Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Monk Against Drivers Addicted to Vehicles (MADAD)

Mayapura, India

I was fortunate to tag along with the Russian pilgrims after crossing the Jalangi River to reach Brahma Puskara and a unique Shiva temple. There, Bhakti Vaibhava Swami from Germany and I teamed up to talk to the multitudes. Yes indeed, outside the Shiva Temple, the space was laid thick with Russian comrades. In fact some people made their way to residential rooftops and to trees to see and hear us two swamis talk about the deity's significance. Tradition has it that because of the long enduring heat, pujaris (priests) of the Shiva deity chose to submerge him in the depth of the local Gomati River where he can remain cool. The deity is then removed from the water during the time of the Gaura Purnima, the anniversary of Chaitanya's birth. That calls for a celebration attracting 50,000 people.

Further on from this location after a short trek to a mangrove, Russian devotees enacted a pastime demonstrating Shiva's dissatisfaction with his bull carrier, Nandi. Shiva who is the Lord of Destruction, opted to travel via Hamsa-vahava, a majestic swan. This swan is generally the conveyance of Brahma, the Lord of Creation. In this way it is understood that the mighty Gods of the Universe have their frustrations too and allow for adjustments and negations. They sometimes agree and disagree with each other as well as unite as much as they fight with each other.

At the end of the day I happened to pick a fight, or at least my voice. My intolerance towards the motor bikes had reached its end. Two drivers meeting from opposite directions ended up stopping where I had been chatting with a pilgrim. I admit I released a monk's wrath pointing out the hazardous nature of the machines.

"These scooters spoil the atmosphere," I explained "and sends the wrong message to visitors about our lifestyle which is supposed to be one of simplicity.
"I found that the villages I walked through with the Russians to be peaceful."
I demanded, "Stop the madness. Get rid of them and bring a sense of tranquility back to Mayapura." The two scooter operators were rather startled at my chiding.

I hope that they and others will consider the other modes of transportation like walking or bicycling. Consider how Shiva looked at options.

10 KM

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