Written by Harsarani dd
A day in Leicester
As the cold and freezing mornings of the winter season were set to leave, the sun slowly pushed its way through with its effulgence, welcoming spring to reappear once again. It was Saturday, 06 February, when Kadamba Kanana Swami arrived in Leicester with his warm and charismatic smile. He was enthusiastically welcomed by the cheerful devotees, from local regions and other parts of the UK, who were eager to receive his association. Maharaj was to spend the entire day in Leicester and planned to return to Bhaktivedanta Manor, in London, in the evening.
Jaganatha Suta Prabhu and Artee Mataji’s had invited Maharaj to their home to facilitate the morning program. The savoury aroma of the mountains of prasadam was wafting into the air from the kitchen; devotees were famished and waiting to be served. Whilst almost everyone was indulging in delicious breakfast such as paneer sabhji, and pancakes filled with cream and forest fruits amongst other treats, Maharaj was tucking into a plateful of fruit, along with some freshly homemade bread and cheese.
After having fed our external bodies with prasadam, it was now time to feed and nourish the soul. Maharaj started with an uplifting and soul vibrating kirtan in a meditative mood. He had the devotees chanting so nicely and loudly that the holy name echoed throughout the house and beyond!
After the blissful kirtan had stopped, Maharaj then opted to give a lecture based on Canto 5, Chapter 14 of Srimad-Bhagavatam, titled ‘The Material World as the Great Forest of Enjoyment’. He started by speaking elaborately on the pushings of the senses and how we cannot control our senses but can engage them by being absorbed in devotional service. Then he referred to devotees who were inclined to take on any type of devotional service, by naming them ‘Jack of all trades’ and the service attitude of the surrendered souls who were always willing and present to do the service.
Maharaj briefly narrated the story of Gajendra the elephant from Canto 8, Chapters 2-4 of Srimad-Bhagavatam, where Gajendra was enjoying himself with the female elephants in the waters of the beautiful mountain of Trikūṭa when suddenly he got attacked by a crocodile. He tried to fend-off the crocodile who bit into his leg, but because Gajendra’s natural position was not in water, but rather on land, he did not have the strength to fend-off the crocodile.
This story was to highlight the subject matter of varnasrama as Srila Prabhupada quotes, “We must choose an asrama where we are comfortable.” Maharaj added that one should also stay in the asrama that he feels comfortable with, either brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha or sannyāsī. To conclude Maharaj stated, “Wherever we are, let us do something for Krsna. It does not matter which asrama we are in… the essence of varnasrama is let us do some service and that will be an effort.”
Later in the day…
Maharaj took lunch at Hara Mataji’s and Puskaar Prabhu’s home. The afternoon program was held at the Temple which was situated in the heart of Leicester City Centre. Maharaj started the lecture by glorifying Lord Krsna and how his unlimited beauty, can be attracted by almost anyone. And although there are a lot of conceptions of Krsna within India, only a few can comprehend that he is the origin of all other manifestations.
Maharaj went on to say how all information is in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and unlike the Bhagavad-gita, it consists of descriptions of the sweetness of Lord Krsna. Maharaj pointed out, “Our culture is to speak Srimad-Bhagavatam.” Maharaj emphasised that Lord Krsna appeared into this world by setting social custom based on behaviour, and to re-establish religion based on prescribed duties of varnasrama, in order for others to follow his example. Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1 Chapter 8 titled ‘Prayers by Queen Kunti’ was highlighted where Lord Krsna displayed signs of respect to those who were older than him by paying obeisances to King Yudhisthira, which displayed a society on the groundings of humility and opposed to pride which is the case in this contemporary world. Maharaj described Krsna as being ‘Bhakta-Vatsala’ the protector and well-wisher of devotees who would break the rules of dharma in order to protect his devotees.
According to Maharaj, the rule of dharma in Vrindavan is, “Service to Krsna and glorification of Krsna.” Maharaj touched upon the topic of prescribed duty by explaining that if one follows their prescribed duty then there would be an essence of morality reflected within their behaviour. Maharaj then started to compare the material world to spiritual world by stating that time is a ruling factor in the material world as opposed to the spiritual world which is heavily centred on the relationship with Krsna. As Maharaj explained, the spiritual world is inconceivable due to dealings such as the ‘talking sweet rice’ for which such experiences cannot be encountered within the material world.
The lecture then shifted onto great Vaishnava’s who had the ability to see Krsna. Maharaj pointed out that Srila Prabhupada had the vision to see Krsna. A short story about Prabhupada and a journalist was narrated to explain further. Maharaj also started to reflect on his conversation with Tamal Krsna Goswami, who remarked, “The duty of spiritual master is to give his disciple a vision of life greater than what the disciple can imagine himself or herself it to be.” Maharaj made the following comment, “The duty of the spiritual master is NOT to answer all of his emails, all day! Then he will not have the time to chant Hare Krsna.” Artificial amenities such as electronics and computers etc. make life so complicated, as Maharaj recalled his life in Vrindavan in the past, where there was only the one telephone and post was very rarely delivered, in fact it was normal to receive post that was one year old, and where the water had to be fetched from the well. He found that type of simple life as being very nice…
Toward end the lecture, Maharaj said that it was up to us to make the change in Leicester by spreading the glories of Srimad Bhagavatam, that will result in an increase in people following the rules and regulations, making Leicester a revolution, and then Ratha Yatra in Leicester will have three chariots as oppose to just the one.
And thus ended his visit to Leicester!
England, 08 February 2016
Written by Nandan
It was Maharaj’s last day in London for this trip. Again I had the great joy and privilege of driving Maharaj back to the Airport. It was a smooth journey and apart form a few verbal exchanges here and there, Maharaj was taking rest for most of the journey. The weather was atrocious, biting cold, heavy rain and incredibly strong winds.
When we got out of the car and walked towards the terminal, the wind was blowing full force against us. Some of the devotees were even concerned their dhotis may come off from the sheer force of the wind!! It truly was a horrible walk. In the midst of all the bother, we eventually made it inside the terminal; Maharaj looked at us with a sarcastic grin,
“Well! That was a nice pleasant walk to the terminal!”