Gaura Purnima, 531st birth anniversary of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was celebrated on Sunday, 12th March. Commemorating the festival, devotees went on Nagar Sankirtan, chanting holy names of Lord Krishna, in the early morning hours at 6:30 a.m.
The evening festival started at 6 pm with Tulasi Puja followed by an elaborate Abhisheka (bathing ceremony) of the Deities of GauraNitai (Lord Chaitanya and His associate Nityananda) along with Arati & Sankirtan. The special feature of the festival was a play performed by a group of young students with the title “Bhakta Vatsala Chaitanya” – based on the pastimes performed by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu during His South Indian Tour. The drama depicted on how Lord Chaitanya, who is the most munificent incarnation of Lord Krishna, made even the animals in Jarikhand forest to chant the holy names of Lord. Further, the drama highlighted the episodes of Lord Chaitanya protecting His devotee Kala Krishnadasa, who was allured by a class of nomadic people called Bhattaharis. Drama also displayed on Lord Chaitanya protecting the devotion of His devotee Ramadasa Vipra, by presenting the evidence from Kurma Purana that Ravana kidnapped only the Maya Sita and the real Mother Sita was protected by Agnideva, who was returned to Lord Ramachandra carefully after killing of Ravana during Agnipariksha. The most confidential form of Lord Chaitanya, who is Krishna Himself in the mood of Srimati Radharani which was displayed to Ramananda Raya was also depicted.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advocated a universal religion for everyone, a scientific process of spiritual awakening and gave an opportunity for spiritual emancipation to all regardless of religion, caste, creed or colour. He inaugurated the Sankirtana movement – the congregational chanting of the Holy Name of Krishna in the form of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Five hundred years ago, He predicted that the chanting of Lord Krishna’s Holy Names would spread throughout the world. This prophecy was fulfilled by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON and the eleventh in the disciplic succession (parampara) of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.