In anticipation of Srila Janardan Maharaj’s upcoming trip to China with Pitambar Prabhu and Shatrugna Prabhu, Yudhamanyu Prabhu found this report written by Radhika devi dasi from her second trip to visit him in 2007.
At the time Yudhamanyu prabhu lived in Chengdu, China where the Chinese mission took birth, but he traveled with his guests to Shenzen for the first initiation held there.
This report has been condensed, but the original version was read to Srila Gurudev and to his delight, his secretary also put the audio version along with photos on his computer so he could listen to it whenever he wanted to.
As the mission in China continues to grow, we cannot but be grateful to those sincere souls who helped Yudhamanyu Prahbu in the beginning days.
Our trip to China:
Day One: When we emerged from customs Yudhamanyu Prabhu Seva Vikram and Sunanda eagerly greeted us and Sunanda placed garlands around our necks. Many students were waiting in the apartment, Victoria, Ananda, and Ona all greeted us like long lost friends and Yudhamanyu surprised us with the news that we would be celebrating the divine appearance of Srila Govinda Maharaj that very same night.
At this time we celebrated by giving Yudhamanyu all the wonderful gifts Jivana didi and many other devotees had sent for him.
The students were taken aback by the affection for Yudhamanyu from the devotees in California and hopefully could see a little clearer now how lucky they are to always be in his association. By this point we were (in Yudhamanyu’s words) “Fired up” and ready to go.
There must have been at least thirty guests honoring Srila Govinda Maharajs appearance, including Devirani didi, Kit, Nectar and Uma, and we were all witness to Yudhamanyu Prabhu’s devotional mood of offering prasadam and serving Gurudev.
We awoke early, refreshed and rejuvenated from the celebration last night. Already students were coming to visit including Sita, Sunanda and Victoria.
Yudhamanyu had the incredible service to ask Srila Govinda Maharaj for three devotional names for the new devotees we would be meeting in Shenzhen.
Yudhamanyu was informed earlier that morning by Srutasrava Prabhu that Skype would be a good way to call so I set about trying logging in and calling a number Yudhamanyu had at his apartment. As the computer screen started to ring my heart was beating wildly and I can’t even imagine what Yudhamanyu must have been feeling.
An Indian man answered and Yudhamanyu introduced himself and that he is in China and please can he speak with Govinda Maharaj. Then we were informed we had the wrong number and the line went dead.
Still in shock, I tried to Skype Mahananda prabhu, Jamuna didi, Janardan Maharaj anyone who could be near Srila Govinda Maharaj or help our situation, but to no avail.
Next I tried to Skype my dad who was not online, so next we skyped his cell phone which was not answered and then we skyped the house phone and what a relief when my mom answered!
We got Srila Govinda Maharajs cell phone number and the adrenaline kicked back in full force!
As the screen started ringing once more I was overcome with emotions. Srila Govinda Maharaj answered and Yudhamanyu gave his dandavats and a few sweet words were exchanged before the line went dead.
We tried again. Again Srila Govinda Maharaj answered and was trying to tell Yudhamanyu about another phone number when the line went dead.
After hearing Srila Govinda Maharaj’s sweet voice for even a few moments there was no way we could be discouraged. We called again, asking for Srila Gurudev and we were given ANOTHER number.
At this point we were both completely on edge and I was completely overwhelmed when Srila Govinda Maharaj answered the phone!!
Many sweet words were exchanged and if I wasn’t so overwhelmed I would probably remember more.
What I do remember was Srila Govinda Maharaj telling Yudhamanyu Prabhu “I am very happy to hear your voice Prabhu” and when Yudhamanyu said to Gurudev how wonderful He is, Srila Gurudev replied “You are wonderful Yudhamanyu Prabhu” and he gave three new names and gave Yudhamanyu his blessing to be Ritvik Guru and initiate them and said “give my blessing to Jayavati didi”. WOW!!
Yudhamanyu was “on cloud nine” pacing his very small apartment expressing how amazing this is and how he can’t even describe it and how impossible this is and even now I can’t express in words what it felt like to sit next to him while Gurudev spoke and how fortunate I am to be in China with him while he is making history. I am in awe.
We sang morning bhajans with Yudhamanyu and then I offered some cake and fruit to the Deities, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and Srila Govinda Maharaj.
Yudhamanyu left for his class and we got ready for the panda park.. On the taxi ride to the temple Ona and Madhumita were in a heavy conversation about Krishna consciousness, and I could see Ona felt something right but was struggling to accept it. She described Chinese people struggling so much in their lives and explained that it is hard for them to have “higher thought”. When we asked her if she wanted higher thinking she replied that she did.
During this time Nectar, Ona, Ananda, Madhumita and I were in the living room when Ona asked very pointedly to Madhumita “why Krishna?” Madhumita then described her spiritual journey through Christianity, Catholicism, and finally feeling so much relief when she met the devotees. Before she knew anything about the conception she liked coming to the temple where everyone was happy to see her and treated her like family. And as she would come and have the opportunity to do service with Vaidehi she slowly realized she wanted to take initiation and make it official.
Ona then asked “Can we serve Krishna directly?” and at this point we took the opportunity to explain what Yudhamanyu is doing here in China. I told Ona that to make Krishna happy we had to make our Gurudev (Teacher) happy and to make him happy we had to make His devotees happy.
That is why we came to China. If we can come here and help Yudhamanyu in the slightest and serve him French toast then maybe we can please our Guru. We told them how much service they are doing helping Yudhamanyu every day and then we jokingly told them that is one reason Yudhamanyu wont learn Chinese because then they wouldn’t have any service to do.
Madhumita asked Ananda if she liked hearing about Krishna, she replied “Yes I do. I see how happy you and Radhi are, and how happy you make Yudha. Because of this I can accept Krishna. I think Krishna is good for all human kind and globally. But there are so many different religions in China, I think it will just take progress.”
By this time barriers had been broken and we were feeling real connections with the Chinese students.
As the guests watched I offered the pizza to the Deities and to Srila Govinda Maharaj on the disappearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Then Ona served out the pizza and we all were happy to be in each other’s association. I took that opportunity to explain that it was a festival tonight, showed them a picture of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur (earlier Ona helped me make a garland for the picture) and explained how important he was to our temples and to our “Teacher”.
Sunanda, Victoria, Ona and Ananda all came to the apartment to see us that morning. They brought us gifts and brought gifts for us to give to Srila Govinda Maharaj. Then it was time to go to the airport. We said goodbye to Victoria, Ona, Ananda, and Uma promising we would return. While we waited to board Yudhamanyu told us how happy he was with our trip and told us many other sweet things about our time in Chengdu.
We were all excited about our journey to Shenzhen, and we talked a little about how incredible it is that this is happening.
In Shenzen we were met by Jayavati didi, Ketty, and Jimmy (future god brother and god sister). We all exchanged hugs, told Jayavati how excited we were, and praised her for the amazing preaching she is doing in Shenzhen.
Aimee arrived and Jimmy showed us what they described as a “silly” video that they made to welcome Yudhamnayu. It was actually a beautiful video capturing each person’s mood of devotion and the reasons they wanted to be initiated and join our “international family”.
Today is the day!! Yudhamanyu is already pacing when we get up. We buy cloth for the offerings, spaghetti, vegetables, bread and drinks for dinner. We go back to the hotel to gather all the things we brought from Chengdu for the initiations, saris, a kurta, a picture of Srila Govinda Maharaj, a picture of the Deities in Nabadawip, saffron cloth, japa mala, bead bags, tulasi beads, tilak, a Kirtan guide, a Bhagavad Gita and more.
There was nothing lost in translation about the eagerness and sincerity that could be felt in Jayavati’s apartment that night.
When Yudhamanyu showed up we all took our formal places around the altar and Yudhamanyu sang Sri Guru Charana Padma and a little chanting following with everyone joining in. Jimmy, Ketty, and Aimee were singing Hare Krishna and I was completely amazed.
Next Yudha spoke about the mission there and it really struck me that he said China has 1.3 billion people and you are here because you are special. Like cream rises to the top of milk, you few are the cream of China!
He told them that he personally talked to Gurudev and he has already accepted them. Yudhamanyu explained that Gurudev already knows who they are even though he hasn’t seen them, and that Gurudev cannot be in China himself so that is why Yudhamanyu is giving the initiation for Him.
Jimmy was the first initiate and Yudhamanyu gave him so much attention and explained everything in such detail. He then told Jimmy that he called Srila Govinda Maharaj who has given him a new name Jayaindra Dev. Jayaindra Prabhu Ki Jaya!!
Aimee was next to be initiated and Gurudeva gave her the name Indumukhi Dasi. Indumukhi Dasi Ki Jaya!!
Then Ketty came up and with each initiate Yudhamanyu stressed the importance of association with each other and especially to help Jayavati and follow her instructions. He then told Ketty her new name would be Krishna Lata Dasi. Krishna Lata Dasi Ki Jaya!!!
Afterwards Jayavati offered prasadam and the rest as they say is history!
What an incredible program to be a part of. As Yudhamanyu said now I’m done. If I die it’s been done.
We will always be grateful to have been a part of this amazing history.
Our sincere Dandavats,
Radhika and Madhumita