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Diary of a
Volume 4, Chapter 21
By Indradyumna Swami
July 4-17, 2002 – The pressure to find our own land along the Baltic Sea coast for a tour base increased when locals told us the mayor in Swierzno, where we are renting a school as a base this summer, will definitely not be re-elected next year. It was through her influence only that the school director agreed to rent us the facility this year. Furthermore, our inquiries have shown that any available property is being bought up in expectation of land values increasing after Poland joins the European Union in 18 months.
But our busy festival schedule allows us hardly any time to search for property. We are holding a major festival every day of the week except Monday. All 280 devotees rise at 5am each day and never take rest before 11pm. It is an intense but fully satisfying program, as many thousands of people are getting mercy daily. It can be compared only to drinking hot sugarcane juice — though burning the lips it’s too sweet to stop.
Thus finding a property to use as a base next year is a problem. However, it is said, "If Mohammed can’t go to the mountain, the mountain must go to Mohammed." By the grace of the Lord, this proverb came true at our recent festival in Pobierowo.
While I was observing people take prasadam in the restaurant tent, I noticed a young girl who was carefully choosing a number of sweets and savories at the counter. She impressed me with her careful choices, so I approached her and said, "You seem to be familiar with the food."
"Yes," she replied, "I know exactly what I want."
"Have you’ve eaten this food before?" I queried.
"Yes," she said, "this is the sixth festival I’ve attended."
A little surprised, I asked, "What is your age?"
"I’m 10 years old," she replied. "I’ve been coming to your festivals each year since I was four. She then smiled as she said, "Can you please serve me one of those pakoras?"
After serving her I left the tent to check on the rest of the festival. Thousands of people had packed into the festival grounds, and I could hardly make my way to the book tent. When I arrived, I noticed a woman in her early 20s looking through a Bhagavad-gita. She was wearing a sari, though I could see she wasn’t part of our festival tour due to the fact she had put it on in an unusual way. She also had a semblance of tilaka on her forehead, dark gray and oddly shaped. I noticed a number of devotees staring at her, so I decided to go over and talk to her. I said, "Excuse me, are you visiting us from a particular temple?"
"No," she said with a smile, "I’ve never met devotees, although I’ve been longing to for years. Association with devotees is so important. In Nectar of Devotion it’s described as one of the five most important items of devotional service."
Amazed, I said, "If this is the first time you’ve met devotees, how is it that you’re dressed like this and quoting scripture?"
She said, "I live in a small town in the northeast of Poland. I found out about Krsna consciousness on the Internet five years ago. Soon after that I made japa beads for myself and have been chanting every day. I also have an altar with Gaura-Nitai Deities that I carved and to whom I offer all my food. I came to Pobierowo with my parents on vacation and was delighted to see you all singing Hare Krsna on the beach. I came to the festival today to find a spiritual master. May I ask you some questions about Krsna consciousness?"
"Of course," I replied, and we sat there talking for two hours. I then asked several of the devotee ladies to take care of her, including showing her how to put on a sari and tilaka properly. I walked back to the restaurant reflecting on how the Lord mercifully directs us back to the spiritual world, when a middle-aged woman approached me and said, "This is a great festival! You should come more often."
"I’m glad you appreciate it," I said. "By the way, you look wonderful in those gopi dots."
She replied, "I got them at the Indian makeup tent. I had to wait one hour, but it was worth it. I also enjoyed reading the displays on reincarnation and vegetarianism. And after getting a bite to eat at the restaurant I’m going to watch the theater on the stage."
"How did you learn about the festival?" I inquired.
"My secretary told me," she said, as we entered the restaurant tent and sat at a table together. "It would be wonderful if you would all come back each year."
I said, "Actually, we would like to purchase land near here as a base for our festival tour and an eventual tourist attraction."
"That’s a very good idea," she said. "I’ve heard the local people say how much they love you. You’ve been coming here for years with your festival programs. Are you having any luck finding a property?"
"Not really," I replied. "We’re so busy with these festivals that we don’t have time to look."
"Well, maybe I can help you," she said. "Here’s my card. Come to my office on Monday, and we can talk."
With that, she got up and went to the front of the stage where the Ramayana Theater was just beginning. I was in a hurry, so I quickly put her card in my kurta pocket and left to check on the Indian dancers who would be performing next.
As I ascended the stage, I saw the same lady sitting in the front row of seats enjoying the theater. After the performance by the Indian dancers, I came forward to give my lecture and saw she was still there. Out of curiosity I reached into my pocket and took out the card she had given me. I handed it to my translator and asked him to translate it for me. He read:
"Mayor of Pobierowo, Head of Parent-Teachers Association, Director in charge of Regional Land Sales."
I can only imagine what the large crowd of people must have thought of me, as I stood there in front of them dumbfounded and unable to speak for a few moments. My only thoughts were, "My dear Lord, out of your kindness the mountain has come to us."
ananyas cintayanto mam
"But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form, to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have." [Bhagavad-gita 9.22]
© CHAKRA 21 July 2002
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