I was at work today, entering in books on Amazon.com, when I suddenly felt so much separation from the deities in Mayapur. Being able to have their darshan every day for almost a month was one of the most special things about being my whole trip. To see the altar every morning was really to see the spiritual world. Of course, some mornings I didn’t. Some mornings I saw the crowds of people, or the fans that hadn’t been turned on yet. Or sometimes my mind was more focused on my mosquito bites than on really seeing Krishna on the altar. But some mornings – the curtains would pull back and the breath would literally be sucked from my chest. I know people write that kind of thing a lot as a way of describing a certain intensity of emotion – but I really mean it. I felt so stupid sometimes – for ever having thought that the deity was anything less than Krishna, personally present. To see the altar lit up in the dark early morning, was to have every doubt removed. Perhaps it was the special mercy of being in such spiritually potent surroundings, that some days I could spend hours in the temple room, absorbed in the beauty of the forms of the Lord and his associates. I know at here at home, it often takes all my concentration to stay in front of the altar for fifteen minutes without starting to compose to do lists or potential blogs. Ha.
I remember one day in particular – one of my last in Mayapur. That day Sri Madhava was dressed in a deep orange dhoti. A long, thick forest green garland of tulasi leaves hung down to his knees, and his forehead was decorated with brilliant yellow sandalwood paste. At the back of the temple room, the afternoon kirtan group played sweetly, the holy name adorned with the beautiful sounds of a bamboo flute. I pray those moments remain deeply embedded within my mind, and that I can gain the intelligence and understanding to truly relish them.
So – back to my desk – I logged onto the Mayapur webcam, where it just happened to be time for the evening arati. At once I was back in that temple room, as the English rain pounded down on the windows around me. Ah, the internet. It makes travelling yogis of us all.
Radha Madhava on the morning of my 21st birthday
P.S. Below is a sample of the kind of the daily afternoon kirtans in the temple room, kindly recorded by a devotee from Dallas during the festival time. On the far right is Prabhu Gouranga, a wonderful devotee and incredible flute player, who I had the pleasure of getting to know a little bit while I was there. He is a senior disciple of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, but now lives full time in Mayapur. It is always inspiring for me to meet other musicians, but no more so than when they are so devoted to Krishna as well. He plays flute in the temple room for Radha Madhava in numerous shifts throughout the day, and it is truly enchanting to hear.