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By Kaunteya dasa (Padayatra Mauritius coordinator)
November 4, 2023, marked the first leg of Padayatra Mauritius’ Island-wide Padayatra. Coinciding with the tirobhava tithi (disappearance day) of Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswami, the walk was also dedicated to commemorating the forty-eighth anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s first visit to Mauritius.
The day’s itinerary covered approximately 10km, starting at the Sri Sri Radha Golokananda mandir in Phoenix then heading north through Sodnac to culminate at the Sri Vinayak mandir in Beau Bassin-Rose Hill.
Beneath rain-filled clouds the devotees gathered at the Radha Golokananda temple entrance at 3:45pm, facing Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar standing with a jubilant smile on Their brand new rath for which Padayatra Mauritius had been waiting before launching this Island-wide Padayatra. With the leadership of Shatrughna prabhu, arati for the padayatra deities began and in reciprocation Their Lordships showered blessings in the form of a drizzle. Breaking coconuts on the ground for auspiciousness the devotees then declared the padayatra open.
The rath was pulled by Ayodhyanath dasa’s van driven by his daughter Prishnee, her father being away on yatra (holy pilgrimage) in India. Our regular charioteer Bhakta Satyam health did not allow him to engage in his seva, although he rode in the van the entire way. Performing blissful kirtan, distributing sweets and transcendental books, we soon reached Sodnac where the local Nama-hatta devotees joined us with their harinama rath and deities. All devotees continued walking enthusiastically despite the persistent drizzle, and as the kirtan party grew bigger the yatra grew better as it attracted members of the public. Eventually we left behind the quiet roads to hit the city lights of Rose Hill. By then it was already dusk and as we reached the Vinayak mandir at Beau Bassin it had just turned 7pm.
The event continued at the mandir with a warm welcome by Vidura dasa followed by a wonderful lecture filled with juicy nectar by Svetadvip dasa, who enthralled us with the story of his adventurous and life-changing journey with Padayatra India where he served for many years. He glorified this wonderful preaching programme, which under the guidance of Srila Prabhupada has been spearheaded by our spiritual master, Lokanath Maharaja.
A cultural programme followed consisting of dance performances by devotees and others. Members of the public were definitely impressed and also felt included when given the opportunity to offer lamps to Sri Damodar in this holy month of Kartik. The programme organisation on the part of the Vinayak mandir was exemplary and at the conclusion a sumptuous feast was offered to everyone.
Due to health issues Bhakta Satyam left his body on December 19. All through he has been serving Padayatra Mauritius incessantly and with the utmost sincerity. We request you all to please pray for our God-brother’s final yatra back home, back to Godhead. We will miss him from the depths of our hearts. Every padayatra will fill our eyes with tears in his remembrance, but he will be happy to see us walk for the pleasure of Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to Srila Gurudev.
All glories to Bhakta Satyam.