Padayatra is now walking through eastern Uttar Pradesh near the famous city of Gorakhpur. Srila Prabhupada had once come to Gorakhpur to meet and show the famous Hanuman Prasad Poddar his manuscripts of Srimad Bhagavatam first Canto.
â€œHitsaran Sharma was qualified to help for two reasons: he was the secretary to J. D. Dalmia, a wealthy philanthropist, and he was the owner of a commercial printing works, Radha Press. According to Mr. Sharma, Mr. Dalmia would not directly give money to Bhaktivedanta Swami, even if his secretary suggested it. Mr. Sharma therefore advised Bhaktivedanta Swami to go to Gorakhpur and show his manuscript to Hanuman Prasad Poddar, a religious publisher. Accepting this as good advice, Bhaktivedanta Swami journeyed to Gorakhpur, some 475 miles from Delhi. Even such a trip as this constituted a financial strain. Bhaktivedanta Swamiâ€™s daily ledger showed a balance of one hundred and thirty rupees as of August 8, 1962, the day he started for Gorakhpur. By the time he reached Lucknow he was down to fifty-seven rupees. Travel from Lucknow to Gorakhpur cost another six rupees, and the ricksha to Mr. Poddarâ€™s home cost eighty paisa. But the trip was well worth the cost. Bhaktivedanta Swami presented Mr. Poddar with his letter of introduction from Hitsaran Sharma and then showed him his manuscript. : After briefly examining the manuscript, Mr. Poddar concluded it to be a highly developed work that should be supported. He agreed to send a donation of four thousand rupees to the Dalmia Trust in Delhi, to be used towards the publication of Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swamiâ€™s Srimad-Bhagavatam.â€
Lilamrita by HH Satsvarupa Swami.
We are very near to the border of Nepal (100 miles) and plans are that we will soon visit Nepal. Devotees are enjoying the cool breezes blowing down from Nepal and for April the weather is wonderful. It gets a bit cold at nights and devotees have to pull over shawls as midnight arrives. We got a few light showers and some drizzling mornings. The bulls and devotees are happy with the weather.
The villagers we meet everyday are generally simple pious people. They are instantly attracted to our huge bulls, the lifelike deity of Srila Prabhupada and the all beautiful Lordships Sri Sri Nitai Goursundar. Many inquisitive people ask where the bulls are from, what we feed them and whether the deity of Srila Prabhupada is a statue or a real person. They happily accept Srila Prabhupadâ€™s books and discuss the bulls amongst themselves. We must understand that these fortunate villagers have spent their entire lives amongst bulls, cows and paddy fields which are their source of livelihood. They love and respect the cow and bull as mother and father and to see such a sight is a source of great joy and interest.
HH Mahavishnu swami visited the Padayatra 70 kilometers before Gorakhpur. He kindly spared some of his valuable time from his busy preaching schedule and enlivened the devotees with his melodious Kirtans and wonderful Krishna Katha. Besides Maharaj we have HG Akhiladhar Prabhu, a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada giving us constant valuable guidance and association. He has been walking on Padayatra India for a total of 7 years and 2 years on the American Padayatra.
Devotees of foreign origin are a great hit on the Padayatra. They are an instant eye catcher and the crowds are impressed at their sincere dedication and surrender. This a clever tactic devised by Srila Prabhupada after he saw the poor response of the Indians copying the western fashion. He presented Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhuâ€™s message using his western disciples to attract the crowds and his plan will continue to strengthen the faith of Indian nationals in their own precious spiritual culture.
HH Lokanath Swami, the Minister of Padayatra is urging interested temples to start small Padayatra groups visiting rural areas in their vicinity. This is the ideal engagement for Brahmacharis and Vanaprasthas as they can practically learn the life of simplicity, austerity and a dependence on the Lord. It is beneficial for both us devotees and the general public and this is the real system of spiritual life. Those who are spiritually advanced should visit people in general to attract them towards spirituality and this is the essence of our Acharyas forming large institutions and temples.
Padayatra is not such a difficult task. For further details you can refer to our Padayatra manual posted on ISKCON Padayatraâ€™s official website www.padayatra.com. All it needs is a group of fired up devotees who want to serve Srila Prabhupada and the public by distributing the holy names and Srila Prabupadaâ€™s books to our rural masses. They are better recipients as they have simple lives and are trained to respect God and his Devotees from their very childhood. If we don’t nourish their inherent culture then no doubt, within a short time the next generation will lose this culture. As we have entered the 21st, the age of Information Technology and Mass Media, they are already influenced by Satellite Television and Internet facilities profusely available at nominal costs. No matter whether they have a mud hut or a straw roof, they must have a TV with a cable connection.
Padayatra will be entering into Bihar this June, distributing the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and Gour Nitai to all the eagerly awaiting souls. And if you are willing to be a part of this transcendental journey then please do contact our Padayatra leader on the road, Acharya Das.
He is available on his mobile phone any time: 09719852151
See you soon!!!
Sri Sri Nitai Gour Sundar Ki Jai.
Krishna Sudama Das