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Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!


A SHORT MEMORABLE TRIP TO ORISSA
(Feb/March 2001)

By Sunita Mehta


Under the ever loving Grace of Lord Rama & blessings of my Gurudev- Swami Vishwamitra ji Maharaj of Shree Ramsharnam, I must say that I consider it a great honour to be asked to write a few lines for the magazine to be published on Baba's 75th, Birthday.

It was in July 2000 Baba very sweetly invited us to visit Puri with him. The very next month our Guru Maharaj also visited Baba at Nava Brindaban, Mehrauli. Baba invited Maharaj too. Maharaj willingly & kindly agreed. It was then mutually decided that we would all be going some- time in January 2001.

With pounding hearts, my husband, son & I waited for the date to be fixed. Later it was decided that it would be a three day trip lasting from 16th to 19th January 2001.

We considered ourselves to be very blessed as never even in my remotest dream did I ever think that such a trip would ever come my way. Having darshan of one saint is so holy - accompanying two was getting much more than I could ever ask God for.

On 16th Jan. 2001 Baba, Vijay, my husband, Vedanta my son & I left for Bhubaneswar. We all were so excited. Maharajji arrived later the same evening from Calcutta. Everything seemed so divine and holy. Our hearts were dancing within and our souls were totally in tune with the Supreme.

From the airport we went straight to Gouranga Ashram, where a hearty welcome awaited Maharajji. The women were doing Naam Sankirtan & showered flower petals as Maharajji walked towards the Ashram. At night there was bhajana kirtan which both Baba and Maharaj enjoyed very much.

Next morning we all drove down to Chandi Mandir in Cuttack. Baba had been visiting this place since a long time and was very close to Swami Bhairavananda Das Brahmachari. There was so much solitude and peace in this area - it looked more like a saint colony. Many sages had done tapasya here as we could make out that the environment was so heavily surcharged with divinity. The place was far away from the maddening crowd, absolutely ideal to sit down and pray.

In the evening, we all drove down to Lord Krishna's Temple, situated almost halfway to Puri. This temple too was surprising. It had the most attractive murti of Shyam Sunder. The murti was so beautiful that it was difficult to take our eyes off it even for a single second. The murti was so powerful that the moment Maharaj and Baba prostrated, a rose fell from the Lord's feet. The Pujari offered that rose to Maharajji.

I later in the evening discovered from one of the devotees at the Ashram that this particular murti was a creation of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who had visited Orissa 500 years ago. After so many centuries when Baba reached the same spot, he found the murti there in a shed. Thanks to Baba for getting a beautiful temple made there at the same spot.

On our way back we visited Shanti Stupa & Siva Temple on a low lying hill. From here one could get a beautiful view of Bhubaneswar. We all then returned to the Ashram. After dinner, there were again some bhajans & naam sankirtan.

Next morning, we all set out for Puri. I had visited Puri just 10 months before and had returned to Delhi somewhat disappointed & disillusioned. We were pushed jostled by the crowd on our last trip. I could not help wondering whether Lord loves His devotees at all or does He keep taking their test all the time?

However, here I was again entering the portals of the famous Jagannath Temple after just 10 months. Baba made us sit outside the main temple for about 40 min. The kirtan mandali was doing naam sankirtan. There was an enchanting breeze blowing. The kirtan was sounding so nice - the environment got heavily laden with devotion and bhakti.

Hundreds of passers-by too stopped to enjoy the singing and dance. What moved me was to see the bhava with which these women from Navadwip Gouranga Ashram were singing. They would sing, dance and cry - all simultaneously.

Another miracle that I saw was that at a distance there were some clothes left out to dry on a clothesline. They too started dancing to the tune of Naam Sankirtam- "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare."

We had the most fantastic darshans of Lord Jagannath, Balaram & Subhadra. It seemed they all welcomed us with open arms this time. I was so happy. The Pandas all welcomed us inside. I was so grateful to the Lord for giving us this great opportunity.

Baba also then took us to two ancient temples where Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had spent several years. We all liked those temples very much.

Next morning it was time to return to Bhubaneswar. I was sitting with a heavy heart in the car. The trip was coming to an end too fast. I was thinking, was there going to be another time or was this the be-all & end-all ?

We all spent an hour or two at the ashram & then left for the airport to return to Delhi. Baba stayed on in Bhubaneswar, to go to Calcutta next day.

I do thank Baba for this most wonderful trip. I actually feel I have visited Vaikuntha - I am sure there is nothing more than this up there.

I would always remain indebted to Baba for this most wonderful trip. I now wonder whether such golden moments will ever appear in life again. However, whether they do or not, I must thank the Lord of the Universe, our Master-Planner for having provided me with this unforgettable opportunity of visiting our great Dham with two such great saints.


Jai Guru