Chandan Sringar of Lord Sri Krishna Under the spiritual guidance of the President His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhakti Sundar Sanyasi Goswami Maharaj

Under the spiritual guidance of His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhakti Sundar Sanyasi Goswami Maharaj, President and Acharya of the Gaudiya Mission, and under the benign management of the Governing Body of the Gaudiya Mission, a sacred 21-day Chandan Sringar festival honoring Lord Sri Krishna will grace the premises of the Gaudiya Mission in Bagbazar, Kolkata from the 10th to the 30th of May 2024.

In the golden age of Satyayuga, the venerable Lord Jagannath imparted divine instruction to Sri Indradyumna, the king of Puri, urging the ritualistic adornment of His idol with the sacred paste of sandalwood commencing from the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya. Across the ages, this tradition has transcended time, finding resonance even in the present era of Kaliyuga. Here, it is believed that Sri Giridhari Gopala, presently enshrined in Nathdwara, Rajasthan as Sri Nathji, conveyed a similar divine directive to Sri Madhavendrapuri, the spiritual master of Sri Ishwarpuri, who in turn was the spiritual preceptor of the illustrious Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Since then, the Chandan Yatra Mahotsava has been celebrated annually with unparalleled grandeur, evoking profound devotion and reverence.

As the scorching heat of summer envelops the land, the ritualistic application of sandalwood paste during Chandan Sringar imparts a cooling sensation to the divine form of Lord Sri Krishna. Devotees, in their fervent devotion, engage in various acts of worship, including the covering of the Lord’s idol with sandalwood paste, the donation of sandalwood, or simply beholding the Lord adorned in Chandan Sringar-Vesh with unwavering devotion. It is believed that through these acts, devotees find absolution from the three afflictions and ultimately attain liberation, transcending mortal confines to reach the eternal abode of the Divine.

Within the tranquil sanctum of the Gaudiya Mission, devotees congregate, their hearts brimming with love and reverence for the Supreme Lord. Amidst the melodious chants and the fragrant aroma of incense, the atmosphere becomes imbued with divine grace, enveloping all who partake in the sacred festivities. Here, amidst the chants of “Hare Krishna” and the rhythmic beats of the mridangam, devotees embark on a spiritual journey, seeking communion with the divine essence that permeates all existence.

The Chandan Sringar festival serves as a sacred pilgrimage for the soul, a journey of self-discovery and transcendence. As devotees immerse themselves in the divine presence of Lord Sri Krishna, their hearts overflow with devotion, their minds liberated from worldly attachments. In this sacred communion, the boundaries between the devotee and the divine dissolve, and all that remains is the pure essence of love and devotion.

As the sacred festival draws to a close, the echoes of devotional hymns linger in the air, reverberating through the halls of the Gaudiya Mission. Yet, the essence of the Chandan Sringar festival remains etched in the hearts of devotees, a timeless reminder of the eternal bond between the divine and the devotee, transcending time and space, guiding souls towards the ultimate destination – the eternal abode of Lord Sri Krishna.

Lord Jagannath, in his divine wisdom, instructed King Indradyumna to perform a sacred ritual: the covering of his idol with sandalwood paste. This gesture, steeped in devotion and reverence, holds profound significance, especially during the scorching heat of the Vaishakh month in India. Sandalwood, known for its cooling properties, serves as a soothing balm for the Lord’s divine form, offering respite from the sweltering temperatures.

The auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya, when the Chandan Yatra first commenced, marks not only the beginning of this revered festival but also heralds the start of the Treta Yuga, an epoch of great significance in Hindu cosmology. It is on this auspicious day that the sacred river Ganga descended to Earth from the matted locks of Lord Shiva, bestowing blessings and sanctity upon the terrestrial realm.

Delving into the timeless tales of the Mahabharata, we encounter the clandestine sojourn of the five Pandavas at King Virata’s palace. Amidst their disguise, King Virata, yearning for a divine vision, sought the presence of Lord Krishna alongside the Pandavas. In a gesture of devotion and reverence, Yudhistira proposed a boat journey or Yatra to amuse the Lord. Pleased by this heartfelt devotion, Lord Krishna, accompanied by Balarama, graced the Yatra with his divine presence, illuminating the waters with his effulgent glory. This sacred journey stands as a testament to the enduring bond between devotee and deity, where devotion transcends mortal barriers to manifest the divine.

Every year, the tranquil shores of Narendra Sarovar in Puri bear witness to the Chandan Vihar, a cherished tradition where devotees gather to pay homage to the deities of Lord Jagannath. Here, amidst the serene waters and sacred ambiance, devotees immerse themselves in the divine presence, offering prayers and seeking blessings from the eternal lords.

Another legend transports us to the mystical realm of devotion embodied by Sri Madhavendrapuri, a venerable Gaudiya-Vaishnav devotee. Enveloped in divine visions, Sri Madhavendrapuri unearthed the sacred murti of Lord Gopala buried amidst the verdant jungles near Govardhan hill. In a subsequent dream, Lord Gopala beckoned Sri Madhavendrapuri to procure sandalwood from Puri, seeking solace and comfort for his divine form. Embarking on this sacred quest, Sri Madhavendrapuri journeyed to Puri and returned with sandalwood paste, adorning the murti of Lord Gopala with utmost devotion and reverence.

The devotees of Lord Krishna, imbued with genuine sincerity and devotion, cherish every relic left behind by the Lord as a token of his divine grace. Whether it be a garland, sandal paste, or any sacred offering, each embodies the essence of the divine, evoking profound reverence and devotion in the hearts of devotees. Eager to serve their beloved Lord, devotees embrace the sacred duty of smearing the body of Sri Krishna with sandalwood paste, a gesture imbued with selfless devotion and unwavering dedication.

In the sanctified realm of worship, the ritualistic smearing of the idol of Lord Jagannath with sandalwood paste transcends mundane boundaries, offering solace and redemption to devotees afflicted by spiritual, material, and supernatural afflictions. As the fragrant paste adorns the divine form of the eternal, omniscient, and ever-blissful Lord Jagannath, it serves as a conduit for divine blessings, bestowing upon devotees the grace and mercy of the divine.

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