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Fsp Dvd 5-106

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I was also here in Mayapur for the opening of the Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir, the Lotus Building, when Radha Madhava were invited to Their new building. There must have been about a thousand devotees. It was really packed with devotees. Srila Prabhupada arrived in the evening, and then on the next morning we had mangal aratik and it was the first big mangal aratik with Srila Prabhupada in the Lotus Building for that festival. So that mangal aratik was absolutely tumultuous. From where I was, I looked around and nobody’s feet were touching the ground. It was almost like everyone was on the ceiling. Everyone was dancing. They were jumping, really jumping, so much so that most of the time in the kirtan you only saw them in the air, and the sound was absolutely tumultuous. It was so ecstatic, very special kirtan, and it was led by His Holiness Tamal Krsna Maharaj. So after the kirtan, Tamal Krsna Maharaj went up to Prabhupada’s room and spoke with him. Then Prabhupada immediately said to him, “If you all keep chanting like this, then Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur himself will personally come here and take you all back to Godhead.” Krsna das Babaji Maharaj was there and he was a very close friend of Prabhupada’s, a godbrother, and very pure and effulgent. Prabhupada had told us that he was a pure devotee, and they were discussing in Bengali. It was just Krsna das Babaji, Prabhupada and myself inside the room. But at that time, Subal Sadhu, a funny, eccentric fellow, old man, came in but at one point he started really chanting “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,” and he started rolling on the floor in Prabhupada’s room. I thought, “I must do something about it.” So at that time, what little Bengali I could speak I told Subal, “Prabhupada is very tired now. So you please come another time,” and I stopped him from rolling very gently and I lifted him up and I showed him out the door and I shut the door. I went back and Krsna das Babaji Maharaj, he was always prone to laugh. He would laugh at everything. Especially what the Western devotees would do and say, he found very humorous. But this time he was heaving, he was going hysterical. And as he laughed more, Prabhupada began to laugh, and they were both laughing and laughing and laughing. Then Prabhupada, in the midst of his laughter, he looked at Krsna das Babaji and he said in Bengali, “Khub bhalo bangla bolche,” that “He speaks real good Bengali,” and they laughed and laughed and laughed. Here was Srila Prabhupada’s position. He had practically conquered the world with Krishna consciousness. He had been all around and he came back here to Mayapur, and now he was establishing something really big. It was the opening of the Lotus Building, and in those days this was a big building. It was bigger than practically anything else around in Mayapur, and there was no one more successful. It was clear now that he was more successful than any of his godbrothers. It was clear that he was Krishna’s representative, that he was the special sankirtan general for the whole world. That day Srila Prabhupada gave the class, and I clearly remember the first thing that he said in his lecture. Before he said anything he said, “Actually I am unfit to be your leader,” and everyone was very quiet. And actually he was quite choked up as well and he said, “You are all spreading Krishna consciousness in the Western countries because of your previous connection with the sankirtan movement, and Lord Caitanya has put you there.” Then he said, “And you are actually doing everything and I am not fit to be your leader.” When he said that, I thought, “Now, hang on. This is a level of humility that I cannot understand,” because he really meant it. It was obvious that he was doing some really big things, but he was absolutely taking no credit for it and he really meant it, otherwise he wouldn’t have said it. Actually, when I first heard that I was bewildered, I couldn’t understand what he was talking about. But as I’ve reflected upon that over the years, now I understand that he is actually completely humble. He has no sense of thinking that “I am the doer.” Prabhupada said, “You should distribute prasad, let people know that we are giving out prasad.” And the first time, this was ’72, Prabhas used to cook it and we’d put it in buckets and people came with their little bowls and we had leaf plates, and Prabhupada watched through his window because it was right below his window. “Yes, this is very good, prasadam distribution.” So this was the first Food for Life, so to speak. Now, of course, I was asking someone about the prasadam distribution. They said, “Well, not so many people come anymore because the whole area has become so prosperous due to ISKCON.” Prabhupada invited all of his godbrothers from the surrounding maths to come and have a group get-together. The different Gaudiya Math leaders and many of their disciples also came. Of course, for a long time they were sitting in Prabhupada’s room talking and laughing and speaking in Bengali, we couldn’t understand. But then later on he brought them all out onto the veranda and had them all sit down and gave them all leaf plates, and he had his devotees serving them prasad and Prabhupada was personally directing the serving. I was standing way down at the other end of the building just looking at this and I was thinking, “Wow, that looks so nice, that prasadam.” I was thinking in India we never have the Sunday feast, in Dallas we had a Sunday feast every week. So even if you were austere all week, you had the Sunday feast to look forward to. And just at that moment, Prabhupada turned around and he motioned to me, “Come here.” I thought, “He probably wants me to help serve.” So I walked over and I said, “Yes, Prabhupada? How can I serve you?” And he said, “Sit down.” I shook my head, I thought, “I didn’t hear this right.” But he said it again, “Sit down.” I sat down and Prabhupada said, “Give him a plate, serve him some subji, give him puri, give him sweet rice,” just like that, he was directing all the serving. He was going up and down and as he was serving his godbrothers and their disciples, he was serving me also and I couldn’t believe it. I was in ecstasy eating prasad served by my own guru, and it was really, really good; but at the same time, I was so embarrassed taking service from my guru. At one point Prabhupada said, “Would you like more puri?” and I was too embarrassed to say yes. I said, “No, no, that’s OK.” But Prabhupada knew my heart so he said, “Give him more puri.” That was one of the most incredible experiences in my entire life. It says volumes about the relationship with the guru and the disciple, how the guru is so exalted but he’s willing to serve his disciples at any moment. On Gaura Purnima morning, we went to the Ganges. In those days, in ’74, the Ganges was a long way away from the temple. It was a good 15-minute walk to the Ganges. So we were down there shaving our heads, and then we were going to take bath. I remember that the devotee who was shaving my head was with this dull blade and my head was getting cut and so many things. Then Srila Prabhupada transcendentally came down with the sannyasis to the bank of the Ganga. He squatted down, took three drops of water on his head and said that’s the same as taking a bath. Then he walked back to the temple. So after struggling for almost a year with the whole process of learning, I actually got to the point where I thought, “OK, now I can do something.” So I made a diorama of Narasinghadev, Hiranyakasipu being ripped apart. I wanted to impress Srila Prabhupada with the pyrotechnics of it, so it was all very realistic. So this was the first exhibit of maybe 15 or so exhibits. Trying to hide my pride, I toured Prabhupada around the exhibits. We came to the first one, he studied it for some time, and then he asked whose it was and I said that it was my work. He said, “It is not yet perfect. You must study some more. Then you can go to the West and teach. But you have to study some more.” And that’s all he said. He didn’t elaborate on it in any way. He looked at other exhibits, there were several. At the end was the exhibit of Rukmini, Rukmini had made one too because we both studied together. It was a diorama of Lord Caitanya fainting before Jagannatha, and Prabhupada stood at it and was visibly moved and happy to see it. He said, “Who has done this?” I said, “Well, this is Rukmini’s work” And Prabhupada said, “The wife is better.” I felt, in a nutshell, humiliated, chastened, but grateful. I expected some encouragement, but it didn’t come then. It came later, though, when we completed the work in Vrindavan for the installation. So we wanted to do the boat program , go village to village preaching by boat. Actually we were discussing the name of the boat, and finally Srila Prabhupada accepted that the name should be Nitai Pada Kamalam. Then he installed the Gaura-Nitai Deities there. The abhisek was performed by Jagadisa prabhu. I remember the day before they were leaving in Prabhupada’s room. Bhavananda was going to go out and Sudama was going to be the cook, and Srila Prabhupada said, “By doing this program, you will get so much mercy from Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So much mercy.” He said that “This program should not stop.” Then he actually went on the boat. He didn’t sail it, but he went on the boat at the ghat. He was walking on the boat and they sang Nitai Pada Kamalam with Prabhupada. Prabhupada, of course, was lecturing a lot during that week. Prabhupada was reading from the Caitanya-caritamrta and, of course, I was sitting there as always listening, trying to imbibe everything and hearing all that Prabhupada was saying. By this point, a lot of devotees were not attending because they were sick, they were out on their back, but I was fortunate enough to be well. But something happened to me that evening of Gaura Purnima. I had this strange feeling of hankering to read Prabhupada’s books in a way that I never had before. I even felt like going right back to the States and reading Prabhupada’s books, just absorbing myself, doing nothing but reading Prabhupada’s books, even though the Vrindavan part of the festival had not yet occurred and, of course, who would want to miss that. But I suddenly realized my relationship with Prabhupada was through his books and I felt that I was going to have a special relationship with the books, although I had no idea that I would end up being part of the Bhaktivedanta Institute and then going on to Harvard and conducting studies. But it all began there that evening in Mayapur. In Mayapur, Srila Prabhupada was always really concerned that the women had nice prasadam. He talked to me a couple of times about making sure there was milk every night and that I could go heat it. He made an arrangement so that there would be a fire set aside so that we could heat milk for the ladies who were nursing or pregnant. He wanted to make sure that we didn’t get sick and that we had good prasadam, especially milk. But it was real nice. We were staying right there, all the women, and Pisima. Pisima would never go into Srila Prabhupada’s quarters without another lady, so she would just grab you. But before she’d grab you she’d wash you off with Jamuna water, then she’d grab you and she’d ask you to come in with her. So some ladies who didn’t often get to be with Srila Prabhupada got to go in his room because they would go with her. Pisima couldn’t really understand what was being said because he was always speaking in English, but she would just like to sit and listen and see Srila Prabhupada. I was running up to the brahmacari room one evening, it was getting dark, and I noticed there were a lot of people at Prabhupada’s end – Bhavananda and Rasaprayana and Jayapataka, Pradyumna, they were all congregated past his room near the end. So I heard very quickly that there had been a snake sighted in Prabhupada’s bathroom. So they were looking for the snake and they were looking, it might be two snakes. So while all this furor was going on, Prabhupada was leaning very relaxedly, nonchalantly. They were all with flashlights looking here and there in the different pipes outside of Prabhupada’s room, outside the bathroom. Prabhupada was leaning very nonchalantly and he said, “So many men for one snake?” in this deep, grave voice with a humorous inflection to it. Only Prabhupada could get away with saying something that would sound very grave, very humorous and superintelligent and totally time and place. It had everything all built into one statement. He just said, “So many men for one snake?” Pradyumna was very worried about where he would sleep, on a shelf, he was still worried the snake hadn’t been found. So in the morning I’d forgotten about the snake incident, and I was waiting outside Prabhupada’s room; and the door opens up and a couple of people with Prabhupada, he has his cane, and the first thing he says is, “Anyone was bit by the snake?” also with that kind of humor and biting kind of wit. Then he walked to the steps and he stopped again and he said, “Pradyumna has fled?” because he knew Pradyumna was particularly worried about the snake. The whole idea was funny, “Pradyumna has fled.” And in the class, it was one of Kunti’s prayers. Maybe it was manye tvam kalam, that Krishna is time. Prabhupada gave the example, he said “So we think we are very safe in our four-story marble building, but the snake is there and the snake is death.” It’s an example of how Prabhupada would utilize everything for his preaching. “The snake is death. We think we are very safe.” It was in his room and all the leading devotees were there. It was really silent, it got pretty heavy then. Prabhupada was just looking around at everyone and he wasn’t saying anything. Then he said, “So, there are no questions?” and nobody answered. It got even more heavy. Prabhupada said, “Why there are no questions?” It got even more intense. “It is the disciple’s duty to question the spiritual master. Why there are no questions?” Then somebody said, “Srila Prabhupada, in Srimad-Bhagavatam such person said this, is this right?” He said, “Fool! It says in the Bhagavatam and you ask me if it is right? What kind of question is this?” Then it got even more intense. Then Kirtanananda Maharaj asked a pertinent question and it broke the ice. He was walking down an aisleway back to the vyasasan to give Bhagavatam class. Everyone was down prostrated offering our obeisances. I remember when Prabhupada walked by, I reached to touch his feet as everyone else was doing and I touched his feet and they felt amazing. It was like touching some type of spiritual velvet. It was the most amazing feeling. Then all of a sudden a dark cloud came over me where I realized, “Oh, my God! I’m holding onto Prabhupada’s feet and he can’t go!” and I was petrified at what I had just done. Then I lifted up my head from down on the floor and I looked up at Prabhupada, and he was just smiling at me. It was like the sun had risen after a dark monsoon rain, and it was just brilliant and it seemed like everything was bright and happy. I released my hands from Prabhupada’s feet, and he smiled and just continued walking back to the vyasasan. Prabhupada would walk on the Chatikara Road, it was all agricultural land. One morning this one sadhu, he was wearing saffron, he greeted Prabhupada. And then the next morning again he was there. He would do this every day, and then he started following us. Then each day he would come closer and closer to Prabhupada so that he could hear. Then one day he said something to Prabhupada, and Prabhupada replied him. Then each day he would come and they would talk more and more. Then at the end of the walk when Prabhupada would go in the temple, he would go on his way. But then one morning he came in, did the morning program. And then one morning…Prabhupada would go into his house before coming to the temple and then he came in, Prabhupada had invited him. Then Prabhupada told me, “All right, he is joining. Prepare him. Give him a room, whatever facilities,” and he was Gour Govinda. That’s how he joined, Gour Govinda Swami. Prabhupada initiated him, gave him sannyas, everything. But he was living in Vrindavan as a sadhu, as a renunciate; and just by seeing Prabhupada on the morning walk each day, more and more he became drawn in and then he surrendered. So Prabhupada was making devotees just by going on a morning walk. I remember one lecture in Fogel Ashram Prabhupada was saying, “So my devotees, you are so many and you have spent each so much money to come here.” He was adding it all up and he was saying, “This is the right use of money,” that devotees should come every year to become inspired and then to go back and to preach. So he was encouraging devotees to come.

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Duration: 21 minutes and 54 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Posted by: lopter001 on Jan 3, 2022

Fsp Dvd 5-106

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