By Dayal Gopal dasa, Nepal sankirtan preacher
Padayatra in Nepal began on January 19, 2021.
In a recent ISKCON Leadership Sangha (ILS-2020) our spiritual master, Lokanath Maharaja, instructed Nepal regional secretary Patri dasa to organize a padayatra in Nepal. Patri took Maharaja’s words to heart and discussed the idea with the Nepali devotees.
A friend of Patri, Brahmacari Sahastranam dasa from Ukraine, who has been serving in Nepal for twelve years engaged in community and farm services, was inspired by the proposition and used his own money, about five lakhs, to buy oxen and construct a cart from his unique design. He also collected books from the temple for distribution himself, all of which proves the adage that where there’s a will there’s a way.
Another devotee, Prem harinam dasa from Pune, Maharashtra, who has participated in the Dindi-yatra and served in Padayatra India, has now joined Brahmacari Sahastranam. The pair are very happy to be on padayatra, walking to and preaching in villages along the way and living the life of a padayatri.
Padayatra Nepal was inaugurated at Mirchaiya, formerly known as Ramnagar Mirchaiya, in south-eastern Nepal. A two-devotee padayatra such as this is not possible in the mountainous regions of Nepal and the padayatris are currently heading west through the lowlands towards Janakpur dhama, the birthplace of Sita, the consort of Lord Rama. They have Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar deities with them and start walking every day at 10am to cover 8-10km, presenting programmes and doing sankirtan and book distribution in the villages every evening.
Brahmacari Sahastranam and Prem harinam are demonstrating that not a lot of devotees or very much preparation are needed for starting a padayatra. If you have a strong desire to please Guru and Gauranga, you also can do it virtually single handed. There are just two of them and oxen Gaur and Nitai, but they are spreading the holy name in remote areas of Nepal. We can say that one plus one is eleven, as in this case they are surcharged with enthusiasm and the mood to please Srila Prabhupada. Book distribution is less in these initial days, but as awareness of the padayatra increases so will the book score. The padayatris play Srila Prabhupada kirtan loudly through speakers and as local residents hear it, they come out of their houses to have darshan and walk with the padayatris and sing the holy name.
As they move from place to place, Brahmacari Sahastranam and Prem harinam cook for themselves on a wood stove and sleep wherever they can find shelter or on paddy grass. On the rear of the cart is written Purna jivan ko lagi, meaning the Nepal padayatra will go on for the complete life. One side of the cart also conveys the message to protect cows and save Nepal, and Hare Krishna Hare Krishna is displayed on the other side of the cart so people can read and repeat the maha-mantra.
Srila Prabhupada, ki jai.
Padayatra Nepal, ki jai.