London/Bhubaneswar: On the occasion of Gita Jayanti, a grand spiritual ceremony was organised by Shree Jagannatha Society UK (also known as Jagannath Temple Trust UK) and the Aylesbury Hindu Temple Trust UK (AHTT UK) on a virtual platform due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic induced restrictions in the UK.
Scores of devotees from across the UK and the world joined together to observe the 5157th anniversary of the Bhagavad Gita, that is considered the most important and influential Hindu scripture containing the essence of Vedic knowledge.
The programme began with stirring bhajans, mellifluously sung by devotees.
Dr. Prakash Dey, General Secretary of the SJS UK and AHTT UK, welcomed devotees to the celebration. He hosted the programme along with his co-hosts Hrushikesh and Sudipta Panigrahi from India.
C. B. Patel, one of the most respected Hindu community leaders in the UK and Editor of ASIAN VOICE, UK’s foremost English language newspaper for the British Asian community, recapped the three main themes in the Bhagavad Gita: knowledge (jnana), action (karma), and love (bhakti).
In a year that has seen the entire world face a pandemic that has claimed millions of lives, Patel asserted that Lord Krishna’s exhortation to human beings to restrain the mind and the senses, withdrawing them from the sense objects through the practice of yoga, whilst performing actions without desire, attachment or expectation of reward – leaving the outcome to the cosmic soul, Purushottama – are even more relevant.
Pujya Swami Madhavanand Ji, Acharya of Chinmaya Mission Ranchi, India delivered the Keynote Address elucidating the importance of balance in body, mind and intellect as propounded in the Gita. He averred that Srimad Bhagavad Gita is the ultimate practical manual that guides us in mind management.
Guest Speaker, Prof. Dr. Harekrishna Satapathy, renowned educationist and eminent Sanskrit scholar, Vice Chancellor Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) University in Odisha, India explained that the Bhagavad Gita is the journey from Vishaada (state of bewilderment or delusion) to Prasada (confidence), and it teaches us the technique to convert a crisis or challenge into an opportunity with confidence.
Enlightening devotees about Purushottama Yoga, Prof. Satapathy remarked that the Gita urges us to establish connection with the Purushottama (Ultimate Being) to become peaceful, happy and self-realised – and in the Kali Yuga this can be done through devotion to Lord Jagannatha (lord of the universe), who is the presiding deity in the Purushottam Kshetra, Puri.
Bri. Nandana Chaitanya, Founder of Arsha Dipa, UK addressed young children in the audience and led them in the chanting of some of the most important shlokas of the Bhagavad Gita.
Explaining their meaning, she reiterated the relevance of the Gita in the modern world as an essential guide to better living, conducting business, and communicating.
Dr. Chetan Shatapathy, Trustee of Shree Jagannatha Society UK (SJS UK), gave a detailed power point presentation on the construction of a grand Jagannath Temple in London that is expected to become a prominent landmark and the epi-centre of Jagannath culture in Europe, attracting thousands of devotees annually from across the world.
The Temple project will be a community-led affair, and SJS UK has initiated anactive Membership Drive, kicked-off fundraising activities, and is in the process of acquiring a large piece of land close to the M25 motorway in North West of London for construction of the Temple. Construction is expected to commence by 2022 with completion projected in 2024.
Dr. Prakash Dey felicitated Prakash Sahu and Srikant Rath of Sanket Communications, India for supporting the endeavours of the Trusts and their programmes.
He also felicitated Shree Jai Sharma, Trustee Shree Ram Mandir (Southall, UK).
Besides the UK, the programme saw participation from devotees from several countries including India, Ireland, USA, Canada, Bahrain, Nigeria and Oman.
Lok Nath Mishra, MD and CEO of ICICI Bank, UK encouraged all the participants, and devotees across the world, to join in the pious mission of constructing a grand Lord Jagannatha Temple in London by enrolling as members of the SJS UK and donating generously for the cause.
SJS UK and AHTT UK are registered charitable incorporated organisations in England, seeking to spread Sanatana Dharma in the UK through the construction of a grand Jagannatha Temple in London and a Hindu Temple in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.