By Acarya Dasa
On April 14th we reached Thiruvananthapuram, formerly known as Trivandrum. It is the capital and largest city in the state of Kerala. The city’s name comes from the presiding deity of the ‘Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple’, who is also known as ‘Anantha’ (one who reclines on the serpent, Anantha). It is said that the deity was originally 18 miles (28 kilometers) long and it would take devotees three days to do parikrama (holy walk) around the Lord. After hearing the prayers of His devotees, the Lord reduced His size to 18 feet (0.3 meters).
A friend from Gujarat
We took darsana of the Lord and the pujaris there helped us arrange our accommodation. We stayed there for a few days doing sankirtana at the beach. We even gave our Lordships, Sri Sri Nitai Guarsundar, a dip in the ocean. One day while doing sankirtan in some part of the city, a gentleman approached us. He was very happy to hear us singing the maha-mantra. I spoke to him and told him about our Lordships and how we started our padayatra from Dwaraka and coincidently he was from Gujarat. He was really surprised, “Wow! So you all are coming from my home town. Jai! And the Lord also came to give us darsana”, he said. He was so happy that he invited us to his home for sankirtana and prasadam. This gentleman had five brothers all of whom attended our sankirtana program the next day. One of them was named Rakesh, and he was blind. He told us he had once heard a recording of Srila Prabhupada singing the maha-mantra. He then started to sing in exactly that manner. We were so happy to see him singing for the pleasure of Sri Sri Nitai Gaurasundar. The Lord showers his mercy on each and every one of us. The family gave us a donation of 7000 rupees and they also took a Bhagavatam set.
Book scores for Kerala
Since entering the district of Kerala on April 6th, we have distributed so many books. It was amazing, anyone who we tried giving a book to would wait, listen to us and then usually after seeing the book they would buy it. To date we have distributed:
5776 Maha Big Books
694 Big Books
4698 Small Books
Total books distributed: 11315
Anandi Gaura Dasa
Anandi Gaura Dasa joined our padayatra party in Nagpur last month. He is very enthusiastic. In South India we have a lot of challenges with language since the majority of people speak Tamil or English but not Hindi. Anandi Gaura Dasa was a great help; he translated from Hindi to English to everyone I spoke to. He also distributed a lot of books: 598 maha big books and 168 small books.
Matsya Avatar Dasa & Uttamnarahari Dasa
Other devotees who also distributed a lot of books were Matsya Avatar Dasa and Uttamnarahari Dasa. Matsya Avatar Dasa distributed 505 medium books and Uttamnarhari Prabhu 486 medium books.
All the padayatris did book distribution. Our book distribution was done to such a large scale that we had to constantly order new sets of books and as soon as I would order them they would get finished. This was all the mercy of the Lord, these were all chamatkars (miracles) and we, padayatris were nimitta-matram (just instruments). We spoke to Lokanath Swami about the book distribution. He was very happy, he said, “Keep going on, support each other and serve the Lord.”
We also attended a one-day Jaganath ratha-yatra (chariot festival) in Trivandrum where we distributed the following number of books:
230 Maha Big Books
60 Small Books