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Saturday, April 5th, 2003

Off To Russia
I leave the Seva Ashram

Sandeep Prabhu arrives at 10:00 a.m. with my visa for Russia, and my passport. He has been a big help.

I receive an email from Goswami Maharaj saying that he is in Harkiv, Ukraine, and will be taking the train to Zaporojye for two days and then a nearby town. Late in the afternoon of April 10, he will fly into St. Petersburg accompanied by his interpreter, Muralishwar Prabhu.

He suggests that I do the Sunday evening lecture in Moscow(!) and then travel with Avadhut Maharaj to Petersburg where I can give the evening talk for a few days. He will meet me there on April 10 and we will head for Siberia on April 18.

At six o'clock, I go up to Srila Gurudeva's quarters and sit quietly in his presence. He enquires when I will be leaving and asks Ranajith Prabhu to prepare some prasadam a little early for me, since I will be leaving before the evening meal.

A young, local Indian boy, a university student, is introduced to Srila Gurudeva and the student says, "I see many people chanting the hare krishna mantra but they still have bad habits..."

Srila Gurudeva gives a wonderful explanation of the value of sadhu-sangha, of how it is necessary to have the association of a real sahdu in order to properly chant the maha-mantra. Because Krishna's name is transcendental, we cannot have any connection with it unless we serve the Vaishnava. Then, magically, the Name will dance on our tongue.

I quote one of the few slokas I know:

   atah sri-krsna namadi
   na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
   sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
   svayam eva sphuraty adah

Srila Gurudeva says: "Yes, so many slokas may be given in evidence."

At 7:30 p.m. I go downstairs to take prasadam (a potato and an okra subji, and two chapatis). When I am done I go into the Mandir and pay my obeisances to Sri Giriraj and Tulasi Devi.

My taxi to the airport arrives and I go upstairs and offer my dandavats to Srila Gurudeva. He asks when I will return, then blesses and embraces me. I say goodbye to all the other devotees and leave the Seva Ashram at 8:30 p.m.
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