Day 18-19 Govardhan-Train-Mayapur 12/24-25
Woke up Sinday feeing pretty painful-like to move, my body without proper rest nor warm air or liquids. Mauricio thankfully channeled the smooth healing powers of Reiki, and aftr a few more hours of feeling like an old, old man, my step and outlook on lif e certainly picked up. But then, the real suffering began.
After a 3-hour ride into smelly helly Delhi, we made our train with minutes to spare, only to find ourselves surrounded by horded of babies, who have learned, like a good portion of the native populaion, to communicate only be screaming in Hindi so some such local dialect. We also had to deal with gigling matajis, cold-cheese sandwiches, mand rock-hard samsosas for dinner. Somehow I sleep well, and in desperate need of a shower, survive the 3-hour ride into Mayapur.
On the first full day in Mayapur, the first big impression is the lotus eyes of the Panca-Tattva. How can anyone who understands this philosophy in the least not feel the inclination to give as much of themselves as they can, in return purely for the love emanating from those eyes? Or for the steel-like courage flowing forth like fire from the fangs of Lord Nrsimhadeva? The Mayapur project is so inspiring on a grand scale, the center of the lotus flower of which the mercy of Prabhupada's lotus feet unfolds over the universe. The first impression I had upon entering Bengal is confirmed more and more. This is home. Home for all devotees. Always.
In the afternoon we brave the hordes of guests somehow celebrating Christmas to take bath in the Ganges. We all throw clay on each other and watch our sinful reactions dissolve in the mercy. The lazy, hazy sun hanging, the maha-mantra pulsating, boats of pilgrims sailing on the edge of the horizon. A picture-perfect scene. In the evening, I try to make up for days worth of sub-standard rounds by really bearing down in front of HH Bhakti-Tirtha Swami's samadhi, concentrating on a sense of gratitude to have been invited into this most holiest of Dhams. I am then graced with the presence of HG Atreya Rishi Prabhu, a disciple of BT Swami who is taking care of his Guru Maharaja's samadhi. He gives me the garland from the samadhi, and we share an enlivening conversation about preaching, growing in Krsna Cons., life in New Vrindaban, and appreciating the Dham. I am always greedily seeking somehow the association of anyone who has been close to BT Swami, so that I may be close to him, so tonight's exchange with Atreya Rishi Prabhu was very special, and I pray to have his association again and again.
Day 20 Mayapur 12/26
Finally re-embraced my long-lost friend early this morning-sadhana! Got up at 5 am, braved the mild air, paid obesiances at the samadhis, gazed into Gauranga's face, and even danced a little in Guru-Puja. Feels good to be alive again in Mayapur.
We took a short but ardous jaunt through Navadvip. I was expecting a pleasant rural journey, but instead we found ourselves in rickshaw-loka. The Yogamaya Temple unbelivable exquisite in its embrace by a huge banyan tree,was underneath too hectic. I couldn't even personally see the Deity, but I prayed as hard as I could to see beyond any externals. We wandered and got lost but finally made it to the temple of the Mahaprabhu Deity belonging to His wife Vishnupriya, wonderful in its form of offering and embrace. Somehow I managed to wiggle a little extra mercy by getting Mahaprabhu's shoes placed on the top of my head by the local pandit.
We had a nice experience at the samadhi/bhajan kutir of HH Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaja. We offered to perform kirtan, and the local care-takers were kind enough to give a darshan of Maharaja's Deities, a full two hours after noon closing. They then pulled out a heaping plate of maha-prasad, which I personally got to mix together for everyone's pleasure.
Other than that, I was pretty moded out. My feet remain in a very confused state, and it gets very tough to get into an internal consciousness of deeper appreciation beyond the heaps of externals. The Mayapur project is so nice in and of itself, so we'll hopefully get a chance to slow-down and get more absorbed here.