Eighteen Days - Sri Panca Tattva's Mayapur Lila

Behirtl Close<1 I)oors

I was standing on the road outside the Yogapith when the deities were being brought by procession to the temple last week. One lady, Lilamanjari Dasi, a disci- ple o[ Srila Prabhupnda's flrom the USA, turned to me and, shaking her head in wonder, said, "l don't know what I did or when I did it, but I did something righl to be standing here on this road at this time..." I don't know that at every minute of the day we're realizing how deeply involved we are in these pastimes, how we are a part of it, but we are, and it's an incredible thought that defies description. At present the deities' flaces are being painted. Bhakta Gana Devt Disi-a resident of Mayapur for sixteen years, originally from Australia, and the lady who paints Sri Sri Radha Mdclhava-is overseeing the painting, helped by Kinta Devi DAsi, Srila Prabhupdda's disciple , who is also an artist. The lips, nails, and toes are done, and last night the undercoat oI the eyes was linished. Every time I see the deities I notice sornetlring else about how intricately carved They are. Their brahmana threads are superbly carved: unlike most deities, who wear a straight thread or have a carved line resemblingabrahmand thread, Srt Panca-tattva have unique threads: they are all slightly different, and they appear to be 'rippling' on Their bodies; they look like they are moving softly with the sway o[ the body. The temple is pacl<ed aL mahgalo-arati these days: I'tn not sure how many people are here, but I'm told thc biggest days are starting now: flrom the lBth o[ February through to the 2lstJl2,nd, the majority o[ devotees will arrive. But maigala-urati is especially wonderful: walking past Srila Prabhupada's samadhr at 4am and hearing maigala-arctti there is something that has to be heard to be believed. His samadli emits a cathedral-like quality of sound, whether there is one person in there chant- ing, or many singing Sri Guruvastaham prayers. In the temple of Sri Sri Radha Madhava, the crowd is bigger again, and hundreds of voices singing the prayers create such a beautiful atmosphere o[ worship and meditation. There are so many expert Bengali devotees here who sing in a way that is unique to this land; o[ course there are western singers also (and our resident kirtanier Prahlada Nrsirirha Prabhu is always an inspiration with his enlivening and expert hlrtanas), yet some-


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