Saturday, February 23, 2008

travel journal#4.3: Mostly Mayapur

                       Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 4, No. 3
                                    By Krishna-kripa das
                                 (February 2008, part one)
                                        Mostly Mayapur
               (Sent from Mayapur, West Bengal, India, on 2/15/08)

What I Am Doing

I am in Mayapur doing harinama, finishing Bhaktivaibhava Cantos 1-3,
and proofreading Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava, Nature's IQ, and the
Friends of the BBT Newsletter.

Devotional Insights

From Dhanurdhara Swami:

The Lord expands into two to experience love, and He takes the part of
His lover to complete His experience.

Why is Madhavi devi considered a "half associate" when enumerating
Lord Caitanya's most intimate associates in Caitanya Caritamrta?
Because circumstantially Lord Caitanya was a sannyasi and Madhavi devi
was a lady, she could not associate with Him to the extent that the
male intimate associates could.

Whatever pastimes take place in Vraja, Mathura, and Dvaraka, also take
place in Puri.

From Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami:

  Our problem is that there are a lot of nice things in our life that
not really connected to Krishna. We identify the negative things as
maya or illusion, but the pleasurable non-Krishna conscious things we
do not really see as also maya.
  When we try to engage our impious culture in Krishna consciousness,
a lot is left out.
  If you follow Vedic culture, that is human life, otherwise it is
animal life. If you can't follow, it does not mean you cannot be a
devotee. After all, Hanuman is a monkey, Garuda is a bird …

Within the family, often family members give love to each other only.
But the brahmacari gives love to everyone and gets love from everyone.
The sannyasi is loved (and taken care of) as a son but respected as a
father.—Bhakti Purusottam Swami

The Vedas are bewildering, even to their author, Vyasadeva, thus his
guru, Narada, had to "straighten him out."—Pankajanghri Prabhu

The critic Ramacandra Puri in Lord Caitanya's pastimes was Jatila in
Krishna's pastimes, where Krishna enjoyed her harsh words.
—Madhavananda  Prabhu

Devotional Tips

"Let me not desire anything but the highest good for my worst
foes."—Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

One Christian prayer says, "When we pray, we speak to God, and when we
read scripture, God speaks to us."—Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami

Q[by me]: Although we preach, often people do not take it very
seriously. How do we handle that?
A[by Bhakti Purusottam Swami]: Sometimes it is seen that the most
argumentative people become devotees. We preach and just wait and see.

Lord Caitanya gave us our identity, the servant of the servant of the
servant of the master of the gopis.—Jananivasa Prabhu

No one can be more senior than Lord Brahma, but as Haridasa Thakura he
taught to chant the holy name, one must accept an insignificant
position. —Madhavananda  Prabhu

Once should always respect one's guru. If someone gives you a million
dollars, would you spit in his face? What the guru gives is worth much
more than that!—Madhavananda  Prabhu

Chanting japa inattentively is like trying to fill up a bucket with
holes in it.—Premadatta Prabhu, Tripura TP

Nice analogy: As we have to obey a traffic officer when his directions
differ from the traffic light, similarly, we have to carry out Lord
Krishna's direct order in preference to His orders in the Vedas.—heard
in Kolkata SB Class

Prabhupada in Puri

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami described Srila Prabhupada's 1977 Puri visit.
Srila Prabhupada did not enter the Jagannatha temple because his
disciples were not allowed to enter. Two Puri brahmanas sang
"Jagannathastakam" for Srila Prabhupada. This song has the refrain "O
Jagannatha, Lord of the universe, kindly be visible to me." Srila
Prabhupada commented to the brahmanas that his disciples are now
hankering after seeing Lord Jagannatha, but "you do not let them in
the temple. . . . You want Jagannatha Svami to be compact within your
home and you do not expand the mercy of Jagannatha. . . . He is not
only just Purinatha [Lord of Puri] or Oriyanatha [Lord of Orissa]. He
is Jagannatha [Lord of the Universe]." Satsvarupa Maharaja asked the
devotees to say what qualities Srila Prabhupada demonstrated in these
dealings with the Puri priests. Compassion, righteousness, and
boldness were some of the responses.


Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, my diksa guru, was just here in Mayapur.
While in this holy dhama, he did a retreat of increased japa (chanting
on beads). As I do extra japa on Ekadasi, I decided to chant with him.
He, his servant Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu, and myself chanted for
half an hour in his room, and an hour and a half outside. I glanced
out at the lush vegetation toward the Jalangi River from our rooftop
position at the Vaishnava Academy, roughly in the direction of
Bhaktivinoda Thakura's samadhi. As we chanted I thought how it was
amazing that the three of us were there chanting Hare Krishna in
Mayapur just because Srila Prabhupada desired it, Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura desired it, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura
desired it. These great devotees were so powerful, simply by their
desire, they had changed the materialistic course of the lives of
thousands of people in the West like us. By material calculation we
are insignificant souls from a different culture, separated by
thousands of miles and dozens of years from Bhaktivinoda Thakura and
His transcendental son, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. Yet because
they desired, we Westerners were taking to the chanting of Hare
Krishna, and our Srila Prabhupada made it happen. Ultimately we were
chanting because Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu desired it and these great
saints took great trouble to represent His will to us.

Harinama and Prasadam Distribution Story

  We were doing harinama to the Jagannatha temple near Mayapur and a
prasadam [spiritual food] distribution party came with us. The kitri
was so popular that around Lord Caitanya's birthplace, the food party
stopped and we continued chanting toward the Jagannatha temple. I had
to leave early so I took the bus back to our Mayapur temple. When the
bus driver came upon our prasadam distribution party, he stopped the
bus to everyone's surprise and got out. He got a bowl of kitri, ate
it, and returned to the bus, wiped his hands with a cloth, and
continued driving. Everyone smiled to see this. I peeked around to
glance at the driver, and when he turned to look, I said, "Khub bhalo
kitri?" ["Very good kitri?"] He smiled, and said with enthusiasm,
"Khub bhalo kitri! Khub bhalo kitri!" Everyone smiled and glanced at
each other, amused at the bus driver's enthusiasm, a Westerner's
attempt to speak Bengali, or perhaps a combination of both.
  When I told Jagannatha Misra Prabhu, our harinama leader, he told
me that one time the passengers forced a bus driver to stop against
his will, and twenty people on the bus got off and got bowls of kitri!
  All glories to transcendental prasadam distribution!

My Favorite Pastime of the Lord

The following is a submission to the Back to Godhead magazine, "In
Your Own Words" feature:

My favorite pastime is Lord Caitanya and His associates plundering the
storehouse of love of Godhead and eating and distributing the
contents. I am inspired because they do not consider who is fit or who
is unfit. They give spiritual love to everyone through the holy name.
How? "They danced, cried, laughed and chanted like madmen, and in this
way they distributed love of Godhead." (CC Adi 7.22) Miraculously,
unlike a material storehouse, as the love is distributed, the supply
increases hundreds of times. Best of all, this pastime continues even
now, and you and I can take part in it, tasting spiritual nectar and
endearing ourselves to the Lord. "The present Krishna consciousness
movement is nondifferent from the pastimes performed by Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu . . . , for the same principles are being followed and the
same actions performed without fail." (CC Antya 5.88 purport)
  Each year, as I visit the Polish festival tour, the world's
Ratha-yatras, the devotee festivals in Ukraine and Mayapur, and our
regional harinamas, I see many people smile, laugh, and dance, tasting
some pleasure and developing spiritual desires through this
congregational chanting introduced by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His
associates, and I feel happy in their happiness and grateful to be
allowed to participate this glorious benedictory pastime.

"It is to be understood, however, that this chanting and dancing do
not belong to this material world. They are actually transcendental
activities, for the more one engages in chanting and dancing, the more
he can taste the nectar of transcendental love of Godhead." (CC Adi
7.22 purport)