Nectar From Ganga Safari
Ganga safari was a nectar which is to be remembered whole life time.
We visited with Srila Acaryapada many wonderful places connected with lilas of Lord Caitanya. On this tour one could really see more of Srila Acaryapada´s greatness. I saw how our spiritual master cares not only for our spiritual advancement but also cares very personally about our health and other bodily necessities.
His Divine Grace was personally mixing flat rice and yoghurt for those who had diarrhea and also personally distributing it, brahmastras for those who had cold, he distributed sun cream to the fair complexioned, he personally made a “Jayapataka Swami mosquito repellent formula” and distributed to all devotees and there was no discrimination between his disciples and disciples of other Gurus. SA gave full mercy and full attention to everyone.
SA was the first person to get up and the last person to go to sleep. I was really ashamed seeing how our spiritual master is serving us instead of us serving him. The others had similar thoughts. SA mentioned how sometimes Krsna allows that the guru gets some kind of illness so that disciples have more chance to serve him. SA first cut his toe (for this he said that Krsna was merciful because he was supposed to lose head!) and then twisted his ankle so that we (that is, prabhus) had to carry HGD on a specially constructed palanquin. We were forced to do something for him.
I could see how all the mercy and all the realizations I got were only due to the mercy of HDG because the spiritual master reveals the holy Dhama. There were so many pastimes with SA during that time.
In Kanai Natshalla there are lotus footprints of Radha and Krsna and of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So, SA was holding to the lotus footprints of Sri Caitanya and one devotee was holding Srila Acaryapada and other devotee was holding that devotee and in this way we made a chain connected with SA and Lord Caitanya and chanted together like that. It was so powerful.
Every evening (almost every) we had pandal programs attended by the local people, usually in quite a large number. On these programs western devotees came to the stage and each of us had to say something about ourselves or about preaching in our countries. It was fun and in this way SA was training us in preaching. HDG was translating our speeches into Bengali. On one of the programs SA went behind a stage during the 15-minutes bhajans. I was wondering where he went. Later devotees told that HDG was sleeping on the bench behind the stage during that time. He was so tired. But still when he started preaching no one would trace any sign of tiredness.
On another preaching program SA said himself how he was very tired but as soon as he started to preach he was completely awake. And on that program SA gave such a fired up lecture, we were just looking at each other. SA lives from preaching.
There were also many pastimes with SA and his Godbrothers because with us on safari were also HH Subhaga Maharaja and Pankajanghri Prabhu. On one occasion they had a CNN (Caitanya News Network) show on lilas of Gauri das Pandit. SA was holding a stick as if it was a microphone and interviewing Subhaga Maharaja who was trying to remember what happened last time he was in the lila of Gauri das Pandit. It was sooo funny, we were rolling on the ground.
Ganga safari tour was a great adventure also. One day we had a storm and it caught us while we were trying to reach the Gaura-Gadadhar temple in Campahati. It got dark, completely dark with no street lights and them the storm came with heavy rain. We weren´t even sure which way to go. We started running and chanting Hare Krsna and Jay Gaur-Gadadhar. Finally we saw the temple in front of us. SA was already there with some devotees leading Gaura arati. We ran with raised hands calling out Gaura and Gadadhar into the shelter of Their Lordships.
These are very special Deities, one of the only two pairs that were there already at the time of Lord Caitanya. They are very big and have a big smile and the mudra that They have means that They are accepting devotees and Gadadhar is accepting the most fallen.
So I felt like They were embracing devotees who ran towards Them with raised hands. Since the storm went on we couldn't go back to our boats. After the lecture one group went to the house of a nearby life member and few devotees went to try to reach the boat. Only few of us stayed in the temple, together with SA. I preferred that solution because this was such a holy place visited many times by Lord Caitanya and His associates and also by many of our acaryas. So actually since no news came to us, we stayed there overnight.
The accommodation was very simple and very sweet. We had only a blanket from the temple room which we put on the floor and SA personally brought some straw that we put it under the head as a pillow. HDG was sleeping in a room next to us. (There were only two small rooms, one for SA and prabhus and one for matajis) But for me it was the best accommodation on the tour and I felt the most safe - under the full shelter of Gaura-Gadadhar and protection of our spiritual master.
There were many examples like that where we could feel the protection or the spiritual master. Once there was a high and slidy way to climb on the shore. SA was standing on the top and giving each one of us to hold his stick and then pulled us up. I felt that this is the way he is pulling me back to spiritual world. Some devotees didn´t want to take a stick. Maybe they didn´t want to be a burden. But I took it and held tight because I felt like I´m not able to do anything on my own, I cannot go back on my own and I really need help in all ways. And SA pulled me up.
Like that there was so much nectar and so much exalted association, also so much wonderful association of Godbrothers & Godsisters and all devotees. These were only few things that I could remember, a little drop that I tried to share with you, but there was much more, and the benefit from all this cannot be measured. I started already praying to be able to come again on the next tour. It gives so much spiritual inspiration, strength, it is just not advisable to miss it.