TOUR PHOTO REPORT
The European Hari-katha Festival with Srila Narayana Maharaja was held from July 8th to July 14th in a scenic Holiday Park about 2 hours from Frankfurt. There, approximately eight-hundred devotees and guests from all around the world assembled for one of the largest devotional gatherings in the West.
Every evening at 5pm, after the devotees had chanted their beautiful devotional songs accompanied by mrdanga, harmonium and kartalas, Srila Narayana Maharaja began his discourses. He spoke about the glories of Srimad-Bhagavatam, pure devotional service, and the sweet pastimes of Sri Krsna. Almost every morning, from 10:00 am-11:45 am, he held an audience for the devotees and guests of various countries; a few countries each day.
During the first evenings discourse, Srila Narayana Maharaja explained how Sri Suta Gosvami began his reply to the sages questions by first glorifying his own spiritual master, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. In this way he would receive power from his spiritual master to speak. Sri Suta Gosvami said:
[Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto him (Suka), the spiritual master of all sages, the son of Vyasadeva, who, out of his great compassion for those gross materialists who struggle to cross over the darkest regions of material existence, spoke this most confidential supplement to the cream of Vedic knowledge, after having personally assimilated it by experience. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.3)]
This Srimad Bhagavatam is the very essence of the whole Vedic literature, the Puranas, and Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bhagavad-Gita and all scriptures. The Srimad-Bhagavatam is also like a lamp. By the help of a lamp we can see ourselves and others in the darkness. By reading and following Srimad-Bhagavatam and hearing from any bona fide Guru, we can see transcendental Krsna together with His associates and sweet pastimes.
Srila Vyasadeva taught his son with compassion, and with great mercy for the entire world and all living entities. We should hear Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Srila Suta Gosvami explained:
sa vai pumsam paro
[The supreme occupation for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6)]
You should try to be like Pariksit Maharaja, who was going to die after seven days. He forgot to take any prasadam, and he did not even drink any water, during that seven-day period. He was not sleeping. Day and night he was engaged in hearing Hari-katha. After seven days he left his body without any suffering and went to Goloka Vrndavana. You should try to hear with the same absorption as Pariksit Maharaja.
As mentioned above, each day Srila Maharaja gave his audience in the main hall and temple room for a few different countries at a time. Devotees from the selected countries stood in a line to give their offerings, ask questions, and express their hearts sentiments to Srila Maharaja.
On July 12th, four large buses took 300 devotees to the city of Kassel for harinama-sankirtana. The devotees were led through the crowded streets of Kassel by a police escort, and estatic kirtanas were led by Kisori-mohan dasa, Purandaracarya dasa and Sripad Nemi Maharaja. The devotees chanted and danced through the streets for about two hours, and a few devotees distributed flyers and books alongside the party. Amazed, thousands of onlookers stopped to watch and listen to the harinama, and many asked for books.
On the last night of the festival, Srila Narayana Maharaja told his audience,
I am very happy that our festival is so successful. So many devotees from different parts of the world have come here and are hearing patiently. Also, there have been no complaints regarding the kitchen department. All are happy to take the very delicious prasadam daily. I think it would be good if next year our festival is here again, or in Italy.
All our sannyasis and all speakers have explained Srimad-Bhagavatam very well. Especially, we explained the very sweet pastimes of Krsna. On this world tour, I have spoken about this topic in Houston, and now again. The subject matter is very vast. One verse can take 7 days or one month to explain, but we have explained very briefly. I wanted to explain Gopi-gita, Brahmara-gita and Uddhava-samvada, but I could not. There was not sufficient time. What we could explain, we have, to a certain extent. We have touched the ocean water, but not the ocean of rasa, the sweet pastimes of Krsna.
My request is that those who are hearing Hari-katha should take the essence of all our sweet Hari-katha in their hearts. I have heard that in many places, many senior devotees do not follow properly. They do not chant their guru-mantra, they smoke and even gamble.
My request is that you should be very careful regarding these things. Dont smoke marijuana or cigarettes. Daily chant your diksa-mantras, and chant at least 16 rounds of hari-nama. I will be happy if you chant more than this. Also, I want that all of you distribute my books. First read them, take the essence and realize what is in them, and then distribute them to others.
I want that everyone in the audience brings at least one or two new devotees next year. This will be a very great service to Krsna. To give donations for a mundane cause and to build hospitals and so on is not equal to bringing an ordinary person to Krsna consciousness. This will be a very great service to Krsna. Remember all this.
Dont be weak. Brahmacaris and sannyasis should be very strong by hearing Hari-katha. They should read about the lives of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami, and our other great acaryas. Those to whom I have given saffron cloth (brahmacaris and sannyasis) must be very strong. If they are thinking that there is some chance to fall down from their development in bhakti, they should come to stay in India for some time, and thus they may be saved.
Pujyapad Madhava Maharaja, Sripad Brajanath dasa and Sri Prema Prayojana dasa
New York City Festival Report - July 1, 2007