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Monday, February 25, 2013

There may be a delay but... Highlights of Jan/Feb Sadhana Program with Kripaluji Maharaj

Lost in devotion: Devotees from Orissa and all over India came to Mangarh to experience the Jagadguru Sadhana Program from Jan 25th - Feb 3rd 2013 led by Sushree Raseshwari Devi and Swami Yugal Charan Ji.

Jan 25th was the first day of the Braj Gopika Dham sadhana program in Mangarh. The days were filled with beautiful devotional events such as kirtan throughout the day, informal talks and chantings by Sushree Raseshwari Devi and chantings led by Swami Yugal Charan. Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj cared for all the devotees as he had beautiful Radha Krishna shrine set up in the old sadhana hall, so devotees didn't have to go cold by going out to Bhakti Mandir in the morning. On 2 of the days, he distributed soft jumpers to devotees so they could face the cold night with some comfort. He gave lovely explanations of "Sumiran karle manaa" throughout the Sadhana Program and gave out lyrics sheets with his own hands, and Priyaswari Devi led chanting of it every day. The evening finished at 10pm with rousing and moving chantings of such favourites as "Rangeeli Radha Rasikan Pran", led by Swami Yugal Charan. Before bed, each night, devotees enjoyed hot milk in the new dining hall! Volunteers gathered wherever there was alot of devotees and held signs which said to maintain silence, and some devotees remained in near-total maun (vow of silence) throughout the camp, in the tradition of the Sharat Poornima Sadhana Camps which take place in October.

Volunteer holding sign to maintain silence

There was a lovely feeling in Mangarh as the Braj Gopika Dham, Orissa, Sadhana Program entered its second day. The Orissa devotees looked all excited and happy to have their first annual Sadhana Program in Mangarh. Large displays of Maharajji and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha Krishna decorated the ashram campus. On one of the days, Shree Maharajji entered the sadhana hall with a lovely saffron, white and dark green coloured scarf to mark Republic Day. One devotee quipped, "Everything he does becomes a new fashion statement!". Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj announced that he would later take interested devotees to JKP Education campus where 1000s of girls and young women receive free education all the way from kindergarten to Masters degree level under Shree Maharajji's patronage.

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj at JKP Education on Republic Day 2013

In the evening, devotees would go to the Bhakt Mandir temple and canteen with Maharajji. On republic day, as Maharajji entered the gate between his mahal and bhakti mandir, he was greeted by a huge group of ecstatic drummers and cymbal players, with Indian flag colours painted on their faces and cute little hats with Indian flags coming out of the hats. Maharajji also wore one of these hats. The band led Maharajji to Bhakti Mandir. At one stage, Maharajji drove towards them quickly and they all fell over like dominoes and everyone was laughing. In the canteen, Maharajji distributed all kinds of delicious prasad such as apples and popcorn... He was led back to his mahal by the band and 100s of enthusiastic devotees.

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj distributing prasad to devotees near Bhakti Mandir canteen
Beautiful kirtan led by Sushree Raseshwari Devi

On the third day, Mangarh got even lovlier as Shree Maharajji sang parts of "Topai Vari Vari Barsane Vari" in his own voice, and revealed several new lines to that kirtan. Devotees were thrilled as his deep and loving voice resonated in their hearts. He was in a gracious and jolly mood and devotees couldn't help but to stand up and start dancing around Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj with great excitement and happiness. In one new line of "Topai vari vari" Maharajji described how when Radha and Krishna's eyes meet, Krishna looks downwards. At another stage, Swami Yugal Charan patted Maharajji's back in deep reverence of such Divine poetry. When Maharajji waved good bye and left the hall, Swami Yugal Charan rounded out the night by leading singing of the pad "Gore Gwal" followed by a few more lively kirtans.

Rath Yatra with Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj during the Braj Gopika Dham Sadhana Program at Mangarh 2013. [Watch on youtube if you can't play it]

The nights were filled with many skilled cultural dances and performances and amusing skits. One night, Shree Maharajji announced his plans to go to the Kumbh Mela on February 1st, and he wanted to take 200-300 satsangees with him. Another day, the whole of Mangarh was buzzing with excitement as we had an Orissa style Rath Yatra from the front gate to Bhakti Mandir. No words for how good Maharajji looked seated on the rath!

Historic visit by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and devotees to Kumbh Mela 2013
[Watch on youtube if you can't play it]

Finally the day for Kumbh Mela came. Buses full of devotees left Mangarh for Allahabad for Maharajji's historic visit to Kumbha Mela. A parikrama of seemingly 1000s of devotees, led by Sushree Raseshwari Devi and Swami Yugal Charan, made their way towards the Yamuna River. Shree Maharajji was hosted by the Central Reserve Police Force of India in their tent at the Mela. They served food to some of the devotees and many of the officers brought their families to have Shree Maharajji's darshan. Hundreds of devotees waited by the River Yamuna to get seated in dozens of small boats. Shree Maharajji's boat was the biggest and most beautiful. It was beautifully decorated with flowers and big flags which read "Radhe Radhe". Many devotees were chanting in their individual boats. Shree Maharajji's boat was the center of everyone's attention. At one point, his boat stopped in the middle of the Yamuna River and all the devotees' boats gathered around his boat. The beautiful scene attracted the attention of the 10's of thousands of pilgrims on the bank of the river Yamuna. Many devotees then got out of their boats and bathed together in the river as Shree Maharajji watched. Everyone got splashed and many felt unspeakable bliss for hours and hours afterwards. Many devotees traversed through the city of boats and hopped into Shree Maharajji's boat. People don't really believe that Yamuma water has any special effect, although they go through the motions of bathing, but it really does have an effect. By being purified with Yamuna water, and having Shree Maharajji's association, some devotees felt their long-term deep attachments fizzle away as their sins got washed away too.

Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj Sadhana Program 2013
Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj's boat at Kumbh Mela, Feb 1st 2013

Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj Sadhana Program 2013
Many devotees sat in Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's boat, and many filled hundreds of smaller boats in the river Yamuna
Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj at Kumbh Mela 2013
Devotees in their boats
Parikrama towards Yamuna River led by Sushree Raseshwari Devi and Swami Yugal Charan
Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj at Kumbh Mela 2013
Devotees danced and chanted with excitement on their way to Yamuna River
Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj at Kumbh Mela 2013
Suhree Raseshwari Devi leading devotees
Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj at Kumbh Mela 2013
Seemingly thousands of devotees of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj filled the air of the Kumbh Mela with chanting

A thrilling all-night chanting ended the 10 day sadhana program in Mangarh. Maharajji stayed in the hall until 10.30pm and came back at 2.30am.

Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj at Kumbh Mela 2013
Shree Maharajji during chanting of "Sumiran Karle Manaa"

Again, the bhajan "Sumiran kar le mana" is a hot favourite among all the devotees. It is the type of bhajan you can listen to all day and never get tired of it. It was composed by Maharajji a few months ago and is overflowing with so much Divine love and philosophy that Maharajji has been giving a lot of lectures about it. Maharajji has said: "Ye pad meine tum logo ko jagaane ke liye banaya hai" (I have made this pad so as to wake you up). Here are the lyrics and translation:

Sumiran kar le manaa, chin chin Radha Ramana
Meditate every moment, o my mind, on the delighter of Radha Rani's heart

Yeh jag nahin apna
Jana hai ghar sajna
This world is not ours
We have to go to the home of our beloved

Sara jag naata Sapna
Sang jaaye Hari bhajna
The entire world...relatives, friends, bank balance, power, respect, etc...is as temporary and illusionary as a dream
The only thing, that will go with us after death is our devotion to God.

Jag mein na koi apna
Ek din hoga tajna
There is no one in this world who is yours
One day or other you have to leave everyone here

Yeh jag nahin apna
Jag ka pita hai apna
This world is not ours
Our true relationship is with the father of this world (Lord Krishna)

Jag toh hai maya ka bana
Ek Hari hee hai apna
This world is made of Maya
Its only Hari who is ours

Jag ko na maano apna
Jag vyapi Hari apna
Don't even think this world to be for you
Your only possession is omnipresent Krishna

Main toh Hari ka hee hai mana
Yate Hari hee hai apna
This "Main" or self also belong to Hari only
that's why always think that its only Hari who is yours, no one else

Main ka tanu maya ka bana
Main toh Hari ka hai apna
Remember, this body is also made of Maya
The soul is what belongs to your Krishna (Hence you belong to Krishna)

Jori jori dhare kyun dhana
Tann bhi na saathi apna
Why do you keep accumulating the money
Even your body will stop being friend with you one day (as soul leaves body)

Tann ko bhi hoga tajna
Sang jaaye Hari bhajna
One day you will have to leave the body too
Only thing which will go with you is the Krishna Bhakti (devotion)

Joi gopi jan jeevana
Soi mam prandhana
The one who is life of Gopis is my life too

Joi yashuda ko lalna
Soi mam prandhana
Yashoda's child is my life

Saancho sukh jag na mana
Sukhghan Radha Ramana
Don't think that there is happiness in the world
True happiness is in Radha Krishna only

Hari-Guru doi apna
Gahu inkei sharana
Your only possessions are Hari Guru, always remain in their shelter

Tann sukh jag mein mana
Jeev sukh Hari mein ghana
The happiness of the body is in the world while the happiness of soul is in Krishna only

Jag mein toh sukh Sapna
Hari mein hee sukh apna
Imagination of happiness in this world is a dream
Our happiness is in Krishna only

Jag sukh chattu ghunghuna
Saancho sukh Hari charana

Bahar dhoondhe kyun mana
Urr mein hai tera sajna
O Mind! Why do you search outside
Your beloved is within yourself

De de aansoo mulya mana
Le le Piy prem dhana
O Mind! Give the price as Tears and in return get the love of your beloved

Shishu bani ro ro mana
Prem maangna hai sadhna
O Mind! Become like a kid and cry
Begging for love is Sadhana only

Hari toh "Kripalu" apna
Yeh Hari shruti vachna
Says Shri Kripalu, “God alone is yours. So says He in the eternal Vedas.”

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