By Aradhika Radha dasi
For the eighteenth time, a Padayatra Festival has been celebrated by the Ljubljana, Slovenia, temple community. Under this year’s theme of “Door-to-Door Harinama Sankirtan” padayatra visited about thirteen villages, mostly within about a one-hour drive from Ljubljana. Twenty-five to thirty devotees from Croatia, Serbia, the Netherlands, Italy, Russia and other countries took part in the festival. The padayatris covered approximately 110km over sixteen days pulling a small hand-drawn cart with Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai deities in front of the procession accompanied by loud kirtan, passing through each village without missing a single house.
There were several special guests who visited padayatra, Prahladananda Swami joining us for most of the first week. He gave Srimad-Bhagavatam class every morning and led kirtan on padayatra in the afternoons. Maharaja spoke on the importance of performing harinama sankirtan. He said that it is not enough just to follow the four regulative principles – one also has to enthusiastically serve the sankirtan movement.
Later Bir Krishna Goswami came to inspire us. Maharaja stayed for four days and each day he gave a class. He said that empowerment for chanting comes from a proper following of the process of devotional service and from purity.
As soon as Bir Krishna Goswami left Ljubljana, Narayani dasi arrived from Finland to give her valuable association. Narayani has travelled around the world for more than ten years presenting seminars on Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. Over the course of four days she gave one and sometimes two classes each day. In one of the classes she said that the holy name is non-different from Krishna, in fact it is made of Krishna, and that we can see Krishna through the sound. It was an inspirational talk on the holy name, especially because during padayatra we chant it at least three to four hours a day.
Besides the walking and sankirtan in the villages, some devotees got inspired to do a couple of hours more sankirtan during free time in Tivoli Park, the largest park in Ljubljana. That means during the festival the devotees did five hours of harinama sankirtan every day. Many books and thousands of vegan cookies prasada were distributed as we visited every village household if there was a sign that someone was home. There were many rainy days when it was austere to walk, but nonetheless we kept going.
During the last five days of the festival Subhag Swami joined us, giving a class every day. Such a valuable association! Maharaja also went with our padayatra party, preaching to the villagers and singing on sankirtan.
Sri harinama sankirtan ki jay! Padayatra festival ki jay!