In that sacred atmosphere of gratitude and reflection, having offered our words, thoughts, hearts and for some, tears, Maharaja responded:

“I hear from you how I am being perceived. It is not how I perceive myself. It is a paradox. I see that I have to grow. We have to grow in spiritual life. What is the point of having a spiritual master if we do not change? We must be committed and over time quality becomes more important. Ultimately our connection with the spiritual master must bring us to Krsna and all things connected to Krsna (like the cows).

I won’t lead you by the hand. That is not my style. I want to see you do it. This is a golden opportunity and it is up to you to take it. Bhavananda said that I was a perfectionist. This is your life, the most precious thing you have. I don’t want you to waste the opportunity. You have a different personality. You don’t have to do what I do, but strive for perfection. Go at your own pace and do it your own way, but make the best of the opportunity.

Lord Caitanyas sankirtana mission is the only thing that will make us selfless. Ultimately Krsna is heavy; He wants everything. And I can’t make it any lighter than that. Please forgive my pushy nature but this life is an opportunity and we all have some dead weight to shift off. Everyone has some inherent weakness, therefore we need spiritual nourishment. I did it. I would sleep early, rise at 2am, chant and then read two hours of Caitanya Caritamrita. I placed the shoes of the devotees on my head just in case that helped. Don’t be so busy with so many things that there is no time for spiritual nourishment. Don’t try to be like me, but be serious. Be serious about serious things.

This is more than a nice gathering. It is a day to anchor ourselves, focus our lens and impress on our minds: “Yes, let me go back to Godhead.”

A sober message said with love.

It was a whirlwind gurupuja with petals flying one way and books (Under the Desire Tree, Maharaja’s latest release) and cookies flying the other way.

In the prasadam marquee the birthday cake was ceremoniously sliced and a mountain of prasadam was piled on Maharaja’s plate with remnants exiting from all directions. The Vyasapuja feast was ‘par excellence.’

In the late afternoon we gathered once more for the cultural evening. Shyamanada Prabhu and team set the bar high with a mime. Ever heard about the famous drama, “How did you become a devotee?” This drama emphasized the growth of the bhakti creeper with, “How did you stay a devotee?”

Next was the Brits with the Chand Kazi epic from the Caitanya Caritamrita and following suit were the girls’ theatre headed by Ananda Vrindavana based on the King of Puri, “A Humble Servant in Kingly Dress.” Of course the rocking closure in true Hare Krsna culture is kirtana and Maharaja ended the day at the lotus feet of Gopinatha with steaming kirtana. No half measures.

Voices sing and feet dance while in our hearts lie instructions, imprints of mercy flowing ceaseless and undeserved. We came to serve and glorify guru yet he outdid us in energy on Kingsday and he outdid us again at Vyasapuja, giving so much more than we could ever offer in return.

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