By Rukmini devi dasi
With the intensity of the Vyasa puja and Queensday gone by, devotees gradually journeyed back home. The days that followed at Radhadesh mellowed to a more gentle pace.
In the late morning, we would gather in different places – sometimes outside in the Radhadesh gardens or an inner room of the castle – where Maharaja would spontaneously discuss different aspects of Krsna’s pastimes. On Thursday (2 May), he discussed the beauty of Krsna’s flute, reading the ’Song of the flute’ (Venu Gita) from the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam.
When Krsna plays his flute, the cows stop moving; the trees begin to shake; the Yamuna becomes stunned, cannot flow and in certain regions there are whirlpools of ecstasy. Shiva begins to dance. Brahma hears the flute and the sound comes through his mouth as the Gayatri mantra. When Srimati Radharani hears the flute, she hears, “I care about no one else. I care about you alone.” In that way, Krsna is communicating and playing the hearts of different devotees. The flute playing is Krsna’s invitation…
The next day Maharaja concentrated on the lifting of Govardhana Hill.
What I like about this pastime is that the hill provides shelter to the animals, trees and people – everyone! Acaryas say that Sri Giriraj could give shelter to all three worlds. Viswanatha Cakravati Thakur says that due to His ecstasy, Govardhana grew in size. We also know that Govardhana is Krsna and Krsna can give shelter to all living beings. There’s no limit to the shelter that Krsna can give. I like that point.
At the end of this class, Maharaja threatened to not a let a single person out until everyone had asked a question and what followed was a sweet and intimate exchange.
On the last day, the skies were clear blue so Maharaja chose hold his class under a cherry blossom tree. The setting was idyllic with the fresh breeze bringing intermittent showers of natural confetti. Here Maharaja spoke from the chapter entitled, ‘Wonderful Krsna’.
Sakhatasura represents a cartload of false knowledge which was used to crush Krsna. We have so many of our own convictions that Krsna doesn’t make any sense anymore. It takes time to overcome the non-devotee in us. Krsna consciousness doesn’t mean that you have a metal rod on your head with a picture of Krsna in front so that you see Krsna all the time. No, we have to see how things are related to Krsna.
Maharaja took essential points from the revered tenth canto and made it practical for our everyday lives in his trademark style. He gave the example of a stalagmite that grows in caves. It grows both from the floor of the cave and from the roof, thus meets somewhere in the middle. Similarly, we are approaching spiritual life from both sides. We are trying to purify ourselves and engage our tendencies in service (from the bottom). At the same time, we are learning about the transcendental reality of Krsna’s pastimes (from the top). In this way, we can meet somewhere in the middle.
In the late afternoon, Maharaja set out on a brisk, scenic walk through the Radhadesh forest. On the way, we passed rolling green hills adorned with happy cows. Although it was initially called a japa walk – in truth not much japa was accomplished. The walks were randomly punctuated with humorous recollections of the early days Maharaja spent in Radhadesh. It was good exercise in great association.
Maharaja gave the morning class on Friday. He once again emphasized the importance of mercy in spiritual life and how we hope-against-hope that despite of our impurities, we may attract the mercy of Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada. He said that he often speaks about this topic because it is very important to him. It is what he is basing his whole life on; what he is banking on!
In Radhadesh, the summer sun only sets after nine-thirty. In the late evenings, the community gets together for the sweetest bhajans and a final peek at the gorgeous darshan of Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha. What a blissful way to bring the daylight hours to an end. In his time in Radhadesh, Maharaja consistently extended himself to meet, greet and personally reciprocate with devotees who have gathered from different corners of Europe and the world.
Maharaja’s final engagement was at a yoga-expo that was held in the French speaking region of Belgium. The expo was called Parallele 2013 and provided the opportunity to give various spiritual groups to present their philosophy. Maharaja gave a class in French and a little taste of kirtan.
Early on Monday morning, he left Radhadesh for to Simhachalam (Germany), his next destination.
If you cannot view the slide-show below, then kindly visit flickr