Vrindavan and Govardhan
Dandabat pranams from Sri Govardhan!
On the way from Mauritius, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj and his entourage stayed in the VIP room at the airport. There, in the middle of the night, a member of staff approached His Divine Grace for initiation! Her sister had received Harinam the day before but this lady was not able to come. Therefore on her break, she asked for and was graciously given the divine seed of devotion by Srila Gurudev!
Mauritius is a famously beautiful land, with its sculpted black mountains and green fields of sugar cane. Bright blue coastal waters are bordered by white beaches, thatched umbrellas and coconut palms. But the yearning of the living beings goes on and on. The mind tries to celebrate some scene, taste or sound, but wherever we live, we die the same as we were born, despite so many experiences. Then there are the many gentle devotees who faithfully serve our beloved Master day and night. Their seva and remembrance of him are making their land truly beautiful and glorious.
Srila Govinda Maharaj said in Soquel that behind everything is chetan, life, consciousness. There is a beautiful world where eating does not involve death. Rather, Srila Gurudev explains, the banana is enjoying and the eater is enjoying and all are dancing in love of Krishna. Jaya!
The morning of the 14th, after landing at Delhi Airport, Srila Gurudev looked effulgent and beautiful in spite of such a long night of travel. We were met by Sandip Krishna Prabhu of Delhi, who quickly whisked Srila Gurudev off in his car. He somehow managed to arrive in Sri Govardhan Math two hours before everyone else, and we were all grateful that Srila Gurudev had such a smooth unbroken journey.
All glories to Sri Anu Giriraj! All glories to Sri Govardhan Mandir, Srila Sridhar Swami Seva Ashram!
We are blessed here with the association of Sripad Goswami Maharaj, Sripad Janardan Maharaj, Sripad Siddhanti Maharaj and Sripad Trivrikram Maharaj as well as other wonderful devotees from around the world.
The first morning here, Srila Govinda Maharaj was happily joking in the early hours. Gurudev's rooms were lovely and warm, in spite of the very cold temperatures outside. When the big bell began to ring for morning aratik of Sri Anu Giriraj, Srila Gurudev expressed what a sweet sound that is and asked that all the devotees attend this aratik every day.
Srila Gurudev spoke yesterday morning about many experiences of preaching to mayavadis, giving wonderful examples. He once asked a man why he was praising Sankaracharya when interpreting the Sanskrit description of the eyes of the Lord to be likened to the red, back portion of a monkey! Sri Ramanujacharya defeated such ridiculous interpretation, giving the real meaning, that the eyes of the Lord are like petals of a lotus flower.
In another example, Srila Gurudev said he once jumped from the top of a tree, where he had been listening to a group of mayavadi pandits talking together below, and asked them, "I am sure you are all pandits and all brahmanas."
They replied, "Yes, what do you want to ask?"
He said, "You are chanting the Gayatri Mantra every day, saying 'bhargo devasya.' Do you not know the meaning of your mantra? 'Devasya' means a man, a person! It is His 'bhargo', His effulgence. You are saying this every day, and you do not think about the meaning?" They were helpless.
Later, Srila Govinda Maharaj praised Dr. Shastri, his Sanskrit teacher, as such a simple and sweet man. He said that sweet and learned is such a nice combination. Then he talked about a long thatched hut that was the Sanskrit College he saw in Orissa. The scholars and graduates were so simple that they looked like street sweepers in spite of their great learning.
In the afternoon Srila Gurudev rode out on his scooter, which, by the way, has been all over the world though originally given by the devotees in Venezuela! The sun was shining and warm. Gurudev inspected every nook and cranny of the Govardhan Math, discussing many points with Purnananda Prabhu. He approached an elderly monkey and asked him where he was from! The monkeys here are very gentle and playful.
Yesterday, the 16th, Sripad Goswami Maharaj gave the morning class, describing very beautifully the siddhanta regarding Sri Govardhan Hill. Later, Srila Gurudev came out to the Temple of Sri Anu Giriraj, and spoke there about the glories of divine seva.
He said that so many people are worshipping Ganesh. He then quoted Sri Brahma Samhita, which states clearly that Ganesh is keeping the lotus feet of the Lord upon the two tumuli of his head, while he offers his worship. Thus he receives the power to remove the obstacles on the path of progress of the three worlds.
Then Srila Gurudev also quoted the verse 'Ksiram yatha...' from Sri Brahma Samhita, explaining the position of Lord Siva. Srila Govinda Maharaj said that though Sri Brahma Samhita is a small book, everything is there.
Srila Gurudev then sang 'Jaya Radhe, Jaya Krishna, Jaya Vrindavan....' He said that he feels so fortunate and that all the devotees also are so fortunate.
On to Vrindavan, February 17th
This morning Srila Gurudev again rode out in Sandip Krishna Prabhu's car, this time heading for Vrindavan! Very shortly afterward, all the devotees were on the road in one vehicle or another.
Divya Shakti Didi and her many helpers went yesterday to prepare the rooms for Srila Gurudev and the devotees. Among them were Divyasari Didi and her three daughters, Damayanti, Ashapurna and Ishvari Didis. They had just arrived from England, but immediately embraced this cleaning seva, and worked all day.
Srila Gurudev sat in his large outer room with the devotees for a long time on our arrival today, and spoke of past experiences of coming here, even once in the high summer when the air conditioner was only offering hot air!
Downstairs from Srila Gurudev's floor, which includes rooms for our sannyasis, is the wonderful Temple of Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj. Our merciful well wisher, an ocean of divine scholarship, unfathomable humility and most glorious Divine Love, our worship Master, Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj resided here, and this property has come to the hand of Srila Gurudev by miraculous intervention.
The beautiful original pillars and arches of Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj's house are still here, and the most charming building itself has been restored. There is an asan inside, and a beautiful picture of Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami is seated there. This is where he mercifully lived for some time and where he wrote much of Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita. All glories to his most blessed lotus feet. All glories to Srila Gurudev Srila Govinda Maharaj. All glories to Srila Guru Maharaj Srila Sridhar Maharaj.
That's it for now! I will run down the street to the local internet cafe and get this off.
Dandabat pranams, and hoping to send more later!
~Srilekha Devi Dasi