Chakra Announcements

Gita Jayanti Sankirtan in Pakistan

by Sandeep Kumar Maheshwary

Posted December 27, 2011

Children's play for Gita Jayanti in Larkana

This is the auspicious year for ISKCON's Pakistani devotees that Gita Jayanti was celebrated in Larkana, the fourth-largest city of Sindh province, on December 10 and 11, having started on a small-community basis. This celebration, with various related events leading up to the Harinam Sankirtan, is an opportunity for all age groups to get to read, chant, study and understand the Bhagavad-Gita and its immortal message. This is also a venue for various Hindu organizations to come closer through participation and unity of purpose in the celebration of one of the fundamental scriptures of both Hinduism and Krsna consciousness.

The public Gita Jayanti 2011-12 program had been postponed from the official observance date out of respect for the Muslim holy event Ashura (December 5 this year in the Islamic calendar), which marks the climax of the ten-day Remembrance of Muharram. Because the date commemorates the sad passing of Hussein ibn ʻAlī, the grandson of Prophet Muḥammad — may peace be upon them both — it is considered inappropriate to schedule celebrations like weddings for this date, and to sing or play cheerful music on this date would be impolite and disrespectful.

Darshan of Sri Sri Madan Mohan Bhagavan in Larkana

ISKCON devotees gathered from all parts of Pakistan, including Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Sibi, accompanied by various Hindu temples and organizations from Sindh province, such as the Larkana Hindu Panchayat and the Balmiki Seva Mandal.

The two-day program was interactive and attractive for visitors, and the planning was nicely done. Events included Nama-sankirtan, shloka recital, children's dancing to different devotional songs, readings of Krsna-katha, bhajans, dramas and book exhibitions, and even a Vaishnava picnic at the famous Mohenjo-daro archaeological site.

First Day, Gita Jayanti, Dec. 10 — The program started just after the auspicious Gaura Sandhya Aratik and Harinama Sankirtan. With local residents of all ages eager to know of the Advent of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita, devotees organized stage dramas for the site of Kurukshetra, including a chariot for Lord Krishna and Arjuna handmade by a local residential painter and woodworker of Larkana. Around 150 people attended the Harinama Sankirtan and Aratik of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita. Ramyajna das and Govinda das spoke on the subject of Gita-jñana, or Gita knowledge.

Devotees picnic at Mohenjo-Daro archaeological site

The opening day also featured the publication launch of Srimati Radhikakrpa devi dasi's book, Vaisnava Teachings in Sikhism, newly translated by Karuna Sindhu das into Urdu. Radhikakrpa prabhu said: "I am very grateful to the devotees there for translating it in Urdu language. I am very happy to serve Srila Prabhupada and my Guru Maharaja ji. I am happy that I could be of some use in preaching the glories of Lord Krsna."

H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami said: "Radhika Krpa devi dasi has thoroughly researched these teachings and brought to light the similarities of Sikhism vis-à-vis Vaisnavism, thus establishing a common cord between the two paths. This book will also help the devotees preaching to the Sikh community, as now they will get a better understanding of the teachings of Sikhism."

Ramyajna das started by speaking of "Sri Gita Mahatmya", the Glory of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita, with reasons for the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, ideal preacher of the Gita, in Kali Yuga. Govinda das spoke on Kurukshetra, a land of historical and religious importance, also known as Dharmakshetra ("Holy City").

Larkana4.jpg BBC journalist interviews ISKCON devotee Sandeep Kumar

Devotees also presented gifts to leaders of the Hindu Panchayata Larkana and the Krsna Mandir. In return they welcomed and invited devotees to come to the local temple of Larkana for Kirtan and Maha-Prasadam.

Ustad Krishna, a local singer of Larkana, sang "Ghan shyam teri bansi, pagal kar jati hai," and local Larkana children performed a stage dance on "Jari Ki Pagdi, Kitna Sundar Lage Banke Bihari," in which little girls acted as Gopis along with the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha Krsna.

To honour and respect Sriman Gur-Buksh from Pano Aqil, who had preached the message of the Gita among the Hindu community before the Krishna consciousness movement began in Larkana, temple management invited him for Krsna Katha.

Second Day, Vaishnava Picnic, Dec. 11 — In the morning H.H. Gopal Krsna Goswami delivered to the Pakistan ISKCON Devotees a 20-minute online lecture on the Ten Offences Against the Holy Name, declaring that Prabhupada had wished our movement to spread all over the world, just as devotees were now doing in Pakistan. He gave blessings and instructions to work for Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission and further instructed devotees about Nama Sankirtan, including how to advance in Krishna consciousness.

A statement from Makhanlal das and Ramyajna das, the co-organizers, said: "The association and gathering of devotees, including Maharaj’s lecture, is a very joyful moment for us in Krishna consciousness; we are very happy at having devotee association with a lot of Kirtan. We ask the mercy of Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan, Sri Sri Gaur Nitai and Srila Prabhupada that Nama Sankirtan and association increase day by day."

Now it was time for the Vaishnava Picnic in Mohenjo-daro, an archaeological site situated in what is now the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2600 BCE, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, and one of the world's earliest major urban settlements, existing at the same time as the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Crete. This mysterious culture emerged nearly 4,500 years ago and thrived for a thousand years, profiting from the highly fertile lands of the Indus River floodplain and trade with the civilizations of nearby Mesopotamia.

At 12:30 p.m. around 50 devotees travelled the 30 kilometres from Larkana (about a one-hour trip) to reach Mohenjo-daro. The devotees were very much occupied in Harinama Sankirtan and dancing, and the general population was happy to see devotees dancing and doing Kirtan.

We also met a correspondent for the BBC who interviewed me about the history and link of Mohenjo-daro to Sanatan Dharma and the so-called Hindu religion, about Buddhist stupas and a monastery of the Kushan period dating to the second century CE, about sixteen centuries after the downfall of the Indus Valley civilization — how treasure hunters had dug inside the hollow drum of the stupa in the middle of its eastern side in search of treasure and removed the relic casket long before the scientific excavations began in 1922, and how from the monastic cells on all four side of the courtyard of the stupa and its common large rooms were found a large number of coins of King Vasudeva, belonging to the Kushana period.

Devotees hope that in the future the Krishna conscious activities and programs will become even more interactive and give people a more vibrant, powerful presentation of Krishna consciousness.

For now, however, we are focusing on 12-hour Harinama Sankirtan in Karachi in January and February 2012. We feel that the majority of the general public is initially drawn to devotees not by high philosophy but by Kirtan or Prasadam. Prasadam, in particular, has the broadest appeal, and the greatest ability to give people a positive perspective of Krishna consciousness and, ultimately, to transform their hearts.

It was a tremendously inspiring experience for us. Please kindly contact us for our future plans and projects in Pakistan: iskconpk1 -at- or sandeep.msh -at-, or telephone: 00 92 333 33 83 83 2

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