The August Weekend Sankirtana Festival in Los Angeles
There is a monthly festival in New Dwaraka, recommended by Vaisesika Prabhu and organized by the Bhakti House devotees. They and their guests start the weekend with a kirtan and interactive talk, then go to the Friday-night harinama in Santa Monica. On Saturday, they distribute books after eating breakfast and holding another kirtan, then travel in a van and break up into groups. The people in the small groups help one another distribute books. The sucessful teamwork helps anyone feel comfortable. Finally, the large group eats a picnic lunch, and everyone reports on the experience. On Saturday night there is a harinama in Hollywood, and on Sunday, more book distribution. This month, after a large harinama on Friday night with Kavicandra Swami and Bhakti Vikasa Swami, twenty-four devotees took part in book distribution on Saturday, and fifteen went out on Sunday.</p>
The following is Bhaktin Gunita's description.
I experienced absolute bliss. Krishna is mercifully giving us opportunities to experience Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda's pastimes.
On Sunday, we went to South Central LA a poor, Spanish area and in my group were three other people (Gaurangi, Brian, and Loka). Loka played a mrdanga and danced. I played karatalas and danced. We walked down the streets like that.
We began to distribute books by meeting a couple sitting in a yard, In their front yard was their altar of Mother Maria and other saints. They were so happy that we came, and they appreciated people who are spreading God's name. We talked to them for a while.
Down the street on a corner was a man lying down, intoxicated. He had spent his night and morning there.
Loka said: "Let's dance. He will think he is dreaming."
At first I thought it was a funny idea, but seeing his pitiful condition I couldn't dance. It is sad to see how people suffer. But you never know when the Lord's mercy will come you can be lying on the street intoxicated.
Then I thought about the marigold from Gaura-Nitai's altar that I had in my bag. I thought, "Let him smell the flower." Loka took a few petals from the flower and approached the man, and he did smell it. Amazing!
When we were passing by a store, we approached a lady who is about 75 years old. She took an invitation and a book and offered us anything from her grocery basket. It touched me seeing her motherly love and care. We took a few bananas.
In front of one house there were four people, and we demonstrated what kirtan is in their front yard. They did like it.
In front of another house were a bunch of ladies and a little girl. It was her birthday, so we sang to her: "Hare Krishna to you!" All five or six ladies took books and invitations.
As we walked down another street, people were startled, looking out from their front yards or peaking out of their houses. Because of hearing the kirtan, they wanted to know what was going on. They all accepted books and almost all gave donations.
That was a blissful day, very hot and sunny day. August 26, 2012 – just one day before the Ekadasi. What a joy seeing these people accepting books and reading them right away. There is nothing like that feeling like you are the hero saving the people.