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19th Sept 2004, Iceland

Collective kiirtan in the meditation hall
Mother meditating with baby

It was a wonderful place to be - with the northern lights above, volcanos, geysers and laver fields and plenty of space. We spent 4 days enjoying the local margii hospitality and warmth. The retreat itself was held in Didi's school. Margiis who had not been around for many years who had been the first in Iceland to greet Baba on his visit there, turned up and shared their stories of this wonderous event. The stories were so beautiful and full of Love and Grace.

It was a truly uplifting experience. Margiis that I had not seen in over 15 years turned up... amazing to see everyone! The tantric nature of Iceland is very inspiring, a force and strength only matched by the climate and landscapes.

We had two Nagar Kiirtans over the weekend - one in the place that Baba himself took His fieldwalk 25 years before (see the pictures). The other in a park near to where Baba stayed, there we did meditation as people passed by.
- Suniiti

2nd Aug 2004, Madhu Karuna, Germany

Collective kiirtan in the meditation hall
Mother meditating with baby

The arrival of the Bliss Bus brought a tidal wave of energy and inspiration to Madhu Karuna. Many of the people we met along our route now gathered together for the festival, a magical event that takes place in the sleepy village of Wendelsheim.

Once again this year, behind the deceptively unassuming walls of the Madhu Karuna building, hundreds of people from every continent of the world came together to celebrate life and our diverse universal family. Walking around I have heard all manner of languages, from Korean to Castellano, Hindi to Hungarian.

The days and nights are filled with music and song, kiirtan that had people falling in states of bliss. There was a spiritual wedding ceremony, classes on Ananda Marga philosophy, not to mention many conversations about the successes of the Mystical Tour.

The Bliss Bus family has finally dispersed with a few tears and a bus-full of memories. I am not quite sure how I can board another form of transport after the experience of the big orange ballistic bus of bliss; it just won't be the same.
- Roshnii

26th Jul 2004, Ananda Putta Bhumi (near Jelenia Gora), Poland

The retreat in Poland
Mountains and forest surrounding the Master Unit in Poland

Well now the Poland retreat has finished I can give some personal interpretation of the proceedings. We arrived in the evening, in the bus that one acarya described as the Orange Thunderbolt, singing kiirtan as ever. I only joined the tour 6 days ago but there is really some blissful loving vibration on the bus.

As for the Poland Master Unit, it was my first chance to come here and it was definitely over-flowing with Baba's spiritual vibration ... particularly in the meditation hall ... it helps of course to be in the company of so many great kiirtan players. Also some mention should go to the siddha microvita [highly evolved spiritual entities] that are certainly here enjoying the retreat. I hope for everyone's benefit that they will stay with us and climb on board the Bliss Bus to Madhu Karuna.
- Mayatiita

25th Jul 2004, Ananda Putta Bhumi (near Jelenia Gora), Poland

The Bliss Bus in Poland

They said it was a logistical nightmare, they said it could never happen. Yet here the Bliss Bus stands with the Polish mountains as a back drop and the dust of seven different countries in its tyre treads. We have seen the windmills of Holland, the French Riviera, the bustling streets of Barcelona, the green valleys of Italy, the Swiss Alps, the Berlin wall, and now the rolling hills of the Polish countryside.

But it was by no means the Tour Itinerary that has made it all a success. This trip brought together a dynamic group of people without whom this would be a bus with no bliss. A feeling of sincere openness, acceptance and love has blossomed amongst us as we truly came to feel like brothers and sisters of a spiritual family.

Our trip is nearly at an end, but everywhere we go someone asks, "Why stop here? Why not keep going?" So who knows what the future holds for Baba's bus; explosive kiirtan tours or intergalactic travel...anything is possible!
- Roshnii

22nd Jul 2004, Berlin, Germany

Berlin service project

Ten Margii musicians from the Baba tour hurried along with their instruments to the hospital for the elderly for the afternoon service programme. On arrival at the hospital we were directed into a room where the patients were sitting quietly in a semi circle waiting for the music to begin. Most were in wheelchairs, some patients were being physically supported by staff members and some were very mobile. There was a very nice, cordial atmosphere in the hospital, with the staff seeming to be very open and caring to all present.

The performance began with some beautiful Prabhat Samgiita : "Tiny Green Island", "Raktim Kishalay" sung in full chorus, followed by some traditional and contemporary English songs, such as "You are my sunshine" and "Imagine," amongst others. Then we performed two songs with dance, one very rhythmic flamenco song "Carino" and one very deep Prabhat Samgiita, "Tumi Ye Esecho Aj".

Malinii's very expressive dance performance made some patients gasp with delight and clap their hands with joy. It appeared that the patients and staff loved to hear the music and see the dance that had such a calming yet uplifting vibration, they clapped their hands at times and one or two danced in their seats. Some were content to just listen with smiles on their faces and others seems to be lost in another world altogether.

After the songs we sang some soft melodious kiirtan as we moved along the hallway and into one of the rooms where two dying patients were lying. We continued to sing kiirtan softly and a very special vibration was created. At the end I went to the bedside of one of the dying patients, I held her hand very gently and sang Baba Nam Kevalam into her ear and after a while I felt immense love and compassion streaming from her eyes into mine. I thought that perhaps it was a departure gift from Baba to one of His beloved children.

As we were leaving the director of the hospital smilingly asked us to come again very soon. I always feel that doing such service is such a wonderful way to share Baba's love and inspiration with others, and of manifesting His ideology in service to humanity, although in reality it feels to me that we are the ones who gain the most from doing service to others in need.
- Jyotsna

22nd Jul 2004, Berlin, Germany

Reading about Baba's visit, at a point where the Berlin Wall once stood
Maetreyii and Jyotsna sing a song at the street performance in Berlin
Joining hands, singing kiirtan in Berlin
Dancing and singing kiirtan in Berlin

In the morning, we visited the point in the Berlin outskirts where the Berlin Wall once stood - dividing the east and west parts of the city - and Baba had angrily hit it with His stick, saying that it would come down soon.

In the afternoon, a small group went to a local old people's home to sing songs and add warmth and laughter to their day.

After the spontaneous success of the kiirtan at the end of our concert in Verona, where scores of teenagers stormed the stage and danced with huge grins on their faces, we decided to hold a largely kiirtan-based street performance in the city centre of Berlin. There had been some talk after Verona (as there has been several times in the past) about starting "Mantra Music" kiirtan nightclubs, outdoor parties, street parties - with drums, instruments, and freestyle dance to the rhythm of the mantra.

The location was Gedächtnis Kirche, the "Church of Remembrance" that was the site of a big protest in the 1970's against Baba's incarceration as a political prisoner under the Indian Communist government.

We sang kiirtan, interspersed with songs. By the end, it was just kiirtan. A good crowd formed, attracted by what was happening. Drums beating, guitars playing, many people singing. And then they started to dance.

We rounded off the night, our souls stirred, with a highly spirited on-the-bus tour of the city.
- Prema Sagar

19th Jul 2004, Fiesch, Switzerland

On the top of the glacier in Fiesch, Switzerland
Above the glacier in Fiesch, Switzerland
Above the glacier in Fiesch, Switzerland

The Cable Car To The Top Of The Mountain

"Baba explained that the first human civilisation was located in the Alps. Due to climatic changes, some human beings could not adjust and moved out in different directions. In this way, human civilisation spread all over the planet."
- from Baba In Fiesch

On the peak of the mountain, far above the winding course of the glacier - meandering through the deep valley like the tyre tracks from God's Great Jeep - we overlook the world from the starting point of civilisation, the seed of ancient evolution, to hear stories of Baba's visit to these mountains. And we sit in meditation, perched upon the edge of the great drop to the world below.

Meditation was somehow so natural up here. So easy to slip into a sublime flow. The air so pure and tingling with timeless wisdom. I could feel His vast presence, embracing all that He loved within his endless hold.

...And then my eyes opened. Slammed in the face by the awe of the panorama that stretched from one horizon to the other. This point could have been any in the history of the world. The mountains seemed so eternal, so reliable. My heart felt reconnected. I could have stayed for a long while...

Baba mentioned that master units should be established high up in this area as spiritual retreat centres. People could stay for several weeks to gain strength and spiritual insight. I like the idea.
- Prema Sagar

19th Jul 2004, Fiesch, Switzerland

The Bliss Bus in Fiesch, Switzerland
Nagar kiirtan in Brig, near Fiesch, Switzerland

In the morning, we followed Baba's steps to the top of the mountain singing kiirtan and ideating on His presence and love, reading discourses and listening to stories.

The Nagar Kiirtan procession in the town of Brig was colourful, with clowns and giant puppets playing around and interacting with people. There had been Nagar Kiirtan there 25 years earlier.

In the evening, we heard more stories from Dada Divyalokeshananda at the house where Baba stayed in Fiesch.

Our stay here has been very special... the Alps and the Nature there makes it easy to remember God behind His creation.
- Malinii

18th Jul 2004, Verona, Italy

The Bliss Family checked out the acoustics at Verona's 2000 year old Arena on a short trip around this historic city.

Kiirtan at Didi's school in Verona, Italy

Didi's School in Verona:

We sang and danced kiirtan around and throughout the house.

"In this school there has been much suffering, so in this Nagar Kiirtan let's be completely focused on Baba; perfect instruments for positive change."

I felt His love coming through my upraised palms, whilst my heart wept at the pain Didi felt in the air.

The Tantric force was undeniable. Spiritual force on this journey is tangible. I can feel the Cosmic Will in every moment. Baba Nam Kevalam

This is no vacation. There are many collective and personal obstacles, and since this is the first tour of this kind, and my first time organising something of this magnitude, the struggles are many. Yet, it is one the most powerful and wonderful experiences of my life. In fact, I am a bit afraid of its ending. However, I hear a few times a day, "Didi, when we do this next year..."
- Didi Anandamayii

Kiirtan chain at the psychiatric hospital
The pyschiatric hospital, near Verona, Italy
Setting up the evening concert near Verona, Italy

16th Jul 2004, Verona, Italy

He reached out for my hand
And I gave it...
Connecting with those in need
Is the love of His existence.

At a service project in a local psychiatric hospital, we shared songs, laughter, dance and kiirtan. Upon our arrival, a catholic nun working at the hospital looked apprehensively at us, and by the end she was dancing in the kiirtan chain with Didi Ananda Prama!

In the evening, our RAWA band performed for the public in an impressive venue. The performance culminated with an unforgettable kiirtan... charged with dynamism... with Prema Sagar juggling fire, Jyotsna on guitar, Karmendra and Liilamaya on the drums... the crowd sang and danced along and many young teenagers hopped up with the band on stage!!! We could have gone on for hours...

With this inspiration, a spontaneous meeting of young Margiis laid a blueprint for smoke-free, alcohol-free kiirtan dance parties!
- Didi Anandamayii

14th Jul 2004, from Valencia to Verona

Ship sailing from the coast at Nice, France
The group above the coast at Nice, France
Chimneys overlooking Nice and Monaco
Waiting outside the restaurant near Nice and Monaco

We left Valencia on a fasting day and most of the people on the bus were joining in the collective flow of fasting.

Inside the bus it was quiet. We saved our energy for the long journey north and used the time to look back on Valencia, remembering great joy and peaceful vibrations. It was so quiet that Dada, our driver with superb perseverance, once had to request that we sing kiirtan. And with that kiirtan we reached a little village near Marseilles, where we stayed over night at a campsite.

The next morning began early with salted lemon-water and bananas to break our fast and a five o'clock morning meditation on the bus. The day promised to be beautiful and the trip not too long, so we decided to take a break at the beach in Nice, which was on our way. We found a perfect spot to park the bus in the middle of a roundabout, which was the best parking spot we had so far; Dada was again a very happy man. After a refreshing swim and a simple yogic lunch we headed on to Italy.

All seemed to go very smoothly this day, until we needed a toilet break. We were still enjoying the panorama of the French east-coast and the only possible place for a break was a little restaurant near to the sea side. Big busloads of tourists are not always welcome in French restaurants to use the toilet.

When we couldn't find the owner of the place, some of us decided to use their toilets nicely and quietly anyway. But when the cook noticed our visit he became furious and ordered all of us to leave immediately. Totally surprised and in a rush, I realized I had left my digital camera in the toilet. But the cook had already closed the gate and refused to open it again. Via a backdoor I managed to get to the kitchen, where I met the cook who was even more furious. No way would he open the door or even listen.

After threatening to call the police, he called his boss, who looked like a body-builder, but was friendlier then he appeared. He was reasonable and together they checked out the toilets to get the camera back. But it wasn't there anymore! The cook became a suspect and a drama had started. Now it was us who called the police. While waiting for the police, Didi Ananda Prama tried her best to talk with the people of the restaurant, and I tried to relax by enjoying the view. The police never came and on the phone it was told that the incident had to be reported on our next stop in Italy.

In a village near Turin we stayed overnight with local Margiis, who had prepared delicious food. We arrived there late in the evening, but made it up with joyful kiirtan and meditation. The next day we left in the afternoon and had to hurry to be in time in Verona. Verona was also the final day of a 'kiirtan wave' through Italy and we were just in time to celebrate the last hour with them. Baba Nam Kevalam!
- Mayadhiish

Looking up at the apartment where Baba stayed in Valencia
Inside the monastery where Baba stayed in Valencia

13th Jul 2004, Valencia, Spain

While in Valencia we visited the house where Baba stayed during his visit. The current residents were somewhat amazed by the group of devotees singing and dancing outside the seemingly ordinary apartment block. There, Dada told us some stories of his experiences with Baba in 1979.

We also went to the monastery where Baba gave a discourse; a complex of ornate buildings with columns, arches and courtyards amidst a grove of lemon trees. We then went for a sunset swim in the sea and group meditation on the sand.
- Roshnii

10th Jul 2004, Valencia, Spain

Kiirtan as we arrived in Valencia

Our arrival in Valencia was the most memorable of the tour so far. As we drove in through the street lit city, the rhythmic in-bus kiirtan gathered momentum.

The bus pulled up outside 'Vitalia', our final destination, where a group of Spanish margiis awaited us. We stepped off the bus still singing, dancing, strumming and drumming. We made our way into the restaurant and the kiirtan just exploded; arms swaying in the air, hands clapping, voices whooping with joy. The crowd was pulsating with the beat of the mantra 'Baba Nam Kevalam' the energy was so high that everyone was very reluctant to bring it to an end.
- Roshnii

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