Volume-10: Foreward


-by Sitala Devi Dasi


Late in 1970, on the way to harinama in downtown Detroit, I struck up a conversation with the new devotee sitting next to me in the sankirtana van. It was to be Bhakta Brian’s first experience on harinama, so I explained a little about what was going to happen.

A few hours later on our return to the temple, I again found myself seated next to Brian who looked radiant and excited.

“So how did you like it?” I asked.

“That was fantastic!” he replied. “I wish I could do that every day for the rest of my life.” I was amazed and intrigued, “How does this new bhakta have such an extraordinary taste for harinama on his very first day?”

What has proved to be even more remarkable is that Bhakta Brian (now Indradyumna Swami) went on to do just that. Day after day, month after month, year after year for nearly four decades, Indradyumna Swami has remained fixed in doing what he loves most and does best: spreading the glories of the Holy Name far and wide.

In this diary series he shares his preaching adventures with us. As an experienced general in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana army, he takes us out to the front lines and demonstrates his easy strategy for infiltrating Kali-yuga’s camp through expertly choreographed chanting and dancing. Deftly maneuvering his transcendental troops, he knows how to surround the citadels of maya with a gigantic Vaikuntha bubble, vibrant with color, beauty, music, song, and dance. Instantly, people are disarmed by the sincere affection and warmth penetrating deep into their hearts. Transported, people surrender with amazement and happiness to the joyful experience of Krsna consciousness.

This is the simple simple formula Maharaja sticks to which, as he shows us, works everywhere. From the snow-capped mountains of Siberia to the jungles of the Amazon and along the Baltic seacoast, anyone can receive the Holy Name with appreciation when it is presented with genuine affection by a sincere preacher.

Times have not changed. People everywhere are suffering in material existence, and they can be awakened from their mundane slumber only by the mercy of a devotee. Maharaja shows us that there is no greater joy in this world than waking up sleeping jivas-and no greater adventure. This is what he lives for, and this is why he is such a happy and successful devotee. I have personally witnessed the amazing effectiveness of his preaching strategy while traveling with his festival tour along the Baltic coast, and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

We also learn from Maharaja’s experiences that perseverance and dedication to the preaching work, despite all impediments, brings miraculous reciprocation from the Lord. In story after story we see how Maharaja has become a magnet for mercy. Unique silas, ancient deities, and rare spiritual artifacts regularly find their way into his hands, often direct blessings received from previous acaryas such as Narottama dasa Thakura, Gopal Bhatta Goswami, Madhu Pandita, and many more. In his own words in an offering to Srila Prabhupada, Maharaja reveals his feelings:

“I realize that such gifts and the many other fruits that come from serving you are things that even the demigods in heaven can only dream of. Thus, despite whatever difficulties I may encounter in following your order to preach all over the world, I want to say that I am fully satisfied and happy. I have no lamentation, no doubts, no grievances, no complaints, and no other desire than to share with others the good fortune I have inherited from you…. If providence grants me a long life then I will be happy to use every single moment in preaching for you.”

Herein Maharaja reveals his formula for success. And there are so many more wonderful lessons to be gleaned from his diaries. Surely these books should be regarded as extremely important and valuable bhakti literature from which generation after generation of devotees will derive deep inspiration and wisdom. These are the real-life stories of Krsna consciousness in practice.

One thing that Maharaja doesn’t often convey in his books, because of his humility, is just how difficult it is to stay out on the front lines preaching year after year. Maharaja has an incredible talent for making the most difficult task of pushing back the forces of Kali look easy and exciting, even like fun.

But we should know and appreciate that what he does with apparent ease and joy actually requires immense spiritual strength, focused determination, hard work, and special empowerment from the Lord and Srila Prabhupada. For his wonderful example, we owe him a great debt of gratitude.

Maharaja’s enthusiasm for helping people and sharing Krsna consciousness is infectious. You cannot read his books or be around him without starting to feel that you should also join in and do something to get in on the nectar. I suspect this is one of his motives for writing his diaries: to entice us, to beckon those of us living in our comfort zones to wake up and join him in the sankirtana mission to take the risk, to push the boundaries, and to experience firsthand the nectar for which we are always anxious.

How fortunate we are that Maharaja has taken time from his busy schedule to open his heart to us, to share vital lessons, to enthuse us, to increase our faith, to give us hope, and to show us that new chapters of the modern day Caitanya Caritamrita are being written every day. It is comforting to know that the flame of love brought into this world by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continues to burn brightly in many quarters, especially in the preaching activities of Indradyumna Swami. I hope that devotees all over the world will take full advantage of the mine of transcendental gems offered in the pages of these diaries.

We cannot thank him enough for sharing his wisdom and experience, but we can at least try to show our gratitude by supporting him in whatever way we are able: through reading these books, sharing them with others, giving financial aid to his preaching projects, joining him on his adventures, or going out to have some sankirtana adventures of our own.

Sitala devi dasi
Mayapura, India