THE FESTIVAL OF INSPIRATION & JOY

Prerana and Chetana are festivals of chanting, dancing and feasting, through the medium of which the original, blissful, Vedic culture of India is introduced to the youth. ‘Prerana’ is a Festival for teenage boys and ‘Chetana’ a Festival for teenage girls. They focus on the contemporary social issues/problems bothering the youth and inspire the younger generation of India to accept a God centered life and make their lives more regulated, purposeful and joyful.

These festivals attract thousands of youngsters from all over Mumbai. These programs begin with a devotional chant followed by a drama. Then a talk on some socially or ethically relevant topic is held. After the question answer session, an intense kirtan inspires the young to shed off their inhibitions and experience spiritual ecstasy. This singing and dancing session contains a wonderful mix of traditional musical instruments like mrdangas and cymbals, blended with modern electronic synthesizers, guitars and Zambay.

THE NEED

As India makes rapid advancements in the field of technology and is recognized the world over for its vast and untapped resources, especially the ‘human’ resource, with 55% of the population in the age group of 18-25, the future seems bright. But along with this euphoria, there is also a darker side to the reality; one that finds today’s youth battling with drug and alcoholic addictions, pre and post marital infidelities and mental depressions, which have risen to frightening proportions. How many examples have we come across in life, wherein a person had come to the brink of life and not having the desire to stop and had to jump off a cliff?

The PRERANA Monthly Festival employs highly interactive sessions handled by experienced faculties who have graduated out of premier institutes such as the IITs and IIMs to share the same joy they have experienced in their lives. Prerana consists of Vedic wisdom being imparted, which is connected to the current world realities. Solutions are provided to difficult problems that youth have to encounter in their daily lives, such as how to manage stress, how to improve memory and concentration, how to get rid of bad habits, how to excel in life, etc. For further interested youth, they are invited for personality enrichment courses that explore their deeper selves and make them more reflective and introspective—a real need in current chaotic times.

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

What India is going through with its youth is not something new. This is exactly what America went through in its history in the 1960s. The youth, frustrated with the lives led by their parents, rejected and rebelled against the set standards of the society and formed rules of their own, by discarding and disowning their connections with their families and experimenting with drugs, alcohol and other dangerous addictions. This was also known as the ‘hippie’ movement.

The youth, however, never got the answers to their questions and they went deeper and deeper into a blind, dark alley. It is there that they suddenly saw light in the form of His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a distinguished scholar and a pure devotee of Lord Krishna, who had stepped on to the shores of America. Over the next decade, he went about transforming the lives of these very youngsters, who were on the precipice of sunset to a new world of joy, happiness and devotion. This he did by revealing the ancient and timeless knowledge of a highly civilized society in the Vedic times, thereby also quashing some theories that the Vedas were meant for people of a particular time, place and nationality.

DOWN THE MEMORY LANE

Based on the teachings of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, ISKCON Chowpatty has been presenting the treasure house of vedic knowledge to youth through ISKCON Youth Services in a humble manner since the year 1995. What began as a small endeavor has now transformed itself into a juggernaut with more than 1500 youngsters making their way to ISKCON every month for a gala gathering of an enjoyable evening of classes, music, dance and not to forget prasadam—delicious food offered to Lord Krishna.

In short: Among various activities organised by ISKCON Youth Services, Chowpatty, “Prerana” is one of the most special and famous. An innovative monthly festival, “PRERANA” focuses on the contemporary social issues/ problems faced by the youth. Hundreds of youths all over from the city attend it with great enthusiasm. The younger lot who are constantly enamored by the razzle dazzle of the western culture can accept a spiritual process only when they are inspired and actually witness Krishna consciousness in action. This festival therefore provides a wonderful opportunity to behold and experience the complete package of Krishna consciousness, through the medium of video shows, lectures, slides&skits, multi media presentations, ecstatic dancing kirtans and sumptuous Prasadam delicacies. Students from various colleges (Engineering – IIT, VJTI, SPCE, ICT, Somaiya etc; Medical – JJ, KEM, Nair etc & all other streams of education) and professionals from many fields have already participated and keep getting many of their friends and colleagues for this festival.

Some of the topics discussed in Prerana so far have been:
  • Personality Development
  • Stress management
  • The Power of Habits
  • Failures as stepping stones to success
  • Conflict Resolutions

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  • Saints and Swindlers
  • Art of Self-confidence
  • Overcome Greed
  • Principles of satisfaction
  • The Art Of Living
  • The Art of Forgiveness
  • Overcoming Boredom
  • Health beyond Fitness
  • Mera Bharat Mahan
  • Curing the Cancer of the Mind
  • Believing in God: A Big Deal
  • The Art of Re-Living
  • Tapping the power of faith
  • Power of Positive Association
  • Power Of Free Will
  • Ritual to Spiritual
  • Discovering the Glory of India
  • Power of Now
  • Vedic Solution to Climate Change
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