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Diary - Saying Goodbye to Puri
(Jagannath Puri, India) - February 25, 2001 (continued): Well, as you can
see, the new Internet Service Provider works. Better than VSNL, in fact.
It's a different company. I was even able to browse the web and take a
look at CHAKRA. I was surprised to see these Pilgrim's Diary stories are
occupying the whole home page.
a little past 5 in the afternoon. I'm sitting on the roof of the Birla
Guest House. On my left I can see the top of the Jagannath Temple. In
front of me is the ocean, and to my right is the fading sun - perhaps
another hour or hour and a half before sunset.
can see Mahavidya walking out to the ocean from here. He's got a bead bag
in his hand, wearing swimming trunks and a white t-shirt. He's just
reaching the water's edge now. He stopped, looked at something in the
sand. Now he's walking and chanting. A big black bull is walking by on the
road in front of the beach. He made a deep grunting noise. It is windy and
cool - almost cool enough for a sweater. There are some sailboats out on
the choppy water. They are fairly primitive looking crafts from what it
looks like. The wind is making the water choppy today. I see white caps
far out to sea.
the way back from the ISP place, Mahavidya (who came with me) and I
stopped at the place where they burn the dead bodies. In India, cremation
is the most common form of funeral. But in Puri, cremation means building
a fire outside and burning the body in a rather primitive and simple
setting. We saw them burning someone's body today. His legs were clearly
sticking out of the fire. Mahavidya pointed out that people would walk
through the cremation area as a shortcut to go to the ocean, as if nothing
unusual was going on. I saw this myself. A couple, man and wife, came
strolling through right by the burning body on their way to the sea. It
just seems like an ordinary thing to these people. Amazing. The Indians
look at death in a different way than I do, perhaps because of a strong
belief in reincarnation from childhood. I took a photo of the simple
cremation, but I think I'll spare our CHAKRA readers of having to see it.
26, 2001 - my last full day in Puri. By this time tomorrow, if all goes as
planned, I should be in a taxi on my way to Bhubanesvara. This will be my
last day of sending daily Pilgrim's Diary stories to CHAKRA.
know I promised I would document my trek to the Himalayas in search of
Salagram Silas along the bank of the Kali-Gandaki River, and I definitely
will do that, but obviously while I'm there I won't be able to send daily
e-mail stories to CHAKRA. There's no e-mail in the Himalayas. Rather, my
plan is to keep a written Diary record, with photos, and send it all as
one big story when I get back.
that will happen when I get back to Mayapur, or whether that will happen
when I get back to England, time will tell.
don't know how many readers have been following these daily updates on
CHAKRA, but I have tried to give you a verbal picture of what it's like to
be in Jagannath Puri, especially for those who cannot come here for one
reason or another.
am sitting on the beach again. There was no electricity this morning. I
woke up in the pitch black, and had to use my "torch"
(flashlight) to brush my teeth and take a shower. Now again I am sitting
where Lord Chaitanya bathed Haridasa Thakura's body. It is a little
windier today than previous mornings. The sea is choppy, but the waves are
no bigger than usual.
you, Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra, for allowing me to stay the
last 9 nights in Your Holy dham. Thank you Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
for allowing me to visit Your sacred room called the Gambira at Kasi
Misra's house. Thank you for allowing me to chant under the Siddha Bakul
tree and pray for benedictions there. Thank you for allowing me to have a
carving of sad-bhuja, Lord Chaitanya's six-arm form carved out of a broken
branch from that very Siddha Bakul tree.
you Lord Tota Gopinath for allowing me to have your darshan. You
mercifully sat down to assist your devotee Gadadhar when he thought it was
getting difficult to worship you in his older years. Lord Chaitanya ended
His pastimes in this world by entering into Your body. You kindly give
darshan to everyone, including the Western devotees.
you Lord Nrsimhadeva just outside the Gundica temple, for allowing me to
have Your darshan yesterday. Thank you Radha-Kanta, the deities at Kasi
Misra's house, for allowing me to have Your darshan again.
you Srila Prabhupada for revealing the importance of the Holy Dham to the
devotees. I am a most insignificant disciple of your divine grace. Please
bless me that I may give up all my anarthas (unwanted desires in the
heart) and surrender fullyto you.
you, dear readers, for allowing me to share my realizations and
experiences here with you. I have kept this daily diary mostly for you,
and partly for my own purification as well, selfish though I am. I hope
that you have enjoyed reading the experiences at Puri. I hope you have
learned a little bit, and I hope that you also will one day visit here as
I do each year.
watching these two fishermen on their log boat trying to get over the
breaking waves. They didn't make it and they were pushed completely back
to shore. Now they're going to try again.
sadhus walked by on the beach. One is wearing plain cloth, the other
saffron. They have sacks over their backs and look detached from the
world. They are wandering, and must have come here from a long way off.
There are many such transcendentalists that visit Jagannath Puri.
went to the Tota Gopinath temple at around 7:30 AM. There was a small
group of ISKCON devotees there and we held a kirtan. Now I'm back at the
Birla. I'll take Jagannath Prasadam one last time this afternoon. This is
probably the last time you'll hear from me until I get back from the
Himalayas, and possibly until I get back to England in the middle of
March. Hare Krishna.
© CHAKRA 26 February 2001
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