Karttika Report 2011

Nov 12 2011 - News

Following last year's quiet participation by our devotees and the absence of our beloved Gurudeva due to his preaching activities in the west, all the devotees were enthusiastic and looking forward to this year's Karttika Masa at Sri Sri Radha-Damodara Mandira in Vrndavana.

Traditionally, devotees from Govindaji Gardens travel to Vrndavana every year during the festive month of Karttika to perform various sevas at Sri Sri Radha-Damodara Mandira.

This year, Srila Guru Maharaja stopped briefly in Vrndavana a few weeks before Karttika began, before traveling to the Himalayas for Sindhu darsana. During his first brief stay in Vrndavana, Srila Guru Maharaja was very happy to see many new developments at Radha-Damodara Mandira since his last visit which was almost two years ago. He spent a lot of time with the Gosvamis discussing many future projects and sevas that he intends to perform at Radha-Damodara Mandira. He also meticulously planned various engagements for all the devotees who were coming there from around the world to perform seva under his divine guidance.

Upon returning back from the Himalayas just before Karttika, Srila Guru Maharaja made arrangements for our seva to begin in Srila Prabhupada's rooms. Srila Guru Maharaja himself also personally supervised the many arrangements that were necessary for the devotees who were coming during the latter part of the month. He was duly assisted by Kunja-vihari Dasa Brahmacari, Rupanuga Dasa Brahmacari and two aspiring disciples from Czech Republic, Panca-tattva Dasa and Bhakta Hamsa.

On the first day of Karttika, the seva in Srila Prabhupada's room commenced with our two enthusiastic devotees from Czech Republic actively performing various services throughout the day. Book distribution was also started on the first day of Karttika by Vrndavana Dasa, a dedicated Radha-Damodara sevaite.

One of the most eagerly awaited moments of the year for all of Srila Guru Maharaja's disciples, friends and well wishers was his commentary on Bhagavad-gita which was anticipated to arrive in Sri Vrndavana-dhama at the beginning of Karttika. As promised, Sripada Bhakti Srirupa Madhava Maharaja brought the first copies of the Bhagavad-gita to present to Srila Guru Maharaja just as Karttika Masa started. Later, Srila Guru Maharaja offered the Bhagavad-gita to Srila Prabhupada in his rooms and subsequently distribution of the Bhagavad-gita began.

During Karttika, the day began with devotees attending mangala-arati at 4.15 A.M, followed by japa, guru-puja for Srila Prabhupada, followed by class by Srila Guru Maharaja and various seva engagements for devotees throughout the rest of the day.

After a few days, a large group of devotees arrived from Govindaji Gardens which consisted of many enthusiastic devotees from Mexico, Canada and Australia.

As well as performing service at Radha-Damodara Mandira, the devotees who had come for the first time to Vrndavana were introduced to the holy dhama and were regularly taken to various Holy places such as the seven main temples of Vrndavana as well as other places where Krsna performed His pastimes.

The day before Govardhana Puja, a parikrama was organized in which Srila Guru Maharaja himself led the group of devotees to Radha-kunda, Syama-kunda, Kusuma Sarovara and Govardhana Hill. After having darsana and offering our obeisances unto Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda early in the morning, Srila Guru Maharaja sat down with the devotees next to Syama-kunda and spoke in length about the glories of both the kundas, which are considered to be the holiest tirthas in the universe by Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

The parikrama then continued towards Kusuma Sarovara, where we stopped to honor a little prasadam. Srila Guru Maharaja continued his talks with the devotees, sharing his experiences and realizations of Sridhama Vrndavana while at Kusuma Sarovara before we departed towards Govardhana

All the devotees headed towards the parikrama-marga of Govardhana Hill where, after having darsana of the most magnanimous form of Krsna, Sri Govardhana-sila we all performed a small parikrama around the base of Govardhana Hill. All the devotees were in a joyous mood and were in high spirits listening to the pastimes of Krsna lifting Govardhana Hill.

On the main day of Govardhana Puja, the Radha-Damodara Mandira closes it's temple doors in the morning in order to prepare, clean and organize for the Annakuta offering to the Govardhana-Sila. Our devotees enthusiastically took part in the cleaning of the temple and helped to prepare for the festival. At around 2 PM the doors were thrown open to the many thousands of devotees who were eager to have a glimpse of Sri Govardhana-Sila which is marked with Sri Krsna's footprint, a calf's hoof-print and Krsna's flute.

During darsana, our devotees led by Srila Guru Maharaja held a very enthusiastic kirtana. Later, Madhava Maharaja and Purnacandra Gosvami led the chanting untiringly for almost two hours, singing the holy names of Sri Sri Radha-Damodara. After the kirtana, our devotees took part in distributing prasadam to hundreds and hundreds of devotees and pilgrims for many hours. It was a very intense and seva-filled day which ended with the devotees honoring sumptuous Govardhana prasadam.

As our stay was coming to an end, we had one more important observance which was Srila Prabhupada's tirobhava mahotsava. In the morning of Srila Prabhupada's disappearance, we held a special guru-puja for Srila Prabhupada in his rooms which was offered by Srila Guru Maharaja. Many visitors and devotees actively took part and listened to the class in which Srila Guru Maharaja spoke extensively about Srila Prabhupada's pastimes during his last few months on the planet.

In the evening at 7.20 PM, the exact time Srila Prabhupada left this world to join the eternal pastimes of Radha-Damodara, arati was performed by Srila Guru Maharaja to Srila Prabhupada who was moved from his rooms to the outside verandah for all to see. Hundreds of devotees took darsana of Srila Prabhupada and chanted Sri Guru-carana-padma in great reverence.

At the end of our stay, all the devotees were very grateful for the service opportunity provided to us by the Gosvamis and to our beloved Guru Maharaja, who continuously engages and inspires all of us with his great dedication to Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Radha-Damodara.

Sri Vrndavana-dhama ki Jaya!
Sri Sri Radha-Damodara-Lala ki Jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Srila Guru Maharaja ki jaya!

Srila Prabhupada's Guru Puja
Devotees Offering Lamps to Damodara
Guru Maharaja with 'Panama Maharaja'
Guru Maharaja Leading Parikrama
Guru Maharaja and Devotees on Parikrama
Guru Maharaja Giving Class at Kusuma Sarovara
Guru Maharaja and Devotees
Srila Guru Maharaja Giving Class
Devotees at Kusuma Sarovara
Devotees at Kusuma Sarovara
Govardhana Parikrama
Govardhana Parikrama
Sri Sri Radha-Damodara
Sri Govardhana Sila
Madhava Maharaja Leading Bhajanas
Ladies with Sparklers
Krsna Kirtana Dasi Helping with Prasadam
Claudia and Bhakta-priya Help With Prasadam
Bhakta-priya and Luis
Kirtanananda and Damodara Gosvami with the Annakuta
Jahnavi Dasi Distributing Prasadam
Krsna Kirtana Distributing Prasadam
Srila Guru Maharaja Offering to Srila Prabhupada
Marco Offering Arati to Srila Prabhupada
Annakuta Offering
Guru Maharaja Leading Bhajanas on Prabhupada's Verandah
Kunja-vihari Leading Bhajanas
Guru Maharaja Offering Guru Puja to Prabhupada
Sri Sri Radha-Damodara
Guru Puja for Srila Prabhupada
Morning Class by Srila Guru Maharaja
Srila Guru Maharaja Giving Class
Guru Maharaja During Class
Morning Prasadam
Guru Maharaja Honoring Prasadam with Madhava Maharaja and 'Panama Maharaja'
Guru Maharaja Carrying Srila Prabhupada to the Verandah
Establishing Srila Prabhupada on the Vyasasana
Guru Maharaja Offers Arati to Srila Prabhupada
The Deities at Sri Sri Radha-Damodara Temple
Srila Guru Maharaja