Pastimes of Srila Prabhupada’s
It is nice to be back in Vrindavan which is our home. This is Srila Prabhupada’s home also, Vrindavan. So, this gathering is international. 20 nations have gathered all the way from Australia, Italy, Russian, South Africa, United Kingdom, other countries,India? Poland, Holland okay Holland. Ukraine, Narada from Ukraine, Bhramachari here.
Gathering like this is a quite a rare occasion we don't get to be together. When I go to South Africa,there are South African devotees there. I go to American and American devotees like that. Or wherever I go, that country devotees gather or may few other countries. And then when is Vyas Puja, of course some more devotees come together. We have been doing these gatherings off and on. Trying to take the opportunity of the presence of the devotees from various countries in one place one time. There's someone from Kenya also. Ha Kenya? Okay, Someone from Kenya, little boy. Wonderful setting Vrindavan. Wonderful Krishna and His abode is also wonderful.
Adabhut Krishna, Srila Prabhupada describes Krishna has wonderful Krishna, begin with Krishna is wonderful. Srila Prabhupada has revealed Vrindavan unto us. Previous acarya has done this and then on behalf of previous acharya then Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, Bhakti Vinod Thakura. Previous
acarya Srila Prabhupada has made Vrindavan kind of a talk of the town. Some people know Vrindavane very where. They know Mayapur every where also. I knew Vrindavan, but I did not know Mayapur. Only when I came to Hare Krishna movement, I heard of Mayapur. And again, when we heard of Mayapur. When you go to Maya’s Pur, Mayapur might be something is wrong with this name.
So Srila Prabhupada, very successfully reveal Krishna and Vrindavan, His abode to the whole world. Isn't it? Prabhupada gets the credit for this. One of the 10 offense is against the holy dhama. The acarya or the spiritual master, who reveals dham unto you, you offend him and there is an offense to dham. One who reveal dham unto to you, you offend him,then the dham gets offended. Dham is displeased with you as you displease or hurt or offend that acarya in some ways.
10 offences against holy name.You offend a vaishnav acarya, then holy name is offended, and you again offend that acarya a vaishnav who reveals dham unto you, then dham gets offended. We should be only glorifying Srila Prabhupada, all glories to Srila Prabhupada! Say it, all glories to Srila Prabhupada! So that's the rule, we should always be saying All Glories to Prabhupada! So, by his mercy, or merciful arrangement, that we are we are here in Vrindavan.
It was in 72 I got to come to Vrindavan for first time during this month, month of Karthik. I was in Vrindavan. I have not imagined I was just few, few months in the Hare Krishna movement and, and I got to come to the Vrindavan. And I didn't realize my good fortune that I was going to Vrindavan, Srila Prabhupada did all this. Importance of Kartik so he had invited his followers to come to celebrate this Kartik, Damodar mass in Vrindavan. And there were not so many devotees at that time. There were only 40-50 devotees were attending that International Festival Kartik mahotsav.
And we were thinking, Oh, so many devotees here. Those days 30-40 to 50 devoteesin Vrindavan. So many devotees. Now there are thousands just here just little tiny gathering in a corner somewhere. They already have 40-50 devotees or more, they're on their hundreds of such big and small gatherings.
With so started small like that, it was Kartik festival in 72. We were in Radha Damodar temple. That is where I saw Srila Prabhupada, I mean I have seen him in 71 Hare Krishna festival in Mumbai and 72 Hare Krishna festival.
But I didn’t meet Srila Prabhupada. I never was that close during that Kartik 72 as we arrived at Radha Damodara temple during early morning hours, early morning hours you are in Vrindavan and you are at Radha Damodara temple and your spiritual masters is right there and you're going to see him you know, so many the best combinations and permutations were taking place right there.
So as soon as, Srila Prabhupada, I mean he knew we had arrived, and we knew that he was just there. Srila Prabhupada’s door was wide open.Open door policy not closed door.And we didn't know how to knock, no knocking was required because doors were already opened. Can we, 10-15 devotees
we have come from Mumbai to join this festival, soon we sat around Srila Prabhupada. Room of this size you know, Srila Prabhupada’s quarter,room of this size, that not that not this, kitchen was across that room.
And Srila Prabhupada sat on the asana, “this is too high”, it was not even half of this height. In a corner Prabhupada sat and we sat around him and we were, I was sitting kind of where Radha-Kunda is sitting, this Radha-Kunda. So, I was never that close to Srila Prabhupada. And I was carrying a letter, I meant to meet Srila Prabhupada. As carrying letter of recommendation from my temple president for my initiation. Okay that I have that in my pocket.
And the very first meeting that I had, Srila Prabhupada was talking to us.He was, as he was talking was also looking at us, I guess. A camera around his head was going from one end to the other,taking pictures, taking notes.
So, when he would be looking at me, say when it was my turn to look at him, or him looking at me, and Prabhupada would stop as moving and then he was stop, before you would move again. When he was coming back where I was sitting, again he would stop each time this was had this happen many, many times. And I was wondering why Srila Prabhupada was, what was so special about me. As getting further the tension, I was wondering are my buttons okay? Or my tilaka? And trying to figure it out why was Srila Prabhupada staring at me and you're stopping, pausing there. So, I could not figure it out. I was just speculating, wondering, and then profile that doesn't stop it. Only then I realized what was wrong with me. In those days, I had a habit of moving my thighs. Whenever I heard someone with attention attentively. I was kind of absorbed in the hearing.Then I would move my thighs. Maybe vigorously or violently, I don’t know. And that was disturbing Srila Prabhupada. That was just anartha, not necessary.
“Could you stop” So that became my first instruction from Srila Prabhupada. Stop it! Do it, don’t do it. Two sets of instructions.And the very first one in my case was Don’t do this. Don't do this. And of course, that was one of the items, this could be made bigger, don’t do this. Don’t do this. Don't do that. And before even he asked me to chant Hare Krishna, I was gonna get initiated.
So, my instructions started with it. “Don’t do this” So, we got to be with Srila Prabhupada for whole month of Karthik. Hari Bol! But for two of us, we couldn’t be here for whole month as myself and Pancha Dravida. I got my first initiation. We were both from Mumbai, Bombay. So, we were sent to Agra (City in India).
You go to Agra, you collect grains, ghee,and gud and this and that come back to have the big festival for Govardhan festival. So poor, everyone else stayed on with Srila Prabhupada. We had come all the way from Vrindavan. And in those days, I more than seeing Krishna now we're more eager to see Srila Prabhupada. We're gonna miss Srila Prabhupada. We’re gonna miss Srila Prabhupada in Vrindavan. This was more on our mind that we are going to see Krishna in Vrindavan. See Krishna and we are going to see Srila Prabhupada and then he's going to show us Krishna. This idea will go to Srila Prabhupada and he'll show us Krishna. So,we are so much Srila Prabhupada conscious, those days and these days also consists of our spiritual master. We are gonna miss Srila Prabhupada!
We were young boys I was just in our early 20s and Srila Prabhupada: father, grandfather . Children want to go see daddy or the grandfather, so we are like that or I had that thinking. Then we were around Agra for some time, so we missed some fun, we missed Vrindavan and the transcendental fun,
pleasure being with Srila Prabhupada, hearing Srila Prabhupada and other darsanas for some time we, we have to be out so that was also another instruction from Srila Prabhupada,you go. You go out! I received first initiation from Srila Prabhupada in Vrindavan during Kartik. Probably some of you know, at Radha Damodar temple next to Rupa Goswami Samadhi, and I also received my sannyasa, initiation here in Vrindavan. I've tried to take sannyasa and I also wanted to be. In Vrindavan Srila Prabhupada said, you stay you stay wherever you are. You stay in Bombay and you study in Bombay, you preach in Bombay. I thought I am not sannyasi, I should do some serious studies. I even said, I will read your books, I want to read your books.
I'm a preacher, I'm going to be getting microphone all the time. So, I'm a preacher, you made me preacher. So, let me go to Vrindavan study. Prabhupada said you study here, you preach here. That in Bombay, you stay here for each year.
Then again in ’76, Srila Prabhupada said, we were in Vrindavan. And now you go to Mayapur. How do you go to Mayapur? You walk to Mayapur. Or if you're tired sit in the cart, bullock cart. So that program also started the padayatra, the famous padayatra project, program whose founder acarya is Srila Prabhupada. He gave instructions to do, bullock cart can kirtana on Radhastami. That was in New Delhi at Radha-Parthasarthi Mandir, that is his instruction, you go on a bullock cart. We're having nice time driving in German buses. I was part of Bombay crew Bombay devotees . Hansduta Swami, he wanted me to, we were kind of friends and we had we always did kirtanas together. So, he had come with the buses and he wanted to travel in India, but then his most of his party members were from Germany and few other countries, there was no one from India to translate or talk in Hindi. So he convinced me and then my GBC, Gopal Krishna Prabhu, Gopal Krishnadas adhikari at that time.
I joined the bus party and traveling all over North India with those buses we traveled a long time. And then buses had to go to Germany. And Srila Prabhupada found out that buses had to go and we had a two good size party, Sachinandana. He was part of the party and many others. Some devotees from India. Srila Prabhupada have said I should travel with a bullock cart. So, we're having a good time traveling in German buses and special horn special automatic door closing and opening system. Melody sound also, so 50 people will be watching how the door of this car is going to be closed and how it opens. Then the buses had to go and we had no transportation.So Prabhupada said, “Get down from the bus.” Where do I go, go to the bullock cart? I was kind of showing my position, I was born next to the bullock cart. And my first mode of transportation was bullock cart, when I was only a few months and I was taken around in a bullock cart. From place to place or from one town to another. So Srila Prabhupada,somehow, he knew this background so he asked me to do. So that was Radhastami. And then we met the preparations, we came to Vrindavan and Srila Prabhupada sent me to the bullock cart. The day we departed for Vrindavan, Srila Prabhupada gave the inaugural speech. All the devotees going on that party, we all gathered into Srila Prabhupada’s quarters. We broke a coconut, coconut breaking ceremony and we had coconut on Srila Prabhupada’s desk, for him to take the piece.
And he spoke to us for a long time giving all the guideline how, how we should be performing this Bullock Cart Sankirtana. “You should have Bullock card with a rubber tires” he said like that. “And when you go into the village, you should park near the well.” Why near the well? you will remain clean because there's water next to the water body. Why next to the well? Because well is the heart of the village. All the villagers come to the well, so if you are near the well then you don’t have to go from door to door, they will come to you. So, you parked next to the well, like that. And this winter month, each one of us should have two blankets, Prabhupada said. And he was giving all these instructions. His little children were going on the road, you had already taken them out of their homes and comfort zones and then he was sending them. Just sending out whatever. Just stay under the tree or on the bank of the river. And Krishna’s mercy, Srila Prabhupada was very kind.
So, we did that. And we went from Vrindavan to Prayag, Allahabad and Srila Prabhupada had come there for Kumbha mela and we had our bullock cart party and riding also there. Our cart was parked right in the camp, in the Kumbha mela camp. During morning walk, Srila Prabhupada did kind of
inspection of our bulls how they look like and looking at our cart. On the side of the cart, we had the name of our party we had written on the side of the cart. BHAKTIVEDANTA BULLOCK CART SANKIRTANA PARTY. So Srila Prabhupada,when he started reading that he held his head like this. He was reading the sign of the party by moving his head around. And he was very eager to know how party was performing and he called me one day into his tent and he wanted to know all the details of the bullock cart traveling Sankirtana party and I provided, I shared all the experience of our traveling party from here Vrindavan to Allahabad, Prayag. So Srila Prabhupada was so pleased, his face was beaming with beautiful pleasure emanating from his face. So, delighted to hear what simple thing basically he was happy that we're undergoing lots of inconvenience tapasya and we're depending upon Krishna.
How we are distributing his books and how we are going door to door and begging in the village, bhiksam dehi, people are giving us some potatoes and chilis and aata. And then when towards the end we are cooking all that whatever was available to cook. We were only getting aata, but not suji, so one devotee Siddharth prabhu, he started making a halwa from aata. It very famous and he was mixing some bananas also in it and it was very delicious and refreshing. Our good cook offered to Nitai Gaurasundar, we had a small deity. And you know we're inviting whole village and after kirtana talk, whatever balanced prasaad, after we had our bellies full. That we will do before any program and then whatever was balanced, and we'll announce that there's a prasaad, so people were coming with a plate. So, we make them sit down and serve them for prasaad. So, lots of people turning up and hearing Hare Krishna and philosophy and books and prasad. So, when we share this with Srila Prabhupada, he was so happy.
Then we were heading towards Mayapur. But we're only halfway through and we had only, you know, short time at our disposal. At the end of January, we were still in Allahabad than the beginning of march, we had to reach Mayapur and we were thinking for how to do it. We're thinking we want to be in Mayapur for Mayapur festival, but we are 800 miles away from Mayapur and there's no way in one month we could be in Mayapur. So, we're breaking our brains what to do. And then we came up with a, we could do this. Don't tell this to what we did.We hired a lorry.
In the beginning, we decided to travel at night, and we loaded everything our cart,our booth, ourselves into the lorry, also our baggage. And all night long, lorry drove us and dropped us at the border of Bengal and Bihar. So, through the entire Bihar we also had read from Chaitanya Charitamrita that it is risky to travel in Bihar! we had a good reason. About 500 years ago or when travelers would encounter difficulties, Srila Prabhupada told why to take risks. So, we started the journey in the evening and by the morning before sunrise, we had traveled a lot of distance. And we're very close, just maybe 100-150 kilometers from Mayapur. And then again, our program started.Walking and with a cart, kirtana. And we
had grand receptions in Bengal and ladies washing our feet and it was too much we're just 22-21 year old boys and they are considering we are some mahatmas here.
So anyway, we arrived in Mayapur during the day.That time Mayapur, this was 77 for some developments.There was a just Lotus building was there you know this building and the long building construction I think was still going on. So, we arrived and those are the going on at Radha Madhav temple. We took part in kirtana and immediately we wanted to meet Srila Prabhupada and Srila Prabhupada was in his quarters. As we climbed up lower and the second floor, we're about to get on the same floor as Srila Prabhupada, second floor.And then was only turning right and then Prabhupada’s
door, as we're about to climb up that floor. There was a Harisauri prabhu, well-built Australian. He stopped us and said where are we going? we thought we had a right to see our spiritual master,Srila Prabhupada. He was doing his duty he thought why disturb Srila Prabhupada.
So luckily, Srila Prabhupada, he had gone to the bathroom and he was coming out of the bathroom and he was about to get into his room. Then he saw some tussle, some pulling and pushing, and argument is going on and then here alizes the bullock sankirtan party and I was there. “Let them come” Hari Bol, the path was cleared, and we entered Srila Prabhupada’s quarters. We offered our obeisances to Srila Prabhupada and as we took our seats, all devotees from Bullock cart Sankirtan party received garland. There were big, big garland, smell of roses big roses there are many devotees who offered garland to Srila Prabhupada.
So, Srila Prabhupada puts the maha garland on the side. So, Srila Prabhupada was killing us with love. Yes, killing, killing with so much affection. If we were soldiers and we had come victorious and his congratulating, welcoming, param vijayate sri krishna sankirtanam. All glories to sankirtana, Padayatra Bullock Sankirtan!And then he again as he was very anxious to hear reports on experience for Sankirtan party from Vrindavan to Allahabad, he had heard that report. Now he wanted a hear from Allahabad,Prayag to Mayapur. So how was the journey, Srila Prabhupada asked. “It was easy journey to Mayapur planet Srila Prabhupada” That is how I tried to make it little humorous. “It was easy journey to Mayapur planet.”
And we provided some more details of our journey . Like that we were talking to our spiritual master Srila Prabhupada. Now you go to Bhubaneshwar and then go to Jagannath Puri and he immediately gave us another destination. We have gone from Vrindavan to Mayapur and to Jagannath Puri. So then, that was decided to be the next destination.
I was not with a party another it was idea to start another party from Hyderabad farm so I was on the way to Hyderabad. Then I was passing through Mumbai, on the way to Hyderabad and Gopal Krishna maharaj,he had lost me one time and he thought this is his opportunity to get me back again.And he spoke to Srila Prabhupada. And proposal was I should head up BBT traveling sankirtan party, Maharaja was in charge of BBT Bombay. And the proposal also was that while I'm traveling and preaching with a van distributing books, I could also oversee the bullock cart Sankirtan party. So, I could take care of two projects at the same time. So, we had gone to in a BBT van and tours of Bhubaneshwar and Jagannatha Puri and that was first time I was there 77 Jagannatha Rath Yatra Festival time and I'm very, very anxious to have the darshan of Jagannatha, the day before Rath Yatra they open the doors.
After Snana Yatra ,bathing to Jagannatha, and he gets sick and the doors are closed, no darsana for two weeks or so. And then day before Rath Yatra, they open the door so that day I was there with our party. I was trying to get in each other into the temple for the darsana. This time, we were stopped by the pandas, big pandas and a lot of prasaad. It was a bit surprise for us. Everyone else was going in for the darshan and some kind of pandas, they liked us, or disliked us, picked us up.
I had my danda and all that I thought that would make to be helpful. I had my passport to see Jagannatha. But there was no way they will not let me in Jagannatha Puri temple, because we are ISKCON followers. Rest of the India was thinking we are agents. We told them why we cannot take darsan? They replied,“You are Christian before and this ISKCON has converted you so you're not born Hindu”, so go out so we're still arguing and debating but nothing was working out so what worked out was they just picked me up those pandas and put me outside the door and for me I couldn't take darshan that day. But one devotee born in Christian family, he was also following me. My god brother from America, the black body, but not totally black, Indian looking kind of body. So, while we're battling with a panda, he kind of distanced from that battling crowd andhe went in and get a darshan of mam Jagannatha and he came back and “Maharaja tulsi for you!” [devotees laughing]
“Charan Tulsi from Jagannatha lotus feet”.I said thank you but how did you manage to get it? You were born in a Christian family! Jagannatha Lila! Jagannatha made all arrangements, because that Prabhu had strong desire to have darsan of Jagannath. Srila Prabhupada came to know, I was stopped from darsan and there was some correspondence but that expressed displeasure to Srila Prabhupada. Like that and so, that was we are talking about Jagannath Rath Yatra in 77. So, that is month what is that month, July month of July and then Srila Prabhupada was in Bombay and then he had to heal as you know, 77 and he had come to Vrindavan and then he had gone to Rishikesh for recuperation, and he had come back to Vrindavan. And then he had gone out to London. He was on the way to America, then he was again his health, not getting better. So,he wanted to go to Vrindavan, so he had come to Bombay. And so, then I also had come to Bombay. That Srila Prabhupada was different physically. He also looked physically less active although spiritually he was most active.
So, we had opportunity, I don't know whether that time could be that time on another time during that year. The BBT of Mumbai have just now published “The Perfection of Yoga”, translated in Marathi and printed in Marathi. So, I went to Srila Prabhupada’s quarters. My godmother Prassanatha Maharaj and his wife Parvati, we were together, and we went to Srila Prabhupada, we presented the book Perfection of Yoga in Marathi.
As a new publication in Marathi language, Prabhupada took it and was very happy and he handed book back to me and he said read so I, I read a little bit, a few lines are a small paragraph and I was thinking this is a Marathi Why should I be bothering to Srila Prabhupada, Marathi, Perfection of Yoga. So, I was kind of closing the book stuff in reading,“read on read on” and I had to read I read on and on. Srila Prabhupada was listening to perfection of yoga in Marathi language.Taking that to be transcendental language different a lot of times he would say in Mumbai to us, “look at the children in the audience”, he would speak in English, then he would point to us,“they don't understand but they are still there hearing”.
“They'll be benefited even if they don't understand the language, just because it is spiritual,it is about Krishna, they know it is about Krishna, so benefit is there.”So, he was appreciating that perfection of yoga in Marathi language. This was August-September We had opportunity to do kirtans with small kartal will be chanting.
Chant for Srila Prabhupada, every day I had my turn singing for Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada lying on the bed and sitting only one person sitting next to him on the floor and singing. One day I had gone out preaching all day making like members or something like that and then the debating ahead of my turn to chat and I was very tired, very tired.
Srila Prabhupada realized and “go take rest” He understood me and “go take rest” Another time, I don't know the context he that Guru puja.
ara na kari ha mani asha
There's no other desire other than fulfilling the desire of spiritual master. “ara na kari ha mani asha” Another time I chanted, and towards the end I stopped, and I asked Srila Prabhupada, “Prabhupada, Prabhupada does anything that we have not done as of yet that we should do so that you are cured and his answer was chant Hare Krishna.”
“Just chant Hare Krishna that will cure me just chant Hare Krishna.” He would say something. He said the medicine is to just chant Hare Krishna. So, he was there for some time in Mumbai Then Srila Prabhupada departed for Vrindavan, he came by train. This time he came by train. Normally, he would fly to Delhi, Mumbai-Delhi and then he will drive, but the reason wasfrom Delhi to Vrindavan that road was not in good shape. Or it had rained so potholes and so to avoid that Srila Prabhupada took that train journey. So, all there as Srila Prabhupada was leaving from the train station, train Mathura-Vrindavan. Bhima Prabhu, I suddenly remember. From Mumbai, BBT member, our god brother.
He had cooked something and brought for Srila Prabhupada so of course, he will see Srila Prabhupada. But then what had happened was someone locked him. It must have been accident. And he realized it was Prabhupada’s train at such and such time and for that he must be now leaving for the station. And he was banging doors and doing this and doing that could somehow get me out of here. I want to see Srila Prabhupada leaving for train station. Andno one came to rescue him that time. So, I had interviewed him and working on that many book projects, one of them is Bombay days.
Srila Prabhupada in Mumbai is one of my book projects.
That's where I had a lot of association of Srila Prabhupada and not just me for Bombay Yatra! So, Bhima prabhu was deprived of progress to see Srila Prabhupada, just before going to Vrindavan. And then 77 October, whole month of October, and then part of November, which was part of Kartik also 77 Srila Prabhupada was here and Vrindavan, that is homeand many more things happened, Srila Prabhupada was very active spiritually very active,fully conscious, Krishna conscious or aware. Srila Prabhupada was still writing his books. His purport on the 10th canto (Srimad Bhagavatam) 13th chapter he was working on. Next to his bed, there was big books drawer of our Acharya’s commentaries. Pradyumna prabhu will read out Sanskrit commentaries and Jayadvaita Maharaja will hold dicta-phone next to his mouth.
So Srila Prabhupada, he would listen to the commentaries and then he would write his comments and purport. So that went on even during those last days in Vrindavan. And I had another opportunity serving Srila Prabhupada, I had to find doctor for Srila Prabhupada. Some of these things I have shared other day when I had my time to talk Srila Prabhupada katha before Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance day. Srila Prabhupada had a friend called Dr. Ghosh from Allahabad. He was a grihastha from Allahabad so Prabhupada remembered him. So, I was asked to go find a doctor and was emergency and everything had to happen fast, so I had to travel fly, and this was the first time I flew into the plane. There's another time I was in the plane. I saw Srila Prabhupada in a plane. Only one time,that was in Mumbai.
Srila Prabhupada had boarded the plane. But we realized something Prabhupada had left behind and we wanted to get that to Prabhupada. He was already sitting in his seat and it’s time to start engine and we made arrangements through the authorities. This has to be delivered to Srila Prabhupada. So, I was sent “go, go, go”. So, the security I ran up the stairs and then I found Srila Prabhupada sitting to the window seat and I offered my obeisances and Dandavats. Everyone was surprised what is going on here.
For the first time in the history of Air India, someone offering falling flat in the aisles,collapses in concealed what happenedor as we saw Srila Prabhupada, Dandavats! So, we I delivered that item which was left behind and then I paid obeisances and so this is the only memory I have of Srila Prabhupada, sitting in the in the plane. I wished all the time to pick up Srila Prabhupada at the airport and once Prabhupada was in the plane and would go to the top of the another terminal building and would always keep an eye on that that that aircraft is Srila Prabhupada’s, now it is going to the runway, now is taking off, now taken off and we would keep looking at the plane till and finally disappeared and then as we could not see the aircraft anymore, Obeisances! and then back to the temple.
Similar to the gopis.
The gopis also when Krishna and Balarama living for Mathura. They kept looking at that chariot.There's some point they could not even see the chariot, they were looking at the dust that was raised by that chariot. And when they couldn't see anything anymore, they just collapse, fell on the ground. So, every time we would go to the airport, we would to go through these emotions as Prabhupada’s aircraft. Now he is leaving, 77 Srila Prabhupada wanted his doctor so he arranged me to go pick him bring him and he paid for my airfare. Of course, I had no money, have my own profile paid from his own funds. I managed to finally get that doctors that was one service I rendered and then we were traveling.
By this time our traveling party, that BBT traveling party, we had changed the name of a party as “Narada Muni travelling Sankirtana Party” as he was traveling very fast everywhere. Distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books we have gone all the way to Bhadrikastam. From Vrindavan to Bhadrikastam
And then we have no news of Srila Prabhupada’s health. This is 77, there was no email, there were no mobile phone even calling from Delhi to Vrindavan. You're lucky if you could get on the phone, or You come to Vrindavan to deliver the message say this or say that. You know what, there was no way you didn't succeed every time that he got on the phone, get message from Delhi to Vrindavan. So, what to speak of Bhadrikasram to Vrindavan.
So, we're in anxiety, so we were rushed back to Vrindavan. And that was only like a one week before Srila Prabhupada’s departure. And so, I have lot to do that time, which was departing days and his wishes too. He wanted to travel in with the bullock cart.
In 76, he had asked me to go start the bullock cart sankirtana and given me instructions and blessings and he thought by now we're kind of well-versed we, we have learned to act. And so, 77 November he wanted to personally go on that bullock cart, travel with the bullock cart as an experiment he wanted to travel.
He said, “Start and let’s go to Govardhan.”
So, there's a whole emotions and commotions and lot of things are going on or this proposal of Srila Prabhupada’s desire to travel to Govardhan on the bullock cart. And then that idea was dropped although bullock cart had come and was parked in front of Krishna Balarama temple. Srila Prabhupada could have asked for helicopter or he could have asked for some other transportation but no, he wanted to travel with bullock cart.
That's how Krishna travels in Vrindavan.
And when Krishna travelled from Gokul to Vrindavan, all residents of Gokul travelled, how did they do that? All weretravelling with bullock Cart. Krishna, Balarama, Yashoda, Rohini was sitting in one bullock cart and all those bullock carts were parked at Chhattikara. Chhattikara is town village all the bullock carts are parked there. And they stayed there for some time before they moved on to Nandagram finally.
That simple basic mode of transportation Srila Prabhupada preferredduring his last days also. Then after just one day in between again he proposed is traveling plans, traveling desires.And this time you wanted to travel with the buses, going to the place of the pilgrimage and as we were busy, I was one of those persons supposed to be organized each of Srila Prabhupada’s travel arrangements, busses and advance party and lots of talks about Srila Prabhupada. He was lying in bed and he was giving all the ideas of how to do the command party in advance party and that's party one was the main party arrives advanced party goes in advance and like that. We still follow the formula that he gave.
And that time we're also very happy thinking that Srila Prabhupada is going to stay longer with us because he wants to travel and he has dropped his ideas of going back to home or back to Krishna, he is going to stay on longer with us. So, we're happy that Prabhupada is going to be traveling all over India with the buses and we get to travel with him also. “So, could I travel?” different devotees proposing,Giriraj from Mumbai was proposing. “I will make live members wherever we go. There are rich people, some businessman, industrialist, I could make some nice members. Could I go through the program with you?”
Not yes! [Srila Prabhupada making sound of yes] Bhakti Swarup Damodara Maharaja could I go and the scientific people? I could organize some bi conferences. Could I go?
[sound of yes] This was being made Yes, yes. Yes, you're okay. You could go.
And some of us Bhakti Chaitanya from Chandigarh, he was a good driver. Could I go I could drive you Srila Prabhupada? [Srila Prabhupada saying yes] So, like that many leaders were taking turn. Could I go Could I? Srila Prabhupada was agreeing, yes, you could go. And although I knew that I would definitely go that there are lots of discussions prior to this. But again, Iwanted to confirm so when I said, “could I also go Srila Prabhupada?”
Srila Prabhupada said, “he will be our leader”
So, I was also booked, confirmed. And in fact, that is the last dialogue encounter I remembered. Iremember Srila Prabhupada that STOP IT! [laughing] that was the first one and the very last one I remember is his traveling party idea. “You will be our leader”, and this was few days before
All glories to Srila Prabhupada! [Devotees chanting All glories to Srila Prabhupada]
So, Srila Prabhupada is the revealer of the Dham unto us. He invited us, to me also I remember in 72 or he allowed me to come and since then I've beencoming to Vrindavan. That was the first Karthik, I got to be Vrindavan, 72. And then with that bullock cart program that he asked me to do, traveling all over India and finally we came to Vrindavan. We are doing padayatra everywhere so why not in Vrindavan?
So,while making plans for Vrindavan padayatra, we made plans I'm going on Parikramapath. And that was the first ever Parikrama, ISKCON’s Parikrama. So, starting from that year then so that Parikrama we did was just around Gaur Purnima, Mayapur Vrindavan festival time so that all the devotees could take part.
And then following year with started doing Parikrama during Kartik and then that year to this year is a 22nd year, 22nd annual Vraja Mandal Parikrama which we are just about to conclude. So, because of the mercy of this the Damodara Masa and Kartik festival.
I just doing other calculations I normally think I don't get to stay in Vrindavan you go Bombay and preach there. But then when you do the grand total time, 22 months that is almost two years, almost two years I stayed in Vrindavan, besides some other in and out. And due to this padayatra and parikrama then we're also introduced to the wider Vrindavan. Prior to that we all we knew Vrindavan loi bazaar Vrindavan and may be Barsana, Nandagaon and Gokul…finished! That was kind of extent how much we knew. But around the time that we did padayatra in Vrindavan for first time, my God brother, Dhruva Maharaj prabhu, he had made us slideshow of Vrindavan’s twelve forest. That was first time I saw that photographs, deities and so that also kind of gave me idea so let's go.
How can we go to all 12 forests? The only way we go is through Parikrama. Only when we went on parikrama we got the see whole Vraja Mandal dimension. I did not know Raval. That Radharani was born in Barsana. Everyone knew Radharani was from Barsana, but later she moved to Barsana. So, all being revealed unto us by Srila Prabhupada’s Grace.
And it's no small thing what we are revealed, what has been revealed by previous acharyas and Srila Prabhupada. So, the truth has been revealed. Krishna has been revealed, Krishna’s dham has been revealed, Krishna’s name has been revealed, Krishna’s form has been presented and revealed unto us. His qualities, his pastimes, and we have brought so close to Vrindavan. We are brought in the midst of Krishna, cow herd boys, they could be just around us they see us we don't see them.
Cowherd boys maybe just around right now right here.I don't know whether on this floor but they could be they're herding their cows and Krishna may be sitting now on these trees and playing his flute right now! Or he may be at Radha Kunda, noon time is for gopis.
Astakaliya pastime!It’s amazing what has happened to us what Krishna has done to us with the help of our previous acharyas, Vaishnava acharyas and Srila Prabhupada. and we have brought back toKrishna’s lotus feet. And revealed Krishna to us And we are here back in Vrindavan,one year [passed] this quickly that one devotee on Vraja Mandal Parikrama towards the end of the parikrama, we asked him to share the realizations and one devotee
share his realization and he said, You know, he was from the west and he said in the West, he always thinks so, while he's on Sankirtana or wherever he always thinks, of going back to home, back to Godhead, meaning I had to go somewhere. It is not here. I'm not back. I had to go back somewhere I had to go then that is going back to home.
But then he said, as he since the time he, he came to Vrindavan, and he was going on Vraja Mandal parikrama, this thought that he had that he has to go somewhere, this thought was no more there, going back to home, back to Godhead is going somewhere else is going back to Godhead. That thought
was no more there. It was realization, meaning he was thinking I have come back home. I'm home. I'm back. I'm back. I'm back. Here the strong realization that I have come back from here, I don't have to go anywhere I have. I'm back. I am in Vrindavan.
So, how valuable is that realization? Someone could realize this. This is my home. This is Krishna’s land. I'm with Krishna. I'm here. Enter that spirit and when devotees doing Govardhan hill parikrama little home you know with one drop here at the rocky another one on the top Sheila stand in the front and they pray! What is their prayer? They may have a big bungalow wherever but they make little house there and “My dear Lord when I'm finished with his body could you give me shelter here is my house could I put on my dwelling be here in the Valley of this Govardhan hill, could you give us spot here” This is the mood and is a prayer please bring me back here.
So, there's nothing better to be had. There's nothing there's Krishna you know Krishna there's nothing more you need to know andwe have Krishna and is nothing more that he had toacquire.So, that kind ofarrangement or facility. Everything has been provided. We just have to go for it. Grab it. You're giving so much of your mercy Srila Prabhupada to this sannyasi, which sannyasi? Hari Bol? Bol Nityananda Bol, Hari Bol Hari Bol!
Prabhupada has given so much mercy to this Visnujan. And Srila Prabhupada, “No, no, I'm equal to everybody”, but he has taken more mercy.It is equally equal opportunity. But he has taken more.So, like that everything is available.And we all have equal opportunity. If we could take more and be greedy and grab this opportunityand grab Krishna’s lotus feet.
So, we are on the wayand if you could keep going keep movingin the direction that we are shown, the direction that previous Acarya hasgone followed
mahajano yena gatah sa pantha (CC Madhya 17.186).
That's the way, we have to make sure we are on the right path.And, in the right company the devotees, like minded devotees,sincere seekers of the truth, sincere seekers of Krishna, those kinds of devotees. And then, once you’re part of thatassembly crowd of the devotees, then what happens then you will naturally end up with Krishna.
Like if you have gone to Allahabad and you want to go to triveni sangam to take bath, as soon as you get off the bus or train, then you see people going, you don't even have to ask. In Allahabad you don’t ask, you don't ask people oh, which way is sangam where I go take bath. You don't ask, you just see which way people are moving there. Because everyone has come to take baths and they don't go anywhere else. So, you don't even ask, you know what people have come for. You just become part of that crowd. And once you're part of that crowd, sometimes you don't even have to walk. What happens, it is so crowded that you can't even put your foot on the ground, you are lifted, you get a lift. You are crushed within between two strong fellows. They're just pushing you bringing you forward. So that kind of devotee association benefits derives. So, chant, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare| Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare [devotees also chanting] and be with devotees and engage in Krishna’s various services and make your life perfect.
Thank you! Hare Krishna
Lokanath Swami Maharaja ki Jai