Around 10,000 college students from all over U.P., India’s largest state, are expected for the mega youth event Xpression: The Festival of Gratitude on April 9th in Kanpur.
As its name suggests, the festival, held in celebration of ISKCON’s 50th anniversary, will be to express gratitude for Srila Prabhupada and all ISKCON devotees. It will also aim to educate youth about Srila Prabhupada’s contribution to society and inform them about ISKCON’s current activities.
It will be held inside Kanpur’s majestic Sri Sri Radha Madhav Mandir, which at 160,000 square feet is the second-largest ISKCON temple in the world after the society’s headquarters in Mayapur.
Youth new to Krishna consciousness will be attending from major U.P. cities such as Allahabad, Varanasi, Lucknow, and of course Kanpur. Most will have been invited through presentations by devotees at their colleges.
“We are holding the festival inside the temple so that they can all come and take darshan of Sri Sri Radha Madhav and Srila Prabhupada,” says co-organizer Priya Govinda Das.
At the event, Krishna conscious philosophy will be presented through several performances and talks.
Students from IIT BHU, a college in Varanasi, will perform a musical drama on how Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON in the Western World, helping many people to transform their lives for the positive and leave their destructive habits behind.
Meanwhile, devotee students from IIT Kharagpur will enact a shadow dance on the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. There will be a video presentation about Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON’s contributions to the world. An international group will perform Mantra Rock, getting the audience to chant along. And there will be a talk by zonal secretary Devakinandana Das about the Westernization of India.
“The youth of India are very much looking forward to Westernization, but when it comes they are getting frustrated,” Priya Govinda says. “So we are saying that the youth of India should take up their own culture, based on the Bhagavad-gita. And that will make them happy and satisfied, rather than going towards Westernization too much.”
There will also be competitions related to spiritual topics, followed by kirtan, and prasadam (sanctified vegetarian food) for everyone.
Upon leaving, every youth will be gifted with a small booklet biography of Srila Prabhupada. They’ll also fill out a questionnaire to let devotees know which of ISKCON Kanpur’s ongoing courses on the Bhagavad-gita and personal development they would like to take in the future.
“We hope that the unique ambience they experience at the temple, and our down-to-earth presentation of spirituality, will inspire them to chant Hare Krishna and read Prabhupada’s books along with their studies,” says Priya Govinda.
While Xpression is the first festival of its kind, Kanpur devotees hope to hold it annually from now on, with increasingly large numbers of youth attending.[ gratitude ] [ youth ] [ Kanpur ]