His Holiness Subhag Swami Maharaj conducted a wonderful Preaching tour of Bangladesh from 10 December 2012 to 22 January 2013. The tour commenced by seeking blessings as well as shelter of Haridas Thakur Patbari at Benapole, just after crossing the India Bangladesh border by road, the most sacred spot where Haridas Thakur delivered the prostitute Lakha Heera devi. After imbibing the spirit of Mahaprabhu's sankirtan movement for a few days at the lotus feet of Thakur Haridas, the team of devotees with Srimat Subhag Swami moved on to Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. In Maharaja's own words, one could not begin to imagine that today Krishna Consciousness movement in Bangladesh would become so widespread.
'Indeed this was already envisioned by Srila Prabhupada four decades ago when, despite formidable odds, he instructed few of his disciples to go and preach in Bangladesh', said Maharaj. Devotees eagerly flocked-in at ISKCON Swamibag Ashram at Dhaka to listen to HH Subhag Maharaja's Bhagavatam lecture and asked for more to which Maharaj happily agreed. Seeing the devotees from foreign countries in devotional attire, chanting the maha-mantra, some of them even speaking in Bengali, reminded everyone of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's prediction "prithivite ache yata nagaradi gram, sarvatra prachar hoibe mora nama".
Expressions by the foreign devotees like, 'amar Bangladesh bhalo lage', 'misti doi khub bhalo', won the hearts of all who pampered the devotees with varieties of traditional delicacies and sweets. After delivering a seminar in a school at Mirpur, Dhaka, on scientific understanding of Krishna Consciousness, aided by Dr. Subhananda das of National Heart Foundation, Mirpur and Ramanuja das who delivered a seminar on 'Vegetarianism', the Sankirtan Party moved ahead with Maharaj to Narayanganj, who were given a surprising welcome by the devotees of Narayanganj, headed by His Grace Hamsa Krishna Prabhu, the temple president of ISKCON Narayanganj, who showered them with heaps of flower petals. The students at Institute of Marine Engineering and Technology, Narayanganj, hosted two interactive sessions with Maharaj, one marking the Gita Jayanti where the students presented Srila Prabhupada's books to the distinguished guests accompanying Maharaj and the next, a seminar by Maharaj at the Institute's auditorium. In both the sessions, students received practical guidance on how to remain strong in Krishna Consciousness as well as fare well in studies.
Maharaj delivered a lecture at the newly inaugurated ISKCON temple of Narayanganj, main feature of which was a massive book distribution, all signed by Maharaj himself. Next event, a wonderful preaching program at Netrakona, a beautiful location tucked away in northern periphery of Myemensingh district of North Bangladesh. Under the leadership of his grace Jayram das, ISKCON Netrakona, a small preaching centre of around 25 vibrant devotees, runs by the merciful glance of Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra. In Netrakona, devotees went for village preaching at Durgapur, Madan, Trishal as well as Harinam Sankirtan and book distribution in Netrakona town. Devotees had to tolerate bitter cold and dense fog while going to all these places, but ecstasy of sankirtan, book distribution and above all, having a disciple of Srila Prabhupada with them was more than sufficient to bargain with anything. Jayram Prabhu, co-ordinating with National Committee ISKCON, Bangladesh, arranged for a three days pandal program, the 4th, 5th and 6th of January, 2013, to celebrate Srila Prabhupada Glorification Festival, also coinciding with Maharaja's Vyasa Puja celebration on 6th of January. Main features of the festival were bhajans, lectures, interaction of foreign devotees with local visitors, slide shows, films, Maharaja's classes and most importantly delicious, all desire fulfilling Sri Jagannath Mahaprasad. Lalita and Damodar of Sri Mayapur International School (SMIS), who came all the way from Mayapur, attracted everybody's mind with sweet kirtans. Every evening hundreds of visitors took Prasad, and on the last day a remarkable two thousand plus visitors honoured mahaprasad.
At the pandal program in Trishal, the Mayor of Trishal, who was the chief guest, was so impressed that he requested the devotees to conduct such programs on a regular basis. On the 8th of January, a seminar on Science and Spirituality was held at Zila Parishad Hall, Netrakona, where Maharaj delivered a lecture on how a scientist as well as a common man can accept Krishna Consciousness. Ramanuja das presented a seminar on Vedanta and Science as an introductory remark to maharaja's lecture. The program was attended by many distinguished professors and students of various colleges of Netrakona besides media persons and heads of local societies. The most important event of the tour was the Seminar on Science and Spirituality held on the 18th of January 2013 at the auditorium of Dhaka National Museum, Dhaka, one of the most prestigious venues in all of Bangladesh. The seminar was spearheaded by Dr. Subendu Talukder (Subhananda das), anaesthesist, National Heart Foundation, Mirpur, Dhaka. It started with a colourful Harinam Sankirtan by around 50 to 70 devotees along with students going around the campus of Jagannath University, Dhaka after which an impressive crowd of students attended Maharaja's lecture at Jagannath Hall in the University.
Many took books signed by Maharaj. The main Seminar began by a mangalacaran by Krishna Sudama Das (BTech. Computer graphics) of Armenia who sang the Brahma Samhita prayers invoking auspiciousness for all. Most attractive of all was Sita Devi dasi of France translating a speech by Bhaktin Dominique in French to Bengali. Sita Devi dasi, an expert in Bharat natyam dance also gave wonderful performances on 'dasavatara stotra'. Dr. Kadamba Kanan from Singapore delivered a short speech on being a doctor at the same time a devotee. Pitambar das (MA.Sanskrit), Anandavardhan das (MTech. Dairy tech.), Vasudev Krsna das (MTech. Computer Science), Subala das (PhD. Organic Chemistry), Sachiputra das (Bali, Indonesia), Gopal das and Tota Gopinath Das (Spain), Krishna loka das(Italy) gave enlightening speeches from Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavatam. An interactive power point presentation on Science of Happiness was made by Ramanuja Das (MSc. Botany) as an appetiser for rest of the programs. The full packed auditorium of around one thousand strong audience maintained a pin drop silence during the seminar on Science and Spirituality by Professor S. Ghosh (IIT Kharagpur), everyone present highly appreciated his views. HH Subhag Swami gave the concluding lecture where he enthused the audience saying "as individuals born in a land which graced the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, it is our duty to take Mahaprabhu's message to every nook and corner of the globe, be he a scientist or spiritualist, then only our lives will be successful".
Among the attendees at the seminar were Satyaranjan Baroi, Chairman, ISKCON Bangladesh, Prof. Emeritus Nirmal Mitra (BUET, Mirpur), devotees from various parts of Bangladesh, eminent scientists, doctors, lawyers, engineers and students from various institutes and Universities. Bhajans by Visakha dasi (India) and devotees of Mirpur and Netrakona as well as dance by Sita Devi Dasi (France) kept the whole event very lively. Around 500 books were distributed at the seminar most of them signed by Maharaj. An impressive 2500+ plates of Mahaprasadam was distributed after the program. Many of the participants personally came up to Maharaj after his lecture and expressed their appreciation about the seminar and submitted their requests to conduct more of such programs. Srimat Subhag Maharaj and his sankirtan team came back to India on 22nd January while local devotees continued with seminars at Swarupkathi and Barishal under the leadership of Dr. Gokulendu das (Retd. Asst. Director of Health, Bangladesh). Around 1000 books were distributed during the tour.