JANMASHTAMI JUBILANCE AT ISKCON, PUNE
The three-day Janmashtami festival at ISKCON Pune on Aug 19, 20 and
21 was by far the largest festival since the inception of the Pune center
in 1981, with over 45,000 people visiting to have darshan of Their
Lordships Sri Sri Radha Kunjabihari.
The highlights of the festival were:
1008 bhoga offering to Srila Prabhupada: On the occasion of the
Vyasa-puja day of Srila Prabhupada, a team of dedicated congregation devotees
headed by Satyavati Mataji worked tirelessly for three consecutive days
in a specially arranged kitchen for Srila Prabhupada to cook 1008 different
preparations. This was the first time that such a large offering was made
to Srila Prabhupada at ISKCON, Pune
Preaching using 3-D models: The brahmacaris at Pune headed
by Temple President His Grace Radheshyam Das prepared four 3-D models depicting:
These models prepared using art, craft, clay, colors, dolls, sketches
and backdrops were displayed at a specially arranged preaching booth. Thousands
of people were drawn to observe these thought-provoking displays and were
enlightened by the explanations given by the devotees at the booth.
3. Diorama display: An inspired group of congregation devotees headed
by Jaya Narasimha Das arranged four beautiful dioramas of:
The Curse of Modern Living: This model depicted how modern lifestyle,
by its pollution, traffic etc, has made life hazardous and the basic necessities
of life like air and water, which are given freely in abundance by nature,
difficult and expensive to obtain.
The Glory of Vedic Civilization: This model showed how Vedic society
fulfilled, in simple and efficient ways, the material needs of life and
also provided facilities for fulfilling the spiritual need of life, God-realization
The Proper Use of the Human Form of Life: This model portrayed how
a person can achieve the full potential of human life by engaging himself
in the devotional service of the Lord by chanting, worshipping the Deity,
reading spiritual literature, associating with devotees, offering prayers
to the Lord etc.
The Misuse of the Human Form of Life: This model displayed how modern
people are wasting their precious human lives by neglecting God and engaging
wholesale in the sinful activities of meat-eating, intoxication, gambling
and illicit sex.
The dioramas revealed themselves in all their majesty and beauty as soon
as one entered the temple premises. The displays, coupled with special
sound and light effects, transported the visitors to a higher realm of
Lord Vishnu atop Garuda rescuing Gajendra from the jaws of the crocodile
Maha-Vishnu in the Causal Ocean surrounded by the universes emanating from
Him with Radha-Krishna in Goloka Vrindavan on top as the source of the
entire cosmic manifestation.
Brahma humbly offering prayers to Lord Krishna in the groves of Vrindanvana,
after he tried to test the Lord in the Brahma-vimmohan lila
Srinathji (Lord Krishna) on Govardhan hill with Radha Kunda and Shyama
Kunda, complete with a parikrama marg
4. Photo Exhibition and Question-Answer booth: ISKCON Youth Forum
(IYF) students arranged a colorful photo exhibition explaining various
fundamental themes taught by Srila Prabhupada in his books. The themes
covered included scientific proof for the existence of God and the soul,
the comparison of the different ways of acquiring knowledge, the difference
between the body and the soul, the importance of Vedic literature, the
difference between the material world and the spiritual world and the practical
techniques for living in harmony with God in the modern times.
5. Bhakta Prahlad School Display: Bhakta Prahlad School is a
once-a-week school for teaching spiritual culture and devotional education
to children in the age group of 7 to 15. The children of the Bhakta Prahlad
School taught visitors, through actual demonstration, how to set up an
altar in their homes and how to offer bhoga to the Lord. They also
distributed free bhoga prayer sheets to interested visitors. Not
only that, the children arranged spiritual games for the visiting children
and they also distributed devotional handicrafts to the thousands of guests
who visited the stall.
6. Hari Naam Japa Yajna: Thousands of visitors got an opportunity
to chant the Hare Krishna maha mantra 108 times as they walked around a
special parikrama marg with 108 steps. Every visitor who completed
the parikrama received special prasadam. Hundreds of people also
took japa malas.
7. Prasadam Distribution: Over 45,000 free prasadam packets were
distributed during the three-day festival and over 26,000 people were given
full-plate prasadam - 6,000 on Aug 19, 18,000 on Aug 20 and 2,000 on Aug
Additionally, on the auspicious occasion of Janmashtami,
Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Kunjabihari and Sri Sri Gaur-Nitai were offered
an attractive new altar
ISKCON Youth Forum published a new book Horizon: Illumination on the
Spiritual Frontier of Science.
ISKCON Junior Youth Forum (IJYF) devotees (in the age-group 15 to 20) performed
an action-filled drama ?Krishna enters Mathura?.