We spent the weekend churning various topics: during the entire day of the Saturday we gained insights into the topic of family life as an ashram, and the Sunday we dedicated to the false ego - our constant companion and troublemaker. We spent a wonderful time together, with new relationships being established and existing ones deepened. I had taken 70-year-old Kishori Kund Mataji from Simhachalam with me, who thoroughly enjoyed her little excursion.
I was invited to offer 4 sessions on the false ego during the morning program which were well received by an eager audience. Over three evenings leading up to Nirjala Ekadasi we discussed the topic of deepening our relationship with the holy name. This was an excellent preparation for Nirjala Ekadasi which we dedicated to chanting japa - all day long, as far as possible
I requested devotees to add a mauna vrata to their experience, refraining from any kind of unnecessary talks. And we don't even realise how most of our talk falls into this undesirable category...! Not only that - I also urged everyone to put the cherry on the cake: fasting from the Internet - something most people found very difficult. One day without looking at the phone with its distracting messages on various social networks such as whatsapp, facebook, instagram etc. One day without opening the computer....! For many unimaginable...!
And my focus during chanting japa was so much better - it was simply amazing. I realised how all these "important things" on our to-do-list distract us so much and keep our mind occupied. Putting everything aside gave peace to the mind, resting assured that everything could be tended to the next day.
Throughout the whole day there were always at least 20 devotees in the temple room chanting japa in front of beautiful Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha, and the atmosphere was vibrating with a wonderful energy. Everyone in the community participated to some degree, according to their abilities and opportunities. Even children put down their names for the japa vrata and came to the temple room to chant.
As a rule, I like to spend some time in the fresh air when chanting japa, but on this day when I went outside I immediately thought to myself: "What am I doing here?! Let me go back into the temple room...!" I simply wanted to be there....! Syamananda Prabhu periodically enlightened the devotees by reading thoughts and realizations from the Japa Meditation book compiled by Danudhara Maharaja, which helped everyone to focus once again.
This nama yajna had a wonderfully uniting effect on the whole community - almost more powerful than a 12-hour kirtan....!
I realised that only chanting a large number of rounds can give me a good enough reason to put my service on the computer aside. Nothing else has the power! Only the holy name is more important than other services. And this fact helps immensely to get on deeper levels of chanting the holy name....
On the way back to Simhachalam I visited my dear mother for a few days. As always, she was grateful for my association and the prasadam I cooked for her, and she relished the maha sweets from Radhadesh and Simhachalam...!
On the 28th of June I returned to Simhachalam - only for two days....
Your servant, Devaki dd