ISKCON 50th Celebration

On the 13th of August 1965 His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, founder Acharya of ISKCON, left Kolkota, India in a cargo ship named ‘Jaladuta’ to embark on an adventurous journey which changed the fate of millions of people around the world. This year, the INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS (ISKCON) is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Srila Prabhupada’s prophetic voyage, which the devotees affectionately refer to as "The Jaladuta Yatra". Although the Golden Jubilee of the subsequent establishment and incorporation of the ISKCON movement is to be celebrated next year, in 2016, the Jaladuta Yatra officially marks the beginning of the Jubilee celebrations.

His Divine Grace A.C Bhativedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada deeply desired to fulfill his spiritual master’s instructions. About five hundred years ago, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Krishna’s hidden incarnation, predicted that the Holy names of the Lord will be spread in every town and village of the world and Srila Prabhupada was entrusted with the mission of making that prediction come true. That instruction had become the motive of Srila Prabhupada’s life and he wanted to leave for America at all costs. He thought to himself that the whole world follows America and if the Americans take to the process of Krishna Consciousness then everyone else will follow.

Taking this order at heart, His Divine Grace A.C Bhativedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, at the age of 69, earnestly requested Sumati Morarji, head of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company, to make the arrangement for him to go to America. The latter was hesitant to heed to the request, considering Srila Prabhupada’s advanced age and therefore asked him to stay in India like other Sadhus to leave this material world peacefully. However, Srila Prabhupada had already made up his mind and he insisted that he would prefer to try and die on the ship rather than not trying at all. He was in a fragile physical condition and being in the renounced order of life, he only had a few rupees in his pocket, which would allow him to survive only a few hours in America.

However, he had implicit faith in Krishna and he was only praying to touch the hearts of people and to convince them of the message of Lord Krishna. Sumati Morarji eventually relented, seeing his determination and offered him a free passage on board of the ‘Jaladuta’. The journey was not an easy one. With only 40 Indian rupees with him, a deteriorating health and suffering from two heart attacks on board of the ship, Srila Prabhupada remained prayerful and fully dependent on Krishna. The Lord came in his dream and told him not to worry about anything as he was by his side. Srila Prabhupada was reassured and he pursued his journey and finally reached America on the 17th of September 1965.

The ISKCON movement is celebrating this event as without Srila Prabhupada’s mercy and compassion, so many people around the world would have been in darkness. He brought Krishna into their lives and spread a ray of hope and showed them the way to eternal happiness. The whole world is grateful and appreciates all the troubles that Srila Prabhupada took to save us. We offer our humble obeisances to such a Founder Acharya, by whom one can cross the ocean of material suffering and obtain the mercy of Krishna; without his grace one cannot make any advancement. Therefore, we offer our respectful obeisances unto such a spiritual master again and again.

The celebration opened with a grand historic in Kolkota, India. The event which included talks by ISKCON and Indian dignitaries and cultural performances by famous personalities was attended by over 30 000 people. Devotees of over one hundred nationalities attended and took part in two Guiness world record competitions; devotees from 106 countries broke the records of the most nationalities to participate in a yoga event and the most nationalities to participate in a choir.

The 17th of September 2015 marked the fiftieth anniversary of Srila Prabhupada's arrival in America and once again grand celebrations were organised on Boston harbour to mark the memorable event. The Mayor of Boston declared the day as "His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Day in the City of Boston." and for the first time in its history the Indian flag was raised in Boston throughout the day, in honour of Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada created a home called ISKCON where the whole world can live and he indeed brought Krishna in every town and village of the world. He is definitely not an ordinary man and is an ambassador of goodwill. Presently, by His grace, an ISKCON temple or centre can be found in any part of the world to facilitate the practice of the followers and newcomers.

Mauritius has also been blessed by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy and he came to visit the island twice. He was invited by the Prime Minister in September 1975 and stayed in a villa at Pointe-aux-Sable. He saw Mauritius as a potential preaching ground and devotees often quote that Mauritius could become the first Krishna Conscious Island in the world. To offer our tribute to Srila Prabhupada, this year we are celebrating not only the Golden jubilee of the Jaladuta yatra but also the 40th Anniversary of His arrival in Mauritius.

These world-wide celebrations are an offering of love to His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanda Swami Srila Prabhupada, who embarked on the mission of inundating the world with love, devotion and happiness through loving service to Their Lordships Sri Radha and Sri Krishna.

By Naimisaranya Devi Dasi

You may like to read more about the ISKCON 50 celebrations below:

Official ISKCON 50 website
Golden Jubilee of The Jaladuta Yatra in Kolkata
Song written by Srila Prabhupada When He Began The Jaladuta Yatra
The Mayor of Boston Honours Srila Prabhupada
ISKCON Houston inaugurates ISKCON 50 Celebrations
ISKCON Punjabhi Bagh inaugurates ISKCON 50 Celebrations
ISKCON London inaugurates ISKCON 50 Celebrations
ISKCON Malaysia launches ISKCON 50 philately stamps

Programmes in Mauritius
Programme at Rose-Belle