By Amogha das
It was about 2002 when we kept a photo of Radha Madhava and 8 Sakhis on our wall, desiring to come to Mayapur. When we arrived here and first came to the temple for darshan, we were surprised they were wearing the same multi-coloured set that they had worn in our photo. When we told Jananivas Prabhu, he smiled and said “They’re greeting you.”
The magic of the Deities’ loving reciprocation in this unique abode is wonderful.
One time we bought a crystal necklace with large pendant for Lord Nrsimhadev, but never saw Him wear it. My wife prayed to Him “Please let me know what I could buy for You that You will like to wear.” The next day when she came to see Him, the merciful Lord was wearing the crystal necklace.
Once just after the Abhisek (bathing) of Lord Nrsimhadev we sat outside the temple on one of the stone benches. His Holiness Jayapataka Swami had just left to preach elsewhere, so he was not celebrating with a feast as he usually did in the Lotus building. So I said to my wife, “If Jayapataka Swami has gone, where will we get prasadam?”
Within about thirty seconds of saying that, a devotee lady in sari we had never met walked over to us with a clay pot and asked me, “Would you like some prasadam?” I gratefully accepted and we shared the delicious mix of subjis inside it, marvelling at this special mercy, and wondering who she was.
More recently I brought a gardenia flower to the temple, and offered it to Radha Madhava. Then I went to see Lord Nrsimhadev. The pujari at His altar took flowers from the feet of Lord Nrsimhadev and out of these he chose a gardenia flower and gave it to me.
I wrote all the above late in the afternoon this Nrsimha Caturdasi(2013). I wanted to continue my service of sharing Nrsimhadev pastimes, but I didn’t have any new pastimes to share. That’s why I began a kind of reminiscence. I stopped writing to go to the Abhisek of Lord Nrsimhadev.
Last year I had written about the incredible disappearance and reappearance of jewells from the bangles we wanted to offer Lord Nrsimhadev. I was a little sad because I didn’t have anything to write this year.
My wife suggested I take two mangos to offer to the Lord. Taking them in a bag, I stopped at our garden to find a gardenia to offer.
It seemed late, so I was hoping I had not missed the Abhisek. I entered the temple from the door behind the Pancha Tattva altar and approached the side of Lord Nrsimhadev’s altar.
A gate had been set up to block people from crowding near the front of the altar. The temple was full of sitting devotees, and a guard protected the gate.
I saw Ganga Prabhu just inside the gate and made a humble request for entry. He motioned to the guard and I was let in.
Ganga said there was a seating area for Prabhupad disciples out in front of the altar. But I wanted to offer the mangos so I carefully stepped forward to the side of the altar. There devotees sitting down on the floor and several standing at the edge of the altar room looking around the edge to watch as the Lord was bathed.
Peeking around to see the divine Lord, I beheld the incredible moment when devotees pour Ganges water, yoghurt, and a variety of other auspicious liquids over the unique form of Lord Nrsimhadev, the “half man half lion” form of Krsna Who protects devotees.
Just then Gauranga Simha Prabhu came out of the altar room and greeted me. I held my mangos up to him, so that he might offer them. He asked me, “Do you want to offer the mangos, or offer Abhisek?”
I said, “Offer the mangos,” because that was what my mind was on.
“Alright,” he said. He took my mangos and walked back into the altar room.
Suddenly I asked myself, “What did he say!? What have I done!” I stared in disbelief as he poured water over Lord Nrsimhadev with a huge conch shell (about 60 cm long).
After some time he came out again. I tried to get near him again and asked, “Would I be allowed to bathe Lord Nrsimhadev?”
“Sure!” he exclaimed. I couldn’t believe my fortune. He took my shoulder bag and hung it on the iron gate. “What about this? ” I asked, pointing to the cloth money pouch around my waist. “That’s all right” he said.
He led me near the edge of the altar room and said “When that devotee moves, stand where he is (on the left side of the altar room) then gradually move forward to bath Lord Nrsimhadev.”
I carefully stepped past Jayapataka Swami who was seated just at the altar entrance, touched the black marble floor of the altar room and stepped up into it.
Naresvara Prabhu was on the right near to Lord Nrsimhadev. As soon as he saw me, he waved me to come over to that side. Overjoyed to be so welcome, I carefully stepped across the wet marble. Then the devotees on the left side called out “Come over here!” and waved to me to go right to the front on the left in front of Lord Nrsinhadev, by Bhakti Vidyapurna Maharaj.
As I stepped back across the wet floor a devotee called out “You HAVE TO take THAT OFF.” (the money belt)
I reached the other right side without slipping and unbuckled my money belt. A brahmacari held it as they all laughed and smiled. I felt welcomed into the spiritual world. Maharaj asked what’s in the bag. I said “money” He grinned: “So we get to keep it.”
A brahmacari held my arm to steady me and indicated I should step up onto the black marble block by the Lord. I got up and Maharaj put a huge conch shell in my hands. He told me to hold the front with my left hand, and the heavy end with my right. I held it and said, “But it’s empty.”
The mood was jovial, ecstatic festivity, and laughter in the highest pleasure of bathing the merciful Lord, Who stood smiling in loving satisfaction, accepting His devotees’ loving service.
“Spin around!” he exclaimed. I turned around and a devotee filled the conch with Ganga water with lotus petals floating in it.
I poured the Ganga and lotus petals over the divine Lord, over and over again as they refilled the conch. Srila Prabhupad said one day we will see Krsna face to face, and here it was happening. I was thrilled to be bathing that same merciful Lord, Whose pastimes I presented on narasimhalila.com.
After some time Maharaj said something and I stepped down by leaning on the nearby brahmacari, who gave my money belt back.
Overwhelmed, I just backed into the little corner of the wall and, palms in pranams, watched the bathing as long as I could. The idea of leaving the altar room didn’t appear in my mind as an option. I had the longest darshan ever, in the altar room. I fixed my eyes on Nrsimhadev under waterfall of nectars from the conch shells held over Him by His devotees.
Jananivas Prabhu was standing
next to me and leaned over to me whilst chanting mantras. Taking this as a hint I started chanting Nrsimha mantras also.
I chanted all the way through the sandalwood paste bath.
Then the pujaris brought in voluminous bins of flower petals. What could be more beautiful than flower petals thrown from all sides, colliding in the air and falling in the transcendental form of Lord Nrsimhadev? Each of us emptied the uncountable tubs of flower petals by grabbing as many as possible with two hands and throwing them as high as we could over and over.
When it was all over the doors of the altar closed and Jananivas and others left. I just kept praying and stood where I was sort of bewildered. Maharaj smiled and approached me and said the pujaris would take care of the rest of cleaning up. With that hint I thanked him and left.
When I came out, Gauranga Simha got me my bag hanging on the gate. He asked if I want some bathing nectar, and I eagerly said “Yes.” He said he had collected this at “just the right moment,” and poured me a honey bottle full of the bathing water. I tasted it and cried out “WOOOH! Pour me some more!” and filled the jar. With a big grin He said “The mercy is really flowing tonight.”
As I entered home I really had something to tell about. Mohini Rupa was amazed because when I put on my best silk dhoti and chadar to go to the temple she had thought, “I don’t know if he should wear that. He might get it wet in the abhisek.” But she dismissed the thought as silly because I’ve never been involved in the abhisek.
Together Sakhi (my daughter), Mohini Rupa and I drank the honey abhisek nectar, smelled flowers offered to Lord Nrsimhadev, and blissfully talked about this wonderful mercy.