nama-srestham manum api saci-putram atra svarupam
rupam tasyagrajam uru-purim mathurim gostavatim
radha-kundam giri varam aho radhika-madhavasam
prapto yasya prathita-kryapaya sri gurum tam nato ‘smi
Sri Mukta-carita (Raghunatha dasa Gosvami)
I am fully indebted to Sri Gurudeva because has given me so many things: the highest conception of the holy name of Krsna, the highest form of sound, which contains the highest form of thought, aspiration, ideal, everything. And he has given me the service of our great savior, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and His dearmost assistant, Svarupa Damodara. He has brought me in connection with Sri Rupa, who was ordered to distribute the heart’s innermost dealings, the highest devotional love, raganuga-bhakti. Gurudeva has given me Srila Sanatana Goswami, who gives us sambandha-jnana, a proper acquaintance with the environment, and he has given me Mathura Mandala, which will help me in my remembrance of Radha and Govinda wherever I shall cast my glance. By his grace gurudeva has revealed the super excellent position of Radha-kunda, the favorite place of Radha and Govinda for Their pastimes and this great Govardhana. Lastly, he has given me the hope that one day I can get the service of Sri Sri Radhika and Madhava. I have been given all these assurances by my gurudeva, so I bow my head with all my respects to his lotus feet.
All glories to Srila Prabhupad, the fountainhead of all those who went to the western world to preach the glories of the holy names of the Lord, the one who delivered countless fallen conditioned souls by imparting upon them the transcendental science of Krishna consciousness, and the one who fulfilled the following prophecy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,
pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma
“In every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard.”
The glories of Shrila Prabhupad are unfathomable for all the devotees, who have been rescued, by Shrila Prabhupad, from the ocean of nescience and have been given an opportunity to make their human forms of lives successful by taking to the process of Krishna consciousness. It is by his causeless mercy that today numerous devotees are practicing Krishna bhakti all over the world in temples opened by Shrila Prabhupad and his followers. Indeed generations upon generations shall remain forever indebted to Shrila Prabhupa for having bestowed upon them the glorious possibility of going back home, back to godhead, by reading his transcendental books and following his instructions.
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam
The spiritual master is receiving benediction from the ocean of mercy. Just as a cloud pours water on a forest fire to extinguish it, so the spiritual master delivers the materially afflicted world by extinguishing the blazing fire of material existence. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is an ocean of auspicious qualities.
On this auspicious day of Nandotsav, in the year 1896, the same year when Shrila Bhaktivinod thakur sent out the first book ‘Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His life and Precepts’ to the western world about the glories of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; the great personality who was going to inundate the entire universe with the chanting of the holy names of Lord Sachinanadan Gaurahari, and who would, in the future, fulfill the desire of all the devotees to go and give Krishna consciousness to the people in the west, Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad appeared in this world for the deliverance of all the conditioned souls like us. He is none other than the personification of Shri Krishna’s mercy, who has come to deliver us from the miseries of this world and take us to the spiritual realm, where we can directly serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shyamsundar and his eternal consort Shrimati Radharani. This day is indeed of utmost importance for all the devotees of Iskcon throughout the world, for it was on this day that their good fortune arose in the form of the birth of their future deliverer, Shrila Prabhupad, for it is only because of him that today we all are aware of the ultimate goal of life and are working towards achieving it and it is only with his mercy that we shall all one day make it to the spiritual world. It is him only, who has given us the holy names of Shri Krishna, the service of Shriman Mahaprabhu, brought us closer to the associates of Mahaprabhu and has given us the opportunity to go to the holy places, where the lord performed his pastimes. He has given us everything that we need to progress in our spiritual lives and with his mercy we are able to engage in the service of the lord.
This auspicious day is celebrated all over the world with great enthusiasm by all the devotees, and in Iskcon Ahmedabad, the place which Prabhupad referred to as his home, all the devotees engage themselves in his service, to please him and gain his special favor and mercy. The Deities in the temple are offered a new outfit to celebrate the occasion and a grand Gurupuja is held in the courtyard, where all the devotees sing the Guru vandana prayers glorifying the spiritual master, and offer their respects to Shrila Prabhupad, for he is the spiritual master of us all. Thereafter, all the senior Prabhupad disciples describe the innumerable transcendental qualities of Prabhupad and the assembled devotees hear with rapt attention. For Rajbhoga, Shrila Prabhupad is offered the various preparations prepared by the devotees with great love and devotion including various sweets, subjis, savouries, and the devotees especially prepare dishes which are known to be liked by Prabhupad, like Shukta, Kachodis, Gulab Jamuns and many other such food items. Thereafter all the devotees assemble to offer Pushpanjali to Shrila Prabhupad, followed by the singing of the Guruvashtakam. On this day, the devotees also beautifully decorate Shrila Prabhupad’s house with many gorgeous and colorful flowers and a bhoga offering is made to Shrila Prabhupad there as well. After serving and glorifying Shrila Prabhupad in this way and maintaining a fast till noon for his pleasure, the devotees proceed to the Prasadam Hall to honour a big feast cooked for the devotees. The festivities however do not end with the Prasad. In the evening, again the devotees glorify Shrila Prabhupad and his mercy upon us all and a Cultural Program is held for his pleasure in which the devotees who are inclined towards singing and dancing offer their presentations at his lotus feet. In this way, the divine transcendental auspicious appearance day of Jagatguru Shrila Prabhupad is celebrated with great fervor and zeal by all the devotees in Iskcon Ahmedabad.
On this great occasion we pray to Shrila Prabhupad to please grant us service to his lotus feet, so that by serving him we may be able to make rapid progress in our endeavors in Spiritual life. The devotees of the Lord are very dear to him, and Shrila Prabhupad, who spread the names, fame, qualities and pastimes of Shyamsundar throughout the world, is especially dear to him, and grabbing hold of his lotus feet is the best way for us to reach the Spiritual world. Therefore we pray to him with folded hands:
prati-janme kori āśā caraṇera dhūli
I desire the dust of your holy feet in every birth I may take.