Facing the challenges of the pandemic, ISKCON devotees have created an ever-increasing host of online sanga opportunities, which continually reveal new treasures.
One particularly sweet offering, which has been running since late April but may still be undiscovered by some, is Bhakti Virtual’s “One Day in the Life of a Vaishnava,” or “Un Día En La Vida De.”
The program is organized by Prema Rupini Madhavi Dasi from Buenos Aires, Argentina, along with her husband Prema Rupa Madhava Das, as well as Kanakangi Padma Dasi and Kishora Shyam Das. Together, the team have been presenting a variety of virtual retreats and courses to Spanish-speaking devotees since the beginning of the pandemic.
“One Day in the Life of a Vaishnava” is broadcast live on Zoom, the Bhakti Virtual Facebook page and Mayapur.tv every two weeks on Saturday afternoons. The intimate 90-minute interview gives us association with a variety of devotees, from Srila Prabhupada disciples, to sannyasis and gurus, to young devotees and gurukulis.
“The idea of the program is that especially these days we don’t have the opportunity to travel and get to know the world of devotees,” Prema Rupini Madhavi says. “So we wanted to hold evenings where people could learn more about different incredible devotees, and feel close to them, feel like their friend.”
Among the devotees interviewed have been Mahavishnu Swami; Bhakti Sundar Goswami from Venezuela; Prabhupada disciple Akuti Devi Dasi; book distributor Divyanga Das from Alachua; Latin America RGB member Divya Priya Devi Dasi; and Brahmatirtha Das (Bob Cohen) of Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers.
Younger devotees interviewed include Deva Madhava Das, director of the Harmony Collective in Ypsilanti, Michigan; Sandipani Muni Krishna Das of the Harinama Ruci group; kirtaniya Madhuri Pura Das from Denver; and husband and wife kirtaniyas Krishna Kishor Muralidhara Das and Radha Padmini Dasi from Alachua.
The questions they are asked are inventive and interesting, and vary depending on the interviewee. Prabhupada disciples are asked how they first met Srila Prabhupada, and what emotion they felt or what service they first did for him. Householders are asked how they maintain equilibrium amidst their family responsibilities, jobs and service.
Most interviewees are asked how they first came to Krishna consciousness, what they like most about the bhakti path, what inspires them to continue in the face of difficulties, what was the best advice they ever received, and how to develop good relationships between devotees.
Some questions are especially creative, such as “You are on a fifteen-hour plane trip – which two people would you like to have sitting on either side of you?” Others pick the interviewee’s brain about their favorite scriptural verse, prasadam dish, or book by Srila Prabhupada.
Latin America RGB Member and Ecuador Zonal Supervisor Divya Priya Dasi was among the interviewees
“There are different questions for different devotees,” Prema Rupini Madhavi says. “But the focus of all of this is getting to know them, learning from them, and getting their advice. They have a lot of experience, so it’s very nourishing for all of us to hear about them, and through them see this wonderful movement that Srila Prabhupada created for all of us.”
Devotees from Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, and Spain have been watching the interviews, both live and later in their own time – each talk is recorded. While the retreat was created specifically for Spanish-speaking devotees, English speakers are welcome too, as most of the talks are in English and translated into Spanish by Phanendra Gaura Das.
“When our viewers hear about the lives of the devotees we interview, and about their enthusiasm, service for Srila Prabhupada, spiritual practice, and strong faith,” says Prema Rupini Madhavi, “Their own faith in Krishna consciousness increases.”
Prema Rupini Madhavi and her husband are on a mission to keep the Spanish-speaking devotee community inspired and connected during these difficult times. Their regular programs include Bhakti Retreat Virtual; Inspirational Fridays with Navina Nirada Das, which focuses on sankirtan; and of course One Day in the Life of a Vaishnava.
“Krishna allowing, we want to continue meeting more and more wonderful devotees from around the world, getting to know them, and learning about their services, projects, and lives in Krishna consciousness,” says Prema Rupini Madhavi.
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To find out when the next interview will be broadcast, and to watch all live and recorded interviews, visit: https://www.facebook.com/Bhakti-Virtual-109023520781347
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