Dear disciples and friends,
Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
We have just finished the annual devotee festival at Krinica on the Black Sea in Russia. It was very nice, with about 3000 devotees present.
On October 24th I flew from South Africa via Doha in Qatar and landed in Moscow, where I spent the day on September 25th. Then that afternoon I flew on to Anapa, the airport nearest to Krinica.
On the plane two young Russian women sat next to me, and before we took off one of them quickly pulled out a bottle of whiskey and offered me some. I politely refused and told her I didn’t drink and she became a little bewildered, but then a young man in the row in front of me turned around and offered to swap places with me so he could participate in their programme, so I gladly agreed.
That was much better as he had been in the emergency exit row and there was double the amount of leg room there, so I sat there relatively happily while he and the two girls proceeded to party to the maximum behind me. Eventually the stewards had to come and tell them to keep quiet, but it didn’t help much and they continued having a wild time till we landed in Anapa.
From the airport it was more than a two hour drive to Krinica, and eventually we arrived at about 10 at night.
There were many Prabhupada disciples there, and we had some nice story telling sessions. Sruta Kirti prabhu, who served Srila Prabhupada for some years before Hari Sauri took over told of one night during a time when Srila Prabhupada was quite ill and not able to walk. He had massed Prabhupada when he took rest, and then took rest himself directly underneath Srila Prabhupada’s bed, in case Srila Prabhupada need his help during the night.
Some time in the middle of the night Sruta Kirti was woken by a thumping sound form near the bed and he quickly got up and turned on the light to find Srila Prabhupada lying on the ground in between the bed and the toilet.
He asked “what were you doing, Srila Prabhupada?” and Prabhupada told him “I needed to use the toilet, but I didn’t want to wake you up so I tried to walk there myself”.
Sruta Kirti broke into tears as he told us this amazing story of Srila Prabhupada’s humility and concern for his disciple’s well being.
Dina Bandhu prabhu from Vrindavana was there and he told us a story of his experience with Jayananda prabhu, a famous disciple of Srila Prabhupada who passed away many years ago, before Prabhupada left this world.
Jayananda was a great appreciator of prasadam, and one time devotees arranged a prison preaching programme and asked him to prepare halava and sweets for it. He made some amazing halava with strawberries, and then some Simply Wonderfuls, and left with a team of devotees for the prison.
On the way one of the devotees said “you know, I think it might be a good idea to try the prasadam to see how it is”. Jayananda agreed, and everyone was served a full plate of halava and Simply Wonderfuls. They all relished it and then a devotee said, “you know, that was so good, I think we should have some more”. They had more, and then they had more, and then even more, until finally all the prasadam was completely finished.
Jayananda was feeling very guilty as they drove into the prison. What was he going to tell the devotee who had asked for the prasadam? However as they entered the prison a guard stopped them and asked to search the van. As he looked through he said “you haven’t got any food have you? We don’t allow any food at all to come in here!”
In this way Jayananda understood that it was actually all Krishna’s arrangement.
The festival was very nice. I will post some photos from it in a few days.
Now I’m in Novorissisk, at the house of Aditi Dukhaha prabhu, the main kirtana leader of Russia, and tomorrow morning I’ll fly to Moscow, and then to Samara, south of Moscow. I’ll let you know shortly what happens there.
Hoping this meets you well.
Your ever well wisher,
Bhakti Caitanya Swami