Friday, August 31, 2007

One day... one day.

I dash into the templeroom, out of breath in this sultry heat. I bow to Radhe Shyam and excitement flutters through my chest – Radhanath Swami has just arrived. Only a few people are here yet for the initiation ceremony, so Maharaj invites everyone to come closer. I scoot forward until I am very, very close to the arc of five initiates. 

Sitting so near, I feel enclosed in an intimate circle, enthralled by Maharaj's words about commitment and devotion and service. Every word weaves its way to my heart.

I wish I could be in the arc.

In January, I had asked Mother Laxmimoni to ask Maharaj if I could receive initiation this year. She had told me that Maharaj had considered it very carefully; then he told her to tell me to wait at least another year. He had implored me to not feel disheartened, but rather to become stronger and more resolute in my spiritual life.

To be honest, I have felt disheartened. But I also have striven to take Maharaj's words to heart: become strong.

And so here I am, so close that if I nudged myself up by just a few feet, I would be in that arc of five people.

Then Maharaj calls up Lalita to receive her beads and her new name. Chills course through my body as he extols the virtues of this vaishnavi who was eating prasadam “in the womb”. I sense everyone holding their breath as Maharaj holds out her chanting beads and proclaims, “I am very pleased to offer you the name Lalita Sakhi devi dasi,”

Balaram Chandra calls out, “Lalita Sakhi devi dasi, ki – “

“JAI! HARRRIIIIIIBOOOOOL!!!” Roars resound throughout the templeroom. I glance back in shock to see how fast the templeroom has filled with people.

And then Maharaj beckons for my dear friend, Radhika. Maharaj glorifies her and tears well in my eyes. He holds out her chanting beads and bestows upon her the name Radhika Rani devi dasi.

Gauranga Kishore calls out, “Radhika Rani devi dasi ki – “

“JAI! HARRRIIIIIBOOOOOOOOOOOL!” Mridangas and kartals join the exultation.

After two others are given the name Balaram Nitai das and Balaram Acharya das, The last person to be called upon is Mother Adigopi Priya, who is receiving second-initiation. After the first round of HARIIIIBOOOLs, I only hear silence.

So I take it upon myself to cry out her name, “Adigopi Priya devi dasi KI – “

“JAI!!! HARRIIIIBOOOOOOL!!!!” The templeroom rings with triumphant cries. I grin ear-to-ear, my face still shining with tears.

Maharaj pauses and says, “Hm, you did that better than the brahmacharis.” Everyone laughs. “Could you do it for every one of them? Do you remember everyone’s names?”

In shock, I nod. I cry out each disciple’s beautiful new name, one after the other. The response builds and builds; the hundreds of devotees present shower their blessings.

After I call out the final name, Maharaj looks to me and smiles. He pauses and then says gently, “She wanted to participate in the ceremony.” And then he laughs, his shoulders shaking, his whole body bouncing up and down on the vyasasan, and a flood of laughter fills the room.

I smile, trembling.


One day… one day.

3 comments:

sol said...

Hare Krsna! Beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing. By Maharaja's mercy you will get initiation at the perfect time!!!
Hariiiibol
ys, Sol :)

Bhakti lata said...

Thank you for your encouragement, Sol.

Bhakti lata

Gopapatni said...

Dearest Nightengale,
What is/are R Maharaja's requirements for 2nd initiation??
your servant Mother Gopapatni dd =>:)


To write is to dare the soul. So write.