Every town& village

August 3rd 1997
Dear disciples and well-wishers,
Please accept my blessings and best wishes. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Los Angeles Ratha Yatra
I was given the special mercy to carry Lord Jagannath down to the waiting stretched limousine. Aksyaha Gauranga and other devotees were helping me to carry Lord Jagannath. The turban was so large it would not fit in the car, so the turban was carried separately.
Jagannath is almost 1 meter tall so he's quite a big Jagannath. He was in the limousine. On the roof there is a slide back section about one meter high where you can put your hand in the open, to the sky. So Jagannath was standing well and part of his head was coming a little bit above the car like he is taking darshan from the top.
The organizers requested that all of the windows to be kept open so that people can see Jagannath. But there were only two side windows in the door and a ceiling sky light opening. Lord Jaganath's head was slightly protruding from the upper sky-light window. It was quite warm. There was air-conditioning but since the windows open the driver asked to turn off the a/c. Prabhupada tape was playing inside. I was sitting behind Jagannath holding Him. One other devotee was in the front holding. Lord Jagannath is standing on a special cushion. Jagannath was the first to come in the car. After that Subhadra and Balarama came in the cars in front of Jagannath. Balarama was in the lead car.
So while I was holding Jagannath many devotees were coming and offering with their folded hands and prayed. Naturally I was dressed as a pujari without shirt and only with my cadar since I was holding the deity. All the deities reached the limousine.
There was a whole procession of limousines. First the police escorts riding on large motorcycles led the vehicle procession. Then the limousines with Srila Prabhupada and the three deities. I think probably 4 limousines going. It was a quite a sight to see. It was an experience having all the cars held back at the stop lights as the Lord of the Universe passed by.
So this was the program in Los Angeles. The devotees were getting excited over this arrangement. I have seen the arrangement in Jagannath Puri and obviously there's quite a bit of difference. The tradition is different.
Anyhow in the Western world unique traditions have gradually taken shape in their own way. New Dwaraka, Los Angeles has developed this tradition. The organisers informed me that the same limousine drivers come every year, they clean inside and out of the car, there is no bad scent inside the car, and they are very attached in doing this service. Who can imagine what benefit the drivers obtain doing this service.
Santa Monica Beach Ratha Yatra Los Angeles
Going around the turns and bends, we can see the ocean and the beach boulevard. Finally we make a turn and as proceed down the street we suddenly can see the three beautiful chariots! Many devotees are already there chanting and waiting for the Lord. We are directed by traffic police. We are directed to turn into the beach front road which is closed to vehicle traffic for Lord Jaganatha's Rathayatra!
The limousine went to the front. This time I may have to manoeuvre Jagannath to get Him out of the limousine so that it will be a smooth operation since He's quite large. First you have to pull Him out of the seat and then bend Him down almost in the reclining position. Taking Him out from the side door, then He can stand up. We carry Him up the ladder unto the chariot. I have to come down to Jagannath's chariot to perform arati for the Lord. Once I was up they took away the ladder and there was no way to get down easily, that I could see. So it seems like I am going to ride with Jagannath. One devotee is dressed up like King Prataparudra. He is in his royal suit, sweeping the road with the golden broom. The pujari came and smashed a coconut in front of the Ratha and did the ritual. I would like to get down and do it but didn't seem like it was possible at this point. So the ratha yatra was inaugurated, everything was ready and the ratha yatra began.
This side of the beach there were not so many people on the street but there were many devotees could be one thousand, maybe two three thousand devotees. Hard to say. There were devotees everywhere. And later on as we proceeded to the beach site, there were so many people on the road.
People were coming in their bathing suits, coming in their casual dress and they are also pulling the ratha and everyone was very happy to get some prasadam. So I began to throw packets of raisins and peanuts in little plastic bags. People are on their rollerblade skates, passing on their bicycle, some people were doing some beach workout and building their muscles, they are also taking their prasad.
Some elderly people all kinds of people were there. Some were red from sunburn, some were brown from suntanned, some must have come to the beach recently, they are still white. All different kinds of people, Latin, African, American, various kinds of people were out there.
So everybody was taking prasadam. It was a highlight. As people stood by they would stop to see Lord Jaganath and from the chariot we would through them a packet of prasadam. Prasad kept running out and then someone mysteriously would come up with a new container of prasad. So then again, we had the divine ammunition to throw to the people on the sides of the road along Lord Jaganath's route.
Hridayananda Maharaja was here, Kavicandra Swami, so many swamis. I think it must have been over 12 or 16 sannyasis present for this Ratha Yatra festival. Naveen Krishna prabhu, Virabahu Prabhu, many senior Prabhupada's disciples were present at the Ratha Yatra.
They said that there is a special exit route. I was shown the way under the canopy there was an opening near the column holding the telescopic top and there was a narrow ladder going down. When the chariot was momentarily stopped I climbed down the ladder, but suddenly it started moving again. Somehow I jumped off under the Ratham and stayed crouched down while the Chariot rolled on exposing me to the sun. Devotees behind the Rath were surprised to see me come out like that. So then there is still about more or less than half the Ratha Yatra route left enough time to chant and dance for the Lord.
Then my disciple Mohan Vilas das adhikar was leading the kirtan and Badri-narayana prabhu was there with few devotees of San Diego. I was very happy to see all these devotees. They were very enthusiastically chanting and dancing.
There were some fanatical Christians with big signs that have things like churn or burn in hell, accept Jesus or go to hell, things like that. One of the leaders of that group was dressed up in a cow suit, black and white markings like a cow. He had a megaphone. I don't know what was his point in wearing a cow suit. Maybe to ridicule the Vedic respect for Mother Cow because in a dondemning voice he was yelling out that people should accept Jesus' love giving up sin and so on and so forth. Nobody paid any attention and police kept them away for 15 meters. They could not come right next to the devotees. So they followed behind for a while. Nobody seems to pay much attention to them. Everybody was taking prasadam, was chanting and dancing with Hare Krishna devotees. The thing is that Krishna was more attractive. That's natural since He is all attractive.
Ratha Yatra Fairground Finally the Ratha approached the massive Festival of India, Jagannath Ratha Yatra fairground. There were two tents, two stages. One seems to be more of rock n roll and the other was set up more for a drama, bharata natyam and Indian culture.
As the Ratha was starting to turn into the ground, I handed the kirtan back to Mohan de lal??? just a little before. Suddenly I looked and I saw Badrinarayana prabhu was holding the umbrella over my head. I asked what is he doing. He said 'I am giving you so much heat during the year, so let me cool you by giving you some shade'. So I grabbed the umbrella and held it over his head. Serving Vaisnavas is a real nectar but he was depriving me of the opportunity to serve him, instead he snatched and served me.
Badrinarayana prabhu is one of my GBC godbrothers and he is the champion for resolving various problems which are in ISKCON and he is very stable headed and sound.
The fairground was completely packed with people. On the next site, next to the cultural stage I saw that there were various booths. There was nama hatta booth, it was filled with Indian congregation from Los Angeles. There were booths about reincarnation and vegetarianism and about Prabhupada books. There was a book on Srila Prabhupada himself. There was a tent which seem to be something like a boutique. There was a BBT book table and books on ISKCON. There was also book dedicated to Jayananda prabhu, Bhaktivedanta Swami memoir tapes from different devotees sharing their realisations and experiences with Srila Prabhupada. I purchased a couple of those tapes when I visited the stalls. Then they have various prasadam booths scattered throughout. Some selling cakes, some selling ice snowballs, different varieties of refreshments, of course there was free prasadam distribution area also. There was pizza, many different kinds of prasadam being sold.
Everything was so crowded, there was no booth for Swamis to sit, all booths were taken. I found a little shade in front of Prabhupada's booth, so I thought let me sit by the side of Srila Prabhupada, by his lotus feet. There was nothing, no display in front, where one can sit.
As soon as I sat down then a group of devotees came and sat around me. First two, four then five. There was Bhaktin Tanya who is under my shelter. There was Arjuna and Nitya Rupa, Mahamadhusudan dasa, Vraja Govinda and his wife, various disciples. Then other devotees were coming off and on. So we had some question and answer session. People were coming and I was preaching. Yudhisthira dasa came and was asking me along with Chudi prabhu about the nama hatta program and how they could expand it in Laguna beach, so I was advising them. Like this several hours went by and at one point Svavasa Prabhu, the Temple President came and asked how things were going. So I asked if there was service for me. He said you are doing service here, you are preaching here, that's very nice.
I asked what they have made for prasadam. It seems that today the Los Angeles devotees forgot that I would need prasadam. They brought over some big quantity of mahaprasadam from the deity but it was all dripping in ghee there was nothing that I could eat according to my diet. So like this somehow or other we gathered together some prasadam. Someone cooked pizza without cheese on it and the regular prasadam was some kind of pasta not much oil in it. In this way somehow or other we got a few preparations together. Someone brought me a yoghurt smoothie with strawberry. Looks like everybody thought the other person was going to make prasadam arrangement and so in the end nobody made any arrangement. This is the life of a travelling preacher. Everybody on all sides are feasting and I am also feasting, I'm preaching. In the end, Krishna gave enough prasadam, different types. The main thing is to preach the message of Krishna.
It goes on after five and the camp is going to close at 6pm. And I met with Bhutatma prabhu my god brother, who has got Phd in teaching. He has some idea in spreading Krishna Consciousness through education. I advised him to contact with Hridayananda Goswami and then Hridayananda Goswami came. So I said here is your chance, go and talk to him now. So I was watching them talking together, then I also wanted to take advantage of getting a little association with Hridayananda Goswami. He sat down in front of me about 30 feet away in the passage way in front of our pavillion in the middle of everything, so I went over and offered my obeisances. We discussed. He also appreciated my points about caring for devotees and the role of siksa guru in ISKCON. He reconfirmed that I am authorized to be the siksa guru for his initiated disciples. Then he said that Madhudvisa and the devotees are performing a special drama. They are putting on trial the scientist and the devotee's belief in God. And he invited me to come. So I went to watch this drama which was quite interesting.
Some atheist lady was putting the devotees on trial for their belief in God. She was their prosecutor and there was a lawyer who was a defense attorney and the different witnesses were devotees and scientists and all kinds of people. Madhudvisa was dressed up with white wig as judge. He was wearing a black robe. So he went through all the court room details, point of order, objections and so on. The final point was that the scientist was actually also presenting simply so much dogma and that there were not enough solid proof in the existence of God for the devotees and ultimately everyone had to judge for themselves because a godless society is creating so many problems. So the people all decided that the best solution is a god-loving society. I met Kausalya devi dasi. She's now working in the movies. She was singing bhajan from the rock n roll stage, I think was a rock bhajan. And the gurukul alumni were having a fired up kirtan from the second stage. There was parallel Kathakali drama on the cultural stage. The two stages were over 100 metres apart facing in different direction. So they didn't compete sound wise with each other.
It was already after 6pm so I decided better go back to the temple. Have to meet some devotees and they started to tear down the camp site.
Rest of the evening I spend discussing with a few devotees about developing the congregational preaching in Los Angeles and some devotees' personal questions. The memories of the Ratha Yatra festival, the chanting and the whole association with so many senior Vaisnavas. Actually I met many other senior Vaisnavas. I have only given a small sampling.
I talk with so many devotees and Raghunath dasa and the gurukul alumni was very interested in taking up congregational preaching and further developing it for engaging so many gurukul alumni. Many things like these happened more than I can possibly enumerate. It was a full day. Los Angeles Ratha yatra is like a big reunion of so many devotees from around North America, different parts of the world but it was all so fast. The mood in Atlanta's New Panihati festival at least goes for three days so everyone gets more association. This Ratha Yatra festival is very intense. As quickly as it happens, it's over and everyone departs. So I was feeling so much separation that it went so quickly. I remember how in New Panihati they have one day inaugural function, second day is Ratha Yatra festival and the third day is the Chira dahi Mahotsava and Prabhupada remembrance festival. Definitely the Los Angeles festival is bigger and intense in terms of so many people participating. It was such a wonderful association.
Thus ends the Los Angeles Ratha Yatra day
August 3rd Diary Entry
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- August 4th 1997
New Panihati Dham Atlanta
Arrived in Atlanta
It was nice to see again the happy faces of the New Panihati devotees. In North America, practically in the western world, this is my base although I don't spend so much time here anymore. If anywhere is my base, this is it. I have an almirah and a desk here. My papers and mail is forwarded here. The Deities Sri Sri Radha Madana Mohana, Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, Sri Sri Jagannath Baladeva Subhadra are giving Their mercy out. They are so kind, beautiful, compassionate. I gave Them my reports on my travel and praying for Their mercy upon this humble servitor and all those who are depending on me including my diksa, siksa disciples. We had a class at the time of reception and meet with the devotees and took some prasadam with His Grace Balabhadra Bhattacarya prabhu. He's kind enough to fill me in on the latest development in the New Panihati community temple project.
Thus end the Jayapataka Swami Diary Entry
August 4th 1997
New Panihati Dham Atlanta -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- August 5th 1997
New Panihati Atlanta

My dear spiritual children and well-wishers,
Please accept my blessings and best wishes. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Morning Programme
I gave a Srimad Bhagavatam class with an attendance of about 25 devotees. I prayed to the Deities of Jagannath Baladeva Subhadra, Sri Sri Gaura Nitai and Sri Sri Radha Madhana Mohan for Their blessings and permission for the journey to South Africa that I am making today, and prayers for those depending upon me.
His Grace Balabhadra Bhattacarya dasa Adhikari the temple president, shows me some of the new changes made in the facilities. The bramacharis have been shifted to one of the three buildings and the householders and matajis are staying in the other far eastern building. Now the temple building is free from any residents.
New Panihati is a couple of acre property in the Druid Hills Historical and scenic part of Atlanta. The temple is comprised of three separate buildings. The centre building is the temple with the kitchen and dining hall, office quarters and some rooms. The western building has a top floor of Prabhupada's darshan room and the quarters where His Divine Grace stayed during his visit to Atlanta. At present it also contains some GBC quarters. The ground floor is currently used by bramacharis. The eastern building bordered by trees is the one used by matajis and householders at present. Goparaj das and Navanari devi dasi have recently been married and asked for blessings. Granted.
Packing up
My flight to New York is at 1 o'clock. I need to pack a video and cassette player, another essential which is stored here in New Panihati, to take to South Africa and Europe. A few other essential things have to be done before I leave North America. Seva Priya devi dasi is helping me with the tape, discuss with devotees on essential matters, answering urgent mails, take prasadam and then by midday I am off to the airport. Everything was arranged.
New York Connection
My flight lands at JFK International Airport, New York at the Delta terminal which is terminal 3. I have to get to terminal 8 which is the South African Airway terminal along with the American Airways. Everything was arranged by Ramakanta das adhikari, my South Indian disciple who's working in New York, living here with his family. He will meet me at the terminal and take me from one terminal to the other. Somehow by the will of providence he doesn't see me and I don't see him. I waited for about 30 minutes there was no sign. Then I take my huge pieces of luggage weighing over a hundred kilos from the push cart to the shuttle bus, put the luggage on the shuttle bus and go to terminal number 8. I was worried because they told me to be there 2 hours ahead of the departure in order to get the free ticket issued.
Ticket to South Africa was donated by my disciple Bhaktin Dina who won a free ticket from South African Airways for naming one of their airplanes and gave me the flight to South Africa. So I was flying on business class on South African Airways, from New York city to Johannesburg on her free ticket. Mahaguna devi dasi had made all kinds of arrangement to ensure that the ticket was waiting for me at the airport but they wanted me to be early. My flight had arrived three hours earlier but with all the connections now I was only coming only an hour and half before the flight to the terminal. Hope there'll be enough time to take care of everything.
I pull the luggage from the shuttle bus onto the roadside. Got a pushcart, loaded it up. This is one advantage of travelling with someone, don't have to deal with unexpected crisis and that everything was arranged. Maybe someone is waiting for me at the airport, I felt like travelling with someone. Ramakanta das was supposed to be waiting for me. Somehow this arrangement hadn't worked. I was wondering what happened since it was confirmed he would be waiting for me. It is unlikely he was actually waiting at the gate when I arrived since then it's hard to miss me. I was waiting at the baggage collection area for a long time. Then when no one came I pushed the trolley over to the shuttle bus stop. When the shuttle bus stopped I threw the luggage in quickly before it departed. It was a long ride around the JFK inner roads. Now I was worried since it was getting close to departure time. It was taking longer than expected. The driver stopped the bus and again I dealt with the bags lowering them off the bus. They are quite large. Fortunately someone had abandoned a trolley near the bus stop which I happily grabbed up and loaded up with my luggage. There are large crowds of people which I push through and finally I go to the American Airways & South African Airway business counter and there I see Ramakanta dasa waiting! It was nice to see him, but would have been a great help if we met at the Delta terminal. He apologised for not being able to find me. It's very nice to have some devotee association again with my dear disciple.
Worked everything out with the airline staff. However, initially they refused to check my luggage straight to Durban. The plan is now I go straight to Durban, only changing plane in Johannesburg staying in the airport without going to the Temple. In order to take advantage of the 2 piece luggage system permitted from America, I purchase a domestic ticket in New York from Johannesburg to Durban, send the luggage straight to Durban. I sit and discuss for sometime with Ramakanta prabhu, his wife sent me some pongal south Indian rice prasadam which I ate in the airport dining area. Then it's time to go, say goodbye and I am on my own again. I board the SouthAfrican Airways from New York city to Johannesburg. Today the business class section was more or less empty, so I had the seat for myself as well as an empty seat next to me. I took the opportunity to write a number of letters, dictate the Diary entry for the ecstatic Ratha Yatra in Los Angeles, also to pray to Srila Prabhupada for his causeless mercy to continue to travel and preach and to always be connected to His Divine Grace's lotus feet.
Thus ends the Jayapataka Swami Travelling Preaching Diary
August 5th 1997
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6th August 1997
My dear ones,
Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
African Airways Flight from New York City to Johannesburg
Sometime early in the morning when it was still dark, nearly 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, African Airways made a stop at some island airport off on the West African coast in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. The name of the island country slips my mind now. Everybody here speaks Portuguese. We are allowed to go off the air plane for the cleaning. The island is almost half desert. There is a big picture inside the terminal of a revolutionary struggle of the natives with industrial symbols, its looks like some social government is running a show here.
My leg is swelling from so many flights so I took the opportunity to walk around the small terminal. There is one British lady doing the same. I'm trying to get the blood moving in my leg. I chant some rounds while walking. I took up the opportunity to plug in my computer in the wall socket to charge up the batteries. So I can write some more since my batteries are about to go flat. Not much in this terminal, a small duty free shop selling whiskey with one counter, selling a few electronic items, some Portuguese series of local African folk songs. I continued to walk around. Maybe I am the first devotee to ever visit this island. Seems there's a group of islands spread out. One can only get from one to the other by ship or flight.
So many areas yet to preach in this world. We have only cut or scraped the surface of all the preaching possibilities. They call us back on board, the 747 jet. Pack up my computer to get on board. There is a new crew. South African Airway is a nice airline, they have sparkling fruit juices called appletizer and grapetizer. Grape has 2 flavours, white or red. This is the only airline with this type of fruit juice. May be the longest flight I ever have taken. Many hours, from New York city to Johannesburg. The flight somehow becomes delayed and we arrived in Johannesburg an hour late.
I went to the immigration very quickly but they announce that my flight is missed and they have rebooked me for a later flight. When I came out of the immigration, I am happy to see Bhakta Ashwin, Bhaktin Dina and a number from other devotees of Johannesburg temple and congregation. They told me they rebooked me on another flight on Sun Air and I have about 45 minutes before departure. So it's already 6 o'clock at night. I have been on the plane since the previous night 6 o'clock in New York. So I take advantage of the shower in the airport, take a quick shower while everybody is unloading my luggage, handing me the clothes right in the terminal hallway, take everything inside that I need into the shower. Quickly take a shower while they arrange things. I came out freshen up with fresh clothes but was late for the flight. We rushed over to the domestic terminal and just make it in time for the flight. There wasn't any time to eat anything. Bhaktin Dina handed me a small lunch bag with a couple of sandwiches in it. I am off to Durban, South Africa.
I am seated in the business class section, man next to me is a real fan of Sun Airline. He said he use to travel by South African Airways for 15 years but now he has converted over to Sun Air, so see how this people treat you with genuine smile. This shows the true corporate spirit of this airline and he said from the moment you check in everyone has got a smile and everyone is happy to see you. The national airline, just on board they take care of you. He was really fired up about this airline.
This reminded me how the devotees should be treating every guest that comes to the temple. Not that the visitors are disturbing our service but that's our whole purpose for having a temple. People are visiting, so receive them nicely. See how this man is so impressed by the airline. Because they have given him a smile and some attention, he gives all his business to them. If only all the Krishna Conscious temples takes up the mood, dasa anudasa, serve all the visitors to the temple as if Krishna has come in disguise.
According to Vedic knowledge, guests should be treated like Narayana, "atiti seva Narayana". Then ISKCON temples would be the most successful in the world. They won't have problems maintaining themselves since people have fallen in love with their wonderful attention they are receiving.
It was a short flight to Durban. Less than an hour. As I enter into the Durban, South Africa arrival terminal, I can hear the sound of kirtan. That was a relief. Devotees came to the security counter and helped me with the luggage. Bhakta Rakesh came and gave me a garland. I came out of the arrival area into the public Airport Terminal reception area where all the devotees were waiting. Ramanuja prabhu was there, my god brother. Atmarama dasa the acting president and so many aspiring devotees. Here in South Africa there are many spiritual masters' disciples. Their Holiness Giriraja Swami, Bhakti Caru Swami, Bhakti Tirtha Swami, Krishna dasa Swami, Paratha Sarati prabhu, Bhakti Caitanya Swami, Indradyumna Swami and a few of mine. Just to name a few of how many gurus' disciples are there. We are all one family in ISKCON and I am happy to see these devotees.
Arrival at the Radha Radhanath Temple, South Africa
I send ahead my video camera to the temple so that Bhaktin Kailash can video the arrival. Nobody else knows how to use the video camera. Nanda Kumara dasa bramachari is helping with all these arrangements and he is accompanying me from the airport with Vaisnava Pran das. We drove off to the luxurious Radha Radhanath temple. We had to drive around making a half circumambulation coming from the street way and going around until the Bhaktivedanta Roadway, just named during the Centennial year. Can see the big signs for the Hare Krishna Food for Life massive kitchen that can feed thousands of people a day, high towers rising in the air with the stainless steel dome glistening over the kirtan hall glows as a unique architectural landmark, spreading its influency of Krishna consciousness effulgently.
As we drive up to the temple front, they run out and bring me some telok since somehow I couldn't find my telok. Put on the telok and readied to get down the car. Hundreds of devotees were standing alongside the entrance way leading up the temple. Some throw flowers, some blowing conchshells, everybody with a smile. Kirtan was playing. There was a large assembly on this day. Seems to be the weekly congregational evening class. So I walk up to the temple, the big entrance line of devotees on both sides, offer me their pranam and I offer them respects with folded hands. Also in the temple they had a garland for me to offer to Srila Prabhupada. I offer my obeisances, praying for the mercy of my beloved spiritual master. Offer my obeisances to the beautiful Deities of Radha Radhanath, Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Saligram Sila. Now I am really at home in the Lord's temple, with all His devotees. I take the opportunity to offer my prayers.
Reception and Speech
They take me to a cloth covered asana decorated with flowers where they perform a reception ceremony; foot bathing; then arati. I give out some mahaprasadam sweets. Since there were so many people there, they made simultaneous queues for men and women to come and accept the mercy of the Lord. Takes them all to figure out that they have to offer their obeisances straight on towards spiritual master because at one side were the Deities and the other side Srila Prabhupada. If they bowed down to me with either side then they would be showing their feet to either the Deities or Srila Prabhupada.
But actually that's the sastric recommended way anyway, i.e. to offer obeisances to a spiritual master straight forward. Offering with the left side towards Visnu and the devotees with the right side to them. Because of the placement of Srila Prabhupada's Vyasasan in many temple is opposite from the deity, it's not possible to offer straight forward because the feet would be to the deities, so we offer with our side.
Everybody is very enthusiastic. After the ceremony is over I gave a evening class. I tell them the highlights of things that happened around ISKCON. This year is the Bangalore temple opening, Ahmedabad temple opening. Deity installation in Katmandu, Nepal and Kanhaiya Natshalla, Mayapura festival, different scenes around the world, the Los Angeles Ratha Yatra, New Panihati festival in America, Ratha Yatra in Calcutta, New York and different places.
Arrival address at Durban South Africa
I take the opportunity at the large assembly of devotee to express my realizations on the importance of all devotees. How the leadership in ISKCON is more concerned then ever about the welfare of all the devotees, about taking care of the devotees, about seeing that every devotee is happy and blissful in their Krishna Consciousness. Like this, we touched on related topics. Everyone is very pleased with the concern of the ISKCON leadership for the devotees. Each group had almost 10 close to 12 persons. Established a nice communication with all of the devotees.
I hadn't taken any prasadam as yet, except for a sandwich from New York. So the devotees arranged for me some hot cappatis and 2 sabjis and milk. I am allowed to stay in Prabhupada darshan connected GBC quarters since I am the only guru visiting at that time there. They keep nice quarters. By this time my body is ready to take rest.
I hope this finds you blissful and healthy in Krishna consciousness.
Your ever well wisher,
Jayapataka Swami
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Durban South Africa
My dear ones,
Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Morning Programme Prior to Govinda's, we had a early morning japa workshop, in the large Radha Radhanath temple which is circular. It was well attended with about 50 devotees, half congregational. Here the chanting was really good overall. Only 2 devotees missed the names, one with extra Hare and one with less Hare. Some devotees took longer to chant their japa. One was chanting one round in nine minutes. Devotees also appreciated the japa workshop and commented that it had helped them significantly.
I give the Srimad Bhagavatam class which is on the structure of the universe. I explained about Mayapura project, about doing this research with Sadaputa prabhu leading the effort and halfway discovering various things. The Bhagavatam is a very good science and we want to present this in the Mayapura project. I also explain how just like the universe has orders, similarly in ISKCON we want to have order that things should work in a very proper manner. We want devotees also to be fixed in a love and trust mood, where the older devotees are taking care of the younger devotees and there is some mutual respect for everyone. Devotees appreciate this very much. This temple has been divided with various kinds of in-fighting. Once I mentioned love and trust I touched the nerve, then the people told me that there are a lot of problems. Questions came up after the class. So the idea came that I have the next day a special love and trust workshop.
University Programme and Darshan
A university programme was planned in order to preach to the students about non-bonafide yogis. Kailash das has arranged. However the university programme gets cancelled because the university had some kind of a strike or assembly. So in consultation with the temple president, we use this opportunity to see the devotees in smaller groups, to encourage them and try to enthuse them in their devotional service.
About one and a half hours for the men devotees and another one and a half hour for the female devotees. Each group had their particular own questions and were very thankful for the opportunity to talk in a less public form.
During the matajis' time, they were very concerned about the changes in the temple. Apparently the temple president has resigned 3 weeks or so before and the proper information hadn't been told to the devotees. What would be the future of the temple, what would happen? So they were feeling insecure, because they have no president, no protector. So I called the acting pesident just to immediately clarify things since I am only a visitor, what can I do. Then it was all clarified that there is a programme and nobody has anything to worry about. A proper line for communication was set up in the sense that 3 matajis in this ashram will oversee different groups of other matajis. I found that the devotees here are very rational and intelligent. I took the time and discuss with them, they could grasp things very easily. I really like the devotees here in Durban, South Africa. They also said they appreciated this opportunity to discuss with a senior leader of ISKCON.

Visiting Ramananda Prahbu in hospital A wonderful preaching devotee who has been leading kirtan for the years I have been coming to Durban, South Africa Ratha Yatra, Ramananda dasa. About 6 months ago he had met a very serious car accident. He was left in critical condition and they said there was hardly any chance for him to survive. At that time I was so upset thinking that it's such a shame to lose devotees who can preach, who are helping the sankirtan movement. So immediately I communicated with Giriraj Maharaja, his spiritual master and few devotees in Vrndavana, Mumbai, Mayapura and Bangalore to pray, and to preaching devotees around the world. Many devotees were praying and chanting for him. He came out of the intensive care and survived that critical accident.
Unfortunately his back is so seriously injured and he doesn't have the full use of his legs at the present time. He is still in the hospital undergoing therapy and treatment. I went to see him in the hospital. He is in a large ward. The hospital is the closest one to the temple, only 5 minutes away. They bring him prasadam everyday but still the ward is a horrible place. People all around in hospital, what do you expect, they are all sick. There must have been 20 beds in the ward.
I asked why we couldn't get him a private ward. They said that in South Africa hospitals if you get a private ward you get less proper attention. They'll just forget about you, they'll just leave you to rot. You are better off in a public ward at least there is always somebody there to watch over you. Didn't sound too encouraging. But I try to encourage Ramananda prabhu, telling him how important he was to the sankirtan movement. Meeting each other after so long and after his difficulties, couldn't help but shed a few tears. He said that my prayers and concern for him had encouraged him very much that now he had feelings in his legs, taking daily therapy. There is some hope that eventually he'll get back his full faculities but it would be a very long tedious process. He said he need all our prayers so that he can sing and dance in harinam sankirtan.
Nama Hatta Programme at Phoenix It was scheduled for me to give nama hatta presentation to 3 groups at the Phoenix Nama Hatta centre. South Africa public schools allow religious groups to use their facilities but giving a bond that nothing would be damaged. So after hours, religious groups can have this facility. So in the local high school 2 rooms were used for the nama hatta. About 150 devotees had gathered. When I arrived they were all chanting.
I gave a presentation on the broad spectrum of congregational preaching and about the highlights on the bhakti vrksa (cell) programme, so that they can see how this big groups can also have more meetings in smaller format and how they should utilize this dynamic aspects in their own nama hatta preaching. The devotees were very enthusistic. They are taking notes. They have printed out a special folder that said Nama Hatta presentation by Jayapataka Swami and gave to each of the participants. They very much wanted to absorb these things. They say they want more details and training next visit to South Africa. And the group leaders are very interested in implementing this ideas in their own nama hattas. At present they all have large nama hattas of over 50 devotees each. So by using the bhakti vrksa concept they will be able to expand the preaching much more.
After the presentation, I led the arati kirtan and concluded the programme while everyone else took prasadam. It was the same that during the class, it turned out there were no audio tapes. Those who were assisting me as Secretary had neglected to keep a stock of tapes. So I send one of them out to buy a tape from a local store. It's very important that secretaries think ahead, do the needful so that we can record all the lectures, maybe very useful, sometime in the future. I gave a short class telling the pastimes of Lord Caitanya and Nityananda prabhu. I was feeling tired from the journey of previous day's long flight from America. But somehow by remembering Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda I was able to keep going. I don't know how. Somehow by the Lord's mercy it was possible.
The programme ended after 10. Devotees crowded around to see me for a few minutes, after that we departed. We reached the temple again after midnight. Thus ends the Jayapataka Swami Transcendental Diary
August 7th 1997
Durban South Africa
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- August 8th 1997
Starting Durban, South Africa proceeding to Johannesburg
Morning Programme
This morning we had japa workshop again. Since yesterday there was a fine improvement in everyone's chanting. Only one person was longer than 8 minutes. Where as yesterday many of them were up to 9 and that was also very slightly over. Devotees are giving more attention and more concerned over developing a personal relationship with the holy name. So this was very encouraging.
Srimad Bhagavatam after an ecstatic kirtan. I was able to lead the kirtan during Prabhupada puja. We take the devotees on parikrama around the Radha Radhanath deities, and the Lord Caitanya deity three four times. Then everyone is chanting and dancing very enthusiastically in the large temple. Srimad Bhagavatam was very well attended.
After the Srimad Bhagavatam class we had special love and trust workshop.
Love and Trust Workshop About 40 devotees agreed to remain for this aspect and three different groups were formed and there were brainstorming session one for each group.
How to improve relationships between;
1.ISKCON managers and leaders and the general devotees.
2.Temple devotees and the congregational devotees.
3.Temple devotees with temple devotees and congregational devotees with congregational devotees - peer relationship.
Very good ideas came out and everyone realise that co-operation, love and trust is not something one way but everyone has to be part of and make the effort. In that way it can be very effective and successful. The devotees were relieved they were able to discuss about these topics. They saw that every devotee had something to contribute and every devotee was so important a player in this whole effort.
Closing minutes in Durban After breakfast I met with different devotees who needed some personal guidance. Then we had to pack for the airport. As usual it was a last minute rush and we were worried whether we'll make it for the flight. A large group of devotees were there at the airport to see me off. And they are very enthusiastic. Actually in a short time, I have been able to feel a lot of bonding with the devotees in Durban and it was actually a bit spiritually traumatic to leave such nice devotees so quickly.
Arrival at Johannesburg We arrived at the airport. I was travelling with 3 different devotees, Vaisnava Pran and Bhaktin Nalini his wife, also Nanda Kumara dasa. There was a nice reception from Bhakta Ashwin, Bhaktin Dina and other devotees. As we arrived, suddenly Nanda Kumara dasa realised that the video camera had been forgotten. I've seen it in the security conveyor belt in Johannesburg. I was so upset that I couldn't become angry, it was beyond anger, also I wanted to keep the disciple in care so that they would become more attentive in the future. I calmly guided Nanda Kumara dasa. What he could do, hopefully through the baggage service of the airline we flew in they could recover the video camera at the security check in. He was very fortunate that they found the camera bag was still there on the conveyor belt.
Nanda Kumara dasa promised me to be more attentive in the future. He was very fortunate not to have lost that video camera. Since we needed to get a visa while in Johannesburg, we stopped on the way to get a visa photograph. I was going to get my Malaysian visa while I am here in Pretoria area. We arrived in the temple, the Hillsboro large 10-storey building that is the Hare Krishna temple here. The devotees were lined in front chanting. It was a very ecstatic reception. Then I had darshan of beautiful Gaura Nitai deities and then the devotees offered me a big guru puja reception after which I gave a long talk.
Prasadam The devotees has prepared a huge feast over 15 preparation, so many things. They have so much devotion. All of that was low fat and simple diet but many varieties. Devotees are so kind. Of course prasadam is one of the ways to the serve guru but I also appreciate all the wonderful efforts they make in every aspect here in Johannesburg, the reception, preaching.
We went to congregational devotee's home. There was a nama hatta programme. About 50 devotees were there in attendance. Everybody was very interested. We had a nice kirtan. After the class many questions were asked. Everyone had a simple prasadam, many people decided to get videos and CDs of my lectures. I see that after-class discussions went on to almost midnight and seems there was no phone in Hillsboro temple. I had to go to Bhakta Deepak Desai's house to log on to get my e-mail. There was some difficulty in getting the connection but finally we got through. Seems all the people use internet at night and it's hard to get through. All the people around me and my secretaries are getting very tired. They are falling asleep, sitting there waiting for me. I have to have more mercy on my secretaries. I get back to the temple after 1 o'clock.
Thus ends the Jayapataka Swami Travelling Preaching Diary
August 8th 1997
Durban & Johannesburg South Africa


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