very warm as they were offered a holy thread called pavitram and fragrant holy ittar.
The program opened with melodious kirtan by Shyamananda das, from Vrindavan. The vrajabhajan and the gopigeet captured the hearts of the audience and gave them the feeling of being transported to Vrindavan.
The program was very well compared by Satyawati devi dasi accompanied by Mohini Radhika devi dasi. Satyawati devi dasi, very concisely delivered the significance of Vedic culture and tradition throughout and kept up the interests of the audience from the very beginning to the end.
Soon, it was time for aartik which was offered by the chief sponsors and the organizers. It was followed by a mesmerizing performance on achyutaashtakam by young teenage girls from Voice Pune.
The highlight of the evening was enchanting lecture by Gauranga das who is featured on Aastha, Star plus channel regularly. He gave an excellent example of how the Arabs weren’t aware of their hidden wealth and in the exact same way how Indians aren’t aware of the hidden wealth of spirituality. By chanting the holy name the treasure can be revealed to us. His lecture was not only thought provoking but also was injected with a lot of humor and entertainment.
The organizers were then felicitated by Gauranga das. As a token of appreciation everyone of them were presented with a Krishna picture. This followed by a short and informative presentation on NVCC by Shri Guru Charan das. Before prasadam the audience enthusiastically participated in pushyabhishek, Holi of flower petals and danced joyously.
One could witness the efforts taken in planning, organizing and executing such a heart touching festival. Everyone returned drenched in the mood of Vrindavan and with a wonderful message. Each one of us should try and uplift ourselves as well as others in the journey of seeking the truth, as they rightly say, "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
- by Mohini Radhika (B.Com)
- Huge Govardhan Hill and all the places around are erected in the temple premises.
- Annakuta festival celebrations- Huge quantities of rice, dahl, sweetrice, halwa and other preparations are offered to Govardhan.
- Continuous Harinam Sankirtan.
- Gorgeous Deity darshan.
- Enlivening and Enlightening discourse.
- Grand Dinner Feast for all.
Govardhan puja is the historic festival celebrated for centuries, which demonstrates how Lord Krishna protects and blesses His devotees. This festival marks the glorious surrender and love of the residents of Vraja towards Lord Krishna, the lover of cows.
It is said that, the interior Vrindavan forest is considered superior to Mathurä, but superior to these forests is the divine Govardhana Hill because Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill like an umbrella, raising it with His lotuslike beautiful hand to protect His associates, the denizens of Vraja, from the torrential rains sent by the angry Indra, King of the demigods.
Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Krishna and Balarama, along with Their calves, cows and cowherd friends, with all kinds of necessities—water for drinking, very soft grass, caves, fruits, flowers and vegetables. In this way the hill offers respects to the Lord. Being touched by the lotus feet of Krishna and Balaräma, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.
Once, Krishna and Balarama watched the cowherd men preparing for a ceremony to worship King Indra. Krishna asked the reason to Nanda Maharaj. Nanda Maharaj replied, "My dear son, our family does this worship every year. Because we are supplied with enough rain throughout the year, we must show our thanks to King Indra."
Krishna asked his father to stop the worship, "Instead please begin a special ceremony to worship the devotees of Vishnu and Govardhana Hill. Since King Indra is the servant of Lord Krishna".
Thus Nanda Maharaj began worshipping Govardhana Hill by chanting and offering prayers and all delicious delicacies. Everyone in Vrindavan came with their decorated cows and they walked around Govardhan Hill.
King Indra was very enraged by this. Indra called for the most powerful of all rain clouds the Samvartaka and said, "Go over Vrindavan and flood the entire region with heavy torrents of rain."
Krishna simply smiled and picked up the Govardhana Hill with the little finger of His left hand and said to everyone, "My dear residents of Vrindavana! All of you please come under the umbrella of Govardhana Hill." Happily, all the residents of Vrindavan along with their animals stayed under Govardhana Hill for an entire week and there was bright sunshine once again.
Indra, the King of Heaven, realized his mistake and came to Krishna, "My dear Lord, I was very proud previously. Now, by Your grace, I understand that You are the Supreme Lord. All my powers actually originate from You. Therefore, my Lord, please forgive me and bless me so that I do not act so foolishly again."
-by Ramsevak Das, M Tech IIT
Oh ! Month Of Damodar , How Auspicious you are !
Because of you, we are easily awarded the Lord’s Personal Service.
We are taking Vows to stay in Mathura to attain Pure Devotional Service.
This is the month of Damodar,
Very dear to Radharani and The Lord.
He has performed so many lilas,
This month reminds all the pastimes a lot.
During the month of Damodar,
Lots of auspicious festival comes.
Let us try to remember them,
In order to celebrate them with Pomps & drums.
Son of Kuvera, Nalkuvara and Manigriva,
He broke these two Huge trees.
While Bounded to the Grinding Mortar,
He gave them the gift of Devotional Service.
Bahula Astami Commemorates,
Shyama Kunda – Radha Kunda Appearance.
On the Dark-moon night,
The Dipavali Festival takes place.
Go Puja & Govardhan Puja,
After Dipavali we celebrate.
Disappearance Anniversary of Srila Prabhupada,
Comes after its two days.
Rasa Yatra of Lord Krsna,
Takes place on the full-moon night of Kartika.
Maharaj Ambarisa worshipped Lord Hari,
In the auspicious month of Kartika.
So the last month of rainy season has come,
It will end the Chaturmasya too.
Another Name of this month is Kartika,
Vows in these months will minimize Sense Gratification too.
In the month of Damodar,
One should not eat Masur dal,Urad dal & non-vegetarian food.
These food contains lots of proteins,
To lessen the sense-gratification,it is not good
Following the regulative Principles,
Executing Pure devotional Service.
Within the Jurisdiction of Mathura,
Awarded very easily the Lord’s Personal Service.
In the month of Kartika, one should daily visit the temple for worshipping Lord Damodara (Krishna tied to grinding mortar) and sing the Damodarstakam for the glorification of Krishna and thus one can become very dear to Krishna. Also daily one should offer ghee lamp to the Lord.
Householders can create the same festive atmosphere in their homes and offices and provide an opportunity for their family members and colleges to experience this great culture of devotion for getting unlimited happiness and blessings of Lord Krishna.
Five activities are glorified: chanting the Holy names of the Lord, early morning bath, worship of Tulasi, offering lamps and performing austerities. One is advised to give up any intoxication, egg, meat, fish, liquor, illicit sex, etc.
One can also increase one’s devotional service by performing deity worship, giving charity, practicing bramacharya and visiting holy tirthas.
7th Nov is the appearance day of Radha Kunda - the holiest place among all holy places in the entire creation. On 13th we celebrate the festival of colors Deepawali-on this day Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya. All the temples and homes are decorated beautifully and worshiped Lord Rama with great love for his virtuous qualities. 14th Nov is Govardhana Puja. On this day Govardhana hill is worshiped, since Govardhana is non-different from Krishna. Krishna performed this great pastime of lifting Govardhana hill to protect his devotees from the torrential rains.
On 17th Nov we celebrate Srila Prabhupada’s (Founder acharya of ISKCON) disappearance day. Devotees all over the world offer their respect and gratitude to Srila Prabhupada for establishing this ISKCON for spreading the message of Lord Krishna all over the world.
On 21st Nov we celebrate Gopastami- on this day first time Krishna took Cows to forest for grazing. Cows are most dear to Krishna, therefore cows are beautifully decorated and worshipped with great love, affection and gratitude.
man-manä bhava mad-bhakto mad-yäjé mäà namaskuru mäm evaiñyasi satyaà te pratijäne priyo 'si me (BG 18.65) "Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend."
We see this quality in the Pandavas, Hanuman, Ambarish Maharaj, Prahlad Maharaj, Dhruva Maharaj, the Pracetas and many such great devotees of the Lord. This same quality is seen in its purest and highest form in the residents of Vrindavan. And even among all the residents of Vrindavan, this quality is seen in its most intimate, exclusive and sweetest form in the Gopis. According to Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, the Gopis did not know or conceive anything except Krishna’s pleasure. Their love is spotless, pure, unselfish unlike the selfishness exhibited by the people of this world which is not love, but kama – lust. People talk about love in this world which is nothing but a sort of corruption. Love is selfless. Love is – "I am only concerned with the welfare of my beloved even if it causes me pain." Such love was exhibited in its highest form by Gopis. Gopis are the greatest devotees of the Lord.
Sharad Pornima is the day when that Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna reciprocated with the selfless love of Gopis. That is Rasalila – the perfection of the perfected liberated souls’ love for God. Krishna standing under a Vamsi-vat tree played the most enchanting flute and attracted the hearts of his pure, selfless devotees. It is said that, Lord is indebted by the love of Gopis that He is not able to repay for the love of Gopis. He says, "Please be satisfied with your love for Me. I have nothing to reciprocate with you." This is the position of the most selfless devotees of the Lord, which can never be imitated on the mundane and material platform.
To save us from this kind of cheap imitation, Lord Himself descends from the spiritual world to show how we can perfect our lives and come to the stage of selfless love for Krishna. Thus supreme Lord Krishna comes as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to exhibit the same mellow of Rasa-lila in the form of sankirtana yajna. In Båhan-näradéya Puräëa it is said by Lord Brahma, harer näma harer näma harer nämaiva kevalam kalau nästy eva nästy eva nästy eva gatir anyathä.
"In this Age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari."
So Lord has given us all the opportunity to perfect our lives and exhibit the perfection of our love to the Supreme Lord by taking part in this sankirtana movement started by Lord Caitanya 500 years ago. It is very simple process as mentioned by the Lord, just chant, dance and take prasadam! On this day, we will have the most exquisite darshan of the year of Sri Sri Radha Kunjabihari and Sri Sri Gaur Nitai starting from 7 pm accompanied by enchanting sweet kirtans. So let us all take the opportunity on this auspicious occasion of Sharad Pornima to fully participate in this sankirtana movement and lead a sinless life by constantly chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra.
Once, when Ravana was young, he set out along with his brothers to gain more power. They performed penances. Ravana stood on a mountaintop and controlled his breath. Along with his breath, he stopped the winds that move the planets and keep the universe alive. The demigods begged him to rise from his place. Ravana would not move until he was promised protection from demigods and demons, the mightiest forces of creation. In his pride, he did not ask for protection from men or monkeys. So the demigods granted his wish, and Ravana rose up from his place, and the planets moved and the universe breathed.
Ravana was now all-powerful. Soon he trained his army of warriors – the Rakshasas – to take what they wanted and to destroy anything in their path. The demigods prayed to Lord Vishnu, the Lord of all creation, who then appeared as Lord Rama, the son of the noble king Dashrath. Lord Krishna promises, Yada yada hi dharmasya (BG 4.7)…whenever there is decline in irreligion the Lord personally comes to reestablish dharma and annihilate the miscreants. Lord Rama grew up to be a valiant prince, loved by all. He married the beautiful Sita, the daughter of King Janaka. King Dashrath decided to coronate Lord Rama as the future king. But Lord Rama’s step mother Kaikeyi had Him banished to the forest for fourteen years. In the forest, Ravana, the mighty ten-headed demon, kidnapped mother Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, and took her across the ocean to his kingdom known as Lanka. With deep sorrow in their hearts, Lord Rama and His brother Lakshman set off in search of mother Sita. With the help of Hanuman and the army of monkeys, they found mother Sita. Ravana had kept Sita in the Ashoka gardens. She was surrounded by fierce she-demons who guarded her day and night. She was crying bitterly all the time thinking of her beloved Lord, Rama. Lord Rama wanted to settle the matter peacefully. Lord Rama sent His messengers to Ravana asking him to return mother Sita. Even Ravana’s wife Mandodari and brother Vibhishan requested Ravana to return mother Sita to Ram, but Ravana didn’t listen to anyone.
Lord Rama had no choice but to attack Lanka, the golden city of Ravana. Soon a great battle ensued. Lord Rama and His army killed all the generals of Ravana. Finally Ravana himself came and fought with Lord Rama. Ravana, the ten-headed demon, used many powerful and magical weapons but Lord Rama destroyed all of them. Lord Rama’s sharp arrows cut every one of Ravana’s ten heads. Every head that was cut off instantly grew back, it was a terrible sight. Then Lord Rama released a divine Brahmashtra weapon. This weapon was dazzling like a sun and sped through the air towards Ravana. It pierced his heart like a thunderbolt and wicked Ravana fell down dead.
Everyone was very happy to see Lord Rama and mother Sita together. Then Lord Rama installed noble Vibhishan as the king of Lanka. Lord Rama thus established good over evil. Since then, this day is celebrated as Dusshera or Vijayadashmi.
On this very special day we can pray to Lord Rama to remove all the evil from our hearts and make it a place for residing Lord Rama and mother Sita. On this day all the temples of Lord Rama and Krishna are decorated very beautifully. Discourses on the life and teachings of Lord Rama are recited from Ramayana. We can also meditate on the virtues qualities of Lord Rama and imbibe in our lives. Jai Shri Rama……
During this period, we wish to offer 108 crore Holy names on behalf of ISKCON Pune. For achieving this target we need to chant 6.25 lac rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra in 10 days which implies that all of us together should chant around 62500 rounds everyday. We have around 3000 devotees chanting 16 rounds and if everyone chants just 5 more extra rounds we will be easily able to achieve the target. Also, this is a very nice opportunity to encourage devotees to increase their regular rounds and also we can introduce our neighbors, friends, relatives, colleagues, etc to the chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra. You can collect JAPATHON cards from temple Information centre. You can also collect cards for the programs which you are hosting or going as preacher.
Special gifts will be given for 108 devotees chanting maximum number of extra rounds during this period from the hands of HH Lokanath Swami Maharaj and HH Gopalkrishna Goswami Maharaj.
In the temple we have arranged 12 hrs kirtan immediately after SB class till 9:00PM in the night on 29th Sept, Saturday (Srila Haridas Thakur disappearance day), 2nd Oct, Tuesday and 6th Oct, Saturday.
Infront of temple hall you will find 108 steps whereby you can inspire your friends, relatives, colleagues to chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra atleast 108 times during this World Holy Name Week Festival period.
Also, there are special DISCOUNT SALES offers available during this period. You can collect Hare Krishna Mahamantra stickers for pasting at different places or gifting to different people at low price and you can collect Harinam books and request your neighbors, friends and relatives to write Hare Krishna Mahamantra 108 times and submit it back to the temple and collect a special gift. You can get more information from Holyname counter.
On this occasion we have released a special DVD which contains Srila Prabhupada Japa recording and kirtans along with Vrindavan mellows, some lectures about chanting, wall papers, screen savers, etc. You can buy this DVD and gift to your friends, etc
Note: Kindly visit the ISKCON temple for the schedule of Harinam Sankirtan at different places in Pune.
Their Lordships Sri Sri Radhakunjabihari and Sri Sri Gaur Nitai in their golden altar were an embodiment of majesty and splendor. Some 10 devotees guided by the Pujaris spent sleepless nights for over a month to build this golden masterpiece that gave a glimpse of Lord Krishna’s palace at Dwarka. Made up of plywood, moulds and ropes the altar shone with brilliance when light was incident. The pathway for darshan was such designed that the visitors received the blessings of Lord Balaji before they entered the temple hall.
The darshan queue was overshadowed by a much bigger queue of visitors having abhishek passes. This select group was led through a separate line that opened up to the abhishek zone where they had the good fortune of performing the abhishek (auspicious bathing) of their their Lordships. The abhishek zone had 22 stalls, each adorned with beautiful deities viz., Sri Sri Radha Damodar, Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar, Sri Sri Radha Vinod and Sri Sri Radha Govind to name a few. It seemed as if each of the stalls had transformed into Nandabhavan or the house of Nanda Maharaj bustling with enthusiastic visitors eager to have a blessed chance to serve the Lord.
The abhishek opportunity also attracted some of the important citizens of Pune who availed this once-in-a-lifetime chance offered by ISKCON Pune. The dignitaries were offered ‘pavitram’ thread and ‘achaman’ followed by abhishekam. Mrs Vaishali Bankar (Mayor, Pune), Mr Ranjeet Paradeshi (Secretary, NCP, Pune), Mr M B Tambde (DCP, Pune), Mr Yogesh Mokate (Corporator,Kothrud), were amongst the prominent ones. A special visit by Sri Babasaheb Purandare, noted historian and theatre personality added further more charm to the grand event.
After the abhishek, everyone was offered ‘charanamrita’ and directed to the New temple area which looked spectacular with the intricately carved altar (actual wooden one) and shimmering chandeliers (actual). Volunteers then handed over a return gift and sweet varai halwa which left the visitors asking for more. Some 50 devotees served round the clock in the kitchen supplying tubs of sweet halava at regular intervals. The scene outside the temple was quite similar to that of inside as visitors thronged the various stalls of Govindas, NVCC, gift items and goshala to have a share of spiritual merchandise. Barring a midnight jostle for darshan and prasadam the event was a memorable one for devotees and Puneites alike.
Modern education has done wonders in educating children in technical, economical, political field. The recent inventions in scientific field, the brilliant ideas in Business world and many more things are visible truths of Modern education system in properly guiding the youths of the society for efficiently utilizing their skills. In spite of so many wonders today’s educated intelligent and ambitious youth(especially teenagers and above) are facing a serious problems in terms of satisfaction, happiness, relationships (with parents, friends, teachers) which leads to depression, stress and eventually taking up to bad habits like smoking drinking, drugs and even committing suicide. All these things are happening at alarming rate in especially highly educated, economically flourishing countries like America, Europe etc. These things certainly convince the leaders and intelligent class of society that "WE ARE SERIOUSLY MISSING SOMETHING" in our Education system. History is taught so that society knows what went right and what went wrong in the past so that we do not commit the same mistakes done in past and thus avoid horrible consequences. Now if we just study the history of India say around 1000 years back we can see that India was flourishing Spiritually, Economically, Socially and also people were richer, happier and had wonderful jolly relationships with each other, there were times that under one roof 10 families were staying happily but currently its difficult even for one family to stay happily. History also tells that India was Spiritually centered and as a result of which it was clearly seen that due to this one prominent aspect of Culture and Spirituality, Economical, Social and material progress followed so much so that every other country in the world was attracted to this and wanted to conquer it and no wonder India had been ruled by Mughals for about 700 years and by British for about 300 years. The point to be noted here is if we are spiritually strong then we are also socially, materially and economically strong with happiness and satisfaction flourishing all around but if we are not spiritually strong then in spite of scientific advancement we will not be happy and satisfied.
Bhagavad Gita is essence of all Vedic literature and this one book is sufficient enough to set back the lost spirituality in the world and direct it to happier way of lifestyle. ISKCON’s "Bhagavad-Gita As it is" by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has already done wonders all over the world: its Awarded as Most Widely Read edition of Bhagavad Gita in the world, many American universities are using it as a law book in philosophy and large amount of Russian population are reading it and experiencing a great joy in their life. Great Scientist like Einstein also used to regularly read Bhagavad Gita which also goes to show that It is highly scientific and practical too. Hence if we want to bring a revolutionary change in our society it is clear that we need to educate our youths in Science of Bhagavad Gita.
After boiling the blood for many months ISKCON’s team have been successful in collecting donation for distributing about 10,000 Bhagavad Gita. In order to value our donors, to have a quality distribution of Bhagavad Gita and make it interesting and understandable to modern students, ISKCON Pune decided to have a Quiz contest keeping Cash prizes and many consolation prizes for winners. Sample Multiple Choice Questionnaire book which contains of 500 questions based on first 6 chapters of Bhagavad Gita which makes sure that the student do not miss any concept, can understand and apply teachings in their own life and have proper understanding of Bhagavad Gita while they solve these questions before the exam and 70% of the questions are expected from this Questionnaire book in Final Exam. The nominal charge of 50 Rs. Is taken as participation fees from a students for which a student gets most widely read "Bhagavad-Gita As it is" and Questionnaire free and if students appear for exam they also get a DVD containing lot of spiritual Games, Lectures, Kirtans, Videos etc and tasty Prasadam for free. The process for registering students was very simple the Team members used to physically approach school authorities most of the time without any reference of some known person in school and sometimes through some reference, talk to the authorities(Principal most of the time) and explain them about the need of knowledge and following Bhagavad Gita for today’s youth. Most of the school teachers and Principals were very favorably disposed to this and greatly volunteered to reach out students and encouraging them to come forward and participate, some Principals even went on stage at assembly giving a talk for few minutes for entire school encouraging students to know and understand the value of Bhagavad Gita. Many teachers were blissful and grateful to receive us in their school and were very happy about our Contest. In most of the schools team members used to go class to class and give a short talk to encourage students and explain the details of the contest. Most of the team member realized that many students know about Bhagavad Gita but hardly 2 to 3 % of students have read or reading Bhagavad Gita, now this was really alarming statistics because these are the children who are leaders of tomorrow and science can teach them how to discover sophisticated nuclear bombs, high speed computers and automobiles but it cannot teach them how and where to use it, this depends a lot on character of the student and Bhagavad Gita is the most potent book recommended all over the world throughout entire history to develop a strong, steady and ideal character. Bhagavad Gita gives complete understanding of Who we really are which is sadly not known even to great learned scientist, doctors and even leaders of society, hence it is not a wonder to commonly see a great doctor surgeon smoking, drinking etc. Now how can a society where people do not even know who they are can know what is good for them and what is not and where is the question of happiness if this basic question itself is unanswered. Many students were really interested to know about who they really are, what this world is? Is God there? If yes then who is He and all this foundational fundamental questions of life which were unanswered and thus they enthusiastically came forward and participated in contest.
Students of class 5th to 10th were addressed and were eligible for the contest. Out of 450+ schools in Pune we were able to cover only about 84 schools, this was majorly due to lack of manpower and sponsored Bhagavad Gitas were just about 10,000. There was wonders seen during and after the distribution, in some schools we saw Teachers taking extra classes to educate students and teaching the Bhagavad Gita, Parents calling us and expressing their happiness and joy by thanking us for conducting Bhagavad Gita contest which they found very essential and necessary, many parents even said that because of their child’s participation in contest they are also getting a chance to read Bhagavad Gita, this gave a strange feeling of happiness, joy and satisfaction in heart of ISKCON team members and encouraged and inspired them to do this in more magnificent way and on much larger scale next time. Some teachers and parents even visited temple expressing their joy and thanks, some school had a short picnic to ISKCON Temple with students where they could see live presentation of "Simple Living and High Thinking" applied practically and successfully giving rise to joyous society.
Colorful posters, pamphlets were made and distributed to participants to encourage them to continue preparing enthusiastically for competition. There will be cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall winner out of 10,00 participants and 100’s of consolation prizes, every school will get a special certificate for 1st , 2nd and 3rd rank student in their school and whoever scores 40% marks is eligible for passing certificate.
We now aspire to serve these 10,000 participants in whatever ways and means possible and aspire to get connected to serve more than 100,000 in our next contest. We would specially thank our Temple President Sriman Radheshyam Prabhu, Donors, School authorities, Principals, Teachers, Parents, and especially participant students and above all God for helping us in making this event happen. We request all the interested people to help us in whatever possible way they can to make our next generation happier, safer and God centered so that powerful science and education can get direction from Spiritual Culture and then it’s possible to make this world a better place to live not in words but in actions.
Hare Krishna!!! Hare Krishna!!! Hare Krishna!!! Hare Krishna!!! Hare Krishna!!! Hare Krishna!!!
As a few of them share, we all take great joy in expressing the wonderful effects of association.
Champaklata Devi Dasi :
"By serving HH Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj, I felt my desire fulfilled to serve my guru maharaja. I could see my Maharaj in HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj. It was a dream come true to cook for Maharaj. I could realize that there is no difference in all Prabhupada disciples. They are so loving, that by meeting any one of them, you can immediately connect to your own guru. They also do not differentiate between the disciples and give love to one and all. I could taste a drop of mercy of Krsna, by Maharaj’s accepting everything, all our services so gracefully, even though it had so many faults. It is the greatness of these pure devotees. Maharaja also expressed his appreciation and gratitude to Radhanath Maharaj’s counselor system, which he thought was one-of-its-kind in the world.
Shyamangi Radhika Mataji:
Maharaj said to me that he came to check how our family had settled in Pune. He was most happy to see the congregation in Pune and how they had given us so much love and made us feel so at home. I personally felt that due to this event, everyone serving Maharaj together has made me come so close to so many devotees of Pune. It felt like one big family. Maharaj is so satisfied that he has promised to keep visiting Pune more frequently. He is very happy that Krishna has sent us to such a nice place and that we have settled here, surrounded by such loving devotees.
Nityatarangini Devi Dasi:
I learnt a lot from all the devotees who served Maharaj, getting inspiration. I learnt that the ‘S’ in service is sharing and that I need mainly to learn the art of pleasing Vaishnavas.
Ritu Agarwal Mataji:
We are very grateful to get a chance to serve Maharaj at our home. Even though he was unwell, he came to our house. For other devotees’ happiness these exalted devotees bear so much. He spoke to my daughters and even saw their art work. He has such a keen eye for art that he could tell the difference between the different kinds of colours she had used in her paintings. Shows us his expertise in so many fields.
Naina Lineswala Mataji:
It was pure mercy of devotees that I got to serve such a pure devotee. I would pray every day to the Lord to give me chance to serve pure devotees, and I did not know it would happen so fast. I was so happy to get a glance and a word and blessing for my daughter that Maharaj gave.
Nisha Makhija Mataji :
Maharaj was so approachable. I have never met a sanyasi from this close. He also has such a wonderful memory. He remembered about the temple and the devotees of Sydney. I was most touched by his reciprocation"
Ruchi Khanna Mataji:
I was most touched by Maharaja’s most simple nature. He is so uncomplicated and without any fuss. We were so moved to see how he removes his own garland and garlands the devotees, each time he is garlanded. It is such a sweet gesture. And his lectures were most non-complicated, clearing all our fundamental understandings about the various topics he spoke about.
Bhakti Karia Mataji:
Maharaj’s visit to Pune was a blessing for us to be able to serve a pure devotee so closely, which we can’t do otherwise. His interactions with everyone were so wonderful. I really liked that everyone of us could serve him together.
During this meet, HG Gauranga Prabhu felicitated one of ISKCON NVCC’s most dedicated donor Mr. Ramesh Dattareya Talwalkar and his wife Mrs. Mandakini Talwalkar, owners of Premier engineering Works at Mukund Nagar.
The couple is 70 years plus and inspite of their busy schedules, they have taken up the cause of ISKCON NVCC with enthusiasm and dedication. For the last 5 years they are dedicatedly serving for this project and have donated close to 15 lakh every year. They were felicitated by HG Gauranga Prabhuji for the sincerity and dedication they have shown towards this project.
The mahayajna was conducted to seek blessings of Lord Narsimha to ensure an obstacle free development of ISKCON NVCC. Held at the NVCC grounds, the Mahayajna was attended by more than 7000 donors and well wishers.
As the chants of the Yajna filled the air at NVCC, a new devotional high was experienced by all. The yajna was followed by prasadam distribution on all days and the same was relished by all.
Everyone who attended the yajna had just one wish in their minds, to serve the Lord in His new home. The Mahayajna also gave the donors and well wishers a firsthand view of the work in progress and the impressive architecture and artistic murals that have been completed.
A special mandap had been constructed on a raised platform where the ceremonies were performed. Offerings of vedic hymns, singing of mahamantra dhun accompanied by harmonium, kartals and mridangs had the devotees clapping and singing in ecstacy. The atmosphere throbbed with devotion and you could see the people present straining their necks to see the ceremony.
The first ceremony performed was Kalash Pooja to invite the holy rivers. Vishvaksena Pooja for removal of obstacles was performed next. And then the foundation stone was laid by HH Gopal Krishna Goswamy Maharaj. This was followed by the Shanti Homa.
pumbhir dvija srestha varanashrama vibhagasah… whatever our occupation, our varna, our ashrama, our success is the intention to please Krsna, to please God through our efforts. Bhumi is the feminine energy of the absolute truth. In our Vedic scriptures as well as the mystical traditions of the other spiritual paths, we understand that the absolute truth is one that absolute truth as many features, Brahman, paramatma, bhagavan. The all pervading impersonal feature, the paramatma, the lord sitting in the heart, as the witness and ultimately the guide of every living being and bhagavan the supreme personality of Godhead, the all attractive all loving person whose body is sat-cid-ananda vigraha, eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. Who is rasa vihari, who enjoys giving the highest pleasure to all living beings to accept it. Now that one absolute truth is both male and female.