Day 9/12 | Kirtan on the Boat in Yamuna River
Following the Master | Holi Pilgrimage Vrindavan 2019
The day began as usual with morning prayers. Soon after, the devotees all put on their sunscreen and grabbed their shawls to cover their heads, as today was extremely hot and we were about to head out for a boat trip across the Yamuna river! It was an impressive sight to see all the boats lined up to carry the almost 500 pilgrims across. Guruji arrived to a singing welcome and then we all set off.
With our instruments and a portable microphone and speaker system, we sang kirtan from Guruji’s boat, and the devotees returned chorus from their boats! We were all enjoying ourselves greatly, swaying on the Yamuna as we sang the Holy Names. When we reached the other side, we had a large marquee set up to shelter the devotees from the sun. All the preparations for Giridhari abhishekam had been made, and so Guruji began His puja, albeit with one subtle modification: He brought Giridhari and the abhishekam tray into the middle of the Yamuna! The water was so shallow that we were able to stand in the knee-deep waters and perform the abhishekam of Giridhariji. All the devotees came to pour water on Giridhari, while prayers were being chanted. At the end of the abhishekam, Giridhari went to get dressed and receive His puja, but Guruji had other plans, as He took empty buckets and started hurling water at the devotees! A playful water fight broke out between the devotees, who were all drenched in no time. As the puja was done, we sang Yamuna Arati and distributed prasad. Guruji mentioned how nice it was to see us all playing in the Yamuna, just as Krishna had done with His friends more than 5,000 years ago. We headed back into our boats, crossed back to the other side of the river and headed back home.
The afternoon program was free except for the devotee initiations that would be taking place. More than 35 new candidates had been approved for initiation, a process that took almost an hour to complete. The devotees received their new names, tulsi malas and tilaks as they were welcomed into the Sri Sampradaya by the several initiating Swamis and Swaminis. After evening prayers, Swami Revatikaanta gave a talk on the Rahasya Traya mantras for all the initiated devotees present, new and old alike, explaining the depth of their meaning and usage in the daily life of every devotee. That marked the end of another day.
Tomorrow morning the group will be heading off to Barsana, the birthplace of Srimati Radharani, so everyone tried to get to bed as early as possible.
Stay tuned for more posts as we ‘Follow the Master’ on a pilgrimage to the Divine!