September 2011


So Kartik is coming up. I wanted to write about that but alas, I have no pictures from my Kartik in Mayapur last year. It’s not that I didnt take pictures. Its that I took pictures, felt that they were too dark, erased the pictures and decided to try again later which never happened. So I’m pictureless. :/

But we can use our imaginations. All the lights are off in the temple, and the altar is dimly lit by candles.

Ooohhh! I found a video from last year!
God, I miss those days. It was nice going to the temple in the evenings, getting my little ghee lamp and making my rounds to offer my little lamp to all the Deities amongst the hundreds of other devotees. And every night there is an amazing singer leading Damodarastakam and everyone dances and dances when he sings the mahamantra. Its like this for about a month and when its over, you feel like something is missing in the evenings. Dressing up and seeing all your friends. I used to sit near the stairs in Panchatattva’s hall, the stairs that lead up the extension hall, this is before they made that wooden cover thingy so that they have a place to put stuff for class, and then people started using it to keep their purses or backpacks.

Anyway, I used to sit there, and just people watch. I like doing that sometimes. Actually, I did that every night. I really liked that area in Panchatattva’s temple room. Probably because its the least crowded and I could meditate on Panchatattva while I chant and watch people come in and out. Lots of different kinds of people, from every part of India and many parts of the world. New devotees, old devotees, walk through those doors in Panchatattva’s temple room. Fabulous devotees, simple devotees, everyone comes to offer their little ghee lamp hearts to Damodara.

I dont know how I’ll adapt to Damodara Masa here in the states. Regardless, this is one of my favorite times of the year. Maybe I should observe some kind of vrata.

I should give up sweets. Or maybe not.

Today was the Vyasa Puja of my Guru Maharaj, His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami. Since my husband and I are his only disciples here in Miami we celebrated at home, watching the festivities on mayapur.tv, cooking and dressing our Deities in Guru Maharaj’s favorite color (royal blue), and finally feasting! Today was also Srila Prabhupada’s Arrival Day- when he came to America and saved all our wretched selves. Guru Maharaj loves Srila Prabhupada so much that he wants to spend his birthdays glorifying him. And we love Guru Maharaj so much, we cant help but celebrate his appearance day 🙂

I want to take this opportunity to glorify my Guru Maharaj, who is an ocean of mercy. I know this because he took mercy on me. I saw so many times, when I had been shut out by so many devotees, he still saw some good in me and took a chance on me. He still had confidence in me in times when I lost all confidence in myself. He was the only person willing to pick me up when my whole life came crashing down. How do I repay someone as kind as him? He is the perfect example of Vaisnava etiquette. He is so intelligent. So caring and loving. I thank Krishna for bringing him to me. I thank Guru Maharaj for looking past all the dust and dirt and grime and seeing me for what I am. For seeing my potential. For giving me the bravery to be more me than I’ve ever been. How do I thank someone like that?

Except with my life.

Once, when I was sitting in class, Guru Maharaj was speaking and suddenly someone came in. I saw Guru Maharaj’s reaction, he looked up, and seeing who it was, he beamed a bright smile, welcomed the devotee and then continued with giving class. But in that moment, I thought, if Guru Maharaj could beam like that when I walked into a room, just once, and think to himself “there is Prema-Rupa, she is a good girl.” my life would be complete. I have literally sacrificed my entire life, my entire future, just to gain even a moments favor from Guru Maharaj. Because he took a chance on me. He believed in me. And I dont want to disappoint him. Once in class he said, “if anything needs to be done then you should be the one to do it yourself.” I have taken that instruction to heart and that is why I am here, in service to my Guru Maharaj. And hoping just one time he will smile at me, remember my name, and say that I am a good girl.

I havent written in this blog in over a year. Its a shame really because I really like writing and storytelling. My problem is simply that Im lazy and I guess I assume that if anyone wanted to know what was going on with me, they would just add me on Facebook. But in this year I was so surprised at the amount of devotees that approached me and wanted to know what happened to my blog, maybe they’re waiting on tutorials or for me to tell more stories. People I would never expect! So maybe I’ll give it a go again.

In this year I would say that I’ve been pretty busy. I spent five months in Sri Mayapur Dham studying in their Pujari Training Course at Mayapur Academy. And since coming back at the end of March I moved to Miami, Florida and jumped right into being a full-time pujari taking care of the large-and-in-charge Lord Jagannath, Baladev and Lady Subhadra.

So I have a whole bunch of pics from Mayapur. I cant stop thinking about Mayapur. Its all I ever talk about and think about. You know what’s horrible? When I was in Mayapur, I couldn’t wait to come back to the US. Now Im here and I remember all the wonderful memories I had there and I’m dying to go back. The things that used to annoy me so much makes me laugh now. Darshans I used to shrug my shoulders at I now reverently observe though my computer screen. The peace and quite I begged for in the crowds of people, now replaced by an empty loneliness. I remember walking around and laughing with my friends. I miss being able to eat anything anywhere and never wonder about meat, eggs, fish, onion, garlic. I would chant in Panchatattva’s temple room in the evenings- pacing back and forth, begging to be Their instrument. I used to get knocked over by egar Bengali women trying to take Darshan of Radha-Madhava. I seriously miss mahaprasadam french fries. Something that good should be illegal. I used to ride my bicycle on the Main Road and nearly kill myself, but I would just jump back on again and speed toward Deity greeting. I miss rikshaw rides. I miss the boat between Mayapur and Navadwip Ghat. I miss Navawip, even though its a little ghetto and scary. I miss the house my husband and I are building together. I miss the headache. The heartache. And, yes, even the occasional stomach-ache. I miss sleeping in through mangal-arati with my husband and we both wake up in time to listen to the morning announcements on the radio. I miss the familiar faces. I miss that Krishna is part of a regular routine.

I left since the end of March. But I still, really really miss Mayapur.