By Damodarlila dasa, Maharashtra Padayatra leader
On the day padayatra reached Ankoli village in Solapur district we were graced with the visit of our dear senior godbrother, Acarya dasa, and were much charged up by his presence.
The next day, July 22, was Balaram Jayanti. Our god-sister, Jayashrisita devi dasi, invited us to her house for the celebration and the villagers also called us to a Hanuman temple nearby. Mataji made all the arrangements for abhishek and prasadam and we were joined at her house by Chakradhar dasa and Ekeshwar dasa from Pandharpur and several devotees from Mangalveda.
We all fasted till noon and the celebration began with an abhishek of Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar while sankirtan was going on. Many villagers, senior devotees and Mataji and her family got the honour of abhishek. Balaram is guru tattva and for His pleasure we all sang His glories. Without the mercy of Balaram, we can never get Lord Krishna, just as unless we have the mercy of Srila Gurudev, we can never get Sri Krishna.
After the abhishek, fifty-six bhoga were offered to Their Lordships who were beautifully dressed in a green outfit. Chakradhar gave a wonderful class on the glories of Sri Balaram and Ekeshwar performed sankirtan. We were blessed by their presence in the celebration. More than 100 people honoured prasadam and we distributed chanting beads to all new devotees. A number of children wrote “Hare Krishna maha mantra” 108 times, after which we gifted them chanting beads and they promised they would start chanting regularly.
We all prayed to Lord Balaram, the first expansion of Lord Krishna, to bless us and give us spiritual strength to follow the instruction of our spiritual master and to preach more and sow the seeds of devotion in millions of hearts.
All glories to Lord Balaram.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.