Venue: Bhaktivedanta Manor
Date: 2nd May 2016
There are nice arrangements here, three mridanga players and one harmonium player, dozen kartal players. Good size audience also sitting relaxed. Yes, you are relaxed, but that was not the case 50 years ago. When Srila Prabhupada started his kirtans in the Western world, there was no one but him and him alone in New York chanting on the footpath. In India we call footpath. I don’t know in America how they call them, Sidewalk? So Prabhupada would sit there, literally sit there, no asana. Prabhupada had all the traffic, honking of horns and what not. There was no one to play mridanga with him. Prabhupada just with his hand cymbals sitting there and chanting Hare Krsna (Maharaj chanting Hare Krsna in Prabhupada tune)
There was no mridanga, no chorus either, no one to follow. So he was looking very strange to Americans. Sadhu from India with shaved head, paint on the face, wearing bed sheets. But the maha mantra was certainly powerful and will always remain so powerful. And has the direct connection, relationship with all the souls. So, as Prabhupada was chanting, he had many of those Americans, ladies and gentlemen would stop to hear Prabhupada. They had no idea of what he was singing. But, something would just grab them and stop them. Then he would stop at the middle, just as we sing and stop. So Prabhupada would sing and then he would stop and talk. That’s what we are doing. And then he would show them photographs of Radha Krishna and he would explain. This is the God, flute player, Krsna The Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then, they were ignorant Westerners. They would ask, “If that is God, what is the girl doing there? Next to God, what is the girl has to do?” (Laughter) They had no idea, no clue. That was not some girl from New York, from anywhere out of this world. (Laughter). Krsna is not from this world, so isn’t Radharani.
So Srila Prabhupada was picking up his followers from footpaths. He would announce as it was announced here, ‘Tomorrow morning there is Srimad Bhagavatam class’. So he would announce twice a week here, his satsang programs at storefront. Later on it became known as Matchless Gift. Still it is known as The Matchless Gift, 26 Second Avenue. So that’s where his followers gathered twice a week. Prabhupada would make them sit down and talk to them. Get them up, stand and teach them the dance called, which became known as ‘Swami step’. In ISKCON we see that as soon as the kirtan begins, the bodies begin moving. That is ‘Swami step 50 years ago Prabhupada taught. He would feed them, get them to sit down and feed them. Who would cook? He would be the one who would be cooking for guests’ arrival. He would be cooking for hundred guests or sometime more. They all sit down and then there was no one else to serve. Who would be serving? Swamiji would be serving. They would have full belly up till neck and they would walked out. Who would be cleaning? Swamiji. Not only the hall but the pots in the kitchen. That’s how single handedly with so many trials and tribulations. So it started with one person 50 years ago and then now it is all over the universe, all over the world. International Society for Krishna Consciousness ki jai!!
We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of ISKCON. Sometimes there was a report in the Newsweek magazine that said, “The fastest growing religion in former Soviet Union is Hare Krishna! Haribol!!! God knows where they got the statistics. We didn’t know. (Laughter) They said there are 700,000 followers of Hare Krsna in Russia. Quite a big number. Srila Prabhupada had gone there in 1975. In the very first visit he initiated also Ananta Shanti prabhu. He just passed away few years ago though. So Prabhupada started there also. He initiated one Russian, now it is flourishing all over including all over Russia.
I just heard today Radha Gokulananda deities were in New Delhi on the stage. Prabhupada held pandal program in 1971. He had just arrived with his Western followers and he was travelling from city to city holding big big pandal programs. You understand pandal? It was LIC ground in New Delhi, very prestigious location. Radha Gokulananda were presiding deities in that pandal which was attended by thousands. And from there they were transported to London. They are presiding over here now. So from Jaipur to New Delhi pandal festival to Bhativedanta Manor. Radha Gokulananda ki jai!!! So like that another pandal was held in Mumbai and they had another set of deities. They would transfer them to one of ISKCON temples. Radha Govinda, the first temple of ISKCON. They were also part of another pandal. Srila Prabhupada, he was empowered and chosen. He became ‘nimitta matram bhava savya-sacin’ Krsna said that. “You become nimitta matram.” This battle is going to be fought and won. He was just becoming the instrument. Arjuna “You just become instrument.” So Arjuna did. So that was Sri Krsna. When He appeared as Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu 528 years ago.
‘namo maha vadanyaya krsna prem pradayate
krsnaya krsna caitanya namne gaura tvise namah’
‘sri krsna caitanya namne’, of the name Sri Krsna Caitanya. I offer my obeisances unto Sri Krsna Caitanya namne, Lord whose name is Sri Krsna Caitanya. And ‘gaura tvise’ I offer my obeisances unto Gaura tvisa, means golden complexion. When He appeared as Sri Krsna, He was Shyamsundar, Ghanshyam. ‘Ghana eva shyam’. Now He has appeared as Gauranga. So I offer my obeisances unto that ‘gaura tvise namah’.
‘namo maha vadanyaya’, I offer my obeisances unto that Lord who is now the most magnanimous.
‘namo maha vadanyaya’
What kind of God if He is not magnanimous? God has to be magnanimous. But this Godhead Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, is most magnanimous among all the avataras. ‘sarasiromani kevala ananda kanda’.
‘sri krsna caitanya prabhu doya koro more
toma bina ke doyalu jagat-samsare’
‘toma bina ke dayalu’, who else is there dayalu, magnanimous, kind, charitable as you are? No one comes closer. Not Sri Rama, not Sri Krsna.
People are more fallen in this age of Kali. So Lord becomes more kind. The might of kindness that Krsna exhibited is not sufficient for uplifting the people, the fallen people of this age. So that Sri Rama, that Sri Krsna appeared as Sri Krsna Caitanya becoming very very kind.
namo maha vadanyaya krsna prema pradayate’ and I offer my obeisances unto the Lord who is ‘krsna prema prada’.
So what is so special about this? Sri Krsna Caitanya, He is ‘krsna prema prada’, krsna prema da; giver of Krsna prema. ‘krsna prema pradaya’, unto such Lord I offer my obeisances. So this short prayer mentions the name of the Lord, form, gaursundar form, name, naam, guna, rupa, His quality. He is magnanimous and His lila is giving Krsna prema. Naam, guna, lila of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is mentioned in this prayer, compiled and offered by Rupa Goswami first time ever in Allahabad, Prayag.
So that Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu met Srial Prabhupada, ‘nimitta’, empowered him. And we call Srila Prabhupada also as the senapati bhakta; commando in chief of sankirtan army. You all are army man and he is commando in chief.
As per instructions of his spiritual master, he went to the West. His target was New York, the capital of the age of Kali. Kali’s capital is New York. He was heading towards New York. This is where senapati bhakta showered the bombs of the holy name.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
The other bombs, they cause destructions. This holy name bomb if you want to call it, this becomes the cause of construction.
‘ceto darpana marjanam bhava maha davagni nirvapanam’
This world is on fire, this samsara dava nala. And we are being caught in the middle of the fire and burning. Life is on fire, senses are in fire. So what does this maha mantra do, maha mantra bomb? ‘bhava maha davagni, devagni means fire, nirvapanam’ extinguishes the fire. The forest fire is extinguished. Then what happens? You know the forest fire, in the forest whatever, only destruction, ashes everywhere, the barren land. But in same place as the holy name is chanted, extinguishes the fire. And in that place,
‘sreya kairava candrika vitaranam’
The lotuses begin blooming. There is the fire, sometimes ago the fire in our heart and our life. There is no fire, this holy name extinguishes the fire. In same location nice creepers, the bushes, nice greenery, the lotus, ‘Shreya kairava candrika vitaranam’
So we are calling this bomb but it does different kind of job. The outcome is different. The commando in chief, we talk about army in our temples also there are Temple Commander. Each ISKCON has temple commander. Sounds like army (Laughter). We have bullets also, not only bombs. What are these bullets? Gulab jamuns (Laughter). It melts your heart. No destruction again. No holes in your heart.
Books are called time bombs not only bombs. In due course of time, those books are being distributed profusely all over the world. Millions of books have been distributed. So Srila Prabhupada was empowered to kind of executing the will of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It’s a big mission. Supreme Personality of Godhead’s mission will. We could call predictions also, to make Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s predictions come true.
‘pritivite ache yata nagaradi gram, sarvatra pracara haibe’
Whose name will be chanted? ‘mora naam’, Krsna’s name. He says ‘mora naam’, My name. So He is Krsna, so Krsna’s name. ‘mor means peacock in hindi or Sanskrit. ‘mayur’ names won’t be spread now. Peacocks name won’t be spread. Lord’s holy name. So after departure of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, 450 years, nothing was happening. Everyone was wondering atleast in India, ‘What happen to the prediction? Is this going to come true? The holy name is still being chanted only in Mayapur, in Jagannatha Puri. Some places, asta prahar kirtan here, there and Orissa, Radha Kund, Shyam kund.
So holy name, Caitanya Mahaprabhu is ‘dharma samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge’ So He appeared, Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared, Krsna appeared. Why the Lord appeared? ‘dharma samsthapanarthaya’ What is dharma for this age of Kali? Yuga dharma. Which yuga is this? Kali yuga. Every Kaliyuga, every times Kali yuga comes. Yuga dharma of Kali yuga is harinaam. Everytime, I don’t know whether you took note of emphasizing. Everytime Kali yuga appears, yuga dharma is harinaam. So this is not the first time Kali yuga has appeared. You don’t have to invent a new will. It already exists. You just check out what was done in the previous age, previous Kali yuga. Everytime there is a Kaliyuga. In Brahma’s one day there are thousand Kaliyugas, thousand Satya yugas, thousand Treta yugas, thousand Dwapara yugas. Everytime there is a Kali yuga,
‘harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha’ (B.N.Puran 3.8.126)
So Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared and He did the inauguration of chanting the holy names of the Lord. ‘hari hari’ He would chant all the time. Lord was chanting and dancing, not doing rasa dance but sankirtan ; dancing in the kirtan. ‘kirtaniya sada hari’, all the time chanting and dancing. Early morning He would chant. He gathered all the devotees of Navadvipa.
‘udilo aruna puraba bhage dwija mani gora amani jage
bhakata samuha loiya sathe gela nagara braja ‘ (Arunodaya-kirtan)
He would gather early morning hours all His followers, devotees and, ‘tathai tathai bajalo khol’ so many mrdangas. There were 108 mrdangas, but they were sounding like one mrdanga is being played. Here we could count this one, that one (Laughter) which one to follow. Singer is struggling trying to follow (Laughter).
They would play hundreds of mrdangas sounding like one one mrdanga being played. ‘tathai tathai’
When mrdanga is played, “dhik tam dhik tam dhig etan” that’s one of the bold. ‘kathayati mrdanga’ ‘mrdanga uvaca’, Mrdanga says, when it is ‘dhik dhik’, I condemned you. You are condemned. Kirtan is going on here but you are not here. Those who are not in the kirtan, ‘dhik dhik dhig etan’. I condemned you, those who are not part of this kirtan. Mrdanga talks, conveys his feelings, his expression. Here Mahaprabhu in the middle of kirtan, ‘nupur baje’, His tight ankle bells and around His ankles, that’s jingling, tingling. So all these instruments being played must be played very expertly. That in between taals, there is a time for hearing the tingling and jingling of the bells allowing some space in between.
‘prema dhala dhala sonara anga, carane nupura baje’
That golden form moving to and fro. More than that Mahaprabhu is not just doing some steps. He is Nataraj. He is best of the dancers. There is no match. And very complex steps also. Not just simple new bhakta. He is expressing all the emotions, the dancing. He is tuned in by the emotions and feelings. Feelings are expressed through the dance, through the gestures. So Mahaprabhu would dance. So the morning kirtan and then kirtans all the time, chanting and dancing. Mahaprabhu had gone mad. They were not understanding Mahaprabhu. They would think, ‘there is something wrong. May be He needs some massage, some oil for cooling down. He has become mad, pagal.’
One time, He approached His spiritual master, Isvara Puri,
‘kiba mantra dila gosani kiba tara bala
japite japite mantra karila pagala’ (C.C 1.7.81)
‘What kind of mantra have you given, oh dear spiritual master’. ‘kiba mantra dila gosani kiba tara bal’ There is so much bal, there is so much strength in this maha mantra. It has made me pagal. I have gone mad. What kind of mantra is this? This mantra takes charge of me and handles me anyway and every way. And Mahaprabhu would also do kirtan all night long, nocturnal kirtans. Whole things started at Srivasa Thakura’s, Srivasa angan. Srivasa is Narada Muni. Narada Muni appeared as Srivasa. Narada Muni is famous for his kirtans. So when he appeared as Srivasa at his house, kirtan started. Whole sankirtan movement started at Srivasa Thakura’s residence, courtyard. All night long they would sing, dance.
Then Mahaprabhu took sannyas and He travelled all over India. South India, more in South India. Wherever He went big crowds, hundreds and thousands of people would come. Who knows? God knows from where they were coming. No invitations, no posters, no banners, no SMS. The word would spread, ‘In such and such town or village tonight, there is kirtan.’ They would all come in big numbers. And Mahaprabhu in the middle of that huge crowd and talk less and chant more. That was the program. They would sing. Mahaprabhu would not give big lecture. He would just get them to chant and dance. In the middle of the crowd, He was very tall, tallest amongst all assembled there.
You have seen Pancha Tattva? Who has seen Pancha Tattva in Mayapur? Good number. You know the size of Mahaprabhu. In the middle is Mahaprabhu, so that size, actual size of Mahaprabhu 500 years ago. Of course, He could be taller. It’s up to Him. He was Vaman, then He became Trivikrama. You know that Vaman dev, He was a dwarf.
‘Ok, go ahead, take three steps.’ And then He kept growing and growing. Then He started taking steps. With that height and size, in one step He covered the earthly planet. And second step, He covered the entire universe. So Lord could be smaller than the smallest and taller or bigger than the biggest. So that’s size, Pancha Tattva size. 500 years ago, He exhibited that size. So that size, Mahaprabhu in the middle of the large crowd. So He would stand out, easy for darshan, right? Wherever they are standing, Mahaprabhu is visible. The first feature, He is tall and another special feature, the Personality of Godhead, Their arms are long not like us, the human have. Arms reaching the knees, that’s why Lord is called ‘ajanu lambita bhujau’ ‘janu’ means knees. ‘ajanu’ means upto. ‘bhujau’ means two. One ‘bhuja’, ‘bhujau’ that’s two reaching ‘ajanu’, reaching the knees. So then Mahaprabhu do ‘bahutule’, raising arms. First of all, He is tall and then the long arms are raised. Even more easy to see and take darshan. Not only that. He would jump high in the sky called ‘ udanda nrutya’. There are different ways Mahaprabhu would dance. One is the ‘udanda nrutya’, He would fly. Then everyone taking darshan of Gauranga Mahaprabhu. They were not just taking darshan, they were witnessing, watching or taking photographs, selfies. (Laughter) They would be integral part of that kirtan. They were also performing or they were made to perform by Lord’s will. All present had no choice but also chant and dance. By His will only they had come there. They had no idea what brought them there, what is going to happen next. Why are we going there? Who is going to come? They are just going. Because Lord is in the heart. So Lord was making that connection from within. It’s easy for Him to communicate, right? He is in the hearts of all the living entities. “All those villages, five, ten, twenty villages, Mahaprabhu is deciding, ‘Today I am going to invite people of this village, that village, that village.” And He is sitting in the heart. “Okay, get up! Begin walking, go, go, go, go, go! And they have come there and Mahaprabhu makes them sing and dance like a puppet in His hands. Hariiiii bol!! Just like He is lifting all of them and they go down. Again lifting, shaking and doing different things, getting all nonsense out and purifying them. Like cloths in a washing machine. Cloths go through a lot inside. They come out clean. So there is a purification. They become pure devotees in one program. In one program, it was sufficient to become pure devotees. What kind of kirtan are they performing?
There was another time, the devotees have come from Bengal to Puri to attend rathayatra festival. And then spent 4 months with Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Jagannatha Puri. So as parties were arriving, King Prataparudra was on the roof of his palace. He was witnessing arrival of kirtan party. But he didn’t know everybody, many new faces. Sarvabhauma Battacharya was with him. ‘Oh, that one! Who is he? That one! One with the beard? ‘Oh, that’s Advaita Acharya’. ‘And those bluish garments? Who is wearing? Who is that? Who is that one?’ ‘That’s Balarama, Nityananda.’ ‘balarama hoilo nitai’. Like that, who is that, who is that? Like that he was being introduced from a distance. ‘Who is that one? who is behind that one?’ That time King Prataparudra made observation. ‘I have heard kirtan before, same mantra, same khol, mrdanga, kartal. So many things are similar like any other kirtan. But this, there is something special about this chanting that these devotees are doing. Please tell me, what is this kirtan? What kind of kirtan is this?’ And then he was told. ‘ Yes, this is prema kirtan. ‘krsna prema pradayate’. Mahaprabhu appeared and we offer our obeisances unto that Lord because ‘krsna prema’, he is the giver of Krsna prema. So how does He give Krsna prema, in what form? Does He give some few kilos of Krsna prema? The bag full or pocket full? In what form does He give Krsna prema?
This Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. This is Krsna prema.
This is Krsna prema, full of Krsna and Radha, names of Radha and Krsna. The name is not different from the form.
That’s the understanding.
‘abhinnatvan nama naminoh’,
Nama and nami, not two. ‘abhinna or bhina. ‘bhina means different. ‘a’ means no. No difference between nama and nami. So Krsna, person Krsna, name not two, one. So when the holy name is chanted.
So these prabhus were doing this Krsna prema kirtan, pure kirtan, offenseless kirtan. They were experiencing love of Godhead, Radha Krsna prema as they chanted. So that was Krsna prema kirtan performed. That is also our goal.
One time Mahaprabhu was returning from performance of kirtan. Summer time, and Mahaprabhu was thirsty. Walking and walking as they were returning to their home base kirtan party. Mahaprabhu ahead of party, party was behind. And He was passing through market place. So He came across some dairy products. There is a butter milk shop, butter milk was being sold. Mahaprabhu goes there and asked, “Is there anything to drink? Can I have anything to drink?” So the shopkeeper, he filled up one glass, ‘Have it’. So Mahaprabhu, instead of looking to glass which was being offered to Him, He was looking at the whole pot. (Laughter) So shopkeeper thought probably he needs the whole thing. ‘Have it!’ So the shopkeeper ignored it. Mahaprabhu lifted huge pot to be sold all day long to others. Mahaprabhu lifted and He drank the whole pot. You couldn’t drink. He drank. That’s the difference between Him and us. That proves who He is, was then Supreme Personality of Godhead. So after drinking, He was satisfied and He was ready to go. But the shopkeeper said, ‘Oh….money?!’ Mahaprabhu said, ” There is no money. Empty pocket, no pocket.’ What to speak of empty pocket but no pocket. But he said, ‘My people are right behind Me. They are grihastas and others businessmen. They must be loaded.” So He would make them pay the bill. So Mahaprabhu proceeded and followers were there in front of the shop, passing by the shop. The shopkeeper said, “Oh!!! ‘What’s wrong? What happen?’ ‘Was that your leader? he described. He said, ‘He drank all my buttermilk but no payment. All drink but no payment. He said, you will be making the payment. They were travelling and preaching. They were on the road quite some time. They had pockets but they had no money, empty pocket. That was genuine, that’s a fact. So, they show their empty pockets. ‘Sorry, we can’t pay.’
And they were leaving also to catch up with Mahaprabhu. The shopkeeper realized that now buttermilk is no long and there is nothing to sell, better go home. So he was thinking the pot is empty, he was trying to lift that with his left hand. That requires less strength. ‘Bayen Hath Ka Khel’, they call, like Krsna lifted Govardhan Hill, not with the right hand. Right hand is supposed to be strong. Lord just used His weaker hand, left hand. And not the entire hand with all fingers. Finally lifted on the weakest finger. So this shopkeeper, he was trying to lift his pot. Rubies, diamonds and what not! As followers were leaving, the shopkeeper said, ‘Tell your leader that today’s buttermilk is my offering unto Him, free seva. Just convey my message.’ So when he had said that, then ready to go home. In the meantime his pot got filled.
This lila is compared to that fruit vendor lady that had come to Gokul selling her fruits. And then, baby Krsna managed to hand few grains. Most of the grains were all dropped on the way too. But the lady was sitting and selling fruits. And then she gave all, empty whole basket, ‘Have it, have it, have it.’ At the end, then the whole basket was filled with. So that Krsna filled there and Caitanya Mahaprabhu now had filled this buttermilk pot. Haribol!! Then this man, shopkeeper ran and said, ‘This is the job of that leader! Who else?’ Then he caught up with Mahaprabhu and offered obeisances to Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu gave a deep embrace to him. And then, just by that touch, now his heart became filled with Krsna prema. He was so much loaded with love of Godhead that he couldn’t even stand erect. Because he was loaded, he fell on the ground and was rolling on the ground. He was exhibiting all the symptoms, the tears, trembling. So he had the best of the whole world that day. He got lots of wealth which he could bring home. And his heart filled with Krsna prema by Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
So Mahaprabhu did that 6 years travelling around, His madya lila spreading the holy name. Then the holy name was to be spread all over the world and Prabhupada was chosen, made ‘nimitta matram’. Prabhupada, he became founder of International Society of Krsna Consciousness. Prabhupada did say that, Caitanya Mahaprabhu purposely, He didn’t spread. He could have spread the holy name personally all over world. But He left this job of spreading the holy name all over the world or beyond the boundaries of India. He left this job up to ISKCON. This job was left to International Society for Krsna Consciousness. And that is what is happening, spreading and spreading the holy name . And as we chant everywhere, we have become known as Hare Krsna. These are Hare Krsna people. Why they are Hare Krsna people? Because they chant,
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Okay we’ll sing one song and then Hare Krsna Hare Krsna.