Festival at the Susquehanna River
I felt so honoured to be present for the memorial anniversary of the passing of my dear monk friend, Bhakti Tirtha Swami. It has been five years since his leaving us. In retrospect I see him as the personification of the principle ‘unity and diversity’. His presentation, style, dress code, demeanour was bold, daring, fresh, different. He broke through conventional boundaries and would open up topics that some of us would be shy to talk about. He was like a chameleon adjusting to diverse situations and all the time so much advocating a ‘oneness’ factor. He would emphasize unity, harmony and cohesion; to work as a unit.
At the samadhi tomb of the Swami at the Gita Nagari farm where the service was held, I was asked to speak something and this thought came to mind, “Here is the embodiment of the philosophy of Chaitanya “achintya bhedabheda” or, simultaneously oneness and difference.
For the afternoon our party drove to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital city, for their summer’s music festival. Incorporated into the festival was a mini Ratha Yatra. Swamis from other parts of the US came such as Bhakti Caru, Veda Vyasa Priya and Chandrashekar to enrich the program with their presence. I spoke with Gauravani who is doing the kirtan (chanting) circuit traveling and singing. He shared time on the stage with our drama troupe for “Lonely People”. He does that excellent singing presentation with his group.
One thing that was novel was hearing Chandrashekar Swami quote a Christian speaker as the swami and I had a casual talk, “There’s a God-shaped hole in the heart that only God can fill.”