Connecting Devotees Worldwide - In Service Of Srila Prabhupada
|An Appeal About Us Donate Contact Us|
Bangladesh is the country where our vaishnava acharyas took birth, Narottam Das Thakur, Pundarik Vidyanidhi, Hari Das Thakur, Rupa Goswami and Sanatan Goswami.
Srila Prabhupada wanted Krishna Consciousness to be preached in Bangladesh. Preaching there is really risky, however, pure devotees take the risk. HH Subhag Swami has been continuously preaching in Bangladesh for the past 45 years. In the early days, Maharaj used to preach wearing a formal dress and take shelter at some Hindu family homes.
This year Maharaj started the tour from Iskcon Swamibag Temple (Dhaka), with an evening lecture inspiring many to take Krishna Consciousness as their life and soul. The next morning, Maharaj gave a Bhagavatam class in the temple and then proceed to the next program at Iskcon Netrakona.
Netrakona is a city in the northern district of Mymensingh, very near the border of the Indian state of Meghalaya. Devotees at Iskcon Netrakona gave a huge heartwarming welcome to Maharaj, as a chartered chopper landed in a feild. Hundreds of devotees were chanting and dancing on the holy names. Everybody was excited and rushed forward to be first to greet Maharaj. Maharaj gave a welcome lecture at the temple and more than five hundred devotees attended the program. Several guests such as Deepak Saha (President, Puja Udyapan Parishad), Ujwal Saha (V.P. Tularam College, Narayanganj), Sitanshuvikas Acharya (B.A.R President), Nirmala Das (Party president, JASAD) were present to welcome Maharaj. At night, the video of Maharaja’s world tour was displayed to the devotees in the temple.
This year Maharaj planned an international devotees preaching program. Devotees from America, Spain, Italy, Armenia and India came to Bangladesh for inspiring people in general to take Krishna Consciousness. The International devotees arrived on the auspicious day of Shat-tila Ekadashi at Iskcon Netrakona and Maharaj personally welcome them. Bangladesh is famous for their hospitality and Maharaj himself showed how to do it. At noon, Maharaj honoured prasadam only after feeding the international guests and other devotees.
Bangladesh is also famous for it’s sweets, Shar malai, Ras malai, Angur toust, Anand Bhog and different varieties of peetah (rice cakes).
In the evening, Maharaj delivered an inspiring lecture in the temple and introduced the international devotees to the Netrakona people. After that, Vishakha mataji (an international kirtaniya from Shri Mayapur Dham) sang very nice melodious kirtan and mesmerized everyone. The program ended with a cultural dance and mahaprasadam.
The next day, a huge program in the Netrakona public hall had been organized by the temple president, HG Joy Ram Das, where the international devotees did kirtan mela and gave inspiring speeches to the common people on chanting Hare Krishna and accepting the Krishna Conscious culture. Everybody was very excited to see Prabhupada’s white elephants singing and dancing on the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Prabhupada said that the people of India have lost their culture by copying the western life style. But when they see western people wearing dhoti kurta, tilak and chanting Hare Krishna, then they will accept their culture again. People of Netrakona town were excited to see devotees from America and Europe talking about Lord Krishna. They were amazed to hear Krishna Katha in Bengali and Hindi. After that, the program was enlivened by the sweet kirtan by HG Vishakha Mataji, as crowds of people were waving during the kirtan. Next Maharaj gave a wonderful lecture and highlighted the importance of chanting the holy names of the Lord. Maharaj inspired them to chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra Loudly. The chanting of Hare Krishna will clear the dust accumulated in their hearts. The program ended with a cultural dance presentation and mahaprasadam was distributed to all.
The tour continued with the next program at Trishal near Netrakona, where a seminar of Maharaj and international devotees had been arranged at a town hall. The seminar started with the Kirtan Mela. The people of Trishal were excited to see the international devotees chanting kirtan. People in the hall were hearing with rapt attention about the glories of the holy name and how the foreign people take their culture very seriously. Next, Maharaj got a huge welcome in the hall and told people about the Krishna Conscious culture and pointed out, how these foreign people are readily accepting the vedic culture. The program concluded with a drama by the local students inspiring people for taking to Krishna Consciousness.
The next day, Maharaj returns to Netrakona and in the noon time an initiation ceremony takes place in the temple. Fifty five devotees from Narayanganj and Netrakona took shelter of Maharaj, promising to abide by the required norms and gradually dedicating their lives in Lord Krishna’s service.
The same evening IYF Netrakona organized a seminar ‘happiness’ for the youth in the temple. The chanting of the holy names can bring happiness in our distressed lives. More than 300 students attended the program. The Program started with a kirtan which filled the hearts of students with joy. All the students were blissfully chanting the holy name. Afterwards, an inspirational speech based on the Bhagavad Gita was presented to the students. Students were amazed to see American and European sadhus. After that Maharaj was welcomed by the students. Maharaj presented the vedic knowledge in a scientific manner. “The scientists are claiming that the body is made of chemicals but if we give them all the required chemicals, would they be able to produce life? No. The arrangement of stars and planets have been expertly organized in our universe, which can’t be possible without an intelligent designer.”
Atlast, Maharaj requested the students to chant Hare Krishna and lead a happy life. Next were cultural dance programs presented by young artists which were followed by two fantastic dramas, themed on me and my mind. The Program successfully ended with a nice kirtan by HG Vishwambhar prabhu and mahaprasadam for all the students.
On 4th of Feb, we visited Durgapur where people of the town were eagerly waiting for devotees. Durgapur is a small town 70 km north of Netrakona and just 10 Kms near the India border. The Durgapur public hall was huge and it was fully packed up. There were around a thousand people in the hall. The program started at 6 pm and lasted till 11 pm. Kirtan mela by international devotees created an auspicious environment and everybody was enthusiastically chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra. The whole hall was vibrating with the transcendental holy names. People were astound to see devotees from the western background chanting and dancing. Devotees had bright lively faces which encouraged the local Durgapur people to chant Hare Krishna. After that, Maharaj delivered an inspiring lecture and requested everyone to chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra loudly. Maharaj told them about the importance of chanting the holy name. In the end, people eagerly watched the cultural programs and had mahaprasadam.
The next morning, Maharaj took the devotees for a picnic just besides the Indian border which was a very scenic and peaceful hilly area. Devotees had a morning walk and a joyful conversation with Maharaj. Maharaj personally took care of each devotee, asking for their health and travelling experiences in Bangladesh.
We next visited Kalmakanda, which is a two hour drive from durgapur. We first visited one village where few ISKCON devotees reside. After honouring prasadam, Maharaj went strolling through the village and preaching to the villagers. Maharaj introduced the foreign devotees to the locals, who were very amazed to see them. Especially HG Karly mataji an American devotee, attired in saree, tilak and chanting Hare Krishna. All the village ladies surrounded her and were really curious how it could be possible.
Maharaj was inspiring all the locals to chant the holy name and take to devotional activities in their life. He promised to return next time if they seriously took to Krishna consciousness. Everybody was happy to see Maharaj and the international devotees.
In the evening, a bigger crowd was waiting for us. In the Kalmakanda city more than a thousand people were gathered in a big hall for welcoming the international guests. People were chanting and clapping on the beats of the mridanga. The whole hall was vibrating and a few muslims were also present. Devotees sang classic kirtan and everybody was waving in the ocean of nectarean holy names. The devotees spoke on chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra, and how anybody can immediately be free from anxiety by chanting. Surprisingly everybody agreed with us. Yes, it is the right solution to be happy.
Then other devotees presented the teachings given by our acharyas’ and the audience patiently heard about the Vaishnava culture. However, it was surprising to notice how the crowd to was so eager to have a darshan of Maharaj. The eagerness to receive the pure devotee of the Lord is the positive sign of attachment for devotional service.
After the grand entry, Maharaj started speaking about the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Maharaj kept insisting them to chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra loudly which will clear all the problems of their life. Then gradually the attachment for the Lord and detachment from material activities will develop. At last the crowd became more joyful by watching a drama and honouring mahaprasadam at the end.
The next day Maharaj returns to Netrakona temple in time for the Shri Narsinghadev deity installation in the noon. Kirtan started and lots of devotees from near by places gathered to welcome the Lord. Afterwards, Maharaj came and started bathing the Lord. Devotees welcomed the Lord with nice offerings and later honour the mahaprasadam.
Our next program was in Jhalokati, a small town near the Borishal district. The Jhalokati program gathered highest crowds, around two thousand people were present right from the beginning. Devotees performed Tulsi arati, Gour arati and kirtan. Peoples were dancing with them to the melodious kirtan.
After a brief introduction, devotees gave nice insights of Krishna Consciousness in Bengali. Locals were amazed to hear Krishna katha in bengali from westerners and soon Maharaj arrived with a grand welcome to the program. Maharaj highlighted the importance of chanting Hare Krishna. “There is no other way than chanting of the holy name in this dreadful age of Kali. But one who is Sumedhasa, an intelligent person can take the chanting of holy name of the Lord”, told Maharaj. Several eminent persons, Shamol Krishna Haldar (CMO), Sanjeev Debnath (SE, PWD), Anoop Sarkar (Sub. AE, LGD), Gautam Kumar Biswas (Instructor, TTC), Dr. Aseem Kumar Saha and many more were present at the program. The program concluded with mahaprasadam for everyone.
The next morning was a huge nagar sankirtan on the streets of Jhalokati, creating history. The streets were full of muslims and it reminded us of the time of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s nagar sankirtan in Mayapur. In an hour, sankirtan went to most of the temples on the streets starting from the local centre.
That evening, few well wishers came to personally interact with Maharaj. Among them were Lakshman Saha (District Judge Assistant). Maharaj introduced western devotees and presented the profound Krishna Consciousness culture to them. Maharaj emphasized on the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Melodious kirtan enlightened their heart and delicious prasadam filled their belly.
The next day we all returned by ship to Narayanganj, near Dhaka. Narayanganj is an old city, famous for its textile industry. The Iskcon temple in Narayanganj welcomed Maharaj and the international devotees. The Temple president HG Hansa Krishna das heartedly welcomed Maharaj with lamps and flowers followed by a discourse by Maharaj for the gathered congregation.
Sri Sri Nitai Chaitanya Centre in Narayanganj organized a big pandal program on the 13th of Feb, inviting Maharaj as the chief guest for Bhagavatiya Alochana . HG Krishna Kanto Das has been actively serving Maharaj in Narayanganj and connecting locals to the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Consecutively, this year many thousands of people attended the program. The Kirtan mela by HG Madhusudan pr and HG Gandharvika Mataji filled the hearts of the audience with joy.
The International devotees attracted the crowds with their sweet kirtan and inspirational speeches. Everyone was amazed to see sadhus from the western world inspiring them to chant the holy name. Devotees were ready to welcome Maharaj with arati plates and flowers. All the Local people seemed to be also excited to have the first darshan. Chanting of Hare Krishna and Ullu Dhwani erupted and Maharaj has been welcomed with great honour. HG Sanjay Krishna pr invited guests to address the audience about the necessity of chanting the holy names in the present time. Mrs. Archana Rani Ghosh (Jugma Ahabayak, Upazila Mohila Awami League), Bhavani Shankar Ray (Ex. President, Narayanganj Sanskritik Ayko Jot), Nimai Dey (VP, Narayanganj Puja Udjapan Committee) and several others were eminent personalities who spoke in appreciation of the arranged program. Maharaj welcomed everyone in the pandal and spoke to them about the Krishna Conscious culture. Maharaj elaborated that one who has full faith in the holy name and who is simple can easily take to this movement. The audience felt blessed to listen about Krishna and the program lasts till 11 pm. Thousands of plates of mahaprasadam were distributed at the end.
Mirpur is just an 8 km ride from Dhaka and on the auspicious day of Bhaimi Ekadashi, devotees in Mirpur headed by HG Subhananda prabhu organized a program in the community centre. The people of Mirpur was very excited to see the western devotees and stoodup in their welcome. Hundreds of youngester came to the program which started with a Kirtan mela and later people also danced with devotees. Some muslims were also present and eagerly watching westerners preaching the vedic culture. Lectures given by devotees boosted the Mirpur gathering and everyone was chanting the holy name loudly with them. Cultural dance presentations depicting the childhood pastimes of Lord Krishna were enacted by the children of devotees. The program ended with distribution of ekadasi Mahaprasadam.
Every preaching program had devotees distributing Srila prabhupada books and back to godhead magazines in the local Bengali language. Around a total of a thousand books were distributed during these three weeks of preaching programs with Maharaj.
We hope that Srila prabhupada and all the previous acharyas will be very pleased with the above preaching activities and Bangladeshi people will embrace it’s long dormant Krishna conscious culture.
By Bhakta Ankit