It has been just a little bit over six months since I left SPN to continue my service to Guruji outside the premises of the Shree Peetha Nilaya ashram. There have been many activities in Croatia that all lead to this big event that I’m going to recapitulate now. Like all good things in life, this too, has not come without much resistance and obstacles. So, after weeks of intense preparation, the day of inauguration of first Bhakti Marga temple in Croatia was getting closer.
On Saturday evening, 27.08.2016., we had Just Love Kirtan evening where we invited other spiritual groups to join us in singing the name of God. Many could not organize and come, yet we had couple of representatives. We want to continue with this tradition as it is very important nowadays to bring all spiritual minded people together to combat atheism and religious fanaticism. We want to shed light on what is true and real and help people to see what is illusion and how to reach God.
Although there are many pathways that lead to Him, there is only one way you can reach Him: only by LOVE.
This Just Love Kirtan was a great success, and attracted 80 people. Even though summer was in its height, yet all these people came to sing the name of God and unite one’s hearts. It was an ecstatic kirtan that lasted for about three hours, with ISCKON representative and also Bhakti Marga Slovenia. When people, out of their deep love jump up from their seats to dance, clap and sing out for God, the spiritual power generated thus can be stronger than nuclear bomb, and have the ability to transform people’s lives, not only of those present but in a larger scale. With this kirtan evening, many negativity melted down as people put them aside to give first priority seat to God. When that happens, people realize that all rest was self created illusion. That was a wonderful overture to the grand opening and inauguration of our main deity: Lord Narasimhadev.
As already mentioned, the preparation was going on for a long time, and got more intensified as the opening drew closer. Most of us had very short night sleep, in order to put everything in the right place. Hours before the center, and so-to-be temple, opened its door for the guests, there was a lot of movement going on: puja preparation, crown management, welcoming team, bhakti shop, shoe organizers, welcoming team for VIPs, prasad team, flowers and garlands team, music team, cleaning team… just to mention a few. In just 100 m2, with 20-25 people running around harmoniously, that alone was already a great success. The Lord Narasimhadev was covered in cloths and the curtain was drawn. People started to arrive already half an hour earlier, 9:30. Everything was divinely guided. Even Guruji’s asan came just in time to be placed in its right position and decorated. We did not know until the last moment whether he would grace us with his physical presence, so we did everything as if he would come. For me personally, there was little difference, as I felt him inside all the time.
We had a special invitee, and Indian Ambassador of Croatia, Mr Sandeep Kumar, who came with his assistant, Mr Kuldeep.
We received them in a traditional Indian fashion, which already was a touching moment for them. After a short introductory speech, I invited Mr Kumar to say a few words. I presented Him with a chadar and a copy of Guruji’s commentary of Shreemad Bhagavatam, and also to his assistant with a copy of a CD Dedication, recorded by BM Croatia. He said that he would treasure this gift very deeply. After that, we showed them their seats and the program could officially begin. With the sound of auspicious conch and three OMs, the curtain was pulled apart. Lord Narasimhadev was still covered and waited the right moment to unveil. We started Guru puja. I explained in my introductory speech about the importance of guru worship and why we need a guru. I also explained why we worship murtis (statues). Then I said a few words about the program, which was as follows. After Guru puja, we did Vishwakshena puja, Kalash puja, Yagna. I was worried that the ambassador may feel bored or in a rush to go, knowing how they all have busy schedule. But to my surprise, he stayed until the end of more than 5 hours program without being bored or restless.
He drove 5 hours on hot summer day to be present in our temple inauguration. That is an act of love itself. We have many devotees who live much closer but were not present.
The whole program was designed to captivate everybody’s attention fullest from the very first minute until the last. When yagna was finished the curtain was drawn again. In the meantime we prepared him for maha abishek. The cloths were removed, only bathing suit was there. With conch blowing and Narasimha bhajan being sung, the curtain was pulled and revealed the wondrous form of Lord Narasimhadev. I could feel great upsurge of energy in all present, many people’s hair stood on end, tears was flowing in many people’s eyes.
The Abishek ceremony was ready to begin. I had about a dozen sevakas. Everything flew smoothly. I felt even more Guruji there, in even small movements and actions. There were litters of elements poured over the Lord, to clean Him, as Guruji stated:
“While doing abishekam, as we are cleaning the statue, you clean the statue of your heart.”
That was evident, almost tangibly.
The curtain was drawn again and we were busy dressing Him. During that time, Vishnu Sahasranama (a thousand names of Lord Vishnu) was being chanted. After that, Ugram Viram mantra was being sung with which we were building the atmosphere before the curtain could finally be opened revealing the Lord in His full glory. So many things were synchronized that, even if one had any lingering doubt, those were dispelled in many divinely orchestrated moments. One of them was as follows: during the 108 names of Lord Narasimhadev being chanted, I asked the puja helpers that assisted me, to offer flowers. As the space was limited and not everybody could easily reach Him to offer the petals, I ask them to circumambulate Him and this created wonderful and powerful unity between us. It was like a dance around the Krishna lamp during the Karthik night, or dancing around Guruji on many occasions. People also noticed that something very powerful was going on, and with powerful mantra being sung the energy was building up to reach its pinnacle when finally the curtain dropped and Lord Narasimhadev, in His Ugra form, showered all present with His love, compassion, and kindness. My gaze fell on all present, as I wanted to feel all their emotions, shock, tears of love and joy at the same time… That was one of the most touching and powerful moments one can have in one’s life. Arati was performed soon which marked the closing part of the ceremony. But that was not the end.
I gave Guruji’s blessing to all present after they received personal darshan of Lord Narasimhadev and offered Him few petals and devotion from their hearts. With a sweet offered to them after the blessing, the long fast could finish, and our seva team prepared plates with Indian lunch and more prasad.
Many people could not glue themselves from our newly inaugurated temple. It was 18.30 when we finally started to clean everything followed by a short get-together of about 20-25 of us who selflessly gave all our hearts to make this event possible. There were feeling of unity, love and peace between all of us. All differences melted away. People, who were not part of Bhakti Marga team, sent us or uttered wonder testimonials of their experiences. I wish to thank a group of Slovenian devotees who came to support this event. Also one devotee from Italy and one from SPN ashram. Many people helped behind the scenes, either with monetary gifts, in other way. One bhakta, who belongs to other guru, for example, helped us a lot, but he was not there present on that day. Many people gave their energy to make this possible, but they never asked anything in return. This really touches my heart, as I always say that this temple, and ashram that will follow in years to come, are not there for us only, but to all people who are open to receive divine inspiration, guidance, and comfort in this world burdened with difficulties, troubles, negativity… We are here to make this possible, that our divine Gurudev, Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwananda can do his work. This temple and Lord Narasimhadev has the power to change and transform many people’s lives in this part of Europe. I had a talk with a founder of ISCKON in Split who was a great friend of Bhakti Marga. He told me that his hearts wanted to jump out already during the Just Love Kirtan the previous day. He emphasized the importance to bring all spiritual groups together as that is the only way we can be stronger and unconquerable in this would where other ideals rein.
So dear readers, if you were patient enough to bear with me in this long report, thank you for reading and support. Let us rejoice in this journey together, no matter where God has placed us. Spread Guruji’s love and teachings. Let all the world know what great Guru we have in our midst. Jai Gurudev!
With love and unending blessings,