Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Polish Woodstock

We started harinama and prasadam distribution the day before our three-day festival called Krishna's Village of Peace at the largest outdoor concert in Europe, the Poland Woodstock, in Kostrzyn. Our first harinama began around 1:00 and went till about 2:30 p.m., when we had covered the whole festival area. The devotees passed out about 5,000 flyers. I would say at least fifteen people danced with us in a very lively way, and more followed behind. I think some of the people had previous experience with the dancing because it came so naturally to them, and they appeared so happy doing it. It made me happy to see the people happy to sing and dance with us. A couple of the girls looked familiar, perhaps because they danced with us last year. One boy smiled and came up to me saying he remembered me from past years. Indradyumna Maharaja, organizer of our event, decided we would do another harinama later at 6:00 p.m., when more people had come.

I missed the bus to the second harinama. I asked if I could go in another van that was just leaving, but they said it was full. I laughed because I had just come back from India recently, a place where they could fit twice that number of people in a van. Gopala Hari Prabhu also needed a ride. I encouraged them to take Gopala Hari Prabhu, who was one of the scheduled chanters, and so they did. Then Gopala kindly convinced them to take me, so I got to go.

I was surprised to see Hari Sauri Prabhu's wife in the car. Apparently she and her daughter decided to come to the Polish Woodstock for the first time.

On the second harinama, many, many people danced with us, including some of the Woodstock festival's security volunteers, in their red uniforms.

After the harinama, I talked to a girl named Ewelina (Evelin) who was studying English and so spoke very well. Initially she got my attention to ask the ingredients of the papadam. I had learned them in Polish from a previous festival, so I told them to her the best I could in Polish, till I found out she knew English. She had taken prasadam with us in previous years. She also wanted the recipe for halava, which I told her she could probably find in our Polish cookbook when we set up tomorrow or by searching on the internet. They both really like the prasadam which they say is the most inexpensive food at Woodstock. Her boyfriend Daniel said he has been waiting for this food for a whole year, since last festival. That is amazing because he is such a meat eater that he told Ewelina that if they got married, she would have to prepare meat for him, although she is vegetarian. We had an interesting conversation, in which I was able to make several points. (1) The problem with religion today is that people do not actually practice their religion. (2) People take shelter in intoxication, because they are not offered a superior spiritual shelter. [She had made the point that people drink in Poland because they are depressed. It is hard to get a job, and the jobs pay poorly.] (3) Lord Caitanya, who started this program of chanting and dancing, wanted to introduce a universal religious process that people would find enjoyable enough to practice. They live 80 km from our Wroclaw temple, so I am encouraging them to go there for the Sunday feast occasionally so they will not have to wait another year to get Krishna food. She also told me that when she went home after the festival one year, she could not get the mantra out of her mind. She also expressed some interest in looking at the Forbidden Archeology book which I had described to her. There is a saying in Bengal that you only have to test one grain of rice to tell the condition of the whole pot. How wonderful it is if every one who goes to our festival appreciates as much as Ewelina and her boyfriend did. They were the first and only people I talked to on this first day at the site.

I also took our Food for Peace prasadam, and it was better than last year. Each preparation, the bean soup, the rice, the halava, and the papadam, was tasty. I might even be able to eat the bean soup three days in a row this time.