Departing from Mayapur
I received an e-mail from a friend asking how I liked the “Swami tossing.” The other night I snuck into the Kirtan Mela and a crowd of young men, knowing I go along with a little frivolity at times, pulled me in and tossed me up repeatedly, only to be caught in a human trampoline.
I saw it as good clean fun. Everyone was chanting at the time.
An assistant and I left for the Kolkata area today. Suta Goswami Das, a very good and caring young monk, arranged for our transport to a place called Panihati. This is the place where, five centuries ago, the monk who inaugurated kirtan to the world, Chaitanya, with associate, Nityananda, honoured a huge, chipped rice feast. The contents are of dahi (yogurt), rice—of course—some fruit and a moderate dash of camphor.
Panihati was a simple village at the time. Situated along the Ganges, the massive food feast occurred under a large banyan tree, which is still there. A modest temple and additional buildings form the foundation of a lively community. Raghava Pandit, and his sister, Damayanti—two very devout contemporaries of Chaitanya—became masters at food combinations that sometimes spun out of this festival.
I sampled the prep with the camphor. Loved it, but I am still watching my purine diet—low protein for gout.
Panihati is visited by monks, colleagues of mine, who are my go-bros (god-brothers) but it was at Sonaspura, after our seven hour drive, where I found out that no swamis have ever come to this village community. I was treated like a superstar. It was not necessary, and I asked the crowd to tone down in as diplomatic a way as possible.
May the Source be with you!