August 13th, 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s historic voyage from India to the United States, a journey that was the prelude to his founding of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), in New York City, 1966. Srila Prabhupada’s followers around the globe remembered his arduous journey: on the cargo ship Jaladuta, penniless, to an unknown land, at age 69, suffering two heart attacks on the way.
Radhanath Swami joined other ISKCON leaders in addressing an audience of 35,000, from 125 countries who gathered at Kolkata’s Nataji Subhas Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium for the Jaladuta Yatra (Jaladuta Festival) to celebrate the occasion and hear inspirational talks in the city where Srila Prabhupada boarded the ship for his journey.
“When Srila Prabhupada boarded the Jaladuta 50 years ago, he did it in the spirit of total compassion for all of us, for all living beings. Compared to the ocean of his love for Krishna and his compassion for all living beings, all the oceans of this world are not even a drop. Srila Prabhupada’s voyage on the Jaladuta has given us limitless hope, limitless faith, and the opportunity for the perfection of life,” said Radhanath Swami.
Other ISKCON leaders present at the festival included Jayapataka Swami, Bhakti Charu Swami, Lokanath Swami, Shubhaga Swami, Bhakti Purushottama Swami and Praghosh Prabhu, to name a few. Kirtans, dances and dramas were also part of the celebration.
Two letters from the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi were read, conveying his best wishes to the organizers and participants. A pre-recorded talk by Tulsi Gabbard, a member of the US Congress, was played on the video screens. Herself a follower of Srila Prabhupada, Congresswoman Gabbard glorified Srila Prabhupad’s achievements.
Governor of West Bengal State, Keshari Nath Tripathi, social activist Kiran Bedi, and Odissi dancer Dona Ganguly were guests of honor.