chandan alankara prahlada narasimha

The festival of Chandan Yatra for Sri Prahlada Narasimha and Sri Lakshmi Narasimha was observed at ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna Temple, Rajajinagar, and ISKCON Vaikuntha Hill Temple, Vasanthapura, from the Shukla Ekadashi of Vaishakha masa on 19th May 2024, until the day before Sri Narasimha Jayanti. Similarly, the observance for Sri Srinivasa Govinda took place from 28th to 30th May 2024. These observances were a loving remembrance of a pastime of Lord Sri Krishna with His dear devotee, Srila Madhavendra Puri, a sannyasi and Acharya in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. 

The Historical Significance of Chandan Yatra

Srila Madhavendra Puri had installed a Deity of Sri Gopala at Vrindavan. During the summer, the Lord appeared in his dream and requested him to apply Malayan Sandalwood paste from Jagannatha Puri on His archa-vigraha or Deity form to cool Him.

Srila Madhavendra Puri, despite his advanced age, embarked on a selfless journey to Puri on foot, traversing treacherous forests, all for the sake of bringing the Malayan Sandalwood for his beloved Lord.

The Lord was very pleased with his sincere service without consideration of personal inconveniences and had enacted this pastime to show the world how great a devotee he was.

Inspired by Srila Madhavendra Puri’s example, the archakas or pujaris of the temple smeared the archa-vigrahas of Sri Prahlada Narasimha, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha and Sri Srinivasa Govinda with sandalwood paste during the summer, giving the devotees an opportunity to offer their services and have a special Chandan Alankara darshan of the Lord. Devotees also received special Chandan prasadam on this occasion.

The Supreme Lord is atma-rama, meaning self-sufficient, but showers us with opportunities to serve Him out of His boundless kindness. These acts of service, far from benefiting Him, are a means for our own spiritual progress. The Lord yearns for our love, and in His infinite mercy, He reciprocates with us in proportion to our love for Him.