Saturday, July 6, 2013

An Official Mystery

"You want to walk with Radhanath Swami and me to the Union Square Park harinam?" Dhanurdhara Swami asked me. We were conversing in a hallway of the Bhakti Center in New York City.

"Why, sure!" I replied.

"Let me just go ask him, and I'll get back to you. We'll leave soon, so just stick around,"

I nodded.

I had just flown in from India that very morning after being gone from America for almost an entire year. I kid you not when I say that tears stung my eyes when I walked through the corridors of Newark Airport. I was on American "soil"! I felt unabashedly patriotic.

Today was also the day that I had officially moved into the Bhakti Center - to give this Center and this city a whirl in service for awhile, see how things go.

A half an hour later, Dhanurdhara Swami ushered me to join him and Radhanath Swami, but the time was running late so we hailed a cab. As usual, I felt nervous to be around my spiritual master, who is such a huge guiding force in my life. The two swamis got into the back and I got into the front. How surreal, I thought. I'm riding in a cab with such eminent personalities. 

When we got out of the cab at Union Square Park, I could hear the distant thrum of the mridanga drum and the soft 'ting' of the karatalas. We were getting closer to the harinam.

I circled around to join the two dignified Swamis in their flowing orange robes. Radhanath Swami caught my eye. A mysterious smile lit up his face and he intoned, "Bhakti lata, today I officially give to you New York City."

My eyes widened. "Really?" That sounded pretty important, but I was puzzled. "What does that mean?"

"In time, everything will be revealed," he replied enigmatically.

I knit my eyebrows. I turned to Dhanurdhara Swami, "Maharaj, what does that mean, that Radhanath Swami has officially given to me New York City?"

"Ah, this is called Prabhudatta Desha,"

"Prabhupada Desha?" I said, trying to clarify.

"No, Prabhudatta, with a 't.' Prabhudatta Desha,"

"Prabhudatta Desha," I said carefully. The three of us were now walking abreast, weaving through crowds, approaching the harinam.

"Yes," Dhanurdhara Swami said, "This means 'the place of residence that the guru gives to you as your main place of service,'"

I was stunned. I looked over to Radhanath Swami. He grinned. "I told you that everything would soon be revealed."

A week later and I am realizing that his words will take a lifetime to be revealed.

Manhattan skyline the morning I arrived

Union Square Park harinam


Yamuna Vandenberg said...

Oh, I was thinking that your Guru Maharaj was giving you- your talent, your beauty, your devotion to New York City! A reciprocal gifting process. Cool. Makes perfect sense to me :)

Yamuna Vandenberg said...

"You are a gift to New York City too"

Anonymous said...

lucky you Bhakti Lata! all good wishes for your happiness in your new place of residence and service! Ki Jaho!

your servant, Vijaya Radha dd

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