By Nila Kamala das
On Sunday 16th December, devotees in Bali, Indonesia celebrated one of the biggest events of the year. Gita Yoga was the event and preparation for this event had taken months of determination and dedication. What is Gita Yoga?
Gita Yoga is an attempt by ISKCON Indonesia to share the teachings and importance of the Bhagavad Gita to the public. The event was held in the famous Bajrasandi Park. The day started early at 6am where the general public who flocked in by the hundreds laid down their yoga mats and performed various yoga postures following the instructor on the stage. The idea was to encourage the public of a more simple and natural life. After the exercises, devotees explained about yoga from the Bhagavad Gita. Various VIP dignitaries were then welcomed to the stage and gave speeches on the Bhagavad Gita. Amongst important guests who spoke were the ex Governor of Bali, Vice Governor of Bali and the Head of the World Hindu Parishad. Their speeches were enthusing and enlivening and everyone was inspired after hearing from them. Last but not least HH Subhag Swami gifted the Bhagavad Gita to the VIP guests on the stage.
“I have already asked you to think on the project how you can push on our books and literature. I cannot suggest any other alternatives, but if you can execute this will of mine, I shall remain ever-obliged to you.” Letter to Gopala Krsna — New Vrindaban 5 June, 1969
This year in Bali for the Gita Jayanti festivities, ISKCON have partnered up with the Hindu Parishad to increase the awareness of the Bhagavad Gita. The entire devotee community in Bali participated in the ‘Gita Marathon’ which started from the 2nd of October. Hundreds of books are being distributed on a daily basis in various schools and universities. ‘Gita Education’ is aimed specially at the youth of Indonesia where devotees hold seminars in various schools and colleges and enlighten the devotees of the contents of the Gita. ‘Gita Champion’ was a contest related to the youth of Bali to encourage them to memorise slokas from the Bhagavad Gita. ‘Gita Puja’ which will be held on the actually day of Gita Jayanti, 19 December is a day dedicated remembering how Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna 5000 years ago. Last but not least is ‘Gita Shanti’ which will be held on the 22nd of December. This will be the main event. Many VIPs and respectable persons will be in attendance. It will conclude all the Gita Jayanti events.
The devotees were hoping for the President of Indonesia; Mr Jokowi to attend the program but unfortunately due to other commitments it was not possible. Around 2500 people were in attendance and 550 of Srila Prabhupada’s books were distributed with the majority being Bhagavad Gitas. Many Balinese media channels documented the event.
“The mass media can become such an important instrument in spreading our Krishna Consciousness movement and I am glad to see that you are endeavoring to explore how this can be done.” Letter to Nayanabhirama — Allahabad 9 January, 1971
We would like to extend our humble obeisances to HH Kavicandra Swami (GBC of Indonesia), HH Subhag Swami, HH Atmanivedana Swami and HH BJ Vrajananda Swami who made the efforts to attend the program and inspire the devotees. We are extremely grateful to all the devotees who worked extremely hard in order for this event to be successful, especially the ‘Gita Jayanti Natioanal Committee’. We hope Srila Prabhupada and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will be pleased with our humble attempts to spread the teachings of Bhagavad Gita in every town and city.