By Abhay Carnaravinda Dasa
Prabhupada’s Jhansi padayatra
In 1953 Srila Prabhupada, the Lord’s own senapati-bhakta (great devotee commander-in-chief), used padayatra to spread Krishna Consciousness in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. Srila Prabhupada would go around the city with his sankirtana party attracting up to fifty followers on route. Once, along with his first disciple Acarya Prabhakar, he went to Chirgaon to do padayatra there as well.
ISKCON Jhansi had previously held a padayatra in honour of Srila Prabhupada’s 108th appearance day celebrations. When we met with Lokanath Swami afterward he again inspired us to organize another padayatra. His instructions brought to mind a verse from Sri-Guru-Vandana by Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura:
guru-mukha-padma-vakya, chittete koriya aikya
Translation: My only wish is to have my consciousness purified by the words emanating from his lotus mouth. Attachment to his lotus feet is the perfection that fulfills all desires.
Inspired by these words we organized a padayatra to celebrate ISKCON’s golden jubilee. We started on December 29th in Jhansi and ended on December 31st in Chirgaon. The city of Jhansi is located in the southern-most part of Uttar Pradesh on the banks of the Pahuj river. The town of Chirgaon is 30 kilometers away from Jhansi and is situated on the Jhansi-Kanpur National Highway 25.
Our team of approximately fifty devotees walked and performed different services during the padayatra under the guidance of temple president Brajbhumi Dasa and other devotees such as Dasaratha Dasa, Krishnanda Dasa, Mahamuni Dasa and Karunasindhu Dasa. We would start walking in the mornings while performing loud sankirtana along the way. We were always welcomed by the villagers we passed.
Day 1, December 29th
We walked from Jhansi to Barata which is about 10 kilometers away and stayed there overnight. In the evening we performed sankirtana and book distribution in the village. The local residents happily joined us in the sankirtana. We then held a lecture and distributed prasadam to all those in attendance.
Day 2, December 30th
The next day we walked from Barata to Parish some12 kilometers away. As we walked, many devotees came along to join us in sankirtana.
Day 3, December 31st
On the final leg of our journey, we walked 8 kilometers from Parish to Chirgaon where we held a grand sankirtana and distributed books. After having prasadam we thanked all the devotees who walked with us for their wonderful services during the padayatra. I am certain that their services have pleased Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada. We then departed for Jhansi.
Jai Srila Prabhupada!