The Closing Ceremony
A Celebration of Love and Peace
May 24 – 29, 2007
The year long Birth Centenary Celebrations of Gurudev Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji held in over one hundred locations around the world came to a grand conclusion with the Closing Ceremony held at Cuttack, Orissa, India.
The city of Cuttack took on a festive appearance with special arched decorated gates on the four sides of the city to welcome the many children of Gurudev. This six-day Celebration of Gurudev Baba Hariharanandaji was held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, a landmark of the city that accommodates eight thousand people and many more thousands outside. The stadium was decorated with colorful banners about Kriya Yoga and the life and teachings of Gurudev. The stage was set with a large backdrop of a life-size portrait of Gurudev in the center, with the pictures of Jagannath Temple and Shri Guru Mandir on either side. The Centenary Committee in India tended to elaborate and meticulous arrangements with regards to press coverage, public relations, accommodation of guests, transportation, and reception in welcoming delegates from around the globe.
Huge billboards of Gurudev were posted in prominent locations throughout the city announcing the event. The reception committee worked around the clock at the airport and railway stations. The local support from the municipal and police departments, district administration, and the press were tremendous.
The local schools and the stadium lent their support in housing the guests and providing venues for the multifarious activities that were organized. Food for thousands of people was provided for all participants on each of the program days.
Each day of the Celebration was organized under the auspices of Prajnana Mission and was presided over by Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji, the successor of Gurudev and the president of Kriya Yoga International organizations.
Nagara Sankirtan – May 24
The prelude to the five-day Celebration was a grand nagar sankirtan in the city of Cuttack held at 5 pm on May 24. The procession of the five “chariots of love” carrying larger than life-size pictures of Gurudev Paramahamsa Hariharananda, the Kriya masters of our lineage, Lord Jagannath, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was accompanied with devotional music by devotees who were playing various instruments and blowing conches and thousands of participants who walked throughout most parts of the city to reach the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium was a spectacular scene that was clearly full of great love and devotion. At the lead of the ten kilometer walk was Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji followed by several monks, yogacharyas, and kriyavans carrying flags and banners of Kriya Yoga and Gurudev.
Several local bhajan groups also joined the walk to honor Gurudev. More than five thousand people participated in the auspicious event, which was proclaimed as the most organized and peaceful procession that the city has ever seen. During the four-hour walk, the shopkeepers and residents in that area stood outside, cheering on this event. What a wonderful way to present Gurudev to Cuttack City again!
The nagar sankirtan continued early every morning (at 5 am) on subsequent days of the program on a smaller scale going to the venues of the events.
The Five Day Seminar: May 25- 29
After the daily nagar sankirtan, early morning yogasana and general meditation classes were open to the public and held outside on the stadium lawn. Simultaneously meditation classes for kriyavans were held at four different venues. After breakfast there were spiritual discourses, question and answer sessions, and meditation classes. Following lunch, there were video presentations and spiritual discourses followed by meditation. Every evening there was a mahasatsang and bhajan sandhya public program in the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium. More than 350 people were initiated into Kriya Yoga by the monks and acharyas of Gurudev’s Kriya Yoga lineage. An Interfaith Conference was held on the morning of May 26 and gurupaduka puja was performed on the morning of the 27th.
Every day the mahasatsang started at 5 pm at the stadium with a special ceremony of lighting the lamp for Gurudev by the invited guests of honor and dignitaries. On the first day, the chief guest, Gajapati Maharaja, the king of Puri., along with others lit the lamp. Every evening discourses were given by spiritual luminaries of various ashrams and orders who gave their respect and love for Gurudev and shared their words of wisdom and blessed the congregation. The guest speakers also included renowned persons from all walks of life, including the mayor, newspaper editors, social workers, professors, and others.
Spiritual luminaries included Swami Gurusevananda, Dadaji Hridaya Mohini, Babaji Rabinarayan Das, Swami Nirliptananda Saraswati, Swami Virajananda Giri, Swami Sadananda Saraswati, Tapasvi Kalyan Das Maharaj, Babaji Chaitanya Charan Das, Swami Satyaprajnananda, Swami Jnanananda, Shri Shri Baba Thakur, Swami Jnanananda Giri, Shri Shankarananda, Shri Nijananda Saraswati, Shri Prakashji, and others.
Other guests included Gajapathi Maharaj Shri Divyasingh Dev, Shri Trilochan Kanoongo (Minister of Higher Education of Orissa), Shri Sharat Mishra, IM Quddusi, Shri Samir Dey, Smt Manorama Mohapatra, and Ms Nivedita Pradhan.
A large number of saints and seers from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari graced the occasion.
New Book Releases
Many books, booklets, souvenirs, CDs, free literature, and more were released each day in – Oriya, Hindi, Bengali, and English.
The Complete Works of Paramahamsa Hariharananda
The special release was the complete works of Gurudev a set of ten volumes in English -A comprehensive treatise of a compilation of all of the published and unpublished works, discourses, metaphorical interpretations of the scriptures of the East and West, teachings and letters of the great realized master that was undertaken by his loving disciple Baba Prajnananandaji.
The daily bhajan sandhya that followed was a spiritual feast of devotional songs in Oriya, Hindi, Bengali, and Sanskrit by famous artists such as Prafula Kar, Anuradha Podwal Suchitra Mohapatra, and Ajay Chakrabarty.
A special feature was a spiritual magic show by Swami Jnananandaji. The highlight of the program was the variety entertainment by the children of our Hariharananda Balashram, the residential school for the underprivileged children (classes 1 and 2) who mesmerized the audience with their spiritual songs and dance and the enactment of the Ramayana. The talent of these children is amazing.
The Interfaith Conference – May 26, 2007
An Interfaith Conference was held on May 26 as a commemoration of Gurudev’s love of all religions and to explore the holy teachings advocated by the different faiths of India. Several eminent dignitaries representing various faiths and spiritual disciplines assembled on a single platform. Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Christian, and Bahai leaders shared their views on the theme Vasudhiava Kutumbakam: The Earth is One Family” and enlightened the audience.
Guru Paduka Puja
On the 27th of May, the birthday of Gurudev, a gurupaduka puja was performed at the stadium. The sandals of Gurudev were washed and worshipped according to tradition with Vedic chanting followed by the recitation of the 108 names of Gurudev. Fresh flower garlands, sandalwood paste, and flowers were offered and a grand arati followed. At the end of the ceremony all present had the opportunity to touch the sandals and offer their homage to Gurudev. Sweets were distributed to the thousands that attended the program.
Announcement of NewYogacharyas
On Gurudev’s birthday Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji announced the names of Gurudev’s disciples who have all been long time disciples of Gurudev and are dedicated to carrying out his mission of spreading Kriya Yoga as yogacharyas.
Smt Anita Patnaik
Shri Pitambara Mohanty
Shri Santosh Kumar Choudhury
Smt. Swapna Chatterjee
Smt Sakuntala Pandya
John Thomas Lopategui
The much dreamed of Centenary Celebration was indeed a dream come true. The closing event was memorable and was given extensive coverage by the press who acclaimed it as one of the grandest celebrations that Orissa ever has seen.
The Vision of the Master
Three major milestones in the history of Kriya Yoga were achieved during the birth centenary year of Gurudev Baba Hariharanandaji as envisioned by Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji.
- The completion of Shir Guru Mandir – an architectural marvel and a temple of meditation
- The publication of Ocean of Divine Bliss: The Complete Works of Kriya Yoga Master Paramahamsa Hariharananda
The Centenary Celebrations in more than108 selected places around the globe.
- It was truly a celebration of a Life of Love, Joy, and Peace of a glorious master of a great lineage that left a mark of indelible ink on all those who participated.