#6 | Final Day in Brazil
Following the Master | South America Tour 2019
31 May 2019
Our final full day in Brazil began with a planned trip to the town of Moeda, on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte. Around 80 devotees made the 2-hour trip into the beautiful countryside of the state of Minas Gerais. One of the devotees had purchased extensive land there, and together with Guruji, has decided to build an ashram and temple at the location. With construction set to begin in under two weeks, the devotees went there to celebrate with a picnic, whilst Guruji blessed the land by performing Giridhari abhishekam there. He offered a variety of fruits to Giridhari and poured five juices over Giridhariji in addition to the regular elements. The charanamrit was delicious!
By the time we had finished the prayer and the picnic, the sun had begun to set so we quickly set off for our return journey to the city, where we had two further meetings planned. First, we visited the ISKCON temple of Belo Horizonte on the invitation of some of the devotees who have known Guruji for many years and are dear friends of Bhakti Marga. After taking the Darshan of Lord Jagannath, Subadhra and Baladeva, Guruji sang a beautiful Maha Mantra rendition, which got the devotees on their feet and dancing. After the kirtan, Guruji spoke for some time about a Leela that once transpired between Lord Jagannath and a devotee from Jaipur. The man had fallen on hard times and his wife and children begged him to seek help from his family or friends. The man said he had no family and only one real friend that he could count on. So without revealing the name of the friend, the man and his family set off for Jagannath Puri.
Upon arriving there, they all went to the temple of Lord Jagannath to take His darshan but it was so packed that they could not enter. Sad that they could not take the darshan, nor the prasad of Jagannath, the family took darshan of the temple from outside and proceeded to find lodging for the night. At that moment, Lord Krishna, under the guise of a brahmin, approached the devotee with a golden tray filled with Jagannathji’s prasad and gave it to him. (That golden tray is still the very tray upon which the pujaris make the main offering of prasad to the Lord in the temple every day.) After the devotee finished eating the prasad with his family, he wished to return the plate to the brahmin but the brahmin was nowhere to be found. The brahmin decided to sleep with the plate and that he would return it to the temple the next day.
The next morning, when the pujaris entered the temple to perform the offerings, they found the Lord’s plate was missing! Immediately the police and the king were notified, who in turn rounded up the priests and started harassing and beating them, since after all, they were the only ones with access to that plate. Seeing this, one man said that they should stop as he had seen a shimmering gold plate in the room of a simple man on the outskirts of the temple. Everyone went to the devotee’s house, found the plate there, imprisoned the man and beat him badly, thinking him a thief. That night, the king had a dream with Lord Krishna. The Lord told him that it was He who had given the plate of prasad to the simple man, that the plate was His own property and it was therefore His right to do with it whatever He wanted. He chastised the king and ordered him to release the man and look after him, his family and even his future generations! The king woke up and immediately went to the prison and begged the devotee’s forgiveness. He released him and granted his family a home on the perimeter of the temple. To this day, the descendants of this man continue to live in this house, and are very well looked after. Guruji told everyone, ‘You see how good a friend is the Lord?’
After concluding His story, Guruji bid everyone at the temple farewell and headed on to His last meeting of the day, a dinner at Casa Vrinda, the temple community of the mission headed by Paramadvaiti Swami who we had met for the first time in Vrindavan last November. There the entire group was very well received. After two short speeches by Swami Revatikaanta and Guruji about the glories of devotees and the honour and responsibility with which one should live out that role, dinner was served. As it was Ekadashi, the devotees of Casa Vrinda had prepared a simple Ekadashi-appropriate offering, which was very tasty and much appreciated by the fasting devotees. The Bhakti Marga devotees and Vrinda devotees mingled and spent the night in conversation until finally, at almost midnight, the night ended as we all returned to our hotel, ready to prepare for our flights tomorrow!
Stay tuned for more posts as we ‘Follow the Master’ on His tour in South America!