Soquel, California — Monday, September 13th

Srila Gurudeva arrives

Srila Gurudeva arrives at the San Francisco international airport just after one o' clock today. The California devotees have been waiting four years for Srila Gurudeva to again visit this country, and are all excited to see His Divine Grace on American soil again after such a long time.

The last time I saw Srila Gurudeva — ten days ago at the Calcutta airport — he was exuberant, and eager to begin his 21st World Tour. Now, at the San Francisco airport, almost fifteen hours after leaving the London Math early this morning, he looks tired, but perks up considerably when he sees all the devotees who have come to meet and greet him.

The drive to the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Ashram in Soquel takes a little over an hour, and Srila Gurudeva is met by a lively kirtan party at the ashram. Srila Gurudeva gives a short, impromptu talk in the temple room, saying how pleased he is to see all the devotees and to visit California again.

After a light lunch, Srila Gurudeva retires to his room to rest after his long, tiring day.

Soquel, California — Tuesday, September 14th

On the land

Srila Gurudeva, who was reported not to have had much rest last night, surprises us all after breakfast this morning by taking a walk on the land and in the garden next to the temple here at the Seva Ashram.

It is a nice warm day, and Srila Gurudeva ambles around the garden in the fresh morning air and the pleasant sunshine, and comments approvingly on the numerous improvements that have been made to the temple and the temple grounds since his last visit four years ago.

Srila Gurudeva remembers the apple tree next to the temple porch and rests in a chair in the shade of the adjacent walnut tree; Janardan Maharaj gives Srila Gurudeva some of the fruit of that tree. Srila Gurudeva eats one of the walnuts, and says that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad used to like walnuts, with sugar.

Hasyapriya Prabhu brings Srila Gurudeva a huge apple from the orchard on the hill above us. Srila Gurudeva is impressed by the size of the apple, and although he is too frail to climb up the hill, he can see many of the apple and pear trees, laden with fruit, on the slope above.

In the afternoon Hasyapriya Prabhu drives Srila Gurudeva up the hill to survey the orchard. Srila Gurudeva, accompanied by many of the devotees, takes a leisurely walk along the dirt road above the orchard, and is delighted by the abundance of fruit produced by each of the Asian pear, apple, pear, plum, and avocado trees.

Earlier in the day, Srila Gurudeva ate one of the Asian pears and marveled at how succulent it was. He said that we should plant two hundred more fruit trees in the orchard.

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Layout by iMonk — September 14th, 2004.