May 24, 1995
By Indradyumna Swami
After chanting our rounds in the morning, we went to the Rostov temple for an afternoon program. After Govinda Maharaja’s lecture we had a huge kirtana, which we took from the temple into the streets of the neighborhood. The temple is in a relatively poor area where there are only dirt roads. During the kirtana, Govinda Maharaja had an idea. “There’s a colony of gypsies nearby,” he said. “Let’s take the kirtana there.”
Within a few minutes we arrived at the gypsy area. Their crude wooden houses stood in a sort of circle, and we chanted in the center. Suddenly they all poured out of their homes, dressed in their traditional colorful outfits. They were amazed to see us, and a crowd of several hundred surrounded the kirtana and began clapping and moving to the rhythm. After a while we stopped the kirtana and I spoke to them, encouraging them to chant and dance with us. When I reminded them that their forefathers originally came from India, they cheered. When we began the next kirtana, transcendental chaos broke out as the gypsies began wildly chanting and dancing with us. The kirtana went on for hours.
Towards the end I was resting by the side when a group of gypsy children came and stood around me, mouths open, their big eyes staring at me. After standing motionless for some time they began speaking among themselves and pushed a boy forward.
“Are you God, the Almighty?” he asked.
I smiled. “No,” I said. “I’m the tiny servant of God.”