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Following Srila Prabhupada _ DVD 103

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Swamiji was shut in the early summer 1967 in Srila Prabhupada's appartment. At 26th Second Avenue. He had recently returned to New York, from New Jersey and San Francisco. He had had a stroke, he... he was... not in good health and he decided that he wanted to go to India to recuperate. And we were really distraught, because we felt if he goes to India, he's gonna stay there. He doesn't wanna come back here, because it's bad for his health, the cold, the winters... And we didn't know what to do, we thought, we will never see him again, or we wanna see him, we have to go to India. How can we keep him here. Of course we couldn't keep him there. So the devotees asked me to make a simple documentary... just... just... pictures... moving pictures of Srila Prabhupada. We had photographs to look at. The devotees wanted a film to look at. A movie of Srila Prabhupada. Simply something to meditate on. So we could feel close to him. And so I asked Srila Prabhupada if I could do that and he said yes. So I'm simply in his room with him. And he very kindly tolerated my presence there as I... made the movie. I didn't direct Srila Prabhupada at all. I didn't... ask him or tell him to do anything. I just followed his lead. This was with an 8 mm camera. Very simple means. And this was the last day that Srila Prabhupada was in New York. He was leaving the next day for India. Kirtanananda was preparing his packing cases to go on the plane. Bigger than suitcases. They were trunks. You see, this was... really our Prabhupada murti while he was away in India. The devotees would look at this film we would just chant our rounds or we would play a tape of Srila Prabhupada singing a bhajan or have a kirtana while looking at it. So really not much happens in this movie except we're looking at Prabhupada and he's looking at us. I would have to change rolls of film and as I did that one time Srila Prabhupada asked me to show him how did the film... which was Agfa black and white film high speed... how the film was clipped onto the reel with a little plastic gripper. And Srila Prabhupada asked me to show him, how it worked. And after I showed him, he said, "They think of everything." When Srila Prabhupada arrived in Inda, he was going to India for his health, and when he arrived in India, he got off the plane, Kirtanananda, who was with him, who went with him as a servant, said that "It was like walking into an oven", in a letter that he has sent to us and Kirtanananda's comments were there and Srila Prabhupada followed up with his comments and he said "I find it quite bracy myself" so that was why he went to India - to get braced up. So it's a pretty simple film, but the beauty of Srila Prabhupada is what makes it fascinating. I was doing a sign that he asked me to do upstairs in that first place where he was offering arati. The sign of the Hare Krishna mantra. Because there was going to be a big program at Tompkins Square Park. So the sign was about four or five feet. (?) and I had to sprawl my whole body accross it to reach to the other end. We didnt't have easels in those days. So I also apologized to Prabhupada when he came in the room that I'm sorry that I'm offending the Holy Name. So he told a story of when Krishna had a headache and the gopis took the dust from their feet to put on His head to relive His headache. They didn't care if they would go to hell as long as Krishna would be cured. So... when I apologized Prabhupada told me that story, and he said it's fine because it's for service. He used to sit and turn the globe. And he would meditate on the different countries. And he had say "Brahmananda, you shall go to Russia." "Gaurasundara, you shall go to Japan." "(?), you shall go to South America." You have to understand, we had no money, we had no manpower, we had nothing we were a handful of teanagers. Ten people in their early twenties. Who were rather excentric, all of us, because we had rejected our cultural values and were following him like a Pied Piper. And he was telling us about these different countries we're gonna go to and open temples. He had his plan. It was not haphazardly done. I have beautiful picture of Prabhupada sitting, And turning his globe. He did it a lot. He meditated on the globe. He looked at the different countries. We would see him doing it a lot. And he was planning. He planned the takeover of Russia long before ever went to Russia. This was like a part of what he knew he had to come to this world and do. We just didn't know what all he was doing. Although sometimes in Montreal when we had a lot of time and he would talk he used to talk to me about his different plans. We had no money. We lived in a little flat. We had rats too... There was nothing! And yet... He was telling me how he was going to have a world sankirtana party. And he also told me how he wanted to have a big auditorium where people could come and watch bhajans. And hear bhajans, and see plays and Krishna-counsious things rather than going to the cinemas. He felt the cinemas were dragging people into another world. He had plans of doing this. And when I go to Bombay and I see that great big auditorium I go... then I... He said he was gonna do this. It's just like if I'm a pauper and I tell you I'm gonna build Disneyland. And that's what it was like. But I never disbelieved anything he said. I just listened. I was just always like... listening to him. And he liked to talk about what he was going to do. And he talked about many things. Now this painting which is done by Jadurani is a painting of Vrindavana. It's the Madana-Mohana temple. This is one of the first paintings that Jadurani did. And it's Madana-Mohana. Madana-Mohana temple that Sanatana Goswami erected for the first deity in Lord Caitanya's movement. Prabhupada would give her a picture and she would copy that into a painting. Prabhupada... he hunged it right above his head, he sat underneath this. So it's the first western connection, you might say, with Vrindavana. And here's... the personification of Vrindavana sitting there. I did this painting and then Prabhupada was going back to... India in July of '67. And we were all devastated that he was gone. But then he looked at this picture and he said, "If you look at this picture, then we'll all will be together." "Even though I'm in India." "And if you chant 'Hare Krishna' then we're all packed up tight." "Even though I'm in India and you're here." And of course everybody was a brand new devotee. And nobody really knew much of anything. So there was also a lot of nonsense going on there you know, fighting and things like that, so I became disturbed and I went to see Prabhupada to complain about some of the things that the devotees were doing. And Prabhupada said to me, "If you don't like what they're doing, then you set the example." A little later I again went to see him to complain about devotees, and Srila Prabhupada said "What do you want from them? They're trying to serve Krishna." And the third time was in 1972, I think, I was living in San Francisco, and I wrote Prabhupada a letter, just complaining about so many things. And Prabhupada wrote me back. Now I complained people of do bad things and the example this and that. And Prabhupada said, "Who set them there an example?" He said "Anyway, what are you doing?" "All you're doing is making money and spending it on your householder life." And he ended the letter and said, "The whole movement is ment for..." 'cause I had said I don't understand this movement. Prabhupada said "You've been with me for so many years and you still don't understand." "Then when will you understand?" He said "The whole movement is meant for service." Oh, here's the Jagannatha deities, that Syamasundara made. He made four sets. When Prabhupada came to the airport, we had to collect the baggage. We walked over to the baggage place where the baggage came out This big wooden crates came and Prabhupada pointed, there was his suitcase, but then he said also his wooden crates. Of course we had no idea what was in them. Neither did we ask. And we brought the crates back. So these crates were in the next room, and Prabhupada told to go and open the crates. So we went and open the crates and there were these Jagannatha deities. But we had never seen Jagannatha in New York. 'Cause, you know, Jagannatha came from San Francisco. Puri. Just as Prabhupada made Vrindavana in New York, he made San Francisco Puri. So looked at these Jagannatha deities, we couldn't figure it out... I mean, it's not Krishna, what is it? And then somebody was saying... making jokes that these look like... North American indian. It's a totem pole. And there's three parts to the totem pole. So we were trying to figure it out, Which one is on top, which one is in the middle, which one is in the bottom to make the totem pole. That's what we were thinking. There's the ladder that I was painting the apartment with, I didn't quite finish. And then Prabhupada walked in and he saw us and we were like joking like "Whoa, this is really far out, an indian totem pole." And then Prabhupada said, "This is Lord Jagannatha, the Lord of the Universe!" "Bow down!" And everybody - bumm - hit the floor. That's how Prabhupada introduced Jagannatha worship. So those deities... were worshipped but we had drunks coming into the storefront and so on... it wasn't proper to have them available or vulnerable, you know. So we kept them in the apartment and worshipped there. Srila Prabhupada had been leading these sankirtanas at Tompkins Square Park at the beginning, and then when he was away in India, in San Francisco the devotees continued on their own. This Lord Jagannatha a doll really... it isn't really a deity, but a little doll of Lord Jagannatha. Then the devotees at one point all had them hang around their necks. And we had a lot of questions of Srila Prabhupada like is it all right to go into the bathroom with Lord Jagannatha hanging around your neck and... he said you should take Him off before you go into the bathroom and... So we had some very basic questions about etiquette at that point. We didn't know anything. The devotees had seen in... second volume of Prabhupada's Bhagavatam. There was a verse in a purport. In the purport... It was written in verse form, it was... the names of Krishna. He Krishna Govinda Hare Murari He Naatha Narayana Vasudeva In the purport, Prabhupa was explaining that Krishna is all of those in one. So we thought this was a mantra of some kind and it was obviously the names of Krishna, so we started chanting and we put it to music. Of course with all of the various instruments and we were singing and it was kind of like a hootenanny I mean we were really having a ball chanting this new... 'cause this was at the beginning and there were not very many mantras other than Hare Krishna. So we were singing this and having a great time when Prabhupada arrived we all bowed down and paid obeisances and he got on the Vyasasana and he spoke to us and said, "Oh, who has given you this mantra?" And somebody said, "Oh, we saw this in your Bhagavatam Prabhupada." And he said, "This should not be chanted." He said, "This is not bona-fide." And we were just... talk about thunderstruck... We were so bewildered. And he proceeded to explain, he said "Even they're the names of Krishna, unless" "the mantra is given by the desciplic succession" "it shouldn't be chanted. Even though they're names of Krishna." And there's a verse like that, saying that it has to come from the sampradaya. So right after that then he said, "Oh, so you want another mantra to chant?" And everybody just spontaniously said "Yes, yes", and everybody kind of cheered. So he started singing "Jaya Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda" "Sri Adwaita Gadadhara Shrivasadi Gaura bhakta vrinda" And then he introduced it in kirtana. So about a week or so before Prabhupada arrived, I put up hundreds of these fliers all over the city on lamp posts and billboards and in stores and any place I could advertising Prabhupada's bhakti yoga and Bhagavad Gita classes. Prabhupada had always had his trunk as his desk. Wherever we went, he had his indian trunck, and all off his stuff would fit in and when we moved to another city and then wherever we got to, whatever room we were gonna be in then I would take all of his stuff out of his trunk and arranged his room and his trunk was his desk. It was just how we lived. It was normal. And he would sit on the floor. So I would commonly spent 2-3 hours a day sitting in front of him taking dictation of letters. Because often Prabhupada would just talk. Well, you see, there weren't so many letters in those days. There were maybe... 10... a day... sometimes less. And so there was time. And he would talk about everything. Trains and buses and which is better trains or buses about tigers, about all kinds of things. He would sit and talk. One of the sweetest times was in the evening. When Gaurasundara would give him massage. Because all the work for the day had been done. And I would sit at the doorway and listen. We were like family. It was just he used to say, "We have become just like a family." He used to tell me, "My mother died at an early age, Krishna has sent you to be my mother." And actually I was only 21 years old, or 20 years old, and he was at the age of my grandfather, 'cause he was in his 70-s. When I would rent an apartment for him, I would just tell the landlord, I'm getting it for my grandfather. Once they called him, he was coming, and Jadurani who was not much of a cook asked him if he would be eating before he came or whether they should have something for him to eat when he arrived. And so Prabhupada said, "I'm just like a cow" "I can eat in one pasture and then eat in another pasture also." That's Damodara offering obeisances. With the camera. See, that's devotional film-making. During that Boston trip almost every week new faces was to show up from New York. All of the old devotees would come up Brahmananda, Rayarama, Rupanuga... and the Boston temple had always been a small temple like 3 people. 2 people. 5 people, 6 people. But never more then about 5 or 6. But during Prabhupada's visit there it was just packed with mostly New York devotees. Remember the day after the brahmin initiation we were all went on a walk. I was also there. And I quipped, you know, Boston brahmanas "Ah, yes, Boston brahmanas" It was six of us to get the sacred thread in the first initiation. 6 man, and no women. Then they raised a fuss, they didn't show up. They were so angry with it They weren't gonna get second initiation, they didn't come. Gaurasundara really wanted this Gayatri Mantra so he talked to Prabhupada about it. He was reading all kinds of things. So... Prabhupada agreed to give him Gayatri Mantra. And give him second initiation. And so I met him on the street and he had his hair all shaved off. That really bothered me, but that night he had the Gayatri Mantra initiation. And I was upset. Because he was going to give Gaurasundara the mantra but he wasn't gonna give it to me. So I felt very left out. So... When it came time to go for the initiation ceremony, I said "Well, I'm not feeling very well, so I'm not gonna go." I was pouting. And after they left, I thought to myself, "What am I doing?" "I don't wanna be not there!" So I ran out the door and ran the 10 blocks all the way to the temple. And burst into the temple. And Prabhupada was sitting there giving the initiation and he looked up and he said "Ah, Karuna dasi I was wondering how could you stay away." "You loved to hear me speak so much." 'Cause he wanted me to come. But I was mad... I was very upset about this. And so because I was a little upset, he decided that the girls also should have Gayatri Mantra. Jadurani was more upset. And so he gave us initiation the next evening with the Gayatri Mantra. Because he knew that in this country the girls and the boys are educated in the same way. On this particular day he took us downtown where he went when he first got off the Jaladuta boat. Because the captain was doing some shopping so he took Prabhupada and Prabhupada was pointing out different places that he remembered. And the next day... Prabhupada took all the devotees for a tour where he first landed. I was in the back I ran up so that I could walk right next to him. And he turned to me and he said "If the jackals glorify you, what's the benefit?" Other word, don't try and get material glorification. And then he said, because, you know, the nature of any big city is that things've been broken down and things've been built up, he said "building and breaking, building and breaking." "So we have to stop this building and breaking." "We have to break with Maya and build with Krishna." Prabhupada would arrive, I think, by taxi. But in the meantime the devotees were chanting in the temple at 95 Glenville Avenue. Deep in kirtana. And it would be all this frankincense the whole room was full of smoke. When Prabhupada would come in we were literally in extasy. You cannot conceive of the impact that Prabhupada had on us... Prabhupada's every move and every gesture - he was just floating in extasy. And we could perceive that. The bliss that Prabhupada was in. And I remember, he got up on the Vyasasana, And he said, "The secret" "is to be praying while we're chanting the name of Krishna:" "Please, Krishna, just place me in the society of Your service."

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Duration: 24 minutes and 25 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Posted by: lopter001 on Jun 7, 2021

Following Srila Prabhupada _ DVD 103

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