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Sunday, April 6th, 2003

Inspired In Moscow
The "new Russian Revolution"

The taxi driver unceremoniously dumps my luggage off in the street outside the Delhi airport, just before midnight. Since I have almost five hours to wait before my flight to Moscow, I try to doze (unsuccessfully) on the hard airport seats.

The six and a half hour flight to Moscow International Airport is uneventful, and, after clearing Customs, Bhakti Chaitanya Bharati Maharaj picks me from the airport and drives me to his house. I bathe, change, take a little prasadam, and rest for a few hours.

In the evening, Bharati Maharaj drives me to the temple in downtown Moscow for the Sunday Feast. He points out the KGB Building, Red Square, and just opposite, the four-storey hotel where Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad spent the night. We also drive by the new Moscow temple (under construction) and the famous Jagannath Express restaurant.

The temple is the penthouse apartment on the thirteenth floor. We take a tiny elevator up to the twelfth floor, and walk up the last flight of stairs. Bhakti Bimal Avadhut Maharaj and about fifteen other devotees are engaged in kirtan when we arrive. We pay our obeisances, and Avadhut Maharaj embraces me and introduces me to the others, in Russian.

We sing two more kirtans, and some more devotees and guests arrive. I am asked to say something to the assembly, and Avadhut Maharaj and Bharati Maharaj translate my speech into Russian.

I start by saying that I am very happy and excited to be in Moscow, in Russia, because Krishna consciousness is spreading so dynamically here, under the leadership of Avadhut Maharaj and Bharati Maharaj. I tell them how much I was inspired when Avadhut Maharaj took sannyas: "For the first time in my life I began to consider taking sannyas myself. Such a wealthy, powerful devotee was giving his all: what about me?"

Avadhut Maharaj, in turn, says how much he was inspired by Bharati Maharaj's sannyas three weeks earlier. I give Srila Guru Maharaj's example of the "Napoleonic chair," of how we all inspire, encourage, and support each other.

"Sadhu-sangha is so important!" I say. "The Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math is establishing temples all over the world simply so that devotees can have a chance to associate with each other, to enliven each other.

"I have come to Russia, not so much to preach, but to invigorate my own spiritual life by getting the association all of you here, who are such an inspiration to us all. Srila Guru Maharaj and the whole world is enlivened by this 'new Russian Revolution' and the dynamic spread of Krishna consciousness."

More devotees arrive while I am speaking and soon there are about thirty of us crowded into the small temple room. (Avadhut Maharaj apologizes for the small crowd!)

Later, I answer a few questions and then we all take prasadam: rice, cauliflower subji, lentils, apple fritters and some kind of milk-cake.
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