As a member of ISKCON Prahla desh, lastly I received a formal invitation to attend an annual offering of special honor pooja known as 75th Diamond Jubilee Vyasa Pooja at the Library Hall, Swami Narayan Temple on 15th September 2019 (Sunday). I made up my mind to attend the event with my family.
I never had a clear understanding what it was or could be, in fact the “Vyasa Pooja” title itself being self explanatory gave me a clear awareness that it might be related to Maharishi Ved Vyasa. While arriving at the event I witnessed a purified spiritual environment where the Devotees were chanting the Mahamantra “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”. Listening to these mind and soul purifier chants my conscious mind went into deep spiritual chanting itself and I found myself also chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra from the depth of my heart with complete surrender and devotion to Lord Krishna. I experienced an inexpressible joy while chanting with the devotees. As the main event was about to begin, I came to know about few things which were completely new for me. Pictorial Reading i.e. the environment was print rich and very well decorated with fresh flowers. All glories to Srila Prabhupada, I paid my obeisance to Lord Krishna and the Founder Acharya of ISKCON Srila Prabhupada. My mind was still questioning me about the title Vyasa Pooja, as I couldn’t find anything related to Maharishi Ved Vyasaji. However, slowly and gradually, with my limited intellect I was able to conclude that the “Vyasa Pooja” is celebrated as an special honor to the spiritual teacher, who actually represents Krishna Himself as well as Krishna’s incarnation Maharishi Vyasadevji. Further, it was elaborated that Krishna recommends everyone seeking God to first seek out God’s representative and respectfully accept his guidance. I became more eager to know about the Vyasa Pooja celebrations therefore I got access of technology and came across some of very significant information.
“Actually there is no difference between hearing directly from Krishna and hearing directly from Krishna via a bona fide spiritual master like Vyasa. The spiritual master is the representative of Vyasadeva also. Therefore, according to the Vedic system, on the birthday of the spiritual master the disciple conduct the ceremony called Vyasa-puja”
“Since Vyasdeva is the original guru (spiritual master) of all who follow the Vedic principles, worship of the spiritual master is called Vyasa-Puja”.
As of now I was very much aware about the celebration and its ideology. It was an intuition of my mind that the celebrations are for the Founder Acharya of ISKCON Srila Prabupadaji as he is the spiritual Teacher, however after the introduction speech, it became much known to me that the pooja celebration was for H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj.
Few hours later, the lectures segments were initiated in which I was blessed to hear the philosophy and ideologies of ISKCON by the spiritual leader for the very first time. It had an amazing positive energy which made that YouTube lecture interactive as if Guru Maharaj was communicating to us all directly; the crowd was found to be deeply engrossed into the lecture of H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj. The claps and laughs among the devotees made me feel as if we were in person to Guru Maharaj.
Glorifications segments to the spiritual teacher (Guru Maharaj) started with the lectures of Venu Madhav Prabhu Ji, HG Gauranga Prabhu and HG Radhe Shyam Prabhu, which were telecast via multimedia. The lectures of these great personalities had so much of learning into it as I could call it as an ocean of knowledge. I felt like listening to each and every word of them with complete sincerity. It had glorifications and their personal encounters and experiences with H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj. I believe these souls are very fortunate to have direct guidance from the great Spiritual Master.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExMDu6TP1SM (HG Gauranga Prabhu)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NKEnsvsW8Y (Venu Madhav Prabhu Ji)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kfw84uHPxWo (HG Radhe Shyam Prabhu)
The Glorifications were further continued by the devotees and I experienced that each one of them were deeply connected to their Spiritual Guru with their thoughts, words and deeds.
The ISKCON talent talk team had also arranged a theatre/play “Bounce back with the beads”, written and narrated by Dr. Neeta Maheshwari and Malati Devi Dasi ji which expressed the importance of Hare Krsna Mahamantra japa regularly and how it transforms the behavior of an individual, be it a working class, housewife, or a student. The characters were portrayed so well and the body languages along with the mannerism of each character were perfectly carried by the participants. I thoroughly enjoyed the play and the most vital part of this segment was the dedication of the devotees (the members of ITT) who did not move a second carrying their cell phones to make the entire video of the play until approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Devotees also shared that the participants were practicing for the play since 3 months; honestly their hard work and effort were clearly visible.
The ceremony was later lead by HG Ram Sakha Das and Jagannath Das who delivered glorifications to Guru Maharaj and shared the transcendental knowledge of Bhagavat Gita. Lastly Maha Prasadam with Abhishekh Charna Amrit were offered to the Devotees, enjoying the Aarti and kirtan, we were about to come to an end of this Mahautsav Pooja.
I would also like to appreciate the team of ISKCON Prahala Desh for organizing such a wonderful event with perfection and high standards in terms of management. Lastly, may I express this year Vyasa Pooja in two words i.e. SOUL PURIFIER, the powerful chants and the vibrations of the Maha Mantra captured my subconscious mind entirely, and I am still consciously or subconsciously reciting the Maha Mantra since then.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.