glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga
Report from Russia
by Sripad Bhakti Premik Siddhanti Maharaj
Bhakti Bimal Avadhut Maharaj and the Russian devotees recently organized
a grand outdoor preaching festival near Moscow as only they can do. It
was called Ethnolife which means bringing together various environmental,
cultural, music, and spiritual groups under one banner and inviting as
many people as possible to participate.
Many of the Russian people have a natural propensity for spiritual life,
as we have all seen and as Srila Gurudev Srila Govinda Maharaj remarks,
plus they also like to get out of the cities during the summer and enjoy
the many forests, lakes and rivers which abound in this vast country.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, Sripad Avadhut Maharaj organizes
Etho-life which is advertized as a rock and spiritual festival free from
drugs and alcohol. This year it took place outside of Moscow near a village
and the forest.
Over 25,000 people attended. The grand opening was on Friday afternoon
in which Sripad Avadhut Maharaj gave the opening speech and then led the
singing of the Russian national anthem.
people participated. As part of the opening ceremony Avadhut Maharaj also
arranged that cows from a nearby village be brought and led on a parade
throughout the grounds. (All Russian villages have cows and fresh milk,
butter, etc. which is readily available and sold at roadside stands throughout
the country.) The cows were nicely decorated and a big Sankirttan began
and wandered through the grounds. Also Sri Giriraj came from the Moscow
Temple and later took His place on the top of 'Govardhan Hill'.
Every day the devotees and helpers served prasadam from a Jagannath Express
Restaurant, which was set up in tact, to thousands of participants. Sripad
Bhakti Chaitanya Bharati Maharaj came every day from his nearby home and
preached and engaged with guests for between six and eight hours. Sripad
Bhakti Lalita Akinchan Maharaj also manned the preaching booths for many
hours daily, as I did.
Kirtans were spontaneous during the days throughout the four days of the
festival but every night beginning at 11 or 11:30 the devotees had a tremendous
Kirtan that lasted several hours and would end on the stage at 2 or 3
in the morning with Sripad Avadhut Maharaj hosting. Being a festival,
most people stay up all night.
Please see the related photos that
give a little insight as to the enormity and grand style of this festival.
I have heard from the devotees that we sold a huge amount of literature
and we also welcomed five new members into Srila Gurudev's family: Acharya
Das, Nalini Devi Dasi, Iswara Das, Aravinda Das and Maladhari Devi Dasi.
Also please see Sripad Akinchan
Maharaj's web log for a nice write-up of the festival.
Now Sripad Avadhut Maharaj and the devotees are organizing an Indian Independence
Day Festival for both Moscow (Aug. 14th) and St. Petersburg (17th). More
Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
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