After the Ratha Yatra in Lenasia, Johannesburg Maharaja travelled to Durban. Finally, he was able to get back to his normal routine after a taxing tour of Bangladesh and India. He stayed at the temple where he gave Srimad Bhagavatam classes.

Then, last weekend (09-11 December), Maharaja participated in the Krsna-Balarama (KB) Mela which took place at the Alpine Heath resort in the Drakensberg Mountains. Drakensberg could be translated as dragon’s mountain and is the highest mountain peak in South Africa. It’s about a 3 hour drive away from Durban, going north-west. This was the very same venue that Kadamba Kanana Swami held retreats at in 2006 and 2007. The Mela was arranged by the KB youth group, a bunch of young individuals who are based in Johannesburg, and this is the third year running of the festival.

The main attraction of the Mela was the Mayapuris Bhajana-Band but also featured Amala Harinama Prabhu who blessed the event with his wonderful renditions of kirtana. Other special guests present were HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami and HH Bhakti Vasudeva Swami. Together with Kadamba Kanana Swami, the sannyasis conducted open discussions and workshops on Krsna Consciousness. Kadamba Kanana Swami presented a seminar entitled The Step by Step Process of Bhakti Yoga, wherein he encouraged devotees to not jump stages leading to Bhakti prematurely but instead to slowly and steadily become serious in their spiritual lives.

Another highlight of the Mela was a 12-hour Kirtana which took place on Saturday, 10 December and was initiated by Maharaja. On Saturday morning, HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami and HH Kadamba Kanana Swami accompanied devotees on a walk into the mountains, following a somewhat known path. On the way, obstacles like an overflowing river had to be overcome but eventually all the devotees safely reached their desired destination, a beautiful waterfall. There is some history to this particular waterfall. During the January 2006 retreat, HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami, who was also present at that time, jumped (some say fell!) from the top of the waterfall into the plunge pool below. This celestial piece of nature has been subsequently named ‘Bhakti Caitanya Swami Falls’.

On Sunday morning, Maharaja departed early from the Berg in order to make it to the Sunday program at New Jagannath Puri, Phoenix. This temple is about 40 km away from the Sri Sri Radha Radhanatha Temple in Durban.

The program started off at 11 am with Guru-puja and kirtana. Thereafter Maharaja delivered a class emphasizing the importance of giving out mercy, especially in form of distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books in the December Marathon. With that in mind, he distributed over 500 books straight from the Vyasasana at the end of his class, requesting the devotees to not keep them but somehow or other pass them on.

From Phoenix Temple Maharaja then drove to Durban Temple to attend at the Sunday program there which began at 4pm. After another Kirtana and a shared class with HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami, Maharaja distributed a further 300 books to the local devotees.

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