by Caru Chandrika dasi | Dinanath prabhu, Sukhada didi and myself (Caru Chandrika dasi) began our journey to Kathmandu, Nepal from Mathura on 6th April. The same day Nityananda prabhu and Balabhadra prabhu came from Punjab and met us in Lucknow which was on the way. We stayed one night in a small town there where we performed naga sankirtan. Many people invited us into their homes and joined in the kirtan. We also distributed many books along the way. Then the next morning we went to the train station to catch our train to Gorakpur (near the Nepalize border), but the train was delayed. Anyhow, while waiting for the train we met some Iskcon devotees and ended up having an ecstatic kirtan with them up and down the platform!
The next day we arrived at the home of Shyam prabhu and his wife, along with their sons, Prana Gopal prabhu and Premananda prabhu in Kathamandu, where Gurudeva stayed when he visited in 2009. Then the following day, Shyam prabhu took us to a Siva Temple very close to his home, where there was a Bhagavat saptaha going on. He introduced us to the priests there who invited us to come back and do kirtan at the end of the program. So we did, and as you can see Dinanath prabhu led an ecstatic kirtan!
During the program, Sukhada didi set up a book table inside the temple and sold many books after the program. Also, I went just outside to distribute books immediately after the program. As you can see Gurudeva’s books went down very well, and a lot of books were distributed that evening!
The following day we all went on naga sankirtan and book distribution with Gaura Nitai. When we arrived in the town centre we saw that there was a big demonstration going on. Dinanath prabhu said, “Let’s go somewhere else, there’s too many police here!’ I said, “No problem! The police will be happy to take our books.” And here’s the proof!
In fact, we passed right through the middle of the protest where they were all shouting something in Nepalize which sounded to us like ‘Jaya Govinda! Jaya Gopal! , and so we all joined in, shouting along with them ‘Jaya Govinda! Jaya Gopal!’ which certainly attracted the attention of the people there, as well as the television camera crew!
We continued distributing books until we arrived at the subjee mandir (vegetable market) where we planned to do biksa (beg for bhoga).
There we performed naga sankirtan and book distribution throughout the whole market. The second time around we begged vegetables, and every stallholder happily gave us lots of veg!
Just as we were about to leave, Balabhadra prabhu tried to entice the local kids to chant, but they kept saying, “No! No! No!” Then Balabhadra prabhu shouted, “No Hare Krsna?”, Then one boy responded, “No, No, we are not (Hare Krsna’s)! Most of the kids were from Christian or Buddhist backgrounds. So Balabhadra prabhu then loudly shouted, “No Hare Krsna!” Then one boy shouted back, “No Hare Krsna! And then all the kids began to join in with “No Hare Krsna!”. Balabhadra prabhu then started dancing and chanting, “No Govinda! No Gopala! And sometimes Jaya Govinda! Jaya Gopal!” to which they began dancing wildly and chanting in response. Then Sukhada didi came along and began encouraging them more in chanting. This ecstatic kirtan with the kids went on for at least thirty minutes during which time, funnily enough, all the mothers of those kids started approaching us for books! Then other stall holders started asking for books, and we ended up selling more books during that kirtan to the stall holders who approached us, than when we ourselves approached them with books in the first place! The motto here is ‘If you love me, love my dog!’ If you want to win over the heart of anyone, first win over the hearts of their near and dear ones!
The next day we went on naga sankirtan and book distribution with Gaura Nitai through the local town. Everyone was attracted to Gaura Nitai and came and offered Them fruit, flowers or money. People were very happy to see and hear us chant, and they became very receptive. Almost everyone we approached happily took some of Gurudeva’s books and gave donations.
That day I met a man called Mukunda, who immediately smiled, offered respects and said “Hare Krsna!” I offered him a book which he was very happy to receive, saying “I’m also a devotee of Krsna!” He gave me a donation and then I said, “We are planning to have a program in a few days, would you like to come? He said, “Yes, yes!” very enthusiastically. So I took his phone number, and just as I was about to go, I thought, ‘Why don’t I ask him if he wants us to come to his home and have a program there also?’ So after asking, he said, “Yes, why not, that would be a great honor! Would you like to come this evening? I said, “Okay I’ll phone you later and we will arrange.” We ended up going to his house that evening. The lights went out (which they often do in Nepal) shortly after we arrived, so we ended up having a candlelit program! Dinanath prabhu led nice bhajans and then an ecstatic kirtan, to which we all got up and danced together. They very much enjoyed chanting and dancing in the kirtan. Then I spoke Hari katha for around one hour, intermittently asking Mukunda and his family questions. One very interesting thing was that after I asked, “Who is your istadeva?” Mukunda said, “Krsna.” Then I asked “Which Krsna? Laxmi Narayan? Dwarkadisa Krsna?” etc. Then he said, “Just Krsna”. I then recited the sloka ‘aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas …. and explained how Vrajendranandan Syamasundara is our one and only istadeva. I asked, “Why are you worshipping Krsna? What is your desire? Your name is Mukunda, so do you want liberation?” Mukunda answered, “No! Only Krsna bhakti, nothing else!” In the end we had another nice kirtan and took a little fruit prasada which they offered us.
We discussed arranging another program in the local Siva Temple where we had the first night’s program. Then the next day (which happened to be New Years day in Nepal) Mukunda arranged a program there for our last day in Kathmandu, two days later!
So with very little time to advertise, Nityananda prabhu designed and printed this poster together with a thousand fliers in just a few hours! Then in the afternoon we went on naga sankirtan through the local town and distributed books along with all the fliers!
That evening we printed more fliers and distributed them along with Gurudeva’s books in the local area. However Sukhada didi went to distribute books in Tamil (a very popular tourist location). She particularly wanted to approach the owner of a new age book shop who had previously bought some of Gurudeva’s English books to sell. After showing him all of Gurudeva’s new English titles as well as some of the old ones, he was happy to buy some ‘Yoga for peace’ and ‘The hidden path of devotion’ as well as ‘Gaura-vani pracarini’ and other books. He also asked for Bhagavad gita and Venu gita, which he said were very popular from last time, but unfortunately Sukhada didi didn’t bring any. So if anyone is planning to go to Kathmandu in the near future, maybe they can take some to him!
Then the next morning Nityananda prabhu went out early to do ‘biksa’ – to collect ingredients for halva prasada distribution for the program that afternoon. That morning Sukhada didi had said “it won’t be possible to collect all the ghee etc. to make the halva in time for the program.” However Nityananda prabhu had faith, and Krsna certainly reciprocated! Nityananda prabhu said that although he tried to ask people for donations of ghee, sugar etc. in his broken hindi, still people were very friendly and supportive, but mostly gave money rather than the ingredients he was trying to collect. However after a few hours Krsna sent some young boys who spoke English and were inspired to help him go house to house and shop to shop, to ask for donations in Nepalize, while he continued doing kirtan. Then with their help, after only one hour he managed to collect all the ingredients besides one container of ghee, which he was then able to purchase from the donations. He then came back and handed over all the ingredients to Dinanath prabhu to start making the halva, but he was busy cooking kichari. So with very little time to go before the program, Nityananda prabhu himself ended up making the halva with the help of a young local girl who guided him through it. Then he himself distributed the kichari and halva – which turned out to be very tasty, along with that girl (in the photo) after the program! He said the most rewarding part was seeing the people who donated the ingredients or money relish the prasadam afterwards!
Around one hundred people came to the program. As the Nepalize people seemed to like bhajans and kirtan, Dinanath prabhu sang for a few hours and spoke some Hari katha in between. In the end I spoke about the glories of Hare Nama, which Mukunda (whose home we went to) translated into Hindi. Then to finish off, Dinanath prabhu led a really lively kirtan during which everyone (including all the old Nepalese men and women) danced to their hearts content! Sukhada didi then distributed free books to everyone who came to the program, and Nityananda prabhu didn’t allow anyone to go without taking prasadam!
One thing I must say about our whole preaching experience in Kathmandu, is that all the locals were very warm, friendly, supportive and really happy to have the ‘Hare Krsna’s’ in town! So I think they’ll remember us!
Shortly after the program we got news that there was going to be a bus strike in Nepal for the next three days, so then we had to quickly pack our bags and jump on an overnight bus to the Nepalize border!
Srila Gurudeva ki! Jaya! Srila Gurudeva’s transcendental book distribution ki! Jaya!