Written by Nimai 

Kadamba Kanana Swami enjoyed the Janmastami festival and Srila Prabhupada Vyasa Puja celebration in Ljubljana a lot, however we could not stay longer afterward as we had a tight schedule to follow. So we left to the airport on the evening of Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa Puja (26 August) and travelled to Berlin, Germany.

When we landed, Silvio, who was going to be initiated two days later, drove us to Leipzig about 200 km away. We arrived at my parent’s flat at 11 pm and Maharaj immediately ‘crashed’ (went straight to the bed and slept) being totally exhausted from the previous few days of festivals and travelling. Nonetheless, still he attended the Leipzig Ratha Yatra the next day with the procession starting at 11 am.

Sacinandana Swami had also come from Berlin, accompanied by some of his disciples and a group of German devotees. Kadamba Kanana Swami and Sacinandana Swami, being good friends, had a short chat in front of Lord Jagannatha, before the Ratha Yatra procession began.

Kadamba Kanana Swami began the kirtan, quickly building up the pace and had everyone dancing. When the procession stopped in front of a church where a lot of people stood, Maharaj took the kirtan to yet another level. The devotees formed two circles and danced in ecstasy and even non-devotees felt attracted and joined the party while other onlookers took photos. When Maharaj got tired, he handed over the microphone to Sacinandana Swami who gave an explanation on the importance of the Ratha Yatra festival before starting his kirtan

Kadamba Kanana Swami did not return home after the procession ended but rather, we remained at the site until the program ended at about 7pm. Throughout the afternoon, Maharaj walked through the city, always staying close to the site, giving personal attention to as many people as he could. Towards the end, Maharaj sang on the main stage, assisted by a few devotees singing back-up and playing instruments. Ananta Gauranga from America, who Maharaj considers to be one of the world’s finest mrdanga players, was also present.

The next day, Sunday the 28th of August, we had yet another hectic schedule ahead of us. The first part of the program was held in the Leipzig temple. There was the name giving ceremony for the child of Jayanti and Mahibharta. Both parents sat alongside to the fire holding the baby and the new vaisnava was named Madhura Nitai. After that, using the same yajna kund and fire, Maharaj initiated four new disciples who received the following names: Saksi Gopal das (Silvio), Tara Chandra dd (Tatiana), Racitambara dd (Rachel) and Ahuti dd (Aya). During the fire sacrifice, several fire brigade cars drove by but none of them seemed to notice the smoke coming out the door!

After a few hours break during which time Maharaj took a short nap and had his lunch, the program continued in a rented hall nearby the temple. The program was themed “second Janmastami” so even though there was no second abhishek (as it took place on Janmastami day itself), Maharaj spoke about the importance of Janmastami once again and didn’t fail to entertain the audience with his little stories in between. There was a second floor in the hall, which made it possible to watch the action from above and it served well for keeping the kids quiet during the lecture.

On Monday, finally Maharaj got his well-deserved day of rest and he worked a bit on his novel for the first time in a week. Later in the day, we went for a walk in one of Leipzig’s many parks. Sadbhuja drove us there in his “Free Spirits” bus and about fifteen disciples joined too. That morning, I went to the city centre to buy a few things for Maharaj. On the way there I met the “Free Spirits” bus and they were just about to start a harinama from the train station and they took me with them! Maharaj spontaneously decided to do another program that evening which took place the temple.

Around noontime on Wednesday, Maharaj left Leipzig and flew to Amsterdam. He spent a night at Uddhava and Visakha’s house before continuing his trip to South Africa the next day…

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