Vrindavan: Vrindavan is all set to begin year-long celebrations to mark the first visit of Chaitnya Mahaprabhu 500 years ago.
Temples, ashrams, religious organisations are working out plans to hold activities focusing on the life and contribution of Chaitnya Mahaprabhu who for centuries has been the rallying point of Sri Krishna bhakts from Bengal and all over the world.
Vrindavan has been the centre of Krishna bhakti (devotion) nurtured by followers of Gaudiya Sampradaya, started by a disciple of Chaitnya Mahaprabhu.
"Over years widows from Bengal and the east, as also devotees from Manipur, Tripura, East and West Bengal have been coming to Vrindavan. After the momentum imparted by Shri Prabhupad, founder of the ISKCON, thousands of foreign devotees of Sri Krishna have also been coming to Vrindavan. Many have settled permanently in the holy town," said Acharya Jaimini, a music maestro.
According to Friends of Vrindavan convener Jagan Nath Poddar Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Vrindavana in 1515 to look for shrines and places associated with Sri Krishna in the Braj region. He wandered through the different sacred forests of Vrindavana in a spiritual trance of divine love, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, sometimes dancing in ecstasy and constantly chanting the holy names of Krishna.
Chaitnya with his followers was soon able to map all the important places of Lord Krishna's pastimes in and around Vrindavan. From Mathura he would daily walk down to Vrindavan. Later, he shifted to Akrur Ghata and would hold sessions at Imli Tala from where he could watch the pristine Yamuna while chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.
Now several local organisations are planning big celebrations that will continue whole of 2015. Local MP cine star Hema Malini is lending her support and wants to use the opportunity to bring Vrindavan and the whole Braj area in to public focus again.
Maharaj Abhishek Goswami told Samiksha Bharti News Service, "exactly after 500 years Chaitnya is coming back to Vrindavan, but this time with his entire paraphernalia- that has expanded in these 500 years. His sadhus, his babaji's, his mahants, his followers, his lovers, his musicians, his dancers, his musical instruments, his singers, his artist, his theatre, his scholars and everything which has his foot prints and heart prints. Everybody is welcomed and invited to participate in the confluence of joy and bliss. We are planning to weave a festival and relive the experience with joy and devotion with HIM coming back to Vrindvan after 500 years. In these 500 years, millions of vaishnavas who already long for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and serve him and worship him and come to Vrindavan every year during the month of Kartik to just get connected to the divine chanting of the holy name serve the dham, sing, dance, weep, simply reconnecting their souls to Krishna and Mahaprabhu."
A special train will bring the Chaitnya Bhakts from West Bengal, according to an organiser.
Coinciding with the celebrations, on November 16, president of India Pranab Mukherji will lay the foundation stone of the world's tallest Sri Krishna temple being built by ISKCON.