domingo, 19 de julho de 2009

PREACHING IN INDIA

In 1969 Swami Maharaja came again to Navadvipa and stayed for a week or two at our Devananda Gaudiya Matha with a large group of disciples. Nikunja Brahmacari and others helped give everyone accommodations, special prasada, mosquito nets and all other arrangements. Swamiji was looking for land around Mayapura. He wanted to make an asrama and mandira there, but the inhabitants of Navadvipa told him that he should do it in Navadvipa town. They said that the birthplace of Mahaprabhu was there in Pracina Mayapura and tried to convince him to make his temple there. But he decided, "No, I will not do that. I will establish it on Srila Prabhupada's side." (Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura had established Mayapur and Yogapith on the Eastern bank of the Ganga, across from Navadwipa town.) At that time it was the rainy season and everywhere it was flooded. Even so, he travelled to the other side of the Ganga to arrange for purchasing his land.

***

On one occasion some of his Godbrothers in Mayapur suggested that he should not allow himself to be called 'Srila Prabhupada'. They also feared that he was not preaching the purest devotional standards, but rather was altering the strict Gaudiya Matha process too much out of deference to the Westerners. They said that maybe after Swamiji leaves, his mission will not remain bona-fide and his disciples might spoil the bhakti culture. I defended him saying, "I don't believe this. He has not given anything new. Far and wide in the English language he is preaching our same mission in a new bottle. Nothing is new and I don't see anything wrong. He has wonderfully preached this mission of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura everywhere. I think that if his disciples truly follow guru-bhakta (guru and Vaisnavas) then they will continue his line. I don't believe that just because he is doing some liberal and revolutionary preaching it is a problem. He is marvelously executing his Gurudeva's orders."

I also explained, "They may call their Gurudeva, 'Prabhupada,' or 'Om Visnupada.' I think in the future age, more disciples in the line of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada might also call another qualified Spiritual Master 'Srila Prabhupada' because it has been allowed in sastra. Disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada who had agreed that they would not take this name can keep that agreement. Because of his high bhakti and world preaching, and because of their devotion for him, if Swamiji's disciples call him 'Srila Prabhupada' there is no harm. If you want to reject him for this reason, I don't agree. Srila Sridhara Maharaja, myself, and a few others explained this to the other devotees, especially in private to many of them.

***

On several occasions some of his Godbrothers in Mayapura directly asked Swamiji why he accepted that name 'Srila Prabhupada' from his disciples. We have heard about this explanation that he once gave to them. Humbly he told, "When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura left this world, some of the Godbrothers took over everything of his mission, including his names like 'Om Visnupada,' 'Paramahamsa,' 'His Divine Grace.' All that remained for me was my 'Prabhupada'. He is my 'Prabhu', my master, and I am always at his 'pada', his feet. His feet are my only possession and shelter. So later when my young disciples began to call me that, I thought that it is true. If anyone calls me 'Srila Prabhupada' I only remember my Gurudeva's lotus feet and how I am situated there. If others think that I am an offender or proud, I request them to please accept my understanding."

During the following years, 1970-1977, I was going here and there, constantly travelling throughout India and preaching in Bengal. Because our Gurudeva had departed from this world, I was very busy managing everything in our manhas. So Srila Swami Maharaja and I were not able to arrange to meet together. He was also so busy during those years, continually travelling everywhere around the world. Unfortunately I was not there for the opening of the Krsna-Balarama Mandira which was established in 1975, near to Gaura Puraima time. He invited me, but I was not there in Mathura because we were so busy in Navadvipa. During most of those years I was not regularly present in Mathura so he did not come back to visit our manha. If I had been present at those times, I would have invited him and he would have come.

In the earlier days many of us wanted to directly help him but the time was not so ripe. There were only a few of us living in the matha then and we were all busy preaching in India. We were not doing as much preaching as he was doing; but we were busy. My Gurudeva had ordered me to do certain services. Every disciple naturally thinks that his Gurudeva is preaching and he should try to assist him. Each disciple thinks about his own guru like this. Swamiji was busy on a big scale and we were also busy on a little scale, but all were busy serving Guru and Gauranga. So I was not able to go to the West at that time to directly assist him.

Another difficulty was that in those early days most devotees knew very little English, especially for speaking. Therefore, although there were some who were very strong in bhakti, they were not able to meet and communicate with the Westerners. At that time there were some high-class devotees who did not externally manifest themselves as being so qualified. I knew of about ten or more Indian devotees, including some of Swamiji's Godbrothers and others who were initiated by them, who came to serve with him in India when ISKCON was newly established. Krsnadas Babaji Maharaja, Dinabandhu Babaji Maharaja, Govardhana Prabhu, inand Prabhu from Orissa, and several others came. But they did not know English and they appeared to be insignificant so hardly any of the Westerners understood their nature. Now almost everyone can speak English, but not then. Although we could not personally join Swamiji, many of us were very glad and proud that he was preaching so gloriously. It is a mistaken idea that none of us were his friends or his well-wishers.

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Srila Swami Maharaja made arrangements for Acyutananda dasa to come and live with us in our manha. He came first to Mathura and stayed for some time. He also resided with Srila Sridhara Maharaja at Sri Caitanya Sarasvata Manha in Navadvipa. There he studied the songs of the Gaudiya acaryas. Swamiji also asked me to take Kirtanananda dasa when they first came to India. He wanted him to go and preach with our brahmacaris, so that he could hear from us. We would speak and he would sit and learn so many things. In Delhi I associated with Kirtanananda dasa, and also here in Mathura, but shortly afterwards he went back to the West. Later on also we arranged for Sesasayi Brahmacari, my Godbrother, to give classes in Gaudiya bhajans. Swamiji sent his own red car for him two or three times a week for some time, and tape recordings were made for the devotees.

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Sri Guru-vandana

.
The Worship of Sri Guru
(from Prema-bhakti-candrika)
.

1
sri-guru-carana-padma, kevala-bhakati-sadma,
bando mui savadhana mate
jahara prasade bhai, e bhava toriya jai,
krsna-prapti hoy jaha ha'to

2
guru-mukha-padma-vakya, cittete koriya aikya,
ar na koriho mane asa
sri-guru-carane rati, ei se uttama-gati,
je prasade pure sarv asa

3
cakhu-dan dilo jei, janme janme prabhu sei,
divya-jnan hrde prokasito
prema-bhakti jaha hoite, avidya vinasa jate,
vede gay jahara carito

4
sri-guru karuna-sindhu, adhama janara bandhu,
lokanath lokera jivana
ha ha prabhu koro doya, deho more pada-chaya,
ebe jasa ghusuk tribhuvana

TRANSLATION

1
The lotus feet of our spiritual master are the only way by which we can attain pure devotional service. I bow to his lotus feet with great awe and reverence. By his grace one can cross the ocean of material suffering and obtain the mercy of Krsna.

2
My only wish is to have my consciousness purified by the words emanating from his lotus mouth. Attachment to his lotus feet is the perfection that fulfills all desires.

3
He opens my darkened eyes and fills my heart with transcendental knowledge. He is my Lord birth after birth. From him ecstatic prema emanates; by him ignorance is destroyed. The Vedic scriptures sing of his character.

4
Our spiritual master is the ocean of mercy, the fiend of the poor, and the lord and master of the devotees. O master! Be merciful unto me. Give me the shade of your lotus feet. Your fame is spread all over the three worlds.

Maha Mantra

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



LOTUS

Jaya Srila Gurudeva , Srila Prabhupada Ki Jay !

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!

All glories to Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada !

Gaura premanande Haribol!