14th July 2019
Hare Krishna! Aravade dham ki jai!
After 70th Vyasapuja festival in Pandharpur we, 400-500 devotees have started short pilgrimage, for 3 days and our first stop is Aravade, my birth place, the place where this body took birth. Of course that body is no more, but we could say something like that this body took birth and we visited that location, that spot where I was born, along with seven hundred devotees yesterday.
Devotees were amazed to see the spot, the house in kind of primitive condition, the house it was 70 years ago; they have made an attempt to maintain it. So, the devotees who saw different aspects of the house, they were amazed. Devotees also were equally or more amazed and pleased to see the grand beautiful clean and green opulent Radha Gopal temple in my village here. Then we also had the grand procession in the village; with thousands in attendance we took a tour and of course there was constant chanting of
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Locals, my neighbors, my friends, my relatives, as I went around visiting devotees, they were greeting us at every step, every door, we were welcomed like a hero’s welcome, as someone from their town has become the spiritual hero. So welcoming! So, it was very heart touching and moving experience of touring village.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu ki jai! So, this village has become a very special, extra ordinary village in India where there Radha Gopal are residing deities and we claim that this village is visited by Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We have installed footprints of Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu in this village.
In the evening there was program and good attendance and we addressed the assembled villagers and there were head of 70 different villages around my village, from 70 villages, 70 sarpanchas, the heads of villages were also invited and we gave them some gift, we gave them Radha Gopal as a gift, framed photograph of Radha Gopal. So, that was another experience of addressing the gathering last night here in Aravade.
Way back in 1974, I came to the village as a Hare Krishnawala, I had become Hare Krishna devotee and I came for first time in the village. Lot to say; I can’t say all of that, but that also surprised my family members and villagers. Comments they were making were, ‘he used to be such a good boy. What has gone wrong with him? Just see he has become mad.’ But then we used to have in early days, early years of my visit, we used to gather whole village in a school ground. So that used to be festival. So, one year I wrote a report to Srila Prabhupada, it must be 76. I gave report that how grand the festival was and we chanted and we danced and we spoke philosophy and we fed everyone full belly prasad and on top of that I mentioned that one farmer he was so much impressed with our presentation that he approached me towards the end of the program and said ‘Maharaj, from today onwards I am going to chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, 16 rounds of Hare Krishna maha mantra.’ I included that as part of my report. Prabhupada had received the report and he responded that you make that person who is now ready to chant, make him representative of ISKCON in your village. So that gave me hint or indication, clear indication that Prabhupada wanted ISKCON in my village with that one particular chanter as a representative of ISKCON.
So that’s how the idea of starting ISKCON in village came about, originated from Prabhupada, mind and heart. So, he thought of having ISKCON in my village, Aravade. I take that as origin of ISKCON in mind and heart of Srila Prabhupada, part of ISKCON in Aravade. Then we got going and you could see grand ISKCON presence in my little village. There are big fish in small pond, small village and big Hare Krishna. And of course, ISKCON in Aravade is not only for the folks of Aravade but the whole region, hundreds of villages and towns; they considered ISKCON Aravade as a place of pilgrimage. So, we make this all offering, all this outcome as an offering to Srila Prabhupada for his pleasure.
Lord Vitthal, Deities of Lord Vitthal and Radha Gopal are also here to stay and They will be here forever. New generations will take birth and they will depart and yet another generation will be born and gone and like that. Last night I was asking the audience that hundred years from today one of them could come back and take a stop at the situation in this village and who is who.
So, it is guaranteed that none of us, those who were present last night in the gathering they would not be there. Entire new batch would be there on the scene, claiming this land is mine and this house is mine and they would be thrown out. Another batch comes and they make the claim, same land, no, no, it’s my land. So, scenes would be changing, the proprietors would be changing, citizens would come and go, but Radha Gopal would be constant factor or personality who would be here years after years or century after century, for all the time to come. Radha Gopal is meant to be here and of course He is not going to be inactive. Lord will bless all the residents or citizens of this village and of course He is going to give blessings to citizens, villagers and other villages and town around Aravade and that way the center this ISKCON Aravade will do purification, ceto darpan marjanam bhava mahadavagni nirvapanam, so along with Radha Gopal there will be also generations of devotees after devotes another generation will come and they will be worshiping Radha Gopal.
They will be chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna; they will keep studying and distributing Bhagavad Gita. They will keep honoring prasadam of Radha Gopal and distributing Radha Gopal’s Prasad. So, like that the eternal show of Radha Gopal would also continue. And many many generations or all the generations in the future would be benefited by Lord. Not just the Lord, there has to be devotees then Krishna consciousness, Radha Gopal consciousness would reach the masses, the public, people, the villagers. And there are devotees having just temple, so that will be also go on.
Okay so we will conclude our japa talk saying that now we will, the group that is travelling with me will proceed to place which is outside the town, that there is a confluence of two sacred rivers, Krishna Venna and that place was visited by Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, that’s where Caitanya Mahaprabhu found Krishna Karnamrita.
He made a copy of it, photostat or whatever way they used to make copy in those days 500 years ago. And He took Krishna Karnamrita with Him and He had delivered that unto devotees in Jagannath Puri. This is Bilvamangal Thakur’s compilation. Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu always relished listening to and contemplating upon Krishna Karnamrita. So now we are proceeding to that location. It is in district, town called Satara and from there we will keep proceeding towards Dehu, the birthplace of Tukaram. We will stay overnight in birthplace of Tukaram tonight. So, from my birthplace we are going to Tukaram’s birthplace.
Dehu is near Pune, outskirts of Pune, just for your information. And during festival in Pandharpur there was a grand presentation, drama, presentation of life and teachings of Tukaram. I was again reminded and very much impressed and elevated, lifted and inspired by that drama presentation two nights ago. That great personality saint Tukaram Maharaj ki Jai!
We have opportunity to visit his home village to get further purified and inspired by his life and teachings.
Gaur Premanande Hari Hari Bol!