On Saturday, 23 November, Kadamba Kanana Swami took devotees on parikrama to Mamgachi. This village is located on the island of Modadrumadvipa and is the birth place of Srila Vrndavana Das Thakur and Srila Vasudeva Datta, two very close associates of Lord Caitanya.
The parikrama party included disciples, students from MIHE, well-wishers and special guest, HG Pankajanghri Prabhu. The group departed from the temple at 10am and reached Mamgachi after an hour-long boat ride across the Ganges.
Devotees engaged enthusiastically in kirtan all the way and upon reaching the temple in Mamgachi, Kadamba Kanana Swami and Pankajanghri Prabhu gave class. After taking prasadam, the devotees began their journey back to Mayapur. An exciting element of the return journey was the ecstatic kirtan led by Maharaj which had devotees in all three boats dancing and feeling overwhelmed.
The glories of Mamgachi
It is said that Vrndavana das Thakur was none other than Vyasadeva himself and he specifically appeared to write down the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. These pastimes of Mahaprabhu were written down in the Caitanya Bhagavat which is an elaborate description, especially of the early pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as he is here in Navadvipa dham. Then in his twenty-fourth year, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa and that is also described in the Caitanya Bhagavata. Finally, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Jagannatha Puri and some of the pastimes in Puri are mentioned here also…
Srila Vasudeva Datta was a very close associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Vasudeva owns my body. He can do with it whatever he likes. He can sell it in the market place; I am his property.”
Vasudeva Datta prayed that all the sinful reactions of all the living beings in the entire universe would be transferred upon him so that they could all go back to Godhead. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta writes in his commentary on the Caitanya Caritamrta that in this way, Vasudeva Datta was even greater than Jesus Christ, in the way that he took the sinful reactions of his followers; he was ready to take the reactions of anyone and everyone. So Vasudeva Datta embodies compassion particularly. The deities at Mamgachi are named Madan Gopala and there is a very nice elderly devotee who has been here for so many years and is now cooking for us because he is addicted to serving the vaisnavas…
We come here to meditate. We come here to think deeply. We can also stay home and read about Vasudeva Datta but that is a little different. When we come here our meditation becomes a little intense, deeper. That is why we came. We came to pray to Vrndavana das Thakur to be allowed to enter into the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And to appreciate how he can lift us above our sinful life, how he can drive away the sins from our heart…
We came to Vasudeva Datta to pray that we may also develop a little bit of compassion so that we can become sankirtan devotees, so that we can give out the mercy.
Excerpts from a lecture by Kadamba Kanana Swami, 29 November 2009
Here are photos of the trip to Mamgachi. If you cannot view the slide-show below, then please visit flickr.