Saturday, February 23, 2008

travel journal#4.4: Mayapur

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

By Krishna-kripa das

  (February 2008, part two) 


 (Sent from Mayapur, West Bengal, India, on 2/23/08)



Where I Am and What I Am Doing


I am in Mayapur doing harinama, and proofreading Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava, Nature's IQ, and the Friends of the BBT Newsletter. As GBC meeting time and festival time approach I see friends from all over the world, a nice feature of Mayapur this time of year. I invite everyone to come on our daily three hour harinamas if they get a chance. On disciple of Indradyumna Swami from Katowice, Poland, at whose house I stayed three times while traveling to and from Ukraine, got a real taste for harinama in the dhama and came out almost every day to my great happiness. I also saw on harinama some devotees I remembered from the Berlin Ratha-yatra, which I attended the last three years. They included some great dancers who increased the opulence of the sankirtana party.


Devotional Tips


Sri Krishna shows Himself to those who prefer His service to any other occupation.—Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura


"Krishna is ready to associate with you in any way you like. Somebody likes Krishna as friend, somebody likes Krishna as husband, somebody likes Krishna as paramour. So Krishna is ready. Somebody likes Krishna as son. So any way, Krishna is ready. . . . If you want Krishna as enemy, yes, Krishna is ready. He'll kill you. But that is also good for you. If you want to fight with Krishna, yes, Krishna is ready—everything. Akhila-rasamrita-sindhu. He can associate with you in any rasa, humor, you like. Krishna's ready. Ready means, "That is natural." Because we are part and parcel of Krishna, so the part and parcel must remain with Krishna."—Srila Prabhupada, in a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.23, given on September 20, 1976, in Vrindavana.


"You shall be always feeling jolly. If I am not jolly, if I am not prasanna-manasa, that means maya [illusion] has attacked me. A bhagavad-bhakta [devotee of the Lord] shall never be aprasanna, not joyful. Always joyful. If he is actually in contact with Kåñëa, how he can become morose? No. If he is morose, if he is unhappy, that means maya has attacked him. This is the test." —Srila Prabhupada, in a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.20, given on October 31, 1972, in Vrindavana.


Lokanath Swami tells of a Delhi businessman who had a thriving shoe business. After chanting Hare Krishna for some time, he decided because of the animal killing involved in making leather shoes, he could not continue, but would produce non-leather shoes instead. He gave Lokanath Swami the first pair.


On a bicycle wheel as you move closer to the center, the distance between the different spokes decreases. In the same way, as we move closer to Krishna, the distance between ourselves and other individuals also decreases.—Lokanath Swami


We have a tendency to reject a brahmana for making one mistake. Manu Samhita, however, gives an atonement prescription for a brahmana who kills a brahmana. After executing the atonement, the brahmana is as good as before.—Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami


If a car always works but it breaks down once, we do not throw out the car. Similarly we should not reject a devotee for a single deviant act. —Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami


A Prabhupada Story


   In Los Angeles, some devotees from Hawaii were proposing different things they might do. Srila Prabhupada said, "Yes, you can do that" to all their proposals, concluding by saying, "You can do anything you want." They protested, "We are your disciples. We want your sanction." These devotees from Hawaii had long hair, and Srila Prabhupada replied, "You are not my disciples. You all have long hair."—told by Jag Jivan Prabhu




   As today is Lord Nityananda's appearance day here, I thought I would write something related to him. When I proofread the Nityananda Caritamrita, a compilation mostly of material from Caitanya Bhagavata, some points were striking to me. I recall at least a couple worth sharing.


   The glorification of Lord Nityananda by Lord Caitanya and the glorification of Lord Caitanya by Lord Nityananda are filled with such a depth of both knowledge and devotion that they increase our faith in both of the two Lords, and I highly recommended them. Some of these are in the chapter "Lord Nityananda Offers Prayers to the Six-armed Form of  Lord Caitanya." Lord Nityananda prayed, "You will fill the entire universe with Krishna-nama-sankirtana. Loving devotional service to the Lord will be preached in each and every house. . . . You will distribute devotional services to Lord Vishnu that are unknown in the Vedas."


   Vrindavana Dasa Thakura warns that if two devotees disagree and we side with one and criticize the other, by offending a devotee in this way we can end up falling away from devotional service altogether. I cannot help but think that such circumstances may account for why so many devotees have left the Hare Krishna movement. At least I can try to avoid criticizing devotees in my own life, thinking that because of their devotion, they are dear to the Lord, even if I cannot appreciate some things about them.


   There were some special incidents on Lord Nityananda's appearance day for me. Although I was delayed getting ready in the morning and worried I would be late, I arrived at the temple just as the curtains on Pancatattva's altar were opening. The week before, on Advaita Acarya's appearance day, I ended up missing the noon arati and kirtana in order to make sure I didn't miss lunch and I felt really bad about it, because such behavior is very substandard for me. On Nityananda's appearance day, two of my friends leaving the temple after the bathing ceremony, strongly encouraged me to skip the arati and get in line for the feast or I would miss out, but remembering the previous week and my love for kirtana, I just ignored them. Chanting and dancing at the noon arati during the appearance day festivals is the best part of the festival for me. As it turned out, I left the temple after the kirtana accompanying the arati ended and made it just in time for the prasadam feast without having to wait in line at all! Another thing was I was unwilling to wait in line for maha-prasadam, but a friend of mine walked past me with a bowl of it and kindly gave some to me. Our harinama party took our Nitai-Mayapur Chandra Deities and the Gaura-Nitai Deities from Prabhupada's bhajan kutir around Prabhupada's Puspa Samadhi, and it was a very lively event with some of the pilgrims also participating by dancing. I got some of the maha-prasadam from an offering along the way and shared it with some friends. Our harinama party got to lead the evening arati chanting at Prabhupada's bhajan kutir after we returned the Deities to their home. I had a sense that Lord Nityananda was fulfilling my desires to participate in His festival, and my happiness from the whole experience carried over to tulasi puja the next day in which I danced with more enthusiasm than usual. All glories to Lord Nityananda, who is so kind to encourage even neophyte devotees in His service.


nityanandam aham naumi

   sarvananda-karam param

hari-nama-pradam devam



"I bow down to the Supreme Lord Nityananda Prabhu, who is the awarder of the highest joy to all, the bestower of the holy name and the crest jewel of all paramahamsa mendicants."—quoted in Pancaratra Pradipa