Written by Nayanabhiram
It was a sweet experience returning to Melbourne, to the beautiful temple presided over by Sri Sri Radha Ballabah which is just meters away from the surf and sand of the Tasman Ocean. The sound of waves crashing, the spring breeze and scent of blossoming flower gardens captures the majesty of what Australia is about. The devotees here have a long standing reputation for their hospitality and love for kirtan & prasadam.
Maharaja arrived on Thursday (4 October) and on that evening was hosted by Guna Mani Nitai dd and her husband Adrian Prabhu, at their home. The theme of the night was a disciple dinner and all the aspirants and disciples were in attendance. Maharaja took us on a journey to Sri Vrndavana Dhama through the medium of the Holy Names which allowed us to relish the nectar for which we are always anxious! The powerful kirtan lasted almost 90 minutes after which Maharaja gave some instructions on applying Krsna Consciousness in our everyday practices and concluded by saying that everyone should strive to chant 16 good rounds of japa everyday, without fail!
On Friday night, an army of Lord Caitanyas soldiers marched into battle, equipped with transcendental weapons in the form of kartals, mrdangas and wompers. With Maharaja leading the team, the kirtan party captured the minds, hearts and souls of the Melboune public. Here is the link to a short video clip of the ecstatic harinama.
On Saturday morning, an initiation ceremony was performed after Guru Puja. Bhaktin Annie is now Anasuya dd while Atulya dd and Preeti Laksana dd were awarded 2nd initiation. Later that day, a wonderful hall program was held at the south Melbourne community centre where many vaishnavas blessed the occasion with their presence. We were entertained by the dramatic portrayal of Sanatana Goswamis Escape from Jail to Vrndavana which was followed by a discourse and kirtan by Kadamba Kanana Swami. In keeping true to his true style, Maharaja stopped just short of blowing off the roof-top with his passion for the maha mantra and had the 150 person crowd in pure ecstasy.
It was a super Sunday – a full schedule of events awaited the devotees as Maharaja delivered four lectures during the course of the day. Shortly after the morning Srimad Bhagavatam class, Maharaja gave a seminar entitled How to become truly convinced of the existence of Krsna as the supreme personality of Godhead. Later that day, he gave the class at the Sunday feast which was followed by a question and answer session in the Bhakti Bhavana, a devotee commune that is just a five minute walk away from the temple.
It was a cold and windy Tuesday afternoon, around 5 pm, when we arrived on the green hill-top of the State Library, on the main street of Melbourne. We had a core group of 30 devotees as we performed a two and a half hour outdoor sit-down kirtan. Maharaja did it again, invoking the holy names into everyone’s heart like a spark of fire to wood, as he set our hearts on fire! We considered ourselves fortunate to have taken part in a little piece of history – a true kirtan experience that was uniquely KKS style.
The final program that Maharaja did was on Wednesday (10 October) at the University of Melbourne. He gave a seminar on mantra meditation, followed by a kirtan and free vegetarian feast. Seventy students enthusiastically danced, sang along and eagerly took prasadam. It was a wonderful program where many questions were answered on the benefits, function and practicality of mantra meditation.
And thus ends the visit down-under as Maharaja eagerly boards the plane, en-route to Sri Vrndavan Dhama.
If you cannot view the slide-show below, then kindly visit flickr!