Dear devotees, well-wishers and friends of the Hare Krsna Center Montreal!
Please accept my most humble obeisances at your lotus feet
All glories to the most beautiful acarya of all acaryas His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!
The month of Karttika is getting more and more ecstatic and with so many of you taking up the process of japa and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books and visiting the temple on daily basis, we would like to invite you to take even more active part and kindly help us to organize the most ecstatic celebration of the Govardhana Puja festival for the pleasure of our beloved most enchanting and loveable Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
First of all, we should understand the seriousness of this celebration. Although certainly a very happy and jovial transcendental party where devotees can meet and serve together, every transcendental festival mentioned in the Bhaktivedanta Lives In Sound Society Vaisnava Calendar published on our website, is also an opportunity to please the Lord and acquire His special mercy. For any aspiring devotee, it is essential to take part in celebrating the Lord’s different festivals throughout the year. In fact, it is not only essential but some of the Vedic scriptures give a hint that failing to do so is actually an offense to the Lord. In the supplementary Vedic literature, there is a mention of a list of 32 offenses in the matter of serving the Lord. Number two offense is stated as follows: One should not fail to observe the various festivals for the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such as Janmastami, Ratha-yatra, etc. Srila Prabhupada quotes this in his Nectar of devotion in Ch.8. A sincere devotee will carefully take note of this. In fact, anyone with just a little sincerity and an open mind must feel what we all feel when associating with like-minded devotees and glorifying the Lord together- the feeling of home, security and non-judgmental, freedom-based, open-minded atmosphere. So it is not a question of force, but a spontaneous outburst of natural desire to take part in such festivity. But for those who feel weak and overwhelmed by the strong force of the material energy, Lord Krsna gives a stern warning and that especially in regards to the celebration of the Govardhana Puja, in the 10th Canto, 24th chapter of the Srimad Bhagavatam:
eso 'vajanato martyan
hanti hy asmai namasyamah
sarmane atmano gavam
"One who neglects the worship of Govardhana-puja, as I am personally conducting it, will not be happy. There are many snakes on Govardhana Hill, and persons neglecting the prescribed duty of Govardhana-puja will be bitten by these snakes and killed. In order to assure the good fortune of the cows and themselves, all people of Vrndavana near Govardhana must worship the hill, as prescribed by Me."
As you might know already every temple of Srila Prabhupada whether big or small is a direct expansion of the city of Vrndavana and as such it is duty of all the people of Montreal and also Vinodol in Slovakia to come and help us to celebrate the Lord on this auspicious day of Govardhana Puja. At least those who have a little faith and do not take Lord Krsna as an imaginary or mythological figure should take these statements of the Vedic literatures very seriously and come and take part.
In case you belong to such a group of faithful lovers of Krsna and are indeed awaiting the Govardhana Puja with great eagerness, Lord Krsna in the very same literature gives direct instructions on how to perform this festival. He says:
pacyantam vividhah pakah
sarva-dohas ca grhyatam
huyantam agnayah samyag
annam bahu-gunam tebhyo
deyam vo dhenu-daksinah
yavasam ca gavam dattva
giraye diyatam balih
"Prepare very nice foods of all descriptions from the grain and ghee collected for the yajna. Prepare rice, dal, then halava, pakora, puri and all kinds of milk preparations, such as sweet rice, rabri, sweetballs, sandesa, rasagulla and laddu, and invite the learned brahmanas who can chant the Vedic hymns and offer oblations to the fire. The brahmanas should be given all kinds of grain in charity. Then decorate all the cows and feed them well. After performing this, give money in charity to the brahmanas. As far as the lower animals are concerned, such as the dogs, and the lower grades of people, such as the candalas, or the fifth class of men, who are considered untouchable, they also may be given sumptuous prasadam. After nice grasses have been given to the cows, the sacrifice known as Govardhana-puja may immediately begin. This sacrifice will very much satisfy Me."
(KB 24: Worshiping Govardhana Hill)
Here’s further instruction from His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the top most acarya of recent times on how to celebrate the Govardhana Puja and we shall take inspiration from these invaluable instructions:
Prabhupada: Vegetarian food is very nice. We can give you vegetable menu, three hundred items at least.
Dai Nippon representative: Three hundred?
Prabhupada: Three hundred. Simply grains, fruits, and butter, that's all, and sugar. You give us these four items and we give you three hundred items. Yes. There is a ceremony in India, annakuta, Govardhana-puja. So in that ceremony, in each and every temple they prepare as many varieties as possible. Some of them prepare three thousand.
Dai Nippon representative: Three thousand.
Prabhupada: Yes. For weeks they prepare. And the competition is the more items the temple prepares, he becomes... [break] And distribution, prasada distribution, free of charges. It was a very nice system that nobody should remain hungry. That is the system. If there is any temple in any neighborhood, in that neighborhood nobody should remain hungry.
Conversation with Dai Nippon -- April 22, 1972, Tokyo
This Dipabali function can be observed on 21st October, and Prasad can be distributed on the 22nd October, during daytime, which is known as Govardhana Puja and Annakuta Ceremony. In India, in all Vaisnava temples, this ceremony is observed and 100's of people are given Prasad according to the capacity of the temple.
Letter to: Hansadutta -- Seattle 10 October, 1968
Yes, this Govardhana puja is a bona fide procedure, but such things cannot be held in your country. It requires good space to decorate the imitation hill of rice. So when we offer such hill of rice, there must be other things also -- a hill of capatis and other things. It is a huge affair. In India practically in all the Visnu temples this is observed and they spend huge amounts for this purpose and they distribute prasadam to thousands and everyone gathers to take even a little portion of it. If you can introduce this Govardhana puja, I have no objection, but it requires hard labor, good management and much money also. But the process is bona fide.
Letter to: Damodara -- Nairobi, Kenya 3 October, 1971
The effect of celebrating this festival is beyond our scope to understand as stated in the following quote:
From your report I can understand that you are very enthusiastic. I like also your idea of celebrating Govardhana puja. This should be our programme to attract the general mass of people. If we go on preaching vigorously as we have been for another 25 year then all these other so called religions will disappear. After all what do they have to offer. In the Christian religion all we see is Christ's picture as he was crucified, so how people can be attracted to such thing? There is no science, philosophy, music, art, Prasadam, it is no wonder that the people are rejecting this nonsense. Not that Christ himself was nonsense, but those who are preaching in his name they are nonsense because they do not follow even the simplest of his orders. "Thou shalt not Kill.'' I have met with so many Christians and when I ask them why Christians are killing they cannot answer. The first principle of spiritual life is non violence. They will say Killing in this matter means actually Murder, but accepting even this argument, it means that the society in which Christ was preaching were composed of Murderers, so what kind of men they were, and practically we see it is a fact that because they murdered Lord Jesus Christ. At any rate there is nothing in the world thAT CAN COMPARE WITH our Movement of Chanting and dancing. So Chant dance and when you get tired take Prasadm, this is our actual solid preaching work all over the world.
Letter to: Bhakta dasa -- Bhaktivedanta Manor 3 August, 1973
Therefore please do not delay and contact us immediately if you want to take part in the celebration and also organization of this festival and I promise you lots of realization and advancement in your Krsna consciousness by engaging in practical devotional service for the pleasure of the Lord in the association of devotees. These are the possible ways how to help(please do not hesitate to come up with new ideas!):
donations of cooking ingredients such as rice, dhal, ghee, butter, sugar, vegetables, milk, flour, semolina, fruits, flowers for Lord Caitanya alter, etc.
donations in cash
helping out with propagation of the festival in the streets of Montreal(printing flyers, hanging posters, advertising on FB or other internet websites
helping out in the kitchen on Monday
helping out with temple decorations
helping out with cleaning, pot washing etc
helping out with shopping for the ingredients.
inviting friends and family members to take part in the festival
You can reach us either by email, by phone or you can talk to us in person during your visits in the Center. All the organization must be clarified before Sunday the 30th of October.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ATTEND THE UPCOMING SATURDAY LOVE FEAST where we can all together discuss and organize who will do what.
The festival will take place on Monday 31st of October 2016 at the 7070 Birnam Hare Krsna Center Montreal and starts at 5.00pm. See you soon!
HAPPY GOVARDHANA PUJA TO EVERYONE.
Your servant Purujit dasa