Moscow, Russia — Thursday, July 28th

EthnoLife 2005

It is the morning of the first day of the multi-cultural EthnoLife 2005 Festival, held here at the Sorochany sports complex/resort, just a few miles outside of Moscow.

It has been drizzling intermittently all week, but today the sun rises early to assert his authority. It's about time! Let's hope he's feeling frisky all the way through Sunday :)

Sripad Siddhanti Maharaj and I will spend the next four days here, on site, in one of the many chalets, and, along with Sripad Avadhut Maharaj and Sripad Bharati Maharaj, lecture on different aspects of Krishna consciousness, Vedic Philosophy and Indian Culture, conduct question-and-answer sessions in some of the many booths on the site, and generally mingle with the crowds and make ourselves available...

Moscow, Russia — Friday, July 29th

In the "forest"

All week long we have been told that the EthnoLife festival is going to be held "in the forest," at the Sorochany sports/ski complex/resort. Well, I suppose the few trees at the bottom of the hill could be called a forest (if you squinted just right) but it's hardly anything that Hansel would get lost in...

And the chalet that Siddhanti Maharaj and I are staying in is no hermit's shack. It is about as American as you can get in Russia: two floors, en-suite bathrooms, a living/dining room, and a well-equipped kitchen that includes a microwave oven (only the second one I have seen in my four visits to this country)!

The bathroom here also has an unexpected luxury: hot and cold water. (For the past two weeks we have had no hot water at the temple in Moscow.) Aaah! It's so much nicer to contemplate

matra-sparsas tu kaunteya / sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah

while luxuriating in a hot shower, don't you think? And get this: the chalet even has cable TV and a DSL internet connection!

Huh? What about which program? Oh, that program! Well, you're right; I suppose had better go outside and see what's going on...

Moscow, Russia — Sunday, July 31st

Enormous success

The EthnoLife 2005 Festival at the Sorochany resort is an enormous success, with at least 25,000 people attending the multi-cultural event at the bottom of the hill near the river Yakhroma River just outside of Moscow over the weekend.

Four days where people from all sorts of cultures and backgrounds are united in a "search for beauty and harmony" in an ethnically and racially tolerant, non-violent, healthy way of life, through philosophy, art, music, dance, and theater, in an ecologically friendly, drug and alcohol-free environment!

It is an amazing festival of cultural, religious and racial diversity. I didn't know there were so many Blacks, Asians, and Indians in this country — and coming from Africa myself, it's so weird to hear the Blacks speaking Russian instead of Zulu or Xhosa!

And in the middle of this eclectic environment, Sripad Avadhut Maharaj, Sripad Bharati Maharaj, Sripad Siddhanti Maharaj and I have the wonderful opportunity to represent our Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math and the beautiful Krishna Conception of Divinity expounded by Srila Gurudeva and Srila Guru Maharaj. How cool is that?

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Layout by iMonk — July 31st, 2005.