Entering the Dhama 2006

October 6th, 2006

October 6, 2006

Entering the Dhama 2006

“This is the first year in so many years that I entered the dhama without an incident,” I casually mention to Nityananda, my assistant this year in Vraja, “ Almost always on my first day something humbling happens.”

We are in Vrindavana for the day, my second day in Vraja, to tie up a few loose ends. This evening we will head back to Govardhana, where I arrived yesterday.

“Each year that I enter Vraja,” I continue, “there is some mystical encounter to help purify me of false ego. I consider these encounters the special mercy of Krishna to help me gain real entrance to the dhama. One year I had a run in with a black snake at the Yamuna; the next year I mistook some old tires as a black snake; then a bat landed on my shoulder and last year a monkey attempted to swipe my glasses at Kesi Ghat. Each time the confrontation happened on my very first day in dhama. All were humbling, but helpful in removing any vestiges of the false conception of controller and enjoyer – the antithesis of selfless servant, the mood that reveals Vraja.

“This year,” I explain, “in contrast, my entrance to the dhama has been only welcoming. I think it is because I already endured four intense month’s of purification in America.”

I then share with Nityananda my take on this sudden change of fortune in dhama entrance,“I did notice a special feeling of unworthiness this year approaching the dhama. Considering what I went through, how could I enter the dhama with ahankara, the conception that I am the controller? Nothing went my way practically the whole time I was in America.”

I further share my thoughts on my smooth arrival to Vraja, “I feel it as Krishna’s love for his forlorn devotee. After being so intensely criticized, it’s very soothing to feel a pleasant welcoming from the dhama. It’s only Srimati Radhika. Without her mercy nothing in Vraja happens.”

As we ride into the beginning of Loi Bazaar, I carefully take my glasses off and hold them in my hand weary of the place. It’s monkey ambush central for sure.

Shyamasundari suddenly rides past and sees me. She stops to greet me. “More good fortune,” I think to myself. Last year she graciously offered an exquisite hand painted outfit for Giriraja for Gaura Purnima. She designs most of the outfits for Sivaram Swami’s Deities in Hungary and offered to make outfits for Giriraja in reciprocation for my classes in Vrindavana. I was hoping that I would see her.

“Maharaja,” Shyamasundari explains, “I was looking for you. I just completed a new outfit for Giriraja. I was wondering how I would get it for you.”

“More good news” I thought, “everything I need is coming effortlessly.”

Thump! Whack! A quick slap on my hand. Chaos breaks. Time freezes in a moment of shock and confusion. I quickly come to my senses. My glasses are gone. I look up on the steel awning. Our furry enemy is gleefully twisting and chewing my glasses. No!

I run helplessly to the nearest fruit cart and grab some oranges. I throw them to the monkey. He doesn’t take the bait. He stares down and chews and chews on my glasses. The stakes are getting higher. He’s holding out, for bananas, but none are around. Will anything be left (of my glasses) by the time I find them?

The brijabasi children spring into action. They throw up some biscuits and then climb the wall. They are just barely hanging over edge, their legs dangling below the awning, hoping the monkey will drop the glasses in exchange. Our monkey, though, coolly moves from their reach. He continues to chomp on the frames. He’s laughing at me!

A small crowd gathers to watch the fun. The children try again. No luck.

All of sudden the monkey grabs the biscuits. One boy still hanging sweeps the awning with his hands. He’s got the glasses!

Miraculously they are fully intact except for a very small piece of rubber chewed from the end of the ear piece leaving the thin wire at the end exposed, a helpful reminder for my rest of my stay that I am certainly not the controller and enjoyer here.

Note: Kartik starts tomorrow. Hopefully I am now prepared now for some “trnad api” chanting. I pray for such realizations and that I may also share them with you.

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