17 March 2001

I was happy to be in Mayapur after the Gaura Purnima Festival.  Although it is wonderfully auspicious to observe Gaura Purnima (the Appearance Day of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) in the Holy Dhama, I was happy the crowds had left.  A handful of western pilgrims remained – burnt out after a month festivities.  Padmanabha prabhu and I savoured the transcendental atmosphere of Sri Mayapur Dhama.

We walked out of the brahmacari ashram into the car-park, wearing only gamchas and capalas.  Padmanabha led the way to a pier on the bank of the Ganges where devotees liked to bathe.  I was amazed how soft and smooth her banks were.  We took off our capalas and offered obeisances to Mother Ganga.  Padmanabha covered himself in Ganges mud and wallowed in her shallows.  I reverentially immersed my self in Ganga’s soothing waters.  I felt the deep-seated burdens of my western heart fly away like birds in the sky.  I had the distinct feeling that the Ganga is our Mother – they call her Ganga Mata in India – and that she cares for all living beings and that she is our well-wisher.

We could see the dome of Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi against the blue sky.  I lost myself in the beauty of Mayapur for a moment.  I then heard Padmanabha prabhu’s voice, ‘Come, prabhuji.  Let’s go’.  We got out the water and dried ourselves.  We returned to the brahmacari ashram and changed into fresh cloth.