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Thursday, March 20th, 2003

Dumped In Delhi
What a difference a day makes

At 7:30 a.m. — less than twenty hours after taking sannyas — I leave Navadwip and the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math with Goswami Maharaj, Avadhut Maharaj, and Bhakti Lalita, bound for the Sree Chaitanya Saraswata Krishnanushilana Sangha in Kolkata.

We call the Russian embassy from Kolkata, but the invitation letter has not arrived yet, therefore I cannot get a visa. Goswami Maharaj and Avadhut Maharaj decide that they will go on to Delhi and Moscow while I remain in Kolkata until I get my visa.

In the late afternoon, there is a change of plan. Goswami will fly alone to Moscow; I will go to Delhi with Avadhut Maharaj.

We're flying Jet Airlines. I wonder if they will let me take my danda on the plane with me; they do. The Jet Airlines staff is friendly, efficient, and courteous, and their in-flight meal rivals most restaurant fare: it's certainly the best airplane meal I've ever had.

We arrive in Delhi after midnight, and are met by two Indian gentlemen, former business associates of Avadhut Maharaj. Avadhut Maharaj decides to stay behind for a few more days to take care of some business. He says that I should get a hotel room for the night, and that he will arrange for a friend of his, Sanjeev, to pick me up in the morning and take me to the Russian embassy to try to get my visa here in Delhi.

Goswami goes to international terminal to get his flight to Moscow. He advises me to go to the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math and Mission at Seva-Kunja, in Vrindavan, the next day. He tells the Indian gentlemen to look after me. "Yes, Maharaj," one of them replies, "He is our deity."

They take me to a hotel, and, after speaking to the receptionist, they quickly leave.

The hotel is a dump! I'm shown to a dirty room that looks like it is rented by the hour: I don't even want to sit on the bed. The garbage pail is full, the sheets are soiled, and the bathroom is just too gross!

I call the desk to ask for some water, and they send up a bottle of Bisleri bottled water, but the bottle has been opened. I get a coke for Rs45.

The bed has obviously been slept in, so I strip the cover from one of the comforters, fold it in four, and sleep on one quarter of the comforter, on the floor, in a fetal position.

Krishna sure didn't waste any time tossing me into the deep end! A little over a day after taking sannyas, still dressed in my chaste saffron robes, I'm whisked from the lotus feet of Srila Gurudeva to this filthy room. I suppose I should be grateful that the gentlemen didn't dump their deity in the street...

Dogs howl and bark all through the night...
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