Travelling Kazakh Devotees Delight Mauritius
by Bhakta Indrasen
Posted June 15, 2003


As many as 600,000 television viewers recently saw a "Peace and
Tolerance" concert organized by ISKCON Mauritius, in collaboration with
various local artists. It was also an opportunity to introduce the
Kazakhstan Silk Road Band of H.H. Bhakti Bhrnga Govinda Swami to the people
of Mauritius.

On April 13, Bhakta Bhrnga Maharaj and 15 other devotees, mostly from
Kazakhstan, landed on the beautiful island of Mauritius. They smiled broadly
to see the radiant sun, rather than the freezing temperatures they are used
to. The devotees had come to celebrate the reinstallation of Sri Sri Radha
Golokananda and, at the same time, to raise funds for building their temple,
Palace of the Soul, in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

During their three-week stay, the Silk Road Band performed on different
parts of the island. Everybody was very much surprised and inspired by their
unusual kirtan style, with instruments like the saxophone and violin, rather
than the Indian classical instruments we are used to. The group very
expertly performed different shows throughout the island, and people
appreciated them very much.

Although the transcendental vibration of the Hare Krsna Maha Mantra
captures most of the people's mind, the audience, primarily of a Hindu
background, were amazed to learn of the Muslim background of the Kazakh
devotees. Audience members were astonished that conservative Muslims had
become Vaisnavas, and happy that the maha-mantra had had such a
transformative effect.

Often, during his lectures, Maharaj spoke of the glories of the
maha-mantra; once, for example, about 150 kilometres from the Afghan border
he met about three thousand Muslims dancing like anything to the
transcendental sound vibration of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.

During their visit to Mauritius, everything was blissful and devotees
attributed it to the mercy of our Deities Sri Sri Radha Golokananda. The
Deities brought these devotees from the other part of the Himalayan range to
our small island on a specific mission: to encourage and inspire Mauritians
about devotional service.

At the end of each show, I would see people becoming more humble. One
time, while I was inviting people to attend a program, I met three persons
of Hindu background; when I told them about the program, they did not like
the idea of Muslims chanting Hare Krsna. Still, I asked them to come and I
promised them it would be a very important part of their life if they
attended. After the program, I encountered them again; they welcomed me with
a big hug, saying "Don't pay attention about what we said last time; we are
now in another dimension."

The visit of the travelling Kazakhstan devotees to Mauritius not only
opens new horizons in the preaching field, it also reminds us about the mood
of preaching itself: How compassionate must we be with everyone,
irrespective of race, religion, etc.

This small visit also reminds us of a man, physically old but eternally
young, who left Vrndavana in 1965 for the United States. Although having
suffered two heart attacks, he did not renounce his mission of delivering
the fallen. His followers became inspired by the love and compassion he had
for them, thus they followed in his footsteps. Now, after many years, his
grand-disciples are also following in his footsteps. Patita-pavana Srila
Prabhupada ki jai!

"Our remedy for material life is very simple: simply to chant for
Krishna, to dance for Krishna, to work for Krishna, prepare nice food for
Krishna and then, cent per cent, we become fully free from all other
influences. Please always remember this secret and show by example to all
others." -- Letter from Srila Prabhupada to Himavati, Dec. 12, 1968.