In a Letter to Nityananda-Mayapur on 16 March 1977, Srila Prabhupada writes, “Here in India our Lokanatha Maharaja has successfully organized such a program and it is a great success. He has travelled all over India and everywhere they distribute books, prasadam and perform kirtana, village to village. Each night they stop at a different village. We can introduce many millions of such carts all over the world.”
The objective of padayatra was to accomplish multiple goals through a single activity. On the occasion of International Women’s day uniting all Vaisnavis to spread the holy names, distribute scriptures and dedicate the walk to the soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack.
To create awareness, the organizers printed banners and posted notices through all media including newspapers. The IGF girls and senior ladies Rasamanjari devi dasi and Champakalata devi dasi distributed the pamphlets. Early morning, the Nitai Gaursundar Deities were brought for the padayatra.
At 8:15 am as Amravati temple vice-president Srigovinda dasa welcomed the guests, senior pujari Padmanabha dasa performed a maha arati. Corporate Mrs Surekha Lungare then inaugurated the padayatra by cutting a ribbon and breaking a coconut. All Vaishnavis started the walk in a disciplined way in two lines without creating hindrance to the traffic loudly chanting the holy names.Two IGF girls dressed in lugada, the traditional Marathi sari walked in front holding the banner. All Vaishnavis were dressed in pink saris and wearing pink phetas, the traditional Marathi turban arranged by Samruddhi devi dasi. The Maharashtra police provided the protection along the way.
The padayatra first stopped at a senior devotee Vaidarbhi dasi’s house, where arati was performed by her family. Further along they stopped at Himanshu and Kunjan Ved’s house. They all danced there and the ladies in Kunjan’s family joined them. The family had arranged prasadam for all. IGF girls conducted street plays depicting the importance of the IGF and spiritual life, and thecongregation matajis on the importance of Gita and the holy name.Senior mataji Manlila devi dasi sang bhajans glorifying the holy names in Marathi. The nearby residents came out and had darshan of Their Lordships and sang with them.
Further ahead at Poonam Deshmuk’s house, an arati was performed. Next, they headed for Rukmini Nagar and halted at congregation devotees Arun and Kalpana Bade’s house where they did sankirtan and prasadam was provided by Kalpana.All along the way people were coming forward and offering garlands to Their Lordships. The IGF girls were distributing books, and announcements called ladies to join and chant the holy names. At the final destination Mukundahari and his wife, Janhavi devi dasi, welcomed them with garlands and washed the feet of a few matajis. They also performed arati to Their Lordships and then delicious prasadam was served to everyone.
Many devotees remarked that it was their good fortune to walk with Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar and insisted to organize such padayatra every year on International Women’s day. Thus a tiny attempt to please Srila Prabhupada turned into a big event.
Sep 25, 2022
Archbishop Eric Escala, Continuing Anglican Church
Sep 24, 2022
Sunanda Das, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium