Written by Rukmini devi dasi
“A spiritual festival is not about the experience that you are having here and now. It is more than that. It creates samskaras (impressions), deepening our relationship with our spiritual master and our connection to one another. This is how we advance. All these bonds will have a part to play in the future.”
We enter Radhadesh. Fresh and crisp meets ancient and idyllic. A natural wonderland with adventure trails, cows, sacred art and possibly every book on the planet that a devotee may want. Gopinath, with all that swag, is certainly ‘King of the Castle’. However, it’s the Queen who rules Radhadesh. And wide-eyed Jagannatha appears so excited it won’t be surprising if He jumps off the altar in the next kirtana. Perfect? And oh, I forgot the pizza, fries, home-baked pastries and ice-cream.
Zipping out of the 4-day Ratha Yatra in Durban, with a pit-stop in London, Kadamba Kanana Swami touched ground in Radhadesh, Belgium in true jet-age acarya style. He spared nothing in throwing himself head on into the Vyasapuja festival. He pitched up at every morning program, gave every class and led every kirtana.
Message: Be an example.
Adivasa – The day before. (Friday)
The morning classes were on a battlefield: Lord Parasurama was at the brink of some heavy axe action with the thousand armed Kartaviryarjuna in the 9th Canto. Just the thing to work up a breakfast appetite.
Maharaja emphasised how power corrupts. We may possess opulence but we must not forget that it is only in our care – we don’t own it. The power derived from knowledge (brahmana) is greater than the material strength of a ksatriya. Yet the strength of a Vaisnava lies in his absorption in Krsna. And once again we were on the tight rope of pure devotional service with the net of the mode of goodness below us – just in case. Those who slip through the net will require a greater effort to rise but if we focus on the instructions of the spiritual master we will be on safe ground. For those absorbed with love the tight rope broadens to a pathway and one can dance their way back to Godhead.
Message: It is about mercy, derived by taking shelter, and not lightning bolt advancement.
Throughout the day the crowd built up with the Slovaks, Czechs, Brits, Dutch, Bulgarians, Russians, Ukrainians, Bosnians, and others from Africa and Aussie-land. Up for a walk in the Radhadesh forests? 4pm was the time. The swami set off with a trailing entourage and a group photo at the finish line.
Evening: silence and focus. Maharaja sets the mood for the days to come in the opening ceremony:
“It is wonderful that Krsna is so merciful. Sometimes we only see how our endeavours fall short. The bar is set so high we can’t jump it and our spiritual life is just a sense of failure. It is mercy, more mercy and mercy again that will tip the balance. Look out for the opportunity. Krsna has a plan for every individual. Everyone has his nature and his part to play. Collectively we can fulfil Krsna’s purpose. Mercy can be mystical. Being in the presence of a great Vaisnava is a blessing. But Srila Prabhupada said, ‘My instructions are my mercy.’ On a practical platform we must choose to connect.”
Maharaja emphasised that our festival is meant to create a samskara. Over the next few days we wished to
- Strengthen our connection with the entire disciplic succession
- Be on the lookout for mercy. Those who have their eyes open will get more. Alertness and eagerness is needed.
- Share that mercy with others (Kingsday)
A cheery intro skit was performed by the Brits with Gurudasa in a funky clown costume selling a product (a pair of bright-yellow, smiley-face bedroom slippers) that is painful, but apparently everyone wants it. Depth with humour.
Next is a Kings day inspired poem…
View all Vyasa-puja 2019 articles.