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May 16, 1953 : Jhansi

Satsvarupa : On May 16, 1953, Srila Prabhupada held a grand-opening celebration for the League of Devotees, with continuous readings, kirtana, and prasadam distribution from early morning until night. In the evening, when attendance was the greatest, Srila Prabhupada lectured from the Ninth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita on "Raja-guhya Yoga." Prabhakar Misra conducted a fire sacrifice, and several brahmanas chanted mantras from Brahma-samhita. Guests received a sixteen-page prospectus containing Srila Prabhupada's essay on the need for the League and an excerpt from the charter explaining its goals. It was signed, "OM... TAT... SAT, Abhay Charanaravindo Bhaktivedanta, Founder and Secretary."

The opening was a pleasant, auspicious event for the people of Jhansi, and hundreds gathered in the evening for Srila Prabhupada's lecture. Dr. Sharma, a charter member of the League and editor of the Jhansi daily newspaper, had already publicized the event and was planning a write-up for the following day. The Gaudiya Patrika also reported on the opening.

The editor of the local Theosophical Society, Sri Laksminarayan Rajapali, was also present; although he holds different philosophical opinions from Bhaktivedanta Prabhu, he is very sympathetic with this movement... The inauguration and establishing of Deities will be done soon... Their center has been registered by the Societies Registration Act. Sri Bharati Bhavan is the name of the League's building, in which they have a lecture hall and a temple that resembles a palace. The assembly has many activities at the center, and there are also facilities for members to live there.

Srila Prabhupada felt confident that the Bharati Bhavan would now be established and recognized as the home of the League of Devotees. He was happy to see that the opening day was not merely his private affair but an event celebrated by the most important citizens of Jhansi.



Reference: Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Volume 1 - Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami