WRITTEN BY IKSVAKU DAS
On May 2010, His Holiness Hridayananda das Goswami visited the island of Cuba. On that occasion, four new bhaktas, who had been following the devotional regulations for several months, approached Srila Acharyadeva with the intention to become his aspiring disciples. Srila Acharyadeva kindly acknowledged their request and accepted them as formally initiated disciples last December 2010. One of Srila Acharyadeva’s disciples then traveled back to the country and performed the formal initiation rites and name giving ceremony.
The initiation was performed in the city of Matanzas, located 1 1/2 hours east of Havana, in the house of a gentle lady who is very favorable to the devotees. These four new disciples then became formally known to the Vaishnava community as Muni-Srestha dasa, Hari-Keli devi das, Dashavatara dasa, and Daneshuara devi dasi.
Because the congregation members were also able to participate in the fire ceremony and the abhisheka of the local deities Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai and Sri Sri Radha-Havana-Vihari, the initiation festival, though very modest, was a great success.
All of the devotees were extremely happy to receive Srila Acharyadeva’s mercy and to become part of the international Vaishnava community, despite Cuba’s socio-political situation, which continues to impose strict limitations on the development of Lord Chaitanya’s Movement. At the present time they are holding regular Nama Hatta meetings in their communities and working with the local governmental authorities in the attempt to legalize ISKCON’s presence in Cuba.