Japa Kutir, Vrindaban I will

November 14th, 2000

Japa Kutir, Vrindaban

I will resume my daily practice of visiting Srila Prabhupada at his Samadhi Mandir after breakfast now that I am in Vrindaban. My worth is his mercy?tomara karuna sar. It’s a fact. Whatever I personally treasure?Vrindaban, the holy name, the Bhagavat?are his gifts.

While standing by the side of the altar of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai I feel an affectionate mild slap on my back and the greeting of a devout high-pitched voice. I recognize that it is saintly Vibhu Caitanya welcoming me from behind.

Vibhu Caitanya, in his household life, like Gaura Kishor dasa Babaji, was a simple grain merchant in Bengal. He would use much of the modest profit from his shop to feed the Vaishnavas. When his family repeatedly objected to what they thought was his excessive charity, he eventually just left home in 1975 for Vrindaban, where he met Srila Prabhupada and surrendered to his lotus feet.

Srila Prabhupada immediately engaged Vibhu Caitanya as the cook for the temple Deities, a service that he executed expertly and sincerely for over twenty years, until old age forced him to retire and to adopt the less strenuous service of serving out caranamrita. Single-handedly, he was cooking every offering, including the Deities? sweets?entering the kitchen well before mangala-arati and not leaving before nine at night. All of these offerings were elaborate and incomparably delectable. Once, shortly after his retirement, I passed him on the steps and he was gently laughing?”Six men! Six men!”?indicating how many people at the time the temple had to engage to replace him.

Occasionally I would hear his voice calling me from outside my room. When I would open my door he would be standing there with a tiffin of samosas, kachouris, sweets, and other spiritual delicacies from the Deities. Service in Vrindaban could get very austere and even stressful and I would sometimes question if I were even making advancement at all. Whenever I received this tiffin of maha-prasadam directly from his hands, however, I understood that it was the direct the mercy of Srimati Radaharani, and my despondency would be relieved.

By the time I turned around to greet him, Vibhu Caitanya was already paying his obeisances. In a deep meditative way, indicative of the heartfelt respect of one imbued with the consciousness of servant of the servant, I returned the obeisances and stayed down for a while. When I finally stood up, Vibhu Caitanya was still down. It happens every time.

To this day I will never leave Vrindaban without asking him to pray to Srimati Radharani for my return.

I also see Mother Srimati chanting and intensely praying to Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai. Mother Srimati is a saintly and learned widow fromMayapur, who is our parikrama guide for Ekachakra whenever we visit the Mayapur area. We talk for a while and she quotes Bhaktivinoda Thakur: “Dhama-seva leads to nama-seva, which leads to kama-seva.”

I reply, “Kama-seva?” Kama refers to lust or desire.

She said, “Yes, when we chant the name purely, then Krishna opens His heart to us and reveals his kama, or desire for us. That is perfection!”

I start my class today. I?ve only told two people, but a good crowd shows up. I realize how much I miss lecturing regularly. It’s my main devotional offering to Srila Prabhupada.

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