On Friday evening I went to our temple in the west end of London. It was Nityananda Prabhu’s appearance day on the Saturday, and I’d been asked to give the morning class. So I thought I’d stay overnight so that I could have good japa meditation through the morning. The alternative was to struggle with London Underground connections early in the morning or to drive to the city. Neither appealed to me – as neither of them help to focus the mind on the Holy Names.
The brahmacaris have a flat a few minutes walk from the temple and they’d made me up a bed in a room overlooking the chimney pots of London. I awoke at 3.30 am and was surprised to find that many other people were already awake and celebrating in the streets outside. Then I remembered: this is the ‘city that never sleeps’ and what was my early Saturday morning was still their Friday night! I walked to the temple chanting and arrived in time for the first service of the day: mangala-arati.
Now, I must confess that I am accustomed to walk while chanting my daily rounds of japa. This has been my practise for many years. On this occasion though, I sat and chanted for over an hour and my legs remained peaceful.
I led the devotees in one of my favourite songs, Dalalera Gita, or ‘The Song of the Broker,’ which compares the great soul Nityananda to a market trader in that bazaar – hatta – where there is only one commodity: the holy name of Lord Krishna. His price is simply the shraddha – faith – of the devotee and in this type of trading both buyer and seller make their profit. No recession in the Nama Hatta.
Due to the enthusiasm of the devotees I spoke for two hours, after which I had private talks with other members. The temple was crowded for the abhisheka, (the ceremonial bathing of Gaura-Nityananda) the home-made theatre, and feast. In the evening I gave another class to a fresh group of congregation members then led the sandhya-arati. Here in London this is a very lively event and the temple was packed.
On this day we all had a chance to remember parama karuna, the merciful Lord Nityananda, by whose grace we can come closer to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.