Russian Tour of His Divine Grace
On 1st August, Srila Acharyyadev Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj flew to Russia along with eight devotees -- the largest group ever to accompany him from India. On landing they were met not only by numerous devotees from around Russia and the former Soviet Union, but also by several from America and Europe and even a devotee all the way from Australia especially for the occasion. With the tour still in its early days, we have received the following two reports of recent events.
14th International Tour -- the 3rd Day
by Sita Devi Dasi, one of the party of eight devotees
accompanying Srila Gurudev from India.
Please accept my sincere dandavat pranams. All glories to our Divine Deliverer of Mercy.
On arrival here in Russia the devotees gave Srila Guru Maharaj an incredible reception. On coming out from 'Arrivals' at the airport, Srila Gurudev was met by reporters eager to receive some words from His Divine Grace. I really do not know what to say except that the Russian devotees are so beautiful and sweet. They received Gurudev with rose garlands, and for his whole party too. They blew conch shells and chanted the Holy Names loudly with accompanying kartals and mridanga.
From the airport Srila Gurudev and the senior devotees were chauffeured to the venue while the rest of the devotees including Bhakti Lalita Didi and myself were taken in a large hired city bus. In the bus the devotees were just ecstatic. One after another they led Kirttan, each in a special style of their own, followed by everyone loudly giving 'jaya' to everyone and everything as possible. It made our hearts dance with excitement to see their joy.
We arrived at the specially hired resort which is about an hour and fifteen minutes outside Moscow in a beautiful forest full of large Russian pines and white aspen trees. The accommodation is a three storey hotel fully furnished adjacent to a beautiful lake. The weather is very pleasant and slightly on the chilly side, just enough to require the wearing of a light sweater.
Srila Gurudev the first day after refreshing from the flight, taking Prasadam and a short rest, took a walk around the grounds and ended up giving a beautiful talk outside on a bench with all the devotees gathered around him sitting on the lawns. Srila Gurudev is delivering so much mercy and from point one has started his preaching, telling us how fortunate we all are that we have come in connection with Mahaprabhu's mission and that his prayer to all of us is to practise humility, tolerance and giving honour to others and to chant Hare Krishna and be happy.
Sankirttan Like This...
In the first lecture Srila Gurudev gave he explained that when Mahaprabhu established congregational chanting they did not have mridanga, kartals, etc. "They simply would clap like this," and Gurudev started clapping to show and began singing 'Hari Haraye Namah Krishna...' right in the middle of his lecture. All the devotees followed his lead and when finished Srila Gurudev continued his lecture from that point. It was so beautiful and sweet. Jaya Gurudev again and again!!!
Srila Gurudev has been giving a lot of honour to the other accompanying devotees and preachers telling them that he is getting older now and, like the sun rising and setting, a new wave is coming. He believes that everyone will be benefited and that we should take the association of these new stalwarts and continue our grand preaching mission. He is very happy that the Russian devotees have fulfilled this desire of his to bring other devotees of ours out of India so that he can establish them for caring for the world Vaisnavas.
Srila Guru Maharaj is so incredibly beautiful and it is very nice for me to have this opportunity to see His Divine Grace with all of these beautiful spiritual seekers and practitioners here. Their moods are very sweet, simple and happy. In particular Sripad Bhakti Prapanna Tirtha Maharaj is really touched to be here and the first night gave a very special talk telling how fortunate he is, and we all are, to have Srila Gurudev as our Divine Master.
Actually no words can express what is taking place here. It is a flood of mercy and affection, more than I could have ever imagined. Prabhu Jagannath Vallabha and all his right hand devotee helpers are extremely organised and everything is flowing so smoothly. We will be here at this retreat until the 9th. Today is a gentle day for Gurudev but tomorrow we shall be attending a programme in Moscow where eight to nine hundred people are expected to attend. Also one day will be arranged for chanting in and around Red Square and near the Kremlin.
Last night Prabhu Yudhamanyu Seva Vikram and party arrived from Milan where they stayed in the house of Prabhu Munindra Mohan. They only could rave about his exquisite Italian cooking. We all look forward to the Italian leg of the tour, but with the many programmes arranged for Moscow and St. Petersburg this still seems so far away.
Always needing the blessings and well-wishes of you all. I shall try to keep in touch. Dandavat pranams to all of you.
--Sita devi dasi
"Nabadwip with a Russian Flavour"
A report sent the next day by Sripad Hasyapriya Prabhu, one of several who
have flown from California to be with His Divine Grace in Russia.
- Moscow, 5th August 1999. Last night's festival was a grand
success. Several hundred attended, with many devotees from other missions
also coming to get nourishment from Srila Maharaj. The Minister of Culture
and his wife were there and they duly honoured His Divine Grace. Large
Russian buses transported all the devotees from the hotel where we are
staying to the programme. When the buses were ready to return, many
of the guests jumped in and came back to stay with the devotees in order
to get more of the sweet nectar of Srila Maharaj's association.
We are in awe and great appreciation for all the fantastic
arrangements made by the Russian devotees headed by Jagannath Vallabha
Prabhu. They have meticulously prepared accommodation, programmes
and hospitality not only for Srila Maharaj but also for the hundreds
of guests and devotees who are all staying here. They have rented
an entire large hotel, and with the arrival of Srila Govinda Maharaj
and his entourage from India the whole atmosphere is like Nabadwip,
just with a Russian flavour.
Jagannath Vallabha Prabhu is asking the blessings of all
Vaisnavas so the programmes may continue to be successful for the
satisfaction of Srila Gurudev and all in attendance.
My dandavats to you all,
Sriyukta Ramaa Rani Bhattacharyya
Passed from this World
after sunrise on Saturday 10 July 1999, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar
Dev-Goswami Maharaj's sister, Sriyukta Ramaa Rani Bhattacharyya, passed
away from this world after being hospitalised for a short time. Affectionately
known as 'Ramaa Pishima' she had maintained steady, though somewhat
poor, health for several years before suddenly being admitted to the
local nursing home in Nabadwip. After a day she became unconscious but
appeared very peaceful and graceful lying in her bed. The doctors did
all they could, but after a further two days Ramaa Pishima slipped away
peacefully from this world.
Accompanied by Sankirttan, her body was brought to the Math with much honour. Traditional prayers were chanted and rituals performed here in the Temple before she was taken the kilometre or so to the local burning ghat. Her ashes were placed into the care of Mother Ganges in the presence of a sizeable contingent of devotees and family.
Ramaa Pishima is very fondly remembered by countless devotees who have had her gentle association here, and particularly by those fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to serve her. Anyone seeing Ramaa Pishima was automatically reminded of Srila Sridhar Maharaj, especially due to some strikingly similar features, in particular her face, delicate hands and auspicious feet.
Srila Govinda Maharaj cut short his stay in Jagannath Puri in order to preside over the festival in her honour which, according to local custom, takes place ten days after passing away. This festival was attended by many of her family as well as an influx of our Math's devotees from their homes and our other Temples.
May Ramaa Pishima give her blessings to help us faithfully tread the path so clearly prepared for us by Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj and made available to the world today by Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. Her remembrance will certainly live long.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Disappearance Festival
- With the 11th Anniversary of the Disappearance of Srila Bhakti
Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj rapidly approaching, now is an opportunity
for those who wish to participate financially with this programme here.
If you would like to send donations, kindly refer to our
posting on the Web.
Govarddhan and Vrindavan
Preaching and Prasadam Distribution
Following the expressed desire of Srila Gurudev, a group of devotees headed by Mathuranath Prabhu and Nitya Hari Prabhu are making extensive preparations to manage and raise funds for a large preaching programme in Govarddhan and Vrindavan accompanied by mass free distribution of Prasadam. Srila Gurudev requested that this take place in the month of Karttik and has set the dates for 9th to 16th November. It is hoped that this programme will give valuable assistance to the development of our Temple and Ashram facilities in these places.
Pamphlets, Mini-Posters, Mini-Magazines
and more Now On The Web
We have received a steady flow of requests from around the world for pamphlets, publicity material and other useful items. Therefore we have recently posted on our website a new section,
Useful Downloads, which we
hope will fulfil some of these needs. A family of our diacritic fonts
is also there, so if you are running a Macintosh computer you now have
access to the same fonts we use in Nabadwip for typing slokas and other
text with diacritics.
In order that anyone around the world can print out the Nabadwip News Bulletins as a magazine and distribute it, we have already made the last two English editions in 'pdf' format. This means that if you have a programme that reads 'pdf' files, such as the readily and freely available 'Acrobat Reader', you are immediately able to print the Bulletins as a folding magazine, complete with pictures and already typeset and laid out. This current edition of the Bulletin will be available in mini-magazine 'pdf' format on the Web by the evening of 10th August.
If you would like us to make available other particular documents or files at this site, please do write and let us know.
Internet Radio giving regular nourishment
One of the big successes of presenting Srila Gurudev's spoken words to the world continues to be the regular "Internet Radio Programmes" available at: http://www.krsna.cc. As far as possible this is updated weekly and is spoken specifically for the Internet by Srila Gurudev from wherever he is at that time. Devotees from all over have expressed their great appreciation for this opportunity to hear His Divine Grace and read the transcript. The initiative and accomplishment of this service is to the credit of Sri Madhusudan Prabhu of Hawaii.
Main Centres Updates
With the development of service programmes around the world the details of our 'Affiliated Main Centres and Branches Worldwide' is constantly changing, often by simply a phone number or new email address. An up to date list is maintained on our website. Two of the particular changes to note are the newly constructed Temple in Lenasia, South Africa, and the change of address and details of our centre in Caracas, Venezuela.
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Ashram,
4 and 5 Mount Reiner Crescent,
Lenasia South, Extension 4,
Republic of South Africa
Tel: (011) 855-5763 Fax: (011) 852-5725
Sri Rupanuga Sridhar Ashram,
Socarras a Puente Yanez,
Edif. Caribia, Local 7,
Tel: 58-2-572-8098 and 58-2-576-49-06.
Train Accident -- none of our devotees injured
The world media has widely publicised the recent horrific train accident here in Bengal in which two express trains collided head on. There has been an immediate wave of concern from the devotees and devotees' families particularly enquiring whether any from our Temple were in either train. We appreciate everyone's concern and are relieved to inform you that none of our devotees were in the accident.
When such incidents occur so close to home, we are always reminded of the words of the Scriptures that indeed there is danger within this world at every step.
Meditation of the Month: "Glorious Attempt"
"Making a gift of ten million cows on a solar eclipse, residing for a millennium at holy places like Prayag, etc., where the sacred Ganges flows, performing ten thousand sacrifices and giving away a mountain of gold -- none of these can ever equal a hundredth fraction of the slightest attempt to sing the unending Glories of the Supreme Lord Govinda's Name."
(extract from 'The Holy Name and Offences to be Avoided.')
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math's
Nabadwip News Bulletin.
Compiled on a damp, blustery day in Sri Nabadwip Dham
Produced by Mahananda das Bhakti Ranjan for:
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Sri Chaitanya
Saraswat Math Road, Kolerganj,
P.O. Nabadwip, District Nadia, West Bengal,
PIN 741302, India.