Dear disciples and friends,
Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I am now in London, taking a little break after another busy round of preaching in Russia. On the 29th I’ll be back off to St Petersburg and then Siberia, before going to Italy for a special GBC meeting. Then I’ll go to Vrindavana.
I’ve been extremely busy, so the following is not really any type of indepth analysis of what’s been happening, but more just to let you know where I’ve been. When I get more time I’ll do something with more detail…
Since I last wrote to you at the end of August I flew from Durban to Moscow on Emirates Airlines, stopping in Dubai for a few hours on the way. An aspiring disciple, Bhaktin Karin from Estonia is living there, married to Bhakta Sandip from Gujarat, India, and she has been asking me to visit for some time. Actually we had not seen each other for 5 years, but she
continued to retain our relationship on the spiritual platform, so it was very nice to meet her again after so long.
The relationship between spiritual master and disciple should not be limited by material factors like geographic separation. Srila Prabhupada said in a letter once: “Please always try to remember me by my teachings and we shall always be together. Just like I have written in the first publications of Srimad-Bhagavatam, “The spiritual Master lives forever by His divine instruction and the disciple lives with him.”, because I have always served my Guru Maharaja and followed His teachings I am now even never separated from Him. Sometimes Maya may come and try to interfere but we must not
falter, we must always follow the chalked out path layed down by the great acharya’s and in the end you will see.”
Srila Prabhupada also said: “But always remember that I am always with you. As you are always thinking of me I am always thinking of you also. Although physically we are not together, we are not separated spiritually. So we should be concerned only with this spiritual connection.”
There are many statements by Srila Prabhupada of these types, and they are very important to help us appreciate the transcendental nature of Krishna consciousness and the relationships within it. None of these things are material, and as long as we chant our rounds and maintain our Vaisnava standards we will be able to experience these things directly, regularly.
The immigration authorities in Dubai were a little unpleasant and seemed to have an attitude towards foreigners that I don’t normally find when I enter or leave countries. As I came in they wanted to know where I was going in
Dubai, even though I was only going to be there three hours. Then when I left I wanted to show the immigration girl where the stamp was in my passport for entering that morning, and she got a little unpleasant with me for some unknown reason. Anyway, then I carried on to Moscow.
I stayed in Moscow for a night and then flew off to Novosibirsk in Western Siberia. While there one of my disciples, Vaisnava Prana, wanted me to go to his sauna out in the countryside, and I agreed. It was a small homemade arrangement, and was about 100 degrees, which is nothing less than torture, and then outside there was a very nice little stream running, which was freezing cold. So we went from one type of torture to another every few minutes, and I was wondering why I was doing it, but after some time I felt better for it.
Srila Prabhupada wanted us to maintain our health. He always finished his letters by saying that he hoped the recipient was in good health, and now that I’m getting gradually a little older I am appreciating more and more the need to maintain my physical condition as nicely as reasonably possibly. You must also be careful about this.
From Novosibirsk we went to Barnaul, about 200kms south, for a Rathayatra festival. About 150 devotees carried Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama and Lady Subhadra through the streets of the city on a palanquin, finishing near the city’s main square, where we had a stage programme featuring Visnu Tattva prabhu and his rock band.
We then moved on to Prakopevsk for one night, and did a programme for new people there. Then the following day we oved to Novokuznetsk, where the devotees had also organized a programme for new people. About 100 people came, and all listened very attentively to my class.
From Novokuznetsk we went to Tomsk, and then from there to the annual Russian festival on the Black Sea, this time held in a village named Krinica, which the devotees naturally changed to Krishnica. Every year about 3000 devotees come to the Black Sea for this festival, and this year was no different. I was only able to stay a few days, due to a commitment I had
made to disciples in London to visit there, but it was certainly a wonderful occasion.
On the 25th I landed at Heathrow and stayed overnight at Bhaktivedanta Manor. The next morning we had an initiation ceremony in which Bhaktin Brinda from Mauritius became Vrindakunda devi dasi, Bhaktin Cheetra also from Mauritius became Carana Renu dd (the servant of the dust of the lotus feet of the Divine Couple), and Bhaktin Devika from Pietermaritzburg in South Africa became Dhanistha dd.
Hoping this meets you well.
Your ever well wisher,
Bhakti Caitanya Swami