Aiming for Soweto Ratha Yatra, Kadamba Kanana Maharaja made his way from Germany to Pretoria, South Africa. On the day of his arrival (12 September), he did a program at the temple that consisted of a fired up kirtana, garlanded around a beautiful talk of how in the spiritual world, all aspects are superior to that of the material universe. “In the material world sometimes you need it… even in the best of marriages, you think: Today, I’m going to pick a fight! But in the spiritual world, the love is not like ever limited. There are always new qualities of Krsna that are discovered and that are also awakening further love, so it is not boring, it is growing forever.”
In the mornings, Maharaja gave Caitanya Caritamrita classes which focused on the topic of Ratha Yatra. In his lectures, he elaborated on the cleaning of the Gundica temple and then proceeded to describe the activities of Lord Caitanya during the chariot festival in Jagannatha Puri.
The next day (13 September), he went to the University’s arts campus which is just a 20 minute ride away from the Pretoria temple. The topic advertised was “Wanted: The perfect soul-mate! Where to look?” Maharaja gently but expertly cut all false hopes of the attending students with statements like: “So if you think that every pot has its lid and everyone has his perfect counterpart… there is one person in the world just somewhere out there and that’s the one for you! You know that one? That’s rubbish!”
At the same time he gave a spiritual angle on the matter: “It begins with ourselves. If we are not full of love then how can we expect a relationship which is full of love? Won’t work, it is not possible. Only those who are themselves full of love and free from hate, only they can become perfect soul mates!”
On Friday morning, Maharaja was invited for breakfast at Anita Mataji’s house in Laudium, a suburb in Pretoria. Anita Mataji was initiated the very next day and is now known as Aditi Devi Dasi. Laudium is an important place for the local devotees because Srila Prabhupada lectured at the major hall there. In his biography called “Mission in service of His Divine Grace” Riddha Dasa Adhikari (ACBSP) mentions:
“An ecstatic lecture was given at Laudium Civic Centre Hall in Pretoria. Like the devotees back at the temple, many of the Krsna bhaktas, such as Mr. N. Patel and friends, were overwhelmed by the fact that a pure devotee of the Lord should come and grace their presence.”
On Friday night, a program was held in Midrand (a suburb midway between Johannesburg and Pretoria). Maharaja initiated a new tune that was originally by Ananta Caitanya Prabhu from Zurich and which was made famous around the world by Madhava Prabhu. He also gave a very special class elaborating on the wonders of spiritual life.
On Saturday (15 September) initiations were held. Three devotees were initiated and begot the names Aditi Devi Dasi, Srivasa Pandita Dasa and Kesava Bharati Dasa. The temple room was packed with many friends and relatives of the initiates. After the ceremony, a wonderful feast was served.
On Sunday, Maharaja participated in the annual Soweto Ratha Yatra which is running for its fifth consecutive year. Lord Jagannatha, together with his brother Balarama and sister Subhadra, mounted their great chariot and were pulled by their devotees through the township! Graced by the presence of HH Jayadvaita Maharaja, HH Kadamba Kanana Maharaja and HH Bhakti Nrsmha Maharaja the festival promised to be a success. Also, as a special feature this year, HH Lokannatha Maharaja attended and with his expertise in kirtana brought the festival to another level of spiritual ecstasy. After leading for almost an hour, Lokannatha Maharaja passed the microphone on to Mahaprabhu Dasa, the local temple president, but only a short while later, after consulting with Kadamba Kanana Maharaja, he started pulling on the cord of the microphone until he playfully snapped it out of Mahaprabhu’s hands and continued his kirtana at full steam! The initial and final kirtana of the Ratha Yatra was led by Kadamba Kanana Swami, supported by fired up kirtaneers and expert drummers.
At the festival site, a local rap group called “The golden age” performed three of their songs on stage and that was followed by sweet bhajanas and a talk by Lokannatha Maharaja. Meanwhile in the youth tent, Kadamba Kanana Maharaja teamed up with Vraja Vallabha (a natural born KKS drummer) and entertained the young devotee generation with ecstatic kirtana.
Can’t view the slide show below? Just visit flickr!