Receptive Traveller

On the bus, en route to the Grahamstown Arts Festival in South Africa, we stopped at a rest stop.

Coming back into the bus, I noticed a young man, and said to him: “By the way you are dressed, it looks like you are on your way to the Grahamstown Arts Festival.”

He replied that he was going to the festival, and his accent sounded Spanish. So I greeted him in Spanish, and he said that he is from Brazil. I introduced myself, telling him that I am a traveling monk and that I am also going to the festival. I told him that I teach yoga and philosophy.

I asked him if he had ever seen any Hare Krishna devoteess in Brazil. He came from Sao Paulo and had seen them many times. He began to tell me that he also practiced yoga. I told him that I had books on yoga to show him, but they were in my luggage that was stowed away on the bus.

“Just wait till we get there,” I said.

“Oh, I have a book on yoga with me,” he said and showed me a book by a bogus guru.

We arrived at Grahamstown that morning. Vraja Krsna was there to pick me up. I opened my bag, showed the young man the books, and he took one and gave a donation. His name was Raphael. I introduced him to Vraja Krsna and told Vraja that Raphael was looking for a backpackers’ lodge. Vraja Krsna told Raphael that he should come with us to the temple where we do our cooking and that he could first eat some prasadam and then Vraja would take him to a lodge that he knew of.

Raphael came to mangala-arati and took prasada. From that day onwards, Raphael would associate with the devotees every day, join us on harinams every night, and come to most of the house programs. And he would always ask interesting questions. After the festival, he joined Vraja Krsna and the rest of the devotees and stayed in the Cape Town temple before going back to Brazil.

Raphael, a professional juggler, had been invited to perform in China, and his ticket somehow allowed him to stop in South Africa on his way back to Brazil. He heard about the Grahamstown Festival and decided to perform there.

By the mercy of guru and Gauranga, Krsna had other plans for Raphael: He associated with devotees, heard the holy names of the Lord, ate prasada, and received one of Srila Prabhupada’s books. A fortunate soul!

Srila Prabhupada, ki jay!

Yours in the service of Lord Sri Krsna and His devotees,

Madhumangala Das




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