|On Friday 29th January a few members of
the Leicester yatra went to the Lesmahagow temple in Scotland, Karuna Bhavan, to attend
the installation of Srimati Vrinda-devi and the bathing of over 10,000 Saligram Silas.
The day of the installation ceremony was very auspicious. It was Lord
Nityananda's appearance day. This was going to be the first time ever that Srimati Vrinda-devi had been installed in the west. Not only was it going to be the first time ever this
kind of ceremony was going to take place, but it would be the first time ever that Srimati
Vrinda-devi would have left Vraja Bhumi! This was going to be a very historic day for the
Karuna Bhavan temple.
His Holiness Bhakti Bhalab Puri Goswami Maharaj conducted the
beautiful ceremony in the presence of Their beautiful lordships Sri Sri Koda-Nitai
Mayapur-shasha (presiding deities at Karuna Bhavan) and a ram-packed temple room full of
The beautiful ancient mantras recited by Puri Maharaj were
accompanied by the blowing of conch shells, ringing of small hand bells, and the beautiful
congregational kirtan. The deity came from Vrindanvan, where the only temple of Srimati
The deity at Scotland of Srimati Vrinda-devi is exactly how she is described in the sastra.
Vrinda-devi is the best of all the gopi messengers. Her complexion is
reddish and she decorates her blue dress with pearl necklaces and colourful
flower garlands. Immersed in love for Radha-Krsna, Vrinda-devi always lives
in Vrindavana. She yearns to arrange Radha-Krishna's meetings and to taste
the nectar of assisting Their transcendental pastimes within Vrindavana's
Like the other gopi messengers Vrinda-devi is fully conversant in the
geography of Vrindavana. She intimately knows which groves and gardens are
best suited for the meetings of Radha and Krishna. She is an expert
gardener. Gopi messengers such as Vrindarika and Mela, appointed by
Vrinda-devi, have jurisdiction over all the flowering trees, creepers and
bushes in Vrindavana .
the installation ceremony was completed, the deity of Vrinda-devi was shown to the congregation, and she was looking
even more beautiful after the ceremony had been so nicely conducted.
The next day was Saturday 30th January. This was the day of the bathing of
the amazing number of over 10,000 Saligram Silas. I had never had darshan of one Saligram
Sila, and now I was going to have a rare chance of having darshan of them, not only that,
the devotees at Karuna Bhavan were going to witness the first ever known bathing of over
10,000 Saligram Silas (the largest number of Saligram Silas known to be worshiped in one
First, the main largest Saligram Sila, the pradhana Sila, was
going to be bathed along with the other silas. This was going to be the first part of the
bathing ceremony, and it was conducted by Puri Maharaj. The main Sila had no name, so Puri
Maharaj asked the devotees present to think of a name which could be used to call the
sila. Many names were suggested, like for example Lesmahagow Nath etc. Even though many
names were suggested, a final name was not chosen yet.
|After this part of the ceremony was
completed, we then moved across to the Gouranga Ashram, which is next door to the temple.
This was going to be the ceremony where all 10,000 Silas were going to be bathed all at
once. H.H. Puri Maharaj was now conducting the ceremony, bathing the Silas with auspicious
waters from the temple's very own natural water supply, from the wells, and holy waters
from Vrindavan and other holy places. This ceremony was conducted in a very small room in
the ashram and devotees watched from widows and from anywhere they could!
After the ceremonies had been completed, over 10,000 Tulsi leaves were
offered to the Silas and so were over 10,000 sweets. And there was plenty of carinamrita
from the bathing ceremony afterwards!
This was the most beautiful weekend I can ever recall. I was glad
to have had an opportunity to go to Karuna Bhavan, where I and the devotees present
witnessed two of the most sacred events in the young history of devotional service to
KRSNA in the western world.