Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Most Difficult Post

This is probably the most difficult blog post I have ever written. I consider myself strong and independent, and to ask for help is one of the most humbling experiences of my life. But life - especially spiritual life - is a group effort, as I only had to travel on 6 bus tours to realize that some things just cannot be done alone.

And so here I am, posting this letter that Kirtiraja Prabhu encouraged me to write last Kartik when he found out I had never been to India. He promised he would help me find a way to come to India for the next year. So in my philosophy of fundraising from Bus Tours to Alachua gurukuli festivals, the most powerful conclusion I have reached is this: Just Ask.

It doesn't make it any easier.


Dear Respected Vaishnava,

All glories to Srila Prabhupad. Please accept my respects.

My name is Bhakti lata dasi. From the moment of my birth, I have been surrounded by India. Born on March 22, 1987, a half an hour before Mangala Arati in New Vrindavan , I have always felt myself to be a New Brajabasi.

I have never really had a strong desire to travel to India. Dangerous and foreign to me in my mind, I preferred to visit Vrindavan in Srila Prabhupada’s Krishna Book.

But at 16, five years ago, Radhanath Swami invited me to Chowpatty, Mumbai. I had just watched The Simple Temple video for the first time, and I felt intrigued by his offer. I believe that the offer of saintly association is what planted the seed of my desire to visit the holy dham.

So began my quest. Every year I would plan “This is the year. That’s it, I’m going, once and for all,” and every year, my life held no space for India. Every year, every opportunity passed by, and my vow would only grow stronger… and stronger…

I have now reached the point where as soon as I have a moment of free time, my mind turns to Vrindavan and Chowpatty – surrounded by my guru, godbrothers and godsisters. I read about Radha Kunda before I go to sleep and dream of listening to the flute player at Radha Raman temple. I write poetry about watching the sun rise over Govardhan… and I’m not one much for writing poetry.

I feel as though Krishna has held me back from coming to His land because He wants me to realize: Vrindavan is in my heart. Vrindavan is where His devotees gather. Vrindavan is the sun rising over ANY mountain, as long as my mind is with Krishna. It’s as though Krishna has wanted me to reach this point of burning desire to visit the holy dham… to the point where I MUST go.

And now, five years later, the gates to the holy dham have swung open… just a little. I graduated from college this spring and the time simply feels right. But as a student fresh out of college (and for only a semester before diving back in) I find myself penniless. So Kirtiraja Prabhu encouraged me to write this letter to appeal for assistance from the Vaishnavas.

I plan to visit Chowpatty for one month to associate with my godbrothers and godsisters, then participate in Vrindavan parikrama with my Guru Maharaj, Radhanath Swami, then attend the Japa Retreat hosted by Sacinandana Swami held in Varshana. I then intend to finally return to Chowpatty for two weeks.

Please note that I plan to be surrounded by saintly association every step of the way. My years of waiting have drawn me to this conclusion – the only way to reach the feet of Sri Radha and Krishna is through Their devotees. True Vrindavan is the spirit of humility and the prayer to serve the Vaishnavas.

And so I find myself asking you, my dear Vaishnava, to please help me to whatever degree you can so that I may visit the holy land of the Lord, my homeland, especially in the association of the Vaishnavas.

With deep sincerity, I thank you for your assistance and your prayers.

Your servant,
Bhakti lata dasi

1 comment:

Vinod said...

HI Bhakti!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAY ! Hope U have had a gr8 day and had darshan of Radha Raman . YOu are so lucky to have visited Vrindavan , Varsana , Mayapur and many temples of South India. Hope you get to see the other places soon ! It is as fascinating as Radhanath Swami Hitch Hiking to India all the way from Crete .

Many People are unable to see them in a life time !

To write is to dare the soul. So write.