“To the fierce, brave Lord Mahavisnu; to the all-illuminated one; to He who is omnipresent; to Lord Narasimha who is terrible in appearance, yet gentle; to the death of death personified, I offer my obeisances.” [ Narasimha-anustubha mantra ]
Thousands of people turned up for Durban’s 27th Ratha Yatra festival along the beachfront yesterday. The 5-hour parade captured the attention of both locals and tourists as 3 large chariots rumbled through the streets. The festival continues for 3 more days with attractions in an assortment of tents, large and small, not far from the beach. I was happy to be out and about once again, sharing with the world the wonder of Krsna consciousness though the eye of my camera.
Attendance was down at this year’s Durban Ratha Yatra because of heavy rain. Nevertheless, thousands braved the wet weather to enjoy 4 days of transcendental festivities. A high point was when national television came and interviewed us. The interviewer, a young lady who dressed in a sari for the occasion, chanted and danced with us in great jubilation before the camera. Such is the mercy of Lord Jagannatha, Lord of the universe.
By dint of circumstances I have been forced to think of my own welfare this past month. I am now free to travel again and think of the welfare of others. My dear Lord, thank you! I will serve You well.
“‘He He Krsna! O ocean of mercy! Protect! Please protect these people. Oh great master! They are burning in the great forest fire of birth and death. O ocean of mercy, kindly bestow Your own devotional service upon them.’ His mercy upon the living beings having reached it’s zenith, Sri Gaura Hari, Who is the only Lord and refuge for the wretched, thus called out with prayerful cries.”
[ Srila Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Susloka-satakam, sloka 65 ]
“In the midst of the age of quarrel, devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu hear songs glorifying the bonefide spirtual master. With much enthusiasm they sing the maha mantra of Lord Hari’s names. They adore their spiritual masters and all saintly devotees of the Lord.” [ Srila Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Sri-Susloka-sloka-satakam, sloka 81 ]
April 10, 2015 ·
“I am overjoyed to hear that your enthusiasm for chanting is increasing. As our contaminations are removed by chanting, the Lord’s form, qualities, and pastimes will be revealed to us in the holy name. There is no point in making a separate effort to artificially remember the Lord’s form, qualities, and pastimes. The Lord and His name are one and the same. This will be understood clearly when the coverings in your heart are removed. By chanting without offenses you will personally realize that all perfections come from the holy name. Through chanting, the distinction that exists between the self, and the gross and subtle bodies, is gradually effaced and one realizes one’s own spiritual form. Once aware of the spiritual body, as one continues to chant, one sees the transcendental nature of the Lord’s form.”
[ Letter from Srila Bhakisiddhanta Saravati Thakura to a disciple ]
Yesterday I arrived in Moscow on a beautiful warm spring day to begin a 6-week preaching tour through Russia with my good friend Bada Haridas, who arrived from the USA a day before me. So happy to be on the road again in service to Srila Prabhupada.
The first program on our Russian Tour was the Sunday Love Feast in Moscow. Actually, we were the 3rd speaker that day. Krsna consciousness is so popular in Moscow that the temple organizes 3 speakers with 3 kirtans each Sunday; morning, afternoon and evening. Each time the temple room is packed. 800 devotees attended the program that Bada Haridas and I did. Next video clip will be from Kazan, Tatarstan.
Upon our arrival in Kazan, Tatarstan, we were greeted by a number of blissful devotees at our ISKCON center. Tatarstan is an autonomous republic in Russia, which prides itself in religious tolerance.
Krsna consciousness continues to grow in leaps and bounds throughout Russia, 44 years after Srila Prabhupada visited Moscow. I never cease to be amazed at the number and quality of people joining. This was especially evident when myself and Bada Haridas did last Sunday’s love feast program in Moscow. Easy to love these devotees with all one’s heart and soul. [ Photos by Nicole Demeshik ]
Dear disciples: two classes from our Russian Tour are available now on www.narottam.com. “Hanuman Katha Retold” and “The Boat, the Captain and the Wind.”
It was with great sadness that we left Tatarstan yesterday. The small group of devotees pushing on Lord Caitanya’s samkirtan movement there – so far away from the rest of the world – are the sweetest devotees you could ever imagine. Please everyone send them your blessings!
Bada Haridas prabhu preaching and chanting in the land of the Tatars
Dear Disciples: a lecture on the role of a king in Vedic culture is available on: www.narottam.com. “The Raja Rishi” was given in Kazan on April 14, 2015.
On the road to Rostov-on-Don in Southern Russia during the last days of a long Russian winter.
Rostov-on-Don is known as one of the toughest cities in Russia. Add to that the constant flow of military vehicles, Russian troops and weapons across the nearby border with Ukraine and you have a very volatile situation. As a result, Krsna consciousness has great appeal amongst many of the people of Rostov, who gather together regularly to take shelter in the chanting of the holy names of Krsna.
Our visit to Rostov-on-don included a trip to the devotees downtown Food For Life program for refugees from the nearby flighting in Ukraine and two festival programs in the city.
Dear Disciples: “Let There Be A Temple,” a class given in Rostov-on-don, Russia, is now available on www.narottam.com
A train ride on the way to Maykop. Maykop ( meaning the Valley of Apple Trees ) is the capital city of the Republic of Adygea, Russia, located on the right bank of the Belaya River. There is small group of practicing devotees there, who begged us to come and spend a few days with them.
A massive earthquake of 7.9 magnitude has just struck central Nepal, affecting Kathmandu. Many buildings are damaged and there are numerous injuries. I just spoke with Patri das, ISKCON’s regional secretary in Nepal, who told me our temple in Kathmandu is basically OK. But there are severe cracks in a number of buildings on our property. The Deities have been moved outside from the main temple. No devotees were injured at the temple complex, but he stressed that many houses in the area collapsed and he cannot say at this point if all our devotees are safe. So please everyone pray for the safely and lives of our members living in and around the affected area. Pray for all.
Our visit to Mykop in southern Russia was during the first few days of spring. Not many senior devotees visit the region so our presence was much appreciated. We in turn felt purified by the association of so many wonderful devotees.
Krasnodar is located on the Kuban River about 148 kilometers northeast of the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk in Russia. It was founded on January 12, 1794 as Yekaterinodar, meaning “Catherine’s Gift” in recognition of Catherine the Great’s grant of land to the Black Sea Cossacks. ISKCON has a bustling community of over 300 devotees in Krasnodar with a nice temple just outside of the city. Within the temple is a beautiful Deity of Lord Nrsimhadeva, alongside Gaura Nitai. We enjoyed two evenings of kirtan and classes with the devotees.
Srila Prabhupada came to Moscow in 1971. On that visit he initiated Ananta Santi das who quickly spread Krsna consciousness throughout the country. During that time several of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples from the west started visiting and preaching as well. I was fortunate to come in 1988. Memories of 27 years preaching Krsna consciousness in Russia remain deeply ingrained within my heart.
In this video we arrive at our Krasnodar temple in southern Russia. Krasnodar is in the land of the Cossacks. Devotees from all over the region attended the program. It was a blissful afternoon doing what we do; chanting, dancing and Krsna Katha!
The Final Moments of Hiranyakashipu
From the Subhasita-ratna-bhandagara
[When Hiranyakashipu saw his servant running
towards him in fear, he spoke as follows:]
Hiranyakashipu: “What is it? What is it?”
Servant: “O Lord! It is a lion!”
Hiranyakashipu: “So what?”
Servant: “O Lord! He has a human body! I have never
seen such a strange creature.”
Hiranyakashipu: “If that is the case, bring him here.”
Servant: “O Lord! He is coming on his own!”
Hiranyakashipu: “Bring my capa (bow)! Bring my
cāpa! Bring my caaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh. His nails!”
May that Nrsimhadeva who thus tore the chest of
Hiranyakashipu with his sharp nails protect you all!
[ Translated by Hari Parshad Das from verse 55, page 19, Subhasitaratna-
bhandagara. Compiled by Pandit Kashinath Sharma. Nirnaya
Sagar Press. Mumbai (Bombay) ]
Sochi is located on the Black Sea in southern Russia. It is Russia’s largest resort city. It hosted the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. ISKCON has an attractive temple in a forested area 15 minutes from the city center. Devotees regularly do harinama and book distribution throughout the beautiful city.