Day 21 Mayapur 12/27
Pretty homesick for New Vrindaban today. Not sure exactly why, but I feel a great need for some down-hoe love, some service hauling something heavy in the deep snow, and I miss all the devotees there who are my dear friends. One reason may be is that there are just too many people here for me to focus and go deep. One thing that I'm learning about myself on this trip is that I really don't like big crowds of pushy people.
We took a short trip around Mayapur, going to Yoga Pitha, the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, where we performed a rousing kirtan with Caitanya's freshly purchased mrdanga. We also visited Srivas Angan, the ISKCON Jagannath temple, and the Caitanya Math, where a group of devotees were holding a wonderful program at the samadhi of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur for his disappearance day.
Taking Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur's advice to seek the shelter of sadhus when visiting the Dham. we spent a lot of time at the magnificent gurukula built in Bengal-Zen style by HH Bhakti Vidya Purna Maharaja. We were there for his daily Bhagavatam class, and some key splashes of nectar were that we can only experience Krsna fully in the present moment. Not in the past or in the future, in which pur perceptions are governed by time and the modes. For Krsna, there is no time as we know it, and every moment is an ever-fresh experience. If we can immerse ourselves in the experience of the present moment, rather than analyzing it in any certain way, we can begin to realize what going beyond mundane time, and we can understand better the way Krsna is arranging things for us.
Another drop of nectar was that the Holy Name, even by offering it in nama-bhasa, takes away all sins, but that we cannot fully realize the effect until we accept and surrender to His love and plan. Then, we will have full shelter and purity, even as the material nature still acts. We met Maharaja privately later on in the day, speaking some brahmacari katha. Maharaja encouraged a strong program, with the emphasis on making sure strong, proper training is being offered, and care. So that even if a brahmacari wants to get married, because he has been properly trained he will be able to embrace the challenges and difficulties of switching asramas in the proper mood. It's not just a matter of needing a woman, or not needing a woman. Only a properly trained brahmacari can handle caring for a wife and children, helping them back to Godhead.
We were deeply inspired by the internal and external aesthetics of Maharaja's project, and we all deeply pray to take birth again soon so that we may be properly trained up in Navadvip Dham.
Day 22 Mayapura 12/28
Woke up and took a japa stroll to the super-sattvic atmosphere of HH Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami's gurukula, where there I was greeted by HG Ananda Tirtha Prabhu, fellow New Vrindaban Brajbasi, who gave me a guided tour of the facilties, including the wondrous temple room with its collection of various Nrshinga deities and silas. In Maharaja's class he spoke a point that neither Maya herself, nor the material nature, is actually the illusion. It is when we see and acit in such a way that we separate the material nature from its rightful owner, Krsna, that we fall into illusion. When we try to lord it over, falling into the traps and dwelling on the past and future, that we become responsible for creating the illusion.
Justin and I then took advantage of the local barber-shop walla, and we both find ourselves so fresh and so clean hair-wise for the first time in a couple of weeks. A freshly-shaved head actually cuts through my various head-games and firmly reminds me that I should act as a devotee. We followed that with another transcendental dip in the Ganges. Caitanya and Mauricio engaged in some Ganga-clay therapy by smearing a whole bunch over their bodies and letting it dry, turning them into ghostly nag-babas. Justin got to witness a local dog take its last breaths and twitches right next to the Ganga before passing on to something better. He hopes to be as fortunate to die on the banks of the Ganges.
We followed that excitement with a down-home pizza party with Ananda Tirtha and his wife, Radha Sundari, and we then had the association of HG Prahlada Nrshinga Prabhu, a wonderful devotee from Argentina, very warm with no pretensions and some astrological sakti. He regaled us with a few wild stories from his days in Miami and New Vrindaban and gave us all encouragement to continue on the path of bhakti.
In the evening we took a short boat-ride over to Bhaktivinode Thakur's house, stopping to take darshan of the huge banyan tree outside the front gate. Only the California redwoods are as impressive a sight in the tree department. The Thakur's house was filled with realizations, and it was very easy to imagine him rising early in the morning to inspire all future generations of Vaisnavas with his writings and visions. I pray to live long enough to see that "exceedingly beautiful temple" rising along the horizon from the very balcony where the Thakur has his vision. We owe our lives to hi, for he truly paved the way back to Godhead for us.
Tomorrow, off to Puri. Not enough time her, in ISKCON's most realized project. I pray to only to return to offer service to the Vaisnavas here, as they continue to build the spiritual capital of the universe.