Sannyasa Report for 2010
In 1997, now fourteen years ago, I received sannyasa in the Bhaktivedanta Manor. Since then I have done a lot of travel and preaching not just randomly, but in a regular pattern, because it appears more effective to me to build up relationships with full-time devotees and the larger congregation in various areas. During these fourteen years I have attended a lot of festivals, for last year I have counted 23 festivals and 4 retreats. Gradually with the increase of age I am aiming to minimize my involvement with events and reach people in other ways for example through writing and education. In between the action, I am building in rest periods,not just for health, but also for some quality sadhana. This year I invested in an ebook reader, which made many books more easily accessible,and reading more easy.
I continued a program of traveling and preaching in the same areas as in previous years. My New Year begins in Germany with the sankirtan festival at the lotus feet of Lord Nrsimhadeva. Devotees gather from Czech republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Germany of course to gather for a festival after the book distribution marathon. The presence of leading devotees is of great importance to inspire book distributors from many countries. I also consider this temple project, dedicated to lord Nrismhadeva, a place of pilgrimage for entire Europe. I go there twice a year to get some mercy, and to do a little service to the Deity by adding to festivals that attract many devotees.
From there I went on to Radhadesh, another substantial landmark, for one week to teach a course on the Caitanya Caritamrta, which is also annual event. I think the college fulfills a need in our movement and adds to the Radhadesh community. Teaching is a good way to enter in to a topic and the Caitanya Caritamrta is a great source of inspiration in my life. In general I come to Radhadesh regularly and last year I visited more often. I annually support the summer festival, since it is a predominantly dutch affair. Radhadesh continues to offer inspiration to devotees from all over Europe and beyond, through festivals and education and is also a place where the -kulis have their melas.
In the UK I try to visit other temples besides London. I keep a regular relationship with Leicester and also visited Birmingham, Scotland and New Castle and of course London is a dynamic, stimulating place, full of programs,activities and developments.
The Czech Republic , is the first place I went after taking sannyasa in 1997 and since then I kept a regular relationship with the Yatra. Occassionally I also visit Slovakia. Prague is just a few hours by a pleasant journey on a German train, from Leipzig or Berlin. So these areas are a convenient, contiguous preaching field.
I also have a good connection with Sweden and visit Stockholm from time to time. They don’t get that many visiting preachers, so some years ago I decided to put energy there. I have good relationships with the local devotees, I have become a member of the family. The pace of life in Sweden is not as high as in central Europe and the BBT offers very nice facility, in this way Sweden is a rest-point for me. Once a year I go to Helsinki, Finland as well.
I went to the Serbian summer camp and to Croatia for Janmastami,but I can’t do much more in these areas than some sporadic visits.
Besides Europe , South Africa is a major preaching field for me. I have been involved there for at least three months a year, since 1995. I feel at home here, in general people are quite open and devotees have a nice service attitude. I am trying to stay connected with all devotees in the yatra, at the same time I try to especially help to facilitate african devotes to become part of our movement. The demographics of South Africa are 90% African, 8% from European descent and 2% of Indian origen, ISKCON is just the opposite; so to remain relevant to society we need to attract more african devotees. I have arranged funding to start several preaching centres, I have started a Ratha Yatra in Soweto, since a few years, and try to support individual african devotees.
In recent years HH Jayadvaita Swami has taken responsibility as a trustee to develop a BBT division for the entire Africa. In South Africa, I try to help by promoting and facilitating book distribution, so last December I went their during the book marathon.
I would like to carry on with my service in South Africa for many years to come, Krsna willing. Even if in the future I would have to minimize other services , I would give priority to South Africa.
In 1984, my health was weak, due to extensive problems with malaria in India, Bhavananda send me for one year to Australia and my health improved tremendously. These days also Australia, with mild winters and sunny climate, still does wonders for my health as a welcome change from the drab European weather. So I’ve kept it as part of my itinerary throughout the years. Australia has nice temples and is well organized and there are ample of preaching opportunities.
The roots of my spiritual life are in India, I joined in Vrindavan and also by Krsna’s grace was allowed to serve for a substantial amount of time both in Vrindavan and Mayapur. These days I still do a little service on the Vrndavana Executive Board, although I am thinking of retirement. After spending a few weeks in Vrndavana, I went to Mayapur for one month to teach in the Bhakti Sastri and Bhakti Vaibahva courses. This is a time of rejuvination rising early at 1:30 am chanting and studying, along with a morning program, although I confess I may regularly listen to Bhagavatam class on the radio. On the weekend I lead parikramas through the Dhama. This coming year in Kartika I am planning to take a group of devotees to Bangladesh, to visit holy places like Advaita Acarya’s birth place, or Pundarika Dhama, Kethuri and more. After that I will lead a study group on the CC in Mayapur and in the end we will publish a book with essays from the paricipants. I am looking forward to all of this. In the long run as my health will have higher demands I am planning to spend more time in Mayapur.
Hoping that my humble service may give some pleasure to my spiritual master,the vaisnavas and Krsna,
Kadamba Kanana Swami