“Anyway, print books, distribute profusely, and that will be the best preaching work. What will your three minutes; preaching do?—but if they buy one book, it may turn their life. So make this your important task, to print our books…and distribute widely, and that will please my Guru Maharaja. Never mind it takes little time to make progress, our process is slow but sure, and we are confident that if we continue in this way we shall go one day back to home, back to Godhead.” - Srila Prabhupada in a letter to Bhagavan das, Vrindaban, 5 November 1972
5244 years ago, on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna delivered the most confidential and topmost knowledge to Arjuna, a warrior prince, and to humanity at large, in order to help all devotees understand the purpose of life and the way to surrender to Him. Every year on the anniversary of that day, devotees of Lord Krishna gather and recite the Bhagavad Gita.
In Sri Dham Mayapur, around 700 students from the Bhaktivedanta Gita Academy organize a huge Gita Jayanti festival. They go for Mangala arati, then bathe in the Ganga before going to the festival pandal. A beautifully decorated yajna Kunda is set up, and oblations are offered into the fire during the recitation of the Sanskrit verses of the Bhagavad Gita. On average, over 4,000 devotees gather in one place to recite the Bhagavad Gita in unison. The atmosphere is surcharged. After the recitation of the Gita, a delicious feast is served.
The devotees organize a five-day festival. Various sanyasis, senior brahmacharis and qualified dignitaries speak on the importance and relevance of practicing the teachings of Gita, in morning and evening. In between, they engage in various interactive activities such as going for parikrama, quick quiz competition, and Question and Answer session.
This year was the 23rd-anniversary celebration. It first started out celebrating with only 20 devotees, whereas this year, approximately 2100 came from around the world to attend this festival. The devotees fasted until noon, went to Ganga to bathe in her holy waters and chanted Harinama-sankirtana which was held in the evening.
During this time, many copies of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad Gita As It Is are also distributed to the visiting pilgrims. A Gita Book Marathon takes place and devotees take part in distributing Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita to visitors. This distribution is a combined effort of many of the Mayapur community devotees, as well as some visiting devotees from around the world. Everyone helps in the distribution of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is. Even little children.
In the Sri Mayapur International School, there is also a Gita Jayanti festival, where all the students and teachers gather and recite the Bhagavad Gita. In this way, this most auspicious Gita Jayanti festival is wonderfully observed in Sri Dham Mayapur by all the devotees of Sri Krishna.