The first formal meeting of Temple Presidents and key devotees of International Sri Krishna Mandir (ISKM) happened on the 27th of June this year in Singapore, the day after the hugely successful Ratha Yatra festival in Singapore. Since then there have been concerted efforts to develop not only the preaching in the respective zones of our various temples but also efforts to extend cooperation between two or more temples to strengthen the missionary activities wherever, whenever, and however possible.
Following the successful meeting of ISKM international, the Indian ISKM leaders have decided to meet at ISKM Amalapuram in the first week of September for 4 days. A group of devotees from Puducherry headed by our humble self and few devotees from Chitoor area headed by His Grace Bhadra Balarāma Prabhu made a trip to Amalapuram on 1st September 2016. Amalapuram is located the Konaseema district situated in the eastern Godāvarī region of the southern state of Andhrea Pradesh, India. Throughout our whole journey to Amalapuram we constantly had the darśana of the sacred Godāvarī river and got her blessings.
After reaching Amalapuram, we were given a warm welcome by the wonderful local devotees headed by His Grace Sundara Śrīnivāsa Prabhu. We were taken to the ISKM city office which also had the facility for the guests to stay. It is an apartment located within the main town, just on the main road, with all amenities. The apartment was well-furnished and had all the facilities like car parking and lift. Later, he told me that this apartment was donated for ISKM preaching activities by one of his patrons Śrīmān Vijayakumar. This was given just a month back after Sundara Śrīnivāsa Prabhu’s latest visit to Singapore for their Ratha Yātrā.
Sundara Śrīnivāsa Prabhu has been preaching in this town for the past 10 years and has many, many well-wishers who really want to have a big ISKM temple in Amalapuram. He is also preaching in a nearby town called Ravalpalayam which is about 30 kilometres away from the Amalapuram town. Every year, he has been conducting festivals like Janmāṣṭamī, Rādhāṣṭamī, Vyāsa Pūjā, etc. in a very grand manner. He also has a team of strong, devoted and dedicated volunteers.
After a delicious prasādam feast, we were honoured to distribute prizes to the children who won prizes in the recent fancy dress competition conducted on the Janmāṣṭamī day. We also had a soul-pleasing kīrtana followed by a talk on the importance of chanting Hare Krsna mahā-mantra.
The next morning, after the regular morning program starting from maṅgalāratī, we had a nagara-saṅkīrtana (public chanting on the streets) in a nearby area named Agraharam. Despite being so early in the morning, people came out of their houses and filled their mouth and heart with the mahā-mantra. Then we had a house program at the house of Śrīmān Vijayakumar.
After the kīrtana and discourse, Śrīmān Vijayakumar openly expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the local ISKM devotees headed by Sundara Śrīnivāsa Prabhu for their selfless preaching in the zone for several years. Then there was a Śrīmad Bhāgavatam discourse in our city center. Devotees were busy whole day working on organizing for the grand nagara-saṅkīrtana planned for evening. The nagara-saṅkīrtana started from a gośāla (cow-protection site) and we covered various residential areas and the main town area. The devotees performed roaring kīrtana with mṛdaṅga drums and cymbals. Kṛṣṇa prasādam was distributed to everyone throughout the procession. The whole town got purified by the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and Lord Indra seemed to acknowledge it by pouring heavy rain just at the moment we finished the kīrtana.
The next day also we had nagara-saṅkīrtana in the early morning in another neighbourhood area. For all the three days, we had discourses in the mornings and evenings as well. During this trip, we also discussed among ouurselves on how to carry forward the ISKM activities in India as directed by our beloved spiritual master His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. Protocols, preaching strategies and importance of working together were the chief points of discussion.
Later in the afternoon, a few meetings were arranged with some important well-wishers and our humble self felt fortunate to be able to advise them on how to develop the preaching activities in the town. We observed with great delight that all the people gathered there expressed their strong desire and prayers to have a beautiful Kṛṣṇa temple in Amalapuram. Efforts are now underway to explore the possibility of building that temple.
Hare Kṛṣṇa! Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!!