Govardhana In Kartik, niyama-seva is

November 2nd, 2001


In Kartik, niyama-seva is recommended?the practice of simple devotions at the same time, everyday. Regulation is bliss in Krishna consciousness. Reserving set times in one’s day for particular Krishna consciousness practices enables one to attend exclusively to those devotions without distraction. From focused, concentrated worship, a taste for spiritual life arises. It’s the only way to execute Krishna consciousness. It’s the example set by Das Raghunatha; it’s the Bhaktivinoda-marg and the Prabhupada path.

After breakfast I begin Govardhana-parikrama. It’s still a little hot, but luckily I found a large straw hat that I received as a gift several years ago to shade me from the sun. It’s a Vietnamese peasant look, which I think looks somewhat ridiculous with my sannyasa robes. Still, except for the brijabasi children who mock me by yelling, “Topi! Topi!”?brajabhasa for hat?the sadhus and pilgrims seem to be even more respectful for some reason, bowing gently at the waist, as the “Sombrero Sannyasi” parades by.

I’m setting a good pace, only two and half hours at most, for half a full Govardhana-parikrama. This year I’ve divided the 24 kilometer parikrama in two equal parts: One day I go around the 12 kilometer southern side by Govinda-kunda, the next day I walk the 12 kilometer northern side around Radha-kunda. The lungs are good, the joints are getting loose, and the stamina is excellent, but my bare feet are sore and burning, only to ache all day. It’s November, but the late morning sun is still near 90 degrees. The sands are a little hot now, but the weather will cool day-by-day and the feet will toughen up quickly, I hope. Regardless, I try to focus on the name and tolerate the simple austerity.

Frankly, my life in the West had become a bit soft, so I look forward to a month of simple living, absorption in chanting, and the consequent tolerance of a few bodily inconveniences. It’s the Goswami life. I hanker for it.

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