Writings

Baltic Summer Festival 2009

A report from Malati Manjari devi dasi and Vaisnavi devi dasi about my visit
to the Baltic Summer Festival, and tour of the Baltic States from July 14 to
August 10.

Baltic Summer Festival 2009

In Baltic countries there is only one such a big festival, where
devotees come from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and even from Finland
and Belarus. This year we had guests from England: kirtana leader Deva
Deva and few disciples of Gurudeva.

Festival started with kirtan of BB Govinda Swami, which was very
wonderful because his disciple Surya Nandini improvised with saxophone
and sung. So at the very first day kirtana lasted till midnight.
Tuesday morning Srimad Bhagavatam class was given by our Gurudeva. He
started reading series of verses from Canto 3, chapter 29 titled
Explanation of devotional service by Lord Kapila. Gurudeva explained
about devotional service performed in different gunas of material
nature and then he spoke about transcendental devotional service,
which is characterised by spontaneous attraction to the Lords name,
qualities and pastimes.

Also among invited guests were HG Caitanya Candra Caran prabhu with
his wife. He gave classes about progress in spiritual life and
progress in gunas of material nature. He also explained about his
impressions from the first Harinama in Kaunas, Lithuania, which took
place in Soviet era and where he had honor to take part. Everyone in
the hall fell about with laughter. Caitanya Candra prabhu also amazed
and inspired others with his attachment to Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.

Another guest was HH Bhakti Vijnana Goswami. He was giving a seminar
from “Manah siksa” of Raghunatha Das Goswami about how we should
attach to Krishna and fight with our anarthas in the heart. Especially
inspiring were his advises that if we want to attach to Krishna, we
have to listen to talks about love and attachment of highly advanced
devotees to Krishna. Those talks will inspire to follow in their
footsteps. Also he spoke a lot about anarthas in our hearts,
especially about pride and desire for respect, when devotee aspires
that his efforts would be recognised.

Also to the festival came our annual guest, loved by children and not
only Dhirasanta prabhu. He gave classes and put a drama with children
about Syamantaka jewel. Every day he would go with the children to
chant japa. Dhirasanta prabhu praised very much devotee children in
Lithuania, because they very enthusiastically listen to lectures and
chant japa. He has internet Bhagavad-gita slokas learning program,
where Lalita, Sacimata and also Lalita’s brother Haridasa take very
active part and memorise verses.

Mataji Devaki gave classes for ladies about spiritual progress in family
life.

And of course there was loved by everybody Bhakti Caitanya Swami.
Maharaja every night gave a seminar about demons in Vrindavana. This
was most funny and most dramatic classes in whole festival. Everyday
he would speak about different demons, who represent anarthas in our
hearts. First story was about killing of Dhenukasura, who is
representing ignorance. Next story was about killing of Bakasura, who
is representing hypocrisy. And last story was about Kamsa trying to
enter Vrindavana and his encounter with Paurnamasi.  Every story was
enacted spontaneously by devotees. Best performance gave a disciple of
our Gurudeva Yogeswara prabhu, who enacted all the demons. All
audience laughed very much and desired to be included in the play.
Every day we, disciples of Maharaja, would go with him close to the
forest to chant japa. It was wonderful to chant amidst our spiritual
brothers and sisters.

Last day of the festival there was general meeting of disciples with
Spiritual Master, where he talked about, what he wants from his
disciples. He expects that all his disciples at least one day in a
week will spend in the temple, engaged in intensive devotional service
to Guru, Krishna and vaishnavas. Speaking about relationship between
spiritual master and his disciple he told a story, how one
Prabhupada’s disciple in a letter asked Srila Prabhupada, if spiritual
master is really in the heart of every disciple? Prabhupada answered,
yes, if you allow him to come in. Our Gurudeva told this story to
explain that every one of us should meditate upon a spiritual master
and how to execute his orders. After darshan disciples asked questions
and spiritual master tried to answer them very carefully, thus showing
great care about each of his disciples.

Every night spiritual master was leading wild kirtans. This year
because of his bad health did not come beloved by all devotees HH
Niranjana Swami. He was missed very much in kirtans and his disciples
are worried very much about his health. One night kirtan was dedicated
to him, So that he could recover faster.

On Sunday our Gurudeva accepted at his lotus feet three new disciples
and after big feast festival ended. As always after much of spiritual
impressions most devotees find it difficult to leave such a company of
devotees and return back to their jobs and daily routines.

After festival Gurudeva immediately went to Tallinn. Trip lasted about
7 hours and when we arrived at Tallinn, Spiritual Master looked tired.
Still next morning he gave Shrimad Bhagavatam class. He spoke about
levels of consciousness and that deep sleep is higher level of
consciousness than dreams, which are often so crazy and meaningless.
Unfortunately sometimes even devotees are inclined to overestimate
them and to find there deep meanings.

Spiritual Master was very merciful to us and allowed us during the
tour to worship his Deity of Giri Govardhan. Every morning we would
bath him, offer him fruits and arati. During this short time we fell
in love with Gorvardhan and joyfully would get up early to offer our
worship to Him. One day, while in Riga, Spiritual Master felt sick and
he stayed in his room while we worshiped Giriraja, therefore in his
presence we felt timid, hands shivered, and it looked to us that we do
everything wrong.  Of course everything was just fine!

In Estonia Maharaja daily gave morning and evening classes, took part
in harinamas. One day we went to the sea to chant japa and there was
very strong wind, and it seems that Guru caught cold then. Every day
we had opportunity to make lunch for Gurudeva. It seems that Spiritual
Master liked it and we were happy that we can serve him and that he
likes it 🙂 Also every day we washed and ironed his clothes. It was
very nice to be engaged all the day in service to him. To see his
Gurudeva Avadhuda, beloved disciple of Maharaja, also came to Tallinn
and thus he brought some transcendental mood to the temple
life.Wednesday was appearance day of Lord Balarama, big holiday, which
we met in Tallinn. There was a big harinama, after that was a class,
in which Gurudeva told stories, where Balarama performed special role,
how he saved Rukmi, brother of Rukmini on the day of her marriage to
Krishna; how he argued with Krishna. Gurudeva told that in Rama lila
He didn’t like to be junior brother of Rama, because he always was in
submissive position, therefore in Krishna lila he came as a senior
brother, sometimes instructing Krishna, and sometimes chastising Him.

Thursday we came to Riga. Devotees here are very wonderful and they
welcomed us very warmly. Spiritual Master has here quite a few
disciples. Thanks to Krishna, here we also had opportunity to prepare
for spiritual master. Sadly after catching cold in Estonia, in Latvia
he fell sick. He lost his voice and has throat ache. Despite that he
sacrificed his health and went to preach to public program and nama
hatta.

Sunday the 9th of August was really wonderful guru Vyasa Puja, where Latvian
and few Lithuanian devotees participated in. Also I decided to invite one
very respectful quest and make a surprise to guru. Then Guru saw HG
Dhirashanta prabhu, he was very surprised and very glad. Was good to see
that Guru is happy. HG Dhirashanta prabhu put girliand on the neck of HH
Bhakti Caitanya swami and they payed obeisances to each other.

Everybody went to the big room, where was Guru abhiseka. During abhiseka
kirtan was lead by Lithuanian devotee Krishna Kripa prabhu. After abhiseka
was arati for Guru, when all devotees were offering petails for Maharaja.
Afterwards all the disciples and well-wishers were reading their
appreciation letters, few of them were really amazing. First his letter read
HG Dhirashanta prabhu, others were really shy. Afterwards was Puspanjeli.
And later Guru was tasting prasadam, cooked for His Vyasa Puja. Maharaja
really liked them all, despite there wasn’t plenty of variety, but 3 huge
cakes was really attractive. While Maharaj was tasting prasadam, kirtan was
lead by Ananta Nitai prabhu. Maharaj was tasting all cakes and distributing
them to devotees. After opulent Vyasa Puja everybody left for Sunday
program, where Guru was giving class about parents of Balarama. As usually
he made a comic drama with few devotees from the audience.

Next morning Guru read morning class, had his breakfast and left to the
airport, from which he flew to South Africa.

We are very grateful to spiritual master for the opportunity to travel with
him.

Your eternal servants Malatimanjari dd. and Vaisnavi dd.

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