Report and layout by Vaidehi Devi Dasi of USA

I was taking a picture of the resplendent Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvva
Govinda Sundarjiu at about 4:45 p.m. while the Bengali afternoon class going
on in the background. Bhudev Prabhu, the pujari, had just turned on the
bright 'Christmas lights' so that the picture would look yet more sunny and
glittery. The birds were chirping in the trees and a small breeze rustled the
coconut trees just past the nat-mandir. The Tata Sumo began to honk noisily
as I jumped down the temple steps in a hurry so they wouldn't disturb the
class with more honking of the horn. It was time to go on another village
preaching program.
This time we were going to Dhogachia, a small village between Nabadwip
and Hapaniya (Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Birthplace) about 40 kilometers from our
Math. The occasion was Ramachandra's Appearence, and we were invited to
Prahlad Prabhu's house. He is a disciple of Srila Sridhar Maharaj).

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Take Off
I jumped in the back of the Sumo to find Nimai Prabhu of Detroit,
Satyabhama Devi Dasi of California, and Praphulla Krishna Prabhu from Brazil '
all of us young Westerners. In the next seat forward there was Jagadananda
Prabhu of USA, Sripad Narayan Maharaj of Mauritius, and Sripad Sagar
Maharaj, one of the new Bengali sannyasis. In the front seat there was
Subhash Prabhu, the best Indian driver and a very patient Vaishnava, and
Sripad Acharyya Maharaja, the leader of our program. We turned left out of the
main gate and began our trip.
As we drove along I watched the Nabadwip traffic scene. Motorcycles
honking here and there, frequent rickshaws, scurrying dogs, and little shops
with their owners standing outside talking with friends. The whole journey
there was about forty minutes, and as we neared our destination the scenery
became more rural and lush, and tranquil too if you ignored the honking bus
driving head on in your lane. Indian ladies carried huge water jugs on their
heads, and the simple people on bikes scurried out of the car's way. All this
contributed to the overall rural picture-perfect Indian scene.

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Subhash Prabhu, the
driver, at the gas

Arrival in Dhogachia
We arrived at the village of Dhogachia where a small
crowd waiting to greet us. We then began a twenty-five
minute Harinama sankirttan procession to the house. We
were given garlands and the sannyasis were offered
sincere dandavat pranams. I was surprised to see their
lively, loud enthusiasm.
Here we walked on well paved roads unlike the rocky
potholed lanes of some of the other villages we have
visited. Many of us wentbarefoot like the rest of the
Bengalis. I stopped to look around me and saw rice-
fields, long stretches of flat greenery, and small huts and
coconut trees here and there. The sun was beginning
lower in the white sky and the light was golden. As we
walked we chanted the Holy Name passing different
shops, markets, and houses along the way. Everybody
yelled, "Hare Krishna! Gaura Nitai!" The drums beat loudly
and the karatals went "chan chan chang, chan chan
chang..." The Bengalis watching pointed out the
Westerners from our group to each other, and a crow
little boys all screamed and charged at me as I whip
out the camera. I took some pictures of the parikrama
and enjoyed watching one particular boy chase after his
shoe every five minutes. He kept jumping so high and
spinning to the chanting that his shoe would fly off,
almost hit the group of girls that kept a steady pace next
to me, and made them all start giggling.
We stopped at a temple that looked very ancient, but
beautifully built. There were Radha, Krishna, and
Mahaprabhu deities there, and in the barred hut next to
it there was Sri Govinda and a four-armed deity which I
did not recognize . The visit was brief and we continued
along the path towards the house. I had not known what
to expect: a temple, a house, a field? But soon I found

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Entering the House
We walked through some ferns and trees into a tented front
yard. Directly in front of us there was a medium sized mud
house. These mud houses are amazing. Dirt and water are
mixed together, and somehow tightly packed to create
smooth floors, walls, and stairs. Poles to hold up the hay and
tiles above are incorporated into the mud so well that you
can not even see them unless you look straight up. To
left there was a Tulasi plant, and right on the edge there was
a mud walled pit stove cooking area. Large holes are dug,
and a rim to hold the cooking pot is made. To start the fire,
they put in some cow dung and sometimes some kindling
which makes it a very hot and, at first, a smoky, cooking
experience. Inside the mud house there was a small altar
with many Krishna pictures and piles of beautiful flowers,
garlands, and burning incense. To the right there was a large
bed where the sannyasis would be taking prasad later on.

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The Program Commences
The program started with arotik, then Tulasi
parikrama followed by bhajans and finally a
class. We brought the mridanga and karatals
with us. There were about forty people at the
beginning, and more kept arriving as the
evening got darker. Sripad Acharyya Maharaj
led kirttan using a microphone and he danced
sweetly clapping his hands to the beat. The
rest of the devotees chanted loudly and
happily as the kirttan began to speed up. The
sun had gone down and the crickets were
chirping. Not a single man-made machine
sound was to be heard, and the trees seemed
to fill the air with whispery voices. We
chanted the invocation, then bhajans began,
followed by a full four and a half hours of

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Preaching on the Spot
Jagadananda Prabhu spoke then Sripad Narayan Maharaj, then
Sripad Acharyya Maharaj and Sripad Sagar Maharaj. They are
extremely enthusiastic speakers. They talk quietly and then suddenly
begin to speak at the top of their voices for twenty minutes straight!
You know, Bengali style! You would think they are chastising the
crowd but really when you look at all the faces, they are serene and
seem to be in a happy trance watching the Swamis speak. There were
heaps of people sitting at the foot of the stage, on the steps, leaning
on trees and sitting further away on their bikes. I thought this night
would never end.
The class had been especially nice for me tonight. Not only were
the things that the devotees said kind and enlivening, but I got to say
something as well. I felt pretty honored already since Satyabhama,
Divya Shakti and I had been the first ladies to go on a Bengali village
preaching program. It feels good, that we women are allowed to do
more seva nowadays. Mahaprabhu's mercy simply increases day by
Srila Gurudev who is presently in Nabadwip Dham, of course knew
that we were participating, and he seemed to be happy. He has been
to each of the places that we have visited, and told us a story about
this particular house. He said that one time he had spent the night
inside the house, and in the night he had woken up because he heard
some noises. When he recognized the growl, he realized that a tiger
was circling the house scratching, and growling loudly for quite some
time. I wish I had my camera when he began to imitate the tiger. His
hands turned into paws and his eyes became wide as his face imitated
the tiger growling and scratching ferociously. He smiled very broadly
afterwards, and everyone in the room laughed.
This was the third preaching program that I had been on so far,
and I felt more confident to not only be present but to speak as well.
When Gurudev gave permission for me to speak something I was very
happy that he thought I would even be qualified. That night I spoke
for the first time and told villagers how lucky they were, not only to be
in the association of all of the Vaishnavas in Nabadwip, but to be born
in the land that Mahaprabhu danced on with His lotus feet on. I told
them, they seem to be covered in mercy instead of being surrounded

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A Delicious Feast ' 'khubbhalo!'
Prasadam finally began at about 9:45 p.m. Our hosts had really gone all
out to make this nice for us. There were plastic chairs, and drapes hung
everywhere. They were at our service for anything we may need, and all
were clearly very kind people. Throughout some of the class I had been
watching Nimai Prabhu, a 'Dhambasi' (resident of the Dham), who does
seva at our Math, make all of the preparations with the help of some
elderly devotees. I couldn't believe how much delicious Prasadam they
had made. We had three different kinds of subji, two of which had
paneer, dahl, special soft rice, pushpanna rice, fruit, milk, three different
sweets, yogurt, chapatis, poppers, pakoras.' It was very satisfying and
you could feel how much love and care they had cooked it with. There
was plenty for everybody, and we were all fully satisfied.

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Time to Head Back
After honoring this Prasad we said our good-byes. I took several pictures,
the best one which was of the host Prahlad Prabhu, his wife and mother
I then chatted with them a little. They invited us to come back again. The
Sumo honked the horn, we all jumped in, me being the last one as usual
and the devotees all crowded around the car as we began to pull away.
'Gaura Haribol!' They all yelled.
It was very dark on the way home since there are no street lamps or
anything, but the moon was literally shining bright silver light so you
could see almost everything. The car ride was very comfortable and
smooth. We arrived at the temple just before midnight, a little tired, but
I was filled with energy. I was very happy and really liked the preaching
programs. Although I do wish I could speak Bengali, I was grateful that
Acharyya Maharaj was able to translate all of our English to the village
This way we could somehow communicate with them and share some of
our gratitude without any misunderstandings, mispronunciation of words,
etc. This may be my last village program for now, since I will be going
home to America within a few days. I have been in India for four months
this time, and this whole experience has been very special, valuable and
memorable for me. Hare Krishna — Vaidehi Devi Dasi.

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Nimai (top), Jagadananda, and
some of the villagers that made us
feel at home with their hospitality

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip: