Diary of a Traveling Monk
Volume 1, Chapter 5
Nine-Year-Old Nadya Joins the Group
By Indradyumna Swami
This morning a number of people from last night’s park program visited the temple. I noticed one lady and her six-year-old daughter in particular. They had enjoyed the program very much, and I had given my rose garland to the little girl at the end. When the mother asked to speak to me I had Sri Govinda bring her, and her daughter to my room.
The mother told me that this morning her daughter had come into her bedroom and woken her up. The little girl said that her mother now had to follow the eleven commandments of the Bible.
The mother told her daughter that she was mistaken, that there are only ten commandments in the Bible.
The girl said no, the eleventh commandment was, “All mothers should take the good advice of their daughters.”
The mother asked if her daughter had any advice to give her.
“Yes,” said the girl, “from this day onwards you must chant the Hare Krsna song and follow the four regulative principles the man was talking about at the program last night.”
This evening we caught the train for our next destination, Rostov na Donu. About two hours into the journey our train made one of its routine stops. I glanced out the window and noticed it was the village where the people worship Wastraji. Suddenly a young girl appeared at the door of our cabin with a small suitcase in hand.
“Where is Indradyumna Swami?” she asked Uttamasloka
Uttamasloka’s jaw dropped in surprise. “He’s here,” he said and pointed to me.
I was as surprised as Uttamasloka.
She then turned to me. “Indradyumna Swami,” she said, “I’m going to travel with you for ten days.”
I looked closely and saw that it was Nadya, the little girl who had sat next to me at the program in the village.
“Nadya,” I said, “wait a minute. You’re just a kid. How can you travel with me?”
I turned to Sri Prahlada. “What in the world is going on here?” I said. But Nadya calmly put her little suitcase under the seat and sat down next to me.
At that moment, as the train was starting to leave, Nadya’s mother appeared at the door of our cabin “She insisted she travel with Indradyumna Swami,” said Nadya’s mother. “She was raising such a fuss. what could I do? She’s so determined. She’s a good girl, a nice devotee. I’ll come to get her in a week when you are in Krasnodar.”
With that she hurried off the train.
Suddenly, there I was with a nine-year-old girl staring contentedly at me as she sat beside me on the seat.
“Are you hungry?” I asked.
“Yes, Indradyumna Swami,” she said.
I told Uttamasloka to get her some prasadam.
“I want to stay with you forever,” she said.
I was speechless. She sat there patiently waiting for my reply. “We’ll talk about that later,” I said finally, and I sent her to take rest with Madhavi dasi in her compartment.
Two stops later we were just settling in for some rest when we heard a kirtana as the train came to a stop at the platform of another village. We looked outside and saw fiifteen devotees chanting and dancing. They had somehow learned that we were on the train, and they had come to greet us for the three minutes the train would stop in their village. Just as the train was pulling away they ran forward and started giving us all kinds of delicious prasadam. I counted fiive cakes, all kinds of juices, and a special preparation of the region called hachapuris, equivalent to paratas fiilled with cheese. And to our great surprise and delight they were steaming hot. Those devotees had timed everything perfectly.