Written by Nimai 

After the Pandava Sena Retreat in Goloka Dhama, Germany we flew to Madrid on Wednesday (10 August) to participate in the Holy Name Festival at New Vraja Mandala. This place is well-known to Kadamba Kanana Swami as he was in charge here from 2000-2008. When we arrived at the farm, Maharaj spoke to some old friends and gave a class in Spanish. However since he had not spoken the language for quite some time, he needed some help from the audience! In that lecture, Maharaj told the story of the bumblebee (abejórro in Spanish) that circumambulated the divine couple before it was chased away by Madhumangal. Radharani then thought Krsna had left and started crying so much that she could not see him anymore. Seeing her tears, Krsna also started crying and thus Kusum Sarovar came into being!

The next day, more people started to arrive however Maharaj took the whole day off to rest as he was very tired from the past few weeks of travel and events. In the afternoon, he did some yoga and only left the room at 7pm and then led a spirited kirtan. Afterward, Agnidev Prabhu, Ojasvi and others continued…

The highlight of the first day of the festival (Friday) was the 12 hour kirtan where Maharaj sang really mellow as he was first on the schedule at 11am. Saturday was greatly anticipated. In the morning, there was a program to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of ISKCON but Maharaj didn’t participate as he had to save his energy for the BIG harinama in Madrid which was scheduled to start at 6pm. We went into the city a little earlier by car to buy a few things that we needed. It was Saturday night and the streets were very crowded with all kinds of people and some were doing street performances.

Around 7pm, two buses full of devotees arrived at Plaza Callao, the starting point of the harinama. Yadunandana Swami sang first, followed by Kadamba Kanana Swami. Maharaj led a fired up kirtan for about an hour through the streets of Madrid with only a short bharat natyam dance pause in between. The Spanish people who were already in a festive mood were very favourable toward the devotees.

When Maharaj got tired, Agnidev Prabhu took over the microphone and shortly thereafter, we travelled back to the farm. As we were passing through Brihuega, the last village before the farm, we saw a large crowd of people gathered in the street. We tried to drive through but eventually had to stop when a few young people were kneeling in front of our car paying their obeisances to us with beers in hand! Others started to shake our car. Also, there was a group of men in bunny costumes and women with beards! Later we found out that it was carnival day in Spain!

In the Caitanya Caritamrta class the next morning, Maharaj spoke about the glories of harinama. He mentioned how kirtan isn’t heard only in the material world but throughout all the universes and our activities are being witnessed by various demigods and personalities like the Sun and the Moon. Maharaj, always good at spontaneous ideas in his classes, gave the example of the carnival we had witnessed the previous night. He said that there is a natural inclination towards celebrating festivals since it is done in the spiritual world and this material world is the perverted reflection of it.

Maharaj also explained that the love of God experienced by Caitanya Mahaprabhu (called sudipdha or blazing fire) is the topmost and at that stage, there is no longer any self-control therefore Lord Nityananda had to always take care of Mahaprabhu. For example when he was jumping really high in ecstatic kirtan, Nityananda would catch him to protect the Lord from hurting himself.

On Monday, there was another 12 hour kirtan. Again Maharaj sang in an early slot and as Maharaj explained, the mood is less passionate then so it was mellow. He had the second half of the day free for writing and resting. When the temperature had cooled down, Maharaj showed me around the farmland and told me about its history.

The next morning, we left at 6am for the airport to travel to Split in Croatia. We had a stopover in Zurich and during the second flight, we could see the famous Croatian islands on the way!

Visit Flickr to see more photos!

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