The Bhakti Sangam Festival in Ukraine concluded as it began; with endess kirtan, Krsna katha and prasadam.The hearts of the Vaisnavas were completed satisfied.
September 1, 2015
Dear disciples: all 5 classes from the seminar, “Lessons Learned From The Life of Ajamila” given in Ukraine last week are now available on www.narottam.com
Chanting Hare Krishna in the association of other devotees is the process for self realization in this age of Kali. At the Bhakti Sangam festival in Ukraine we experienced the full effect of the process while chanting and dancing with 4,000 devotees for many hours each day!
On September 12, Bada Haridas, myself and 6 other devotees will journey to Mongolia for a two week preaching tour of the country. ISKCON is officially registered in Mongolia with a small center in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. We will travel extensively to other cities like Karakorum, Erdenet and Sainshand in the Gobi desert, where we will have public programs. We will introduce harinam samkirtan – kirtan in the streets – for the 1st time in all these places. A great adventure in service to the Lord.
Serving Lord Gauranga’s Devotees – By Gour Govinda Maharaja
“Nityananda Prabhu is more merciful than Mahaprabhu. Unless you get the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu you cannot get the mercy of Mahaprabhu, and unless you get the mercy of Mahaprabhu you cannot approach Radha-Krishna. This is our process.
Moreover, guru is the manifestation of Nityananda or Balaram, so guru is more merciful than Krishna. He is a devotee of Gaura; gaura-priya-jana — he is very dear to Gauranga Mahaprabhu. One who is a gaura-priyajana is more merciful than Gaura. Srila Prabodhananda Saraswati has said:
acarya dharmaṁ paricarya viṣṇuṁ
vicarya tīrthāni vicārya vedān
vinā na gaura-priya-pāda-sevāṁ
Prabodhananda Saraswati says that you may strictly follow ācarya-dharma, the principles of religious life; paricarya viṣṇu, you may offer very opulent worship to the deity of Vishnu; vicarya tīrthāni, you may visit all the holy places of pilgrimage; vicārya vedān, you may study and become proficient in Vedic knowledge; whatever you may do, but vinā na gaura-priya-pādasevāṁ vedādi-duṣprāpa-padaṁ vidanti — without serving the lotus feet of a gaura-priya-jana, a dear devotee of Gauranga, you cannot attain prema. You cannot get prema merely by reading or acquiring Vedic knowledge. Only if you get the mercy of a gaurapriya-jana will everything be manifest before you, and you will get everything. Getting Krishna means getting everything, and Krishna is bound up by love or prema.”
“One has to learn how Krsna takes birth. It is not ordinary birth. Had it been ordinary birth, then why we should observe the Janmastami ceremony? It is divyam, divine, transcendental. Everything of Krsna is divine.”
[ Srila Prabhupada, Srimad Bhagavatam class, Bombay, November 13, 1974 ]
Janmastami In The Land Of Mohammed.
Ufa is the capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan. The beautiful city, with many old rustic houses, has a population of just over one million people, 90% of whom are Sunni Muslims. Somehow, by the special grace of Lord Caitanya, ISKCON has a temple not far from the center of the city. Because it is an Islamic republic there are some restrictions on our preaching. For example, on Janmastami day we were given permission to chant in a square where there were very few people. But in general the citizens are very friendly and appreciative of our activities.
Today, here in Moscow, we will pick up our visas for Mongolia. The name Mongolia conjures up violence and brutality at the hands of Genghis Khan and his hordes of warriors. Yet for many historians careful study of the country’s history reveals this to be a distorted picture painted by early European writers. My godbrother, Bhakti Vaibhava Maharaja, has said that Mongolians are – and have always been – simple rural people, many of whom are highly educated. He adds that they are very friendly people. Many are still nomadic people and we look forward to meeting and sharing with them Krsna consciousness in our travels throughout their country in a few days time. [ Pictured: 17th century painting of Genghis Khan ]
Today 6,000 devotees arrived at the Black Sea for the Russian Yatra festival. It seemed like an ocean of Vaisnavas were present at the opening ceremony this evening!
The Sadhu Sanga Festival is taking place this week on the Black Sea coast in southern Russia. But infinitely more beautiful is the sea of 6,500 devotees chanting and dancing in great ecstacy
here. Today myself and Bada Haridas are departing for Mongolia. It is difficult to leave this historic event and the association of so many loving devotees!
“Kirata, Huna, Andhra, Pulinda, Pulkasa, Abhira, Sumbha, Yavana, members of the Khasa [ Mongolian ] races and even others addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.” [ SB 2.4.18 ]
Our long awaited dream to visit Mongolia came true today. As our plane circled the airport waiting to land at Ulaanbaatar I was surprised to see that the barren brown landscape, which stretched as far as the eye could see, did not contain a single tree. I also noticed all roads leading out of the capital were simply dirt roads. During a quick tour of the city before arriving at our local ISKCON temple for our first program we found people extremely curious about us and very, very friendly. Our great adventure has begun! [ All photos by Ananta Vrindavan dasa ]
Wearing traditional Mongolian coats at the request of local authorities, we spent our first day in the capital of Ulaanbaatar exploring the country’s ancient customs. In the evening we held a blissful program at our local ISKCON temple for devotees and guests alike. Our initial impression of Mongolia was thus filled with the resonating sound of Buddhist mantras and the sweet singing of Krsna’s holy names. Tomorrow we head for the ancient city of Kharakhorum where we’ll perform harinam samkirtan for the first time ever. A great adventure in service to the Lord!
“Maharaja, if you wear the traditonal clothes of Mongolia for your first few days in our country you will gain the sympathy of our government who granted you a special visa,” said the temple president of Ulaanbaatar. “The people will also appreciate,” he continued, “and be inclined to hear the message you have brought.”
After a day in Ulaanbaatar we took to the road to spread the message of Lord Caitanya for the first time in Kharkhorin, the ancient capital of Mongolia. The 9 hour drive, often on dirt roads, took us through some of the most beautiful countryside we had ever seen. We witnessed first hand the nomadic lifestyle so common to the people of Mongolia. The evening program in Kharkhorin proved once again that chanting Hare Krsna is the universal process for self realization in this age of Kali.
During our trip to Kharkhorin, the old capital of Mongolia, we visited the ancient Buddhist monastery of Erdene Zuu. After discussing spiritual matters with the monks there for sometime, they asked us to have kirtan. I believe it was one of the best kirtans Bada Haridas prabhu ever led. Before leaving we gave the head monk a copy of Bhagavad Gita. It was altogether an historic occasion. That evening we had wonderful program for 100 citizens of Kharkhorin in a local hall. After the lecture everyone chanted and danced in great happiness during the kirtan.
Yesterday was an historic day in the Mongolian yatra. We performed harinam samkirtan for the first time in the country since 1992. In the early morning, when the Gobi desert sun was still tolerable, we took to the streets of Sainshand, a town of 23,000 people, with mrdungas, kartalas and the sweet chanting of Krsna’s holy names.The people loved it and chanted and danced alongside us. In the afternoon we held the first Krsna conscious hall program in the town. Finally, in the cool air of the desert evening, we held a Hare Krsna concert in the town square. We pray that such pioneer preaching will satisfy Srila Prabhupada, who desired that the holy names be broadcast in every town and village of the world, in accordance with the will of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
In 1996 several foreign devotees who were visiting Mongolia held kirtan in the streets of the capital, Ulaanbaatar. They were immediately arrested and deported. For almost 20 years now there has been no public chanting of the holy names of Krsna here. Our renewed status as a religious organization, however, now allows us to sing freely everywhere with prior permission. So for the first time in two decades we took to the streets of Sainshand in the Gobi desert and chanted and danced along with the local people. It was yet another milestone in the history of Lord Caitanya’s samkirtan movement. Later in the evening we held a program in the town hall. All glories to Sri Krsna samkirtan!
Two days ago we ventured 500 kilometers from the capital of Mongolia to Erdenet. The 9-hour drive on rough roads took us through some of the most breath taking scenery in the country. We are visiting all these towns and villages for the first time. Previously our movement didn’t have permission to do harinam and public programs. Now that we do, we find people spontaneously chant Hare Krsna and dance with little or no encouragement. For those who can tolerate austerity, Mongolia is a great adventure on behalf of the Lord.
On this auspicious day of Radhastami I long to be in Vraja, celebrating the Queen of Vrindavan’s appearance with all the beloved Vrajavasis. Instead, I find myself on the remote steppes of Mongolia, sharing the message of Lord Caitanya with the people of this isolated country. Despite the many austerities involved in traveling and preaching here, I have decided to extend my stay for yet another month. I pray Srimati Radharani will glance this way and noticing my humble efforts one day grant me eternal residence in Her transcendental abode, far from the cold and windy plains of this distant land.
“I wander over this earth meditating on Her, who is a moon shining in the rasa-dance arena, who is a host of bright lamps in Vrsabhanu’s palace, and who is the central jewel in the necklace of Goloka.” [ Narada Muni, Garga Samhita 1.8.12 ]
Mongolia’s vast steppe is home to one of the world’s last surviving nomadic cultures. Situated between China and Russia, the Mongolian steppe remains mostly intact, and its nomadic way of life has been largely unchanged for generations. Some herding customs alive today pre-date the era of Genghis Khan. Slowly, however, the steppe’s landscape is changing, as more and more of its nomadic population move to urban areas in search of education, employment, and modern conveniences. On our 8-hour drive to Erdenet for our first public program in the city, we passed many nomadic people herding their cows, horses and sheep. The program that evening was especially sweet as we enjoyed watching so many people enjoy chanting Hare Krsna for the first time.
Much of the Mongolian population lives below the poverty line and many families struggle just to get by. It is common, especially in the capital Ulaanbaatar, to see children who have been abandoned. They are typically a product of social upheaval caused by alcoholism, rapid urbanization and poverty. Little is known of the history of most of the 80 children in the orphanage we visited in Erdenet. Many were abandoned at birth in hospitals, or left simply on the side of the road. Because of such backgrounds they were especially appreciative of our visit. After I told them animated stories from Krsna Book they all chanted and danced in great happiness with the devotees. They especially loved prasadam at the end of our visit. The mercy of Lord Caitanya is now spreading everywhere in this distant land of Mongolia. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Two days ago we did a public program in a hall in Ulaanbaatar and then an initiation in a traditional “yurta” in a forest outside the city. Krsna consciousness is slowly taking root in Mongolia.
After the success of our recent interview on Mongolia’s main television channel, Mongolian National Broadcaster, another prominent television station, Soyon Gegeeruulegch TV, contacted me today with a proposal to tape five half-hour sessions, on any spiritual subjects matters I would like to discuss. The discourses will be shown each evening at 8:30 PM for a period of 5 days next week on national television. Another chance to share Krsna consciousness with the nation. What more could a devotee of Lord Caitanya and a disciple of Srila Prabhupada desire?
As the first snows of early winter arrived here in Mongolia, we had a successful public program in the capital Ulaanbaatar. Afterwards we held an initiation in a traditional yurta in a forest outside the city. Now we are making plans to visit the more remote areas of the country, where the holy names of Krsna have never been sung and people have not heard the sublime teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
I would like to request devotees everywhere to pray for little Lalita dasi, an 8 – year old girl from St. Petersburg, who is in the intensive care unit in a hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia. She contracted Meningococcemia, a dangerous and deadly blood infection. Doctors say she may not survive. Her and her twin brother, Klim, are wonderful devotee children, always happy and blissful in Krsna consciousness. If she were to pass away it would simply break my heart
Dear Devotees: Thank you for your response to our appeal to pray for Lalita dasi, the 8-year old girl in critical condition in a hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia. Unfortunately, her condition has deteriorated and the doctors say there is little hope she will survive. But where there is life, there is hope, and therefore I request you all to please continue to pray for this sweet soul, that she may somehow survive by the will of the Lord. Both her and her twin brother are pictured in this photo taken not long ago
We took a break from our traveling around Mongolia and spent 5 days in the capital Ulaanbaatar having programs in our small center in the city. We also used the time to rest and stockpile supplies for our next journey which begins tomorrow – a 3,500 kilometer journey in 3 jeeps to the most remote areas of the country to do harinama and programs in numerous towns and villages.
Following the success of our recent interview on national television here in Mongolia, another prominent channel, Soyongegeeeruulegch.tv, contacted us and proposed to record 5 separate, 45 minute shows with me. The next day I was in their studios for a marathon recording, changing my chaddar each session for some diversity. I spoke on a variety of Krsna conscious subjects, a few of which appear in this short video. When all was done, I asked the director of the station how many people would see the recordings. She replied, “We will broadcast one each day next week both in the morning and evening. So I suppose around 2 million people will hear from you.” Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
We thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new.We thought about you yesterday,and days before that too.
We think of you in silence,and often speak your name.All we have are memories,and your picture in a frame.
Your memory is our keepsake,with which we’ll never part.God has you in His keeping,we have you in our hearts.
It broke our hearts to lose you.But you didn`t go alone.For a part of us went with you…the day God called you Home.
[ Adapted – Author Unknown ]
We’re on the road again, taking the holy names of Krsna to as many towns and villages as we can during our 3,500 kilometer journey through the remote areas of Mongolia. There’s a special satisfaction pioneering Krsna consciousness in a place where people have never seen devotees before, or heard of Lord Caitanya. Yesterday in Darhan people immediately crowded around us as we began harinama, eager to hear our message and buy books. Some of them followed us back to a hall where we had a two hour program. Step by step we are conquering the hearts of the people of this beautiful country.