Friday, June 22, 2007

The End of an Era

Last week Maharaja met with the doctor and after a check-up the doctor has said that one more week of treatments and then Maharaja can return to the lotus feet of Giriraja Govardhan.

Well that week finishes today and tomorrow morning we will set sails for teh Holy Land of Govardhan. Giriraja Maharaja KI JAYA!!

Maharaja will have to continue with a HEP (home exercise program) to keep things in order and to prevent a relapse. Maharaja will have to return in about 3-4 weeks time for a review and possibly more treatment if necessary. Otherwise, Maharaja is in very good spirits and excited about returning back home back to Govardhan.

Maharaja invited Dr. Nijhara and his whole staff to Govardhan for a Japa Retreat. The doctor agreed and promised they would all come out for a session. This exchange between doctor and patient went far beyond the bodily platform. Maharaja has mesmerized and captivated the whole crew here with his out-going, up-beat, positive and personal interactions. Proving once again that the key to success lies in loving relationship.

This means I will now head back to London on 26th June after a one night stop in Mumbai with teh Radha Gopinath devotees and then proceed to USA to visit with my dear Mother.

This has been an intense and enlightening turn of events for me. There is MUCH to be digested and assimilated from such close association with such a wonderful and dedicated servant of the Lord. I will share some of my realisations later.

Maharaja was reading out-loud Caitanya Caritamrta this morning. the section about Sakshi Gopal. Specifically he read the following verse and purport just as part of daily reading. I found it significant and felt very blessed and fortunate.

CC Mad. 5.23

Both brahmanas were pure Vaisnavas. The younger man took special care of the older one simply to please Krsna. In Srimad-Bhägavatam (11.19.21) Krsna says, mad-bhakta-püjäbhyadhikä: “It is better to render service to My devotee.” Thus, according to the Gaudiya-Vaisnava philosophy of Caitanya Mahäprabhu, it is better to be a servant of the servant of God [Cc. Madhya 13.80]. One should not try to serve Krsna directly. A pure Vaisnava serves a servant of Krsna and identifies himself as a servant of a servant of Krsna. This is pleasing to Lord Krsna. Srila Narottama däsa Thäkura confirms this philosophy: chäòiyä vaiñëava-sevä nistära peyeche kebä. Unless one serves a liberated Vaisnava, he cannot attain liberation by directly serving Krsna. He must serve the servant of Krsna.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Maharaja's First SB Class

On Sunday 10th June HH Kesava Bharati dasa Goswami Maharaja gave Srimad Bhagavatam class in the Temple Room. This was a very big step for him. There were probably over 200 devotees present.

Maharaja entered during the guru puja kirtana, he offered flowers to Prabhupada and then immediately went to the kirtana party and started to crank up the enthusiasm. The mood was electric as so many devotees who knew Maharaja and what he has been going through looked on with huge smiles.

Maharaja took darshan, did short parikrama and then headed back into the kirtana party. After a few minutes the kirtana finished and they handed the mic to Maharaja. He started to say the Prema-Dhvani prayers and everyone was saying "No, no, no - more kirtana!" Maharaja at first said "NO WAY!" Then he grabbed the mic and started singing HARE KRISHNA! It was AMAZING!

Maharaja led kirtana for about 10-15 minutes. The devotees were holding hands, dancing in circles around Maharaja and I was about to have an emotional breakdown as a floodgate of mercy burst open and I felt myself overwhelmed by an intense feeling of love and pride. It is hard to explain - but I was so proud to see Maharaja back on his feet and in the place where he belongs. These ten weeks have not been easy and this was like a climax of the whole event. I will not try to explain the gratitude and exuberance I felt seeing Maharaja in the Temple Room in front of those beautiful Lordships and devotees who had taken so much wonderful care of him through-out this epic saga.

The class was also amazing. The verse was SB 3.7.36 - O best among the brahmanas, those who are spiritual masters are very kind to the needy. They are always kind to their followers, disciples and sons, and without being asked by them, the spiritual master describes all that is knowledge.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

My Apologies

I apologise for the delay in updating the blog.

I greatly appreciate all of the encouragement and feedback. Thank you.

I have recieved a few emails form different devotees who especially appreciate the information about Kesava Bharati Maharaja - so this recent update focuses on him.

The next Good Dog Bad Dog session is - "just now coming". I been fighting with my bad dog and my good dog seems to have abandoned ship! :)

Belated Maharaja Health Update - 1 June 2007

On Monday Maharaja went back to Dr. Sanjaya Nijhara after a two week break that was considered part of his treatment. This two week break came after six full-on weeks of treatments at least three times a week.

These treatments were in the category of pain management. It involved inserting several 3-4 inch needles into the muscles that surround the area of pain. The needles cause the muscles to relax, which in turn reduces the tension in that area and ultimately reduces the pain. It is nothing short of miraculous the way this doctor is serving Maharaja and dealing with the pain. This method is much more natural than injections, heavy drugs or surgery.

Anyhow on Monday Maharaja moved to the second phase of his treatments which is "Increasing Mobility" and which involves daily physio-therapy and home exercises. The exercises are simple but increasing Maharaja's mobility already. He is definitely on the mend.

There is a meeting on Saturday morning with the doctor to decide how long this phase will last before Maharaja is discharged back to Govardhan with his own set of home exercises.

Please keep the prayers coming. Although this is taking time - this is a natural healing process and much better long term than the quick fixes on the modern day.

The picture above is not Dr. Nijhara, but one of the physio therapists Dr. Neeraj Gogio. This doctor has come to visit us at the Temple and is asking many questions of Maharaja. You can see in this picture Maharaja is preaching up a storm! :)

More later...

Kesava Bharati Maharaja IYF Talk - Sunday 27 May 2007

Here are a few points from the talk Maharaja gave:

Krishna Consciousness is a positive affair - NOT negative

Difficulties in spiritual life are caused by a friction in the mind and heart when we resist the process.

This is my favorite from this lecture!
Trains of thought analogy:
The mind is like a train station with many platforms and
so many trains of thought.

We have to make sure we get on the right train.
We have to practice taking the train to Goloka.
If we get on the wrong train then our mind becomes disturbed -
this is how we know we are on the wrong train.

So we have to get off at the immediate next stop and
get on the right train of thought.

Another nice one.
We must take the order of Guru into our heart and then call upon it in desperation at the time of need.

This was a nice talk - although short because Maharaja was feeling some serious discomfort in his back.

The evening before this talk he gave a Sanga talk with about five devotees. Maharaja sat up and read form Brhad Bhagavatamrta for almost ninety minutes. He was so enlivened.

Here is how I described the mood on the evening in a poetic prose.

The devotees sit and listen with ears attentive to the message of Godhead - eager to understand a deeper instruction for practical application in their lives. This is listening with wrapped attention.

Some highlights of that talk were:

Maharaja read from Chapter Three of Part Two, Volume Two starting with verse 123

The devotional mentality is this:
We know we are Krishna's servant and he is supporting us, so no need to worry - BUT still we work.

In all scriptures Krishna tells us what he wants from us:
LOVE which means devotional service, the active principle of love, the expression of that love.

Maharaja is getting fired up now!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Good Dog vs Bad Dog - Session Four

It is explained that at one point in time the divine and demoniac lived in seperate universes. Later they lived on seperate planets in the same universe. Then eventually on the same planet, in the same town, in the same household and NOW - within the same body.

The Sixteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-git explains these tendencies very clearly. It is not a great mystery. We all experience these battles - do we not? Please don't tell me I am the only one.

I suggest you read the first few entries in this chapter and then explore within which train of thought you want to follow.

A nice analogy about trains of thought coming soon from a lecture given this morning by HH Kesava Bharati Maharaja.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Kesava Bharati Maharaja's First Public Talk

Maharaja gave his first talk on Sunday 20 May to the ISKCON Youth Forum (IYF) group. This is the same group I spoke to the previous week.

This was a VERY big step for Maharaja who has been basically cooped up in a asmall room for over seven weeks - and bedridden since a few weeks before that.

The talk went well.

It was basically a questions and answers session - that became a a real "doozy" of a talk with Maharaja providing the questions and answers. (These boys are not so interactive?)

He made it for about 75 minutes before he had to leave due to pain starting to come up in his back.

Some highlights:

He quoted Bhakti Vinoda Thakur - If you are fortunate enough to beg for the Holy Name then your life becomes perfect.

We will know we are doing the right things when our love for Krishna grows and our FASCINATION with matter becomes less.

He cited SB 4.6.21 puport - When we are able to see punishment as a reward dealt by the Master, then He gives the intelligence by which we will no longer make those mistakes.

He mentioned a statement from the Seventh Canto of Bhagavatam - Only thing that pleases Krishna completely is "Unflinching Faith". So how will he know if we have unflinching faith if we are not tested by things that can make us flinch? WOW! THIS IS NICE!

Bhagavad-gita is a manual for facing challenging circumstances

In closing he made the following statement which I found greatly inspiring - Once you "GET IT", that everything is Krishna's and YOU are just a caretaker, then you will take better care of everything.

All in all it was a winner an dall teh devotees stood up at the end as Maharaja was leaving and many followed him all the way back to his room - where he immediately took rest to recover.

Please everyone continue to pray.