Mayapur ?He who lives in

January 14th, 2001


?He who lives in Nabadvipa-dhama is very fortunate, for he achieves attraction for Krishna. He who happens to go there becomes freed from all offenses. What one attains by traveling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering Nabadvipa. In this way the scriptures sing. He who sees Nabadvipa-dhama gets ecstatic love of Krishna birth after birth. Even one who goes to Navadvipa desiring to gain material comforts through pious activities will not take another birth. The sastras say that one who walks around Nabadvipa attains the fruit of millions of asvamedhas-yajnas at every step. And one who lives in Nabadvipa and chants mantras obtains the sound of Caitanya as his mantra and easily gets free from maya. What yogis obtain after ten years at other tirthas is obtained in three nights at Navadvipa.? (Nabdvipa Mahatmya, Parikrama-Khanda, Chapter 1)

The facilities for our group are ideal. We have all to ourselves a small but spacious new guesthouse/conference hall in a rustic setting next to the temple goshalla and its pastoral gurukula, but only five minutes from the bustle of the temple by a scenic, tree-lined and winding dirt road raised over acres of the temple?s paddy fields. A few hundred feet behind our guesthouse flows the Jalungi River. From the window of my room I can even see across the river to svananda-sukhada kunja, Bhaktivinoda Thakur?s residence.

Everything is perfect, but where is our group? They were to arrive at 7AM. It is past 2PM.

I remember hearing a Bhagavatam class over twenty years ago years where the speaker described waiting as the greatest surrender. Surrender means to accept Krishna?s will. That?s hard to do when Krishna?s will is delaying the arrival of your friends. I am anxious to see all the new pilgrims and I struggle to surrender and wait patiently.

The group finally arrives after 3PM. Their plane was turned back to Delhi because of the heavy fog in Calcutta. It?s a nice mix of devotees, from recent high school graduates to working people, from newcomers to seasoned devotees. Many have longstanding friendships, but everyone feels welcome.

Several members of the tour had written to me independently with the same concern?they feel unqualified to enter the dhama and have some trepidation about going. Although many are not the strictest practitioners they are approaching the tour seriously in a humble mood. That makes them qualified to receive the mercy of the dhama and good association for me.

They settle in quickly. Not really knowing what to expect, I can sense their relief when they see that the facility is suitable in terms of their comforts, but also in terms of the setting in rustic India.

After prasadam we walk five minutes to Srila Prabhupada?s samadhi, a spectacular and powerful Vatican-like sacred space that appropriately communicates Srila Prabhupada?s stature. We are then surprised to find ourselves unexpectedly right in the middle of the temple?s colorful Sunday Deity procession, which happens to be circumambulating the samadhi at exactly the time we finish our darshan. The kirtans, the mantras, the flaming torches, and the beautiful Deities on Their huge elephant carrier? We are enchanted. It?s an exotic entrance into Mayapur that more than makes up for the tiresome journey to get here.

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