ISKCON celebrated the 530th birth anniversary of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at its temple recently. Commemorating the festival, few devotees went on Nagar Sankirtan, chanting holy names of Lord Krishna early in the morning at 6:30 am.
The evening festival started at 5:45 pm with Tulasi Puja followed by an elaborate abhisheka of the deities of Gaura Nitai (Lord Chaitanya and his associate Nityananda) along with arati and sankirtan. The special feature of the festival was a play performed by a group of young students based on the “Life of Srila Haridas Thakura.”
Having born in a Muslim family, Haridas Thakura, became interested in Krishna conscious practices. Seeing the change in Haridas Thakura, the local caste brahmanas and the Muslim community ill treated Haridas Thakura. Finally the news reaches the Nawab, who gives severe punishment to beat Haridas in 22 market places in sacred land of Navadweep. Despite such torture, Haridas having firm faith in the lord, was undeterred in chanting of holy name of the lord, which astonished the Nawab and changed his heart.
Further the drama displayed Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, incarnation of Lord Krishna in the age of Kali, who was very much moved by the divine qualities of Haridas Thakura and personally taking him to Jagannath Puri and took care of his requirements. The heartrending scene was the glorious departure of Haridas Thakura, who was blessed by Lord Chaitanya at the time of departure by giving His darshan, performing sankirtan and later doing the final rituals personally by carrying the body of Haridas Thakura in the holy land of Jagannath Puri.
Through the life of Haridas Thakura, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advocated a universal religion for all humanity, a scientific process of spiritual awakening and gave an opportunity for spiritual emancipation to all regardless of religion, caste, creed or colour.
He inaugurated the sankirtan movement – the congregational chanting of the holy name of Krishna in the form of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.
Five hundred years ago, he predicted that the chanting of Lord Krishna’s holy names would spread throughout the world. This prophecy was fulfilled by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON and the eleventh in the disciplic succession (parampara) of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
A scene from the play “Life of Srila Haridas Thakura,” which was performed recently to mark the 530th birth anniversary of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.