A revolutionary public program was organized in a Sinhalese area in a town near Kandy in the Central Province of Sri Lanka.
Just a few years ago, when the civil war between Sinhalese (Buddhist) and Tamils was raging, nobody could have imagined that a Hare Krishna program would be held in the heart of Buddhist culture in Kandy.
At the beginning we were little skeptical but later on when more than 500 hundred people joined their public chanting the ISKCON devotees’ anxiety went away.
Finally around 2,500 people including devotees from Australia, India, Kuwait, Slovenia, England, Switzerland, and different parts of Sri Lanka participated in the program. The nature’s scenery there was already very beautiful and the chanting of the holy name made it fully perfect.
Bhakti Vikasa Swami was the chief guest. He lectured about the suffering in this material world and the universal path of Krishna consciousness. The lecture was translated into both Tamil and Sinhalese languages.
Later, Bhakti Vikasa Swami called on the stage, his “white elephant” disciple Vasudeva Datta das, who addressed the public in Tamil language and captured the hearts of the audience.
The program was broadcast by Shakthi TV- the most prominent satellite channel of Sri Lanka.
Many dignitaries including the Governor of Central Province, the Deputy Minister of Plantation, the Police Headquarters Inspector, and the Hindu Culture Ministry District representative offered their respects to Bhakti Vikasa Swami and received Srila Prabhupada’s books as special gifts.
Akinchana Krishna das, manager of ISKCON Vellore, helped with his organizational skills and man power.
Another highlight of the program was the Bilvamangala Thakura drama performance. Under the direction of Damodar Gauranga das (Dhanush) from Chennai, students of Musical College from Batticaloa made the audience completely oblivious to the external world by their performance. The strong spiritual message broke through all national, cultural and religious barriers.
ISKCON devotees were happy to see such a welcoming response by Sinhalese and Tamil people.[ sri-lanka ]