Today was the last time that most devotees would be going out on parikrama with Guru Maharaj and it would mark the end of their parikrama 2008. One bus with approximately 50 devotees or so set off for the 26km parikrama around Govardhan. We started like the last time at Kusum Sarovara and Guru Maharaj explained exactly the same things that he had the last time. Just to let you know that this report will be very brief as I will not repeat any of the pastimes. This time I just wanted to absorb the wonderful atmosphere of Govardhan without having to make any notes. I refer you to the report of 8 November 2008. Whatever is set out below is from memory.
Guru Maharaj had said upfront that we would not be stopping at as many places as we did the last time. The idea was to complete the parikrama by a certain time as tomorrow we were making a very long trip to Jaipur for 3 days. Surprisingly enough the weather was completely overcast – no sign of rain but no hot sun either. It was perfect weather for Govardhan parikrama. We couldn’t believe it. Some of the devotees rented flat rickshaws for the parikrama.
On our way to Kusum Sarovara we had not seen any blue cows like we did the last time. But we were sure we would see at least 1 during the course of the day. We did stop briefly at the place connected with Hanuman. The next stop was Manasi Ganga and the Haridev temple. There was no doubt that Guru Maharaj was going to make an almost ritualistic stop at the famous Giriraj sweet shop. We did and this time we were lucky to get some of the world famous dokra. We packed it away for breakfast which we would be taking at the Iskcon temple.
When we arrived at the temple the altar was closed. So we firstly took breakfast on the rooftop. Guru Maharaj had a “vyasa puja” breakfast. He had dokra, samoosa, pizza, burger, many different types of sweets, etc. He asked us what we thought of the dokra and actually it is no doubt the best that I have had. It is extremely juicy and it has a sweetish taste. It comes served with some hectic chillie sauce which Guru Maharaj devoured. I didn’t realise He liked chillie that much. Thereafter we had darshan of the deities and without wasting time, we set off on course again. After this we did not stop at many places at all. It was mostly brisk walking and this had starting taking its toll on some devotees. But Guru Maharaj was very merciful and would stop and wait for the devotees to catch up, constantly asking “how are you doing? Are you okay?” He is very loving and concerned about the well being of devotees.
We went through the village of anniyor and Guru Maharaj made us shout at the top of our voices “Anniyor!”. We really tried our best and Guru Maharaj said it sounded like we had not eaten.
We stopped at Govinda Kund where Guru Maharaj took some time to select silas for some of his disciples.
On our way to Kadamba Van, in the area famous for spotting blue cows, we spotted many blue cows at the top of Govardhan. They were difficult to see but we did manage to spot them. Guru Maharaj asked some of the devotees to get some shots of them.
We came to Kadamba Van and we rolled in the dust here. Guru Maharaj went first and once he was done he asked “have the conservative South Africans had a turn as yet?” That was quite a change from being referred to as “wild”. Guru Maharaj could see that some devotees were taking strain and he kept on saying “we are one third of the way through” or “we are almost there” and so on.
At about half way we stopped and sat down for a short while. Here Guru Maharaj spoke a little and some devotees played with some cows which insisted on being part of the group. We then went through the town of Govardhan which was extremely busy and we stopped at Uddava Kund. As usual the pujari there is always eager and pleased to receive Guru Maharaj. We spent a short while there and then headed towards Radha Kund. By this time some devotees were really tired and Guru Maharaj had to stop to check that they were okay. And they were. They did very well and we all had a very nice parikrama. We came round to Radha Kund and Shyama Kund on to Kusum Sarovara where we ended. Once again, we did not take bath here as we actually managed to keep time and we then set off back to Vrindavana. Most of the devotees we would not be seeing again on parikrama and that was a little sad but it was nice spending time with them.
We got back to Vrindavan in good time to pack and sort ourselves off for our long awaited trip to Jaipur. You notice how at the end of each day, despite our fatigue, we always look forward to the next day. Are you wishing you were there as yet? Tomorrow we have 3 deities to see in just one day and it has to happen between sunrise and sunset – are we going to make it or not? Watch this space for the report from Jaipur…It’s gonna be a good one.
Syamarani devi dasi