Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

facebook twitter instragram Threads Youtube
facebook twitter instragram Threads Youtube
Fifth Annual Vaishnavi Padayatra Filled Participants with Enthusiasm
By Jayabhadra Devi Dasi, IGF preacher and Padayatra Coordinator   |  Apr 08, 2024

By the mercy of Sri Guru and Gauranga, ISKCON Amravati has successfully organized its fifth annual Vaishnavi padayatra. Every year, they arrange a Vaishnavi padayatra to be on or around International Women’s Day, which is observed on March 8th. March is also a special month for devotees because Gaura-purnima mahamohotsava. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s advent occurred to spread the holy name, and padayatris also try to do the same.

Their Vaishnavi padayatra is the most-awaited event by temple Vaishnavi and the ISKCON Girls’ Forum team. The Vaishnavi come together for a higher cause, and serving together increases love among them. Lokanath Swami said, “from utsava come utsaha,” and they could realize this throughout the walk. All Vaishnavi have the feeling that together, they can do miracles.

In Sanskrit, “utsav priya khalu manava,” means all people love festivals because the celebrations enable everyone to forget their sorrows. They invite various self-help groups (mahila-mandal) to participate in padayatra so they can relish the holy name, and their presence always graces the occasion.

The objective of padayatra is to spread the holy name. As they walk, participants chant the holy name and have banners displaying the holy name. For those who hear the chanting, their lives will be successful, but they also invite people to chant with them. Prthivite achey ata nagaradi-grama, sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama: “In every town and village throughout the world,” said Lord Caitanya, “the chanting of My holy name will be heard” (Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya-khaṇḍa 4.126). Krishna is not just for India. He is for everyone because He is God.

Mahaprabhu said, “My holy name will be heard throughout the world.” This promise is not possible for local Vaishnavis. Still, by the mercy of Guru and Gauranga, they can cover the streets of their city and surrounding villages.

Every year, participants assemble in the Satidham temple in Amravati’s main market area. This year’s dress code was the Bengali sari, the rationale being that the 44th annual Mayapur festival in West Bengal is going on. It is Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s mercy that has made ISKCON possible, that fulfilling Srila Prabhupada’s vision for the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in Mayapur continues and remembering our founder-acarya was from Bengal, and that it is also the 150th appearance anniversary of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, Srila Prabhupada’s Guru Maharaja. Keeping a Bengali sari dress code for their padayatra thus seemed the perfect way to show their gratitude.

This year’s main guest was Mrs. Sulabha Sanjay Khodke, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra for the Amravati constituency. She was welcomed with harinama sankirtan, which included several of Amravati’s prestigious ladies, all of whom addressed the assembled women.

Jaybhadra Devi Dasi spoke about ISKCON’s existing padayatras and how the padayatris are offering so many austerities and spreading the Lord’s message everywhere as they distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books throughout the year.

The padayatra was inaugurated by offering arati to Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar and cutting the ribbon on the padayatra banner. Other ladies also performed arati of Their Lordships, and then Mrs. Khodke joined several ladies in a traditional fugdi, a Maharashtrian folk dance performed by women during Hindu religious festivals.

With padayatra now underway, they walked from the temple with the padayatra banner in front, followed by a photo of Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar and a banner displaying the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Behind the banners came the kirtan team and Vaisnavis, who were singing and playing kartals. Mrs Khodke also walked with them for some distance. It was purely Vaishnavi throughout.

As they walked, they announced the padayatra at every square, requesting that whoever heard them chant the holy name. They chanted the maha-mantra loud enough so that all could hear. More than eighty ladies joined them, dancing and singing as they made for their destination, the Ambadevi temple in the heart of Amravati. They also had a street play displaying the importance of the Bhagavad-gita and the chanting of the holy name.

At the destination venue, the Ambadevi temple, ladies joined them, and everyone danced to their heart’s content. Delicious prasadam prepared by Jagannath Puri dasa was distributed to all.

Their team thanked the assembled ladies for joining them, the support of the police department, the padayatra, and temple authorities for their support, confidence, and encouragement. ISKCON Amravati temple president Advaitacarya Dasa and temple commander Sacipran Dasa were present at the inauguration.

Other appreciations were extended to Yadav Dasa, the eldest devotee in the temple, Meghashyam Dasa, Bhakta Bhushan, and Bhakta Madhusudan for managing the sound system. A special mention goes to Prabhupada Sharan Dasa for arranging media, which is his yearly seva. Their IGF team also served diligently to make it a success. A special thanks to Dinanukampa Dasi for always inspiring them in all sevas.

The Vaishnavis who participated thanked Sri Guru and Gauranga for blessing them and organizing the padayatra. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Srila Gurudev.