May 9 2014
My health restored, I am back on the road again with my traveling companion Bada Haridas prabhu. We are in Moscow at the moment about to catch a flight to Baku, Azerbaijan where we will spend 3 days with the small devotee community there. Azerbaijan is a Muslim country, but they allow ISKCON to exist provided we don’t do harinama or distribute books. Somehow by the mercy of Lord Caitanya the word spreads.
May 10 2014
Just outside Baku, Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea is an ancient site the local people call Atashgah, or “the home of fire.” From time immemorial yogis, ascetics and rishis from India would come here to worship Agni, in the form of fire. The site is situated on a natural gas field. Before the oil reserves were depleted by mining in the late 1800’s burning gas would come up through slits in the ground. Yogis built a temple compound here and lived in small rooms where they would perform severe penance and austerities. Several travelers from Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries mentioned this place in their writings. Eichwald, a geologist from Germany, wrote that Lord Krsna, Ganesh and Siva were worshipped at this place. It is now a protected heritage site and well maintained by the government. It was my fourth visit to Atashgah and Bada Hari’s prabhu’s first.
May 11 2014
Nine Million people live in Azerbaijan, an affluent, oil-rich Muslim country bordering Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Iran.There are 250 practicing devotees in Azerbaijan, most of whom live in the capitol, Baku. Slowly, but surely, they are spreading Lord Caitanya’s message. Please everyone give them your blessings and keep them in your prayers.
May 13 2014
“As Your hot claws roughly dig into the chest of the enemy (Hiranyakasipu) like thunderbolts, You happily bear the redness of his blood upon Your body just as a peak is born by a mountain. Your abdomen is nicely folded, and Your navel is very deep. O auspicious one! O intolerable Nrsimha! Burn, burn and give me strength.”
[ Nrsimha Stuti, sloka 6 ]
May 17 2014
Saint Petersburg is the 2nd largest city in Russia. Founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703 it now boasts a population of over 5 million people. St. Petersburg is also graced by a community of 1,000 ISKCON devotees from all walks of life. Over the last 3 days myself, Bada Haridas and Chaturatma celebrated a wonderful yatra festival with all of them. It is easy to understand now why Srila Prabhupada made such a great effort to personally come to Russia in 1971 to inaugurate the Krsna consciousness movement. All glories to His Divine Grace!
May 19 2014
Yesterday Russian devotees held their annual Ratha Yatra festival in Moscow. Due to the present political climate in the country, city authorities restricted the event to a small area inside a park. But that did not deter 700 hundred devotees from participating. Afterwards a public program was held in a large auditorium for the public. Over 4,000 devotees and guests came for the spectacular event which included singing, dancing, theater and delicious prasadam.
May 20 2014
Yesterday in London on my birthday, I visited the Radha Krsna Temple on Soho Street to get the blessings of Sri Sri Radha London Iswara, who were installed in the early years of the movement by Srila Prabhupada. I first saw Them in 1972. I asked for Their mercy to continue with my service to the samkirtan movement for as many births as They desired. Then Bada Hari prabhu and I led kirtan with the local devotees. It was a very sweet day in the heart of London.
May 21 2014
My dear disciples: “A Most Ghastly Rasa – The Appearance of Lord Nrsimhadeva,” is now available on: www.narottam.com. A lecture describing our relationship with Lord Nrsimhadeva and how He protects His devotees, given recently in St.Petersburg on the Lord’s appearance day. With Russian translation.
May 22 2014
In London Heathrow airport on my way to North Carolina, USA for the Sadhu Sanga Retreat. Starts tomorrow. All milk, yoghurt and cheese used for the event’s prasadam will come from protected cows at the Gita Nagari farm. We are expecting 1500 devotees. What bliss! — with Rama Kesava Das, Giriraj Swami, Dina Dayal Das, Bada Haridas, Vishnu Puri Das Ids, Mahavan Das and Gaura Vani Buchwald.
Thanks to Gajendra das and Denisse of Lotus Eyes Photography for capturing many of the magical moments at this year’s Sadhu Sanga Retreat in Boone, North Carolina. Words alone could not express the happiness and joy that 1,500 devotees felt in each others association while chanting Lord’s holy names for several days together.
More testament to the power of the holy names chanted in unison for days on end by loving devotees in a beautiful environment. Sadhu Sanga Retreat is a must for all American devotees in 2015!
My dear disciples: A new class entitled, “The Art Of War,” is now available on www.narottam.com. How to fight maya and win. With Russian translation.
Another talented photographer, Damodar-rati dasa, provides us with more beautiful photos of last weeks Sadhu Sanga Retreat. The festival has become the ‘talk of the town.’ The association was stellar, the chanting of the holy names out of this world and the prasadam something to remember. [ All photos from Dennis Sher Photography ]