Saturday, 22 March 08
Found the morning wake up extremely tough today. But I managed to get out of bed to the last evenings smell of freshly baked bread in Koti prabhu’s home. I think he recently purchased a bread making machine and he has been trying it out constantly, so much so that the place is more like a make-shift Baker’s Delight store. I did mention this to him and he had a good laugh.
After the morning prayers, it was time for Srimad Bhagavatam class by HH Bhanu Swami. He seemed so familiar to me in terms of his body language but I am sure this is the first time I have met him. Anyways, he gave a nice lecture about some of the very human like activities of Krishna in His past times on earth and how it is eternally going in other parts of the universes. Once he was finished, numerous devotees gathered around him to ask questions. This went for almost 20 mins and I thought there must be a fast today because normally, devotees have the skill to disappear to the prasadam hall after the morning class in a matter of seconds.
Later in the morning, it was decided by Brahma Kunda and Nityananda Prabhu’s that I would help out in the kitchen the next morning and look after the book counter on the planned boat cruise on Sunday. All kind of images took its rightful place in my head when I heard that I will have to “help out” in the kitchen. More about kitchen vani in another post.
Around noon time, I went with Koti Prabhu to download some speakers and appliances for the evening lecture by HH Devamrita Swami. As we walked in, Annirudha Prabhu (Melbourne Temple President) was inspecting the cleanliness of the lecture room. He was not pleased. He pointed towards some areas that he wanted cleaned. Once he left, I stepped in and volunteered to tidy up the place. 30 mins later, it looked pretty good, thanks to a powerful vacuum cleaner.
In the evening, I attended the lecture by Chandra Vallabhi Mataji on the varnashramadharma. Chandra Vallabhi Mataji always impresses me.
She is a walking collection of Srila Prabhupada’s works. She can instantly recollect and share any of the numerous verses from the Bhagavad-Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam or the Chaitanya Caritamrta based on the situation or the topic at hand. It’s not hard to notice the genuine interest, passion and enthusiasm she has, to help one and all in understanding the process of Krishna Consciousness. Some parents were commenting to me that they are so happy to leave their kids with her because in no time they too have learnt the verses. Later in the evening, as I was climbing the stairs on an empty stomach, visualizing the feast in a cardboard plate, she asked me if I enjoyed the lecture. I had been sitting by the door all the way at the back, once again captivated by the contents of the Krishna philosophy. I could see that everyone in the room truly understood what the varnashramadharma actually stood for. I passed on my delight of having attending her class and mentioned that I am still surprised as to how she remembers so many verses.
It was now 7:25pm and 5 minutes away from HH Devamrita Swami lecture. Like a kangaroo, I hopped away to the lecture hall (avoiding the kitchen area lest I be called in to “help-out”) and took a prime spot in front on the floor. There was a very beautiful and melodious kirtan going on which was incredibly soothing. Minutes later, I could see many in the room with their eyes closed and swaying from side to side as they listened to the mataji sing. People joined in, trying their best to be melodious as well. And it did. And then suddenly, HH Devamrita Swami walked in and took his position on a chair on the stage.
Another riveting lecture! He spoke about the internal confusion that exists in many people’s mind and the reason why it exists. He is a summary in points of what he said:
– We have spiritual and material quality. Our body is material and the soul is spiritual.
– But we have been overwhelmed by our power to manipulate matter for our own pleasure that we think this to be the only way to be happy.
– Each acquisition of material wealth leads to short term happiness and then we have to endeavour to satisfy our needs once again. And we keep doing this over and over again. This results in unhappiness, anger and confusion.
– It has been concluded without any doubt by leading researchers that once a person has met the basic needs of life, there is no more increase in happiness with increased wealth.
– It is important for people to know that we have a spirit soul which is superior in quality to the inferior matter. Hence we can manipulate matter but it must not be the sole purpose.
– Matter should be utilized for the pleasure of Krishna. This benefits one and all.
A good question and answer session later, we arrived at the prasadam hall for dinner. Another sumptuous feast and we were back at the temple room for the closing prayers. Once done, we wearily went back home to prepare for what we think will be a very long Sunday.