Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
Sudarshana devi dasi had written a couple of days ago about our mind-boggling trip to ahobilam dham last week end. I would like to add a couple of my humble appreciations.
Out of the 9 Nrsimhadev deities present there, 4 of them are on the top of steep hills which takes an arduous walking austerity through thick forest and the pathway filled with stones, rocks and woods. The rest of the 5 deities reside surrounding the foothills of the mountains. And out of the 4 deities on the top of the hill, two are the most difficult - Jwala Nrsimha and Pavana Nrsimha. The path leading to Jwala Nrsimha temple is very steep and we have to pass through big rocks. It is about a 4 km walk up the mountain. Whereas Pavana Nrsimha presents to us a slightly different kind of austerity - beginning with a steep climb of 700 steps and then a 6 km walk through the jungle with the path full of stones. It is much easy walking with slippers on, but the austerity is felt when we walk bare foot, every stone that we put our foot on, relieving us of our past sins by giving us the reactions through pain. Of course, we can withstand the pain by sincerely chanting the holy names and glories of Lord Nrsimhadev.
But the most astonishing thing that struck me when we at last reached Pavana Nrsimhadev was that it was a very small temple and along the side there was a small room for the Pujari. Apart from this there is absolutely nothing in that place. I was just wondering where does the Pujari get the paraphernalias for worshiping the Lord and for even maintaining himself. There is absolutely no electricity in that entire area and after 6 pm the temples are closed. Thinking about the situation that a person stays there all alone and performing the archana non-stop, simply blew me off. That pujari prabhu has only two jungle dwellers helping him if he is in need of anything and the jungle dwellers eat only meat, as we could feel the intense smell of dead animals around. Even in this condition, the pujari just asked us to wait for a few minutes and came back to the temple to offer very nice sweet rice and pancamrta to the Lord and then offered it to us as well.
We could not help but be awed by the Pujari prabhu's intense faith in the Lord and his unshakable determination to serve Him. I am here sitting in nice A/C room comfortably and still cribing about so many silly things. As Srila Prabhupada says in his purport to BG 2.41, "Faith means unflinching trust in something sublime", we could perceive this unflinching service mood in this prabhu.
Secondly when we came down we took prasadam in the local mutt there. The devotees who are serving there in preparing the prasadam and serving it to the visiting devotees are all quite in their middle-age, fifty-plus. The whole day they keep serving, preparing prasadam as per the preference of the visitors and moreover, the prasadam is absolutely free of cost. In most temples or mathas, even the prasadam that is distributed after a charge, is not served with the mood of servitorship. Whereas here, I could see that they were all so very humble while serving, even if there are hundreds of devotees to be served at once. Moreover, they serve prasadam irrespective of anytime we come during the day. We can even inform them to prepare the prasadam in advance and they dutifully prepare the prasadam and wait until we come and honor the prasadam. The first day of our visit, we came late from our tour but the prabhu who cooked the prasadam waited for us without resting until late in the night to serve us, eventhough many of our troup were tired and went to bed.
This showed to me another facet of the unflinching service mood of the devotees there. Even though I am half their age, my body will not bend to serve prasadam to others and then honor it. Nor will I kindly wait for the visitors to honor the prasadam. I will probably be sulking inside for the unfortunate situation I am being put in. What is the use of all the hi-fi philosophy that we speak, if we cannot bend to serve others?
As our Guru Maharaj has succinctly put it in his powerful statement recently, "Srila Prabhupada called bhakti as devotional service, because there cannot be service without devotion and there cannot be devotion without service."
I humbly pray unto the Lord, my dear spiritual master and offer my humble obeisances at the lotus feet of such elevated vaishnavas, that let me get this mood of servitorship to all the living entities by distributing them prasadam, the mercy of the Lord. Only by giving mercy to others can we get mercy of the Lord.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das.
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