The Grand Opening of 'Via Govinda'
Soquel Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Seva Ashram
October 30, 2004
Report and accompanying
pictures by Vaidehi Devi Dasi
By the time Srila Gurudev reaches the bottom of the stairs
to his veranda, about fifteen devotees have gathered.
The group increases as we continue on our exciting journey
to the top of the hill.
the way up to entrance of the new road, Srila Gurudev
calmly drives his scooter, stopping every once in a while
to look at the hillside. On his left is a big grassy mountain
lined with oak trees, which provide shelter for the devotees
who are staying in tents. Further down the path there
is a patch of tall eucalyptus trees that bend dangerously
to the ground when there is a lot of wind and rain. It
has been extremely rainy and cloudy in the last few days,
but this afternoon is sunny and the air revitalizing.
In the two months since Srila Gurudev has been in Soquel,
he has not seen a deer and is always mentioning if one
will come across his path or appear in the distance. Before
we built the fence around the orchard, however, there
were many deer lingering around the property eating the
fruits. You could see them early in the morning and late
at night. Now we don't see them as much, but we have a
lot more fruit!
of the devotee workers are waiting for Srila Gurudev when
we arrive at the base of the road, which is named Via
Govinda. One devotee jokes about how Srila Gurudev is
going up and we are following him there. This road will
take us to Krishna, but only if we follow our dear Gurudeva.
Completing the road in just a few weeks, Hasyapriya Prabhu
organized all of the helpers to manifest Srila Gurudev's
desire. Saki Charan Prabhu and Chinmoy Prabhu didn't stop
working until it was finished. Munindra Mohan Prabhu,
who was visiting from Italy, joined the project with his
sweet, gentle presence. Many other devotees also put their
energy into this service. Isvara Prasad Prabhu from Venezuela
was an endless supply of dedication and enthusiasim during
his short stay in Soquel.
Halfway up the road, Srila Gurudev stops to take a rest.
He is so mercuful in every aspect of his existence. By
asking for this road and by driving up it, he is giving
us all a great opportunity to appreciate the beauty and
potential of this land and the devotees who stay on it.
I never imagined that we would have a road like this,
or that His Divine Grace would go to the very top of the
mountain! As you get higher you can see the breathtaking
expansion of the Ashram grounds.
leads the way with some assistance from the devotees,
for the road is pretty steep in some areas. Behind Him
is a snake of devotees and several dogs running to catch
up. Everybody laughs, jokes, and exclaims at how quickly
the road was built. Even Srila Gurudev tells us he is
surprised that we did it so soon after he asked for it.
When we reach the top, we see many houses nestled in the
thick evergreen trees. After most of us (now a crowd of
about 30) are able to catch our breath, Sripad Avadhut
Maharaj climbs up, panting and dropping to the ground
in full dandavat pranams before His Divine Grace. He has
just arrived from a preaching program in Oregon. Srila
Gurudev is clearly very happy to see him.
Srila Govinda Maharaj stands up, although his body isn't
very strong and he has some difficulty walking. With the
assistance of several devotees, he walks down the path
along the peak and looks at the view. He talks about making
a clearing among the bushes for the devotees to have dinner.
He says that it would be nice to eat here before the sun
goes down. I think it is a splendid idea. Srila Gurudev
has so much insight and wisdom to make us happy and give
us a chance to do some seva.