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Following Srila Prabhupada DVD 303

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When we arrived in Vrindavan I remember walking into Srila Prabupada's room and paying my obaisances and saying, "Srila Prabhupada, what should we do now?" And he looked down at me and he said, "Just wander." So that's exactly what I did. I just went out into Vrindavana village and everything I'd read about in Nectar of Devotion and Krishna Book, I was thinking of those things. And I wanted to take rest under a kalpa-vriksa tree, is something I'd wanted to do for a long time. So I just actually found one tree in the forest, and I actually fell asleep and slept very soundly and very deeply for a couple hours. When I woke up, it was evening time, and I didn't really know where everybody was, but I heard in the background the kirtan going on... Hare Krishna. So I follow the sound, and I arrived at this big program, where Srila Prabhupada and all the devotees were there, and the lecture had just stopped, and they were serving out prasadam. That was a great day in my life, just the way it worked out. I was giving a lecture in a garden. There was a small pandal set up, and many Brijbasis came to attend that. It was somewhere in the area of Radha Govinda temple. And somehow or other I came late. And when I arrived, Prabhupada was just leaving, walking through a field back to his car. People were lined up on both sides to offer obeisances, and I offered obeisances. Srila Prabhupada stopped in front of me, and when I got up Prabhupada very affectionately showered has mercy upon me and told me how he was very pleased that I was so much attached to living in Vrindavan. And I was so ecstatic and we got into the Ambassador car at the Delhi airport. Syamasudanra was there and Prabhupada was sitting in the front, and we're riding to Vrindavan. Prabhupada was quiet, and I was thinking, "He's going to give some spiritual sloka about Vrindavan that will inspire us." Prabhupada was quiet. Finally, I hear Prabhupada clear his throat, and he said, "Cement. We must get cement and build a water tower like that." He pointed out the water tower, so he could have sweet water. Look at that. I'll never forget that kirtan, you could feel demigods showering flowers. And the people were stunned. They'd never... because the way we did kirtan.... Prabhupada did kirtan different than the traditional Bengali. And when we first went to India, we were chanting like Prabhupada, and it was like the people had never heard, it was so potent. Prabhupada leading and the disciples following. These people had never heard anything like it, and they were just thunderstruck. I just loved... kirtan was my savior. It was my shelter. It washed everything away, it washed away all anxieties. To me that perfection of life is to be with Srila Prabhupad in kirtan. It's all I want in life and I don't care where it is, or when it is, that's just all I want. When Srila Prabhupada came to Vridanvan, it was after he had left for less than five years. He had gone away to America presumably to die amongst the infidels or be lured by the temptations of the West. But anyhow, but he came back surrounded by disciples after having made a famous tour through Surat and other parts of India, big pandal programs in Calcutta and Bombay and New Delhi that were in the newspapers, were travelling by word of mouth. So when Prabhupada appeared there with a few of his many devotees, it was an astonishing event that people could not ignore. And when he marched throgh, it was a triumphant march. They did not fail to be deeply impressed, because who else in the history of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, even from the time of Caitanya Mahaprabhu could lay claim to such a feat? Srila Prabhupada took us to many holy spots in Vrindavan. We would go by bus and he would ride in his Ambassador car. And here we are at Brahmanda Ghat in Gokula, were mother Yasoda saw the universe in Krishna's mouth. Srila Prabhupada is telling the story, much to our delight. His eyes get big when mother Yasoda sees the creation. For most of us, this is the first time we'd seen the Yamuna, and we were very eager to bathe in her transcendental waters. The bus went to Gokula, and we came out. Dinanath prabhu was leading the kirtan, and Prabhupada came out of his Ambassador car, which was in front of the bus. Then we walked for some time, up behind Prabhupada doing harinam sankirtan. Then Prabhupada stopped us and turned around and said, "This is the wrong Gokula. This is Vallabhacarya's Gokula. We want to go to Mahavan Gokula." So, then we all got back in the buses. And from there, from what I remember, we went to Brahmanda Ghat where we saw the beauty of the holy river Yamuna. Prabhupada came down with us, and he sprinkled water on his head. Then he told all the devotees that they should have full bath. And I believe Prabhupada was feeling somewhat ill that day, so he said that he was not going to take full bath. So he was sitting on the steps and the devotees were bathing and Prabhupada was watching us, and he was so happy. His disciples, who he loved so very, very dearly, who he gave his life and soul to, to give them Krishna's love, here they were in Gokula at the holy banks of Brahmanda Ghat, happily taking their baths in the sacred river Yamuna. What that must have meant for Prabhupada. He’s sitting there watching us take bath, and pretty soon he wants to go in with us. “What can I do? My devotees want me.” “Come on, Prabhupada, come on in!” Here we are saying our Gayatris on sacred threads standing in the Jamuna River. There he comes. Ah, Prabhupada. A few of the ladies were clustered together, and Palika was there. And at some point we noticed that Srila Prabhupada was going in the water, although at first it didn’t look like he was going to go in. Suddenly it was, “Prabhupada’s going in.” I looked at Palika, we had the same reaction: “We’re going in too. We have to be in there with Prabhupada, and we have to do it fast because he’s going to say Gayatri,” and we wanted to say Gayatri with him. But both of us had only been in India for a month, and we knew that the ladies bathed in the Yamuna but we didn’t know how they did it. Should we go in with our full saris and then walk around dripping wet? Because we only had a few seconds. Palika was down to her slip and I was, “OK, me too.” It didn’t matter anyway because as soon as we hit the water we went right under. So we were up to our necks in water anyway so we were covered. We wanted to get as close to Prabhupada as we could while he was saying Gayatri and we got really close, within 10 feet of him. Just our little heads, we were scrunched under the water, and we got to say Gayatri with Prabhupada that day. To me, that’s the most memorable experience of the whole thing was that Gayatri in the water with Prabhupada so close. During the afternoons, Prabhupada would give darshan and the devotees were sent out to do harinam sankirtan. During that time, I had the great fortune of sitting in the room and attending all of his darshans each day. They were very intimate. Brijbasis would come, his old friends, godbrothers would come, Goswamis would come, sometimes guests would come, and Prabhupada would just sometimes speak to them very informally, sometimes he would preach to them very strongly, and sometimes he just had loving conversations. I’ll never forget when Krishna das Babaji Maharaj came to see Prabhupada. I happened to be walking down the street one day, and I met Krishna das Babaji Maharaj and told him I was going to see Srila Prabhupada. And very eager, he said, “I will go with you, I want to see Swami Maharaj.” He called him Swami Maharaj. When we came, there was a guard who was one of the more senior devotees. He was standing at the stairways guarding who was coming up to the darshan. And, of course, he welcomed me to come up because he knew that Prabhupada was favorable to me attending the darshans each night. But when he saw Krishna das Babaji Maharaj, he stopped him. He said, “Who are you?” And when he was introduced as Prabhupada’s godbrother, he said, “No, no, you cannot go.” So Babaji Maharaj wanted to go anyway and he wanted to stop him. And I told that devotee, “Please ask Prabhupada. He’s one of the most beloved devotees of Vrindavan, especially in Gaudiya Maths.” And a messenger came back and said, “Yes, Prabhupada immediately wants to see him.” So we went up together and Srila Prabhupada, when he saw Babaji Maharaj, he was sitting behind a little desk and there was maybe about six or seven people that he was talking to in the room. Prabhupada got up and they embraced, and they were just laughing and talking in Bengali. Prabhupada brought Babaji Maharaj to sit next to him behind the desk, and the whole time they were just laughing and talking and looking at each other with so much affection. And the six or seven people who were there were completely forgotten so they left, and I just sat there just watching this interaction. I couldn’t understand a word of it because they were speaking Bengali language, but I learned so much – not by their language but just by seeing the genuine love that these two great personalities had for each other and the intimate relationship they shared. And they were constantly saying Hare Krishna and laughing. I understood then that this is the goal of life, to have this type of love with Vaisnavas in sharing the mission of the spiritual master and pure love for Radha and Krishna. I think they were together for probably almost 45 minutes to an hour, and then Prabhupada made sure Babaji Maharaj got nice prasad. We went to Mr. Saraff’s house, and he had just decided to give us the land in Raman Reti. There was a slip of paper that said “yes” and a slip of paper that said “no.” Our friend Shamadevi from London and Kenya and Vrindavan also wanted this piece of land. She had an ashram down the street in Raman Reti, and this would be an expansion for her. She was vying for it. Radharani arranged so that we picked the right slip of paper that said “yes” and so Mr. Saraff was finalizing this process at his house, signing the papers and the deeds. Shyamasundara was with me, and he had a portable typewriter and he was making this draft. At the same time, Gourachand Goswami and Madan Mohan Goswami had shown up because they were contending and wanting money for Prabhupada’s rooms in Radha-Damodara Temple. At the same time, Prabhupada had sent me to Mathura to arrange for theses rooms for life as a seva. It’s a technicality. So we were also drawing up this draft. The interesting thing is that even though Madan Mohan Goswami and Gourachand Goswami lived across the same courtyard in Radha-Damodara Temple, they were not speaking and they were both in Goswami families. So Prabhupada put Gourachand Goswami in one room, Madan Mohan Goswami in another room. I was going from room to room. Shyamasundara was making up documents. At the same time, Shamadevi came with a member of Parliament and a policeman to try and contest this land being given to Prabhupada. We put her in another room. So Mr. Sharaff’s house was full of people who were not talking and arguing and contending, and Shyamasundara was making up documents. At this point, Krishna das Babaji shows up, Prabhupada’s godbrother. Somehow or other, he always knew when Prabhupada was coming to Vrindavan. This was not announced, there was no emails, and he shows up from Radha Kund and he laughs and chants. He didn’t speak much. He laughed a lot, he chanted a lot. One time he left his bead bag in Anand’s room and we immediately had a poll, how fast he would be to return to get it. I said, “Well, at least within the minute,” and sure enough he came back and got his beads. So I called Prabhupada “the ringmaster” because he was like a circus ringmaster, taming clowns and lions and contesting people. And all the documents were drawn up, we got the rooms in Radha-Damodara for life, we got the land, Shamadevi couldn’t do anything, and Krishna das chanted and laughed. And it was a wonderful day at Mr. Saraff’s house. After the incredibly successful pandal in Delhi where tens of thousands of people were coming every night to hear Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada took just a few of us, 20 or 30, to Vrindavan. So after all the fanfare in Delhi, the lights and distributing prasadam to all those people and the dignitaries that came, here we were in this simple village with Srila Prabhupada. I think all of us, certainly myself, felt how much Prabhupada cared for us that after this big, big preaching program, he would take the time and the trouble to bring us to Vrindavan. We stayed in a small place, Saraf Bhavan, which is about a mile from Loi Bazaar, and every day we would go by bus to different holy places. We went to Govardhan, Radha Kund, Barsana. When Srila Prabhupada was being carried on that Brijbasi palanquin up and down the hill of Barsana, the devotees were just so blissful, so happy to see Prabhupada being carried in this way. And although it appeared like a very uncomfortable way of traveling…Prabhupada was bouncing back and forth…Srila Prabhupada looked so blissful. At times he smiled so blissfully, just so happy to be amongst his devotees roaming through the hills and mountains of Barsana, Sri Radharani’s place of pastimes. In Govardhan, Prabhupada was taking prasadam. Malati used to travel with us always and cook for Prabhupada, even on the bus. Prabhupada would sit in the front seat because his car had broken down. So he would be on the front seat of the bus, and Malati would be in the back seat doing whatever she was doing, nobody knew for sure. But then eventually she would come through the aisle of the bus and present to Prabhupada a beautiful plate of prasadam. It was a little bit miraculous how she did that. So she was Prabhupada’s cook during this time, and I remember in Govardhan she served Prabhupada his prasadam and a dog wandered by, a hungry dog. And Malati was about to give it the standard “hut” to drive it away when Prabhupada stopped her and threw a piece of his samosa to this dog, which actually delighted Malati. She was happy to see and also to hear Prabhupada say that “No living entity should go hungry in Krishna’s dham.” He was constantly concerned with everyone’s health and well-being, and everyone had a task. Prabhupada would assign the different duties and jobs and tasks for each of us, and we would all report to him every day what we had accomplished. He would give us guidance for the next day’s tasks. We had to become Vaisnavas finally in manner and in dress. So Prabhupada taught us all the ropes, all the different ways a Vaisnava should act in India, by example. We got to follow him around and watch him every moment, and we just began to emulate what Prabhupada did. It was really a very spectacular event for the Brijbasis. Because I was living amongst the Brijbasis, and they were really proud of Srila Prabhupada that one of their local residents who was living for so many years at Vamsi Gopal Temple and Radha-Damodara Temple had gone to the West and started temples and transformed Americans and Europeans into devotees of Sri Sri Radha-Shyamasundara. This was just astounding, amazing for the Brijbasis. Thus, they really had very, very high esteem for Srila Prabhupada. They considered him to be like the ambassador of Vrindavan for the world. They were looking forward to seeing the American and European sadhus coming. Prabhupada would have the devotees doing harinam sankirtan in the streets, and it had a very heartwarming effect on the residents of Vrindavan. They were joyful to see people from all over the world, young people full of life and opportunities who had accepted their culture, their faith. And especially they accepted the mercy of Srimati Radharani, and this was very meaningful to the Brijbasis. At that time, I was with Prabhupada from the mangal aratik through the evening. But then after the evening darshans, I would go back to the bank of Jamuna and I would be with my friends, the local inhabitants of Vrindavan, and they were very much talking about the glories of Srila Prabhupada. It was the first time Vrindavan had ever seen anything like this in history. Krishna appeared 5,000 years ago in Vrindavan and performed His transcendental pastimes. Caitanya Mahaprabhu came 500 years ago, and by His order the Goswamis began to excavate and establish the places of Vrindavan. And through the years, Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur and all these great acharyas performed their pastimes of worship there. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur brought many thousands of people on his Braj Mandala Parikrama. But never before in the history of Brajbhumi did people from all over the world, from outside of India, come in a spirit of devotion to worship Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.

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Duration: 24 minutes and 51 seconds
Country: Andorra
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Posted by: lopter001 on Sep 9, 2021

Following Srila Prabhupada DVD 303

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