From: Kodandarama Das, ISKCON Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
Revolutionary public program was organized in Sinhalese area in a town near Kandy in Central Province of Sri Lanka.
Just a few years ago, when the civil war between Sinhalese (Buddhist) and Tamils was raging, nobody would imagine 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 our nagara-sanirtana all anxiety went away. Finally around 2500 people participated in the program.
H.H Bhakti Vikasa Swami was the chief guest. He lectured about the suffering in this material world and the universal path of Krishna consciousness. Maharaja expertly spoke in a manner that every sincere Buddhist could accept his arguments. The lecture was translated into both Tamil and Sinhalese languages. Later Maharaja 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 broadcasted by Shakthi TV-the most prominent satellite channel of Sri Lanka.
Many dignitaries including Governor of Central Province, Deputy Minister of Plantation, Police Headquarters Inspector, and Hindu Culture Ministry District Incharge offered their respects to Maharaja and received Srila Prabhupada’s books as special gifts.
Another highlight of the program was certainly 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. Devotees were happy to see such a welcoming response by Sinhalese and Tamil people.
The whole preaching tour of HH Bhakti Vikas Maharaj to Sri Lanka created lot of attention in media. Reports from the ISKCON's public programs were published in all major newspapers of Sri Lanka.
Veerakesari, the most prominent Tamil newspaper, published a full page interview with His Holiness in which he spoke about the purpose of ISKCON and the spiritual benefit that people can derive from practicing Krishna consciousness.
By Srila Prabhupada’s mercy the Hare Krishna movement is gradually becoming known all over Sri Lanka.
Param vijayate Sri Krishna sankirtanam!