This year we began our 28th annual summer festival tour in the town of Dzwirzyno, Poland on the Baltic Sea coast. It began auspiciously with numerous people approaching the harinam party thanking us for bringing the festival to the town again. The festival crowd was big, as always, and they thoroughly enjoyed our new stage dramas. So, one down and 39 more festivals to go!
A great flood of mercy inundated the town of Rewal, Poland yesterday as our samkirtan party descended in all its glory upon the town’s beaches. Chanting and dancing in great ecstasy we distributed thousands of invitations to our festival that evening. Upon receiving an invitation one gentleman smiled and rightly said, “By the appearance of it all, it seems the festival has already begun!”
The lighthouse in Niechorze, Poland on the Baltic Sea guided sailors safely to shore for centuries. Now Lord Caitanya’s samkirtan movement, in the form of our transcendental festival, is helping people to cross over the vast ocean of material existence. The two days we spent with our program next to the lighthouse attracted thousands and thousands of people. May they continue their spiritual journey back to Godhead and arrive safely one day in Sri Vrindavan Dhama.
An Invitation To Chant Harinama – By Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur
“Why did I, the most unfortunate fallen soul,not take birth at the time when Sri Gaurachandra inundated the entire world, including the highest mountains, with the flood of love of God? Therefore I was unable to relish those waves of love of God!
“Why did I not take birth at that time to serve the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya? Why did I not become the servant of Sri Rupa and Sanatan? Why did I not carry the water pot of Raghunatha? Why did I not wander with Ramananda Ray around Chakratirtha? Why did I not see the deliverance of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya? When Prakashanand Saraswati, the leader of the sannyāsīs of Kashi, attained spiritual bliss in the form of devotional service to the Lord, why did I not take birth then to relish the devotion-filled nectarean waves of the Lord’s arguments with those māyāvadī sannyāsīs?
“Even though such a coveted desire is rare, still if I would have taken birth as a mundane logician in the family of a Brahmin at that time then Sri Krishna Chaitanya, the friend of all living entities, would have punished me with his sharp arrow-like words and accepted an atheist like me as his servant! Then he would have entrusted me to Haridas Thakur to be rectified by the chanting of the holy names! Alas! If I could have constantly seen with my spiritual eyes the Lord sitting in the midst of the vaiṣṇavas and delivering all living entities, who are burned by the fire of material existence, through distributing the nectar of the holy name! How much ecstasy would the associates of the Lord have been in when, after awakening all living
entities from the lap of illusion, the Lord would have raised his hands and said, “Take this remedy for material disease, drink the mellows of ecstatic love and become immortal!”
Countless human beings, afraid of demon-like material enjoyment, would have begged for his shelter. Then the Lord would have embraced them out of love and happily awarded them love of Krishna. Thus, the material disease of the living entities would have been cured.
“I am a servant of Sri Chaitanya and am fallen in the material ocean. The Lord is my only guide and protector. According to his order I am inviting all of you to chant the holy names of Hari. O living entities! O friends! Give up karma-kāṇḍa, the path of fruitive activities, tarka-kāṇḍa, the path of argument and speculation, and brahma-kāṇḍa,the path of worshiping the impersonal Brahman! Come and take the love of God distributed by Sri Chaitanya to your full satisfaction! Then your disappointment will be destroyed, your contaminated state of conditional life
will be vanquished, and you will regain your original constitutional position. You will then attain peace, which is your constitutional characteristic, and you will relish unlimited ecstatic love of Krishna.”
[ Bhaktivinoda Vāṇī Vaibhava (9.27), Translated by Bhumipati Das.
Published by Iswara Das and Touchstone Media. Vrindavan. 2003. ]
“O friend of the world! O Ocean of love! The populace has become full of deceit and bereft of knowledge. O my master! Kindly give them shelter at Your lotus feet, for the holy name, uplifter of the fallen, has become manifest from You.” [ Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Susloka Satakam, verse 21 ]
Yesterday we held a wedding at our festival in the port town of Mrzezyno. With the Baltic Sea as a backdrop, Stanislav and Zlata from Moldova took their vows in a colorful ceremony attended by over 3,000 people. Srila Prabhupada writes in the Caitanya Caritamrta: “A devotee is always thinking of how to better serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and how to broadcast His name, fame and qualities throughout the world.” [ Madhya, 11.89 purport ] The wedding served as a perfect introduction to Vedic culture. The large crowd was mesmorized by the wedding as evidenced by their loud applause at each and every step of the ceremony. Another victory in Srila Prabhupada’s cultural conquest of the world!
You can see excellent live footage of Ratha Yatra in Puri now. Go to:
For my disciples…
“In this dark age of Kali-yuga, sincere devotees of the Supreme Lord should leave aside all other means for liberation and take full shelter of the Holy Names. This is their real responsibility and duty. There is unlimited bliss in chanting the different names of Krishna: Hari, Kesava, Govinda, Vasudeva and Jaganmaya. For one who chants constantly with unflinching faith, he remains unaffected by the reverses of Kali-yuga, because his heart has become purified by chanting.” [Brhad – Naradiya Puruna ]
If public opinion were to gage the popularity of our festivals I’d like to think we’d get, “ten out of ten.” Both on the streets when we do harinama and at the festivals, people show their appreciation with great enthusiasm. What more could a devotee ask for?
“Incessantly they discuss the narrations of Sri Krsna ‘s pastimes which bestow pure devotion. Overwhelmed with ecstasy they preach the Maha-mantra throughout the earth when Gaura descends to destroy the sins of the age of Kali.”
[ Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Susloka Satakam, verse 77 ]
Today we are packing and heading off to Kostrzyn to begin preparations for the Polish Woodstock Festival, which begins next week. Over 800,000 people are expected for the 3-day event. As always, we’ll be right in the center of the action with ‘Krsna’s Village Of Peace.” Over 700 devotees will be participating from various countries around Europe. We’ll be cooking over 34 tons of foodstuffs, hoping to top last year’s mark of 140,000 plates distributed. Each day we’ll hold Ratha Yatra for 4 hours through the mass of people. Every day the 11-hour kirtans in our kirtan tent will be shown live on Mayapura TV. A great yajna is about to begin! Srila Prabhupada, please send us your blessings. We depend on your mercy!
The great Polish Woodstock Festival is still days away but the entire area is quickly filling up with young people and tents. Our good friend, Chaturatma das, also arrived today. As we walked around the festival grounds we were greeted everywhere with “Hare Krishna!” and a number of warm hugs. Woodstock!
Today our ranks swelled to 730 devotees as buses arrived from all over Europe. We held an istagosti where the many services connected to our preaching work at Woodstock were divided up. It’s an exciting time as we begin one of ISKCON’s biggest and most influential festival programs. But as great as it all is, we remember and keep close to our hearts, the fact that we are simply instruments in the hands of Srila Prabhupada and our previous acaryas. Narottam! Srinivas! Syamananda! Please send us your blessings too! You are our heroes in spreading Mahaprabhu’s sankirtan movement!
Two hundred thousand young people have already arrived for the Woodstock Festival, which begins in two days. Taking advantage of the big crowd we went on harinama with 250 devotees. A number of them distributed invitations to our Krsna’s Village of Peace. Many people danced with us in ecstasy, relishing the sweet nectar of Krsna’s holy names. A number of them followed us back to our village where we had more kirtan. After prasadam we had even more kirtan well into the night! Kirtan is our life and soul and an intricate part of the great Woodstock Festival.
With Woodstock starting tomorrow the festival grounds were alive with activity today. Ananta Vrindavan das took a walk around the field to shoot photographs of the people and the mood of Woodstock 2015
Preparing prasadam for close to 150,000 people at Woodstock is no small endeavour. But it’s all worth it! The kids love our food. And today they loved our stage show too. Woodstock is in full swing!
For 4 days in a row we take Lord Jagannatha on His Rath Cart through the massive crowds at Woodstock. Not only are people eager to pull the ropes, but they spontaneously jump into the kirtan and chant and dance with us in great ecstasy. Often they outnumber the devotees. Judging from their blissful faces we can understand that, by the mercy of Lord, they are experiencing the highest bliss!
Close-ups of Lord Jagannath’s people – those who hold Him dear to their hearts – and those who are meeting Him for the 1st time at Woodstock in Poland.