the beautiful northeast coast of New South Wales in Australia, there was
a series of glorious festivals over the new years eve weekend, starting
on the Friday night at the scenic coastal town of Byron Bay, where there
was a huge celebration to mark the beginning of a new year.
Everyone was out doing what they do on such an occasion, but here in
Byron there is a BIG difference. As a part of the local council's schedule
for the celebrations, they enlist ISKCON to come and hold a grand Ratha
Yatra (under the title of Roaming Entertainment). There was a huge vigraha
of Sriman Mahaprabhu leading the procession with Lord Jagannath, Srimati
Subhadra Devi and Lord Baladev being towed along behind by one and all,
who were knowingly or unknowingly doing service for the Lord. Earlier
on that evening at the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Asan which is situated
in Byron, there was an inspiring programme held, with devotees from
our mission as well as locals and travellers from abroad attending.
There was a joyful kirtan, then an inspiring talk, followed by chanting
and a sumptuous prasadam feast.
were all fired up with devotional love by this stage, so with Srila Govinda
Maharaj's harmonising spirit in our hearts we went down and joined in
on the parade to praise Their Lordships in this amazing sankirtan procession.
The parade started at 8:30pm, and continued until just before midnight
where it then stopped down by the beach, where we all joined in on chanting
the Holy Names underneath the moon and fireworks.
The next day everyone gathered in the hills at Sri Govinda Dham, to celebrate
the eighth anniversary of the arrival and installation of Sriman Mahaprabhu,
the epicentre of our hearts and mission here in Australia!
The kirtan raised the roof and shook the foundations, as Sriman Mahaprabhu
came alive in the form of the Holy Name, leaving no heart untouched by
the grace and power that this vigraha holds.
There were many beautiful recollections by the devotees of how events
unfolded in the transportation and installation of Sriman Mahaprabhu,
with everyone being able to appreciate the mercy that we have been, and
are continually being, blessed with by His Divine Grace Srila B.S. Govinda
After another earth-shattering kirtan, everyone went out into Mahaprabhu's
incredibly delightful garden and shared in the Lord's remnants, which
could only be described as pure love and devotion coming straight from
the supreme golden hand that gives life to all our souls.
Meanwhile out the front of the temple, there was a very special guest
appearance by Govinda, (a Brahmin Bull) who decided to drop in for a visit
and pay respects, much to the children's delight.
An incredible way to start the first day of the year, with association,
service and gratitude for how truly fortunate we are, may this blessing
of divine love we share be the healing balm to help the world's suffering!
To finish off the weekend, the devotees gathered and held a stall on the
Sunday at the huge local outdoor market in Byron, seeing it as a great
service opportunity to reach out with some hope that is contained within
the messages that our great teachers have offered for our salvation. The
stall got a great response, with the general public feeling very comfortable
in approaching the devotees to discuss life and true universal love, love
that is personified in every action of Srila Govinda Maharaj and Srila
Sridhar Maharaj. May every moment of this new year be guided by their