The Czech Republic
|Srila Govinda Maharaj's First Visit to the Czech Republic|
[Condensed from the report by
Tulsi devi dasi]
His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj, the President-Acharya of the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, and his entourage arrived to an enthusiastic welcome at the Prague Airport in the Czech Republic on August 13th, 1996. This was His Divine Grace's first visit to the Czech Republic. From the airport, he was then taken by car to the Yoga Center in the village of Strilky, about 30 miles from the city of Bruno, which is about 125 miles south east of Prague.
Devotees travelled to Strilky from all over Europe -- Russia, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Sweden, England, Holland, Germany, Turkey -- to welcome His Divine Grace to the Yoga Center, Mahaprabhudip Ashram, an ancient, sixty-four room, fifteenth century castle generously made available to us by our hosts [who practice Karma Yoga], at Zamecka Road 202.
Everybody at the Ashram was busy for days prior to Srila Govinda Maharaj's arrival, preparing to welcome His Divine Grace and the devotees who accompanied him. The castle can accommodate up to six hundred guests comfortably, and the huge kitchen was equipped with all the necessities to prepare first class Prasadam. [Thanks to Yotir didi and David for their kind and patient help with all the big machines and utensils there.
An altar with the picture of the main Math Deities, Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharva Govindasundaram Giridharijiu, and a beautiful Vyasasan for Srila Govinda Maharaj were installed in the huge Meditation Hall. Anupama devi dasi, Sacidevi dasi, Sita devi dasi, and Rasamoi Pandita devi dasi, with the help of others, arranged all the beautiful decorations and flower garlands.
|European Family Increases|
Many visitors came from the nearby city of Bruno, and, of course,
Prague. Sunayana didi tirelessly helped with all the translations for them.
On Janmastami day, Sri Nandotsava and Srila Swami Maharaj's Appearance day,
about twenty-three Hari-Nama initiations took place, so we have many more
members of our family in Europe now.
Every day we had a morning and evening arati, kirtans, and lectures. All the devotees had the opportunity to have the darshan of Srila Govinda Maharaj in the mornings and in the evenings. Srila Govinda Maharaj's health was quite stable and he was in a relaxed mood.
On Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj's Appearance day, Srila Govinda Maharaj remarked that it was so inspiring to now see all the nice fruit coming from the trees of Krishna consciousness where Srila Swami Maharaj had planted the seeds. His Divine Grace also gave us some encouragement, saying that we should not be too concerned because we are fallen, but we should rather try to proceed with full faith in our Krishna consciousness. We are sitting in a boat which is going directly to Goloka Vrindavan! This is only possible through the grace of a pure devotee.
Three new Italian books were offered to the lotus hands of Srila Govinda Maharaj by the Italian devotees, and Srila Maharaj happily received the beautifully made books. Some books have also been translated into the Bulgarian language by Doyarupa devi dasi, and now only await a sponsor to print them so that the preaching work can continue nicely.
|Hope for the Future|
Time flies when you're having fun, and all too soon the time arrived
for Srila Govinda Maharaj to depart. All the devotees were sad, and some even
cried when Srila Govinda Maharaj left. When Srila Govinda Maharaj came to
Strilky, the whole of Sri Nabadwip Dham came with all its glory to this now
most holy place. So all the devotees are looking forward to Srila Govinda
Maharaj's return, when through his grace and the mercy of all the devotees
who helped in preparing for this event -- financially or with their seva --
we will meet again. There is much hope that something may develop in future
We have already been invited to return to the Yoga Center, whose residents were quite happy to get the darshan of Srila Govinda Maharaj, ask questions, and relish this extremely wonderful time together with our devotees of the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math.
Fortunate indeed are we to partake in this miraculous event. All glories to Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj! All glories to Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj! All glories to the worldwide ever-expanding Mission of the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math! May we always be allowed to serve Srila Govinda Maharaj!
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