Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Nashik Sadhu Sanga 2023 Hosts 1,000 Devotees
By Aseem Krishna Das   |  Jan 12, 2024

Ramlila group with Subhag Swami Maharaja.

This year’s Sadhu Sanga program, organized by disciples of HH Subhag Swami Maharaja, was held from 30th December 2023 to 4th January 2024 at Janardan Swami Ashram in Nashik, Maharashtra. Each year, Maharaja selects a different place for the Sadhu Sanga program, and this time, it was the Nashik Dham.

Disciples of Subhag Swami Maharaja gathered from different parts of India and abroad to receive the association and celebrate the 84th Vyasa Puja ceremony of their beloved spiritual master, as well as nurture their devotional lives. About 1,000 devotees participated in the gathering.

Lord Rama, Lord Laxmana, and Mother Sita spent part of their exile at the Panchavati Forest located in Nashik. Panchavati was the most beautiful forest located beside the holy river Godavari. We can read its description in the Ramayana. The Supreme Lord displayed various pastimes at Nashik Dham. The devotees got an opportunity to visit some of these pastime places, which included the Kalaram temple, the cave where Mother Sita lived, and the place where Lakshmana cut the nose of Shurpanakha, the sister of Ravana. Devotees also took a bath in Godavari.

Organization of an event on such a large scale is always a challenge. Many devotees had been visiting Nashik for many months in preparation. Many guest houses, hotels, and dharamshalas were booked to accommodate all the devotees. Buses were hired to take devotees to and from the venue. The monumental gathering required different departments like the cooking department, decoration and stage setup department, fund collection department, purchasing department, devotee care department, accommodation department, and transportation department. Different devotees volunteered to serve in these different areas. All of these services went on smoothly.

The devotees started their day with the mangal arti followed by japa. We were fortunate to hear daily the morning Bhagavatam class from our spiritual master, Subhag Swami Maharaja. Maharaja also wanted to check if his disciples were following correctly the regulations of devotional life. He promptly answered all our doubts. During the daytime, seminars were delivered by other senior devotees on topics like book distribution and Vaishnava etiquette. Programs for children, like drawing competitions and sloka recitations, were also arranged. Maharaja gave all the young participants special gifts. A wonderful drama performance in the evening on Ramayana stole the show. The devotees immersed themselves in their roles and brought Ramlila alive. Everyone, along with Maharaja, sat with their eyes glued to the stage. Their performance had no parallels.

Subhag Swami Maharaja (center) with some of the cast of the Ramlila drama.

Finally, 4th January 2024 was the day of the Vyasa Puja. Many senior Prabhupada disciples and sannyasis participated in the Vyasa Puja ceremony. HG Jananivas Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada’s disciple, Head Pujari, ISKCON Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir, HG Mahaman Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada’s disciple, Zonal Secretary and Temple President ISKCON Indore, HG Bhima Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada’s disciple, BBT India in-charge, HG Amiya Vilas Swami, Srila Prabhupada’s disciple, presently staying at ISKCON Khargar, Navi Mumbai, HH Bhakti Prema Swami, ISKCON Ujjain, HH Ananta Krishna Das Goswami, ISKCON Juhu, HG Jaydev Prabhu, Director ISKCON Food For Life Program, HG Damodar Prabhu, GEV, HG Krishnadhan Prabhu, Temple President ISKCON Nashik, HG Parthsarthi Prabhu, Temple President ISKCON Pandharpur among others honoured us by their presence. Pisima, the dear sister of Subhag Swami Maharaja, also attended all the programs.

All these speakers glorified Srila Prabhupada and also spoke about the role of the spiritual master in our devotional life. HG Jananivas Prabhu and HG Mahaman Prabhu especially shared the nectarean pastimes of Srila Prabhupada in London. HG Bhima Prabhu spoke about the importance of surrendering to the spiritual master and recalled a beautiful pastime of Srila Prabhupada related to HG Brahmananda prabhu. HG Amiya Vilas Swami shared the teachings of the Goswamis of Vrindavan and the teachings of our previous Acharyas. Subhag Swami Maharaja instructed that we should take the instructions of our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, and the previous acharyas, the pure devotees paramhamsas in our parampara as our life and soul, like our breathing, without which we cannot live and this is our goal, and that will bring us all success.

Srila Prabhupada has said, “The bona fide spiritual master is called Vyāsa because he is a representative of Vyāsa. Worshiping the birthday of such a spiritual master is called Vyāsa-pūjā” (CC Antya 20.82p).

The glorification was followed by the Abhishek of Srila Prabhupada and the offering of 108 bhoga offerings to the Lordships and the guru parampara, which was followed by the artik. In the final offering, Subhag Swami Maharaja sang transcendental kirtan and made everyone dance in ecstasy. All the godbrothers, Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, honoured the Lord’s prasadam separately, remembering their intimate pastimes with Srila Prabhupada. The rest of the devotees also honoured the Lord’s wonderful prasadam. The atmosphere was joyful, and everyone had a big smile on their face.

This program gave all devotees an opportunity to associate with senior Vaishnavas. It provided them with a chance to personally associate with their spiritual master and free themselves of all their shortcomings to practice their devotional life with renewed vigor. We humbly thank Subhag Swami Maharaja for laying the foundation for such programs and also all the other senior Vaishnavas who spared their precious time and joined the program. We are grateful to all.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

To see more photos from the event, click here.