accompanying the entourage of
Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
21 February 2008
Here we are in Vrindavan Dham by the grace, and under the protection of, our Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. The mornings are still quite cold. It is sunny and warm during the day, but turns cool again in the evenings.
Today Anjali Didi from the UK arrived, and Sripad Janardan Maharaj left for Calcutta. The guesthouse rooms are full, and everyone is jolly and in a very gentle and harmonious mood. The prasadam offered to Srila Gurudev and Their Lordships Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharva Rasabiharijiu is extraordinary; the devotees are daily astonished by all the wonderful preparations. Srila Gurudev personally instructed the cooks on what to prepare for Lord Nityananda Prabhu's feast yesterday, and the devotees were exclaiming that it was the best feast ever.
This morning Srila Gurudev invited all the devotees to his sitting room, but as he was feeling a little tired, he asked Sripad Goswami Maharaj to speak. Sripad Goswami Maharaj then delivered a wonderful lecture, telling the history of his coming to the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaj Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. He also spoke about the absolute position of Guru, and, in this regard, Raghunath Das Goswami's prayers in separation from Srimati Radharani. He prays that without Her, Govardhan Hill, Radha Kunda, and even Krishna, are unfamiliar and frightening. We only serve Them as they are connected with Her; with our divine Master. He explained that Sri Guru is the pond which gives shelter and nourishment to the lotus-like disciple. Without his shelter, Krishna, Who is like the sun, will cause the lotus to scorch and dry up. Very wonderful lecture.
Ashapurna Didi from the UK is able to read the Bengali script verses from Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita engraved on the wall of Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami's Memorial. After noting down these verses, she found them and printed them out with the English translations given by Srila Prabhupada. Today a group of devotees went around the hall, reading these verses in Sanskrit and English, and many more want to join this seva. Srila Gurudev expressed his satisfaction that the devotees are doing this.
Sri Narottama Das Thakur's Appearance Day
Our day here is wondrous and extraordinary. We wake to the temple bell ringing out the upcoming first festival of the day, run to attend aratik and parikrama, chant our japa, join in kirtan, perhaps present ourselves before our Divine Master Srila Gurudev, and then take amazing breakfast prasadam (OK. Since you are asking, this morning we honoured beautiful hot *uppuma with peas, fresh brown bread, and muri...!) We then may attend a beautiful talk by His Divine Grace himself, or simply sit with him and quietly receive his blessings. Or we might listen most gratefully to a class given by Sripad Goswami Maharaj.
Then we must run to do some seva before the bell rings again for noon aratik and, yes, more prasadam! A little rest, a little more seva, and the bells start ringing again, the incense floating upward as it is being offered to Their most merciful Lordships, Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharva Rasabiharijiu, and all around us is glorious Vrindavan Dham. Certainly we do not know much about that, but, as Srila Gurudev said yesterday, in the meantime we have somewhere to stay. We have been brought here to this most sacred land, sheltered as closely as beloved babes, nourished, loved, instructed, and protected by our indescribably glorious Srila Gurudev and the Sri Guru-varga.
Srila Govinda Maharaj just now delighted all the devotees by coming out to his front porch for a view of the Temple and the road. He is staying on the first floor (for North Americans, that's the one up from the ground floor!) of the Memorial of Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami, just across the street from the main Temple and guest house. Hearing the news, all the devotees ran out from whatever seva they were doing, to see His Divine Grace, and he graciously and happily saw us too.
Everything around Srila Gurudev is a festival. As Sri Brahma Samhita describes, their every movement is a dance, and their every word is a song. Where Svayam Bhagavan Krishna comes to meet the aspirant devotee, that meeting place is called Sri Guru. And that meeting is the grandest most wondrous thing ever to happen to a living being. So we are celebrating.
Our diseased mis-self-identity called false ego will kick up and try to survive despite our practising life. But the medicine brought by Mahaprabhu must soon work in our hearts, and that artificial ego will withdraw forever. It's the quintessential party-pooper, and is always presenting amazing, ludicrous arguments on its own behalf. Srila Gurudev said in Mauritius that when we understand for once and for all that there is no other way to become Krishna conscious other than to develop humility, tolerance, and giving honour, expecting no honour in return, then we will finally become serious about it. Those qualities are essential for entrance into the divine atmosphere.
Jaya all the devotees! In Mexico Srila Gurudev said, with breathtaking humility, "I worship all of you, and all who will come in the future." May the veil one day part, and may we see just how fortunate we are with the association of Sri Guru and the Vaishnava practitioners.
~Srilekha Devi Dasi