MEMORIES OF THE Centennial Year inauguration in Mumbai (Bombay) are still fresh in my mind. We were expecting up to 10,000 people, which seemed a lot. But Krsna surprised us all 30,000 turned up. The many prominent citizens of Mumbai in attendance obviously came not for entertainment or free prasadam but to honor Srila Prabhupada, who was surely pleased by the attendance.
We had predicted an audience of 10,000 by estimating what percentage of people would respond to the invitations we sent out. But Lord Krsna, wanting to expand the glories of His pure devotee Srila Prabhupada, set His own communication channel going and inspired people from within their hearts to attend the function.
Seeing the city's leading stadium jam-packed with Mumbai's elite, and witnessing their overwhelming response to the lectures and programs, I became further convinced: Krsna wants to glorify Srila Prabhupada. We had been emphasizing this point throughout the four-year Centennial campaign, and Krsna proved it. Krsna is known as bhaktanama mana vardhanah, "He who enhances the reputation of His devotees."
Success Depends on Krsna
After the triumphant start of the Centennial, we feel more confident that our endeavor to glorify Srila Prabhupada throughout 1996 will be a grand success. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is party to the Centennial celebration. In fact, He is at the very top of the Centennial organizational tree. The success of the Centennial celebration depends on Him.
Sometimes the public glorifies unqualified people and becomes victimized by ignorant and unscrupulous so-called leaders. It is said about mundane name and fame, "Name, fame, glory same old story!" But this saying does not apply to the fame of a pure devotee of the Lord. Srila Prabhupada's fame, an integral part of his spiritual opulence in relationship with Krsna, is eternal and ever increasing. Srila Prabhupada is meant to be famous throughout the whole world, like devotees mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam, such as Dhruva Maharaja and Bhakta Prahlada.
Take the Opportunity
The Centennial year is a great time to introduce to the whole world Srila Prabhupada and his life and mission. So let us all take seriously this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and wholeheartedly glorify Srila Prabhupada.
By the time this issue of BTG reaches your hands, you must all be getting ready for the next Global Events of the Centennial Padayatra Week and World Holy Name Day to take place in the beginning of June. So we would like to appeal to everyone to go out in large numbers on Padayatra, on harinama–sankirtana, or simply door to door to invite as many people as possible to join in the Celebration of the Century. Please walk, talk, and chant the glories of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.
News and Events
Hare Krsna Utsava On the Road
The All-India Traveling Centennial Utsava ("festival") took to the road on February 1. Chief Minister of Orissa, Mr. J. B. Pattnaik inaugurated the first festival, in Bhubaneswar. The pious Orissan crowds flooding the Utsava camp showed overwhelming response to the high-tech shows, eighteen pavilions, Krsna Vision multi-projector show, and other uncommon attractions presenting the philosophy of Krsna consciousness. The festival site was packed for four days. A local newspaper titled its report "Krishna Consciousness Movement Invades Town."
The traveling festival next performed at the Hare Krsna World Convention in Mayapur, where hundreds of thousands of Bengali pilgrims gathered for Gaura Purnima, the ap-pearance day of Lord Caitanya.
The most spectacular response from the public and the largest devotee participation was in Mumbai, which hosted the traveling festival from March 20 through April 14. The event also commemorated the twenty-fifth anniversary of Srila Prabhupada's firstpandal (tent) program in Bombay, held in March 1971 at the very same Cross Maidan grounds. The devotees' chanting parties, delightful plays, and thought-provoking lectures attracted a constant flow of thousands of appreciative visitors daily.
Prabhupada Road Inaugurated in Mumbai
On January 6 a three-mile long road in Mumbai was renamed Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg. The ten crossroads on the marg ("street") will also be renamed Bhaktivedanta Swami Crossroad 1, 2, 3, and so on. The mayor of Mumbai, accompanied by the local municipal cooperator and other promi-nent citizens, unveiled the black granite plaque commemorating the new street name.
Hundreds of devotees and members from Mumbai's three ISKCON temples joined a Padayatra held on the occasion and chanted enthusiastically around a bullock cart bearing a deity of Srila Prabhupada. The procession traveled the length of Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg and ended at Hare Krishna Land, where devotees held a formal function at the ISKCON auditorium in glorification of Prabhupada. Juhu mayor Sri Ramcandra Kadam assured ISKCON of the municipal council's support. ISKCON leaders Giriraja Swami, Radhanatha Swami, and Gopala Krsna Goswami addressed the audience and presented mementos to the chief guests.
So far 150 ISKCON centers have confirmed they'll take part in the Sahasra Tirtha Jala Maha Abhiseka sponsorship program. The sacred water was bottled in February, and in March at the Hare Krsna World Convention in Mayapur the Centennial Ministry delivered 1,500 sponsored kalasas (water pots) to Sahasra Tirtha Jala coordinators and temple presidents to carry back to their respective centers.
A booth at the convention displayed the 1,008 waters, the 7 categories of kalasas, a giant map of India showing the 1,008 tirthas (holy places), and photographs of the entire project water collection, kalasa manufacturing, water bottling, office back up, and so on. The kalasa manufacturers expect to finish 20,000 kalasas by June.
Srila Prabhupada's 1996 Maha Vyasa-puja in Calcutta, his birth city, will be a very significant event. Dignitaries from India and abroad have been invited to attend and express their appreciation for Srila Prabhupada and his work.
The two-day program will begin with a grand reception of the 1,008 sacred waters, which will arrive by train from New Delhi and then be carried in procession through the streets of Calcutta. The highlight of the festival will be the bathing of the deity of Srila Prabhupada with the 1,008 sacred waters.