By Ritudvipa dasa, UP Padayatra leader
Walking through the city of Kanpur and the surrounding villages during the first few days of the Uttar Pradesh Padayatra in September 2019 was a big challenge for us, as people in that area are not aware of padayatra culture. We had virtually no donations and had to rely on the support of the congregation devotees to keep our mission moving, but we endured and found preaching on the road to be a rewarding experience.
On one occasion we had no grains or pulses and I was worried. Our only shelter was Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar and I prayed to Them: “Lord, please help. How will I manage padayatra?” Then I thought of calling Mr Ravi Mallik, a businessman I had met in Lucknow. When I said Hare Krishna to him on the phone and told him I wanted to meet him at his office, he happily agreed. The next day I travelled to Lucknow and he welcomed me with an open heart. I humbly asked if he could help padayatra and he immediately handed me Rs 30,000 along with some grains and pulses. I was overwhelmed and thanked him for his donation.
On Janmastami while still in lockdown at Bhilwal, I called Ravi Mallik to come for darshan of Their Lordships. He came, had darshan and joined us in a programme and again gave a donation and sponsored four dresses for Their Lordships. I said, “This is not needed,” but he insisted. He is always ready to serve padayatra. He never counts how much he gives and is very simple and down to earth. By reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, he became a devotee. He always says whatever padayatra needs to please let him know and he will pay, and he never wants his name announced in connection with donations. I have never seen a person like him. Normally people donate and want their name on the board, but he is a great soul born to serve the Lord and His devotees. He says, “Whatever I will earn I will offer in service of Their Lordships.”
When I was in the Lucknow ISKCON temple before I began serving on padayatra, Ravi Mallik would regularly come for darshan of Sri Sri Radha-Ramanbihari. He likes kirtan and used to join us for sankirtan and house programmes. He keeps serving without being asked and donates generously. He is a blessed soul. He says, “I find a lot of peace and happiness in serving Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar.” Definitely Their Lordships are very happy with him and are thus showering him with Their services.
I always thank Ravi Mallik and pray from the bottom of my heart to Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar for him and his family, that they may always progress in devotional life and get the mercy of Their Lordships.