By Damodharleela dasa, Maharashtra Padayatra leader
Schoolchildren dance in ecstasy
While walking towards the city of Sangli we sought a place for honouring breakfast prasadam at the village of Hatpur. There was a school nearby and after prasadam I thought to ask the principal for permission to address the students. The principal readily agreed and when our party arrived, he came out to welcome us personally. When we entered the school grounds, to our surprise the students were assembled and waiting for us. As we came near, all of them got up and with folded palms prayed to the Lord. We then had sankirtan especially for the children who sang and danced wholeheartedly, after which Srikrishna dasa gave a small class providing them with a taste of padayatra. After the class I distributed prasadam to the children and teachers and thanked the principal for giving us the opportunity to present Krishna consciousness to everyone.
The Lord reads your heart
Every day Archana mataji would make garlands for Their Lordships. She knew that padayatra goes to villages to do preaching programmes and she had often expressed a strong desire to devotees in Aravade that the padayatris should come to her house. Her village, Wangi, is only 3km from Aravade but we had made no plans to go there.
Having left Aravade and walking for a few kilometres our ox Nandi stopped and was not moving ahead. I immediately separated him from the rath and checked if he had an injury. Nandi was looking distressed and I thought we should wait before trying to make him walk again. When I asked someone the name of the nearest village, he told me it was Wangi – the village of the mataji who had asked us to come there.
Archana heard that padayatra was close by and with other devotees she approached us saying, “Come to our village.” I said, “Our ox is not well. He is not walking.” The villagers said, “Please try. We are praying, please come.” I thought I would try Nandi again and said to him, “Nandi, chala utha chalayacha ahe,” and to my surprise he got up. It was all the Lord’s arrangement. Our Gaura-Nitai are merciful, They don’t forget the seva done to Them. We then went into Wangi and had a wonderful programme. As we were leaving, I said to Archana, “Their Lordships liked the garlands you made,” and tears of happiness flowed from her eyes.
Rains can’t stop us
We arrived at Sawalaj, a village in the Tasgaon Taluka, on August 28. After resting and honouring prasadam we started preparing for evening nagar sankirtan. When we began it was sunny with no sign of rain, but as we moved along the streets rain suddenly started pouring. We took it as a sign the Lord is happy with our sankirtan.
kali kaler dharma nama sankirtan
This is what we are supposed to do in Kali-yuga. Dhanya Caitanya dasa was playing the drum and as the rain fell, he played more powerfully. Rain can’t stop the padayatris. Often villagers will call to us, “Maharajaji, please come to our village, it has not rained for a long time.” It’s all the mercy of Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar. A few of us wore raincoats, especially the book distributors, while most of us just sang and danced in the rain. Many people also sang and raised their hands and chanted with us, welcoming the rain.
Lord Krishna likes fragrance-filled flowers
Generally, devotees offer flowers like mogra, jasmine, and roses to the Lord. Usually the flowers which are most full of fragrance are those to be offered. When we went to the temple for darshan of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna and Sri Sri Vitthala-Rukmini, one of our padayatris, Satish from Karad who has recently joined us, saw the flower of hibiscus offered on the head of Lord Krishna. As he discussed this with us the flower fell from the Lord’s head. All of us noticed it – and it happened twice. I thought it was the Lord’s desire and when I told the temple committee, all glories to them, they happily agreed.