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City of Joy Deities of Radha Govinda were Prabhupada's inspiration

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City of Joy


by Anuttama das ACBSP (non-GBC)


Posted December 15, 2007



Today is my last day in India and what a day it was. I am in Calcutta--The city of Joy

I am staying at the ISKCON Temple in the center of the city. The devotees here are very helpful. They even picked me up at the airport. So this morning they informed my that the Radha Govinda temple where Srila Prabhupada had worshipped as a child was having a special function. When I say special I mean one in a life time, at least for me. They were taking the Deities off the altar and walking them up and down the main street in front of the temple. Now remember, these are no small deities. They are brass and almost the size of Radha Damodar at Gita Nagari.

We arrived [there were only four of us] and had some mellow kirtans. There were about a dozen ladies dressed in their best saries and about a dozen men. These were all members of the Mullick family and they all lived around the Temple. The Mullick family is the family the Srila Prabhupada was born into. Several of the older men remembered when Srila Prabhupada had visited in the early 70's.

Prabhupada had said that these Deities of Radha Govinda were his inspiration.

The Pujari took the Deities off the altar and placed each one on a separate carrying board where they were tied to a small rod on the board. Then, some family members picked up Radha and Krishna and we all started to go out to the street, bare foot of course.

The ladies were banging the gongs and we all shouted "Radha Govinda ki jai". After a few minutes the pujari asked me if I would like to help carry Radharani.

Whoo-what a blessing.

The streets of Calcutta are no stroll in the park. They are full of everything and everyone. But when The Lord comes out everyone gives way. The traffic even stoped as we crossed the street twice. Up and down we went, banging Gongs,chanting Hare Krishna and shouting "Radha Govind Kai Jai".

After we returned to the Temple courtyard, a big offering was made and we all took turns fanning their Lordships. Then we all took Maha Prasadam. I must also admit to touching both Radha and Krishna's Lotus Feet several times as I saw the family members doing it. Never turn down a chance like that. Also Radharani is in a rare dancing stance with her legs crossed like Krishna's. I have never seen any Radha like that. These Deities were installed about 200 years ago by the Mullick family and have been worshipped ever since.

I was told that this festival only happens once a year just after the full moon in the month of November.

After leaving Radha Govinda, we drove to Srila Prabhupada's birth place. The place is small and one story, very simple. Giriraja Swami and Radhanath Swami were there just yesterday. They had eaten some of the dirt from the court yard and there was a small hole there. When Mahaprabhu had visited his Guru's birth place {Isvara Puri} he had also eaten some of the soil. Following in the the Acaryas foot steps we also partook of the Holy dust. Next time you are in Calcutta and think there is nothing to do try visiting the Holy Tirthas of Srila Prabhupada's early pastimes. You will have a whole new outlook on the City of Joy.

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