This year the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, organized their second annual World Gita Day celebration on the 18th and 19th of December. The goal of World Gita Day was to make the knowledge of the Gita more accessible, to bring in people from all over the world who appreciate the Bhagavad Gita together.
World Gita Day is part of the Live to Give campaign that the BBT organizes annually around the world as a One World Team working together.
The global broadcast featured performances from many regions including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Thailand, Japan, India, North America, Latin America, Africa, Russia, and Europe. Each segment showcased the impact of the Bhagavad Gita in different areas through various presentations including dramas, videos, songs, cultural dances, children’s performances, and talks by senior devotees.
Devamadhava Das said, “The world needs one scripture and that scripture is Bhagavad Gita.” The program continued as Vaisesika Dasa shared “We are celebrating the fact that there is information in a straightforward and understandable format. We find whoever reads the Gita, loves the Gita. The only problem is that not everyone comes in contact with it. So World Gita Day is the day to unite people all over the world to love the Gita. We are inviting people from everywhere, every organization who appreciate the Bhagavad Gita.”
Devamrita Swami spoke from Australia. “The book allows you to see yourself in clear light and then you can proceed to act with the greatest intelligence.” Bhakta Das from Melbourne took the audience over to an art exhibition based on the Bhagavad Gita.
The next country on the board was Japan. Radhika Raman Das from Tokyo said, “When I am in some kind of difficulty, I always come back to the Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita is really the complete science of devotional service. Sumadhuri Lia Devi Dasi from Thailand began saying, “Although it is a Buddhist country, there is so much of Vedic roots to it. The roads there are named after Lord Rama, Lord Vishnu.”
As they moved to India, various esteemed Vaishnavas like Bhakti Raghav Swami, Jayapataka Swami, and Gopal Krishna Goswami shared their realizations. Bhakti Raghav Swami mentioned how Bhagavad Gita is the main book that has brought and continues to bring so many people to Krishna consciousness. Basu Ghosh Das said, “See, our aim is to distribute Gita but we have to read the Gita and learn the message of the Gita.”
Jayapataka Swami shared, “Actually Lord Chaitanya, He gave three instructions, bolo Krishna, bhojo Krishna, koro Krishna siksha. Prabhupada explained this Bhagavad Gita is Krishna siksha. I told Srila Prabhupada, is this not the beginning book? He said you must study Bhagavad Gita to preach.” Lokanath Swami said, “Gita is Krishna. Bhagavad Gita is non-different from the Lord.”
Day two began with Russia where the Ranga sisters explained how the Bhagavad Gita is not only for India but for the whole world, the message is universal. Srivasa Das from Africa said how Lord Krishna spoke this Bhagavad Gita to His friend Arjuna, but it is meant for the upliftment of humanity.
Divya Nama Dasa from Europe narrated a beautiful story, “Sutapa Prabhu (sankirtan devotee), was once hearing a lecture of Tamal Krishna Goswami and Maharaj was repeatedly emphasizing how one should wish one-pointed attention serve the instructions of the spiritual master. Later when he went out for book distribution, a gentleman came up to him and said that he had read the whole Bhagavad Gita. When Sutapa Prabhu asked him what his favorite verse was, he said, “Eke ha kuru nandanah”. Thereby they realized how they should surrender their lives for spreading the knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita.
Prema Rupa Madhava Das mentioned how one hundred devotees attended the program in Spanish, a great first-time achievement for this program. Judy from China mentioned how she has been searching for the absolute truth and studying various Buddhist scriptures her whole life, but this book (Bhagavad Gita) really has the answer to everything. Ananda Murti Das from North America mentioned how the Bhagavad Gita opened up the personal realization of the Absolute Truth.
The global organizing team worked hard for months leading up to curate the various performances – each with its own flavor. Team Africa put up a thematic presentation on the Bhagavad Gita featuring animations and reflections on the various chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, while Russia showcased the myriad of people who have been influenced by the Bhagavad Gita. Team New Zealand offered a Free Gita Course to the viewers who may be interested – Free Gita and course.
After the two days of programs, the event ended with a short and inspiring speech from Vaisesika Dasa. Saying “we have the goal, and that is to bring the Bhagavad Gita to every continent, to every culture, and society in every language, and we’re starting to do that now. Srila Prabhupada put that into motion, he brought the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, the most important book in the world. And now we’re having it translated. And we’ve got lots of services to do together. We’re just getting started. And we’re feeling our strength as one united team all over the world. We’ll be printing more and more Bhagavad Gita. It will be asking more and more people to participate, and more people will come to Krishna consciousness from reading Bhagavad Gita As It Is, so let’s look forward to 2022 and we can start planning right away for expanding the work that we’ve done so far.”
The true success of this event lay in connecting the global team of devotees in sharing the message of the Gita far and wide. The team spirit, cooperation, and commitment of coming together for a great cause was palpable and everyone felt enthused to return and expand on this global celebration next year. Let’s keep growing!
May 15, 2022
Sunanda Das, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium