Sunday, February 26, 2017

Postscript to Bhaktivinoda Janma Sthan threats

Postscript to Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthplace under threats from Land Mafias.

I am thinking a little bit more about the idea that ISKCON might have a permanent presence in Birnagar.

I will be quite frank, my gurudeva never wanted Dwadash Mandir to "fall into the hands" of the Gaudiya Math or ISKCON. He was not an ambitious man, my gurudeva, in the sense of wanting to become a great guru. He wanted a simple life that was reclusive in style. If he was a guru, he was a rural guru in the traditional Vaishnava manner. Totally Bengali Vaishnava, but with the stamp of Bhaktivinoda Thakur. He wanted to preserve Bhaktivinoda Thakur's tradition in the way that he himself did it, saw it, and wanted it.

If this were to happen, the fear is that by running from the lion one will fall into the mouth of the tiger. If we run to ISKCON as our protector, will they turn into predators themselves, in their high-minded idea of appropriating some kind of monopoly on his legacy.

I can see the positive possibilities but negotiations will be needed. I would rather that other options be found, but I there is a certain inevitability about it. I don't know that we will be able to pull this one out of the hat ourselves. Let's see what Bhaktivinoda Thakur himself wants. All is Bhagavan's lila. I don't think he is unhappy that his teachings have been spread to all parts of the world.

And Prabhupada's work is a good reminder to the people of Bengal that their contribution to the world is not just an eternal game of playing catchup to the West.

The coming of Kali Yuga means that the reclusive bhajan style becomes harder and harder to maintain. To the rajasik, it appears like tamas. And in the unevolved mind, sattva does easily deteriorate into tamas. It seems that we no longer have the luxury of sacred cows. Do we need, in order to protect the soul of our Krishna consciousness, which is bhajanananda, to take shelter of the rajasik? The rajasik must protect and serve the sattvik, which is the life of bhajan.

Bhaktivinoda Janma Sthan is meant to be a window into another age. Nowadays, for show, everyone wants to put up a marble temple and a big gate and have impressive deities and so on. Lots of high class musical devotional entertainment. The externals have taken precedence. It is no one's fault, it is the nature of the age.

But the task of the devotee is still to turn inwardly. And this is what Lalita Prasad Thakur taught. Being the younger son, he was more influenced by the latter part of Bhaktivinode Thakur's life when he was more devotee than philosopher or intellectual. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, being older, took the more externally-oriented thought and went with that. The two sons represent two legitimate paths that originate with Bhaktivinoda Thakur -- the goshthyanandi and the bhajananandi.

These two are like two wings on a bird. You sacrifice one and it is the bird who can no longer fly. So the thought that the purest tradition of bhajanananda will not be preserved in the Bhaktivinoda Dhara is, in a very real sense, committing a kind of suicide.

It is very much like worshiping your mother. Birnagar is a place of the Mother Goddess, Ula Chandi. The Dwadash Mandir consisted of ten Shiva temples, and a temple to Durga and one for Kali. Though these temples have been converted to other use -- one Shiva linga is there, and the Durga temple is now the home of Gaur Gadadhar, and the Kali temple has been left unused due to concerns about the appropriateness of its use for anything, since animal sacrifices held there had rendered it not so. But the presence of the Mother nevertheless stands guard and also influences the overall mood of the ashram.

This is where the mother of Bhaktivinoda Thakur, brought forth that soul into Prakriti. Let his entire legacy be protected, not just the externals of Bhakti for the Material World.

What I am trying to say is that homogenizing Vaishnavism is a danger to Vaishnavism. All spiritual discoveries come from the inner path.
This is the shrine to Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthplace by the kund. The image is taken from the spot that is claimed by the encroachers.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur Janma Sthan under threat from Land Mafia

 
I was greatly disturbed today to learn from my godbrother Hari Gopal Dasji Maharaj, the current president of the Bhaktivinode Gosthi, that the Birnagar birthplace of Bhaktivinoda Thakur is under attack. Some neighbors are claiming that they have ancestral rights over the land, even though the property was clearly given to our Gurudeva, Sril Sril Lalita Prasad Thakur, in the 1930’s and the ashram has the papers to prove it.

It happens that the town of Birnagar has grown up around the Dwadash Mandir property, making it extremely valuable real estate. Dwadash Mandir for the most part is unchanged from 40 years ago before greed and development had become the de facto religion of this country. In the last few years, the population of the ashram has dwindled and made it vulnerable to this kind of attack. Land Mafias everywhere in India take advantage of such situations to their profit.

When it became clear to the trustees of the Goshthi that the ashram was in danger, they invited Hari Gopal Dasji to leave his bhajan in Radha Kund and come back to Bengal to protect the land and rebuild the ashram as a fitting place representing Srila Lalita Prasad Thakur’s wing of the Bhaktivinode Thakur legacy.

On accepting this responsibility, Hari Gopal Dasji first began by having a protective wall built around the property. The neighbors filed a case to stay construction, claiming that it was intersecting their own property. Apparently, though, it is now clear that they have their sights set on taking over the entire property, as they have now started putting up buildings on the pukur across from Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s shrine.

The legal papers and so on are all in the Mandir's favor, but it appears that underhanded tactics are being used to prevent the court from making a decision while encroachments are constructed so that will more and more become difficult to remove the squatters, until their occupation becomes a fait accompli.

In this case it appears that local politicians from the Trinamul Party are supporting these people. Hari Gopalji even went as far as getting an audience with Mamta Bannerjee, the CM of West Bengal, thinking that she would be able to rein in the miscreants in her own party, but no action has been taken by her.

Hari Gopal is feeling the pressure as he has no support from any powerful people and has inadequate funds to fight the case. The cards seem to be stacked against him. At any rate, he is on the defensive and in danger of losing, and is very unhappy and disturbed by the situation.

He is even talking of ceding a part of the property to ISKCON, in the hope that they can use their power and influence to protect Bhaktivinode Thakur’s birthplace from falling into the hands of those who are too greedy to recognize the spiritual and ecological value of this property. It may be necessary to lose a village to save the country.

This is really a time for the worldwide nembers of ISKCON, the Gaudiya Math, the World Vaishnava Association, and others in the world-wide Bhaktivinoda Thakur family to put aside any institutional or doctrinal differences and come forth to protect their common heritage, this memorial to the inspiration for the preaching of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s message to every town and village. Indeed, any religious Hindu should be shocked that a place with this kind of religious importance can be so callously turned into just another real estate development to enrich greedy and selfish people.

How can those who love Bhaktivinode Thakur’s contribution to the world-wide prema bhakti mission allow the lovely Dwadash Mandir ashram to be decimated or destroyed by the forces of Kali Yuga?

As to the town of Birnagar itself, even if its people are not Vaishnavas, they should know that its greatest claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. Greed has destroyed many a thing of value in this world. Let this not be one of them.

I ask everyone of my Bengali friends to help fight this injustice. Jai Radhe.

যদি কোনো বাংগালী বন্ধু আমাকে সাহায্য করিয়া এই প্রবন্ধের অনুবাদ করিতে পারে, তিনি ধন্যবাদার্হ হইবেন. ঠকুরের কৃপাপাত্র হইবেন.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Is this an obsession with sex?

As often happens on Facebook, I get strong reactions whenever the word sex is mentioned. It leads to discussions with various points of view being expressed, and the inevitable ensues. A senior woman devotee said the following on reading one such discussion:

What do guys think about most of their lives as males? SEX, so I'm told, and that never wanes into old age. So when I see these same males trying to superimpose their lifelong addiction onto Radha Krishna pastimes, I want to puke.

At about the same time, I had a personal conversation here in Vrindavan with a person who is an avid reader of my blog to whom I more or less summarized my point about why I, an old man of 67, is talking so much about this subject.

In fact, I sometimes feel a bit like the old drunk guy in that Carson McCullers story, pegging the innocent kid and slobbering the wisdom earned from the school of hard knocks all over him. The failure who has got it all figured out, where he went wrong and why his life became such a mess.

There is no need for me to be proud of my record in "love." I have trampled over a number of lives in its name, in my different experiments with love, or as one guru said, "Love's experiment with me." Sometimes it was in the name of some kind of ethereal spiritual love that is only available to ones who reject the phantasm of love in this world. And, of course, sometimes it was not in the name of love at all, but in a fog of confusion about love and life and my purpose in it.

Somewhere along the line, I realized that my samskaras are interfering. That even ritual sadhana and philosophical understanding are not necessarily very strong in counteracting the confusions of worldly love. But neither is ignorance. Recognizing the limits of ritual and philosophy means that one comes to the attempt to understand deeper psychology. The purpose of the spiritual paths is always psychological: they understand that the mind is the problem and the solution is to be effectuated in the mind.

Therefore, I look at rāgānugā bhakti just like that: It requires an examination of the emotional life. We have the ideals of Braja bhakti and we have our own failed attempts to experience anything remotely like it.

Once I quoted Bell Hooks as saying that though women probably go through more suffering from love, it is somehow mostly men who write the philosophical or psychological analyses of love. She found this to be a paradox, but it is true that men have a tendency to want to figure things out. So I will continue to do the drunken man in the bar routine and any innocent young person who can tolerate my whiskey breath is welcome to hear my observations.

The problem in society is that there is insufficient love, not that there is sex or no sex. Sex or no sex is not the solution. The solution is love. So we must learn to love, sex or no sex. In other words, love with detachment. Love without attachment to the results.

Nevertheless, like it or not, sex plays an important part throughout human life. And religion has traditionally emphasized the purpose of sex to be procreation, and contrasted it with the animal characteristic of the sexual act itself. But according to evolutionary theory it is not about procreation alone, but also about creating the bond between a man and woman so that they will stick together to raise a family and therefrom form community together. As such, the sexual relationship of men and women is the basic building block of community and society.

In other words, there has to be love in the world in order for anything to function And the basis of all love in society starts in the male-female unit, from which family and community grow.

But such is the nature of human culture that it has imbued sexual love with a mystic significance, what may be called the romantic fallacy. The Indian scriptures are very circumspect about this fallacy and recognize that the orderly control of the sexual instinct is necessary for the smooth functioning of society.

They recognize that even when worldly love is seen as nothing more than extended self-interest and mundane, its function is important. As we can observe with the current disintegration of traditional norms, a community based on mere sexual pleasure has very little chance of attaining cohesion or staying power. This is the disaster of modern civilization.

Therefore, another basic building block of community is religion. Religion is the highest ideals of man organized into ritual form. In Gaudiya Vaishnava terms, the only way to realize love in the world is to imbue it with the svarūpa-śakti, to make the individual understand that love is ultimately for the One Underlying Truth of all things, who is the only Other who is both One and the Other. The only way to realize the full spiritual potential of sexuality is to combine it with religion -- both its symbolic and ritual power. This is not about the vexations of repression, but uplift through sublimation. This is the secret to genuine human evolution.

Young people today have no knowledge of this and are thus confused about both religion and sex. And most confused about love. So I am an old man who by trial and error has learned something about this subject. and I feel that I am obliged to share my findings and help in whatever tiny way I can to eliminate their confusion.

In particular, I feel that the Gaudiya Math and ISKCON model, which emphasizes renunciation of sexuality to people who will never be able to do it, without showing how it is to be done, without showing how sexuality and love are connected to their spiritual life, is incomplete. Those who follow it are bound to continue in the cycle of birth and death. How can they show the glories of Radha and Krishna's madhura-rasa and then deny that it has any reality in, meaning for or relation to love this world? Only by learning how to associate sexual love with the path of prema can we have any hope of turning this around.

This is a feature of the human form of life that one should avail themselves of.

उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्यवरान् निबोधत

uttiṣṭhata jāgrata prāpya-varān nibodhata

"Arise ! Awake! Become aware of the boons attainable in this human form of life!"

So I will end this brief comment with the following advice to all young people who are thinking of making spiritual advancement on the path of bhakti -- especially that of madhura-rasa-bhakti -- and who are inclined to seek partnership with someone who shares their inclination: "Yoga for the bhaktas and bhakti for the yogis."

तस्माद् योगी भवार्जुन
tasmād yogī bhavārjuna

योगिनामपि सर्वेषां मद्गतेनान्तरात्मना।
श्रद्धावान् भजते यो मां स मे युक्ततमो मतः॥

yoginām api sarveṣāṁ mad-gatenāntarātmanā |
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ sa me yuktatamo mataḥ ||

Yoga means, male or female, preserve the bindu.

मरणं बिन्दुपातेन जीवनं बिन्दुधारणात्।
तस्मादतिप्रयत्नेन कुरुत बिन्दुधारणम्॥

maraṇaṁ bindu-pātena jīvanaṁ bindu-dhāraṇāt |
tasmād atiprayatnena kuruta bindu-dhāraṇam ||

Śiva-saṁhitā

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Ekadasi Jagaran at Tatia Sthan (Maghi Krishna Ekadasi)

From Vrindavan Today: Every Maghi Krishna Ekadasi is a special day at the Tatia Sthan, as the annual jāgaraṇa is held in commemoration of Swami Lalit Mohini Das, the eighth acharya of the renounced order of the Haridasi sect. Though the scriptures enjoin that every Ekadasi one should follow very strict rules, which include keeping vigil, i.e., staying up all night, this is rarely practiced. As far as I know, the Haridasi sect does not follow Ekadasi particularly strictly, but at least on this one night, they do the jagran. And it has become an important event on the Tatia Sthan's yearly calendar, attended by all the ashram's sadhus and by many devotees from Vrindavan and beyond.

The Tatia Sthan owes a lot to Swami Lalit Mohini Dev, and it is said that much of the strong tradition of the Haridasi sampradaya that exists there is the result of his work. Though like all the acharyas who followed Swami Haridas he wrote many songs, he was nowhere nearly as prolific as others like Biharin Das or his own guru, Lalit Kishori Das, the founder of the Tatia Sthan. Nevertheless, he is credited with much of the development of the congregational chanting or samaj tradition, giving it its present form. Lalit Mohini also brought the mood of sadhu seva to Tattia Sthan and made it the principal aspect of his service. He also established the worship of Mohini Bihari, the deity that still presides over the ashram.

The Tatia Sthan covers a fairly large area that is filled with venerable and flourishing trees, and though there are numerous individual kutias for the sadhus, it has an open feel to it. The central portion of the ashram where arati and samaj are held is a walled compound near the front gate. One has to pass through a narrow entrance to get there. Here one finds the small temple building of Radha Mohini Bihari, which has the traditional carved red sandstone facade like so many Vrindavan temples from the premodern period.

There are a number of other small buildings, one which houses the waterpot and a shawl that were used by Swami Haridas. There are also several small samadhis. The building with Swami Haridas' relics is under a large neem tree, and to one side is the raised seat where Swami Radha Bihari Dasji, the current mahant, holds audience every evening during the daily samaj. Other buildings and walls are whitewashed, unimposing. Entrances are arched, often with multifoil arches.

As we entered this compound, we were stopped by a guard at the entrance with the greeting "Shri Haridas," a rather good form of address if you ask me, for it not only recalls the name of the sect's founder, but is a constant reminder that each person is also a servant of Hari.

The guard's job was to get everyone to switch off their cell phones and he insisted on watching us as we did it. No flashlights, phones or cameras are allowed on the premises. Indeed, there is no electricity in this part of the ashram. No recording is allowed. In this age of Facebook and Twitter, I was wondering how I would be able to share this event with my friends, having to rely on words alone to paint the images and replicate the musical sounds. But I can see that this being cut off from the world is an essential step in passing from the outer realm to the inner, the transcendent state of consciousness, the true Vrindavan to which one is to be transported. Indeed, I personally crave this kind of primitive gathering in the sacred intimacy of the darkness, under the sky and trees and on the silken sands of the Yamuna.

We had arrived a bit early and the sandy area in front of Mohini Bihari was being covered with durries for sitting. Clay lamps were still being lit and placed all around the quadrangle including the eaves of the temple and surrounding buildings. Some were placed on stands so that those following along in books could read. The main group of singers was served by a glass case that held several such lamps, and throughout the night, one of the Haridasi babas went around with a bucket of oil and a ladle to keep the lamps filled.

The inner area slowly filled and by nine, there was no room to speak of. The babas were in the center assembled before Swami Haridas' shrine, other male-bodied entities surrounding them. On the other side of the shrine were about 150 women. I estimated maybe 500 men. The Tatia Sthan has a strong rule about women at night -- none are allowed. It being winter, the babas were decked in a wide variety of colorful regalia. Of course, the Tatia Sthan babas as usual had covered their faces with Braja raj and wore their distinctive turbans and kurtas. I noticed a bit of sadhu glamor here and there, though, someone wore a yellow silk kaftan, some others had satin shirts stuffed with cotton for warmth.

The Mahant came in and offered prostrations to the temple and to Swami Haridas' shrine, took his seat. Most of the people in the audience came to offer him their respects and then returned to their seats.

The program began. There was a flute and a big sitar, a tampura, one harmonium and one pair of manjeera hand cymbals. Throughout the evening the musical instruments were subdued in comparison to the chorus of male voices, which were almost a capella against the quiet drone of the tampura and other instruments. There were no microphones or loudspeakers so the hundreds of voices singing in unison dominated, which is as it should be. The walls and buildings enclosing the small quadrangle provided some echo and amplification.

The audience at first was still a bit restless and there was a bit of talking here and there, but by and large, everyone was attentive in a way that is rare in any Indian gathering, no matter how great the artist. Where people don't pay, where the sound is cranked up to the eleventh degree, it seems that inattention is the norm. Perhaps people who understand naturally the words that accompany the music have no need of attentiveness, but I have always found it the single most irritating thing disrupting my own concentration to the point of complete disturbance. One of those things about Indian life, like the ubiquitous garbage, that annoys me terribly. But tonight I got a reprieve from that particular pet peeve. This was singing as sadhana, as a meditation. And everyone who was there knew it and achieved a kind of communal union in the harmonious mood of contemplation on the Divine Couple in the Nitya Vihara.

Though the Haridasi samaj has some responsive chanting, occasionally the crowd spontaneously split into two groups to sing different parts of the interwoven lyrics and refrain. The program began in the deepest parts of the lower octave and the first couple of hours seemed mostly to be spent there, but the waves of sound peppered with individual voices that here and there stood out in harmonious congruity built up and fell from crescendo to crescendo.

In all, the first part of the evening, 42 different songs were sung. Most of them were either from the Kelimāla compositions of Swami Haridas himself, or the compositions of Biharin Dev "Gurudeva Ju" and other greats from the tradition. None were, as I expected, songs about the saint himself, nor did they fit into any pattern, but seemed to be nitya-vihāra padas chosen somewhat at random. Two short ones by were written by Lalit Mohini Das himself. The first appears to be a vasanta-pada, meaning one that describes a scene in the springtime (and as I am writing on Vasanta Panchami, it seems fitting to quote it here):
piya piyarī seja banāī āja |
piyarī jhalaka camaka saba
piyare basana banai saba kāja |
piyare phūla banaiṁ saba tana meṁ
piyarī sobhā sahaja samāja |
śrī lalitamohanī yaha sukha dekhata
syāma tanai piyare saba sāja ||


Dear Radha has today prepared a yellow bed.
It shines and sparkles yellow; she has used her lover's yellow cloth.
She decorates the bed and his body with yellow flowers,
while all the assembled sakhis also glow in yellow beauty.
Lalita Mohani watches this blissful scene,
where Shyam's black body is covered by yellow costume.
A little before one o'clock, gifts were brought out for the singers -- bahirvasa and chaddar -- and little bags of prasad were passed out to all the attendees. The first half of the program came to an end and for about half an hour there was a party atmosphere. Some pistachio tea was served, there were several fires burning with groups of guests and sadhus warming their hands and talking. Vrindavan Bihari Goswami walked by me with a blissful look on his aged face: "This is the central place. This is the heart of Vrindavan," he said.

Many people left before the second half began. But by 2 a.m. there were absolutely no distractions. Though some of the audience fell asleep, others were entranced. The complex harmonies and responses, the intensity of the chorus of male voices... it was how I always imagined kirtan should be -- group samādhi.

It has taken me a few days to recover from the all-nighter, but with each passing day, it seems that the effects linger on in profound ways that I have not yet been able to perceive. Right now, the strongest thoughts are reflections on the glories of an unbroken original tradition, on parampara, especially on this one that reflects the roots of the Vrindavan mood more closely than other, more recent manifestations, which for one reason or another have drifted away from the exclusive devotion to Radha and Krishna's nitya-vihara.

My answer to Vrindavan Bihari Goswami was, "I don't understand why the Tatia Sthan model has not been cloned. Why isn't everyone trying to emulate this? You are right, this is the real Vrindavan, the real Vrindavan concept."



A short history of the Tatia Sthan

The first eight acharyas of the Haridasi sampradaya are given particular importance. The first two, Bithal Bipul Dev and Biharin Das, were direct disciples of Swami Haridas. Their samadhi temples stand in Nidhivan next to that of the sect's founder.

1. Bithal Bipul Dev
2. Biharin Das (Mahant 1576-1603)
3. Nagari Das (1603-1627)
4. Saras Das
5. Narahari Das (1627-1685)
6. Swami Rasik Dev (1685-1702)
7. Lalit Kishori Das (1703-1767)
8. Lalit Mohini Das (1767-1802)

Up until the time of Narahari, the renounced sadhus of the Haridasi sampradaya had their center in Nidhivan, but Rasik Dev was forced to abandon this original site of Swami Haridas's bhajan and of Banke Bihari Dev's appearance, and to establish new ashrams for his disciples. This was because there was some disagreement with the Goswamis of the Banke Bihari temple who claimed the rights over Nidhivan (they were blood relatives of Swami Haridas) and the renunciates were obliged to move away.

This happened at the end of the 17th century and resulted first in Rasik Das opening the Rasik Bihari temple in the Athkhamba area in 1699. Rasik Das's appearance day is also today, Vasanta Panchami, and is celebrated at Tatia Sthan.

Rasik Das had three main disciples: Pitambar Das, to whom he gave the responsibility for the Gori Lal temple, to Govinda Dev he gave the service of Rasik Bihariji, and to Lalit Kishori Das he gave the kantha and karua of Swami Haridas. Although his guru wanted him to take over the service of Rasik Bihari, Lalita Kishori prefered to live under a tree near the Yamuna banks. Some say that he had been turned out of Nidhivan by envious people in the community.

Though Swami Lalit Kishori Das was living at that spot in great austerity, devotees made the area more delightful by planting trees and flowers. They also built a bamboo hut for the relics of Swami Haridas and surrounded it with bamboo stakes interwoven with branches to form a protective fence, which is called a ṭaṭṭī, hence the name ṭaṭṭīya sthāna.

Because of his exemplary renounced life Lalit Kishori came to be called a "second Swami Haridas." It is said that when King Jai Singh heard that the sadhus of Tatia Sthan would not observe ekadashi, he became concerned, since he wished for the sadhus of Vrindavan to maintain the scriptural standards of behavior. To test Lalit Kishori he sent a representative with a clay pot full of sweets to see how he would respond. When the servant came to Lalita Kishori, he found him deep in meditation. He waited a long time for his samadhi to break, but only when a poor Brijvasi woman came and offered him some dry rotis did he come back into external awareness. He ate the rotis without leaving his seat, cleaned his hands with the dust of the ground beside him, and then returned to his meditation without paying any attention to the sweets.

Lalita Mohini Das was born in 1724 in Orcha from the same family as the famous Hariram Vyas of Kishore Van near Loi Bazaar. It is said that he more than anyone else set the mood and rules for Tatia Sthan that has been preserved to this day. He also set the standard for the samaj tradition, which makes me suspect that the songs sung during the Jagaran were favorites of his.

One of the features of Lalit Mohini Das's administration of Tatia Sthan was his devotion to Vaishnava seva. He made no distinction between devotees of different sects and would feed at least 100 people every day. Nevertheless, his rule was that whatever came in to the ashram in the form of food and gifts would be used for Vaishnava seva in the same day. His motto was:

santana bina hari na mileṁ hari ne kahī pukāra
mo sevata sumirata bhaiyā būḍhauge majhadhāra


No one can attain Hari without going through the saints, as Hari himself states so clearly:
"Oh brother! Even if you remember me and serve me, without the mercy of the saints you will still drown before you cross the river of material life."

rupe se cāvara sone se dāra
tana mana dhana se santana ko vāra


"With your silver buy rice, with your gold purchase dahl.
With body, mind and wealth, serve the saints."

One story is told of how Lalit Mohini Das attained siddhi through sadhu seva. One time, prasad was being served to a line of devotees at about the same time that a solar eclipse was expected. Some of the Vaishnavas were concerned that it would be inappropriate to engage in any activity during that time. Lalita Mohini simply said, "There will be no eclipse in the Tatia Sthan." And so it was. When the devotees looked up at the sky over the Tatia Sthan the sun remained uncovered, but on going outside the perimeter, they saw Rahu swallowing it.