Devaki Devi Dasi: Our this year’s Convention at Rup Sanatan Smriti Tirtha was especially vibrant. Around 4500 practicing devotees assembled from all corners of Bangladesh to attend this transcendental Sravan Kirtan Mela, which began on the 17th of February and concluded on the 20th evening.
We welcomed HH Lokanath Maharaja, HH Krsna Ksetra Maharaja, HH Bhakti Purusottama Maharaja, HG Nitai Priya Prabhu (the wonderful kirtaniya from Ghana), and HG Akincana Krsna Prabhu who is also becoming more and more known for his amazing kirtans, and his good wife. HH Jaya Pataka Maharaja was also expected to attend, but unfortunately he could not participate due to health reasons.
My inspiration to help arrange for such events is the purport of Madya 3, 203, where Srila Prabhupada expresses the following: “If one has the proper means and wealth, he should occasionally invite the devotees of Lord Caitanya who are engaged in preaching all over the world and hold a festival at home simply by distributing prasadam and talking about Krsna during the day and holding congregational chanting for at least three hours in the evening. This procedure must be adopted in all centers of the Krsna consciousness movement.”
We were spending three days swimming in an ocean of nectar, hearing wonderful seminars during the day, and chanting the holy name in the evenings. The devotees were so determined to absorb themselves in the transcendental atmosphere, that they did not even perceive the external inconveniences which were there due to hosting such a large crowd of devotees in very simple facilities. Nowhere else in the world are devotees so eager to hear and chant in the association of sadhus, that they joyfully accept even to most simple and austere conditions without complaining! This is their good fortune, which qualifies them to receive so much mercy…..
Every single morning Their Lordships Sri Sri Gaur Nitai, Radha Madana Mohan and Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra were so gorgeously dressed. The pujaris were endeavoring with devotion and must have been directly inspired by the Lord Himself, which transfered us to Goloka Vrindavan.
As usual I played the role of the hosting mother, overseeing the entire arrangement and welcoming all the devotees and respected sadhus, and trying my best to serve them and tend to their needs. The VIP prasadam was out of this world – such large and unique variety of dishes prepared with love and devotion, and offered to Sri Sri Radha Madana Mohan. The lunch consisted of around 35 to 40 preparations – simply incredible! And each and every dish was so extraordinary and unique in its taste and flavor. Here in Bangladesh we can understand what Srila Prabhupada meant when he said: “The Bengalis are the only ones who know how to eat…!”
The atmosphere was so light and jolly, and everybody was transported to a higher level of happiness.
We concluded the transcendental gathering celebrating Lord Nitayananda’s appearance, with the festivities of Nityananda Katha, abhishek accompanied by sweet kirtans lead by HH Krsna Ksetra Maharaja, followed by a sumptious feast. And in the evening we lost ourselves in wonderful kirtan.
At the closing ceremony I offered a little gift to our sadhus in order to conclude the loving exchange. I had been pondering what we could offer to them: something practical, and something typical Bangladeshi. Of course, Bangladesh is famous for its good mrdangas, but such a gift would most likely be more of a burden than of any use. And HH Lokanath Maharaja laughingly agreed with this! Bangladesh is also known to have the best moskito nets. But again, also this idea was not so appealing. I opted for the third idea: Bangladesh is famous for having the best gamchas in the world! Long lasting due to the good quality, and nice colors and designs. So I offered to all our honorable guests a set of gamchas, and especially to HH Lokanath Maharaja and HH Krsna Ksetra Maharaja I expressed the hope that every morning while taking bath they may remember us devotees in Bangladesh, and thus we would surely occupy a tiny little corner within their hearts, which will give us hope that they will visit us once again in the near future….! Needless to say, their hearts were charmed, and the assembled devotees were amused. HH Krsna Ksetra Maharaja exclaimed to the full audience: “Devaki Mataji is the mother of Bangladesh….! And it’s so nice to have a mother, isn’t it…?!” In his closing words HH Bhakti Purusottama Maharaja stated: “Our Guru Maharaja has given us Diksa, and Devaki Mataji is making sure that our bhakti lata receives nourishment….” I couldn’t help but remembering the example of a family: the father is the official head of the family. But who runs the show? It’s the mother, who makes sure everyone is cared for…..
Our honorable guests also received a good quality woolen chadar which gave more weight to our humble gift, showing our gratitude for their uplifting and nourishing association.
On the 21st of February many of us took the journey overland to Mayapur…..