adapted from an email by Sripad Bhakti Kanan Giri Maharaj, with His Holiness' permission.
My dandavat pranams to all the devotee readers.
I just arrived back at the New Jersey Math with Lila Sundari Devi Dasi. By the grace of the devotees we were able to attend the programmes in Veracruz and Soquel during this 23rd World Tour of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. Our finances are very low, therefore we are so grateful to His Divine Grace for his visit for those of us who cannot get to India.
I have some photos to post on our new website scsmathnj.com which is already up but very sparsely populated. When I get it filled in a little more I'll announce the new site. This will be a new website for the New Jersey Math also serving Philadelphia and New York City. Photos will be included from Srila Gurudev's visit to Veracruz and Soquel.
Just before leaving Soquel Srila Gurudev mentioned he was "very happy" with his tour and that perhaps it was his happiest to date in spite of health problems. I was surprised to hear this remark. It's a little difficult to understand but we were also made happy by hearing it.
He mentioned he was very happy to know that we now have a preaching centre in Bangkok and will also soon open something in Japan with Paramananda Prabhu and Ajitasha Devi Dasi, when Srutasrava Prabhu goes there.
In addition I suspect Srila Govinda Maharaj was pleased to see how well many functions were carried out by those who were helping him. In particular the Veracruz installation went exceedingly well with Sripad Janardan Maharaj and Sadhu Priya Prabhu making all the preparations very nicely and performing the entire function, sans fire sacrifice, in less than an hour doing the abhisheka while Srila Govinda Maharaj gave a marvellous talk about Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika Nandanandana's appearance. Sripad Janardan Maharaj also did a wonderful thing. Srila Gurudev told him to place the Tulasi leaves at the feet of Krishna and Mahaprabhu and in the hand of Sri Radha, after Gurudev first peeked into the Deity room to see that everything was properly prepared.
Gurudev then took his seat in the temple room. Sripad Janardan Maharaj then brought the Tulasi and chandan to Srila Gurudev and asked him if he would like to prepare it. He did so very happily and then sent Sripadji to place them on the Deities. In this way, although Srila Govinda Maharaj did not personally place the Tulasi on the Deity, he was drawn in closer to the function than he had expected and appeared very pleased with this.
There were also many initiations carried out by Sripads Ashram Maharaj and Janardan Maharaj in Veracruz with other sannyasis also chanting on the mala. When His Divine Grace wanted to speak to the devotees he did so but at other times it was truly his chance to simply meet with devotees and friends without any particular pressure to do so, and all the while, important functions were being carried out by his delegates. In short, I think His Divine Grace perhaps gained some confidence that he could depend on many others including those like Sripad Acharyya Maharaj and Mahananda Prabhu in India, Sripad Avadhut Maharaj in Russia and so forth to carry out the functions of the Mission while he offered advice and direction as needed without the need to step in and put out any fires himself.
During the segments of the tour I observed, Srila Govinda Maharaj appeared to be much more comfortable than on previous tours. His behaviour was very much like when he is in Kolkata. For the most part everyone knows their job and they only come to him for darshans and from time to time if some particular problem requires his direction. In any event he is controlling everything from the comfort of his room which is his home. This is not to detract from the obvious tolerance he observes in the face of a plethora of problems, but to emphasize that he seemed much more 'at home' in the different environments than previously, and more comfortable delegating authority to others.
Well, these are one simple man's observations. I hope I haven't said anything offensive or intruded beyond my pay grade. I just thought to share my thoughts with the devotees.
I pray this finds the devotees well in all respects.
With my humble obeisances,
~ Giri Maharaj