Please accept my most humble obeisance.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
All glories to Guru Maharaj!
We have just finished the 4th annual festival in Angarsk. This happened again near one place in Eastern Siberia, named Irkutsk. Devotees from Irkustk, Ust-Ilimsk and Angarsk tried their best to arrange everything in the perfect way to satisfy devotees (even more than year ago!). The festival was organized very nice and everyone was pleased, because the main idea of that festival was serving to devotees, and congregational chanting the Holy Names, traditionally.
Guru Maharaj arrived at the place on August, 21st in the morning after visiting Irkutsk. This time we expected to have about 600 devotees to come. As a tradition we were hoping to see here Guru Maharaj, H.H. Prabhavisnu Maharaj, H.H.Bhakti Bringa Govinda Maharaj, H.H. Indradjumna Maharaj and H.G. Caitanya Candra Caran Prabhu.
Unfortunately H.G. Caitanya Candra Caran Prabhu was meant to be in Ukraine busy with his tour. And two other powerful preachers were invited: Abhai prabhu and Carudesna prabhu. Abhai prabhu is senior brahmacari from Bhaktivedanta manor, London, and Carudesna prabhu is senior devotee from Western Siberia. He is chairman of Russian ISKCON now and is quite well-known to devotees in our country with his very deep understanding of sastras and a very nice and logical ways to present them to the audience.
Guru Maharaj prepared a special seminar about chanting Holy Names and started to read it from the very first day. It was very urgent for many devotees and for me, too. We were very fortunate to listen about such an important topic from such elevated Srila Prabhupada’s disciple. In every lecture Guru Maharaj gave us one part from special prayer for chanting japa. We should remember it before taking our beads to pay our obeisance to it. And he gave us one important advice for making our chanting more attentive: we should think “I will chant this mantra with maximum attention” before taking every next bead. It is so hard to be attentive during chanting the whole round, but it is easy to chant attentively one separate mantra. And then, after Guru Maharaja’s lection, we were trying to practice all this things in chanting with him.
The next day H.H. Prabhavisnu Maharaj arrived, but he was very tired because of long hard way. Russian territory is really great, and it is not so easy to travel across it. That was the “seminar day”, because there were 3 different seminars by Guru Maharaj, Abhai prabhu and Carudesna prabhu and Prabhavisnu Maharaja’s Bhagavad-Gita class, one after another. Abhai prabhu prepared very interesting seminar about moral principles in Krsna consciousness. In evening there was a great kirtan leaded by Guru Maharaj and Prabhavisnu Swami Maharaj, and everyone was waiting for tomorrow’s H.H. Indradjumna Maharaja’s, H.H. Bhakti Bringa Govinda Maharaja’s and his musical band’s arriving.
And it happened. They arrived in the third day’s morning. Bhakti Bringa Govinda Swami Maharaj was extremely tired, traveling by planes for three days running, without any sleep, and he gone to rest immediately. Prabhavisnu Maharaj joked, that woke him up now was like to wake up a bear in winter. It was the quietest day on the floor, where he stayed.
So that day was children’s Ratha-Yatra. It took place on large square with the nice summer stage in front of the main building of the camp. After a short lecture, Guru Maharaj leaded kirtan and then, with Lord Jagannath, Lord Baladev, Lady Subhadra, smiling children and other devotees, gone around the square several times. Then he distributed some sweets to devotees.
The next day, August, 24th, was Janmastami. Everything, even atmosphere in the camp, showed that something amazing should happen. And it was. Some time after initiation ceremony finished, kirtan had began. It was lasting all evening and all night, up to 1:00 a.m. of the next day leaded by all Maharajas and with all devotees’ participation. Guru Maharaj danced with devotees in ecstasy, inspiring us with his example, and H.H. Bhakti Bringa Govinda Maharaj was intoxicated by sounds of roaring kirtan and cried on us: “Louder, louder!” H.H. Indradjumna Maharaj invited devotees to dance with him in the middle of the circle by playful kicks. Kirtan was finished by beautiful firework. Than there was a feast and Maharajas took prasadam not in their rooms, as usual, but in prasadam hall with other devotees. It was a very pleasant surprise for us, but not for cooks, who had to set the table in short time. Some “maha-prasadam-hunters” was ready and waiting the end of the feast, hoping to get some maha-prasadam from Guru. But cooks and Maharajas’ servants repulsed their attack with courage. Anyway, everybody was satisfied and very pleased. Candra Sikhar Acarya prabhu, a preacher from Los Angeles, who was being in 47 countries, said that it was the best Janmastami in his life. That day ended at about 2 or 3 a.m.
But at 7:00 Guru Maharaj was already in the temple room chanting japa with devotees, who were able to do it. It was Srila Prabhupada’s appearance day. H.H. Indradjumna Maharaja’s morning class was about Srila prabhupada, and it continued by Prabhupada-katha with all Maharajas’ participation. Than they read their offerings to our acarya and started puspanjali and kirtan. In evening there was a concert with theatrical performance. But it began later then should because of evening kirtan by H.H. Bhakti Bringa Govinda Maharaj and his band.
Next day, August, 26th, was the last day of the festival. In morning there was Guru Maharaja’s seminar and than last kirtan. But this kirtan was so amazing, that everybody forgot about the time, and finished much more later than should. One devotee said: “Bhakti Bringa Govinda Maharaja’s and Indradjumna Maharaja’s kirtans are really incompatible with any formal schedule!”H.H. Bhakti Bringa Govinda Maharaj said that we should go to take prasadam, but he didn’t know what it would be – breakfast or lunch. Guru Maharaj replied: “luncha kalpatarupyas ca”. Than after that breakfast-lunch devotees started to pack their bags to leave the camp. Guru Maharaj stayed there for one more night.
So this is very wonderful that our spiritual masters give us this opportunity to relish at least a little and at least sometimes and at least a part of the spiritual atmosphere. For that we should owe the greatest debt of gratitude to them.
Guru Maharaj ki-jaya!!
Guru ISKCON ki-jaya!!
Srila Prabhupada ki-jaya!!
Caitanya Prema das.