24 Dec Picnic in Ram Janardan Mandir
Devotees in Ujjain had long being waiting for this day when a picnic would be arranged and their cherished desire was answered by Guru Maharaj a few days back when he announced that a picnic would be organised. It was a wonderful day for a picnic with the sun shining brightly but the air a little chilly as it is the winter season.
The venue was the Ram Janardan Mandir a temple complex more than 300 years old, beautifully constructed of stone. The main temple is a temple of Sita Ram Lakshman while the other is of Lord Janardan and a small temple of Hanuman.
There is also a very deep Kunda or pond in the compound. There is a lush green meadow in the campus.
Gurumaharaj first visited the temples and then started his speech by saying that Spiritual world is a world of festivity.
What kind of festivity? Centered around Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead. In material world there is also festivity like Christmas is coming up. On Christmas Eve, what do they do? They get drunk. Their way of enjoyment is to
On Christmas day, how do they celebrate? By eating meat especially turkey. People do not know how to enjoy. They are constantly suffering. They call enjoyment the forgetfulness of their suffering condition. Nobody wants to forget their enjoyment
Srila Prabhupada came to give the message of the existence of one world full of enjoyment. Real enjoyment comes from our loving exchange with the Lord. When we love Krsna we love whoever is connected to Him. “You love me, you love my dog.” God is man’s best friend. Dog became man’s best friend. Krsna says that you love me you also love those who are dear to me. Who are they? They are Krsna’s devotees. Srila Prabhupada gave the example of a rich man. It is vey difficult to
please a rich man because he has everything. Whatever you will give him will be insignificant, nothing will impress him but he has a little son and if you give to his son a little toy, a gulab jamoun; and the father sees that his son becomes favorable to you, loves you, the father will love you.
There are three kinds of devotees Kanistha adhikari devotee recognizes Krsna, worships Him serves Him but does not recognize his devotees. Madhyam adhikari devotee recognizes Krsna’s devotees, knows the way to please Krsna.
Devotees’s association is very rare. BG 7.3
kascid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam
kascin mam vetti tattvatah
Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.
By Srila Prabhupada’s mercy, we have become aware of how to become a devotee. Srila Prabhupada has created ISKCON.
International means that in all nations, there is a community of devotees. For example before ISKCON came to Ujjain, no devotees of Krsna. And now? “Haribol!” More than 100 hands went up. What are the symptoms of a devotee? He wants thousand of ears to hear the Holy Name, thousands of mouth to chant the names of the Lord; so we can realize at what stage we are.
We may not be at this stage, it does not matter; we are on the path; one day we will develop such love and this love will be so deep that we will relish the Holy Name. ISKCON is there to show this path and to take us up to this stage. That is the reason why Srila Prabhupada has created ISKCON.
Take this path in the right way. This picnic is an opportunity for exchanges. Gurumaharaj emphasized on the importance of association. Devotees from the congregation may come for darshan but more important is to meet the devotees
and exchange with them.
Now Avantika of Higher Education will start, at a small scale for the moment. The classes for Bhakti Sastri in Hindi will start on January 2nd. Take up this association seriously, take full advantage of this association.
In Mayapur, we are making a temple which will be there for the next 10000 years. The temple is built with stones because stones do not get affected with time like concrete. Like Jagannath Temple in Orissa, 5000 years ago and still the same.
Gurumaharaj introduced to the audience HH Atmanivedana Swami Maharaj joined Iskcon at Bhaktivedanta Manor in 1979 at the age of 22 years old. Maharaj was a student part of the Mahabharat youth Club. From his promotion Sruti Dharma Prabhu also joined. Prana Bandhu Prabhu who was one year junior to them also joined at the same time. From 1984 to 1990, Maharaj was serving in New Vrndavan. Maharaj took sannyasa in 1989 from HH Bhakti Svarup Damodar Maharaj. Maharaj spend a lot of time in India especially in Sambal Puri in Orissa developing a project; also in Indonesia and Singapore.
Gurumaharaj also introduced two other devotees Premananda Prabhu who is back To Orissa after spending few years in America to start a farming project near Bhubhaneshvar and Satata Prati Prabhu co vice president of Bhubhanesvar
Guru Maharaj commented that they used to say that Bengal is the land of devotees but he thinks that Orissa is the land of devotees. That can be understood by the fact that Sri Caitanysa Mahaprabhu spent 18 years in Orissa, the different kings who ruled Orissa maintained a Hindu kingdom despite of the invasion of the Muslims. Orissa was never conquered by the
Muslims. After 4o years prasadam tastes and looks the same. Every day the flag is placed on top of the temple without any failure. Father and son climb without any ladder 340 feet just holding the rocks of the temple, so that the son get trained and the tradition is kept generation after generation Even the monkeys can’t climb like that commented Gurumaharaj. Everyone laughed. It is said that if the flag was not placed every day, for 12 years they won’t have any bhoga for Lord Jagannath.
Then Gurumaharaj started a game. The audience was divided in five groups the brahmacarys, the male congregation, the female congregation , the girls youth club and the gurukul boys. From each group two names were picked up and these two devotees had to speak about each other.
Then it was the time to honor the delicious and sumptuous prasad. the question that was in every ones mind was when will we have such a program again in the near future.
Photos of the picnic can be viewed at : click here
article by H.G.Archana Matagi and photos by Mukunda das.
Article by Archana Mataji, sent by Mukunda Prabhu