Archive for October, 2001

Govardhan “O Radha-Giridhari, decorate my

October 31st, 2001


“O Radha-Giridhari, decorate my statements so that they may be pleasing to Your Lordship and inspire the devotees to increase their devotional service to Your lotus feet.”

Arrived at the ISKCON Govardhana Palace, the unparalleled place for Krishna bhajan. Whether it’s the design of the old Vaishnava King’s Vraja residence built perfectly according to vastu-sastra or the association of the saintly brahmacaris here or the omnipresence of Giri-Govardhana or a combination of various factors, peace of mind and a focus on the holy name takes on a new dimension here.

I sit in the evening on the porch outside the King’s neat little bhajan-sthali on the middle turrets of his palace. I look out at Govardhana. The incomparable view of Govardhana here always invokes the intimacy of seeing a dear and kind friend, but surprisingly, today, He seems a bit more foreign. Perhaps I have become too familiar.

As we age in Krishna consciousness we should not, due to familiarity, lose our reverence for the manifestations of the Lord, whether it’s His deity form or even His maha-prasadam. Instead, as we mature in Krishna consciousness, our realization of the Lord’s glories should also deepen. We should humbly submit ourselves with even greater meekness before the holy name, the Deity, and the Lord’s dhama.

Great souls never lose their reverence for even the simplest of the Lord’s manifestations in this world. When even an ordinary pilgrim would offer Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur some prasadam from the Deity he would circumambulate that man three times and prostrate himself before him to respect the Lord’s manifestation as maha-prasadam.

When my Godbrother, His Grace Bimala Prasad, visited his 97 year old siksa-guru, the most respected Sripad Bhakti Pramod Puri Maharaja, he was taken aback and embarrassed to see the old and sickly man immediately pay his full dandavats. When he asked the revered saint why he had offered his respects, the old sadhu folded his hands in a directed way to indicate Bimala’s harinama shawl. Bimal Prasad realized that Maharaja was such a humble and respectful saint that with sincere deference he was even submitting himself to the holy name manifest on his chadar.

The Lord mercifully appears in so many ways to deliver us, but we neglect him. I make a mental note to be much more guarded in the presence of the Lord, especially as His holy dhama. Kartik begins tomorrow. I am so much looking forward to the worship of Sri Radha in Her special month.

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October 29-30, 2001

October 30th, 2001


“O Radha-Giridhari, decorate my statements so that they may be pleasing to Your Lordship and inspire the devotees to increase their devotional service to Your lotus feet.”

Writing has been so easy for the last year, but my page has been practically blank for the last few days since entering Vrindaban. Why? Maybe I have become proud. We cannot claim any abilities independent of God. All potencies are His, to be given and taken at His will. God may therefore mercifully withdraw our so-called talents to enlighten us, especially in Vrindaban, where the internal potency reigns to nourish the Lord’s service and frustrate the false ego?the sense of doer-ship independent of the Lord’s empowerment.

That’s the dhama?only for Radha! Am I ready?

Vrindaban I heard some good

October 28th, 2001


I heard some good news. His Grace Bhurijan Prabhu, his wife, Her Grace Jagattarini Prabhu, and His Holiness Sacinandana Swami will be in Govardhana at the beginning of December leading a sadhana retreat for two weeks. They are all dear friends, advanced in Krishna consciousness, and I am eager to spend time with them. I will extend my stay at Govardhana for another two weeks after Kartik and hope to attend part of their retreat. We always require siksa, instructions on how to hone and increase our practice of Krishna consciousness.

Factually, we are not so advanced as to gain much advantage from our visit to the holy dhama. The sadhus, however, are quite capable of realizing the glories of the dhama. Therefore, they frequent the holy dhama, and we also find solace there, but only for their association.

It can’t be stressed enough: The most effective way of nurturing bhakti is sadhu-sanga.

October 26-27, 2001

October 27th, 2001


A few social visits, some business to attend. Not much else to say. Vrindaban is meant for bhajan. Hopefully in a few days I will be ready for the real business of life?-chanting and hearing about Krishna-?and then perhaps I will really have something to say.

Vrindaban It’s been seven months

October 25th, 2001


It’s been seven months since I’ve visited Vrindaban, my longest self-imposed exile from Vrindaban in twenty-two years. My entrance to the holy dhama, however, always invokes the same emotions?and in the same order. A sense of relief, a feeling of worthlessness and humility, and a charge of exhilaration and excitement followed by a glimmer of devotion. And the same persons always usher me in: Gopal, the blissful brijbasi driver, Dadu,the saintly mailman, and the ominous black snake at Kesi-ghata. I’ve described my pattern of entering the dhama many times. Patterns repeat, so there’s not much need to say more, except for my encounter with that ominous black snake. Our meeting took on a new twist, and it merits a few words more.

Another set piece to my fixed pattern of entering Vrindaban is to bathe in the Yamuna before doing anything else. I wouldn’t feel fit to be here without the powerful purifying effect of Her merciful waves. Thus on my request Gopal, my friendly and lovable brijbasi driver, drove me directly from Delhi Airport to the bank of the Yamuna at Kesi-ghata.

As I strolled on the path above the stone stairs of the intricately carved red sandstone ghata looking for a suitable place to enter his holiest of rivers, I spotted a large black snake on the bottom step of the first of the five separate bathing sections comprising Kesi-ghata. I was twenty feet away and looked carefully to see if it was just a piece of tire or a rope, but it was moving. It was a large dangerous black snake! I continued my walk, but with apprehension, somewhat fearful to bathe in the river that my big black friend seemed to be protecting. With trepidation, I quickly entered the Yamuna a few sections down, rapidly submerged myself three times, and with relief, immediately vaulted myself to shore. Proceeding back along the same path I again passed the first section of the ghata where I first spotted the snake. There he was, still there, and in the exact same position. From the top of the steps I looked at him again. Yep, he was still moving?but why was it in the same exact place? I squinted and focused again. No! It was only a piece of a black bicycle tire. Before bathing, I took off my glasses and any object twenty feet away naturally appeared blurry, unfocused, and slightly vibrating. The cause of my fear was not real, but in my mind!

A realization came akin to what I have been thinking and preaching about for weeks since the World Trade Tower disaster-?that the fearful world we live in is a product of our mind and not the actual nature of reality. Here was a classic example: the rope and the snake. For five minutes I lived in a world threatened by a dangerous snake, which in fact, existed solely in my mind. I realized that just as the presence of this snake was enough to alter my view of the world and determine my actions and feelings?in spite of the fact that it was a creation of the mind?similarly, we always live a world of self-created fears that determine our actions and feelings, but are, in truth, creations of the mind. For example, we live in constant fear of death. Non-existence, or death, however, is just as much an illusion for the eternal, undying self as the big black snake that haunted my entrance to the dhama.

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