Photo Tour Report
BIRTHDAYS, GRAINS, AND GRATITUDE
Please accept our humble obeisances. All
glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.
Please forgive us. The last harikatha
mailing you received, which stated in the Subject section, "Birthdays, Grains
and Gratitude" was actually a San Francisco report called "Meaningful
Meditations". There was a technical confusion in our sending, and therefore
it went out with the wrong title. Now, you are really receiving the
"Birthdays" tour report.
Please pray for us that we can perfect our skills in sending out the
hari-katha lectures to our ever-growing list.
Your aspiring servants,
The hari-katha team]
On June 12th, after a four-hour drive
from San Francisco, Srila Narayana Maharaja arrived in Badger, New Vraja. About
200 devotees greeted him with a loud and blissful kirtana.
Srila Narayana Maharaja immediately walked to the large pandal and sat on his
vyasasana (the elevated seat of the representative of Srila Vyasadeva, the
literary incarnation of God). He then requested several local senior devotees to
stand and explain the reason that Sri Narada Muni and our disciplic succession
of self-realized spiritual masters travel the world. Then, as his arrival
address, he personally discussed this topic.
He began by saying,
I am very happy that so many devotees are here more than in San Francisco and
Los Angeles, and more than in other cities. I am seeing old faces, and some new
also. I consider this place to be Vraja (Vrndavana), and that is why I come
here. This is my 12th year here. When I first came to America (in
1996), I also came here. Iskcon leaders tried to ban me from coming. They warned
the devotees, Dont give a place to Narayana Maharaja, but Nirguna prabhu
hosted me. I cannot repay him.
This place is Vraja
because Giriraja Mountain is here, Yamuna River is also here, and all kinds of
natural facilities are here.
it has been written that Sri Krsna took birth in Gokula from the womb of Mother
Yasoda, and Baladeva Prabhu took birth from the womb of Mother Rohini. Six or
seven days after Krsnas birth, the sage and astrologer Gargacarya went to
Gokula. Nanda Baba worshipped him with great respect, bathed his lotus feet,
sprinkled the foot-bathing water on his own head and on the heads of his
relatives, and prayed to him, You have nothing to take from anyone. You are
self-satisfied. You have no desire to take anything from anyone. You come in the
homes of householders, who are always sinking in their relationships between
their children, wives, fathers, and household jobs. They have no time to go to
sadhus, so sadhus mercifully come to their houses.
residents of America and other countries did not invite Srila Bhaktividenta
Swami Maharaja. Still, even in his advanced age, he went door-to-door
everywhere. He had nothing to take, but everything to give.
Srila Narayana Maharaja began his hari-katha classes the
following night. Each evening he spoke to an audience of about 700 devotees and
guests on Canto Eleven of Srimad-Bhagavatam the conversation between Nimi
Maharaja and the Nine Yogendras, and the conversation between Sri Krsna and
Uddhava. (These classes are being transcribed and will be sent to you soon).
Each morning around 6
am, he went for his morning walk, and during the day he met with devotees and
continued his translation of our acaryas commentaries on Srimad-Bhagavatam.
When he returned from
his walk on June 21st, he met two devotees whose birthdays were on that day. He
gently threw flowers on their heads and blessed them (with utterances of ancient
Vedic mantras) to be happy in this life and in their transcendental lives.
On Wednesday, he met with for the devotees from Canada, Chicago, and other
cities in America.
Meeting a new person, a well-known artist and writer, Srila Maharaja blessed him
You should think, I am not this body. The body is a bag of urine, stool, and
blood. You are present in this body, but you are not this body. After some time
this body will be old and rotten, and you will have to give it up. You cannot
take even one penny or anything else from this world with you when you leave.
So try to realize the Supreme Lord, who is also present in your body. By
knowing Him, you will be happy; there is no other means. Money cannot give you
happiness. Rather, it creates more problems. Somehow maintain your life, but try
to realize the Lord by hearing hari-katha from superior Vaisnavas.
A devotee from Montreal expressed some difficulty in chanting.
Srila Narayana Maharaja told her, Still you should chant. Even if the medicine
is bitter, still you must take it. Chant, even if you must do it forcibly.
Srila Maharaja then performed a grain ceremony (anna-prasana)* for
Govinda-Madhava dasa, the eight month-old son of Dayanidhi dasa and Madana
Mohini dasi, and grandson of festival organizer, Nanda-gopala dasa. Amidst the
chanting of auspicious sacred mantras, he very attentively and affectionately
fed the baby three spoonfuls of a sweet-rice preparation and requested the
babys parents and other relatives to each feed him a spoonful, and then he
uttered the mantra Sri Krsna Caitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita,
Gadadhara, Srivasadi Gaura bhakta-vrnda.
Govinda-Madhava was then presented a tray of various paraphernalia to choose
from, that would indicate his future. He first chose the bangles, indicating
prosperity, and then the scriptures, indicating absorption in bhakti. Srila
Maharaja then firmly placed the scripture on his head, to impress increasing
bhakti in his future.
He told the baby, May Krsna-bhakti come to you. Honor your parents your
father and mother.
Dayanidhi dasa asked, How can we always understand that he is your son and not
Srila Maharaja patted
the baby on the head and then replied, You should preach my mission. You are
qualified. And also, distribute my books here and there. Have you done so
replied, Previously; in New Zealand.
Maharaja said, You should do more. (Indicating Dayanidhis wife Mohini dasi:)
She is very qualified. She should preach everywhere. She can sing; she can do
drama plays; she can give class; she is qualified in so many ways. Here in
Badger she should make a very high class of drama related to the gopis.
After his morning
walk on June 22nd, Srila Maharaja visited the home of Sripad Prana
Kisora dasa and Campakalata dasi. About 150 devotees were present, singing
beautiful devotional Bengali bhajanas as they waited for Srila Maharaja to
arrive. After Srila Maharajas arrival, Prana-kisora dasa and his family
performed a foot-bathing ceremony and offered arati.
Srila Narayana Maharaja spoke in brief about his gratitude to Prana-kisora. He
said, We have come to the home of a very senior and sincere devotee, Prana
Kisora prabhu. He is a hidden Vaisnava. He does not want to expose himself in my
meetings and elsewhere. He knows everything of our philosophy and he can speak
on any topic in relation to devotion to Krsna; yet, he is always hiding.
When I was in Mathura, the building of our Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha (Temple)
was very old and about to collapse. He was the first Western devotee to come to
me. He came forward and with some friends and collected money for me. He did not
tell me at the time, but he sold his car, his house, and he even the ornaments
of his wife, and he gave all that money to me.
I am indebted to him. With his money, I repaired our Mathura Matha, and then I
built Sri Rupa-Sanatana Gaudiya Matha in Vrndavana. I cannot repay him and his
wife. He is an example of how to perform Guru-seva. He sold all his property,
the ornaments of his wife, and even his car. In Western countries one cannot go
here and there without a car, but he sold it.
Then, when I first came to America, he was driving me here, there, and
We should give our heart and our life for the service of Gurudeva. In his
service, we should all learn how to be Vaisnavas and Vaisnavis. Then
transcendental bhakti will come.
Two days later, in another meeting with devotees, Srila Narayana Maharaja
performed the grain ceremony for eight-month old Damodara dasa, the son of
Kesava dasa and Yamuna dasi. With extreme difficulties in securing his passport
and visa from the Philippine government, the baby had come all the way from the
Philippines for his grain-ceremony.
Indicating his future
Birthday blessings in a darsana on June 25th.
to Vedic culture, at this time (called anna-prasana) it is customary to offer
the child both coins and books in order to get some indication of the future
tendencies of the child. On one side there are coins and on the other side a
scripture. At this time the child also receives his first grains.]
Pujyapada Madhava Maharaja, Sripad Brajanath dasa, Sri Prema-prayojana dasa
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Transcriber and reporter: Vasanti dasi
Proofreader: Krsna-kamini dasi