Photos by Ananta Vrindavan.
ISKCON guru and travelling preacher Indradyumna Swami is currently on a two-week tour of Mongolia to share Krishna consciousness there, performing Harinama Sankirtan for the first time ever in many places.
Dubbed “The Land of the Eternal Blue Sky,” Mongolia is a large and rather wild country divided between deserts, steppes, and mountains. About fifty-three per cent of the population are Buddhist, and about forty per cent continue to live the traditional nomadic lifestyle.
ISKCON devotees first came to Mongolia in the 1990s, and the society is now officially registered there, with a small center in the capital, Ulaanbaatar.
Indradyumna Swami landed there with kirtan singer Bada Haridas and six other devotees on September 12th. After a short tour of Ulaanbaatar, they held their first program at the ISKCON center in the capital.
The adience chants along at a hall program in Erdenet
“We found people extremely curious about us and very, very friendly,” says Indradyumna Swami, who wore traditional Mongolian garb during the program.
“If you wear the traditonal clothes of Mongolia for your first few days in our country, you will gain the sympathy of our government who granted you a special visa,” explained the temple president. “The people will also appreciate, and be inclined to hear the message you have brought.”
Indradyumna Swami and Bada Haridas (both wearing traditional Mongolian dress) do kirtan in a Kharkorin monastery
After Ulaanbaatar, the group went on to Kharkorin, the old capital of Mongolia, where they visited the ancient Buddhist monastery of Erdene Zuu. After discussing spiritual matters with the monks there, Badahari Das led kirtan at their request, and Indradyumna Swami gifted the head monk with a copy of Bhagavad-gita As It Is.
The same evening, the devotees organized a program in a local hall, which drew 100 Kharkorin citizens. “After the lecture, everyone chanted and danced in great happiness during the kirtan,” Indradyumna Swami says.
Bada Haridas leads Harinam in Sainshad
On September 15th, devotees chanted for the first time on the streets of Sainshand, a town of 23,000 people in the Gobi Desert, in the early morning while the desert sun was still tolerable. Once again, the local people loved the sound of the mridangas, kartalas and sweet chanting of Krishna’s holy names, and joined the devotees by chanting and dancing along with them.
Later that afternoon, there was a Krishna conscious program in a hall in town, followed by a concert in the town square in the evening.
On the way to Erdenet
Devotees then took a nine-hour drive through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country to Erdenet, the second-largest city in Mongolia, where they held another packed hall program.
“We are visiting all these towns and villages for the first time,” says Indradyumna Swami. “Previously our movement didn’t have permission to do harinam and public programs in Mongolia. Now that we do, we find people spontaneously chant Hare Krishna and dance with little or no encouragement.”
He adds: “We pray that such pioneer preaching will satisfy Srila Prabhupada, who desired that the holy names be broadcast in every town and village of the world, in accordance with the will of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”
Local children are delighted to see the devotees on Harinama[ indradyumna-swami ] [ mongolia ]