Harmony of Science and Religion :: A report on Scientific Sankirtan Seva
- Part 2 -
Tridandi Bhikshu Bhaktivijnana Muni *
Janmastami Celebrations at Srila Sripad Siksa Niketan, Kairangathen Sinam, Imphal East :: Pix - scienceandscientist.org
2. Janmastami Celebrations at Srila Sripad Siksa Niketan, Kairangathen Sinam, Imphal East
Srila Sripad Siksa Niketan, Kairangathen Sinam, Imphal East organized a beautiful Cultural and traditional Rasa-lila performance on the occasion of Janmastami, the most Holy appearance day of Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna. It was an important instruction of Srila Prabhupada to Srila Sripad Maharaja that Manipur had inherited the Vaishnava tradition of Bhagavat culture from Srila Narottama Das Thakura. Srila Narottama Das Thakura had been bestowed the grace of Sriman Mahaprabhu and the six goswamis of Vrindavan and Srila Lokanath Acharya Thakura. Srila Prabhupada envisioned that if Manipuri Gaudiya Vaishnavism can be revived then Manipur will become the first Vaisnava state in the world.
Bhagavat Culture when awakened in Manipur will give light to the entire world just as the Sun rises in the East and gives light to the whole world. This distribution of Bhagavat culture was the heart and soul of Srila Sripad. To this extent he formed a cultural troupe called 'Ranganiketan', or 'House of colorful Arts'. Srila Sripad took this Ranganiketan party all over the world, including Paris, Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., ECOP center – Walt Disney Land and hundreds of schools through Los Angeles Music Centre. Ranganiketan represented India in many international children festivals.
It also represented the topmost spiritual and religious message through the United Religions Initiative. Ranganiketana had representations in many Middle East countries through ICCR, GOI. It included a program for the World Trade Organization Ministerial conference in Singapore, December 1996. Ranganiketan also went to Canada, England, Italy, Finland, Egypt, Syria, Nepal, Burma, Germany, Poland, Finland, Switzerland, Australia, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil and many other countries throughout the world.
Srila Sripad Maharaja was a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. By instruction and association of Srila Prabhupada and his mercy, he pioneered the Scientific Presentation of Krishna consciousness which attracted the leading scientists (including several Nobel laureates), scholars and philosophers of the world to take up a spiritual thinking in science. Yet additionally he was a deeply cultural personality and seeing this divine quality in him Srila Prabhupada asked him to take his cultural troupe all over the world, wherever he would make his scientific presentations. Ranganiketan became glorious through Srila Sripad, who was bestowed the highest mercy of Srila Narottama Das Thakura by Srila Prabhupada.
The deities of most holy and revered Gurudev, Srila Sripad Maharaja and Sri Sri Radha Madhava Jiu (more than 120 years old) were specially brought and placed in the Rasa Mandap. In the honor and to fulfill the instructions of Srila Sripad this year also the Srila Sripad Siksa Niketan, Kairangathen Sinam, Imphal East organized: (1) Rasa lila dance, (2) Kamsa badha, (3) Children's drawing festival on Radha-Krishna on the auspicious occasion of Sri Krishna Janmastami and Nanda Utsav (Srila Prabhupada's Vyasapuja Day). Devotees chanted the divine glories of Srila Prabhupada, his extraordinary enthusiasm and contribution to the preaching mission of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
We were searching for only seven children for the Rasa lila dance as we were concerned that in this remote mountainous area there was not much Vaishnava tradition. This was a multicultural and multi-religious population, and very few were acquainted with Vaishnava tradition. Further, many of them who had a Vaishnava background had stopped any practicing life. But when we were searching modestly for only seven, we received twenty six children with great enthusiasm who eagerly wanted to participate in the Rasa dance.
The rasa lila was performed on the Janmastami day. The festival dance was splendid and was accompanied by parents, elderly and a large number of young children from all over the mountain region of Sina. The rasa lila performance brings out the unconditional, super excellent devotional service of Srimati Radharani. Afterwards, children became so happy that they wanted to perform the dance again and again. Even parents became happier seeing their children dancing and feeling joyful. In this way Krishna Consciousness is coming back in their minds and we all can witness this happiness through their smiling faces.
Afterwards there was a multicultural program by Chum Thang Music group. They brought a variety of percussion instruments and combined it with their tradition Sankirtan performance. There was also a performance of Nat Sankirtan as an invocation before rasa dance. The Nat Sankirtan is the very life and soul of Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Entire Pancha Tattva is present in the Nat-Sankirtan. It begins by performance of the raga.
After the form is constructed by chanting the raga, Gauranga Mahaprabhu is invited to establish Himself in the form constructed thereof raga. Then Sriman Mahaprabhu begins to perform Maha-Sankirtan with His devotees. This is the topmost nectarine wealth of the Spiritual world. Then Mahaprabhu remembers the pastimes of Braja-lila and he enters into the deep mood of Braja-prema. Then Mahaprabhu becomes Radha and Krishna and plays the divine Rasa Lila dance. This rasa is completely divine and is not meant for this material world, or those who are still hankering for material enjoyments. It is realized by the blessed purified hearts (nirmal hrdayas) when they attain the highest mercy of Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu.
The Kamsa Badha play was held the next day after Janmastami, which is the day of Nandotsava and also the Vyasapuja day of Srila Prabhupada. All the villagers, the village Chief, children, ladies – all came and happily partook in the festival. All the time they kept thanking the festival and the divine gift of Srila Sripad Maharaja. The richest person of that area came and glorified the festival saying, "Thanks for bringing the wonderful spiritual and happy atmosphere to the locality. By the culture of your Gurudev, our village is becoming transformed."
Divine Mahaprasad was also offered whole day to all the visitors who came. Special devotee cooks from Kolkata were brought as it was difficult to find vegetarian cook in Manipur. In the drawing festival all the children drew unbelievably beautiful and exquisite pictures of Radha and Krishna and braja lila. Sometime they drew Manipuri Radha Krishna, or South East Radha Krishna or Bengali Radha Krishna. Overall the festival brought happiness to everyone. His Grace Ajit Prabhu sponsored the entire festival despite his several financial hardships. To see more photos of this festival please click here.
We would like to mention that just before we enter the temple at Sina, there is one lord Shiva Temple which is hundreds of years old. This mountain temple is very close to the famous Baruni Mountain where lord Shiva-Parvati temple is located. It is the tradition of Manipuri Gaudiya Vaisnavas to take permission of these deities before embarking on a pilgrimage to Braja. We thank all devotees who came and gave their invaluable services. Only by the combined mercy of Gurudev, Saintly personalities and Supreme Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu can we hope to render humble services to them. We always beg their mercy and direction in our lives for the peaceful co-existence of Manipur and the whole world.
3. A sincere Prayer
We sincerely pray to all that kindly take this scientific preaching mission of Bhakti Vedanta Institute of Spiritual Culture and Science, Princeton U.S.A. and Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute, Siliguri as a most important service mission to Srila Prabhupada for which Sripad Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaja is a totally dedicated, qualified and senior most guide and teacher. You can help the mission in various capacities by all kinds of contributions including intellectual, cultural as well as monetary support. We are holding an international conference "Science and Scientist – 2013" at temple city Bhubaneswar on 8th December 2013 (for details please see the conference page: http://bviscs.org/scsi/conferences/scienceandscientist_03). We will have a gathering of scientists and scholars from all over India and World. If you would like to be a contributor or donor, you can visit: http://scienceandscientist.org/donate
Tridandi Bhikshu Bhaktivijnana Muni, Ph.D.
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute
Siliguri, West Bengal, India
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 Prabhupada, A.C. Bhaktivedanta, Srimad Bhagavatam, 1.1.2, BBT, 1988.
 Shapiro, J.A., Evolution: A view from the 21st Century, FT Press Science, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 2011.
* Tridandi Bhikshu Bhaktivijnana Muni, Ph.D. wrote this article and was forwarded by David M Mayum
The writer is at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Institute , Siliguri, West Bengal, India
This article was posted on September 27, 2013.
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