Utkal-Banga Padayatra experience

By Administrator

May 21, 2023

By Sundarnath dasa, Brahmacari at ISKCON Amravati

My village Khairar is located in Odisha’s Nuapada district on the border of Chhattisgarh. People there had no idea about ISKCON. Then one day the fortune of our village shone.

A mataji heard a lecture by Lal Govind dasa, a Gopal Krishna Maharaja disciple, on YouTube. Having got knowledge about ISKCON she became inspired. She learned about devotional life and began chanting, but did not stop there. She encouraged other matajis of the village, and in her association all the ladies started chanting and following ISKCON with all their hearts.

Our merciful Lordships Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar are always eager to see Their dear devotees. By the Lord’s arrangement the Utkal-Banga Padayatra was near Khairar and I was invited by padayatra leader Dhirnayak dasa to do an advance party. I told the villagers that Lord Chaitanya said “pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi-grāma, sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma – in every town and village throughout the world the chanting of My holy name will be heard.” I also said that as per His prediction, the Lord would come to their village. Hearing this the matajis began to cry.

When padayatra arrived, we received a grand welcome from the villagers. They did arati of Their Lordships and our dear oxen and all arrangements had been made for our stay. For the evening programme we had prepared full-plate prasadam for fifty people but to our surprise, the whole village attended the event and the prasadam for fifty people was distributed to 400 in drona. Some just took a little dal and happily honoured, some took a little rice and some took half a roti. A little is also good, as it’s the prasadam mercy of the Lord. Thus, the mercy was distributed to the whole population. It was like a festival, padayatra had become the centre of attraction. Such is the simplicity of village life.

Before our departure I showed the villagers Lal Govind, their siksha guru, live on a mobile phone and they all offered their obeisances to him. Because of his vani, all the matajis had become devotees. This is the beauty of ISKCON: each devotee is a great preacher. As padayatra was leaving the matajis were crying and surrounding the Lord’s chariot. As I watched I remembered how Akrura was taking away Krishna-Balaram and the gopis were crying and not allowing the chariot to go. These matajis also exhibited gopi bhava. More than fifty matajis were dancing in front of the chariot and they followed us for about 7km. All were tearful and pulling the chariot back like gopis.

I realized that as the matajis were following devotional life, the Lord was compelled to come and give darshan to his devotees. Khairar was not in padayatra’s plan, but the padayatris do not take the Lord, the Lord leads the padayatra. He creates such circumstances that padayatra goes wherever the Lord pleases.

All glories to Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to the matajis, their devotion pulled the Lord to their village.

All glories to the padayatris.

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