By Damodarleela dasa, Maharashtra Padayatra leader
On November 28 the Maharashtra Padayatra arrived at the village of Amnapur in the Sangli district. The sarpancha (political head) of the village was a cooperative man who gladly welcomed us. As we were setting up for sankirtan, I saw there were several barrows and a large crowd on the road in front of the shops so that we had hardly any place to walk. I asked someone, “Why is there such a crowd?” The man replied, “It’s the weekly market day and will go on until 8pm.” I thought, “Oh Lord, how can the sankirtan happen and how will we do our padayatra procession.” But the Lord provides all solutions for preaching. One of us went to the sarpancha and asked for help. He said, “Don’t worry. I will take care that padayatra goes on in our village. You have come all the way from Pandharpur bringing the mercy of Lord Panduranga. We will extend all help.” He instructed a few boys to shift the market to another location so that we could proceed with our programme. By the Lord’s mercy the vegetable vendors agreed and soon the way was cleared, enabling us to do sankirtan and Gaura arati.
Dindi brings relief from Mother Krishna’s flood
Walking towards Nagthane village we had darshan of river Krishna, also known as Krishnaveni. A very clean river with many temples on its banks, it is the fourth biggest, after the Ganga, Godavari and Brahmaputra, in terms of inflow and is almost 1300km long. We then arrived at Nagthane. Due to heavy seasonal rain, Krishnaveni recently flooded causing much damage and as the villagers took darshan they described the problems they had faced. They appreciated our padayatra had arrived and referred to it as dindi, the Marathi word for the padayatra when devotees walk to Pandharpur during Ashadi. The villagers said the Lord Himself had come to meet them and give them solace. “No such dindi has ever come to our village,” we were told. “It’s a marvellously systematic programme – arati in the morning and kirtan is the heart of it. Please keep coming whenever you pass this way.” We also presented a school programme at Nagthane where the children joined us in sankirtan and wrote the maha mantra 108 times. We then gave them prasadam which they were happy to receive.
The Lord comes to give darshan
On December 1 we arrived at Wadava. As our procession entered the village we were surprised when Mr Patil came to pay prostrated obeisance in the ISKCON tradition, then with folded palms said Hare Krishna to us and told us he was connected with the Juhu temple. He had come to Wadava for a marriage ceremony and was missing sankirtan, chanting and darshan. He had been thinking about Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari and when he saw the ratha coming towards him became overwhelmed with love for the Lord. “The Lord has come to give me darshan,” he exclaimed.