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(Translated by Radhika Maharani dd)
Dear devotees, Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Today, Sunday, 1st of April 2012 is the most auspicious day of Sri Ram Navami here in India. In this most holy day I would like to talk about my visit in Nasik, in Maharashtra.
Nasik has a avery special place in the pastimes of Sri Ramacandra. Sri Sri Sita-Ram and Sri Laksman spent 12 months there. The word “nasik” means “nose”. Interesting, as in French it is “nez” and in Portuguese “nariz”.
The city is situated where there was previously a beautiful forest of Dandakaranya.
My visit to Nasik was unexpected. Maharani Vrinda Devi d.d. came to India (she still is in Vrndavana…) and she wanted to visit me. The plans were made for her to come to Pandharpur, but exactly in that period of time, the devotees in Pandharpur were receiving 200 pilgrims and the Guest House was full, as well as the asrams. So we decided to meet in Nasik, which is 5 hours drive from Bombaim.
I went with Sri Hanuman and Mahararani Vrinda Devi in a car.
It was an Ekadasi Sunday. Iskcon has a beautiful Temple in Nasik, inaugurated last year with beautiful Deities of Sri Sri Radha-Madana Gopal and Sri Sri Gour-Nitai on the altar.
The Sunday feast was another event: it was one of the best festivals I have ever taken part. The temple as crowded with over 400 visitants, lots of enthusiasm, kirtan, etc. Despite the fact that I was fasting, Sri –Krishna gave me strength to participate in the program.
Anyway, the Ramayana reveals that the sages could not perform the Yajñas because of the millions of Raksasas, who inhabited Dandakaranya, and due to the arrangement of the demigods, leaded by Lord Indra, the sages asked Sri Ramacandra, that he would stay in the forest. And so did happen.
Shurpanakha appeared in the scene, desiring Sri Rama for her husband. Sri Rama said: “I am already married, but my younger brother, Laksman, is not”. She tried to convince Laksman, who refused to marry Shurpanakha. Envious of Sita Devi’s beauty, she tried to kill her. Sri Ram asked Laksman to cut her nose off. The rest of the story we all know: Sri Ram killed millions of Raksasas, who tried to revenge Shurpanakha’s affair.
Ravana got furious and “kidnapped” Sita Devi, who actually never been touched by Ravana. She is Maha-Laksmi and no one can touch her. He kidnapped Maya-Sita, the illusory Sita. More details of this lila can be read in the ninth canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam or in Ramayana....
We visited some Temples and sacred places in that region and I hoped to find in Nasik a forest reminiscent of the original Dandakaranya, but to my disappointment the region is very arid… Kali- Yuga. Many pilgrims come to this place, apart from many different places from Ram-Lila there is also a very famous and ancient Temple of Mahadeva, Lord Siva.
Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, during his travels in South India visited Nasik. Srila Prabhupada visited Nasik twice. Nasik is bathed by the river Godavi, which flows east across India (direction Bombaim-Madras), different from Ganges and Yamuna that are born in Haimalayas. Godavari empties close to Madras (Chenai), where Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu met Srila Ramananda Roy.
I have much more information about Nasik, but let’s stop here.
On this auspicious Sri Ramacandra appearance day, we pray for protection and mercy of Sri Sri Sita-Ram-Laksman e Hanumanji.
Sri Sri Ram Navami ki jay!!!! Sri Sri Sita-Ram-Laksman-Hanuman ji jay!!!!!!!!!!!
Stories from India
On the toll:
This one was told by Maharani Vrinda Devi d.d.: there are many tolls in India that don’t have that gate that lifts to let the car go, when the person pays. It is done automatically, not manually. Maharani Vrinda Devi d.d. left Bombaim in the direction towards Nasik and she almost fell to the ground laughing hen she saw the car in front of her passing without paying. Two Indians were checking the receipt, as there was no gate. So, the car passed through full speed and the two Indians jumped from both sides of the cabin and started running after the car. Obviously the car did not stop…it reminded Charlie Chaplin movies, super funny!!!!!
Maharani was crying from laughing so much....
The renewal of my visa in Índia:
As you know, I am the part of India far from big centers, and I am the only stranger in the town. Last year, in Lisbon, I got a student visa. It means I can renew it up to four times without leaving India. Well, theoretically…
With the help of one person, who is very important in the town and knows the highest police officers, I have started the process of the visa renewal. Ok. Later on that day, he comes back with another person responsible for this department saying that he wanted to speak to me. I was glad as I though it meant that everything will be solved quickly.
To my surprise the officer asked me about the details of the procedure as he has never dealt with any case like that, as I as the only foreigner in the town…so he asked me a copy of the official letter from Iskcon Mayapur or Vrindavana to the Department of Foreign Affairs for him to see how to write this kind of letter. I contacted Raghunath das Goswami das in Mayapur to help to get the form. Let’s see how this story ends. The Saga continues, wait…
Saint Christopher in India?
The secret agent Karrapato108, poor boy, came here the other day outraged with the traffic chaos. It's hot enough to melt hell. Heat, that bust open the castor oil plants. (Um calor de arrebentar mamona), as we say in the south of Minas Gerais. To those who did not understand, when the sun is very hot, the castor oil plants dries leaving the seeds exposed, and in this silence of the garden, you can hear the noise of the plants seeds bursting. At this time, the South- Miners say: “it’s so hot!!! The sun is burst opening the castor seeds”…
Well, let’s go back to the outraged secret agent Karrapato108. He said: “look, it’s impossible. Besides this unbearable heat, pollution and the horns, there are absolutely no rules! They do what they like, everyman for himself”...” and Krishna for all of them” I added. “Krsna? I think that Krsna can’t stand it either” he said.
“I think I will contact Saint Christopher, who holds the patronage of things related to transport, asking him to come here and help”, he said.
Saint Cristopher?, I thought… he really freaked out from heat, it’s impossible”.
“Hey, here they worship so many Devas, but it seems that there is no Deva who looks after the drivers”…
I said: “be careful with the offences”.
“Offences?, he said…men, they do not have the minimum of traffic education. Ok, Saint Christopher is certainly unemployed, as the traffic in the West is super organized, without the horns, confusion, etc. he worked a lot in the past, but no he must be bored there. Here he would have a lot to do.”
“Do you know why he is a saint of the drivers? “He asked.
“I have no idea”. I answered.
“I was seriously thinking about it, he said, and I think he was a chariot driver in Rome. He must have be an excellent chariot driver, as in Rome the chariots were everywhere. And he must have been such a good driver that they elevated him to the category of saint.”
“Stop, that’s offensive:, I said... “But, actually, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to call him to come to India, I said. The Indians are very religious, zealous…soon they would start to build magnificent temples for Saint Christopher, and deservedly, he never had to work so hard that he would have to work here”. And all that with the support from the government, as seeing the drastic change in the traffic, the government would give funds for the construction of the Temples dedicated to Saint Christopher, asking the people to worship him….
At this point the secret agent Karrapato108 was jumping in ecstasy, imagining the local people on a pilgrimage for Saint Christopher and the Indian population, thanks to their devotion to him, reorganizing the traffic, renewing the fleets of the cars, trucks and buses, obeying the rules to get the blessings from Saint Christopher, and finally stop horning, because Saint Christopher is very sensitive to noise…
Another brilliant idea of the secret agent Karrapato108, that can change the world…
Let’s see what he comes up with in the future.
More stories from India in the next report. Hari Bol!!!!!