August 3rd 1997
Dear disciples and well-wishers,
Please accept my blessings and best wishes. All glories to Srila
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Your ever well wisher,
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
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
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
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
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
August 7th 1997
Durban South Africa
August 8th 1997
Starting Durban, South Africa proceeding to Johannesburg
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
After the Srimad Bhagavatam class we had special love and trust
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
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
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
Thus ends the Jayapataka Swami Travelling Preaching Diary
August 8th 1997
Durban & Johannesburg South Africa