Diary of a spiritual journey 14
October 11, 2006
It was a wonderful month in South Africa, because of the devotees, vaisnavas are such nice people. They are real friends. First I went to Durban and needed a bit of rest because I came in straight from the Leipzig, Ratha Yatra. I did some programs in Durban, but then quickly moved on to Pretoria, for a student retreat, most of them were from african origin and kirtana was the main attraction of the event. The african people have such a deep and natural attraction for kirtana, that they immediately become totally absorbed. Among other programs we did a Saturday night hari nama. So it was wonderful, although a little difficult for me to keep up with the pace.
The next program was in Soweto. The Ghetto where in the past about one million black african people were forced to live in poverty and injustice under the apartheid policy of the South African, white regime. Soweto was a lawless place ruled by streetgangs. The Soweto uprising of 1976, where protesting students were massacred by the police was followed by more violent protest demanding racial equality. What is left today of that gruesome past? Still a very tough present! Now in that same Soweto there is a Hare Krsna temple. Mahaprabhu dasa, the temple president, grew up in Soweto, but joined ISKCON some 25 years ago, and went back 6-7 years, it is by his preaching efforts assisted by his wife Malini and his son Nitai. Mahaprabhu is wonderful devotee, humble and serious about Krsna conscious and a great kirtan leader, his wife was the Deity cook in Johannesburg temple for a long time and she is a great cook. The hari namas in Soweto are very special, hundreds of kids follow the kirtan party and dance along. The devotees do a lot of “Food for Life”, which made ISKCON very popular. I bow down at their lotus feet.
Next I did programs all over the Johannesburg region. Seminars on Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura’s Jaiva Dharma for a few days in a rented hall. Mostly attended by devotees from Indian origin. South Africa is known as the rainbow nation, a multi cultural society, with people from African, Indian and European background. In our movement the combination works well, the Indian devotees bring some tradition and the Africans bring life to the kirtan.
Next I traveled all over to smaller country towns, meeting many devotee friends. Back to Durban for more seminars and on to Capetown, the cosmopolitan tourist haven. A beautiful place with mountains, palmstrees and tropical flowers, where two oceans meet. And sometimes too much wind and rain, but otherwise a great place. People are relaxed and the alternative minded people in to yoga and new age hang out on the Cape. We have a nice temple there with young people and Devamrita Maharaj is running a yoga lounge program there introducing people to bhakti via hatha yoga.
Back to Durban
For the first day of Kartika the beautiful Radha Radhanatha Temple a landmark of temple architecture in the Indian area of Durban, was filled with many visitors. The entire atmosphere was very much like Vrndavana, while people offered their lamps to the Deities and were singing the Damodarastaka prayers.
Flight to Germany
Now I am resting a little bit in Germany before proceeding to Vrndavana. The devotees here have welcomed me very nicely. What good fortune we have to be always with devotees and to have this worldwide family of vaisnavas. Together we can make it in Krsna consciousness.