On the eve of Saturday, the 14th of April 2018, the majestic city of Kanpur witnessed a Mega Youth Program ‘Xpression’ in ISKCON Kanpur under the supervision of Devaki Nandan Das (ISKCON, Zonal secretary). This yearly phenomenon has gained the love and support from the youth of the universities in the vicinity. ISKCON Kanpur has been enlisted under the ‘De-addiction and Value Empowerment Project’ initiated by the Indian Government, hence this event provided the perfect platform for ISKCON Kanpur to inspire the youth and sculpt their character through devotion.
As a matter of fact, the event was scheduled for the eve of 7thof April 2018, but throughout the previous night tumultuous lightning and thunderstorm reigned. Thus, all the arrangements were shattered, materials tattered and broken, sound boxes and gadgets were destroyed, basically everything collapsed. As the sun shined upon Kanpur on the 7thof April, the temple authorities together decided to postpone the entire event to the 14thof April. Hence re-arranging the entire event with the same impact was the biggest challenge. However, the hard-working temple devotees lead by Radha Ranjan Das, Acyuta Mohan Das and Kurma Avatar Das planned, managed and executed the gala event, with double enthusiasm and vigour.
The event commenced with the lighting of lamps at 6 pm, which was followed by a speech by Devaki Nandan Das. He welcomed the dignitaries, chief guests and the youth and expressed his gratitude for all the support they had shown by coming and attending ‘Xpression’. One of the chief guests, Mr. Shishir Nevatia (Chairman, Sun Jewels pvt. Ltd.) also delivered a fine speech. Then began the dance carnival by Prince Dance Group (winners of Indian Talent hunt show), who depicted the Dasavatar or the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Then the youth had the chance to listen to the talk of motivational speaker Gauranga Das. He focused on the topic of the role of peer pressure in falling prey to addiction.
Being a CSR event, not just youth but famous business magnates were also part of the grand fiesta, like B.K Goenka (Chairman, Welspun Group). Mr. B.K Goenka vividly described a three-point success formula which comprised of learning from the mistakes, good association and to be decisive. His speech truly reflected the key to his success which permeated and inspired everyone in the audience.
The event gained momentum when the talented young students of IIT BHU came on the floor to perform a drama on anti-addiction. Furthermore, the world-renowned sand artist Hari Krishna, left the audience awe-struck at his art works with sand. Mr. L. Jayaramulu delivered a strong message to the youth which moved everyone.
Then senior ISKCON leader and GBC member Gopal Krishna Goswami how addiction could be easily dealt with with a tinge of spirituality.
Alongside the gala fiesta, were fun, food and goody stalls for the young ones. On one side there were pizzas, pastas, samosas, burgers, ice-creams, while on the other side were face paintings and game stalls.
But the event finale was the cherry on the cake when the temple president and ISKCON leader, Prem Harinam Das delivered an eloquent and gripping speech. He poignantly spoke, “…Today, all of us can see that the future of India is our youth, who are extremely efficient and promising. Despite being hassled with many problems like various types of drugs, stress etc., yet nobody is aware of this social and national problem. Many people, the government, self-help organizations, etc. are working for this and everyone has the experience that it is not so easy to escape and avoid these habits. But through a very simple way, through devotion, any person can gradually get rid of the oddities……” He continued, “…. ISKCON’s founder Acarya A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had hoisted the Indian culture and serene devotional practices in foreign countries, almost fifty years ago, and the first people to give in were the Hippies…. Hence the power and brilliance of the path of devotion unto the Ultimate Truth is evident. This process of God consciousness or Krishna Consciousness is potent enough to transform a being into his/her best version, by transforming his/her character, virtue and heart….. through Xpression, we are endeavouring to unite the younger generation through spirituality and devotion, inspiring them to let go of societal menaces like drugs and stress and motivating them to live a life as a responsible person and citizen.”
The entire event-organizing team was sceptical about the viability and tangibility of the event. But the turn-out and support of all the chief guests, dignitaries and the youth were overwhelming.
Aug 06, 2022
Brahmatirtha das Director, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies