5th July, 2016
Dharesh Prabhu, Purandar Krishna Prabhu, Sudhamai Harinam Prabhu, Janaki Rama Chandra Prabhu and I started at 5am from Mayapur to receive Guru Maharaj. We carried Guru Maharaj’s reclining bed from Mayapur. Guru Maharaj would be reaching Kolkata at 5pm from Katmandu. Madhava Kanta Prabhu and other devotees would reach from Delhi, this afternoon.
Kaliya Gopal Prabhu and his team in Kolkata decorated Guru Maharaj ‘s car nicely with flowers. This year Guru Maharaj is going to stay in Rasaraj Gopal Prabhu’s home.
Guru Maharaj ‘s arrival details wasn’t announced to everyone this time , so as to avoid crowd at the Airport. Despite this there were about 25 devotees waiting at the airport. As we were looking at the Arrival Board, we got to know that the flight was delayed by 20 mins. Acharya Ratna Prabhu ,Vice-president- ISKCON Kolkata, came to greet and welcome Guru Maharaj with Sri Sri Radha Govindaji’s Maha Garland.
The flight arrived. Dharesh Prabhu received an SMS from Guru Maharaj asking, “Do you have any fruits for me? or Dab Water?” So we immediately sent our Sodpur Devotees to buy Bananas, Papayas, Pineapple and Dab water.
Guru Maharaj came out looking very fresh, as soon as people spotted him, the devotees and public immediately surrounded him like bees. They garlanded Guru Maharaj after which he distributed sweets.
Guru Maharaj then got into his decorated car,after which Guru Maharaj was talking to Acharya Ratna Pr about this year’s Rath route and schedule in detail. And Dhvarukesh Pr from Durganagar (Dum Dum), and devotees from Sodhpur gave their Ratha Yatra invitation and Guru Maharaj was asking about the route and timings etc and was wanting to know about it in complete detail. Guru Maharaj was getting delayed, so Dharesh Pr came and requested Acharya Ratna Pr to come and meet Guru Maharaj at his residence. And finally Guru Maharaj started ,he was on the move.
In the car Guru Maharaj started answering mails. Shyama Madhusudan Pr, Janakirama Candra Pr and I were there in the car. Guru Maharaj asked for fruits. Then I told him that we have Bananas, Papaya and Pineapple. Guru Maharaj said, “My Ayurvedic Doctor gave me permission to eat Mango, so I want mango.” We said, “We don’t have Mangoes with us here. We can purchase them on the way.” Guru Maharaj then remembered something and said,”some one gave me a basket full of Fruits; there may be some mangoes.” So we stopped the car and Dharesh Pr brought the fruits from other car.Guru Maharaj selected a Mango and started eating it. As Mango is the seasonal fruit now, Guru Maharaj wanted to eat it. He always prefers to take seasonal fruits.
Then Guru Maharaj inquired about social media to Janaki RamaChandra Pr. After which Guru Maharaj remembered the Gaura Mandala Darshan Book Project and started to talk about it. We were discussing about Caitanya Book and Prabhupada Book as well. By discussing all these, we reached the residence.
Ashraya Gauranga Pr garlanded Guru Maharaj and welcomed him. When Guru Maharaj entered Rasaraj Pr’s home there were 20 to 30 devotees who welcomed Guru Maharaj with Uludwani. He accepted very mercifully accepted Pada Puja, Arati and blessed them all with his Jagannath Stick.
Guru Maharaj finally entered his room and Prasanna Gauranga Pr was preparing dinner. In 15mins time the dinner got ready and Guru Maharaj started honoring dinner prasad. I got the good fortune of feeding him after 2 months. While eating Guru Maharaj was talking to Achharya Ratna Pr and Ashraya Gauranga Pr regarding the festival.
“45th Ratha-yatra of Kolkata, Guru Maharaj never missed even one in the history and this is now became a history” said Acarya Ratna Pr. The discussion went on on about initiation and Guru Maharaj’s schedule during his 5 days stay in Kolkata.
Guru Maharaj was looking into BTG special issue that got printed in English, Bengali and Hindi. He was glancing through the articles. He enquired about the cost, and distribution price.They were selling it at 10₹. Guru Maharaj was impressed and asked how it was possible. Acarya Ratna Pr explained that they had gotten sponsors sponsors and other details. Ashraya Gauranga pr said, “How in 70s Guru Maharaj distributed 8000 copies of Prabhupada’s gitar-gaan.” Guru Maharaj said, “It was 1₹. Still we made profit.”
Guru Maharaj quoted Srila Prabhupada’s desire, where he would say that, ” Like how people are reciting Tulsidas’s Rama Candra Manas, similarly everyone in Bengal should recite Gitar-gaan.” Gitar- gan is Bhagavad-gita in Bengali with a poetic presentation of it by Prabhupada.
Acharya Ratna Pr said, “We will make a nice presentation in our next Ratha-yatra festival. And will conduct competitions on Gitaar-gan for School students.”
Guru Maharaj said, “Ask Ekalavya Pr to make a simple rendition on Gitaar-gaan.”
Then Ashraya Gauranga Pr informed Guru Maharaj that few of the initiation candidates were not able to complete their book reading. Especially the Srimad Bhagavatam. One reason being that Bengali BBT is not publishing the first canto of Srimad Bhagavatam separately. So, in Bengal poor people can’t afford to buy full set Bhagavatam which is ₹1200. So this discussion went on for sometime.
Like this Guru Maharaj gave a lot of instructions. And went to bed as he was extremely tired. He needs to rush for tomorrow’s morning Ratha-yatra program.
(Personal Diary – Shyama Rasika Das)