Radhanath Swami Srila Prabhupada’s 100th anniversary
Pleasured to welcome all of you this evening to one of the most auspicious occasion of the centennial year of the appearance of our beloved spiritual master His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In the western world, there is a conception of real spiritual morality as talked in the Vedas. Meat eating, illicit sex, intoxication and gambling is the basic lifestyle of 100% of the population. Great Mahatmas, their hearts burnt with pain to see the suffering of others. Srila Prabhupada did not go to the west upon an invitation of wealthy people to give some lectures. Srila Prabhupada lived amongst the most desperate, helpless and simple people in the world. His Spiritual Master, Bhakti Siddhant Saraswati Thakur, requested him to take the message of Lord Krishna and spread throughout the world. Srila Prabhupada was living in Vrindavan, that Holy Place where Lord Krishna performed his leela and in the Holy Temple of Radha Damodar, he was very peaceful amongst all the great Vaishnavas. But he was thinking that while the world was suffering from forgetfulness of the real goal of life, how he could simply be happy living in Vrindavan.
durlabha manava janma labhiya samsare
This Human life is very precious and rare. It is meant exclusively for one purpose and that is self-realisation. The greatest tragedy in all the creation is of Human Being, to live through his/her life and die without having a goal, pure un-alloyed devotion to Sri Krishna. The root cause of all problems in the world is the forgetfulness of the lord. Starvation, Poverty, Natural Disasters, War, Violence, all of these are just products/symptoms of our disease of forgetfulness of God-consciousness. When we realise we are part and parcel of Krishna, every action we perform will be based on love and devotion. But when we forget our original entity,
mamaiväàço jéva-loke jéva-bhütaù sanätanaù
manaù-ñañöhänéndriyäëi prakåti-sthäni karñati
When we act in the misconception that I am this body, the activities are based on Greed and exploitation. It is that Greed, pride, envy, lust, anger and illusion that are born of ignorance of the real self that is the root cause of all the problems within this world. Bhagavad Gita, Krishna teaches us how to overcome this illusion and enter into our original natural state of Krishna consciousness. With three modes of Material Nature, Satvaguna, rajoguna and tamoguna are constantly keeping us entangled in the repetition of Birth and death.
daivi hy esa guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te
Krishna says that this material nature is very difficult to overcome but one who surrenders to me can easily overcome that.
Radhanath Swami explains How to surrender to Krishna?
janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so ‘rjuna
Krishna says in Gita that one who understands the transcendental nature of my appearance and activities never has to take birth in the material suffering again.
Radhanath Swami describes the Life of Srila Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada at the age of 70 years old left Vrindavan with no money and took a cargo ship to bring this message of Bhagavad Gita to America. On that boat, he survived two heart attacks. He wrote a beautiful poem that “these people; they are so much addicted to simple activities how they will ever understand the pure message of Bhakti. Krishna you are the greatest. You can do anything. If you make my words understandable to them, and cause them to penetrate their hearts, they will feel ecstatic bliss of your devotion.” He prayed that “I am helpless, but before you I am your puppet, now dear Krishna, Make you puppet dance as you want me to dance.” Srila Prabhupada began his mission living in the ghettos of the city. Living amongst alcoholics, druggists and prostitutes. One famous Yogi who came from India told him that if you want to preach in the west Swamiji, then you should wear western clothes, you should eat with fork and spoon, you should adopt all the western ways of civilisation, then people will accept you. Srila Prabhupada replied, “I’ve not come to America to become an American. I’ll not compromise. I’ve come to America to give them the Absolute truth of Krishna bhakti.” He sat under a tree on the grass with the little drum that someone gave him and he would chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. And gradually people gathered around him to see what this Indian Holy Man was doing. And he would induce them to raise their arms, and dance and loudly cry out the Holy names of Krishna. And then he would speak the teachings of Bhagavad Gita, “You are not this body, you are the eternal soul. The soul’s real happiness is in loving God and serving God. No amount of Material prosperity can bring happiness to the soul. If you take fish out of water, and place him on land, no matter what you give him he’ll never find pleasure. You can give him beautiful beautiful female fish to enjoy and wonderful family of children fish. You can give him a beautiful palace and wonderful diamonds and rubies to wear. Even if the whole world would be chanting his glories, the fish will be miserable because it is unnatural for him to be out of the water. It is the nature of the soul, spiritual, and we are seeking eternal bliss in the realisation of the Supreme Lord. As long as we are forgetful of our true nature, no matter what arrangements we make in this world, we’ll always be frustrated and miserable. For short amount of time, there can be a relief from that misery which is called Happiness but it does not give any satisfaction to the soul.”
Radhanath Swami extolls the Glories of his Spiritual Master
After speaking from Gita, Srila Prabhupada would have another Kirtan. He had no money, some people would donate him some apples. Sometime he would have just one apple and he would offer that apple to Krishna and he would make it into Prasad, and how so many people were there, 50 or 60 , he would cut that apple into that many pieces and give everyone Krishna’s Prasad. When winter came, it was very cold. He sent letters to many religious people in India saying, “Please Help. Let us establish a temple here.” But every single one of them replied the same, “Swamiji, It is impossible to establish Sanatana Dharma in that place, Come back to India.” But his heart was weeping to see the illusion and ignorance of these fallen souls and he was willing to die for them. His compassion was so great that it melted the heart of even the wicked. And thousands began to surrender their lives for this mission. He told them” If you want to join this mission, you have to follow the 4 regulative principles; No Illicit sex, No intoxication, No Gambling, No Meat eating. ”
During the British rule in India, one Maraky of Jetland, who was very favourable to Vedic culture, He asked a Sadhu” Can you make me a Brahman? ” Sadhu told him that you must first quit illicit sex, gambling, intoxication and meat eating. His reply was, “Impossible!! What will I do? Without these things, I’ll die.” So how is it that Srila Prabhupada transformed thousands and thousands of people of all ages in America, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, Russia to follow these principles and constantly chant the Holy Names of Krishna. And he wrote over 80 books of translations of the original Vedic scriptures. And he had his disciples not only very seriously studying them, but distributing them to the World. The Bhakti Vedanta book Trust has distributed more books on Vedic Literatures, translated in over 70 languages than any author in the entire history of this World. Srila Prabhupada established Gurukuls to train children from young age, how to live perfect lives in God Consciousness. He establishes Farm Communities like New Vrindavan to teach a simple way of living that the Vedas teach, “Simple living, High thinking.” In his life, hundreds and hundreds of temples were established in practically every major city of the world. But yet he never took credit for anything he did. He always remained completely simple and humble. When anyone said nice about him, he only said,” I’ve done nothing. It is all by the mercy of my Guru Maharaja.” He would often give all credit to his disciples and when his disciples would say that “We are only doing because of the power you have given us”, he said, “It is not my power, it is the power of Bhagawan.” He never claimed to be God, He always claimed to be the humble and eternal servant of the servant of the servant of God and he taught us that it is the most perfect state of consciousness. To be surrendered to God for the betterment of Humanity. This worldwide movement, many people wanted to call it “Prabhupada’s mission” but Srila Prabhupada was very strong and said “No”. He said, “This is not my mission. This is Krishna’s mission.” I am only the humble postman delivering his message to the world. And therefore he called his mission, “The Hare Krishna Mission.” Srila Prabhupada came in the disciplic succession.
It is described in Srimad Bhagavatm
tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ
At the beginning of the creation, Lord Narayan spoke transcendental knowledge to Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma spoke that knowledge to Narada, and Narada spoke that to Vedavyas. Krishna explains in Gita,
evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
sa kāleneha mahatā yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa
This knowledge is meant to be received in the chain of disciplic succession.
There are so many people who give so many interpretations of what is truth and what is God but a civilised society who understands the importance of the Vedas should know that we should always receive knowledge through those coming in the disciplic succession. 500 years ago, the Supreme Personality of GodHead Krishna again came, to teach by his own example How to love the teachings of Gita, the Yuga avatar, Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And he accepted the initiation in the sampradaya of Sripada Madhavacharya. And he taught that the essence of all Vedic Truth can be understood and the heart can be cleansed of all unwanted things, simply through the process of chanting the Holy name of the lord.
harer näma harer näma harer nämaiva kevalam
kalau nästy eva nästy eva nästy eva gatir anyathä
In this age of Kali, there is only one way and that is through the chanting of the Holy names of Lord Hari.
kaler doña-nidhe räjann asti hy eko mahän guëaù
kértanäd eva kåñëasya mukta-saìgaù paraà vrajet
This age of Kali is an ocean of unlimited faults, but there is one benediction that simply by chanting the Holy name of Krishna, one can reach the Supreme perfection and liberation.
Krishna is none different than his name. All the power of God is in his name, just as Narsimha dev killed Hiranyakasipu, Ram killed Ravana, Varah dev killed Hiranyaksha, and his name killed all the daemons in our heart and establish pure consciousness and pure love.
Srila Prabhupada was thinking that people of India are so close to Krishna. The highest philosophy and the deepest spiritual science is the very heritage of this great land of Bharat Varsha. But somehow or the other, because Foreign Invaders have exploited the dignity of this great nation, and because so many exploitative speculative so-called Gurus have adulterated the pure system of Krishna Consciousness or Sanatan Dharma, the people of India have lost their own heritage and we go to the Universities and Colleges, we see the Young generation are simply chasing after the materialistic atheist ways of the West. Western Cinema, Western Television, Western Music, Western Dress, Western food and along with it comes other vices of the West, Divorce, Abortion, Drug addiction, alcoholism and disintegration of Family values and great great anxiety. And when we ask the youth of India why are you giving up your spiritual heritage, because this is not scientific, it is simply superstition blind faith? Srila Prabhupada wanted to bring the most intelligent class of the Western World, Americans and Europeans back to India showing that Pure Vaishnava culture is superior to any other society in the World. Srila Prabhupada begged and pleaded to people of India “Revive your spiritual culture and you can save the entire world.” And Srila Prabhupada established wonderful, wonderful centres here in India. All over the world India is seen as nothing but a poor country full of Beggars, Poverty and Disease. But Srila Prabhupada has given practically the whole world an understanding of the Greatness and Glory of the India’s Spiritual Culture and millions of people are coming to India every year by his influence to discover the supreme wealth that India has in its Spiritual Culture. One of the greatest things that we find when we come to India is how most of India has forgotten its culture. Srila Prabhupada has requested us,” Associate with the real devotees of the lord. Read the true commentaries of the literatures and come together to chant the Holy Names of the God.” In fact, it is only through the congregation of the Holy names that the real peace within our hearts and peace within the worlds will dwell. This was the message that Srila Prabhupada lived and dies to give to us. His message was very simple. Chant Hare Krishna and be happy. So on this most auspicious occasion of Srila Prabhupada’s 100th anniversary, his appearance in this World, I plead to all of you, Kindly try to understand what sacrifice has this man done on behalf of your nation and reciprocate with this sacrifice by following the true teachings of the Gita, By living a pure life, by associating with Sadhus, and by coming together in wonderful festivals like tonight to chant the Holy Names of the lord. At this time, we would like to invite everyone to participate in this wonderful process of chanting the Holy names which Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has establish and Prabhupada spread throughout the World. There are many names of God and all of these names are pure spiritual vibrations which can deliver our consciousness. But according to the particular disease, of all the medicines, one particular medicine can effectively cure the disease. Our very respectable speaker explained this evening how according to Kali-Santarana Upanishad, the particular prescribed Mantra which is the medicine for the disease caused by the Kaliyga is the Mahamantra. This Mahamantra can awaken our pure spiritual consciousness, free us from all anxieties and deliver us from the repetition of Birth and death. Lord Chaitanya taught us this wonderful process. As I am chanting, please hold your palms like this. Everyone please. When we do like this, we say Namaskar. It is a sign of Prayerful Welcome. When someone comes to our home, in a prayerful mood we welcome them. The Home of atma is the heart. When the Holy name of Lord is entering our heart, we should welcome it with a prayerful and loving mood. While I chant, attentively hear that sound vibration, and when you respond chanting Lord Chaitanya, taught us that we should raise our arms like this. Everyone please. Like this. Why do we do like this. Because when we are calling out the Holy Names, we want to surrender to the Holy names. We want to cry out the Holy Name in helpless devotion. When Draupadi was being stripped of her saaree, and she was in a helpless state, she raised in arms in surrender, this is the sign of total surrender, and called out the names of Krishna. So on meditation like Draupadi is like reaching out fot the mercy of the holy name and surrendering our lives to Krishna and in order to create wonderful Harmony and beauty for the pleasure of God, we should do kirtans, we move our legs as Shyamananda Prabhu will now demonstrate.