Packing this morning makes it feel more real. The iron sizzles (what a wonderful sound) as it hits the damp fabric of the saris I’m putting in my suitcase. It’s real! I’m going! I feel slightly guilty, escaping from university only two weeks after I’ve started. I looked at the other people in my class yesterday, feeling a little sorry for them. Somehow devotees get to do more than the usual share of very cool things. Oh well, I’ve been given the OK by my tutors – I explained everything about the trip to them and they had no problem letting me go. It makes me wonder why I ever have to turn up at all – the lecture notes are all online. Sigh. Modern education.
I feel unprepared. This is momentous for me. Fourteen years ago I arrived in Vrindavan – the memories are still vivid. I remember Loi Bazaar; shopping for my Ladhu Gopal deity and dressing him in yellow on Vasanta Panchami; eating ice cream from the tiny stall that was Biharilal’s (I hear now it’s a supermarket); having darshan of Radha Raman and Radha Gokulananda; hot rooftops and dusty feet; Kusum Sarovar and being pinched by a huge crowd of children at Radha Kund; early morning tonga rides, seeing fleeting glimpses of the nilagai through the trees; water that tasted of clay pot (oops, I drunk it); a wall topped with glass to scare away the monkeys; bat’s droppings on the floor of the Madan Mohan (was it?) temple; Radha Syamasundara, the most beautiful deities I had ever seen.
I wish I would’ve read more in preparation. I wish I already knew all the spots where Krsna did what, so I could meditate on him with more focus. I wish I wish. I pray. I pray that Krsna will help me while I’m there, to see him; to serve the devotees; to make fewer offenses; to gain spiritual strength; to see beyond the material characteristics of Vrndavan; to become more attached to his holy name during Kartik time. I pray that he will bless me in my artistic endeavour while I’m there and I pray that he will help me to find my way back. I can’t wait another fourteen years.
In my creative writing class last week the teacher passed around a candle and asked us to write something in two minutes, inspired by something about it.
Early morning trays of sand
drops of wax on every hand
tiny flames together form
a plate of autumn light
Who can measure my luck – to be in Vrndavana during the most sacred month of Kartik? Thankyou Krsna.