I was back in Vrindavan on Saturday afternoon, thanks to Atma Prabhu for inspiring me to come back and Deepak Handa Prabhu for giving me a ride, conclusion always listen to devotees.
In the afternoon I met Nand Maharaj Prabhu in the temple compound. He wanted to know if I had any questions to ask him. I had requested Sumeet Prabhu yesterday that I wanted to meet him. I wanted to hear him speak about Krishna consciousness. I somehow mumbled some questions and comments about how I still get angry when I am in the material world and help me in this regard. Prabhuji told me to learn to be humble and never forget that I am a vaisnava. He added that it doesn’t mean that we let people take advantage of our humility but our behaviour should be that of a vaishanva. He spoke about four `S’
Sidhanta : Principle, we are eternal servant of Lord.
Sadhna : 4 regulative principles and minimum 16 rounds of chanting.
Service: Serving local temple and devotees to the best of our ability.
Sadachar : Our behaviour. He mentioned that this is one of the most difficult one to adhere, we can achieve it only by long and careful practice. He told me an interesting story about Lord Krishna and karna about our natural instinct.
Later in the evening I requested Mukunda Priya Prabhu to help in preaching and increasing the congregation in Gurgaon. He gave me very practical advise. We then attended Guru Maharaj’s class at his apartment roof, another good session and association of exalted devotees from across the world.
In the evening I could get association of Atma prabhu for dinner at MVT, it was nice to hear him at leisure as he is always busy serving Guru Maharaj.
Sunday : I attended Samadhi arti and Mangal Arti in the morning. After Guru Puja I rushed to `Goshala’ where Guru Maharaj was taking a special class on the occasion of Gopashtami. But before that a special mention for the unique gopa dress worn by Radharani today. I always wonder why she dresses as Gopa on Gopashtami. She looked most beautiful. This is the special day when Krishna graduated from herding calves to herding the cows. It is one of the two days in a year when we can get Radharani’s `charan darshan’.
I went to ISKCON `Goshala’ for the first time ever. It was clean and decent size. It felt nice to be among cows on Gopashtami. As I reached there, some devotees were feeding special laddoos to cows, I too bought a small bucket and for first time fed anything to cows. They virtually snatched the laddoos from my hand, after my initial hesitation I became comfortable feeding them. They pushed each other to eat them.
Then the procession came from the temple. Guru Maharaj first fed laddoos to many cows, worshiped them and then gave an excellent lecture on Gopashtami.
In the lecture Guru Maharaj explained that on this day Krishna passed the childhood age known as kaumara and stepped into the age of pauganda, from the sixth year up to the tenth year. This particular ceremony was meant only for men and boys but Radharani wanted to join the celebrations. One of her friends then suggested that she looks just like Subal and then they called Subal and She exchanged clothes with him. She then went to attend the ceremony dressed as a gopa. Hence she is dressed as a gopa on this day in all ISKCON temples and we can see her lotus feet as gopas walk bare feet. So the mystery for Radharani unique dress got solved for me. Maharaj also spoke on other very sweet pastimes of Krishna like when Mother Yashoda wanted Krishna to wear sandals while herding cows but He refused . Similarly how a worried and affectionate mother Yashoda instructed Krishna’s friends to always remain close to him, “Balram…you stay in front of Krishna, Subal you stay behind, Sridam and Sudama you stay on Krishna’s sides.” And how the cows refuse to move till Sri Krishna came in front of them. Very fulfilling lecture.
After the ceremony I came back to the temple,took darshan again of Their Lordships. I slept for some time during the day and then I was informed that Guru Maharaj will be giving a class for the Braja mandal parikarma at Chirghat. I missed the bus but by Lord’s mercy Pawan Prabhu and Pooja mataji reached just in time from Gurgaon and we went straight on a long & bumpy ride deep inside the villages, I had never ventured in this interior region of Braja, the villagers here spoke a very different dialect.
Guru Maharaj spoke about different Rasa, `shaant’, `dasya’, `Sakhya’ , Vatsalaya and `madhurya’ and how they are so unique and only in Vrindavan can we get access to play with the supreme personality of Godhead with such loving exchanges. He sang melodious kirtan. We then took a round of the place where Krishna stole gopi’s clothes. There was a very old Kadamamba tree and a temple for katyani Devi. We all paid our obeisances there.
we reached back around 6pm and attended Kirtan at temple. Then Guru Maharaj met us all at his MVT apartment. It was a very good Q & A session. Many devotees asked personal questions and Guru Maharaj replied them back with clarity. He spoke strongly about staying in ISKCON and under the shelter of Srila Prabhupada.
Later, I said goodbye to dear Mukunda Priya Prabhu, they were leaving next day to Surat. It was my lucky night as Atma Prabhu invited me for dinner, Guru Maharaj’s maharaprasadam. Hari Bol !
I came back to the apartment of Deepak Handa Prabhu around 9.30pm, we talked for sometime and then slept. We left next day early morning at 4.45am back to Gurgaon.