2nd June 2001 - Welcome to Broka Loka

Dear devotees, PAMHO! AGTSP! AGTGM!

Thanks to all of you, who are giving me support by your appreciations of my
letters here! It is by your mercy that I can continue. Unfornutely, my
capacity is limited and also I cannot go on the internet every day. Therefore
sometimes I don't answer the mail on time. Sorry for that!

Friday June 1. Yesterday in the evening I have packed up some luggage and
today we left Timisoara early in the morning, at 6 am. Murari Krsna pr. drove
us to the rom-bulg border. During the way I was chanting my japa and also
looking from the car window on special mode of mat. nature, which is known as
roma-guna and is manifested only here in Romania. GM was chanting his japa (he
chants so quietly, that it's hardly recognisable) and listening to his own
recitations of Cc which he now makes on tape. The border between Romania and
Bulgaria is the Donau river, so we were supposed to go by feet on a ferry boat
with all our luggage. Murari pr. stopped there. He said that the weight of all
our luggage is maybe for three Bhimas to carry. In just few minutes Jagganatha
misra Pr appeared there in the disguise of a rocker. He enthusiasticly helped
me with the luggage, but still there was something left, so GM suggested that
he will also take some small bags.

The custom officer was very slow and had asked some questions, but Jagganath
Misra p. made him. Meanwhile GM was just unbelievingly shaking his head and
smiling slightly. Certainly it was not pleasant to stay there with his knee for
such a time. This border is mainly used by huge camions, occasionally by normal
cars and rarely by tourists. Naturally one officer who was walking outside
became suspicious, so he had us to stop. He wanted to see what we carry in our
bags. He showed to GM's black bookbag and asked: "What is inside?"
"Just books..." Jagganath p. replied. "What kind of books? Religious?" the
officer asked wheh he saw one of them. "Yee,... you know, about philosophy and
yoga. He (GM) is writing books and lecturing also..." "All right, you go!" In
this way we got thru the custom formalities and went on the boat.

There we were waiting for some time, because the trucks were going on board.
Meanwhile GM commented: "These officers are so suspicious.
Naturally, that's their job. They would look inside anyway...'Do you have some
cigars there for me?' At least for this. When they see a book, they don't
understand."

In the middle of the river I could understand the comparisioin that ISKCON
is like a boat which is heading to the spiritual world. Certainly anyone who
thinks that by jumping off the board he could attain the goal will just meet
with defeat. Although GM was seated there just as ordinary passenger, he looked
like a captain of the boat. The wind was blowing strongly, but in little time
we were on the other side. There we again had to go with all luggage for about
400 m by feet. There was bulgarian custom, but without any problems. Then we
went to the car, where Param jyoti pr was waiting at us. As soon as he saw GM,
he ran out the car and placed a garland on GM's neck.

The journey to Sofia was without any big problems. On the way GM asked if we
have some fruits. So I handed him some bananas. Then he asked If we had
something else. "Yes, GM, but it is in the back." So we had to stop and take
the apples from the luggage. As we continued, GM asked:"You said you have
some nuts?" "Yes" and I handed him a package of nuts which the devotees have
brought. But I saw there also a cup of yoghurt, so I showed it to him and he
said:"Oh, good. Do you have a spoon?" I had to say:"Oh, unfortunately it's in
the back too!" So we had to stop for the second time to give him a spoon and we
deceided to make a break, so that GM could take his prasadam peacefully. After
he has washed his hands, we continued.

Bulgaria is a very special country. Now I have understood why GM often calls
it Broka-loka. Along the path I saw many vacant houses, which were really
broken. I was told that 10 years before Bulgaria had about 10 millions of
inhabitants, but today only 6 000 000. Everybody just left. The roads were
heavily broken, every now and then we had to drive slowly due to incompact
roads. Here you can also see many ancient cars on the roads, which in other
countries you would find maybe only in technical museum. This country reminded
me very much of India, "but the quality of peace is completely different".
There are many street dogs, just lying on the road. They are so much in tamas
that they don't run away when car comes. We almost killed one dog in this way.
We could also see very huge Balkan mountains, which are long maybee 600 kms.
They are really impressive.

When we arrived to Sofia temple the devotees were awaiting us with a kirtan.
Than I realised that "the temple" consist of one flat (belonging to Indrasena
pr. and his wife and their newly-born child)
and basement rooms (I mean LITERALLY basement), where is templeroom, kitchen
and brahmacari asram. Here only specially surrendered souls live. The devotees
were very much enthusiastic from GM's arrival.

(to be continued) ys vgd

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