Sri Govinda Ashram servitors go to recovery center to preach and distribute books
Attended by Sriman Indra Bandhu dasa, and bhakta Ben
Commentary by Indra Bandhu dasa.
Photos by Indra Bandhu dasa and Jess (a resident at Bridgeway)
Commentary by Indra Bandhu dasa:
Bhakta Ben and I went to Bridgeway Recovery Center in Salem, Oregon to visit someone named Will bhakta Ben had met who invited us to the center. Will expressed he was interested in some new books, and that he wished to hear about the Sri Govinda Divya-vani Seva Ashram and Krishna Consciousness. Bhakta Ben and I came prepared with books and an openness to speak on all related topics, and to share with any other interested individuals there. I did not take or ask for pictures from anyone but us and Will, due to privacy concerns.
Upon arriving, bhakta Ben and I had to sign in and wait for Will in the general TV and “hang out” area of the center. An employee of the center came to ask questions, and wanted further information, she made positive remarks about our program and seemed interested in learning more so I gave her a business card with the SCS Math NJ information and the Sri Govinda Ashram information. A woman named Deedra sat down and asked us questions about our tilak, the ashram, and bhakta Ben’s sikha. She said she wanted to come to the ashram for a program, so I gave her the information. As I was answering her questions, a younger man named Steven remarked that my description of devotional activities in India sounded “cool!” and I gave him a card too before leaving the center. When Will was ready we all went to an area in back with tables to lay out our books and speak. The staff was very hospitable and accommodating, since usually visitors are not taken back into this area.
Bhakta Ben, Will, and I, talked at length about Krishna Consciousness, Srila Sridhara Maharaja, Srila Govinda Maharaja, Srila Swami Maharaja, Srila B.K. Giri Maharaja, the SCS Math, the Sri Govinda Divy-vani Seva Ashram, various scriptures, theistic conceptions, principles of bhakti yoga, and any other topics that arose in between all of this. A resident named Jess happily took many photos when nicely asked, seemed to enjoy the role, and though she did not live in town, accepted a card. Will told me that another resident, Katrina, was interested in meditation and she expressed interest in learning more about “Hare Krishna’s”, so I gave her a card too. Various other residents came to ask some general questions about who bhakta Ben and I were, who we were with, and so on, some exclaiming “Oh! Hare Krishnas!”, and others glancing at the books and remarking “Is this Krishna stuff?”. Will made an offering to the Ashram, and received a copy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts, Heart and Halo, and The Search for Sri Krishna. Bhakta Ben gave him a copy of Divine Aspiration as a gift. He also received a new “travel” copy of Bhagavad Gita As It Is to replace his copy that was falling apart (as he had read his copy extensively), courtesy of Sriman Radha-Syama dasa brahmachari (Will is keeping his old copy, not disposing of it). Will expressed interest in hearing more, coming to the ashram, and seemed very happy to have new books. Bhakta Ben was able to share about his experience at the ashram and things he’s learned. The laksmi was later put on the vyasasana upon arriving at the Sri Govinda Ashram.
When it came time to leave, I felt that the visit went very nicely, and that several individuals now had the capability to find out more about Srila Sridhara Maharaja, Srila Govinda Maharaja, Srila Swami Maharaja, Srila Giri Maharaja, SCS Math, Sri Govinda Divya-vani Seva Ashram, and bhakti yoga, the way to find what their hearts are truly searching for. Making contact with a devotee is a critical step in spiritual life, and I am extremely fortunate that Srila Gurudeva’s mercy has allowed me the chance to help others with their spiritual lives, pointing them towards Guru. Hari Bol!
Bhakta Ben lays out books for distribution.
Indra Bandhu dasa and bhakta Ben seated before talk.
Will holds scripture in his hands.
Indra Bandhu dasa praises bhaktas Ben remark about something he learned
and shared with Will, as Ben poses for this photo.
Will browsing through his replacement Srimad Bhagavad Gita As It Is.
Bhaka Ben shows Will a copy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts.
Bhakta Ben shows Will SCS Math scripture Divine Aspiration.
Bhakta Ben displays the Guru parampara and Indra Bandhu dasa speaks
on the importance of a connection with the bona fide sampradaya.
Will about to look through Divine Aspiration.
Will takes a look for himself.
Will opens to the page with Srila Govinda Maharaja.
Will asks questions and they are answered.
Indra Bandhu dasa smiles.
Indra Bandhu dasa speaks about the destinations of various sects after Will mentions them,
and why one should know where his/her chosen path leads.
Will comments to bhaka Ben.
Bhakta Ben shares with Will.
Will is happy with his newly aquired scripture.
Will heard that Srila Giri Maharaja edited Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts and poses with his copy.
Indra Bandhu dasa, Will and bhakta Ben stand together for a group photo.