26 Mar 2014

Diary from Vrindavan, part 6

It was a very early start - 4:30am - and we only got to bed at 2:30am, so that Swamiji could be there when they opened the room where we saw all the gifts for the Gopis the night before.

Swamiji was allowed into the room and he got lots of things from inside: bangles, saris, etc. He came back super excited!

Later, they went to Yoga Maya Devi Samadhi place and from what they said it was beautiful but sad. They led them into dark barn and that was her Samadhi place. 

Next morning we where supposed to leave early as it was a busy day all round. We went for breakfast and then Swami decided to do Abishek on a Lakshmi Narayanaya Saligram that he got. He decided to do an Abishek on the Lingams also, and we all joined in behind Him. 

It was wonderful to watch!

The Boat festival… 

"As in Rome, do as the Romans do", they say, so "When in India expect Indian Time"… We arrived around 3pm only to see them taking the boat out the water and we were told that it was being taken to another Ghat further down.

About 45 minutes later, a procession to the new place began as we followed the Deities through the outskirts of Vrindavan, past Govardan Hill and to a Ghat nearby. 

The walk was over 5km. When we got there, Swami and a few others sat on a ledge overlooking the Ghat while they put the finishing touches on the barge.

The decorations were super amazing as they had made a swan on the front, covering the barge, that looked really beautiful. They'd also decorated the barge really amazingly with flowers and garlands everywhere. 

Everyone climbed onto the barge and then we towed the barge with Swami and the dignitaries: Swami Shri Gyananand Ji Maharaj, Satya Narayana Das Babaji, Jyoti Shree Mataji, Balaramji Maharaj and the Deities of Shri Krishna Kripa and Jugalkishore Sarkar around the ghat from our row boat. 

It was a magical experience that takes you back to lilas of old. For instance, when you read of Lord Caitanya crossing the river by boat on His journey. As we moved across the water, we rowed silently around the ghat. It was dark and I could just see the roofs of the temples in the skylight.

We had two big bags of flower petals - about 5 kg! - on our boat and we kept showering petals on the barge with Swami as we rowed around the Ghat. It was a Pushpam abishek that did not stop! It was an experience that I am not sure I can fully describe. Surreal would be the best way to describe it.