Sunday, February 11, 2007
(Reporting: Tattvavit Dasa)
Today the GBC members went on all-day spiritual retreat at the Jagannatha Mandir. Although your reporter did not go along, he gathered the following report from several participants.
The retreat began in front of Srila Prabhupada in his puspa-samadhi, after the GBC members and several dozen senior devotees ate breakfast on the samadhi veranda.
While the GBC members stood before Srila Prabhupada in the samadhi, each received a colorful pavitra, and together they recited a statement of intent of service to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON.
After they arrived at the Jagannatha Mandir, Lokanath Swami led a lengthy, sweet bhajan, and later, during the noon arati, Bhakti Caru Swami led a kirtan that had all the devotees dancing.
The GBC offered a prayer together on behalf of the devotees in Kazakhstan, since Lord Jagannath is known to grant boons.
BB Govinda Swami asked that the prayer be that those causing trouble to the Kazakh devotees will have a change of heart. Considering that the local government had recently announced that it will destroy two more devotees’ houses, this prayer was compassionate.
Praghosa dasa Prabhu arranged for impromptu dramas as a creative, spontaneous way of holding krishna-katha. Radhanath Swami narrated the pastimes of Chand Kazi (Sivarama Swami) and Kholaveca Sridhara (Sesa Prabhu) and Lord Caitanya
Jaya Pataka Swami narrated the pastime of Jagai and Madhai. Everyone liked the exceptionally good, comical acting of Ravindra Svarupa dasa Prabhu as Jagai and Praghosa Prabhu as Madhai. Paramgati Swami played Lord Nityananda, who was preaching with Haridasa Thakura (Hrydayananda Goswami) when they met Jagai and Madhai. Kavicandra Swami played Lord Caitanya. Hridayananda Das Goswami also played Chandra Gupta, who was detailing the sins of Jagai and Madhai to Yamaraja (Badrinarayana Prabhu.
Finally, Prahladananda Swami narrated the pastime of Dvivida gorilla (B.B. Govinda Swami). Anuttama dasa Prabhu played Lord Balarama, and His gopis were played by Malati Prabhvi, Dina Sarana Prabhu, and Asesa Sandhini Prabhu. Dvivida grabbed Hridayananda Maharaja and swung him around, even though he was just part of the audience. Balarama and Dvidida threw rocks (pillows) at one another. Finally, Balarama hit Dvivida on the collarbone, and Dvivida was history.
Next there was a debate about the best way to serve and honor prasadam. Hridayananda Maharaja’s team defended eating on the floor and using one’s fingers. Devamrta Swami’s team argued that a Western style of eating (at a table, with silverware) is essential for effective preaching. The argument that a pizza is a self-realized capati got a lot of laughs. Much amazement was caused by the astute debating skills of Bhakti Vijnana Swami, Bhanu Swami, Madhu Sevita Prabhu, Bhakti Caru Swami, Badrinarayan dasa Prabhu, Gopala Krishna Goswami, Bhaktivaibhava Swami, and Ramai Swami. When the debate ended, the audience unanimously voted in favor of the devotees’ way of eating, and the prasada-seva began.
There is an other description of this day also here.