As we move closer to the new year I am appreciating many things gained in 2017, especially all the different devotees who brought joy and inspiration to my life.
I was therefore delighted when I came across a verse from the Caitanya Caritamrita (a biography on Lord Caitanya, the great revolutionary teacher of Bhakti in the 15th Century).
“Then Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked, “Out of all auspicious and beneficial activities, which is best for the living entity?” Rāmānanda Rāya replied, “The only auspicious activity is association with the devotees of Kṛṣṇa.” Madhya 8.251.
Auspicious and beneficial - words that are not used a lot these days. Friendship with devotees, opportunities to sing and dance together, to study together, and to serve together brings good fortune and great benefit to our lives. It’s considered the best of activities for us, and the only auspicious one!
So thank you, dear devotees, for creating many opportunities for sanga (association) all around the DC metro area. Thank you for gathering at the Temple on Sundays and Festivals, and weekdays for service, for meeting in Silver Spring and Georgetown for Harinam (outdoor kirtan), for the sweet Saturday program at the Institute, for Bhakti Yoga DC in the heart of the capital, for Bhakti Clubs and Krishna House at UMD and George Mason, for satsang in yoga studios, for seminars and japa retreats, for the Baltimore Temple and Radha Madhava, for Jiva Daya and their love of books, for Nama Hatta’s (small home groups) that meet weekly, for home programs that happen here and there, for Sunday School and Krishna Kids, summer camps and kirtan trips, for the Bhakti Lounge on Sundays, for Gita and Bhagavatam study groups, for Soundcloud and Sages, for Instagram darshan, for growing FFL, for celebrations and pujas - in times of joy and sadness, for Sunday Serve, for book tables and bakeries where we gather and talk and laugh, for our two cows, Gita and Vani, who love us all and for our neighbors in Richmond and the wonderful ahimsa milk farm at Gita Nagari.
Thank you Srila Prabhupada for starting all of this. You have given us the gift of friends, mentors, teachers and gurus on this kevala ananda kanda, this path of spiritual joy. May we always appreciate that - and them.