It was born on 27th July, 2002 and in ten years it has turned one-hundred. March 18th marked the 100th “Prerana” – the monthly youth festival started and refined under the guidance of Radhanath Swami, at the Radha Gopinath Temple in Mumbai. Prerana (Hindi for “Inspiration”) was conceived as a regular gathering of students, for providing inspiration to remain an instrument of God’s grace, irrespective of the corruption, pollution, and other stresses of the modern Mumbai lifestyle. This initiative started small with less than two hundred young men. Today, more than two thousand attend the festival every month, many of them coming from the nation’s leading universities and destined to be future leaders in India. Thus the topic for the 100th festival – ‘Small Things Make a Big Difference’. The celebration included drama, music, and a discourse by Radhanath Swami followed by a feast.
Radhanath Swami took the audience through the history of Radha Gopinath Temple which started in the late 80’s as just a small room, and now has grown into a beautiful temple with a congregation of thousands carrying out many dynamic spiritual and social initiatives. He discussed how small things can create a positive or negative impact in our lives. “The Upanishads speak of the soul as being one ten-thousandth the size of the tip of a hair, which is impossible to be seen, but it is the living force which animates our big bodies. A huge tree grows from a tiny seed, just as a human being grows in the womb of its mother. So many big corporations of the world started from a small family set up. All of these things can be achieved only with the efforts that are led by a vision and faith in a small beginning.”
Applying the idea of faith in small things in a more personal context, Swami shared that “marriages can be maintained through two small phrases – “sorry” and “thank you”. It is not money but a sense of appreciation that makes us feel secure in our relationships and jobs. In terms of spirituality, it is the small things that express our love for God. We may be able to do only small things, but love is expressed through small details. Krishna is happy if someone offers him just a small leaf, fruit, flower or little water. Bhakti also originates as a small seed in our hearts. When we become sincere and water that seed with devotional activities of such as chanting, hearing Krishna’s glories, and rendering devotional service, it grows into a big tree. It is said that just a small moment of association with a lover of God can open the door of supreme perfection of liberation for anyone of us. In our relations, if we want to please the object of our love, we have to focus on details like care, reciprocation and other small yet important things. The real success of our duties and perfection of our relationships can be achieved if we, in some small way, please the Lord.
Regarding his own spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, Radhanath Swami shared “He also started with just a small act of devotion, and he was small in physical appearance as well. But when people would see him, their hearts would melt out of gratitude and respect. He started so small, far away in a foreign nation and only four people attended his first program. But he was determined to create a spiritual revolution in the world and ultimately he succeeded.”
At the end of his discourse Radhanath Swami thanked all of the people who have made efforts to make the monthly Prerana Festivals so successful. He also thanked a devotee named Priyachaitanya Das for being a part of all hundred Prerana Festivals and instrumental in connecting many young men to devotional services. “It’s a privilege that I got an opportunity to render some service under the kind guidance of Radhanath Swami” shared Priyachaitanya Das. “It is the outcome of the sincere desire of Radhanath Swami that so many young men and ladies now have a spiritual connection in their lives. Whatever small way I could contribute was only by following his guidance.”