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Following Srila Prabhupada DVD 302

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I met the devotees in very early '70s. One afternoon, I saw them in Calcutta playing mridanga, and after some time they were preaching. After that, I asked them a few questions. And they told me that they have a center in Albert Road. And at the time, I was student of Calcutta University, and I decided to go there. I also heard through the grapevine that at that time Srila Prabhupada is in town. So I bought some fruits and I showed up to see Srila Prabhupada one evening, because also I heard that he gives darshan. And I was met at the gate of 3C Albert Road by Shyamasundara prabhu, and he just told me to wait for a second. He went in to talk with Prabhupada, and he came and asked me if I am a student. I said, "Yes, I'm a student of Calcutta University," and he said, "Go ahead and go in." I went, and there was Prabhupada alone, and there was nobody else. So I bowed down before him, because in India, it's a custom to bow down before holy men, and I offered him the bananas that I purchased and then we started talking. And at that time, I did not have any idea of the greatness of my Gurudeva. He was very open to me. He was glowing, I remember that. He was a glowing sannyasi, and that was my first meeting with my Gurudeva. We talked a lot of things and then when I was ready to leave, he took a banana and cut a piece of it and gave it back to me as prasadam, which I very gratefully accepted. And deep inside, I have a very good feeling, that he is a genuine swami, which is very rare in India. And after that there was a program in rich man's home where a lot of devotees gathered before a pandal program, and Prabhupada saw me in the crowd and he held up his hand and pointed towards me and said in Bengali, "Tumi tomar matha nara korbe kobe?" The translation of that is, "When would you shave your head?" In other words, he was telling me, "When would you become my disciple?" And I was simply elated. I felt, "My eternal Gurudeva has found me, a lost soul wandering through the universe, and my Gurudeva has finally found me. It's the beginning of my journey back home." The pandal program was scheduled to begin. But some of the work was still going on. Now, at this time in northern Calcutta, there was bombing and shooting going on between the Naxalites, the Communists, and other people. And we had some chairs for life members, I case some people didn't want to sit on the ground. There were some seats for one rupe each. So this was the basis for the Naxalites to complain. So they're complaining. Meanwhile, there's a gentleman named Colonel Datta who used to come to the Calcutta temple, and he wore this pith helmet, this African hat that was very flamboyant. So he wanted to fight all the Naxalites and I said, "No, that's not a good idea." But he was barring the entrance and they were going back and forth and you could hear a lot of commotion. Meanwhile, Prabhupada is up on the stage, and Prabhupada wanted to know what all the commotion was. Meanwhile, a note then came in said, "Quit or die, quit India or die." Prabhupada sees it and he said, "Let's go, let's start the pandal" he sang the Brahma-samhita prayers. He told me also he said, "Go and tell them that if they want to sit in one rupee chairs that they can just invite them to sit." So I invited them to sit, this diffused the argument Prabhupada started singing the Brahma-samhita prayers, cintamani-prakara-sadmasu, and they just quieted down and the pandal program started. Before the pandal program began, some reporters came to interview Srila Prabhupada and one of them challenged, "What is the point of spending so much money making so many arrangements for this pandal when the money could be used for better purposes, to feed people?" Srila Prabhupada replied, "The purpose of the pandal is simply to give people a chance to come and hear. Where has the pandal come from? I went to America, and I simply gave people a chance to hear. And because they heard, now they have come with me to India, and they've made the pandal." His Devine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is reaching now from Calcutta to the New Delhi airport, for attending the nine days discourse of Srimad-Bhagavatam. All the distinguished guests are welcoming him including the mayor of Delhi, Hans Raj Gupta, MLA of Delhi state, member of our ad hoc committee, who will arrange all the discourses in New Delhi. The place is very difficult to get discourses in New Delhi. But by arraignment with the government of India, the mayor could arrange everything perfectly. What an appropriate event for Srila Prabhupada had to be received as a very important person at the Delhi Palam Airport when he arrives for the first Delhi pandal in Connaught Circus, and many members of the government were invited to greet Srila Prabhupada. Gurudas is the official host. Srila Prabhupada is always so much untouched by praise. He humbly receives whatever level of consciousness that his disciples have been awarded with and receives it with such humility. This is the first magazine Prabhupada is seeing printed for this occasion from Delhi called Back to Godhead in Hindi, Bhagavat Dharsan. And he was very pleased that our Hindi magazine is coming first time in India. You can watch him observing people and their progress in their spiritual life so perceptive. He was able to see externally and internally the progress of his disciples. I find that so thrilling to watch the behavior, and he seems oblivious to anything other than their bhakti, the the advancement in Krishna consciousness. He gives the same message, country after country, encourages each disciple. But it was very appropriate for someone who had lived and served in Delhi in the late '50s and early '60s, singlehandedly, alone, with no help, and just within 10 years such a tremendous change of appreciation. Prabhupada was big news. When these pandals happened in India, in Bombay and Delhi, and Calcutta, they were very widely covered and the society of leaders were very aware of Prabhupada's presence all the way from the Prime Minister on down through the Cabinet. The Prime Minister herself was very appreciative of our Krishna consciousness movement. And through some of the honorary Members of Parliament who spoke on her behalf to her, she was helpful in the early years of our Krishna consciousness movement, met with the devotees and gave a good word. That was Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. When we got back to where we were staying from the airport, he invited everyone into his room and he was just kind of like lounging on these pillows and he looked so youthful and effulgent. It was just totally a different experience than seeing them in America. And he was kind of like laughing and joking about how bad the milk was in Calcutta. "The milk in Kolkata is finished." He had just come from Calcutta. I was just so dumbstruck by this experience of seeing my spiritual master in this mood, this informal mood, and feeling so unworthy that I couldn't... When I'd look up at him he looked so effulgent it hurt my eyes. So I thought, "okay, I'll start by looking at his feet." So I started looking at his feet, and then I moved up, it was almost like offering aratik with my eyes, I moved up his transcendental body until I got to his face. And when I beheld his face, he was transformed in his appearance. And I started trembling and tears started pouring out like, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was not a physical form at all that I'd ever seen. It was Prabhupada, but it was transformed into this exquisite kind of otherworldly beauty that you never see on this planet. I almost fainted. Seeing Prabhupada's appearance transform was like a tangible proof to me that he was a being from the spiritual plane, from the spiritual world, in our midst. And every once in a while the veil would lift from our eyes and we'd get a little glimpse by Prabhupada's mercy. This is literally the first day of the Delhi pandal. There is this wonderful asana, and behind those curtains are the incredibly beautiful deities of Radha-Gokulananda, Who were officially installed by Srila Prabhupada at this time, on the occasion of the Delhi pandal. There was an instance for both the pandal in Delhi, the first Bombay pandal, those deities went to Australia and New Zealand, these went to the Manor and in Jaipur the Radha-Govinda Deities, which ultimately went to New York, Prabhupada considered that these festival programs were an installation of the Deity. In other words, they were worshipped in his presence. So for a pure devotee to be introducing Them to worship is naturally a form of installation. So these Deities, They were different pastimes in these three places of London and New York and Dallas, where devotees actually made some adjustment on the arca-vigraha in some small way. When Prabhupada heard that he said, "No, these Deities have already been worshipped, this should not take place." It so happened that I was the person that was arranging for Their worship and installation and that aspect of the pandal, and shortly after the end of that program, I literally fell unconscious into coma for three days. One evening, an American young man, or a hooligan came forward to the stage. You know, he was bare chested with a leather vest, he had tattoos all over his body, he had chains hanging from his neck and he had wild long hair, and he came up to the stage in a very aggressive mood. He wanted to challenge Srila Prabhupada. So immediately Prabhupada's disciples rushed forward to keep him away, but Srila Prabhupada surprised us all and said, "No, let him come on the stage." So Prabhupada had him come on the stage, he had the disciples give him a cushion or asana to sit in, and Prabhupada had the disciples put a microphone in front of him. He said, "Have you realized yourself within yourself?" And Srila Prabhupada said, "Yes." Then the young man was sort of taken back, and he said, "How old is the Bhagavad-gita?" Srila Prabhupada said, "Five thousand years." Then the young man began to spout, "No, no, according to my authorities, according to my information Bhagavad-gita is only about a thousand years old." And Prabhupada said, "That's nonsense." Then the young man asked another challenging question and Prabhupada finally said, "No, you answer my question now. What is the process for learning Bhagavad-gita?" And the young man said, "No, I asked you first you answer my question first." And Prabhupada retorted, "No, I'm not your servant. I don't have to answer your question. You answer my question. What is the process for learning Bhagavad-gita?" So eventually... the two were shouting at each other, and Prabhupada motioned and the disciples escorted the man from the stage. And then Srila Prabhupada proceeded to explain what the process for receiving the knowledge of Bhagavad-gita is, and that is submissive oral reception, not by challenging. I was in the audience distributing books at the time, and the incident created pandemonium in the audience, and the whole audience was polarized. Some in favor of Prabhupada and some in favor of the young man. The ones that were sympathetic to the young man got up and surrounded us and started to challenge us and say,"You know, your Guru Maharaj should have answered his question." So the mood was so agitated that all of us that were distributing in the audience sort of made our way as quickly as possible back to the area of the stage. But later we realized what Prabhupada had done. He had created a situation to illustrate how one is unable to learn Bhagavad-gita, and in contrast to the proper to explain what the real processes is and that is by submissive hearing from the authority. My job... one of them was to invite chief guests to the program, and so I thought it would be a good idea to.... because we did this in London... have titles for what Prabhupada would talk about, and have guests that would sometimes have something to do with the theme. One of the chief guests was James George, the Canadian ambassador to India, who was very favorable. I think his talk was appreciated by the populace, as well as any of the chief guests, if not more. So we invited Dr. Atmaram, the chief scientist, and he talked on how religion and science actually don't have to be at odds with each other. And then Prabhupada spoke on Easy Journey To Other Planets type of a scientific talk. So we invited Hans Raj Gupta, the mayor of Delhi, who was a really good friend of Prabhupada. It was more anecdotal, how Prabhupada continued and persevered and started the League of Devotees and printed the Srimad-Bhagavatams. It was very enlightening to us because Prabhupada really did persevere at the beginning of many of the things that we take for granted and made them happen. This is the first expansion of Srila Prabhupada's energy that has become the Glory of India project today. Srila Prabhupada, when he left for the West, knew he was going to come back and inundate India with Krishna consciousness just the way Lord Chaitanya inundated the subcontinent of India with Krishna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada's destiny was to do that. And when he brought his disciples back from the West, who were enthusiastic, but very new disciples, he started sending them various places for preaching work. So Delhi, Calcutta and Bombay were the first three big cities that Srila Prabhupada worked on; and because this was the capital, it was important. We were only there for maybe a month, but that month seems like it could have been 100 years. It was so important at the time. So these were just the very little beginning foundation blocks of what later became the Delhi ISKCON temple project. Prabhupada took us to Vrindavan, and this was like the ultimate experience for us - Prabhupada coming back to his spiritual home with so many sons and daughters. This was the high point of our India experience with Srila Prabhupada entering the magic, spiritual realm of Krishna itself. Everything he had been teaching us for years came into focus. We could see now, "Oh, this is Vrindavan". Such intimate sweet exchanges we had. This visit in 1971 of Srila Prabhupada was very, very historical in our Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya. It was the inauguration of the fulfillment of Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda's desire that the Holy Names of Krishna be spread to every town and village throughout the world. Lord Chaitanya went to Vrindavan, and He sent the Six Goswamis there to establish it as a place of pilgrimage for people all over the world. When Rupa and Sanatan went to Vrindavan on Lord Caitanya's order, they were there to establish it as a place of pilgrimage for people all over the world, obviously for people who would become Vaisnavas from every town and village in the world. That was Lord Caitanya's vision. And this visit was the beginning of the fulfillment, the first time Vaisnavas from the West who were committed to Krishna consciousness in a relatively large group came on pilgrimage to the holy dham of Sri Braj. Look, he's so healthy and exuberant. He's back home. This is where he hatched out the whole Hare Krishna Movement. This is where Krishna empowered him to come West. And little Saraswati she was one of his favorites. She went around, followed him wherever he went. Sometimes he would grab her hand and walk with her. If Saraswati didn't come to his room every morning around eight o'clock, he would sometimes ask, "And where is Saraswati?" He expected to see her every morning. And quite often he would play some trick on her when she came, either to make her laugh or cry. But he would always make up and give her some nice sweet. Here he is showing us the sites, showing us around the samadhis of great Vaisnavas behind Radha-Damodara temple, explaining a little bit about who is buried where. In those days it was all rundown and practically abandoned. Well, most of Vrindavan was practically rundown and abandoned. We used to think that Raman Reti was far out of town. Prabhupada revived the whole spiritual life of India, starting with Vrindavan, a now flourishing spiritualized city because of Prabhupada. Of course, Rupa Goswami's samadhi there, Prabhupada's favorite place. He used to say that Rupa Goswami inspired him to go to the West and spread Krishna consciousness, because he would sit in his room and gaze out on his samadhi year after year and chant and read, translate.

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Duration: 24 minutes and 5 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 6
Posted by: lopter001 on Sep 9, 2021

Following Srila Prabhupada DVD 302

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