Panihati Festival celebrations on Sunday, May 31st
Post date: May 29, 2015 2:36:56 AM
Panihati festival is celebrated in observance of a sweet and wonderful pastime between Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami and Sri Nityananda Prabhu. There is a special offering made of chipped rice, condensed milk, fruits and yogurt made and distributed on this day. There will be discourse by Sri Chanchalapathi Prabhu. Please attend this and learn about the importance of this pastime, participate in wonderful Arati and sumptuous lunch Prasadam!
More about Panihati festival :
Panihati is a place located in the state of West Bengal, on the banks of Ganges (10 miles north of Calcutta). It was one of the leading trade centers in earlier days when the river route was the main means of communication. A special rice variety called Peneti was imported at this place from Jessore in East Bengal. Probably the name Panihati might have been derived from this trade connection. Once upon a time this place was the center of worship of the Buddhist Tantrics and the Kapalikas. But later, in the sixteenth century, when Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared to propagate the Sankirtana Movement, Panihati became a major center of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. The residential quarters of Sri Raghava Pandita (one of the associates of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) still exists in Panihati.
The Festival of Punishment
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Sridhama Mayapura (a quarter in the city of Navadvipa) in Bengal, in the year 1486 AD. The purpose of His incarnation was to establish the yuga-dharma – the congregational chanting the holy names of the Lord. Lord Balarama appeared as Nityananda Prabhu, and many other eternal associates of the Lord appeared at that time to join the mission of the Lord. Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami was one of them.
Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami was a devotee of the highest order. He displayed a spirit of renunciation and detachment from the material world at a very early age. He wanted to leave home and join Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in His mission. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked him not to do so and assured that Krishna would deliver him soon from the clutches of maya. Two years later, Nityananda Prabhu came to Panihati and stayed there. Raghunatha dasa, who was staying in the nearby village of Srikrishnapura took permission from his father Govardhan Mazumdar and went to Panihati to meet Nityananda Prabhu.
At Panihati, he saw Nityananda Prabhu sitting on a rock under a banyan tree on the bank of the Ganges. He was surrounded by many devotees. Raghunatha dasa was hesitant to approach the Lord and paid obeisances from a distance. But some of the devotees noticed him and informed Nityananda Prabhu. Nityananda Prabhu called Raghunatha dasa and said “Raghunatha dasa! You are hiding like a thief. Now I have caught hold of you. Come here. I shall punish you today.’’ Then Lord Nityananda forcibly caught him and put His lotus feet on Raghunatha’s head. He ordered Raghunatha to celebrate a big festival and serve all the devotees – yogurt and chipped rice.
Raghunatha dasa immediately sent his men to the nearby villages to purchase all kinds of eatables. They brought chipped rice, milk, yogurt, sweetmeats, bananas, sugar and other eatables. The chipped rice was soaked in milk. Half of that was then mixed with yogurt, sugar and bananas. The remaining half was mixed with condensed milk and flavored with clarified butter and camphor. All the devotees received two earthen pots, one with chipped rice mixed with yogurt and another with chipped rice mixed with condensed milk.
The Chida-dahi Mahotsava is celebrated every year in commemoration of this wonderful pastime. This festival is also known as Danda Mahotsava (the Festival of Punishment) It is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the bright moon in the month of Jyeshta (May-June). To this day, pilgrims visit Panihati to celebrate the Chida-dahi Festival.