All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

21st World Tour of

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Venezuela Tour Diary

by Vidya Sundar Prabhu on pilgrimage from Canada

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8

Tour Diary entries:


10 November 2004, Caracas. Day One.


We arrived in Caracas last night in the middle of a storm. The air was humid and warm. I was moved by the reception at the airport. A very nice and large gathering of sweet, happy devotees eager to see Srila Gurudev and his entourage changed the otherwise stagnant and routine airport mood. Their kirttan was without any pretentious mood of the devotees. Our luggage went one way and different cars took different groups of devotees. I happened to go with Srutasrava Prabhu and Sripad Akinchan Maharaj. On the way we talked about Venezuela's features and we learned that gas is cheaper than water by ten times! The weather here is either sunny or rainy with a similar temperature all year long: 25 to 28 degrees Celcius. There are only two seasons: summer and monsoon. The monsoon was suppose to end a few weeks ago, but despite of that we woke up next day to beautiful sunshine with occasional rains.

We have arrived at Purujit Prabhu's house set in a rich neighborhood on the top of one of many hills surrounding the city on the north side. As we arrived Srila Gurudev was sitting in a large room in the midst of about fifty sweet devotees. He was visibly tired but very happy, patiently accepting the warm welcome. Some offered presents and then Gurudeva went to take rest. Someone started cooking for devotees despite the late hour: midnight! We reached our quarters an hour later, but surprisingly our luggage was still in Purujit Prabhu's house. Isvara Prasad Prabhu brought them an hour later and at 2 am we went to sleep in the middle of storm. Ah, by the way, windows are open 24/7 and there is no need of a mosquito net!

Tour Diary entries:


11 November 2004, Caracas. Day Two.


Today was a very nice day. I have slept till noon local time and do not regret it. Because of this I did not go to Purujit Prabhu's house where the main things are happening. Instead at noon we went to the temple where we met nice, respectful and simple hearted devotees who always want to talk to you. The atmosphere here is very nice, fresh and warm. You can feel the mix of laid back Indian flavor and the Latin mood of the extended family. This, saturated with immense love for Srila Gurudev, creates the solid plane of service of which I will talk later.

With Gaurachandra Prabhu as a head we were helping to set up the video conference which will enable the many temple devotees to see and hear Srila Gurudev giving class from Purujit Prabhu's house. We took prasadam and then there was chanting going on until Srila Gurudev's scheduled arrival at 5 pm. The temple room was full of devotees but not packed. Everybody was relaxed and happy. Kirttan rose when Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj entered the room, and continued with more enthusiasm for several long minutes. In the midst of that, Srila Gurudev paid his respects to the ever sweet Deities, Sri Sri Nitai Gaurachandra. Gurudev was very satisfied and when the prolonged kirttan stopped he spoke to the gathered devotees. He praised Purujit Prabhu for his dedication. He said he has "unlimited affection for me," and, "by inconceivable arrangement he got my visa in two day."

Srila Gurudev praised several other devotees for working hard to bring back the mission in Venezuela. Hari Kirttan Prabhu and Vaishnavi Didi were mentioned as those by whose desire Gurudev came. In each case devotees were referred to as being inspired by Lord Krishna. He gave his blessings to all the devotees by saying, "Let Swami Maharaj bless you, Srila Guru Maharaj bless you, and whatever little I have be also with all of you." Then Sripad Janardan Maharaj spoke in Spanish.

Next Srila Gurudeva chanted "Parama Karuna..." with reverential following of the devotees, and when he started "Jaya Radha Madhava..." a great applause filled the room. He chanted with closed eyes with deep-felt affection and attention. Sripad Janardan Maharaj continued kirttan making all of us stand up and dance. The crowd was happy and never tired. When sandhya-arati started Srila Gurudev stood up and lead kirttan for a while and someone else continued after him.

At the same time on the veranda outside, discussion between local and American devotees took place. The glories of Srila Govinda Maharaja were praised in regards to his internal inspiration and direction from Lord Sri Krishna. Someone said, "I wanted to really stop him from going for this difficult trip. After all it is eighteen hours non-stop journey including the time zone. But nobody could stop him."

Someone else said: "When in New York Srila Swami Maharaj was asked by a reporter, 'Swamiji how do you manage this fast growing movement?' He answered 'Krishna is telling me how to manage.' However another devotee tried to pacified the unsatisfied reporter by saying, 'He gets inspiration form Krishna and then he acts accordingly.' Srila Swami Maharaj immediately corrected him, 'No, Krishna is telling me personally!'"

When His Divine Grace Srila B.S. Govinda Maharaj says "It was impossible to come, but Krishna wanted me to come to Venezuela," it means exactly this. Vaishnaver kriya-mudra vijne na bujhaya, no one can understand the activities and movements of a Vaishnava. He came last night and then slept only two hours, and the next day he gave darshan and is now chanting in the midst of kirttan! But we think he is one of us. When he says "I was a naughty boy," we may try to think in our terms. But he was selected as a seventeen year old boy to become the Acharya — such 'naughty' he was. Someone replaced the good mango with a rotten one, so he had to climb a tree to get a fresh fruit. This is how 'naughty' he was. We cannot conceive of him as one of us. He is Sri Guru and we need to worship him as such, and that means as Sri Krishna. Acharyam mam vijaniyan nava-mayeta karhichit. Krishna says, "I am the Acharya."

Later this evening Sripad Siddhanti Maharaj mentioned in the class regarding loyalty that we have to be chaste to Sri Guru who came first as Srila Swami Maharaj, then as Srila Sridhar Maharaj and now as Srila Govinda Maharaj.

Tour Diary entries:


12 November 2004, Caracas. Day Three.


Srila Gurudev was very happy sitting in the midst of devotees this afternoon. He was presented with the new website ( designed for his and the devotees' pleasure. Gaurachandra Prabhu was touring Srila Gurudeva across the many wonderful web pages filled with pictures and descriptions of the Math's history, local and world activities as well as information for newcomers. Our Acharya expressed much joy and at the end he said, "And the logo is super perfect," referring to the animation of the math logo on the opening page. Purujit Prabhu chanted the name of Gaurachandra as the presentation ended. The atmosphere was very informal and warm. I remember the words of Srila Gurudeva few weeks ago "...going to Caracas to get inspiration?"

The house of Purujit Prabhu is always busy and welcoming. All visiting devotee receive a plate of prasadam. It seems that cooking never stops here.

Initiation is scheduled for tomorrow.

Tour Diary entries:


13 November 2004, Caracas. Day Four,


A Happy Day...

Today is Govardhan Puja. The all merciful Sri Sri Paramakaruna Nitai Gaurachandra wear exotic blue and yellow outfits. Devotees chanted the prayers at 10 am, and at 12 pm happily ate simple prasadam. While waiting for the next moment we got a ride to Purujit Prabhu's house with Laksmi Priya Didi form Colombia.

Srila Gurudeva was already resting on a large garden veranda surrounded as usual by loving and attentive devotees. Only this view would be enough to make your heart content. His happiness and well-being struck me at once. He almost glowed like a radiant sun. He looked really happy. His casual talks and small jokes, of his own style, were the coverings of his deep thoughts. In the middle of his happy mood Srila Gurudev said, "They have tried to cancel my ticket so many times, but if I would not come here I would better die." This was like a thunder to hear. Some one behind me said, "And I was one of them." Silence slowly pacified the wave. Soon all came back to normal. He got up and went inside the house and sat at his desk in the main room and looked through the window behind him and asked about the buildings and trees on the property. Everyone was happy because Srila Gurudev was visibly satisfied. Then he slowly went back to his room across the spacious house. Soon after Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj was taken by car to the temple along with the many sannyasis and closer devotees.

When we arrived at the temple he was already giving a talk to devotees that filled the room to its limits. The door was opened so we could at least hear him. At first he again thanked the Venezuelan devotees for developing the community and especially to Purujit Prabhu for getting his visa in a "mysterious way." He glorified Sri Sri Paramakaruna Nitai Gaurachandra for inspiring all devotees here, and glorified the devotees for taking care of Them so nicely. He spoke about the Govardhan Puja and mentioned that all over the world Govardhan is being worshipped today, by Iskcon, by the Gaudiya Math Temples and in our sixty-one Temples. He said that a Govardhan-shila [stone] was given by Mahaprabhu to Raghunath Dasa Goswami and that Madhavendra Puri found the Gopal Deity at the feet of Sri Govardhan Hill. "Govardhan is 28 km away from Vrindavan," the land of Krishna.

Next he was talking about our temple situated at Govardhan village, close to Manasa Ganga and Govinda Kunda. "Radha Kunda and Shyama Kunda are located in Govardhan." And continued to say, "Srila Guru Maharaj said that in the form of a Manjari he will stay at Govardhan, go to Kusum Sarovar to collect flowers, go to Radha Kunda to offer those flowers and come back to Govardhan."

We have heard many times about the importance of our Govardhan Math. This time also Srila Gurudev did not forget to mention this important fact, "I asked Srila Guru Maharaj, 'Where do you want me to build the temple?' And he answered, 'If you have something at Govardhan I will be happy.'" He then quoted beautiful prayers of Srila Raghunath Dasa Goswamipada in glorification of Govardhan. [The full recording of this class will be posted on].

After the class Srila Gurudev chanted the kirttan "Radhe Jaya Jaya Madhava dayite...." Next he let others chant "Bhaja bhakata vatsala Sri Gaura Hari" while the Govardhan cake-hill was being offered. A long kirttan then followed in front of Sri Sri Nitai Gaurachandra.

He left at 7:00 pm, with a crowd lovingly and affectionately bidding him farewell. Again he was very happy.

The initiation is schedule for Tomorrow since the luggage of Kalindi with japa malas are not here yet. She went this night to the airport to get them. Let's see what's next.

With obeisances to all the devotees,
Vidya Sundar Dasa Adhikari

Tour Diary entries:


14 November 2004, Caracas. Day Five.


Day started late for us. Temple program ends late so naturally we are all up late. Six of us share one key to our apartment so we follow the last in the group. But there is no loss -- devotees share the news of Gurudev's life easily and with great pleasure. So here we are:

Today Srila Gurudev got up late. His health wasn't good. At 9:30am he gave initiation to eleven harinam aspirants and to the eight girls ready to take diksha, the brahmana initiation. Bhakti Lalita Didi told me that the ceremony was one hour long, after which Srila Gurudev took good oxygen form his oxygen apparatus. His health condition somewhat improved over yesterday and when all sannyasis went to the temple he decided to stay back. He then was hooked up to the live video transmission from the temple. As he was watching Sripad Goswami Maharaj giving class the connection was interrupted and the monitor showed poor picture. Not considering his health situation he got up and left for the temple to be there with devotees. When I heard this I was shocked. It reminded me a short talk we had this morning with visiting guest from California in regard to Gurudev's overpowering strength, conclusion of which was a quote of Srutasrava Prabhu I have slipped in, "He is not one of us though he mixes with us like one of us." Our Acharya lives on his own plane.

We were at the temple late after visiting the noble ninety-two year old mother of Kalindi Didi. Kalindi praises her by saying, "She was always teaching me to look for God." She gave her mother Maha-prasadam and her mum gladly accepted it. Kalindi Didi and Anukul Chandra Prabhu gave her much affection. I felt Gurudev's mood again. She did not want us to leave and on our way out she told us that we are like doctors, referring to our white dhotis and kurtas. But I thought she meant the mood. In fact Kalindi wants to bring her to Gurudev on a wheelchair once she gets it. Many devotees visited her mom and I think both mother and daughter are great personalities in disguise.

Sripad Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Maharaj referenced the recent Govardhan festival by recalling what Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Sridhar Maharaj, described as "Srila Saraswati Thakur's new meaning of Govardhan." Srila Saraswati Thakur said that as the cowherd's of Govardhan do not care for any social rules in the breeding of cows, so also the devotees of Krishna do not care for any social distinction (such as Brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra) but go on extending the Krishna conception to expand their group.

He then quoted a verse by Baladev Vidyabhushan, Govindabhidha mandirasrita padam hastastha ratnadivat: according to their respective vision Rupa Goswami and Sanatan Goswami have described Govinda like a jewel whose facets shine revealing different light as it rotates in the palm of their hands, and when the translator went on saying, "Krishna is like a..." he corrected him "No, you have to say 'Govinda,' because here the parallel is our Gurudev, Srila "Govinda" Maharaj. He is appreciated variously according to the affection in the hearts of the different devotees." This made way for his introduction of Sripad Bhakti Lalita Akinchan Maharaj and Sripad Bhakti Vijaya Trivikram Maharaj.

Sripad Akinchan Maharaj started off speaking form the local ground, mentioning the national freedom fighter and revolutionary, Simon Bolivar. He went on giving more examples from his own country, South Africa, like Nelson Mandela, etc. As the purpose of the description was getting clearer he summed up by showing the fallibility of the mentioned personages and then indicating the greatest revolutionaries of modern times, like Srila Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupada and Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. They revolutionized our consciousness.

Sripad Akinchan Maharaj spoke about how he came under the shelter of Srila Guru Maharaj, and how Srila Swami Maharaj's Bhagavad Gita As It Is revolutionized his life, and how he missed him in further search for the Absolute Truth. However Yudhamanyu Seva Vikram Prabhu, then in South Africa, was distributing audio tapes of Srila Sridhar Maharaj, and a seventeen page pamphlet produced by Sripad Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Maharaj -- that was later published as a booklet, Guardian of Devotion -- and thus he got connection and service to the Paramahamsa Guru. He appealed to the gathered devotees to take advantage of the association of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj by attentively listening to his words.

Then Sripad Bhakti Vijay Trivikram Maharaj was requested to speak in Spanish. His talk was very happy and animated but there was no translation so I beg to be excused for not being able to mention the content. A few minutes later we heard coming a kirtan party and to the surprise of all Srila Govinda Maharaj entered the temple room! The mood diametrically changed. All of us got up, our Acharya paid respects to Sri Sri Paramakaruna Nitai-Gaurachandra and slowly set down in his vyasasan. We knew there was some urgency in him that made him come here. At that time we did not know what.

The room was stuffy. Ranaji Prabhu grabbed a fan to give relief to his Guru. Someone passed a small electric fan to the hands of Sripad Goswami Maharaj who graciously directed the air on the holy body of the Acharya. I had a chance to set up my recording equipment to make a recording, which will be hopefully posted on We were still standing in surprise when he started speaking with great difficulty, "Today my health is not good, but I took some oxygen and I could come. I am now fealing better." But we new he was not so well. I fail to describe properly his humility.

As we heard not long ago from Sripad Goswami Maharaj, the jewel Govinda being compared to Srila Govinda Maharaj, had now become manifested in front of our eyes. He was drawn to come to reciprocate the affection of the devotees. He cannot but do this. Now when he is here, the former speeches could be fully realized.

Srila Gurudev started to draw out the importance of kirtan and sravan, chanting and hearing. "Out of the principal nine types of bhakti processes they are the best. It is a maha yajna in kaliyuga organized by Mahaprabhu. Krishna-varnam tvisakrishnam sangopangastra-parsadam, yajnaih-sankirtana prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah." (Bha: 11.5.32)

He quoted some beautiful Bengali verses in glorification of Mahaprabhu, which were very much liked by Srila Sridhar Maharaj, and explained them. "Mahaprabhu appeared with the heart and halo of Sri Radha and organized the sankirtan maha yajna." He added here that during initiation "we are (he is) giving the Pancatattva Mahamantra. This mantra has taken a divine form for distribution of the Mahamantra: Hare Krishna...." He then continue to translate the verse, "Krishna who took the form of Mahaprabhu, Gaurahari, is worshipped in kali-yuga. The nine devotional moods [hearing, chanting, remembering the Lord, offering prayers, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, serving the Lord as maid, worshipping the Lord, becoming His friend and fully surredering to Him] will worship that divine form of Krishna as Mahaprabhu."

Srila Gurudev then quoted another verse (Cc. Antya 4:71) "Tara madhye sarva-srestha nama-sankirtana, niraparadhe nama laile paye prema-dhana. There is no doubt that by chanting the Name without offence and happily we will have great hope for our divine life."

Srila Gurudev expressed his happiness about the sankirtan that goes on in South America and Mexico and how they are taking it up with whole heart. He glorified Sripad B.K. Ashram Maharaj and the nine temples opened by him in Mexico.

His Divine Grace also spoke about his critical life situation: "Yamaraj often visits me. He came to me many times but each time Srila Guru Maharaj gave me protection. He continues to give protection to me and to his teachings at present. We have very pure teachings because we have two important things in his mission: sincerity and chastity." At the end he blessed all the devotees here on behalf of Srila Swami Maharaj, on bahalf of Srila Guru Maharaj and from his own side by saying, "And whatever little I have got, be with you."

He then was requested to chant the "Jaya Radha Madhava Kunja Bihari" kirttan, and he started singing without hesitation, though with difficulty. Kirtan picked up and when someone took up the lead and devotees got up to dance Srila Govinda Maharaj stood up with his hands raised up high! All were chanting repeatedly and with increasing ethusiasm "Nitai-Gaura Haribol! Haribol! Haribol!" I wish you cold see this. The atmosphere was very charged and the kirtan contiued a long after Srila Gurudev left the temple, as if to respond to his speech. There is no doubt that devotees here have captured his heart.

There are more initiations scheduled over a period of a few days to facilitate the approximately 100 prospective initiates.

Tour Diary entries:


15 November 2004, Caracas. Day Six.


Initiations continued. Surprise. There were a dozen of new initiates, among them 3 year old Kanu Das, the son of happy Hari Prasad Prabhu. "Now you have become big," said Srila Gurudev to the 'small' Prabhu, as he was handing him japa mala [chanting beads]. After the ceremony Srila Gurudev rested in his chair and watched picture reports on his computer. Some newly arrived devotees were being introduced to him. He was happy to see all of them to reciprocate their simple hearted affection and appreciation for him. A sincere newly initiated girl asked him about the difference between vaidhi bhakti and raga bhakti. Srila Gurudev gladly answered her in a concise and clear way by describing what is raga bhakti. He said that it is the heart's affection to serve Sri Guru and Sri Krishna "by offering one's whole existence."

As he was getting up to go back to his quarters a young devotee jumped up to serve him with his arm. Another senior devotee stood up to secure the way for Gurudev but he chose the arm of the former. No one knows his mind.

He went to take lunch and after taking rest, then at approximately 3pm he, along with his entourage, went to the park. Why? Today is the disappearance day of Visvarenya Srila Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad, and Srila Gurudev wanted to see the park that Swami Maharaj used to go for a walk. It took four cars to take all of the assisting devotees. The weather, however, was not favorable and after a short time all us got back into the cars. But Srila Gurudev was happy "at least to see where Swami Maharaj was walking" way back in 1975.

The Harinam sankirtan started in the temple and at 7pm two sannyasis arrived to speak about the glories of Srila Swami Maharaj. When they entered the temple, kirtan was as usually -- hot. I recalled the recent class of Srila Gurudev, "Sankirtan is going on very nicely all over Venezuela." It also reminds me of what I heard the other day from a local Prabhupad disciple, "Srila Swami Maharaj, when he came here for the first time said that Venezuela will be the first Krishna consciousness country."

After Gurupuja we all sat to listen to Sripad Siddhanti Maharaj about his early days and how he came in touch with Srila Prabhupad. The talk was scheduled for a limited time but as devotees went on to describe the history of the Krishna consciousness universal revolution, it appeared that time had stopped. It was beyond any control. He said "the whole world worships Prabhupad" and "Srila Govinda Maharaj considers himself as his disciple." All of us know that Srila Govinda Maharaj was requested by Srila Guru Maharaj to study Bhagavad-gita from Srila Prabhupad. Maharaj then reminded us of the close and loving relationship between these two. Srila Prabhupada used to take opulent breakfasts of puri, subji and dahl, and use to ask to the at that time young Gaurendu Prabhu, "What did you eat this morning?" Srila Govinda Maharaj would reply, "Muri" [puffed rice]. To which Srila Prabhupad would respond "Muri -- only cheating the stomach!"

Then Sripad Ashram Maharaj spoke in Spanish. There were many wonderful speakers among which Ramanuja Prabhu stood up as a marvellous story-teller. He really had something to say about the book distribution of the 70's as he was the number one book distributor in South America at that time. Kanta Krishna Prabhu, Ashta Bhuja Prabhu and Jahnavi Didi expressed their appreciation and chanted the glories of Srila Prabhupad whose presence is so prominent here in Venezuela.

Festive prasadam was served past 9pm.

Tour Diary entries:


16 November 2004, Caracas. Day Seven.


Disappearance Day of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Srila Gurudev felt ill this morning and had to cancel the initiation ceremony. Instead he sat in the living room with devotees who came for the scheduled initiation. Sincere questions gradually appeared from the crowd. Someone was curious to know how to maintain steady attraction for spiritual practising life. Srila Gurudev revealed the reason for practitioners' flickering progress. He said that a person has to go through levels gradually and should not expect immediate result.

The temple received Srila Gurudev and all the sannyasis late afternoon. Sripad Goswami Maharaj stayed back and Srila Gurudev showed his concern that he should be in the temple also by saying, "He is our substantial devotee."

And in few moments our World Acharyya, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj started glorifying the pioneer World Acharya, Vishvavarenya Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad. He spoke strong and in a happy mood, for nearly one and half hours. We were hearing once again Srila Prabhupad's pre-sannyas life of struggle for spreading the message of Mahaprabhu, the reason for his business collapse and who was the person behind him taking sannyas. Once again Srila Govinda Maharaj submit himself as a servant and a disciple of Srila Swami Maharaja. He mentioned that, "Srila Guru Maharaj was a back pusher but I have a mood of Swami Maharaj Prabhupad: going to the front."

When Srila Prabhupada met Srila Saraswati Thakura Prabhupad, he said, "I have met some one who is really spreading the message of Mahaprabhu." After the break up of the Gaudiya Math, Srila Swami Maharaj was an ardent supporter of Srila Sridhar Maharaj. He had two houses, one for living purpose and a second served as his laboratory and had a few residential rooms. He rented those rooms for Srila Guru Maharaj. "I was staying there to learn Sanskrit but Guru Maharaj was mostly in Nabadwip. The house is still there almost in the same condition." He said, "I know why his business fell down." Then he added joyfully, "I have seen it. He was always preaching and when he started preaching to his clients slowly he lost customers"

One day Pishima, Bhavani Didi, asked him, "Why do you do that? It is better if you take sannyas and preach." But Srila Swami Maharaj declined, saying, "Who will take care of my family?" She replied, "My whole family will take care of them." Pishima had seven sons, "all of them had some wealth."

Then Srila Prabhupada went to Srila Sridhar Maharaj and asked for sannyas, "I want sannyas from you today." But Srila Sridhar Maharaj, who was a close friend of the family, replied, "Wait for six months and we will see." But he could not wait and insisted the ceremony would take place soon. Srila Sridhar Maharaj however was put in a difficult position and said, "If you want now, then please go to Kesav Maharaj. I gave him the mantra so he can give it to you." Srila Govinda Maharaj slipped in, "This is his back pushing style example."

Srila Govinda Maharaj sung one of the favourite songs of Srila Prabhupada, "Jaya Radha Madhava...," at the end of his glorification speech. An amazingly long and joyful kirtan followed . Srila Govinda Maharaj sat all the way until the end with us.

The class was recorded and video taped so please check in the near future.

—Vidya Sundar Das

Tour Diary entries:


17 November 2004, Caracas. Day Eight.

  My Last Day in Caracas

This is my last day in this wonderful environment with Srila Govinda Maharaj in Caracas. Fortunately [or not] tomorrow Sripad Ashram Maharaj is also going to the airport to catch his flight to Mexico so there is an extra seat in the car.

My last hours are spent burning DVDs and CDs for the sweet devotees of Venezuela. Srila Gurudev just went out for a ride this sunny afternoon, and the house has become somewhat quiet.

So, let us start from the beginning. This morning there were more initiations and by ten o’ clock the ceremony was complete with over ten more Venezuelans accepted as disciples of Srila Gurudev. When we arrived with Gaurachandra Prabhu, Srila Gurudev was sitting in his chair as usually surrounded by devotees. One may say he is never tired of the devotees. We can only suggest as we have heard from him that from his early life devotees were his only association. Just like we could see him on yesterday’s walk: he was making sure that certain devotees were always with him in front of the marching group.

As Srila Govinda Maharaj sat he related the story of a dog bitten by a snake and how he tried to save his life. He said, “I have some affection for dogs.” We also have seen him telling devotees who just touched a dog, “Please wash your hands -- with soap.” Srila Gurudev sometimes talks about simple things but beneath is always a profound depth of divine life. He also mentioned, “Swami Maharaj’s conception was that all affection of a person can go to dog and not to Krishna.” Someone else added, “Prabhupada used to say ‘They’re worshiping dog instead of God.’”

As he was ready to take lunch prasadam we could hear him chanting Sanskrit slokas in a beautiful meter. He talked about their meaning to the appreciation of his close devotees. We could hear Sripad Goswami Maharaj and Srutasrava Prabhu responding to the quoted verses.

After lunch was the usual rest time, after which our Acharyya came down into the living room at about 4pm. He looked very strong and content. A devotee who was asked to open a branch representing Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in the virgin country expressed his incapacity to do it and suggested the possibility of instead moving to an existing centre. Srila Govinda Maharaj said, “Yes you can go there for your nourishment, but you cannot leave our mission in your country.” He was stern.

Srila Govinda Maharaj gave the example of Yudhamanyu Prabhu Seva Vikram who single handedly is making the effort to preach in China. He said, “He is a simple-hearted man. When I ask him to do something he just does it without asking a question.” He recalled the purchase of property in Soquel, California: “I had my one foot in the car and another on the ground. I asked him to buy the land and he just did it. He did not have money at that time. But now we have a big property in Soquel.”

Srila Gurudev told us, “Money and help will come from above if you try. And I have faith in this.” He affirmed. “Krishna will help if you try.” Later Sripad Goswami Maharaj referred to this by saying that when we preach all things are harmonised and obstacles melt down.

Srila Gurudev also reflected on one of his recent walks on a nearby Caracas hill: “I have seen poor people’s houses on the hill. They live four persons in one room, and I was thinking I want to live like this -- in a simple way.”

Someone else was asking forgiveness for something, and Srila Gurudeva was very soft saying, “There is not offence.” Instead he was encouraging the devotee to do service for Srila Guru Maharaj. He gave a practical suggestion. He said, “If I cannot do things alone I always ask for the help of others.” He was assuring. “I do not know Krishna but I know Guru Maharaj. He is always helping me.” We also saw him today helping a newly arrived and sick disciple from Colombia by harmoniously arranging her accommodation even though the place was already crowded.

We see Srila Gurudev here as the source of our life inspiration. To be with him around is an unparalleled experience. We have learned many things in these few days. We have heard others speaking about Srila Gurudev, and we have seen how others associate with him. We have been introduced to a particle of a drop of the vast ocean of the life of a Vaishnava, and have been overwhelmed at times. We have heard some new things. We have been inspired and thoughtful. And particularly recall Srila Gurudev saying, “Devotion and emotion are two different things.”

This series of reports has been my humble attempt to please the devotees. These reports were done with good intention, and if any offences were committed I take the blame and ask the Vaishnavas for forgiveness.

sakala vaisnava charane more koti namaskar
ithe aparadha kichu nahok amar

— Vidya Sundar Dasa

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8


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