On December 19th 2009, the twenty-seventh annual “Bhagavata Satram” was held at Kochi(Cochin), Kerala. The event focuses on the Bhagavat Mahapurana or Srimad Bhagavatam, and is the largest of its kind in South India.
Kochi is sixty kilometers from Kalady, the birthplace of the ancient monistic philosopher, Adi Shankaracharya. Leading religious luminaries and exponents of the Bhagavata Mahapurana were invited to speak at the event, which lasted for ten days.
More than a hundred thousand people attended the function daily, representing various schools of Indian philosophical thought.
Despite the popularity of the monistic philosophy in the State of Kerala (one of its traditional strongholds) and the majority presence at the meeting of followers of Adi Shankara's philosophical tradition, Bhakti Vinoda Swami, Zonal Secretary for ISKCON in Kerala and Western Tamil Nadu,was invited to deliver the inaugural address.
He was seated on the dais alongside such local notables as Vishvesha Tirtha Swami and Ms. Prema Pandurangan, both well-known exponents of the Srimad Bhagavatam, and Indian Government Minister P. C. Thomas.
In his inaugural speech, Bhakti Vinod Swami relayed the ultimate message of the Srimad Bhagavatam that Krishna is the supreme worshipful deity and that all living beings are meant to serve him, not become one with him.
He went on to praise Srila Prabhupada as the greatest preacher of the Srimad Bhagavatam, for translating the scripture into English and inspiring its translation and publication in more than thirty six other languages, including a Malayalam edition to be released within the next few months.
Bhakti Vinod Swami concluded by explaining that the chanting of the Holy Name is the same as reciting the Bhagavatam and is the recommended spiritual process for this age. Other speakers, including Vishveshvara Tirtha Swami and Shankaran Namboodiri, echoed this theme of sharing the essence of Bhagavatam with the world through the maha mantra.
ISKCON of Kerala devotees hosted a book stall and answered questions throughout the duration of the event.