Tomorrow myself, Bada Hari prabhu, Premananda das and Bh. Ethen will travel to Omsk, Russia to participate in the devotees celebration of Radhastami. From there we go to Anapa to join the annual Russian Yatra Festival. After that we travel to Kishinev [ Moldova ], Zagreb [ Croatia ], Budapest, [ Hungary ] and finally,Skopje
[ Macedonia ]. Then, Krsna willing, we will hurry to Sri Vrindavan Dhama on October 1st for one month of parikramas with 300 devotees during Kartika. Our dear Lord Nrsimhadeva, please protect us during our travels!
For Radhastami in Omsk, Siberia we started off with kirtan, katha and abhisekha in the temple. After a big feast we went on harinam samkirtan and took the small Radha Krsna deities for a boat ride up the Irtish river. That evening we finished the day with discussion of Srimati Radharani’s transcendental pastimes. All in a day! All glories to Sri Sri Radha Govinda, the presiding deities of Siberia.
Bada Haridas and myself were discussing how, by the grace of Srila Prabhupada, the following verse so aptly describes our present services; for each day I worship my beloved deities, most days we go on harinama samkirtan and in a few weeks we’ll be doing parikrama in Sri Vrindavan dhama.
“Certainly no means of perfection is superior to the worship of Sriman Madana-gopala’s lotus feet. That worship yields results far beyond what one would expect. It should be performed daily through nama-sankirtana, along with reverence and affection for the many places of Sri Gopala’s pastimes – places which one should regularly visit.”
[ Srila Sanatana Goswami, Brihad Bhagavatamrta, 2.1.104-105 ]
Five thousand devotees came for the installation of Panca Tattva deities on the first day of the Russian Yatra festival in Anapa. After presiding over the festival the deities will be worshipped in the temple in Krasnodar. Their installation is another milestone in the amazing history of the Russian yatra. It has all come about by the strong desire of Srila Prabhupada who visited Moscow in 1971.
Srila Prabhupada once told Govinda dasi that formerly in Vedic times the land of Russia was known as ‘Rishiya’ – the land of the rishis. The area of Russia was populated by many yogis and sadhus who went to the mountains of the Himalayas and beyond to perform penances and austerities in the frozen terrain, far from the hubbub of worldly life. Srila Prabhupada told Govinda dasi that the descendants of those rishis who live in Russia now have the sukriti to easily take to Krishna consciousness. Such an amazing statement was never more evident than at the recent Russian Yatra festival where over 5000 Russian devotees come together for a week of chanting, dancing, Krsna katha and prasadam. How pleased Srila Prabhupada must be!
Dear Devotees: Registration for our 2014 Vrindavan Kartika parikrama is now officially closed. We have reached the capacity of 350 devotees. There are, however, 50 places still available for the trip to Jaipur during that period. If you are interested please visit: http://kartikparikrama.com/
This morning I was the special guest on one of Moldova’s most popular morning television talk shows. Jurnal TV interviewed me for 15 minutes with an estimated audience of over 2.5 million people. In my short talk I stressed the importance of spiritual life and how Bhagavad Gita can solve many of the problems we face in modern society. I also elaborated on how God is a person and real happiness can only be achieved by reviving our dormant love for Him. I concluded by explaining the meaning of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It was short, sweet and to the point. Thank you Srila Prabhupada for allowing me to be your representative.
[ Photos by Mahavan das ]
This afternoon I was interviewed on Moldavian TV 1, the nation’s main television station. I was asked to explain how an ancient spiritual tradition, like Krsna consciousness, can be practiced in modern society.The interviewer also asked me to explain the qualities of true leadership and how they could be applied in government. I also explained the glories of chanting Hare Krsna. But unlike this morning’s large audience, only 500,000 people were watching the show 🙂
Concluding a full day of preaching here in Moldova, I met with a group of 40 distinguished scholars, professors, politicians, writers and poets in the evening. They asked many deep philosophical and spiritual questions and each one of them said they were more than satisfied by the answers. The proof came at the end of the program when they all bought copies of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad Gita! [ Photos by Mahavan das ]
Moldova is a beautiful landlocked country with 3.5 million people in Eastern Europe. It is boardered by Romania and Ukraine. ISKCON has two temples there with 300 hundred active devotees. During my visit I participated in several television shows, numerous newspaper interviews, 2 very large public programs, harinams and a meeting with a number of distinquished personalities. I enjoyed the preaching so much that I plan to take my entire festival progam to Moldova next year! [ Photos by Indradyumna Swami and Mahavan das ]
Before leaving Moscow yesterday we stopped near Red Square and the famous St. Basil’s Cathedral. I make it a point to visit there whenever I can. For me it is a place of pilgrimage because my spiritual master’s lotus feet graced those grounds on his one and only visit to Russia in 1971. It was from there that the samkirtan movement in Russia began and continues to this very day. Srila Prabhupada, may I always follow you wherever you go within these 3 worlds to spread the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu!
Our short stay in Zagreb was packed with a variety of programs; classes in the local temple, harinams, a newpaper interview, darsans and a big public program entilted, “Yoga Is Music.” Next stop on the Vaikunatha express: Hungary.
The rural community of New Vraja Dhama in Hungary, with 207 devotees and 50 cows, is Sivarama Swami’s offering of love to his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada. Over two decades of selfless hard work by the Hungarian devotees has produced one of the finest projects in ISKCON. The presiding deities, Radha Syamasundara, are worshipped with one of the highest standards I have seen in our movement.
ISKCON’s center in Budapest is a charming temple situated near the center of the city. Devotees run a popular vegetarian restaurant downtown and are much appreciated for their daily Food For Life prasadam distribution. Both locals and tourists watch with interest when devotees perform regular harinam samkirtan and book distributors are a regular sight on the streets of Hungary’s capital.
Yesterday, as soon as my flight arrived Skopje, Macedonia I was whisked away to a live 30-minute talk show on “24 News,” one of Macedonia’s main television channels. The theme of the program was, “Cultural Origins.” The show was viewed by 50,000 people. Amongst the many topics covered, I elaborated how our Krsna consciousness movement is based on the Bhagavad Gita and is part of one of the oldest spiritual cultures in the world. I discussed how God is a person and that we can connect with him through chanting His holy names. Towards the end of show the host asked me to demonstrate the chanting, so I led a one-man kirtan for a short while. He concluded the interview by explaining to the audience how the chanting made him calm and peaceful. The following is a link to the show. The interview is a little difficult to follow because my voice is dubbed over by a translator ☺ http://www.24vesti.mk/za-zhivotot-26-09-2014
Macedonia, a landlocked country of 2 million people, is located in southeast Europe. It is bordered by Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania. It is the birth place of two famous personalities: Alexander the Great in ancient times and Mother Teresa in recent history. ISKCON has a small community of sincere and dedicated devotees with a temple in the capitol, Skopje. They kept us busy during our 3-day visit with temple programs, harinam and a public program in a prestigious hall in the city. It’s wonderful to witness firsthand how Lord Caitanya’s movement is truly spreading to every town and village in the world.