By Radhavallabha dasa, AP Padayatra leader
The Andhra Pradesh Padayatra is currently walking towards Ahobilam, covering about 18km a day. As we passed through the villages around the city of Chittoor, we were often invited to programmes at devotees’ homes.
MLA comes for darshan
On December 6, we reached the small town of Chandragiri where we performed sankirtan in the main square. As news spread that padayatra had arrived, the Chandragiri constituency member of the AP Legislative Assembly, Mr Chevireddy Bhaskar Reddy, visited us the next day, by the Lord’s arrangement just as darshan arati was happening. Mr Reddy paid obeisances to Their Lordships as he got out of his car along with his bodyguards. We welcomed him by offering a garland and as the Gita marathon is going on, we also gifted him a Bhagavad-gita.
A grand welcome by villagers
On December 11, we reached Chennuvativari Palli village, located in a hilly area that was difficult for the oxen to negotiate. As we entered the village, everyone gathered around us folding their hands and offering obeisances to Their Lordships. I made announcements in the local Telugu language explaining the objectives of our padayatra, the glories of the holy name, and how sankirtan is the only way out of this material world. The AP Padayatra is an emerging event and people hardly know about it, the only one that’s well known being the All-India Padayatra which has been walking for so many years. However, village people are interested and follow what you say and they eagerly joined us dancing in sankirtan, after which we gave a small talk about the glories of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai. One of the villagersthen came forward and offered to arrange our accommodation. We stayed in a small temple where we could cook bhoga for Their Lordships and honour prasadam. That evening we again had sankirtan and Gaura arati and distributed prasadam to the assembled villagers.
Moving ahead the next day we visited a school and had a grand sankirtan for the children. They were amazed to see the oxen, and although it was new to them appreciated our sankirtan and danced happily. It’s a wonderful experience walking in padayatra when we are totally depending on Their Lordships for everything. Some padayatris are from other states and face a language problem, but every soul understands the maha mantra and that is our best tool to go on preaching.