November 2007


Okay, I have lots to talk about.

First, my big secret from speaking with Guru Maharaj on Saturday! We talked about initiation and he was actually thinking about giving it to me on the Sunday after that Saturday! But as you may have noticed, Im still Praveen. He decided that having an initiation at the last minute wouldnt be so nice. He said he would prefer to have a well organized fire sacrifice with a qualified bramhin and all that jazz instead of just throwing something together. *sigh* When will that day be mine?

Second, I decided to skip out of class 15 minutes early on Wednesday to see Guru Maharaj. I didnt realize it would take me an hour to get there. By the time I arrived I heard him speak for five minutes and then the program was finished, normally it doesnt finish so early but I guess because there was hardly anyone he decided to finish. So I thought, okay, that sucks, but tomorrow I will get there on time. So on thursday I get all dolled-up and make my way over there. Im a couple minutes early but I can see through the door everyone is standing in the dinning room. Whats going on? I enter and Guru Maharaj is sitting at the dinning room table, he looks up at me, “You’re late”. I fumble and say something like, “Im sorry, I didnt know we were starting early, should I just go back home?” Then he chuckled and said that he kinda spaced-out today and accidentally did Damodarasktam an hour early. So imagine my luck. Two days of trying to meet Guru Maharaj, no avail.

I thought for sure I would meet him on Friday evening but they fortunately let me know that he was leaving that morning. So I decided that my husband and I can see him in the morning. We got there in the morning, and we got to see Guru Maharaj!!! Not just that but I think he kinda felt bad for me so he gave a Bhagavatam class and asked if I had any questons. I didnt, I was just so happy to finally see him for more than five mintues that I didnt think to have a question.

Normally I dont ask questions but when Im around him I just feel like asking. Dunno why. I never ever ask anything. But I guess he makes me feel safe, like whatever questions I have he’ll answer it without making me feel like an idiot.

After class and breakfast Guru Maharaj took a nap. I was told he naps for about 15 minutes but he ended up oversleeping and slept for to hours. He must have been exhausted! After he woke up my husband spoke with him quickly (which is when I found out about the initiation thing) and also my husband asked about giving me some service and Maharaj said that he will talk about it more in-depth with us after his weekend trip.

Third, at the last minute my husband and I decided to go to Alachua for Govardhan Puja. It was quite nice, the Deities were gorgeous, and Govardhan Hill was beautiful and perhaps the most delicious hill I’ve ever eaten in my life. I also got to meet a devotee that I’ve known on LiveJournal for years and she was super nice! It was a good good trip. I was also able to get over the little things that bother me about the devotees there (errm..chewing gum in the temple room is so not cool).

I saw Guru Maharaj for one last time on Tuesday. I saw him with my husband in the morning and he kinda yelled at me. It made me confused but I wasnt really angry. I wanted to clarify myself for sure. But I knew that his chastising me wasnt ordinary. Some sannyasis yell at everyone and anyone. But Guru Maharaj has a polite and patient disposition and doesnt really yell at anyone unless he knows them very well. So I felt blessed and instead of clarifying myself I decided to let it go. I love that our relationship has gone beyond plesantries.

The only thing I dont understand is why he doesnt say my name. I’ve heard him say other devotees names. I think he knows my name, he’s heard it and I sent him a letter so I know he’s read it. I think maybe he hates it. Or maybe he figures he doesnt need to remember it because he’s going to give me a different name really soon (like next month). Maybe he’s like me and just isnt good with names.

I skipped out on my Tuesday class (I know, Im terrible) and went to the program for Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Day. And it was totally awesome! There were four Srila Prabhupada disciples in attendance that gave class, Guru Maharaj, Trivikrama Maharaj, Gokula-Ranjana Prabhu and, I know you arent going to believe me, but Bhagavan Prabhu was there. Yes. THE Bhagavan. I wont go into too much detail about him in this blog, but I will in my other one. Or you can just ask me. But the program was great. Great realizations, funny things, sad things.

Prasadam was over and above amazing. And Guru Maharaj’s palak subji was so amazing that my husband and I dreamt of Srila Prabhupada all night. It was sooooooooo good.

I watched Guru Maharaj talk with devotees after the program. I know that some of it is private and perhaps the only meeting some devotees could get with him so I sat super far away and chanted quietly while they chatted and other devotees went about their business.

I really just enjoy watching Guru Maharaj. The way he sits, the way he talks, the way he walks. I’m not really sure if he knows that i watch him. Sometimes its blatantly obvious that I am and sometimes I hide. Im not sure why I do it really. I think I just get caught up in admiring him and I just sort of stare. I know he caught me once. I was watching him during the Govardhana Puja kirtan. He came a bit late but instead of making a big show of himself or pushing his way to the front, he stood quietly in the back and seemed satisfied to just attend the program. And so I was just standing there, outside of the temple and he was about 50 feet away inside the temple. I think he could feel me looking because he turned his head, leaned a bit forward and smiled at me. I grinned back and then felt embarassed and ran away. Im such a geek.

Anyway so back to the original pastime. I stopped watching them after some time and fell into focusing on my rounds. Thats what years of practice does. You focus without even realizing it. Suddenly I heard Maharaj’s voice, “So how are you?” I looked up and Guru Maharaj was looking down at me. I stood up quickly, “I am fine”.
“How many rounds have you completed?”
“Hmm..only 5 so far. I have eleven more to go. I’ll probably be awake until late tonight.”
“You put it off for the last minute?”
“We’ll I’ve been here since early morning trying to help out for today’s program and I’ve had to do a lot of running around so only now have I had a chance to sit down and chant.”
“Oh. Please dont neglect your chanting. Make it a priority.”
“I do Guru Maharaj. I will try harder.”

So if you know me (God I say that a lot), then you’ll know I always have some plan up my sleeve. Guru Maharaj is under the impression that chanting gets in the way of studies. I say, they can co-exist. So I’ve decided to create a kind-of japa journal. It has three columns. One for how many rounds chanted. The second for the time it was done and the last for any extra comments. And on the bottom there is room to write about any realizations I had that day. So from now until Guru Maharaj comes back, Im going to write in it every day. And when he arrives I’ll bind it nicely and present it to him as proof that it is possible to chant at least the minimum amount of rounds while going about daily stuff. Cool?!

Guru Maharaj left on Thursday. I really really miss him.

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Me: Here’s a flower, take it.
Sri Madana-Mohana: Okay…
Me: Next is the whisk-
Sri Madana-Mohana: Hey wait, what did you give me a flower for?
Me: Because its part of the arati
Sri Madana-Mohana: And thats it?
Me: I guess. I’m kinda thinking about my TV show right now. It starts in five minutes, so if I can hurry up with the whisk thing…
Sri Madana-Mohana: Oh okay…well thanks for the flower…not that I really need it…

I thought of this while I was cooking today and I needed some water. Which then reminded me of the verse:

patram puspam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
aśnāmi prayatātmanah

If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.
-BG 9.26

Which made me think about how we offer so many things to Krishna, most frequently during arati, but Krishna doesnt really need these things, He is the original creator after all. What’s He going to do with a leaf and some water? But the key here is devotion. An example that comes to mind is if a father gives his kid some money, and he uses the money to buy something for his Dad. Of course, the father could have just gone out and bought it himself or maybe its not such a great gift to begin with. But because his child gave it out of love, the father is very happy. So when we offer things to Krishna or even to our Guru, its not in the mentality that “this is a ritual and it must be done” or even, “without me they are completely helpless”. But more in the mentality of, “I love you, and this object, though you dont need it, is a representation of my love for you.”

Me: I found these pretty flowers on my japa walk today.
Sri Madana-Mohana: Aww.. I love it!
Me: I know its not very much but when I saw them I thought it would be perfect for your turban.
Sri Madana-Mohana: Thats so thoughtful!
Me: Well, I try to be, I love you so much, I wish I could give you more than some silly little flowers.
Sri Madana-Mohana: No, I love whatever you give me because you do it with love.
Me: Really? So you like my flowers?
Sri Madana-Mohana: Of course I do! Not because they’re flowers but because they came from your heart

Im just posting to let y’all know that Im alive. I have LOTS to post about but Im keeping my writings on private for now so that I dont jinx myself!

But I will say this much. I went on harinam sankirtan and a nut from a tree hit me square on the head. It was hilarious!

I love Guru Maharaj so so so so so much. He’s just amazing. Like, way more amazing than when I saw him in North Carolina. He’s so merciful and understanding and humble. He makes me forget all my problems. I wish I could serve him. I think anyone that says anything bad about him is probably the greatest sinner in the world and will probably pay for it dearly. But thats just me.

I dont have much else to say, Ive just been surrounding myself with either school or seeing Guru Maharaj. Sometimes he says things and I wonder, “is he so kind to everyone or am I just getting some special mercy?”

I asked him a question on Sunday. I never ask questions! It was probably a dumb question and Im sure everyone thinks Im a hater but I dont care.