Saturday, February 23, 2008

travel journal#4.1: Mayapur and Puri

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 4, No. 1

By Krishna-kripa das

  (January 2008, part one) 

Mayapur and Puri

 (Sent from Mayapur, West Bengal, India, on 2/1/08)


Where I Am and What I Am Doing


    I am in Mayapur where I am going on harinama almost every day for three hours, proofreading a book the Hungarian devotees did against Darwinian evolution, proofreading a book Bhakti Vikas Swami wrote on Srila  Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, having lunch with Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami and his disciples and going to his evening lecture, and trying to stay warm in the chilly mornings and evenings. I regular meet devotee friends from all over the world and encourage them to join us in our daily harinamas at least once, while they are here in Mayapur.



On Experiencing Srila Prabhupada's Reciprocation


   On my way to do my proofreading service, I walked by Srila Prabhupäda's puspa samadhi here in Mayapur. Now that Bhaktivaibhava class was on break and our nagar sankirtana party had a day off, I felt less pressured and thought I should stop by and see Srila Prabhupada and bow down to him. Entering the samadhi, I was disappointed to see the curtains closed, but I went up to the altar to offer obeisances anyway. There was crowd of people, including many school children in uniforms wandering about, doing there best to ignore the "Silence Please" signs in English and Bengali. I saw the pujari pick up the conchshell and was pleasantly surprised to find the midday arati for Prabhupada had not yet occurred. It does not start here till 1:00 p.m. Remembering that Prabhupada liked live kirtana during the arati, I asked the brahmacari distributing the maha-prasadam for some instruments. He pointed to the altar, and so I made a gesture to the purjari like someone playing an instrument. He handed me a gong and karatalas. I chanted, but there was so much background noise I could hardly here myself. I decided to chant as loudly as I could for the whole fifteen minute arati. People bumped into me as they rushed the altar to honor the offered ghee lamps, in typical Indian fashion, but I just chanted on, singing the Hare Krishna mantra alone, because that is the standard at the samadhi. I chanted the "Jaya Om" prayers at the end, and the distributor of maha-prasadam thanked me for my enthusiastic chanting saying, "Srila Prabhupada liked your kirtana." He then motioned to come downstairs, saying, "I will get you some maha-prasadam." He told the kitchen staff to give me a whole plateful. Srila Prabhupada is offered for lunch chapattis, rice, pakoras, chutney, at least five vegetables preparations, and three sweets. I was happy to see the nice arrangement they have for him. It all tasted wonderful.

   The whole experience was very sweet and taught me that by these simple devotional exchanges of bowing down, chanting, and accepting prasadam we can experience a loving exchange with Srila Prabhupada even now.


Quotes from Classes that are Tips on Devotional Service


Q: Krishna exists everywhere. Why then do we need to worship Him?

A (by Jananivasa Prabhu): If you feel Krishna is in every atom, you will want to worship Him. You will see, "My worshipful Lord is here."


Padmalocana Prabhu: If we understand completely the illusory nature of this material world we can absorb ourselves in devotional service.


Dhanurdhara Maharaja recalled a statement he heard from Srimati Mataji that was made by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura: "Dhama seva (service of the sacred places) leads to nama seva (service to the holy name), and nama seva leads to kama seva (service given by the Lord to fulfill His personal desire)."


In the dhama, even the wind is serving Krishna.


Dhanurdhara Maharaja shared a realization a godbrother told him: Trnad api kirtana (chanting in humility) means we contribute to the kirtana but do not try to appear prominent, just as every blade of grass contributes to a beautiful lawn but none stands out.


Madhavananda Prabhu mentioned that if we appreciate the devotee association that Krishna gives us, He will give us better and better association.


I gave a class on verses dealing with the ages and their dharmas and the yuga-sandhyas divisions. While researching I found Back To Godhead (Nov./Dec. 1999, Vol. 33, No. 6) had some great quotes describing Lord Caitanya's appearance which increase our faith:


"In the first sandhya [period] of Kali-yuga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will assume a golden form. First He will be the husband of Laksmi, and then He will be a sannyasi who stays near Lord Jagannatha at Puri."—Garuda Purana


"In the first sandhya of Kali-yuga I will appear on the earth in a beautiful place by the Ganges' shore. I will be the son of Sacidevi, and My complexion will be golden."—Padma Purana


"In the first sandhya of the Kali-yuga I will reveal My eternal golden form by the shore of the Ganges on the earth."—Brahma Purana


I also chanted several verses about the holy name being the yuga dharma and the best spiritual practice for the age such as the following:


Those who are actually advanced in knowledge are able to appreciate the essential value of this age of Kali. Such enlightened persons worship Kali-yuga because in this fallen age all perfection of life can easily be achieved by the performance of sankirtana. (SB 11.5.36)


Many people loved the class, but that is no surprise. This is the holy dhama of Mayapur, and they are all devotees of Lord Caitanya, and all I did was glorify the Lord and his process of chanting the holy names!


hare krishna hare krishna

   krishna krishna hare hare

hare rama hare rama

   rama rama hare hare

iti sodasakam namnam


nätah parataropayah

   sarva-vedesu drsyate


"The sixteen words—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare—are especially meant for counteracting the contaminations of Kali. To save oneself from the contamination of Kali, there is no alternative but the chanting of these sixteen words." (Kalisantarana Upanisad)