Written by – Nanda Priya Nivedita devi dasi
29 August 2016

“You don’t have to love God, but if you don’t, you don’t get an entrance into the spiritual world.”, said Guru Maharaj in his address at the inaugural function at ISKCON Chennai. The Chief guests who attended the function included popular Tamil actress Gautami, classical singer Sudha Raghunathan, Dr.Geeta Lakshmi and others. Guru Maharaj explained that the material world is a prison house and that one could actually leave this prison house and go to the spiritual world. Dr.Geeta Lakshmi, the Vice Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Medical University said in her address, “If I am what I am today it is because of my Guru Maharaj.” “I would stand outside the ISKCON temple when I came with my sister, but when I met Guru Maharaj one fine day, that changed my life”, she added. Her honest testimony was sure inspiring. She urged the audience to take up to the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. “Despite my busy schedule, I chant 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra everyday. It’s the best thing to do”, she added.

On the day of Janmashtami Guru Maharaj reached the temple around 11am. He was greeted by Sri Vaishnav Pujaris from the Ashta Lakshmi temple. It was done in a traditional manner, with coconuts, flower garlands and chanting of mantras. The head pujari’s son feels very connected with Guru Maharaj ,apparently after Guru Maharaj appeared in his dream about a year ago.His family, most of them high priests are very fond of Gurudeva as well.

After the reception Guru Maharaj had Darshan of the deities. The temple hall was packed, with hardly any space to move about. After Darshan he visited various stalls put up by the devotees and showed his appreciation to all the volunteers.

Following this, Guru Maharaj met up with few devotees. When he met the youth girls, he said, “We are always there to help you. Whether you are my aspiring, Shiksha ,diksha disciple or even if you are not any of this, I am there to help you.” Everybody was deeply moved to hear this. He also said that preaching to women was essential and that they could transform many families into being Krishna Conscious. He also told them that he was always praying for all his disciples or to be disciples and prayed for anybody who requested him to do so. It sure did remind me that it was his prayers-that was the Key, it was certainly his kindness that I remain in Krishna’s service.

In the evening Guru Maharaj attended the inaugural function. He spoke about the importance of Lord Krishna’s descent in the material world and Srila Prabhupada’s contribution of ISKCON to the world.

Following this Guru Maharaj led an ecstatic Kirtan in the temple hall. The hall was packed with over 2000 people. The Kirtan was intense and had many visitors as participants too. Many described the experience as out of the world.He delivered a lecture again and then with the assistance of other devotees performed Abhishek to the Lordships. Kirtan, abhishek, thousands of devotees and so much devotion. It was a wonderful Janmashtami!

On Srila Prabhupada’s appearance day Guru Maharaj performed Abhishek to Srila Prabhupada along with other senior devotees. He said,”It was very gratifying to see the Vyasa puja offered to Srila Prabhupada. ISKCON GBC is worried about succession, to keep ISKCON the way Srila Prabhupada left it with us.” “We want to keep the teachings and heritage if Srila Prabhupada alive.”,he added. Guru Maharaj stressed on the fact that we should not change what Srila Prabhupada have us. “Even a slightest change in the procedure would bring problems.” Guru Maharaj gave some interesting examples to explain this. Read on. “I was leading Kirtan once, after Guru Puja “Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna! And I was saying Bolo, so Prabhupada called me over. Simple thing. I wanted everybody to chant, so I said Bolo. Srila Prabhupada told me, don’t add any extra words. Srila Prabhupada noticed that Bolo and said no extra words.” Guru Maharaj emphasized on Srila Prabhupada’s superior position. Guru Maharaj’s offering to Srila Prabhupada this year is a beautiful song. The song glorifies Srila Prabhupada’s unique position. “Srila Prabhupada is a very special. He walked with us but he is from another world. And for those who will help him, it will be very good spiritually. Who wants to help Srila Prabhupada?!”, he added.

Guru Maharaj had been up until late the previous night and here he was encouraging devotees and connecting them to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. Hectic days, he did it all – two big festivals, four lectures, leading kirtan, meeting devotees, hospital visit and daily exercises. Truly unbeatable. Guru Maharaj is now transiting London. He is on his way to Ukraine. One cannot ask for a better motivation to practice devotional service. This is witnessing devotional service beyond the modes.

Gentle reminder – Guru Maharaj suggested that all his well wishers may do Tulsi parikrama and offer the results for his well being so that he may continue to serve Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!