Memories by Bhaktin Claire

Posted on December 13, 2010

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I spent one year in Holy Mayapur in 2008. By Krsna’s grace, I was living in the Youth Forum bld, first floor, same floor as HG Padmalochan prabhu and his good wife HG Vrindavan Lila mataji. Near my bed, the window directly opened on the courtyard, where HG Padmalochan used to put his bike. I woke up at the same time as he was taking his bike to go to his mangal-japa. He was sooo regulated. He was going every day at 2 am to the mandir. Except when prayers were required for HH Jayapataka maharajah, at that time I did not hear him go. But when I used to come at the mandir between 2.15 and 2.30 am, he always was there praying. That was his compassion. Also, candles were light up all night long, in front of HH Jayapataka maharaja’s picture… so he might have taken care of them.

This helps me realize one great quality of his… He would never show off. He was praying in the temple when no one was there. Someone told me recently, whatever you do when no one is there is what you really are. From this, I can conclude that HG Padmalochan prabhu was a pure devotee. He didn’t like so much the crowd. When I used to come, he was the only one there… Then 2 or 3 more devotees would come…

Every day, he was waking up Srila Prabhupada. EVERY DAY, whatever happens. He was so dedicated to his guru… This was examplary. He would also check how the devotee, whose service was to wake up Srila Prabhupada, arranged his clothes, offered him flowers before mangal-arati. He was so sincere that he wanted everything perfect for Srila Prabhupada and would nicely correct you if you made a mistake. But in your heart, you would always be sure it was out of love for Srila Prabhupada. The intent behind the action was so naturally explicit. He would chant his jappa every day at the same place, on Srila Prabhupada’s right side, his back towards the second pillar, where all the sannyasis go to chant when they come to Sri Mayapur.

At that time, I was very new bhaktin (i still am), I thought it was natural and easy to wake up early. Now, I know it is only due to the blessings of the vaisnavas if we can wake up… I think HG Padmalochan prabhu helped me, by his causeless mercy, in my sadhana.

Every one can tell about the quality of his japa… He would always be at the same place… We should call this pillar « HG PADMALOCHAN’s » !!! (Maybe Lord Nrsinhadev is inside !!) He would sit on 3-4 cushions… His health did not look so good… but I never heard him complain about this. Then he would totally wrap himself into a white sheet, from top to bottom. He then could not see anything. He would chant and from time to time would shout very loudly a name of the Lord, no matter who was there, 1, 2 or 100 devotees !!! Sometimes, the name he shouted was Radha, sometimes Krsna, sometimes Gauranga, sometimes a mix… I didn’t know why but I always took his adresses as advises to orient my jappa and I would focus on the divinity he was calling… I always felt he was a senior devotee friendly guiding me. I hardly ever talked to him but I always watched what he was doing to inspire my devotional service to the Lord.

After mangal-arati or japa time, I would hardly ever see him. I couldn’t dissociate him from his wife, HG Vrindavan Lila mataji, from his cane, and his bike !

In 2008, I was asked to help making Srila Prabhupada’s vyasa puja book. HG Padmalochan prabhu and his wife HG Vrindavan Lila mataji wee supervising this heavy, but blissful task every year for… I do not know… from time immemorial ! … The old vyasa puja books are stocked in their museum-like office.

We would come to their office. Their flat consisted of two rooms and they made a small open kitchen in between in the hall. In the veranda in front of their rooms, Sri Vrinda Devi established Her quarters, She came in the form of 10 or more big grown beautiful Tulasi plants, they cared so much about. One room I never entered. The other one was facing the véranda I used to share with them (so as the common bathroom for the first floor…) So, I was used to meet mataji daily around the sinks to wash clothes or brush teeth… and exchange salutations !!! To make Srila Prabhupada’s vyasa puja book, every one was welcome in the office. Every year, HG Manisirani and her two daughters, Sita and Nila, would fill up ! This office was a small room, but it was shining with so much devotion, as all the rooms there. On the walls, you could see beautiful pictures of all the deities from Mayapur. HG Vrindavan Lila mataji always taking great pictures. Very discreet, you only see her in great festivals behind her camera, an old good one. What I immediatly noticed was their spontaneous and rare devotion to Sri Lalita Devi.

That year, I didn’t notice any other couple of senior devotees there, except a senior book distributor on the second floor, brahmacari. Although they were senior in age and devotion, they were staying in the Youth Forum… Krsna is eternally young, such as His great devotees…

During our service together, I would always laugh so much because they were having their lila to encourage us in a long and difficult task… Everything was done by hand : the wole book, the cover, everything. We would cut the pages, knit them, glue the beautiful pictures… everything. To make us laugh, they would show a lila of changing orders to our crazy team. HG Vrindavana Lila mataji would tell us something… Then hours later, HG Padmalochan Prabhu would tell us the exact opposite, sometimes asking us to start again from the beginning. Or we would misunderstand and in the night they would have to undo all the daily job so that we could start it again or so that they could do it nicely. But somehow or other, everything would be done on time and ready for Srila Prabhupada’s vyasa puja, by Krsna’s grace and for our own amazement… At the end, they would invite us for a great feast ! Whatever HG Vrindavana Lila cooked was so blessed by Krsna that it was only bliss eating it. Especially at that time we were not used to eat to our satisfaction… so every mouthfull of this prasadam was a big blessing !

I loved so much to see them and the lilas and pastimes they were showing to devotees. You could feel so much love between these two great devotees but sometimes they would play to disagree or other pastimes to entertain devotees. They always were the soul of this first floor. I never went there again since HG Padmalochan left. And it is difficult to imagine it… or to see HG Vrindavana-Lila without her eternal associate, or his cane… But maybe also remembering the Lord’s greatest devotees can help us reaching devotionnal service…

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to remember these great devotees and speak about my very good memories about them. I wish you the very best.

Ys, B. Claire.

30th november 2010. Europe.

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