We continue with travel stories by Sesa Das from July and August after Kadamba Kanana Swami’s visit to New York.
A few more days in Radhadesh
What would you do after an 8 hour flight from USA to Europe (18 July)? With your body clock set to being 6 hours behind European timing? Most would take a day off, sleep, relax, etc… But not our Dearest Kadamba Kanana Maharaj. Maharaj arrived in Brussels and after unloading & unpacking he was active with the devotees in Radhadesh. We all gathered outside his room at 6pm, somewhat anticipating that there wouldn’t be an evening walk. Due to the slope I can imagine some may have been thinking maybe today will be an easier walk… Maharaj came out and within minutes was walking ahead in full pace, as if there hadn’t been a flight from USA or time change at all. My body was energized and present, however my mind was completely in another time zone which I realized when I was thinking to call one devotee in the UK & thought it’s 6pm here so it must be 11pm there, they will be asleep. After a while of laughing about it with Maharaj it began to sink in that we are back in Europe.
The following few mornings, in full force Maharaj gave a series of classes on Gajendra’s prayers & return to the spiritual world, from the 8th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. And what an amazing series it was! You must listen to them! Maharaj spoke about the life of Narada Muni, the opulence of Rajasthan & Jaipur, how Gajendra became fully surrendered, and much more!
One devotee asked Maharaj: Have you ever felt lonely? And how to cope with loneliness?
Maharaj essentially answered: when people are lonely, some get married! In material life things are very lonely, many problematic & painful relationships which lead to loneliness. Otherwise if we have pleasant relations then even if we are alone we don’t feel lonely. Then Maharaj explained that yes at one point early in his youthful times he felt lonely. Then he realized that from this one can go into depression or think let me get out & have a better quality of life.
Loneliness disappears when we are positive to everyone, because then we are always with friends.
I will leave you with this, as I don’t want to spoil the classes, but if you want a good solid dose of spiritual bliss, & elevation via guidance you must hear these classes which were given on the 19th & 20th July in Radhadesh.
Sadhu sangha in the Swiss Alps
After a brief one day stopover in the UK, where Maharaj gave a morning Caitanya-caritamrta class & evening program at Krsna Kirtan prabhu’s house, Maharaj proceeded to the Swiss Alps for a retreat with roughly 100 devotees. This is an annual retreat with special guest speakers such as HH Sacinandana Swami, HH Niranjana Swami, HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, HG Trai prabhu, HG Mandakini Mata ji, HG Adi Purusa prabhu & many more! & this year they had specially organized HH Subhag Swami to come for the final few days.
Having hire out a retreat centre, which by the looks of it is a healing health spa centre, the devotees as we always do turned the whole place into a temple for the upcoming week. The main room was transformed into such a transcendental temple room! In the morning everyone would take their deities and do puja & then bring their deities back and place them on a big altar. & it was quite an amazing altar! The set up was inspired many years ago by HH Sacinandana Maharaj & you must see the pictures! Kadamba Kanana Maharaj commented to me several times how much he liked it.
Each of the special guests would give seminars on a special selected topic. HH Sacinandana Swami was enlivening us with talks about how to relish the Srimad Bhagavatam & then went on to speak about the dynamics of the Vrtasura vs Indra pastime.
HH Kadamba Kanana Maharaj wanted to speak about Gaura Lila and did so by beginning from the Srimad Bhagavatam paribhasha sutra (1.3.28) and establishing how Lord Caitanya came to this world by Advaita Acarya’s sincere prayers for His advent. The later seminars Maharaj did reading various biographies of Lord Caitanya’s life such as Caitanya Mangala, Caitanya caritamrta and various other sources.
The final seminar Maharaj carried on with Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement and returned back to the Srimad Bhagavatam’s final chapter (12.13.21), which speaks about Srimad Bhagavatam giving the essence of transcendental knowledge and at the core of Lord Caitanya’s mission. Maharaj expanded by stating that without this transcendental book we can’t think properly, the mind is made of a stream of thoughts & is not under our influence. And it’s the nature of the soul to flow spontaneously towards the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. At the start we need to stream & guide our thoughts otherwise they go everywhere & won’t make it back to Krsna, however reading Srimad Bhagavatam we get uplifted to the transcendental platform as it first touches our heart & creates faith. Maharaj finishes the seminar by emphasizing the point of systematically studying the Bhagavatam. Although, yes, Srila Prabhupada said the Srimad Bhagavatam is sugar doll like sweet anywhere you bite it. But for us to dive deep and really relish Srimad Bhagavatam there’s a need for systematic study.
The final day Maharaj was at the retreat was a 12 hour kirtan day, from 10am in the morning into the evening. His Grace Madhava prabhu came for this day and in the evening played mrdanga for HH Niranjana Swami and then lead beautiful kirtans for several hours at the end. The recordings of these are also available on the blog. Although the Swiss Alps are very beautiful, a scene like no other & we all had amazing walks with Maharaj. Maharaj took us through the valleys, up rocky hills, over the river bridges. Although being in such a tranquil heavenly environment surrounded by nature’s finest beauty the day of kirtan had such a strong spiritual atmosphere & guidance from the sadhu sangha took us way way beyond the heavenly atmosphere and into the transcendental realms.
The next few days Kadamba Kanana Maharaj spent in Leipzig, Germany at Jaya Sacinandana prabhu & Nitya Manjari mata ji’s house. A nice cosy apartment where Maharaj was able to get some peace & quite to recoup a little & was really expertly taken care of by Nitya Manjari mata ji. Instead of going for a walk Maharaj went cycling through the town centre. A hobby that he loved to do from a young age, being from Amsterdam one of the cycling centres of the world.
Saturday 29th July marked the Berlin Rathyatra which was an ecstatic day as many gathered for the procession. HH Sacinandana Swami, HH Indradyumna Swami, HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, HG Vaiyasaki prabhu, Harinama Ruci & hundreds of devotees got together. What a day it was as everyone danced and sang with so much bliss through the main street of Berlin.
At the end Maharaj led a kirtan on the stage, getting many dancing and singing & without any break he had to shoot off to the airport for his flight back to Radhadesh.
Another few more days in Radhadesh
Maharaj came back to his apartment in Radhadesh for a few days before he flew into Slovakia for a week. Maharaj carried on with his series of seminars on Gajendra’s prayers & return to the spiritual world. I honestly thought the previous few classes he gave were the best I’ve heard. Maharaj shows us that yes he has a humorous side but way beyond that he has a deeply grace, reflective and practical side. So many highly deep topics are there in the Srimad Bhagavatam and when he presents them he enables us to engage our life with the pastimes and imbibe such depth to enhance our life. So this time he took the classes to a whole other level. On the 31st July, then 1st & 2nd of August Maharaj spoke from Canto 8.3.33 to 8.4.6.
Again no amount of descriptions from me would even be near to giving glory to these classes so please hear them! But just to give you a little glimmer, here’s a snippet from one of the classes:
Maharaj began the first of these classes speaking about how in previous yugas (ages) people would get reactions just for their thoughts! Imagine if that was so now, when we can’t control our flow of thoughts, he stated. So we see in previous ages the high calibre of these special sages. We see they are deeply committed and highly advanced through their level of control and purity of thought, which is something very rare to find. Only in the disciplic succession do we find such alignment of purity in actions and thoughts. So for us there’s a great need of commitment to the pure process given, and we are thankful there’s no reaction for the bad thoughts that come in Kali yuga!
Keep tuned in for the week ahead in Slovakia, where some incredible preaching occurred!