...I can immediately take up this program and tour village to village and town to town. It will be very, very effective, I know that....
...I wish I could join you. I like your program very much. If you continue this program you will be benefited, people will be benefited and everyone will be happy...
...We can introduce many millions of such carts all over the world...
Sanaka Sanatana Dasa (Germany) joined during Kartik 1989 in Maharashtra. He has assisted in many ways and is the driving force behind our book distribution efforts. His sincere devotion has gained him the responsibility of taking charge of the yatra. Sanaka Sanatana is determined to remain on the road for the next five years and bring the Padayatra to Allahabad for the Kumbha Mela of 2001.
Svetadvipa Dasa (Mauntius) joined in 1989 while Padayatra was in Madhya Pradesh. He has a very sattvik, sweet nature. By his preaching, he is able to distribute Srila Prabhupada‘s books. Svetadvipa Prabhu has helped with our sporadic Food for Life program. He has raised our standards of Deity worship by arranging nice dresses for Their Lordships Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundara.
Upendra Dasa (USA) joined us in 1989 while we were at the Dindi Yatra in Pandharpur. Upendra Prabhu is a talented musician and singer and has assisted in a wide variety of services, from staging walking kirtanas to worshiping the Deity to driving the tractor. He is an avid and voracious reader of Srila Prabhupada‘s books and is our bright smiling sun on Padayatra.
Upananda Dasa (Bosnia) has been with Padayatra since 1991. He joined us in South India while filming for an European television station. Besides being an expert photographer, he was our main book distributor for several years, preaching in his own smooth, convincing way. Upananda Prabhu likes to travel very much, especially in the Himalayas. He is fondly known as “Kaka Bhai,“ a Gujarati title for a respected elder.
Anuraga Dasa (England) has been a padayatri since 1992, when he joined us in Jagannatha Puri. He‘s been performing various services but is particularly attached to serving our beautiful, hard-working Kankrej bulls. Anuraga Prabhu, with his sensitive, nature-loving heart, has successfully distributed Srila Prabhupada‘s books. He feels there is no better place to be than on Padayatra.
Krishna Balarama Dasa (Nepal) left the Ujjain Kumbha Mela in 1992 to join the adventurous Padayatra. He has become expert in many services. He keeps the crowds enlivened through his preaching and gymnastic feats while dancing. Now Krishna Balarama Prabhu is our biggest book distributor.
Rajarama Dasa (Czech Republic) has been with Padayatra India on and oll for three years. He is responsible for initiating Padayatra in the Czech Republic and is one of the main Padayatra book distributors.
Prahlad Dasa (Orissa) joined in Jagannatha Puri during the 1993 Rathayatra. He is an excellent cook and is now the head of the kitchen.
Adiraja Dasa (Mauritius) joined Padayatra in Ahobalam, South India, two years ago. He became a first-class pujari and dresses Their Lordships exquisitely.
Bhagavat Priya Dasa (Slovenia) joined In Ramesvaram in 1994 and is now the head pujari. He is expert with the animals.
Rasa Rasika Dasa (Italy) joined two years ago and is an excellent cook. He also has a good record on book distribution.
Istadev Dasa (Orissa) joined two years ago and is engaged in book distribution and advance-party work.
Amita Caran Dasa (Belgium) joined two years ago in South India and is addicted to book distribution. Ekadasi Dasa (South Africa) joined this year after three years on Padayatra Europe. He takes care of the bulls and drives the Deity cart.
Tattva Darshana Dasa
He deserves the most glorification and appreciation. Right from the very conception of the Padayatra, he took charge of so many arrangments: Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai‘s appearance, GBC help, money, manpower, prasadam, routes, research, bulls, elephants, camel, Deity cart, bullock cart, projectors, films, generators, trucks, trolleys. All glories to him!
He joined in 1984 and was one of the original leaders. He made advance arrangements and re searched the places of pilgrimage. He was a natural on Padayatra, and his input was invaluable. Said Havirdhana: “The preachiug impact of this program is just incredible. Every day we are reaching hundreds of people.“
He joined Padayatra in the summer of 1985 in South India. He eventually became the first fulltime Padayatra manager and performed the important task of organizing Padayatra so that it reached its goal of Mayapur by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu‘s 500th appearance anniversary in March 1986. In addition to managing for two years, he made members in Delhi to finance Padayatra.
He joined Padayatra In South India in 1985 and made excellent arrangements for the Padayatra in Andhra Pradesh. He served as Bhadra‘s assistant sincerely and affectionately. He succeeded Bhadra briefly before leaving Padayatra in 1987.
Since 1984, when Padayatra began in Dwarka, thousands of fortunate souls have assisted the Lord in spreading the holy name to every town and village. In this historical issue, we have a golden opportunity to glorify some of those padayatris. It‘s impossible to include everyone, so we beg forgiveness from the many we didn‘t mention.
Hira Ben Mataji (Gujarat) was one of the first padayatris. Dedicated and bard working, she served in the kitchen Hira Ben Mataji left her body while returning frorn the 1989 Vraja-Mandala parikrama. She performed it three times.
Guna Nidhi Dadu (Assam), a staunch, 90-year-old, yogi turned-devotee. He preached vigorously and collected donations for three years.
Visnu Duta Dasa (Gujarat) also one of the first padayatris. Humility personified, he spent 7 years performing various devotional activities. He retired from Padayatra in 1991 and now serves in ISKCON Ahmedabad.
Radha Kund Devi Dasi (Uttar Pradesh) was another one of the first to join us. Endowed with devotion, she distnibuted Srila Prabhupada‘s books for more than five years.
Jaya Krishna Dasa (West Bengal) was one of Sri Sri Nitai Gaurasundara‘s pujaris. He worked hard and preached with zest and drove the Deity cart for more than three years.
Gauri Mataji (West Bengal) worked hard in the kitchen on Padayatra. She spent five years on the road. Her husband is a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja. Gauri Mataji left her body in Radha Kund, Vrindavan, while on leave from Padayatra.
Gopal Krishna Prabhu (Kerala) was the first full time tractor driver. He also helped with other valuable services. He took pride in excellently maintaining the equipment—a noteworthy achievement, considering that the Padayatra tractor is the only one in India pulling three trolleys.
Prashanta Dasi (France) joined the Padayatra in 1987 during the Himalayan yatra. Much to her disappointment, she left Padayatra to join the Padayatra/ Centennial office in 1990. She oversees the Padayatra Newsletter and always sends the padayatris mahaprasadam.
Radha Raman Dasa (Bihar) joined the Padayatra in 1985. He primarily helped manage and made advance arrangements. His tolerance, dedication and knowledge of sastra have always inspired the padayatris.
A profile of Jaya Vijaya Dasa, Padayatra-India leader
Born John L. Baldini on August 11, 1953, Jaya Vijaya Dasa became attracted to Krsna consciousness in Cato Ridge— Durban, South Africa—after having spent fourteen years in the movie-theater business. He managed Padayatra India for eleven years.
He first read of Padayatra at the ISKCON temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1984, when Padayatra was scheduled to start from Dwaraka, and immediately knew it was what he was looking for.
His first contribution to Padayatra was a thousand-dollar donation. Lokanath Maharaja requested him to give half in cash and to spend half on books to be distributed.
After joining Padayatra in South India in 1985, Jaya Vijaya received initiation in West Bengal in 1986. He took over the management of Padayatra in 1987.
Jaya Vijaya feels fortunate and thankful that he accompanied Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundara and Srila Prabhupada on this glorious, inspiring and adventurous preaching program. He believes he walked 80% of the 48,000 kms covered on Padayatra. Besides walking, he spent time with the tractor or bullock cart, served as Jayadvaita Swarni‘s servant, tended to the needs of devotees, oversaw the management and made preparations for preaching programs. Always enthusiastic to imbibe the nectar, Jaya Vijaya researched the locations and pastimes along the Padayatra route and gathered information that made the walks interesting and informative.
Jaya Vijaya remembers Gujarat and Tamil Nadu most fondly. Padayatra has its roots in Gujarat, and the Kankrej bulls that pull the carts are from that state. During his years on Padayatra, Jaya Vijaya learned how to maintain, nurse and shoe them. Also, Gujaratis are generous and supportive.
In Tamil Nadu he liked the superb beauty and intricate architecture of the temples complexes, and the high standards and brahminical Vaishnavas inspired him.
The states where Padayatra encountered the greatest number of difficulties were Kerala and West Bengal. The Kerala terrain presented terrific challenges for the bulls. The carts had to be pushed uphill, and the people were not entbusiastic to help. In a two-month period, not even one person came forward to offer even five rupees worth of grass to the bulls, which was a marked contrast with other states, where farmers would run after the cart to feed the bulls. When there was agitation from the locals or problems with accommodation. Jaya Vijaya often restored peace or adjusted the situations.
He calls West Bengal “a feast and famine of bhakti.“ Bengalis express their love for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by running to the Padayatra cart for His darshan and following the padayatris for miles. But the state is flooded with communists and envious religionists who discourage the villagers from attending or supporting Padayatra programs.
Jaya Vijaya showed concern and affection for the devotees as well as the bulls. Despite his intense program of walking and managing (while suffering poor health), he would always see that the needs of the devotees were met.
In the beginning, lots of rascals joined Padayatra India. Java Vijaya and another devotee took a vow to clean house. While removing unwanted elements, he once was subjected to a beating. The struggle went on till 1990. Since theun the party has been made up of good, sincere devotees. The number has gone up and down. from 200 to as few as six. Now it has stabilized at twenty-five.
In March 1996, Java Vijaya‘s illustrious eleven-year walking career ended because of his aging body and poor health. He is now compiling a book on the holy places of India.
He wants to see Padayatras simultaneously in all of India‘s 25 states. He would also like to set up a farm to raise bulls who serve on Padayatras.
“I was inspired by Jaya Vijaya‘s sincere desire to execute devotional service in the face of the many difficulties we encountered on the road. Although he never lived in a temple or had any formal training in devotional principles or management, he imbibed the Vedic culture just by his unflinching determination to please guru and Krishna.“ Upananda Dasa