18 January 2001, Phoenix Mauritius

I rushed to get ready for the flight to Mauritius.  Ronnie and Bertha called to wish me a safe flight. We met a girl called Margaux at the airport who happened to be going to the Kumbha Mela and bade her join our party.

I re-read Sikhi’s letters of recommendation for initiation and to Shymananda prabhu, the Temple President of Chowpatty Temple, on the plane. .

Ranchor was the consummate host.  His spiritual master, Giriraja Swami, had instructed him to take nice care of any visitors who came to Mauritius – a service he executes with great aplomb.  I was impressed by the way he had called the airport, double-checked our expected time of arrival and was waiting for us there.  Mr Raghunandana, his wife and daughter made up the rest of the arrival party.  A porter passed by and, noticing our dhotis and neck-beads, proudly informed us that he had met Srila Prabhupada in Mauritius in 1974.  Ranchor spoke animatedly about the devotee community and the history of the island as he drove us to his house.  He invited Margaux to join us for the night, and assured her he would help her find accomodation the next day.  He offered us a drink, then showed us to our rooms.

The next day we visited the ISKCON Temple in Quatre Borne.  The horizons of the Temple are flanked, on the one side, by jagged volcanic mountains; and a Continental Supermarket, Toys ‘R Us and a Phoenix Beer warehouse on the other.  The devotees want to build a large Temple on the present Temple grounds.

We had a beautiful darsan of Sri Sri Radha-Golokananda and spoke to Sundarlall, Govinda Charan and another devotee.  We also met a devotee called Sudama Vipra who lives in Rosebelle.  Two matajis with bright, smiling faces – Shahini and Radha-Bhakti – gave me a sponsored copy of the Ramayana in the Temple book room.  Radha-Golokananda were exquisitely beautiful.  Srimati Radharani held out Her lotus hand, and showered Her blessings on everyone.   Margaux was gazing on the Deities with wonder and devotion.  She kept on saying, ‘They are so beautiful!  They are so beautiful!’  Later on, I showed Margaux how to chant the maha-mantra on japa-mala.