In the early morning I heard Nanda Priya Devi Dasi say something about the palanquin which is used to carry Sriman Mahaprabhu, and His boat that is docked at Sri Govinda Kunda.
It was the day for Mahaprabhu's water play and I could understand that Srila Gurudev Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj and all the devotees were going to participate in Mahaprabhu's trip to the Temple of Sri Giriraj in the centre of Sri Govinda Kunda.
After lunch I didn't delay going to Srila Gurudev's veranda, because I knew His Divine Grace would leave earlier to participate in these transcendental Pastimes. I was right and Srila Gurudev left at about 2:30 pm, just after his usual brief rest.
We arrived at the Samadhi Mandir of Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj and quickly the devotees made all the arrangements for Sriman Mahaprabhu to occupy His place on the palanquin. With much care and affection a few devotees brought Mahaprabhu up to the palanquin and they carried Him to His boat. Sripad Paramahamsa Maharaj followed by the side of the palanquin holding Sriman Mahaprabhu and taking all necessary care to avoid any accident.
I was following by the side of Srila Gurudev's scooter, just doing my service and caring for Gurudev's security. On the way, Sripad Goswami Maharaj commented to me that during Mahaprabhu's Pastime in Sri Govinda Kunda something unexpected would always happen to give more taste to the event. This is really true, and I remember the first event when Mahaprabhu was carried to the Temple at the time of its inauguration, with Sri Giriraj, Tulasi Maharani and Srila Gurudev as well in the boat. As soon as they went to the boat and everyone got in, the boat was just one inch above the water, and on the next trip the boat actually sunk with all the devotees while Srila Gurudev was watching everything from the Temple's veranda, in the middle of Govinda Kunda -- smiling broadly to see the Lord's Pastimes with the devotees.
Today, after installing Sriman Mahaprabhu in His place on the boat, Srila Gurudev got in and sat in a chair arranged for him. All the devotees then came inside the boat following Srila Gurudev, and sat down. The boat's parikrama started and we went three times around the Temple of Giriraj. Sudev Prabhu, a Bengali devotee from Nasigram, led a beautiful kirtan while the boat plied smoothly through the waters of Govinda Kunda.
As soon as this finished, the boat was moored to the Temple's stairs. With much care, Mahaprabhu was brought to His place in the Temple. Following Him, Srila Gurudev also climbed the stairs and after paying his dandavat pranams to Giriraj and Mahaprabhu, he sat in his chair and waited for the arati.
Sripad Bhudev Prabhu started the arati and Sripad Acharyya Maharaj led the kirtan. The bhoga was offered (rasagullas with Tulasi leaves) and after arati, Prasadam was distributed and everyone was given a tasty rasagulla.
Again Sriman Mahaprabhu was brought to the boat to make His way back to the Samadhi Mandir, where He stays. Srila Gurudev took his place in his chair aboard the boat, and everyone sat down for the trip back. As soon as Ranajit Prabhu started to release the boat from the stairs, we all felt the boat swaying heavily and screams could be heard from the back of the boat, where the ladies were. A kind of panic took place at that side of the boat and shouts could be heard of, "Snake! Snake!"
We understood quickly that it was one of those snakes who live in the sacred lake and to my astonishment it came in Gurudev's direction. He lifted up his feet and it came to my side. What to do? I am there to protect Srila Gurudev and to my surprise an apparently critical situation had now developed. It came near us and with fear it ran to take shelter under Mahaprabhu's lotus feet, going under Mahaprabhu's palanquin and stayed hidden. It was a relief and after the critical situation had passed everyone started laughing. Sripad Goswami Maharaj turned to me and said: "Didn't I tell you something exciting was going to happen to give this more taste?"
We came to the shore again where Mahaprabhu was carried to the ground, followed by Srila Gurudev and all the devotees. The kirtan procession continued until we all reached the Samadhi Mandir and the completion of today's wonderful programme.
Before returning to his house, Srila Gurudev gave his blessings to the team of devotees headed by Sripad Acharya Maharaj, as they were about to leave to Nasigram in the Math's bus. They were going for preaching programmes and rice collection for the upcoming Sri Gaura Purnima festivals.
Everyone on the bus was very happy and amongst them was Deva Bandhu Prabhu going on his first journey with the preaching team of Sripad Acharya Maharaj.
This is how this beautiful day passed at the Holy Dham under the shelter of Srila Gurudev's lotus feet and in the association of all the Vaisnavas.
In the hope that all the devotees will be happy with this report, I remain,
Picture series of today's Pastimes and excerpt of Srila Govinda Maharaj speaking about the manifestation of Sri Giriraj in Sri Govinda Kunda and Mahaprabhu's jala-keli, divine water play Pastimes.