Srila Gurudeva visited the island of Mauritius from 23rd to 30th November to mercifully benefit disciples and the devotee community at large. This is not his first visit to this island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. His first visit dates back to 1982 when Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Golokananda were installed. Srila Gurudeva reached Mauritius at 15:30 hours by SAA flight from Johannesburg. One devotee, Rajaram Prabhu, who works at the airport, met Srila Gurudeva right at the door of the airplane and quickly escorted him through customs and led him to where a small group of devotees were leading kirtan and eagerly waiting for him. Mukta Purusa Prabhu then drove Srila Gurudeva in his brand new BMW to the Phoenix temple to have darshan of the very beautiful and smiling Deities of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Golokananda. Srila Gurudeva was welcomed at the Temple by a group of devotees leading an ecstatic kirtan. In his welcome address Srila Gurudeva spoke about the Subala Vesa lila of Srimati Radharani disguising herself as Subala, Krishna’s cowherd friend. This pastime took place on Gopastami day during the Kartika month. Devotees here were inspired to celebrate this pastime by dressing up Srimati Radharani as a Gopa next year on Gopastami day.
After the welcome at the temple, Srila Gurudeva was driven to my house where Gurudeva resided for the whole duration of his stay in Mauritius. After honoring a feast, Srila Gurudeva was back again in action. He attended a harinama procession at Allee Brillant at eight o’clock that same night. During the harinama, prasadam was also distributed. Over 500 people attended, including some 75 devotees. Srila Gurudeva led ecstatic kirtan to the joy of devotees and non devotees alike.
On Wednesday morning Srila Gurudeva and the assembled devotees had a japa session at home from 05:30 to 07:30 and then Guru Puja was perfomed followed by Bhagavatam class. This was actually the daily ecstatic ‘routine’. During Bhagavatam class Srila Gurudeva spoke from the ninth canto chapter entitled ‘Maharaj Ambarish offended by Durvasa Muni’. Every morning Srila Gurudeva would impress upon the devotees the importance of respecting the devotees and not offending them, even the new bhaktas, as Krishna might feel inclined to react.
After a breakfast of tropical fruits, including some sweet litchis from the backyard, Srila Gurudeva spent the rest of the day in his room catching up with his mail and working on his new video on Varsana.
In the afternoon he went to meet HH Krishna das Maharaj, who was also in Mauritius. Then Srila Gurudeva proceeded to the Sri Sri Radha Golokananda Mandir to conduct the first session of a 3 day seminar on the Sri Isopanishad. This is the third seminar which Srila Gurudeva is conducting in Mauritius (after Demons in Vrindavan lila and the Nectar of Devotion).
On Thursday morning, after Bhagavatam class, Vikash Prabhu and Mataji Geeta had Srila Gurudeva feed their son, Udhava, his first grains amidst the chanting of the Holy Names. After relishing sweet rice maha prasadam for the first time in this lifetime, Udhava underwent the ‘tendency’ test. Guru Maharaj sat down and put a Bhagvatam on a blanket spread out on the floor and alongside the Bhagavatam was a hundred rupee note and some coins. As soon as Udhava was placed on the floor he dashed towards the Bhagavatam and started to pull it towards him. All the devotees shouted ‘Jay’, ‘Haribol’ and the child’s parents were extremely pleased. Guru Maharaj then moved the coins a little bit to get Udhava’s attention. Udhava looked at the coins for a few seconds then again turned and grabbed the Bhagavatam. Guru Maharaj said that the child was indeed a devotee who has come in our midst. Later during the day, the devotees took Srila Gurudeva on a picnic to the beach at Flic en Flac where Guru Maharaj had a swim. We served him lunch at the beach under the shade of filao trees a few metres from the sea. Later, in the evening Guru Maharaj conducted the second part of the seminar.
Friday was Ganga Snaan day, a festival where local Hindus go the beach (representing Ganga Devi since her waters are mixed with the ocean). Previously the pious Hindus would go to the sea and offer some worship and at least on that day would refrain from eating meat. However, with the onslaught of Kali Yuga, now the Ganga Snaan festival has become more like a mundane picnic party to the beach with liquor and meat becoming the norm. The Food For Life devotees organised prasadam distribution at the Flic En Flac beach that day and a stage was built for kirtan. Srila Gurudeva led a very sweet and ecstatic kirtan and engaged the modern day Jagai’s and Madai’s in chanting and dancing. Indeed one drunk man took hold of a mrdanga and started beating it and dancing in front of the stage.
Friday night was the last day of Kartikka and was also Purnima day (full moon). Guru Maharaj attended a house programme at Mr Suresh Santchurn’s place. It was a nice programme with about 25 new people attending. Suresh had recently been through a near death experience. He fell from the roof of his house and had been badly injured. He had multiple fractures and was in coma for about three weeks. His wife, who is a very pious lady, organised prayer sessions for his recovery. Devotees regularly went to their house for kirtan and shared basic points of Krishna Consciousness philosophy with the family members to support them through this difficult time. Finally Suresh came out of coma and after some weeks his plaster was removed. Wanting to thank the Lord for His mercy upon Suresh, the family asked for a house programme to be held. Srila Gurudeva attended and spoke about how the devotees face so many adverse situations yet they remained fixed in their service to Krishna just like Prahlada Maharaj. He tried to impress upon Suresh that Krishna had given him a second chance and that he must now become more serious about spiritual life. The family should at least start to chant Hare Krishna Maha Mantra on a regular basis. The family also immensely benefited because at the end of the programme devotees sang the Damodarastakam and everyone offered a lamp to Lord Damodara. It is said in Hari Bhakti Vilasa (Chapter 16 Verse 121) that anyone who, during the full moon day of Kartika, offers a lamp to Lord Damodara, Krishna finding that He does not have enough money to repay that gift, gives Himself in exchange of that lamp.
On Saturday Srila Gurudeva completed the Sri Isopanishad seminar. On Sunday Guru Maharaj had quite a heavy schedule. He gave Bhangavatam class at the Sri Sri Radha Golokananda Mandir and spoke from Srimad Bhagavatam 7.2.32 chapter entitled Hiranyakashipu, King of the Demons. Guru Maharaj spoke of the exalted character of women in the ancient times. The men also behaved in ideal ways. He added that in Kali Yuga such ideal behaviour is hard to find and advised the bramacharis and bramacharinis attending class that they should not think that marriage means a life full of romance. In the afternoon, Guru Maharaj went to the Krishna Balaram Mandir on our local ISKCON five acre farm for the Sunday programme and gave the Sunday class. In the evening, after Gaura Arti, Guru Maharaj returned to the Phonix temple and showed the devotees a film on the recent Ratha Yatra in Durban as well as a tribute to Sridhara Maharaj.
On Monday morning Guru Maharaj went to a lake at Piton Du Milieu for chanting japa in a peaceful and quite setting and in the evening he had another house programme at Dagotiere. The devotees there concentrate on organizing Pada Yatra throughout Mauritius and in the neighbouring countries. They have been to Reunion island, Madagascar, Rodrigues and are planning another visit to Rodrigues in December.
On Tuesday morning we had Bhagavatam class. Guru Maharaj and Ajay Caitanya Prabhu, the chairman of the local Phoenix temple, discussed the design of the new temple for Sri Sri Radha Golokananda over lunch with Rouben, a young architect who specialized in Vaastu and temple design. Shortly after Guru Maharaj left for the airport and flew back to Johannesburg.
Compiled by Harideva das