All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

 The Third Annual Nabadwip
 'Sri Chaitanya Book Fair'

report by Srimati Jagamohini Devi Dasi of USA

January 2004

"So the eye to see — faith — is necessary. According to the sraddha, the specific character of the Dham as distinct from all other places will come into view, disclosing its real form. Everything depends on sraddha, faith."
Sri Nabadwip-Dham-Mahatmya

In ancient times, the ennead, or group of nine was considered an auspicious number and was often associated with divinity. Here, in the holy dham, we are reminded of the sanctity of the ennead. Srila Guru Maharaj has said that holy Sri Nabadwip Dham is envisaged as a lotus flower. The center of the lotus is Sri Mahaprabhu's place of birth and represents atma-nivedanam or self-surrender. The nine islands, or petals, of the lotus of Sri Nabadwip embody the nine practices of devotional service. Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, being situated on the island of Koladwip, represents pada-sevanam — serving the Lord's lotus feet.

I offer dandavat pranam and recognition to our own group of nine devotees who have offered service to the Lord's lotus feet through seva to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga at the third annual Nabadwip Sri Chaitanya Book Fair which ran from 31st December through the 7th January.

Under the direction of Sripad Acharyya Maharaj, Pandita Devi Dasi and Divya Shakti Devi Dasi prepared our book stall which was double the size of last year's booth. The bookshelves were covered with colorful flowered paper in preparation for displaying the books of our divine Guru-varga. Pandita Devi Dasi designed and decorated the large sign that hung over the stall announcing our presence. All agreed that Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math's sign with its bright lettering and lotus flowers stood out beautifully from all the other stalls.

Divya Shakti Devi Dasi, Pandita Devi Dasi and Haryyananda Prabhu attended the book fair daily and shared the glories of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math by preaching constantly to the local Dham-vasis. In addition, we were graced to have the association and assistance of Sripad Paramahamsa Maharaj, Sripad Tirtha Maharaj, Sripad Acharyya Maharaj, Madhavananda Prabhu, Bhudev Prabhu, Purusottama Prabhu, Aniruddha Prabhu and Jagadananda Prabhu. Their sincerity and scriptural knowledge helped to attract serious enquirers. The temperature continued to drop as the days went on, but the devotees bundled up and tirelessly shared the jewels of divine literature with the seeking souls.

Sripad Acharyya Maharaj arranged for the name 'Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math' to stand out above the main entrance gate this year and he accompanied the Mayor of Calcutta and other dignitaries at the opening of the Book Fair. Inside the entrance gate was a large murti of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and on stage, in the center of the field of stalls, were a number of different programs which included local children's recitations, colorful Indian dancing and musical performances. Several well-know musicians, including Amrit Singh Arara, and Shivaji Chaurji, played devotional and traditional music.

Following the performances in which Sriman Mahaprabhu's Lila was often glorified in song or dance, we would present the books of Sri Gauranga to our visitors. Bestsellers this year were the Bengali editions of Sri Sri Prema Dhama Deva Stotram, Sri Siksastakam and Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta. The visitors heard the message, "You were born in this holy land of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, please take this book so that you might know more about His glories." On the last night we closed with record-breaking success and several devotees received cards of appreciation and affection from the local people.

We remembered that at the Calcutta Book Fair last winter, His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaj visited our bookstall and gave us encouragement along with his divine instruction and example. Upon entering the book stall, His Divine Grace walked over to the display of books which was spread out before us and, in a most reverent and heartfelt manner, touched his head to the books. He reminded us that it was not a business that we were engaging in, but a rare opportunity to share something very high with sincere seekers. So many other stalls were offering books, as well, but our books are not ordinary. They are like precious and multi-faceted jewels compared to so many pieces of colored spiritual gems.

Certainly, here in Nabadwip too, we were blessed to be engaged in this high service, and felt ourselves surrounded by grace in our bookstall. We also felt blessed to each evening return home late to the Math to a warm welcome of roti (chapatis) and hot milk Prasadam affectionately served by Madhu Krishna Prabhu; to cross the road to holy Sri Govinda Kunda where the shining Temples of Sri Giriraj and Sri Sadasiva Gangadhar were almost hidden behind a mist that hung like a gauzy and luminous fabric; to be here in holy Sri Nabadwip Dham; to have the indescribable mercy of Vaisnava association, and to try to offer this small service attempt at the lotus feet of His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaj who has made everything possible. For all this and more, we are always grateful and always indebted.

Bowing my head to the Vaisnavas, and praying that my pride might be melted in their association,
— Jagamohini Devi Dasi

"On the order of Nityananda Prabhu, the Personified Scriptures constantly sing the glories of Nabadwip Dham. By following the advice of saintly devotees and by studying the Scriptures, one can understand the spiritual nature of Nabadwip Dham."
—Sri Nabadwip-Dham-Mahatmya

Book Fair Pictures: Opening Day | First full day | More pictures

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip:
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