awe and honour and good fortune's appreciation fill me up!
Didi remarks how these Pastimes are eternal and therefore
Mahaprabhu and all His associates must therefore also be
anubhave, nahi jane ana
sri-bhagavata-sastra tahate pramana
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's dancing before the Ratha-yatra car
could be perceived only by pure devotees. Others could not
understand. Descriptions of Lord Krsna's uncommon dancing
can be found in the revealed scripture Srimad-Bhagavatam."
So on this last spur, He practically catches up with the
other two cars belonging to Baladev and Subhadra. We stand
on the side of the road, and now with all the light gone
from the sky, a truck accompanies Jagannath's car, shining
bright light on to the car, and ahead to show the way. He
is near us very shortly, and also stops for a while. We
are very fortunate that all three cars pause beside us for
devotees dance energetically in circles between Jagannath's
and Subhadra's cars, and then rest for a while.
He is off. Watching, some silently relishing the moment while
others are still chanting, we let Him overtake us. At this time
it is understood that we will start our way back to our temple,
and follow Sripad Acharyya Maharaj and Sripad Tirtha Maharaj
leading the way in the opposite direction from the cars, towards
the Jagannath Temple.
this time my energy has dissipated and it appears that most
of the others feel the same way, and devotees affectionately
support one another whilst walking back, hoping for an unoccupied
rickshaw to show up and take us to the temple. We are fortunate
to find a couple of free auto-rickshaws available, and the devotees
pile in. It is a long way to the temple, and our legs and the
rest of our bodies are very relieved to have some of the pressure
at our temple the programme has been going on as usual, led
by Sripad Visnu Maharaj.
at our temple a seated kirttan is under way. The Deities of
Sri Sri Nitai-Chaitanyadev look stunning in Their outfits, and
everyone is standing around having a tale to tell before going
to take bath and honour Prasadam. It has been an amazing day!
are relieved to find that everybody has returned safely. Most
of the devotees have suffered some minor injury to the feet
and legs in the form of cuts, knocks and scratches. Some say
that karma leaves you through your feet on such occasions. But
nobody is severely hurt, even the devotees that have been knocked
over and slightly trampled on are smiling!
is already 8:00pm when we return, so most of the devotees
have quite a late night by the time everything is complete.
The bus is leaving Puri the next morning at 7:30am and
I am feeling very reluctant to join in another 30 hour
bus journey so soon after such an ordeal on my body, especially
as an alternative is offered to me by some devotees catching
a train. Most of the Western devotees are not returning
by bus, so I decide to leave it until morning to decide,
according to how I feel, grateful that Mahananda Prabhu
in Nabadwip, whom I call to report on the day's activities,
agrees that there is no pressure. Now all I can think
about is a good night's sleep!
July 2005 - Departure from Puri Dham
Morning comes and I awake to little Pabittra Prabhu, the
Math's youngest brahmachari, calling at the door. I am
still half asleep and mutter that I will not join the
bus trip, but because of his insistence I must stir and
walk out of the door to talk to him so as not to disturb
the other devotees that I am sharing the room with. I
am still reluctant, but one Prabhu appears, telling me
of what we shall visit on the way, urging me on. I decide
it is not like me to chicken out, and I can do a better
service to the devotees telling the complete 'bus-story.'
I feel much better physically too, so I have 30 minutes
to get showered, packed and ready!
The Westerners that are coming (many found the road too
gruelling and were choosing alternatives) are going to
travel in a Tata Sumo but that idea thrills me even less
than the bus.
shortly we arrive at Konarak Sun Temple. We have a quick
breakfast Prasadam of muri (puffed rice), banana and pakora,
before walking to the temple.
devotees visit Konarak Sun Temple on the way back
from Puri to Nabadwip.
I am shocked at the huge difference in price for foreigners
as opposed to Indian nationals: Rs250/- as opposed to Rs10/-!!
I joke about how if the government blatantly charges twenty-five
times the price, no wonder rickshaw wallahs feel they have to
charge the "White skin tax" as the Indians called
it, to my amusement! I do not have the money to pay this, even
if I had felt impelled to do so, but it seems quite unnecessary.
I walk around the border wall, looking into the gardens and
the temple in the middle and feel quite satisfied.
next stop is in Bhubaneshwar. Here we visit Ananta Vasudev,
a very old temple, and from here a short walk to the Lingaraj
Temple of Lord Siva. First we put water from the holy kund just
outside the Ananta Vasudev Temple on our head, and purified
in this way, we proceed inside the temple.
- Ananta Vasudev Temple and the kund outside it.