Parikrama Day 3
We left around 6am from our ISKCON Godrume Jagganatha Mandir and the first place we stopped was the Hansa Vahan Temple. Hansa means Swan and Vahan Carrier. Near this place is Naimisharanya, where So many wonderful spiritual activities were performed. When Lord Shiva heard that Srimad Bhagvatam was going to be recited here, he decided he must come. But his carrier is Nandi the Bull, who is relatively slow and Lord Shiva was late. So he went to Lord Brahma and asked to borrow his swan carrier. This is why in this temple we have Lord Shiva on a Swan. i am always at awe about how the devotees are always so eager to listen about Krishna.
HH Bhakti Dhira Damodar Maharaj mentioned many things about Naimisharanya including that Lord Ramachandra did austerity there 16 000 Years. And Pralad Maharaj had a fighting pastime with Nrsimhadeva.
HH Kavichandra Swam mentioned how Srimad Bhagvatam was only about bhakti, and describes all of Krishna’s forms, and all the Goswami Literatures are expansions of Srimad Bhagvatam; and that Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur said we have to read Caitanya Caritamrta to understand Srimad Bhagvatam better.
The at Pushkar my spirits were lifted with hope a little as we heard that Lord Brahma said, the goal of Life was Krishna Prem, and here in Navadvip give it, but who gets it, the lowest of people.
We Had Breakfast at the Panchaveni, a spot on the Ganga Bank were there are five rivers meeting, The Ganga, Jamuna, Saraswati Alakananda and Mandakini. Here HH Jayapataka Swami said just from the breeze of Ganga one can become Krishna Conscious. Once the Mayavadi Devananda Pandt was chastised by Lord Caitanya, and somebody told him it was great mercy.
At the temple of Jagganatha Das Babaji Maharaj we heard how pride and a hard heart are not good for Bhakti. We also heard how Babaji Maharaj once showed his mystic potency to some people who asked for it, He chased goats eating Tulasi, in Radhakund, while he was in Navadvip. However Vaisnava dont like doing these displays usually as we don’t like to attract the wrong kind of people.
Then we had ecstatic Kirtan at the Dharmeshwar Gauranga Mandir, the original big deity that was worshipped by Vishupriya, Lord Caitanya’s wife. This deity is very merciful; if you see from the side you will see he is leaning forward, eager to give mercy.
Lunch and overnight camping was at Pratapnagar Only by some mercy, i got to serve a little prasad. This enjoyer tendency is so subtle that i unconsciously behave as if it is my right. We arrived back at Mayapur by bus at 17h38. Again looking forward to tomorrow.
Parikrama Day 4
Today’s parikram was the best for me, even though the body was the worst, from the tiredness. This is because by mercy of the devotees & Prabhupad only I am getting somewhat more interested in serving again. Srila Prabhupad said somewhere that “the mind is happiest when you are serving others”. I’m going to pray this increases exponentially.
The First place of interest we stopped at was Samudra Gar, Samudra means ocean. There was a king Samudra Sen here, who decided he wouldn’t pay tax, so that he can to fight the tax collecting Pandava’s just because he knew that Krishna would come to save them. And He got his desire to see the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna because of this ingenious trick. Bhakti Nityananda Maharaj narrated this.
HH Kavichandra Swami spoke of how the ocean being so eager to see the Lord, decided to flow up the Ganga to associate with Lord Gauranga here. This is also visible in this pilgrimage, 7000 people, in 5, people sacrifice so much comforts, just to get the Lords and devotees association. Of course there is also much transcendental ecstasy to relish. Maharaj also mentioned that everywhere in the world he goes to there are Indians doing business, which he wishes the same number of Vaisnavas will be everywhere preaching the happiness we know.
Bhakti Dhira Damodar Swami quoted a Srimad Bhagvatam purport where Srila Prabhupad said “Indians have failed in their duty to do good for others”. The best good they can do is to give Krishna Consciousness. Of course much has changed since Srila Prabhupad wrote this, and the Indian bodied Vaisnava’s can do much more, together with the other great people in the future. This island is Kolwadvip and the serving the lotus feet is the method of progress here.
HH Lokanath Swami spoke of how Ganga Devi fasted on Gaura Purinima, even from drinking water. But he said chanting was the real austerity. Maharaj also said the dham is like a Lotus flower, like when it’s in bloom the petals are open, and vice versa.
We then went to the wonderful Champahati, the place where Champakalata Gopi picks flowers to Radhe Shyam every day. Here are the most merciful 500 years old Gaur Gadhadar Deities that was worshiped by Gadarhar’s brother Dwijamaninath. Lord Gauranga and Gadahar visited here, and became deities, and their personified selves. There were wonderful plays here where we also heard how the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna competes with His devotees, they all see who can serve each other more. And in this competition, there is no end, nor any winner.
We then went to Vidyanagar where there is the birthplace and house of Sarvabauma Battacharya. This is also one of my favorite places; here also is the tree from which Lord Gauranga made a pencil. This is also the place from which the Veda’s appeared and also where we had the transcendental motivating association of Srila Jayapataka Swami. Ten years after Lord Gauranga took sanyas, he came to this place and tried to be in hiding. But the people heard he was here, and everybody just left what they were doing and decided to come see him. Even people from across the Ganga, on this day Ganga turned black, because of all the devotees’ hair, when they were swimming across. Maharaj also made the point of how the Lords body appeared human, but was transcendental.
Parikrama Day 5
Our bodies are exhausted. Due to the last Purushotam month the Maha Kumba mela was thankfully later in warmer weather. But Gaura Purinima and this walking pilgrimage is also later in even warmer time. We pray this means more mercy, also in the way that we are less likely to get a cold.
We started at the place Mamgachi, which includes the place of Jhanu Muni. Also here is the temple of Radha Madana Mohan, and Radha Gopinath, and a huge tree that had died, and become hollow on the inside. But around 534 years ago Lord Gauranga embraced the tree and it became alive again. The same hollow tree even today is alive with leaves. Radha Madan Mohan belonged to Vasudev Datta, who is an incarnation of Pralad Maharaj. And Radha Gopinath belonged to another saintly empowered person Saranga Thakur. We cannot write details about everybody and everything in these reports, but we have to say a little about Vasudev Datta. He once prayed to Lord Gauranga to please give him the sins of all the people on the planet, so that they could be liberated. Lord Caitanya was so happy about this, and liberated everybody, just because he desired it; but without giving him the results of the sins. Today was a celebration for Srila Bhakti Thirta Swami, and we remember how he prayed for the sinful reactions of everybody in ISKCON.
On Lords Gauranga’s instructed the saint Saranga Thakur to accept disciples, But he protested as there are no qualified disciples. But Lord Caitanya said just by your association people will become pure. So he promised Lord Gauranga to initiate the first person he meets. The next morning he saw a dead body in the river Ganga, and he initiated him, and he came alive, and his name is Murari. Murari became a really bold preacher as he had already died once, so he was not afraid of death again.
At the place of Vrindavan das Thakur Bhakti Nityananda Maharaj said that we are like dead bodies if we don’t have service, and we are so lucky we have all the ISKCON Guru’s to give us service. One of the General managers of the pilgrimage, sankarshan Nitai Prabhu spoke at Modrumdvip. He mentioned how when Lord Ramachandra came here He spoke about how he will come as Lord Gauranga. He told Sita Devi how He would take sanyas and she will worship him in the mood of separation, which is a very special way of associating with the Lord. The devotees are tryting to buy land at the main parikram places, so that we can facilitate better parikrams in the future. They have started the Navadvip Mandal Parikram Trust, to which people can donate to, for this great service. This Parikram started with 70 devotees, and now has 7000, we feel the certain the rate of growth is also going to increase.
We were at the birthplace of Vrindavan Das Thakur who is said to be the last disciple of Lord Nityananda, and also where the Pandava’s came to relish Navadvip and Lord Gauranga. I also heard how worship of the Murti is a means to worship Krsna, but deity worship is different, it is a Krishna. We were in Rudradvip, which is a place of friendship
Today ended at Bel Pukkur, where there is an amazing deity of Radha Madan Gopal, in the place of Lord Gauranga’s uncle, Saci Mata (His Mom’s) brother. There are some very ancient ruins and buildings here, which look authentically old. Maya is expert at making me forget that humility is our natural, happy, less stressful state in real ego, I’m so glad I have people to remind me.