Kadamba Kanana Maharaja is well-known for his ecstatic kirtanas. Everyone has heard of how he turns “raga into rock”. And last week, which was spent in the Czech Republic, he again displayed his extraordinary style in his enthusiastic kirtanas and Harinamas. His visit started-off at the Prague temple, which is now situated about a 45 minute drive outside the city, where Maharaja gave the morning class. Here he elaborated on how “cultured” material life is focused on dharma, artha and kama (religiosity, duty and enjoyment), and the goal of the enjoyer is to attain Svarga Dhvar (the gate to the heavenly planets). But such a soul, in due course of time, gets frustrated with material life and he might strive for moksa (liberation). However the devotee rejects all of these things, even liberation because his only focus is service to the Supreme Lord.

Then during the day, he put this theory into practice by leading a large group of devotees on a Harinama through the city of Prague. The response of the locals was amazing as many danced and chanted along. There was a special interaction with a street artist, a violin player, who managed to pick up Maharaja’s tune perfectly and in this way, joined the kirtana party for some time.

The Harinama ended in front of the local Govinda’s restaurant, where a program was to be held. Although the evening’s kirtana was scheduled for only one hour, Maharaja kept on glorifying the Lord by uttering His Holy Names for almost twice as long and he got the whole crowd dancing in ecstasy. “It is hard to stop! I tried to stop since half an hour but it is very hard,” was his comment. What followed was a short talk on the importance of deep absorption in Krsna consciousness by managing one’s life in such a way that Krsna is in the forefront. After another half an hour of bhajanas the program concluded.

The next day (21 June), we were off to the yearly Czech summer-camp. On the first evening, Maharaja led a one hour long Gaura arati kirtana at full steam and this was followed by a lecture. It started-off with the example of Narottama Dasa Thakura, who appeared on this planet just after Caitanya Mahaprabhu had left, and felt great separation and complained about his misfortune. But still, even though he missed Mahaprabhu himself, he attained Krsna Prema. Similarly, we might complain that we just missed Srila Prabhupada, but Prabhupada’s mercy is still fully present. Maharaja concluded: “The truth is that the Krsna Prema that came with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 5000 years ago, is that very same Krsna Prema that came with Srila Prabhupada, and that very same Krsna Prema is available now…”

On Friday, the famous Czech Harinama party consisting of Visnujana and company, organized a Maha Harinama in a nearby town and got both, Kadamba Kanana Maharaja and Bhakti Vaibhava Maharaja to join in. Altogether, about 50 devotees went out to spread the Holy Name, including some book distributors. Once again, people were amazed at these effulgent people in white and saffron-coloured bed sheets, who were just happily singing and dancing in the streets.

The evening continued with bhajanas led by Bhakti Vaibhava Maharaja and Kadamba Kanana Maharaja until Dhanavir Maharaja arrived at the camp and joined in.
On Friday and Saturday morning, Maharaja led rocking kirtanas at Guru Puja. On Saturday, which was his scheduled day of departure, a name giving ceremony was held where Maharaja gave spiritual names (Surya Narayana Dasa, Govinda Dasa and Premarnava Dasa) to his new disciples and asked them to kindly participate in the next day’s fire sacrifice that was to be done after more initiations were to be given by the other sannyasis. During the rest of the day, Maharaja spent his time talking with devotees, until his departure which by chance was perfectly synchronized with the arrival of Jayananda Maharaja, who whole-heartedly greeted and then saw off Kadamba Kanana Maharaja.

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