October 19, 1996
By Indradyumna Swami
We arrived at Vladivostok in the afternoon. This distant outpost on the eastern horizon bears a close resemblance to European Russia. Before visiting here the first time, I had imagined it would look subtropical, being only 600 kilometers from Japan, but on the contrary, Vladivostok is another gray Russian city on a bare and unattractive landscape.
We were greeted at the airport by Vrajendra Kumara dasa, ISKCON’s Regional Secretary for the Far East. He is a disciple of H.H. Prabhavisnu Maharaja. On the way to our apartment, Vrajendra Kumara took us to the buildings the Vladivostok devotees are renovating for a temple.
The buildings once served as a camp for the Pioneers, Russia’s equivalent of the Boy Scouts. When the work is completed and the temple opens, there will be an enormous temple room, a large kitchen, a spacious lecture hall with 400 seats, and accommodations for more than sixty devotees.
In the car, Vrajendra Kumara suggested I take prasadam and relax. I asked if there was a preaching program scheduled for the afternoon. Uttama Sloka, half asleep in the back seat after the long journey, looked up. “Gurudeva,” he said, “you have to take prasadam.”
“Uttama,” I said, “preaching will be our prasadam today,”
We made our way to the Hare Krsna Cafe in downtown Vladivostok. We surprised about a hundred guests and devotees as we entered the cafe and proceeded to do a program.
I also did a program at the temple that evening. The children staged a wonderful Indian dance for me, and I invited them to take lunch with me the next day. By the look on their faces it seemed as if all their desires had suddenly been fulfilled.
“This is what it must be like in the spiritual world,” I thought. “All your desires are fulfilled in Krsna’s association, even though the activities are seemingly so simple. But because transcendental affection is there, everyone is fully satisfied.”