By Devala das
In the midst of taking my final exams in college, the thought of traveling to India to witness the first marriage of the family lingered within my mind. I anticipated the reunion of our whole family and was looking forward to getting away from school and having a little R&R. .
After a long and painful flight I arrived in Delhi to be greeted by my eldest brother Dhruva. I spent over week visiting the holy temples in Vrindavan, and ended my evenings with Aindraâs roaring bhajans. Although I needed a little spiritual relaxing, I remembered the main reason for my trip was to assist my brother Drdha and his bride Gandharvika in their marriage preparations. Realizing this, I changed my plans and headed down early to South India.
It was important for me to spend a little time with him while he was still a bachelor. It left me three weeks to be there before it was back to school in Texas. Also, my brothers and parents were arriving soon. Drdha has been living at the Bhaktivedanta Eco Village near Kolur, South India. Gandharvika and her family have been living there for the last 12 years. While there we had evening bhajans and planning sessions with Gandharvika’s wonderful father and mother, Premnidi and Krsnamayi prabhus, but the highlight was the âguysâ visit to the breathtaking waterfall known as Arasana Gundhi, the place where Agastya Rishi meditated. Those of you that have been there know well what an amazing place it is. We literally jogged down to the falls and back. I welcomed the exercise as I need to be in top condition to keep my spot on my college soccer team. When we finally made it back to the temple that evening mothers Jahnava and Anuradha had sumptuous prasadam waiting.
It was then time to head to the Sai Vishram Ashram in Byndoor, near Udupi. An amazing beach resort with vanilla white sands and azure water that is owned by a good friend of Drdha and Tattva darshanâs. This is where the wedding ceremony would take place. The resort is an ideal place to have any kind of function what to speak of a marriage. We woke from our Swiss army tent cottages and stepped out on to a private beach where waves broke with a melodious consistency. My father made sure we attended mangala arotike and Srimad Bhagavatam class so we wouldn’t get too much into the enjoying spirit. Of course arotike with Sri Prahlad and class by maharaja was very enjoyable.
The wedding plans were going full steam ahead, guests were checking into their cottages and decorations were going up. Friends that Drdha, Raktak and I knew from our school days in Mayapur arrived. Sri Prahlad and his wife mother Rukmini showed with Haripada and Phalini prabhus. Krsna krpa and his 82 year old mother somehow found their way. Also, all the wonderful devotees from Gandharvika’s family began to arrive. It’ll take me forever to figure out their family tree with all the uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, etc., etc. There are disciples of Tamal Krsna, Jayapataka, Gopal Krsna and Puri maharaja in their large family. It’ll mean a lot of support for my brother and his new wife in the future. One relative that I really enjoyed meeting was the uncle Udhava Prabhu, a disciple of Tamal Krsna maharaja who quit his government job so that he can take care of the many health problems of devotees. He does a unique form of therapy called SU JOK, all based on pressure points. I decided to test his skills and among all the different forms of therapy I have had in my life, nothing has intrigued me or cured me more than his. Check him out if you’re in Mayapur for the festival.
The day before the wedding we got to watch the married ladies bathe Drdha with Turmeric. It’s one of the purification rituals. After they bathed Gandharvika, three ladies painted her hands and feet with Mehendi and then cornered Drdha and painted his feet with Kum Kum. It was pretty wild but everyone was laughing a lot and had a great time. That afternoon Indradyumna maharaja challenged me to a swimming race to a nearby boat. It was neck and neck until I surrendered and let him win. He was a champion swimmer in his younger days so it was a good race.
The morning of the wedding Indradyumna maharaja led mangala arotik, there was a light breakfast and it was time to dress up. Local guests began to arrive and took their places in the beautifully decorated pavilion. Narasimha swami, Guruprasad swami and Vishnu swami arrived and so many friends of Drdha and Gandharvika’s. Next, all of us brothers accompanied Drdha to the yajna arena and shortly there after Gandarvika along with all the ladies made her grand entrance. All the time Gandharvika’s brother Murari was singing sweet bhajans. Sri Prahlad started the ceremonies and I got to work. It was my job to film the wedding along with all the build up to it. I’ll have the video done soon. You can check it out on http://www.youtube.com/DEVALAG.
All in all It was an experience of a lifetime, that’s for sure, but one that I will always remember. Time seems to really fly by, and It will take a little getting use to my brother being married but I know that he has the perfect devotee girl and that they are very happy. Every part of the marriage went well thanks to my father and his dedication to detail, and of course my mother and her dedication to being a good mata.
Check out the wedding photo album at: http://picasaweb.google.com/DennisGorrick/wedding
Your servant, Devala das (DvD1089@aol.com)