Mayapur, A Spiritual City

F estivals are a regular event , and sometimes feel like a daily occurrence: colorful, celebra­ tory, loud, and exciting. Nrsimha-caturdasi, the boat festival, Julan-yatra, Balarama’s appearance day, Janmastami, Radhastami, Kartika–one follows swiftly on the heels of another in a head-spinning haze. Each festival brings its own special feel, filling the hearts of all with a unique energy. These festivals are also highlighted by performance of dramas, skits, pantomimes, the screening of soul-stirring spiri­ tual films, exciting kirtanas, and of course feasting. But during Gaura-purnima, Mayapur reaches even beyond the extraordinary and becomes a spiritually surcharged, devotionally drenched atmosphere. It is both a festive, celebratory atmosphere, and a deeply meditative, in­ tense time. Both moods are available always – a slight turn away from an intense drama or uproariously funny comedy being performed center-stage, and one is ab­ sorbed in the deepest mellows of Mahaprabhu’s mis­ sion, as the holy name floats gently from the endless kir­ tana at Srila Prabhupada’s bhajan kutir. The holy name echoes all over the dhama from morning to night, as parikrama parties set off in various directions around the nine islands of Navadvipa. Temple kirtanas are exciting, uplifting, leaving devotees and guests breathless, satu­ rated with love and appreciation for the holy name. Mayapur exhales slowly; the guests depart, the pandals come down, the main stage is disassembled, and all signs of the festival are hidden once again from view. Except in the heart; the impressions of saintly associa­ tion, loving exchanges, and heart-opening kirtanas are permanently etched in the minds and hearts of all. An­ other festival is over, the summer starts to set in, and Mayapur returns to normal. Then it becomes so quiet that we realize: the festival is normal; everything else is just a preparation …


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