Srila Bhakti Vallabha Tirtha Maharaja addresses the parikrama devotees on March 9th in Sri Mayapura.
Photo gallery

A report with photos
Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Math, Navadvipa, W. Bengal
March 9, 2006

On March 7th, two days before the Navadvipa-dhama Parikrama was officially about to begin, Srila Narayana Maharaja said to the assembled international pilgrims, "Here in Navadvipa, I am remembering my Gurudeva, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. After the disappearance of his Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, preaching entered a dark period, and thus there was practically no more parikramas of Vrndavana or Navadvipa. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura then appeared to my Gurudeva three times in dreams, at which times he told him, "Our preaching has practically stopped. You must take sannyasa, the renounced order of life, and preach everywhere."

When I see that you have all come here from all over Bengal and around the world, I am reminded of his mercy. By his mercy, he restarted Navadvipa and Vrndavana parikramas.

My Gurudeva always used to say that guru-nistha, strong faith in the bona fide, self-realized guru, is the backbone of devotion to Sri Krsna. Without faith in the lotus feet of the siksa and diksa-guru, we cannot perform bhajana. We cannot be properly absorbed in devotional practices. By great fortune we have achieved this human form of birth, and now we have the opportunity to realize that we are eternal souls, servants of Lord Sri Krsna. By the influence of maya, however, we have forgotten that. Now, by doing this parikrama, we can re-establish that relationship by the mercy of Gurudeva.

We are also reminded how, here in Koladvipa, my Gurudeva kept his own life in his hands (risked his life) in order to save the life of his Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Some dacoits in the shape of caste brahmanas and others tried to kill Sarasvati Thakura here, but by the insistence of my Gurudeva, he took the red cloth and danda of his Guru Maharaja and gave him his own white cloth. In this way the dacoits would not know who was who. By this exchange he was actually being given sannyasa, and he later took formal sannyasa initiation from Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja in Katwa. There are so many pastimes to remember.

How can we manage such a big parikrama? We have no ability whatsoever; so we have to raise our hands and pray for the mercy of Sri Nitai-Gaura. They can make this parikrama successful; otherwise it is impossible for anyone. We also remember how our guru-parampara, and especially Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, preached in all the foreign countries and in India, and by their mercy many people are coming to Sri Navadvipa-parikrama.

What is the purpose of doing Navadvipa-dhama parikrama? Krsna enjoyed four rasas when He was present in Vrndavana 5,000 years ago, but He could not give the process to achieve Vraja-prema. In the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu He was able to do so. By performing Navadvipa-dhama Parikrama, people not only learn about this, but they can also relish this sublime truth.

March 8, 2006

Srila Narayana told his audience international pilgrims, "You will not see this event taking place anywhere else in the world. In order to maintain the activities, of the parikrama, such as prasadam distribution and so on, please register your names.
"We will have three parties of singers – the Western party, the Bengali party, and the Hindi devotee party."

Srila Maharaja introduced the services of the parikrama by telling the several thousand assembled devotees, "Whatever responsibilities you are getting now, do them very carefully so that the parikrama goes on smoothly."

After this he gave the microphone to Sripad Madhava Maharaja, who called out various services, and the various devotees who could be responsible for them – such as registration, the pandal, paying the boatman for going across the Ganges River from Koladvipa to Mayapura. Madhava Maharaja called out the names of those who would be the lead singers in each party and who would be responsible for the other functions of that kirtan party – for the mrdangas and cymbals, flags and festoons, taking care of devotees, making sure the devotees have water, making sure the electricity and electric equipment is working properly, taking care of the Deities and making sure they are ornamented for the parikrama.

Srila Narayana Maharaja then concluded, "We will start tomorrow morning at 6:30 am, and our parikrama schedule will be announced every morning. Tomorrow, you will be going to Navadvipa town for nagara-sankirtana.

March 9, 2006

Under the direction of Srila Narayana Maharaja, the pilgrims departed from Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha at 6:30 am to the Ganga, where they crossed by boat to get to Antardvipa/Mayapura.

In Antardvipa they offered respects as they passed many temples and Mathas, until they arrived at Sri Caitanya Matha. There, they had darsana of Srila Bhaktivallabha Tirtha Maharaja, who gave a wonderful lecture to all the devotees about how the island of Antardvipa represents self-surrender. At the end of his speech Srila Tirtha Maharaja humbly and whole-heartedly expressed how he felt unfortunate because of being deprived of seeing Srila Narayana Maharaja due to both of their health. He concluded that since Srila Narayana Maharaja could not come there, he had sent all of his disciples there to give him their association.

The parikrama party then proceeded to Sri Yogapitha, the birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

After hearing from various sannyasis on the stage at Yogapita about the early pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the devotees proceeded to the samadhi of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Srila Gaura Kisora dasa babaji Maharaja, stopping along the way at the abodes of Mahaprabhu's associates like Srivasa Thakura (Srivasa-angana), Sri Advaita Acarya and Sri Gadadhara Pandita.


Visit the Photo gallery of pictures accompanying this report.