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Following Srila Prabhupada _ DVD 108

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We did go out on Harinam everyday, it was a fact, except Sundays because Sundays we were preparing the feast at the temple and cleaning the temple. Behind the kirtan, they're building the BART in the background. See, Market Street is all torn up. So Srila Prabhupada instructed us in the beginning that Harinam was our main activity in the temple and Back to Godhead distribution. In those early days we didn't have elaborate book production program going on. We didn't have elaborate Deity worship, and so that was ideal for Harinam. People could go on Harinam. Part of the troup could be around the Harinam distributing Back to Godheads. There wasn't any airports open in those days for book distribution. Door to door wasn't happening yet. It was all centered around Harinam. So we distributed a lot of Back to Godheads and invitations to come to the temple. So it was propaganda, ideal propaganda, because people were seeing the Harinam. They were inquisitive to what you guys are all about. "Here's a Back to God head. Here's an invitation to the temple." "Come for the Sunday feast." It all was hand in hand like that. So Prabhupada said, "Except for a few devotees" "who stay back in the temple for cooking and cleaning," "the rest of the temple should go on Harinam." So everyday most of the devotees went on Harinam during the day, and some of the devotees would go in the evening. In San Francisco, we would go to North Beach in the evening time which is like an entertainment section of the city where they had clubs, coffee houses, burlesque bars and things like that all in North Beach. So we would have Harinam there because there was a lot of activity there during the evenings. Or we would go to the movie lines which was down at Market Street. Sometimes we would go to both. And on the weekends, on Friday and Saturday evenings, we would go maybe three different places. We would go to the movie lines and we would go to the theater, because "Hair" was performing at that time at the Geary Theater. So we timed it. We knew exactly when the theater was getting out. So we would be there with Harinam just as the crowd was coming out of the theater. We actually chanted Hare Krishna on the opening night at "Hair", because in the finale of "Hair" they have an onstage rally where they try to encourage people from the audience to stand up and sing, and what they're singing is Hare Krishna. So the cast of "Hair" asked us if we would come onto the stage for the first performance of "Hair" at the Geary Theater; it was a big theater in San Francisco. That's the temple, Hare Krishna Temple, 5 18 Frederick Street. Hot pink. Hot pink. So we went on stage and we celebrated the culmination of the opening of "Hair" with chanting of Hare Krishna and they do it every evening as well. So we knew that the audience from "Hair" would be all hepped up with chanting Hare Krishna in the finale and then they would come out of the door and we were there with big handfulls of burning incense and roses and kirtan was going on. It was right in the middle of the Vietnam war so there was a lot of anti-war protests going on so we took advantage of that. We would hand a person a piece of incense and we'd say, "Burn incense, not babies." Because there was this big controversy about napalm being used in Vietnam where babies were being maimed and everything. So one day we were chanting Hare Krishna in front of the theater and some merchant complained and they had the harebrained idea of busting the Hare Krishnas in full view of all the sympathetic audience. They actually busted us and put us in the paddy wagon and we went downtown. Before we even got there, there was like five or six lawyers from the audience of "Hair" volunteering to represent us saying, "They can't do this to you." "You're ok. You'll get out." Sure enough, we were out of jail within half an hour or so. Prabhupada was informed about how they were chanting Hare Krishna at the end of "Hair" and we were chanting with them. But I didn't mention the fact that the cast was naked on stage. In those situations, Prabhupada didn't want the brahmacharis to be around. So, we didn't go on stage again after that. I wasn't aware that that was part of the show. So here we are on the campus of U.C. Berkeley and we're chanting Hare Krishna and along with the chanting there would be a lot of - we called them Bible bashers - evangelical Christians who'd be proselytizing for Christ. They were damning the devotees as heathens and idolaters. Here we are actually passing out prasadam right there. One Bible basher would take his bible and throw the bible on the ground - one of those leather bound Bibles - and it would slap on the ground like that. And we said that, "Don't you think you should have a little more respect for the Bible?" He said, "No, I am simply drawing attention" "to the fact that you are idolators and you are heathens and you are damned to the lake of fire." And he would go raging on and on. So a big crowd would gather when this guy would come. I forget his name, crazy Carl or something like that. He was a person that people knew around the campus. But when crazy Carl confronted the devotees, that was especially humorous because the devotees would be oblivious to him. They'd be just chanting in ecstacy, dancing, chanting and he'd be raving and raging and raving. And people would be taking prasadam. So it created a good atmosphere because you could see that, although the devotees looked exotic, they weren't that far from the students' outlook on life. This is Laguna Beach. We would go to Laguna Beach for Harinam, especially on Sundays. We would actually take a bus down to Laguna Beach and bring devotees back for the feast. But soon thereafter, we opened a temple in Laguna. This is Sukadev. It was a very fertile place for recruiting devotees - a lot of young people involved with meditation and things like that. They would become devotees even though we didn't have a temple down there. So we finally decided that we should open a temple. And Durlab was one of the original devotees down there. Bhakta das was from San Diego. He might have been traveling up there just for a while. We would travel to different places. In Los Angeles we used to go to Griffith Park all the time on Sundays. San Francisco, we would have Harinam in Golden Gate Park. Naturally, Prabhupada went there on many occasions for his morning walk. But he would come to the park also to have kirtan right there at Hippy Hill. Hridayananda was a brahmachari at the same time as I was there and Chitsukananda was the temple commander when I first joined. So Hridayananda had lots of friends on campus in Berkeley, and Prabhupada encouraged us to do college preaching. We met Dr. Judah and began... He came to the temple, and Srila Prabhupada corresponded with him. Dr. Judah explained to him the study he was doing to show what the religious conversion experience was like for Westerners. Prabhupada wrote me back and told me that I should give him full cooperation and help him in whatever way I can: structure questions and different devotee surveys: why did they join and so on and so forth. Dr. Judah was very close with Prabhupada in the sense of he sent everything to Prabhupada before it was always published. And so Prabhupada had confidence in him from that, that he was sincere, and Dr. Judah proved to be a very good ally to the movement. At that point, Vishnujan had his black nylon gloves on with little pieces of tile taped underneath on the outside of the gloves so he could just slip the gloves on and he'd have pieces of tile in all the places where his hands would hit the mridanga shell, because a mridanga, after a while, it can cut your hands to ribbons. So to protect his hands, he had these gloves that he could slip on and off that already had taped pieces of tile in place so he could tap the drum all day without hurting his hands. And he used to play that drum like that and lead that kirtan every day, day in, day out. Between the street and the temple aratiks, he probably led kirtan 10 hours a day, day in and day out. I'm not kidding. An average of three-and-a-half to four hours in the afternoon, an average of the same at night, and then at least three or four big kirtans in the temple throughout the day. Added all together, probably 10 hours a day chanting at the top of his lungs, and he never ever seemed to be tired of doing it. His dedication was philosophically based. It's possible to be sentimentally based or emotionally based only. Vishnujan was actually very philosophical. He could give a good lecture. So this building was on Durant, very close to the campus. This is the temple that I joined in. Hansadutta was president here. We used to have wonderful feasts because we were so close to the campus and we were right up where all the frat houses were. Berkeley temple was an old fraternity house. The devotees would go there every day at Sproul Plaza and chant and distribute prasadam and preach. And they would invite people back to the temple to eat prasadam. In the back yard of this temple, that's where Lord Chaitanya's murti emerged like a giant sequoia tree growing up in the back yard. The neighbors were But this time they allowed us to do it, and there was no breaking of any windows and no civil disturbances. It was all quite peaceful and joyful. So the locals were quite happy. There was great cooperation amongst the devotees at that time in the Bay area. We had so many different joint activities. I remember the devotees all came together at the famous rock and roll concert at Altamont where the Rolling Stones came. All the devotees from the three or four different temples in the Bay area came, and we got there the night before and distributed prasadam to thousands. It was hundreds and thousands of people at that festival. But here in Sproul Plaza, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in all His glory. So Locan was the temple president, and Jayananda was helping him. We were living in Berkeley, and we wrote Srila Prabhupada a letter about having a festival in Berkeley for Lord Chaitanya. We told him that we were going to make eight banners of the Siksastak prayers and put them up across the street for everybody. And Prabhupada wrote back. He was very enthusiastic and he said, "I want that all the educated people in your country seriously understand these prayers of Lord Chaitanya," "and I approve of your plan for the festival." "Unfortunately, I will not be able to come, but" "we have 24 such festivals" "in a calendar year. If you can observe all of them" "in such a grand way, then the whole Bay area will become Krishna conscious." So we did put up the banners and Jayananda, of course, was the moving force for all of these wonderful festivals. We had a good turnout, and we distributed about a thousand plates of prasadam at the park afterwards. These were big days. These were some of my favorite days of the year because we got to have kirtan for hours at a stretch and after about two hours of chanting in continuous kirtan, it goes through a kind of a change. This special thing used to happen where you felt like you were listening while your body did it, and it got real sweet at that time. And then you could go on and on and on after that. There were times when I led for 10 hours without stopping at a Rathayatra. This is when the sankirtan portion of the movement, which was the real movement, was in full swing at that time. Prabhupada used to say, "Our movement runs on two tracks:" "the pancharatriki-viddhi and the bhagavat-viddhi." And he defined the pancharatriki-viddhi as being all of the regulations connected with Deity worship basically by which devotees pattern their life, timing everything every day. And the bhagavat-viddhi he defined as chanting, dancing, feasting and philosophy. And that's exactly how he defined it; he just said those four terms. And he said, "I have written in our books that our movement runs on both tracks simultaneously," "and they are both equally important." But then he told me another time, he said, "But I'll tell you," "you can get along without the pancharatriki-viddhi in this age" "but you cannot get along without the bhagavat-viddhi." So his main stress was on this, and it was livewire. Prabhupada couldn't come to this himself. There were lots of pictures that were sent. During this time in Berkeley's history, there was a lot of political upheaval and so Srila Prabhupada said that this will be the antidote for giving that rebellious spirit some proper direction and means to express itself. So, he was aware of what was going on. That was really still very much the time of the radical politics, the hippie culture and so on. And so we were all young; we were part of that culture, and so we had a real sense of fitting in with the general ambiance. The turnout was not massive, but it was good. But this was the first large scale Gaura Purnima Festival. What pleased Prabhupada exceedingly was that after the festival was over, days later the Berkeley police issued a statement praising the fact that we had made the city more peaceful. Because in those days there were all kinds of demonstrations and often they turned violent: there was tear gas, police, riot squads and so on. So the fact that a bunch of young people who were quote unquote "far out" held some kind of demonstration, festival right down Telegraph Avenue and it was peaceful and brought peace to others, the police highly praised this and Prabhupada adored that quote and he would quote it all over. As he traveled around the world, he would again and again quote that praise from the Berkeley police. We emphasized that fact, that Prabhupada had written this pamphlet called "The Peace Formula" saying that real brotherhood could be attained only when we recognized our common father. Jayananda dancing with the hippies. Jayananda would always take the common man under his wing. He was a devotee that could always... He had the biggest heart. No one was ever too smelly or too dirty or too distraught for Jayananda. Jayananda would take anybody, the lowest, under his wing.

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Duration: 23 minutes and 57 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 108

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