panihati 2024

Panihati Chida-dahi Mahotsava, also known as Danda Mahotsava (The Festival of Punishment), was celebrated at ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna Temple, Rajajinagar, on 20 June 2024, the Trayodashi tithi, or thirteenth day of the Shukla paksha, or waxing phase of the moon in the Jyeshta masa (May-June), to commemorate Lord Nityananda’s special benediction on the great devotee Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami, one of the revered six Gosvamis of Vrindavana.

The celebration began with a royal Pallakki procession, carrying the utsava vigrahas of Sri Sri Nitai Gauranga to the temple’s kalyani. An elaborate Abhisheka, accompanied by the chanting of Vedic mantras and Harinama Sankirtana, was performed.

Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa, Senior Vice President of the temple, spoke about the spiritual significance of the festival. He delved into the life of Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami, who was born around 1494 AD into a wealthy landlord family in Saptagram near the Hooghly River in West Bengal. Despite his family’s wishes for him to continue their legacy, Raghunatha Dasa was profoundly uninterested in worldly affairs. He yearned to join the Sankirtana movement of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Upon hearing that Lord Nityananda had arrived in Panihati, Raghunatha Dasa left home to meet the Lord and His associates. Lord Nityananda, known as prakasha-tattva (one who reveals Lord Chaitanya to the fallen souls), greeted Raghunatha Dasa humorously, calling him a thief for hiding. He placed His lotus feet on Raghunatha Dasa’s head. He playfully declared that Raghunatha Dasa should feed the devotees Chida-dahi prasadam (chipped rice mixed with yoghurt, condensed milk, and various fruits and sweets) as a ‘punishment.’ Raghunatha Dasa gladly accepted this task. 

Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa concluded his talk quoting Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura, 

āra kabe nitāi-cānda karuṇā koribe

saṁsāra vāsanā mora kabe tuccha

If we get the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, all our saṁsāra vāsanā, all our material desires which keeps us in this material world will go away,” encouraging the devotees to seek the blessings of Lord Nityananda and Lord Chaitanya to forget material desires and engage in Their service, just as Raghunatha Dasa did.

Following this inspiring speech, the utsava vigrahas of Sri Sri Nitai Gauranga were offered a Nauka Vihara seva (boating service) in the kalyani, accompanied by Harinama Sankirtana. The event was made even more joyous with the distribution of Chida-dahi prasadam to all gathered devotees. The festival concluded with a breakfast prasadam, leaving the visiting devotees spiritually enriched and blissful.

Watch the entire celebration: