Udupi, March 07, 2018: ISKCON Bangalore in association with Sri Krishna Matha, Udupi celebrated Sri Chaitanya Sambhramotsava at Rajangana Hall in the Matha’s premises on March 4, 2018 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It began with kirtans by ISKCON devotees.
The event was held to commemorate the divine advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the spiritual revolutionary who stressed the performance of bhakti-yoga unto Lord Krishna and spread the Harinama sankirtana across India, over 500 years ago.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu belongs to the Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya which originated from Sri Madhvacharya. Sri Madhvacharya established a temple of Lord Krishna in Udupi in the 13th century and since then it has been one of the major centers of pilgrimage in India.
The inaugural ceremony was held in the gracious presence of His Holiness Sri Vidyadheesha Tirtha Swamiji of Paryaya Sri Palimaru Matha and His Holiness Sri Vishvesha Tirtha Swamiji of Sri Pejavara Matha. Sri Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami, scholar and religious leader, Sri Radharamana Temple, Vrindavan and Sri A Haridasa Bhatta, renowned Madhwa scholar were the Chief Guests. His Grace Madhu Pandit Dasa, President, ISKCON Bangalore presided over the ceremony. Prof. Mallepuram G. Venkatesh, Former Vice Chancellor, Karnataka Sanskrit University; His Grace Chanchalapathi Dasa, Senior Vice President, ISKCON Bangalore; His Grace Stoka Krishna Dasa, Vice President, ISKCON Bangalore; His Grace Vasudev Keshav Dasa, Vice President, ISKCON Bangalore and His Grace Rajiv Lochan Dasa, President, ISKCON Hubballi were among the other dignitaries who graced the event.
Speaking on the occasion, His Holiness Vishvesha Tirtha Swamiji said, “Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spread the message of kirtana, “kirtaniyah sada harih” to the common man. If Hindu dharma is still surviving in Bengal and Odisha today, it is due to the influence of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
He also released the book “Sri Chaitanya Sambhrama” which presents the teachings of Sri Chaitanya in Kannada as explained by scholars for the common man.
His Holiness Vidyadheesha Tirtha Swamiji said, “Our body which is created by God is meant for contemplating and discussing His topics. Sri Chaitanya has shown us that this body has to be dedicated to God by lifting both His hands.”
Sri Shrivatsa Goswami said, “Sri Chaitanya made a bold statement that if this world has to survive, it can survive only on the basis of bhakti. He went beyond the four kinds of purusharthas and revealed that prema-bhakti is the fifth and the ultimate purushartha.” Speaking about the profound influence of Sri Madhvacharya’s teachings on Sri Chaitanya, he said, “Udupi and Sri Madhvacharya go a long way in shaping the final viewpoint of the bhakti system of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
Sri Haridasa Bhatta, quoting a verse from the Bhagavata said that even if one follows the religious duties perfectly, if his eyes are not filled with tears upon remembering Krishna or chanting His names, then all his performances are just useless labor. He mentioned three symptoms of bhakti as stated by Sri Madhvacharya – chitta drava (melting of the stone-like heart), sthairya (unflinching dedication to the Lord) and prasada (cheerful countenance). He went on to say that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is a great soul who, through the philosophy of achintya-bhedabheda-tattva, united all common people irrespective of the disagreement in their philosophical viewpoints and brought about a great revolution by spreading the message of bhakti.
His Grace Madhu Pandit Dasa said, “Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is known for sankirtana yajna. He stresses this in His Shikshastaka, in which all the eight verses are connected to Nama sankirtana.” Speaking about the philosophical truths brought out by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he said, “Sri Chaitanya revealed that every jiva is an eternal servant of Krishna. This is the constitutional relationship between jiva and Krishna. Another important revelation by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the relationship between jiva and jiva which is – I am the servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna. Hence I have to relate with all souls by respecting that they are also eternal servants of Krishna.”
After the inaugural ceremony, Matajis from ISKCON Bangalore sang Bengali Vaishnava bhajans.
The next part of the event was Vichara and Kavya Gosthi – deliberations on the various pastimes of Sri Chaitanya’s life by eminent scholars and poets that included Nadoja B. V. Satyanarayana, Sri Gouripura Chandru, Sri S. Seetharamu, Dr. Durgapraveena, Dr. Kabbinale Vasantha Bharadwaj, Dr. Belavadi Manjunatha, Dr. T. G. Prabhashankara Premi and Dr. Rohinaksha Shirlalu. The themes of their narration and poetry were – Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Haridasa Thakura, Sanatana Gosvami and Sri Chaitanya’s South India Tour.
The special invitees who attended the event included Prof. Sripathi Tantri, Udupi; Sri Ambathanaya Mudradi, Udupi; Dr. Heranje Krishna Bhatta, Puttur; Prof. M. L. Samaga, Udupi; Dr. Prabhakara Joshi, Mangaluru; Prof. Padekallu Vishnu Bhatta, Athradi; Dr. Satheesh Kumar Kemmannu, Nitte; Dr. Vasanthakumara Perla, Mangaluru and Dr. Shridhara Bhatta, Ujire.
The final part of the event was an enthusiastic maha sankirtana by all devotees following which sumptuous lunch prasadam was served to all.
The devotees also participated in the grand Ratha Yatra held within the temple precincts in the evening. While the Ratha carrying Lord Krishna traversed around the temple, devotees performed sankirtana and danced with bliss.
Over 700 devotees from ISKCON Bangalore group of temples from different parts of the country participated in this event.