Navadvip Mandala Parikrama-1st day 8th March 2011--------------------------------------------------
Guru Maharaja woke up at 5am today. As usual the first thing we do as soon as he gets up is cleaning of his eyes. while I was cleaning his eyes the first thing he talked today was about his parikrama plan for today. He was piling up all the places he is desiring to visit. I wasn't able to keep up with him so I told Him “Guru Maharaja you have all this in your mind but I need to write it down." At that time we heard over the radio, HH Lokanath Maharaj was making an announcement for all the devotees in the temple hall after the mangala arati, “We have so many walkers for the parikrama but less talkers. We need more of my godbrothers and godsisters to come with us to share the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu”. He continued saying that Jayapataka Swami is going to go on parikrama visiting all the 4 parties everyday. Immediately there was a loud chanting of hariiiii bol!!!!!! Maharaj said if Jayapataka Swami can go then none of us should have any excuse. We have minimum 5000 devotees joining the parikrama this year. After HH Lokanath Swami, His Holiness Bhakti Purusottama Swami spoke and he said that Bhaktivinode Thakur has said there are 3 ways to serve Mayapur dham. 1)Developing nama hatta, 2)Doing book distribution 3) Developing Nawadhip Mandala Parikrama. By 6.30 am all the 4 groups of parikramadevotees started walking out of mayapur compound with kirtan parties leading them all. All 4 groups started from different locations. The whole of Iskcon Mayapur air was filled with rocking kirtan. It was very ecstatic and we feltthe inspiration of just leave everything behind and go for parikrama right away.
Guru Maharaja was ready by 7am. He had his quick darshan of Sri Sri RadhaMadhava and then we had a quick look of the new ambulance purchased byIskcon Mayapur. Right after that we got commenced our journey for theparikrama. For 36 years GM is been attending the parikrama. He said the first foot path parikrama started around 1975 and he is been walking passing through all the nine Island of Nawadhip Dham since then. This is the first time since he had stroke he is going to go on car parikrama. He wants to try going for all four parties. This is the first time and the first day, so let see how it goes....
Our first group to be visited today is Hindi group and we suppose to meet them at Gauranga Bridge. Unfortunately, on the way we got stuck with traffic on the main highway. Of course this is not new. We were held up for almost 30 mins. Then His Holiness Bhakti Purusottama Swami arranged a police vehicle to escort us. He made the way and we were able to pass through the traffic and all the small lanes of remote villages without any hassles. At 9.30am we were at Gauranga Bridge. While the parikrama party was taking shelter of the Gauranga Bridge a nice cooling breeze blowing from Ganga energized the devotees. About 700 Hindi speaking devotees were there from all around India. This place is known as Panchaveni. Guru Maharaja spoke in Hindi on the significance of this place, confluence of the five holy rivers at this location. He spoke about nine islands and the significance of each Island too. When the Hindi group started their breakfast Guru Maharaja left to Gauradaha to meet the Russian group. After 20 mins drive through thebeautiful villages we reached the Russian group. They just finished theirbreakfast. Super delicious kitcheri, bel juice,grape fruits and pakora. GuruMaharaja gave 20 minutes class for 700 Russian devotees.He spoke on thepastimes of Gauranga Mahaprabhu and the parrot who chanted Gaura! Gaura !(Caitanya Mahaprabhu and jagadananda pandita goes near Alakananda River.there they see one parrot, and Mahaprabhu says to the parrot 'Chant thenames of Radha and Krishna' and the Parrot started chanting Gaura!Gaura!Gaura!Gaura! and Mahaprabhu closed His ears and told “this is Vrindavan.,you should chant the glories of Radha and Krsna”. But the parrot keep on chanting Gaura! Gaura!)
Just before winding up his speech Guru Maharaja told the Russian devotees that he will try to join the group everyday. As soon as he said that the devotees welcomed and thanked him with three times of loud hari bol. While we were with Russian devotees, we noticed that they are so organized in many ways. Matajis and prabhus were sitting separately, devotees taking turn andserving the prasadam, they cleaned up the whole place after having theirbreakfast leaving no plastic on the ground and by dumping all the leafplates and cups at one corner. Some said the place was cleaner than it was before. At 12noon Guru Maharaja was driven from Russian party to international party. They are now at Nrshima Palli.
At 12.40pm we reached Nrshimapalli. There were 700 devotees and seniordevotees like HH Lokanath Swami Maharaj,HH Gopala Krishna Maharaj,HH BhaktiVaibhava Maharaj, HH Maha Vishnu Maharaj, HH Kavichandra Swami, HH BhaktiVigna Vinasana Nrshima Maharaj, His Holiness Bhakti Purusottama Swami andothers sitting under the cooling shed of Tamala tree. Some devoteesperformed drama on the lila of Nrshimadev while Guru Maharaja was having thedarshan of lord Nrshimadev. Guru Maharaja mentioned in his class that everystep we take in the Nawadhip dham is equivalent to performing an Ashvamedhayajna. Guru Maharaja also mentioned how the Russian parikrama party is wellorganised. Lokanath Swami said even the English parikrama party is on gogreen (zero plastic campaign) parikrama. The class ended with loud andrepeated chanting of Gauranga! Nityananda! by everyone. Then HH LokanathSwami requested everyone to pray to Lord Nrshimadeva for the protection ofIskcon Movement and all the devotees all over the world and especially for the speedy recovery of Guru Maharaja. He further said we all should pray that HH Jayapataka Swami should recover fast and dance along with us by next year parikrama. At 1.40pm we left the international party to Bengali party who are camping at Sri Jagannath mandir. Guru Maharaja had his lunch on the way to Sri Jaganath Mandir at Rajapur. This year Bengali group consist of 2500 devotees and they are expecting more to join. Upon reaching Jaganath Mandir we noticed all the Bengali devotees were sitting in rows to honour their lunch.Guru Maharaja took this opportunity to address the devotees for 15 minutes. He spoke about glories of taking Jagannath Prasad and also some pastimes of Jagannath. Then at 3.15pm we left Jagannath Mandir to Iskcon Mayapur.
Nawadhip mandala parikrama ki jai!!!!!!
Your Humble servant,Maha Varaha das