By Rasutsava dasa
The Uttar Pradesh Padayatra started from the ISKCON Kanpur temple on the auspicious day of Radhastami, September 6, 2019. We initially walked in different areas of Kanpur and then covered the villages around the city. It has been a wonderful experience. During the first few days it was a challenge for us, as people in this area are not aware of padayatra culture. However, with the help of the congregation devotees the kirtan began to produce results. As we moved forward people slowly started coming to take darshan of Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar.
There are just seven of us padayatris doing all the services, from cooking, kirtan, announcements, care of oxen, to prasad and book distribution. Our team members are Ritudvipa dasa, Parthasakha dasa, Sarathishyam dasa, Asimgaura dasa, Visvambhar Chandra dasa, and Dinabandhu Hari dasa. We have four oxen that are well trained and nicely serving in padayatra. We have so far covered about 100 villages and walked approximately 250km.
Ritudvipa dasa [UP Padayatra leader]: I had heard that it was Srila Prabhupada’s desire that there should be padayatra in Kanpur. Also, it was a desire of Lokanath Maharaja. As I was in the Kanpur temple, devotees inspired me saying, “Do not go anywhere. You can start padayatra here in Kanpur.” I thought I would meet Lokanath Maharaja when he came for the GBC meetings. Maharaja said “struggle and start the padayatra.” Months passed and nothing worked out, but then Parthasakha came and with his intelligence a ratha eventually entered the picture and on Radhastami we started padayatra. Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar took us on a very good padayatra, and we also served Them without any problems. Their Lordships maintained us nicely. After one month in and around Kanpur we returned to the temple. We pray at the lotus feet of all acaryas, and also Lokanath Maharaja to whom Srila Prabhupada gave the responsibility of padayatra. We can see how gloriously padayatras are happening all over the world with preaching in cities, towns, and villages, and everywhere in between. We will pray that we can carry on this UP Padayatra and try to maintain our small responsibilities.
Rasutsava dasa: I have walked in the All-India Padayatra, but the thrill of having responsibility I could experience on UP Padayatra. With only seven of us it was a little hectic, but serving Their Lordships was keeping us going. After the completion of one round of Kanpur we were welcomed back by the temple devotees on October 6. Now we will be leaving for one month on Vraja Mandala Parikrama. In Vraja we will collect all blessings by serving devotees, so that back in Kanpur we can continue with our padayatra.