” The full potential of the Holy Name is there when we share the Holy Name with others… ”
After successfully meeting several influential people at the Global Citizens event in Johannesburg, South Africa we traveled to Cape Town for a short break. There we visited famous Table Mountain which is listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site and one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature. We ascended the massive mountain by cable car. On top of the mountain, overlooking the southernmost tip of Africa, I remembered Lord Krishna’s words in Bhagavad Gita: “Know that all beautiful, glorious and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.” [ BG 10.41 ]
“I am so glad to hear that you would like if we could open one branch of our International Society for Krishna Consciousness there in Cape Town, South Africa. That would be very nice. So if you can arrange for our reception, we may go there immediately, and even I may go on my way back from India and establish one centre there [ in South Africa ]. Undoubtedly this movement is very sublime and anyone who takes to it becomes happy.”
[ Srila Prabhupada letter, July 3, 1971 ]
mose nainaan milaaike – chhaap tilak sab chheen li re
“With one glance of your enchanting eyes, you have stolen away all trace of me!”
[ Amir Khusro, a famous 14th century Sufi mystic, in a poem to his spiritual master in Vraja Bhasa language ]
It’s summertime down here in Durban, South Africa, so this afternoon we went on harinama along the beachfront. What an experience it was! African people love to sing and dance. While watching them dance with us today I realized Caitanya’s formula truly works anywhere and everywhere in the world. All glories to Sri Krsna’s holy names! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Today was a national holiday in South Africa officially called, “The Day of Reconciliation.” It is meant to help reconcile grievous misunderstandings that exist between different ethnic groups in the country. In a spirit of good will we took a harinama party to an outlying township near Durban where African people live well below the poverty line. We chanted Hare Krsna with them and danced in ecstasy altogether. We distributed healthy, nutritious food offered to Krsna. We gave out Srila Prabhupada’s books in Zulu. We spoke with the people and embraced them. We saw no differences between us and them, for we are all spirit souls, part of the greater family of God. Our journey into the township was not without risks. We saw one sign that read, “Whites Keep Out.” As a precaution, we were escorted everywhere by a well-armed police force. They were vigilant. But in the end, love reigned supreme and Krsna stole everyone’s heart. As we rode back home in our vehicles I was thinking, “Good Lord, I could do this every day of my life!”
After almost two weeks in Africa I came back home to Vrindavan to spend a few days before moving on to China. Winter has set in and it’s cold here. But the Vrajavasis don’t seem to mind as they are always thinking of Krsna. I would also like to always remember the Lord and thus I constantly meditate on Sri Vrindavan dhama, His eternal abode and residence.
Yesterday, Pundrik Goswami of the Radha Raman Temple in Vrindavan asked me to accompany him to a lecture he was giving in Agra, not far from the famous Taj Mahal. The program, by invitation only, was attended by many of Agra’s most influential and distinguished citizens. The title of lecture was: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Goswami kindly had me speak to the audience for 20 minutes before his lecture. I explained the scriptural references to Lord Caitanya’s appearance as well as His introducing the Yuga Dharma of chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. I concluded by sharing with the audience how Srila Prabhupada took Lord Caitanya’s message to the west and how the chanting is now being heard throughout the entire world. I am grateful to Goswami for allowing me to address such an august assembly.
This afternoon on my last day in Shanghai we did a program in a popular yoga studio. Over two hundred mostly young people listened intently to the class and as always, chanted and danced ecstatically with us. I saw 6 people crying during the kirtan. In fact, I often see Chinese people cry during bhajans and kirtans. I can only conclude that Lord Caitanya and the holy names are showing special mercy to the people of the Khasa race as described in Srimad Bhagavatam:
”Kiratas, Hunas, Andhras, Pulindas, Pulkasas, Abhiras, Sumbhas, Yavanas and members of the Khasa [ Chinese ] 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.”