Srila Narottam Das Thakur disappearance Day

As the golden boy walked by, all the onlookers wondered who this enchanting young boy was, and when he reached his home, his own mother could not recognise him and wondered about the identity of the extraordinary boy. He then explained to his mother that he was her very own son and related to her the incident that had changed his complexion from dark to golden.

One morning when the young prince Narottam, born in a royal family in West Bengal, went to the river Padma for his daily bath, the river imparted unto him the transcendental love of Godhead that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had left for him with the river Padma. Thereafter, experiencing great love for Shyamsundar, he left home at the tender age of sixteen and started his journey towards Jagannath Puri to take darshan of Mahaprabhu along with Sri Shyamananda Prabhu and Srinivas Acharya. However, on the way they received news of the disappearance of Mahaprabhu and his associates and feeling great distress, changed their route and started towards Vrindavan, hoping to meet Sri Rupa and Sanatan Goswami. However, they also brought their pastimes in this world to an end and this plunged the three devotees in great grief. When they finally reached Vrindavan, they took shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Jiva Goswami and received instructions on all transcendental subject matters from him. However, since Srila Jiva goswami was not initiating anyone, he instructed Narottam to take shelter of Srila Lokanath Prabhu.

Following the instructions of his shiksha guru, Narottam das thakur went to Sri Lokanath Prabhu and begged for initiation, but he also refused saying that he did not want to have any disciples. Thereafter, resolving to please Lokanath Prabhu, Narottam would every morning go and clean the area where Lokanath Prabhu would go to pass stole. This soon came to the attention of Lokanath Prabhu and he decided to check who is doing it. When he discovered that it was Narottam, being pleased with his humble service, he gave him initiation, and Srila narottam das thakur started performing his bhajan under the guidance of his Diksha guru Sri Lokanath Prabhu and his Siksha guru Srila Jiva goswami.

After some time, under the instructions of Srila Jiva Goswami, Srila Narottam das Thakur went to West Bengal along with Srinivas acharya and Shyamananda Prabhu, and preached the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the goswamis of Vrindavan. Thereafter, in Kheturi dham he performed the very first Gaura Purnima festival, in which Jahnava Ma, the eternal consort of Nityananda Prabhu, was personally present and she cooked a great feast for all the assembled Vaishnavas. During this festival, after the installation of the Deities, during the uproarious kirtan, all the devotees had the divine darshan of Panca Tattva dancing in the kirtan.

Srila Narottam das thakur, preached far and wide and made many disciples, many of whom were even caste Brahmanas, which made other Brahmanas, who were not above the bodily designations, offensive towards him, saying that he would go to hell because he was initiating brahmanas when he himself was Kayasta. This displeased Srila Narottam das Thakur and therefore with his sweet will he left this material world. However, not understanding his exalted position, the brahmanas started saying that this was happening due to his offense of initiating brahmanas. Seeing this, the dear disciples of Narottam das thakur requested him to please come back to life to prove these offensive people false, and just for the pleasure of his devotees, he again became conscious and thus proved them wrong. Realising their mistake, they all fell at his lotus feet and begged for forgiveness. After this incident, Narottam das thakur blessed the entire population by staying on the planet for another year after which he gave up his life by dissolving in the river Padma.

On this auspicious day of the disappearance of Srila Narottam das thakur, we pray to him for his causeless mercy so that we may make some spiritual advancement in our lives.

Vishwarup Mahotsav

All glories to the elder brother of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Vishwaroop, who was a great
devotee of the Lord and left his family at a very young age in order to except the renounced
order of life and preach the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. The
illustrious son of Jagannath Mishra and Sachi devi, being brilliant in his studies from the his very
childhood, studied with Adwaita Acharya and mastered all the shastras. Seeing him growing up
into a brilliant young man, his parents started considering about his marriage, which, when he
found out, greatly displeased Vishwaroop and he immediately decided to leave home. This
plunged the parents in great distress, which could only be pacified by their younger son nimai’s
words. Thereafter, when Nimai grew up and took up the renounced order of Life and came to be
known as Shri Krishna Chaitanya, he toured the south of India, preaching the glories of the
Supreme Personality of Godhead. At that time, when in Pandarpur, he found out that his dear
elder brother had also toured south india and had left his body in that holy place. Although
greatly distressed to hear about it, he immediately arranged for a big festival to be organised in
memory of his elder brother. Since that day forth this auspicious purnima tithi in the month of
Bhadra came to be known as Vishwaroop Mahotsav.


This holy day is also the day when the founder acharya of Iskcon, His divine grace A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, accepted the renounced order of life for the welfare and
deliverance of innumerable fallen conditioned souls in this age of Kali. On this day in the year
1959, in the holy city of Mathura, in Keshav ji gaudiya math, Shrila Prabhupad accepted sanyas
from his godbrother H.H. Bhakti Pragyan Keshav Maharaj, in the presence of his godbrothers
and other assembled vaishnavas. There he gave a talk in English in the assembly of local
devotees, out of which only a handful knew english. Despite the audience not being well versed
in the English language, he spoke in English, as it was the order of his spiritual master to preach
the glories of the Supreme Lord in the English language and being an ardent follower of his
spiritual masters instructions, he chose to speak in English. After taking sanyas he prepared to
go to the west in order to fulfil the instructions of his spiritual master and preach the glories of
the Lord in the English speaking countries, which he did very successfully later on, by enthusing
the youth of that time in America with Krishna Bhakti.


On this auspicious day we beg for the mercy of Sri Viswaroop and Srila PRabhupad so that we
may be able to make advancement in our spiritual lives.

Appearance Day of Srimati Sita Thakurani

Let us all offer our respectful obeisances to Srimati Sita Thakurani, the consort of Sri Adwaita Acharya and a shoreless ocean of motherly affection for Sri Gauranga Sundar. Blessing the house of Shri Nrishinga Baduri, she appeared as his daughter on the auspicious shukla panchami tithi in the month of Bhadrapada in Phuliya Nagar. After her marriage to Sri Adwaita Acharya, they moved to Nadiya to live in Sri Shantipur. Being good friends of Jagannath Mishra and Sachi devi, they were informed about the birth of the long awaited child of Srimati Sachidevi, hearing which both husband and wife drowned in an ocean of bliss. Taking the permission of her husband, Srimati sita Thakurani ascended a beautiful palanquin and proceeded towards Mayapur to go see the new born child of her friend Sachi, taking with her auspicious articles like fresh grass, paddy, sandalwood, aguru, gorochana, turmeric and numerous gifts like silken garments, gold and silver coins, priceless ornaments and various other precious gifts. Arriving at the house of Jagannath Mishra, she beheld the glorious son of her dear friend and was amazed to see the exquisite beauty of the child. She thought to herself that indeed the child looked just like Yashodanandan Krishna with the complexion being the only difference. Her heart brimming with bliss, she touched various auspicious items to the head and various other limbs of the child and prayed for his long life. She then named the child Nimai as he was born under a neem tree and to ward off any inauspiciousness. After gazing at the child with loving affection for a long time, she offered respects and gifts to Sachi devi and Jagannath Mishraas well and was pleased to receive their loving welcome. Thereafter she would regularly visit Sachi devi, giving her instructions on how to take care of baby Nimai and assisting her in doing that as well. After Sachinandan took Sanyas, Srimati Sita Thakurani stayed with Sachi devi for a few days to console her, understanding well the intense grief that she was feeling due to being separated from her son, who was the very life and soul of them both. She also prepared prasad for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu when he came to Shantipur after his Sanyas. Also on numerous other occasions, both before and after the Sanyas of Gaurahari, she fed him with great love and affection, considering him to be dearer than her very own life. Sri Gaura Sundar also respected her and loved her just as his own mother Srimati Sachi devi.

On the auspicious occasion of her appearance day, we pray to the most compassionate and motherly Srimati Sita Thakurani to mercifully bestow her blessings and affection upon us all, so that we may be able to attain unflinching love for her dear Nimai.

The Museum Project

Standing directly opposite the magnificent marble samadhi-mandira of His Divine Grace. A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, is a similar structure, which was always meant to be a museum showcasing Srila Prabhupada’s life and his presentation of the philosophy of our Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya. Yet, for some reason or the other, it has not manifested as a museum until now. When it was first constructed, itwas used as a place for prasadam distribution and later, as a place for book distribution. 

Now, however, the time is ripe for the museum to manifest! A team of dedicated devotees and artists are working tirelessly for this end. It will be a lengthy process – planning the theme and also the procedure. Our aspiration is to produce something that will have a lasting impression upon the pilgrims visiting the museum. 

After careful consideration, eleven exhibits have been decided upon. These exhibits will first be designed on a computer. Then a dummy exhibit made of thermocol will be prepared. Once approved, molds will be made and the dioramas will be cast in fiberglass. They will then be painted by our expert devotees and thus “brought to life.”  While the beautiful display is sure to amaze and impress many people, its deeper purpose is to direct their attention towards the most auspicious process of Krishna Consciousness. A brief description of the aims of the project and the various exhibits will now be given.

Aims 

1.     To highlight the life and remarkable achievements of Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

2.     To introduce the conceptions of the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya

3.     To increase awareness of the real identity of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

4.     To highlight he highest conception of Sri Vrindavan Dham as revealed by our acaryas.

 Exhibits

Exhibit 1 – Sri Sri Radha-Krisna and Lord Brahma 

All the transcendental knowledge of the Vedas was originally transmitted by Lord Krisna to Lord Brahma.

Exhibit 2 – Sri Narada and Sri Vyasa

Vedic knowledge was passed down in disciplic succession orally until 5,000 years ago when Vyasadev compiled it  in writing under the guidance of Narada Muni.

Exhibit 3 – Sri Guru Parampara

The ancient disciplic succession continues with Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who inaugurated the yuga-dharma of harinama sankirtana. In 1965, this sankirtana movement wasspread all over the world by ISKCON Founder Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

 Exhibit 4 – The Radha Damodara Temple 

After taking sannyasa in 1959, Srila Prabhupada stayed at the Radha-Damodara Temple, Vrindavan, where he translated the 1st canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam into English.

Exhibit 5 – Jaladuta

in 1965, Srila Prabhupada travelled to America aboard the cargo ship Jaladuta, carrying with him his transcendental books. He did this solely to fulfill the order of his spiritual master to preach in English, the message of pure bhakti in the Western world.

Exhibit 6 – Tompkins Square Park 

In 1966 Srila Prabhupada established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in New York, USA, in the midst of an ongoing cultural revolution. Many young spiritual seekers who found true shelter in him.

Exhibit 7 – World Revolution

From 1966 to 1977 Srila Prabhupada traveled the world 14 times, mercifully initiating more than 5000 disciples. He established 108 temples and translated 80 volumes of Vedic knowledge. This astounding rate of expansion for a religious movement is unsurpassed in the history of the world.

Exhibit 8 – Ratha Yatra 

In 1967, ISKCON San Francisco arranged the first ever Lord Jagannath Ratha Yatra outside India. Now Ratha Yatra takes place annually in over 100 major cities of the world.

Exhibit 9 – Sadbhuja Gauranga

Six-armed Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu revealed His transcendental identity as the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, the source of all incarnations.

Exhibit 10 – Sri Vrindavan-dhama 

Lord Caitanya came to this world to reveal the transcendental names, forms, qualities and pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Krisna and the process for developing pure love for Them.

Exhibit 11 – The BBT 

One of the most remarkable achievements of Srila Prabhupada is the establishment of Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT), which has became the world’s largest publisher of classic Vedic texts on bhakti – and also of contemporary works in perfect alignment with those texts – on the philosophy and culture of bhakti-yoga.

* * *

Iskcon Vrindavan will be most grateful to anyone who supports and encourages this wonderful project, which will be instrumental in spreading the glories and message of Srila Prabhupada, an illustrious acarya in the glorious sampradaya of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada who preached the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the western world. Anyone interested in contributing toward this project is most welcome to donate as per their means.

Sri Guru Purnima and Srila Sanatana Goswami disappearance day

Today marks the auspicious day of Guru Purnima, the holy appearance day of Srila Vyasa dev, the literary incarnation of Sri Krishna and the compiler of all the Vedic literatures. The son of the illustrious Sage Parasara, born from the womb of Satyavati, appeared in this world on the glorious Purnima tithi in the month of Ashadha. Even after having written all the Vedic literatures and having described about various subject matters, Srila Vyasadev was still not feeling content in his heart and therefore, upon the arrival of his revered Spiritual Master, Sri Narada Muni, he expressed his dissatisfaction, in response to which Narada Muni explained to him the reason of his distress, which had sprung from not having glorified the sublime transcendental pastimes of Sri Krishna. Thereafter, with the blessings of his Guru, Srila Vyasadev complied the essence of all the Vedic literatures in the Bhagwat Mahapuran, which is the ripened fruit on the tree of Vedic Wisdom and the treasured literature of all the Viashnavas. After having written Srimad Bhagwatam and having glorified Sri Krishna in it extensively, he felt completely satisfied at heart. Srila Vyasadev is also the father of Sri Shukadev Goswami, the great speaker of Bhagwatam, who had recited this great literature for the benefit of Parikshit Maharaj and all the assembled Brahmanas, for seven days at the banks of the river Ganges. Being the literary incarnation of the Lord, the compiler of all the vedic literatures and thus the Guru of the entire Human Society, the holy appearance day of Srila Vyasadev is celebrated as Sri Guru Purnima, when all the Vaishnavas pay respects to Srila Vyasadev, their own Spiritual Masters and the entire Guru Parampara.

This is also the day when Srila Sanatan Goswami brought his pastimes in this material world to an end, entering into the eternal pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Shyamsindar in Gook Vrindavan. Although having being born in a Brahmana family, due to being extraordinarily intelligent, he was employed by the muslim ruler as the treasurer and was known as Sakar Malik. After having come in contact with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Rupa and Sanatan Goswami, resigned from the service of the Muslim ruler. Being upset with the resignation, the muslim ruler arrested Srila Sanatan Goswami and imprisoned him. However, with the help of some money received from Rupa, Sanatan Goswami escaped the prison by bribing the jailor and in this way, he managed to escape and go to Vrindavan to join Rupa Goswami. On the way he met Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Varanasi and received many instructions from him on the topics of Bhakti. Residing in Sridham Vrindavan, he composed various Bhakti granthas and also found and worshiped Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan. While residing in Vrindavan, as a part of his devotional services, Sri Sanatan Goswami would daily walk to Govardhan, perform Parikrama of Giriraj Maharaj and then return to Vrindavan. However, after reaching old age, this practice of his was proving to be difficult and therefore, out of mercy, Sri Krishna himself gave him a Govardhan shila with the markings of his footprint, flute, stick and the hoof print of a calf, and instructed Srila Sanatan goswami to circumambulate this shila four times daily and that would be equivalent to one Govardhan parikrama. That same Shila is present today also in Sri Radha Damodar Temple and is worshiped there. After having compiled various books and having excavated various pastime places, Srila Sanatan, who is none other than Lavanga Manjari, departed from this world to continue his service in the spiritual world in the pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar.

H.G. Aindra Prabhu disappearance day

Aindra Prabhu, a name that has become synonymous to ecstatic Kirtan for today’s youth, plunged all the devotees in an ocean of sadness on Hera Panchami, the sixth day in the bright fortnight of the month of Ashadha, when, in 2010, he disappeared from this world to go and continue his service to Srila Prabhupad, Nitai Sachisuta and Radha Shyamsundar elsewhere, after having fulfilled Srila Prabhupad’s desire for there to be 24 hour kirtan in the Krishna Balaram Temple in Sri Vrindavan dham and having done this service for 24 years, along with all the other services that he performed for the deities in the temple. What made Sripad Aindra Prabhu’s kirtan so full of impact that it stole everyone’s heart is the purity of his Bhakti and his serious sadhana with the aim to achieve Vraj bhav, as a manjari of Srimati Radharani. Along with being an expert Kirtaniya, making everyone absorbed in his melodious chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, he was also an expert at dressing Sri Radha Shyamsundar, beautifully arranging their outfits in a way that it appeared as if Radhe Shyam were just about to start dancing, with the chaddars and veils gracefully flowing. He was also well known for performing elaborate pujas for his personal deities, often times at odd hours in the day or the night due to being busy with various services, in which case he would go without eating all day long and accept some Prasad only after performing puja for his beloved Nitai Sachisuta and the thousands of Shilas that he worshiped. His classes were indeed pure nectar for the devotees eager to hear about the glories of the Lord and would go on for hours, way past the allotted time, because of his being totally absorbed in devotional service and his eagerness to share his transcendental bliss with everyone else. Despite being such an exalted devotee, he was very down-to-earth and did not hesitate to the menial service of cleaning the bathrooms in the ashram and engaging other devotees in the kirtan department who were under him, showing his humility and determination to maintain cleanliness in the ashram. Being a perfectionist, he would do all his services meticulously, paying a lot of attention to every single detail. His austere vratas during Purushottam and Chaturmaas are among the many other extraordinary things that he used to do. Indeed, his greatness can be and is felt by not only those who met him personally but also by those who have only heard his kirtans or his lectures. On the auspicious occasion of his disappearance, we pray at the lotus feet of Aindra prabhu, a great inspiration for one and all, to please bless us with a drop of the taste that he had for the holy names of Radha Shyamsundar.

Hera Pancami and Sri Vakreshwar Pandit disappearance day

Today’s auspicious day is celebrated in Jagannath Puri as Hera Panchami, when Srimati Laxmi devi, four days after the Jagannatth Rathayatra, goes to Gundicha temple to find out why Lord Jagannath was taking so much time to return and to request him to come back immediately. Being in a hot temper, her servants chastise the servants of Lord Jagannath and demand that they bring the Lord back very soon. Observing this festival, Srivas Pandit and Svarup Damodar would debate, with Srivas Pandit taking the side of Laxmi devi, being an incarnation of Narad Muni, and Swarup Damodar would take the side of the Gopis of Vraja, as he is Srimati Lalita devi herself. Hearing the talks of the two devotees would give great pleasure to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and they would in this way happily celebrate the festival of Hera Panchami.

Sri Vakreshwar Pandit, the expert dancer, also chose this day to bring his pastimes in this world to a close. Being appointed as the lead dancer in one of the sankirtan parties of Mahaprabhu during Rathayatra, he would dance ecstatically and energetically in a most pleasing and enchanting way. Once, in his transcendental ecstasy, he danced and sang continuously for 72 hours, giving great delight to all the vaishnavas. We also beg for his mercy so that we may be able to attain Krishna prem and sing and dance in transcendental bliss.