All Glories to Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev Goswami Maharaj

Summary of the Month

Soquel, California — December 2004

By Vaidehi Devi Dasi

Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika Giridhari.

The small deities at the foot of the altar: Srila Prabhupad, Radha, Krishna, and Sriman Mahaprabhu.

Sri Giriraj at the feet of Srimati Radharani, beautifully dressed and seated on cushioned chairs.

Eternally present, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj observes the activities of his ashrams world-wide.

While His Divine Grace was traveling, it was quiet at the Soquel Seva Ashram. The usual activities took place, but not with the same enthusiastic current running through the devotees. The Sunday feasts came and went, but it wasn't the same without Sripad Goswami Maharaj's Sunday class, and the presence of the many saintly sannyasis.
At last! The skies parted and Gurudeva arrived! Once He arrived everything was back on schedule: Sanatani and Sureshvari dedicatedly serving in the kitchen with their crew of young devotees, a multitude of guests, and of course, more seva opportunities.

Srila Govinda Maharaj on his verandah taking rest with the company of a few devotees after arriving from Mexico.

One night, Vaisnavi Dasi rented the Indian movie Lagaan for Srila Gurudev. He was very pleased, especially with the musical scenes.

Not feeling too well but with much determination, he went for the second time to the very top of the mountain.

He looked at the trees and asked about the vegetation. He spotted ferns, eucalyptus trees, Redwood trees, pampas grass, etc. We learned that wherever there is fern growth means that water runs beneath the surface. It was mentioned that Hasyapriya Prabhu is thinking there is a spring flowing to the top of this mountain!

Gurudev tried to look at the ocean but the fog was too thick that day. However, he could see the future plans for a small structure at the top of this hill.

Glancing at the devotees and energizing us with his smile he spoke sweetly about the land, which he has called Gupta-Govardhan.

It was time to go back down the hill again, and very carefully at that. While he had been away there were showers of rain at the land, and the path was a bit muddy.

The fall sun shone its last behind the trees and the rain took over the sky. It was now time to give nourishment to the thirsty plants.

As the temperature became cooler, the chimney was needed in the temple room. The devotees walked around in fluffy warm jackets and the children were kept inside. The children at the Ashram are the ones that use this land to the fullest extent. Playing in the trees, making tree-houses, having mud fights, helping in the garden.... But what to do inside on a rainy day?

One cozy evening indoors, Dikshavati Dasi performed a small magic show for the younger kids. With all of her equipment: balloons, hats, cups, and a few other tricks up her sleeve, she made things appear and disappear before our eyes.

Amalia from Utah, a very sweet little Vaisnava, smiling at the magic before her.

Big kids, small kids, old kids — everybody there enjoyed the show.

Anjali Dasi holding on to her animal balloon and watching the show.

Every morning Sripad Janardan Maharaj reads from the Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita at 7am while Srila Gurudev rests in his room after breakfast. One morning Srila Govinda Maharaj unexpectedly walked into the temple room and sat down to hear the class. Janardan Maharaj stopped reading. Everybody had a surprised expression on their faces. Srila Gurudev, seated in his saffron chair, told Janardan Maharaj to continue giving class. Sripad Janardan Maharaj was very shy but followed the instruction and continued. The devotees in the temple room were especially attentive and noticed Gurudev's facial expression and gestures as he listened to Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita.
Later that morning Srila Gurudev mentioned how he had completely forgotten the pastime Janardan Maharaj had read, and felt much joy at listening to it once again. He said the Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita was very important and we should read one chapter every day — he repeated this several times.

Morning class with Sripad Janardan Maharaj.

Ratikanta and Adi Keshava Prabhus regularly attend the morning program. This was a lucky day!

Sripad Akinchana Maharaj helping Gurudev back to his verandah.

Ananda Lilamoya Vigraha Prabhu playing the mrdanga after Srila Gurudev left the temple room that morning.

"Holding an even higher position than Vrindavan is Govardhan, where Sri Sri Gandharvika-Giridhari are ever engaged in Their play of Divine Love."

On another occasion during the last few days of December, His Divine Grace came outside to get some fresh air.

Peacefully sitting down, He observed the land.

Gurudev smiles at Jahnavi Dasi who was taking a picture of him.

Recently it has been raining and the sky has been foggy. It was evening when Srila Govinda Maharaj came outside and the sky was gray.

Sripad Ashram Maharaj looked to see what Gurudev was observing.

The devotees watched as the environment changed within the first five minutes Gurudev was outside.

Sureshvari DD came outside to greet Gurudev and said, "Look! You have made the sun come out."

Notice the sky, the shade. This is right as Gurudev was coming outside.

After He was outside for a few moments the sun shone through the clouds and warmed the trees.

Even 'Shadow,' the fierce temple cat, came outside to see Gurudev. The temple dogs know to avoid Shadow if they want to stay safe.

Later that evening, Sarvabhavana Prabhu gave the Tuesday class as he regularly does. He patiently listens to the devotees and answers questions. He reads from several of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's books such as Golden Volcano and Sri Guru and His Grace.

As enthusiastic as anybody can be, Sripad Ashram Maharaj went on sankirttan!

Nowl Kishor was overjoyed at having a swami such as Sripad Ashram Maharaj with him.

As far as our guests, we had many devotees visit from Utah, Detroit, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Mexico and England. Guarasundar Prabhu from Mexico is still at the Soquel Seva Ashram serving the kitchen crew tirelessly.

Vanadevi Devi Dasi came for a short, but sweet visit to glimpse Srila Govinda Maharaj, and offer her service at the Soquel Seva Ashram.

This concludes the brief events of December with His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj.
My dandavat pranams to all of Srila Gurudev's dear devotees around the world!
—Vaidehi Devi Dasi

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