Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gita Nagari Illuminations

This past weekend I had the incredible opportunity to attend a retreat in Gita Nagari. Aptly named "Jewels of Gaura lila" it was approximately 3 days filled with exuberant kirtans, heart-melting talks and beautiful devotees thirstily engaging in blissful sanga. And what better way to kick-start the festivities than by being witness to over 40 devotees receiving initiation! Just beautiful.

I myself haven't been to Gita Nagari in over 20 years. Although I don't remember much from my childhood visit, it felt like I was returning home. The beautiful breezes, the gentle cows, a dirt road to meander on, and stunning fireflies illuminating the pitch black nights. Of course nestled in this oasis are Their most glorious Lordships Sri Sri Radha Damodara.

Being there reminded me of being back in Mayapur. A simple life that consists of hearing, chanting, feasting and devotee association. That's it. No extra comforts or unnecessary technology. No phone calls, Skype video calls or texts to try to schedule some time to catch up with a friend. Instead you got to see everyone face to face. How refreshing!

I realize that it's only when everything is stripped away and I'm left with the bare minimum that finally I get a glimpse into what's really important and essential. In such an environment, the mind quietens down. least in my case, it started to quieten down! As soon as we started to enter Buffalo on the way back, along came all the crazy thoughts that had been kept at bay.

It really goes to show how sensitive we all are to our environments. In fact just today I was looking for quiet place to chant that was out of the house, yet out of the sun. By no means an easy feat! I finally happened upon a flat boulder located on a quiet path. As I settled myself in and enjoyed the respite provided by the shade and cool winds, I noticed the large trees located directly in front of me. As the breeze blew through, each and every leaf readily swayed. It's not as though one leaf was thinking "Well I don't feel like blowing that way so I'm going to try with all my might to just stay still!" Instead all of them blew in harmony.

It made me realize how much I have to learn from these trees! Instead of adjusting and moving in tandem with Krsna's plan, I tend to fight it. In fact, that was one of the jewels I took home with me from Gita Nagari- doubting Krsna wants the absolute best for me and thinking "I'm right" causes me to become my own obstacle in bhakti. Just like the trees who surrender to the breezes, it's actually easier to just go along with Krsna's plan.

But how? That's always my question. Well...I had a slightly bewildering realization this weekend. I actually knew the answer the whole time. :S It's specifically through reading that we can get rid of these doubts and crazy ideas the mind comes up with to not trust Krsna. Reading Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita actually acts as a soothing balm to calm the ridiculous mind. That same mind that is forever speculating and causing trouble instead becomes chastened by the weight of Vedic knowledge.

So the eternal quest become like the leaves of the humble leaves and not just willingly, but happily, sway to the expert tune of Krsna's melody He has for each and every one of us.