October 15, 2003 – Karttika

October 15th, 2003

Govardhana / Vrndavana

The Disappearance Day of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura

The appearance and disappearance days of the great acaryas are an opportunity to get their mercy by our worship of them. I try to take advantage of these days with at least some minimal observance. It is a fact that the conduit of mercy from the great souls is our worship and glorification of them, especially on these days. I thus jumped at the invitation of Indradyumna Swami to attend today an initiation ceremony at the Vraja Mohan Mandir, where the original deities of Narottama dasa Thakura from the very first Gaura Purnima festival at Kheturi are now located in Vrndavana.

The Bhakitvedanta Asrama has a very protective spiritual environment. All of your needs are provided in a pure atmosphere free from distraction. I am attached to it, so I have practically avoided leaving the property for the month, even to go Vrndavana.

On the way I notice that, for some reason, our taxi driver wants to diverge from the straight path to Vrndavana to get something for himself. I?m already late, so when he tries to make his detour, I become angry in an effort to get this point across. There is such a disparity between this anger and my peaceful and simple mood in Govardhana that the contrast feels exceptionally pronounced. I sense the anger almost like a poison consuming my body. It dawns on me that if this simple car trip to Vrndavana is such a disturbance in comparison to life in Govardhana, then how am I going to leave its shelter for the West? I have no answer, except that a pure devotee is not even attached to his own peace.

Of course, by leaving one?s bhajana for the service of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one becomes an object His mercy. And that mercy can certainly carry one to places in his spiritual life that are even unattainable by our peaceful efforts in a life of exclusive sadhana.

It is wonderful to sit at the lotus of feet of Sri Sri Radha Vraja Mohan again. Surprisingly, Maharaja asks me to give the lecture. I speak on accessing the mercy of the guru parampara through service to the mission of the spiritual master. I also comment on how Krishna and his devotee are expert judges of time, place, and circumstance and how the time, place, and circumstances of this initiation are so ideal: Karttika in Vrndavana at the lotus feet of Vraja Mohan on the disappearance day of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura.

Pradip, from Bombay, who is being initiated, is so sincere that when he recites his vows, he spontaneously makes extra promises to not only chant, but to chant attentively, to distribute Srila Prabhupada?s books every week, and to become a servant of the servant of the Vaisnavas. I can?t even remember all of his vows, but I could see that he is a very sincere soul. His chaste wife and beautiful six-year-old son are also sitting next to him. Everyone could feel the auspiciousness of the ceremony.

In tune with the mood and place of the initiation and the special day on which it is being held, Indradyumna Swami responds to the moment. ?Your new name is Narottama dasa Thakura dasa!?

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