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Hare Krishna! Welcome to the Gopal Jiu Publications blog. This will give you some information about Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami, show you some of the ancient tirthas and places we have been researching and visiting here in India, and give you some news and updates on our festivals, seminars and publishing works. You may also be interested in these other links:

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Puri Retreat 2008

We just finished a memorable parikrama in Puri with H.H. Dhanudhara Maharaja, H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja, and H.H. Jayadvaita Swami. A blissful week of intense hearing and chanting – a large, but small enough to be intimate, assembly of altogether about 50 devotees. For the second year in a row the cost of prasadam for everyone as well as the accommodations for senior devotees was sponsored by H.G. Sastra Prabhu. Our salutations and thanks to Sastra Prabhu! Also present was Sri Fakir Mohan Prabhu, Mother Srimati, devotees from Gopiparanadhana Prabhu’s Sanskrit school at Govardhan, as well as members of the 24 hour kirtana group from Vrindavan. Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic bhajans and kirtans. A great group - wonderful association!

A few highlights:

* Dhanudhara Maharaja's morning and evening talks about Gaura-lila. Suffering from the “germs of material activity and the boils of envy” [CC antya 5.1] we have to imbibe dainya-bhäva, the essence of Vaishnavism, to be able to experience mercy, love and the happiness inherent in bhakti.

* Rama Ray and Bhagavat Purana Prabhu’s evening bhajans. WOW! We received news that the seismographs at the National Seismological Database Centre in Delhi were registering major earthquake readings each night. Strangely, the readings were limited to the area of the hotel where our kirtans where going on.

* Nityananda Prabhu’s heartfelt rendering of Narottam Das Thakur’s bhajan Gauranga Karuna Koro every morning, which became the signature song, setting the mood of this year’s Puri Retreat: ”Holding grass between my teeth, O Lord Gaura, I am calling out to you now! Please be compassionate upon me and come to reside within the temple of my heart!”

* Daily readings from H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja’s writings. Some unforgettable images include: The Puri Waves pounding like the hearts of the gopis feeling separation from Krishna, a wake-up call about japa walks in Puri – “is any one of us actually praying?!”, and a warning: “Do not be twigs that break off the Chaitanya tree ; be flexible and bend.”

* Helpful meditations and insightful comments from Mother Srimati, like the one about “the independence of one fully dependent on Krishna”, referring to Srila Prabhupada’s boldness during his famous ‘book inauguration’ in the Jagannatha Mandir where he said: “He is Jagannatha, not Purinath or Oriyanath”, so why don’t you let my Western disciples in his temple?!

* Kirtan by Yadunandan Prabhu at the Garuda Nrsimha and Tota Gopinath Temples

* Madhavananda Prabhu's talks, particularly his evening series about the esoteric significance of Jagannath Puri, his stories about Ganga Mata Goswamini at Sweta Ganga, and his talk about Ramachandra Puri and the dynamics of faultfinding on Sat Asan road.

* Nityananda Prabhu's poetry, and his flute accompanied singing of Raghunath Das Goswami's prayers, "Gauranga Stava Kalpa Våkña" at the Gambhira.

* Expert mrdanga playing by Jaya Gopal from Switzerland

* Sri Fakir Mohan Prabhu’s deep kathä. What affected me most deeply was his statement, “When Krishna says mäm eva ye prapadyante [Bg. 7.14], he means take shelter of nama-vigraha. nama will arrange everything.”

* Harinams, especially on the beach road and circumambulating the Jagannath Mandir, when people were dancing in the streets, on the roofs nearby, the beach and all around us.

*Aside from all the wonderful Vaishnavas mentioned, H.H. Partha Sarathi Maharaja was quietly staying nearby occasionally sharing some confidential and very deep topics privately with a few individuals and otherwise making his presence felt by his disciples, who were taking part in and helping the parikrama.

* Last but not least, Gita Nagari Prabhu’s poetry: “I cannot imagine how much nectar is in Jagannatha Mahaprasadam! After tasting one bite, I want millions of tongues, and after it reaches the courtyard of my stomach, I want millions of bellies!”

Places visited included: Sweta Ganga, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya's house, Tota Gopinath, Garuda Nrsimha, Jambeswar Mahadeva, the birthplace of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, Siddha Bakula, Sat Asan road places including: Haridas Thakur's samadhi, Jagadananda Pandit's deities of Radha Giridhari, Bhaktivinode Thakur's bhajan kutir, Brahmananda Bharati's deities of Radha Syamasundar, Raghunath Das Goswami's deities of Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan, Sri Sri Krishna Balaram worshipped by Chota Haridas and Kunja Bhagavan, and the Sat Asan Gaudiya Math temple established by Siddhanti Maharaja, a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur.

To see some pictures of the retreat, go to:

* Photos:

Written by Krishna Kund Devi Dasi

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