16th March, 2015. Gurgaon
I had the good fortune to visit Sri Vrindavan Dhama the last Saturday. It was an impromptu visit, more to attend enlightening classes of Srimati Mataji than my attraction for Dhama.
As I paid obeisances to deities at home, I prayed to Srila Prabhupada in particular to please bless me with constant association of devotees on this trip. Let me share some beautiful realisations I had.
I shared in my previous blogs that I am hearing Brahma Samhita seminar by HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj. I can say this about the potency of the scripture and the pure devotees that just by hearing it I had such nice understandings and realisations. Few days back I heard the below famous verse from Brahma Samhita in the same seminar.
cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānaṁ govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi (BS 5.29)
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakṣmīs or gopīs.
The purport says The purpose tree yields only the fruits of piety, wealth, fulfillment of desire and liberation; but the purpose trees in the abode of Kṛṣṇa bestow innumerable fruits in the shape of checkered divine love.
As HH Tamal Krishna Goswami maharaj expanded this verse one thing that somehow penetrated my steel framed heart was glorification of each tree in Dhama and how each tree is a wish fulfilling tree. I realised that I have never wished from any tree in Dhama. I resolved that next time whenever I will go to Dhama I will surely seek wish from a tree there.
I left for Vrindavan with Radheshyam Prabhuji and his family,a very senior and well respected devotee from Gurgaon. Actually another greed to go with Prabhuji is that in his presence my chanting is much much better. I practically chanted the whole way and we reached Vrindavan around 12.30pm. I rushed to grab darshan and then read the BG verse 6.35 and 6.36 which was the topic for our class. I sat at the reception of MVT and read those wonderful verses and their purport. The class was from 3-5 pm, the class was remarkable by the virtue of topic and the teacher. After the class I came back to the temple and attended the Kirtan and Gaur Arti. It was first time that I heard kirtan by HH B.A. Janaradhan Maharaj and maharaj sang beautifully. I met maharaj next day and share d how much I relished it.
I checked into a ashram near the temple, took early dinner prasadam, had a bath, read a little and was fast asleep by 10pm.
I woke up in time next day and managed to pull myself out of the bed and get ready in time to reach before the start of morning arti at Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi.
It is always a very purifying and humbling experience to sing Samsara davanala lidha loka… at Prabhupada samadhi early in the morning.
After the Arti it was time for Mangal Arti in the main Altar. Devotees were singing mahamantra and as clock came nearer to 4.30 am, the pitch of singing increased and almost at a crescendo darshan opened. What beautiful darshan!
I can say this full conviction that I have never ever seen anyone looking so handsome in a bright red dhoti and turban as both Krishna Balram did. Their skin was lustrous, smile was deep and beauty simply unparalleled. I am very sorry that I could not capture the picture well as I was standing quite back and later forgot as I was bust drinking Their sheer beauty. I also checked with temple and other devotees, somehow they didn’t click any pictures at mangal arti on this Sunday. I really wish I could somehow share Their beauty with you. (All other high resolution pictures are from temple’s website for that day)
After a soul satisfying, and all senses satisfying, mangal arti, I went to Srila Prabhupada quarters to do japa. This is my favourite place to do japa as being in the presence of Srila Prabhupada and so many senior vaishnavas some part rubs off on my chanting as well.
I started of well but after the 4th or 5th round of chanting I started getting tired and then more embarrassment followed as I started yawning…. regularly. I told myself because I had a hectic day yesterday and got up early today so it is better that I go back to my room and catch up with sleep, say for 30 minutes, then I will be fresh for the rest of the day. Still some part of me wanted to chant, knowing very well that my rounds will get delayed and their quality won’t be as good. My yawns increased further… I really felt sad. I felt guilty that Prabhupada is throwing me out of his room as I was yawning so regularly and he didn’t want others to get disturbed. I forced myself to sit but could not and feared that I may even fall asleep sitting like this. I got up with a heavy heart, paid my dandavat to Srila Prabhupada and said sorry for my behaviour. As I stepped out of Prabhupada’s quarter, I was hit by a chilled wind. It was if I was in hills. It had drizzled lightly, the sky was overcast and a lovely cool breeze was blowing. In less than a minute I was fresh as a daisy! I thanked Prabhupada, I was thinking Prabhupada was kicking me out whereas he was pushing me to go outside, get some fresh air and chant properly. I again thanked Prabhupada and chanted for next one hour in the corridor, pacing up and down. I was absolutely fresh when shringar darshan opened at 7.15am.
I was very fortunate to meet HH Janananda Maharaj while he was entering the main compound. Maharaj confirmed that he will be coming to Gurgaon this week, Hari Bol !
I attended the Guru Puja and then it was time for the Srimad Bhagavatam class. As I was about to sit I was very surprised to see Murari prabhu, along with his wife, from Jaipur. They had come a day before for Govardhan Parikarma, more association! I will write about the class in a separate blog as it was another revelation.
I was back in temple at 12.45 to say my good bye to most beautiful and reciprocative deities!
I bought some prasad for home and while exiting somehow remembered my resolve to seek some wish from a tree in Vrindavan. I was walking down the corridor, from Prabhupada Samdhi towards the guest house side exit gate, and I saw the familiar tree standing in front. I stopped and thought why not ask for a wish from a tree inside the temple compound, why go outside ? As I walked then another thought came to my mind. why don’t I go and seek the wish from the Tamal tree inside the temple compound as it is always taking darshan of the deities. I countered that this tree seems more merciful as he is serving devotees by standing outside. Mind made up, I walked towards this tree, paid my obeisances mentally (it was raining) and then I touched my forehead with it’s stem and begged for my wishes. While doing it I realised that Srimatai Mataji had instructed me just few minutes back that we should live in present and see what can I do now rather make plans for the future, following the same thought process I sought a personal favour, a near impossible wish, still I prayed for it as I had no other option in hand and it was something immediate help me in my spiritual life. I felt good just touching the tree.
It had started raining hard as I ran from temple to ashram, forgetting about my wishes almost instantly. I shared a cab with Amitabh Prabhuji on my return journey so I was fortunate to receive association of senior devotees throughout this trip.
Today morning as I was getting ready to leave for the office. I received a message, to my utter surprise what I had wished yesterday came true, delayed by a week but very much true! It is quite personal else I had would shared it. I simply could not believe my ears. I was so very happy and in my high spirits I even forgot to say thank you to deities but paid mental obeisances to my wish fulfilling tree while driving to work. I can say this much with confidence that as of early morning today the chances of my wish becoming true were as remote as a snowfall in Delhi and too in the month of June!!
As I look back and I can only appreciate the mercy of dhama. I also realise that I had been reading and hearing for last so many years that all trees in Dhama are wish fulfilling trees but not even a thought ever crossed my mind to seek something from them. Why ? What else then my lack of faith in scriptures and words of acharayas.
I realised during this trip that my spiritual bullock cart is aided by two wonderful, but unseen, wings. One of them is prayer and the second one is my faith in the words of acharayas and scriptures. On this trip I experienced the power of both.
I realised that whenever we try to build a relationship with Srila Prabhupada, based solely on our sincerity, then howsoever unqualified we may be, Prabhupada inspires us, guides us, in every possible way which is conducive for our devotional progress.
I love Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to Sri Vrindavan Dhama.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.