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I was given Harinam by Srila Maharaja in 2015 during Ratha Yatra in Jagannath Puri. A few days after my initiation was his appearance day celebration. I had a flight to Delhi that afternoon and it was also the day where they put Gold on Jagannath and close down the streets. It was my first time in India and I had stayed two months longer than I had planned and I was sick and exhausted. My body was still adjusting to all the exotic bacteria and I was also going through a big purification after my initiation. Although I had the opportunity to attend his Vyas Puja that morning, I couldn't get myself out of bed in time to go. I felt so guilty and felt especially awful once I saw the video of the celebration on Facebook. Everyone had an opportunity to do a full arati of him with all the paraphernalia. I just kept thinking to

 

myself "What kind of disciple am I? I've prayed and prayed for a pure devotee guru and actually got one and I cannot even get it together to attend his Vyas Puja!" I didn't think I'd ever get an opportunity to do arati of my Gurudeva again.

I thought about missing that opportunity quite a bit. The next time I saw Gurudeva was in Mayapur March 2016. I was waiting outside his door at Chaitanya Gaudiya Math one afternoon. There were only a few devotees around. The door opened to his room and I got pulled in by some Italian devotees that I did not know. They had a whole arati plate set up with a huge garland and I had no idea what was happening. Once in the room the devotee told Gurudeva that it was the disappearance day of her Gurudeva, Srila Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Gosvami Maharaja. She said it was her desire to do arati of Gurudeva on the disappearance day of her Gurudeva. He mercifully agreed and we all got to do a long beautiful arati of Gurudeva with all the paraphernalia. As I was offering him incense he gave me this extremely intense look. I feel like that look was him showing me that he can hear my prayers and desires. After we finished his arati I stumbled out of the room in complete awe of how I hadn't seen him for many months and one of the first things he did was arrange for me to be a part of that. Gurudeva so present. He hears our hearts and listens to every prayer and I am just so grateful that he mercifully accepted me as his Harinam and Diksa disciple.

 

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