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Gaura Purnima is the auspicious appearance day of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (who is also known as Gauranga due to His golden complexion), and this year we celebrate the 530th anniversary of His appearance on March 23, 2016. This festival also marks the beginning of the new year for Gaudiya Vaishnavas. On this day, devotees fast till moon rise.
The Supreme Lord Sri Krishna appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to establish Sankirtana Movement – the yuga dharma for this age of Kali. He appeared on Phalguni Purnima (the full moon day in the month of Phalguna) in the year 1486 AD (1407 Shakabda) at Sridham Mayapura as the son of Sri Jagannath Mishra and Srimati Sachidevi. His parents named him Nimai since the child was born under a nimba (neem) tree in the courtyard of His paternal house.
The Supreme Lord Sri Krishna wanted to personally inaugurate the sankirtana movement and teach us how to perform devotional service through His personal example. So He appeared as a devotee (bhakta rupa) accepting the mood of Radharani (the top-most devotee of the Lord). His appearance day is celebrated as Gaura Purnima.
At Hare Krishna Movement,Hyderabad the festival starts at 6:00 PM. The utsava Deities of Sri Sri Nitai Gauranga are carried in a pallaki decorated with varieties of flowers, in a procession. Devotees perform maha sankirtana to please the Supreme Lord. The hare krishna maha-mantra vibrates in every corner of the temple.
After the procession, the Deities of Nitai Gauranga (Lord Nityananda and Lord Chaitanya) receive a grand abhishekam. The Deities are first bathed with panchamrita (Milk, Curd, Ghee, Honey and Jaggery Water) and then with panchagavya (Milk, Curd, Ghee, water mixed with Cow Urine and Cow dung) followed by various fruit juices. Devotees chant a special hymn – Brahma-Samhita – the original text of which was recovered by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself from the temple of Adi Keshava in Thiruvattaru. A grand arati is performed while the devotees sing Gaura Arati – a song composed by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. After that the Deities are bathed with sanctified water from 108 kalashas as the devotees chant the Purusha Shukta prayers. They then receive a wonderful offering of 56 dishes (Chappan Bhoga).
After the abhishekam and offering, shayana arati is performed, to the accompaniment of a special song – Sri Sachitanaya Ashtakam – glorifying Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After shayana arati, the Deities are taken in a pallakki to their Shayana Room. We invite you all to visit the temple on this auspicious day and participate in the festival.
The festival concludes with an anukalpa feast (made from non-grain ingredients) for devotees. It is prohibited to consume any grains on this day.