30 October 2006

Kartik Diary 15

Sridham Mayapur

Mayapur Shenai - Morning Raga
Mayapur Shenai - Evening Raga
Jaya Jaya Radhe Jaya Jaya Syam
Nadia Godrume

Dear Devotees

Today is our first full day in Sri Dham Mayapur. Slowly I am settling in but my mind still wanders back to the beautiful and all attractive scenery of Vrindavan and to Radhe Shyama's soft lotus feet. Sastra says that there is no difference between the holy dhams of Vrindavan and Mayapur, however, Braj and the Brajavasis seem to be endowed with a special kind of sweetness and a flavor which cannot be found anywhere else.

Sri Sri Radha Madhava looked so enchanting this morning surrounded by Their eight gopis who are loving service personified. After the morning program we made arrangements for Frank's ashes to be dispersed into the Ganga. Frank was our main contact at the Anchor Club where we serve prasadam to the homeless and needy for the past so many years. He offered various services to the Hare Krishna Centre and got gradually more and more involved. As he had no relatives we took it on ourselves to put his ashes into the Ganga. It appears that his entire family perished in the tsunami which affected vast parts of south east Asia. Just see the unimaginable mercy of the Lord. Frank offered a little service to Krishna and got rewarded liberation by the holy waters of mother Ganga. We were just an instrument in this.

Ashes Ceremony at the Ganga

Jananivas Prabhu kindly agreed to conduct the ceremony. He asked me to secure some cow dung, cow urine and honey. At the goshalla Gaurahari Prabhu amazed me by going straight to a particular cow to collect cow urine. He lifted her tail and she immediately started to pass urine. He must have pressed some secret button or chanted a confidential mantra I thought to myself.

After collecting cow dung and cow urine I delivered both along with some honey to Jananivasa Prabhu. Jananivasa, though originally from the UK, has taken the order of Srila Prabhupada as his life and soul and stayed and served along with his twin brother Pankajangri in Sri Dham Mayapur for the past 36 years without interruption. Both brothers are an example of devotion and dedication to the order of their spiritual master hardly to be found anywhere else.

One hour later Jananivasa Prabhu, Jimmy, myself and Nandini Radha Mataji went to the Ganga, bathed there and performed the last rites for Frank. May Frank find eternal shelter under Lord Krishna's lotus feet and be rewarded pure devotional service or at least a birth in a family of transcendentalists rich in knowledge and thus revive his original Krishna Consciousness in the association of pure devotees.

The Gopis on Gopastami

Today is Gopastami. To everyone's great surprise Srimati Radhika and her eight gopi friends were dressed as gopas, transcendental cowherd boys, holding sticks and flutes in their lotus-like hands. It was a great sight and was a first in the history of Sridham Mayapur. I have taken many photos to share the nectar with all of you once we are back in Leicester.

Late this morning devotees went on a procession with the cows throughout Mayapur and back to the goshalla. Senior devotees such as Harisauri Prabhu, Jananivas (Pankajangri) Prabhu, Padmalocana Prabhu and others spoke on the significance of the cows and cow protection and varnashram dharma. Devotees were also given the opportunity to feed the cows bananas, mung beans and gour. The cows very much liked such a feast and accepted eagerly and thankfully our offerings. Some devotees even volunteered to wash and brush the cows.

The next item was a Vedic fire yajna performed by gurukula students and teachers. It was a colourful event during which Vedic mantras such as the purusha sukta prayers and other mantras were chanted accompanied by soft bhajan and the gentle mooing of the cows. The program was crowned by a delicious multi-course feast at the goshalla.

Fire Yajna at the Goshalla

The day ended with the evening arati and the damodarastakam prayers sung by Bhakti Caru Swami. It was great to hear Maharaja and have a last glimpse of this transcendental cowherd boys on gopastami, who stood smiling besides Sri Sri Radha Madhava being so pleased to have His association. Gopastami marks the day when Krishna was deemed old enough to herd the older cows. The gopis could not bear being without their beloved Syamasundar during the whole day while He was in the forest tending the cows. Therefore they dressed as cowherd boys to secretly mingle with the gopas and thus having their beloved Prananath's association.

Gopastami Ki Jaya. Sri Sri Radha Madhava Ki Jaya! Sri Dham Mayapur Ki Jaya!

With love and affection,

Your servant in the service of Srila Prabhupada,

Gauranga Sundara Das


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