This reminded me of Prabhupada’s instructions to sell Gaura Nitai Deities on the street as “wish dolls.” Radha Damodara are definitely in the mood of Gaura Nitai, famously traveling in a bus to spread Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan mission.
My experience has always been that Gaura Nitai give me whatever I asked for. Why not start asking Radha Damodara to fulfill my desires? With Maharaja’s prompting, I offered my prayer.
Dear Sri Sri Radha Damodara, please send devotees to Gita Nagari. There are so many wonderful devotees sitting in Your temple room. They all have so much affection for You. Please affect the heart of at least one sincere soul in a way that they will move here and add to the success of Gita Nagari.
There it was, put out into the ether. Who knew what prayers were offered by the other devotees sitting in the temple room at that moment. It wasn’t the first time I prayed like this (I offered a similar prayer when Radha Damodara went to NV–Please, bring back devotees!!!) In reality, I was not expecting a response.
I am accustomed to the struggle of Gita Nagari, one of ISKCON’s many underdogs. There are not many devotees here, nor have there been for years. However, just when I think it cannot get any quieter, someone else leaves (Advaita!). To actually have devotees mover here, families, en masse, would be a revolution.
But if we cannot have a revolution at Gita Nagari, maybe we could at least have a rejuvination.
Wednesday morning I went to Greeting and noticed that one family from Alachua was still here. I took notice of the family throughout the retreat because they have 4 children, ages 7 thru 12, three of them boys. All the boys were nicely shaved up, one played mrdanga. The children were bright and active. By the grace of Subal Prabhu, all were engaged in service, albeit for points, throughout the weekend.
Since this family was still here, I thought it would be nice to invite them over for prasadam. However, since my husband was away and I had some planned obligations for the day, I decided to invite just the children, including Vraja Krishna, for a pancake breakfast.
After the program, I spoke with their mother, Sri Vrindavan Mataji. I politely asked why they were still here and she responded that they love Gita Nagari so much, they are seriously thinking of moving here. Immediately tears welled up in my eyes and I told Mataji that her family moving to Gita Nagari would be a great boon for the community.
Then I invited the children to breakfast. Venumadhava, Madhumati and I headed home to start making pancakes. An hour later the crew showed up. I had seen Jagannatha with Vraja Krishna at the barn when we were on our way home and I asked him if he ate a lot, which his reply was an enthusiastic “yes,” especially when it came to pancakes.
Well, we made a lot of pancakes and I recieved a lesson in relativity. As in, everything is relative in the material world. What I considered to be a lot of pancakes is not the same as what these kids considered to be a lot of pancakes. Our cat will be eating, ahem, honoring prasadam pancakes for at least a week.
Venumadhava had a wonderful time playing with the boys. Damodara, the oldest, is quite mature and after a while was tired of playing and helped me bake cookies. He watched over his siblings while they were here and even chastised his brother lightly when he asked for a fourth helping of strawberries.
The strawberries at the temple garden are abundantly ripening. The boys, including Vraja, picked about 15 gallons. We bought 5 gallons from the temple and I spent last nite canning jam.
Everything is here at Gita Nagari. The fields are producing sun ripened fruit, the cows’ udders are dripping milk. Wildflowers, fragrant like honey, line the side of the road. The call of peacocks creates an audible fence around the Dhama. All by the mercy of our Wish Fulfilling Deities.
Jaya Sri Sri Radha Damodara