Sri Sri Guru-Gaurangau jayatah!
Over the Rainbow
Prasad distribution at the Rainbow Gathering in Utah, USA, held 21st June to 7th July 2003
Article by Mathuranath Das
"To do good for others...."
------Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
When I arrived at the Rainbow Gathering with Dinartha Hara Prabhu and Tunga Prema Didi on Thurs July 3rd, the devotees told us that when Nitya Hari Prabhu, Devananda Prabhu, Darini Darindra Prabhu, Krsna Sundar Prabhu, Anupama Didi and Nitya's brother Tim had arrived a week earlier, there had been at least 6 inches of snow covering the whole site. However, within a day the snow had melted and given way to the most beautiful sunny weather. The Gathering was held in the Wasatch National Forest of Northern Utah, a high altitude pristine wilderness preserve that looked like something out of the movie, The Sound of Music. Rolling green alpine valleys carpeted in tiny flowers surrounded by aromatic pine forests and snow capped peaks (one of which resembled Mt. Kailash) really enhanced the satvic Himalayan feel of the area. The beauty was further enhanced by the predominant mood of giving and service conspicuously present at these Gatherings. The water was pure, the air was fresh and the hearts of many became more clean by the mercy of Srila Gurudeva and his aspiring servants.
"Thus established in the mode of goodness, the man rejuvenated by loving service to the Lord gains liberation from material association and comes to know scientifically of the Personality of Godhead."
Our big cooking Pandal and Temple Tipi were set up about a mile or so down the rugged mountain trail that led to the main circle site of the Gathering. Nitya Hari Prabhu set up 4 enormous woks with propane burners supported by large river rocks, and it was here that he, Devananda Prabhu and Dinartha Hara Prabhu cooked up large quantities of rice, subji and oatmeal. There was also another large fire pit with iron grating in the middle, supporting a huge pot for cooking dahl, rice and chai. It also served as a nighttime gathering spot for the devotees and the numerous friends who joined us where laughter, music and Krsna-katha could be heard into the wee hours of the night. Many philosophical discussions took place in a very natural way, enlivening devotees and guests alike.....bhavanti hrt-karna rasayanah kathah.
During the short amount of time I was able to assist Nitya and Devananda Prabhus by shoveling the full woks of subji, I saw a continuos stream of western yogi's, weary wanderers, perspicacious pilgrims, gentle geriatrics, and bright-eyed dready kids come up to our roped off yagya-mandala, offering their heartfelt and lavish praises, grateful prayers, bhoga, thanks, and money for the devotees' efforts to feed everyone at the Gathering....
patram puspam phalam toyam,
yo me bhaktya prayachati,
tad aham bhakty upartam,
"A leaf, a flower, fruit or water, whoever with devotional consciousness offers these to Me. I will accept them." Bhagavad-gita 9.26
Over the course of the Gathering event, literally thousands took the Lords prasadam while hearing kirtans sung by Sripad Siddhanti Maharaj, Hari Bhalava Prabhu, Krsna Sundar Prabhu, and the many friends and guests that joined in with the chanting......kalau tad dhari-kirtanat.
The prasadam lines began at about 7pm and continued serving out sometimes until 3am in the morning. Many, many enthusiastic volunteers, too numerous to mention offered their service to the devotees by hauling bhoga, firewood, propane and water, and in return received a dose of sukrti and the goodwill of Srila Gurudeva's aspiring servants.....samit pani srotriyam brahma-nistham.
Everyday kids and older persons alike, would approach the kitchen asking to serve and would be directed to the seva of cutting vegetables and rolling chapatis. Some would enthusiastically clean the pots and cooking utensils or volunteer to haul the trash and thereby clear the debris from their hearts......yah smaret pundarikaksam sa bahyabhyantarah sucih.
Happily, we were also fortunate to visit with Keshavananda Prabhu, Kishori Dasi, Sudarshan Prabhu, Rai Kishori dasi and little Vinodini dasi...ananda chandra muki!!...whose invaluable assistance and loving association made it all that much sweeter, and who are exclusively and enthusiastically representing Srila Gurudeva's Mission there in neighboring Salt Lake City.
It was extremely inspiring to see so many come forward in a grateful mood of giving. To witness them receive an engagement in devotional service ensuring their present and future spiritual benefit made whatever difficulties the devotees encountered seem small and insignificant. The whole service effort was an enormous success on many levels and was acknowledged by the Gathering elders and organizers, who boldly stated: "The Krsna's are the spiritual force behind the Gathering." All of the devotees were very enlivened to have Sripad Siddhanti Maharaj there, bringing the vital connection of Sri Gurudeva, Srila Govinda Maharaj's service line directly into the lives of so many fortunate souls. Sripad Siddhanti Maharaj commented: "It was austere but very devotional."
Sacrifice and selfless devotional service, these are the profound qualities demonstrated in the high devotional character of our beloved shelter and guardian, His Divine Grace Jagat Guru Paramahamsa Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj.
All those who serve His Holy Feet reflect the Light of Srila Gurudeva in their hearts, and practically demonstrate His Mercy by the spiritually beneficial activities His Divine Grace inspires in them....Acharyavan puruso veda!!
Pictures are on the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math website at: http://scsmath.org/memories/03/030709rainbow_mathuranaths/030709rainbow_mathuranaths.html