Navadwip, India — Thursday, March 17th

Navadwip Dham parikrama

Today is day three of our Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math's annual four-day Navadwip dham parikrama. It's another long day (we walk all the way to Nrisimha Palli.)

There are thousands of pilgrims from India and abroad in our parikrama party. I won't even try to guess how many thousands of devotees there are, but to give you some idea: when I reach the crest of the long, convex Gauranga Setu bridge crossing the Ganges River I see that the entire bridge is filled, and the pilgrims occupy all the traffic lanes and pedestrian walkways in both directions (no vehicles can pass).

Srila Acharya Maharaj has led the parikrama on all three days so far — and he is a dynamo! We're finishing the parikramas much earlier than we did in previous years because Srila Acharya Maharaj has so much energy that we sometimes find ourselves running from one temple to the other!

We're all footsore and weary by the time we return to the Math in the afternoon. One more day to go...

Tags: Pilgrimage

Navadwip, India — Friday, March 18th

Parikrama relief

The new Sri Gaudiya Darshan (Sri Gaura Purnima Special Edition) published today by Sripad Tyagi Maharaj has this poem/song by Srila Gurudeva: Sri Navadwip Dham Parikramay Ahvan — "An Appeal on Sri Navadwip Dham Parikrama."

The eight-verse poem begins and ends with this line,

bhramite habe na ara — e-chhara bhuvana

You do not have to wander any longer in this vile world.

and this last verse

dhama-parikrama ka're     sanga habe chira-tare
ananta janama dha're brahmanda-bhramana,
dure yabe bhava-roga     khandibe sakala bhoga
bhuloke-goloka-labha — dake gaura-jana

[The devotees of Sri Gaurangadev call], "By circumambulating the divine abode of Sri Gaurangadev, your wandering throughout this universe over the course of unlimited births will come to an end for good, the disease of material existence will be dispelled, all of your worldly suffering will be demolished, and you will experience Goloka (the divine environment of the Lord's abode) while present here on the Earth planet (Bhu-loka)."

is just the sort of pick-me-up tired pilgrims who have completed the grueling four-day Navadwip Dham parikrama need!

Tags: Pilgrimage

Navadwip, India — Saturday, March 19th

Gaura Purnima

On this day of the Golden Full Moon (Gaura Purnima), thousands of devotees from India and all over the world celebrate the divine appearance of our Golden Lord, Sri Gauranga, here at our Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Sri Navadwip Dham.

Srila Acharya Maharaj gives many devotees first or second initiation after the morning program, and he also gives the sannyas mantra to our brahmachari scientist, Sushen Krishna Prabhu (PhD), conferring upon him the name Bhakti Niskama Santa Maharaj.

When I ask what the name means, I am pointed to the first line of this verse (2:19:149) from Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita:

krsna-bhakta — niskama, ataeva 'santa'

Because a devotee of Krishna has no desire (niskama) other than devotional service (bhakti), he is always peaceful (santa).

In the evening just before moonrise, Srila Acharya Maharaj leads the (lively!) singing of the thirty-six Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita verses (1:13:89-124) that are traditionally chanted at Gaura Purnima, beginning with,

caudda-sata sata-sake masa ye phalguna
paurnamasira sandhya-kale haile subha-ksana

Thus in the year 1407 of the Saka Era (1486 A.D), in the month of Phalguna (March-April), on the evening of the full moon, the desired auspicious moment appeared...

and after the evening arati and an enthusiastic kirtan, we break our fast with a delectable ekadasi feast.

Tags: Feasts & Festivals

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Layout by iMonk — March 19th, 2011.