Srila Prabhupada Vyasapuja 2017

Dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my prostrated obeisances at Your holy lotus feet on this occasion of Your 2017 anniversary.

“So keep this paramparä system. This Vyäsa-püjä is paramparä system. Vyäsa-püjä means to accept this paramparä system. Vyäsa. Guru is the representative of Vyäsadeva because he does not change anything. What Vyäsa-püjä… What Vyäsadeva said, your guru also will say the same thing. Not that “So many hundreds of thousands of years have passed away; therefore I will give you a new formula.” No. There is no new formula. The same Vyäsa-püjä, the same philosophy. Simply we have to accept it, then our life will be successful.” 761210DB.Hyd

Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and You are the Supreme Personality of Servitor Godhead. This is confirmed in shastra:

“Only out of His immense compassion does the Personality of Godhead reveal Himself as the spiritual master. Therefore in the dealings of an äcärya there are no activities but those of transcendental loving service to the Lord. He is the Supreme Personality of Servitor Godhead. It is worthwhile to take shelter of such a steady devotee, who is called äçraya-vigraha, or the manifestation or form of the Lord of whom one must take shelter.” Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi lila 1.46 P.

Sri Krishna is the “the basis of the impersonal Brahman,” (Bhagavad-Gita As It Is 14.27). Sri Krishna is indeed the basis and origin of everything that is and You are not only the foundation stone of ISKCON but also the very basis of our lives and existences. We are willingly and ecstatically lead by Your Divine Grace, just as bulls are directed by the ropes and rings attached to their noses.

Your version of Sad Goswami astaka, glorifying the six Goswamis of Vrndavan and recorded at The Schloss Rettershof, near Frankfurt, Germany, in June 1974 is so mystically attractive and fascinating (CD01-1)! I did not directly participate in the recordings, but along with other Godbrothers, Schloss Rettershof was my Sankirtan book distribution base at the time. It should be noted that in German language, Rettershof, means the place (literally “the court”) of the savior, in other words Your place, the place of Your Divine Saving Grace. I also remember how Hansadutta Prabhu used those grey cardboard egg holders as sound proofing material, as can be seen on the cover of the album. During your visit in June 1974, You kindly gave me Hari Nam initiation and the magazine Stern, which had sent a reporter to infiltrate and spy on the devotee community, published a full page picture of my dancing at the fire sacrifice. It should be noted that the reporter managed the ISKCON devotee lifestyle for one or two days / nights only. Then Krishna forcibly ejected him. Sinful persons are definitely excluded from Krishna’s and His devotees’ association, just as water and fire cannot mix and are mutually exclusive.

With the repetitive triple ding of the kartals, its rhythmical and sweet presentation eternally resounds in my heart. If my memory serves me well, Cakravarty Prabhu plays the kartals, Hansaduta Prabhu the mrdunga and You play harmonium. You have a very special and characteristic Prabhupada way to play the kartals as well. The sound of your playing kartals alone can attract one to Krishna consciousness. Just as the four Kumaras were attracted by the smell of the flowers and tulasi leaves offered to Lord Krishna’s lotus feet, anything you ever do, even the most insignificant thing, can attract one to Krishna consciousness.

Just as You stated about Your own Guru Maharaja, You are such a great, transcendental Vaikunta person, well beyond our furthest conceptions and imaginations. You are the greatest well-wisher, benefactor and lover of mankind.

How can one fail to be attracted to Krishna consciousness when one studies Your Divine Grace? Srimad Bhagavatam 10.1.4 answers this question emphatically: vina pasu ghnat and SB 1.3.24 Purport: “Mahäräja Parékñit said that only the animal-killer cannot relish the transcendental message of the Supreme Lord.”

When You speak, You are always “fired up”. It is Your doubtlessness, clarity of vision and persuasion that convinces the hearer. On one occasion, at question time, one man openly confirmed just that- your no-nonsense, to the point, strong presentation. You humbly thanked him for his compliment. I failed to find the lecture. I think it was in the UK. Because you are the world teacher many of your classes are in a declamatory tone, thus defying and challenging anyone to put forward a better philosophy. We know this is not possible! Whereas other classes such as 750902SB.Vrn are in a calm and conciliatory mood.

And you do this out of love for mankind. This is your only motivation. There is no other motivation! Therefore you are as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Father, Who, out of love only, tries to bring to reason the fallen and Maya-witch possessed conditioned souls.

Above all, Your message subscribes to the rigors of scientific analysis. “Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation.” BGAII, 3.3 P.

Your message is intelligent, reasonable, structured, consistent unchanging, strong, stern, sometimes forceful, but always respectful of our freedom to choose, just as Sri Krishna, after speaking the Bhagavad-Gita, gives Arjuna his freedom of choice. Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, 16.63 yatheccasi tatha kuru: “Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.”

Your message is liberal, enjoyable, benevolent, sustained, thoughtful, well thought out and prepared, well observed, humorous, the product of a genial, super top-most and God surrendered brain….

and finally Your message is free of charge as well.

You are both the nicest and wisest, Srila Prabhupada! But we are so fools and rascals that we are not always able to take full advantage of Your message and association, as we would like to do.

Through Your own elaborate plan and actions, the joyful Krishna conscious revolution is already in progress. A perfect example is the yearly Sacred Sound Festival by HH Indradyumna Maharaja and associates both here at ISKCON New Govardhana, New South Wales, Australia and North Carolina, USA.

You are the greatest sankhya-yogi, because if You hadn’t analyzed the phenomenal world so carefully, how could You explain so well the Supreme Brahman along with His diverse energies? “Only the ignorant speak of devotional service [karma-yoga] as being different from the analytical study of the material world [Sankhya]. Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both.” BGAII 5.4

Your expertise and maturity of realization in presenting the Krishna conscious philosophy is astounding! So is your thorough grasp of the philosophy and knowledge of the Sanskrit shlokas. If I could only possess an atom of your spiritual master ship, I would become a useful tool in your hands.

Intensive travelling all over Australia-dvipa for the purpose of book distribution is an undertaking of gigantic proportions. It is a limitless enterprise! New shopping centers are erected continually. I usually see my customers once a year. Physically, mentally and emotionally, it is a little taxing. Chapter five of Bhagavad-Gita As It Is is called “Karma Yoga-Action in Krishna consciousness”. I may say that I see plenty of action in Krishna consciousness, to the point that I periodically collapse and need to remain inactive for some time in order to recuperate. I usually distribute 4000 to 5000 piece of literature per year. Due to age, I might have to adjust my schedule or perhaps even better, change style of distribution and distribute even more books. As you explain in Srimad Bhagavatam, the aging body loses its physical strength. This fact is also common sense knowledge. I do not know how I have managed to survive to this point. It is only due to Your kind and benevolent mercy and the mercy of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra and my clinging to it under all circumstances. Of course making the planet earth Krishna conscious, as You have personally undertaken, is a much more gigantic enterprise. We also note that some of Your exalted disciples and grand disciples- mostly sannyasis- travel all over the world, steady as clock work: more gigantic enterprises! “

“A living entity who is specifically empowered by the Lord with knowledge or strength is technically called äveça-rüpa.” As stated in the Caitanya-caritämåta (Antya 7.11), kåñëa-çakti vinä nahe tära pravartana: Unless a devotee is specifically empowered by the Lord, he cannot preach the holy name of the Lord all over the world. This is an explanation of the word äveça-rüpa.” CCM 20.165 P.

In the early days, the saying was “Work now, Samadhi later.”

We absolutely love the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead under Your personal direction, still we may at times ask the question: ”Where is Samadhi?”

Dreams of achievement in Krishna consciousness may not be instantly realized. Sometimes we find there is a twenty years gap between the preaching dream and its practical realization. In Your own life, we see that it took several decades to achieve Your ultimate and grand success. The main thing is to keep our hopes always very high, and that should not be very difficult, as our hopes are pinned on Krishna, the highest and most elevated personality. In other words, the greatest and infallible positivity and win-win arrangement is Krishna consciousness.

There are seemingly mundane expressions of beauty that cannot fail to remind us of Krishna as per His words in Bhagavad-Gita As It Is 10.41:

 

yad yad vibhutimat sattvam

srimad ürjitam eva vä

tat tad evävagaccha tvam

mama tejo-‘àsa-sambhavam

“Know that all opulent, beautiful and glorious creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.”

In this respect, my other dream it to see the Canadian singer Celine Dion sing for Krishna, just as George Harrison sang for Krishna. She has a very dynamic personality, is an excellent singer and has sung for Christ in the past. So why not sing for Krishna as well? Because of her wonderful God given talents it will be a great success.

Your message remains as relevant as ever:

In 1975 while travelling by airplane to Chicago You read the Time Magazine article: “Crime why and what to do.”

On Jan 7th 2017, the BBC reported that more people are crime-killed now in Chicago than in the Afghan and Iraqi conflict combined.

You commented as follows:

“Yes, bring. We shall take this opportunity to preach. “Crime, Why and What to Do?” We shall give all solution. We can arrange big, big meetings on this point, “Crime, Why and What to Do?” A very suitable heading it is. Haräv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guëä [SB 5.18.12]. Unless he’ll take to God consciousness, all this rascaldom, so-called advancement of civilization, all condemned, everything. All rascals. So why we will not…, will there be crime? There must be. This is the result of modern civilization, crime. You cannot check it unless you take to Kåñëa cons… They are all violating the laws of nature. Nature brings you from evolutionary process to the human life, and if we misuse, then we suffer. This life is specially meant for understanding God. Athäto brahma jijïäsä. This is the only business. Jévasya tattva-jijïäsä na yaç ceha karmabhiù. Jévasya tattva-jijïäsä. Find out this verse.”750703Ar.Chi.

I did not receive many personal instructions from You. Nor was I ever part of your direct entourage, as a personal servant, like His Grace Hari Sauri Prabhu, His Grace Sruta Kirti Prabhu and so many others. Nor was I ever a personal assistant manager such as Your GBC deputies.

These days, as a personal service, I often fit Your bead bag into Your hands at the beginning of a Japa session. Thank you very much for this service opportunity as well!

However, the most important and most inspiring instruction, You have ever given to me, came in a letter dated May 2nd 1977 and addressed to “Sriman Yadavendra Das Brahmacari”. It reads as follows:

“There is no difference between study and management in Krishna consciousness. I am studying books and writing also, and at the same time attending to your letter. And there is so much management to look to. So I am doing both because there is no difference.”

Your secretary of the time, late His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami added:” Srila Prabhupada is the Acarya and showing us the example by doing both management and study. You should follow in His footsteps and do the same. There are nine types of devotional service and of the nine “arcanam” includes management. If one takes part in any one of these nine types of devotional service he can make his life perfect. So do not see any duality in any service, which you have to render to Krishna. Besides this, it is advised:

tad viddhi pranipätena

pariprasnena sevayä

upadeksyanti te jnänam

jïäninas tattva-darsinah

Bhagavad-Gita As It Is 4.34

Rendering of service is essential in Krishna consciousness. Therefore you should perform your daily routine activities with as much enthusiasm as you study Srila Prabhupada’s books…”

Srila Prabhupada, if the shakti to carry out the orders of the Spiritual Master comes with the instructions of the Spiritual Master, then I may petition You herewith: ”Please give me Your special blessings NOW!” After some 45 years of trying, I think I might be ready for it NOW. I think I might be able to handle it NOW. I always wished to practice and live by your instructions 24 / 365. It has already transformed my mind. It has set it right. It has already transformed my life.

“Bhakti means “devotional service.” Every service has some attractive feature, which drives the servitor progressively on and on. Every one of us within this world is perpetually engaged in some sort of service, and the impetus for such service is THE PLEASURE WE DERIVE FROM IT.” Nectar of Devotion, Preface.

Srila Prabhupada, I am yours without reservation and for eternity and I enjoy the Prabhupada-sambandha, also called Prabhupada-rasa relationship very much. So be it. Thank you very much!

Always remaining a beggar at your holy lotus feet as well as

A grateful servant,

Acknowledgement: I would like to take this opportunity and thank herewith HH Ramai Swami, the ISKCON Co-GBC for Australia for his green light to feature in Your international Vyasapuja book under the heading “Homages from other sources.“ The first publication was last year 2016. This acknowledgement is therefore overdue. Maharaja, please accept my humble apologies for this tardiness and thank you very much for your broad-mindedness! All glories to You, Srila Prabhupada!

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WHAT IS SELF REALIZATION ?

This is the church where in my youth, I engaged in godly service for many years as altar boy, sacristan and public reader of Epistle as well as Gospel, according to the Judeo-Christian tradition. Now of course I have graduated to the most excellent Hare Krishna tradition as presented by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, my most illustrious Spiritual Master. We note that there is one striking common factor with the ISKCON Krishna Balaram Temple  in Vrndavan India, the birth place of Lord Krishna, which reminds us very much of Srila Prabhupada: The church bells ring regularly. In this particular case they are preprogrammed to ring every quarter hour day and night.

I know from personal experience that Srila Prabhupada was very much insistent on this point: the bells MUST ring regularly. At Krishna Balaram Mandir it is done manually even today thanks to the excellent management in place, headed by His Grace Pancagauda Prabhu from USA. Even if in the middle of the night if the chowkidar would miss the ringing, Srila Prabhupada would notice and take appropriate action. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

 

 

 

TRANSLATION

Whenever a person experiences, by self-realization, that both the gross and subtle bodies have nothing to do with the pure self, at that time he sees himself as well as the Lord.

PURPORT

The difference between self-realization and material illusion is to know that the temporary or illusory impositions of material energy in the shape of gross and subtle bodies are superficial coverings of the self. The coverings take place due to ignorance. Such coverings are never effective in the person of the Personality of Godhead. Knowing this convincingly is called liberation, or seeing the Absolute. This means that perfect self-realization is made possible by adoption of godly or spiritual life. Self-realization means becoming indifferent to the needs of the gross and subtle bodies and becoming serious about the activities of the self. The impetus for activities is generated from the self, but such activities become illusory due to ignorance of the real position of the self. By ignorance, self-interest is calculated in terms of the gross and subtle bodies, and therefore a whole set of activities is spoiled, life after life. When, however, one meets the self by proper culture, the activities of the self begin. Therefore a man who is engaged in the activities of the self is called jévan-mukta, or a liberated person even in the conditional existence.
This perfect stage of self-realization is attained not by artificial means, but under the lotus feet of the Lord, who is always transcendental. In the Bhagavad-gétä the Lord says that He is present in everyone’s heart, and from Him only all knowledge, remembrance or forgetfulness take place. When the living being desires to be an enjoyer of material energy (illusory phenomena), the Lord covers the living being in the mystery of forgetfulness, and thus the living being misinterprets the gross body and subtle mind to be his own self. And by culture of transcendental knowledge, when the living being prays to the Lord for deliverance from the clutches of forgetfulness, the Lord, by His causeless mercy, removes the living being’s illusory curtain, and thus he realizes his own self. He then engages himself in the service of the Lord in his eternal constitutional position, becoming liberated from the conditioned life. All this is executed by the Lord either through His external potency or directly by the internal potency.

from Srimad Bhagavatam, amala puranam, Canto 1, Chapter 3 text 33, translation and commentary by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, Institutor of the BBT and Founder of BTG magazine. Published and distributed by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust / krishna.com.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

QUOTE OF THE DAY

 

The leaders of the Sankirtan Movement: Sri Sri Gaura Nitai.

Picture taken at ISKCON Vrndavan, India, Krishna Balaram Mandir.From the Mundaka Upanishad (3.1.3):“One who sees that golden-colored Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Lord, the supreme actor, who is the source of the Supreme Brahman, is liberated.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY

from Sri Caitanya Caritamrita

“The Absolute Truth is Sri Krishna, and loving devotion to Sri Krishna exhibited in pure love is achieved through congregational chanting of the holy name, which is the essence of all bliss.” CC Adi 1.96

” …these two brothers [Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda] dissipate the darkness of the inner core of the heart, and thus They help one meet the two kinds of bhagavatas [persons or things in relationship with the Personality of Godhead].”  Adi 1.98

“One of the bhagavatas is the great scripture Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the other is the pure devotee absorbed in the mellows of loving devotion.” Adi 1.99

“Through the actions of these two bhagavatas the Lord instills the mellows of transcendental loving service into the heart of a living being, and thus the Lord, in the heart of His devotee, comes under the control of the devotee’s love.” Adi 1 .100

“The first wonder is that both brothers appear simultaneously, and the other is that They illuminate the innermost depths of the heart.” Adi 1.101

“These two, the sun and moon, are very kind to the people of the world. Thus for the good fortune of all, They have appeared on the horizon of Bengal.” Adi 1.102

“Let us therefore worship the holy feet of these two Lords. Thus one can be rid of all difficulties on the path of self-realization. Adi 1.103

“Essential truth spoken concisely is true eloquence.” Adi 1.106

“Simply hearing submissively will free one’s heart from all the faults of ignorance, and thus one will achieve deep love for Krishna. This is the path of peace.” Adi 1.107

“If one patiently hears about the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Advaita Prabhu—and Their devotees, devotional activities, names and fame, along with the mellows of Their transcendental loving exchanges—one will learn the essence of the Absolute Truth. Therefore I have described these [in the Caitanya-Caritamrita] with logic and discrimination.” Adi 1.108-109

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MY GERMAN NEIGHBOR IN FRANCE ACCEPTS A COPY OF SRI ISOPANISHAD IN GERMAN LANGUAGE.

 

 

On the first day of my arrival in France, I went on an evening walk. Throughout the afternoon, I noticed that some of the neighbor’s vehicle’s doors had been left open for an unusually long time, as if somebody had forgotten to complete a single transaction. This family is originally from Germany and they had bought the house across the road as the original owners and village residents had died. When I started my walk the car was still open. When I returned the car was still open and now that the night had fallen I could notice that the inside lights were alight as well. Naturally I decided to take action and knocked on their door to inform them. It was then confirmed that yes, they had in fact forgotten to finish attending properly to their vehicle.

 

Two days later the lady neighbor, Helga, knocked on our door and delivered a jar of honey as an acknowledgement for my own gesture of care. I had in the mean time examined my stock of books and found that I had a good stock of German language books. I must have brought these books in the late seventies or early eighties, when I was depending on ISKCON Schloss Rettershof, Frankfurt, Germany. My sister had conserved them very nicely. They are all in brand new condition. Besides Sri Isopanishad, there are some copies of Easy Journey to other Planets, the wonderful Nectar of Instruction and especially Bhagavad Gita As It Is hard and softbound. There is also a single copy of Christ, Krishto, Krishna, which I shall definitely keep for my own library. This book relates a series of conversation by Srila Prabhupada, especially the conversation with the Benedictine monk, Father Emmanuel Jungclaussen of the Niederalteich Benedictine monastery, Germany, on the etymology of the word “Christ”. Therein Father Emmanuel states that the word “Christ” comes from the Greek word “Christos”. Srila Prabhupada, always in a superior position of knowledge as the Jagat Guru, in turn completes the loop and adds that the Greek word Christos simply represents the Greek version of the Sanskrit word “Krishna”. This important information established a most vital link between Hare Krishna and 2000 years old Christianity and could be vastly elaborated on!

 

So this lady was happy to accept a copy of Sri Isopanishad, a Hare Krishna classic. When I asked her, she also mentioned that she had heard about the Bhagavad Gita. It was Saturday April 8 2017 and she mentioned that in the afternoon she was going to sing in the choir of a well-attended regional church. Special attention and appreciation should be given here to the time span of Krishna’s plans in the matter of book distribution. This copy of Sri Isopanishad had been lying dormant for forty years and I am confident it was especially meant for these German neighbors. Also as per BGAII 15.15, V2:” I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.” Lord Krishna had controlled from the heart and blocked some family member’s remembrance to properly attend to the vehicle so that I could start the chain of events that would results in their receiving a copy of Sri Isopanishad. We further note that Sri Krishna has got all necessary and mystic means to carry out His infallible plans, more than any pasandi could even suspect. “Wonderful Krishna!!!” (Title of Krishna book, chapter 26.) I am a mere instrument. As Lord Krishna says to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra BGAII 11.33, V2: ”………..nimitta-mätraà bhava savya-säcin”. The complete verse translates as: ”Therefore get up. Prepare to fight and win glory. Conquer your enemies and enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement, and you, O Savyasäcé, can be but an instrument in the fight.” Let us hope this seed Sri Isopanishad will bear many further fruits. To be continued …..

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

KRISHNA’S SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT.

Standing in the Bakery of the Krishna Balaram Mandir, Vrndavan UP India, and leaning on the bench against the white wall, I was savoring my evening hot milk. Since a day or two I had suddenly and inexplicably caught a cold, with a slight fever, sore throat and runny nostrils. In a different situation, my God-Brother Prasanatma Prabhu, later on offered the explanation that it was the change of season and the coming of summer that caused such discomfort. At the temple Bakery, the milk program starts at 7.30 PM only and I did have a first cup of milk outside about an hour earlier for ten rupees extra. The temple gives the better deal at rupees 20.00.

 

Especially in light of the many warnings given by Srila Pabhupada that too much milk will cause disorder, I was hesitating and thinking: “Shall I have a third cup of milk, that would be a bit much, would it not be?” Here is one of the warnings: “So if you take too much milk then there is possibility of dysentery, disorder of the bowel.” 690109BG.LA. The hot milk running down one’s throat represents in fact quite a sanitary feeling and I hoped to counteract the disease by drinking this as-hot-as-possible milk and let it act. Then Krishna decided to answer my question directly. He is actually Hrishikesa, the controller of all and everyone’s senses. He sent one Russian bhakta from Moscow to the bakery and without further preamble this young, tall and lean devotee, clean shaven and dressed in white dhoti and kurta, offered me a drink. He offered a choice of Fanta and Coca Cola, or something of that nature. The drinks were respectively orange and black in any case. I declined politely and explained that I could not mix these drinks with milk. These types of synthetic beverages are in fact strictly banned from my diet anyway. We don’t trust these artificial mixtures. So he immediately fetched me my third glass of milk. I accepted immediately of course and thanked him very much, as I saw it as Krishna direct answer to my question. No need to mention that I did not suffer from any stomach disorder as a result of accepting a third glass of milk but my cold disappeared as if by magic when I arrived in France.

I had briefly interacted with this devotee previously. We could not speak though, as he did not speak English and I do not speak Russian either. This is another instance that the relevant message can be gotten across and business transacted without speaking a common language. Srila Prabhupada gives the example of the burning house. When the house is burning the inhabitants can be saved without speaking their language. They can be saved “somehow or other”.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

BAD START TO ATTENDING THE GREATER NOIDA RATHA YATRA FESTIVAL, NEAR NEW DEHLI, UP, INDIA.

2

The impressive life size parampara display at ISKCON Krishna Balaram Mandir, Vrndavan, Prabhupada Samadhi structure, right side, first floor.

April 2nd, 2017, Vrndavan, UP India.

The idea was to assemble and ride at 6 AM in front of Citrakuth Mandir and the gigantic statues of Sri Hanuman and Lord Ganesh for departure to Greater Noida Ratha Yatra, near New Delhi, by bus. Citrakuth Mandir is situated just a few steps up from the ISKCON Krishna Balaram Mandir towards Dehli on the Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg. Two buses were planned to take all the devotees to the Greater Noida Ratha Yatra Festival, which in fact only started sometimes in the afternoon. But the early start was to give the devotees an opportunity to attend HH Lokanath Swami’s Srimad-Bhagavatam class at 8.30 AM on site. These are the impressions that were conveyed and I was resigned to these facts. I was in fact quite happy and enlivened to meet HH Lokanath Maharaja again, as we had been little close in the seventies. The previous day, April 1st, I had asked the devotee manager what we would do with all the extra time on our hands. Among others answers he said: ”You can sleep, if u like”. I did not like that answer at all. It sounded more like a cheap bribe to me. Sleep means ignorance. We should not overindulge in sleep.

When I arrived at the meeting point sometimes between 5.30 and 5.40 AM, the devotee manager forbid us to board any bus at all, because he still wasn’t “sure whether a second bus would be required”, as some devotees sometimes book but don’t follow up. When I asked for a sitting place, he got us to sit on a dusty and dirty brick wall and wait. Huddled together, the illustrious and sometimes cheeky monkeys of Vrndavan cooly spend their nights on these types of walls. He could have easily allowed us to sit more comfortably in one of the buses, irrespective of the fact whether the second bus was needed or not and with no loss to him whatsoever. That was managerial mistake number one.

 

Then he revealed that he had in fact segregated the devotees into Indians and non-Indians or westerners. Bus number one for Indians was progressively filling up in the meantime. After some minutes he allowed us “westerners” to board bus number two for non-Indians. It must have been around 5.45 AM. It would appear there is a major problem with this segregation consciousness. There is at least one Prabhupada letter where He clearly expresses that some Indians are very expert in “skin disease.” This incident may be a manifestation of it.

“We must avoid the risk of a separatist movement, unity is our purpose; just like in London where the Indians are starting their own Hindu Radha-Krsna Temple. We want to avoid skin disease and the Indian people are like the tannery expert. Such a cobbler is expert at skin disease. They will see our Sankirtana Party and think it is a white dance.” 730305let.HariprasadaBadruka

At about 6 AM or a few minutes later, bus number one for Indians started for the desired destination.

Shortly after 6.30 AM bus number two for westerners still hadn’t moved. I had lodged only one brief protest:” Why we are not going? Let us go!” and got the repugnant answer: “Yes we are going”, which in practical terms means nothing at all. As my excellent dentist Dr. Anuraga Kashyapa informed me, in India this is called IST or Indian Stretchable Time. But Srila Prabhupada does not accept IST in deity worship for example. He demands strict punctuality. Why should we act differently in ordinary life? Neither is the time of death stretchable. Nor do airlines work on stretchable times schedules. After sitting not less than 45 minutes in the bus, I decided to move instead and returned to Krishna Balaram Mandir. The whole episode gave me a strong headache, due to shackled mental energy by the relevant authority in charge of this particular Krishna conscious venture. After all we are supposed to be surrendered to the authority in charge. Without acceptance of and surrender to authority no organisation, be it a spiritual or material body, can function effectively. Best example is an army. I tolerated my headache until after prasadam, which is at 9 AM and throughout Srimad Bhagavatam class given by HG Akrura Prabhu, Temple president at ISKCON Vancouver, Canada.

I then successfully slept it off. But this is not the kind of experience I came to seek in Vrndavan, Lord Krishna headquarters, and I shall not participate in any further guided tours during the rest of my stay. I am sorry to have to say this.

Later on during the day, I really felt I had made the right decision and that Krishna had protected me, as the temperature climbed above 40 degrees Celcius. After all Lord Jagannath, the Lord of the universe, along with His brother Lord Balaram stand splendidly on the middle temple altar at the ISKCON Krishna Balaram Temple and I did not miss anything. Perhaps I missed out on the darshan of Lady Subhadra. I am confident there will be another opportunity to catch up with my Godbrother HH Lokanath Swami.

Special note for HG Pancagauda Prabhu, Temple President ISKCON Vrndavan: Prabhu, as you asked me about kitchari, I carefully accepted kitchari on April 2nd morning breakfast and I am glad to report that it really was very excellent. :):):)

I cannot help but mention here that IMHO His Grace Pancagauda Prabhu is perhaps the most “front line” temple president I have ever met, a welcome and fresh change from my previous home temple! Hare Krishna.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CHANDIGARH AND PATIALA RATHA YATRA 2017, A GREAT SUCCESS!

First glimpse of ISKCON Chandigarh upon arrival.

Sunrise 28 March 2017, 6.32 AM, from the flat rooftop of ISKCON Chandigarh Temple building.

 

Their Lordship Si Sri Radha Madhava, presiding deities at ISKCON Chandigarh, India.

 

Lord Jaganath, Lord Balaram and Lady Subhadra of ISKCON Sri Rangam.

Promoting the event.                                       View from departing cart at 2 pm

CHANDIGARH AND PATIALA RATHA YATRA 2017, A GREAT SUCCESS!

Organized by the kind, genuine and expert devotees of ISKCON Chandigarh and Patiala, Patiala Ratha Yatra was help on March 25th 2017 and was indeed a resounding success, with local dignitaries attending the parade. Thousands and thousands of people participated. Throwing whole flowers and petals from balconies, washing the feet of the Holy Name, chanting and dancing in ecstasy, the whole town in fact participated. Humble apologies to my readers, as I did not take pictures of the cart itself. I was too busy dancing on the sound of the melodious Hare Krishna Mantra melodies.

As per ISKCON tradition and Vaishnava school recommendation, succulent prasadam was distributed free of charge to one and all at the end of the parade which lasted not less than six or seven hours. It may have lasted eight hours. (An after event check confirmed that the parade in fact lasted seven and a half hours from 2 PM to 9.30 PM. That is perhaps the longest ISKCON Ratha Yatra parade on record.) As Srila Prabhupada says in 760924SB.Vrn: “So at least we Indians, we are trained up like that. Not only trained up, we are born devotees. Anyone who has taken birth in India, that is special facility. In their previous birth, they had performed many austerities, much austerities. Even the demigods, they desire also to take birth in India to get this opportunity. So India… Don’t think… India means this planet, Bhäratavarsha.”

We would say they (the Indians) have an unfair advantage over those born elsewhere!!! (smile) Only a very few, rare individuals, under the influence of modernism, were annoyed by the parade and road obstruction created thereby. Riding their motorbikes, they disrespectfully tried to push through the parade anyway. Fortunately the police stopped them.

Last year ISKCON Chandigarh organized not less than seven Ratha Yatras of the same style and size in the adjoining districts. For example ISKCON Chandigarh organized a similar Ratha Yatra at Shimla, a town that had originally been created mostly for the comfort of the British occupiers. Some of the other towns blessed by ISKCON-Chandigarh-organized Ratha Yatra are Khanna, Mandi Govindgarh, Panchkula and of course Chandigarh itself.

The temple complex itself is an area of about 3 acres in sector 36 B of the town of Chandigarh, which features many parks, where people go about their morning routine such as jogging, walking or yoga. There is a park next to the temple that extends over three blocks.

Therein I have seen people chanting the pranava Omkara, which is not different from Krishna. “Pranava sarva vedesu”, “I am … the syllable om in the Vedic mantras” BGAII 7.8. But many people already chant in fact the Hare Krishna Mantra. For those who don’t, it often takes only minimum prodding to get them to join the chanting. The French architect Le Corbusier designed Chandigarh.

According to His Grace Akruranandan Prabhu, temple vice-president and my local reference and director, all temple complex improvements have been erected or at least were caused to be erected by the devotees themselves. It functions very efficiently under the expert guidance of His Grace Nanda Maharaja Prabhu, a householder, as his name will not indicate. In ISKCON, generally when we hear “Maharaja”, we think renounced order of life. But if we take the meaning of “Maharaja” as leader, president or saintly king, then “Maharaja” is totally appropriate indeed. HG Nanda Maharaja Prabhu is a disciple of His Holiness Gopal Krishna Maharaja, a long time initiating guru and GBC in ISKCON.

There are at least 20 Brahmacaris based at ISKCON Chandigarh.

The temple room itself measures an impressive 96 feet times 72 feet. (one foot equals 0.3048 m), with 7 columns on each side supporting a two storey high roof. There are two extra columns across in the back of the temple room. Deity area and inside back alley are additional length. There is a large reception area before entering the temple room itself. Marble tiles 60 cm X 30 cm are intertwined around one a central 30 cm X 30 cm tile, as if representing the whorl of a lotus flower. This design is repeated over and over again. All around the temple room there is a border with the very same design but the size of the tiles is halved.

We feel the devotees of Chandigarh have very much imbibed Lord Caitanya’s mood of Sankirtan and are dedicated preachers. As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu says in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 7.128:

” yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krishna’-upadesha

ämära äjnäya guru hanä tära’ ei desha

TRANSLATION

“Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krishna as they are given in the Bhagavad-Gitä and Srimad-Bhägavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.”

I beg to thank very much the devotees of ISKCON Chandigarh for their kind hospitality and personal care, as well as for their wonderful and enriching association. Jai Srila Prabhupada!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment