Archive for the 'Travel' Category

July 11 – 18 2008 Sweden
11 July 2008

July 11

I set off early for Heathrow, expecting a lot of traffic on the M25, the London ring road. But I had a clear run and after taking the car back, I had four hours to kill before the flight. I don’t mind being early. Traveling is enough anxiety and stress without the tension of being late.

I bought another set of Bose headphones, the in-ear variety. The on-ear are great, but still a bit bulky to put in your pocket when you are flying. The in-ear buds are excellent and the sound quality is brilliant.

I also bought a 600 page biography of Harry Houdini.

Houdini Houdini in the can Houdini in chains hanging houdini

I like biographies, its interesting to see what motivates the famous people of the world. Read the rest of this entry »

July 8 – 10 Scunthorpe (What? Never heard of it? Half your life is wasted.)
8 July 2008

Tuesday July 8

I flew overnight from WDC and arrived in London around 10.30 AM. I hired a car at the airport and drove straight up to see my mother, still living just outside the small town where I was born, Scunthorpe, about 180 miles north east.  

Read the rest of this entry »

July 6, 2008 Baltimore
6 July 2008

Sunday July 6 

Baltimore is only 45 mins. drive from the WDC temple. The temple in DC had already booked Sri Nandanandan from Vrindavan to do kirtan and speak on Sunday afternoon, so the devotees from Baltimore asked me to come here.

The temple is the same one that Srila Prabhupada visited on July 7 1976 when he came to see Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. I didn’t recognize the building though because all the nice gardens it used to have are all gone, and the house has been painted very garishly in bright red, blue and yellow.  

Baltimore Read the rest of this entry »

Washington DC – July 3-6
3 July 2008

July 3

I got into WDC in the late afternoon. It was hot, 93 degs. We have 14 acres in Potomac, the most expensive real estate in WDC. Srila Prabhupada had a memorable visit here for a week in 1976 during the American bi-centennial celebrations which I have recorded in TD 3.  

Srila Prabhupada WDC visit 1976

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Houston June 27-July 3 2008
27 June 2008

June 27-July 3

The Polish festival tour sounds wonderful. Sitala and Rasarani-priya are having a great time, busily engaged in a variety of preaching activities. There’s no time for anything but Krsna. Its really difficult to appreciate what exactly Indradyumna Maharaja is doing for Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya’s movement. He is an ideal sannyasi and preacher. I admire his dedication and sheer effort very much.

I sit back sometimes and wonder how it is that I haven’t done as much. I have gotten lazy and I am still mired in so many desires. I guess it takes a few lifetimes to get to the platform Indradyumna Maharaja is on.

Here in Houston I am staying with Advaita Candra and his wife Kalasudha. She is the daughter of Bhaktajana Priya prabhu and was largely brought up in Mayapur. Now she’s actively preaching in Houston with her husband, who is a product of the Chowpatti preaching.They have a beautiful, new, large house in Houston so it is spacious and comfortable. They have made their living room into a temple and do a simple mangala arati at 5.30 AM every day.

 My Houston hosts, Advaita Candra and Kalasudha 

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Dallas June 23-27, 2008
23 June 2008

Now I am in Dallas. I haven’t been here since the NA GBC meeting in 1994. In those days of course, Tamal Krishna Maharaja was very much the main presence here.

Keshava Bharati Maharaja is staying in the room next to mine, which is good news because he and I are quite close. He’s in good spirits and his health is pretty good nowadays. A year ago he couldn’t get off his back due to a severe rupture in his vertebrae. Now he has a strict exercise routine that he upholds religiously. 

He is spending 7 hrs a day recording the Brhat Bhagavat Amrta for an audio book for the BBT. There are several other devotees around the world who are working on similar projects. The BBT has finally gotten serious about the genre and I think it will be a big success. Read the rest of this entry »

New Vrindaban June 20-22
20 June 2008

Before I get onto the New Vrindaban experience, here’s an interesting letter from Srila Prabhupada I found and just sent to Pradyumna. I thought that since he is working so closely with the UN on ecclesiastical matters he would find it particularly interesting:

Letter to: Syamasundara  —  Seattle 10 October, 1968“I am also trying to get one secretarial office in the Church Center of the United Nations, with a view to confer with the heads of the United Nations, both political and ecclesiastical, to propagate our Krishna Consciousness.” 

 * * *

Ok, so the weekend in NV. Brilliant! They held a 24 hrs. kirtanmela. It was really excellent.  

Here’s a couple of shots of Gopal and Madhava, and Karnamrta:

gopal-and-madhava.JPGresize-of-karnamrta-leads.JPG Read the rest of this entry »

Cleveland and Columbus June 17-19, 2008
17 June 2008

I headed out from NY on June 18 to Cleveland. The program was at one of the devotee’s houses, Dayal Nitai and his wife Tanya. I was impressed with their house, they have turned their living room into a full-on temple.

I have never been to Cleveland before but it turns out I have vicarious connection-my wife Sitala and her ex-husband, Narottamananda prabhu, were the first devotees to open a temple here in 1971. And the Deities of Radha Muralidhara I saw at the Sanctuary yesterday are also originally from here. Read the rest of this entry »

New York June 15-17
15 June 2008

The day after Rathayatra I went over to the temple in Brooklyn for the Sunday feast. Its always big the day after Rathayatra and at least 800 guests were there at the peak. Ramabhadra prabhu the TP graciously allowed me to show my powerpoint presenation of the Bhaktivedanta Archives and I sold a few of my books.

Highlight of the evening was ‘As Kindred Spirits’ a devotee band headed up by Gauravani, the son of one of ISKCON’s oldest kirtaniyas, Baradvaja prabhu, and mother Rukmini. Gauravani has inherited all his father’s kirtan skills. He’s an excellent bhajan/kirtan man and can keep an audience enthralled for hours.

I have strong ties to this temple. I was the one who bought it in 1982 when I was GBC here for a year. We were in a terrible mess at that time with the main temple a small building on 7th Ave. between 53 & 54. It had been closed to the public and Sri Sri Radha Govinda were living in a miserable condition. Read the rest of this entry »

New York Rathayatra June 14 2008 and July 1976
14 June 2008

We had a fantastic Rathayatra. After a ride on the NY subway, I met up with the devotees at the starting point on 57th.  Over a couple of hours we traversed about 50 city blocks, which is a couple of miles, right down 5th Ave. which Srila Prabhupada said was the most important street in the world.

There were tens of thousands of people out on the street, and more than 2,000 devotees turned out. Its the biggest Rathayatra in America and devotees from all down the east coast came, including a bus load from Alachua.Nowadays everyone has a digital camera (except me!) and so there must have been many thousands of pictures taken of the carts and deities and devotees. I saw one motorcycle police woman who was assigned to direct the traffic take out her mobile phone and take pictures of the chariots as she directed the traffic. Read the rest of this entry »

New York June 12-13 2008
12 June 2008

Thursday June 12, 2008 

My old friend Bindu Madhava prabhu picked me up from the airport and drove me to his home on Long Island. He has a big old wooden house on half an acre of land, its a great place. I also saw another couple of old New York friends there, Romapada Swami and Adarshi prabhu when I arrived.

On the way to the house Bindu took me to a big mall and bought me two pairs of sandals, one Crocs and the other Teva. They are really comfortable and have good arch supports, which for a flat-foot like me is essential. I can’t say that I am overly impressed with regular Crocs-everyone in ISKCON seems to be wearing them; ugly is in! But the ones I got are more traditional open-toed sandals and they are just what I wanted. Read the rest of this entry »

Atlanta Rathayatra and Panihati festival June 6-8 2008
6 June 2008

Yadubara and I drove up from Alachua to Atlanta together on June 6. It was pretty smooth going and took five hours. Yadu did all the driving. I am a terrible car traveler. As soon as I get in anything with four wheels, I want to sleep:

TD Vol. 1 — March 22nd, 1976, Mayapur
“At 5:30 a.m. Srila Prabhupada descended the stairs amid a loud kirtana and excited shouts from the devotees. He stepped into the back seat of the car, and we sped off for Calcutta, accompanied by an escort of six vans and one of Hamsaduta Swami’s buses. Pusta Krsna Maharaja drove our car, Tamal Krishna Maharaja sat in front, and I sat in the back next to Prabhupada. Read the rest of this entry »

Alachua June 1-4 2008
1 June 2008

 I arrived in Alachua late on Sunday morning after setting off from Mexico on Saturday afternoon. It was a bit of a marathon, I was traveling for about 19 hrs. including transits in LA and Charlotte.

 LAX was a bit of a scene. My own fault because I didn’t read my ticket carefully enough. Read the rest of this entry »

Mexico City May 26-31, 2008
26 May 2008

After Los Angeles I made my first trip to Mexico City. In 1990-91 I lived in San Diego and served BTG as managing editor. Mexico was just a short drive over the border and I had a desire to visit, but I never made it there. I had applied for a green card and couldn’t leave the country.

This year HH Guru Prasada Swami invited me and the devotees sent me a ticket. So right after the LA Prabhupada Festival I made the 3 hrs. flight to one of the biggest, and reputedly, most polluted cities in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

LA Prabhupada Festival-May 23 2008
23 May 2008

I have just completed my first American tour in 14 years. Its been an interesting experience to be sure.
First place visited was Los Angeles for their annual Prabhupada Festival. It was an excellent opportunity to meet some old friends, sell some of my books and do what I love to do, talk about Srila Prabhupada.

My ever gracious host Svavasa prabhu put me in the apartment above his own, so I was very comfortable, and a couple of devotees assisted me with setting up my book table, laundry, puja etc. I was really well looked after and my talks on Srila Prabhupada were well received. Read the rest of this entry »

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