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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:

  1. 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
  2. Preaching using 3-D models: The brahmacaris at Pune headed by Temple President His Grace Radheshyam Das prepared four 3-D models depicting:
  • 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.
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:
  • 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
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 divine contemplation.

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 21.

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?.

For more information mail to iyfpune@vsnl.com

Chant

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna   Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama   Rama Rama Hare Hare

                                                 And make your life sublime.

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For more information mail to iyfpune@vsnl.com

Chant

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna   Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama   Rama Rama Hare Hare

                                                 And make your life sublime.