BY JEYANTHY PILLAI
KLANG, MALAYSIA – It was Gaura Purnima Smaran celebrated with a difference. We were literally dictated by their Lordships to do what They desired. ISKCON Klang had planned to get both Sri Sri Gaura Nitai for the usual padayatra procession around the neighbouring areas before performing the abhishek. But it didn’t quite turn out that way.
From the start things seemed to go wrong. At home, we had to rush my dad to the hospital by ambulance (nothing very serious but we couldn’t move him by ourselves) in the morning just as I wanted to make the rose and jasmine garlands for Their Lordships. I called Sahadev prabhu and told him, “I am not sure if I can make it with the garlands this time.” At the temple, the tent was put up late and everyone scampered to get the decorations up. Then the palaquin left about an hour late. The dark clouds and cold wind threatened us. After stopping by a couple of houses, I decided to dash back to the temple and get my car. I felt it was going to pour and true enough, just as I reached my car, it started drizzling heavily. I rushed to where I had left the procession. I got as many children as I could into my car and dashed back to the temple.
The rain got heavier and it was raining cats and dogs. Many devotees and children standing under the trees. Most were completely drenched. They got in and when we reached the temple we saw that one of the legs of the tent had bent and was not holding the tent up properly. Apparently, one of the devotees had fallen and that caused the chairs to fall as well, which in turn pushed the tent stand.
I made another dash, this time to bring back the deities. I was worried they would have been drenched as well. To my surprise, They were safe and sound in one of the houses which They visited amidst the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha mantra and sounds of the pattering of the rain. The temple secretary, HG Rama Gopinath prabhu remarked, “This has never ever happened before.”
I got Them safely back to the temple with a couple more devotees. By now more devotees started ferrying other devotees back to the temple. One more last dash and we returned to the temple. I got some of the children who were drenched to dry themselves in the Gopal’s Fun School. Suddenly we heard a loud crash. The tent had collapsed. Luckily one boy escaped with a minor bruise.
We had brought our Little Nitai Gaura Sunder to join in the festival as well. They sat majestically on the altar together with the rest of the deities. The altar was decorated with garlands pink champa flowers and ivys. Some devotees spend the we hours of the morning plucking the flowers from various roadsides. The effort was really worth every moment. The altar was smelling of the sweet fragrance of the champa, roses, jasmine and pom-pom flowers. The champa flowers come in many colours and each colour emits a different fragrance.
I remember visiting Champahatti in the island of Koladvipa in India. This place is named after the champaka trees that grow profusely in this area.
Jayadeva Gosvami wrote Gita-govinda nearby. This place is considered non-differed from the forest of Khadiravana in Vrindavana. Champakalata Sakhi comes here daily to pick flowers and then strings garlands from champaka flowers and offers them to Radha and Krishna.
Perhaps the fragrance of the flowers, so lovingly plucked and threaded into garlands by the devotees here made the deities to return back to the altar sooner than expected.
By now more and more devotees were coming and the rain had subsided. Kirtan was going on full swing. Then the abhishek started. What joy it brings to the heart just watching Sri Sri Gaura Nitai showered with all the auspiscious items and watermelon and honeydew juices. You could not keep your eyes off Them.
After a class given by HG Uttama Caitanya Dasa, the Temple President of ISKCON KL, an arati followed after 150 bhoga items were offered for the pleasure of Their Lordships.
It was definitely a night that one would remember for a long time to come.