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Diary of a Traveling Preacher
Volume 4, Chapter 24

By Indradyumna Swami

His Holiness Indradyumna Swami
His Holiness Indradyumna Swami is a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada and a regular contributor to CHAKRA

September 22 – October 16, 2002

While in Kazakhstan, I corresponded with several devotees about visiting Nepal before going to Vrindavan, India, for my annual retreat. We made plans to trek to the Kali Gandaki River in the Himalayas during October to search for sacred salagram silas. The great Vaisnava saint, Gopala Bhatta Goswami, walked to the Kali Gandaki 500 years ago, after receiving an order from Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to look for salagram silas. I had made the three-week journey from Kathmandu myself, and found it invigorating and the exotic nature of Nepal fascinating.

We had already purchased our tickets to Kathmandu when I read an announcement from the American government warning its citizens of the risk of traveling in Nepal. The notice said that while Maoist insurgents are losing support for their guerrilla war against the Nepalese authorities, the situation remains dangerous for Americans.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher 
Volume 4, Chapter 23

By Indradyumna Swami

August 9-September 21, 2002

After the Woodstock Festival at Zary in the south of Poland, we returned to the Baltic Sea coast in the north and concluded the summer with eight more highly successful festivals in small towns and villages. To the very end, I cautiously awaited the predictions of the astrologers, who had warned me in May that I was in a double-malefic period and could expect violence and even death throughout the whole festival tour. They wrote that I would be "walking the razor's edge," as forces would be trying hard to bring me down.

But throughout the entire four months of the tour, we experienced not one single act of aggression or violence. And what happened to the forces that were meant to bring us down? We experienced only one victory after another, as day after day thousands of people poured into our festivals, thousands of books were distributed, and hundreds of thousands of people took prasadam. Were the astrologers wrong? Was I to conclude that their profession is no longer valid in this age of Kali? No, to the contrary they have often given me good advice. The answer could be the guardian angels above:


Diary of a Traveling Preacher
Volume 4, Chapter 22

By Indradyumna Swami

 

Hare Krishna 
Hare Krishna 
Krishna Krishna 
Hare Hare 
Hare Rama 
Hare Rama 
Rama Rama 
Hare Hare

July 17–August 9, 2002

Amid the intensity of our daily festivals along the Baltic coast, while simultaneously looking for land as a future base for our tour, we prepared for the Woodstock festival by sending a crew to the site, 550 km to the south in Zary, one week early. Woodstock is the stuff dreams are made of — a golden opportunity to present Krsna consciousness in a gigantic way to thousands of people. Jurek Owsiak, voted the most popular man in Poland two years in a row, hosts 350,000 young people in a gala rock festival that is the biggest annual musical event in Europe.

The two-day festival is a tribute to the many young people who help him raise funds for disabled children, set to a theme of no drugs and no violence. To help project this image, each year he calls on our festival tour to participate by sharing our philosophy and lifestyle with the kids. We set up a village of tents displaying various aspects of Vedic culture, and our stage engages the kids throughout the day and night with a variety of devotional entertainment.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher
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.


Thanks and appreciation from oldchakra.com to our sponsor and host,

Diary of a Traveling Preacher
Volume 4, Chapter 20

by Indradyumna Swami

June 28 – July 3, 2002

As we drove north to the Baltic Sea coast, I looked forward to the first festival of our summer tour. It was to be held in Kolobrzeg, a town with a population of 100,000. Last year's festival there was the best of the tour and marked the first time the council had provided us with a prime location (next to the boardwalk on the beach). The festival included a Vedic marriage ceremony, which became the talk of the town.

This year, however, was different. The entire town council, including the mayor, had been voted out of office, and when Nandini dasi and Radha Sakhi Vrinda dasi went to the town hall to seek a permit for the current festival, the new council refused. When the pair appealed the decision, the council agreed to a proposal from an old opponent, the town architect, that anyone wanting to do a festival on council property must pay $3000 a day. According to a council member, who is favorable to the Festival of India, our antagonist slammed his fist on the table and said, "That will keep the Hare Krishnas out of Kolobrzeg."


Diary of a Traveling Preacher
Volume 4, Chapter 19

By Indradyumna Swami

June 14-27, 2002

The punch sent me reeling and knocked me senseless. When I came to, my US Marine Corps drill instructor was straddling me, angry as a hornet. He had caught me relaxing in my foxhole as a rival platoon overran our position in the hills of Camp Pendleton, California, during an exercise in 1968. He yelled at me, "Never, and I repeat, never assume the enemy is sleeping. While you are taking a break here in your foxhole, the enemy has attacked your flank and overrun you."

Last week, his instructions rang true. I was discussing with several devotees the success of the festival in Chelmza and how it appeared our opposition was sleeping, when my cell phone rang. It was Radha Sakhi Vrinda dasi. She said, "Srila Gurudeva, we have a serious problem. We're receiving reports that a group of priests are traveling along the Baltic Sea coast campaigning against us among town officials and school administrators. We're afraid we may lose the school facility in Swierzno, the only one we've been able to rent as a base this summer."


Diary of a Traveling Preacher 
Volume 4, Chapter 18

By Indradyumna Swami

June 5-12, 2002

The site of our fourth festival on this year's Polish spring tour was Chelmza, a town of 23,000 people. It is ranked as one of the poorest towns in Poland, with 28 percent of the population unemployed, and I was uncertain how the festival would be received. Previous experience has shown that such towns can be trouble spots for crime due to restless youths or simply a bored, disinterested population. However, by Krsna's mercy the Chelmza festival turned out to be one of the best ever.

The first indication that it would be successful came when 60 of us went on Harinama the day before the festival. As if obeying a signal from heaven, the cold, rainy weather cleared and a warm sun appeared the minute we stepped from our bus. It couldn't have been better timing, for as we started singing down the street, people poured out of the shops to greet both the sun and us. They were clapping and waving as we went by, and many more inside the shops smiled at us through the windows. School finished just after we began, and soon crowds of curious children began following the Harinama. Within a short time, many were dancing alongside us, while others walked along holding devotees' hands. I was amazed at their innocence and immediate trust.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher
Volume 4, Chapter 17

By Indradyumna Swami

May 30 – June 4, 2002

After much discussion, we decided not to involve the local police in the discovery of the microphone and radio transmitter planted in Nandini dasi and Radha Sakhi Vrinda dasi’s room. We know that their investigation would not go far. Last year, the police investigating the attack on our festival in Tomaszow Mazowiecka discovered that it was nine young men from a nearby Catholic seminary that committed the crime, but the culprits were never brought to justice. Had they been, the police themselves would have lost their jobs.

The only action we can take in the current case is preventative. We have hired one of the best security companies in Poland to protect our festivals. The company has advised us to secure our vehicles at our base each night to prevent tampering. We will also be installing a professional surveillance system consisting of four cameras at our base and at festivals.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher
Volume 4, Chapter 16

By Indradyumna Swami

May 20-30, 2002 – As my flight circled over Warsaw Airport waiting for permission to land, my heart beat strongly in anticipation of the great adventure ahead. This year marks the 12th anniversary of our Festival of India tour in Poland. Most of the 200 tour devotees from 15 countries had already assembled at our spring base in the northwest of the country. For several weeks they have been cleaning and repairing our 32 tons of festival equipment — including a 15m stage, sound gear, lights, tents, kitchen paraphernalia, and trucks.

After the plane had landed and I was waiting in line for immigration clearance, I called Nandini dasi and Radha Sakhi Vrinda dasi on my cell phone. They have been busy organizing festival venues for months. We had been in touch throughout the year, but during the past month we have had little contact due to my intense travel schedule. When I contacted Nandini, I asked her to give me an update.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume 4, Chapter 15

By Indradyumna Swami

May 5-20, 2002

On the evening of May 5, I boarded a Virgin Atlantic Airlines flight from New York to London on the first leg of my journey to Poland to join this year’s Festival of India tour.

As I entered the cabin, I scanned the rows of seats from front to back, hoping there might be a row free so I could lie down and get some much-needed rest. It would literally be the first opportunity I’d had in two months to sleep a full six hours — the duration of the flight. I often use flights to catch up on email, arrange my study notes, or sort out telephone numbers and business cards people have given me, little things I don’t have time to do because of my intense schedule as a traveling preacher. But this time I desperately needed to sleep. However, as I walked through the cabin, it soon became apparent that the flight was full and no extra seats would be available.

As I settled into an aisle seat, an air hostess came up and asked if everything was all right. Thinking she was simply doing her duty, I quickly said, "Yes, thank you," but I then noticed she wasn’t going away.

She smiled and said, "Can I ask you a question?"


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume 4, Chapter 14

By Indradyumna Swami

May 4, 2002–The day before leaving New York for London, I went into Manhattan with Bhakta Pankaj to puchase some sound equipment for our festival tour in Poland. It was a cold, drizzly spring day, and people moved somberly through the streets to their respective destinations making little or no eye contact with each other. Striding through the concrete canyons, engulfed by the enormous buildings that towered above us, I felt almost claustrophobic, as if cut off from the world of nature.

As we walked down Broadway and rounded the corner on to Fulton, we suddenly found ourselves standing adjacent to the former World Trade Center site. There was an eerie silence in the place, where at least 500 people stood observing the massive scene of destruction resulting from two hijacked planes slamming into the center's Twin Towers, at that time the tallest buildings in America, causing them to disintegrate and collapse with the loss of almost 3000 lives. People watching the clean-up crew, eight months after the terrorist attacks, were obviously on their way to work, school or errands, but no one could pass by the scene without stopping to contemplate the sheer force of the disaster. I saw that many were crying.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume 4, Chapter 13

By Indradyumna Swami

April 5-30, 2002– We are coming to the end of our two-month preaching tour in America, a program that has seen Sri Prahlad and I crisscross the entire country six times. Time is also flying by, for when you are doing something you like, time passes quickly, whereas when you are doing something you disdain, it goes very slowly.

The experience has been intense, and I barely have the physical strength to complete this last week. But the spiritual rewards have been bountiful— most significantly the people whose hearts we have had the good fortune to touch with Krsna consciousness.

One of the rigors of traveling through America has been the numerous security checks we undergo in the airports before each flight. Since the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11, security has been tightened at airports throughout the country. Because we travel on cheap one-way tickets, purchased a few days before each flight, the computer systems automatically notify security personnel to conduct extensive searches on us.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume 4, Chapter 12

By Indradyumna Swami

March 17 - April 4, 2002

Since arriving in America almost three weeks ago, I, Sri Prahlad,and his wife, Rukmini Priya dasi, have been on a whirlwind tour of temples, including New York, Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, San Jose, and Laguna Beach. With virtually two to three preaching engagements a day, I am unable to keep track of all the places we visit. One day merges into another, and I am left with a single impression of continuous lecturing, kirtans, and unending feasts. The intense schedule, lack of regulation, and irregular diet are not conducive to good health, but a traveling preacher must be willing to make sacrifices in the line of duty.

In an attempt to keep myself healthy, I have been trying to swim in public pools wherever I go. Usually I find a temple devotee who belongs to a local gym with a pool, and I accompany him as a guest. But rarely am I able to complete my desired regimen of forty laps, because inevitably someone in the pool wants to speak to me about Krsna consciousness.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume 4 - Chapter 11

By Indradyumna Swami

March 16, 2002

Dear Tamal Krsna Goswami,

Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Today I am writing you a posthumous letter, just as our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, did in the assembly of his disciples in Seattle when his godbrother Bhakti Prajana Kesvava Maharaja passed away in 1968.

At that time Srila Prabhupada wrote:

"Be it resolved that we the undersigned members and devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in a condolence meeting, express our profound bereavement on hearing of the passing of Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, our sannyasa guru."

Goswami Maharaja, this evening a number of your godbrothers, disciples, friends, and wellwishers are also expressing our profound bereavement that, by the mysterious plan of the Lord, you have suddenly been taken from our vision. We are still in a state of shock as to how we have become bereft of one of ISKCON's great sankirtan generals.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume 4, Chapter 10

By Indradyumna Swami

February 12 - March 7, 2002

After nearly two months spent resting and recuperating in Durban, South Africa, I realized the time was at hand for me to continue traveling and preaching. I have arranged to do a two-month preaching tour of America, and to that end I had made a reservation on a flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta, Georgia, on March 2.

Of the many things I had to concern myself with before leaving the country, I was most interested to pick up a small piece of jewelry I was having made for my Deities. Two days before my flight, I tried to telephone Cookie, the sister of my aspiring disciple, Suren Vallabjee. For many years the Vallabjee Family has owned a jewelry store in the Durban suburb of Tongat, and Cookie had been instrumental in ensuring the piece I ordered would be ready in time. After repeatedly getting a busy signal, I decided I would drive to the shop to see how the work was progressing. As I got into the car I told the driver to head north to Tongat, calculating that we would arrive at the shop about 11:00am.

As we were driving out of the temple driveway, I received a call from Classic Eyes, an optometrist at which I had placed an order for a new pair of glasses. I was surprised to learn that the glasses, including a prescription lens imported from London, were ready for collection. "That's odd," I thought, "those glasses aren't supposed to be ready until the day after tomorrow, the day I'm leaving."


Diary of a Traveling Preacher
Volume 4, Chapter 9

by Indradyumna Swami

January 19-February 11, 2002

Since my arrival in South Africa, my Indian disciple, Laksminath das, has been inviting me to participate in one of his daily Food for Life programs. For more than five years he has practically single-handedly been cooking and distributing over 50,000 plates of prasadam each week in the rural areas north of Durban. Known as Kwazulu Natal, the region is inhabited by Zulus, the largest of the African tribes in South Africa, many of whom live in abject poverty. Knowing that crime is rampant in the area and that the presence of white people in the South African townships is not appreciated by those who suffered under apartheid, I hesitated to go.

Last month, Laksminath's Food for Life van was hijacked at gunpoint in broad daylight. He had stopped to give some prasadam to a few young children on the side of the road, when three men pulled up in a car, jumped out, and aimed an AK-47 at him while demanding the keys to his van. Laksminath got out of the van slowly and stepped to the side. The men jumped in the van and sped off— with a quarter ton of prasadam inside. When the police found the van five hours later in a nearby township, it had been stripped of everything— the engine, doors, windows, tires, and even the prasadam.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher
Volume 4, Chapter 8

by Indradyumna Swami

December 23, 2001 – January 18, 2002

After our visit to the orphanage in Chelyabinsk, Uttamasloka das and I caught a flight to Moscow. It was the first time in many weeks that we’d afforded the luxury to fly, and although Russian airline Aeroflot is undoubtedly my least favorite, I welcomed the change. The rigors of driving and taking trains across the vast expanse of Siberia and through the Urals had taken its toll on me. I was completely exhausted. It wasn’t simply the mode of transportation, but living in a different apartment almost every night, eating irregularly, and having practically no regular sleep. Altogether, it had brought my health to a dangerously low level. I was aware of it because my vision was sometimes blurring, my knees gave in when I walked up stairs, and I was forgetting the most simple things. My body was warning me to slow down.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher
Volume 4, Chapter 7

by Indradyumna Swami

December 23, 2001

The road leading up to the old orphanage on the hill was icy, and so we needed several tries before our van reached the top. We'd get halfway, and then the wheels would spin on the ice and we'd begin sliding backwards. As we struggled, I could see little faces peering out of the orphanage windows, anxious that we'd make it. Deprived by destiny of mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters, they were hankering for some Christmas cheer, like all children at this time of year. When we finally succeeded in maneuvering beyond the icy patches, all the faces lit up and then suddenly disappeared. It wasn't hard to imagine where the children had gone — I envisioned all of them running out of their rooms and down the stairs to greet us.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Volume 4, Chapter 6
by Indradyumna Swami

After a few moments, I began my talk by stating that our two communities were closely related, because both had their origins in India. That I knew that gypsies hailed from India impressed the elders, especially the biggest man among them who appeared to be their leader. After I had spoken for some time about the similarities in our cultures (we are both God conscious communities and we both love to sing and dance), the leader suddenly stood up and, while pointing at the gypsy men who were practicing Krsna consciousness, challenged me loudly, "Do our people have to give up our culture to practice your religion?"


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume 4, Chapter 5

by Indradyumna Swami

December 1-12, 2001

Memories of my two-month pilgrimage to Vrindavan were still fresh in my mind as I boarded a flight from Moscow to Barnaul, deep in the Siberian countryside. As the old Russian plane lumbered down the dark runway at midnight, the dirty seats, the stench of perspiration, and the unfriendly attitude of the stewardesses all served as a stark reminder that I had, indeed, left the haven of Vrindavan's spiritual atmosphere.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume 4, Chapter 4
by Indradyumna Swami

Finally the crow opened its eyes, squawked, and flew into the air. There was a loud roar of appreciation from the small crowd as they called out, "Jai Radhe! Jai Radhe!" and continued on their way. The compassion shown for such a lowly creature astonished me and confirmed my thoughts that morning on parikrama: here in Vrindavan all creatures are accepted as eternal servants of God. Continuing on my way, I remembered a classic verse from Bhagavad-gita.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher 
Volume 4, Chapter 3


by Indradyumna Swami

October 25 - November 4, 2001

The auspicious month of Kartika, which began on November 1, is attracting pilgrims from all over India to Vrindavan. Unfortunately, not many ISKCON devotees have come, obviously due to the threat of terrorism. The only advantage seems to be that Vrindavan is relatively quiet now, and in such a tranquil environment it is easier to fix one’s mind on hearing and chanting, the very purposes for which I have come here.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume 4, Chapter 2

by Indradyumna Swami

October 9-25, 2001

As she continued staring at the Deity, we quietly paid our obeisances and left the temple. I looked at my arm and my hair was standing up. That little Vrajavasi girl was no ordinary soul. Does it matter that she has never heard of the present woes of the world?


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume IV, Chapter 1


By Indradyumna Swami

Because of the attacks, and the resulting media coverage, all the passengers on the flight were nervous and tense. I was sitting next to an African woman, who started shaking uncontrollably just before take-off. I called an air hostess, who asked me to leave my seat while she spoke to the woman. When the air hostess left, I came back and asked the lady if everything was all right. She said, "They know why I'm so nervous, but they won't let me tell anyone."


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume 3 Chapter 48

By Indradyumna Swami

September 4–15, 2001

In five days we distributed close to 50,000 invitations, and on the morning of the festival we drove to the parking lot of the hypermarche in great expectation. But as the day wore on, our hopes for a successful event were dampened by our foremost enemy: rain. Just two hours before we were to begin, huge dark clouds appeared in the sky above, and just as the festival opened they poured down torrents of rain. Nevertheless, although it showered off and on throughout the festival, several hundred people came and we considered the first day a relative success. Little did we know that it would be the last festival of the year.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume 3 Chapter 47

By Indradyumna Swami

August 21 — September 4

The day after our festival in Koluski, Nandini and Radha Sakhi Vrnda approached the town secretary in Brzezny, just seven kilometers away, with a proposal to do a festival there. He was delighted with the idea. To avoid any surprises later on, the girls warned him that we had faced a lot of opposition in the area and that several of our festivals had even been canceled. He just laughed and said such acts of intolerance would never happen in Brzezny, so they had nothing to worry about. He even signed a contract with them, authorizing the festival to take place the next day.

On the way back to the base, Nandini and Radha Sakhi Vrnda received a call on their cell phone from the police in Koluski demanding that they come immediately to an emergency town council meeting. They arrived just as the meeting started. As they walked in, members of the town council screamed insults at them. 


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Volume 3, Chapter 46
By Indradyumna Swami

August 17 - 30

I said, "Nandini, are you proposing we go back to the very same area where we experienced so much opposition?"

She replied, "And so much success, as well. The opposition to our movement there is in direct proportion to the success of our many festivals. Don't you remember how many nice programs we had there?"


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Volume 3, Chapter 45
By Indradyumna Swami

August 2-15, 2001

On August 2, myself and one disciple, Jayatam dasa, left our festival tour on the Baltic Sea coast and headed south towards the town of Zary, the site of August's Woodstock festival. I knew the road to Zary well. We had participated in four other Woodstock festivals there in previous years.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Volume 3, Chapter 44
By Indradyumna Swami

July 23-August 3, 2001

The summer is flying by as we are literally doing a festival every day. Pobierowo, Mrzezyno, Mielno and many other towns come and go, and in my mind's eye I am left with only an impression of an ocean of people before our stage in each place we visit. All 160 devotees on the tour are working hard and there is not a spare moment for anyone.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Volume 3, Chapter 43
By Indradyumna Swami

July 11-22, 2001

Miedzyzdroje is another popular resort town on the Baltic Sea coast that attracts the Polish elite. In particular, it is the favorite place for Polish film makers and movie stars, whose bronze hand imprints decorate the most prestigious part of the boardwalk along the main beach. Unfortunately, it is another of the places where certain members of the town council don't like us.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Volume 3, Chapter 42
By Indradyumna Swami

 July 2-11, 2001

Kolobrzeg is one of the principle beach resorts along the Baltic Sea coast. It's fine, white sandy beaches and quaint port attract hundreds of thousands of Polish tourists each summer. Many German tourists also come to Kolobrzeg, partly because vacations are cheaper there than in Germany and also because many German families trace their history back to the region. Kolobrzeg was a German city before World War II and was called Kolen. There are many beautiful German buildings from the 19th century in the city and surrounding areas.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Volume 3, Chapter 41
By Indradyumna Swami

June 20-July 1, 2001

The final festival of our spring tour in Konskie was the best of all. After Lodz we had planned to move north to our summer base but at the last minute decided to do one more town, just 45 minutes away. Although close, it was in another province of Poland and was different to any other town in the area. Konskie is situated at the base of the southern mountains and the people there are often referred to as mountain folk. Simple in their ways and rooted in tradition, they are often made fun of by Poles in other regions.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Volume 3, Chapter 40
By Indradyumna Swami

June 12-18, 2001

On June 12 we packed up our festival program in Gorzow Wielkopolski and headed south, back towards Lodz to begin final preparations for our festival there. Gorzow Wielkopolski had been a picnic for the devotees - we were special guests in the city and the authorities had made all the arrangements for our festival program. Devotees were relaxed and had enjoyed the preaching, but the light mood gradually changed as we drove south.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Volume 3, Chapter 39
By Indradyumna Swami

June 4-10, 2001

While planning our next festival in Lodz (the second largest city in Poland), we received a call from town council officials in Gorzow Wielkopolski, the capital of northwest Poland and the site of our final program last autumn. They desperately wanted us to participate in their upcoming annual city festivities. We explained that we were in the middle of a tour in the center of Poland and it would be difficult for us to move our whole show north. The town secretary said, "Your program last autumn was the biggest festival we've had in years (8, 000 people attended), and without your presence at our annual event we're afraid we'll get a poor turnout. "


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Volume 3, Chapter 38
By Indradyumna Swami

May 31-June 3, 2001

For many months, due to my busy schedule, my disciples have been worshipping my Laksmi-Nrsimha Deity. Here on the tour they placed Them on the altar in our temple room while upstairs, in my room, I have been doing puja to a few of my salagrams. However, after a dream I had last night, I brought Their Lordships back to my room.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Volume 3, Chapter 37
By Indradyumna Swami

May 28-30, 2001

On Sunday morning, the day after the attack on our festival in Tomaszow, we started our morning program a little late. I wanted to give the devotees some extra rest. Many had been shaken by the events of the previous night. Devotees had not seen our injured men, most of whom had returned late from the hospital, and as they entered the temple one by one, covered with bandages and in some cases bare stitches on their heads, it was obvious the damage that had been done. A number of men had black eyes and bruised knuckles. My heart went out to them. These devotees are front-line soldiers, risking their lives to spread the message of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. They mean more to me now than ever before.

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me; Shall be my brother." [Shakespeare — Henry V]

I could only imagine the karmic reactions awaiting those who attacked these devotees of the Lord:

"In time of war, the devil makes more room in Hell." [German proverb]


Diary of a Traveling Preacher Volume 3, Chapter 36
By Indradyumna Swami

May 27, 2001

I woke up yesterday prepared for an exciting day of preaching, but I had no idea that before the next 24 hours had passed I would be forced to make two of the most difficult decisions I could imagine.

As I rose from bed, my mind was racing with the final arrangements for the first festival program of our spring tour yesterday afternoon. I looked out my window as dawn revealed a beautiful, clear sky, one of the most important factors for a successful outdoor event. Since 1997, all our festivals have been outside, and during that time we have been rained out on only four or five occasions. It must be that the demigods are eager to see the chanting of the holy names of the Lord broadcast loudly throughout this part of Poland. Srila Prabhupada has stated that there is an intimate connection between mankind, demigods and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The demigods are agents of the Lord, and if the Lord requests they can make conditions favorable for devotees' service here on earth. Further inspection of the bright, spring morning revealed that even Vayu (the god of air) was bestowing his blessings upon us by holding back his gusty forces so that our many tents would not have to battle the wind.


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Volume 3, Chapter 35
By Indradyumna Swami

May 13-23, 2001

As we were busy preparing for this year's festivals at our base 200km southeast of Warsaw, I found a major Polish newspaper in the reception of our building containing an article expressing America's concern about the growing discrimination against religious minorities in Europe.

Under the headline, "Anti-Cult Law in France: Washington Concerned," the article said: "Leading American official Michael Parmly expressed his concern Tuesday to a US Senate hearing about a French bill which would threaten freedom of religion in France. 'We are worried by the language, which is dangerously ambiguous and could be used against justifiable religious associations.' More widely, Mr Parmly worried about a growing religious discrimination in western Europe and questioned 'practices targeting religious sects' in Austria and in Belgium, as well as in France, which could spread in other European countries - most notably in eastern Europe."


Diary of a Traveling Preacher Volume 3 Chapter 34
By Indradyumna Swami

April 23-May 12, 2001

On the flight from New York to London on April 23, my heart was full of mixed feelings. On one hand I was happy because my tour of the temples in America had gone well. A number of devotees had expressed gratitude that I had taken the time and energy to visit there. But I knew it wasn't just me . . . it was me and Sri Prahlad. The trip was successful because we did together what we've done for the past 10 years: we shared the entire effort - the classes, the kirtans, and the interactions with all the devotees. 


Diary of a Traveling Preacher Volume 3 Chapter 33
By Indradyumna Swami

April 12-23, 2001

On April 12 our party left Detroit for the community of New Raman Reti in Alachua, Florida. On the way I visited my sister, Anne, who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We had last seen each other five years ago at our mother's funeral in California. Mother's passing away was especially difficult for my sister and at that time we talked a lot about death, the soul, and God. As a result we had kept in touch, and her faith in Krishna consciousness had deepened. We spent the day in Chattanooga continuing our discussions, and at one point I asked her what she saw as her ultimate goal in life. She surprised me when she replied, "To remember Krishna at the moment of death."


Diary of a Traveling Preacher Volume 3 Chapter 32
By Indradyumna Swami

April 7-11, 2001

On April 7 our traveling party arrived in Detroit, Michigan. Several weeks ago while visiting San Francisco where my parents raised me, I experienced a few moments of nostalgia seeing the places where I had grown up, but controlling myself I reflected that since I have been in the material world, I have called so many places "home" and have adored millions of "mothers and fathers. " However, this current life is certainly the most important, because I met my spiritual master, my eternal father, who is directing me home, back to the spiritual world. 


Diary of a Traveling Preacher Vol. 3 Ch. 31
By Indradyumna Swami

April 1-6, 2001

While flying from Philadelphia to our next destination, Houston, Texas, I sat next to a gentleman who told me that Texans are "fiercely independent. " In a long southern drawl he said, "We're Texans first - before anything else. " He said that when Texas became an American state in 1845, it made a clause in its constitution that it could secede from the union whenever it chose to do so. That clause remains part of the Texas State Constitution to this day. 

© CHAKRA 8-July-2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Vol. 3 Chapter 30
By Indradyumna Swami

March 29-31, 2001

On March 29, Dwijamani das, a disciple of Ravindra Swarupa prabhu, picked up our party in New York City and drove us to Philadelphia. Dwijamani prabhu knows sanskrit and is well versed in many Vedic scriptures. As we began the three-hour journey, I noticed that while driving, he was memorizing verses from the Vedanta-sutra which he had written on small index cards. 

© CHAKRA 6-July-2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Vol 3. Chapter 29
By Indradyumna Swami

March 22-29, 2001

On March 27, Sri Prahald, Rukmini Priya, Dauji Krishna dasi and myself arrived in New York City after a six-hour flight from Phoenix, Arizona. It was cold and raining and the bleak New York City skyline was a sharp contrast to the beauty and simplicity of the Arizona desert from where we had come. We were picked up by Bhakta Pankaj, an Indian devotee who lives with the brahmacaris running the original ISKCON storefront, "Matchless Gifts,” at 26 Second Avenue. 

© CHAKRA 4-July-2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher Volume 3, Chapter 28
By Indradyumna Swami

March 14-21, 2001

Although I have passed through America briefly on two or three occasions, for all practical purposes I haven't been here for 30 years - more than a quarter of a century. As a result, I felt almost like an immigrant entering a foreign country. And upon arriving in San Francisco, I even behaved like one! After passing through Customs and immigration I went to make a phone a call - but discovered I had no change. Looking closely at the telephone, I saw to my surprise that one could make calls using a credit card. So I pulled out the one my son sent me to use "in case of emergencies,” and put it into the appropriate slot in the telephone. But as it started going in, I quickly pulled it out - afraid that it might disappear inside! I did this several times, unaware that the card was meant to stop three-quarters of the way in. The man standing behind me, waiting to use the phone, looked on in disbelief! He finally spoke up.

"What on earth are you doing?" he said. 

© CHAKRA 24-June-2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher Vol. 3 Ch. 27
By Indradyumna Swami

March 7-14

On March 7, I flew from South Africa to London, where I took one day of rest before traveling on to San Francisco to begin a five-week tour of our ISKCON temples in America. In London, I took a hotel room near the airport in order to get sufficient rest before my flight the next day. I was joined by my disciple, Sri Thakur Mahasaya, who kindly assisted me during the layover.

© CHAKRA 22-June-2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 26
By Indradyumna Swami

Volume 3, Chapter 26

March 1-3, 2001

On March 1, I woke up with my left eye quivering. I remembered reading somewhere in Srila Prabhupada's books that such quivering is either an auspicious or inauspicious omen. I wanted to check the books to find out which one it was, but by the time I finished my rounds and did my puja it was time to go on sankirtan. Mahesvara dasa, a disciple of Bhakti Caru Maharaja, picked me up at 9am and we left for our appointments.

© CHAKRA 14-June-2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher
By Indradyumna Swami

Volume 3, Chapter 25

February 25-28

I arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, after an exhausting 33-hour journey from India. After a few hours' rest, the devotees whisked me away to a Sunday Feast program in a large auditorium near the temple. Somehow I delivered a lecture to the mainly Indian audience, emphasizing that they should not give up their original Vedic philosophy for Western culture. The devotees presented a nice play afterwards, but halfway through I was so tired that I fell asleep, so the devotees took me back to the temple.

© CHAKRA 15-Jan-2004


Diary of a Traveling Preacher - Vol. 3 Chapter 24
By Indradyumna Swami

February 20-23

"May my eyes become overwhelmed with ecstasy by seeing the nectar waves of Vrindavan's beauty. May my intelligence drown in the nectar ocean of Vrindavan's glories. May my body become agitated by the swiftly moving currents of ecstatic bliss and thus roll about on the ground of Vrindavan. Falling down like a stick, may I offer my respectful obeisances to all the residents of Vrindavan. " [Vrindavan Mahimamrta, Introduction, Text 14]

 © CHAKRA 15-June-2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 23
By Indradyumna Swami

Our entourage of myself, Gaura Sakti, and Mickey and Sherry Goldman reached Jaipur on the morning of February 18. There we were joined by Sri Prahald and Rukmini Priya from Vrindavan. Mickey and Sherry were eager to see the sights of the Pink City.

© CHAKRA 10 June 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 22
By Indradyumna Swami

On February 13, Sri Prahlad, Rukmini Priya and myself arrived in New Delhi from Moscow. I will be spending 10 days in India, resting and recuperating from our trip to Russia, before embarking on a preaching tour in Africa.

© CHAKRA 05 June 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 21
By Indradyumna Swami

Last night we had to fly to St Petersburg from Moscow because of the large bomb that exploded in the Moscow train station yesterday. We are four devotees, and the flight was much more expensive, but we didn't want to risk taking the train.

© CHAKRA 03 June 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 20
By Indradyumna Swami

On the way to visit the Moscow gurukula this morning, we received an impassioned call from Sakatara dasa, who was at the train station purchasing our tickets to St Petersburg. In a distressed voice he said that a powerful bomb had exploded in the station on the level just below him.

© CHAKRA 02 June 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 19
By Indradyumna Swami

Today was the auspicious celebration of the appearance of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura. As Narottama dasa Thakura is one of my favorite acaryas, I rose early to read his biography, compiled by my god-sister Sitala dasi. She spent years researching his life in various sastras and will soon be publishing a book.

© CHAKRA 26 May 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 18
By Indradyumna Swami

The Moscow temple, located near the center of the city, has served a steadily growing community of devotees since 1991. There are currently more than 1000 initiated devotees in Moscow and probably twice as many aspiring devotees. The temple is the nerve center of ISKCON Russia.

© CHAKRA 19 May 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 17
By Indradyumna Swami

The flight to Moscow yesterday afternoon was uneventful. I kept my eye open for something to comment on in the diary, but there's not always material available. After all, this is the material world and things aren't generally very exciting. Krishna consciousness is the only source of interest.

© CHAKRA 19 May 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 16
By Indradyumna Swami

Today I asked Sri Prahlad to go to the temple and give the Srimad-Bhagavatam class. I remained behind, mainly so I could sit peacefully and chant my rounds. Afterwards, I read from Sivarama Swami's book, Venu Gita. The book is my constant companion on my travels.

© CHAKRA 14 May 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 15
By Indradyumna Swami

We caught the train from Ekaterinburg at 1.30am en route for Perm. The first thing I noticed upon entering my compartment was its unique reddish color, almost that of dark red wine. I laughed, because in an unusual way it caused me to remember Srila Prabhupada.

© CHAKRA 14 May 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 14
By Indradyumna Swami

Before leaving Chelyabinsk yesterday we held a program in a small orphanage. The local devotees have been visiting the orphanage several times a week for the past six months, distributing prasadam, having kirtan and entertaining the children in various Krishna conscious ways.

© CHAKRA 07 May 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 13
By Indradyumna Swami

Last night I had my first good sleep in months. I have a back problem which seems to be slowly getting worse, but last night it gave me no pain. A few months ago I had tests done in India, and the doctors said that two of the disks in my upper back are quite damaged, most likely resulting from the accident I had in South Africa several years ago.

© CHAKRA 04 May 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 12
By Indradyumna Swami

Our train left Omsk at 3pm headed for Chelyabinsk, a 12-hour ride west. On the journey we passed through northern Kazakhstan. There was no immigration or Customs, however, because the train made no stop there.

© CHAKRA 02 May 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 11
By Indradyumna Swami

This morning we went to the temple in Omsk for the program. The temple is a 100-year-old wooden house in a neighborhood just outside of town. The entire area was covered in meters of snow.

© CHAKRA 02 May 2001


Pilgrim's Diary - Upstate New York
By Vipramukhya Swami

Montecello, New York - (April 28, 2001): Gunagrahi Goswami - I'm sorry. In a Pilgrim's Diary posting in late February, written from the beach at Jagannath Puri, I mentioned that I had heard Gunagrahi Maharaja thought it was Maya to swim in the ocean in Puri.

© CHAKRA 30 April 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 10
By Indradyumna Swami

We left our apartment at 6.30am for the flight from Vladivostok to Omsk. Typical of Russia, the airport is an hour and a half outside the city. One always has to give plenty of time to get to Russian airports, as poor road conditions, police checks and bad weather are common.

© CHAKRA 29 April 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 9
By Indradyumna Swami

Upon rising today, I spent 10 minutes organizing my paraphernalia. I first rolled up my sleeping bag and mat and placed them in a corner of the room. Then I neatly folded my dirty clothes and placed them in a plastic bag near the door for washing later.

© CHAKRA 29 April 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 8
By Indradyumna Swami

Because our flight arrived so late in Vladivostok, I didn't actually take rest until 6am. I laid on my bed and dozed off for a few hours, waking to the sound of men at work fixing the apartment above us. When I sat up I couldn't figure out where I was.

© CHAKRA 27 April 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, 
Volume 3, Chapter 7

By Indradyumna Swami

January 25, 2001

We rose early today and chanted a few rounds before going to the Irkutsk temple. When we arrived, the small building was packed with young devotees. Reminiscent of ISKCON in its early days, devotees were dressed in improvised dhotis and saris, the men in white linen and the ladies in cheap, local cloth with popular Russian patterns. The young ladies wore plastic jewelry and self-made bindis. 


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 6
By Indradyumna Swami

Early in the morning we arrived at the train station in Krasnoyarsk to catch our train to Irkutsk, a 24-hour journey further east into Siberia. The black night and freezing temperatures combined with the lack of lights on the platform to make for an eerie atmosphere. As we stood there old speakers blared out passionate instructions to passengers waiting for their train.

© CHAKRA 18 April 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher, Chapter 5
By Indradyumna Swami

Exhausted from the program the night before, and tired in general from days of intense travel, I slept until 6am. When I awoke, the apartment was quiet and dark. All the devotees had gone to the temple. The night before I had suggested that Sri Prahlad give class the next morning. Everyone took that idea to heart and gave me the few hours of extra rest I needed.

© CHAKRA 15 April 2001


Diary of a Traveling Preacher
By Indradyumna Swami

I have decided to keep a diary again. Many disciples and friends have asked when I will be publishing another diary in book form, but for now I will simply send daily installments on e-mail. Perhaps at some stage they can be edited and compiled in a book.

© CHAKRA 3 April 2001

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