What is the significance of a Pushpa samadhi?

Pushpa samadhi is usually a monument erected for a great Acharya after his leaving in a place that was special to him or her. If for instance the body of Srila Prabhupad was interred into maha-samadhi as it was in the Krishna Balaram mandir in Sri Vrindavan Dham along with full rites etc. Some of the garlands, and other sacred items from that ceremony, that came directly off his saintly body are carried to another place that is made sacred by their presence. Often a murthi would be erected or a picture placed there, or even other sacred tadiya (items in relation to, or used by that person).

For example recently a Pushpa samadhi for Srila Prabhupad was established in Mayapur at the Mayapur Chandradoya mandir, and now there's another been erected at Iskcon Miami by loving devotees there.

Just to give an idea; In Miami the flower petals of the garlands of Srila Prabhupada were placed in the Samadhi chamber together with the stones of the nava-ratna and other elements from the ground of Vrindavana, Radha Kunda, Govardhana and different Tirthas and simultaneously with water of Ganga and Yamuna, accompanied by the recital of sacred mantras and ignition of the sacred fire sacrifice.

In this case it was followed by the Maha-Abisheka of the murthi of Srila Prabhupada, with water from the 1008 sacred places and 64 bathing elements.The murthi gave the ceremony a wonderful central focal feature with the installation of Srila Prabhupada in Samadhi. But in some places there may simply be some tadiya items of Srila Prabhupad or other Acharya, and they are then worshipped in the samadhi tomb. Much the same was done in Mayapur just after Srila Prabhupad's Tirubhav - disappearance.

To identify what we are talking about or differentiating between in Vaishnava tradition there are basically three types of samadhis or sometimes called Vrindavana(s). They are: full body, pushpa samadhi, and smriti (memory).

A full body samadhi contains the full body of a realized Vaishnava buried usually deep in the earth surrounded by salt to preserve it for time immemorial. A stick or rod touches to the top of the head which reaches the floor surface that we may touch and offer respects to, usually it is raised, or sometimes a Deity will be placed directly over it.

A pushpa samadhi is made by taking flowers worn by a departed Vaishnava before his body is put into samadhi. These flowers are then buried in a holy place or by their being buried in a place make that sanctified place (made pure by ritual purification).

As an emergency precaution during the sixteenth century many Vaishnavas were burned and their ashes were put into the ground to avoid desecration by the Muslims. Samadhis made from the ashes of a Vaishnava also fall in this category. A smriti (memory) samadhi preserves the memory of a departed Vaishnava by memorializing some of his personal items. These usually include an asana (sitting place), japa beads, clothes, shastra (scriptures), shoes, a walking stick, etc. Things used by an elevated Vaishnava are accepted as pure and worshippable.

In Vrindavana there is a danta (tooth) samadhi of Sri Gadadhara Pandit. Another type of samadhi is a nama samadhi. Nama as you may know means "name". This type of samadhi is established to remember and worship an exalted Vaishnava. A nama samadhi consists of carving a Vaishnava's name on a block of marble or granite and then putting that stone in a sacred place. There are 64 nama samadhis near the Govindaji temple in Vrindavan.

Normally a samadhis is placed near a temple or where a devotee did his bhajana. It is said that Jiva Gosvami did bhajana in the exact same place as where his samadhi is located. Lokanatha Gosvami, Bhugarbha Gosvami and Prabodhananda Gosvami all did bhajana at the places where their samadhis are located.

Similarly in the Pushpa samadhi to Srila Prabhupad in Mayapur (and in Iskcon Miami) buried under his Deity form are flowers (pushpa) that Srila Prabhupada wore when he left this world in Vrindavan 14th November 1977.  The Mayapur Pushpa samadhi for Srila Prabhupad is the largest samadhi in India. Tours are conducted to explain facts about Srila Prabhupada’s life ...this is his memorial.. There is an auditorium, a garden, a diorama exhibit, and a small lake in front of the samadhi.

Generally when one holds a program of remembrance at a pushpa samadhi there will be orientation readings stating what is happening or happened (ie the Tirubhav - disappearance day etc - "The Passing of Haridas Thakur" from the Chaitanya Charitamrita), songs of separation, homages, honourific glorifications, maybe an abhishek, and a bhog offering of naivedyas (foodstuffs). A feast will then be held in that devotee's honour.

Sri Vaishnava Thakur ki jaya