Vyasa Puja Celebrations Pandharpur 2016

This year is a very special year in the history of ISKCON; we are celebrating the Golden Jubilee Anniversary of ISKCON. All the festivals held in ISKCON this year are dedicated to the completion of ISKCON’s 50 wonderful years. Gurudev vyasa puja  in Pandarpur was no different. As Gurudev stated – this 67th Vyasa puja celebration is also dedicated to ISKCON’s Golden Jubilee celebration

ISKCON devotees have so many festivals coming up on an annual basis and we eagerly look forward  to each one of them. One of them is the Vyasa puja celebration of our beloved Gurudev HH Lokanath Swami Maharaja.  Every year we celebrate Vyasa puja in Pandharpur dhama. It’s said that after Asadi Ekadasi the Lord sleeps for four months. That is the reason Lord Vitthala bhaktas come all the way to Pandharpur dhama to take darsana of Lord Panduranga. But for the disciples of Gurudev the one reason to run towards Pandharpur dhama is for Gurudev’s Vyasa puja. Many of us had never heard of Pandharpur and had not  gone there before joining ISKCON. That is proof of how your spiritual master takes you from nama to dhama. We are not at all qualified, but by his ahaituki kripa he makes us fortunate, he makes us bhagyavan to enter the dhama. All glories to our Gurudev.

Vyasa-puja is an annual offering of special honour to the spiritual teacher, who represents Krsna Himself as well as Krsna’s incarnation Vyasadeva, the editor of the Vedas. Krsna recommends that everyone seeking God should first and foremost first seek out God’s representative and respectfully accept his guidance.

“Actually there is no difference between hearing directly from Krsna and hearing from Krsna via a bona fide spiritual master like Vyasa. The spiritual master is also the representative of Vyasadeva. Therefore, according to the Vedic system, on the birthday of the spiritual master the disciples conduct the ceremony called Vyasa-puja.”

Vyasa puja offerings

Vyasa puja unofficially begins with HG Vrndavanalila Devi Dasi’s service. Her wonderful service commences in June as she starts reminding everybody to write down offerings for Gurudev. That is a sign that Gurudev’s Vyasa puja day will soon be dawning on us. It is a time for celebration for all of us. The devotees start meditating on the glories of Gurudev and Vyasa puja celebrations. Devotees eagerly await this auspicious day. During the entire month of June and before devotees from different parts of the globe write offerings for Gurudev. They try to glorify their spiritual master in their offerings. This writing of an offering is a wonderful event when each one of us sits exclusively meditating on the qualities of our spiritual master. How he saved each one of us from the miseries of the material world and by doing as Srila Prabhupada had done, giving us the higher taste of Krishna consciousness. So by such meditation, individual souls gets connected to Gurudev. This month every disciple meditates on his/her connection with their Guru Maharaja and feels his mercy and blessings flowing into him.  For all us Asadi month is exclusively dedicated to our beloved Gurudev. Many a times it may not be possible for each one of us to personally talk with Gurudev, but in the heart Gurudev understands each one of his disciples. And not only that, he knows what’s going on in each one of our hearts. Based on that, he reciprocates with each one of us.

It’s said that, “a Vaisnava is so pure that just uttering his name can purify the entire universe”. Such is the power of a Vaisnava. And we are so fortunate to have a spiritual master like our Gurudev. We are fallen souls, but due to his causeless mercy we will be saved from the greatest danger. As Prabhupada says : “We can never repay the debt of our spiritual master.” 

Gurudev was born on a very auspicious tithi of Asadi Ekadasi. A devotee once wrote a poem in Marathi in which he described that Gurudev was born in Aravade and was named Raghunath.

asadhi tithi aravade gramat bada janmala raghunatha

It was a three day festival, but the arrangements started months ago – the accommodations,  pandal arrangements, organisation, prasada,  etc.

Thursday 14 July 2016

On 14 July the two Dindis reached Pandarpur drama. The rathas carried Sri Sri Gaur Nitai. The Lordships and the devotees who walked in the Dindi for 15 days were welcomed by grand sankirtana. After honouring prasada and receiving the darsana of Sri Sri Radha Pandharinatha the Dindi  devotees undertook a Parikrama of Pandharpur dhama which went hand in hand with book and prasada distribution. The Dindi devotees and other devotees distributed thousands of Bhagavad-Gita, Santa Tukaram, Bhuvaikuntha Pandharpur and Back to Godhead magazines.

Vyasa puja initiations 

Also there was an initiation ceremony from 8 am to 1 pm. Many devotees were ready to surrender at the lotus feet of Gurudev. 

Taking initiations from bona fide spiritual master is very important for the devotees to reach Krsna. Krsna himself accepted Sandipani Muni as his spiritual master even though he is Supreme Personality of Godhead . This was to show the world that accepting the spiritual master is very important.

tad viddhi pranipatena    pariprasnena sevaya

upadeksyanti te jñanam   jñaninas tattva-darsinah

Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.

Many devotees received either  first initiation or second initiation. Some devotees also entered the brahmacari order. It was a great ceremony for all those present. Everyone was very happy and excited. And for those who were already initiated, for them it was revival of their diksha ceremony and revision of the sankalpa taken during initiation. All in all a wonderful event for everyone.

In the evening between 05.00 – 07.00 pm the famous Boat festival of Sri Sri Radha Pandharinath and Chandrabhaga Arati is held. Their  Lordships are taken around on  Chandrabhaga maiya and devotees get into boats and follow the boat of the Lordships. It’s a wonderful event.

Vyasa Puja Adhivasa

Then in the evening from 17h30- 18h00 there was the Vyasa Puja Adhivasa. Senior disciples offered various auspicious ingredients to Gurudev. And followed by it Gurudev sang the most famous bhajan glorifying Lord Vitthal. “jai jai vitthal vitthal vithal….” And made everybody dance on the neactarian voice. Gurudev himself also danced and inspired everybody to dance to their full strength. This is the specaility of spiritual master at every step he inspires his disciples and helps them in advancing in devotional life.

Friday 15 July 2016 – Ashadi Ekadashi

On Friday, 15th July 2016 was the main festival  Ekadashi Vyasapuja Festival.

The day started with Mangala Arati and at  8h00 – 8h15. Swati Vachanwas was done to invoke auspiciousness on the occasion followed by Vaisnava Bhajans were sung by devotees.

HG Sacidanandan Prabhu  spoke on the importance of Vyasa puja.

Today is very important  day for us. Gurudev is a representative of Vyasa Dev. But just offering flowers is not Vyasa puja. We should surrender to the guru. Lord says aham bhakta paradhina, so if we want the mercy of the Lord we need the mercy of Gurudev.

So mercy starts flowing when we follow the six elements of sarnagati.

We do not know tatvatha who is Lord. bhokataram yajya tapasa …we hear this still we want to be bhokta.

So through guru we can know the Lord. Till we don’t  get the mercy of pure devotees of the Lord we can’t get the Lords mercy. The desire of the Lord is equal to the desire of the Guru. So we should always strive hard to please Gurudev. Through Gurudev all knowledge is revealed. So with offering flowers we should offer our  heart to Guru. We should know what Gurudev wants from us and serve him.

Desire of Gurudev is equal to the desire of Prabhupada. So first should be guru bhakti. So today is a very important day when we can fully surrender to the Lord and guru and serve Them. One may say I am not qualified to serve, but that is also ajnana. So through sastra we should remove this curtain of ignorance and serve Gurudev… HH Lokanath Maharaja ki jai

Offerings by Devotees 

Then there were  Offerings by Devotees (Sabdanjali) – seniors devotees were welcomed on the stage to glorify Gurudev.

A few lines from some offerings are quoted here:

HG Bhagavan Prabhu:

We can never repay debt of Gurudev. We will always be in debt to Gurudev. Gurudev is mercy of the Lord. We should follow his instructions.

HG Santadas Prabhu:

Whenever I have problems I first pray to Prabhupada but if more dangerous problems come I pray to Gurudev. I get relieved from all problems. Whenever I give a lecture I just remember Gurudev and I become successful… Jai Gurudev. life becomes happy when you always remember Gurudev.

HG Murlimohan Prabhu:

Gurudev loves unity,  so we should surrender to his vani seva. Gurudev started bhaktisangam to get together devotees. So this develops prema between devotees. So he gives importance to unity and we should cooperate with each other.

HG Brajvilas Prabhu:

Once I was in Vrindavan 2002. Gurudev called me. He asked to do  7 days katha. I said if your mercy is there impossible becomes possible. I said I will do but who will call me for katha. So Gurudev said to the  president of Solapur  to keep his katha in Solapur. Gurudev is all powerful and because of his mercy I am doing Katha.

HG Gaur Krsna Prabhu:

Gurudev has saved us and there is no end to his glories. But what is our role? Gurudev has enthused us.  He has inspired us and he has empowered us. So today we should think what we can do for him, we should give our  best and preach to the best extend. So that Gurudev can be happy and he can present something to Prabhupada.

HG Acharya Prabhu:

Gurudev had come to Salem in Padayatra. Subhang Balaram Prabhu said arrange a good room, but I was thinking who I will arrange. But when Gurudev came he said I have come to my home. Padayatra is my heart. He has come from Lord’s dhama to liberate us. We should do whatever seva he tells us to do.

HG Sundarlal Prabhu

This festival reminds of connection between Gurudev and Tukaram Maharaja. Prabhupada saw the qualities of Tukaram Maharaja  in Gurudev. Gurudev is Tukaram  of ISKCON. Tukaram Maharaja  wrote abhangas and Gurudev also wrote books. Maharashtra is the land of saints. Gurudev was also born in Maharashtra. His family wanted to make him an engineer. Gurudev is a real doctor. He removes the cataract from the eyes. Gurudev is also giving medicines..Hare Krsna..great saints take up  suffering to remove the suffering of others and that’s  the best worship of the Lord. I was with Gurudev in Europe and I realized how eager he is  to preach all over the world.

HG Nandalal Prabhu  (elder brother of Gurudev):
Guru Maharaja went to Bombay and joined ISKCON and we were sad and we used to say he is gone crazy. Once our mother burned his clothes, but he did he did not say anything.  In 1984 he organized Ratha-yatra in Aravade. All the villagers were amazed.  We all family members are his initiated disciples. He became mad and made us also mad after Krsna.

Gurudev’s vyasa puja address:

As he usually does with Prabhupada in his heart, Gurudev started glorifying Prabhupada.

“yadi prabhupad na hoite tabe ki hoite” then there would be no vyasa puja today we should be so grateful to the Lord.  He gave us Prabhupada. I met Prabhupada in 1971 and its the 45th  anniversary of my meeting with Prabhupada. Whatever we are today “tomar karuna sar”-it’s only the fruit of mercy of Prabhupada.

If you don’t serve the holy name then its equal to death. Life is tough then you die and then you are born again, then again life is tough. It goes on cycle of birth and death. Its our  responsibility to spread the holy name all over.

Prabhupada gave me the order to start Padayatra and he was happy when it was started. Prabhupad said we want millions of carts all over the world. This was speciality of Prabhupada he never thought of anything small. Prabhupada only thought of this bullock sankirtana party and now in every nook and corner of world preaching is going on. Your contribution is very important for all this. Prabhupada will be very happy. Hare Krsna

Charan Abhishek/Puspanjali 

Then there was Charan Abhishek/Puspanjali (Pada-puja of Gurumaharaja), 56 Bhoga offering and maha-arati

We hear that Caitanya Mahaprabhu made the animals of Jharakhand festival dance to the holy name. Similarly  a horse who walked in the Dindi procession to Pandharpur  for 15 days would dance as soon Hare Krsna kirtana started. HG Keshav Prabhu noticed this as he was also walking on the Dindi. Such is the power of the holy name. It makes each soul dance. The owner of the horse was also walking with the Dindi and in 15 days he also got the mercy of Nitai Gaursundar and he also became a devotee. The horse was brought in the assembly of 5000 devotees and as soon as kirtana started to everybody’s surprise the horse started dancing. It would raise his forelimbs and dance. It was a wonderful scene. Pram vijayate sri krishna sankirtan. Caitanya Mahaprabhu ki ….jai

Grand Finale

Then at 8.00 there was Deepostava Darsana of Sri Sri Radha Pandharinath, and the oil lamps were lighted all over the temple and specially in the altar around the Lordships. And like adding crest jewel to the event was the nectarian kirtana by our beloved Gurudev.

21h00 – 22h00  marked the time for dinner prasada.

Saturday, 16th July 2016

This day was Asadhi Mahadwadashi. Food for life prasada distribution was distributed to all the warkaris.

Thus we celebrated Vyasa puja of our beloved Gurudev, our heart again longing  for the same day…so that we glorify Gurudev again and again.

Jayabadra Devi Dasi


If you are you a Disciple/Aspiring Disciple of H.H. Lokanath Swami Maharaj and want to serve him, then you can join Lok Web Services to take care of his online presence via websites and social media. To connect with us please fill in the following form and we shall shortly revert to you. Click Here