© 2002 VNN
September 5, 2002 VNN7538
Grand Janmashtami Festival At Kolkata
BY TAMALKRISHNA DAS
INDIA, Sep 5 (VNN) HDG Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj, after concluding his summer tour to the US and the Pacific, arrived at Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, 35, Satish Mukherjee Road, Kolkata at 11p.m., 29 August'02 was received by hundreds of devotees, who had arrived at the Math from all over West Bengal and North-India, gave a grand reception to Maharaj. Next day- 30 August, the holy day of Adhivas Tithi (preliminary function before any holy occasion) of Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Gurumaharaj inaugurated the 5-day Janmashtami Festival with a divine discourse in the morning. He narrated and explained the divine words of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupad, on the same tithi in 1826 at Sri Bagh Bazaar Gaudiya Math, Ultadingi Road, Kolkata.
Gurumaharaj said that Sri Krishna will appear the next day and all should engage themselves in His service in order to clear and purify their hearts for Him to appear. In the afternoon, the devotees were enchanted by sankirtan by Gurumaharaj in the Nagar Sankirtan procession through the streets of Kalighat, Kolkata.
Later, in the evening, the first meeting of the 5-day festival was held which was presided over by Hon'ble Justice B. P. Bandyopadhayaya and the Chief-guest was Hon'ble Justice A. M. Sinha. These were amongst the distinguished speakers besides Gurumaharaj.
Next day, 31 August, the auspicious day of Janmashtami, began with ecstatic sankirtan by Gurumaharaj just after Mangal Arati, praying the grace of Guru-Vaishnavas-Radha-Krishna. Later in the morning, Gurumaharaj gave a divine discourse on the essence of Janmashtami. He said Supreme Lord's pastimes are eternal. How is it so? There are two ways of thought to this as given by Guruvarga-Vaishnavas. Firstly, as Supreme Lord is Infinite, His manifestations are also infinite, infinite Vaikunthas, infinite Brahmandas (material cosmos). At one moment Supreme Lord appears in one material cosmos then next moment in another. In this manner, His pastimes are going on and on eternally.
Secondly, that Supreme Lord appears in the pure sanctified heart of a pure devotee. So His appearance is eternally taking place in the hearts of devotees. When Supreme Lord appears in the heart of a devotee, transcendental qualities of Supreme Lord are manifested in the devotee also, but such devotees are humble. When Kapil Bhagavan appeared to Mother Devahuti, she said that before His appearance she was in ignorance having desire for son. Supreme Lord replied to that saying that how He can appear where there is ignorance or lust and that Mother Devahuti didn't even have the scent of lust or ignorance. Gurumaharaj explained further that devotees are humble by nature as they are associating with Absolute, Complete Reality- Supreme Lord. If Supreme Lord will descend, there cannot be any material desire or ulterior motive present there.
When Narottam Thakur got transcendental divine love from Goddess of river Padma, which Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had handed over to her, for Narottam Thakur after his appearance, instantly his mood and feelings were changed totally. He became completely immersed in ocean of ecstatic bliss. Inspite of being the only son of a king, he immediately renounced all material possessions and left for Vrindavana crying and calling out 'Krishna! Krishna!', in 'viraha' separation grief. He became completely detached to worldly objects and didn't take with him a single penny or even some food. He was just walking towards Vrindavan completely engrossed in the thoughts of Krishna. He got blisters in his feet and became very weak. When he fell unconscious, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, long after His disappearance, came there in the form of a Brahmin and gave Narottam Thakur some milk. But he was too weak to even drink that milk. Then Sri Rupa Goswami Sri Sanatan Goswami, also much after their disappearance, appeared there and fed that milk to Srila Narottam Thakur. No material barrier can stop the grace of Guru and Vaishnavas. If we are sincere and actually want their grace, we shall get it.
Gurumaharaj said Paramhansa Vamsi Das Babaji Maharaj, on being asked that how can we attain Supreme Lord, did not give long lectures etc., but said only one word- 'rona', by weeping. Do we have this sort of extreme eagerness and perturbation of heart to attain Supreme Lord? The association and service of pure devotees, who have got such severe separation grief for Supreme Lord, can impart this feeling to us.
After the delightful discourse, devotees had the opportunity to hear Srimad Bhagavat Katha (10th Canto), throughout the day, from several other sannyasis of the Math. In the evening, at 9 pm, after thousands of devotees participated in Arati darshan and circumambulating the temple, the spiritual meeting was held under the kind guidance of Gurumaharaj. He enlightened the devotees about Krishna-tattva and the infinite transcendental qualities of Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. He said that Supreme Lord, His qualities, associates, abode etc. are all- infinite and thus are incomprehensible for the finite- sense-organs, mind and intellect, as substantiated by Brahma in Bhagavatam.
The listeners were spell-bounded by the charming narration of the sweet pastimes of Krishna such as killing of Putna, Shakat-Bhanjan, lifting of Goverdhan Mountain, mother Yashoda binding Krishna etc. Gurumaharaj said that such amount of bliss and sweetness is not present in any other avatara (incarnation) of Supreme Lord. All delightful love-relations are there with Krishna. In Bhagavat, after narration of all avatars (incarnations), Krishna has been declared as 'Svayam Bhagavan', Supreme Lord Himself.
Srila Maharaj narrated and explained the topic of appearance of Supreme Lord Sri Krishna from 10th Canto, Srimad Bhagvatam, from 11p.m to 12 midnight. Srila Maharaj said that ears of a surrendered devotee, inclined to serve Sri Krishna could do actual hearing of Hari-Katha. It is never possible to have contact with the Transcendental Reality - Supreme Lord, Who is All-Existence, All-Knowledge and All-Bliss, by the process of ascension. Only through the process of dissension, surrender, the Transcendental Name, Form, Attributes and Pastimes of Supreme Lord can be realised.
After the appearance of Supreme Lord Sri Krishna at 12 midnight, Abhishek ceremony of the Deity of Krishna and then Bhoga Arati were performed. Then at the end of the celebrations, Prasad was distributed to all the devotees at 2 am. Several devotees, along with Gurumaharaj had completely fasted on the auspicious day. Tomorrow also, thousands of devotees will participate take prasad in Nandotsav Festival.
It is now about 2:30 a.m. and Gurumaharaj is taking prasad.
By Tamalkrishna Das, Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math
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