Sri Sri Guru Gaurangau Jayatah

Sri Chaitanya Book Fair, Nabadwip,
31st December 2002
to 7th January 2003

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math's preaching stall
at the Nabadwip Book Fair

by Jagamohini Devi Dasi

The huge Calcutta book fair is still three weeks away, but here in Nabadwip we have just participated in the local, small-town version of the book fair. Throughout the whole of last week, cars with loudspeakers drove through the streets and lanes of Nabadwip announcing the Sri Chaitanya 'Boi Mela' -- the local Festival of Books.

This, the second annual book fair here, ran from the 31st of December until the 7th of January 2002. The setting was a large sport's field across from a scenic kunda and five minutes walk after the centre of town. Approximately sixty stalls were set up. Most were book stalls, though some displayed local art and some served refreshments.

A Murti of Sriman Mahaprabhu was the focal point in the centre of the field, also a large painting of Lord Gaurasundar graced the back of the huge stage. In India's inimitable style, the fair opened with an ageing but enthusiastic brass band and a parade of local dignitaries and uniformed school children. Thus started not only the book fair but also eight days of music performances, speeches, poetry recitals, dance and theatre on stage.

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math's stall stood out resplendent with its newly-painted colourful sign, flower garlands, decorations and prominent photos of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj and our beloved Acharyyadev Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. The all-attractive books of our blessed Guru-varga lined the bookshelves and tabletops of the stall.

Under the guidance of Sripad Acharyya Maharaj, the devotees made an attractive and inviting setting where visitors could look through the divine books and ask questions. Sripad Bhagavat Maharaj and Prabhu Anirudha were tireless in their preaching and book-selling -- even as temperatures plummeted to 7 degrees Celsius this week.

Many devotes visited the fair daily to assist. Sripad Ashram Maharaj, Sripad Siddhanti Maharaj, Sripad Paramahamsa Maharaj and Sripad Acharyya Maharaj often graced the crowd with their benevolence and their knowledge of sastra. At times, Prabhu Vidura Krishna and Prabhu Ram Gopal drew huge crowds of young people who were fascinated by their extra-tall, white stature. They would then guide these folks toward our book stall.

Although it was named the Sri Chaitanya Boi Mela, with everything from trivia quizzes to karate demonstrations, the book fair was not billed as a spiritual event. Fortunately for us, though, there were many spiritual offerings such as attractive bhajans, speeches about Mahaprabhu's life, and dance drama depicting Mahaprabhu's lila. We found that, following these performances, people were extra receptive to our books about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His lila and the holy land of Nabadwip. The Bengali version of Lord Chaitanya's Siksastak Prayers was a particular best seller.

Although the Nabadwip Book Fair was described by some as a small pond compared to Calcutta's oceanic book fair, we were still able to expose thousands of people to the divine mission of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, the sacred books and the venerable Vaisnavas. A local TV station interviewed Sripad Acharyya Maharaj at our booth and Srila Gurudev was pleased to be given a daily report along with the service offerings collected from book sales. Srila Gurudev saw full-screen video of our preaching at the Book Fair, which he replayed several times, clearly satisfied to see the many people being exposed to such good fortune.

All glories to our most praiseworthy and divine Spiritual Masters who have graced us with their sweet mercy by their shelter and in the form of their most holy, inspiring and enduring books. And all glories to our Divine Masters who have given us the opportunity to try to engage in service in unlimited ways for their satisfaction.

-With full obeisances to all the Vaishnava readers,
  Jagamohini Devi Dasi,

Nabadwip Book Fair in Pictures

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