This is the town where some years ago, fate cruelly took many international backpackers, as they were burnt to death in a hostel fire. Imagine being young and happy, coming to the lucky country, Australia, on the holiday of your life time and then meeting death in a silly hostel fire. Actually it was not a silly fire. It was a criminal fire. Of all forms of dying, burning to death must be one of the most painful and terrorising forms of dying there can be. “At the 2011 census, Childers had a population of 1,410.”
Shastra, Sanskrit name for Scripture, clearly warns in Srimad Bhägavatam (10.14.58):
samäshritä ye pada-pallava-plavam
mahat-padam punya-yasho muräreh
bhavämbudhir vatsa-padam param padam
padam padam yad vipadäm na teshäm
“For one who has accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Murari, the enemy of the Mura demon, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s hoof-print. Their goal is param padam, Vaikuntha, the place where there are no material miseries, not the place where there is danger in every step.”
Coming back from shop to shop Sankirtan, I was approaching my own Sankirtan van, when I noticed a nice, new, immaculately white, four wheels drive, that had just parked next to my van. A lady was leaving the four-wheel drive on my right between the two vehicles. I approached her quickly, made my presentation and she asked her husband, who so far had remain hidden to my view by the four-wheel drive. “ Do you have some money, dear?” The gentleman unhesitatingly put his right hand in his pocket and produced a handful of golden change, which he gave me just as unhesitatingly. “Thank you very much, Sir” was my response and I offered a copy of The Science of Self-Realization by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in return, which he accepted. The gentleman was friendly, smiling and effulgent. I thought: this is successful gentleman. He may be the successful owner of some big car dealership in close by Bundaberg or something like that. Then I noticed that he was wearing a badge. I approached to read the badge, which to my surprise read “Mayor so and so…” At that point I realised that I had just given unknowingly some of Lord Caitanya’s mercy to Lord Majoress and Lord Mayor of Childers. Ladies first, as in the Hare Krishna mantra! The word “Hare” is in its vocative case. Nominative case is “Hara”. It represents feminine energy in all cases- no pun intended. We don’t say “Krishna Hare” or “Rama Hare”. We say “Hare Krishna” and “Hare Rama”. We shook hands twice and exchanged some civilities. What a pleasant experience!
Please note as well the time of the day. It is 4.50 PM. That does not mean that in ten minutes the working day of the Sankirtan person ends. It means that in ten minutes most shops close their doors and all these shops will be out reach for 16 hours only, until the next day at 9 AM. But at 5 PM, the working day of the Sankirtan person is far from over. After a quick meal of prasadam, he / she may still have to drive several hundred kilometres to the next town. He / she may still distribute books at gas stations, restaurants, special events etc etc … For protection reasons, Srila Prabhupada did not like us to distribute books in night clubs and the like, Srimatee Maya devi dasi being especially virulent in such places. Besides that some of us may have been avid customers of such maya-places before joining the Krishna consciousness movement. I personally was not! Therefore the chance of a relapse while visiting these places for the purpose of book distribution is heightened. The working day of the Sankirtan person generally ends at 10, 10.30 PM for resting / rejuvenation time until 4 AM, which is meditation time.
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA
KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA
RAMA RAMA HARE HARE
Param Vijayate Sri Krishna Caitanya Sankirtanam!
It should be noted that Srila Prabhupada had a very good opinion of Australia and Australians. In 741008SB.May, He indirectly qualifies Australians, especially the priestly class as “sober”. “Therefore the movement, Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, is very, very important and essential. Those who are sober, they are understanding it. Just like in Australia, the priestly class, they understood that this movement is trying to people to see towards God, back to Godhead. You have advanced in civilization by so-called material advancement, scientific…, but what you have done? You have created simply chaos.”
and further into the lecture Srila Prabhupada additionally compliments:
“Just like in Australia when I spoke, there was no misunderstanding. There was agreement by the priests and myself. There was complete agreement. [aside:] You were with me? Or… No. You were not. They, after hearing my lecture for one hour, they agreed and clapped for ten minutes. So there cannot be any misun… Those who are actually… They questioned, “What is your opinion of Lord Jesus Christ?” and I said, “He preached God consciousness. He’s our guru. Anyone who preaches the message of God, he is guru.” So they very much appreciated, and actually it is so. Vaiṣṇava who is preaching, it may be in a different way, according to time and place and the party—they have to change something, deśa-kāla-pātra—but we have to see the essence.”
In Krishna consciousness, there is almost no greater compliment than to qualify someone as “sober”. It is another word for “wise”. “Dhira” is the Sanskrit word for “sober” as in Bhagavad-Gita As It Is 2.13:
“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.”
In my humble opinion, the constant and powerful presence of the sun makes Australia the lucky country. The light of the sun- and of the moon for that matter- are both Krishna, as He confirms in Bhagavad-Gita As It Is 7.8:
or the complete verse in English language
“O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.”
And Srila Prabhupada gives the following more intricate and wonderful explanation in the glorious Srimad Bhagavatam 4.24.36, purport:
“Hrishikeshendriyätmane. The mind is the director of the senses, and Lord Aniruddha is the director of the mind. In order to execute devotional service, one has to fix his mind on the lotus feet of Krishna; therefore Lord Shiva prays to the controller of the mind, Lord Aniruddha, to be pleased to help him engage his mind on the lotus feet of the Lord. It is stated in Bhagavad-gitä (9.34): man-manä bhava mad-bhakto mad-yäji mäm namaskuru. The mind has to be engaged in meditation on the lotus feet of the Lord in order to execute devotional service. It is also stated in Bhagavad-gitä (15.15), mattah smritir jnänam apohanam ca: from the Lord come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. Thus if Lord Aniruddha is pleased, He can help the mind engage in the service of the Lord. It is also indicated in this verse that Lord Aniruddha is the sun-god by virtue of His expansions. Since the predominating deity of the sun is an expansion of Lord Aniruddha, Lord Shiva also prays to the sun-god in this verse.
Lord Krishna, by His quadruple expansion (Väsudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha), is the Lord of psychic action—namely thinking, feeling, willing and acting. Lord Shiva prays to Lord Aniruddha as the sun-god, who is the controlling deity of the external material elements which constitute the construction of the material body. According to Shrila Vishvanätha Cakravarti Thäkura, the word paramahamsa is also another name for the sun-god. The sun-god is addressed herein as nibhritätmane, which indicates that he always maintains the various planets by manipulating the rainfall. The sun-god evaporates water from the seas and oceans and then forms the water into clouds and distributes it over land. When there is sufficient rainfall grains are produced, and these grains maintain living entities in each and every planet. The sun-god is also addressed herein as pürna, or complete, because the rays emanating from the sun have no end. For millions and millions of years since the creation of this universe, the sun-god has been supplying heat and light without diminution. The word paramahamsa is applied to persons who are completely cleansed. When there is sufficient sunshine, the mind remains clear and transparent—in other words, the sun-god helps the mind of the living entity to become situated on the platform of paramahamsa. Thus Lord Shiva prays to Aniruddha to be kind upon him so that his mind will always be in the perfect state of cleanliness and will be engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. Just as fire sterilizes all unclean things, the sun-god also keeps everything sterilized, especially dirty things within the mind, thus enabling one to attain elevation to the platform of spiritual understanding.”
Srila Prabhupada also predicts a tremendous success for the Sankirtan Movement in Australia as follows. Currently we are not anywhere close to Srila Prabhupada’s expectations:
31 December, 1975
My Dear Madhudvisa Maharaja,
Please accept my blessings. Thank you for your nice invitation card. Thousands of Caitanya Mahaprabhu temples may be established all over Australia so that I may receive one invitation card at least every month. Physical health does not allow me to move very much, but my mind is absorbed in thinking of you with blessings of Krishna.
I hope this letter finds you well.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Against all odds, Srila Prabhupada always displays a most positive view of the entire planet earth. Let us imbibe His ever positive world-view and attitude!
He is the greatest unacknowledged well-wisher and benefactor of humanity at large. Unacknowledged for the time being anyway.That fact may change in the future.
Jaya om vishnu päda paramahamsa parivräjakäcärya ashtottara-shata shri-shrimad His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedänta Swami Prabhupäda ki jaya
All glories to the wandering mendicant and topmost swanlike devotee, the great preceptor His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda, who has taken shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu!