Heat of Vraja
29th of September, 2005 - 15:17
From Vraja
28th of September, 2005 - 23:45
Mumbling and muffled thoughts
28th of September, 2005 - 0:04

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Heat of Vraja
Posted: 29th of September, 2005 - 15:17
Going over our chat logs from three days back: Malati tells me it's extremely hot in Vraja. That's a relative concept, I suppose — for someone from a country where it's a bit above 20 celsius in the mid-summer, it must be very hot there. BBC World Weather reports a steady 33-34 degrees for Delhi, and I believe around Govardhan it's a bit beyond that. She is already stressed out about the very thought of leaving Vraja and the company of sadhus. She worries about my not eating properly in her absence.

A close encounter with a bug from our last visit, on the road near Govardhan.
I seem to be quite content with one meal sometime in the evening.

On the 27th: "I'm burning. The heat is just insane." I guess it's 36 degrees now. She tells me our room is full of bugs, and that she spent the better part of the previous night hunting cockroaches the size of birds. She may be exaggerating just a little bit there.

In the forenoon, she bumped into Sanatan Baba, who gave her a Bengali copy of Bhagavad-gita. Back to basics. Tolerating the changes of heat and cold, being indifferent in the presence and the absence of bird-sized cockroaches.

Baba tells her it's important to chant in one's own room, door closed, eyes closed, focused. Doing one's japa while contemplating on the beauty of Thakurji's form. His beautiful hair, his big and wide eyes, his curved eyebrows, his nose-ornament, his makara-earrings... A vaijayanti-mala and a yellow cloth, beginning the contemplation from the feet upwards. In such a way, with meditation, doing one's japa — not while roaming about to and fro.
From Vraja
Posted: 28th of September, 2005 - 23:45
Malati reached Radha-kunda last Saturday and brought me up to date on the news on Sunday. Guruji was still in Calcutta, and was due to arrive during the upcoming week. While doing Radha-kunda parikrama, she met Shyamala Dada, who had instructed us in the elementaries of kirtan and raga during our last visit.

Shyamala Dada singing and playing harmonium
Dadaji invited us over for a visit whenever I would arrive at Radha-kunda.

Sanatan Baba, an affectionate sadhu with whom we had the priviledge of spending quite some time the last time over at parikrama and in deep discussions, was happy to see Malati come over. He wished I would have been there too, as a tyagi speaking with a lady is somewhat of an inconvenience in the face of public opinion. I wish I were, but work's holding me back until the 5th. Baba is responsible for having us start learning Bengali. He had so much to say, and our choices were to either miss it all or to start learning, and fast!

Malati reports that three flavors of bugs are walking on the computer screen as she chats with me on Yugal's PC. It's dark, the electricity is off and has been for a good part of the day. Yugal has some practical topics to cover with me. He's been working hard on producing more material for his JayaSriRadhe Archive site.

Malati seems to have gotten a good working grasp of Bengali, though she's pretty lost with Sanskrit-derived words. I'm the complete opposite. A Bengali lady had begun to explain something to her and Yugal's wife, Radhika, and she had replied in her best Bengali, "I'm sorry but I don't speak English. Could you please say that in Bengali?" People love it when you know a bit of the language. Anyone who is serious about becoming more integrated into the Gaudiya Vaishnava culture should strive to learn at least a bit of the language.
Mumbling and muffled thoughts
Posted: 28th of September, 2005 - 0:04
I met today with an old friend who encouraged me to write. Then, I came across another old friend's blog I hadn't seen before, which reminded me of my own, badly neglected blog. Then I received an e-mail from Steve via Lake of Flowers, and the mail encouraged me to write again at Vraja Journal, as it was one of the best Gaudiya sites in the whole wide world of internet. Alas, so here I am, and I write. Thank you, Steve.

Malati leaving for Vraja, Helsinki int'l airport.

I'm not in Vraja yet. My flight leaves on October 5th, a six-week stay. I wish I could stay longer, but right now I need to keep some focus on gathering income. Otherwise, how will we ever migrate to Vraja? Malati left already last Saturday and gets to spend two extra weeks at Radha-kunda. We'll return together on November 18th, soon after Rasa-yatra.

Many are probably wondering, "What happened to the rest of the story?" Well, as I said, we do have notes from the whole last visit to Vraja. I just never got around to typing them in. I have this habit of trying to make everything so damn fine and extensive, and I never found the time for that. I guess it's better to have something going on here than nothing at all, since people are watching this space. I'll drop in an oldie every now and then, and will cover the previous trip eventually, too. Even if only to again remember all the good things that happened, fondly reflecting on all the blessings and grace of the Vaishnavas we received. Right now the notes are somewhere with Malati, I haven't a clue where. They were so secret that she wouldn't allow me to read them, and she was supposed to type them in for me as the skeleton for the blog. As the family tradition goes, time didn't obey her, either.

I've now introduced RSS-feeds to help everyone keep track of what's going on with the blog. If you aren't familiar with the concept, please read the tutorial at Gaudiya Discussions. Watch this space, and bear with me if I sound more shallow than at my best moments in Vraja.

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