By Rukmini devi dasi
Looking like something out of ‘Lord of the Rings’, the majestic Radhadesh castle emerges stoically from the lush green countryside. The grey stone quickly gives way to the exquisite darshan of Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha. If Radhadesh’s natural richness doesn’t leave you breatheless then the charming smile of Gopinatha most certainly will.
gopinath, hrdoye bosiya mora manake samiya, laho nija pane, ghucibe vipada ghora
O Gopinatha, after sitting down in the core of my heart and subduing my mind, please take me to You. In this way the horrible dangers of this world will disappear.
(Gopinath,Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Verse 6)
An array of warm smiles and friendly faces greeted both regulars and those who had come from afar. The buzz was tangible. Excitement filled the air. It was a weekend many had been waiting for, encompassing both Vyasapuja and the famous Queensday.
In the evening, Kadamba Kanana Swami affectionately welcomed everyone and set the mood for the upcoming days. He stressed the need for purification. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has mentioned that the inside and the outside of a person should be the same. For the practising devotee this is not easy and therefore there is a conscious need for purification. He emphasised that we take this opportunity to reaffirm and go deeper in the relationship between guru and disciple, an essential part of every devotee’s life. Every disciple should carry the mood of the spiritual master. He translated this mood into having close-knit relationships with one another in a very human way as well as assisting the spiritual master in his mission to spread Krishna consciousness across the world.
After the welcome, it was lights, camera & action! Devotees presented a drama on Lord Caitanya taking sannyasa. For over an hour, we were spellbound, witnessing the intense emotions of Lord Caitanya’s associates, wife and mother in separation from him. Maharaja commented that Lord Caitanya’s sannyasa was an expression of his desire to save all the fallen souls in this age. Our connection to Krsna today is a direct result of his sannyasa.
We also discovered just how devotees conquer the cold in these regions. Kirtan! It is their special type of internal heating and Maharaja made sure that we were all nicely warmed up. The holy names echoed late into night. The wave of devotees were powerless to resist diving into the kirtan, with all their energy, in sweet reciprocation. The night reluctantly concluded but only with solemn promise of more magical days to come.