By Rasutsava dasa
On September 6, the auspicious occasion of Radhastami, the Uttar Pradesh Padayatra began under the inspiration of Lokanath Maharaja and the guidance of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan zonal secretary Devakinandan dasa. ISKCON Kanpur temple president Premhari dasa glorified the padayatra and offered his best wishes to the padayatris. Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar, brought from Bakuda, are the Uttar Pradesh Padayatra deities.
The padayatra currently has one rath, four oxen, one bus, one bicycle, and six devotees walking with several local devotees. It was Srila Prabhupada’s desire that the Kanpur devotees should preach in nagar-nagar and gram-gram, so to fulfil that desire we are making this small attempt. We pray to Radharani that our padayatra should walk eternally and serve the mission of Srila Prabhupada and that all those who will have darshan of Nitai-Gaurasundar, serve Them, worship Them and take the holy name will be delivered.
Our first day began with mangala arati, sringar arati and guru puja, then with a rousing kirtan we left the Kanpur temple at 10:30 am and walked about 3 km to the village of Singpur (along the way distributing two big books, one medium book and ten small books), where the local devotees welcomed us with a grand sankirtan. That evening we had nagar sankirtan and Gaura arati and the following day walked to Kalyanpur with our next destination being Bithoor, the birthplace of Dhruva Maharaja.
The Uttar Pradesh Padayatra leader is Ritudvipa dasa and the other members of the team are myself, Visvambhar dasa, Chandra dasa, Asimgaura dasa and Sarthishyam dasa from Russia. There is also Bhakta Anuraga who walked to India from Russia. When I asked him how he felt to be in Kanpur he said, “Very bad. Here I am staying in the temple. We should be out preaching on the roads.” Now he feels very happy and enthusiastic to walk in padayatra.
Our route around Uttar Pradesh will soon be finalised, but we’ll take the first few months just covering the whole of Kanpur as it’s such a large city. With the help of our well-wishers and congregation members we will arrange many prestigious evening programmes and announce those events well in advance so that devotees throughout the state can attend. In this way they will get the opportunity to serve padayatra. When we have covered Kanpur, we will head out to the villages around the city and beyond. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous and fourth largest state in India, and we will be sure to visit every nook and cranny.
The Uttar Pradesh Padayatra was an offering by the padayatris to Srimati Radharani on Radhastami Day. We pray that She may always bless us in our mission to please Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev, that She may always keep us engaged in preaching the holy message of Lord Krishna, and that She will empower us to deliver the mercy of Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar to the people wherever we go.