Shattila Ekadashi
26th of January, 2006 - 1:49
Yesterday's Shattila Ekadashi was viddha, or mixed with dashami. Therefore, fasting takes place today, on dvadashi. We have been doing nirjala-vrata for a bit over a year now.

The observance of nirjala-vrata creates great power on the path of devotion. It clarifies the mind, it purifies the heart, and it provides an opportunity to wholeheartedly engage in acts of bhajan while forsaking the call for bodily comforts.
Makara Sankranti
14th of January, 2006 - 2:52
She wouldn't let us go!
11th of January, 2006 - 3:05

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She wouldn't let us go!
Posted: 11th of January, 2006 - 3:05
As I'm certain you are all aware, we were supposed to return to Snowland by new year. However, that didn't happen. She wouldn't let us go!

Leaving in somewhat good time from Radha-kunda with the blessed view of loving Vaishnava as our last sight, we were first halted by a gate with no gateman in sight. As the car drove out the other gate, in a mere few hundred meters the front left tyre broke. The driver switched in the spare and went to get the broken one fixed. (Which, in retrospect, was a smart move, though at the time I wished he would have just moved on.) And then, on we go. On the road from Govardhan towards Mathura, as it was already dark and the Chatikara road was not an option. After some ten kilometers, the tyre broke again, this time the spare that had been just put in. By the time that was fixed, it was around nine in the evening, and our flight was due to leave ten minutes before midnight...

I asked the driver to drive fast. He told me, "Radha Madhav japo" and hit the road. We reached the airport a quarter before midnight. The man at the check-in, however, informed me the plane was already closed. The folks at the Aeroflot airport office made me none the wiser as they couldn't decipher the ticket at all, and told me to contact the main office at Connaught Circle in the morning.

We spent the night at the Delhi airport waiting hall, nama-bhajan and a nap before I left downtown to clarify the situation. Reaching the office, I was told that the ticket has expired, and the only thing they can do is to reissue it as a six month open ticket, and I'd have to pay the balance between the two tickets. A grand total of 15.000 Rs, he told me.

The last view of me with a bunch of hair hanging off my head.
"Bhaiya, I have about 1.500 Rs in my wallet, and 1.500 more on my bank account!" (I had about 27 euros on my bank account, and my credit card is maxed out.) He then expressed his regrets over not being able to do anything about it. "Accha - I'll go to Vrindavan and get back to you sometime in the future."

If she wishes that we stay, how can I possibly argue with that? We tried to leave. Now that we're back, and since the ticket has to be changed to a six month open ticket anyway, I figured we could just stay all the way as we have to pay for it. Our visas expire early March, so it's until then, then... My samsara is going to hell. I wish it a pleasant journey. Anyhow, there was really only one business in Finland I worked with and the pay wasn't staying at a level worth investing much time, and I can get work from other sources over the internet, too, so income should be coming in sometime in the foreseeable future. Until then, 1.500 Rs is plenty for buying vegetables from the bazaar for Giridhari. We returned to Radha-kunda in time for attending Jiva Goswami's adhivas kirtan in the evening...

We have secured a plot from Radha-kunda and are currently raising funds to complete the payment of 250.000 Rs, followed by the building of a small house whenever finances permit. I'll post some more thoughts on that in the future if others are interested in how the thing is practically accomplished. (I mean, reserving a plot and building a house -- As for how the raising of funds is accomplished, well that's a mighty interesting question there!) We are looking forward to permanent Vraja-vasa in circa two years from now.

I'll be getting back to correspondence and the such after a couple of days. As always during my stay in Vraja, please use e-mail instead of PMs if at all possible. I'll also start mastering the material collected for Lake of Flowers, meaning 20 DV tapes of 90 minutes each and some 25 GB of audio recordings, and will try to arrange for them to be sent to someone who can upload in my absence. I'll keep everyone posted.

The photo in this entry is the last of me you'll be seeing with the bulk of hair on. As is the custom when visiting a tirtha, one goes to the barber and gets his head shaven. I learned yesterday that there is a jati of barbers who see to this, and that having a barber do the work instead of shaving oneself is the proper observance, as also Mahaprabhu did while in Katwa during his sannyasa-grahan.
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