11 March 09
And then the devotee on the far right hand corner, suddenly turned and threw at us, a handful of flowers from the altar !
As you can see, the flowers were coming straight at us. In fact, a big lot of it fell right on my camera. People got excited. The devotee on the stage continued to throw more and more flowers at us. People began to get up. An old lady sitting on the gorund was so excited that she used my tripod to hold to while she tried to get up :0
As soon as the people got up, the shower of flowers grew even more rapid. Handfuls and handfuls rained on us. It was everywhere in the sky !!!
The kirtan was going wild by now. Devotees danced everywhere. People bumped into each other. More and more flowers fell on us. It was like getting bucket loads of blessings from the heavens.
I was running around like crazy to get as many pictures as possible. It wasn’t easy. Too much movement. That’s when I realized something about the soft earth beneath my feet. They weren’t grass…but a bed of soft and cool flower petals ! Look at the picture above. That many ! There was so much there that people simply scooped a handful and threw them at each other. Much like the holi festival…
I bent down and scooped a handful myself. In one scoop, I got that much. I was feeling bad to walk on the ground lest I step on the flowers offered to the Lord. So, I looked for a spot that had less flowers. That was a bit at the back, away from the stage.
Towards the back, I came across this family. They smiled and came towards me.
The man (in Hindi) : Taking lots of photos?
Me : Yes, its unbelievable..this event
The man : Its beautiful…we are actually from Bangladesh
Me : Really? You live in Mayapur now?
The man : No..in Bangladesh…we always come to Mayapur when we get a chance..after this we go back
Me : That’s good.
The man : Will you take a photo of ours, please?
Me : Sure !
The deities were then placed in a palanquin and taken inside the temple. All the devotees surrounding it, continued to sing loudly. Many followed in. I decided to stay outside for a while more and take in the remaining part of the electrifying atmosphere.
Although there were no deities on the stage anymore, many devotees continued to pay their obeisances at the stage. Many just sat on the ground. Others stood in a group in silence. It was a mixture of sadness, happiness and gratitude.
I was tired and hungry. It was now time to relish some Gaura Purnima prasad. It was during this time that I met the above prabhu from Australia and he has been a devotee since he was 17 years old. He is now in his late 30’s I think. He recited some of his experiences and stories that just mesmerized me. And this devotee is so huge that everyone in the room kept looking at him. A Bhima, I thought. But apart from his size, what attracts you most about the man is his incredible humble nature and soft speaking. He was so calm and polite. And he would talk only about the depth of devotion of other devotees. And how he still had much work to do in his devotional practice. I had nothing to say.
What a day. It was late in to the night and as I walked back home through the fields, I glanced up at the sky. The sky was clear and the moon shone brightly. It was truly golden.
Gaura Purnima means “golden full moon,” signifying that:
1) Lord Chaitanya was “born” during a full moon, and
2) The Lord blesses everyone with the soothing, moonlike rays of His sublime teachings.
Yes, the moon was full. It was bright. It was cooling. And there was plenty of blessings everywhere. And as I finish this article, I look out of the window next to my bed. And there in the sky, far above, is yet another beautiful, round, shiny and a very full moon. Happy Easter everyone !!!