I was looking towards this day. I had heard that His Holiness Jayapataka Swami would be doing a TV telecast for the devotees who were to be initiated. The last time I saw him was in 2007 when he was in Melbourne and a handful of devotees, me included went for a long walk around the temple. Some of us got some bright red cherries that morning. As I walked past the Mayapur Academy library, I first saw an initiation ceremony in Portuguese happening in one of the rooms. Although, I couldn’t understand the language, it was nevertheless interesting to look through the window and watch devotees get their japa beads along with a new name to everyone’s resounding yell, “Hari Bol !!!!!!”.
I quickly walked over to the large venue which was near the new Vedic Planetarium being constructed. I had a good feeling that the venue would be packed and I didn’t want to lose the front seat. More over, one of our Melbourne devotee was getting initiated and I didn’t want to miss that.
By the time, I reached the place, the venue had a few people and they were watching a big screen on the podium. And there was His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Maharaj giving a talk from USA. Health wise he seemed to be making good advancement. Everybody were glued to the screen. The place wasn’t well covered so plenty of sunlight filled the place and it was hard to see him properly. But anyways, hearing was important. He spoke with much enthusiasm and devotees seemed happy.
The initiation ceremony area was cleared off all chairs and people. Leaf plates and other items for the fire sacrifice was laid out neatly.
The tent ceiling had plenty of decorations and I was surprised to see the above design using hair combs ! New ones of course !
As the place was filling up, Lord Chaitanya and Nityanada prabhu arrived much to everyone’s happiness. Soon afterawards, came 3 Guru maharajas –
That was when I realized that there would be 4 sets of initiation that would take place. This would be really interesting. And that was exactly how it turned out. Each guru maharajas spoke about the importance of devotional services, 10 offenses to the holy name and the importance of initiation. The most memorable part of the afternoon was a full talk given in fluent Bengali by HH Bhakti Vikas Swami which was fluently translated by HH Bhakti Charu Swami into English. It amused everyone around especially the locals. Later HH Bhakti Charu Swami said, “Swami has got an English body and a Bengali heart !”. After about 2-3 hours, our Melbourne devotee, Bernadette mataji was the first to be called by HH Bhakti Purusottama Swami, who was representing HH Jayapataka Swami.
All in all, i think the entire initiation process for all the 50 odd devotees took about 4 hours. And it was a great learning matter for me. One of the prime messages that both HH Bhakti Vikas and Bhakti Charu Swami gave to the new initiated devotees and the assembled guests were :
– Please do not leave ISKCON
– Read and study Srila Prabhupada’s books every single day
And may these 2 advice forever be plastered in my heart.
“Hari Bol!!!” to all the initiated devotees from that day ! Lucky to have 4 sannyasis preside over your ceremony.