the morning we stop briefly about four times. Apparently
the first time was at another small lake where some people
took bath. I say apparently, because I have only heard but
have no memory of this. Unashamedly I declare that this
was the only half-hour's peaceful rest I'd had
The next stop is shortly after, at a chai stall. More showers
and toilets are available but I only superficially refreshed,
looking forward to reaching the Math's comfortable facilities.
I'd received a nasty gash near my right ankle while pulling
Jagannath's car so I medicated it with some iodine solution
and antibacterial powder to dry it out - and soon I look
up to find tens of people sticking their legs out before
me to show a different array of cuts and knotches all incurred
during the Ratha Yatra. Sripad Acharyya Maharaj is famous
to be the 'doctor' with his magic tablet medicine box, and
here now I feel like a nurse!
The Tata Sumo that had been travelling with us has disappeared
since last night. We finally find it waiting at an intersection
just near Kolkata. It had been there for one and a half
hours, waiting in order to change some passengers from car
to bus and vice versa since it is heading towards our Dum
Dum Park Temple whereas we will head directly to Nabadwip
on another road.
devotees visit Konarak Sun Temple on the way back
from Puri to Nabadwip.
little later we stop in a small village where Sripad Acharyya
Maharaj does potato collection prior to each Gaura Purnima festival
time, and here we have a muri, banana and samosa breakfast on
a leaf plate while still seated on the bus.... Only an hour
left to go!
As we wind through Nabadwip area's towns, which all look the
same to me, anticipation grows. And sweet relief washes through
my tired body when we turn a corner and I see our Math, ever
glorious, welcoming us home - and just in time for lunch Prasadam!
of all, however, I go pay dandevats to the Deities from a little
distance (I feel too dirty from the journey, and can't wait
to take bath!) and to Mahananda Prabhu to tell that we are safely
jelly legs somehow carry me to the Prasadam Hall, and
after honouring Prasadam, like all the others, I am very
relieved to lie in a horizontal position and sleep for
a few hours.
evening the other devotees are asking about Puri Dham
and the Ratha Yatra, and we happily share our experiences.
Then Sandhya Arati, kirttan and so on. The regular programme
of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip, draws us back
into the moment - the regulated bhajan and bhakti seva
we practise for the pleasure of our Gurudev and our sweet
The Jagannath Puri bus pilgrimage was an unforgettable
experience, I am very happy to have experienced it fully,
from beginning to end. The whole experience leaves my
devotional mood revitalised and recharged.
though, is another day, and although I will carry the
nourishment I have received from this experience within
my heart, I cannot wallow in it as every day there is
more service to be done, and more practise... makes perfect.
as I am, I hope I have not caused any offences in the
process of preparing this diary to share with you, which
I hope may have enabled you to also participate in some
way in this pilgrimage. My wish is to make Srila Gududev
and His devotees happy.
mayi bhaktir hi bhutanam
distya yad asin mat-sneho
Sri Krsna said: 'Devotional service unto Me is the only
way to attain Me. My dear gopis, whatever love and affection
you have attained for Me by good fortune is the only
reason for My returning to you.' "
Art pictures and translation of Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta
from the one-volume edition published by Bhaktivedanta Book