125th Appearance day of Srila Prabhupada

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nama-srestham manum api saci-putram atra svarupam
rupam tasyagrajam uru-purim mathurim gostavatim
radha-kundam giri varam aho radhika-madhavasam
prapto yasya prathita-kryapaya sri gurum tam nato ’smi

Sri Mukta-carita (Raghunatha dasa Gosvami)

“I am fully indebted to Sri Gurudeva because has given me so many things: the highest conception of the holy name of Krsna, the highest form of sound, which contains the highest form of thought, aspiration, ideal, everything. And he has given me the service of our great savior, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and His dear-most assistant, Svarupa Damodara. He has brought me in connection with Sri Rupa, who was ordered to distribute the heart’s innermost dealings, the highest devotional love, raganuga-bhakti. Gurudeva has given me Srila Sanatana Goswami, who gives us sambandha-jnana, a proper acquaintance with the environment, and he has given me Mathura Mandala, which will help me in my remembrance of Radha and Govinda wherever I shall cast my glance. By his grace gurudeva has revealed the super excellent position of Radha-kunda, the favorite place of Radha and Govinda for Their pastimes and this great Govardhana. Lastly, he has given me the hope that one day I can get the service of Sri Sri Radhika and Madhava. I have been given all these assurances by my gurudeva, so I bow my head with all my respects to his lotus feet.”

All glories to Srila Prabhupada, the fountainhead of all Western preaching of Mahaprabhu’s mission. Traveling to the West to preach the glories of the holy names of the Lord, Srila Prabhupada delivered countless fallen conditioned souls by imparting to them the transcendental science of Krishna consciousness. In this way, he fulfilled the following prophecy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu,

pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma

“In every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard.”

The glories of Srila Prabhupada are unfathomable. This is particularly appreciated by devotees who have been rescued by him from the ocean of nescience and given an opportunity to make their human form of life successful by taking to the process of Krishna consciousness. It is by his causeless mercy that today, numerous people are practicing krishna-bhakti all over the world and attending temples opened by him and his followers. Indeed, generations upon generations of devotees shall remain forever indebted to Srila Prabhupa for giving them the glorious possibility of going back home, back to Godhead, by associating with Vaisnavas, reading his transcendental books and following his instructions.

trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam
prāptasya kalyāṇa-guṇārṇavasya
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

“The spiritual master is receiving benediction from the ocean of mercy. Just as a cloud pours water on a forest fire to extinguish it, so the spiritual master delivers the materially afflicted world by extinguishing the blazing fire of material existence. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is an ocean of auspicious qualities.”

On this auspicious day of Nandotsava, in the year 1896, the same year Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur sent the book “Caitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts” to the Western world, the great personality was born who would later inundate the entire universe with the chanting of the holy names of Sri Sacinanadan Gaurahari, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada appeared in this world for the deliverance of all conditioned souls like us. He is none other than the personification of Sri Krishna’s mercy, come to deliver us from the miseries of this world and take us to the spiritual realm, where we can directly serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead Syamasundara and his eternal consort Srimati Radharani. This day is indeed of utmost importance for all devotees throughout the world, for it was on this day that Srila Prabhupada, the instigator of their good fortune and their future deliverer, took birth. Because of him, we all are aware of the ultimate goal of life and are endeavoring for that. It is he who brought the holy names of Sri Krsna and service Sriman Mahaprabhu to the whole world. He introduced the world to the associates of Sriman Mahaprabhu and to the holy dhamas, where the Lord performed his pastimes. He gave us everything that we need to progress in our spiritual lives and then showed us how to make that progress. By his mercy, we are able to engage in the service of the Lord.

This auspicious day is celebrated with great enthusiasm by devotees all over the world. In Vrindavan, the place Prabhupada referred to as his home, the devotees in his Sri Krsna Balarama Mandira busily engage themselves in his service on this day. 

In honour of his holy appearance day, the Deities are offered a new outfit and a grand gurupuja is held in the courtyard, where the devotees sing the Guru-vandana prayers and offer their respects to Srila Prabhupada, the spiritual master of us all. Thereafter, his beloved disciples describe his innumerable transcendental qualities,and the assembled devotees listen with rapt attention. In the rajbhoga offering, Srila Prabhupad is offered a variety of preparations, including preparations he was known to be particularly fond of, such as  sukta, kachodis, and gulab-jamuns. We then gather to offer him puspanjali , followed by the singing of the Guruvashtakam. 

On this day, devotees beautifully decorate Srila Prabhupada’s house with many gorgeous and colorful flowers, and a bhoga offering is made to Srila Prabhupada there as well. 

After serving and glorifying Srila Prabhupada in this way and maintaining a fast till noon in honor of him, everyone proceeds to the prasadam hall to honor a wonderful feast. The festivities, however, do not end with the prasad. In the evening, glorifications of him continue and a cultural program is then held for his pleasure, in which the devotees gifted with various talents make another kind of beauituful offering to  his lotus feet. In this way, the divine transcendental auspicious appearance day of jagatguru Srila Prabhupada is celebrated with great fervor and zeal by all the devotees in Iskcon Vrindavan.

This year, on the blessed occasion of Srila Prabhupada’s 125th appearance day , we pray to him to grant us service to his lotus feet, so that we may be able to make rapid spiritual progress. Sri Krsna’s pure devotees are particularly dear to him, and Srila Prabhupad, who spread the names, fame, qualities and pastimes of Syamasundara throughout the world, is especially dear to him. By holding tightly to his lotus feet, meaning his illustrious instructions, we will one day attain the spiritual world. Therefore, we pray to him with folded hands:

prati-janme kori āśā caraṇera dhūli

I desire the dust of your holy feet in every birth I may take.