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Fsp Dvd 6-103

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The installation of the deities of Radha Madana Mohana occurred in August of 1976. We discussed with Prabhupada, and we had an arrangement to get 12, South Indian Ramanuja Vaishnava brahmanas under the leadership of Sampath Kumar Bhattacharya who are very versed in these ritualistic ceremonies of how to open a Vaishnava temple. When Srila Prabhupada came from the airport, they gave him a very grand reception and they actually perform acharya puja and there is even a recorded lecture where Srila Prabhupada discussed, how in this age there are very few brahmanas left, but he was pleased that in South India, he considered that there were still some bonafide brahmanas. Prabhupada had a very interesting conversation in his room with some of these brahmanas and he requested them to arrange to take Srila Prabhupada to all the major temples of South India. I want to go there and reestablish varnasrama dharma in South India. And Srila Prabhupada was preaching to them, how it was the responsibility of these educated, scholarly brahmanas very cultured people to take this up, and preach to the local people and Prabhupada says, "I will come and show you." But overall Prabhupada was very pleased with the opening of the temple. And on the vyasa puja day there was a grand ceremony for Srila Prabhupada vyasa puja so it was a pretty blissful experience. Srila Prabhupada stayed in Tirupati for three days, and the highlight of that trip was a special early morning darshan at 2:00 a.m. I remember it was just a very mystical atmosphere, entering the Deity room by torchlight and then coming in front of Lord Venkateshwara and the pujari waving the ghee lamp to illuminate His form. It was wonderful to see Srila Prabhupada gaze in reverence upon his Lord. At the time, Prabhupada wasn’t very well. So he was traveling with his own personal cook, who was Satsvarupa Maharaj. But when they arrived, they had just come from India, Satsvarupa had hepatitis. So then it was decided that I would be his cook. So because of that, Prabhupada was very involved in the cooking. So on three different occasions he came into the kitchen, and on this one particular time he came in to cook lunch and he cooked the whole meal along with me and whoever was helping, Narmada. For some reason, I’m pretty sure we made asparagus that day. I had cooked for him previously, but one of Prabhupada’s endearing qualities was his pure innocence. He would come into the kitchen, and this was a very, very tiny room. Prabhupada would walk into the kitchen and he’d see a bowl of chickpeas. He’d point at everything, “What is that?” He was just so curious, but never imposing. He would just be pure innocence – “What is this? What is this? What is this?” – curious about everything. So we had a couple Italian devotees cook an Italian preparation on a few days and Prabhupada inquired what it was before he ate it, but he enjoyed them. This particular footage was taken in May of 1974. It was the very first big public festival program that Prabhupada was present at. It was held in Hotel Parco dei Principi, which is a five-star hotel in a beautiful park called Villa Borghese right in the heart of Rome. The auditorium had seating for 500. So I was thinking in the back of my mind that day, “What if only 25 or 30 people show up? It’s going to be a terrible impression.” It just so happened that I was with Prabhupada the whole day, and we got there quite late. Actually when we got to the hall, the lights were down and we were showing “The World of Hare Krishna.” So then after about 5 or 10 minutes we were called that the film had just finished, so could we please immediately come onto the stage. And when we got onto the stage and the lights went up, I noticed that every single seat had been taken. It was absolutely amazing. Then I noticed that there were people standing at the back of the hall, there were people down the two sides of the hall, and there was even people sitting in the aisle in the middle. So I reckon there must have been at least 800 came to that program. Prabhupada turned to me and he said, “Oh, these Italians, they are very interested in Krishna consciousness. They want to hear.” So after the kirtan, Prabhupada started to speak and the translator was this very nice Italian devotee called Alikrsna. So Prabhupada spoke for 45 minutes. Then he asked for questions, and there was a forest of arms shot up. It was just amazing. There were hundreds of people wanted to ask a particular question. Prabhupada turned to me again and he said, “Oh, just see, they really want to understand. I am very happy that they have this enthusiasm for learning Krishna consciousness.” So Prabhupada spent about an hour answering questions. Then we had another kirtan, we distributed prasadam, and then we went back to the temple on Via Mistretta. I was a very young student. I was 17 years old, and I was very much interested in looking for some serious answer, real answer. Because I was born in Assisi, I was willing to join the monks there. I started to become a monk. But then I became discouraged because everything was very mysterious, no answer to my questions about death, about life after death, no answer. I discovered the temple was very close to my house, a hundred meters. So they invited me for the Sunday Feast. Because they just arrived there I never saw them before. I went to the Sunday Feast, and practically I joined almost immediately. I stayed there up to midnight. Somaka prabhu was the devotee who was preaching to me, and immediately we became very close friends. After a month, Prabhupada arrived in the beginning of May. The first impression I had was that the devotees, they were working so hard for Prabhupada’s arrival, working day and night, especially Somaka prabhu. So much love the devotees had for Prabhupada, I never saw anything similar before, and that love impressed me even more when Prabhupada arrived because I remember there were many devotees coming from all over Europe. When he arrived, everybody crying. All the devotees, maybe 150 devotees, everybody crying, chanting and crying. Such a deep affection, such a deep love, and I saw a very, very deep relationship. What impressed me another thing that Prabhupada arrived in Rome coming from Delhi, from India. Immediately he went to the temple, and I was so impressed how very slowly he paid his obeisances with such deep devotion. We had Gaura-Nitai just installed a few days before. Immediately after he sat on the vyasasan, he gave a class, he gave a speech to the devotees. I thought he is coming from a long, long distance, he must be very tired and he was traveling in the night, but he was very fresh. Everybody was so enthusiastic, and it was such an unbelievable atmosphere. I was becoming convinced very quickly that he was in touch with God. So I got such clear information from Prabhupada’s philosophy. I became immediately convinced by the philosophy. When I saw Prabhupada, I saw a very, very powerful person and my eyes, my heart, my consciousness became completely attracted. That week changed completely my life, completely, and I can see after more than 30 years that Prabhupada has become the main thing in my life. The day I became initiated I felt not part anymore of this world. I had the fortune to distribute Prabhupada’s books for many years. I always faced many difficulties. They put me in jail. As soon as I joined, I served a month in jail because I was doing sankirtan on the street. I was one year in Greece doing sankirtan on the street, a couple of times somebody tried to kill me with a knife. But I don’t feel difficulties thanks to Prabhupada’s mercy. He completely changed my life forever. We went for different morning walks in different historical parts of Rome, the Colosseum. He turned to me and he said, “What is this?” I said, “Well, this is an old Roman ruin where they used to hold games, entertainment. It’s like a big entertainment theater.” Prabhupada said, “What is the purpose of it now?” I said, “It’s considered an historical monument.” Then Prabhupada asked me, “Are there any toilets inside?” I said, “No, there’s no toilets.” He said, “What is the point of maintaining such a huge building and you can’t even go to the toilet?” He was just joking obviously. Then we took him to this place called EUR, which is a new development that came up during the time of Mussolini, and it’s a type of architecture called fascist architecture. There were very tall buildings there, and Prabhupada commented. He said, “Just see, they have not learned from their mistakes. They have this big historical building which is useless called the Colosseum, and still they’re making big skyscrapers. And what is the use of these skyscrapers? They are simply increasing their eating, sleeping, mating and defending. This is useless civilization. They are not learning anything. This is just simply chewing the chewed.” We had this house that Prabhupada stayed in. He stayed with us for nine days. It was a detached house with its own garden, and Prabhupada very much liked the weather there. All the neighbors on that small street where the temple was on Via Mistretta would come every morning, knowing exactly what time Prabhupada was going to go for his morning walk, and they would be standing in line ready to offer Prabhupada a freshly picked flower from their gardens. Some were also offering fruits to him too. They were so respectful. Prabhupada had a very nice impression. Actually he said the Italians, they are religious by nature. They desire the blessings of God, and it’s up to us as devotees to teach them how to become qualified to get those blessings. At the end of May, Srila Prabhupada left Rome, Italy, for Geneva. This is Prabhupada accompanied by Satswarupa and myself greeting him at Geneva International Airport. For us, this was just the most inconceivable thing that we could have Prabhupada in a very small temple for 10 days. This is Indradyumna, who was not a sanyasi at the time, leading kirtan. This particular film was done by the Swiss national television in French, and it was broadcasted on the evening news that night. We had a very busy schedule for Srila Prabhupada but we had 10 days of meetings with some very famous, prominent people. Everything took place in French and I was very fortunate to be able to be Prabhupada's main translator, we had a very cute Villa or house in the close suburbs of Geneva, to downtown and we organized a fire sacrifice and ceremony and this is all in the backyard of the temple. Here we have an explanation by Yogeshvara prabhu. Prabhupada was received upon arrival by the governor of Geneva in the main government building in the very same room where Pope Paul the sixth was received. The governor of Geneva was very concerned about what might happen to the Swiss economy. If many of the young people join the Hare Krishna movement. And after the official greeting in the informal conversation, I translated his queries to Prabhupada, and Prabhupada gave him a brief description of the varnasrama system and tried to allay his concerns. Almost a year later, when I was going to the Mayapur festival, I traveled from Bombay to Calcutta on the same plane with Prabhupada, and Prabhupada remembered this governor very well. And he called me over and asked me to sit next to him and said, "So is the governor still worried about the Swiss economy if everyone joins the Hare Krishna movement?" And then he laughed. We organized the festival in the Saudi Fullbore, in Geneva very famous room. Over 1000 people came if you consider that Geneva is a famous city but a very small city with all at the time I think about 180,000 to 200,000 residents, getting 1000 people into a festival hall It's a significant percentage of the local population, we distributed books, for so many years, we would literally knock on every single door in the country about once a year. And we had to make sure that people had a pleasant experience with the devotee knocking on their door. Hopefully, they would take a book. But even if they didn't take a book, we'd be back a year later. And so the cumulative effect of all of this was that Prabhupada's books on a per capita basis in a country, I got to think that it's probably one of the most dense distribution of books in the world. At that time, I was on a serious spiritual search, and looking at different spiritual groups all sorts and was never satisfied. And I somehow landed up near Geneva and France living in a kind of community. I actually had spent many months on my own, very disillusioned with material life and the kind of people I was that were living around me. And I had a boyfriend who went to New Zealand and sent me beads, Bhagavad-gita and books. So I spent months just reading, chanting, and praying, actually very sincerely to Krishna, to help me find what I was looking for. And chanting on my own. I didn't even really know how to do it and reading Gita Nectar of Devotion, and painting a first picture of, of Krishna with the deer. And then one day, a friend from the community said, "Oh, I've been in Geneva and there's a poster. The leader of this movement, the ISKCON movement is coming to Geneva, so do you want to come?" So I said, "Yeah. Okay. It sounds interesting." So we went off to the temple in Geneva, and never been to a temple before. And we were kind of ushered into the garden. And there I saw, Srila Prabhupada. And he was performing for sacrifice. I saw a devotee, a lady prostrate at his feet. And I stood there and just looking in wonderment, really. And suddenly Srila Prabhupada look straight over at me and into my eyes, and I really felt I was the only one in the garden at that point. And it had a kind of two fold effect. First, I just wanted to grant open up, I felt my soul naked, exposed and all my anarthas, which were very many at that time, flooded forward, and I just felt like disappearing into a hole in the ground. And the other kind of enlightening moment was that I just looked at him and I knew that split second this was my spiritual master. I just knew it in my heart, this is him. So it was a very profound experience, actually very profound. And it was not a year till I eventually met Srila Prabhupada again and got initiation. A Swiss writer and lecturer who is quite famous, Sergius Golovin came to visit Prabhupada. He came all the way from Bern. He had quite a following in his day, he was viewed as a genuine spiritual leader. And he took his seat on the floor in Prabhupada's room. And Prabhupada said, "So do you have any questions?" And Sergius Golovin just said, "No. No, I have no questions." And I was sitting there, I'd organized all of this. And I thought what we'll Prabhupada think, as fellows come all this way, and he has nothing to say and nothing to ask. And then he said to Prabhpada, "I'm just so fortunate that I can be here in your presence and benefit from the company of a great master like yourself." And then he fell silent. He never said another word. And Prabhupada that obviously felt a certain sympathy for this man. Because he pulled out the harmonium and he made the 30 minute bhajan. And everyone just listened attentively to Prabhupada at the end of 30 minutes Prabhupada had stopped he was obviously in in rapture with Krishna during that time. And it was perceptible to everyone including this fellow who said, "Thank you very much." And then Prabhupada had said to me, "Make sure he gets prasadam on the way out." On June 6, Prabhupada was invited to give a talk at the World Health Organization at the United Nations. They are responsible for all the family planning efforts of the UN all over the world, and Prabhupada at the time was translating Fifth Canto Srimad Bhagavatam specifically lecturing on Risabhadeva and his 100 sons. So Prabhupada spoke about that at the World Health Organization. He said that when someone is Krishna conscious, he is not a burden to the earth. And there is no excess of such people. And they can all live together in peace and harmony. And the title of Prabhupada's lecture was the myth of overpopulation. It got a good turnout at the UN, because it wasn't the perspective they're used to hearing. We had a few Swiss devotees, the blonde girl, Krishna Kanta was her name, a very, very sweet devotee, French Swiss, who would have ever thought that Prabhupada would ever come to Geneva. But why not? Geneva is in the world history of religion, a very important city. It was there that one of the great proponents of the Reformation was John Calvin organized the Protestant Reformation. So Prabhupada was organizing the Krishna conscious reformation of Switzerland in the world. Here we are, this is entering the City Hall of Geneva. This is Srila Prabhupada being shown through the entranceway. Somehow or other we managed to have Srila Prabhupada received as a dignitary in the large capitals of Europe. That happened in Rome, it happened in Geneva, it happened in Paris. This is a telling moment. Here you see Srila Prabhupada seated while the mayor of Geneva issues his greeting, and that’s Guru-Gauranga translating the mayor’s remarks from French to English. Often there would be a declaration or some kind of plaque or something that would be handed over as a way of acknowledging Srila Prabhupada’s visit to the city. Then Srila Prabhupada would reply, commenting as he often did on such occasions about the duty of good government to train citizens in what is spiritual life, also warning that any government that does not take the responsibility seriously is a hellish government. I remember that that caused some consternation in Paris when he was received at the City Hall there. The mayor got very nervous. Two French reporters came to visit Prabhupada. One was an older man, and one was a woman probably in her early 30’s. Prabhupada didn’t tell pastime stories. Mostly he preached about you’re not that body, a lot of philosophical things, but he didn’t generally tell so many stories. This woman was sitting there, and he starts telling her the story about how this demon kidnapped 16,000 princesses and Krishna finally came and killed the demon. The princesses approached Krishna because they were really attracted to Krishna, and Krishna looked at them and He said, “Come on,” and that’s how Krishna ended up with 16,000 wives. So as I’m listening to the story I’m thinking, “This is a pretty incredible story to tell a reporter, especially in the Western culture where everything is so rationalistic.” But he told that story, and when he quoted Krishna as saying, “Come on,” that reporter’s face lit up as only a woman who had some experience in the world of heartbreak could understand. And even though the number of wives may have sounded so incredible, that affection He had towards those princesses touched that woman’s heart and she just lit up. It was beyond the rational, it was just on the level of an appreciation of the loving heart of Krishna by this very intelligent, very sophisticated French reporter; and it was a very wonderful moment.

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Duration: 24 minutes and 36 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: lopter001 on Jan 3, 2022

Fsp Dvd 6-103

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