Monday, February 05, 2007

Nama-hatta Program in Baduria

We went to a nama-hatta program in a town called Baduria, only three and a half hours away! I brought my computer so I could accomplish some of my regular work as well. After a solid breakfast of rice, dal, and sabji, we went on harinama for just over two hours. We went through the town to the outskirts and then back through the town to the outskirts on the other side. Gaura Nama Prabhu engaged some of the devotees in distributing a Bengali book about Lord Caitanya's life and teachings and many were sold. The event must have been well advertised because we were greeted nicely wherever we went. Some people washed the road ahead of us with buckets of water, some even splashed water on the devotees' feet, others threw sweets made with sugar which the kids madly tried to grab, others, including a six-year-old girl, blew conch shells, and some brought rice, vegetables, and coins as donations. The harinama ended at the site of our pandal program in the middle of the town. After a sizable lunch of three sabjis, dal, chapattis, rice, papadam, chutney, and rasgullas, we took a break for an hour and an half or so, and then chanted Hare Krishna on the stage at the pandal for over an hour. We encouraged the attendees to chant along. The devotees from foreign countries introduced themselves telling where we came from. The places included America, England, Finland, Italy, and Israel. All the devotees were really enlivened by doing the program. As we left, many people smiled, embraced us, touched our feet, shook our hands, and in this way made it clear they appreciated our presentation. We were given puris and sabji for dinner on the way back, which I gave away in charity. One has to guard against overeating on programs like this!