Wisdom Nectar from Srila Prabhupada Disciple

Wisdom Nectar from Srila Prabhupada Disciple

ISKCON Calgary

27 March 2021

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Ram, Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Thank you Sacipran Gauranga Prabhu, all the way from Calgary Canada, remembering us and inviting us to this forum where you have been discussing experiences, remembrances of Srila Prabhupada and I am sure there are other topics also. And this is organized by ISKCON Calgary. I remember visiting Calgary long ago, in the early 80s, I did visit Calgary and I am visiting again today – I am in Calgary right now. So remembering Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada ki jay!

I am sure you knew this, this year is 125th birth anniversary of Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada was born in 1896, this is the 125th anniversary. And the whole world is having lots of celebrations and part of the celebrations is remembering Srila Prabhupada. So I suppose, what we are doing right now, right here is celebrating the 125th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada as we talk about remembering Srila Prabhupada.

And as I was here in my introduction, I thought it was too long. Mataji went on and on and on. So one item she did read was that I met Srila Prabhupada in 1971 and this is 2021, so how many years ago is that? 50 years ago.

So not just that, I first ever meeting of mine Srila Prabhupada happened 3days – 50years ago and 3days ago, 25th March I met Srila Prabhupada. Today is 27th and we are having a celebration in fact, every day at six o’clock. We are celebrating my meeting with Srila Prabhupada – it’s very special for me. How I joined Srila Prabhupada, Hare Krishna festival Cross Maidan Mumbai and the first thing I saw there was kirtana. We are talking about kirtan standard.

So the first thing that impressed me was kirtan on the stage performed by his American sadhus, European sadhus. This is how the festival was advertised “Oh American sadhus are in town, in Bombay town.” And I was just a college student and I was amazed to see; not just myself but this caught the imagination of all the folks of Bombay.

“American sadhus! Forget it! How can American be sadhus?”

So I had gone to check out whether that’s reality fact or fiction and I realized in fact that they are genuine sadhus. Srila Prabhupada had transformed Americans or revolutionized their consciousness, their appearance, they just not only look like sadhus but they behaved talked like sadhus and especially they were performing kirtans like sadhus with all their heart, with all their strength, they were chanting and dancing on the stage and that is where I picked up this kirtan 50 years ago.

So that festival lasted for 11days. Then I also started chanting and dancing from that time onward and to this day I am doing chanting and dancing. So I think that the mood of the chanter is also standard, so I picked up that the devotees were chanting with full absorption. They were not distracted although there were some reasons to be distracted, thousands around in the audience and other sounds there but they were in their own world. Chanting and dancing, so if there is a kirtan standard then that is the standard chant with attention, with meditation. That kind of mood, and of course we heard from Srila Prabhupada, he wanted us to chant like the crying of a baby. That is another standard, the mood crying like a baby. Like a baby cries for his mother, and a devotee chants for Krishna, who is also mother and father of us. So only when you cry like a baby – When a baby cries, he wants his mother to come to him, pick him up, feed him, or give him some gifts or toys. So chant like a baby cries for the mother.

So, Srila Prabhupada gave me this mantra,

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Ram, Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

And he did say, this was in Vrndavana during Kartik in 1972 in Radha Damodara temple, in between Rupa Goswami’s bhajana kutir on one side and the Samadhi mandir on other side and so that is where I received this mantra from Srila Prabhupada. Chant 16 rounds. Once I asked Srila Prabhupada “Why 16 rounds Srila Prabhupada, what is the significance of the 16 rounds?” and Prabhupada was trying to explain why we have fixed this number? Srila Prabhupada answered why 16 you can chant 16,000 rounds. Who could stop you? Minimum 16 rounds” And busy as Srila Prabhupada was, it was the first time I was experiencing it, so what to do. He used to ask me from time to time “Are you chanting 16 rounds, are you completing your rounds” I don’t know why, I was a good chanter but Srila Prabhupada he did care and he was making sure he was concerned if you were chanting 16 rounds.

Since 1977, Srila Prabhupada wasn’t well and in Bombay, in the guesthouse (one of those towers) on the fifth floor, Srila Prabhupada’s quarters are there. That is when Srila Prabhupada first time ever, moved into that new residential quarter of Srila prabhupada. But he was not well. He had returned from London and he meant to go all the way to Gita Nagari farm from Vrndavana – that’s the whole history, whole life and teachings of Srila Prabhupada.

But from London he returned because he was not getting better and in Bombay he was in bed and I used to chant for Srila Prabhupada by myself, which we took turns. With a little kartala, we sat on the floor and next to him, we were chanting, getting tired, falling asleep, waking up and chanting.

During my turn to chant, sing for Srila Prabhupada, I asked “Srila prabhupada, is anything that we have not done or that we should now do so that you could be cured and be healthier. What have we neglected something or not gone out of our way?” His brief and simple response was “chant Hare Krishna.”

“What could we do more so that you could be cured?”

Prabhupada said “chant Hare Krishna”

In Vrndavana also, during the last days of Srila Prabhupada, whenever I used to enter Prabhupada’s quarter, Tamal Krishna Maharaj used to say “Prabhupada! Prabhupada! Lokanatha swami is here, you would like him to chant for you?” Then Prabhupada would say, “Hmm yes”. Then I would chant, sing for Srila Prabhupada.

I think it was Srila Bhakti Sidhhanta Saraswati Thakura’s disappearance or appearance, I don’t remember which one, but Prabhupada wasn’t in Mumbai and celebrating that occasion, bhoga, arati and kirtan. So, I was assigned to sing that day. So I started singing, –
“Samsara-davanala-lidha-loka
tranaya karunya-ghanaghanatvam”

So like that I went on singing that Guruastaka, and then we did our first ever parikrama in late 80’s. That’s like 30 years ago. And then we had been every year, 30 day parikrama, with big number 1000, 2000, thousands of devotees of 30 days of camping out.

So after, I think 20 years of that parikrama, I decided to write my experience of Vraj-mandal Parikrama. So parikrama takes place for 30 days, so I have 30 days, 30 chapters. And those days, from beginning to finish, all the places that we visit and all the pastimes Lord has performed and we hear during that day, it is all there packed in Vraja-mandal. As you read the new kind of, hear the sounds and you smell Vraja and hear Vraja and you get some being there as you read this experience.

So we encourage you to actually have a copy of this book and the devotees who do not manage to come to Vrndavan to do parikrama, what they had been doing was, they sit back relax and read the chapter that keeps the maya away. And next day. So we follow our schedule and they find out where is parikrama today. Today we are at Radhakunda. So they open that Radhakunda chapter or Govardhan chapter or we are in Kamyavana, we are in Bhadravana. So they read that chapter. And then thus connected and this how they celebrate kartik vrata. So it’s available on amazon. So those interested. You can buy that. 10, 20 dollars or something.

Do nagar kirtans, do street kirtans public chanting, conduct festivals like rathayatra. Festivals, people like festivals, culture, events. So that mean, we have to bring Krishna to them, Hare Krishna to them or bring prasad to them. They may not come to where Krishna is, where Hare Krishna’s are. And ofcourse book distribution, that means you are going out and distributing books. Performing kirtans, distributing prasadam, holding rathayatra festivals and other programmes. Govinda’s visitors in restaurants. So this way, we get their attention.

Remember Srila Prabhupada. Remember Srila Prabhupada’s sacrifices. New generation could remember what Prabhupada has done for us. Krishna is kind of being home delivered by Srila Prabhupada’s Hare Krishna movement. So much grateful we should be for such contribution. Remain grateful, we are indebted to Srila Prabhupada. One time some disciples were talking to Prabhupada, said, “Prabhupada we are indebted to you, you have done so much us. Is there any way we could become free from such debt”. Prabhupada said, “ No, no. You can’t be free from this debt”. Then there was a pause and then said, “ yes, yes. You could do one thing”. What is that Srila Prabhupada? Prabhupada said, “You do as I did. Doesn’t mean imitate me, but follow in the footsteps. And that way you will become somewhat, to some degrees free from that debt”.

So younger generation, Prabhupada has so much faith and expectation from young generation, or second generation or third generation. And you know what the world is going through. So world needs Krishna. Youngsters need Krishna and Hare Krishna. Okay.




Srila Prabhupada’s desire to establish Vedic farms

Srila Prabhupada’s desire to establish Vedic farms

November 23rd 1997
Maharashtra Tour,
Chamorshi, India

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Krishna who is the source of all incarnations. So let’s hurry up a little bit as we have to go to Nagpur yet. On the way back to Godhead we have to go past Nagpur which is on the way. From Nagpur we can go back to Godhead and Pandharpur is going back to Godhead right? Going there means going back to Godhead where on the way is Nagpur.

na casya kascin nipunena dhatur
avaiti jantuh kumanisa utih
namani rupani mano vacobhih
santanvato nata caryam ivajnah [SB 1.3.37]

Translation

The foolish with a poor fund of knowledge cannot know the transcendental nature of Krishna’s forms, names and qualities of the Lord, who is playing like an actor in a drama.

In a drama sometimes you do not know who is acting, who is Vitthal, who is Rukmini. We do not know his real name so who can understand the Lord who acts like a nata caryam ivajnah. So this sort of foolish person through his words or speech contemplation cannot express the understanding of the Lord through their contemplation or speech.

Purport
No one can properly describe the transcendental nature of the Absolute Truth. Therefore it is said that He is beyond the expression of mind and speech. And yet there are some men, with a poor fund of knowledge, who desire to understand the Absolute Truth by imperfect mental speculation and faulty description of His activities. To the layman His activities, appearance and disappearance, His names, His forms, His paraphernalia, His personalities and all things in relation with Him are mysterious. There are two classes of materialists, namely the fruitive workers and the empiric philosophers. The fruitive workers have practically no information of the Absolute Truth, and the mental speculators, after being frustrated in fruitive activities, turn their faces towards the Absolute Truth and try to know Him by mental speculation. And for all these men, the Absolute Truth is a mystery, as the jugglery of the magician is a mystery to children. Being deceived by the jugglery of the Supreme Being, the nondevotees, who may be very dexterous in fruitive work and mental speculation, are always in ignorance. With such limited knowledge, they are unable to penetrate into the mysterious region of transcendence. The mental speculators are a little more progressive than the gross materialists or the fruitive workers, but because they are also within the grip of illusion, they take it for granted that anything which has form, a name and activities is but a product of material energy. For them the Supreme Spirit is formless, nameless and inactive. And because such mental speculators equalize the transcendental name and form of the Lord with mundane names and form, they are in fact in ignorance. With such a poor fund of knowledge, there is no access to the real nature of the Supreme Being. As stated in ,Bhagavad-gita the Lord is always in a transcendental position, even when He is within the material world. But ignorant men consider the Lord one of the great personalities of the world, and thus they are misled by the illusory energy.

When you in the midst of disturbances that disturbance enters your head and heart. People cannot even compare the peaceful time with the disturbed moments because throughout their lives all they have experienced is disturbance, noise and so when you come to a place like this you understand then what you were missing. Here you have to struggle hard to see whether there is any sound of anywhere in the creation.

On the contrary, in the modern cities we have to look for a place where we can find some peace and some quiet. By the grace of the Lord there are a few places left in the world where you could still go to for preaching and achieve to peace. Of course one time what we experience here now, this peace used to be all pervading. It used to be all over and now it’s a different situation.All glories to somebody, someone who has worked very hard and disturbed that peaceful situation- Jai ho! Someone has worked very systematically, bringing us to the worst state of affairs.

So it was the desire and the endeavour of Srila Prabhupada to establish and identify peace. This is the reason we got this idea with a farm and also cows, we could have a small temple and grow vegetables. Prabhupada inspired us to do this.

So what Prabhupada did was he endeavored to uphold these Vedic principles. Prabhupada started emphasizing the farm communities and the cow protection. Prabhupada personally went to New Vrndavan and sat there under a tree. We had lots of land but we had no development, no buildings and no temple facilities. So Srila Prabhupada just stayed in a very simple dwelling in West Virgina, New Vrndavan and he went there several times. He spent days and weeks each time and I was feeling very bad that I also come to Chamorshi but I do not spend as much time as Prabhupada used to spend time in New Vrindavan.

Some other farms also in the west, Prabhupada used to go and stay there. Even in Hyderabad we had a big centre in the city and Prabhupada used to go and stay on the Hyderabad farm. It is shown in photographs and is in conversations also Gita Nagari farm in America Prabhupada would go and stay there. So all that we are doing here, our founder Acarya Srila Prabhupada has encouraged us to do these things.

This is right here is the International Society for Krishna Consciousnesses. Around here we have 40 kilometres of land and we are trying to utilize this land as per wishes, desires and direction of Srila Prabhupada. We are not like other farmers in the region or in this part of Maharashtra, we also grow useful grains and vegetable, flowers and fruits.

All these flowers are grown in our own garden and Prabhupada used to say also that there are lots of farmers and they go for the crop that brings cash and they try to commercialize the farming. So they grow tea and coffee and tobacco and all those kind of stuff. So that’s again the part of the age of Kali, the mentality of the age of Kali. There are two kinds of economies in the world – one is called agrarian economic development depending on the land and agriculture and the other one is industrial economy.

So there’s a competition between the two and somehow industrial economy is a predominant force and agrarian economy in the background is being ignored and being forgotten. These days intelligent, those who think that they have some brain, that they are intelligent, they rush to the cities. They think this work of agriculture is for low class, unintelligent persons and this is a widespread misunderstanding in the world including India.

Doing farming, taking care of the cows and doing trading, if you have some extra grains you could sell them or do bartering. This is part of the Lord’s Varnasrama Dharma system.

krsi go raksya vanijyam (B.G 18.44)

This is Vaisya, even Nanda Maharaja was a Vaisya. And Krishna was the son of a Vaisya. What was Krishna doing? Herding cows all day, he did not go to some factory. He lived in Vrndavan, he did not go to Delhi to find some job. Haribol! But we are running. So we were talking how there’s lots of disturbance in the world, there is no peace and so much disturbance, so much noise and running around.

This is all caused by the industrial economy. As soon as you come to the villages or go to the farms, the other disturbance is finished, it’s over. There are so many side effects, bad effects of the industrial economy and the body is getting a bad deal, the mind is getting a bad deal from this industrial economy. The soul is completely covered over and there is not even talk of the existence of the soul.

So many doctors and medicines and hospitals why? 80 % of the population of India is still in the villages but twenty percent of the population that live in the city have more doctors and more hospitals and more medicines for that twenty percent population compared to the rest of the eighty percent.

In Dehli, in Nagpur, every lane has a signboard of this doctor or that surgeon or this specialist. But in the villages they don’t have any doctors, there’s no need because there’s nice fresh air, the fragrance.

punyo gandhah prthivyam ca

The sweet smell that you get there is directly coming from the earth and ‘that is me’ the Lord says. This is the tenth canto. So when you work in the farm especially, after a few months of summer season when it rains for the first time. I mean you have no experience, but as village boys we have experience. That smell, the first time it rains, that kind of smell that you get it’s amazing. That kind of smell is Krishna. Hare Krishna!

Also the flowers add to the beauty and the fragrance, so there is no comparison between industrial and agrarian economy and the simple villages and the big complex cities. They are hellish. Prabhupada also said about London or England ‘you don’t have to go to hell. Just by going there you can have firsthand experience of what hell is like.’

So this has to be changed. As a scientist and the materialist and so many other staunch followers of the age of Kali, they have worked very, very hard and systematically to bring the situation to the present day levels. And now someone else, the other party, Krishna conscious party, the Vedic team will have to work equally or even harder to reverse the situation and bring people back to the nature, back to the villages, the land and the cow.

So as we are so much spoiled as we always prefer big cities and towns- even Iskcon devotees, they always run to the cities. You could see the devotees of Iskcon Chamorshi, they are such dedicated servants of Srila Prabhupada. They are very much here staying on the property and serving mother earth and the cow. So we appreciate their dedication and we can’t say how much appreciation they deserve.

We can’t say just a few words for a few minutes, they are working – what we said, that someone has to start working. So they have started working on establishing this farm so they are upholding the principles of Vedic culture.

Haribol! Iskcon Chamorshi ki jai!

So we wish that there will be more and more devotees who will join this team here. They are also capable of organizing a grand festival and reception as we have seen, as they have done for us. This is the best program of the tour, right? Gauranga, Gauranga!

Nowhere else have we had so many people or public and according to Subhag Maharaja, not only was there a large number but they were also listening attentively. We had speeches in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and English also. And no-one left until the end but were increasing till the end. And you know after the drama, people sat down, they wanted to stay. So they were attracted by Vitthal Rukmini and by the devotees.

We could see that sincere efforts were being made here. Otherwise we had nothing to offer, we were not offering any other kind of money or support. Temporarily they had forgotten their homes so there was no desire of going back. It was a very, very successful program and the credit actually goes to Parameshwar Prabhu and of course his team.

They are not here as they are still winding up the show and I am very happy. Are you all visiting devotees happy also? So sometimes you could come and stay here and you could do your Sadhana, some reading and work in the field. There is a field right outside here so you can work in the field right here. You don’t have to drive, Prabhupada said they drive literally, as you know, a hundred kilometres. Some people everyday go from Pune to Bombay everyday in the morning on the train called Deccan Queen, you don’t even know how.

Everyday for three, four hours on the train one way and those many hours on returning in the evening and it is like that in many cities around the world. They are wasting their time where here it takes half a minute to go in the field and you can work. So this is a mad world with crazy people and so let us not join those crazy people.

Stay wise and make best use of your time and energy and here you could do Sadhana and peacefully you could chant. When you chant Hare Krishna there is nothing else.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

There’s nothing else that mixes other sounds in it. You can only hear Hare Krishna Hare Krishna and the soul can hear this. It is so very hard in the cities to do this and even if you don’t want to hear there are so many other sounds to disturb you. In Hong Kong we were just there a few months ago, Giridhari Maharaja said there’s a point high up so all the sounds of the cities all go up into the air in this place.

All the sounds, vibration, talks and honking of the horn- everything goes in the air and you can go to this one point to hear it (Maharaja makes a funny sound of all these sounds mixing). This is what you hear because each sound is trying to collide with the vibrations and it neutralizes to nothing really and ultimately this kind of sound is so much surcharged with so many vibrations that there is no room for additional sound effects there.

So when you put your mind in the midst of all this, you go crazy. So I feel times are hard but we have Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with us. Gauranga Mahaprabhu is very much on our side and so we already have succeeded and more success is now awaiting us. We can see so many people, all those who are assembled agreeing with what we are talking here and following it to different degrees. Ten, twenty, thirty years ago even we did not -we were part of that other crowd.

This is just a few devotees, there are hundreds and thousands times more bigger devotees on this planet with this conviction. And this is all in the last thirty years, in 1965,1966 there was one person with this philosophy and by association of Prabhupada, he has converted us, he has entered our hearts and his contagious association has transformed us and certainly if you have started listening to what he has said.

We have a lot to learn and he is the source of all knowledge, we have these books which are Prabhupada’s thoughts and we have Krishna, of whom he has spoken about and so Prabhupada always emphasised book distribution. We must always go on distributing books. Even our Iskcon Chamorshi now is distributing books, Jai!

They got this vehicle Jeep donated and immediately they made that into a Sankirtan vehicle. Same thing also in Nagpur, we had few scooters but when we got our first vehicle of four wheels- a Jeep, we immediately put that into action distributing books. So now these two centres, one in Nagpur and one in Chamorshi -they are reviving the five thousand year old culture by distributing Prabhupada’s books and also we have Antaryami and Dakshina Mataji’s home village. Soon they are going to be giving up everything American and be giving a big kick to America and that will give a big boost. So they will big a big kick and then come and they will land in India. Haribol!

Like that, that region also they will take care. So please leave becoming more enthusiastic and stay that way too. So we will come back maybe next time but there is always shortage of time but we should stay here for a few days. Some devotees were not very happy that we were coming and quickly going back in one day. But by some arrangement we at least got to spend one morning program here.
Jai Radha Shamsundara ki jai!

Otherwise having to get up at 5.30 and just take off. Yesterday’s book score?

Devotee: Four thousand nine hundred

Maharaja: Almost five thousand rupees worth of books were distributed yesterday. Hari Haribol! Five thousand rupees in Krishna’s pocket, huh? Now that five thousand has to be used to glorify Radha Shamsundara and has to be used in buying more books. So thank you, all the devotees, Parameshwar Prabhu and his team for a wonderful reception, nice prasadam Even I sat down and took a whole plate of prasadam after the drama at ten o clock.

It was nice prasadam with not too much spices and so we will stop here. Any questions?

Devotee: Maharaja can you tell us something about these self manifested deities?

Maharaja: So these are the personal deities of Parameshwar Prabhu and they appeared to him and he found them in Bangladesh, how many years ago? When he was eight years old. He is forty years now so when he was eight years he came in contact with these deities.

(Devotee speaks of how the deities came to him in a dream and then they came into his house in self manifested form and he started to speak for first time as he was born without speech prior to this and had never spoken as a child).

Maharaja: you should write about all this. His parents are not here now so he could just write the history. So these are really special deities.

Devotee: So many wonderful devotees have come here but due to the situation here we were not able to properly receive them nicely and this is a mistake and inconvenience on my part and so I beg for the forgiveness of all Vaishanavas. The district authorities would like us to make a tourist spot here and many devotees can come so please give blessings and pray that we may be able to do this. We want a beautiful farm here and a small temple.

In Sastra it is written that the Mother or Father’s favour on us can never be returned and nor can the spiritual master’s favour be returned as he takes us back home, back to Godhead. So I would like everyone’s blessings so I may be able to do like this and be able to make a small temple to dedicate to Prabhupada no matter how hard it may be and no matter how many difficulties I may have to face. I am ready to do this.

Your strength and good wishes will be my greatest strength so that’s why I pray that you all may pray to the Lord so this may come to pass. Hare Krishna.

Maharaja: we have at least someone who is very committed. You could see that his commitment is very deep and you can see that this is his life and soul. This is the meaning of following the instruction of the spiritual master or doing something, no matter what, you would like to do it. This is very..

So I wish that we can also all take some impression from the example of Parameshwar Prabhu and stick to some instruction which is important and given to us by our authorities, our spiritual master so we could also dedicate our life like that. In every way our tour of Chamorshi has become successful and inspirational. So we will stop here and take rest. During prasadam Hari Kirtan Prabhu will make an announcement about when we have to be gradually leaving for Nagpur. We are not going by train there which is clear. We will be going by bus.

These are the kind of hardships to spend in Krishna consciousness