Day 9 12/14 Vrndavana
I think the thing we all can agree on so far is that it's pretty hard not to think of Krsna when we're here. It's hard to put into words. For myself, I've never been so excited to chant all my rounds, all at once, and then some.
HH Sacinandana Maharaja said in his sweet evening Gita class that in the Holy Dham, sandhini-sakti is all pervading. Even the useless neophyte such as myself can have this taste, without hesitation if I'm just a little bit open, as my soul can be connected in a very direct way to the Holy Name.
The Holy Name is not an ordinary ruby or diamond. It is the cintamani gem, the true wish-fulfilling substance. If we cling to it, taste it, and meditate upon its meaning deeply, calling for help out of our miserable condition, then everywhere becomes the Dham. For now, it's nice to have the real dust upon my feet.
Another sweet sensation is being so close to Prabhupada. To be in his samadhi, in his rooms, so close to his actual presence, radiates to me a very grandfatherly warmth and protection. I pray to him for his causeless mercy so that I may indeed be of some use to Mother Earth and her inhabitants in this time of great need and change. Otherwise, we are useless without it.
Day 10 12/15 Vrndavana
There were many ways that I perfected my life today. It began as we took a tour of Mathura, offering ourselves to the holiest spots led by the transcendental tour-guideness of HG Devananda Pandit Prabhu. Our various darshans included the prison cell whee baby Krsna appeared to Vasudeva and Devaki just over 5000 years ago. Following that we also visited the birthplace of Srimati Radharani, Raval, where the sweet breeze of the most beloved of Krsna nearly trapped me to a life of making piles and piles of cow-dung patties. However, being a complete rascal, I somehow pulled myself away.
We visited Raman and Vasudeva Ghats and tasted the water of the Yamuna for the first time in this lifetime at least. A sacred moment, for this was also the place where Krsna was accused of eating mud by Balarama, and where Krsna then revealed His Universal Form to Mother Yasoda, who had come to peer into His mouth. We were then treated to a Braj Breakfast cooked by a few local pious souls, close to the spot of Damodar-Lila. The spicy curry and hot-and-fresh chapatis were the best breakfast of my life.
We finished our day in Raman-Reti, rolling in sand crushed by the surabhi cows to ease the path for the tender feet of Krsna and Balarama. This sand is more valuable than the Vaikuntha planets. At the behest of Devananda Pandit, we then engaged in wrestling pastimes. I squared off with Mauricio, and my false ego got me good. I am thinking here is a skillny physics Ph.D student from Colombia, who dances like no other, and that I will beat him. Immediately I remembered that he was a fourth-degree black belt in karate and immediately thereafter Mauricio choked me down in the Holy Dham. I've never felt so fortunate.
In the evening I rushed out to buy a pair ove overpriced kartals and was lucky enough to christen them in a kirtan led by HG Aindra Prabhu, transcendentally fulfilling my dream of being a rock star. Gulabjamuns and samosas for dinner, and I pray that I get up for mangal-arati tomorrow.