Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.
My family and I traveled this weekend to Philo, CA to spend time with Srila Satsvarupa Maharaja and to visit Srila Tripurari Maharaja’s temple. Both Maharaja’s live about 20 minutes apart in the foothills of Mendocino County.
Over the last two days we spent time with Srila Satsvarupa Maharaja celebrating both Janmastami and Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharajas Vyasa Puja. Last night we had a wonderful dinner and interesting discussions with Satsvarupa Maharaja. This morning we met again for about an hour to discuss Janmastami and Bhaktivedanta Swami's Vyasa Puja. Maharaja was feeling under the weather so today’s meeting was short but sweet.
This evening we planned to visit Tripurari Maharaja’s temple which is deep in the Mendocino Mountains. The road whicj leads toMaharaja's place is extremely windy. Maharaja has managed to build a temple in surroundings that are absolutely stunning! Every detail of his buildings is thought out down to the stunning zen-like bathrooms! His follwers have put much thught into every piece of wood and stone as they are in just the right place; it is an amazing sight to behold.
When we arrived it was dusk time. We quickly brought our children to see Maharaja’s three Cows. The cows are a breed called Zebu. They are a smaller size but very beautiful. While petting the cows we noticed that there is a newer calf since our last visit.
After a few minutes we walked up towards the temple where we saw Maharaja. We offered our respects and spoke with Maharaja for a few minutes. He asked various questions about Srila Satsvarupa Maharaja and our trip.
Every time we have visited Maharaja’s temple he always makes it a point to greet all of his visitors. He asked if we would stay for Prasad but we let him know that the kids would need to take rest before 10 pm. After a few minutes Maharaja invited us to take darshan and let us know of the abhiseka and bhajans.
We entered the temple room and Caitanya yelled out “dancing prabhus!” when he saw Maharaja’s Gaura Nitia. After a few minutes Dayal Nitai, a bramhacari servant of Maharaja’s started bhajan. The entire temple room was overtaken by his sweet bhajan and all within the temple were swept away by his melodious singing. It was an amazingly sweet mood.
Abhiseka started and it was just a captivating experience. At this point Maharaja entered the temple with the newest calf. About midway through the abhiseka the calf passed urine into a cup which was given to the pujari to use in the ceremony. I don't know how Maharaja managed to have that happen with such remarkable timing but he did!
The abhiseka ended as the bhajan continued. I looked over and saw my son, Rasaparayana, who was caught up in the moment doing his best to bring his voice along with the bhajan. I have always loved to hear kirtana/bhajan with children’s voices as there is an unmistakable purity to it. After about 90 minutes the bhajans stopped.
Maharaja then began reading about Krsna’s early childhood I Braja. After a few moments he mentioned the word sacrifice… this set of Caitanya “Sacrafice… Kali, Kali is coming, SACRAFICE!” (this is a byproduct of this puppet show from the mid-80’s created by Bhurijana dasa). So with that we made our exit.
As we were leaving we were stopped by a bramhacarini who offered us a book from Maharaja to be given to Srila Satsvarupa Maharaja. She also gave us some wonderful sweets to go.
As we drove back to Satsvarupa Maharaja’s home my wife and I couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful of a place Tripurari Maharaja had built. Maharaja and his disciples/followers have placed each piece of wood with heartfelt devotion and it was just an amazing sight to behold. Maharaja is a very thoughtful Vaisnava. He knew we would have to leave early and asked his disciples to get things prepared for us so before we left we could receive his gifts.
It is Vaisnava sanga like this which makes all of the struggles we go through seem irrelevant. Although we al have our differences in regards to nuansces in the Gaudiya theology and practice we also have much in common. Regardless of it all we can share our desire tp serve Sri Radhika and the Vaisnavas, we can honor prasad and the hari nama. Personally it makes me pray that one day I can be surrounded by such kind Vaisnavas and that I too will be caught up by their enthusiasm and can give offerings to the Vaisnavas in such a natural and loving way.
All glories to Tripurari Maharaja and his wonderful disciples for all of their kind, thoughtful and inspiring activities. Sri Krsna Janmastami ki jaya. Sri Radhika ki jay. Sri Gauranga ki jaya. All glories to the Vaisnavas!
Aspiring to serve the Vaisnavas,