I am back in our beloved Vrindavan after an amazing visit to the Middle East. Krishna are you really coming? One day I hope to meet you here by the grace of my dear most spiritual master!
I am on my way to Africa. It was so painful to leave Sri Vrindavan dhama. This morning before leaving I went on Vrindavan parikrama with my close friend Pundarik Goswami and his family. Goswamaji is from the Radha Raman temple. I said goodbye to all my friends who know me from my daily parikrama. One can only but love the Vrajavasi’s. Photos by Mahavan and production by Ananta Vrindavan.
ISKCON Soweto in South Africa is a thriving community of devotees. Myself and BB Govinda Maharaja visited them for a special event acknowledging those devotees who work tirelessly in the African Townships to spread Krsna consciousness. Their shining faces reveal the happiness and joy they experience in practicing and spreading our movement in such trying circumstances. Please send them your blessings!.
This weekend we chanted on the Durban beachfront here in sunny South Africa. Spontaneously so many people joined in with us. Seeing this I realized once again how universal is our process; simply chanting, dancing and feasting. Thank you Lord Chaitanya! Afterwards, we returned to New Jagannath Puri, our temple north of Durban and continued with kirtan.
December 21st, 2019
Dear disciples, friends and well-wishers,
Last week here in Durban, South Africa, I visited my dermatologist – a skin specialist. Unfortunately, he found a Malignant Melanoma skin cancer on my face. The tumour was very near to the first one I had five years ago. It is called recurrence cancer. I had a PET/CT scan to see if this second tumour had metastasised (spread) throughout my body. The result came back clear. It had not spread. Nevertheless, as a precaution my oncologist (cancer doctor) asked that while surgically removing this second tumour, the doctor also perform a neck dissection and remove a number of lymph nodes to ensure the Melanoma had not spread there. It sometimes happens that PET scans cannot see small traces
(micro-metastasis) of Melanoma.
Yesterday I underwent 4.5 hours of surgery in one of the best hospitals in South Africa. The tumour was excised with a wide margin, requiring a skin graft from my leg onto my face. The surgery also required that part of the skin of my right ear be removed. In addition, a neck dissection was needed to remove all the lymph nodes that the cancer could have spread to. That part of the surgery required thirty staple-stitches to close the wound on my neck.. A suction drain is in place to drain excess blood. Obviously, my appearance has changed somewhat, helping me to understand I am not the body!
The good news is that the laboratory reported this morning that there is no cancer present in any of the lymph nodes, nor anywhere near where the tumour was. I am again cancer free! The doctors reminded me that because of the aggressive nature of Melanoma all these procedures were absolutely required; it is standard practice.
A special thank you to Sunil Mohan das, a disciple of Bhakti Charu Maharaja, who lovingly and efficiently took me through the whole process – and who himself performed the delicate surgery.
I will be in hospital for four more days and then I will continue my recovery for a few weeks at the home of Sunil Mohan prabhu and his good wife Hemangi dasi. Very soon I will be back on the road continuing my services to Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu!
Once again, I am grateful to Lord Nrsimhadeva for watching over and protecting me. I am also grateful for the opportunity to continue serving my illustrious spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada in spreading the sankirtan movement all over the world. Now, each day is like gold.
December 24th, 2019
I would like to thank all the devotees, friends and well-wishers who kindly supported me in my time of need through your prayers, emails and phone calls. Your care, concern and love helped me tremendously. Because of the major surgery I underwent it will take a few more weeks for me to fully recover, but my doctors are pleased with my progress. I will try to reciprocate all your support by redoubling my efforts as soon as I am back on the preaching field.
December 26th, 2019
Dear disciples: A new class entitled: “Jewels And Mantras” is now posted on www.narottam.com. It was given here in South Africa during the recent Nama Ruci Kirtan Mela.
December 28th, 2019
As our Kartika parikrama 2019 drew to a close we visited the forest of Tapovan where the young gopi girls of Vrindavan performed austerities to get Krsna as their husband. In that small, but idyllic set of woods, we heard how the gopis ate simply for one month, bathed daily in the cold waters of the Yamuna river and prayed continuously to the goddess Katyayani. At the end of the month they went to Chir Ghat, some distance down the river, where Krsna fulfilled their deep spiritual desires. We relished our time at Tapovan. With those sweet memories in mind we now look forward to Kartika parikrama in 2020!