My daughter, Minakshi devi dasi was doing some research at my request for an upcoming discourse and she stumbled upon the following letter from Srila Prabhupada. It is a short letter but anything from Srila Prabhupada is pure nectar and mercy.
It will be added to the "Letters" link on the website shortly. Actually there are a few updates due on the site including "Recent Pictures" link as well as the "Janmastami" link to upload 2011 pictures which was probably the grandest celebration for Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundar in recent memory. There is also more Prabhupada nectar that has been located so please check back in the coming months to see additional content on the website.
In the mean time here is the "forgotten" letter. Srila Prabhupada indeed did visit our home in 1975 and 1976. There was no next visit by Srila Prabhupada but we like to think he stayed with us through his books, vani, memories and instructions.
29 December, 1976
Don Mills, Canada
My dear SubhaVilasa,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated Dec. 9, 1976 and have noted the contents.
Thank you for helping in this way by taking signatures in support of our movement from the Indian people in Toronto. Yes, I will be happy to visit your home again next time I come to Toronto. In the meantime, please give whatever assistance you can to help manage the temple affairs there.
Hoping this will meet you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
The blog schedule has been busy with a lot of posts on festivals, happenings and thoughts....so after a long break here is another favourite personal memory with Srila Prabhupada...
Srila Prabhupada was visiting Detroit, so we took the opportunity to visit the Detroit temple. Due to Srila Prabhupada's health and demanding schedule, Pusta Krishna Prabhu was trying to keep everyone out. I pleaded with him to see Srila Prabhupada but he refused to budge.
So disappointed I was made my exit when I saw a familiar face, Satsvarupa Maharaja who had parked his trailer and stayed with us in Toronto before. I explained my predicament and he assured me that everyone was in the same boat. However he had a brilliant suggestion. Maharaja told me that no one can block Srila Prabhupada's letters and suggested I write a note.
The note effectively said that Ashalata devi dasi and I have come to take darshan of your lotus feet but they won't let me see you...
So I quickly scribbled a note to Srila Prabhupada and marched back to Pusta Krishna Prabhu and asked him to give the note to Srila Prabhupada. Satsvarupa Maharaja told me to come and wait in his trailer.
in a few minutes we all heard Pusta Krishna das yelling "Subhavilasa, Subhavilasa das, has anyone seen Subhavilasa?". Satsvarupa Maharaja gave me a big smile and I grabbed Ashalata and rushed to see Srila Prabhupada.
We went upstairs and took Srila Prabhupada's darshan. As usual Srila Prabhupada was magnanimous and after some nectarean conversation and patient guidance, Ashalata devi dasi requests Srila Prabhupada to 'please always keep us in your lotus feet...'
Srila Prabhupada turns to her and says, "you already are"...
Jaya Gurudeva!Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for accepting worthless servants like us at your lotus feet.
Every so often we get an email full of nectar from Mitra Prabhu at Prabhupada Village. The latest email had some wonderful memories from Shyamasundara Prabhu, a pioneer within ISKCON who rendered so much service to Srila Prabhupada.
It is one thing to have heard pieces of these stories and another thing to hear it straight from Prabhu's mouth.
Mita Prabhu graciously provided an audio recording of the lecture which is full of this nectar. So we asked Mitra Prabhu to share this nectar with all of you so as many devotees as possible can relish these early pastimes with Srila Prabhupada!
(The audio recording is below the brief write up).
Also, given Prabhu's name it is very nice to have Shyamasundara Prabhu's recollections on www.RadhaShyamasundar.com :-)
All glories to Srila Prabhupada and his devotees.
Shyamasundar Prabhu with Shivananda Prabhu and his wife Madan Mohan Mahini Mataji in Prabhupada Village
Mr. Adventure !
Our little village was visited by a devotee named Shyamasundar two weeks ago.
He was instrumental in pioneering the Hare Krishna movement in San Francisco 1967, Europe 1969, India and Africa. He traveled extensively with Srila Prabhupada to many other countries.
Fortunately, we were able to record his captivating presentation.
A link is provided below.
Here are a few highlights from his talk;
-The “Mantra Rock Dance” in San Francisco 1967. “We didn’t think it would be possible to get all these top name groups to perform as a charity for the Radha Krishna Temple. It was worth a try.” Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Moby Grape all played for the minimum wage of $250 per band. As Srila Prabhupad led the crowd in a kirtan of Hare Krishna Mantra the groups tastefully joined in with their instruments.
-When we met Srila Prabhupada, we thought, 'Here is Mr. Adventure!". Shyamasundar felt that anything he would attempt to do for Prabhupad would be successful. There were no limits.
-“After the Mantra Rock adventure, we were looking for something even more far out. We considered going to England to meet the Beatles. “ Shyamasundar with his wife Malati and two other couples soon left for England after training under Srila Prabhupada.
Within a few months they had become friends with George Harrison and made a recording of the Hare Krishna Chant on the Beatles record label.
When Prabhupada came to England he given a VIP reception at the airport, then chauffeured in John Lennon’s Rolls Royce to John's estate in the country. Their fast selling record had been released only a couple weeks before . They were treated as celebrities on par with the Beatles after enduring months of hardship and poverty.
-A year later, Prabhupada was discussing his itinerary,”Shyamasundar, we have invitations to NY, LA, England and Nairobi, what is your opinion?”
“Well SP, you haven’t been to Africa yet…”
“I was thinking the same thing”, and off they went, to initiate the first public kirtan in Nairobi.
-In 1971 an interview with a Russian Professor was arranged. Somehow Shyamasundar was able to accompany Prabhupada across the ‘Iron Curtain” into Russia.
This was practically impossible for a US citizen at that time. He smuggled a tape recorder under his dhoti to capture the interview.
While wandering the streets of Moscow, searching for food to bring back to the hotel room, (the shelves of stores were mostly empty, even in June, the growing season), he was approached by some Russian youth, “Do you have Beatles Music or blue jeans?”
These “illegal” items were highly sought after in Russia.
“No, I dress like this “, pointing to his dhoti. “But I am friends with George Harrison, and his guru is here in Moscow. Would you like to meet him?”
For the 2 remaining days of their stay, Prabhupada taught Anatoli as much as he could absorb. Shayamasundar gave him his personal copy of BG.
Anatoli made several thousand copies of that book, giving them to friends, launching an underground revolution in his country.
Attached is a photo of Shyamasundar with our local hero, Shivananda. At age 19, Shivananda singlehandedly started a temple in Germany one year before Shyamasundar's team arrived in London.
This was their first time meeting face to face, 42 years later. (Photo-left to right- Shyamasundar, Shivananda and his wife Madan Mohan Mohini)
There are still many more adventures to be had in this world. The key is to find 'Mr. (or Mrs.) Adventure' and assist them in any way possible. By this service, you will be inspired to create your own adventure in a quest to improve the world situation.
Thanks for sharing the nectar. A face to the name. Mitra Prabhu. Obviously on the left :-)
A catchy headline so you can catch some extra Prabhupada nectar :-)
It was summer time when Srila Prabhupada visited our home in Toronto. Srila Prabhupada was accompanied by several devotees including sanyasis and GBC. The room was warm and we had a square green table fan running on the side of Srila Prabhupada near the sofa where Srila Prabhupada was sitting.
The fan was running but Srila Prabhupada was not getting any air. One devotee after another tried to fix it including a GBC or two. However the situation remained the same, Srila Prabhupada was not getting any air. Thus the humurous title "Even the GBC could not figure this one out". Of course Srila Prabhupada was observing all of the activity and after a while Srila Prabhupada commented "ulta he", meaning it is backwards! No one except Srila Prabhupada realized that the fan was backwards and the air was not coming to Srila Prabhupada but rather was going towards everyone trying to fix the fan.
When Srila Prabhupada said "ulta he", laughter broke out and the mistake was quickly corrected and Srila Prabhupada started getting air from the fan.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada's observation!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada's humour!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada's laughter!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada's mercy!
This is the fan! I am leaning on it while my kids, Indresh & Minakshi are talking to Srila Prabhupada.
The fan can be seen in the background here. We still have the fan!
In the 70's there was a highly visible sankirtan force in America called the Radha Damodara Sankirtan Party. Buses full of devotess, primarily bramacaris would criss cross regions to mercifully distribute the transcedental literature given to us by Srila Prabhupada to take us back home, back to Krishna. So many young men sacrificed their time and energy in this great service to Srila Prabhupada and to Their Lorsdhips Srimati Radharani and Sri Krishna and they certainly reaped huge karmic benefits.
Radha Damodara Sankirtan buses 1975 at North Western University Chicago with Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada's sons including Visnujana Swami, Tamal Krishna Goswami, Tripurari Swami, Vaisesika Prabhu, Brahmananda Prabhu, Satsvarup Goswami and so many other exalted devotees.
In 1975 Srila Prabhupada was in Chicago at the same time as the Radha Damodara Sankirtan buses. It was a glorious time with their Guru Srila Prabhupada and it was decided to take a group picture. So all the devotees gathered at North Western University and the buses were strategically parked at the NWU parking lot for a stunning picture. I had the great fortune to accompany Srila Prabhupada and after a short drive we went for a morning walk which would end at NWU. I was visiting from Toronto and did not have my devotional attire on.
When we got to the parking lot I stood in the distance and well away from the photo shoot because I was not part of the sankirtan team and I was not wearing devotional clothes. Once again in a demonstration of how personable and so very merciful Srila Prabhupada is, he waved me over. I saw Srila Prabhupada waving but did not immediately react or realize he was calling me to come over. A minute later a devotee came running to me saying that Srila Prabhupada wanted me and to stand in the photo. So hesitantly I stood in the picture, trying to hide myself and my pants behind other dedicated devotees in dhotis.
And thus it was Srila Prabhupada's direct mercy that I was in the famous Radha Damodar Sankirtan Party picture. Thank you Srila Prabhupada for showing so much mercy to this useless servant!
Subhavilasa in shirt and pants and might be only servant of Indian origin in picture.
Now it has crossed my mind a few times that it would be wonderful to have a Radha Damodara Sankirtan Party spreading Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabu's message through Srila Prabhupada's books. Wouldn't it be absolutely wonderful to see a group of devotees travelling by bus and doing sankirtan?
Well...maybe that can happen...
Well...maybe that is happening...
Well...maybe that is the perfect segway to tomorrow's post!
A week ago today a few young devotees from our community dropped by to take darshan of Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundar. A couple of them were brother and sister Munish and Neha who are from the Bhakri clan, a Punjabi family that renders much service to the community via cooking delicious prasadam. Munish and some young devotees are also arranging the 24 hour kirtan that is coming up in just over 2 weeks from now.
Munish was curious about Srila Prabhupada's Punjabi conection. "Was Prabhupada ever in Punjab?" Thus this post with nectar from one of a few recorded conversations with Srila Prabhupada in Chandigarh.
Our families share Punjabi origin so the development of Krishna Consciousness and ISKCON in that region has always been more than a passing curiosity. As some of you many know Punjab was one of the last frontiers in India to develop ISKCON centres and penetration within the state's interior. This is somewhat due to rampant demigod worship in the region alongside heavy consumption of intoxicants.
The temple in Chandigarh (the official capital of Punjab) has been there for some time and more recently ISKCON has now penetrated the interior regions of Punjab including Ludhiana where fortunately Kishori (Subhavilasa's daughter-in-law) got her first exposure to ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada's books.
Below is a lecture which Srila Prabhupada delivered in October 1976 at the Rotary Club in Chandigarh. Srila Prabhupada never compromised, so in this demigod worship laden region, Srila Prabhupada is hammering again and again that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
All Glories to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada!
Prabhupāda: Ladies and Gentlemen, the President, I am very much thankful to you that you are eager to hear about what Kṛṣṇa wants to speak.
Kṛṣṇa is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All ācāryas--Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇu, Nimbārka, and latest, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and before that, other ācāryas like Vyāsadeva, Nārada, Asita, Devala, and before that, the original ācārya, Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva—everyone accepted Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We are searching after whether there is God or there is no God. If there is God, what is the nature? What is the form? Whether He is person or imperson? There are so many questions. And to solve all these questions, the God Himself descends and speaks about Himself, and that speaking is this Bhagavad-gītā. God is speaking about Himself personally, personally present. So you can know Him, you can see Him, what He is, what is His function. Just to mitigate all our doubts, God is present here. And Kṛṣṇa says in the beginning of the Seventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā how you can understand God without any doubt and in complete. That is spoken by God Himself.
mayy āsakta-manāḥ pārtha yogaṁ yuñjan mad-āśrayaḥ asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu [Bg. 7.1]
“My dear Pārtha, Arjuna, in order to know Me, God, asaṁśayam, without any doubt, and samagram,” means in completeness, “as you can know Me, I am personally speaking to you.” That means if you want to know God, you can know Him when He explains Himself. Otherwise, you cannot speculate. God is unlimited, and your speculative power is limited. So you cannot understand God without the mercy of God. That is the verdict of the Vedic literature. It is very easy to understand. Suppose here is a big man, rich man, learned man. You want to know about him. So you cannot understand him by speculation: “He may be of this standard. He may be like this. He may have so much money.” You suggest; another friend suggests. In this way the study of that particular man is not complete. But if the same person kindly speaks and explains about himself that “Sir, I am like this.” (aside:) Water. “My position is like this. I have got so much bank balance,” that is the way. This is the way of understanding. It is called descending process. And there is another process, which is called ascending process. In Sanskrit it is called āroha-panthā, avaroha-panthā. Āroha-panthā… You want to go, to know about the sun planet or any other. Just like they are trying. They are trying to go there, Mars planet, Moon planet, by rising on the sky by their aeroplanes, sputniks. But they have not been able to understand what is the position of these planets. This is called āroha-panthā. But if somebody comes from the planet and explains everything, then you know it very easily. Similarly, God has come to explain Himself. You’ll find in the Bhagavad-gītā.
This Bhagavad-gītā is recorded in the greater Indian history, Mahābhārata. Mahābhārata means greater India or greater Bhārata. Greater Bhārata means the whole planet was formerly Bhāratavarṣa. Now it is cut into pieces. Recently we have got experience that Pakistan was also India. Now it is cut out. Similarly, this Bhārata… Bhārata means… Bhāratavarṣa means the sapta-samudra, sapta-dvīpa. This sapta-dvīpa still accepted—the North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Australia. In this way there are sapta-dvīpa, islands. So that is Bhārata. Now it is cut off under different circumstances. And the capital was this New Delhi or Hastināpura, and the kings, emperors, were the Pāṇḍavas family. So this is the history of greater India. That is called Mahābhārata. So Mahābhārata… In the Mahābhārata this Bhagavad-gītā is set up, and the writer of Mahābhārata is Vyāsadeva himself, and therefore the recorder of the speech, what Kṛṣṇa said in the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, is also Vyāsadeva. So Vyāsadeva, you’ll find in the Bhagavad-gītā, he says everywhere, bhagavān uvāca. He never says that “I am writing.” He says, bhagavān uvāca. That you’ll mark, those who have read Bhagavad-gītā. [break] …tac chṛṇu. Then you’ll understand Bhagavān without any doubt and in completeness. Asaṁśayam samagraṁ māṁ yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu [Bg. 7.1] It is very easy. If you simply concentrate your mind on Kṛṣṇa, sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ, as Mahārāja Ambarīṣa did, and many other great personalities did it… Arjuna did. Now we are concerned with Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is speaking, and Arjuna is hearing. So what is the situation? The situation is that the Kurus and the Pāṇḍavas assembled together on the great battlefield. It is not battlefield, Kurukṣetra; it is dharmakṣetra.
dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva kim akurvata sañjaya [Bg. 1.1]
This is the question by Dhṛtarāṣṭra. Dhṛtarāṣṭra was the father of the Kurus, and the Pāṇḍavas were the five brothers, the sons of the younger brother of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Mahārāja Pāṇḍu. So Dhṛtarāṣṭra was blind, born blind. Actually he was to inherit—the eldest son of the family. But on account of his blindness the throne was given to his younger brother, Pāṇḍu. So the sons of Pāṇḍu is known as Pāṇḍavas, and the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra are known as Kurus or Dhṛtarāṣṭra. So after all, politics, it is always very intriguing in all times. So Dhṛtarāṣṭra was very sorry that he could not become the emperor. At least his son should be. Because he was blind, that’s all, but his sons were not blind. So naturally father wants… So this is the whole history of Mahābhārata, intriguing, politics, and ultimately there was fight between the two parties, Kurus and the Pāṇḍavas, to decide. By logic, by morality and other things, everything failed. Then there was declaration of war. The Bhagavad-gītā is spoken in that warfield.
Kṛṣṇa was engaged as the chariot driver of the chariot of Arjuna. And while the chariot was brought in the battlefield between the two groups of soldiers… Senayor ubhayor madhye rathaṁ sthāpaya me ’cyuta. Arjuna requested, “My dear Kṛṣṇa…” Kṛṣṇa was his friend and Kṛṣṇa was familywise related both with the Kurus and Pāṇḍavas. Kṛṣṇa’s father and the Pāṇḍavas’ mother, they were real brother and sister. In this way there were family relationship, and Kṛṣṇa therefore denied to take part in the actual fighting. The whole world was divided. Some of them joined this party; some of them joined that party. Just like it actually happens when there is big war. Even nowadays, all the nations, they make a group. Some of them forming were forming one group; another some of them, they formed another group. Exactly the same thing was done. Now Kṛṣṇa was the charioteer, but when the chariot was brought in front of the two soldiers’ party, Arjuna became little bit disturbed that “I have to fight. On the other side they are my brothers, they are my nephews, they are my gurus, Dronācārya, and they are my grandfather, Bhīṣmadeva. So what kind of fight this is that I have to fight with my friends and relatives and family members?” So he hesitated, that “Kṛṣṇa, what kind of fight this is? They are not my enemies; they are all family members. So I am not interested in this fight.” So he practically decided not to fight. And Kṛṣṇa said that “What is this nonsense? You are a military man, and you have come to fight here, and you are My friend and My relative also, and if you decide not to fight, what people will say?” This is the beginning. Then, after some arguments, Arjuna thought it wise that “Actually, I am a military man and I have come to fight a decision that we shall fight. Now what I am trying to do, to avoid this fighting? Actually it is not my business. I am deviating from my duty.” Therefore… (aside:) Find out this, kārpaṇya-doṣa. Find out.
Pradyumna: kārpaṇya-doṣopahata-svabhāvaḥ pṛcchāmi tvāṁ dharma-sammūḍha-cetāḥ yac chreyaḥ syān niścitaṁ brūhi tan me śiṣyas te ’haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam
Pradyumna: “Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.”
Prabhupāda: Yes. So Arjuna understood his weakness, his weak point. Therefore he said to Kṛṣṇa that kārpaṇya-doṣopahata-svabhāvaḥ. Kārpaṇya, this word, comes from kṛpaṇa. Kṛpaṇa… Kṛpaṇa, this word, is known practically everyone. Kṛpaṇata means miserly. A person who has got enough resources but if he does not use it properly, it is called, he is called a kṛpaṇa, miser. And the opposite word of kṛpaṇa is udhara, or liberal. So there are two words, kṛpaṇa. So Arjuna said, kārpaṇya-doṣa: “I know I can fight. I am quite competent military person, but I am not using my resources; therefore it is kārpaṇya-doṣopahata-svabhāvaḥ.” Svabhāvaḥ means naturally a military man, a kṣatriya, is very bold enough to fight. That is one of the qualification of a military man. Yuddhe cāpalāyanam. The śaurya, vīrya, tejaḥ, yuddhe cāpalāyanam, these are the symptoms of kṣatriya. He would never go away from fighting. When there is challenge, fighting, a kṣatriya will never deny. Yuddhe cāpalāyanam. So when kṣatriya, is especially a kṣatriya like Arjuna… He is the best military man of that age, and he was denying to fight. So he could understand his weakness. He said, kārpaṇya-doṣopahata-svabhāvaḥ: “Naturally I should fight, but on account of my crippled decision or miserly decision, I am perplexed.” So Kṛṣṇa… He knew Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. “Therefore I am surrendering unto You.” What is that? Two, last lines?
Pradyumna: Śiṣyas te ’haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam.
Prabhupāda: Śiṣyas te ’ham. Ahaṁ te śiṣya: “I just become Your disciple, and You just educate me. Please enlighten me.” This is the position. Before that, Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, they were talking like friends. Friends means argument. We can go on arguing for days together, but there is no decision. That is friendly talk. But when there is talk between a master and disciple, there is no question of arguing. The disciple has to accept what is ordered by the master.
So Kṛṣṇa is accepted guru or the spiritual master, and Arjuna says, śiṣyas te ’haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam. Prapannam means that “I am surrendered to You. I don’t think myself on the equal level with You.” The spiritual master and the disciple, they cannot be on the equal level. Therefore a spiritual master is called guru. Guru means heavy. Just like in the scale we put something this side, something that side. The thing which is weighty, that goes down. Similarly, guru is supposed to be weighty than the śiṣya. So Kṛṣṇa begins to speak when He is accepted as guru; otherwise He does not speak. Now, our subject matter is “Let Kṛṣṇa speak for Himself.” So we have to accept Kṛṣṇa as the supreme authority. Then His speaking will be useful for us. Otherwise, if we think that Kṛṣṇa is on the equal level—“He is also a historical personality and His education and my education equal and so on, so on”—so long we think like that, then we cannot hear or understand Kṛṣṇa. But if we take the position of Arjuna--śiṣyas te ’haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam--then Kṛṣṇa will speak to the disciple like Arjuna, and everything will be clear.
So the point is Bhagavad-gītā is well known all over the world. Not now… Because we are preaching Bhagavad-gītā through this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and millions of people are interested… We have got so many books, and the calculation is already submitted. They are accepting this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement through literature, and big, big scholars, professors, librarian, they are purchasing our books very nicely. The total collection daily is five to six lakhs of rupees. So now this Kṛṣṇa movement is being appreciated all over the world. Unfortunately, although Bhagavad-gītā is spoken in this land of Bhāratavarṣa, Chandigarh, the Kurukṣetra, we do not allow Kṛṣṇa to speak. This is our misfortune. Kṛṣṇa spoke these words of Bhagavad-gītā. Many scholars, many so-called saintly persons, they have misinterpreted the words of Bhagavad-gītā. They did not allow to speak Kṛṣṇa. They wanted to speak on behalf of Kṛṣṇa… Not on behalf of Kṛṣṇa. I am sorry. They wanted to speak about themself. If one speaks on behalf of Kṛṣṇa, he is guru. But if one manufactures some idea from the words of Kṛṣṇa by misinterpretation and does not allow Kṛṣṇa to speak, it is a great dangerous position. That has become actually the fact in India. Otherwise such a big culture, complete culture… From the Bhagavad-gītā, any question you can raise, the answer is there. Political, social, religious, philosophical, cultural—any way you study Bhagavad-gītā, the complete answer is there.
Therefore our request is that let Kṛṣṇa speak for Himself. Don’t try to misinterpret the words of Kṛṣṇa or the words in the Bhagavad-gītā. That will spoil it. Just like in the beginning it is said,
dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva kim akurvata sañjaya [Bg. 1.1]
Now this Kurukṣetra… Everyone knows there is a place Kurukṣetra. From time immemorial in the Vedic literature it is mentioned about Kurukṣetra. Kurukṣetre dharmam ācaret: “Go to Kurukṣetra and perform ritualistic ceremonies there.” So it is dharmakṣetra. So how you can interpret Kurukṣetra as the body? Where is that dictionary, and where is the necessity of interpreting like that? There is no necessity. Interpretation is required when the meaning is not clear. But if the meaning is clear, why should you interpret it unnecessarily? That is malinterpretation, and that is going on. Kṛṣṇa is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but somebody says, “He is fictitious. There was no fight like Kurukṣetra. There was no such person as Kṛṣṇa,” and “Kṛṣṇa is a person from the black aborigines,” so on, so on, so many interpretation. What is the benefit? The benefit is that we have lost our Vedic culture. This is the benefit.
Therefore our request is… This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is specially meant for this purpose, that do not try to be overlord of Kṛṣṇa. Don’t speak anything manufactured by you on the plea of Kṛṣṇa speaking. If you want to speak something, good or nonsense, you can speak. Everyone has got the freedom to speak about his philosophy, about his thesis. But why through Kṛṣṇa? Why through Bhagavad-gītā? This is our protest. Let Kṛṣṇa speak Himself as He is and as He wants. Why should you speak by malinterpretation? That is the practice now, that everyone can interpret Bhagavad-gītā as he likes. Then where is the authority of Bhagavad-gītā? Can you interpret the law given by the government in your own way? That is not possible. Similarly, if Kṛṣṇa is accepted, He’s accepted actually. (aside:) Find out this verse, paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān [Bg. 10.12] Tenth Chapter.
paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān puruṣaṁ śāśvataṁ divyam ādi-devam ajaṁ vibhum [Bg. 10.12]
āhus tvām ṛṣayaḥ sarve devarṣir nāradas tathā asito devalo vyāsaḥ svayaṁ caiva bravīṣi me
Prabhupāda: So… Yes. Read it.
Pradyumna: “Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal divine person. You are the primal God, transcendental and original, and You are the unborn and all-pervading beauty. All the great sages such as Nārada, Asita, Devala, and Vyāsa proclaim this of You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me.”
Prabhupāda: So the student of Bhagavad-gītā, as Arjuna says, śiṣyas te ’haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam. After hearing Bhagavad-gītā in detail, he accepted Kṛṣṇa as paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān puruṣaṁ śāśvatam ādyam [Bg. 10.12] So one may say that “This is a friendly talk. So Arjuna accepted Kṛṣṇa as it is described in the Bhagavad-gītā, that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So as a friend he accepted.” Because Kṛṣṇa says, aham ādir hi devānām.
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate iti matvā bhajante māṁ budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ [Bg. 10.8]
So Arjuna accepted Him, “Yes, you are paraṁ brahma.” Brahman and Parabrahman. We, all living entities, we are also Brahman, but we are not Parabrahman. Parabrahman is Kṛṣṇa.
īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam [Bs. 5.1]
Ete cāṁśa kala-puṁsāṁ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam. These are the verdict of the Vedic literature. Here it is also repeated by Arjuna, that “Not that after hearing You I accept You as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Parambrahman, but formerly Asita, Nārada, Vyāsa, they also accepted it.” The next verse?
sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye yan māṁ vadasi keśava na hi te bhagavān vyaktiṁ vidur devā na dānavāḥ [Bg. 10.14]
Prabhupāda: So “I accept all Your instruction.” What is again? Read it.
Pradyumna: Sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye [Bg. 10.14]
Prabhupāda: Sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye. This is actually student of Bhagavad-gītā, not that “The portion which I like, I accept, and the portion I do not like, I reject.” This is nonsense. If you want to become the student of Bhagavad-gītā, if you want to derive some benefit out of it, then you should be like Arjuna, like this. He said, sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye: [Bg. 10.14] “Whatever You say, I accept it.” Ṛtam means truth. “Not that I am accepting, but previous to me…” What is the next line?
Pradyumna: Yan māṁ vadasi keśava.
Pradyumna: Na hi te bhagavan vyaktiṁ vidur devā na dānavāḥ.
Prabhupāda: “Because Your personality cannot be understood even by the demigods, what to speak of ordinary human being.” And Kṛṣṇa has said that avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritāḥ paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto [Bg. 9.11]. The mūḍha, those who deride at Kṛṣṇa, that “He’s an ordinary human being,” such person is condemned herewith as mūḍha. Mūḍha means ass. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritāḥ [Bg. 9.11]. Because he does not know paraṁ bhāvam, what is the background of Kṛṣṇa. So similarly, there are many passages. Anyone who does not understand Kṛṣṇa and at the same time he declares himself as the student of Bhagavad-gītā, as a scholar of Bhagavad-gītā, he is misleading himself and misleading his followers. That is the verdict of Bhagavad-gītā and everyone. Bhagavad-gītā has to be understood. In the Fourth Chapter you find out that,
imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam vivasvān manave prāhur manur ikṣvākave ’bravīt [Bg. 4.1]
evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ [Bg. 4.2]
This is paramparā. The truth of Bhagavad-gītā was first spoken to the sun-god, and he spoke to his son, to Manu, Vaivasvata Manu. And Vaivasvata Manu spoke to his son, Ikṣvāku. And Kṛṣṇa said, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ [Bg. 4.2]. Rājarṣaya. This philosophy of Bhagavad-gītā, it is meant for the rājarṣi, not for the loafer class. Rājarṣi: king, at the same time, saintly person. Imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ. Kṛṣṇa does not say that ordinary scholar or so-called philosopher can understand. Only the rājarṣayo viduḥ. So Arjuna is one of the rājarṣis. So he understood Kṛṣṇa. He says, paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma [Bg. 10.12] So we have to accept this paramparā system. If we take Bhagavad-gītā seriously then we should follow the footprints of Arjuna as he understood. He accepted Kṛṣṇa as the Paraṁbrahman. So what is spoken by Paraṁbrahman, the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Person, how we can interpret His words and squeeze out some meaning and mislead myself and mislead others? This is not good.
So our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to rectify this mistake. Bhagavad-gītā is the most authorized scripture in the Vedic literature. Vedic literature means it is not spoken by any ordinary human being. Apaureṣaya means this literature, Vedic literature, is spoken directly by the Supreme Person or Lord. So it was instructed through Brahmā, Lord Brahmā. Tene brahma hṛda ādi-kavaye. Janmādy asya yataḥ [Bhāg. 1.1.1]. Oṁ namo bhāgavate vāsudevāya. These are the Vedānta philosophy’s beginning. The Vedānta philosophy begins with the word athāto brahma jijñāsā. This human form of life is meant for inquiring about Brahman. The human life is not meant for any other purpose. That is the distinction between a dog’s life and a human being’s life. A dog cannot inquire about Brahman. That is not possible. But a human being can inquire about Brahman. Therefore this life is meant for brahma-jijñāsā about Brahman. So if we accept these aphorisms of the Vedānta-sūtra… Vedānta-sūtra is supposed to be the most authorized summary, cream of all the Vedas. So Kṛṣṇa has said in the Bhagavad-gītā, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaṁ vedānta-vid vedānta-kṛd ca aham [Bg. 15.15]. So if we accept these words of Kṛṣṇa, then we become actually Vedānti. Without understanding these things as spoken in the… Bhagavad-gītā is the summarized Vedānta or Vedic philosophy. Because in this age, Kali-yuga, we are not very advanced. About us, it is described in the śāstra, mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā upadrutāḥ, prāyeṇālpayuṣaḥ kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ [SB 1.1.10]. In this age, Kali-yuga, we are living not very long time. In Kali-yuga, the duration of life will be reduced so much, gradually, that if a person lives for twenty to thirty years, he’ll be considered a grand old man. That day is coming. Now we have got practical experience. Our grandfather or father lived for so many years, but we are not living for so many years. Our sons will not live so many years. In this way the duration of life, the memory, the mercifulness, the bodily strength—everything will be reduced. This is already foretold in the śāstras. So therefore in this age we are all short-living, mandāḥ, very slow or bad, and sumanda-matayo. Everyone has got a obnoxious opinion about philosophy, about the goal of life. Mandāḥ sumanda-matayo, and manda-bhāgyā, unfortunate also. The description, if we try to describe, it will take long time. The short-cut description is there: mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ. At the same time, disturbed always. This material world means always disturbed condition, but in this age, Kali-yuga, the disturbance is more and more.
So under the circumstances, it is out of Kṛṣṇa’s kindness that making Arjuna as a target of His instruction, Bhagavad-gītā, He has given us this valuable instruction. We should accept it as it is. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, without any malinterpretation. Take Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. You’ll be benefited. And so far as brahma-jijñāsā, the Kṛṣṇa begins with this aphorism of brahma-jijñāsā. When Arjuna submitted to Kṛṣṇa that “I am Your now disciple. There is no need of friendly talks. You can give me instruction seriously because I am surrendered to You, and You give me the real instruction,” so the first instruction was, as soon as Arjuna submitted… Because unless you submit, it is useless to talk because you’ll not hear. Therefore to accept an authority is submission. First thing is, tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā [Bg. 4.34]. Unless you submit, if you think yourself that you are a very big scholar, very learned scholar and very good philosopher—you don’t require any instruction from guru—then there is no possibility. The first thing is Kṛṣṇa instructs in the Bhagavad-gītā, tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā. If you want to know the substance, then the first thing is that you must be submissive, praṇipāta. Prakṛṣṭa-rūpeṇa nipāta. You fall down. Therefore the system is: the disciple falls flat before the spiritual master. That is the etiquette, praṇipātena. And if you think that you know better than Kṛṣṇa or Kṛṣṇa’s representative, the guru, there is no necessity of accepting guru. Do not keep a guru as a pet dog. No. You must be submissive. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā [Bg. 4.34]. This is wanted. That Kṛṣṇa… That is the example given by Arjuna. Śiṣyas te ’haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam. This prapannam is required.
So when Arjuna submitted, then Kṛṣṇa spoke. The first speaking was that,
aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca nānuśocanti
paṇḍitāḥ [Bg. 2.11]
“Arjuna, you are talking with Me—of course, you are My friend—on equal level. You are talking just like a very learned man.” You have read in the Bhagavad-gītā. He submitted his proposition, that “How can I kill my…, the other side? They are my brothers, and if the brothers are dead, my sister-in-laws will be widow and they will be polluted, and there will be varṇa-saṅkara. And so…” These things are facts, but Kṛṣṇa says that “You are simply taking calculation of the body. Body. You have no spiritual calculation. The life is meant for spiritual understanding, athāto brahma jijñāsā. But you have no such understanding. You have no such knowledge, and still you are speaking.” Aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase: [Bg. 2.11] “You are talking like a very learned man, but My dear friend, you are not learned.” He said in a different way. Agatāsūn. Gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ. “Because this body… You are thinking in terms of bodily relationship, but a paṇḍita, a learned scholar… Actually he is learned scholar when he does not lament for this body, either alive or dead.” This is the first instruction. This body is already dead. It is matter, dead matter. But you should try to understand the living spirit within this body. The next verse He said that,
dehino ’smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati [Bg. 2.13]
This is knowledge, beginning of knowledge. Try to understand about the soul, the part of Parabrahman, the spark of Parabrahman, the spirit soul. That is within this body. So “You are lamenting on this body, but you have no information of the active principle within the body.” So nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ: “So this is not the statement of a paṇḍita.” In other way He… He is friend. Or as śiṣya…, that “This kind of things never happens in the case of a paṇḍita.” That means, “My dear friend, you are apaṇḍita. You are not paṇḍita.” One who does not know about the spirit soul, he is not a paṇḍita. Dhīras tatra na muhyati. This transmigration of the soul… Just like you condole d one Rotarian who has died. But Kṛṣṇa says, dhīras tatra na muhyati. “Yes, he’s not dead. He has transmigrated to another body. He’s not dead.” That is the… Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg. 2.20] This is the instruction of Kṛṣṇa, that “Don’t think that because the body is annihilated, therefore the person is annihilated. No.” Na jāyate na mriyate vā kadācit: “That soul never takes birth, never dies.” Nityaḥ śāśvato ’yam, na hanyate hanyamāne [Bg. 2.20]. This is the first instruction of Bhagavad-gītā. There are so many students of Bhagavad-gītā, but because they are not actually paṇḍita, they do not take account of the simple thing, how the soul transmigrates from one body to another. This is the position. And therefore we should not continue to remain apaṇḍitāḥ, nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ, and lament. So long we are not paṇḍitāḥ, our business is to lament and to hanker. We lament what is lost, and we hanker what is not in our possession. This is material disease. So when we understand that ahaṁ brahmāsmi… That hint is given by Kṛṣṇa, that asmin dehe dehinaḥ: “The proprietor of the body is there, asmin dehe. On account of presence of the proprietor of the body, the body is changing.” Dehino ’smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā [Bg. 2.13]. The kaumāra, the childhood, the boyhood, the youthhood— these changes of body is taking place on account of presence of the dehina. So where is this education all over the world? There is no such education. But there is knowledge. This is Bhagavad-gītā. We don’t take advantage of Bhagavad-gītā; therefore there is no such education, athāto brahma jijñāsā, or to understand Brahman.
So everything is very nicely explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, and you have got a nice club. So I request you to discuss on the Bhagavad-gītā as it is, without any malinterpretation. Then it will be beneficial for your club. Because Cāṇakya Paṇḍita… You have heard the name of Cāṇakya Paṇḍita. In New Delhi there is a Cāṇakya Purī. He was a great politician, very learned scholar, brāhmaṇa and great moralist also. So he has instructed about this Brahman knowledge in various ways. So our point is that we should not spoil this life. We should utilize every moment of our life very properly. This Cāṇakya Pandit I am referring because he has given very good instruction how to utilize our life. He says,
āyuṣaḥ kṣaṇa eko ’pi na labhyaḥ svarṇa-koṭibhiḥ na cen nirarthakaṁ nītiḥ kā ca hānis tato ’dhikā
We are calculating of loss and gain. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita says that “Even one moment of our life, if it is lost, then you cannot get it back even by paying hundreds and thousands of dollars.” One moment of this day, if it is lost, you cannot get it back by paying hundreds and thousands of dollars. So if the moments of your life is spent uselessly, then how much loss you are suffering, you just imagine. Therefore our request is that we have got this valuable life, human form of life, bahu-sambhavānte, after many, many births in the evolutionary process. Now we should try to understand what is Brahman. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. Don’t spoil it otherwise. And that brahma-jijñāsā and answer is there in the Bhagavad-gītā. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54]. Bhagavad-gītā instruction is given just to bring you back to Brahman consciousness or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, not this bodily consciousness. Bodily consciousness is there in the dog and the cat. So that is not very glorification. We should come to the Brahman consciousness, then brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā. Then you’ll be jubilant. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati-samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu [Bg. 18.54]. And when you come to that platform of understanding Brahman, then there is question of sama, samatā. Samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. And on that stage you can attain the parā-bhakti, or devotional life to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
So that is our propaganda, and we are trying to bring people to that stage of parā-bhakti. That parā-bhakti is achievable by the simple method, as Kṛṣṇa said,
mayy āsakta-manāḥ pārtha yogaṁ yuñjan mad-āśrayaḥ asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ yathā… [Bg. 7.1]
Unless you understand Kṛṣṇa, why should you surrender unto Him? Parā-bhakti begins when you surrender. So that takes place [break] …the darkness of bodily conception of life. That is condemned in the Vedic literature. Sa eva go-kharaḥ [SB 10.84.13]
yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijyadhīḥ yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij sa eva go-kharaḥ [SB 10.84.13]
If we keep ourself on the bodily concept of life, and then we are defeated. This is the verdict of the śāstra. Parābhavas tāvad abodha-jāto yāvan na jijñāsata ātma-tattvam. So long you are not inquisitive about your Brahman identification, ahaṁ brahmāsmi, then whatever you are doing, that is defeat. That is not advancement. So with these words I shall request you that in your club you cultivate this knowledge of Bhagavad-gītā and utilize your time fully and just try to make your life successful.
Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
The last 2 pictures (from the newly found envelope containing 7 pictures) are of great significance to me. These 2 pictures are of myself, Subhavilasa das and my wife, Ashalata devi dasi taking initiation. It took us some time to get to this stage, however when we got there we understood this was a lifetime commitment and we were very fortunate to be getting the Shleter of Srila Prabhupada.
We are so blessed to get initiation from the greatest Acharya of modern times, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. We were blessed to take initiation in Srila Prabhupada's beloved New Remuna Dham (ISKCON Toronto) and in front of the ever merciful Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha.We were also blessed by so many Godbrothers and Godsisters who prepared and encouraged us. For the blessings of our Guru, Srila Prabhupada and our Godbrothers and Godsisters, we will be forever grateful. Everyday we continue to beg Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha for Their mercy and shelter.
So without requiring much more explanation, we titled these pictures, "Shelter".
So guru means spiritual master means who can deliver one from this forest fire. Just like when there is forest fire, the animals are very much disturbed, and they die mostly. The snakes, they die immediately. So this forest fire, saṁsāra-dāvānala, is going on perpetually, and the person or the authorized person who can deliver you from this forest fire of material existence, he's called guru, or the spiritual master. Saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam. How he delivers? What is his means? The same example. Where there is fire in the forest, you cannot send fire brigade, or you cannot go there with bucketful of waters to extinguish the fire. That is not possible. Then how it will be extinguished? Fire means it requires water to be extinguished. But where the water is coming from? From your bucket or from your fire brigade? No. It must come from the sky. It must come from the sky. When there will be torrents of rain from the sky, this forest fire, blazing forest fire will be extinguished. So these rains from the sky, it does not depend on your scientific propaganda or manipulation. It depends on the mercy of the Supreme Lord. So the spiritual master is compared with the cloud. Just like from the cloud there is torrents of rain, similarly, a spiritual master is considered just like cloud. Saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka ** . Just like cloud takes the water from the sea-cloud hasn't got its own water; cloud takes water from the sea—similarly, a spiritual master brings mercy from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Just see the comparison. He has no own mercy, but he carries the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the qualification of spiritual master. A spiritual master will never say that "I am God. I can give you mercy." No. That is not spiritual master. That is a bogus, pretender. A spiritual master will say, "I am servant of God. I have brought His mercy. Please take it and be satisfied." This is spiritual master's business. Just like a post peon. A post peon, when he delivers you some large amount of money, it is not his own money. The money is sent by somebody else. But he honestly delivers you: "Sir, here is your money. Take it." So you become very much satisfied with the peon. Although it is not his money, but when, in case of need, you get the money sent by your father or somebody else, brought by the peon, on oh, you get very much satisfaction. Similarly, we are all suffering in this blazing fire of material existence. The spiritual master brings the message from the Supreme Lord and delivers you. And if you kindly accept, then you'll be satisfied. This is the business of the spiritual master. saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka-
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam **
So spiritual master is offered obeisances: "Sir, you have brought the mercy from the Supreme Lord. Therefore we are much obliged to you. To deliver us, you have come. We offer our respectful obeisances." This is the meaning of this verse. Vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam. That means the first qualification of the spiritual master, or guru, is to deliver you some message by which immediately your blazing fire in the heart will be stopped. This is the test. Everyone has blazing fire within the heart. That is the proof of material existence. Nobody is without anxieties. That blazing fire means anxieties, always. Everyone has got anxieties. Even the small bird, he has got anxiety. You give the small bird some grains to eat, he'll eat it. But he's not very peacefully eating. He'll see this way, that way, "If somebody's coming to kill me?" Yes. This is material existence. Everyone... Even President Nixon, he's also full of anxieties, what to speak of others. Even Gandhi, in our country, he was full of anxieties. All politicians, they're full of anxiety; although they hold very exalted post, still the material disease, anxiety, is there. So if you want to be anxiety-less, without any anxiety, then you must take shelter of the guru, or the spiritual master, and the test is that by the instruction of guru, by following the instruction of guru, you will be anxiety-less. This is the test. saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka-
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam **
Don't make a cheap guru or a fashion guru, just like you keep sometimes a dog as a fashion. Similarly, if you want to keep a dog, or if you want to keep a guru as a fashion—"I have got a guru"—that will not help. You must accept a guru who can extinguish the blazing fire of anxiety within your heart. That is the first test of a guru. And the second test is, mahāprabhoḥ kīrtana-nṛtya-gīta-vaditra-mādyan manaso rasena. The guru... Second system, symptom, is that guru is always engaged in chanting Mahāprabhu, glorifying Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. That is his business. Mahāprabhoḥ kīrtana-nṛtya-gīta. He's dancing and chanting in the... By chanting the holy name of the Lord... Because this is the remedy for all calamities within this material world at the present moment. At the present moment, nobody can meditate. The so-called meditation is humbug. It is very difficult to meditate in this disturbing age of Kali. Therefore śāstra says, kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇum SB 12.3.52 . Meditation means dhyāna, dhyāyato. So Kṛte, in the Satya-yuga, when people used to live for 100,000's of years... The Vālmīki Muni, he got perfection by meditation after meditating for sixty thousands of years. So there is no guarantee whether we are going to live for sixty years or sixty hours. So meditation is not possible in this age. That was possible in the Satya-yuga. Then the next path is performing rituals as they are enjoined in the Vedic śāstra. Kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ. Yajato makhaiḥ. Makhaiḥ means performing big, big sacrifices. It requires huge lots of money. They, in this age, people are very poor. They cannot perform. Dvāpare paricaryāyām. And in the Dvāpara-yuga it was possible to worship the Deity in the temple. But nowadays, in this Kali-yuga, that is also very impossible fact. Therefore, the general recommendation is, kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt: "In this age of Kali, simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord, you can get all perfection." All perfection. That is the... Our this movement, Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, is meant for that purpose. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu... The picture is there, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Here, Ṣaḍ-bhūja. So He inaugurated this movement five hundred years ago, chanting. Chanting and dancing. So this is going on for the last five hundred years. In India it is very popular, but in the Western countries, we have just introduced five or six years ago, and people are taking to it, and they are feeling happy. So this is the only process. Therefore, the guru is always engaged in chanting. Mahāprabhoḥ kīrtana-nṛtya-gīta ** , Chanting and dancing. Unless he performs himself, how he can teach his disciple? So first symptom is that he will give you such instruction that immediately you will feel relief from all anxieties. And the second symptom is that he's personally engaged also in chanting and dancing the holy name of the Lord. Mahāprabhoḥ kīrtana-nṛtya-gīta-vaditra-mādyan manaso rasena. And enjoy the transcendental bliss within the mind by chanting and dancing. Unless you become blissful, very happy, you cannot dance. It is not... Artificially, you cannot dance. These dances, they are not artificial. They feel some transcendental bliss; therefore they dance. It is not they are dancing dog. No. They dance from the spiritual platform. Vaditra-mādyan manaso rasena. Romāñca-kampāśru-taraṅga-bhājo. And there are sometimes transformation of the body with spiritual symptoms—sometimes crying, sometimes there is, I mean to..., swelling on the end of the hairs. There are so many symptoms. These are later. These are not to be imitated. But when one is spiritually advanced, these symptoms are visible. This is the second symptom of guru. And the third is: śrī-vigrahārādhana-nitya-nānā-
yuktasya bhaktāṁś ca niyuñjato 'pi
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam **
The spiritual master's duty is to engage the disciples in Deity worship, śrī-vigraha. Śrī-vigraha. In our centers, all centers... We have got about..., more than one hundred centers all over the world. We have got the method of Deity worship. Here we have not yet established, but we worship the picture of Lord Caitanya and guru. But in other centers... In London, we have got two centers, two temples. In America we have got about forty centers. In this way, in each and every center, there is Deity worship. Śrī-vigrahārādhana-nitya-nānā: to worship the Deity, to dress the Deity very nicely; to cleanse the temple very nicely; to offer nice foodstuff to the Deity and accept the remnants of the foodstuff as our eating. In this way, there is method of Deity worship. The Deity worship is done by guru himself, and he engages the disciple also in that business. This is the third symptom. Śrī-vigrahārādhana-nitya-nānā-śṛṅgāra-tan-mandira-mār janādau, yuktasya bhaktāṁś ca niyuñjato 'pi. Not that he is not engaged. He is also engaged. His disciples are engaged. He's always showing, "Do like that. Do like that. Do like that." Or sometimes, if he cannot, the guru shows how to do it. That is the business of guru. Then fourth symptom is: catur-vidha-śrī-bhagavat-prasāda-
kṛtvaiva tṛptiṁ bhajataḥ sadaivavande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam **
The fourth symptom is that a guru, the spiritual master, encourages prasāda distribution, remnants of foodstuff distributed to the public. Ours is not dry philosophy, simply we talk and go home. No. We distribute prasādam, very sumptuous prasādam. In every temple, anyone who comes, we can offer prasādam. In each and every temple, we have got already from fifty to two hundred devotees. And outsiders also, they come and take prasādam. This is an... This introduction is also another symptom of guru, prasāda distribution. Catur-vidha. Not ordinary. Catur-vidha means four kinds of eatables: carvya, cūṣya, lehya, peya. Something is chewed, something is swallowed up, something is licked up. In this way, there are different kinds of palatable dishes. Catur-vidha-śrī... Catur-vidha means four kinds of different types of varieties of prasādam. Catur-vidha-śrī... Śrī-bhagavat-prasādam. Śrī means opulent. If you eat bhagavat-prasādam, then gradually you become spiritualized. It has got the potency. If you eat the prasādam. Therefore it is said that realization of God can be done by the tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau [Brs . 1.2.234] . If you engage your tongue in the service of the Lord, then you realize God realization. So what is that tongue engagement? The tongue engagement is you chant the holy name of the Lord, and you take the prasādam, remnants of foodstuff given to the Lord. Then you become self-realized, God realized. By these two methods. You don't require to be very highly educated philosopher, scientist, and a rich man and..., to realize God. If you sincerely engage your tongue only in the service of the Lord, you realize Him. It is so simple thing. It is not very difficult. Therefore, this prasādam program is there, introduced by the guru, spiritual master. Śrī-vigra... Catur-vidha-śrī-bhagavat-prasāda-svādv-anna-tṛptān hari-bhakta-saṅghān. Hari-bhakta-saṅga means association of the devotees. These things are done... Outside we cannot do it. But if there are some devotees, we can order, "Please do it. Distribute like this. Do like this." Therefore hari-bhakta-saṅghān. Kṛtvaiva tṛptiṁ bhajataḥ sadaiva. And when he's fully satisfied that the prasāda distribution is going on, he's very much pleased and engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord by chanting and dancing. This is the fourth symptom. And fifth symptom is: śrī-rādhikā-mādhavayor apāra-
What is that? Anyway. Vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam. And the spiritual master is always thinking of the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. Śrī-rādhikā-mādhavayor apāra: with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, His consort, and the gopīs. That is always his thinking. Sometimes he's thinking about His pastimes with the cowherds boys. That means that he's engaged always thinking of Kṛṣṇa, engaged in some kind of pastime. Śrī-rādhikā-mādhavayor apāra-mādhurya-līlā-guṇa-rūpa-nāmnām pratikṣaṇa asvādana lolupasya. Pratikṣaṇa, twenty-four hours, he's thinking. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One must be engaged twenty-four hours in thinking of Kṛṣṇa. You have to make your such program. Just like we have, at least, made such program. All these boys and girls, those who are engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, they are engaged twenty-four hours. Not officially, once in a week, they meditate or go to some temple. No. Not like that. Twenty-four hours. Twenty-four hours. They have got engagement twenty-four hours. Ask anyone how they are engaged. You can ask. The next symptom is... What is that? Haṁsadūta: Nikuñja-yūno. Prabhupāda: Nikuñja-yūno rati-keli-siddhyai yā yālibhir yuktir apekṣaṇīyā ** . So the ultimate goal of the spiritual master is that he wants to be transferred to the planet of Kṛṣṇa, where he wants to associate with the gopīs to help them to serve Kṛṣṇa. Some, some of them are, some of the devotees, spiritual master, they are thinking of becoming assistants to the gopīs, some of them are thinking to be assistants to the cowherds boy, some of them are thinking to be assistant to mother Yaśodā or Nanda, and some of them are thinking to the servants of God. Or some of them are thinking how to become a flower, tree, a fruit tree or a calf or a cow in Vṛndāvana. There are five kinds of mellows: śānta, dāsya, sākhya, vātsalya and mādhurya. The... Everything is there spiritual. That I shall describe next. Cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu. So in the spiritual sky, the land is spiritual, the tree is spiritual, the fruit is spiritual, the flower is spiritual, the water is spiritual, the servant is spiritual, the friend is spiritual, the Lord is spiritual and His associates are spiritual. Everything. Therefore oneness, Absolute Truth, everything absolute. Although there are varieties, these varieties, the spiritual varieties, are simply reflection in this material world. Just like there is a tree on the bank of the river. That is reflected in the water. But reflected how? The top has gone down. The topmost thing has gone down. So this material world is the reflection of the spiritual world—but perverted reflection. In the spiritual world, there is love between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is always young. Nava-yauvanaṁ ca [Bs. 5.33] . And Rādhārāṇī is also always young. Pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa. We worship: śrī-rādhikā-mādhavayor apāra ** . Mādhava. Jaya jaya Rādhā-Mādhava. We worship not Kṛṣṇa alone—with His eternal consort, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. So there is eternal love between Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa. Therefore in the Vedānta-sūtra, it is said, janmādy asya yataḥ SB 1.1.1 . This Absolute Truth means wherefrom everything comes, emanates. Just like here we find love between mother and son, love between wife and husband, love between master and servant, love between friends and friends, love between master and the dog or the cat or the cow. Same thing. These are only reflection of the spiritual world. The same thing is there. Kṛṣṇa is also good lover of the animals, calves and cows. As we love here dogs and cats, Kṛṣṇa loves there cows and calves. You have seen the picture of Kṛṣṇa. So the propensity to love even an animal is there. Otherwise how it can be reflected here? This is simply shadow reflection. If, in the reality, there is nothing like that, then how it can be reflected here? So everything is there. Therefore, that mellow, to understand, you have to practice. Here we have got frustration. Here we love. A man loves a woman or woman loves a man. But there is frustration. After some time, they are separated, they divorce, because it is perverted reflection. There is no real love in this material world. It is simply lust. Real love is in the spiritual world between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Real love is between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. Real love, the friendship is there between Kṛṣṇa and His cowherds boys. Real love between animal and man is there. Kṛṣṇa is loving the cows and calves. Real love between trees, flowers, water, simply that is the platform of love. That is spiritual world. Everything love. So we are simply satisfied within this material world by the shadow reflection of such thing, as in the spiritual world. Therefore we have got this opportunity of human life. Let us understand Kṛṣṇa. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Let us understand Kṛṣṇa. And if you simply understand Kṛṣṇa, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ... Tattvataḥ, in truth, not superficially. Learn this science of Kṛṣṇa. Janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya BG 4.9 . This is the instruction: if you simply try to love. The process is that you worship the Deity, you take the prasādam, you chant the holy name, you follow the instruction of the spiritual master. In this way you'll be trained up how to understand Kṛṣṇa, and then you life is successful. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
~ Srila Prabhupada, Lecture on Gurvastakam, Stockholm, 09/09/73
So the next picture in the envelope is set at Srila Prabhupada's dear ISKCON Toronto Temple at 243 Avenue Road. Just see how purity attracts. Srila Prabhupada is surrounded by devotees. His noble sons and daughters ready to serve him and Krishna in any way possible.
This picture is a attractive because of Srila Prabhupada and all the devotees and it is titled "Purity". Purity since our Acharya is Pure and purity since the devotees had pure hearts and desires to serve Krishna's pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada.
We are preaching the same thing -- "Always think of Krsna. Chant Hare Krsna. You remember Krsna always." This is the simplest process. You see all these young boys. They are chanting Hare Krsna. And they are becoming purified from the mode of our life. ~ Srila Prabhupada
Continuing from the envelope of newly found pictures from last weekend...
So the 4th of 7 pictures we found is of Srila Prabhupada leaving our home in 1975.
Gracious is defined as "pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous". Another alternate definition is "merciful or compassionate". Srila Prabhupada was all of these and he was so "COMPASSIONATE" and this is the title of this picture.
Why "compassionate"? In yesterday's picture Srila Prabhupada was holding a glass vase with flowers and now as he is leaving clutching the same vase of glass flowers. In this picture Srila Prabhupada is 78 and he has so many disciples, temples and responabilities and yet he is holding this simple offering in his own hands. What an inconvenience for him to carry a glass vase with water and flowers all the way with him. Just see how merciful and compassionate Srila Prabhupada is.
In this picture His Grace Brahmananda is right behind Srila Prabhupada and he could have handed it to him or another assistant, but the most gracious Guru, Srila Prabhupada takes the simple offering to show compassion to "nincompoops" like us.
kripa-sindhubhya eva ca
vaishnavebhyo namo namah
...... They can fulfill the desires of everyone, just like desire trees, and they are full of compassion for the fallen souls.
So the next picture from this envelope we found is of Srila Prabhupada in our family home in 1975. I titled this as "Spirtual Master" because of how Srila Prabhupada is observing Uttama Sloka Prabhu (former President of ISKCON Toronto).
Really like the famous Srimad Bhagavatam picture on the wall. (Subhavilasa is sitting on the far right and Indresh is the kid next to him). As a note, the chadar Srila Prabhupada sat on as well as the pillow covers, table, lamps, carpet and sofa have all been saved.
Note the vase with flowers Srila Prabhupada is holding in his hands. This flower vase will have relevance on tomorrow's post with the next picture.
I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torch of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him.