Karttika Report Part 2

Dec 10 2010 - News

(What follows is a short report on the second half of Karttika Masa at Sri Sri Radha-Damodara Temple in Vrndavana)

Arriving with the newly re-printed Follow The Angels by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Deva Gosvami, Svami Bhakti Srirupa Madhava, Syamasundara Dasa Brahmacari, Rupanuga Dasa Brahmacari, Panca-tattva Das, Vamanadeva Dasa Adhikari, Prema-manjari Dasi, Vraja-sundari Dasi and Vraja-lila Dasi reached Vrndavana just in time to join the devotees for Sri Govardhana Puja at Sri Sri Radha-Damodara Mandira.

The day was spent in grand celebration honoring the day Krsna gave all the residents of Vraja shelter by lifting Govardhana Hill over their heads. As has been the tradition for millennia, there was an enormous amount of prasadam distributed to thousands who came to have darsana of Sri Radha-Damodara and Sri Giriraja (a most wonderful sila from Govardhana Hill holding Lord Krsna’s footprint, the footprint of one of His beloved calves and the mark of the Lord’s vamsi). This festival, know as Annakuta is extraordinarily beautiful with a mountain of rice and hundreds of sweet and savory preparations made for the Lord’s pleasure and taken sumptuously as prasadam by all his devotees after huge kirtana and parikrama.

Three days following Govardhana Puja, the devotees observed Srila Prabhupada’s tirobhava. Here in Vrndavana, 33 years ago, His Divine Grace departed from the vision of this mortal world. Sharing how Srila Prabhupada brought all of his devotees’ attention to Sri Vrndavana-dhama and Govardhana during Karttika, Svami Madhava spoke of Srila Prabhupada’s unique contribution to the Vaisnava world and what lies beyond those often overlooked contributions as illuminated by our Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Maharaja.

That morning a beautiful guru-puja was performed for Srila Prabhupada, and in the evening from 7-8pm (at precisely 7:20pm, being the time that Srila Prabhupada entered samadhi), kirtana, guru-puja and puspanjali were offered to His Divine Grace as his murti was brought out of his rooms onto his front veranda so that all the assembled Vaisnavas could join in and take part. The guru-puja was performed by Kanika-prasad Gosvami.

The glories of Vrndavana-dhama and the importance of dhama, nama and Vaisnava seva, were the subjects of many classes and question and answer sessions that were held in the mornings.

Our devotees kept very busy cleaning the temple three times a day after the huge crowds had dispersed from after arati and darsanas. Evenings were spent at the book table and in wonderful kirtanas.

Our devotees also took darsana of the Sapta-devalaya (the seven main temples of Vrndavana) and other significant lila-sthalis (places of the Lords pastimes) such as Imli-tala and the Yamuna.

Kirtana and parikrama were performed throughout the remaining days in Vrndavana. A very special day was spent at Govardhana and Radha-kunda as the devotees had a wonderful darsana and parikrama at the feet of the Lord’s dearest devotee – Sri Giriraja Maharaja.

Observing the extra significant days during the month of Karttika, such as Srila Gaura Kisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja’s tirobhava and Srila Puri Gosvami Maharaja’s tirobhava were spent discussing their transcendental pastimes and extra nama-bhajana, remembering such exalted personalities, extra special attachment to the Holy Name and their siksa of the necessity to dive deeply into the constant chanting of the Lord’s Holy Names.

The day of Sri Radha pada-darsana, when Srimati Radharani dresses as Subala-sakha, is the only day in the year when the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani are viewable on the altar by the devotees; and the day of Sri Tulasi-devi and Saligrama's marriage were extra memorable as the srngara (decoration), pujas and flow of pilgrims were so significant.

The last day of Karttika – Maha-rasa Purnima – was extremely beautiful with the Deities giving Their darsana out in front of the altar along with Sri Giriraja. The elaborate flower decoration on the altar and around the entire temple began twenty-four hours before and it showed. The beautiful Deities, dressed in stunning outfits, were so close to the crowds and the mood of Vrndavana was extra prominent. This made departing Vrndavana for all our respective places extremely difficult, but as service calls, it is also what called us to Vrndavana.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to be given entrance, under our Guru Maharaja’s guidance ,to Srila Prabhupada’s ‘eternal place of residence' at Radha-Damodara Mandira – ‘the center of the spiritual world’ as His Divine Grace announced, as well as the seva and sanga of the dear Gosvamis who have their permanent place of residence and service there.

Sri Radha
Sri Damodara
The Gosvamis Performing Kirtana
Sri Nirmal Chandra Gosvamiji
Govardhana Puja Offering
Bhajanas on Govardhana Puja Day
The Devotees and Pilgrims at the Annakuta Festival
Crowd at Govardhana Puja
Syamasundara Prabhu Offering Guru Puja to Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada Brought out onto His Veranda
Srila Prabhupada on his Veranda
Kanika Prasada Goswami Offering Guru Puja
Syamasundara & Rupanuga Serving Srila Prabhupada
Devotees at Dasa Gosvami's Samadhi
Kanika Prasad Goswami Serving Gopala
Go Puja Celebrations
Go Puja
Subala Vesa
Radha Pada-darsana
Salagrama Sila Waiting for His bride, Tulasi-devi
Arrival of Tulasi-devi
Tulasi-Salagrama Vivaha
Tulasi-Salagrama Vivaha
The Evening of Tulasi & Salagrama's Wedding
Deities During Maha Rasa Celebrations
Maha Rasa Purnima
Govardhana Sila on Maha Rasa Purnima
Maha Rasa Purnima
The Altar at Radha-Damodara Temple on Maha Rasa Purnima
Arati on Maha Rasa Purnima
Sri Nirmal Chandra Goswami Performing Mangala-Arati
Govardhana Parikrama
Devotees at Sri Radha-kunda