Ahmedabad celebrates Janmastami and Vyas Puja in grand style
Posted September 2, 2003
On August 20, 2003, more than 500,000 devotees participated in prayers and sankirtan on the auspicious occasion of Janmastami at the ISKCON Temple in Ahmedabad. People enjoyed darshan of the attractive Deities of Sri Sri Radha Govindaji, Srinathaji and Gopalji. The Deities were adorned with various ornaments and beautiful clothes.
More than 2000 devotees were present in the Mangala Aratik at 4:30 a.m., with other programs organized in the evening.
In a welcome speech, temple president Sri Yasomatinandana das said Janmastami is the "king of all festivals" and has been celebrated for five thousand years because the religious people of India believe in Sri Krishna as the Supreme Personality. In the Bhagavad-gita, He said that those who can understand Him truly and completely go to Krishna at the end of their lifetime and do not take birth again. Srila Prabhupada, a great saint in the disciplic succession from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, has presented the Bhagavad-gita in its original form, disclosing Sri Krishna in his divine, complete form.
In a moving speech, leading religious speaker Sri Acharya Dharmendraji Maharaja praised Sri Krishna and said, "Krishna is the most attractive Lord and Krishna kirtan is most holy, peaceful and imparts happiness. Srila Prabhupada attracted Americans by the power of Lord Krishna's kirtan. Srila Prabhupada was not an artist, a sports person or a great religious speaker but was a cent percent dedicated devotee of Lord Krishna and that's why he got such a grand success."
Sri Kailashpati Mishra, governor of Gujarat province, said, "The Deities of Sri Sri Radha Krishna at ISKCON Temple are very divine. I am deeply moved by the darshan to God wearing very, very beautiful ornaments. The surrounding of the temple is great and such a big stage and lakhs of devotees, offering puja to Lord Sri Krishna and Radhaji, has deeply impressed me."
Srimati Harshida Raval and Sri Janardan Raval sang wonderful bhajans and all the people present became very happy.
At midnight, fireworks started and the conch was blown at the time of Krishna's appearance. More than 5000 devotees were dancing and chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra and Nand Gher Ananad Bhayo, and Jai Kanaiya Lalki; the whole environment in and around the temple was devotional.
The following day, on the occasion of Nanda Mahotsava -- the birth celebration of Srila Prabhupada, founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, was celebrated as Vyasa Puja. Yasomatinandana prabhu said, "The originator of all knowledge is Lord Sri Krishna and He gave it to Brahmaji, Brahma gave it to Naradaji, and Narada gave that divine knowledge to Sri Vyasaji. Vyasadeva converted that knowledge into the Vedas, Mahabharata, Upanisads and Vedanta-sutras.
"The Guru does not invent any new knowledge but has to spread the knowledge in a summarized form, which is written into various religious books. Hence the Guru is a representative of Vyasadeva, and that is why the birthday of Srila Prabhupada is celebrated as Vyasa Puja. The Puja to Guru is not a puja to an individual but our guru offers that puja to his guru and ultimately the puja is offered to Lord Krishna. Guru is not God but a loved and faithful servant of God, and hence Lord Krishna is pleased if we do puja to our Guru.
Vyasa Puja is an occasion of getting divine knowledge. On this day
thousands of people took Krishna prasad at lunch. For the whole Nandotsava
day, people offered puja to Sri Radha Govindaji and enjoyed their darshan.
Each day, more than 200,000 people came for the celebrations. Video and
pictures are available at http://www.iskconahmedabad.org.