Our LA Ratha Yatra Trip Day 1 & 2
LA Ratha Yatra Trip Day 1 -Thursday July 31st, 2008
Who can estimate the kindness of devotees, and the kindness of Krishna. We have been awaiting the climatic day of visiting Los Angeles and seeing all the wonderful devotees who congregate at this event. A day before our departure I received a letter from Bhaktine Dalia who was acting as a host and offered us her apartment as a place to stay. She kindly offered us this help even though she had yet to meet us in person and had only known of us through a web and also a friend of ours. Here is an excerpt from her letter,
“I've been thinking how I could make things more convenient for you since you're probably gonna be spending a lot of time at the temple,and I have to work this weekend. So I got you a room at the Culver hotel,which is like 3 minutes away from the temple and very close to Venice beach. It's on my name and it's already charged to my card so there's nothing for you guys to worry about. I just wanted you to enjoy your stay here in LA and I feel that Krishna wanted me to do this service for his devotees. So please let me serve you. I'm sending a driver to pick you up tomorrow at 1 pm,and I will meet you at the hotel,which is also close to the airport. His name is Bar and he will be there waiting for you.
Ok,so I hope you have a wonderful flight and I will see you tomorrow afternoon. Hare Krishna”
Reading this letter in amazement I was baffled by the amount of kindness that was offered. She surely has a devotional heart. It troubled me about how I could possibly reciprocate. I thought, a ha, “What girl would not like nice clothes” so my wife and I decided to bring her one of her fancy saris and teach her how to put it on.
I also thought that I should do what ever possible to encourage her in her spiritual life. So today all of us went to the temple and for her it was the first time. She really enjoyed her experience. My wife and her first visited the gift shop, then we all honored delicious prasadam at Govinda’s.
We were in the presence with many wonderful devotees. HH Jayadvaita Swami, HG Vaiseshika Prabhu and others were a few of the senior devotees that we had the opportunity to see. We also got to meet Jagat Jivan Prabhu for the first time which was nice for we had only previously spoke on the internet. We then went to the fantastic Bhagavad Gita animatronics museum. After the museum Dalia met a devotee friend of ours that was from the same city that she was from, Zagreb in Croatia. They spoke some time in their native tongue and then we were all off to the temple for Darshan of Their wonderful Lordships, Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, Sri Sri Rukmini Dvarakadish, and Sri Sri Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra.
Who were all lovingly praised by Kirtan lead by HG Gauravani Prabhu . Here is a little clip from that bhajan.
We then returned home only to be drawn to come back again in the evening. In the evening we were graced by Bhakta Ben and Tulasi and surprisingly we also ran into Premanjana and many other devotees from Florida, Oregon, and Kansas City as well. It was unexpected to see Premanjana whom accidentally arrived there. Many of you may know him as the driver for the Festival Of India's semi truck. Every year he has the service of being a driver for the Festival Of India and attends every Ratha Yatra throughout the US especially the very big one that happens in Los Angeles. However this year he working as a truck driver so that he can buy some land in Mississippi where the devotees have a farm community. His trucking company just happened to send him to the Los Angeles for the weekend of Ratha Yatra Festival!
Day 2 -Friday August 1st, 2008
At the Gurupuja program in the morning I was happy to see more devotee friends from all around the US. Ratha Yatra is truly like a family reunion. Not only you get to see old family but you get to make new family members as well. We always make a point to bring along some new souls to Ratha Yatra festivals because such events are powerful in inspiring one in the service of the Lord. Later in the evening we were fortunate to attend the amazing drama put on by the youth of the Krishna Bus Tour. This play was directed originally by His Holiness Bhaktimarg Swami and anyone who knows him knows that he is an dramitical arts genius. But because he was not able to attend it was directed, and narrated very nicely by Amala Purana Prabhu.
Thu, 11/13/2008 - 19:51 — Bhaja Govindam
Wow. Thank you. I didn't expect this. I'm just very thankful to Krsna for giving me an opportunity to serve His pure devotees.
Now I visit the temple all the time,go to Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita classes and do service in the kitchen a few times a week:)
Thank you for your association. I am forever indebted to you and your wonderful wife. Hare Krsna
Fri, 11/14/2008 - 05:41 — NityānandaChandra
It is so great to see you getting more and more inspired in Krishna Consciousness. I brings us both great happiness to see the photos of you in kitchen and engaged in other services. It seems that Krishna really wants you back as soon as possible. Thank you for your inspiration. Hare KRishna!
Your humble servant,
Nityananda Chandra Das