Which day on the Vaishnava calendar has special significance for you, and why?

Srila Prabhupada

The material world is called a place of darkness where unlimited sufferings prevail. But I never realized this just like a deaf and blind person who has never seen or heard about light but instead got adjusted to living in the present relative world considering it as the absolute.

In such a precarious condition appears a person or harbinger of spiritual world an acharya, a representative of the Lord giving vision and direction to lost humanity, reviving our lost relationship with our eternal father Krishna, by delivering the transcendental message of the Lord.

I find the appearance days of our acharyas very significant. Without their teachings I would never have been able to discriminate between light and darkness. We need to seek shelter of such a bonafide acharya who takes troubles of the material world just to deliver us from our present condition. 

(Satyananda Dasa, Aurangabad)

Bhaktisiddhant Sarasvati Thakur

My favourite date is 4 July 2008, the day the nine-day Kolkata Ratha-yatra began. I had earlier participated in the Ratha-yatra in Hyderabad, but was not involved in any service. But in Kolkata I got the opportunity to take care of musical instruments for the kirtana party performing before Baladeva’s ratha. I also took care of their prasada and water requirements, sang for the Lord, and arranged for ISKCON Youth Forum’s stall in the pandala. It was advertised in the news that IYF would be arranging a stress management course by ex-IIT students, and I was also preparing for that. We went through many major streets during kirtana. I got association of senior ISKCON leaders like His Holiness Jaypataka Swami Maharaja and His Holiness Bhaktisiddhanta Swami. I felt very happy to be at the birth place of Srila Prabhupada on the Ratha-yatra day, as I also like Lord Jagannatha very much.

(Santosh, Hyderabad)

Gaura Kishora Dasa Babaji Maharaja

in our gaudiya calendar there are many festivals and important dates but Ekadashi is very dear to Lord Vishnu and is an auspicious day, so I find it really important. I was once told by a senior devotee that by eating grains on Ekadashi one will go to hell as there is papa-purusha in grains on that day. I have observed that my spiritual life became better after I started fasting on Ekadashi.

On Ekadashi, I try to visit Sri Radha-Govindadeva temple here in Jaipur and preach more about Krishna. I take mostly fruits and some non-grain items. Srila Prabhupada always gave immense importance to fasting on Ekadashi and I read about Ekadashi many times in the books of Srila Prabhupada. On Nirjala Ekadashi last summer, all of us chanted and distributed books the whole day.

(Pranjal Joshi, Jaipur)

All dates in the month of Kartika (Damodara) have special significance. We celebrate the disappearance day of Srila Prabhupada in all ISKCON temples in a gorgeous and transcendental manner. And we hear of the special pastime of child Krishna being bound with a rope after great difficulty by His foster mother Yasoda, followed by His delivering the two demigods Nalakuvara and Manigriva (sons of Kuvera) who were cursed by Narada Muni. This auspicious day, and the whole month of Kartika in Vrndavana is celebrated by devotees. They light lamps in the morning and evening during sandhya-arati time. I don’t exaggerate when I say that it was as if all the stars in the sky had descended with great effulgence on the lamps in the hands of devotees and danced to the tunes of Sri Damodarashtaka, thus offering their obeisances to Lord Krishna.

(Syamasundar Dasa, Pondicherry)

Radhashtami is the most significant because She bestows us with pure devotional service to Lord Krishna. Nityananda Trayodasi is significant, because He is the deliverer of the fallen (patita-pavana). Vyasa-puja of my gurudev is very dear to my heart. I was traveling though 84 million species trying to gratify senses and I was miserable. Guru Maharaja delivered me.

But for me Nandostava, Srila Prabhupada’s appearance day, holds the most significance.  Srila Prabhupada created so many wonderful ISKCON temples worldwide where we can perform pure devotional service. He revealed to us Srimati Radharani, Lord Caitanya, Lord Nityananda, and their holy name. Srila Prabhupada wrote books about pure devotional service. Because of Srila Prabhupada, I could meet my Gurudeva and was given an opportunity to get connected to Lord Krishna through guru-sishya parampara.

Srila prabhupada gave me true friends in the form of wonderful devotees. Thus, the appearance day of Srila Prabhupada is very significant for me.

(Gayatri, Mumbai)

The Ratha-yatra festival holds special significance for me.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

The purport to Bhagavad-gita (15.15) says: “The Supreme Lord is so full that for the deliverance of the conditioned soul He is the supplier and digester of foodstuff, the witness of his activity, and the giver of knowledge in the form of Vedas and as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, the teacher of the Bhagavad-gita. He is worshipable by the conditioned soul.”

Thus the all-good, all-merciful, worshipable and imperishable Lord Himself is appearing and coming to meet His devotees in person on the day of Ratha-yatra festival in His adorned ratha along with His brother Sri Baladeva and His sister Srimati Subhadra with the sole aim of transiting the conditioned  soul into the spiritual world. Have we heard of any other festival in any place under the sun where the Godhead offers Himself to come to meet the devotees? (R.M.Manoharan, Chennai)

I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master.

 It is he who taught me to chant the holy name in a humble state, and be more tolerant and devoid of false ego, and offer respect to other expecting none in return.

 It is he who taught me to have no desire for any mundane beauty and wealth, and desire only for devotional service.

 It is he who reminded me that I am the eternal servitor of Lord.

 It is he who told me to rise above my mundane desires and feel the separation from the Lord.

 It is he who explained me the Siksashtaka prayers in this way and gave me the love of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

 Who can be then be more merciful than my spiritual master? Hence I eagerly wait for his divine appearance day which holds the most significance for me in Vaishnava calendar.

(Vraja Vijaya Devi Dasi, Mumbai)