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.

It went for two days. The only thing that wasn’t good was the weather. The first day was really cold and a bit rainy and not so many devotees attended. The main event was harinama at Venice beach, which I didn’t attend. However I still managed to sell two sets of my books in the afternoon at the temple.

The next day was Sunday so a big crowd came, probably about 1,000 at the peak when they served the feast. The weather was a bit better with some sun in the day. I was outside the temple most of the day selling my books so I got a bit of a sunburn on my head. I sold almost all the stock I had, 39 books, so it was good from that point of view.

I also gave the SB class in which I presented my book writing seminar (more on this topic later). Then in mid-morning I presented the Archives ppt that I had shown to the GBC in Mayapur (and more on this topic later also). Then again in the afternoon Madhudvisa prabhu, who was our compare, had me speak for another half hour. That session I spoke a bit about traveling with Srila Prabhupada.

Other speakers were Sruta Kirti, who was also out selling his excellent book “What Is The Difficulty”, Gurudas, Sukadeva and a variety of other devotees.

One devotee I was particularly happy to see was Baibhavi, Caru’s wife from Utah. I hadn’t seen her for about 15 years. We had lunch together. She was the first devotee I ever spoke to and I bought my first BTG from her on the streets of Sydney in May of 1971. I still remember the edition-#37 with a painting of the Rasa-lila on the front.

I was with a group of guys with whom I had emigrated from the UK. We were all ‘£10 POMMIES’-the Aust. govt. wanted qualified immigrants to boost their population so they paid for people come there and the lucky immigrants paid a token £10 as their share of the fare. ‘POM’ is an old sobriquet the Aussies give to English immigrants. It means ‘prisoner of mother England’ and harkens back to the dark days when England shipped off its down-and-outs and criminals to an uncertain future in the newly discovered ‘south land’ (‘Austral’ means ‘south’ in Latin, hence ‘Australia’).

Anyway, we looked at the BTG and couldn’t make head nor tail of it. The closest we got was when a guy name Bill from Scotland looked at the many forms of Krsna dancing with the Gopis and proclaimed “I think those wee blue guys be spirits!” Fortunately I knew the magazine was important and I kept it. I ended up joining the Sydney temple in February 1972 and shaved up on St. Valentine’s day. I digress. Back to the LA festival. Gurudas attended and on Sunday night we spent an hour chatting together. He was in good spirits. He is semi-retired now, he’s 66 yrs. old. He is working on a book about Radha and Krsna and occasionally does his hypno-therapy for selected clients.There was a Ratha-yatra up and down the street on Sunday afternoon, with Srila Prabhupada on the ratha. That was enthusiastic with a big crowd of devotees chanting and dancing up and down. They went down to the end of the block and back up to the temple several times.The prasadam was very good and the festival ended with Maddie and other ex-gurukulis performed ‘The Rose of Vidarbha’ aka the kidnapping of Rukmini. It didn’t start till 9.15 PM and they performed it out in the open on the steps of the temple with floodlights. I didn’t stay for it because it was really, really cold after the sun went down, and on top of that my back was killing me, so I took rest, but I heard it was really good.On Monday afternoon, which was Memorial day, my old friend Nrsimhananda prabhu invited me over to the pyramid house at Topanga Canyon. Nirantara and his wife Varuni took me over and brought me back.Nrsimhananda got married to a Ukrainian girl, Natasha, two years ago and she has two really nice, intelligent kids, a girl of about 8 and a boy of 5. So he is very happy, he has a nice family and they seem to be doing very well. His other son Ishana has just graduated from a film school in Paris (like father, like son). The pyramid house is quite a complex. He has two acres of land and about ten tenants scattered about in small rooms and apartments and he lives in the main house with his new family.Natasha prepared an excellent meal with borsch, mashed potato, various vegetables like broccali and zuccini, fruit and ice cream etc. We had a good time as one does in pleasant company, recalling various pastimes of Srila Prabhupada and how we joined Krsna consciousness.

Overall my LA trip was successful, I had a good time and I sold all my books.

That’s it for now, more soon about my American tour,

And don’t forget, always offer your food before you eat it:

“My dear Lord Krishna, please accept this humble offering…”

Then you can enjoy:

then you can enjoy

Your humble servant, Hari-sauri dasa

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