On December 31, 2016, students and faculty from the Māyāpur Institute ended the year on a very festive and auspicious note. The day was filled with parikrama to holy places, sadhu sanga with senior devotees, hearing about the Lord’s pastimes, kīrtan and harinām, and of course, delicious prasādam!
Leaving from the ISKCON Māyāpur campus right after guru-pūjā, students enjoyed breakfast prasādam on their way to Nṛsiṁha Palli, which translates to “the village of Lord Nṛsiṁha”. There is a temple of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva here. This temple is famous since Satya-yuga when Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva came here to wash the blood from His hands and to take rest after bestowing His mercy on Prahlāda by killing his demoniac father Hiraṇyakaśipu. Eager to take association of the Lord, the demigods also came here and established their kuṭirs in the surrounding area. In addition to singing Nṛsiṁha prayers and taking darśan of the beautiful Nṛsiṁha deity, devotees had the opportunity to hear about Lord Nṛsiṁhadev’s pastimes from HG Jananivās Prabhu.
Next, devotees visited the home of Śrīla Sāraṅga Ṭhākur in Māmgāchi and took darśan of the deities, which he personally worshipped. Here, the devotees held a beautiful kīrtan and HH Bhakti Nityānanda Swami Maharaj described the pastimes of Śrīla Sāraṅga Ṭhākur and Śrī Vāsudeva Datta. Having heard the pastimes of Śrī Vāsudeva Datta, a harinām procession then led devotees to see the remnants of his home. After a quick stop here, the harinām continued to the birthplace of Śrīla Vrndāvana Das Ṭhākur and ended with an enthusiastic kīrtan at the temple. Śrīla Vṛndāvan Das Ṭhākur is the incarnation of Śrīla Vyāsadev, who compiled the Caitanya Bhāgavata, which is filled with the glories of Lord Nimāi’s childhood pastimes. After taking part in bhoga-ārati, HG Jananivās Prabhu spoke in detail about the pastimes of both Śrīla Vṛndāvan Das Ṭhākur and Lord Caitanya. Before leaving the temple, HG Jananivās Prabhu presented Śrīla Prabhupāda’s lotus feet gifts to three students who had donated funds towards the construction of the new Māyāpur Institute campus.
Finally, students returned to the buses ready to return back to ISKCON Māyāpur. On the way back, however, devotees were treated to a surprise as the buses made a spontaneous stop to see Haṁsa-vāhān. Haṁsa-vāhān refers to Lord Śiva travelling on Lord Brahma´s swan carrier. On one particular occasion, Lord Śiva was very eager to hear Gaura-līlā at Naimiṣāraṇya. His bull (Nandī), however, could not travel fast enough and thus he borrowed Lord Brahma’s swan. After taking darśan and hearing about this pastime from HG Padmānayaṇa Prabhu, devotees continued on their way back to the main campus, where they were treated to delicious lunch prasādam on the terrace of the Māyāpur Institute in Caitanya Bhavan building. It was truly a beautiful way to end the year, engaged in hearing and chanting the Lord’s glories, associating with devotees, and honoring prasādam.