Śrīla Gurudeva’s Centennial Appearance Celebrations
by Sundara-gopala dasa
A couple of unplanned meetings were held in Navadvīpa by a number of devotees who shared an enthusiasm to organize programs for the centennial of Śrīla Gurudeva’s appearance in 2021. As these meetings were relatively spontaneous, few devotees were able to attend, as others were either not present in Navadvīpa or occupied with parikramā services. The purpose of these meetings was to inspire devotees to begin thinking about Śrīla Gurudeva’s centennial celebrations and what could be practically done to prepare in the years leading up to it.
Śrīpād BV Padmanābha Mahārāja, Śrīpād BV Śrīdhara Mahārāja, Śrīpād BV Siddhāntī Mahārāja, Śrīpād Brajanātha dāsa, Śrīpād Rāmachandra dāsa, Śrīpād Rādhānātha dāsa, Śrīpād Rohinīnandana dāsa, Śrīpād Amal-kṛṣṇa dāsa, Śrīpād Śrīnidhi dāsa, Śrīpād Kuñja-bihārī dāsa, Śrīpād Uttama-kṛṣṇa dāsa, Śrīpād Sañjaya dāsa, Śrīpād Vaṁśi-vadana dāsa, Śrīpād Vāsudeva dāsa, Śrīpād Sundara-gopāla dāsa (Australia) and a few others.
Discussions in the meetings
Devotees expressed their views on what could be done for Śrīla Gurudeva’s centennial. It was unanimously agreed that a centennial website should be set up that invites devotees worldwide to submit suggestions, ideas and also participate in those activities that interest them. Some areas were identified:
- This is an excellent opportunity for devotees to come together to fulfill some of Śrīla Gurudeva’s desires. By this, the members of the society will build loving relationships and they will be inspired to follow the path of pure bhakti. To this end, a committee to oversee the spiritual welfare of the devotees is proposed. More details of this to be discussed in Kartik 2018.
- The members of the meeting discussed centennial celebrations in India. A “Centennial India” committee was proposed to plan, organize and implement whatever programs are practically possible in India in the years leading up to the event.
- Centennial celebrations will be celebrated in other countries, as well. Centennial committees can be established by groups in their respective countries to organize and produce celebrations collectively in a grand way. That is, devotees can establish committees such as “Centennial America,” “Centennial Europe,” “Centennial Russia,” “Centennial Australia,” “Centennial China,” etc.
- Special publications for the centennial are expected to be printed in Hindi, English, Oriya and other languages.
- Śrīla Gurudeva’s audio and video archives to be organized and labelled. Additionally, videos in languages other than English should be translated and subtitled.
- A proposal to produce a documentary on Śrīla Gurudeva’s life and teachings.
It was decided that further meetings will be held during Vraja-maṇḍala parikramā 2018 in Vṛndāvana. During that time, there exists a possibility and opportunity for more devotees to participate. Through practical and positive discussions, we can gradually proceed to finalize a framework of possible events. More information on this will be provided later.
All the sannyāsīs and senior preachers are requested to immediately begin promoting Śrīla Gurudeva’s centennial celebrations in their preaching and wherever they go, so that devotees all over the world become aware of this event.
An interim advisory patron board was proposed
The proposed members are Śrīpād BV Parivrājaka Mahārāja, Śrīpād BV Padmanābha Mahārāja, Śrīpād BV Śrīdhara Mahārāja, Śrīpād Siddhāntī Mahārāja and Śrīpād Brajanātha Prabhu. This advisory patron board, along with its responsibility and obligations, is expected to be finalized in Kārtika. We request all interested devotees to attend the Kārtika meetings.
Interim Standing Committee
This committee will consist of devotees who will liaise with the various working committees. It will relay information to the advisory patron board, as well as relate messages from the advisory patron board to the working committees and the public.
At present, Sundara-gopāla dāsa (Australia) is part of this committee. Devotees who are expert in webpage design, setting up and managing Facebook pages, and other electronic media may join this committee. Again, particulars regarding roles and responsibility are expected to be finalized around Kārtika and presented during the meetings to be held at that time.
Centennial celebrations in India
Since many of senior devotees of the Indian congregation were present in Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma parikramā, an interim “Centennial India” working team was formed. They consist of Śrīpād Rāmachandra dāsa, Śrīpād Rādhānātha dāsa, Śrīpād Rohinīnandana dāsa, Śrīpād Amala-kṛṣṇa dāsa, Śrīpād Śrīnidhi dāsa, Śrīpād Uttama-kṛṣṇa dāsa, Śrīpād Sañjaya dāsa, Śrīpād Vaṁśī-vadana dāsa and a few others. It was proposed that centennial programs be held in the three dhāmas throughout 2021. Regarding this:
- The most prominent event should be a five-day festival in Vraja prior to Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala parikramā in 2021. Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala parikramā and Kārtika month, being very dear to Śrīla Gurudeva, draws large numbers of devotees from our international community. Holding centennial celebrations around this time allows those devotees to attend both the centennial festivities and Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala parikramā.
Other proposals were also made, but they are expected to be finalized by Kārtika. They are:
- A 3-5 day festival in Jagannātha Purī during Śrīla Gurudeva’s appearance day.
- A 3-5 day festival in Navadvīpa prior to Śrī Navadvīpa -dhāma parikramā and Śrīla Gurudeva’s disappearance day.
- 3-5 day festival in Delhi and Mathurā during Guru-pūrṇimā..
- Small festivals and paṇḍāla programs will be held in India throughout the year.
After meeting discussions
- While in Navadvīpa, after hearing about these meetings, Śrīpād Vana Mahārāja suggested that a two-day paṇḍāla centennial celebrations festival can be held in Mathurā and that he would offer his full support for such an event.
- In Vṛndāvana, after being told of these centennial meetings, Śrīpād Gopīnātha Prabhu became enthusiastic festivities, and in a discussion with Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja, he suggested that a special book could be published for the occasion in glorification of Śrīla Gurudeva. The book would highlight his life, teachings, specialties and contributions to the world.
- Some devotees suggested that besides the celebrations on the important festival days in India, centennial celebrations in the other countries can follow the pattern of Śrīla Gurudeva’s tours (e.g. Australasia in January, Badger in June, Europe in July, Russia in September and so on). Senior sannyāsīs and preachers can be requested to be present in these international centennial celebrations in order to encourage and support the local congregations.
We request devotees to start thinking about the planning of Śrīla Gurudeva’s centennial and to notify devotees in their congregation of the celebrations, so that they can form a committee with other congregations in their country and start planning the celebrations.
We welcome with any practical suggestions and ideas. You may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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