The Adivas ceremony was held on the 26th of March. The occasion invoked auspiciousness and set the mood for the Vyasa Puja. Devotees performed cultural programs prior to the ceremony. The audience included young and old, new and senior devotees. The stage was set in Mayapur, with Sri Sri Radha Madhava Ashta Sakhis and Srila Prabhupada in the back drop. “Guru Maharaj is already glorified, he doesn’t need our glorifications. To make our life auspicious, we glorify him”, said HG Sankarshan Nitai das in his Adivas address. This was the very idea of celebrating Vyasa Puja, to make each of our lives auspicious. Although Guru Maharaj is in ‘epitome of health crisis’, as described by HG Vijaya Venugopal prabhu, one couldn’t fail to notice how Guru Maharaj, being his most merciful self agreed to attend the festival. His holiness, gave a talk at the Adivas ceremony, was also present during some part of the glorification sessions, delivered the Vyasa Puja address and allowed the disciples to perform Arthi and Abhishek. Sitting through the entire three day festival is more than challenging and he was yet again proving that his love for his disciples and Srila Prabhupada is unprecedented.
In his Adivas address Guru Maharaj expressed that he was happy to see so many devotees. He was pleased that many senior disciples had come and said, “You can learn a lot from them.” Over the past few years, the JPS Seva Committee and senior disciples of the JSSS have been meeting and encouraging devotees to take up newer responsibilities, with focus on devotee care. Guru Maharaj has been encouraging these efforts.
On the 27th of March, devotees gathered to immerse themselves in glorification of our dear spiritual master. The master of ceremony, Hari Lila Prabhu ran through the ceremony with ease, ensuring everything went on time, giving everyone an opportunity to speak. Here are a few excerpts from the Glorification
HH.Satsvarupa Das Goswami Maharaj:
Srila Jayapataka Maharaja is a great disciple of Srila Prabhupada. I heard a
story that when he was a young sanyasi he was present with Srila Prabhupada and an Indian gentleman (who may have been a politician). Srila Prabhupada was praising Jayapataka Maharaja. He said, “This boy was an associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in his previous life, and in this life he will make 10000 disciples.” This is an extraordinary statement coming from Srila Prabhupada and we take it to be true. Japataka Maharaja is a “Caitanya man”, always glorifying Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu in his preaching.
HH.Hridayananda Dasa Goswami Maharaj:
“His unstoppable service, his astonishing determination to preach in all circumstances, has earned my profound appreciation.’’
“Your desire to serve is so great, that wherever you go, miracles of inspiration happen.”
“You are unique and there is no one like you one this planet.”
Bhakti Nithyananda Swami:
“Guru Maharaj is a very special person, very very special person because he has dedicated 100 percent to Srila Prabhupada.”
HH.Bhakti Vinodh Swami:
“As I am aging, I am able to deeply appreciate as to how tolerant and patient one needs to be and inspite of that how humble one should be.” Maharaj expressed that he is moved by how Guru Maharaj sets an example for this.
HH.Bhakti Siddhanta Swami:
“You have given 20 years of your life span to counter the Karmic weight of your dependents. Now let us stand for you, as you have stood for us!”
“Jayapataka Swami is just not confined to his disciples, just not confined to the ISKCON movement , his teachings are to be heard by everyone.”
HG.Sri Vallaba Das:
“I rely on you, drag me to Krishna.” He spoke about how a disciple’s only hope was the spiritual master and quoted Srila Prabhupada.
HG.Balaram Govinda Das:
“We are very very fortunate to have GM’s association.” He reminded everyone that the only thing we can do in return for Guru Maharaj was to follow proper Sadhana and the four regulative principles.
HG.Prema Padmini Devi Dasi:
“Your surrender to the Lord is mindboggling Guru Deva.” “We want to offer to you more committed, garland of devotees working together”
HG.Shanti Rupini Devi Dasi:
“Guru Maharaj is the perfect example of a perfect disciple.”
HG.Nitai Sevini Devi Dasi:
“If we want to see Krishna, we can see him in Guru Maharaj’s heart. If we want Krishna’s attention then we have to call out to His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Maharaj.”
Guru Maharaj carefully listened to the offerings. In his Vyasa Puja address he said, “It was pretty moving to hear all the offerings even though I don’t deserve it”. Guru Maharaj spoke about book distribution, development of Navadwip Dham, and building the TOVP as some of the major services that will please Srila Prabhupada. He has repeatedly told devotees that this would please him. “I am very glad that so many temples have come up around India, not only Mayapur but also Guwahati, all over South India, Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam, Rajahmundry, Chennai, Coimbatore and all over South” It is indeed amazing that one person can be instrumental in initiating so many temples! Guru Maharaj further explained that ISKCON’s purpose was not only to construct temples but to preach. Preaching was to be given the most importance. He also expressed his concern about preserving holy places.”I don’t know how long I will stay in this world. I hope that all of you would take up this important service and see that all these holy places are preserved.” he said. In the evening, Pada Puja and Aarthi were performed to Guru Maharaj. Special invitees for the evening’s program were the team of doctors who are helping Guru Maharaj with his health situation. Dr.Geeta Lakshmi, disciple of Guru Dev and the Vice Chancellor of the TheTamil Nadu Dr.M.G.R.Medical University told the audience about what an important role Guru Dev played in her life and how it was most important to chant 16 rounds and follow the regulative principles. Dr. Mohamed Rela, the Chief Surgeon who will be performing Guru Maharaj’s surgery and who has completed 4000 successful liver transplants was present. He remarked that he was very privileged to be at the Vyasa Puja and that he has the responsibility to see that Guru Maharaj’s physical health is taken care of. Interestingly he has deeply studied Ramayana in Tamil language and gave a short talk about Guru Tatva based on the life of Lord Ramachandra.
Earlier that evening Sri Vallaba prabhu briefed the audience about Guru Maharaj’s health forum and the informed decisions they take with the JPS Seva Commitee, and urged disciples to donate towards the various projects of Guru Deva like the Navadwip Mandala Parikrama Trust, BhaktiVedanta Swami Charity Trust. He also requested disciples to contribute towards Guru Maharaj’s health and towards the JPS Archives and Media.
On the 28th, seminars on various spiritual topics were organised. It was followed by a sumptuous Dvadasi feast. The Prasadam arrangements were made by HG Ranga Krishna Das.
Guru Maharaj thanked the ISKCON Chennai devotees for conducting the Vyasa Puja with a short notice of 15 days, The Temple Management team comprising of HG Sumitra Krishna Das, temple president, HG Ranga Krishna Das, HG Amarendra Gaura Das, HG Thirumala Rao, HG Ajitha Gopinath Das and HG Jai Gopinath das pulled off a par excellence festival. Under their leadership many devotees performed commendable services to make the Vyasa Puja, by the mercy of Guru Maharaj a grand success. Devotees from different parts of South India volunteered and participated enthusiastically.
It’s the feeling of one family and faith in Guru Deva which made the 69th Vyasa Puja, one of love, cooperation and bliss.