During a talk at a Christian monastery in 1972, Srila Prabhupada said, "When I started this movement I was cooking and distributing prasadam. . . . We invite everyone, 'Please come here, chant the Hare Krsna mantra, dance with us, and when you are hungry take some food. We are prepared to give you.' So our program is very easy. Actually these boys and girls were not advised in the beginning to become my initiated students. I simply invited, 'You please come.' I was chanting in Tompkins Square Park in New York, and many of them were coming. So I invited them, 'Please come with me. Take some prasadam.' So they used to take that. In this way, gradually, they developed their Krsna consciousness, and after some time they proposed, 'Swamiji, make me your disciple.' "
To honor Srila Prabhupada in his centennial year, we've marked one day for massive distribution of prasadam on a global scale. We call it "Feed the World Day." On that day, November 23, we're calling for every ISKCON temple, family, and congregational group to take part in giving out Krsna's mercy in the form of prasadam, and in turn get the mercy of Srila Prabhupada. We hope Feed the World Day will provide an inspirational springboard and encourage devotees to expand prasadamdistribution unlimitedly.
World Enlightenment Day
One of the last events of the centennial year is World Enlightenment Day, December 14. On that day, devotees throughout the Hare Krsna movement will focus on one goal: distributing as many books about Krsna as they possibly can.
Many devotees distribute Krsna conscious books as their main service. But on World Enlightenment Day, devotees who usually do all other sorts of service will join in the spirit of distributing books.
As Srila Prabhupada repeatedly said, distributing Krsna conscious books is like dropping bombs in the war against ignorance. Book distribution can check the rampant march of the degraded forces of this age.
Once while Srila Prabhupada was on a layover at an airport in Japan, a young Japanese man approached him with serious spiritual questions. Srila Prabhupada was pleased and amazed: He had never before visited Japan, but his books had reached there and were having an effect.
The Bhaktivedanta purports, which emanated from Srila Prabhupada's lotus mouth, enlighten all who read them. Srila Prabhupada is the true representative of Srila Vyasadeva, the personification of knowledge. Anyone who wishes to do good to the world can step forward to distribute Srila Prabhupada's books. Lord Krsna says that no one is more dear to Him than one who preaches His glories. World Enlightenment Day gives us all an opportunity to go out armed with Srila Prabhupada's books and shower them into the laps of faithful conditioned souls. Prabhupada ordered us, "Distribute books, distribute books, distribute books."
Beyond the Centennial
Devotees throughout the world have this year tried in many ways to improve ISKCON and themselves. Now we must continue the work. As part of our Centennial observance, we focused on enhancing our purity in four ways: Education and Training, Uniting Prabhupada's Family, Strengthening ISKCON, and Increasing Prabhupada Consciousness. It's by carrying on these ideals that we can have the purity to expand book distribution, prasadam distribution, and the chanting of the holy names. We'll be able to spread the glories of Lord Krsna and His pure devotees in every town and village of the world.
This is the last Centennial bulletin. We'd like to thank the editors of Back to Godhead for offering us this forum. Thanks also to those who read the columns and felt inspired to take part in Centennial events.
Ebe yasa ghusuk tribuvana: May Srila Prabhupada's glories be spread throughout the three worlds!
Centennial T-shirts, pens, bags, badges, posters, photo frames, key chains, etc.
Harinama Manual (by Indradyumna Swami)
Food For Life Manual (by Priyavrata Dasa)
Memorials Manual (by Gaurangi Devi Dasi)
Centennial Coloring Book (by Syamapriya Devi Dasi)
Sahasra Tirtha Jala book (by Tattvavit Dasa & Jaya Vijaya Dasa)
Raising Spiritual Standards poster
For more information about publications and promotional items, contact your national Centennial office or:
Centennial Global Ministry Centennial House
62 Sant Nagar
New Delhi 110065, India
Phone: +91 (011) 6469633 or 6481977. Fax: +91 (011) 6225277 or 6872378.
Feed the World Day: November 23
World Enlightenment Day: December 14
Opening of Prabhupada's Samadhi Museum: Vrndavana, November 14, 1996
World Congress for the Synthesis of Science and Religion: Calcutta, January 6-12, 1997
Inauguration of the Centennial Memorial: Mayapur, March 22, 1997
Temple openings in New Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Bangalore: April, 1997
Contact your local ISKCON center for details.
News and Events
On September 5 and 6 ISKCON temples worldwide were filled with devotees and guests paying homage to Srila Prabhupada on the one-hundredth anniversary of his appearance. With 12,000 copper and silver kalasas (water pots), celebrants bathed Prabhupada's murti (sculptured form) with 10,000 liters of sacred water collected from 1,008 holy places. A book printed for the occasion tells the stories of more than one hundred tirthas (holy sites) and the adventurous efforts of the devotees who collected the water.
In Calcutta, Srila Prabhupada's birth city, the bathing was performed with 1,008 kalasas. Look for a full report with photographs of the Calcutta festival in the next issue of Back to Godhead.
New Book and Video Released
Srila Prabhupada's Geetar-gan, a Bengali poetical rendition of the Bhagavad-gita, was released on Prabhupada's appearance day in the form of a book, giving the transliteration and English translation, and six audio cassettes. On the cassettes, professional musicians from Calcutta sing Prabhupada's verses to music of their own composition. The cassettes were produced by HMV, under the direction of Bhakti Caru Swami.
Also released on Srila Prabhupada's appearance day: Parikrama, a full-length Bengali feature film. It describes how the lives of several people are changed by a circumambulation of Navadvipa, the birthplace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The film was produced by Bhakti Caru Swami, working with professional artists. The screenplay was written by the well-known playwright Shaktipada Rajguru.