On the 6th and the final day of Kartik Yatra, HG Sanat Kumar Prabhu explained how one can get benefit from Dham Yatra. He discussed how we should take darshan of the Dham and darshan in the Dham. He gave the class in the morning in Gambhira. HG Sanat Kumar Prabhu is a very senior devotee of Iskcon Chowpatty, Mumbai.
At the beginning of Kartik Yatra Maharaj spoke about the bhav (emotion) or consciousness which devotees should be having during the yatra. And that bhav should not be only during the yatra but we should carry it back to our homes, to the places of our work then we will get the complete benefit of Dham yatra.
Below article is based on the class given by HG Sanat Kumar Prabhu at Gambhira on 6th day of Kartik Yatra in Sri Jagannath Puri Dham on 21st Nov 2023.
Srila Prabhupada showed the way
First, we should be grateful to Srila Prabhupada for his contribution in spreading Krishna Consciousness all over the world. He taught us how to do deity worship, what mantra to chant, how to chant, wrote commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam and other Vedic literatures so that we can read it, taught us the importance of Vaishnav seva, tulsi seva and visiting holy places like Jagannath Puri.
In fact, whatever bhakti we are practicing today is only because of the causeless grace of Srila Prabhupada.
Now if we want to express our gratitude to Srila Prabhupada then we should help Srila Prabhupada in making more people devotees of Krishna. Because this is what Prabhupada wanted, and this was his life’s mission.
Now when we are staying in Dham then we should learn from the acharyas how they approached Dham and lived in Dham.
How Akrura approaches Vrindavan?
For example, when Akrura was entering Vrindavan for the first time then we can see how reverentially he approached Vrindavan. As soon as Akrura sees the footprints of Krishna and Balarama, he immediately gets down from his chariot and starts rolling on the dust of Vrindavan which had those footprints. With tears in his eyes, he starts offering prayers to Krishna and Balarama.
So, as we enter Dham, we should first offer our obeisances and let the dust of the Dham touch our body. It will purify us. We should then offer our prayers and consider ourselves unqualified to enter Dham. Akrura prayed that I am unqualified but still by the mercy of Krishna I am getting entry into Vrindavan.
We should also consider ourselves most fallen and be grateful to Lord Jagannath for allowing us to enter into Jagannath Puri Dham.
But when we start thinking that we are doers then we do not think that we are fallen. We then develop ego and when we have ego then we are bereft of the mercy of the Lord.
To become qualified to enter Dham is to think that we are not qualified at all to be in Dham. If we have carry this consciosuness then we can get benefit from Dham visit.
Uddhava wants to become a blade of grass in Vrindavan
Another example is of Udhhava. When Uddhava comes to Vrindavan then gopis took him to all the places where Lord Krishna had performed pastimes. They showed him Govardhan hill where Krishna lifted the mountain, they showed him Shyam Kund and Radha Kund, they showed the place where he performed Damodar lila, the places where he would play with the gopas. The way the gopis were describing the pastimes of Krishna at different places, Uddhava understood that these gopis are the greatest devotees of Krishna. Their love for Krishna is Supreme.
Uddhava then begins glorifying the gopis. He considers himself to be unqualified to be in Vrindavan. He starts seeking mercy of the gopis. And he prays to become a blade of grass in Vrindavan so that when the gopis walk, the dust of their lotus feet falls upon him.
“The gopīs of Vṛndāvana have given up the association of their husbands, sons and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Kṛṣṇa, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers or herbs in Vṛndāvana, because the gopīs trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet.” Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.47.61
Lord Brahma’s humility
In Vrindavan, Brahmaji also offers prayers to Krishna. People have misconception that Brahma is topmost, but Brahmaji is praying to Krishna that he is fallen, he considers himself unqualified and he seeks mercy of Krishna. Because of his humility, Lord Brahma is able to understand the glories of vraja.
In Satya Yuga, Lord Brahma, installed Lord Jagannath and established the worship of Jagannath in Puri. In Kali Yuga, he comes as Haridas Thakura and he considers himself so fallen that he does not enter the Jagannath temple.
He prays to Lord Chaitanya to give him a place so that even his shadow does not fall upon the pujaris of Lord Jagannath. Haridas Thakura never ever mentioned that it was I who established the temple of Lord Jagannath in Satya Yuga. But he considers himself most unqualified.
He thinks that during Satya Yuga, the Supreme Lord had given me a different service which I did. And now in Kali Yuga Lord wants me to perform different service so let me do so. He accepted this the mercy of Lord with a humble heart.
Any Service in Dham is Glorious
During Yatra, we put aside everything and focus on intensifying our sadhana. During yatra, whatever service we get we should do it. Any service if done for the Lord with humble heart is glorious.
We should not think that some service is better than others. For example, generally we may think that giving classes, leading kirtan, doing management is glorious but other services are not so great.
If we see the life of great Vaishnavas, they did whatever service they were given with great devotion.
For example, Shyamananda Pandit, would sweep a kunja in vraj daily with a broom for hours. He did it with great devotion. So, if we are getting the service of cleaning the Dham, we should do it happily.
Whatever service, we get we should do it with body, mind and words. If we do so then we can get the benefit of being in Dham. The six goswamis of Vrindavan were always engaged in serving the Dham. They did not waste even a single moment of their life.
Srila Rupa Goswami would either do kirtan, chant or write holy books. He teaches us how to live in a Krishna Conscious way.
So, without wasting time, we should be engaged in serving the Lord.
Developing qualities to please the Lord
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura says that we should develop qualities which will please the Lord. Once after taking darshan of the Lord, SBSST asked the devotees, “Did you take darshan of the Lord?” The devotees said, “Yes.” Then SBSST again asked, “Did Lord Jagannath took your darshan?”
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura was trying to say that we should develop qualities and should be engaged in serving the Lord in such a way that the Lord is pleased to see us.
While taking darshan of the Lord, we should think that we are unqualified, but we are able to see the Lord because of the mercy of guru and Vaishnavas.
Conclusion: Carry the memories of Dham
This is the mood, bhav or consciousness we should be having when we are in Dham. And the same mood we should carry back home after yatra. Wherever we took darshan of the Lord, heard katha, did kirtan, ate prasadam we should remember it daily. If we do so, then we will get maximum benefit of visiting Dham or holy places.