All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

New Year's Eve Weekend of Nectarean Events
Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

by Sadhu Priya Prabhu

On the beautiful northeast coast of New South Wales in Australia, there was a series of glorious festivals over the new year’s 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.

We 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 Dev-Goswami Maharaj.

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 divine effulgence.

Additional pictures from New Year's Day, Sri Govinda Dham, Uki, NSW.

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