New Zealand devotees of Lord Krishna will next week be able to experience the Navadvip Mandala Parikrama right here in Auckland as part of the Gaura Purnima festival.

Gaura-Purnima is a Vaisnava festival that occurs usually in March celebrating the divine appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the confidential incarnation of Lord Krishna. Gaura Purnima means "Golden Full Moon", a reference to the golden complexion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
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His followers spend this festival fasting and chanting congregationally, then at moonrise a feast is enjoyed by all. In Navadvip, where Mahaprabhu appeared more than 522 years ago, the festival is preceded by a parikrama around all the places where He performed His pastimes.

ISKCON Auckland wishes to recreate the magic of the annual festival with a special parikrama programme next week.

They would like to invite everyone to participate in the Navadwipa Mandala Parikrama on Saturday, March 19, starting at 6am at the ISKCON temple in Kumeu and concluding by 1pm.

The Parikrama would move along the farm to different strategic locations where everyone would become acquainted with the Lord’s pastimes through dramatic narrations, drama and music.

The Gaura Nitai deities would be taken on a grand palanquin accompanied with the congregational chanting of the Holy name. Breakfast and lunch prasadam would be served. This is a great opportunity to experience Navadvip right here in NZ without having to travel to India.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said that just by performing the Navadvip Parikrama, “all people of the world can be liberated”.

On Sunday, March 20, there would be celebrations all day long. The evening programme will start with kirtans at 4pm followed by an abhishek of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and his associates by anyone desiring to do so.

There would be a short narration of the Lord’s pastimes with a grand abhishek of the Gaura Nitai dieties on the altar performed by qualified brahmanas. Those who have experienced an abhishek before will not want to miss it. This will be followed by prasadam for all.

** In addition to the above, short one-hour programmes are being conducted at various homes from March 12 to 18. In you want to have one at your place please contact Bhakta Ganesh on 09 838-3575. For any seva oppurtunities or to know more about the Gaura Purnima festival, please call Achal Krishna Das on 09 412-8079.

Sri Chaitanya is the Kali-yuga avatara, and He descended for the purpose of establishing the yuga dharma, which in this age is the chanting of Lord Krishna's names. He appeared in the guise of a devotee to perfectly show how the process of devotion should be followed and applied.
It is something like a teacher drawing on the black board "A B C". We should not think the teacher is himself learning the alphabets, but he is doing it to show us how to write properly.

In the Sama Veda, the Lord states: tathaham krita-sannyaso bhu-girbano “vatarisye tire lakanandayah punah punar ishvara-prarthitah sa-parivaro niralambo nirdhuteh kali-kalmasha-kavalita-janavalambanaya.
"To deliver the people devoured by the sins of Kali-yuga, I will, accompanied by My associates, descend to the earth in a place by the Ganges shore. I will be a brahmana avadhuta sannyasi. Again and again I will chant the holy names of the Lord."

The inner purpose of Sri Chaitanya's incarnation was to experience the devotional love that Radharani has for Krishna. He wanted to experience the process of bhakti from the side of the devotee.

In other ages, the Lord incarnates along with His weapons for destroying the demons, but in Kali yuga He shows special mercy to the demons by delivering them with nama-sankirtana. In the Kali-yuga there are practically only demons on this earth, so if the Lord were to kill the demons there would be nobody left. Instead He chose to kill the demoniac tendency within the heart of the demons by giving them Krishna bhakti.

There is a nice description in Caitanya Caritamrita. Lord Krishna thought in Goloka, "I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age; nama-sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord in the form of Lord Gauranga. By accepting the role of a devotee, I shall make the whole world dance in ecstasy, and thus realize the four mellows of loving devotional service.
“In this way, I shall teach devotional service to others by personally practicing it, for whatever a great personality does, common people will follow. Of course, My plenary portions can establish the religious principles for each age, but only I can bestow the kind of loving devotional service which is performed by the residents of Vraja."