Madhava in Phillipines

On the way to the Philippines Radhika was quite sick with a cold in the chest, which tends to give her asthma. The flight from Dubai to Manila was overbooked and we hoped against hope no one would sit between us in our row of 3 seats as she had window and I had aisle. Boarding completed, announced the captain and we sighed with relief. Thank you Krishna. You say You are partial to none, but specially inclined to those who serve You, and we are sold out to You. Radhika welcomes the facility to lie down. We are going to serve Your mission. You promise Your protection and we are deeply grateful. We started to ‘settle in’ when I heard a loud voice from the back of the plane – I am like an elephant, see my size! An abnormally large man spoke and his frame would definitely occupy 2 seats. He sat in the row of 4 seats. Every other seat on that plane was occupied but for our one! The flight attendant checks the seat plan and promptly directs a skinny filipino woman to our middle seat! Dumbstruck, we tried to make sense of …, Krishna … , until, Janma Karma ca me divyam …. . I, Mr. Frog in my well, want to understand the great oceans by comparing them to the size of my important, tiny body of water. Poor Radhika was sick during our Nama seva, but it facilitated treatments for other ailments she’d been ignoring. Our minds always need to rationalize; thus, I judged ‘Elephantman’ distress was more dire than ours. Yes, I, a minute fraction of Him want to fathom the Whole, chiefly to make me feel better! To let go of thoughts and accept Krishna’s angle as a servant should, is just not easy. He is autocratic. Overall, we cannot understand. Lucky we do get to practice – I am infinitesimal servant.
KIRTAN FOREVER

Coming to Kangaroo Land

 

We flew into Perth end of February. Aussies on the west coast have fallen hard for kirtan. From that isolated part of the globe, the crowd that came on the 3 nights of kirtan pleasantly surprised us, and a day retreat with smaller numbers revealed depths of commitment to spiritual practices. They were naturally curious to know why we mostly chant the Hare Krishna mantra.

Gold Coast was the next stop where grey stormy weather awaited us. Yet, the next morning the sun came out revealing the beach in all its glory. A glitch though – a car’s alarm broke the serenity of the beautiful morning. It beeped for a full minute, stopped for 10 seconds, then on again like an alarm clock on snooze, for almost 3 hours! That evening all was back to grey skies, gusts, rain, white capped waves and of course, no abrasive noise to break the dreary weather.  At least we have kirtan – timeless, unchangeable and forever spiritual. From there, we went to Brisbane University for an evening of chanting Hare Krishna. Eager students delighted all with strong chanting. The Mantra has extended Himself from the spiritual world. Eternal joy is His nature which touches us whenever we chant.

KIRTAN FOREVER

 

Mumbai

Back in Switzerland since 5 days and neither a peep of sun, nor rain nor snow. It’s just grey and cold. All the leafless branches present a very apocalyptic picture.

We came from busy, sunny and colorful Mumbai, where we had Kirtan engagements in different cities.

In the middle of a busy schedule we still had 2 days of restful time at the Eco Village, about 3 hours drive from Mumbai. A big group of yoga practitioners from different parts of the world was doing a retreat there. I recognized people from Germany, Australia and the US. It is a serene place to rest and recuperate. The atmosphere inspires higher thoughts and spiritual goals. In two days time we’ll fly to Australia, direction summer, sun and heat besides our Kirtan engagements. Right now I feel I will never complain about the heat even during the hottest season in the hottest part of the globe.


KIRTAN FOREVER

Lithuania January 2018 – sights and sounds..

Sights on the way to the Lithuania Kirtan Festival..

Sounds….

Madhava prabhu leads kirtan at the Baltics WInter Festival, Lithuania

The Baltics Winter Festival is going very nicely. There are about 400 devotees gathered, and some great preachers, like Trivikrama Maharaja, Dhirashanta Maharaja. Niranjana Maharaja is coming today. This is video of Madhava prabhu leading kirtana last night.

Posted by Bhakti Chaitanya Swami on Freitag, 19. Januar 2018

Punjab and Delhi

Coming to Punjab for the first time, we hardly knew what to expect. India produces many masters in music, both vocal and instrumental in various styles. Indians are also used to sit down and appreciate the intricacies of an expert musical production. We wondered if during kirtan the crowd would at all participate by chanting.

To our amazement, our first engagement in Ludhiana attracted a full temple room and everyone sang with great enthusiasm. The next day the chanting of the Amritsar crowd surpassed Ludhiana. Focusing on the sacred Maha Mantra vibration naturally led to sublime dancing, thus creating a spiritual atmosphere.

Over 700 people attended one of the kirtan engagements in Delhi. The sincere chanting of many people nourishes the soul and liberates the heart from material bondage.

Coming to the Sacred

That which is sacred naturally purifies the psyche, spiritualizes our intentions and elevates our actions. Since centuries India has attracted true seekers from all over the world, heedless of their caste, creed, color or origin. Vrindavan is one vital site worshipped by those desirous to link to the Supreme Divine. Five thousand years ago Krishna appeared there, playing as a human just to draw us to Eternal Divine Pleasure. Hence, we try to see God in the hearts of all entities and to cultivate pure love for Him, which then spreads to all.

All through the year thousands visit Vrindavan. Yet, an influx of people from all over the world and India arrive during the special month of Karthik, October-November, to observe spiritual practices.

 

 

 

Summer Camp in the Swiss Alps

While flying over the Swiss Alps our great spiritual master Prabhupada, revealed to one of his disciples sitting next to him on the plane that he saw one of the mountains leading up to the heavenly planets. Swiss summer retreat is always in the Alps, but since the past few years the location is exceptionally stunning. The temple room faces the green slopes of the mountains. We were there for the 12-hour kirtan day.

There is something about mountains that helps calm the mind, focus thoughts and elevate consciousness. The air sparkles almost and energizes. Every breath we take, pure goodness invades our entire body. Our stay was brief. Kirtan with devotees was remarkably deep and heightened.

Kirtan Forever..

We met George at the kirtan festival in Boone, North Carolina. A month later we were talking to him in Salt Lake City, his hometown. Utah has the highest population of Mormons in the world. They follow 3 of the 4 basic regulative principles of the Krishnas – no illicit sex, no gambling, no intoxication. The festival of colors originated from there where mostly Mormons joyously participate in good, clean fun.

George is a lawyer in his 60s. He grew up in NY where he always sawthe Krishna devotees chanting on the streets. He even saw Prabhupada, founder of the Hare Krishna in the West, in Trafalgar Square in 1972. Yet, he had other pursuits. In 1977 he converted to Mormon and married his Mormon born wife.

Three years ago he joined a group touring India and ended up in sacred Vrindavan, birthplace of Lord Krishna. The ongoing kirtan in the ISKCON, Krishna Balaram temple room immediately attracted him. Every day he joined the kirtan group to chant with them. Back in Utah he searched for the Hare Krishnas. An old friend of his, a devout catholic was secretly associating with the Krishnas. George longed to chant in kirtan again. It was ecstatic, spontaneous and different from church choir, because it was unrehearsed, he remembers.

Now he is in charge of the kirtans at the Hare Krishna Center in Salt Lake City. He is present every Saturday and on festival days. Though he still practices as a lawyer, he spends a lot of time with the local Hare Krishnas who readily feed him delicious vegetarian food. Kirtan captured his heart and the draw of the spiritual sound vibration drove him to frantically search for more. KIRTAN FOREVER

Toronto Ratha Yatra – Festival of Chariots

Festival of the chariots takes place since BC in Jagannath Puri, India. Ratha Yatra is mentioned in the timeless Vedic literatures. In 1966 a series of accidents set such festivals in motion in the West. Ever since, beautiful chariots roll down the streets of major cities of the world each year. Last week was Toronto Ratha Yatra. The kirtan tent always attracts the curiosity of passers by. Rhythm is universal language, says Prabhupada. On one such occasion a group of burqa clad women came in and chanted in kirtan. A while later, they got up and danced around in total bliss. Intrigued, I went to talk to them. They were from Iran and wouldn’t miss the happiness of dancing  in kirtan. I wondered the reason they were so spontaneous. Before the revolution in the 1980’s, there were Krishna devotees in Iran. A Govinda’s restaurant in Tehran served delicious vegetarian sanctified food. The reigning Shah of the time had received the Bhagavad Gita.

The original Festival of Chariots in Puri, India

Iran still produces tenacious Hare Krishnas. They practice the lifestyle of Vaisnavas undercover. Totally dependent on the mercy of the Holy Name, these practitioners are genuine to the core. We sometimes meet these beautiful Persian people at festivals in Europe and they inspire us with their sincere faith. In kirtan we are all forever connected, one in spirit though individually unique.
KIRTAN FOREVER

New Zealand

New Zealand is far, far away. We spent about 10 days there before returning home. The major earthquake of a few years ago in Christchurch had destroyed the temple and deities. Thus homes are turned into temples where Krishna devotees gather for spiritual practices. The few that stay there are dedicated. Last year, to commemorate the 50 years of ISKCON, Yashoda Dulal traveled for many months on a horse cart around the South island bringing to people the message of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu . He depended on the kindness of farmers who quickly opened up to him. This year, Hari Kirtan put together one kirtan event at a yoga school where an audience of new comers participated with zeal.

In Auckland, besides the Harinams, a procession of street chanting and dancing, which are the best on the planet – blissful, transcendental action, the ensuing two kirtan programs occurred in a rented hall and the Hare Krishna temple successively. In the hall, first timers joined us while in the temple the crowd of visitors quickly swelled to fill up the room. Soon most were chanting loud and sincere.

There we stay with Kalasamvara, a veteran follower of Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishnas, who spares no effort to facilitate our service. We appreciate the honest dedication of these New Zealanders who inspire us to strengthen our determination while deepening our commitment divine service.
KIRTAN FOREVER