Gopasatami: A festival which reminds us the importance of cows.
Meaning: Gopa means cow or a cowherd boy and Astami means 8th day. Gopastami is celebrated on eighth day Kartik Shukla Paksha. This year we celebrated on 19th November, 2015.
History: On this day lord Sri Krishna became a qualified cowherd boy. Before this day, he was a keeper of the calves.This was the day Nanda Maharaja sent his children Krishna and Balarama to herd the cows for the first time.
Reference: SB -10.15.1
tataś ca paugaṇḍa-vayaḥ-śrītau vraje
babhūvatus tau paśu-pāla-sammatau
gāś cārayantau sakhibhiḥ samaṁ padair
vṛndāvanaṁ puṇyam atīva cakratuḥ
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: When Lord Rāma and Lord Kṛṣṇa attained the age of paugaṇḍa [six to ten] while living in Vṛndāvana, the cowherd men allowed Them to take up the task of tending the cows. Engaging thus in the company of Their friends, the two boys rendered the land of Vṛndāvana most auspicious by imprinting upon it the marks of Their lotus feet.
It is stated in the Kārttika-māhātmya section of the Padma Purāṇa:
śuklāṣṭamī kārttike tu
smṛtā gopāṣṭamī budhaiḥ
tad-dinād vāsudevo ’bhūd
gopaḥ pūrvaṁ tu vatsapaḥ
“The eighth lunar day of the bright fortnight of the month of Kārttika is known by authorities as Gopāṣṭamī. From that day, Lord Vāsudeva served as a cowherd, whereas previously He had tended the calves.”
How we celebrated: Krishna Himself worshiped the cows on the days of Gopastami and Govardhana Puja so to receive His mercy we also celebrated this festival by worshiping the cows and calves of our avantika Goshala. Devotees visit the Goshala after Bhagavatam class led by H.G. Aniruddha prabhu, clean the cows and Goshala. Our Goshala incharge Yogesh Chandra prabhu provide grass & jaggery to all devotees for feeding the cows and some devotees also gave donation.
Gopastami Mahotsav Ki jai, Jagat Guru Srila Prabhupada Ki Jai, Samvet Gaura Bhakta Vrinda Ki Jai!!