Chapter-9: Feet Soaked in Sticky Gulab Juice

May 26, 1995

By Indradyumna Swami

This morning we left Rostov for Krasnodar, further south. As we were leaving the temple, my ten disciples came close to the car to see me off. Many had tears in their eyes, and all of them were looking at me intently, knowing that they would not see me again for a long time, perhaps not for a year or more. It is always a difficult moment for both my disciples and me when I have to leave a place.

But I think it is more difficult for me. They are being separated from only one person they love, but I am being separated from many. My only consolation in such circumstances is that I will soon be in the association of other disciples at the next destination.

Sure enough, when we arrived in Krasnodar, there were more than two hundred and fifty enthusiastic devotees there to greet us. Many were disciples of mine who had not seen me for a long time. We exchanged our loving feelings through chanting and dancing together to the holy names of the Lord.

Then Govinda Maharaja and I sat on the vyasasana together and accepted the traditional foot-bathing and guru-puja ceremony.  As the devotees came forward to offer flowers, we both gave each one a gulabjamun, which had been soaking in sugar juice in a big pot in front of us. I was sitting on the left side so I gave each devotee a gulab first, after they had offered me a flower. With that gulab and another flower in their hands they then offered a flower to the feet of Govinda Maharaja.

But I laughed throughout the whole ceremony because each time they offered their flowers to Maharaja, the juice from the gulab in their hands also dripped onto his feet. By the end of the ceremony his feet were soaked in sticky gulab juice. And little Nadya, who always stayed by my side during her time with us, ate so many gulabs that she couldn’t stand.