With so many pilgrims participating in the huge Durga Puja festival across the way from our Math, circumambulating the kunda and standing in lines that stretch from the entrance of the Durga temple all the way past the front of gate of our Math, many of the participants visit our Math to pay their respects to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Radha Madhan Mohanjiu, and to take some prasadam.
Those who do enter the Math are utterly fascinated by the sahibs in Indian garb, and stare quite unabashedly (and disconcertingly) at the sannyasis — especially our six-foot-four Siddhanti Maharaj! — and at the other Western devotees.
The are especially enamored by Srutasrava Prabhu's younger children: during the evening arati, they go absolutely gaga over nine-year-old Devaki Kirkman's angelic, freckled face, braided red hair, and milky complexion wrapped in a green and gold sari, and are visibly impressed with eleven-year-old Nilamani Prabhu's expert playing of the mridanga drum.
One of the brahmacharis brings a curious group up to my room to see me. They want to know which country I am from, how I came to Krishna consciousness, and why I became a sannyasi.
"Well, it's like this," I begin, and the brahmachari interprets...