According to the Vedic system, the birthday of the spiritual master is celebrated as Vyasa-puja. Srila Vyasadeva has very wonderfully compiled all the Vedic literatures and thus he is the original spiritual master for anyone following the Vedic way of spiritual realization. The spiritual master carries the message of Vyasadeva throughout the world and is thus known as the representative of Vyasadeva. Thus the spiritual master’s auspicious appearance day is celebrated as Vyasa-Puja.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda, at the advanced age of seventy, suffering two major heart attacks, traveled under great hardship from India to America and established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in 1966 at New York. In twelve short years, he circled the world fourteen times; started temples, ashramas, schools, and farms on six continents; wrote more than seventy books; and literally introduced millions of people to the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra.
Today, in every country round the globe we can see devotees chanting the maha-mantra Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare – Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare and following the rules and regulations of devotional service as directed by its founder Srila Prabhupada, as lovingly called by his disciples.
In appreciation of his divine work, his disciples, followers and admirers fill their hearts with gratitude by glorifying his humanly impossible achievements and reinforce & reaffirm their faith on their bonafide spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, on his auspicious appearance day.
Srila Prabhupada on why devotees celebrate Vyasa Puja
“Actually there is no difference between hearing directly from Krishna and hearing directly from Krishna via a bona fide spiritual master like Vyasa. The spiritual master is the representative of Vyasadeva also. Therefore, according to the Vedic system, on the birthday of the spiritual master the disciples conduct the ceremony called Vyasa-puja.”(Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 18.75, purport)
A bona fide spiritual master coming in this line of succession descending from Vyasadeva is considered a representative of Vyasa deva. Srila Prabhupada is the 32nd acharya in this disciplic succession and his disciples observe his appearance day as Vyasa Puja. For the devotees of ISKCON this is the most important festival of the year. Devotees fast till noon. Various items are cooked for offering to the spiritual master, who in turn offers it to Krishna. Devotees read homage offerings written by them to glorify Srila Prabhupada. A grand abhisheka is performed and prasadam is distributed.