Sridham Mayapur is a bustling place around Goura Purnima, the appearance day of Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Almost the wholeISKCON tries to come to Mayapur, to join the grand celebration of appearance of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Going up tide, a few devotees from Mayapur headed by Gopikanta Prabhu left Mayapur to celebrate festival at “Salap” – a small market place in Howrah district, to strengthen our team. Five Russian devotees headed by Madhavendra puri prabhu joined us. On 11th morning, a day before the great day, after Mangal Arati we left Mayapur and reached “salap” at 11 o’clock. After we got refreshed they served lunch prasadam, all the devotees took little rest to get ready for “Maha Harinam”.
At 3.00 p.m. Baladev Vidyabhushan Prabhu led ecstatic kirtan in the streets of “Salap”. Many villagers joined our troop. Many old people who could not join came out from their homes as the kirtan party was passing by some of them nodded their heads others sang along and few others greeted us with “ulurdhvani” (ululating sound produced with the tongue, believed to shoo away evil forces). After two hours the kirtan party reached the venue and performed Gaura Arati and at the end Gopikanta prabhu made a few announcements for the next day’s big festival.
On 12th as scheduled, at 4.30 a.m. we started with Mangala arati. After completing morning prayers H.G. Govindananda Prabhu who is the temple president of ISKCON Panihatti gave a class on two main reasons for appearance of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. While concluding his talk he also glorified our founder acharya Srila Prabhupada and how he preached the teachings of Lord Chaitanya in the western countries.
As many devotees were fasting, H.G.Adwaita acharya Prabhu, the temple president of ISKCON Allahabad also spoke on teachings of Lord Chaitanya. Late in the afternoon devotees went back to their residential quarters. At 4 p.m., the evening program started with kirtan led by HG Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu. Later as locals flocked in good number, he also gave a short talk on who the Supreme personality of Godhead is. It was an interactive session, when he asked th e assembled audience about the name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, someone said Shiva is God, someone said Kali as God, some one declared his own self as God, saying “I am God”. Every one turned their faces in that direction; they had darshan of heavily drunk self-proclaimed “GOD”. Everyone had a big smile on their face and Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu took charge and said that in kali yuga we can see how the people are degraded that even drunkards claim as God. So Srila Prabhupada dealt with such kind of people in western countries and taught them that they are not God but they are servants of God “jivera swaroop hoi krishnera nitya das” the ultimate teaching of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and this can be understood and realized only if we take up the process of chanting “Hare Krishna”.
As sun was setting and moon was rising, all the devotees joined for the abhishek ceremony of Lord Chaitanya. Devotees from Gajankol headed by Nava Gauranga Prabhu, ten devotees from Boichi, headed by Pankajangri Prabhu, Tushar Prabhu from Arambhag, more than ten devotees headed by Jaideva prabhu from Dum Dum, Shubhash Krishna Prabhu from Kalyani, devotees headed by Ganesh jana prabhu from Hatal, devotees from kuna, Jagadishpur, Munshirhat, Domjur, Debandi also joined for the festival, more than five hundred locals also joined, in the end twenty three devotees who successfully completed ISKCON Disciple Corse received certificates.
Russian devotees headed by Madhavendra Prabhu distributed more than four hundred small books of Srila Prabhupada, They also thanked the devotees who had invited them for the festival and each one of them shared how they came to Krishna Consciousness, It is by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada’s books that they came to know about ISKCON and that’s why they are inspired to do book distribution.
On 13th morning more than two thousand devotees were served grand Jagannath Mishra feast, “Salap” festival committee thanked IDVM-India for organizing the festival and requested them that such kind of festivals should be organized on a regular basis. Recently, they had also been given a room at Salap school to IDVM –India for its Village Outreach office to conduct the weekly programs. Local leaders and police department also appreciated the organizers of the festival and commented that they will support in all the future festivals. Finally IDVM –India congratulated and thanked Gopikanta Prabhu for organizing such a big and wonderful festival.