Kartik Parikrama with Indradyumna Swami and Badahari das

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Welcome to Kartik Parikrama with Indradyumna Swami and Bada Haridas – 2017!

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Schedule

Schedule

Kartik Parikrama 2017 with Indradyumna Swami and Bada Haridas is scheduled from October 6th to November 4th.

CLICK HERE to see the full schedule.

About Kartik Parikrama

About the auspicious month of Kartik

Kartik

Whatever one does for Krishna–at any time, at any place, under any circumstance–is to one’s eternal benefit:

nehabhikrama-naso ‘sti
pratyavayo na vidyate

“In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.”

-Krishna, Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Ch.2

Such is the benefit of devotional service in general. However, during certain times of year–such as appearance anniversaries of Lord Krishna and His devotees–the benefits of one’s service are compounded.

During the month of Damodar, or Kārttika (October/November), rewards for service to Krishna are greater than at any other time of year. For instance, Krishna always likes tulasi leaves, so it’s always a good time to offer tulasi leaves to Krishna. However, in the Hari-bhakti-vilas of Sanatan Goswami, we find these statements:

“The result one obtains by giving ten thousand cows in charity can be obtained by offering only one tulasi leaf to the Supreme Lord during the month of Kārttika.” (7.335)

and…

“Those who worship Lord Hari with an offering of one hundred thousand tulasi leaves during the month of Kārttika certainly advance on the path of pure devotional service, which includes liberation, with each leaf offered. (7.336)”

Coming back Home

to Vrindavan

Indradyumna Swami and Bada Hari Das will be taking devotees on a special journey , in Sri Vrindavan dham in the most auspicious month of Kartik.

Here is some nectar from previous years of Kartik Parikrama with Indradyumna Swami and Bada Haridas : 

KAMYAVAN

The first destination on Kartika Parikrama with Indradyumna Swami in 2015 was the sacred village of Kamyavan, where the Deity of Vrinda-devi is worshipped.

From Indradyumna Swami’s Facebook post : “Srila Rupa Goswami discovered the beautiful deep red-colored Vrinda devi 500 years ago in Vrindavan and worshipped her along with his Radha Govindadev. When Radha Govinda were moved to Jaipur during the persecutions of Arungazeb, Vrinda devi refused to leave Vrindavan. Radha and Krsna have many pastimes in Kamyavan as well and we discussed these in detail during our talks. Bada Haridas prabhu melted everyone’s hearts with his deep devotional kirtans. It was a wonderful beginning to a month-long journey throughout the land of Krsna.”

Experience Kamyavan with Indradyumna Swami’s  photo album post.

Indradyumna Swami also spoke about the glories of kamyavan. Listen to the lecture on narottam.com

Here is another beautiful video post by Indradyumna Swami capturing the visit of Kamyavan.

MATHURA

Into the heart of Mathura, Indradyumna Swami writes about the experience of visiting Mathura : “By the mercy of the Lord our second Kartika parikrama took us to the city of Mathura, where Lord Krsna appeared 5,000 years ago. In a beautiful and spacious temple we discussed the glories of Mathura as revealed in the Brhat Bhagavatamrita, by Srila Sanatana Goswami. After kirtan we wandered the ancient quarters of the city discovering many old temples. Devotees were particularly impressed with two large Deities of Lord Varaha, who have been worshipped since the dawn of creation.” Experience Mathura with Indradyumna Swami’s  photo album post.

Indradyumna Swami also spoke about the glories of Mathura. Listen to the lecture on narottam.com

Here is another beautiful video post by Indradyumna Swami capturing the visit of Mathura.

Excerpts from Indradyumna Swami’s Diaries :

October 04 – November 14, 2008, Vrindavan, India

For most people the New Year begins on January 1st. For Indradyumna Swami it comes in early October, when his yearly worldwide preaching tour finishes and he heads to Vrindavan for spiritual rejuvenation.

Just before leaving for India this year, Indradyumna Swami sat down and made up his itinerary for 2009. When he finished, he saw there was hardly a day to spare, with visits to most continents and almost 100 full-scale festivals in Poland, England, South Africa, Hong Kong and Australia.

Indradyumna Swami looked at the itinerary and shook his head. “My dear Lord Krsna,” he said aloud, “please give me the inspiration, spiritual strength, and stamina for all the service ahead.”

Although Indradyumna Swami has visited Vrindavan many times in the past 38 years, he still feels a sense of mystery and expectation whenever he begins another trip there.

As Indradyumna Swami boarded a flight from London to Delhi in early October, He was so excited it was as if he was going to Vrindavan for the first time.

As the flight took off Indradyumna Swami thought about what India had been like in the ’70s and ’80s. In those days India was still considered a third-world country, and in the West, He would often hear people speak of India’s “starving masses.” Of course, there were no starving masses in India, but people had little knowledge of the facts, so the rumors persisted.

When their flight reached cruising altitude and the seat belt sign was turned off, Indradyumna Swami reached for a copy of the International Herald Tribune in the seat next to him and saw an article about President Bush signing an agreement to trade nuclear technology with India, ending a 30-year ban.

The agreement will give India access to civilian nuclear technology and fuel and will clear the way for American and European nuclear corporations to bid for contracts worth $27 billion to build 18 or 20 nuclear reactors in India.

“How times have changed,” Indradyumna Swami thought.

Unfortunately, India’s rise to a world power has affected even places like Vrindavan. The sleepy little town Indradyumna Swami went to in 1973 has grown into a small metropolis with guest houses, homes, and businesses being built at an alarming rate. Gone are the peaceful, quiet days when one could walk through Vrindavan without getting lost in huge crowds and having to dodge motor rickshaws, buses, and cars.

Nevertheless, Vrindavan remains and will always be a pure and sanctified place, untouched by material contamination. To deepen his appreciation for the dhama, Indradyumna Swami read selected verses from Srimad-Bhagavatam as the flight continued to Delhi.

After landing, Indradyumna Swami caught a taxi to Vrindavan. As they entered the town, he asked the driver to stop, and got out of the car and rolled in the dust, as is the tradition, much to the surprise of tourists passing by in another car.

Indradyumna Swami entered the room where he would be staying and set up his computer to check his email. Then he caught himself. “This is not why I’ve come here,” he thought and put the computer aside.

After settling in, Indradyumna Swami picked up his cell phone to call Jayatam dasa in Poland and get an update on his recent lunch with the Indian ambassador. Again, he stopped himself. “It can wait,” he said softly.

Minutes later, a devotee came by to greet him.

“Welcome to the holy dhama, Maharaja,” he said. “How was your trip?”

Indradyumna Swami told him about the flight.

Then he started talking about the news of the world. “What are your thoughts on the presidential race in the U.S.?” he said. “Do think Obama can win?”

“It’s hard to say at this point …,” Indradyumna Swami began.

Then Indradyumna Swami caught himself once more. “Here I go again,” he thought.

Indradyumna Swami politely excused himself, saying he had other things to do.

After his friend left Indradyumna Swami sat before his Deities and prayed They would give him direction on how to accomplish his purpose in coming to Vrindavan: to deepen his love for the Lord and get spiritual strength for the huge task that lay ahead.

Later in the evening Indradyumna Swami decided to go on Vrindavan parikrama. He picked up his japa beads and started barefoot on the two-hour walk along the perimeter of the town.

As Indradyumna Swami rounded the first turn, he saw a man come out of his home and climb onto a bicycle. As he began to pedal away, his five-year-old daughter burst out of the house and ran down the street after him. Crying, she called out to him again and again. But within moments, her father had pedaled out of sight. The little girl stopped, fell to ground, and continued sobbing uncontrollably.

“Thank you for showing me that, my Lord,” Indradyumna Swami thought. “If I can learn to cry for You as intensely as that little girl cried for her father, my spiritual life will be successful.”

The next day devotees arrived from different parts of the world to take part in the parikrama that BB Govinda Maharaja and Indradyumna Swami would be leading. For the next three weeks they immersed themselves in kirtana and classes in Vrindavan, Jaipur, and Hrsikesh. At every temple, samadhi, holy river, and kunda, Indradyumna Swami prayed intensely for the awakening of his love for Radha and Krsna and for the strength to preach in the coming year.

And by the Lord’s grace, inspiration continued coming.

While on Govardhana parikrama with their group, Indradyumna Swami started feeling tired half way around. “Maybe I should give up,” he thought.

After some time Indradyumna Swami was walking at a snail’s pace, focusing on my aching muscles and tired feet. Suddenly a pilgrim walked briskly past him, chanting prayers to Govardhana Hill. He looked at him closely and was shocked to see that he was totally blind.

“Despite his blindness he’s as eager as everyone else to perform the 16-mile journey,” Indradyumna Swami thought. “Who am I to complain?”

He caught up with him and spent the rest of the parikrama following in his footsteps, listening to his prayers and praying for the same determination.

Several days later, their parikrama party was to go to Varsana, where Srimati Radharani had lived with her parents, King Vrsabhanu and Queen Kirtida Sundari. Exhausted from the previous parikramas, Indradyumna Swami got up late and rushed through his puja to be on time.

Then Indradyumna Swami scolded himself. “It’s not proper to do puja quickly, especially in the dhama,” he thought.

That day as they walked with their parikrama party up the winding road to Varsana, Indradyumna Swami saw an elderly woman carrying a Deity of Gopal in a small basket.

At each holy spot on the way up, she would stop and show Gopal the sacred place. She handled the Deity with such care and attention it was obvious she had much love for Him.

At one point she laughed and shook the basket. “You naughty boy, Krsna,” she said to the Deity, “here’s where You stopped Radharani and the gopis and tried to tax them for their milk products.”

“Thank you again for another lesson, my Lord,” Indradyumna Swami said softly. “I can only hope one day I will worship Your Deity form with such love and devotion.”

Indradyumna Swami wanted still more inspiration, so he went to see his friend Caturatma dasa.

“Prabhu,” Indradyumna Swami said, “could you recommend a book about the lives of great devotees who spent time in the dhama?”

“Prema Vilasa by Nityananda das,” he replied. “It’s filled with the pastimes of great devotees like Jahnava Mata, the wife of Lord Nityananda. And it describes the pastimes of Narottam das Thakur and Srinivasa Acaraya in great detail.”

“Is it authorized?” Indradyumna Swami asked.

Caturatma smiled. “Srila Prabhupada quotes it in the purport to verse 60 of the 13th chapter of Adi-lila in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta,” he said.

Indradyumna Swami found a copy of the book, published by ISKCON’s Isvara das from Touchstone Media. Day by day, He became more enthusiastic as he read about the previous acaryas and their love for Vrindavan.

But as the month of Kartika was coming to a close Indradyumna Swami found himself still hankering for more mercy.

“I’ve never attempted 100 festivals in a year,” Indradyumna Swami thought.

On his last day in Vrindavan, Indradyumna Swami prostrated himself in the dust before beginning his final parikrama around the dhama. “My dear Radharani, Queen of Vrindavan,” Indradyumna Swami prayed, “I beg You, please send some special mercy my way.”

As Indradyumna Swami walked along, He mental images of all the temples, Deities, and samadhis, hoping the impressions would stay with him throughout the entire year.

“Rupa Goswami says that if one cannot live in Vrindavan,” Indradyumna Swami thought, “then one should always remember the holy place. In this way one will always remain enlivened.”

Just before finishing the parikrama, Indradyumna Swami stopped off at a place where his Godbrother Kiran Prabhu had invited him for lunch.

Kiran has been living in India for almost 30 years. Much of this time he spent preaching in West Bengal. While there he wrote a detailed book on the holy places of Bengal and the pastimes of Lord Caitanya and His associates there.

After lunch they talked about having his book published. Then just before leaving, Indradyumna Swami went to his room to take darsan of his Deities. He was surprised when he found only a small frame on the altar with thin pieces of old wood inside. There appeared to be writing on the wood, though it was faded.

“What is this?” Indradyumna Swami asked Kiran.

He looked lovingly at the frame. “The handwriting of Gadadhara Pandit,” he said, “one of the members of the Panca Tattva.”

“The handwriting of Gadadhara Pandit?” Indradyumna Swami said. “The incarnation of Srimati Radharani in Lord Caitanya’s pastimes?”

“Yes,” he said softly. “It’s part of a Bhagavad-gita he was copying.”

My eyes opened wide.

“It’s mentioned in our Gaudiya literature,” he said.

“But how did you get it?” Indradyumna Swami asked.

“I was serving with the Bhaktivedanta Charity Trust set up by Srila Prabhupada in the 1970s to restore old temples in Bengal,” Kiran replied.

“One time I visited a temple in Bharatpura where that Bhagavad-gita is preserved and worshiped. Once a year, on Gadadhara Pandit’s disappearance day, the Gita is put on display for the public.

“I arrived just as the priest was taking the sacred text, written on thin pieces of wood, out of a box. As he turned around he bumped into a pillar, and a few brittle pieces of the text broke off and fell to the ground.

“Kiran and the priest both stood there stunned for a few moments. Then he calmly reached down and picked up some of the pieces that had writing on them. Somehow the priest didn’t object. Since that day Kiran has been offering bhoga and arati to these pieces of the book.”

Indradyumna Swami couldn’t control himself. “Oh Prabhu,” he blurted, “would you consider giving me just a small fragment? Even just one letter?”

“How could I refuse you?” Kiran replied. “You’re doing so much service in the West.”

He reached for the frame and opened it. With a pair of tweezers he picked up a small piece of wood with a perfectly formed letter on it and carefully placed it in my trembling hands.

That night Indradyumna Swami lay in bed reading the final chapters of Prema Vilasa. Indradyumna Swami wanted to finish the book before leaving the dhama the next morning. He was struggling to keep awake when suddenly he came across the following passage, which confirmed what Kiran had told him:

“O readers, please listen carefully. One day as Gadadhara Pandit was making a copy of Bhagavad-gita, Lord Caitanya asked, ‘O Pandit, what are you writing?’

“‘I am writing Bhagavad-gita,’ Gadadhara Pandit replied.

“The Lord forcibly took Gadadhara Pandit’s writing materials, wrote a sloka, and then returned them. When Gadadhara Pandit saw the verse he became jubilant and offered prayers to the Lord. Lord Caitanya embraced Gadadhara Pandit, who then quickly completed his work on Bhagavad-gita.

“Just before his disappearance, Gadadhara Pandit called Nayananda Misra and said, ‘I have a Deity of Krsna that I always keep hanging around my neck.

From now on you should worship Him with great care. Also, take care of the Gopinatha Deity. Now take this Bhagavad-gita and worship it with great devotion. Lord Caitanya wrote a sloka in it.’

“After saying this, Gadadhara Pandit left this world. Nayananda Misra performed the necessary rituals for the spiritual master’s departure and moved to Bharatpura.

“Desiring to serve the lotus feet of Sri Jahnava and Viracandra, I, Nityananda das, narrate Prema Vilasa.”

[Nityananda das: Prema Vilasa, 22nd vilasa]

When Indradyumna Swami finished the passage he was overwhelmed. “My prayers were answered,” he thought. “By the mercy of Srimati Radharani, I now have a tiny fragment of that sacred text. In fact, it is Her very own handwriting. What more inspiration and mercy could a preacher want in his efforts to serve the sacred mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu?”

The next day Indradyumna Swami left the holy dhama fully rejuvenated and ready for the services and challenges that lay ahead.

———————————————————————————–

Jan 2007, Vrindavan, India

Indradyumna Swami and Dhruva das arrived in Delhi after their short trip to Bangladesh and took a taxi to Vrindavan. Though Indradyumna Swami has been to Vrindavan many times in the last 35 years, coming into that transcendental abode is always a fresh and exhilarating experience. Indradyumna Swami wanted to enter Vrindavan in the proper frame of mind, so during the three-hour drive, he started to read from one of his favorite books, Vrindavan-Mahimamrita.

grnanti suka sarikah sucaritani radhapates
tad eka paritustaye tru latah sadotphullitah
saramsi kamalotpaladibhirdhusca yatra sriyam
tad utsava krte manah smara tad eva vrndavanam

“Always meditate on the blissful abode of Vrindavan, where parrots are constantly singing the nectarean characteristics of Radha and Krishna and where trees, creepers, flowers, fruits, and twigs increase the beauty of the land. They are always joyful because they are fully engaged in the service of the Lord of Radha. May I always meditate on such an enchanting abode of ecstasy.”

[Sri Vrindavana-Mahimamrita, by Srila Prabhodhananda Saraswati, 17 sataka, verse 97]

The next day, they began their Vrindavan parikrama along with 250 other devotees by visiting the Madan Mohan Temple near the Yamuna River. As they began walking down the dusty path, Indradyumna Swami had the feeling that this year’s parikrama would be full of nectar and unlimited mercy.

It didn’t take long for his expectations to come true.

After their visit to Madan Mohan Temple, Indradyumna Swami had an idea. “Let’s make a quick trip to the Vraja Mohan Temple,” he said to Dhruva. “I’d like to offer my respects to the Deity of Narottam das Thakur.”

Over the years, Indradyumna Swami and his disciples have helped restore the Vraja Mohan Temple to it’s original beauty. It is one of the places in Vrindavan where Indradyumna Swami goes for spiritual shelter and inspiration.

They went to the temple and paid their respects to the Deity. Then the pujari, a friend of Indradyumna Swami, came up to him. “Maharaja,” he said, “I have been waiting for you all year. I have a wonderful surprise. Come to my room.”

They entered his simple quarters, and Indradyumna Swami and Dhruva sat on the floor. The pujari reached up onto a shelf and brought down a small wooden box. He opened it slowly, took out a beautiful Salagrama-sila, and put the sila in his hand.

Indradyumna Swami was speechless.

“We were digging the foundation for a new guesthouse behind the temple,” he said, “and we broke into the remains of an ancient temple five meters underground. We discovered this Salagrama in one of the rooms. I’m giving it to you as gratitude for all the help you and your disciples have done in restoring their temple.”

Later, Indradyumna Swami and Dhruva Das walked back to where we were staying, carefully holding the auspicious Deity. “This is only their first day in Vrindavan,” Indradyumna Swami said to Dhruva. “Just imagine what other transcendental wonders await us.”

Then Indradyumna Swami quoted a verse by Srila Rupa Goswami,

madhavya madhuranga kanana pada praptadhirajya sriya
vrindranya vikasi saurabha tate tapiccha kalpa druma
nottapam jagad eva yasya bhajate kirti cchata cchayaya
citra tasya tavanghri sannidhi jusam kim va phalaptir nrinam

“O handsome, fragrant tamala desire tree blooming in Vrindavan forest and embraced by the madhavi vine of the goddess ruling this forest, O tree, the shade of whose glory protects the world from a host of burning sufferings, what wonderful fruit do people find at Your feet?”

[Srila Rupa Goswami, Utkalika Vallari, verse 66 ]

Two days later, Indradyumna Swami took the devotees on Govardhana parikrama. They walked slowly, having bhajan and describing each holy place as they stopped along the path. When they arrived at the sacred Govinda Kunda, where the surabhi cow bathed Lord Krsna with her milk, Indradyumna Swami asked his Godbrother Chaturatma das to tell the pastime to the devotees, and he went to sit alone some distance away on the bank of the lake.

Indradyumna Swami was tired and hot, and the cool breeze off the lake quickly refreshed him. The whole atmosphere was enchanting, with white cows grazing nearby, green parrots flying about, and peacocks in the trees. Indradyumna Swami was reflecting on the spiritual significance of the place when suddenly a young village girl, around eight years old, came and sat beside him without saying a word. She began gazing out at the lake, just as Indradyumna Swami had been doing. They sat like that together, just meditating on Govinda Kunda for well over half an hour. Once in a while they would look over and smile. The girl would acknowledge his gesture by slightly tilting her head to the side, as Indian people do.

Finally she turned to Indradyumna Swami. “Baba,” she said and reached out with her closed hand, in a gesture of offering him something. Indradyumna Swami put out his hand, and she put a beautiful Govardhana sila in his palm.

She smiled sweetly. “Giriraja,” she said and ran off to play with her friends nearby.

The small sila was brown with a white triangle in the middle. Indradyumna Swami looked at it for a long time. Then he walked the few steps to the kunda and bathed the sila in the sacred water.

As Indradyumna Swami walked back to where the devotees were, he thought about his good fortune. The best way to receive a Govardhana sila is directly from a Vrajavasi, someone who lives in Vrindavan, and He, without even asking, had been blessed with such a sila from the hands of a young girl who lived at Govardhan Hill.

When Indradyumna Swami showed the sila to the devotees, everyone was amazed.

But the desire tree of Vrindavan dhama had still more fruit to offer.

The next day they continued their Govardhana parikrama from where they had left off. When they reached Uddhava Kunda near the end of the day, Indradyumna Swami was happy to see his old Vrajavasi friend, Giriraja das. He has been the pujari at Uddhava Kunda for over 50 years.

They rushed forward to greet each other. As they hugged, Indradyumna Swami meditated on his good fortune to be holding a pure Vaisnava like him. The pujari had once told him that his father did Govardhana parikrama five thousand times before conceiving him.

After we sat down, Indradyumna Swami spoke to the devotees for over an hour about the transcendental importance of Uddhava Kunda. Giriraja das sat patiently by His side. He does not know a word of English, but his face would light up every time Indradyumna Swami said a name of the Lord or one of his eternal associates, like Uddhava.

Just as Indradyumna Swami finished, he reached onto the altar, picked up a large Govardhana-sila, and put it in his hand. Once again Indradyumna Swami was surprised by mercy that had come of its own accord. Indradyumna Swami was amazed to see that the sila very much resembled the smaller one Indradyumna Swami had received earlier at Govinda Kunda.

“I have been worshiping him for thirty years,” Giriraja das said. “He was given to me by an old sadhu who lived in a small cave in Govardhana Hill, near Govinda Kunda.”

As Giriraja das spoke, Indradyumna Swami looked again at the sila in his hands. It seemed to become more and more precious.

All the devotees crowded around to see the sila. Giriraj das took Indradyumna Swami’s hands and looked at him with tears in his eyes. “I am an old man,” he said. “I may die soon. I am giving you the most cherished thing I own. I am giving you my life.”

Indradyumna Swami could not find a way to reciprocate with his kindness, so he fell down at his feet and offered obeisances for a long time.

The next morning Indradyumna Swami started his worship of the two Govardhana silas. Many devotees came throughout the day to look at their beauty. He was thinking that I had received the pinnacle of grace in the holy dhama.

But there was more to come.

Soon after their Govardhana parikrama, they visited Uchagaon, the appearance place of Lalita devi, Srimati Radharani’s closest sakhi. For days Indradyumna Swami had prepared himself by reading about Lalita devi – her personal qualities, her special mood, and her service in Radha and Krishna’s pastimes. As hundreds of the group walked along the dusty road leading to the hill where Lalita’s village was, Indradyumna Swami was thinking about his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada. Only by His grace could he even set foot in such a holy place.

As they were crossing a bridge over a small river, Indradyumna Swami noticed two of their devotees speaking to a farmer on the other side. The farmer was an older man, typical of many Vrajavasis – dressed in a simple white dhoti, old shoes, a vest, and an old chaddar. Indradyumna Swami thought it odd that the devotees were speaking with him for so long.

“They certainly don’t speak the local Vrajavasi dialect,” Indradyumna Swami thought, “and surely a poor farmer like him doesn’t speak English.”

When Indradyumna Swami reached the group, he was surprised to hear the farmer speaking English fluently. He listened for a moment and then spoke to him. “Sir,” he said, “How is it that you speak such good English?”

He smiled. “When I was very young,” he said, “I had a desire to learn English.”

After the other devotees left, Indradyumna Swami also discovered that he was learned in the Vedic scriptures.

“Many of Radha and Krsna’s pastimes took place in this area,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

He extended his arm and pointed. “Up on the hill is the place where Lalita devi appeared,” he said. “She’s the leader of all the sakhis.”

“And just over there” he continued, “the gopis declared Srimate Radharani to be Queen of Vrindavan. And on that side, just behind those trees, Radharani performed the marriage ceremony of Lalita and Krsna.”

He chuckled. “Radharani became so happy that her veil fell off and landed on a rock,” he said. “You can still see the impression of that veil on the rock. It is called the citra-vicitra sila.”

“You know a lot,” Indradyumna Swami said.

He laughed. “Everyone out here knows these things,” he said. “This is all we talk about.”

His expression became serious. “But it’s quickly changing,” he said. “With material progress and Western influence, their culture here in Vrindavan is being negatively affected. Now people are more interested in watching television and Bollywood videos. Even out here.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Indradyumna Swami said.

I asked the farmer to go with us up the hill to Uchagaon. Along the way we continued their discussion.

“I’m happy being a farmer,” he said. “With my knowledge of English, I could have had a good job in a city, but that would have meant leaving Vrindavan. And this, I would never do.”

When their party reached the temple on top of the hill, Indradyumna Swami gave a talk about Srimati Lalita devi, recounting a number of her transcendental pastimes. His respected guest sat next to him and seemed to enjoy the talk.

But as Indradyumna Swami spoke he felt increasingly embarrassed. “This gentleman was born in Vrindavan,” Indradyumna Swami thought, “and he has been living here his whole life. He knows these things better than I do. Who am I to speak in front of him?”

After his talk, the farmer and Indradyumna Swami sat down to take prasadam together, and Indradyumna Swami noticed he was carrying a small bag.

“What’s in the bag?” Indradyumna Swami asked.

He smiled, opened the bag, and took out an English edition of Krsna Book.

“What?” Indradyumna Swami said. “Where did you ever get that? This book was written by my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada.”

“I found it on a bus two years ago,” he said. “I’ve read it seventeen times.”

“Seventeen times?” Indradyumna Swami said.

“Oh yes” he said. “It’s my favorite book. It’s all about Vrindavan.”

He paused for a moment. “I’ve heard about how your spiritual master went to the Western countries and delivered so many people. I want to read more of his books, but I can’t afford them.”

Here was more mercy for me: an opportunity to serve a genuine Vrajavasi.

“If you give me your address,” Indradyumna Swami said, “I’ll send you the entire collection of Srimad Bhagavatams.”

“Please do,” he said, “and in English.”

“Of course,” Indradyumna Swami said.

“But don’t wait too long,” he said.

“Why?” Indradyumna Swami asked.

“I’m over fifty now,” he said. “I want to start traveling.”

“To all the holy places in India?” Indradyumna Swami said.

“No,no,” he said. “I plan to travel throughout Vrindavan and share with everyone what I’ve learned from your spiritual master.”

“Really?” Indradyumna Swami said.

“Yes,” he said. “If people in these villages were to know his message, Vrindavan could be saved from the onslaught of Western culture.”

His bushy eyebrows went up. “Just as your spiritual master went to the West and delivered so many people,” he said, “so his teachings can restore Vrindavan’s culture to it’s original glory.”

As we parted, we hugged. “Thank you,” Indradyumna Swami said. “Thank you for increasing my faith in the holy land of Vrindavan and my spiritual master, and in his transcendental books, as well.”

Srila Prabhupada writes:

“Better you yourselves do as much as possible to spread Krsna consciousness there by distribution of literature, kirtana and prasadam. That will be as effective as my personally coming. Indradyumna Swami am very keen on the distribution of my books and Indradyumna Swami am very indebted to all of you for your untiring efforts to see that every man and woman in America gets one of my books. If they simply read one page, even if they do nothing else, they can become perfect.

[Letter to Hari Basara , April 20, 1974]