Happy days in the Holy Dhama

Occasion: Govardhana Puja
Date: 14 November 2012
Author: Rukmini Devi Dasi

Early mornings in Vrndavana are designer-made for richly relishing the holy name. At Srila Prabhupada’s sacred Samadhi, we all gather in search for shelter. Gorgeous darshans of Krsna Balarama, Radha Shyamasundar and Gaura Nitai are prized possession of those willing to brave the crowds and risk becoming a flattened mangal arati chapati!

Other than the morning programs, Maharaja occasionally surfaced for the often unexpected, but always savoured, late afternoon kirtan slots with the 24 hr kirtan crew. Under the merciful gaze of Krsna Balarama, probably the most famous deities in the world, the holy names surged in a powerful tide of rocking kirtan. Streams of locals colourfully joined in with their own dancing flavours.

Last weekend (9 – 10 November), Maharaja conducted a two day seminar on the Caitanya Caritamrta. On the first evening, he delved into the profound qualification of Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami who is the author of the book. He also touched on the mangala carana (invocation) and how it unfolds in the Adi-lila. He promised to finish the rest of the Caitanya Caritamrta the next day! Lo and behold, on day two he actually did it! Maharaja highlighted many different personalities and themes in the book. He particularly emphasized the position of the Pancha Tattva and the glories of Haridasa Thakura, still fresh in mind from the Bangladesh pilgrimage last year. Maharaja mentioned how he had read the glories of Haridas Thakura many times yet upon arriving at Benapole he saw that next to the samadhi of Haridasa Thakura was the samadhi of Laksahira, the prostitute. It became evident that not only was Haridasa Thakura glorious for his depth in chanting but he was even more glorious because he could transform a prostitute, the emblem of lust, to such a degree that she had the same attachment to the holy name that he had. It was there that a prayer emerged in his heart that any traces of lust may disappear.

With a burst of festive colour, Govardhana Puja was upon us! The celebrations were held in triplicate. Throngs of devotees remained at the Krsna Balarama Mandir for the festivities. A substantial crowd gathered at the Bhaktivedanta Ashram at the foothills of Govardhana. The sweetest celebration, however, was the intimate gathering in Maharaja’s room in the evening. From mounds of nuts, dried fruit and delectable sweets, a meter long miniature Govardhana Hill manifested. Maharaja led bhajans while the hill was in the making and occasionally burst into “Jaya Radhe, Jaya Krsna, Jaya Vrndavana”. Little Giriraja was placed on top. Devotees jovially danced around Govardhana, achieving the same benefit as that of performing the 21 km parikrama! Afterward, Maharaja personally distributed bags of sweet treats to all present and the hill vanished even quicker than it appeared! Giriraja Govardhana is known to be both a devotee and Krsna Himself and in that mood, mercy was flowing throughout the day.

Can’t view the slide show? Just visit flickr!

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