Sri Gaura Purnima is a major festival celebrated every year by devotees of Sri Krishna to commemorate the appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who appeared over 500 years ago in West Bengal and initiated the Harinama Sankirtana movement all over India.
This year, for the first time, ISKCON Bangalore in association with Sri Krishna Matha, Udupi celebrated this festival at Rajangana Hall in the Matha’s premises on March 19, 2017. Aptly titled, Sri Chaitanya Jayanti Sambhramotsava, the event was organized at the invitation of His Holiness Sri Sri Vishvesha Tirtha Swamiji of Paryaya Sri Adhokshaja Matha to celebrate the anniversary of the appearance of Sri Chaitanya.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was initiated into the Madhva-Gaudiya-Sampradaya which originated from Sri Madhvacharya. Udupi is well-known for the Krishna Temple which was established by Sri Madhvacharya in the thirteenth century.
His Holiness Sri Sri Vishvesha Tirtha Swamiji speaking in the inauguration ceremony
The celebration began with Harinama Sankirtana by devotees of ISKCON Bangalore and was followed by the inauguration ceremony at 9:30 am. His Holiness Sri Sri Vishvesha Tirtha Swamiji and His Holiness Sri Sri Vishva Prasanna Tirtha Swamiji, Junior Pontiff of Sri Adhokshaja Matha inaugurated the event. His Grace Madhu Pandit Dasa, President, ISKCON Bangalore presided over the ceremony. Sri Vyasanakere Prabhanjanacharya, eminent scholar, Prof. R. Venkata Rao, Vice-Chancellor, National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, Prof. T. V. Subba Rao, Director, Research and Development of National Law School of India University, Bengaluru were the Chief Guests. Prof. Mallepuram G. Venkatesh, Former Vice Chancellor, Karnataka Sanskrit University and His Grace Stoka Krishna Dasa, Vice President, ISKCON Bangalore were among the other dignitaries who graced the event.
The inaugural ceremony was followed by a Vichara Goshthi (deliberation on the pastimes of Sri Chaitanya) by scholars that included Dr. A. Madhava Udupa, Dr. Vasanthkumara Perla, Dr. Rajashekhara Halemane, Sri Gururaj Poshettihalli, Dr. H. G. Shreedhar and Dr. N. K. Ramaseshan.
The next session was a panel discussion during which His Grace Madhu Pandit Dasa, His Grace Stoka Krishna Dasa and His Grace Tattvadarshana Dasa spoke on their personal journey of coming in touch with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings and their understanding, appreciation and conviction about His philosophy. The panel discussion was moderated by His Grace Vyomapada Dasa, President of Hare Krishna Movement, Bhilai.
Young devotees singing bhajans on Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
During the first session in the afternoon, young devotees of ISKCON Bangalore sang various bhajans on Sri Chaitanya. This was followed by a Kavi Goshthi wherein renowned poets read out their poetries on the various pastimes of Sri Chaitanya. Dr. Na. Mogasale, Prof. V. Krishnamurthy Rao, Prof. K. E. Radhakrishna, Dr. Chintamani Kodlekere, Prof. Chandrashekhara Talya and Sri Satyamangala R. Mahadeva actively participated in this session.
The event concluded with a grand Ratha Yatra along with Harinama Sankirtana
The concluding and most exciting part of the event was a grand Ratha Yatra within the temple precincts along with Sankirtana by ISKCON devotees. While the Ratha carrying Lord Krishna moved along the temple street, devotees carried the Deities of Sri Sri Nitai Gauranga (Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) ahead of the Ratha. Hundreds of devotees chanted the Hare Krishna mantra and danced in great jubilation to the accompaniment of drums, mridangas, karatalas and conch shells.
Over 500 devotees from the ISKCON Bangalore group of temples from different parts of the country participated in this grand event.