Chapter-2: I Was Born in Sarajevo and Survived the Four-Year War

April 18, 1996

By Indradyumna Swami

This morning I gave class from the Third Canto of the Srimad- Bhagavatam, but I had difficulty concentrating because my mind was still reeling from the violence on Harinama yesterday. To give Srimad- Bhagavatam class one must be situated in the mode of goodness, or higher.

Throughout the day devotees have sent letters to my room. Years ago I would always see those who asked to meet me, but these days it is more difficult. At least that is so in this area, where there are so many devotees it is impossible to meet everyone who would like to see me.

Recently I spent time with H.H. Sacinandana Maharaja, who told me he deals with this problem by giving small darsans to select groups, such as guests, friends of Krsna, temple devotees, or disciples. I will also employ this idea from now on. It is less formal and more intimate than the association a preacher can give in class. Both types of association are essential—class and informal darsans.

I received a letter from Bhaktin Maya, an aspiring disciple of H.H.Harikesa Maharaja. I was touched by the nature of her letter, and I sent her a fairly long reply. She had written:

“Thank you so much for coming to Croatia and for all the happiness you are giving us through your lectures and kirtans. I also want to thank you for your decision to go to Sarajevo, Bosnia, tomorrow and hold a festival there with your devotees. I was born in Sarajevo and survived the four-year war that has only recently ended there. Most of my friends were killed during the war. Many of them liked Krsna consciousness, read the books of Srila Prabhupada, and chanted Hare Krsna. Your going to Sarajevo will bring relief to many people.

“I have never seen my guru Maharaja, Sri Visnupada, because we could not leave Sarajevo, during the war. And now I cannot obtain a proper passport to leave this part of the world. I am very unhappy that I cannot see him, but my unhappiness is mitigated by the presence of your festival tour here.”

This evening we held a festival in a hall in the center of Split. It was a complete success. More than 600 people crowded into the small hall, many of whom had come as a result of yesterday’s Harinama. They enjoyed a program of a bhajan, a performance of the Ramayana by the Bhaktivedanta Players from England, a kirtana, and a multi- vision slide show. Our tour band, Celibate Lovers, later treated the audience to a transcendental reggae concert.