- by Lilasuka Das
On Sunday July 17, 2011 His Holiness Prahladananda Swami and me drove by car from Sofia to the Bulgarian Summer Camp near Burgas at the Black Sea, a distance of about 450 km. Due to the undeveloped highway infrastructure we would have to drive most of the distance on provincial roads. Our driver, Bhagaha das, a disciple of Suhotra Swami, was driving a recently from Britain imported Audi (with steer wheel at the right side). I was sitting in the back of the car together with Balarama das (1 year), Ilavati (about 7 years) and their mother Isvari devi dasi, a disciple of Prahladananda Swami. Before leaving Sofia the sky filled with dark rain clouds announcing rainfall. When we left around 3 pm it started to rain a bit. While driving off Bhagaha das informed us that the windscreen wipers were not working. When he tried to get them working they were not moving unless a few centimetres every few minutes. After one hour driving we stopped at a gas station. While Bhagaha das filled up the tank, Maharaja was doing some exercises on the grass field. Some people who walked by and saw Maharaja talked to Isvari devi dasi and expressed their wonder how such a senior person can display such supplely moving, and such high vitality and energy.
After leaving the gas station it started to rain again, this time more heavily. Bhagaha das was driving slowly as due to the non-functioning of the windscreen wipers his sight on the road was nearly zero. In meantime the rain poured down as with buckets. Bhagaha das tried to see the stoplights of the car we were following. It was extremely dangerous. Nevertheless he managed to drive the car on the security stroke (hard shoulders), stop the car just behind another car, and activate the four blinking security lights. Then Bhagaha das asked Prahladananda Maharaja to sing the Nrsimha prayers. So, Maharaja sang the Nrsimha prayers while the storm continued to bombard the car with rain and ice particles. Right after Maharaja’s prayers the storm subsided. Then suddenly the windscreen wipers started to move and functioning normally. Soon the rain stopped.
About two hours later the road police stopped us and asked for Bhagaha das’s papers. They told him that his driver license expired and that he could not continue to drive the car. So, Bhagaha prabhu asked me to drive the car as I had a valid driver’s license. Thus, for the first time I drove a British car. I drove for a few kilometres. Then I stopped the car at the side of the road (a bit brisk as I used my left feet to hit the clutch, which was not there because the car had automatic gears, and hit instead the breaks). We survived. Bhagaha das continued to drive and a few hours later we arrived at the Bulgarian Summer Camp held at a hotel facing the beach of the Black Sea. At arrival the devotees welcomed us with kirtan and brought us to a room on the fourth floor of the hotel. The room was so small that the two beds within it took nearly all the space. Luckily there was a balcony on which apparently a big bird, a kind of seagull, was resting. When I entered the balcony the bird flew away but left a lot of excrements on the floor, which I cleaned up. Then Maharaja told me that it was kind from me that I was cleaning the bird’s toilet; I should charge them for my service.