Yes, I know…its been a while. Many of you have asked me why I haven’t written for over a week (+ a few days) now. This article should have come out 10 days ago. But it’s just been crazy days hard at work during the week and complete absorption of mind and body at the temple over the weekend. Practically, left me with no time to pen down so many things I wanted to share with you. So, I will resume again tonight, an hour away from midnight and hopefully I shall have another article tomorrow night. My apologies for the delay.
Part 9 – The final show down
The evening program was always very sought after. 4 things were in line to be executed :
(1) Narration of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes with soft melody in the background
(2) Ecstatic dancing for hours on end
(3) The final dinner prasadam for the day
(4) And a good night’s sleep
Walking into the warm room with almost everyone there and gazing at the above altar was very soothing to the mind. There were plenty of flowers, candles and incense. Actually, this is my favourite setting. I love plenty of sunlight during the day and plenty of darkness at night with an oil lamp or candles in a room. There is something very calming about both these settings. As a kid, we often didn’t have have electricity in our home. Also, grandmother was against any lights being turned on when the oil lamp was burning at the altar from 6pm -7pm. So kinda grew up liking the temple room or the altar room not having bright lights. I also remember that many of the temples we frequented in South India would not allow electricity in the inner part of the temple, only ghee lamps. The candle/ghee lamp adds that touch of mysticism and loneliness.
Once it had been decided that Vishnupriya and Vishvambhara would be married, an auspicious day and moment were fixed for the ceremony. With great pomp, the adhivasa rituals were carried out on the eve of the marriage. The Lord arrived at Sanatan Mishra’s house in a palanquin at dusk and Gaura and Vishnupriya’s wedding ceremony was performed according to both scriptural and popular traditions. On the following day, Vishnupriya joined her new husband on the palanquin and returned with him to his house.
If one hears the eternal pastime of the wedding of Lakshmi and Narayan, then he loses his desire for the material relationship of enjoyer and enjoyed, for one comes to understand that Narayan alone is the supreme enjoyer of the entire universe.
HG Bhurijan very beautifully described the Divine Wedding of Shri Nimai and Shri Vishnupriya from the Chaitanya Bhagavta (adi khanda chapter 15). It was mesmerizing. He set the scene, one by one got all the characters in, described the festivities on that day, the happiness amongst the guests…everything. I was completely absorbed. I can’t remember the last time that happened to me. And I still haven’t forgotten. And would love to hear it all over again.
Give your daughter to Vishvambhara Pandit; it is a perfect combination. She alone is worthy of such a divine husband, while he deserves such a pious and chaste wife. Just as Krishna and Rukmi‘i were worthy of each other, so are Vishnupriya and Nimai Pandit. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.15.57-59)
Whoever saw the Lord’s effulgent form on that day was freed from his or her sins and went to Vaikuntha. This is why the Lord is known as the merciful lord of the fallen. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.15.216-7)
Throughout the story telling, his favourite “kirtaneer”, Krishna Gaja prabhu was right beside him playing ever so softly on the harmonium. As the story came to an end, Bhurijan prabhu gave the “take it away” message to him. And that’s when the wedding dance party for Lord Chaitanya mahaprabhu and Srimati Vishnupriya took place, 500 years later at a farm in Australia. It was W.I.L.D !
Sage Narada says, “From the body of any person who claps and dances before the Deity, showing manisfestations of ecstacy, all the birds of sinful activities fly away upward.”
In the Padma Purana, there is a story of a neophyte devotee who, in order to raise herself to the ecstatic platform, danced all night to invoke the Lord’s grace upon her.
Nectar of Devotion (Chapter 17 – Ecstatic Love)
When a devotee dances in ecstatic love, there are manifestations of symptoms which are called “Sattvika”. Sattvika means that they are from the transcendental platform. They are not symptoms of material emotion; they come from the soul proper.
– Srila Prabhupad from the “Nectar of Devotion”, Chapter 37 – Impetuses for Krishna’s Service
Lord Krishna says, “A person who is in a jubilant spirit, who feels profound devotional ecstasy while dancing before Me, and who manifests different features of bodily expression can burn away all the accumulated sinful reactions he has stocked up for many, many thousands of years.”
Then suddenly like it started, the kirtan came to an end and immediately moved into a quick stage play of Lord Narasimha’s pastimes. In the picture you can see the “young” devotee boy, Prahlad with his hands folded, looking over him is Lord Narasimha, hiding a smile and on the floor is the boy’s father, King Hiranyakasipu with his intestines on his knee. It was presented in a very funny manner and the artists making up their lines.
That’s it. What a special 3 days. I will never forget it. So many fond memories. I achieved so much in that long weekend – devotee association, great lectures, melodious kirtans, puppet show entertainment, delicious prasadam, sound sleep, fresh air, new goals and much more. I came away inspired, motivated and more Krishna consciousness than ever before. Thank you, dear Bhurijan prabhu and Jagattarini mataji ! Once I came back home, I sat and read Bhurijan Prabhu’s book which recollects many of his meetings and his time with Srila Prabupada.
The kirtana began in the airport long before Prabhupada’s plane arrived. When Prabhupada stepped from the passageway into the arrival lounge, the devotees went mad. Chanting, dancing and crying, they crowded around Prabhupada, as clouds over a mountain. Almost miraculously, Prabhupada surrounded by the devotees, seemed to glide down the airport hallways. Prabhupada and the devotees chanted and danced through the carpeted airport waiting rooms and passageways. Life had suddenly descended into the staid Melbourne Airport. I couldn’t approach Prabhupada, because he was surrounded by so many devotees, so I sped ahead down the stairs and waited at the bottom of a long escalator. “Prabhupada has to ride this escalator to get downstairs,” I thought, “and the devotees must allow him to go first.” The kirtana grew louder and the devotees approached the escalator platform. After a moment’s pause, Prabhupada stood on a moving step, and began descending. He noticed a lone figure positioned near the bottom and smiled. I spontaneously reached out and he affectionately grasped my hand.
– “My Glorious Master – Remembrances of Prabhupada’s Mercy on A Fallen Soul” by Bhurijana Dasa.
Thank you being there then and now… for all of us ! Looking forward to meeting you again !