June 19, 1995
By Indradyumna Swami
I spent most of the day giving darsana to my disciples. For many of them it was the first time they had ever spoken to their spiritual master. A young lady, Madhu Priya dasi, told me an interesting story. She had gone to my Vyasa-puja celebration in St. Petersburg, five thousand kilometers from her temple here in Novosibirsk. Being a young brahmacarini, she has little if any laksmi at all. The temple was unable to pay her fare, so she was in complete anxiety. But she was determined that somehow or other she would get to the festival.
So with two of her Godsisters, Visnu Sakti dasi and Vaijayanti Mala dasi, she went to the local military airport and asked to speak to the commanding officer. Surprisingly, she was allowed to see him and she begged that he allow them to ﬂy to St. Petersburg on a military plane. The commanding officer couldn’t believe his ears.
But after they preached to him for an hour, he somehow agreed, and that afternoon they hitched a ride in the luggage compartment of a military cargo plane en route to St. Petersburg. Only in Russia could something like this happen. I asked her how they got back to Siberia, and she said they preached to several St. Petersburg businessmen who agreed to pay their way. “Man proposes, God disposes.”
This afternoon I went for a japa walk in a park. The whole area looked as though it had been abandoned for years. In fact, most of Novosibirsk looks like that. As the economic situation in Russia deteriorates, the cities look more and more grim. There seems to be nothing beautiful in terms of buildings, parks, roadways, or housing in this country. And everything is getting worse. Of course, such situations are good for preaching, so one tolerates the austerities.
There were many mosquitoes in the park, and I watched with amusement how people dealt with them. They were tearing small branches from trees and bushes and swatting themselves continuously to keep the pests away. I was happy I finally had my mosquito cream.