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By His Grace Jaya Sada Gosai Das

To the casual observer, ISKCON Adelaide may appear to be just a fledgling temple; there are not many ashram residents and the congregation is small. But those who spend just a little time either strolling through our expansive gardens, or attending our programs, or serving with our devotees will realize that they have arrived in a very special place. And, when they take darshan of our resplendent Sri-Sri Radha Shyamasundara, they will have no doubt that ISKCON Adelaide's community and especially its leadership are keenly focused on advancing Srila Prabhupada's mission.

Many senior devotees have attested to this fact. Actually, our movement's chief advocate of Srila Prabhupada's primacy, HG Suresvara Prabhu, remarked that ISKCON Adelaide is "very Founder-Acarya conscious." The experience of Vyasa Puja 2015 gave us a clear insight as to why this is so.

Our Yatra keeps Srila Prabhupada firmly in view because we have been blessed with the pervasive influence and special attention of our glorious spiritual master. His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Guru Maharaja has always taken a particular interest in our city and our gorgeous deities. This year's Vyasa Puja festival was a resounding testament to this fact. As usual, a wide range of devotees participated in the celebrations. Disciples, siksha disciples, and well-wishers all thronged together to make Vyasa Puja 2015 a success. Devotees from a myriad of different backgrounds could work together because we have all felt the love and inspirational force of Guru Maharaja on a deeply personal level.

Srila Prabhupada wanted us all to cooperate to maintain and expand his movement. Ordinarily, this would be a very tall order indeed. A society drawn from drastically different cultural groups and formed in the age of kali seems to be an untenable proposition. But, our spiritual master has a knack for turning the untenable into the simply and beautifully natural. It is His intense love for each and every devotee that creates a very strong bond among us. He has touched us all in unique ways- this becomes the driving motivation in our spiritual lives. Because of Guru Maharaja- and the personal relationship he has with us all- we have a common platform. Upon this sturdy platform devotees of all backgrounds may come together to glorify our Founder- Acarya and further his mission. As such, Guru Maharaja once again shows why he is rightfully referred to as Srila Prabhupada's victory flag.

The resilience of ISKCON Adelaide in spite of financial difficulties, manpower shortages and a troubled history are in no small part due to the guidance and inspiration of our glorious Spiritual Master. Moreover, today, we have progressed beyond mere resilience. Our Temple is now attracting a wide range of inquisitive newcomers. They come to listen to classes, dine at our restaurant and listen to some kirtan. But they always have questions. And now, following the lead and mood of Guru Maharaja, we have a solid team of devotees to attend to and spur on these newcomers.

In short, ISKCON Adelaide is experiencing a spiritual renaissance. Our quiet and sometimes dark beginnings have given way to a positive present. Undoubtedly, Guru Maharaja has been the catalyst of this change. It was He who urged our current management to take charge of things and it is He who continues to suffuse our yatra with enthusiasm.

So, Vyasa Puja 2015 was a great opportunity for our diverse community to glorify this great leader of Vaisnavas. Revolutionary Temple President and senior JPS disciple HG Adi Purusa Krsna Prabhu was in Mayapur. Therefore, local celebrations were coordinated by Vice President Satananda Krsna Dasa (JPS). Satananda Prabhu ran a tight ship. He began preparations several days in advance. Grocery lists were checked and rechecked. Devotees even began veggie chopping two nights before.

The morning itself commenced with a well-attended mangala arati. Later we had darshan of Radha Shyamasundara, exquisitely dressed by HG Veda Vyasa Prabhu. Veda Vyasa Prabhu is a disciple of HH Gour Govinda Swami, yet for many years he has fasted on Guru Maharaja's Vyasa Puja day. A Stomping Guru Puja then gave way to Srimad Bhagavatam class. HG Krpalu KrsnaBalaram Dasa Brahmacari (JPS) was saddled with the difficult task of having to discuss family life. Fortunately, some well sourced Guru Maharaja quotes acquitted him beautifully.

Then it was off to the kitchen! Many took the day off work. Even though our numbers are small, the local devotees have got their priorities right. HG Gour Caran Dasa (JPS) oversaw the cooking and everything was done with brisk efficiency. Meanwhile, Yashoda Sakhi DD (GKG) was leading a team of artful Matajis in decorating the temple room. The program followed. Satananda Prabhu opened proceedings with a heartfelt, moving class. In fact, devotees were discussing his class long after the feast was over!!

After the class, the assembled Vaisnavas were given the opportunity to glorify Guru Maharaja. The ensuing hour saw laughter, jubilation, fervent requests, gasps of surprise and tears of gratitude. What emerged very clearly from this session was the fact that our Spiritual Master is not an ordinary person. He has an intensely personal connection with each one of us. He remembers us all. He knows what we really want and He knows what we really need. And, in spite of all his physical difficulties, He is ever ready to give us personal attention.

Also, as mentioned above, the glorifications highlighted Guru Maharaja's special interest in the Adelaide yatra. Devotees shared some remarkable pastimes of how Guru Maharaja would often single out our local devotees in large international crowds. Added to this, Guru Maharaja's eagerness to return to Adelaide time and again always sharpens our focus to carry out his instructions and become more serious. All the same, the glorifications stressed our lack of qualification and how Guru Maharaja's mercy carries everything. On this note of gratitude, the program was concluded with a raucous kirtan and sumptuous feast.

While the devotees honoured prasadam, conversation centred around Guru Maharaja's glories and His inestimable compassion. Really, it was a kind of Samadhi!! In all existence, there is nothing better to meditate upon than Guru Maharaja's mercy.

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