On the occasion of ‘Narottama Purnima’, the birth anniversary of Prema Bhakti Mahajan Srila Narottama Das Thakur Mahasaya a festivity was held in Kheturi Dham, Godagari, Rajshahi, Bangladesh. According to Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabu left behind his Krishna-prema through Padmavati, the river Padma flowing by the side of Prematali, an auspicious holy place for the Vaishnavas.
At the age of twelve, Narottama dasa Thakura had a vision of Lord Nityananda in a dream. He told Narottama to take bath in the Padma River whereupon he would receive love of God. Following the instructions of Lord Nityananda, Narottama bathed in the Padma, and the Goddess of the river appeared and on the order of Lord Caitanya, gave him pure love of Godhead. The color of his body changed into gaura (yellowish) from blackish.
Inspired by Jayapataka Swami, the national committee of ISKCON Bangladesh and the senior devotees Navadvipa Dvija Gauranga Das Brahmacari, vice-president, ISKCON, Bangladesh, Caru Candra Das Brahmacari, secretary, ISKCON, Bangladesh, Patituddharana Gaura Das Brahmacari, Premranjan Das Brahmacari arranged a grand program for the first time in Kheturi Dham. ISKCON devotees of nearby districts Rajshahi, Natore, Chapai Nawabganj, Dhaka, Pabna, Naogaon, Kustia, Sirajganj and Jhenidah gathered there for the observance of festival. A number of devotees from ISKCON Natore and students of Rajshahi University guided by Namaprema Das Brahmacari volunteered for different services during the program.
The festivities were held in the Gaurangabari Temple, where Narottama Das Thakur installed six deities in the occasion of Gaura Purnima (Kheturi Mahotsav) in the presence of Jahnava Mata and other senior Vaishnavas living that time.
Devotees started Harinam sankirtan very early in the morning. As the time passed by, the number of devotees started growing. At 11 am, the number of devotees crossed thousand. Then Maha-abhisekam of Narottama Das Thakur was done with the chanting of the Holy Name and bhajans written by Him. Thereafter, rajbhoga was offered with various items. Devotees fasted for half of the day, then delicious Krishna prasadam of rice, spinach, mixed vegetables and dal was served to the devotees on banana- and lotus-leaf plates.
The pandal was full to the brim during the afternoon session. Kirtaniyas sang the bhajan of Narottam Das Thakur Mahasaya in East-Bengal style for 2 hours. Then Patituddharan Gaura Das gave a full discourse on the life and teachings of Thakur Mahasaya and the glory of Padmavati River. Then, devotees were enchanted by the melodious chanting of Hare Krishna mahamantra by Navadvipa Dvija Gauranga Das and Subha Nitai Das.
In the evening, devotees moved to Prematali, the location where Narottama Das Thakur received Krishna-prema. They circumambulated the ancient Tamala tree there. In the courtyard of the Prematali temple, a drama on Thakur Mahasaya’s early life was staged. Then the wave of ecstatic kirtan melted the hearts of assembled devotees.
This day was also marked auspicious as there was lunar eclipse in the evening. The transcendental mellow of kirtan engrossed everyone during the eclipse time. As soon as the eclipse time ended and full moon of Magha Purinma illuminated the riverbank, devotees bathed in the sacred water of the Padmavati River with ecstatic Harinam Sankirtan to get Krishna-prema.[ bangladesh ] [ kethuri ] [ narottama ]