Article written by Rukmini Devi Dasi
Simhachalam, Germany: “We’re at the edge of the world,” Maharaja commented, “just beyond those hills, after those last trees, it becomes ethereal.” At the German farm, one definitely gets the feeling that the rest of the world just doesn’t exist – except via the internet. It’s a befitting home to Sri Sri Prahlada Nrshimhadeva, in all his glory.
It does take some adjustment. It seems like just yesterday mangal-arathi was with sweet, smiling Gopinatha at Radhadesh and today he grew into a black, stone lion with ferocious teeth, glowing red eyes and four arms wielding lethal weapons. Yet Nrshimhadeva has his own special flavor; he is a gentle giant.
Stepping into the temple room seconds before greetings, you would expect to hear the usual “govindam adi purusam”. Instead, there’s the crack of thunder with hardcore Nrshimha mantras sung out, as the curtain swishes open. It gets you to hit the ground pretty quickly – an automatic reaction as you would in a bomb scare.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Nṛsiḿhadeva, the source of all power. O my Lord who possesses nails and teeth just like thunderbolts, kindly vanquish our demonlike desires for fruitive activity in this material world. Please appear in our hearts and drive away our ignorance so that by Your mercy we may become fearless in the struggle for existence in this material world. (SB 5.18.8)
Simhachalam is also a place where Maharaja can catch up on some much needed and well deserved rest. He smoothly slots back into the routine of rising a couple hours after midnight as if jet-lag and aching bones were fairy tales. There’s time for solo bhajan and rejuvenating walks in the forest.
“A good place to write,” he mentioned. Writing becomes the main focus of his stay here. In these weeks, he hopes to make substantial progress on his book,Visrama Mandira or Sacred Space. All the time he spends behind doors is much appreciated. It is time that will be eternalized in words and translated into moments that he would share with us and the world forever; it is time well spent. Judging from the rare but precious sneak previews, it will certainly be worth the wait. In between writing, he makes time to read commentaries on Krsna’s pastimes and chant chapters of the Bhagavad-Gita. He sets the example that spiritual strength is not automatic but requires at least an earnest endeavour on our part.
Currently in Simhachalam, the Bhagavatam is focusing on the pastime of Saubhari Muni from the ninth canto. During the occasional morning class, Maharaja concentrated on the pitfalls in the sage’s practice, making it a living lesson for everyone. Saubhari Muni submerged himself in water for 50 000 years, only to be distracted by two fish mating. Maharaja suggested that we should instead submerge ourselves in transcendental sound vibration and that would be our protection. By chanting sixteen concentrated rounds and reading for at least one hour per day, we can keep our heads above the water. We spend the rest of the time serving the holy name in different ways. Maharaja took the time to intricately explain the network of maya and how she acts in our lives. They were epic and instructive classes.
On Tuesday (14 May), Maharaja accepted a lunch invitation at the home of Akhila Prabhu (ACBSP) and his dear wife Sucitra Devi Dasi. The couple have been living on the farm for decades and have been a driving force behind the successful survival of the project. In their house, which resembles a temple itself, we found beautiful deities of Krsna Balarama and many of Their expansions. Inspired by the spiritual atmosphere, Maharaja led sweet bhajans for the pleasure of the Lord.
The quiet time is drawing to a close and on Friday, Maharaja will leave Simhachalam for a quick visit to Belgium. He will return for the much anticipated highlight in the calendar of ISKCON Germany, Nrsimhadeva Caturdasi which will be celebrated on 24 May.
Please find below, the Srimad Bhagavatam classes given by Maharaja.
To download a class, just right-click on the title and “save target as”.
If you cannot view the slide show below, then please visit flickr.