A Special Year Begins
The year beginning on Prabhupada's Vyasa Puja this September and ending with his Vyasa Puja in 2005 marks the 108th anniversary of his birth. While everyone honors 100th anniversaries, Vaisnavas place great significance on the 108th anniversary, because 108 is a special number. Krsna enjoys with 108 principal gopis (cowherd girls), there are 108 Upanisads, and a round of japa on beads is 108 Hare Krsna mantras. ISKCON has created a special opportunity to glorify Srila Prabhupada on his 108th birthday and throughout the year afterwards. ISKCON's governing body commissioners in their annual meeting this year passed the following resolution.
The 108th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada's appearance can bring special inspiration to the devotee community by glorifying Srila Prabhupada,
H.H. Lokanath Swami was successful in performing the service of Srila Prabhupada Centennial Global Minister,
ISKCON will make the celebration of Srila Prabhupada's 108th appearance anniversary year a highlight of its activities until Vyasa Puja 2005. H.H. Lokanath Swami will take up the service of global coordinator for this project.
In 1996 ISKCON celebrated Srila Prabhupada's Centennial. Participation in events far exceeded expectations. Throughout the Centennial year, followers of Srila Prabhupada made extraordinary efforts to spread his glories worldwide by inundating their countries, states, and cities with the holy name of Krsna, Krsna prasadam, and Prabhupada's books. Temples worldwide joined in celebrating many spectacular special events. Streets were named in Prabhupada's honor, and several biographies about him were published. There were also many wonderful special achievements and offerings by individuals and groups. But why was the Centennial so successful? We could only conclude that it was because Krsna wanted to glorify Srila Prabhupada. Krsna wanted to show the world that He is known as bhaktanama mana vardhanah, "He who enhances the reputation of His devotees."
Srila Prabhupada's teachings, which continue to be felt throughout all parts of ISKCON, are the universal inspiration for the 108 celebration. All initiated devotees and all followers of Srila Prabhupada have a high level of awareness, appreciation, and remembrance of him. They feel connected with him as their siksa guru, accepting as essential the teachings he gave in his books. Inspired by his powerful presence, they follow his instructions in their own lives and are able to bring others to follow them too.
The celebration of Srila Prabhupada's 108th anniversary will focus on a series of public events. Most of the international events that were so successful in 1996 will be held again. The events will bring about a heightened appreciation for Srila Prabhupada and his movement in the public and increase ISKCON's members' awareness of being part of a united worldwide movement.
The 108 Celebration is not limited to events. The spirit of the Celebration is to encourage each ISKCON devotee, member, and follower to make at least one personal offering to Srila Prabhupada during the year, in one or more of the following areas:
1. Help spread Srila Prabhupada's mission by expanding the congregation, distributing books, and chanting the holy name, especially at 108 events.
2. Dedicate oneself to glorifying Srila Prabhupada by a personally meaningful special achievement during the 108 year.
3. Build personal internal strength by a commitment to improve both personal spiritual standards and practices and those of your community.
The 108 Celebration is a great time to introduce the whole world to Srila Prabhupada and his mission. Let us all take seriously this very special opportunity and wholeheartedly glorify Srila Prabhupada.
By the time this issue of BTG reaches your hands, you should be preparing to take part in the kickoff of the 108 Celebration with Prabhupada's 108th Vyasa Puja. Don't hesitate. Get involved. In September, the planning and preparation for Feed the World Week can begin. Help make this occasion for prasadam distribution something wonderful and astounding. It will do good for you and the world. Distribute prasadam widely to as many people as possible, and join in the celebration of 108 for Srila Prabhupada. Go on glorifying Srila Prabhupada more and more.
FEATURED 108 EVENTS
108th Vyasa Puja, September 8:
This is the kickoff event for 108 year-long celebration. Take part in the kalasa abhiseka (bathing with commemorative waterpots) of Srila Prabhupada and your local temple deities. Sponsor a kalasa in your local temple and join with devotees worldwide to usher in a full year of celebration.
Feed World Week,
Honor Srila Prabhupada for his 108th anniversary by massive distribution of prasadam in your hometown. Every temple, family, and congregation group can take part in giving out Krsna's mercy in the form of prasadam, and in turn get the mercy of Srila Prabhupada.
At www.prabhupada108.net you'll find:
• Kalash Abhisheka, a five-minute video clip
• 108 Abhiseka Poster
• Abhiseka Sponsorship Form
• 108 Ways You Can Get Involved
September 28: Srila Prabhupada's sannyasa day
October 5: Srila Prabhupada's arrival in Boston
October 15-21: Feed the World Week (See www.ffl.org/html/feed_the_world.html for details.)
October 28-November 26: Vrndavana Karttika Festival
November 14-16: Vrndavana Prabhupada's Disappearance Day Festival
December 18-19: World Enlightenment Weekend
December 22: Gita Jayanti Day (Contact your local temple for celebration dates.)
November 26-December 31: Prabhupada Book Distribution Marathon
January: Mumbai Original Pandal Program Returns
March 9-25: Mayapur Festival
March 9-13: Grand Srila Prabhupada Family Reunion (See http://www.mayapur.info/ for details.)
March 14-20: Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama
March 21-24: Mayapur Seminars
June 6-11: Padayatra Week
June 12: World Holy Name Day
August 28: Kolkata Maha-Abhiseka Vyasa Puja (See www.mayapur.info for details.)