What does it feel like to be a padayatri on the All India Padayatra? Sri Krishna Dev Dasa provides some insight in this special feature article.
By Sri Krishna Dev Dasa
It’s been three years since I joined ‘The All India Padayatra’. I am twenty-five years old from the Satara district in Maharastra. My mother is a teacher and my father owns a business. I have a diploma of teacher’s education (D.T.Ed) and I came to Krishna consciousness by the mercy of Lokanath Swami. I have also participated in other walks such as the Vraj Mandala Parikrama with Parusurama Dasa and his team. Actually, the Mayapur and Vraj Mandala Parikramas were started by the ‘All India Padayatra’ and these parikramas are also a type of padayatra.
The life of a padayatri
When I am on padayatra I feel like I am in Goloka because I am fully dependant on the Lord. When the Lord’s chariot stops –we stop. When the Lord rests –we rest. When the Lord stands in the rain we also stand in the rain.
We all have many different services on padayatra. When we were in Kerala recently Acarya Dasa, Anandi Gaura Dasa, Matsyavatar Das, Rasoustav Dasa, Arjun Krishna Dasa, Bhrabalaram Dasa, Yashvardhan Dasa and myself and other devotees distributed many books. Partha Sakha Dasa drives the tractor on padayatra; Sevanand Dasa is part of our advance party team; Damodar Lila Dasa is our head cook assisted by Arjun Krishna Dasa and Sarvpoojit Dasa; Prahlad Vastal Dasa heads up our accounts department; Anandambudhi Dasa and Bhakta Rahul drive the bullock carts and take care of the bulls; and Acarya Dasa, our leader, takes good care of all the padayatris. He makes sure that we attend mangal arati everyday and that we are taking care of our sadhana by practicing proper hearing and by reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. He is a very inspiring and motivated leader and he is a very important part of my padayatra life.
The importance of book distribution
Srila Prabhupada said that if anybody concentrates his mind on distributing Krishna’s books then he is always thinking about Krishna. This is samadhi –and it is something we have come to realize more and more on padayatra. The more books distributed the more one’s quality of chanting increases. Whenever we come in contact with people who are interested in Krishna we take their telephone numbers and preach to them even after we have left their village or city. These activities help us realise what living a happy life is like.
Padayatra is like ISKCON’s army. When a devotee joins padayatra he has no chance of developing an attachment to any place since we are always on the move. Anyone who is part of padayatra can achieve the spiritual goal of life. If you complete your japa before 7’o clock, read Srila Prabhupada’s books everyday for a minimum of one hour, hear from Srila Prabhupada and your Guru, associate with devotees and are punctual –then automatically Nitai Gaurasundar gives you mercy.