This year’s Janmastami and Vyasa Puja celebration, while as pleasing and inspiring to the bhaktas as always, was also uniquely special, as we will see.
Guests started arriving a few days before the official festivities began, eager to help with last minute preparations before Janmastami. The selected theme of the festivities was “krsnas tu bhagavan svayam,” that Krishna is the source of all of God’s various forms.
Swami Tripurari began speaking Wednesday evening from Gopala-tapani Upanisad. Thursday marked the very special occasion of not only Sri Krishna Janmastami, but also the sannyasa initiation of Tripurari Maharaja’s friend and godbrother, Babhru dasa. Swami spoke at length on the history and details of sannyasa within our lineage, leading up to the conferring of the danda, sannyasa cloth and mantra, and the name Bhakti Abhaya Ashrama Maharaja. Tripurari Maharaja explained that this name means “one whose only shelter (ashrama) is the devotion (bhakti) of his spiritual master (Abhaya [Caran]).
After the wonderful sannyasa ceremony, the devotees re-convened in the evening for the Sundara Arati followed by a series of wonderful kirtans led by Agnideva Prabhu, a lecture from Srimad Bhagavatam, the abhishek of Sri Sri Gaura Nityananda, and a dramatic reading of Krishna’s birth, as depicted in Sri Jiva Goswami’s Gopala-Champu. After celebrating Sri Krishna’s divine descent at midnight, the bhaktas all partook in a feast of anukalpa prasadam before retiring for the night.
The following morning, everyone emerged from their yurts and tents to chant and dance and listen to Swami Tripurari reflect on the glorious character of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Bhakti Abhaya Ashram Maharaja blissfully performed the guru-puja to Srila Prabhupada, reveling in his own further degree of surrender to the will of the parampara. Everyone then sat for a delicious feast in the good company of affectionate bhaktas.
Overall, the entire festival carried a palpable enthusiasm for seva. Both new and old faces were eager to contribute to the service, and Gaura Nityananda were happy to oblige. Over the following couple days the crowds diminished, leaving behind Damien, Audarya’s most recent addition and monk-in-training.
Tripurari Maharaja will remain at Audarya through September, with a brief visit to Grass Valley, CA the weekend of the 1st of September. On October 1st, Maharaja will head to Saragrahi, North Carolina, for the entire month.