While the world was nonetheless gripped by the Covid insanity, the twenty ninth Czech Padayātrā occurred within the second half of July, and in line with its contributors, it was among the best padayātrās they’ve ever been to. For the second 12 months in a row, we have been capable of finding a candy spot throughout the summer season holidays, when many of the restrictions have been lifted up. After all these lockdowns individuals have been glad that one thing was occurring and since there have been nearly no different occasions, Padayātrā was typically the principle factor that was taking place in a village throughout the entire summer season.
The pageant began on the 18th of July in Susice, a city of 11000 and a favorite vacation spot for paddlers, who swim down the stream of the river Otava, which runs by the city. During the subsequent two weeks, we loosely adopted the river and after 110 km we reached our vacation spot – the city of Pisek – on the thirty first of July. This was our twelfth cease and the most important city of the route with a inhabitants of 30000. The crew of organizers led by Nrsimha Caitanya das and Varada Krsna Prabhu began to organize the route in late April simply earlier than a significant lockdown. While calling village mayors and administrators of colleges we have been conscious that we’d need to name off the entire pageant finally. At the identical time, we knew that with summer season holidays slowly approaching the federal government would loosen up the restrictions, after which individuals could be hungry for leisure – we might lose a golden alternative for sharing Krsna consciousness if we backed off and didn’t do something.
Krsna proved our expectations to be proper and finally, the large day got here and we gathered from all corners of the nation for a two-week-long transcendental journey. Not solely have been individuals thirsty for one thing taking place however devotees too have been glad to go away their houses to participate in spreading Krsna’s holy names – we had round 50 devotees attending daily. This 12 months we additionally welcomed 4 very particular friends: HH Mahavishnu Swami got here with Harinama Ruci group and spent three magnificent days with us. It was his second go to to the Czech Republic after nearly 30 years. HH Bhaktivaibhava Swami, who’s a GBC consultant for Czech, visited us twice – he favored it a lot the primary time, so he got here once more after two days. The spotlight of Padayātrā was the go to of HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, whose keep was the shortest however most intense (a report variety of devotees participated – nicely over 100). The final visitor was HG Jay Gurudev Prabhu, who is among the 4 Czech disciples of Srila Prabhupada.
The harinam procession is the principle function of Padayātrā and takes up the most important a part of the day – typically even as much as 5 hours. This 12 months’s harinams have been exhilarating as a result of we had lots of devotees attending daily and normally there have been many harinam leaders. The Maharajas have been an enormous draw as a result of all of them are skilled sankirtan devotees and are well-known for his or her kirtans. Mahavishnu Swami’s harinams have been bursting along with his playful explosive vitality whereas Kadamba Kanana Swami led a victory march by the city of Strakonice – the procession crawled and thundered by the streets and folks have been opening their home windows to see what was occurring. Bhaktivaibhava Swami additionally led the chanting in harinams however greater than that he loved being with devotees and seeing how they participate within the pageant and the way they cooperate.
Because the pageant lasts just for two weeks, we wish to share as a lot of Krsna consciousness as potential and squeeze essentially the most nectar from it for ourselves too. Therefore, Padayātrā has a really intense schedule. The day begins with a condensed morning program at 7 am. We run by mangala arati bhajans, deity greeting, guru puja, and Srimad Bhagavatam class, and after a brief pep speak and bulletins for the day, we take breakfast. After taking prasadam we clear up the ability the place we have now stayed in a single day after which the procession with oxcart and harinam begins off to the subsequent vacation spot. In the night at 6 pm, we maintain a two-hour-long cultural pageant within the village or city the place we are going to spend the night time.
The harinam may be the principle function, however the night cultural program is actually the spotlight of the day. Over the years we settled on a easy mixture of kirtan, some speak, prasadam distribution, Bharat Natyam dance, and drama. The particular function of this 12 months’s efficiency was an upgraded model of the Liquid Beauty drama which was performed by Loka Saranga Prabhu and Dayapara Prabhu who have been taking part in the king and the jester respectively. Since there was no devotee actress to play the princess, they improvised daily and pulled out some woman or girl from the general public to be the princess. This was after all very entertaining to individuals and devotees alike as a result of daily the play went a unique means.
During the night program, our aim is to regularly pull individuals in to participate and it culminates on the finish of the entire program with a contest in dancing and chanting. Since this 12 months Mahavishnu Swami was with us throughout the first days of Padayātrā, he gave a particular flavour to the competitors and final kirtan which we tried to observe even after he left us. While we normally did the final kirtan whereas sitting on the stage, Maharaj made the kirtan party get up. On the final day of his keep, he couldn’t begin the final kirtan, as a result of after his speak individuals from the village got here to him with books they purchased at our e book desk and have been asking him for autographs. While Maharaj was signing the books, he seen that the devotees on the stage have been sitting. “Why are they sitting? They ought to get up, any person goes and tells them to face up!” he mentioned. And since then the final kirtans have been largely performed whereas standing and dancing.
Padayātrā shouldn’t be our pageant. Rather it’s a pageant organized by Sri Sri Nitay Gaurasundara and Srila Prabhupada and we have been lucky sufficient to be allowed to take part and play some function. The Deities exit on a trip with oxen and we’re given quite a few alternatives to help Them. Quite typically Their plan stays hidden until the final minute and we have now to strive our greatest to unearth Their will – for instance with the route, the place we have been simply going step-by-step and watching if Krsna will raise the restrictions and Padayātrā might be allowed to occur. We additionally need to be alert and be on guard for any indicators that Krsna needs to right our course or needs us to enhance one thing. He typically lets us know by His empowered representatives like Mahavishnu Swami, who advised us to “get up!”. The success of Padayātrā is the mercy of Sri Sri Nitay Gaurasundara and Srila Prabhupada and in line with our understanding the one means the right way to appeal to that mercy is to do our very best and sincerely cooperate in serving Them by spreading Their glories from city to city and village to village.