This is a first entry of a series of recollections I intend to write narrating some of the external and internal experiences I go through during my travels. I may write them step by step in the places I visit, or take some time to write them at the end of a specific tour, as I’m doing in this initial text.
Spanish Tour, 23 March to 12 April
As Spanish is my mother tongue and I have many friends in Spain, I frequently travel around Spain. As a sannyasi monk, I have an inner call to meet people and tell them about the importance of spiritual life. I like to share whatever wisdom I have received from my teachers, from spiritual study and practice, and from life itself. I feel grateful that God, Sri Krishna, is always offering many gifts through all these means and people. Nothing happens by chance, but everything has a particular purpose for each and every living being involved. I pray to be able to always remember this fact and to also positively contribute to the lives of others. Sometimes I think that I would like to be able to decipher Krishna´s teachings in everything and through everyone. On the other hand, many times I just desire to be able to accept Krishna´s generous offerings without necessarily understanding the specific meanings of every incident.
During this trip I visited Barcelona, Mataró, Nueva Vrajamandala (the Hare Krishna farm in Brihuega, Guadalajara), Madrid, Málaga, and Ceuta. I did most of the travelling by car with Visnu Dharma Dasa, a devotee friend who kindly drives me once a year to different places in Spain where I lecture and meet different kinds of people. During the second part of the trip Prema Pradip Dasa joined us. Prema Pradip is a kind and peaceful Spanish Hare Krishna devotee who is presently living in the UK. He works as a part-time teacher and also is an active member of the RadhaKrishna Deaf people Association (RKDA) in the UK. The RKDA aims to communicate the Vaishnava teachings to deaf people through the sign languages. It also helps these persons to practice bhakti-yoga by adapting the practices to their needs. For example, they chant the mantra Hare Krishna by signaling with their hands.
Some highlights of this trip were participating in successful meetings for the development of Nueva Vrajamandala, a joyful festival event and teaching a four day intensive course on communications skills, also at Nueva Vrajamandala; teaching a seminar on ‘Narratives of Death and Eternal Life in the Srimad Bhagavatam’ at the Cultural Centre Hare Krishna in Madrid, and lecturing at the Dharma-Yoga centre in Ceuta.
I taught the above mentioned Communications course together with Krishna Kripa Dasa, the Communications Director of ISKCON Spain and Director of the Dharma-yoga centre in Ceuta, where I later lectured. This lecture was entitled ‘The Yoga Ladder and the Yoga-sutras’. It was attended by an audience of 30 persons.After the lecture there were an aratika (worship) ceremony and Kirtana (singing of mantras, spiritual songs). Finally, a delicious feast cooked by Radhapriya Dasi, Krishna Kripa’s wife, was distributed to all the participants, who left the event in a happy mood. A one page article on this programme was published in the local newspaper ‘El Faro de Ceuta’.
In Ceuta I also was fortunate to spent time with Hari Narayana Dasa and his family. Hari Narayana is an excellent example in terms of long life spiritual commitment as a Vaishnava devotee, caring and responsible householder, and generosity for good causes. He is active in ISKCON since the late 70s and has pioneered Krishna conscious programmes in Ceuta since the early 80s. In addition, his wife Krishna Rupa Dasi, and daughter in law, Ana, are excellent cooks. They fed us deliciously and sumptuously when we visited their home.