Pandharpur 2018

Meaning of Vyasa Puja

Puja means “worship” and Vyasa (Srila Vyasadeva) is the compiler and supreme authority on the Vedic literature. Vyasa Puja, literally means “the worship of Vyasa”. It refers to the worship of the genuine spiritual master, who is the ideal representative of Srila Vyasadeva, on the occasion of his appearance day.

The spiritual master is the representative of Srila Vyasadeva because he is distributing the nectar that Srila Vyasadeva churned out of the ocean of the Vedas. Veda means “knowledge”, knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gita, Krsna says, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah: “By all the Vedas I am to be known.” The ultimate objective of the Vedas is to reveal the identity of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedic revelation becomes manifest in the heart of the conditioned soul by the mercy of the spiritual master because he has been specially empowered by the Lord to bestow that mercy. That is why the spiritual master is the most worthy representative of Srila Vyasadeva, the original distributor of the Vedas.

The Importance of Ashadi Ekadasi in Pandharpur

On this day devotees of Lord Vitthala known as warkaris descend upon Pandharpur in hundreds of thousands. This tradition is estimated to be more than 800 years old. They walk to Pandharpur to have Lord Vitthala’s darsana before He goes to sleep for the four months of Caturmasya. Wari is an annual pilgrimage where the devotees carrying the padukas of various saints like Sant Tukarama on palanquins. The warkaris culminate at the Lord Vitthala temple on this day.

Ashadi ekadasi is also a celebration for us, the disciples of Lokanath Swami Maharaja since it is Gurudev’s Appearance day. On Tuesday, July 5 1949, when Gurudev appeared at 11 o clock at night, Gurudev’s grandfather observed the sky, studied the planets and cried out loud “ A great man is born in our house!” (Extracted from the new book “Lokanath Aamuche Jivan – Hridaya sukhad aathawani” by Dharmavatar Prabhu – Gurudev’s elder brother)

The Vyasa Puja Festival was celebrated from 21 to 24 July 2018. There were two big pandals – one for prasada and the other for the programs.

Saturday: 21 July 2018

This day commenced with the welcoming of the Dindis and the All India Padayatra. Devotees from all over India and outside of India also arrived on this day. The All India Padayatra party who were the first to arrive, had been preaching in Maharashtra since 20 June. All the padayatris were honored with garlands and sankirtana which was at its height as Their Lordships Sri Sri Nitai Gaurasundara entered the courtyard of Sri Sri Radha Pandharinath Temple. Then the Dehu and Alandi Dindis arrived. Gurudev’s kirtana had everyone dancing, creating a wonderful welcoming of the Padayatra and Dindi devotees.

In the evening was the famous Boat Festival where the utsava Deities of Sri Sri Radha Pandharinath are taken for a ride on the Candrabhaga River in a beautifully decorated boat. This year the boat was decorated like a white swan. A few devotees accompany Their Lordships in the one boat. About 24 boats are reserved for this festival. This was followed by arati of the Chandrabhaga River at Prabhupada Ghat.

Sunday: 22nd July 2018 (Dasami)

After the morning program, there was an initiation program which culminated at around 2pm.

The Festival Adhivas or Welcoming Ceremony started at 6pm. The senior disciples offered thirty-seven sacred items to Their Lordships, Tulsi Maharani and Bhumi Devi. The chanting of the Mantras and singing of the Adhivas bhajan surcharged the atmosphere with auspiciousness.

After the Adhivas ceremony Gurudev sang and all the senior disciples eagerly and happily accepted the invitation to dance on stage creating a truly mesmerising scene.

This was followed by the cultural program where a play entitled “Jatayu Uddhar” was presented by the Belgaum devotees.

Monday: 23 July 2018 – Vyasa Puja Day(Ekadasi)

After the morning program, Srila Prabhupada’s Guru puja was performed in the pandala followed by Swasti Vachan rendered by the Sangli Gurukul students.

The program commenced with the sound of Vaisnava bhajans by HG Atmatattva Prabhu welcoming Gurudev. The meaning of Vyasapuja was explained by HG Saccidananda Prabhu.

diksha-kale bhakta kare atma-samarpana
sei-kale krishna tare kare atma-sama (CC Antya 4.192)

“At the time of initiation, when a devotee fully surrenders to the service of the Lord, Krishna accepts him to be as good as He Himself.” Prabhupada said initiation is the beginning. We take vows to follow devotional life. Sastra says if Guru is happy, then Krsna is happy. So this is the day when we contemplate on how our Gurudev will be pleased.

A beautifully complied Vyasa Puja book was then offered to Gurudev.

Here are some extracts from offerings by various senior Vaisnavas.
Lokanath Maharaja is very fortunate to be born on Ekadasi Day. Not to flatter Maharaja, but it’s a fact. He has taken the holy name all over the world, which is the mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada (HG Dinanath Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada disciple)

Today is Sayana ekadasi. And on this auspicious day your Gurudev appeared. Prabhupada had said Lokanath is Tukaram Maharaja of Maharashtra. Such Guru one receives with lot of fortune. He has engaged all of you in service of Lord. I met Maharaja ji and by heart was kidnapped by his sweet Vani. His glories will never end for days and nights. Maharaja is totally surrendered to the Lord (HG Parmeswar Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada disciple)

By your kirtanas and katha you have inspired many to take up devotional life. Your faith and determination is very much towards Prabhupada. Your different qualities are a source of inspiration for me every day. (HH Paramgati Maharaja. Audio clip)

I learnt from Guru Maharaja how the life of a sannyasi should be. The last time I was sitting in a meeting in Solapur and Guru Maharaja asked my birth date. Maharaja then ordered the devotees to celebrate by Vyasa puja. I was not qualified, but still he blessed me. (HH Ram Govind Maharaja)

Guru Maharaja is like a lighthouse. It’s in between the sea and the shore. It gives direction to the boat not to come to the dangerous area. Guru Maharaja’s lighthouse gives us direction. He gives us a long rope and says to us, “Hold it strong and I will take you back. (HG Sundara Lala Prabhu)

This was followed by Gurudev’s lecture, charan abhishek, Puspanjali and Guru Puja. Chappan (56) bhoga offerings were made to Gurudev.

In the evening at 6pm there was Maha Abhishek of Sri Sri Vitthala Rukmini and Srila Prabhupada.

The drama “Sant Tukaram” was performed by the Belgaum devotees and Gurudev personally congratulated the devotee enacting the role of Sant Tukaram.

The Deepostava Darsana in the temple hall was out of this world. Gurudev’s melodious kirtana filled the temple and its surrounds for more than two hours. The temple hall was full and everyone present, was dancing in ecstasy. The kirtana went on till midnight.

Tuesday: 24 July 2018 (Mahadvadasi)

The Srimad-Bhagavatam Class was given by HH Rama Govinda Maharaja. Food for Life Prasada Distribution commenced at 6 am and at 10.30 am devotees could partake in the Dwadasi prasada feast.


Some Vyasa-puja 2018 figures at a glance:
Five thousand five hundred (5500) devotees attended the vyasa puja
One hundred and fifty-thousand (150000) visitors bathed in the river at Prabhupada ghat.
One hundred thousand(100000) visitors took darsana of Sri Sri Radha Pandarinatha
All in all four (4) books were launched at this festival:

Sri Siksastaka (Hindi)
Kumbha – The Festival Of Immortality (revised edition – English)
Harikatha (Marathi)
Lokanath Aamuche Jivan – Hridaya sukhad aathawani (Marathi)
Kindly relish some photos by opening the link below:


Hare Krishna

Your servant..


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