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Thursday, August 21st, 2003

Moscow, Russia

Early Departure

I return to India via Africa

Today is Nandotsava (the feast celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna) and it is also the appearance day of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad.

O Srila Prabhupad! Where would I be without your mercy? When I first read your Bhagavad Gita, "As It Is," in October of 1981, I little knew how radically it would change my life. Now, twenty-two years later, having just recently taken sannyas from your "affectionate son," Srila Govinda Maharaj, I am trying to dedicate myself to the conclusion of Bhagavad Gita (mam ekam saranam vraja) under his tutelage.


I have to leave the protective circle of Srila Gurudeva's holy association today, and return to India alone, the way I came, on a long, circuitous route via London, Dubai, Johannesburg, Bombay, and Delhi. I will spend four days in South Africa and return to Govardhan, India, on August 30th. Srila Gurudeva and Goswami Maharaj will return to Govardhan on September 3rd.

Amrita Krishna Prabhu and his wife, Amrita Mayi Devi Dasi drive me to the Saint Petersburg train station at four o' clock in the afternoon, and I get the Express (four hour) train to Moscow. It starts to rain; I stare out the window.

ghost-like through the trees
white crosses and red flowers
a forlorn graveyard

It is dark by the time the train reaches in Moscow. Yadhu Krishna Prabhu picks me up from the station and drives me over to his sparsely furnished apartment, settles me in, then leaves. Yadhu Krishna Prabhu is Avadhut Maharaj's main man in Moscow. He is always doing so much important service; I hate to have him waste his time chauffeuring me around.

I spend the night alone, in a sleeping bag on the floor of the bare apartment. I am reminded of my old apartment in San Jose.

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