Written by Ragalekha dd
After the Ratha Yatra festival in Durban, Maharaj stayed on for five days. During that time there was a lot of activity. On Thursday (12 April), which happened to be Maharaj’s birthday according to the Western calendar, he was asked to give the morning Srimad Bhagavatam class. However, upon arrival at the temple room, he was surprised with a Vyasa Puja celebration. The devotees had arranged Guru Puja, a birthday cake and said offerings in glorification of Maharaj. HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami and HH Rama Govinda Swami were present and also shared their appreciation for Maharaj.
At the request of his disciples, Maharaj agreed to attend a house program in Westville (near Durban) later that day, in celebration of his appearance day. Invitation to this event was limited to disciples only. Everyone present shared their fondest memories of Maharaj. It was a sweet occasion that included good bhajan, nice prasadam and of course a huge birthday cake made with alternating layers of ice-cream and carob!
On Friday afternoon, Maharaj headed off to Ladysmith, a small town about 3 hours away from Durban. This program was arranged so that Maharaj could spend time with a group of disciples that were initiated the week before (8 April).
The very next morning, Maharaj returned to Durban to be part of the Kirtan Festival that was taking place over the weekend (14-15 April). He had a 2 hour slot on the Saturday afternoon and got the crowd going crazy in an ecstatic kirtan!
Keeping the pace, the next day, Maharaj participated in two Sunday programs in Johannesburg. The first was a midday program at the Lenasia temple and the other later in the day at the Soweto temple. There were ecstatic kirtans as well as inspiring lectures on the Caitanya Caritamrita at both programs. From Soweto, Maharaj went to Pretoria to spend the last days of his month long South African tour. On Tuesday, he spoke on ‘Secrets of the Vedas’ at a program held at the University of Pretoria. Maharaj expertly gave an overview on Vedic literature, leading to the understanding that Krsna is in the centre. Then, after hosting one more evening program at Pretoria temple on Wednesday, Maharaj left for Europe on Thursday.
If you cannot view the slide show, please visit flickr.