All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga
Pilgrimage to Sripat Bamunpara
Report by Nanda Priya Devi Dasi of Brazil
One day after the celebrations held in honour of the divine appearance of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj here at the headquarters of the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Nabadwip, the traditional pilgrimage to the divine appearance place of Srila Gurudev, Sripat Bamunpara, was organised.
Three buses loaded with devotees of His Divine Grace left the Math. One of these was reserved for the Western devotees. It was a sweet festival held in pleasant weather, as pointed out by the adorable personal secretary of Srila Gurudev, Bhakti Lalita Devi Dasi.
The journey en route to Bamunpara is really beautiful. Many rice fields were recently harvested, and a feeling of abundance was in the air. There were many cows and tiny villages inhabited by lotus-eyed Bengalis.
The journey of not more than a few kilometres took hours because, after all, the trip was ‘Indian-style,’ with plenty of stops, broken buses and such. At each stop, the locals stared admiringly at the bus filled with blond-haired and very white people wearing kanthi-mala and tilak and chanting the Mahamantra.
By mid morning we had reached Nadanghat, the place from where Srila Gurudev left when heading for the first time to the Math, swimming across the local river in the middle of the night and walking about 15km. Admirable!
Nadanghat is gorgeous, with scenery that makes us think about the descriptions of Vrindavan. We were all received with much honour by a disciple of Srila Gurudev who lives there. It was a very big house that hosted a brief programme and kirttan led by the outstanding Bengali sannyasis. We also took morning Prasadam there: muri, puris, subji and rasagullas for the delight of all the devotees present. The couple who own the house were very busy running here and there almost in an ecstatic trance serving the Vaisnavas in a way that we, in the West, cannot conceive. There are so many lessons in one day… that is to be in India.
Through each small walking passage, Sripad Acharyya Maharaj would lead all of us with kirttan, with impressive intensity and shine. When we were leaving Nadanghat, it was a scene to be held forever in our memory: a local family - husband, wife, small children almost naked, in a very simple rustic house, with several cows resting in the courtyard. All of them were watching the passing devotees in sankirttan, the man with raised arms, the woman with a sweet smile on her face drying with a towel the head of her just-bathed son… poetry in form and images that I hope never to forget.
Soon we reached the super beautiful temple at Sripat Bamunpara and we all went to have darshan of the Deities. After that, we walked to the small house where Srila Gurudev was born. There we could pay our obeisances to the puspa samadhi of Srimati Tarangini Devi (‘Thakur Ma’), the mother of Srila Gurudev, and we could actually enter the very room where Srila Gurudev manifested His Divine Appearance. The always good-humoured Bengalis began a frantic pushing and made a mass of people that maybe only someone who has been here can understand. For every little thing (like entering the bus, or making a line to go into the birth room of Srila Gurudev), there was an almost uncontrollable agglomeration.
Following this there was the main programme, with many kirttans in front of the Deities and then Prasadam consisting of khichri, subji and a most delicious sweet tomato chutney.
It is moving to see how Srila Gurudev takes care of and protects the Western devotees as he promised to his Guru Maharaj. We are spoiled and pampered and, although we are mlechchhas, we end up having the place of honour. That is the grace of our patita pavana Srila Gurudev.
About 2 p.m. the first bus left back to the Math in Nabadwip. Most of the Western devotees went back. For those who stayed there were even more kirttans and the programme ended with a big fireworks show at nightfall.
Being back in the Math is like coming back home, no matter how wonderful the places visited. Everyone felt blessed and tired. After some rest, many things still happened on that same day: Srila Gurudev’s darshan on his veranda, Sri Gaura Arati and an evening lecture by Sripad B.S. Goswami Maharaj. Before sleep, savoury Prasadam and a cup of hot milk warmed up the hearts (and stomachs) of the devotees.
All glory to Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj and his amazing devotees who are like a rainbow of different and wonderful qualities - all of them emanating from the same source: Sri Guru.
My sincere dandavat pranams to all the Vaisnava section!
Nanda Priya Devi Dasi
|Also: Picture-page report of this day, with biographical excerpt
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