Melting Pot of Differences- Vyasa Puja Celebrations of HH Bhakti Raghava Swami
Vrndavanlila Devi Dasi:
yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo
yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto ‘pi
dhyāyan stuvaḿs tasya yaśas tri-sandhyaḿ
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam
ISKCON is indeed an institution which is a treasure house of festivals and thus happiness.
The auspicious occasion of HH Bhakti Raghava Swami’s Vyasa Puja day gave the Secunderabad VRT – Varnasrama Research Team (HH Bhakti Raghava Swami’s brainchild to encourage and spread the message of varnasrama dharma across the planet) another reason to celebrate Srila Prabhupada’s gift to mankind- the concept of bonafide guru, the good fortune of having one, and of course nama dhana. The celebration gave everybody an opportunity to taste all the three divine flavors in one go.
The team first celebrated the vyasa puja in the noon hours at Sri Sri Radha-Gopinath temple. The VRT – Vyasa Puja celebrations were scheduled for evening hours at Krishna Math (Mahindra Hills). Of late the city has been reeling under heat wave and 43 degree temperature (another reason to follow varnasrama dharma and save ourselves from global warming). Despite hot weather the devotees started trickling in the temple by 6:30 pm. It was a borderless congregation. Besides the local participation, there was attendance even from outside the city, HG Harikirtan prabhu presented himself, coming down from Chirala, and Bhaktin Dyuti from Mangalore. It was so overwhelming to see disciples of HH Bhakti Vikas Maharaj- HG Radhikapati and HG Hari Krishna- not only participate in the celebration, but also glorify Guru Maharaj’s (HH Bhakti Raghava Swami) effort in establishing Varnasrama dharma. The seamless world of Hari nama!
The function began with a soulful kirtan by HG Gour Gopal Das, HG Anantshesha Das, and HG Sridhar Das, followed by glorification. HG Rama Laxman Das set the ball rolling with his beautiful realizations with Guru Maharaj, followed by HG Rasamandal prabhu. Gangagati mataji related maharaj’s iconic humility, wherein his touching gesture of compassionately offering prasadam with Him and opening the door for mataji (as she was carrying a very small baby) melted the heart of even a non-devotee and made him instantly pay obeisances to Him. HG Gour Gopal prabhu tried to capture his fortune of having the opportunity of being in his shelter since his childhood and shared the nectarean pastimes. Vrndavanlila mataji beautifully brought out our great fortune in being accepted under the shelter of a Guru. How there is a divine master plan for everything. We may not be aware but the guru mercifully keeps saving us from every hurdle even before we actually know Him, even when He is not physically around (the way he saved her from the clutches of death and mayavadi philosophy). Radhapriya mataji related how he offered her laddus in a fatherly fashion. Meanwhile, HG Anantshesha Das’ experiences highlighted how Guru’s every gesture (whether chastisement or compassion) is His mercy. Bhakta Srinivas prabhu’s experience though in Telugu broke the linguistic barrier to touch everybody’s heart by his humility as he defined the perfection of life, which lay in serving His lotus feet. Bhaktin Nandita who has had the fortune of cooking for Guru Maharaj on several occasions since her childhood was too emotional to express anything in a comprehensible manner, but her deep-seated love for him was too hard to conceal. How incapable we are even in capturing our experiences related to them! Guru transcends this material world and words. Everybody was swimming in the ocean of divine happiness. The offerings had set the stage for a divine mood. The devotees staged a short play, conceived and directed by HG Hari Kirtan prabhu. The play beautifully captured the ISKCON’s four movements and offered a peep into Guru Maharaj’s contribution to the fourth wave of Varnasrama and the bold selfless incident of saving the Mayapur deities from the dacoits. HG SriRam played the role of a householder, who is a non-devotee but is transformed by great preaching by a devotee (HG HariKirtan). Maharaj’s Mayapur incident that claimed His one leg is etched permanently in ISKCON’s history as a moment of pride. The play wound itself up amid devotees’ applause as HG Navin Krishna (playing HH Bhakti Raghava Swami) tried to save the deities from the dacoits and they in turn threw the handbomb on His leg. The occasion was a melting pot of differences as the devotees compassionately ‘hariboled’ even for the dacoits (played by HG Ramlaxman, HG NityaTripta, and Bhakta Muni). Bhakta Mohan Sundar was constantly addressed by his new name MadanMohan das (in the play while staging the wave of spiritual initiation). The pent up joy could find its vent only in the electric dancing that came in sync with the ecstatic kirtan led by HG Gour Gopal Das.
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam
As everybody was discussing about the divine mercy, to everybody’s pleasant surprise the emotion manifested itself even physically, coming down in the form of unexpected torrential shower, which charged the devotees further. Many of them rushed out in the open space to completely drench themselves in the ocean of His mercy while dancing to Hare Krishna kirtan. Till then behind the scene contributor, ManasaGanga mataji (who was engaged in flower and decoration service with the help of Madri mataji, Bhaktin Sneha, SriLaxmi mataji, and Jahnavi mataji) could not resist the temptation and joined the rain-dancing brigade of devotees along with the kids. About 150 devotees danced to the kirtan- letting their hair down (even literally). This was followed by sumptuous prasadam. As the devotees honored the prasadam Bhaktin Radhika, Bhaktin Deetha, and Radhapriya mataji rendered vaishnava kirtans in their melodious voice as Bhaktin Nandita played the harmonium. The smell of delicious prasadam with a mix of silken melody against the backdrop of divine mercy was ecstatic. What a blissful evening it was!
It is indeed impossible to capture anything as deep and as fathomless as a vaishnava’s love towards everybody, to even the most unqualified person in human language. Despite this inability I have made an effort to report this simply because the sharing of such golden experiences and divine moments would give everybody so much joy.
Thank you Srila Prabhupada for giving us ISKCON, and so many reasons and opportunities to collectively taste the nectarean joy of hari naam and of guru puja.
We all pray that Lord Narsimha dev gives protection to HH Bhakti Raghava Swami Maharaj and He lives for hundreds and thousands of years, delivering many many more fallen souls like us.
Vrndavanlila Devi Dasi
E-mail ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
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