All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

Smolensk, Russia

Grand Sankirttan

Recent public preaching event

July 2005
Photos: Prithu Prabhu

'Gubernskiy' culture and recreational centre

Report by Sahadev Prabhu, translated by Ashotosh Krishna Prabhu.

Please accept my dandavat pranam.

On July 1st, a night show programme was held in Smolensk's 'Gubernskiy' culture and recreational centre with followers of Eastern spiritual traditions participating. Devotees of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math and Iskcon were invited to organise chanting of the Holy Names. A great importance of such service is in congregational seva of bhaktas from different missions in service to Sri Guru and Sri Krishna.

Devotees started preparations in advance: everybody changed to Vaisnava dress, and Gandharvika dd, Bindumati dd and Rai Kishori dd cooked prasadam. Also some tests came: at first the security didn't wanted to let all participants come in, deciding that there were 'too many' of them. But some time later thanks to Vasudev Prabhu's endeavours, everybody could come in. Before the performance proper, devotees held a two hour kirttan as a rehearsal. Gramani Prabhu and Devamrita Prabhu played mridangas, others accompanied on karatals.

In the same hall where kirttan was going on, 'karatekas' were training and participants of hairstyle and body-art shows were preparing themselves. Despite initial apprehension, all of them were enlivened with kirttan, took prasadam and were supporting participants. Vasudev Prabhu and other devotees preached and spoke about Krishna consciousness in answer to questions.

Not only 'veterans' of the Gaudiya Vaisnava movement in Smolensk (Gramani Prabhu and Devamrita Prabhu of Iskcon; Vasudev Prabhu, Rai Kishori dd and Gandharvika dd of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math) took part in this action, but also recently joined aspiring devotees: Anton and Pavel, both 16 years old youths.

The performance proper took place in a 'chill-out' place, where people usually recover from the discotheques. But on this night they were far from their usual mood. Karatals and mridangas were playing, and a conch shell thunderously vibrated. Soon devotees were surrounded with visitors of 'Gubernskiy.' Being in the light of green lasers, bhaktas ecstatically chanted the Names of Hari. Both devotees and guests took pictures of Harinama. Prasadam sweet-balls were served also at that time.

Being not quite satisfied with static Harinama, Vasudev Prabhu led the Sankirttan team along the corridors of the Centre. A resounding echo supported the sound of the karatals, and waves of divine vibration emanated from the procession. Having sanctified 'Gubernskiy' with vibrations of the Holy Names, devotees finished kirttan at the same location where they started: in the rehearsal hall.
This action, as any service to Srila Gurudev, inspired and united devotees. Visitors and organisers were inspired with kirttan and are now working on further events together.

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