All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

Nagar Sankirttan in Russia

Daily Sankirttan by the Devotees in Smolensk

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April to June 2005
Pictures and report by Prithu Das
Web-page by Malini Devi Das

By the mercy of Srila Gurudev and the Vaisnavas we carry out Harinam Nagar-Sankirttan every day at Smolensk, Russia. We had 46 daily Sankirttans already.

The initiators were some Indian devotees. They often asked Vasudev Prabhu, ‘When will Harinam Sakirttan be?’ And once he answered, ‘Each day, from tomorrow.’ At that time it seemed like a joke - nobody felt ready to find time for daily meetings and chanting. However the idea seemed interesting, and we decided to try.

First of all we wanted to preach among the Indian students, therefore we chose a proper place for our Sankirttans – the stadium at the territory of Medical Academy, where they study. We knew that each evening Indian students come here for a match of cricket, so we hoped on success.

However our first meeting concerned the administration of the Academy. When we began to chant on the next day, some security guards came and told that we should go away. So we undertook the counter-measure – we wrote a petition addressed to the pro-rector of the Academy on behalf of the students. In this letter they asked ‘To permit to meet every day in the evening behind the hostel for singing the Indian songs with the purpose of strengthening of the Russian-Indian friendship and ethnocultural connections, and also for preparation to the international festival "Days of the Indian culture".’ During a few hours 200 Indian students – everyone who could be found at this time – put the signature under this document.

When we came to chant on the third day, there came the same security guards with the dean. He said since on this occasion nothing has yet been decided, we may not be there. The dean also called to his cabinet the Indian devotees who chanted together with us.

The first Harinam Sankirttan at the stadium at the territory of Medical Academy. From left to right: Nishit, Ram Sundar Prabhu, Gandharvika Didi, Sahadev Prabhu, Suchandra Prabhu, Shyama Mohini Didi, Vasudev Prabhu and Arati Didi.

The next day Vasudev Prabhu put on his colonel uniform and went to see his friend from the city’s administration for support. Then he came to the Medical Academy to settle the situation. At this time the Indian students in the dean's office wrote an explanatory note. ‘Please, permit us to chant the Holy Name’, they added in the end.

‘Why is it that 200 students have signed your petition, but only you five have come?’ – the dean asked. The students, undeterred, replied, ‘Those who are the most interested came, but if you want, tomorrow all these 200 students will be here near the door of your office.’

The conversation with Vasudev Prabhu really relieved the situation. The dean permitted to the Indian students to participate in Harinam Sankirttan, but, in view of certain reasons, with a condition that it will be outside of the Academy’s territory. So we were compelled to search for another place.

"Param Vijayate Sri Krishna Sankirttanam"

So, we had to search for a new place for chanting Harinam: quiet, cosy but crowded... and we found it – the embankment of the River Dnieper, in the center of the city. And since that time devotees chant the Holy Names here daily, except on Sundays, despite work, employment or whims of any nature. On Sundays we attend Shyam Gopal Prabhu’s farm and chant there.

After relieving the situation with the dean. From left: Krunal, Vasudev Prabhu, Nishit and Ram Sundar Prabhu.

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