Russian Winter Tour 2016

dhirasanta-goswami-russian-tour We would like to share with you some highlight of a recent Russian winter tour by HH Dhirasanta Das Goswami Maharaj.   His tour started in Samara on 5th of January with a five day holy name retreat along with HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami’s and H.H Bhakti Svarup Caitanya Swami.   It is very typical of Dhirasanta Das Goswami when assisting with a festival somewhere will then continue to travel throughout that same area to give whatever assistance he can to the different Yatras.   dhirasanta-goswami-russian-tour-map In this tour the main route went along the Tatarstan Region, The Republic of Chuvashiya, some parts of the golden circle around Moscow, and ended on the 2nd of February in Bryansk.   Overall we visited 9 centres: Samara — Almetievsk — Naberezhnie Chelni — Kazan — Cheboksary — Nizhnyi Novgorod — Moscow — Kaluga — Bryansk, along with Go-raksha (outside of Kaluga) and a Vaisnava community in Sapugoli (outside Kazan). Maharaj had offered a whole variety of assistance which included: morning Srimad Bhagavatam classes, general discourses, children programs, slideshows, public programs, nama-hatta programs, classes for brahmacaris, male sanga, kirtan malas and another full-day japa retreat. dhirasanta-das-goswami-2016-7 This second japa retreat took place 40-minutes away from Kazan in a country house temple kindly organized by Kazan devotees. There were about 30 devotees who gathered together to chant the Holy Name of the Lord. Mid-morning Maharaja took us all on a japa walk and although it was -19 C outside everyone enjoyed the experience. As we walked along the snowy pathway alongside a forest Maharaja would occasionally stop and shared with us some stories about Srila Prabhupada. Devotees were commenting later that they could feel Srila Prabhupada’s presence during the walk. dhirasanta-das-goswami-2016-5 Whenever Maharaj got the opportunity he would spend time with the devotee children and give workshops. During those programs He would show some magic tricks, teach them different dances, engaging them in all sorts of devotional activities, but done in a fun and playful manner. He also shared some realizations to the adults about the importance of raising children in Krishna consciousness and taking special care of children within our ISKCON society. dhirasanta-das-goswami-2016-3 During this tour devotees were able to get a glimpse of maharaja's artistic abilities. He has been working on an audio visual slideshow called "Atma in Transit". It is his personal offering to Srila Prabhupada on the 50th anniversary of ISKCON. The slideshow takes us on a journey of life. Within 30 minutes our whole material existence has been revealed. From our fall down from the spiritual world, to changing bodies in the many varieties of species of life, then arriving at the human form of life, the soul becoming entangled and conditioned by the three modes of nature. Deep in the pits of material life the soul then suddenly receives the Lords favour of devotional service and is finally returning back home back to Krishna. dhirasanta-das-goswami-2016-2   Along the tour devotees were asked to view the slideshow and give their feedback for possible changes. We were then able to edit it and complete the final version by the end of the tour. This final version of "Atma in Transit" was then shown at a public program in Bryansk. Hearing the many appreciations that evening from the viewers Maharaja concluded that it was now ready to offer to Srila Prabhupada.   After Bryansk Maharaj proceeded to Gomel in Belarus. He spent another three weeks in Belarus before returning to Lithuania. dhirasanta-das-goswami-2016-4   Most of the videos from both Russian and Belarus tours can be watch on the Maharaja's YouTube channel. 5-Cheboksary-3 Here Maharaj is sharing His impressions from the tour: "This was my second time visiting these regions and it is really not much different from anywhere else in Russia I have been, except there was an obvious need for travelling preachers to come there more regularly. dhirasanta-das-goswami-2016-6 Besides the usual daily activities I would normally do, I was also asked to set aside time each day for devotees to meet me and bring out, whatever needed to be downloaded, and see how I could help. Many of these isolated places do not have a large enough management system within the Yatra to foster support for devotees and so I was seen as the next best solution. One of the most common problems was husbands leaving their wives. Neglecting their responsibilities and leaving their wives to defend for themselves materially and spiritually. dhirasanta-das-goswami-2016-10 The devotees in these Yatras seemed to be satisfied with my visit and would asked if I could return once or twice a year. Although I did not make any firm commitments to anyone I was aware of some extra-special mercy given to me while I was on tour and a clear enough sign that I had made the right amount of commitment and input as a travelling preacher. Krishna-willing, I will return. dhirasanta-das-goswami-2016-11 I would like to make a special thanks to both bhaktin Mariya and bhaktin Nastya from Ukraine for their sincere dedicated services on the tour. Without their help it would not have gone as smooth as it did. Your servant Dhirasanta dasa Goswami"   Some Appreciations from devotees: "Dear Dhirasanta Maharaj! It is dark here in the wintertime and we get only 8-9 hours of light before it gets dark. And for the first time in my life I'm happy about it. You know why? Because when it gets dark they switch the street lights on.They are going to remind me of You during the cold winter. You are just like the big street-light which is illuminating us with Krsna's love. And we are just like the snowflakes under this light discovering our real nature, and shining in this light we become beautiful and just like diamonds we shine with all sorts of wonderful qualities. This is all due to the light in Your heart. I would like to open up and give this love to everyone. You were asking me a question: "Where is Your heart?" Now I can answer for sure: it doesn't matter where it is at the moment, I want it to belong to vaishnavas, to devotees of Krsna. Everything happening in my heart right now is just a reflexion of Your heart.    With Your light You make my heart become more beautiful. Thank You very much from the heart. Please accept my humble obeisances. Regards Irina Lazareva Cheboksary dhirasanta-das-goswami-2016-8 "My impressions from Dhirasanta Das Goswami's Visit. Maharaj - is alive, kind, natural, open and very humorous. I've never seen, elderly Maharajes running around the altar room so quickly. He is very artistic, courageous and positive! He did pick on us in a very funny manner "Poor me…I'm from Russia…I'm from Naberezhnie Chelni" I like how he potrayed the impersonalist, who hangs out in a impersonal Brahman in a very funny way. Also he made fun of Belarus people, who were silent when he asked them "What are we going to do?", when police wanted to arrest him. I thought it was funny "Whether you continue the class or not, it is the same." He made fun of impersonalists and showed, how wonderful it is to be a devotee of Krishna. "Another day, another mangala-arati! Another day - another 16 rounds! Another day - another Srimad Bhagavatam Class!" I could clearly see, that he treats Krishna as a Person when he said "Krishna, please don't forget me". He also showed the respectful attitude towards people, a good example of bhakti - offering a garland without rushing it, with full concentration one can possibly have. He tried to lighten us and evoke positive mood within us. He tired to share his happiness  and taste of Krishna Consciousness. Looking at him, one can truly understand, that to be a devotee is a lot more fun, joyful and more interesting and more happy, than impersonalist. In his slideshow he showed, that without Krishna, we are doomed to be unhappy slaves of material nature. That what did remain in my memory and what I liked about his association with us. I would like to thank him very much for that." Matajee Zulfia Naberezhnie Chelni   dhirasanta-das-goswami-2016-9 "Association, hearing and rendering service to HH Dhirasanta Das Goswami helped me to relax and feel myself like a child again, be open and natural. His slideshow helped me to see, how elevated devotee sees the nature and sees the God's creation in it. I liked the slideshow, because it was very colorful and with bright examples. This artificial (at least in my perception) colorfulness helped to realize how temporary our existence is. Also I could see those artificial things, that fill out our material space. The desire, that is left from watching the slideshow is the desire to go back home, to Krishna. Children's program was full of this wonderful atmosphere of love, respect and compliments. Several times Maharaj mentioned the wonderful atmosphere in our house, I partially agree with Him though, because I think, that He himself created it. We were quiet busy during Srila Prabhupad's book marathon. It's been 50 years anniversary. We've had New Year programs: Food for Life, children's programs, New Year celebration with devotees. And then again we had Food For Life and half of the devotees got sick, so it was very intense for the rest of us. So Krishna sent You, so we could get relaxed. That is how Lord is taking care of us." Matajee Elya Naberezhnie Chelni     "While I have some free time, I would like to write a review of HG Dhirasanta Goswami's visit. First thing that happend to me - when I saw Him singing "Jaya Srila Prabhupada!" the tears streamed from my eyes and I could not resist that and had to turn away from Him. These were the impressions from his first kirtan. Somehow His emotions were transferred to me and they really touched my heart. I was so happy when I found out that he is going to speak about Srila Prabhupada. I liked His method of explaining the advantages of chanting the Holy Name in this age of Kali, I liked His video, which was very deep and serious - I liked everything. It was great to discuss, what Srila Prabhupada had given us. And it was so amazing that I was lucky to have a darshan with Him! It is such a great fortune that He came to visit us! I hope that He was able to get some rest and gained some energy during his stay with us! Hare Krishna!" Ramilia Naberezhnie Chelni   Копия children-program-cheboksary-2 "Now it was our turn to triumph! The visit of HG Dhirasanta das Goswami Maharaj was the greatest mercy of Lord Krishna that He showered upon our town. Just two years ago when Dhirasanta Prabhu came to Naberijnie Chelni, He attracted the hearts of the devotees by his simplicity, kindness and His love for children. We were so happy to associate again with such an elevated personality! I would like to express to Maharaj my special gratitude for His children program that He organized specially for our kids... With tears in my eyes I was observing how our children were offering the flower garland with such great honor and respect to their teacher (Divia dd), trying to follow the intructions of Maharaj. I think that Maharaj wanted to show to us how we are rushing living our lives, that we are all sick with hyperactivity, and while hankering for material benefits we totally forgot the most important - we forgot about the Lord, we forgot about who we are and what is the meaning of our lives. The dance with the sticks added a little bit of childish fun and naughtiness into the deep and touching atmosphere. That even gave me desire to join this game. Childish ecstasy continued when Maharaj started to astonish everyone with his magic tricks. We are still puzzling over them, trying to rearrange the cups... Копия children-program-cheboksary-3 Children were so excited to get the spiritual names from Maharaj, now they will remember Krishna more often, and so the parents will do as well. There is a famous saying - "All the best is for the kids!"... For somebody "the best" means comfortable living, higher education, prestigious job.. But for my children the best thing I can give is the association of devotees, where they are able to get true knowledge and to learn how to serve and love Krishna. I am so happy that the moments of assosiation with such highly elevated devotees like Dhirasanta das Goswami Maharaj will stay forever in the memories of our children!" Anastasia Lopakova Naberezhnie Chelni