By Dayal Gopal dasa, Nepal Padayatra leader
Nepal is a 75% hilly country, so our chariot can’t go everywhere and we often need to walk from one village to another. We carry only our luggage and books and do book distribution and sankirtan. In Nepal, due to poverty and casteism many residents are converting to Christianity, having their books translated into the Nepali language.
There is less preaching of Sanatan dharma, but I was amazed to see the response of people to padayatra. As they hear harinama, they come out to join us and are very happy to see the padayatris. The flex we put on our chariot of Krishna-Balarama going for cow grazing attracts their hearts and of course, Srila Prabhupada’s divine kirtan is the best medicine for their burning hearts. The padayatris in dhoti and kurta are also an attraction – all the people walking and in vehicles wait to take darshan and join hands in devotion.
In whichever centre we stay the devotees there are inspired by the padayatris’ sadhana. Many people along the way also invite us to their villages for sankirtan and house programmes. I met many devotees, well-wishers and supporters on our journey. Matajis in our area are also very simple and surrendered. They respect sadhus and sastra.
When we reached the city of Janakpurdham southeast of Kathmandu the people welcomed us enthusiastically. There is an ISKCON centre in Janakpur where we stayed for two days. People from all over the world visit Janakpur, so we had excellent Bhagavad-gita distribution. Close by was the small town of Dhanushadham where we had darshan of the remaining part of Shiva Dhanusha (bow of Shiva) broken by Sri Rama housed at the Dhanushadham temple.
Maha Vishnu Maharaja has visited Nepal many times and always guides devotees to read Nepala-mahatmya, a book about Nepal’s sacred places and deities. I intend to buy the book and accordingly cover the important tirtha shetras in Nepal by padayatra.
People have lost the habit of reading books. They do buy books but seem to want to read less. We therefore need to print small Back to Godhead magazines that will be attractive and easy to read, making them hugely effective. Christians are using this strategy. They have small, attractive books that they distribute on a large scale and also print good-wishes cards that include quotations of Jesus, thus increasing their preaching. We are also thinking the same.
When people hear katha after sankirtan they become confident that dharma is there and they take up Krishna consciousness.