THIS ISSUE OF BTG takes us to Nathdwara, the sacred town in Rajasthan where Lord Krsna resides as the celebrated Deity known as Srinathaji.
Our feature on Nathdwara started small and quickly grew. I suspect that Lord Srinathaji Himself had a hand in it.
We were planning to lead off this issue with something else. But when that "something else" fell through, we turned to other stories on hand. Our top pick was the article by Bhakti Vikasa Swami that starts on page 25.
We felt that he and his camera-toting companion Maha-Visnu Dasa had done well in capturing the mood of Nathdwara. Yet we wished we could tell still more about the Deity, His devotees, and His worship. What was there to tell? We weren't sure.
Two days later in San Francisco, I ran into the right person to fill us in. Yasomatinandana Dasa has for years been in charge of ISKCON's centers in the Indian state of Gujarat. He's a learned devotee, he's Gujarati, and with Gujarat only a short way from Nathdwara, the Deity of Srinathaji plays a big part in Gujarati devotional life.
Yaso, as we call him, agreed to give us what we were looking for. He sat down with a tape recorder and gave us the article you'll find on page 31.
Now I was satisfied. I had the joy of an editor who has gotten what he needs.
Then I got a call from Govinda Dasi, a devotee I'd first met nearly twenty-five years ago in my first year in Krsna consciousness. Now she'd heard we were doing an article on Nathdwara, and she had close friends in the pusti-marga, the line of devotees in charge of Srinathaji's worship. By chance, she told me, she had just arrived for a week or so in San Diego. Would I be willing to let her get involved?
As it turned out, Govinda Dasi's help was invaluable. One of her friends, a pusti-marga scholar in San Diego, agreed to check the facts in our articlesand gave us still more nectar to enrich what we already had.
Finally, Govinda Dasi told us that still another friend, Navnit Shah of Ocean Township, New Jersey, had many beautiful paintings of Lord Srinathaji. She was sure he'd have something splendid for our cover.
By yet another seeming coincidence, in a day or so Navnit Shah would be flying on business to Los Angeles. He agreed to bring some paintings with him and even offered to drive them down to San Diego. And so we gained not only our cover picture but also the charming painting of Yamunaji on our inside cover. (To top things off, another ISKCON devotee from Gujarat, a lifelong devotee of Srinathaji, came forward to pay for the high-quality transparencies our printer would need to reproduce the art.)
So by Lord Srinathaji's own arrangement we're pleased to bring you this issue of Back to Godhead.