After more than 530 years, Lord Nityananda Prabhu in the form of His Padukas from Sridhama Mayapur has paid His first visit to Bangladesh due to the prayers and calling of His Holiness Jayapataka Maharaja and the sincerity, devotion, love and eagerness for His darshan by all the devotees. Jayapataka Maharaja has inspired and instilled such love in the hearts of everyone that this historic visit of Nitai could take place and it will be noted in Gaudiya Vaishnava history. It is also noteworthy that many of our purva acharyas are also from Bangladesh and have brought glory to this area, once a part of India.
The TOVP Tour, led by His Holiness Bhakti Caru Maharaja and Bhakti Purushottama Maharaja and accompanied by Braja Vilasa prabhu, visited only three Bangladesh temples, Sylhet, Chittagong and Dhaka. Yet thousands of devotees from all over Bangladesh, where there are over 70 temples, attended the ecstatic programs with great enthusiasm and happiness.
Lead by Lord Nityananda’s Padukas (divine shoes) and Lord Nrsimha’s Satari (divine helmet), these visits were truly miraculous and never before have we experienced such a grand welcome and reception, and huge attendance. From the airport convoys of vehicles, bicycles and hundreds of devotees performing kirtan and waving Vaishnava flags, to the specially designed and ornate welcome gates, to the beautifully decorated roads, to the elephant processions, these receptions were truly befitting the Supreme Lord coming to bless the devotees and give His darshan.
Hundreds of thousands of devotees and congregation attended the programs for abhisheka, arati, kirtan and prasadam, and the entire atmosphere at each event was like a Vaikuntha festival. The enthusiasm of all the participants was overwhelming and each and every devotee subsequently sponsored a Square Foot for the TOVP. Each of the three temples also sponsored a Kirtanam Pillar in the TOVP, and in the end we raised over $1 million in pledges. All in all this was truly a miracle when you consider that we were in a poor country under Muslim rule. Srila Prabhupada is certainly smiling down upon everyone and bestowing his blessings.
We wish to especially thank His Holiness Jayapataka Maharaja for being the inspiration behind our success. All the devotees are completely dedicated to his service and desire to complete the TOVP and love him with all their hearts. Although not physically present, everyone could feel his spirit and influence.
We are also grateful to His Holiness Bhakti Caru Maharaja and His Holiness Bhakti Purushottama Maharaja for their support and help in making this tour a grand success. And special thanks go to Naru Gopal, Bangladesh Regional Secretary, for his oversight and implementation of the entire tour. Finally we wish to thank all the Bangladesh leaders such as His Holiness Bhakti Advaita Navadvipa Maharaja, His Holiness Bhakti Binaya Maharaja, His Grace Jagat Guru Gauranga prabhu, His Grace Charu Chandra prabhu, His Grace Bhagavat Karuna prabhu, His Grace Devarshi Srivas prabhu, His Grace Chinmay Krishna prabhu, and His Grace Jyotiswar Gour prabhu for their incredible job at organizing and promoting the programs, and complete cooperation and support. They spent lakhs of rupees on promotion, buses to bring devotees, accommodations and prasadam at their own expense. We wish to also thank His Grace Alai Govinda prabhu from the Mayapur Land Department for his special assistance.
Finally, although unable to be present, Ambarisa prabhu was so happy to hear about the Bangladesh Tour and he thanks Jayapataka Maharaja, the Bangladesh leaders and all the devotees for their enthusiastic participation and devotion to Srila Prabhupada and the TOVP.
All glories to Jayapataka Maharaja, the Bangladesh yatra and all the devotees!
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