January 27, 2012
This was the second annual Appearance Day Celebration honoring Srila Janardan Maharaj in Soquel and it was unbelievably sweet. For years Janardan Maharaj has traveled annually to Mexico around the time of his birthday. In Soquel we are always sad that Maharaj leaves and that we cannot join the celebration. Now the problem has been solved; we have started to celebrate his birthday according to the lunar calendar. After all, most vaishnava festivals are calculated according to the lunar calendar, including the appearance days of our guru parampara.
Due to his humility Janardan Maharaj only reluctantly agreed to allow this festival but what a wonderful festival it turned out to be! After singing many vaishnava songs all together in the temple room, several devotees were invited to glorify of Srila Janardan Maharaj. If there had not been some concern about finishing the program on time, perhaps many more devotees would have liked to speak. It was an evening program after all, and there was a feast to honor (the menu was selected by Maharaj himself and included his favorite preparations.) We were able to hear from Jivana Devi, Sanatani Devi, Vrinda Devi, Ramachandra Prabhu, Sarvabhavana Prabhu, Sureshwari Devi, Kalindi Devi, and Vimala Devi. Their short speeches were heartfelt and often humorous. The most common themes that arose were humility, humor, friendship and family. Maharaj himself was touched and happy with the devotee’s offerings.
…as for hearing everyone I appreciate their kindness and the sweet things they are saying. What can I say? “I just pray I can live up to eveyone’s expectations…The one thing I never wanted to be is a role model of anyone.” I didn’t like being a guru in ISKCON. It is easier to serve someone else than to take responsibility for getting respect from others.
…We have so much we really can’t complain about anything…”We should be ok.”
With that everyone laughed and I believe everyone felt very comfortable and happy. Maharaj was explaining that Srila Govinda Maharaj has given us everything we need and we can have faith that he will continue to take good care of us all. Janardan Maharaj’s mood was that of a gentle and wise father although he expressed himself as a brother. He said he feels like Srila Govinda Maharaj’s disciples are all his brothers and sisters (only some of the children are nieces and nephews.) It was really very clear, even to someone without any spiritual vision such as myself, that Janardan Maharaj is in fact as humble as all the devotees had expressed, and that his whole purpose in life is only to please his spiritual masters.
Jivana related a conversation that Janardan Maharaj had when he left ISKCON (after Srila Prabhupad disappeared from the world) to join Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. Someone asked how much of his heart was for Srila Prabhupad and how much for Srila Sridhar Maharaj. He had explained that all three gurus, Srila Prabhupad, Srila Sridhar Maharaj, and Srila Govinda Maharaj occupy a 100% of his heart. “When someone is in your heart you really can’t take them out.” How fortunate are we to have as our friendly guardian this wonderful personality who personally served all three of these great vaishnavas?
I hope you will listen to the recordings from this festival, especially if you feel like part of Janardan Maharaj’s family. Happiness and affection ring out from the expressions of all the devotees and Janardan Maharaj expresses himself very nicely.
Click to listen to lecture: 120127 BPJ Appearance Day.mp3 (52 minutes, 36.2 MB)
Photos were taken by Murali Mohan Prabhu.