Sunday, June 18, 2006

Nectar and Urine

Yesterday I slipped up to the temple for an hour after the sun was up but before the seminars started. It was quieter, most people either not about yet or in Radhanath’s class. I caught about 10 minutes of his class, which qualitatively was at the level most expect from him. He has health problems and I would hope at some point devotees will be prepared to cut him some slack and let the body of his work speak for itself, and not judge him by “what have you done for me lately.”

Mostly I sat out front and talked to devotees who walked by. Such a simple thing we take for granted but it was wonderful for me. I know I will eventually forget that, and go through my day assuming there will be devotees around, but at least for the moment I appreciate the association.

The kirtan in the yajnashalla (a gazebo like structure located between the temple and the guest lodge) hadn’t started yet, but a devotee was in there doing puja to the Gaura-nitai Deities presiding there. He then sat and was chanting japa. The whole vibe of the place was anticipatory to the kirtan and bhajans that seemed to be hovering unmanifest in the ether like a cloaked queue waiting for the slightest provocative to emerge as sound vibration.

All around were unmanned tents and booths. It was easy to visualize how vibrant it would be later in the day. I didn’t make it over to the children’s center, will maybe do that today if I can.

One interesting aspect of this festival is the multi dimensionality of it. While there are the sort of old school, swami centric type things happening, with lots of nice classes and kirtans and typical stuff, it exists in parallel to what seems to me to be an emergent new model. During the day, there are maybe 4 different seminars happening simultaneously, most put on by second generation or new younger devotees. The range of topics is quite varied. Plus, there are hours and hours of entertainment at night, ranging from traditional bharat natyam dancing to fashion shows to the 5 bands that played last night, scheduled to go until 3 am. The entertainment is in a pasture between the temple and the Palace. There was even a soccer tournament. The two types of festivals seem to mesh well together and give attendees a wide range of potential experiences and opportunities.

My daughter has been involved helping Chaits with the children’s camp, which is almost a third type of festival in itself. For many gurukulis, the old model reunion aimed at singles and young childless couples no longer reflects the reality of their lives, which is dominated by care for their children. Chaits wants to develop a format designed for that demographic. Neither the swami centric festival nor the gurukuli reunion models accommodate it very well currently.

Marken took part in a seminar about devotees in the military. I haven’t gotten an after action report from him yet on that. There are all the general issues any youngster would have contemplating such a career choice, and the benefits/risk/negatives to consider, but for devotees there are others. One of the biggest is diet.

As for my bodily condition update, yesterday’s benchmark achieved was being able to clear my throat for the first time since the operation. Sounds like no big deal, but try going through a day or two without doing it. I bet you can’t.

The benchmark I hit a couple of days ago was being able to push a little bit at the end of passing urine instead of relying on gravity for all the action. I realized I am already taking it for granted, but it really was wonderful to be able to do so. It made it possible to completely empty my bladder and increased the time for a urine cycle, and when you are living on a level where urine cycle has replaced the hour as the primary unit of time, and all plans and trips are made with accommodating the urine cycle in mind, this was a big deal. It lengthens the interval between cycles and opens more options. Sleeping through the whole night now becomes more of a probability. Marken says he already can sleep straight through, so looking forward to that.


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