Connecting Devotees Worldwide - In Service Of Srila Prabhupada
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By Laxmimoni Devi Dasi
I have come to Mayapur many times over the years. The first time was in 1974. Between then and the 90’s I went on the Nabadwip Mandala parikrama six times without shoes! But in all the times I’ve come to Mayapur and all the parikramas I’ve gone on, I have never felt so close to the Dham as I do when I go on the Kartik Parikrama with the Mayapur Chandra’s and the 200 or so others that come along on this transcendental pilgrimage.
Small and intimate, this gathering of serious devotees, from many corners of the world, travel together in cars and wingers, busses and boats, moving to various places hearing and chanting about the glories of Sri Sri Nitai Gaura and Their associates.
Srila Prabhupada told us that we could chant any name of God and then added, “We have got everything: Krsna’s name, Krsna’s address, Krsna’s form, Krsna’s activities. We know everything.” On this yatra Srila Prabhupada’s words become a tangible reality, because each day we visit Lord Caitanya’s family and associates, see their homes and learn so much about their lives.
As the pre-dawn mist rises above the Ganga we begin our travel, muri (puffed rice) bags and water in hand; we go to each well-planned opportunity to relish the glories of Nimai and Nitai as narrated by Jananivas and Pankajanghri Prabhus, various Maharajas and Naru Gopal Prabhu, the leader of the Mayapur Chandra’s and our guide for this event. We hear the plea of Binoy Gouranga over the murmur of chanting pilgrims, “Get in the busses! Chalo chalo we have to go.” ….and so we are off, to one sacred place after another, hearing wonderful pastimes and sharing the realizations of these senior Mayapurvasis, who have entered deeply into these lilas, with devotees from all over the world year after year.
At the samadhi of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, the power of Srila Prabhupada’s guru becomes self-evident. No-nonsense preaching tempered by real compassion. He kindly recreated Vrndaban in Mayapur and so we can circumambulate Govardhan Hill, take ceremonial dips in Shyama Kunda and Radha Kunda, and reflect on how fortunate we are that our Srila Prabhupada took His Divine Master’s orders so seriously and went to the West to preach the message of Lord Caitanya to the English-speaking population. On the 5th day of our parikrama some of us reminisce about our experiences with Srila Prabhupada, and daily everything is simultaneously translated into Russian, Chinese and Spanish – a living testimony to the successful preaching of our Srila Prabhupada and his spiritual master.
Hearing about the tears of Mata Saci and Vishnupriya Devi brings tears to my eyes, and causes me to meditate on the maturity and devotion necessary to apply the examples of the Lord’s activities to our own lives. Premature renunciation is dangerous. Let us pray to Dhamesvara Mahaprabhu to remove false pride from our hearts and allow us to learn from the Lord’s behavior without imitation.
With each stop another lila unfolds. In Srivasa Angan dukhi turns to sukhi by the mercy of the Lord, we beg for mercy where our Lord appeared, hear of the glorious, long awaited meeting of Nityananda with His Spiritual Brother, touch the ground where the Chand Kazi surrendered to Lord Caitanya and gave the order that the Sankirtan Movement would never be stopped in Nadia, float down the Holy Ganga and relish Her glories, and watch in awe at Champahati as Krsna’s gopis plot together and manage to steal His flute. During all six days, various events are enacted spontaneously by the men and women in our party, delighting and enlightening everyone. Jananivasa and Pankajanghri Prabhus, along with Kavicandra Maharaja, beautifully portray the wonderful exchanges between Lord Caitanya and Kolavecha Sridhar – typecasting at its best.
Lamps are lit each day in celebration of Kartik Mas and sweet bhajan and Kirtan are offered by Sri Hari Kantha Prabhu, Visakha Mataji and others. The beautiful vibration evokes the power of the Holy Names and the blessings of the previous acaryas.
Twice a day we stop to honor wonderful prasadam served by hard working, humble sevaks – in proper Bengali order – organized by Bhaktivinodanuga das with utmost care and served with love by people who come from everywhere.
Now this year’s parikrama is over, but another is already planned, with more sharing, more chanting, more hearing and praying, in the association of inspired Vaisnavas coming together to experience the nine processes of devotional service, on the nine islands of Nabadwip immersed in the innumerable pastimes of Lord Gauranga and His associates.