Dear Srila Giri Maharaja,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
NOTE: The following post was from a letter sent to Srila Gurudeva at the SCS Math in regards to developments at the Sri Govinda Divya-vani Seva Ashram, bhakta Ben’s travel arrangements, etc. I added text in brackets for the clarity of the reader.
Bhakta Ben has arranged a flight to New Jersey arriving Tuesday, January 15th at 10:45 AM. He has not cut a return ticket, and would like to visit until at least mid-February, and is looking to be a help not a hindrance out there. He’s been helpful here, and I think he’ll be a joy to have out there as well. He does have some personal income for food [to offer to the SCS Math rather than thinking to be served by the Math and live off the Math]. I’m looking to start work soon [the income facilitating the Sri Govinda Ashram here, and assisting also by way of offering to SCS Math], and Radha-Syam prabhu starts school next week [prior to being engaged in the serving capacity and position he finds himself in now, on his own when doing a public program, even prior to my coming out here, RSdb felt going to school and working would provide an income with which he could fund an ashram in Oregon, he now finds himself trying quickly to finish the contracted obligation as you know]. During the first week of school there is generally no homework, but by the second week of school starting Tuesday [the Tuesday after bhakta Ben flies to take shelter at your lotus feet], RSdb will be very busy because he has to make sure he passes these classes so he can just be done with this program [out of the contract]. Also, part of the program requires him to take a 2 week intensive, which is 40 hours each week, in February (the first 2 weeks of February), and that is one of the reasons that it’s important for bhakta Ben to visit at least until mid-February IF the 2 of you decide it’s best for him to return here [again he’s not flying at this time because of our schedule but because it continues to be his desire to make your association Gurudeva; also we have enjoyed the extra help and the inspiration of the new bhakta, so we aren’t opposed at all to his staying here, in fact, RSdb commented that he wasn’t sure he wanted him to go now that he experienced the extra help doing distribution, it is also RSdb’s wishes that you have a young disciple in NJ living with you to attend to your wishes and do service]. We will have him trained up on distributing scripture, putting on the dress of a Vaisnava, etc. before he visits [already this morning RSdb was surprised to see bhakta Bens motivation in waking himself early, and his taking initiative in putting on his dhoti and tilak, which in one day has made a 50% improvement]. He himself has purchased 2 new dhotis, 2 new kurtas, 2 gumchas, tilak, and is getting cheap sandals tomorrow along with new undergarments for initiation [and work in the Math]. He already has a kurta and 2 dhotis. He also has a new high quality chadder for a white cloth disciple that Radha-Syam gave him (that he had gotten in India) [RSdb has held onto some things to hand out to bhaktas and disciples, believing that others will find their way Home here, and need work clothes]. He’s currently studying scripture with RSdb, participating at the ashram, has been involved in preaching, and will continue to do both over the course of the next week and a half before heading to New Jersey. By getting the plane ticket now, we were able to get a ticket to NJ for approximately $140 [seeing the prices drop, RSdb and I are now closer financially to being able to come there also for your association, as soon as there’s an opening in our work/school schedule, yet also the service here is picking up]. He also ordered a one volume edition of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, and Sri Caitanya Bhagavata online. The Sri Caitanya Bhagavata is being forwarded ahead to the SCS Math (home) address, the other stuff that he’s purchased will arrive here in time for him to bring it with him on his visit [RSdb and I have been attending to bhakta Ben’s needs here and preparing him for his visit].
RSdb shared that we plan on making a financial offering ourselves to the math in NJ [SCS Math]. I’ll get a little money in the middle of the month and will be able to assist, and of course, Gurudeva, use the money as you will. I don’t know exactly how much I’ll be able to send until I see how much this check is, however it should be at least $300.
We plan on doing alot of distribution missions over the next week and a half, as well as Sunday programs which we’ve taken up again since RSdb and I realized we were going to be staying in Salem this month rather than moving [to Portland]. Right now, we’re setting aside any plan of moving just for RSdb to finish school, me to see how this job goes, the backpacks and the public market, book tables, book distribution, a yoga club at the school, distributing to the latino community, etc etc [RSdb and I have already made some headway with the Latino community seeing that Latinos we spoke to on our book drive the other day said they’d read books in Spanish, so RSdb is planning to order some ASAP]. There’s alot going on, including the fact that Anuradha devi dasi has become more interested as of late and will even be coming again this next weekend (she was very ill this last visit … and could hardly stand up when she was here, but she pushed herself to drive here [with Krsna dasa] and drive back as well as do service here after the Skype chat, and stay long enough to take some prasadam, and take prasadam home for her and Krishna dasa).
RSdb will be done with school this term, so by end of March I should be fully engaged in working, and RSdb will both continue to be preaching and distributing books in Salem, and him and I will be manufacturing bicycle messenger bags.
RSdb and I feel it’s been amazing to have an extra person here to help with book distribution and canvas more of the downtown area as well as an inspired and inspiring servitor here in the ashram, we’re sure that you will also enjoy bhakta Ben’s company, Gurudeva, and he will be a sweet helper in New Jersey. [RSdb again has actually been happy seeing what even one more additional person can help do while canvassing, also he is thinking that you need help too, it would be great if bhakta Ben can be more fixed in service in the SCS Math, and yet we can fly him here occasionally for missions, and we hope to engage in some cross country book distribution also. We’ll wait and see how it plays out.]
I am forwarding you bhakta Ben’s itinerary, I remembered your preference for when you would like to pick someone up from the airport (9am – 2pm ideal), and made the ticket arrangement in accordance with your preference of a late morning/early afternoon pick up. We will be escorting him to the airport and be with him to see him off on the plane, helping him pack and have all available necessities for the trip there. We’ll also help him with any selection of gifts that he wishes to make, offerings to the SCS Math there. [After reading your letter to RSdb that he forwarded it was clear that it was alright for bhakta Ben to approach, after a couple weeks with us, which it will have been, and I took the initiative to both meet his desire to come to you, and the opportunity to purchase a cheap ticket… in fact one of the planes he flies on has turbo props not jet engines, lol, and this is his first time flying. Ben has been experiencing a lot of firsts, but is focussed in faith, which has been overcoming any jitters in his attempt to throw himself into service. Hare Krishna.]
Indra Bandhu dasa