That was 4 days ago. After the temple, the Internet centre has to be the most visited here. I have made at least 4 visits in a day and each time I was turned away. The owner asked me to come after 10pm for the possible chance of an availability of a machine ! And when I did get a computer a few times during the course of the day, its super slow. I tried posting this day 2 article on Sunday which was day 2, but after 1.5 hrs, I couldn’t even open the main page of this blog. Its 9:30pm now and its working !! So here I go…but I will make it short as I need to wake up for Mangal aroti……apologies for the delay in writing and all the days of happenings will follow soon….
Day 2, 8 March 09
Today was a relaxed day. Besides the deep prayers, I spend the day looking around and absorbing the location. People gazing is an amazing thing, especially if you have a camera in hand. Just as you step out of the Mayapur ISKCON temple, a few devotees had set up stalls selling various products and services.
This devotee basically had his store in a suitcase. A red suitcase. He was selling numerous devotional books for the kids. I think this is great. I also started my devotional inclination by reading hundreds of such books. The kid above wanted them all but the father decided on a few select ones. The devotee didn’t have any stall…he just took up his position under the tree and started to invite people to come and have look. Ahhh…entrepreneurship is so wonderful.
Mayapur Academy had the coolest looking stall which attracted many visitors. It was created a few days ago by the Deity Worship Minister, Nrsimha Kavacha Das. It was basically a big shelf with 4 bicycle tyres. It was all painted in a single “tilaka” color and the ear panels were used to put up class photos, brochures and posters. You can see my poster on the right ear panel. Also, on Gaura Purnima, they have announced a full scholarship for students for the November intake. It will cover all accommodation, tuition fees and meals. Write to them for more info.
A full table ! They had everything from hats, badges, hand bags, wallets, mobile phone covers, t-shirts….all very colorful. This was popular amongst the many overseas devotees who are here. Hmmm…I need to get one of those hats. Maybe black.
This young devotee, very silently, sat near the lotus pond and decided to create his own product. One day, he might even have this auctioned off at high prices ! Oh man…I should have bought it when it was going low !
One of the highlights of the Melbourne temple for me is the serving of delicious prasadam matching the cuisines of South and North India. Everything from sambhar rice, pappadums, pooris, mixed vegetable curries, samosas, gulab jamuns….all there in Melbourne temple. And here in Mayapur, I have been living off pasta, spagetti and pizzas !! And never did I think that I would be having pancakes with pudding on the side after Mangal aroti prayers. But it was brilliant. I have been having 2 servings of pancakes ever since. Beautiful ! The devotee makes them at home and sells it at the temple. I am going to miss these.
Ah yes, once again I had the privilege of spending some quality time with the twin pujaris of Mayapur – His Grace Pankanjangiri and His Grace Jananivas prabhu. When I bid farewell after my last year’s visit, they asked me if I would return, perhaps during Gaura Purnima in 2009, they said. But I responded by saying that it may not be possible yet I will try. And in their signature style reply, they said, “Krsna will arrange”. And He did !! When I saw the pujaris, I said, “I am back !”. In a very silent and humble sort of way, one of them said, “Thanks for coming to Mayapur”. And I said, “Thanks for asking me to come”. In the late afternoon, we visited one of the shops to look at the status of some deities that were being made. It was a grand experience to see senior devotees instruct on exactly what they wanted regarding the designs. You can see Nrsimha Kavaca prabhu study some pictures of deities. It was nice to see them speak in English to the artist with some Bengali thrown in. And it was even more amusing to see the poor artist reply back in Bengali with some English thrown in.
After about an hour at the artist shop, it was time to head back to the temple. And I waked behind the senior Vaishnavas. So lucky, I thought. Yes, I think I am. I am at Mayapur, aren’t I ?!