Govardhan I am still at

December 9th, 2001

Govardhan

I am still at Govardhan. It?s hard to leave, especially as more sadhus arrive.

His Holiness Sacinandana Swami, His Grace Bhurijan Prabhu and his wife, Her Grace Jagattarini devi dasi, are now all in Govardhan. They have rented a newly built dharmasalla (pilgrim guesthouse) on the other side of Govardhan for a sadhana retreat for just a small group of serious devotees, about forty. I ride my bicycle there everyday for their association.

There is much more room between the parikram path and Govardhan Hill on its western side. Most of their retreat classes are thus held in small forest under a tree, completely undisturbed by residents or pilgrims, an ideal setting.

The day before yesterday I attended Sacinandana?s seminars on the Holy Name. Yesterday the whole group chanted 64 rounds by the side of Giriraj.

Today I heard Bhurijan?s lecture on studying the Bhagavatam.

Bhurijan stressed that he reads the Bhagavatam not to spout knowledge, but to become influenced by it. In this regard, he demonstrated a technique of study that he tries to employ everyday for at least fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the handout about this so I cannot reproduce it verbatim. The essence of his method is to put oneself in a prayerful mood before reading, as if one is approaching the Deity. One then should read slowly looking for meaning, not to finish a set amount. When a sentence touches ones heart or inspires one, one should softly read that sentence aloud several times, and then meditate on it praying for further meaning.

To demonstrate the method, he read to us just one paragraph from Krishna book. He discussed the realizations and images he gleaned from just the first sentence and asked others for input. What manifested from just that one sentence was quite dynamic. He thus demonstrated how even just a few phrases or even one word could invoke so many remembrances and conceptions if approached thoughtfully and prayerfully.

Bhurijan is the consummate teacher. He then had us break up into groups and asked us to read in a similarly meditative manner from a selection of our choice from anyone of Srila Prabhupada?s books provided at the retreat. We were then to free write for fifteen minutes on whatever we read. Basically, the free writing here meant to start writing on a particular subject and continue writing with whatever comes to ones mind, never lifting ones pen, even if one loses ones train thought. Bhurijan finally asked each group to discus their realizations among themselves. I looked around. The discussions were animated and intense.

I was paired with Sacinandana Swami. We shared with each other what we wrote and discussed our realizations. Our exchanges were also quite intimate and deep.

When Bhurijan called the group back together for his next lecture, the devotees were so absorbed that they were reluctant to heed his call. It actually took some time for him to gather them. What we actually learned: The true meaning of sadhu sanga.

From Bhurijan?s lecture:

“The name Pariksit means examiner. Lord Krishna appeared in Maharaj Pariksits womb. For the rest of his life he examined everyone searching for Krishna, searching for that wonderful form. We should also examine the world, searching again for that experience of Krishna we had that first attracted us to His lotus feet.”

Comment by Mother Srimati during a discussion about surrender “There are two stages of surrender according to Bhativinoda Thakur. First stage?whatever we have we give to Krishna. Second stage?our mood is ‘Krishna, I?m yours!’. We give to Krishna what is His.”

Comment by Bhurijan on Mother Srimati?s comment, “There is a third stage of surrender at the stage of prema discussed in Nectar of Devotion, ?Krishna you are mine!'”

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