Dear disciples and friends,
Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I’ve been very busy since I left the Altai festival in West Siberia about 4 weeks ago. From there I went to Lithuania, where we had a small celebration for my birthday.
I had to fly to Moscow from Barnaul in order to get to Lithuania, but when I checked the flight schedules I saw that my flight into Moscow landed at about the same time that the flight to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, departed, and it was clear that I would have to make some other arrangement to get there.
So I booked a flight from Moscow to Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad is actually part of Russia, although it is completely separate from the rest of the country, sitting in the middle of the Baltic coastal area, more than an hour’s flight from Moscow.
I flew in and was met by Gopinatha prabhu, and old friend of mine from Samara, in the Volga region of southern Russia, and he and some other devotees drove me to the Lithuanian border. The idea was that I would walk across the border from Russia to Lithuania, and then be taken by Lithaunian devotees on their side of the border.
However the Russian authorities were not willing to let me walk across. They were FSB agents, the new version of the old KGB, and when we tried to insist that it would be fine for me to walk across, and that they didn’t need to worry about anything, they started lifting their guns and becoming agitated, so Gopinatha and I realized we were not going to get away with that.
So Gopinatha started waving down cars which were driving from Kaliningrad into Lithuania, and asking them if they would take me with them across the border. The Lithuanian people he stopped all refused, but after a few minutes we found a nice Russian couple who were willing to take me with them. In this way I was able to enter Lithuania, and then headed off to the sit of our Lithuanian birthday celebration.
Unfortunately it was more than 5 hours driving before we reached there, after 11 in the night, but the devotees were waiting for me and greeted me very nicely, and then I took rest and went to the programme the next morning, August 10th.
The following is a report on the programme, by my youngest disciple, Malati Manjari devi dasi, aged 16.
and with kirtan we proceeded to the big pandal. There we started abhisheka of lotus feet of Spiritual Master and that was wonderful. After abhisheka there was Guru puja during which we offered flower petals to Maharajas feet.
Maharaja was distributing maha maha prasadam to everyone and it was great. Of course, Maharaja was tasting everything only a tee spoon, because otherwise he wouldn’t be able to taste everything. Cake was big and unique. After tasting each preparation and sweets Maharaja with everyone went back to Pandal and we continued reading our letters. Everyone had very nice long and short letters.
Prabhupada.” Drama was very funny and everybody liked it and it left good impressions. After drama, when asked about does it was similar to what happened in reality, Maharaja answered: “Everything was exactly like this.” Also there was very beautiful Shyam dance, which everyone loved. At the end Maharaja lead an ecstatic kirtan. Kirtan continued for about an hour. Everything finished at about half past nine at night, because devotees only then finished taking prasadam. After prasadam most of them started going home, and Maharaja with few devotees stayed till next morning.
Spiritual Master was very much satisfied with organization of vyasa puja and all devotees were happy, because after so many years vyasa puja again was celebrated in Lithuania. It was very wonderful Vyasa puja!
Malati Manjari sent some photos of the event, which are now in our Gallery section.
After that I returned to South Africa, and Caitanya Carana prabhu has made a report on the events that took place there. From there I went on August 15th to Mauritius to take part in Lord Balarama’s Appearance Day, as part of the 25th anniversary of the installation of the presiding Deities there, Sri Sri Radha Golokananda.
From there I flew back to South Africa and then went to the East Siberian Annual Regional festival, which was held at Angarsk, near Irkutsk. Caitanya Prema prabhu is meant to be sending a report of that event in the next few days, and hopefully some photos.
It was a really wonderful event, particularly because Indradyuma Maharaja and Bhakti Bringa Govinda Maharaja were there, and led some of the most amazing kirtanas the Siberian devotees had ever taken part in.
But you can read about that when the report comes.
Hoping this meets you well.
Your ever well wisher,
Bhakti Caitanya Swami