Pr.Vrajaraj , our daughter Riddhi and I went to Bon Accueuil Iskcon Farm at about 5 p.m. at Pr Satish and Mtji Hari Ganga’s place where Guru Maharaj would be staying up to the 10th. Devotees were having kirtan while waiting for Guru Maharaj. Guru Maharaj arrived in Pr.Haridev’s car at around 8.45 p.m accompanied by Mtji Manasi Ganga ,Mtji Gaurangi ,Kunti and Sulocani, from the Plaisance airport. As usual Foot bathing and Guru Puja were performed, followed by Guru Maharaj’s address to the devotees. Gurudev took a light prasadam and retired for the night.
Chanting started at 5.15 a.m. At around 6 a.m. Gurudev went to Sri Sri Krishna Balram Mandir by foot accompanied by Pr Haridev to continue chanting. We all joined them. Gurudev gave class on S.B.10.8.18 and 19. Some thirty devotees were present. After class we came back at Pr Satish’s place where Gurudev worshiped Giriraj and offered bhoga. Guru Maharaj was taking only fruits and juice as breakfast. From 10.30 a.m onwards arrangement was made for darshan and meetings with devotees. Maharaj was following a strict diet. Lunch was prepared by Mtji Lalita Carana. Mtji Manasi Ganga , Mtji Gaurangi and I helped. At around 1.30 p.m. Maharaj took lunch and went to do his personal work on His laptop.
In the evening we went for Harinaam at Montagne Longue . Gurudev was driven by Pr. Haridev. Kirtan had already started by Pr Arjuna Dasa and Guru Maharaj took over till the end . It was very ecstatic and devotees were dancing all the way. At Pr Doseah‘s parents place Gurudev took some juice and gave darshan. Prasadam was served to everyone there. Gurudev returned to Farm in Pr Nrsingha’s car. Gurudev retired for the night.
The following day, Guru Maharaj went to the temple and chanting was in progress.
We joined in and at 7.40 a.m, we attended the S. B class 10.8.20 H.H Bhakti Dhira Damodara Maharaj was also present. It was a very nice class given by Gurudev. We returned where we were staying and Maharaj did Giriraj worship. He then took breakfast prasadam (fruits).
I was chanting when Gurudev appeared down the staircase. I offered my obeisances but kept standing like a statue. Afterwards I told myself what a fool I am; I didn’t open the door for Guru Maharaj when He was going to take lunch prasadam at Pr Raghunath’s place accompanied by Pr Haridev. In the meantime we all had prasadam at Mtji Hari Ganga’s place.
When Gurudev came back around 4 p.m, we left the house for Belle Mare beach after some time for chanting. Back at 6 p.m, Gurudev went directly to the temple for a managerial meeting. At 7.20 p.m, Guru Maharaj had night program at Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Mandir and gave class on Bhagavad Gita. At 9.20 p.m He came back and retired to His room.
Guru Maharaj rose early and went for Mangala Aarti accompanied by Pr Haridev. PrVrajaraj was already in the temple and was thinking only to take darshan and return back to Mtji Hari Ganga’s place, but when he saw Guru Maharaj entering the temple room he stayed back.
At 7.40 a.m, I went to the temple to attend Guru Maharaj S.B Class 10.8.21. Gurudev was doing kirtan. H.H Dhira Damodara Maharaj was also there. After class I quickly returned to Mtji Hari Ganga’s place to prepare fruits for offering for Giriraj. A bit later Vrajaraj Prabhu prepared paraphernalia for Giriraj worship. After that Gurudev took only fruits and all of us honoured fruit prasadam. Then, the matajis started preparing bhoga and we were all busy in the kitchen.
At around 1.45 p.m Gurudev honoured prasadam accompanied by Pr Sriniketan Dasa and Pr Arjun Dasa who are both Srila Prabhupada’s disciples. According to Pr Vrajaraj, Maharaj ate little prasadam and said that there were too many preparations. Afterwards the Godbrothers were engaged in highly spiritual conversation and the rest of us honoured prasadam. The two guests left at about 4p.m.
Gurudev had a house program at Pr Vivek and Mtji Reena’s home at Flacq, the eastern part of Mauritius. Gurudev was driven by Pr Haridev and we went in our car. To our great surprise,H.H Bhakti Dhira Damodara Maharaj was also there and a little while later Pr Sarvabhauma Dasa also joined in, accompanied by Pr Satish, Mtji Hari Ganga and their daughter Vanshi.
Guru Maharaj started with the kirtan which was very ecstatic as usual and then talked about B.G 5.25. The lecture was very relishing and we all just drank the nectarean words of Gurudev through our ears. Afterwards H.H Bhakti Dhira Damodara Maharaj spoke, followed by His Grace Sarvabhauma Prabhu. Gurudev did kirtan and devotees were dancing and enjoyimg. After that Guru Maharaj was invited to take a light prasadam accompanied by Sarvabhauma Prabhu. H.H Bhakti Dhira Damodara Maharaj left in the meantime. The devotees who had not taken prasadam hurried downstairs where everyone was offered a takeaway prasadam. We waited for Guru Maharaj downstairs and when he left, we followed in our car.
Gurudev retired for the night and shortly afterwards all of us also.
Gurudev went to the temple for chanting as usual. He gave lecture about S.B 10.8.22. There were about 40 devotees. In the morning g Srimad Bhagavatam classes from canto 10, Guru Maharaj explained the childhood pastimes of Lord Krsna and Balaram in Vrindavan. They were all nectarean. By this, He explained that while writing those purports in the book, Srila Prabhupada was in great ecstasy, He relished those pastimes in a very different stage of understanding, appreciation and also experiencing bhava.
Gurudev described several childhood pastimes of Lord Krsna including His favourite “Lifting of Govardhana hill “and Krsna and Balarama crawling in muddy places created in Vrindavana by cow dung and cow’s urine. To one point Gurudev explained that Nanda Maharaj, in his Vatsalya Rasa in the Lord’s pastime, also worshipped Deities at his place – the deities of Lord Laxmi Narayan. Thus Krsna was honouring prasadam everyday.
After Giriraj worship while Guru Maharaj was taking breakfast prasadam, I seized the opportunity to ask what to prepare on the forthcoming Sunday. Pr Vrajaraj, Riddhi and I, prepared to leave as we had service in the evening at Sri Sri Radha Golokananda Temple at Phoenix.
In fact, during his stay in Mauritius Guru Maharaj was primarily invited for the annual ISKCON BOAT FESTIVAL.For the past 4 years, every December Pr Sundaralal, a full time devotee at Radha Golokananda temple, Phoenix and many other Devotees organize a 3-days program at the Mahebourg Waterfront situated in the southern part of the island. The program is as follows:
1. Friday-musical concert
2. Saturday- Ratha Yatra Festival
3. Sunday- Boat Festival and fireworks.
After lunch at Pr Raghunath’s place, Guru Maharaj was driven by Pr Haridev at Beau Bassin at the latter’s place and from there on Gurudev attended the musical concert.
Pr Vrajaraj and other devotees attended the morning program at Beau Bassin. Gurudev inquired about the absence of Riddhi and me. The Jagganatha’s Ratha Yatra usually starts at Beau Vallon till the Mahebourg Waterfront, a three hours journey. We arrived there with Pallavi, our neighbouring friend and the Ratha was just about to move on. Gurudev performed Arati of the Deities. Lord Jagganatha, Lord Baladev and Subhadra Devi were beyond description. I can say gorgeous, in the least with their large smiling faces and I am sure they must have stolen the hearts of many people who were watching.
Gurudev gave a very nice explanation about the festival of chariots. H.H Bhakti Dhira Damodara Maharaj and H.H Bhakti Nrsimha Maharaj were also present and both did very nice continuous kirtans after Guru Maharaj led the starting kirtan. At a certain moment, I saw Gurudev on the Ratha distributing Maha prasadam mainly litchis and Jaggannath’s tongue to each and everyone who could catch.
Riddhi and Pallavi rushed to the Ratha and were lucky to get three of them. Minutes later, I wanted to grasp the same chance to receive Lord Jagganatha’s mahaprasad from the Holy hands of Gurudev. So, I went nearer to the Ratha and looked directly at Gurudev and in a very pleading way, I asked for a Maha litchi. Gurudev reciprocated instantly and I caught it in my outstretched left hand. I thanked Gurudev and honoured it immediately. Halfway to the destination, it was already dark. The procession continued in the same ecstatic mood of chanting and dancing. But it started raining when we nearly arrived at the festival pandals on the sea front. When other sannyasis were delivering questions and answers in one tent, Guru Maharaj gave a whole hour lecture based on Lord Jaggannath’s pastime .The program continued with the other items for e.g drama, kirtans and dance. It ended at around 9 p.m. Gurudev returned to Beau Bassin accompanied by pr Haridev and family. We returned home at La Flora, a twenty minutes drive.
On that day we had invited Guru Maharaj and other accompanying devotees for lunch at our place. We woke up at 4 a.m and Pr Vrajaraj took care of our deities, Sri Sri Dayal Nitai Vijay Gauranga. We thank Gurudev whole heartedly for the installation of our deities and giving them such beautiful names.
In the meantime I started planning and preparing in the kitchen because we had also invited some 100 devotees among them were my Gurukul children and their parents. Some would be attending such program for the very first time. Everything went extremely well even if we were in a rush. We wanted to be on time, not delaying Gurudev. Devotees of Grand Bois Namhatta came to cook for the invited devotees. Mtji Madhava Priya, who is our neighbor, came to help me to cook for Guru Maharaj. Mtji Saradiya, who lives in the nearby village came and did all the garlands including the one Pr Vrajaraj offered to Gurudev. Mtji Nitya Kisori came with her Gurukul children and their parents, and all of them helped in one way or the other, some of the children helped Mtji Saradiya too.
Gurudev arrived at around 1 p.m, accompanied by Pr Haridev, Mtji Manasi Ganga, their two daughters, Mtji Gaurangi and Mtji Archana. Later Pr Sarvabhauma joined us. Kirtan was being led by Pr Advaita Pran to welcome Gurudev. He took seat on his new asana which we offered him as a gift in the month of kartika this year.
Foot bathing was done by Pr Vrajaraj and Pr Man Mohan, followed by Guru Puja.
Afterwards Guru Maharaj gave a very nice lecture, that one must oversee the faults of others but take into consideration what little good one is doing in Krishna Consciousness. He took the example of Putana to make his point very clear and everyone who has listened to Gurudev’s lectures even once must know how He stresses and makes everything clear so that everyone can understand and put into practice what He is sharing with us, fallen souls as we are. He even mentioned that not only Putana got liberation but even her brother was liberated from this material world and now Putana is Krsna’s nurse in the spiritual world.
After that Gurudev went upstairs in our temple room accompanied by Pr Sarvabhauma for the darshan of Sri Sri Dayal Nitai Vijay Gauranga. Once downstairs, Hetook lunch prasadam along with Pr Sarvabhauma. Gurudev thanked us for the nice prasadam and specially thanked Riddhi for the mango ice-cream. In the meantime prasadam was served to the devotees outside.
Gurudev left for Mahebourg Waterfront for the boat festival and shortly afterwards all the devotees who were supposed to go, left too. When we arrived there, there were many devotees and many boats as well. Boarding had already started. Guru maharaj took seat in the boat where Utsav Deities of Sri Sri Radha Golokananda were installed, and the boat was decorated in the form of a beautiful swan. Pr Sarvabhauma was in the same boat. At 4 p.m, boat festival started, at about 500 metres from the beach. All the boats surrounded and circumambulated the deity boat. Arati, kirtans and lecture proceeded led by Guru Maharaj. At 6 p.m the whole participating boats came back on the Mahebourg Waterfront. Gurudev went in the ‘question and answer’ pandal, where the response was good. There was prasadam for everyone. At 9 p.m the festival ended with fireworks and ecstatic kirtan, devotees were dancing and jumping in bliss. Gurudev left the Waterfront and we left at around 10 p.m.
After lunch Guru Maharaj went to pr Amar and Mtji Priya’s place at around 4.15 p.m at Flacq. Pr Vrajaraj and I, were already there before Gurudev came. Some devotees welcomed Maharaj with nice kirtan. Food bathing and Guru Puja were carried out. Guru Maharaj started chanting and everyone present did the same. After a while, Gurudev being so considerate, asked about everyone’s welfare, specially Mjji Priya who is pregnant . At 6 p.m Guru Maharaj attended an important meeting of different congregational groups. Once back at 7.30 p.m, He was driven by Pr Vrajendra Dasa to Camp Ithier where one week Bhagavad Katha was held. It was the first time that Gurudev delivered a lecture on such a program and after that He went to Pr Dhananjay and Bhaktin Bhoomi’s place, not far from the pandal for a light prasadam.
After the usual morning program, a spiritual gathering was organized at Belle Mare beach. At around 11 a.m, Gurudev accompanied by all of us; arrived there. Devotees from Sri Sri Radha Golokananda temple and Sri Sri Krishna Balaram temple, H.H Bhakti Dhira Damodara Majharaj and H.H Bhakti Narsimha Maharaj were also there. Guru Maharaj led the program, after introducing with kirtan, he related a nectarean pastime.
Gurudev drowned all the devotees in the nectar of Krsna’s pastimes in Vrindavana. He described how Lord Krsna always thinks of Vrindavana and the devotees, although He is in Dwarka. When Uddhava went to Vrindavana to deliver the messages to the inhabitants, he reached Radharani’s place and he could observe the latter’s reaction. He was far astonished and amazed to the unlimited degree. In the thought, She would talk to a bumble bee as the messenger of Krsna. Uddhava watched.” Krsna, You left us. You went to Dwarka, You are enjoying with other women. So much for You.” So She addressed to the bumble bee, “Who are you, buzzing around me? You are like your master Krsna, just like Krsna. You enjoy the nectar from one flower, when finished you go to the next. Thus, you leave it and take another one. You are like your master. You are the unreliable servant of an unreliable master.” The bumble bee just stared. Then Radharani became anxious and thought ‘ I offended that bumble bee and his master, Krsna. He has gone to tell Krsna. Oh! No. He will go and give a bad report about me to Krsna.’ Her anxiety increased, but seconds later, the bumble bee came back again. Radharani thought “Now I can make up for the offences I made.” She said” Oh, my dear bumble bee, I am just happy to see you again. You are nice, so sweet just like your master Krsna. Krsna is very sweet, so nice. He plays the flute so beautifully and you dance so beautifully. Oh, you are the nicest bumble bee of all, just like your master who is the nicest.” Uddhava thought “I can’t believe it. How much love His devotees have for Krsna. Even living in Dwarka, there are many devotees everywhere. But I have never seen such a devotee.”
Gurudev went further to describe the pastime which Uddhava arranged for the drama about Vrindavana pastimes, performed by the Gandharvas as actors and Narada Muni as director. He explained how there is never a dull moment in Krsna’s pastimes. He always remembers Vrindavana. The devotees relished the lectures given by the three sanyasis.
Prasadam was served to the three sanyasis and all the devotees. Gurudev went for a walk on the beach for a while and then sat under the shade of a tree. Mtji Priya, Sweety, Riddhi and I, sat next to Gurudev for chanting. Because Guru Maharaj had a house program in the far north of the island, He concluded the program about how Gopa Kumar found himself in the spiritual world without knowing it, and met Krsna who fainted. Soon afterwards Gurudev left and the two other sannyasis ended the program by small lectures and kirtans.
Gurudev came downstairs at around 7 a.m, all devotees present were already chanting, Guru Puja was done followed by Giriraj worship. At 11 a.m, H.H Bhakti Brhad Bhagvat Maharaj came for a meeting and talked to Gurudev for an hour. Before lunch at Bhaktin Bhoomi’s place at Camp Ithier, Gurudev visited the Hare Krsna restaurants in Flacq. Pr Vrajaraj, Mtji Priya, Sweety, Riddhi and I, accompanied Gurudev. Guru Maharaj thanked everyone for the nice prasadam.
All of us took prasadam and we left shortly afterwards. Gurudev was dropped to Pr Vrajendra ‘s place for a short visit. In the evening there was a house program at Montagne Blanche. Gurudev was driven by Pr Vivek. It was a very nice program, Guru Maharaj lectured from Bhagavad Gita and Pr Raghunath Dasa translated into Hindi for those who didn’t understand English. Some 150 devotees attended the program. After the program, as Maharaj was leaving, Pr Vrajaraj talked to Him, saying that we will not be present the following morning as Pr Vrajaraj was resuming duty. Gurudev said: “Oh! It’s terrible.” This reaction demonstrated how His association is important for us.
It was the eve of Bhagavad Gita Jayanti. A special program was organized at the University of Mauritius in the auditorium of Octave Wiehe at Reduit. At 7.05p.m
we reached there. Gurudev was giving an interview to the people of the local television media before the program started. Pallavi also came with us. Mtji Nitya Kisori and I went to help in packing of prasadam and attended program shortly later. H.H Bhakti Dhira Damodara Maharaj, H.H Bhakti Narsimha Maharaj, H.H Bhakti Brhad Bhagwat Swami and Pr Sarvabhauma were also present. Gurudev gave an expose on the essence of the Bhagavad Gita. He started by the first verse, whereby Dhrtarastra inquired about the soldiers, war and consequences. Then Gurudev described the answer from the last verse. He also quoted some more verses including the catur sloka and demonstrated the essence.
The other guest speakers talked about Karma yoga and Jnana yoga.
The closing ceremony speech was given by H.H Bhakti Brhad Bhagwat Swami as He is
the director of the Bhaktivedanta College and He was really enlightening in His speech whereby synthesizing the other speakers expose to the true conclusion of Bhagavad Gita. Winners of the essay writing competition were awarded certificates and prizes.
It was Gita Jayanti and Mokshada Ekadasi as well. We left home and reached Sri Sri Radha Golokananda temple just when Gurudev was having darshan of the deities. After Guru Puja, Gurudev gave class on Bhagavad Gita 1.1 and 18.78. I was feeling a little tired, I closed my eyes for a few seconds and when I opened them, I met Gurudev’s gaze. I felt really embarrassed. After the lecture, we went to Pr Haridev’s place, where Gurudev was already doing Giriraj worship.
Mtji Urmila, Mtji Archana and Pr Akash were already there, helping Mtji Manasi Ganga. I joined them in the kitchen. Pr Vrajaraj went to wash and iron Guru Maharaj’s clothes. In the evening Guru Maharaj was invited at the newly built temple of Sri Sri Rukmini Dwarkadish at Triolet, in the north. Gurudev left earlier with Pr Haridev and they went to the Pamplemousses Botanical garden for further chanting.
When we reached the temple at Triolet, it was already 7 p.m and Aarti was in progress. Guru Maharaj led the Narsimhadev prayers and recited the Prema Dhavani. Gurudev was offered many garlands there. Guru Maharaj talked about the catur slokas in Bhagavad Gita, describing and explaining them one by one. Some 200 new devotees attended the program. Guru Maharaj appreciated the preaching in progress there. At the end, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the temple Maharaj was offered an ekadasi cake to cut. Everyone present got a piece of mahaprasadam to honour and relish.
We left Triolet before Guru Maharaj because it’s a long drive back to La Flora.
Gurudev’s flight for Johannesburg was at 9.15 a.m. So, Pr Vrajaraj, Riddhi and I left home at about 7.15 a.m to go to the airport which is a twenty minutes drive from our place.
When we arrived there, Guru Maharaj was already inside for the formalities and then came out accompanied by Mtji Manasi Ganga. Disciples and other well wishers took some photos with Maharaj. The airport space was overcrowded and we could not chant with Gurudev. At 8.30 a.m Gurudev decided that it was time to go, and He was accompanied by Pr Parshuram for boarding.
Gurudev walked on very quickly and we had a last glance of Him. All of us paid obeisances and we were all feeling sad but no one said anything since we know that Guru Maharaj will be coming again soon.
I have asked blessing and mercy from Sri Sri Dayal Nitai Vijay Gauranga and from You, Guru Maharaj , to be able to write these few lines. I ask and beg for forgiveness if I have committed any offence or if I have miswritten something.
Your eternal servant,
Vrajarani Devi Dasi.