Visit to Kaliningrad

H.H. Dhirasanta das Goswami Maharaj shared His impressions from visiting Kaliningrad (Russia) in August 2016.   ddgin-baltiysk-edit "After the Baltic Summer Festival I went to Kaliningrad for one week. A householder couple: Hemamukhi D.D. and Gaurahari das from Kaliningrad came and picked me up from Lithuania to drive me to Kaliningrad.   Arriving at the border we then went through what is considered now a normal procedure of a two to three hour ordeal of passport and customs control. Anywhere else would have taken no more than 20 minutes so I was interested to find out why such a system has been emplaced. It reminded me of the Soviet times when I once travelled with Devamrita Swami and crossed Soviet controlled borders to East Berlin and Poland. Perhaps in those days there where legitimate reasons for such control but what could possibly be the reason today.   lavdsj6ye1s As I am not a fan of injustice I asked Gaurahari prabhu who was driving; What is the reason? Are they conscious that they are putting people through so much inconvenience? What is the sense? His reply was, "there is no sense or reason to put only one lady to check all passports. Yes they are conscious of their abuses but they simply do not care. Then added, today we were lucky because it can sometimes take much longer "     Such control would be considered acceptable if Kaliningrad was exceptionally different to any other place. So after crossing the border I looked at the countryside but it looked the same as any other place and in fact most of the land seemed to be uncultivated. On reaching the Kaliningrad town centre it was business as usual. The same shops selling the same products, selling the same drinks and food, the same dress code, the same goal - eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.     I stayed at the temple throughout the week. The house belongs to Bhakti Lata dasi and she is willing to continue sharing her property with the devotees until a more permanent place is required.   pnycqzyftci On the Sunday, the day after arriving, the devotees rented a medium size hall at a yoga institution for their weekly gathering. I spoke on the differences between material life and devotional service with the aim of going back home back to Godhead. As it was my first visit to Kaliningrad the devotees were eager to listen to my presentation.     However it was the children's workshop the next day which clinched the contact with the Yatra and this is often the same in many first time places I visit. These workshops I have are structured in such a way to captivate the children's attention for at least a couple of hours. For the parents it is a welcome break and also offers ideas on how they themselves can engage their children in Krishna conscious activities. The word soon got around that the children's workshop was a success and that I was a valuable asset to the Yatra.     The next couple of days I did two Nama hatta programs which where both in places outside of the main city. The first was in Baltiysk 50 km drive away and which is a Naval port with many Naval personnel living. The second was in Zelenogradsk just a short distance away. Both programs were in apartment homes and were well attended and appreciated. ddgin-baltiysk3 After each program we went on a japa walk. The walk in Baltiysk was especially sweet although at the same time very challenging. The challenge was the weather. It suddenly became very bleak with dark grey sky and very cold. We were walking on a pier alongside the seafront were war ships are frequently passing. It felt and looked like the end was near. The sweetness came from the discussions we had of Srila Prabhupada in between the japa.   One evening the devotees took me to a sauna. It was a private sauna rented for 2 to 3 hours. This is always a good way to befriend the male devotees and their opportunity to beat me with a bunch of leaf branches. I explained that in Finland the perfection of a sauna session is to rise to the Brahma bhuta platform by getting to the point of being able to tolerate extreme heat and extreme cold and not be effected by either.   For the Jannmastami celebrations I was asked to give a class after the abhishek. After the class I showed the devotees my "Atma in Transit" slide show. For Srila Prabhupada's appearance day I gave a class and showed them my Srila Prabhupada in England slide show.   walkinbaltisk A devotee called Arjuna was kind enough to give me some massages for several days which helped me very much and especially with my back. In fact I would say they were one of the best I have ever experienced. With a combination of stretches and pressure points he was able to resume a better circulation and give relief to stiffness and muscular tension in the body. I helped him with his spiritual needs and he helped me with my material needs.     One day he asked for a darshan along with his partner. She expressed her desire to become my disciple. I explained to her that it is early days yet having only listened to a few of my classes. However I did encouraged her to develop a siksha relationship through my online Bhagavad gita course.   ddginbaltiysk4   As far as I could tell the devotees appreciated my visit to Kaliningrad. On the last day one of the leaders offered to drive me to a town in Poland where I was to meet the devotees from Lithuania and join their bus journey to Ukraine for the Bhakti Sangam festival."