Connecting disciples of His Holiness Jayapataka Swami
HH Jayapataka Swami Gurumaharaj's Diary
Day one and two. Vrindavan - kuruksetra safari
By the mercy of Guru Maharaj this year once again a group of about 180 devotees from around 30 countries joined the Annual Safari which would be visiting and preaching in many places of vaisnava importance in India.
We started our pilgrimage on 23rd March 2011 from Sridham Mayapur at noon and boarded a train to Gaya. The journey from Mayapur to Burdwan station was very austere. Because of Gurumaharaj's mercy , the most humble devotees of Iskcon Habibpur temple brought prasadam to serve the safari devotees.When Marici Prabhu offered some donation for the prasadam they said all they wanted was the blessings of the safari devotees.
All were so happy to be going on safari together meeting old friends and making new aquaintances.
After spending the night on the train we arrived at the holy town of Gaya at 5am.
We were most honored to have the association of HH Bhakti Dhira Damodara Maharaj and HG Jagjivan Prabhu.HH Bhakti Dhira Damodar Swami Maharaj and HG Jagjivan prabhu gave a morning class on the importance of Gaya as a place of pilgrimage. While we were soaking up the nectar of Gaya we were utterly surprised and ecstatic on hearing Gurumaharaj on the phone. The call was connected live by Marici Prabhu for us all to hear him.
After breakfast we went to visit the famous Vishnu Pada Temple in Gaya. This is the sacred place where the footprints of Lord Vishnu is embedded in a stone slab. The deities of Lord visnu and laksmi devi are worshipped in the temple. it is in this holy city of Gaya that Lord Caitanya was initiated by Ishwara Puri and when He saw the footprints of Vishnu he got so ecstatic that he started chanting and dancing and thus he started the sankirtan movement.
Vishnu Gaya is also very important for pinda dana to Lord vishnu in memory of all the ancestors who have passed away. Here we took part in an elaborate yagna ceremony where we did pinda dana to the ancestors of each one of our family and friends. The Queen of Malaysia also requested Marici Prabhu that we do a pinda for her parents. Gurumaharaj called us and requested that we all do pinda dana for his parents as well as Devaki Mayi mataji. We aLso went down and paid obeisance to holy Falgu river which Is usually a bed of sand at this time of the year. Here a very emotional ceremony was performed and the ashes of Devaki mataji was offered here at Falgu river by Ekanath prabhu. Ecstatic kirtan circumbulated the ceremony.
After lunch we went to visit the famous Mahabodhi Mahavihara . This Is the buddhist monastery where the young prince Siddharta who wanted to find out the real meaning existance in this world, sat down in meditation under a great peepul tree(bodhi tree /banyan tree) , and attained Enlightenment and hence came to be known as Gautama Buddha - the Enlightened One. The monastery has a beautiful deity of Lord Buddha in golden hues in a well decorated temple. It has also beautiful landscaped gardens around the main temple where followers can sit and spend hours of meditation in peace.
Then we came back to our guest house and after some rest and dinner we boarded the buses and went off to the station to board a train at 1am to our next destination - the battlefield of kurukshetra.
We are now on our 26 hour ecstatic train journey. On the train we did japa walk ,ecstatic kirtan, continous sankirtan and bhagavad gita class. The devotees of iskcon lucknow provided us with very special prasadam. One of our godsisters , Divya mataji from Italy had to end her safari abruptly at Lucknow due to the demise of her mother.
Marici Prabhu received a message from Guru maharaj saying he really missed the safarii and he had a special surprise for us tomorrow.
Yours in His Service of HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj
The Safari Express News Reporters
1st Jan 2011
GM has been admitted to a hospital in Sydney
A blood test was done in Singapore and showed that GM has been infected with a bacteria that affects His skin, so now He is in the hospital to get more tratment since the antibiotis have not cured it.
MRSA is the abbreviation for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus is a group of bacteria, familiarly known as Staph (pronounced "staff"), that can cause a multitude of diseases as a result of infection of various tissues of the body. In 1959, methicillin, an antibiotic closely related to penicillin, was introduced to treat Staphylococcus and other bacterial infections. Within one to two years, Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (S. aureus) started to be isolated that were resistant to methicillin. These S. aureus bacteria were then termed methicillin-resistant. MRSA usually show resistance to many antibiotics.
Because MRSA is so antibiotic resistant, it is termed a "superbug" by some investigators. This superbug is a variation of an already recognized human pathogen, S. aureus, gram-positive bacteria that occur in grape-like clusters. Distribution of S. aureus is worldwide: As many as 11%-40% of the population is estimated to be colonized. The bacteria are usually found in the human armpit, groin, nose, and throat. In the majority of cases, the bacteria do not cause disease. However, damage to the skin or other injury may allow the bacteria to overcome the natural protective mechanisms of the body leading to infection.
Even without antibiotic resistance, S. aureus has effective means to cause infections. Bacterial strains of S. aureus can produce proteolytic enzymes (enzymes that break down proteins resulting in pus production), enterotoxins (proteins that cause vomiting, diarrhea and in some cases, shock), exfoliative toxin (a protein causing skin disruption, blisters), and exotoxin TSST-1 (a protein that can cause toxic shock syndrome). Adding antibiotic resistance to this long list of pathogenic mechanisms (ways to cause infection) makes MRSA a formidable superbug.
Gm is in north Sydney hospitalized for leg pain and wounds
GM contracted some sort of skin disease during his visit to Puri. He had fever after returned to Mayapur and got treated in Mayapur itself. He recovered well from the fever except the skin was still left with some red marks. On the 18th December He travelled from Mayapur to Perth via Singapore. GM developed high fever again while he was transiting Singapore. As soon as they reached Perth on the 22nd Dec, GM was taken to a local general practitioner P and he recommended GM to go for a swab test and blood culture test.
They got the result on the 28th Dec and it turned out that GM has contracted the infection due to a bacteria called MRSA. Kindly type MRSA in google search engine and you will find out detail information about this bacteria.
Since his condition was getting worst, on Dec 31st 2010 at around 11pm he was admitted in a Hospital in Sydney.
That's the information so far,
sarva sakti dd
11th October 2010, Monday
Gurumaharaj did not go for the therapies today as Gurumaharaj’s flight is at 6pm. Gurumaharaj took His break fast at home while the devotees did kirtan. After prasadam Gurumaharaj spoke to H G Tribhuvana nath prabhu. Gurumaharaj mentioned that He visited that prabhu’s house twice. And he and his family was surprised to hear that as Gurumaharaj went to their house almost 20years back and still Gurumaharaj remembers it. Then there was another devotee who came to meet Gurumaharaj. That devotee had many problems and did not know how to go about in life. Gurumaharaj very carefully listened to the devotee and asked whether that devotee wants Gurumaharaj to pray and guide in spiritual life. Gurumaharaj said “if u think all your problems have brought you closer to Krishna then u don’t need to lament. This material world is full of miseries. That’s why we encourage people to go back home back to godhead” then Gurumaharaj gave blessings and later asked another devotee to talk to this devotee. It was very touching to see how Gurumaharaj is concerned about each and every soul. Gurumaharaj went for swimming for almost 2 hours then came back for lunch to the house. It was H G Marichi prabhu’s birthday. So he arranged nice prasadam for the devotees there. Marci prabhu had brought Venezuelan ambassador to meet Gurumaharaj. Gurumaharaj knew him before and as soon as He saw him they hugged and asked the well beings of each other. Gurumaharaj said” my progress is slow”
Gurumaharaj cut the cake for Marici prabhu and gave him a big piece while everybody sang “Hare Krishna to you…..” H G Amogha Prabhu and family was also present. HG Baladev prabhu from Philippines lead a melodious kirtan while Gurumaharaj had His prasadam. Soon after that it was time for Gurumaharaj to leave to airport. Many disciples were there at the airport to say “see You soon, Gurumaharaj”. The servants did the check in as Gurumaharaj spent time with all of us. Gurumaharaj said ”thank you for your TLC (tender loving care). Gurumaharaj again asked about the devotee whom He met in the morning (who approached Gurumaharaj for guidance as that devotee was facing many problems in the life) Gurumaharaj made sure that somebody will take care of that devotee here. As Gurumaharaj went downstairs for immigration everybody watched Gurumaharaj with a heavy heart. After Gurumaharaj cleared the immigration, when Gurumaharaj was about to go from far we all loudly chanted Gauranga lead by H G Simheswar prabhu. It echoed the whole airport! (The place where we all were standing was actually quite far.) We watched till the saffron robe disappeared from our eyes.
We returned remembering the wonderful time we had with our dear spiritual father……and praying to continue the Vani seva.
All glories to our dear Gurumaharaj who is an ocean of mercy….
“Make the teachings from the lotus mouth of the spiritual master one with your heart, and do not desire anything else. Attachment to the lotus feet of the spiritual master is the best means of spiritual advancement. By His mercy all desires for spiritual perfection are fulfilled.” (Sri Guru vandana)
Your humble servants,
10th October, Sunday
Today was the day which many were waiting for….. devotees came from all over Malaysia for the initiation ceremony. Temple was fully packed. H G Shanti vardhana prabhu gave a class in the morning and Gurumaharaj gave the initiation address. Gurumaharaj explained the importance of accepting a Guru and also the vows that one takes during the initiation. Gurumaharaj addressed the Brahmin candidates separately. “Gurumaharaj said after Brahmin initiation its going to be extra chanting of mantras, that is 210 times everyday apart from the Hare Krishna mahamantra. If anybody thinks it is too much then they can withdraw themselves now. It is offensive if you don’t chant your Gayatri mantra everyday.” Gurumaharaj personally handed out the beads to each candidate. Gurumaharaj also did the launch of Srila Prabhupada book marathon. Gurumaharaj mentioned that He would like to get the scores for book distribution and also for the damodar program regularly. Gurumaharaj had His lunch in the temple and after that Gurumaharaj gave darshan to all the devotees who had come to meet Him. Gurumaharaj was fully covered by devotees and the servants had a tough time to get Gurumaharaj to the car. Even after sitting in the car Gurumaharaj continued giving blessings to everyone. And then it was a major task for H G Mahesh advaita prabhu to drive Gurumaharaj away from the devotees!!
In the evening many disciples came to have Gurumaharaj’s darshan as Gurumaharaj was leaving the next day. Gurumaharaj especially thanked H G Lokaswami prabhu who gave his house for Gurumaharaj to stay. The shoes that Gurumaharaj used to walk inside the house was gifted to Lokaswami prabhu and he was extremely happy receiving the dust from Gurumaharaj's Lotus Feet.
Devotees already started feeling separation thinking that Gurumaharaj was leaving to Colombo next day. HH Bhakti Vrajendranandana maharaj mentioned that in tamil we don’t say iam going, rather we say “poyituu varen” which means “I will go and come back” and Gurumaharaj very nicely repeated that.
All glories to our glorious spiritual master and His excellent servants...
8th October 2010, Friday
Gurumaharaj’s schedule was delayed since morning as Gurumaharaj went to bed very late last night. Though there was no scheduled program, Gurumaharaj gave a class to Singapore devotees on skype and then Gurumaharaj did 1 hour of cycling. However late it may be Gurumaharaj doesn’t go to bed without doing His exercises for the day!!
Gurumaharaj left for therapy only at 10am. The servants were busy getting the names from Gurumaharaj for the initiation candidates. This continues when Gurumaharaj walks, sits, stands, travels etc…sometimes while having prasadam also. As Gurumaharaj went late to the gym He got late to be back also. It was almost 3pm by the time Gurumaharaj came for lunch. Gurumaharaj already started eating in the car and continued after reaching the house. In the evening a program was arranged at Sri Gaurnaga prema tirtha, (30 km away from the temple)Klang. Gurumaharaj was received very nicely by the devotees there. The class was very dramatic. Gurumaharaj described about the kirtan at Srivasangan and the pastime when Mahaprabhu was not feeling ecstasy because Srivas’s mother in law was hiding and watching. Gurumaharaj was leading kirtan and He would stop and say “Mahaprabhu said, I am not feeling any ecstasy. Somebody is secretly watching.” Then Gurumaharaj was calling out devotees’ names and asking “r u responsible” this continued for quite some time. Everybody enjoyed Gurumaharaj’s vey nice narration of Mahaprabhu’s pastime. Gurumaharaj said” so many problems are there in kaliyuga, but chanting Hare Krishna is the success. I hope all of you will tell your friends that this is the easiest process.”
The devotees over there collectively gave a donation to Gurumaharaj and also gave a memento to Gurumaharaj. When the devotees honored H H Bhakti Vrajendranandana Maharaj, Gurumaharaj started singing “jai Bhakti Vrajendranandana swami…jaya Bhakti vrajendranandana …..” and Maharaj did not know how to respond. Gurumaharaj thanked the yatra leader H G Sarvatirtha Prabhu for his active preaching. Gurumaharaj said ”thank you for pleasing Srila Prabhupada”
Another day of bliss came to an end ….
All glories to our beloved Gurumaharaj.
6th October 2010 Wednesday
As usual Gurumaharaj went for His therapies in the morning. Came back to the house at around 2pm for lunch. There were some devotees from Singapore who had come to see Gurumaharaj. While Gurumaharaj was having His lunch H G Mahavaraha Prabhu came back from North (he had gone on Sunday night) As soon as Gurumaharaj saw Mahavaraha prabhu Gurumaharaj said” welcome back” and then Gurumaharaj continued His lunch. Devotes did nice melodious kirtan while Gurumaharaj honored prasadam. After lunch Gurumaharaj distributed prasadam to all the devotees who where present. Then Gurumaharaj was walking towards His room. Then Mahavaraha prabhu came out of his room…..and then Gurumaharaj started singing “suswagatam….suswagatam…suswagatam….” loudly. It was so nice to see the loving exchanges between the spiritual master and His dedicated son.
Evening there was class scheduled at SJM, KL. Gurumaharaj was very nicely welcomed by kirtan lead by HG Mahasimha Mukunda prabhu. It was already 8.30pm. Gurumaharaj took darshan of Srila Prabhupada and Their Lordships Sri Sri Jagannath, Baladev Subhadra Sudarshan and Sri Sri Nitai Sundar Gaurahari. Gurumaharaj was praying to the deities for more than 10 minutes while kirtan continued in the temple hall. Mahavaraha prabhu shared with us few days back that Gurumaharaj prays for all His disciples everyday and also whenever Gurumaharaj goes in front of the deities. Those of us who have filled Gurumaharaj’s contact book know that there is a question at the end “do you want H H Jayapataka Swami to pray for you?” Mahavaraha prabhu mentioned that Gurumaharaj prays to krsna for all those who have asked Gurumaharaj to pray for them !
After that Gurumaharaj came and sat on the vyasasan. As soon as Gurumaharaj sat there was a couple who went to meet Gurumaharaj and talk to them. It went on for another 10minutes. We all were wondering who are these people….. when Gurumaharaj started the class He mentioned that they were the major donors for Ipoh centre and they had to leave early. 40 devotees from Tilak intan, a place which is 3hrs drive from KL (actually the place is Teluk Intan, but Gurumaharaj renamed it as Tilak Intan ) came to meet Gurumaharaj and Gurumaharaj was very happy to meet the devotees. During the class, Gurumaharaj took all of us to King Suvarna sen’s house which is in Godrumdwip. Gurumaharaj mentioned about Navadwip mandal parikrama as this is one of the places covered in parikrama. This is the place where Naradamuni gave the Gauranga mantra to King Suvarnasen and he was meditating on Gauranga. The class was filled with Gurumaharaj’s netcarian chanting of Gauranga…Gauranaga…Gauranga..Gauraaaaaaaaaaaaangaaaaaaa…. Gurumaharajtook all of us to navadwip today. This was the first time Gurumaharaj called out Gauranga during this visit. And all the devotees were hankering to hear that.
During the question answer session there was a question regarding how to improve and encourage devotees in book distribution. Gurumaharaj said “ I personally saw tears of happiness in Srila Prabhupada’s eyes when the new books were published. Lord chaitanya gives mercy through sankirtan. Srila Prabhupada instructed me to distribute 10,000 big books and 100,000 small books every month. And to do it alone is difficult. So I need your help. Carry books with you. Whenever somebody asks you a question give a book, and collect a donation, because we dont have hours to spend. And also we can collect sastra daan and distribute books in hospitals, orphanages, hotels etc.Bhagavat Gita is not a religious book. Because it talks about changes in body..and any people in any religion goes through the same changes(from boyhood to youth to old). Hindus, cristians, muslims, Buddhists everybody goes through the same process. So we cannot say that it is only for a particular religion. It is for everybody. It is a spiritual book, not religious. We have a check list for initiation. Everybody have to read BG and SB 1st canto. Srila Prabhipada put everything in 1st canto of SB because He was not sure how many cantos He can complete. So everything is there in 1st canto. I read BG 10times when I joined the movement. I don’t know how devotees can survive if they don’t read Srila Prabhupada’s books. Please read Srila Prabhupada’s books., He spent many many hours to write those books. “ There was another question “ is it true that if a person takes re initiation from another Guru when his own Guru is in good standing, then that person doesn’t get a guru for another 10 life times?” Gurumaharaj answered that caitanya caritamrta mentions , if a person does so then he will not get a Guru for another one crore (10 million) births. When Nitai Das took reinitiation from somebody else in Vrnadavan srila Prabhupada said he will not get a guru for another 200,000 births.Gurumaharaj said its very dangerous to do such things.
The time was already 9.40pm. The servants indicated that its time to stop the class as Gurumaharaj has to leave early in the morning for therapies. Gurumaharaj met each of the Tilak Intan devotees and gave blessings and spoke few words to them. After that Gurumaharaj left to His residence as the devotees chanted Narsimha Pranam.
Your humble servants,
4th October 2010,Monday,Malaysia
Gurumaharaj left at 8.30am for therapy. Gurumaharaj had breakfast in the car as He was getting late for the therapy. Gurumaharaj went for loco mat, balancing and coordinating therapies.
Gurumaharaj came back to the house after therapy at around 2pm. Gurumaharaj was answering to His mails in the car even after the car stopped. When He came back the servants gave Him a medicine to drink. Immediately Gurumaharaj asked “is it braking Ekadashi…?” He asked to check whether there is any grain or cereal in the medicine. Servants brought the medicine bottle but unfortunately the contents were not written. It was a Homeopathic medicine. After a while Gurumaharaj asked “Is there any Homeopathy pharmacy here?” Fortunately H G Mahesh Advaita Prabhu (he is a doctor by profession, very humble and dedicated to Gurumaharaj ,he is personally driving Gurumaharaj to all the places here everyday) was there to help. Gurumaharaj asked him to find out from the pharmacy here what is the content of that particular medicine so that Gurumaharaj can be sure that it doesn’t break Ekadashi. (anyway Gurumaharaj refused to take that medicine since He wasn’t sure). After that Gurumaharaj sat down for lunch prasadam. Before even Gurumaharaj washed His hands he had H G Gokul Prabhu reading out all the preparations and the ingredients in detail just to make sure that everything is Ekadashi prasadam !!! when Gurumaharaj was given the medicine Gurumaharaj mentioned a particular tablet which Gurumaharaj cannot take on Ekadashi (anyway, H G Madhav Kanta prabhu knew very well which all tablets Gurumaharaj cannot take on Ekadashi, still Gurumaharaj was counter checking!!!)
Gurumaharaj gave a class at SJM KL in the evening. Gurumaharaj spoke from BG 11.2 for a short while followed by question and answer session. We were fortunate to have H H Bhakti Vrajendranandan Maharaj also in the temple. Gurumaharaj honored Maharaj and glorified Him.
Gurumaharaj said “once I asked Srila Prabhupada, Do You want to live long? Then srila Prabhupad replied….”old age….its very difficult” then Gurumaharaj said only now I am realizing what Srila Prabhupada meant that time. Gurumaharaj continued… “we don’t know what our past karmas are. But if we take up KC we can be purified. That is the wonder of Bhakti yoga. We have two options in our life: either suffer our karma or chant Hare Krishna and purify ourselves.” Then Gurumaharaj asked how many of you want to suffer…pls put up your hand. Then Gurumaharaj asked how many of you want to chant and purify yourselves…. There was a loud Haribol for that. “satisfy the senses of Hrishikesh…that’s Bhaktiyoga all about. Practice Bhaktiyoga everyday and make your life successful.”
The first question was about Gurumaharaj’s first visit to Malaysia and His experience here. Gurumaharaj recalled His experiences and mentioned the devotees who were here that time and how Gurumaharaj was introduced to eating Duriyan etc etc…(its Malaysia’s famous fruit ….something similar to jack fruit…. Gurumaharaj few days back commented that it tastes like heaven and smells like hell!!)
Next question was “what should we do for Your speedy recovery?” Gurumaharaj’s immediate response was this is supposed to be philosophical question, not personal. But then after few minutes Gurumaharaj answered “ when I was in Hinduja hospital all doctors there gave up hope but because of everybody’s prayers I recovered. People all over the world were praying for me. and then when I recovered they said that I am the only person who has recovered from such kind of stroke.and they said they don’t how my condition will be… I am doing exercises and other therapies to gain back my health.” Finally Gurumaharaj said “you can pray and also help me to do my therapies” Another question was how to take absolute shelter of the spiritual master even in separation. Gurumaharaj said by following Guru’s instructions we can always take shelter of Guru. Gurumaharaj asked H H Bhakti Vrajendranandan Maharaj to add on to it… Maharaj said” chant 16 rounds regularly, attend mangalarti and follow the instructions of the Spiritual master. Then Gurumaharaj said “when I was in mayapur, Srila Prabhupada used to come 3 months a year and that time everyday I used to get instructions from Srila prabhuapad….everyday. One of the instructions He gave me was expand Krishna Consciousness unlimitedly….how to fulfill that desire….I need all your help to fulfill that desire”
It was already 9.30pm and as Gurumaharaj had not taken His dinner yet the remaining questions were kept for the next session on Wednesday. Since there was one question online Gurumaharaj considered that also. The question was “what advice to give to a god brother who is reading H H Narayan Maharaj’s books?” Gurumaharaj answered with due respects to HH Narayan maharaj. Gurumaharaj said we have many books by Srila Prabhupada. One must read srila Prabhupada’s books again and again. Respect Him from a distance but we don’t want to associate with Him.
That was the end of the nectar for the time being…… Gurumaharaj ended by saying Jai to H H Bhakti Vrajendranandan Maharaj. After that Gurumaharaj took prasadm in the temple and some devotees had darshan of Gurumaharaj. H G Rasanath Prabhu showed the recent installation pictures of Their Lordships Sri Sri Nitai Sundar Gaurahari. Gurumaharaj was very happy seeing that and Gurumaharaj asked for a copy of the album for Himself. Then at around 10.30 Gurumaharaj left to the house.
Another day of transcendental bliss !!!
All glories to our glorious spiritual master…
3rd Oct 2010 Sunday at Kuala Lumpur ,malaysia
After breakfast at 9.30 am., GuruMaharaja went to Sri Jagannath Temple,ISKCON Kuala Lumpur, and gave Srimad Bhagavatam class, also in temple they orgnised Vyasa puja Mahotsava of H H Prabhavishnu Swami Maharaha, Guru Maharaj gave class on glorification of HH Prabhavishnu Maharaja for half an hour.Also H H Bhakti Vrajendra Nandan Maharaja spoke on gloification.
Later Guru Maharaja initiated two matajis and one prabhu.After initiation at 11.20 a.m. Gurumaharaj shifted to meeting room next to temple hall, and gave bhagavam class for 45 minutes to 3000(three thousands) devotees at a russian devotee sanga,organised by HG Vijaya Venugopal pr and Prema Padmini mataji. class was given using skype video call conference. All 3000 russian devotees were blessed by Guru Maharaj.
At 1p.m, Guru Maharaj took lunch at temple and then at 2.30 gurumaharja back to house for taking rest, then at 5pm till 6pm did walking therapy with Dr.Acyutananda pr, later at 7p.m, took dinner and then met some devotees, and did some cycling therapy, and night 10.15p.m spoke to H H Radhanatha Swami Maharaj on phone for 20 min. (H H radhanatha swami maharja is in houston, USA). so at 11.15p.m gurumaharja went to bed to take rest.
Madhava Kanta Das
Sunday, 3 October
Today was packed day for GM. He had a Vyasa Puja to attend, a Sunday feast lecture to give, a 3000 strong gathering of devotees in Russia were awaiting GM”s lecture. There were no therapies lined up for GM today. At about 10.30 GM left to Sri Jagannatha Mandir. HH Prabha Vishnu Swami’s vyasa puja was celebrated on Friday, 1st of October. But because GM was here, maharaj’s disciple, HG Krishna Candra das prabhu decided to celebrate the VYasa PUja grandly in the presence of GM and Bhakti Vrajendranandana Swami and all the devotees.
GM was received very nicely and HG Krsna Candra das prabhu glorified GM by saying that even though there are only 3 disciples of Prabha Vishnu Swami in the temple still all this elaborate arrangement are made to celebrate the Vyasa Puja. Krishna Candra prabhu thanks GM’s disciples for cooperating so nicely. GM was happy to hear that his disciples were cooperating very nicely. There was also an initiation ceremony scheduled today. By right the ceremony was postponed to next Sunday but unfortunately one devotee has to travel elsewhere for work and 2 other matajis had already booked their tickets earlier. They were from Kuching. So GM instructed to arrange for an initiation ceremony just for them. GM is so merciful.
Soon after the initiation, GM went into the temple’s conference room to do a live broadcast with the Russian devotees. They were having a festival and more than 3000 devotees turned up. GM had lunch after that. GM only left the temple at about 3pm.
In the evening, there were no classes scheduled for GM. GM took dinner and soon after that GM sat on his gym bicycle to do some exercise. The bicycle brand was victory so a devotee commented that a victory bicycle for a victorious person will certainly bring all victory. It was the birthday one disciple of GM, HG Mohana Muralidhara das. His wife Amrta Sakhi mataji had bought a cake and GM touched the cake to bless it. The cake was so tasty that the devotees had a feast of the cake. The cake was baked by HG Amrta Gaurangi mataji. GM was on the bicycle for a long time. GM went to take rest at around 11pm.
Saturday , 2 October
GM left to the gym in the morning. GM had his breakfast before leaving and devotees were singing kirtan for GM. At the gym GM was using all the equipments very nicely. The gym GM visit is actually a well known franchise. It’s call True Fitness. GM then took lunch at his residence. There was a roaring kirtan while GM ate lunch. Many devotees came to visit GM as it was a weekend. GM always looks happy to meet devotees. After lunch GM gave out some Prasad and then went to take rest.
At 6pm, GM did his walking therapy with Dr.Acyutananda. GM did very well. This therapy actually has GM walking on his own with very minimal help from Dr. Acyutananda.
Today there is Prerana programme by the youth boys and GM was looking forward to attend it. The festival was to be held at Sri Jagannath Mandir. HG Baladev prabhu from Chowpatty was the guest speaker. The topic was from hurricane to Harinam. About 30 boys turned up for this event. They preformed a drama of Jaghai and Madhai and it was wonderful. GM then addressed the boy. It was around 11pm when GM arrived at his residence and then GM took rest.
Madhava kanta das
1st Oct 2010
Guru Maharaj left for the Lokomat therapy in the morning today. GM is scheduled to give class in a center in Klang. Klang is about 30 minutes drive from GM’s residence. Bhakti Vrajendranandana Swami was also scheduled to be at Klang. The devotees were very elated to be receiving two great personalities at their center.
Bhakti Vrajendranandana Swami was already in Klang when GM arrived. The welcoming for GM was grandly organised by the devotees in Klang. Bhakti Vrajendranandana Swami first addressed the devotees. Maharaj also glorified GM by saying that GM has been preaching all over the world for the past 40 years with full dedication. GM then addressed the devotees by first blessing all the devotees with strong Krishna Consciousness. GM’s lecture was translated by HG Shanthi Vardhana prabhu into Tamil. GM mentioned that he is very happy that Bhakti Vrajendranandana Swami is together with Him and GM stressed that we are fortunate to have him with us. At this point Bhakti Vrajendranandana Swami also said that we should be more fortunate that GM is with us. Shanthi Vardana prabhu translated this also and GM told him not to translate what Bhakti Vrajendranandana Swami said. This is another display of humility by GM. GM did not want everyone to hear his glorifications.
GM went on to speak on Caitanya Lila. It was a very very nectarean class. GM spoke about Advaita Acarya and about Shantipur festival. GM also described the birth place of Advaita Acarya which is now in Bangladesh. GM went there by helicopter during his last visit to Bangladesh. As they were all in the helicopter, slowly the pilot landed the helicopter. The pilot then got down and asked someone nearby where is Advaita Acarya’s Birthplace. He then took off again. Then he stopped over at another place and asked for direction again. Finally they arrived at Advaita Acarya’s Birthplace. The devotees laughed when they heard these wonderful pastimes. GM had a lot of praises for Bangladesh devotees.GM also mentioned about how he likes to hear sankirtan stories. He mentioned that one devotee in LA, Vrindavan Lila mataji used to read Him sankirtan stories every night. GM also said that Caitanya lila is still going on today and we can all be part of it. He requested the devotees present to also share their stories. One such story resulted to the introduction of an Iranian couple to GM. A Mataji had preached to this Iranian couple and they attended GM’s class. The couple was very happy to see GM. GM honoured them very nicely by giving away his maha garland.
It was already 10.30 by the time class ended. GM was then escorted by the devotees back to the car. Everyone, everyone was plastered with a smile on their face...a genuine smile. The session with GM was so out of this world. GM brought us to yesteryears with his evergreen Caitanya Lila.
JSSS Kuala Lumpur
30th sept 2010
Left from apartment 9a.m, took breakfast in the car while driving to gym for therapy and returned to house by 1.30p.m had lunch and rested till 5.pm then walking therapy with Dr Achyutanada pr at the apartment, then took dinner at 7p.m ,then 8-10p.m meeting with ISKCON Malaysia managers all manager in the managers meetings presented their reports and then Gurumaharaj delivered small class to them.Also H H Bhakti Vrajendranandan Maharaj arrived in the same apartment in afternoon,staying here with Gurumaharaj next to Gurumaharaj's next to Gurumaharaj's room,Manager also attended the manager also attended the manager meetings..
29th sept 2010
Guru Maharaj in morning took his breakfast in the car at 9.30 and reached to hospital for locomat and armeo and also started new therapy- balance and coordination therapy for walking and reached to apartment by 3p.m. Gurumaharaj had lunch together with HH Jananda Goswami Maharaja, took rest at 4.30pm , wokeup 6.30 pm took dinner and then went to Jagannath temple to give Bhagavad Gita class, reached apartment at around 10.30pm and then took rest by 11.30p.m
by Mathura Lilesvari Mataji
Yesterday was a hectic day for Guru Maharaja. Guru Maharaja left his residence at about nine in the morning. A lokomat therapy was arranged for GM. Lokomat is a robot-assisted walking therapy. It is a form of physical therapy using a robotic device to help in learning to walk again for a person whose ability to walk has been impaired as a result of stroke. Guru Maharaja used the lokomat machine for more than one hour. Guru Maharaja chanted Hare Krishna with every step he took during this lokomat exercise.
Guru Maharaja came back to the residence at almost three in the afternoon for lunch. Guru Maharaja’s prasadam in Malaysia is being prepared by HG Sasi Mukhi mataji. Sasi Mukhi mataji is an experienced cook for Guru Maharaja and she is doing a wonderful seva. Guru Maharaja was accompanied for lunch by his dear godbrother, HH Janananda Goswami. Guru Maharaja was very happy to have Maharaj to join Guru Maharaja for lunch. As Guru Maharaja was feeling very tired, Guru Maharaja decided to take rest after lunch. It was already 5.00 by then. A class was also scheduled at Sri Jaganath Mandir in the evening.
After a good rest Guru Maharaja got ready for the class. Guru Maharaja had dinner before he went for the class. Guru Maharaja had some puffed rice (bhel puri). Guru Maharaja was trying to speed up dinner as he was getting late for the class.
As always, Guru Maharaja arrival is welcomed with nice kirtan right from the doorstep of the temple. All the devotees stand and welcome Guru Maharaja and they only sit once Guru Maharaja is settled at the vyasasana after taking darshan. Guru Maharaja started the class by apologizing for being late. GM spoke briefly on the glories of Radharani and how Navadwip is so great because it was created by Radharani herself. Guru Maharaja also said that there was a grand celebration on Radhastami at Mayapur, this year and every year. He also mentioned the Jhulan Yatra festival that was organized by the youths in Mayapur and encouraged the Malaysian Youths to also take charge of organizing certain festivals.
Guru Maharaja said youths should not think that they are too young to do any service with big responsibility. Guru Maharaja narrated that Srila Prabhupada requested Guru Maharaja to be the temple president of the Montreal temple only 2 weeks after his initiation. Guru Maharaja was feeling very unqualified to do the service as he was very young and inexperienced. Guru Maharaja wrote to Srila Prabhupada and revealed his heart and said he is only 19 and totally inexperienced to do the seva. Srila Prabhupada replied and said, “Don’t be body conscious”. GM then opened the Q&A session. Answering some the questions, Guru Maharaja said the following:-
1. Follow authority and do the seva given to you even if you don’t like it.
2. Japa is the most important activity in a devotees life.
3. Grihastas can keep simple deity worships standards at home but should be consistent.
Soon after the class, Guru Maharaja was driven by HG Mahesh Advaita prabhu back to the residence to rest.
mathura lilesvari devi dasi
28th sept 2010
After morning breakfast,Gurumaharaj went to do therapy at gym and then went to one devotee's house for lunch.Gurumaharaj took rest there and later in evening Gurumaharaj went to see dentist and at 7.30 pm came back to apartment,(today wholeday out in city)!! At 8p.m Gurumaharaj had dinner and then cycling therapy and then meeting with jpsseva committee,malaysia. Today,Gurumaharaj went to bed around 10.30p.m.
27th sept 2010
Morning 10 am,Gurumaharaj went to hospital to continue therapy like " armeo and lokomat" and then back to apartment, after lunch took rest , then wokeup and did therapy at home.
Then we had a small party in the apartment "birthday of Gurumaharaj's travelling secratery H.G. Maha Varaha prabhu". After dinner,we drove to the Jagannath Mandir, Kuala Lampur at 8.30 p.m. Gurumaharaj gave evening bhagavad gita lecture.We came late to apartment and Gurumaharaj went to rest very late.
Diary submitted by HG Mathura lilesvari dd
Monday, 27 September
The way to the house GM is staying was indeed scenic. The weather was perfect and the trees in the surrounding area created a peaceful atmosphere. This was a beautiful place for GM to stay. GM was very happy that on his first day of arrival into Malaysia, he could attend a ratha yatra festival. GM spent about 2 hours at the festival and came back for a good rest at his residence, the bungalow of HG Loka Swami das, a senior disciples of GM. Right after breakfast GM left for therapy.
Around 6pm, the atmosphere at the residence of GM was in total party mode. All the brahmacari servants and some other devotees prepared an array of prasadam.The dishes were a feast to eyes alone. You may wonder, but why such a festivity?This feast was indeed apt and needed. Today is the birthday of HG Maha Varaha prabhu, Gurumaharaj’s wonderful servant.
A class was scheduled at Sri Jaganatha Mandir Kuala Lumpur [SJMKL]. GM met the devotees and took darshan of the presiding deities for the first time since his arrival yesterday. Around 150 devotees were present and GM addressed everyone by first updating on his health progress and travel plans. Guru Maharaj also spoke a little on Navadwip Dham and explained how everything is in Navadwip Dham and there is no need to go anywhere else.
One devotee asked a question to GM, on how to stay enthusiastic in devotional service. GM quoted the third verse of siksastaka and explained that by being humble and tolerant and offering respects to all other without expecting any respect for oneself, enthusiasm can be maintained and devotional service can be constant. GM added that while executing our devotional service we should never think ourselves to be great and should not expect appreciation. But it is also the duty of a vaisnava to appreciate devotees.
While saying this, GM then announced that today is the appearance day of HG Maha Varaha prabhu. GM also thanked Mahavaraha prabhu for his service and truly appreciated Maha Varaha prabhu. At this point Maha Varaha prabhu was nowhere to be found. Simheswara prabhu had to go around the temple looking for Maha Varaha prabhu. After sometime and some persuasion prabhu agreed to come to the front.GM asked everyone to loudly chant three haribols for Maha Varaha prabhu. HG Tyaga Caitanya prabhu then announced that on behalf of the management of SJMKL there is cake for Maha Varaha prabhu. Tyaga Caitanya prabhu added that Malaysia is very fortunate to have a representative such as Maha Varaha prabhu. GM was very happy that the honour was given to Maha Varaha Prabhu. More cakes were distributed by GM to all the devotees. GM then Prasad and retired for the night. It was a blissful day. A day to honour our dearest GM and our dearest god brother. Guru Maharaj ki Jai!
Mathura lilesvari devi dasi
26th sept 2010
Today morning at 9.30 AM , Gurumaharaj arrived in Kuala Lampur , Malaysia from Mayapur through Singapore.Gurumaharaj went to the apartment directly from the airport,had lunch and then took rest.
In the evening at 9 PM , Gurumaharaj went to attend the Taman Medan Rathayatra and gave class after the Rathayatra.Gurumaharaj came back to the apartment and took rest very late
Diary submitted by HG Mathura Lilesvari mataji
Sunday, 26 September
Gurumaharaj arrived at KLIA at around 10.30am. There were many disciples eagerly waiting to receive Gurumaharaj. Gurumaharaj said that He slept only for 3 hrs previous nighti.then showed that He was very tired. From the airport GM went straight to the house (newly built house of H G Lokaswami pr, given for Gm and His servants to stay). Even though GM was tired GM spent time with the disciples who were there at the airport asking about their well beings!!! And Everybody received Gm’s blessings !! when one devotee said that GM looked better and there is so much improvement GM responded “your blessings” !!!
In the evening GM came for taman medan rathyatra .That was the first time the congregation devotees having Gm’s darshan. There was a really warm welcome arranged for GM. Devotees did arti (to remove dristi) for GM and girls with lamps and flowers ushered Gm to the stage. GM gave a short talk. He said “ I joind ISKCON in 1968 during RY. That day I decided to shave up and jojn as brahmacari. I thought let me try this for few months. If I don’t like I will leave. But ladies n gentle men I really liked this movement and I will never leave this”
GM spoke about how merciful Lord Jagannath is and RY is a nice opportunity for everybody to do service. GM made all of us chant Hai.RiiHaiRii.HariiHariiHarii GM said when u chant the names of Hari all the miseries go away, it removes all the garbage from our heart.
GM said “if you don’t try chanting the Lord’s name how will you know whether you like it or not..”
After that at around 10.30pm GM left to the house to take rest.
Mathura lilesvari dd
9th Sept – 13th September 2010
Shyamadesh – Damodardesh – Avataridesh
It was 5th Sunday morning we got a call from Mayapur, if we can arrange visa for Guru Maharaj to visit our yatras in this part of the world on 8th September, Wednesday. Naturally, we all were overjoyed. But we were not sure if it will suit Guru Maharaj ’s health condition to travel at this juncture. We checked out with Avataridesh and they came up that the chances are remote on 6th Monday. Damodaradesh took up the challenge and tried it out – but up until 7th morning we were not sure as for Eid all government offices were closing 2 hours less than their normal working hours. Until 7th Tuesday evening also no clarity on visa receipt. While our anxiety is up on the heel, it was equally from Mayapur. Guru Maharaj ’s was anxious about visa receipt. Simultaneous plans for Guru Maharaj ’s visit also was underway in all the three yatra’s. Finally only late in the night we were relieved to know that visa had arrived.
Next anxiety started, why in this condition for such a short span GM should travel ? As he has to return to Mayapur for Radhashtami. Thoughts flew in if it will be better Guru Maharaj travels after Radhashtami and stay for longer time with all of us. 8th Wednesday morning this critical decision-making was pondered and discussed and ultimately landed to Guru Maharaj . But Guru Maharaj did not give a quick answer, and said ‘Let me think’. All fingers were kept crossed for Guru Maharaj's decision. And finally Guru Maharaj decided to visit. All the yatras were informed that Guru Maharaj is visiting on 9th afternoon at last.
9th Thursday afternoon airport was swarmed by dear disciples to receive Guru Maharaj and in great joy he was bought to Sudevi Mataji’s house. Upon entry Guru Maharaj saw the JBS deities and was so happy to exclaim ‘Jai Jagannath’. Radhabhav pr shared itinerary to Guru Maharaj and requested special blessings for Shyamadesh congregation from Guru Maharaj . After change and freshening up prasadam was served. Prasadam was cooked by Sudevi mataji helped by Bhavatarini Mataji. While Guru Maharaj relished the prasadam he called on Akshaya - a 12 year old devotee to recite BG Sloka and after that Chaturatma pr led melodious kirtan with classical mrdangam accompaniment by Krishanrajan pr. In the end he mentioned to Sudevi mataji that his health permits only ¼ the salt one normally requires and in disguise of affirming that salt was very less he shared his maha directly from his spoon to few devotees. After prasad Guru Maharaj took rest
Around 6 pm, candidates for initiation and shelter filled the hall. Guru Maharaj entioned that as he cannot talk loudly, if sound system is available it would be better. As system was available, but mic was not available, Bh.Lucky pr was sent to the market to get one while Guru Maharaj started conducting his final interviews with candidates in batches, conversing in Bengali with Bengali speaking devotees and then in English to next batch. He ensured every one agreed to follow the principles, if they are already regularly chanting 16 rounds since a year and committed to help Guru Maharaj in spreading SP mission in the future. While Swaminathan pr met for shelter interview, Guru Maharaj enquired from his wife Bhavatarini, what she cooked. This is Guru Maharaj ’s special caring touch, which attracts us to serve to the best.
Since it was already 9 pm, but many devotees were waiting outside, Mahavaraha prabhu agreed that Guru Maharaj can just walk to the hall and be back. Amidst loving devotees Guru Maharaj walked through. Krishnarajan pr & Sudevi mataji were waiting to do pada puja and GM kindly obliged, while Radhabhav prabhu did arathi. GM lovingly spoke to the assembled devotees “In India – people do business with the Lord, demanding health, marriage, education., (temples are crowded with youth during exams). These material facilities gives only temporary relief, but Krishna can give eternal satisfaction when we take up KC. I am very happy and thankful that here in Middle East that all of you along with acquiring material benefits are taking up KC seriously” With deep meditation GM shared the urgency of taking up KC seriously. Mahavaraha prabhu signalled from the back of the hall that its time up. GM humorously concluded mentioning that he “will end his lecture in just one second – Bangladesh time – which means some more unlimited time” bringing laughter to the entire crowd and wished everybody with “Eid Mubarak”. When GM returned to his room Mahavaraha prabhu asked GM, that he was supposed to be back after a short walk to the hall.. GM mentioned that as mic was arranged all the way from market so he has to speak….., with a seeming excuse of mic, GM took the opportunity to preach. Bh. Lucky and his wife got special blessings to locate a mic in the market within the target time.
GM had light dinner while Sahishnu pr led a melodious kirtan. Krishnachyuta (KAD) pr for years together had been taking up Chaturmasya and do not shave following ancient ascetics. GM saw him and waved around his chin questioning his beard. Krsna Achyutadas prabhu was delighted to share that he is following Chaturmasya., GM mentioned “When I did not shave during chaturmasya my guru maharaja mentioned that its important to keep focus on preaching than growing beard” and went to rest. Ramakrishna pr, Athichandra pr & Venkatakrishna pr took up helping in the nightshift of GM. GM touched the hearts of these devotees personally ensuring that they move out the next day only after sufficient rest for themselves.
10th Friday morning, we found clean-shaven KAD pr beaming with the joy of following the sampradaya. GM’s original plan was to go to Damodardesh only during the middle of Rathyatra. But GM mentioned to Sudevi mataji, that he wants to be for inauguration. While Sudevi mataji insisted GM to not exert, GM mentioned that “Its because of Jagannath Ratha Yatra I came to Krishna Consciousness, so I need to be there for inaugurating the event”, how could one object this appeal? It was a whole day program from morning till evening organised by Damodaradesh at one of the well known school hall. GM reached there around 12 noon. As soon as he reached, he did his therapy, walking in the pool for about 45 mins along with HH Maha Vishnu Maharaj. After therapy as we were entering the hall we saw devotees lined up on both side of the pathway for about 100 metres, received GM with full of joy. Most of them were seeing him after a year or so. After that he delivered a 30 mins lecture to a crowd of 1000 devotees. The owner of the school hosted GM and HH MVS for the lunch. Then GM took 30 mins nap before going back to the hall to inaugurate the ratha yatra around 5pm. This time much bigger crowd was awaiting with loud kirtan. The main altar of the chariot had big set of JBS deities and many sets of small JBS deities were arranged on the other 3 sides of the chariot so devotees could take darshan of their lordship from any angle. After inaugurating the Rath yatra, GM left for Syamadesh..………………………………..
While GM was to be back to Shyamadesh by 6.30pm, he arrived only around 7.30pm. GM mentioned with a lot of concern towards the 400 devotees waiting, about the devotee who bought him lost his way and said circling his hand “He went round and round and round and round……….”. As 1st initiation candidates and shelter candidates were waiting for so long. GM asked HG Jagatsakshi pr to instruct on 10 offenses and lead the candidates to take oath in the mic about initiation vows. Srivasangan and Avataridesh and gave a touching message to take up KC…………….. . With lots of care and completely ignoring all his bodily inconveniences, GM handed over the beads to every candidate and called upon shelter candidates to offer pushpanjali. Before GM left for his room, he ensured there is one devotee representing him to do avahana on his behalf in the yajna. GM changed his clothes and before he left the villa, he gave darshan to about 50 devotees from all the yatra’s.
11th Saturday morning GM was to leave for Avataridesh. Meanwhile Mahavaraha pr checked out in the nearby Crown Plaza Hotel about the Gym facility and approved that it was ok for GM to do his exercises. GM walked about 250 steps with gentle support around his shoulders from Dr.Acyutananda pr. GM asked about the dab (coconut water) which was bought for him last evening, when we informed that we did not bring it back along with us from initiation venue, he jokingly mentioned ‘it is very wrong’. Arjun Jivan pr immediately rushed and bought 2 dabs for GM. Then Madhavakantha pr guided devotees to apply seasoned ghee on GM right side of the body to improve the blood circulation. He left to Gym with fruit breakfast fed by Madavakanta pr. GM was able to comfortably take upto 80 lbs on thighs and 50 lbs on his biceps, this is not easy at all in general. After GM came back, Radhabhav pr requested GM on behalf of Arjun Jivan pr that he wished to worship Narayan shila from Badrikasrama. GM wanted AJ pr to write down and read out the type of worship he will be ready to take up. Then Bhaktavatsala pr wanted to have his new born son to be named by GM. So GM selected Bhadra Gaura out of 10 different names. After that Susantha prabhu’s son sung melodious kirtan when GM was having his lunch. After lunch GM rested, and then bid farewell to Shyamadesh devotees and took off to Avataridesh.
11th Saturday evening GM was received by hundreds of devotees in Avataridesh in Bahurupa pr’s house. GM was welcomed to the hall with guru puja. He granted shelter to 15 devotees and performed 3 vidyarambha ceremony. GM gave a phenomenal class narrating the conversation between Gauranga Mahaprabhu and the parrot. This parrot was addicted to Gauranga Mahaprabhu and always flapping its wings in the air and chanting ‘Gaura – Gaura’, ‘Gaura – Gaura’. Mahaprabhu exclaimed, what is this you have to chant ‘Krishna – Krishna’., parrot emphasised, if you want you can chant so, but for me I just to love to call out ‘Gaura – Gaura’, ‘Gaura – Gaura’. This way GM made the entire crowd addicted to Gaura Prema. That night service was taken up very nicely by Ramakrishna pr and Avataridesh devotees.
12th Sunday morning GM gave darshan and personally enquired the well being of assembled avataridesh devotees after which he travelled back to Damodardesh to Srivallab pr’s house. Damodardesh had organised program in a nearby Hotel – A 5 star hotel for the first time. The hall was decorated very nicely with flowers and melodious kirtan filled the atmosphere. 6 families from Mathuradesh came by road and were eagerly looking forward to see GM. When GM entered the hall devotees became ecstatic and welcomed GM. Srivallabh pr gave welcome address and mentioned that GM will talk for 25 minutes followed by handing initiation beads, giving shelter and then darshan time for Maturadesh devotees. GM mentioned in his speech “take the opportunity of human life and take up KC with care. Request your friends somehow to start chanting the holy name and assure of becoming happy. In India, popular serial is ‘Koan banega Crore pathi’ Chanting 16 rounds per day allows you to gain permanent asset of chanting 1 million holy names in a year and 8 rounds a year half a million, 4 rounds quarter million and so forth.” Then Srivallab prabhu had an interactive discussion regarding devotees who leave the yatra for some reason or other, GM gave a specific instruction to this regard “1. You could shift the place only if there is opportunity to increase your devotional service., 2. You should have ensured that an appropriate hand over of services have taken place towards the services you do currently in whichever location”. He also specified “There should be adequate arrangements made for ‘Devotee Care’ especially towards aged devotees”, When Srivallab pr started another subject for discussion, GM saw his watch to remind Srivallabh pr’s welcome address to bring laughter among the audience. Subsequently beads were given by GM to 10 initiated devotees. GM gave shelter to 35 new devotees and got the aspirant forms filled in.
13th morning Guru Maharaj left Damodardesh to fly back to Sri dham Mayapur to attend Sri Radhashtami.
Vignanasana Govinda Das
Visit to Bangladesh
Here is a brief report about Bangladesh - the land of natural opulence and flourishing sankirtan movement of Lord Caitanya! Almost half of Sri Gaura Mandala Bhumi is situated here, such as the Sripats of Sri Rupa Sanatana, Saci Mata, Pundarikh Vidyanidhi Dhams, Narottam Das Thakur's Kheturi! ISKCON has built temples in many of these places and we can see that ISKCON has made a great impact by its preaching activities and festivals. According to HG Jagat Guru Gauranga Prabhu, one of the local leaders, ISKCON has a total of 30 temples, 250 Namahattas and 80 Bhakti Vrikshas all around this country. They perform some 22 ecstatic Ratha yatras, all on the same day all over the country! I still remember attending one of the Dacca Ratha yatras, where not less than 50,000 people had filled up practically every inch of the road.
Prior to the stroke, Guru Maharaj has been visiting Bangladesh twice or thrice a year for over 30 years. The recent visit was the first visit to Bangladesh almost after two years. He was scheduled to visit around the 3rd week of July 2010 but it was postponed because of the sudden urinary tract infection, due to which he needed to be hospitalized. So the Bangladesh program was rescheduled on the 23rd till the 28th August.
The place Guru Maharaj visited is called Rupa Sanantan Smirti Tirtha (RSST), which is about 10kms away from the birthplace of Sri Rupa & Sri Sanantana. It is also known as Prema Bag. Some say this is only the bhajana Sthali and the birthplace is somewhere else. Anyway RSST is located about 2 hours drive from the border of an Indian Town called Haridaspur. Rich with lush greenery and naturally decorated by various and numerous fruit trees such as banana and papaya growing in abundance along the both sides of the road, this part of the land appeared like a picturesque from the ancient times to most of us, who are habituated with busy daily city lives! This experience was a practical example of what Srila Prabhupada always emphasized in his books about simple living and high thinking. Acres of paddy field and vegetation covered most of the land. People had food growing right outside their houses. Modern days big advertisement of "eco-friendly" and "organic food" is their natural lifestyle! Varieties of sak and spices decorated their courtyard of cozy thatched houses. Our ISKCON temple was practically the only double storied concrete building in the remote surrounding! Some surrounding villages were even without electricity.
I have been to Bangladesh many times with Guru Maharaja but this time I noticed a drastic change in many aspects compared to all my previous visits. Our car drove past these lovely villages, rubbing against the haystacks alongside the road, and reached around 8 pm. Generally whenever Guru maharaj visited Bangladesh, a huge number of devotees would receive him about a km before the temple with resounding kirtan. They would swarm up to his car like honey-bees and sometimes it used to go beyond control. But this time I was surprised to see how about 3,000 devotees were standing systematically in the dark on both sides of the main road till the temple as Guru maharaj's car was nearing the temple. Uludhwani and kirtan rocked the entire atmosphere with most of the devotees' cheek wet with tears. When Guru maharaj came out of the car, devotees were crying as most of them were seeing him after his stroke for the first time. Special devotee volunteers security team, mostly from youth forums, clad in special devotional uniform was arranged to control the crowd. Guru maharaj took darshan of the presiding Deities Sr Sri Radha- Madan Mohan, Jagannath Balaram Subhadra and Sri Sri Gaur Nitai. He addressed the crowd of 3000 devotees then went to his room for Prasadam.
Next day morning Guru maharaj woke up around 6am and after breakfast he went to the newly built pool to do his regular therapy. After an hour of therapy he had darshan of Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan, Jagannath Balaram Subhadra devi, Gaur Nitai, and Srila Prabhupada. After darshan of Deities he went for the initiation ceremony, which was going to be held at the main pandal. By now the crowd had swelled to 5,000 devotees. The initiation ceremony was extremely well organized, something that I have never seen before in any part of the ISKCON world. HH Gauranga Prema Swami and HG Sarvadaya Prabhu from the Mayapur Nama Hatta department went one month ahead of time, travelled all over Bangladesh centers to do all the preliminary work. They interviewed every single candidate, marked their papers, etc. They, with the help of some local youths created a special software to manage the whole ceremony.
There were some 1727 candidates for 1st initiation and 389 for 2nd initiation. The managers of the festival had divided the entire country into three groups, namely Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra. On the first day Guru maharaj awarded 1st initiation to 607 devotees and 136 devotees with 2nd initiation. Second day was Subhadra group with 614 for 1st and 128 for 2nd initiation. And on the last day, the Jagananth group 506 devotees receiving 1st and 125 devotees 2nd initiation. To facilitate and organize better, each group was told beforehand to visit RSST only on the schedule day of their initiation. They would arrive a night before and leave RSST before the next group comes in.
The initiation arena was well organized. The entire area was fenced intelligently and only those with special passes were allowed to go into the arena. Rest of the devotees witnessed the ceremony from outside the arena. All the initiation candidates had their special registration number and coupon. In fact each of them was designated a sitting place with the same number and sitting arrangements were done as per their serial numbers. Candidates started gathering and taking their position on their respective seat at around 7am. Ceremony started with SB class and very elaborate explanation of the ceremony, 10 aparadhas, taking of vows by each and every candidate. After a short lecture by Guru maharaj, HH Bhakti Purushottam Swami and HH Gauranga Prema Swami, the name giving and handing of the beads begun. Beads were handed out by Guru maharaj with HH BPS reading out the candidates legal name serially. Every one received the beads personally from Guru maharaj's hands while their respective initiated name was being announced. There were many volunteers with special devotional uniform constantly checking at every 2 meters making sure that the candidates are standing up on time, queuing serially, receiving beads, receiving names according to serial numbers. The candidates were even pre trained as to how to receive beads from Guru maharaj. At the final point HH GPS handed out a small slip with candidates legal name, serial number and area they were from and initiated name printed on it. At the same time there were few other devotee volunteers counter checking whether HH BPS, HH GPS and the team were doing the job properly. Every single male candidate was fully shaven and clad with dhoti and chadar. After receiving the beads and names candidates sat back at their respective seats. The whole thing was going on like a gentle flow of river.
Every day it took an average of 46 minutes to complete the 1st initiation. We had an average of 12 candidates receiving the beads at every one minute. In short, every single candidate took their vows from their respective seat, stood up in line, came forward received their beads personally from Guru maharaj's hands while HH BPS was announcing their initiated name. After the handing out of the beads all the 2nd initiation candidates came forward to reconfirm their vows and paid their obeisance and sat at their respective seats and finally the fire yajna begun. Naru Gopal prabhu and others who accompanied Guru maharaj for the first time were shocked and surprised to see how everything was so disciplined!
In average Guru maharaj spent about 2 and half hour everyday for the whole initiation ceremony. Everyday there were anna prassana ceremony too. After the initiations Guru maharaj would go to his room for lunch prasad. During lunch, HG Krsna Kirtan Prabhu, (one of the senior most disciples of Guru maharaj from Bangladesh) and his kirtaniyas did special bhajans for Guru maharaj. HG krsna Kirtan Prabhu is one of the world famous and rare padyavali kirtan singer. His kirtans are heart melting. During 1980's he has travelled around the world and perfomed his kirtan in most of the countries. Most of the devotees in his group know how to play atleast 12 musical instruments like mrdangas, kartalas, veena, harmonium etc. I was told that while HG Vyasaki Prabhu (Iskcon famous kirtan singer) was staying in Bangladesh for almost 10 years, he would travel with HG Krsna Kirtan prabhu all around Bangladesh and thus received some help in learning the traditional gaudiya bhajan and kirtans.
Everyday after lunch Guru maharaj took one and half hour rest. After rest and shower Guru maharaj gave out the gayatri mantra in the closed prasadam hall. Then he would go to the main stage and give the evening class for about 5000 devotees. There were other speakers too like HH BPS, HH GPS, HG Bhadra Caru and Naru Gopal prabhus. Dramas and bhajans by Krsna Kirtan Prabhu were special attraction. The first evening KK pr sang a padavali narrating the jhulana yatra pastimes with full details through his kirtans. It was mesmerizing.
I also noticed that no matter who spoke or performed the kirtan, all the devotees (children, youths and adults) would be in rapt attention during the programs. I noticed whenever Guru maharaj cried out Hari Bol! or Gauranga! all 5000 devotees hands were up in the air repeating after him all together Hari bol! and Gauranga! followed by matajis doing a loud ululation. This was a spectacular sight to be watched from the main stage.
These simple hearted and sincere vaisnavas are always so eager to see Guru maharaj.Whenever Guru maharaj appeared and disappeared from the crowd there was a loud Ululation and chanting of Guru Maharaj Ki Jai!!!! Srila Prabhupada Ki Jai!!! Without knowing where Guru maharaj was, only from hearing the uludwani, we could easily guess where Guru maharaj was - whether he was in the room or with the devotees. The team of devotee security was working so hard controlling the crowd each time Guru maharaj came out of his room. It was a wonderful teamwork.
On the last day we kept the entire day free for Guru maharaj so the local devotees could meet him. After Guru maharaj's regular pool therapy, HH BPS, HG Caru Candra Prabhu (regional secretary) and Temple Presidents from almost all over Bangladesh had a special meeting with Guru maharaj. Each TP gave their report and shared many things with Guru maharaj. This meeting went on for almost 90 minutes. Many leaders were recalling how the 2008 safari which was led by Guru maharaj made a very big impact all over Bangladesh and still remains the talk of the town. They requested the safari group to come again. HH BPS commented how all the TPs of Bangladesh always work with a cooperative mood. Every temple helps other temples financially and physically whenever there is a crisis or festivals. After the meeting, we had HG Krsna Kirtan Prabhu approcahing Guru maharaj for blessing for the opening of a Vaishnava Music Academy in Bangladesh. Throughout the whole day so many devotees came to meet Guru maharaj and had his darshan.
Bangldeshi devotees are rich with culture, simplicity, hospitality and their generous hearts. They are expert in the art of taking care of their guests. Everyday we all were served very simple but delicious prasadam on lotus and banana leaves. Though most of the devotees are from poor financial background they have very rich hearts. Almost every single devotee offered their donations to Guru maharaj, from 1 takka and above. Of course this is not something new. On the last day, as usual Guru maharaj returned most of his donations to the development of the local yatras.
This other half of Gaura Mandala is a land where every vaishnava must visit. There are so many vaishnava aspects that remain to be explored. So many other beautiful places like RSST for visiting. Though every visit I had with Guru maharaj before was memorable, this recent visit was an extraordinary. Naru Gopal Prabhu and Bhadra Caru Prabhu who visited Bangladesh for the first time commented that it was an eye opener for them and they have many thing to learn from them.
All glories to every single devotee who hosted this festival and this historic visit of Guru maharaj to RSST. All glories to all the leaders of Bangladesh Yatra who have invested their energy in helping GM and Srila Prabhupada to build this wonderful spiritual nation! Hare Krishna.
Maha Varaha D