Vyas Puja Of Srila Prabhupada
My sincere gratitude to all of you, who have come to dedicate this precious moment of our human life to attend this most important celebration of the vyas puja or the appearance day of Srila A.C.Bhaktivendanta Swami Prabhupada his divine grace. This beautiful facility that we are all getting such great benefit from is one of the countless contributions that our beloved Srila Prabhupada has offered to the world. It is said by lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that to understand the essence of the scriptures is not possible even after many many births of studying them scrutinizingly. The true essence of all religious scriptures can be understood by observing the qualities and hearing from those great souls, who with pure hearts had given theirs lives in the service of God.
Lord Krsna’s descent Into This World:
When Krishna descends to this world he does so simply in the spirit of compassion, far beyond this material existence is the brahama jyoti the spiritual sky of whom the impersonalist calls it brahman, the infinite formless impersonal light, within that spiritual sky which is in actuality the rays of the bodies of the supreme personality of Godhead are many spiritual planets called Vaikuntha. Those places that are very much different from this material existence. Because nothing is being destroyed by the influence of time. Everything and everyone is eternal full of knowledge and full of bliss sacidananda and the top most planet of this spiritual sky is Goloka Vrindavan. Once in a day of brahma lord Sri Krishna descends in to this world in his original personal form.
Yesterday we celebrated that glorious event Janmastami, however Krishna expands himself in various eternal spiritual forms, from time to time as various incarnations to come this world simply to show compassion to those who have forgotten him. Material existence is an existence of forgetfulness.
What is The Real Purpose Of Life:
We have forgotten who we are and what is our real purpose of living? We are not this temporary material body or flickering mind. We are the eternal soul, the life force. The nature of life force is that it is a part of God eternal full of knowledge and full of bliss. To remember our relationship with Krishna is the purpose – of human existence. It is the only platform, where there is real happiness. In forgetfulness of our relationship with Krishna as his loving servants, we are destined by our own activities to accept karmic reactions which we must enjoy and suffer birth after birth after birth after birth. We have rejected the rare jewel of God within us to search for the broken pieces of glass in the form enjoyment of this temporary world.
The Cause Of Suffering, Forgetfulness, Avidya or Ignorance:
It is that forgetfulness that avidya or ignorance which is the cause of all suffering. It is out of compassion that the supreme personality of godhead descends into this word and He spoke Srimad Bhagavad-Gita through His incarnation of VedVayasa. He has given us the Vedic literatures. Those great souls who live with the spirit of the compassion of the lord shining through their hearts. They are the true well wishers and friends of all human society. With this in mind let us briefly because we don’t have sufficient time at all, examine the life of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
The life Of Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada:
Srila Prabhupada, when he was in his early twenties first met his beloved spiritual master Srila BhaktiSiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. At that time he was given instruction that you are an intelligent young man, take this message of lord Chaitanya and spread it throughout the world in the English language. Although Srila Prabhupada was a grihasta with a child, he spent the rest of his life preparing for that mission. When he was sixty nine years old he had just left Vrindavan. When he was in his fifties he retired from all worldly life and made his BASE in Sri Vrindavan dham, the holy land of lord Krishna. The most sacred of all sacred places in all our creation, where there are over five thousand temples of Krishna, where everyone is chanting the names of Krishna day and night. The very place where Krishna is eternally performing His beautiful pastimes in that charming spiritual environment, Srila Prabhupada translated the first canto of Srimad Bhagavatam in the English language with idea that this would facilitate him for fulfilling the mission of his spiritual master. He was living as sannyäsi ,therefore he had no material wealth but he had an unlimited treasure house of love and compassion for Krishna and for every living being. He went to Bombay; in brief he actually had to sit on the steps outside the offices of the Scindia Steamship Company begging for a ticket, on a steam cargo ship to New York City. Not begging for himself, begging for you and me. Begging for all living beings. He did not need anything. He had everything. He was living in Vrindavana in divine consciousness. Who does this today? He is begging ,humbling himself to the most insignificant possession to lead the life, which is full of danger and fear, which is full of torturous conditions. He did that to give the world love of Krishna. He was given his ticket on the Jaladuta.
From Bombay he took a train to Calcutta, just a couple days before the boat was to depart. He went to Mayapur dham and there is the Samadhi Mandira of his guru maharaja Bhaktisiddhant Sarasvati Thakur. He spent the day praying for his blessings. He came back to Calcutta. There were five people they came to be with him to see him off. (Sena Gupta, Bhagavati, Mr. Ali, a employee of Scindia steamship line and his little son Vrindavana). He had forty rupees. Seven dollars and he boarded the boat. While in the Arabian Sea, there were great storms, sea sickness, and several heart attacks.
Prabhupada leaves for New York:
He departed Calcutta on Friday the 13th of August 1965, 38 days later a rigorous life threatening – he finally came to New York City, where he knew no one.
Some higher travelers eight man put him on a bus to bring him Pennsylvania. Unknown place and isolated place. There he lived with some people who had no interested all than his mission. By their force of their father who lived in Mathura, they somehow or other gave him some residence. He left that comfortable home because this was not the place to reach the world and he went to New York City.
Prabhupada’s struggle In New York
For those of you who have read his diary, you can do nothing but fall at his feet with gratitude in your eyes. How he lived. He sometimes lived in the gateway of the Bowery. Where there are drunkards and prostitutes and drug addicts. Sometimes he would find somebody who took a little bit of interest in Krishna and he would stay at their house with them.
Determination Of srila Prabhupa:
He was seventy years old, he wrote to his God brothers; he wrote to some wealthy people in India, he wrote to the politicians, “I want to start the first Radha Krishna temple in America. The people will be receptive help”. But everyone wrote back, Svamiji impossible come home. The only thing he had of any material value, whatsoever was his return ticket on Jaladuta to Bombay. But he would not use it. Even if there was no result. If you read in his diary, he considered everything the property of Krishna. He was a pure devotee; he was accountable to Krishna for everything he said, everything he did. He would note down, every expenditure and everything that came in his income. Fourteen cents for a banana and some potatoes, he spent one day. Thirty cents for bus fare. Twenty three cents for a banana and potato and an apple. He was all wrote down. And sometimes people would buy his books and he would get a little income and he would simply use it for preaching.
In various places he was staying. He was always inviting people, come and come. In his diary it explains, he was inviting the world to come and get the message of Krishna. One night he writes nobody came. So was he depressed?Somehow or other he got the little tape recorder and just did a whole program for the tape recorder. And then people would come. Another day he explains, three ladies and gentle man came. “And I play the tape of my chanting for them. And they like it. Therefore now I can understand that Haridasa Thakur’s prediction that the holy name of Krishna will be spread all over the whole world, will be Krsna conscious it will happen.” Such positive thinking.
He explains living in Bengal and Vrindavana is different, the first day of snow he looked at the window and he thought that the city painted everything white. Because he never saw snow before, it is freezing. He had no proper eating and everyone was saying comeback Jaladuta was waiting for him. But he remained out of compassion. He never gave up hope, he never gave up faith. In 1966 on most blessed of all celebrations Gaura-purnima the tithi of appearance of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Prabhupada writes in his diary that in Vrindavana and in Navadvipa, O’ my God brothers and God sisters they are gathered together to have glorious celebrations, but here I am ten thousand miles from the nearest Vaishnava. I am all alone with nothing. But I am very happy, because this is the message of Krishna. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted His holy name spread throughout the world and I am willing to suffer in hell to perform His will. That is Srila Prabhupada.
That night he had a gaura purnima festival and I think five or seven people came. He made a big feast and he had Kirtan and he had a lecture. But nobody even gave him hardly any donations to survive. Another time for his mission, he had a little typewriter for his writing, a little tape recorder and book bag. Someone broken his room, broke the door down, broke the window and stole all that . He made one young boy who showed some interest. He wanted to give that boy everything. He was cooking for him. I made one boy human, Robert Nelson. He was just a simple person but he took a little interest in Krishna. Srila Prabhupada would see the spark of any sincerity in a person’s heart and dismiss all of his other bad qualities and just try to fan and kindle that spark into becoming the fire of love for God. He would go out and shop and cook wonderful Prasad to give to this boy.
He told me once a story that Svamiji and he went into a grocery store. He had a little money, he gave it to Svamiji to buy something. So that Srila Prabhupada could cook for him. He was about 20 years old and Srila Prabhupada was 71 years old. They went to the store Srila Prabhupada brought some vegetables and some rice. The cashier with her machine, something like 30 dollars. She said sir that will be 30 dollars. Srila Prabhupada never shopped in America so much. He was used to India. He said ‘‘I’ll give you 10 dollars.’” She said, “sir we do not do things like that.” He said” no no, I know what this is worth is not 30 dollars.” She said” price is exact. If you do not like, you can go somewhere else. “He said” no no, I know what is, you are a good person, I want to buy it here. I’ll give you ten dollars.” She said,”’ we cannot do that. So she opened her purse and took twenty dollars and paid the excess that he would not pay. He charmed their hearts. Such a simple life. He would cook and talk about Krishna.
Prabhupada’s Compassion For A crazy Boy:
One time he was living with the boy and the boy was actually a kind of crazy boy. Srila Prabhupada just wanted to give him everything. He was willing to send him to India to have him trained up in Vrindavana and Navadvipa. Hari bol.
I have to stop very soon. So I’ll continue for few minutes with your permission. But in doing so I am a naughty boy according to this.
This boy was causing so many problems. One time he was typing some manuscripts of Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. The boy said,” stop that typing, it’s bothering me, such a person.”” One time he invited a few people to the house and they would have kirtan. He said” stop this kirtan and I do not want to hear it.”
Another time the boy threatened to kill Srila Prabhupada saying that he could not find his soap. So Srila Prabhupada was on the street.
Prabhupada always positive:
In his diary there is an incredible passage, where Srila Prabhupada explains today the biggest crowed has ever come to hear my message, today fourteen guests have arrived. Hari bol. He is Jagad Guru. Acarya descended from the spiritual world, fourteen guests. But he was seeing things in such a positive and hopeful way. Because he was seeing Krishna. He was seeing every obstacle that came before him as an opportunity to show his love for Krishna and his compassion for all suffering souls. He had to leave that house and he was homeless.So some people that he happened, to be meeting arranged for him a small forefront on 26 second Avenue, on the lower east side of New York. They would able to help with the down payment for one month but after that they could not help him. He writes in his dairy, “we will leave it to Krishna”. And he began having Bhagavad-Gita’s classes. Soon some interested people started coming. Then he started to going to park, sitting under an elm tree in Pumpkin Square and playing bamboo drum that somebody gave him. He had no Mridanga, he had no Vedic instruments. And playing that little bamboo drum, he would chant Hare Krishna and crowds and people would come around and singing and dance with him. He would explain the message of Bhagavad-Gita.
Soon very sincere searchers for the truth were coming to him. People who are born in great wealth and affluence, who have the world at their feet materially. But they have the wisdom to understand that there is no fulfillment, there is no meaning in those things alone. There must be something higher. There must be something deeper. There must be a spiritual substance to life. They were disoriented by their churches on their – hypocrisy and messages that without satisfactory philosophy. When they heard Srila Prabhupada’s message. When they met with Srila Prabhupada’s heart, they felt here is the man that loves me. Here is a man that loves God. Here is a man who will sacrifice his life for the welfare of everyone and anyone. And they gave their lives to assisting him. Soon Srila Prabhupada’s little storefront became overflowing with sincere souls. Then he went to Sanfrancisco, then to Montreal. What amusing thing about Srila Prabhupada. “those who are actually grateful for what he gave them, they were empowered and inspired with the same type of fearless compassion in him.
There are three household couples, who had just been devotees for not even one year. Srila Prabhupada sent them to come to London to establish Krishna Consciousness here. They had no money, they did not know a single person. But they had one thing, they saw what Prabhupada did for them. And the magic of that mercy inspired them to do the same for others.
Those six people, Gurudas and Yamuna, Mukunda Maharaja and Janaki, Samsundara Prabhu and Malati. They did not have enough money to get in the country. Srila Prabhupada had to send them a cheque money order. One couple at a time come in and showed that this is how much money I have. So they would get through, they went from the hall and over the English channel. And they mailed that cheque to the next couple, and mailed it to the next, after they were all, they mail that cheque back to Srila Prabhupada. Malati had a little baby child that Srila Prabhupada named Sarasvati. The first child born in the Hare Krishna Movement. In history of this world. She was sometimes living in the basement of warehouse, in a brown cardboard box with her family. But they were inspired. They were ecstatic. They wanted to share the glorious gift that Srila Prabhupada gave them. They have adapted Srila Prabhupada’s spirit of fearlessness, of doing the impossible seeing Krishna as a controller. They approached the beatles, Actually you know who they are? The most influential people in the whole western world. Impossible to meet such people. But they met them. And influenced Mr. George Harrison. Gradually they were chanting in the streets. Srila Prabhupada came to London and established Krishna Consciousness.
Srila Prabhupada’s determination finally bears fruit:
Our beloved God brother Tamal Krishna Gosvami by Krishna’s inconceivable arrangement he left our physical association earlier this year. He was another such person, that could do anything and everything because he was inspired by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy. Srila Prabhupada was sending such devotees in various places of the world. And soon there were 108 thriving temples. From living in a cardboard box in a basement of warehouse, there is Bhakitvedanta manner. From a living in a truss sack in West Bengal, there is the most glorious place of pilgrimage with hundreds of beautiful buildings and temples in Sri Mayapur Dham. From a tiny room in Vrindavana, there is the most popular temple in Vrindavana Dham, Krishna Balaram Temple.
Srila Prabhupada began his book distribution, he was the only distributor, he would take his magazines and just go from tea shop to store store at his old age trying to convince people to accept the message of Krishna in the form of Back To Godhead. And in a few years the largest publisher in Indian literature in the history of the world. Tens, hundreds, of millions of books distributed. Sometimes tens and thousands of Bhagavad-Gita distributed in one day, by those who are touched by his spirit of compassion. We can speak on this subject for many many hours, days, weeks, months, years and life times. What was Srila Prabhupada’s motivation? Selfless, unconditional love for Krishna. Selfless unconditional love and compassion for you and me to share the highest treasures of the spiritual world, which can be easily attained by simply orchestrating and – our propensities and life in a spirit of devotion toward Krishna and chanting his holy names. On the basis of the holy scriptures, Srila Prabhupada established everything he said.
“harer näma harer näma
harer nämaiva kevalam
kalau nästy eva nästy eva
nästy eva gatir anyathä
[Caitanya-caritamrita. Ädi 17.21]
Chanting The Holy Name In the Age Of Kali:
In this age of Kali there is one most beneficial, simple method by which we can attain the highest perfection of spiritual realization to realize our eternal loving relationship with Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. And that method is to chant the holy names. Srila Prabhupada when inspired the small children, the old, old, people on the verge of death. Both ladies and gentle man, men and women, rich and poor, Asian, African, American, European. There was no discrimination. Prabhupada showed compassion to the insignificant. Srila Prabhupada showed compassion even to the most insignificant living entity. Because he had the faith. Simple chant the holy names, clean your heart and feel the real joy of life. So let us today on this glorious occasion of the appearance of Srila Prabhupada take his mercy to our heart by simply accepting as a priority in our life the chanting of the names of the God and try to share that great fortune with other. “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” Thank you very much.