Written by Rukmini dd
Exchanges of love
People celebrate the coming of a new year and give closure to the previous one in different ways. Some line up their resolutions on January first. The corporate sector has its business year. Student life revolves along the academic year. There is the Chinese calendar, solar years and lunar years. For a disciple however, Vyasa Puja is our day of rebirth and reflection, a day of gratitude and a search for deeper commitment – a day that makes the rest of the year meaningless in its absence.
With all of you, I have some special relationship. All of you have come forward to be devotees… This Vyasa Puja is simply there to reinforce our relationship, to once a year just strengthen that connection and that is why one shouldn’t miss it.
These were the kind and instructive words of Kadamba Kanana Swami on Tuesday, April 14th at a disciples gathering in Gauteng, South Africa. Having flown in from Mauritius just hours before and with a flight to Cape Town just hours later, Maharaj stressed the importance of such an occasion not only with words but by his own sacrifice!
Our gracious host, Girivaradhari Prabhu, opened his home to disciples and well-wishers. Some braved the infamous Johannesburg traffic or sneaked a half day off work. They shed off their day time identity and assumed their Vaikuntha appearance – such is the life of a Hare Krsna in fast-paced Gauteng.
And the festivities began. How purifying are the ancient ceremonies of Vedic culture? Just to see the worship of a superior vaishnava is a privilege. With each silver pot of water that gently flows over lotus feet, each shower of rose petals and each mantra sung in heartfelt gratitude, we are purified and uplifted.
Of course, of all offerings, it is the offering of words in stark sincerity that Maharaj most eagerly receives rather than official worship. The father of our host, Krishnavani Prabhu, crowned Maharaj an inter-continental celebrity. Vrndavan Viliasini devi dasi spoke of how Maharaj shows more faith in his disciples than they have in themselves. “I think one of the reasons why we flock to you like bees to honey is that you allow us to be the crazy, spaced out bunch that we are, as long as we offer the results to Krsna,” said Merumala devi dasi, “The master weaver takes the mistakes of his students and weaves them into the grand design.” Vibhu Caitanya Prabhu shared some trademark KKSwami sutras such as, “Act normal, that’s crazy enough.” Prem Vikash and Rasaraja Prabhus chose African Hip-Hop as their medium of heartfelt communication. Maithili devi dasi, who was coined “the sankirtan general” offered the 6100 books that disciples all over South Africa had joined forces to distribute.
In reciprocation, Maharaj shared with us crest jewels mined from his lifetime of commitment in devotional service. He zoomed in on the point of being independently thoughtful, taking responsibility for our spiritual lives and “flying your own plane.” He also spoke of changes in approach in his own life as the years move on. It is lecture every disciple and devotee should listen to.
I have to leave somethings with you now… a little more than I used to. Please take it. Please take this Krsna consciousness and somehow or other, build it into your life. Whatever it may take, make it strong. Because everything else will break down, everything else we build up will break down… therefore at this stage of the relationship it can’t be that I am the one who is constantly trying to somehow or other inspire you. I must leave Krsna consciousness with you and I must ask you to think deeply about your life. So many lives have passed and now we are here and let’s just not hesitate. We can go back to Godhead. It doesn’t take so much because there is a lot of mercy. But we have to be faithful, faithful to the teachings.
Yet the sobering words were accompanied by his loving touch and Maharaj stayed longer, sharing himself with his disciples till almost midnight. Evening was brought to a close with the life size harmonium birthday cake and smaller “travel harmonium” that delighted everyone. Another year goes by and presents, as always, a new opportunity to deepen the guru-disciple connection.
Visit flickr to see all the pictures.