All over the world students celebrate the end of the academic year with parties. Every year, students at Sri Mayapur International School hold the best celebration of all- an amazing Panihati festival to get the mercy of Lord Nityananda and Srila Raghunath Dasa Goswami and invite the whole Mayapur community.
For several weeks beforehand, every student aged 3 to 18 years old decorated a clay pot ready for the special day when it would be filled with delicious chipped rice and offered to Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. There were different varieties of chipped rice including the two types described in the Caitanya Caritamrita, Antya Lila Chapter 6.
The students cleaned the school courtyard and smeared it with cow dung then artistically decorated the ground with many rangolis. They made a beautiful altar for Sri Sri Gaura Nitai and chanted for Their pleasure.
This year saw a special cultural program when some students performed the Panihati lila in Bengali. The students have benefit from learning Bengali in the school and used their language skills to please the assembled vaisnavas.
The festival was blessed by H.H Bhakti Purushottam Maharaja and H.G Jananivas prabhu who spoke wonderful lila katha. This was followed by a devotional performance of the Panihati lila drama in English by a group of middle school girls who read the pasttime in the Caitanya Caritamrta and wrote it as a playscript during their English classes. There were also bhajans, Bharat natyam dance and songs performed by the younger students.
The main organiser of the festival is the school’s long serving Art teacher, Amala Caitanya das,who has many years experience of helping with the huge Panihati festival in New Panhihati Dham,Atlanta. Volunteers from the community came to help cook the feast which was distributed to all the guests after the auction of some of the pots.
If ever you are in Mayapur on Panihati day, please come to Sri Mayapur International School and experience the happiness of taking part in the ‘Danda Mahotsava”