The fragrance of incense, variety of beautiful colourful flowers, illumination of glittering lights, melodious chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra and glow on the faces of shaved headed tilak borne devotees transformed the auditorium of Prabhupad Samadhi Mandir at ISKCON Mayapur into a transcendental heavenly planet. To mark the Golden Jubilee celebrations( 1996- 2016) of International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the devotees organised the programme- “Homage to Srila Prabhupad” to pay tribute to Swami Srila Prabhupad, founder of ISKCON.Fifty years back, when a lone 70-year-old saffron clad Swami with only three translated volumes of Srimad Bhagvatam left the shores of Kolkata for the US to spread the message of Sri Chaitanya MahaPrabhu and bhaktiyoga, few would have envisaged the formation of a global Vaishnava cult know as Hare Krishna movement. Today ISKCON has more than 600 centres. It is the largest publisher of Vaishnava literature and has distributed 516 million books and magazines.
On the occasion of Golden Jubilee celebrations good wishes and rich tributes have poured in from all over the world.
Theresa May PM UK said in her message, “For fifty years since its foundation, the men and women behind ISKCON have dedicated their lives to the words of Lord Krishna to achieve peace and unity.” President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Modi, in their messages have stressed on the importance of a movement like ISKCON. Lata Mangeshkar has said, “As an artist, I am most grateful for Srila Prabhupada’s efforts toward bringing about a religious cultural revival of Indian classical arts in all parts of the world. The contribution of Iskcon towards bhajan and kirtan and classical dance is unmatched”.
The programme started with “Sasti vachan” presented by the students of Gurukul and lighting of lamps by senior devotees. Singer Haimanti Shukla rendered bhajan and Hari nama in her captivating voice. Basu Ghosh Das, Vice Chairman of ISKCON Bureau India and also President of ISKCON Baroda temple shared his personal experience with Srila Prabhupad way back in 1974 when he met him for the first time. Although an American by birth, Das gave his speech in Sanskrit and recalled how he was deeply influenced by Srila Prabhupad’s simple way of explaining the highest spiritual knowledge.
While paying his tributes, Jagadhatria Das, coordinator of the programme, felt that the global stature of Srila Prabhupad surpasses of being merely a spiritual master. “ISKCON as a society has taught the world to break the barriers of caste, color, creed, nationality and unite together in the name of the Lord,” Das said.