To celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of ISKCON Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON New Vrindaban in West Virginia is set to hold the Prabhupada 125 Tournament from Friday September 24th to Sunday September 26th.
The tournament, which will take place at New Vrindaban a month after Prabhupada’s August 31st Appearance Day, will be open to all and will feature a series of exciting prizes for the winner and runners-up. Contestants should register here, and will have nearly two months to study Srila Prabhupada’s life, achievements and his favorite most-oft quoted verses to prepare. Questions will be derived mostly from Prabhupada’s official biography Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita, as well as from A Bond of Love: Srila Prabhupada and His Daughters.
New Vrindaban Communications Director Anuradha Dasi, who is organizing the tournament, felt it would be a fun way to incentivize people to learn about Srila Prabhupada and the unique position he holds in the life of every ISKCON devotee, both now and for generations to come, as our Founder-Acharya.
“As they say, to know someone is to love them,” she explains. “Personally, I was really convinced to become a devotee thirty years ago when I read Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita. And as soon as I read it, I was convinced that other people would become devotees too if they read it. During the book distribution marathon of 1992, I got a big donation, and subsidized the sale of Lilamritas, so that I could sell them for half price. That way, I distributed hundreds of Lilamritas for the marathon that year.”
She adds: “Shortly after, in 1996, my guru Giriraja Swami assigned me to the Centennial office in Delhi, where I was part of the efforts to organize the celebrations for Srila Prabhupada’s 100th birth anniversary. Now that the 125th anniversary is here, I feel the same sentiment inspired, and am thinking how can I, in my small little way, bring people closer to knowing Srila Prabhupada.”
The Prabhupada 125 Tournament contestants will be divided into two teams, and will answer questions in a series of elimination rounds, with the winners of each round competing against each other until an overall winner prevails. There will be no age limit or separate age brackets.
Simultaneously, as the elimination rounds take place, the Prabhupada Weekend will immerse attendees in Srila Prabhupada katha. In the mornings, everyone will watch historical videos of Srila Prabhupada giving lectures at New Vrindaban in place of the usual Bhagavatam class, followed by discussion on the topic. Meanwhile, Srila Prabhupada disciples will share memories of Prabhupada’s visits to New Vrindaban in some of the tirthas, or holy places that he graced with his presence. These include the Old Vrindaban farmhouse where he stayed for 32 days in May/June 1969; Govindaji Hill in Bahulaban, where Srila Prabhupada delivered his Bhagavat Dharma discourses in September 1972; and Srila Prabhupada’s Palace, which devotees built for their beloved spiritual master, and which Prabhupada himself enthusiastically approved and visited in person in July 1974 and June 1976, while it was still under construction.
The tournament will conclude with the finals on Sunday, when the winner will be awarded with a free trip to India for two, for which they can choose their own departure date and airport for an up to 3-month visit. Further runners up will also receive smaller prizes, such as a weekend stay at New Vrindaban or an original drawing of Srila Prabhupada. Attendees can plan to depart around mid-afternoon on Sunday.
“Srila Prabhupada holds such a unique position in ISKCON – whether in 500 years, or one thousand, there will only ever be one Founder-Acharya of ISKCON,” Anuradha says. “And that’s something I always want to promote and help people to understand. Because I feel like by knowing Srila Prabhupada, that will help us whenever we have doubts or concerns. Whenever we’re struggling, we can just go back to the person who started it all, the person who will always be our Founder-Acharya. And that’s such a powerful thing for all of us to hold on to.”
She adds: “So, gear up and study up and make Srila Prabhupada’s 125th anniversary one that you will never forget! Tell everyone you know about the Prabhupada 125 Tournament so they can learn as much as possible about Srila Prabhupada’s glorious life. To know Srila Prabhupada is to love him, and by loving Srila Prabhupada, we will become very dear to Krishna which is the perfection of our lives. ISKCON New Vrindaban is offering this incentive to help everyone deepen their relationship with Srila Prabhupada, our Founder-Acharya, our ever well-wisher, and a friend to all. Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!”
Register for the Prabhupada 125 Tournament here: https://www.newvrindaban.com/prabhupada125-tournament
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