Shortly after the Vyasa Puja celebration last night at the temple on the shore of the Baltic Sea, Avadhut Maharaj, Madhava Krishna Prabhu and I are driven through the empty streets of Saint Petersburg to the railway station, to catch the midnight train down to Moscow for the official celebration of Srila Guru Maharaj's appearance later today.
It is an eight-hour journey; we are soon rocked to sleep and we wake up rested and refreshed in Moscow. Vanamali Prabhu picks us up and drives us to the new temple and cultural center (still under construction) strategically located in the heart of Moscow, just a few blocks from Red Square, where we take a shower and get something to eat.
At five o' clock we walk over to the House of Art theatre, about two blocks from the Jagannath Express restaurant, where Srila Guru Maharaj's Vyasa Puja will be celebrated. We are met by Sripad Bharati Maharaj who returned just yesterday from a successful lecture tour of Siberia.
Bharati Maharaj is an excellent preacher; during Srila Gurudeva's recent tour in August, we saw him preaching for hours to throngs of Russian devotees. In addition to preaching to the local devotees in Siberia, he also lectured on university campuses, and was interviewed by a number of radio and TV stations.
About fifty devotees and guests attend the program. Avadhut Maharaj presents the slide show; Bharati Maharaj gives a brief history of Srila Guru Maharaj's and his contribution to our sampradaya; and I say something about my personal experience with Srila Guru Maharaj in India in 1983.
After the slide show and lectures, we have guru-puja and an offering of flowers to Srila Guru Maharaj, and end with the distribution of an enormous cake (baked at the Jagannath Express restaurant) to all the devotees and guests.