The recent travel posts of Kadamba Kanana Swami have not been published according to the sequence in which they happened. It is mostly because our team has not been able to keep up with all the media that needed to be processed and some events, like Kingsday, were prioritized. So to recap, after the Kirtan Mela in Mauritius, Maharaj returned to South Africa on 14 April. The very same day, a disciple program took place in Johannesburg and thereafter, Maharaj spent a week in Cape Town before heading off to Europe. After the Vyasa Puja, Kingsday Harinama and Nrshima Caturdasi Festival, Maharaj travelled to Australia where he is currently. Recordings and photos from all these engagements will follow. We kindly request your patience…
Kadamba Kanana Swami arrived in Cape Town on Wednesday, 15 April, and he stayed until the 21st. For the first few days, Maharaj gave morning and evening classes at the temple. However, the highlight of his visit happened on Friday as it was his appearance day according to the lunar calendar and the “higher powers” of the Cape Town yatra persuaded him to celebrate the significant day!
This year, I was fortunate enough to have attended three of the four birthday celebrations held in honour of Maharaj and somehow, I felt that the Cape Town program was extra special! It could be because I lived in Cape Town for twelve years and it is where my spiritual life started so I have a natural attachment to the place. But also, Cape Town is a city that Maharaj visits two to three times a year, for many years now, and he has long standing relationships with members of the congregation. Heartfelt appreciation of Maharaj was evident in the offerings of the devotees.
HG Medhavi Prabhu (ACBSP) mentioned, “I am two years physically older and five years Iskcon historically older but I consider, and I hope that Maharaj does not feel offended, I consider Maharaj to be my spiritual superior! When he offers his obeisances to me, I must offer them in return or Lord Nityananda-Balarama may come off the altar and find a kusha grass somewhere and dispose of me because Maharaj is such a wonderful devotee. There is no question… Whenever Maharaj speaks, he always brings in a very interesting, often humorous, aspect of the philosophy. I am sure devotees are going to mention his ecstatic kirtans… that goes for without saying. Maharaj really knows how to pump it up… at FULL speed! I just want to thank Maharaj very much for visiting us often – I sure hope that I don’t jinx that because we are VERY, VERY, VERY fortunate that Maharaj comes to visit us.”
At the start of Vasanti’s offering, she presented to Maharaj a big box, wrapped in orange paper. Vasanti was that fortunate soul who met Kadamba Kanana Swami in 2010 on the streets of Cape Town, where he distributed a book to her. Vasanti spoke about the emotions and thoughts she experienced on that fateful day, as well as the power of receiving a book! In the box which she gifted to Maharaj was 108 books for distribution.
Other devotees went on to speak about Maharaj qualities of kindness and generosity, as well as his depth of sastric knowledge and joyful kirtans!
Maharaj accepted the glorification with great humility, “The other day, I was remembering how Srila Prabhupada said that when you see the light of the moon, then you know it is the reflection of the sun therefore if you see any good qualities in me, know them to be the good qualities of my spiritual master. That is very true…”
In his address to the audience, again Maharaj emphasized how he wanted us to be responsible and independently thoughtful. He urged us to care about this sankirtan mission and push it forward. Maharaj spoke about the parenting models of the bird, fish and tortoise; and as times goes by, he is more adopting the example of the fish and tortoise parents – the constant flying in-and-out may decrease but the watchfulness and meditation will always be there.
The wonderful evening culminated with a spirited kirtan by Maharaj and a grand prasadam feast, prepared by the disciples, was served. The Harinama Ruci travelling sankirtan party coincided their tour of Cape Town with Maharaj’s visit and just added to the euphoria of each day.
The good vibes from Friday continued on Saturday as devotees travelled to Pringle Bay, a little sea-side village about 100km away from the city of Cape Town. Devotees, Mukunda and Madhurika, hosted a kirtan mediation program and Kadamba Kanana Swami was invited as a special guest. Students from the nearby Stellenbosch University Bhakti Yoga Society also attended. Three hours of soulful kirtan and some really good prasadam left everyone feeling satisfied. However, for many of us, the best part of the day came after the program as those who stayed behind, mostly disciples, were rewarded with some special time with Maharaj where he fielded questions; those personal kind of questions that one could not really ask in a public forum but could amongst a small circle of close associates! During the scenic drive back to Cape Town, we watched the sun set and upon returning to the temple, devotees enthusiastically started preparing for the initiation ceremony which was scheduled for the next day.
Bhakti Caitanya Swami arrived on Sunday at midday and at 4pm, both him and Kadamba Kanana Swami bestowed first initiation unto two devotees respectively. Bhakta Gilly is now Gopa Kumar das and since his initiation has adorned saffron cloth. Maharaj appreciated Gopa Kumar’s efforts in book distribution. A lively KKS kirtan ended Sunday’s proceedings.
Monday was Maharaj’s designated day for resting but he spent time giving darshans. He also had a meeting with the city councillor of Cape Town regarding the upcoming Ratha Yatra in December. On Tuesday, after an early puja for Giriraja, he left the temple at 7am for his flight to Johannesburg and later that day, he flew to Amsterdam and thereafter travelled to Radhadesh!
I would like to acknowledge Tribhuvanatha Das and Bhaktin Nicole for assisting with recordings and photos. The offerings from the birthday programs held in South Africa will be shared together with the offerings from Radhadesh later next week.
Visit flickr to see all the pictures.