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Following Srila Prabhupada _ DVD 102

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One night I was walking down Second Avenue and I heard the 'tin-tin-tin, tin-tin-tin' and so I walked over and I followed the sound and it was a Krisna-place and there was Prabhupada. And they were chanting a mantra. And I had read that chanting mantras was the best type of meditation. So I thought, well, maybe this is what I'm looking for. So I started to go in, but as went in I saw Prabhupada was shaking his had from side to side like not to come in. So I stopped, but then I saw, that he was just moving his head in time with the music. So I went in and sat down and started chanting. And then when Prabhupada spoke, he said, the Supreme Absolute Truth is a person. And when he said that, I knew that I have found my spiritual master. Because I had been reading all these Buddhist books, that say you cannot describe the truth and you cannot say 'it is' you cannot say 'it's not' you cannot say 'it both is and is not' you cannot say 'it neither is nor is not' and they never tell you what the truth is So here was somebody who told me what the truth was, and it really made sense. So then I started coming regularly. At that time there was lecture, kirtana every monday, wednesday and friday night. So anyway, after a while I began to have a little doubt I thought, well, I can see that the Swami is very honest, he's not cheating, but how do I know he really has knowledge. He can be a very honest man, but also be misled. And while I was thinking this, I didn't say anything to him but I went to hear him lecture and he said "I teach only what is in scripture." So when he said that then I thought there is no danger if he only teaches what's in scripture. So that's how I started coming all the time. And then after a while some of the guys started to do some kind of a service. And somebody said "I'm doing this for the Swami." Someone else said "I'm doing that for the Swami." So I thought, well, I'd better get in on this because I thought he would maybe gather a few disciples and go off to a mountain cave somewhere and give them the secret teachings you know So didn't want to miss out, so I went to see Prabhupada, and I said, "Is there something I can do for you?" And he said, "Yes, you can take notes in class, and type them up" So the next day I took notes but I really didn't know, what kind of format to write them up with so I tried something And I showed it to Prabhupada. And then Prabhupada showed me what he was working on. And it was the essay "Who is crazy?". So then I knew that he wanted me to type the notes up in essay form. And Prabhupada said "We will one day put all these essays together" "in a book and call it 'Practical theology'." I was cooking for Prabhupada. then it occured to me that... it would be nice to start a sunday feast program. I explained to Prabhupada that in this country people usually gather in their families together on sunday and have a meal together. So I thought it would be a nice thing to have a love feast on sunday and then we could ask all the hippies and others who wanted to come and have a Krishna-councious feast. Prabhupada said "Oh, that is a good idea." That's the beginning of the love-feast. We used to have the place packed every week. Every bit of the prasadam would be gobbled up I cooked, Prabhupada cooked... Acutananda cooked... We handed out the flyers... I remember the first flyer: "Stay high forever!" "No more coming down." "Practice Krishna-counciousness!" How familiar these faces are. They are etched in my memory. And also I was wery touched. In part because I... I'm aware that this is important for the devotees. And being able to give the film to the movement it's more of a gift to us that we have something of value that was appreciated. And that was very rewarding to us. So it's 'Matchless Gifts' for us. On the first day that we went to Tompkins Square Park with Srila Prabhupada. Then he had me dance holding up the picture of Lord Chaitanya's Sankirtana. But after all I put it down and Prabhupada said "Why did you put it down?" I said "I got tired" I had no idea what an honour it was to be holding that picture on the first kirtana with Prabhupada in the western world. And what a momentous occasion it was. 'Cause we didn't see as a momentous occasion but Prabhupada did! But we didn't. To see an indian man, in indian dress in a park... on Tompkins Square, with, you know, the majority of the people were old russian and polish people. You know, it was just too far out. So we used to go, you know, every weekend sundays, especially sundays... You know, to the Tompkins Square, to chant with Prabhupada. And I would be in the crowd with the leaflets talking and inviting people. We used to make these leaflets called 'Stay high forever!' You know, people really got a kick out of those. And we had... we used that photograph with Prabhupada, where he's sitting and he's smiling and he's got his hand on his head. I mean, you know, that photo was like... people would look at that and said "Wow!" "He is high!" "He's so high, he's trying to keep himself down!" "Just from the mantra!" Starting in november he began lecturing on Caitanya Charitamrta Lord Caitanya's teachings to Sri Sanatana Goswami. about Krishna's innumerable incarnations and how he has a roadshow and goes all over the universe, and every second appearing in another universe, the second second being the first second in the second universe and how he's in millions of universes at the same time. and he would say such interesting things like if you give somebody just an atomic particle of ptomaine poisoning, that person would die despite an atom of that. So similarily the soul is so tiny but it gives all life to the body. We just didn't know what to call it. It's arati. But... we just... called it "bells" in those days, Prabhupada is doing or... Swamiji's doing bells. Later on we learned about the genuine process of arati. Srila Prabhupada was lecturing on the Chaitanya Caritamrta. At 26th Second Avenue. He was talking about Krishna and the cowherd boys. It was very juicy... You just... Talking about their pastimes, their playing in the forest and... and it was so wonderful to hear him talking about that. But... And then... He would talk about how the cowherd boys were thinking. And he said... that... They were always... thinking about Krishna. They were always thinking: Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Krishna. And he just kept going on just "Krishna..." - just repeating it. Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Krishna. I guess people would say he went into a trance, he was just saying: Krishna, Krishna, Krishna. Now I remember particularly Brahmananda who was sitting at Prabhupada's feet right next to him. And looking up at Prabhupada, and... And Brahmananda started trembling. And then he let out a gas, we just went "whoa" - like that. And... I don't know if Prabhupada stopped when he heard that or not. But it was an extraordinary moment. Srila Prabhupada was just... He was there, he was with the cowherd boys, thinking nothing but "Krishna, Krishna, Krishna". But we used to say... It was... I suppose... innocent of us... but anyway, we used to say, that... Prabhupada had Krishna painted on the inside of his eyelids. So whenever he closed his eyes, he would see Krishna. It was simple-minded, but it showed something of our appreciation for him. Prabhupada was sitting with a... there's a cushion from a sofa. I picked that up of the street. Someone had thrown out his old sofa, I picked up the cushion and brought it. And Prabhupada had used it. There was no money. No books... I mean there was no income. Prabhupada would pass the basket at the end of the kirtana, and collect maybe 3 dollars. People would put coins and quarters. Prabhupada's first instruction to me was to... do my job - I was a teacher for New York City board of education - and to give. He said "Give your salary to Krishna." And I thought that I would give up my job and Prabhupada said, "No, you do your job." And I asked Prabhupada, "How do I give my salary to Krishna?" And Prabhupada said, "You give it to me, and I give it to Krishna." I said "OK". And that's how we were running on. But we had no money. We were using, actually we were using... as a subji in the summertime... Prabhupada started in the summer, it was may... '66... at 26th Second Avenue. We would get watermelon, because watermelon was so cheap you know 10 cents a pound. And then we'd eat the watermelon and then take the rind and cooked that as a subji. And that was one of the best, you know, the big subjis, The watermelon-rinds. And when Srila Prabhupada first settled at the 26th Second Avenue He put a sign on the door, saying, "Any young man who wants to follow these rules 'n regulations can stay here." "and learn from me" - that's a paraphrase, So of course some young man came in and he had already had some disciples, and they moved in and stayed in the storefront. And they would take a shower up in the apartment. The storefront was in the front part of the building that had apartments above it. But then it was a courtyard in the middle. And then there was what's called a rear-court building. And that's where Srila Prabhupada's apartment was. On the second floor with windows looking out on to the courtyard. And we used to chant our japa walking around and around in the courtyard. And Srila Prabhupada would look out the windows and see us doing our japa and he'd be very pleased to see his disciples doing that. At that time the only record, the LP, that had come out was the Krishna-counciousness LP, while we were play that, Srila Prabhupada's speaking and his singing the samsara prayers, and also the kirtana on the other side we were playing in the apartments, but with the speakers right up in the windows going out on to the street so that the sound of the kirtana was blaring out up and down the block. So everybody could hear it. So we weren't at all shy in those days about... presenting Krishna-counciousness to the masses. But many people became introduced to Krishna-counciousness or at least the chanting of the Mahamantra through those speakers because people all up and down the streets when they saw us walking up and down and they would go "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna" And that's all I got to know us. This is Brahmananda, who is Gargamuni's brother and Prabhupada made him the first temple president and his brother the first temple treasurer. That's me getting up to dance now. And Prabhupada had them pose for my first Lord Nrsimhadeva painting. He had one of them be Hiranyakasipu, the big demon, and the other be Lord Nrsimhadeva and he put one on the other one's lap and he showed them how they should pose for Lord Nrsimhadeva to rip apart the demon Hiranyakasipu. And Prabhupada also posed for the painting making his eyes crossed and showing himself ripping the demon with his hands. And showing long nails. And this painting on the window of Matchless Gifts, is from a copy of a print that Prabhupada gave me of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Sankirtana Party. His performing sankirtana at the courtyard of the house of Srivasa Thakura. And Prabhupada pointed out who the different personalities in the painting are, that's Mukunda and his sons, that's Haridasa Thakura, and who the Pancha Tattva members are. So that was my very first painting that I did for Prabhupada. And it was so bad, everything was out of purportion the feet were gigantic and the heads were small a hand was coming out someplace, it wasn't connected to the body. But Prabhupada was so encouraging that when he saw the painting, and all the devotees would always gather around him, so he said to everybody, Krishna has sent, you know, like, Krishna has sent me to paint even though it was so bad, he was so encouraging. and on that day he also invited me to come and paint up in his quarters. So for the next months I was painting there. And he would often come in to the room which was the room that he rang bells and give instructions about the paintings. Prabhupada arrived at the airport a day or two before the Mantra Rock Concert. No one knew what to expect, Mukunda and Yamuna had met Prabhupada, but none of us had met Prabhupada yet. There is my dog walking in front of Prabhupada. Allen Ginsberg... we were of course delighted and could immediately see that we had made the right choice. Once we saw Prabhupada. He seemed to light up the whole room. We couldn't take our eyes off of him. And obviously if he attracted our gurus like Allen Ginsberg, you know Allen Ginsberg had a great influence on most of us, he was one of the leading members of what was called the beat generation. He and Jack Kerouac practicely single handedly changed the councousness of millions of young americans. With their ideas that life should be lived in very open manner with freedom and persuing higher things and throw off the old shackles. Prabhupada had the stamp of approval of the beat generation, he was for us. So this area is known as hippy hill. in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Almost every day everyone would gather at hippy hill when sometimes the devotees would come and chant, and this particular day was like any other day there, but as I remember entering the park and what attracted me was the beauty in the sound of the... I didn't even know that time it was the Hare Krishna mantra. People had been chanting all around the Haight-Ashbury area for months and months prior to this The idea that Srila Prabhupada was there that particular day just captured me. That through his sound vibration he just reached into me reached into my heart and somehow or other said that this one is mine. It was a... maybe a year or so later, that I had actually started to join the temple. Prabhupada had introduced something that all youth were really attracted to. And he was really something of a Pied Piper. You can see here how much everybody is participating. These're not just devotees but all the people here in the park were completely open to this, as a matter of fact so much so, that they considered the Hare Krishna to be the... the hippy religion at this point in 1967 in San Francisco. So many hippies were in love with Prabhupada and in love with the devotees and considered themselves very much a part of Hare Krishna. We did a lot of singing in the park. And so I used to come down, help out and sing along too. I had been seeing Hare Krishna since '63. It seemed to me that almost as if reinforcements had arrived from India. My idea at the time was the more swamis the better, the more spiritual teachers the better. 'Cause America seemed to have sunk into a morass of aggressive and murderous militaries had been those days. That was right in the middle of the Vietnamian war and I come home from India via Saigon So anybody going out on the street particulary (?) the street seemed to lighten the whole American scene. That seemed like a breakthrough of joy, dancing, human voice. And so it seemed like a marvelous social contribution. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare This historic footage gives us a glimpse to the first Ratha Yatra celebrated in the western world in 1967. And on another track there's a kirtana that goes with this Ratha Yatra. And it was the melody that goes something like this Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare And that went for hours and hours, that we sang on the cart. A few wounderful things about this Ratha Yatra were that the crowd that gathered along the side of the cart were partly hippies and knew nothing about Lord Jagannatha. and partly some hippies who had tasted Krishna-prasadam in our temple, and sampled the nectar of the Holy Name in our kirtanas. Were very genuinely enthusiastic to celebrate this Ratha Yatra. Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra and Balarama faced different directions on the cart. So no matter what side you were on you were able to get face to face darshana of their Lordships. There was a pastime with this cart where the engine of the flatbed truck the deities were seated on stalled. And when we told that to Srila Prabhupada he'd said that this was not uncommon that the cart would stall even if it was pulled by hand and stop at various places along the route. So he was happy to see that somehow in San Francisco without even knowing about this pastime our cart stalled on the hill. The route was full length from the Haight-Ashbury all the way to the sea and when the cart arrived at the sea there was a very wonderful kirtana on the beach. After his stroke he was recovering by the ocean for three weeks. Gaurasundara and I was staying there along with Kirtanananda. The four of us were staying in a beach bungalow. And they sent the copy of this reel-to-reel tape. And it was so wild. And it was a brand new tune. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare. They made up their own tunes unheard of in New York. This was not done. And it was wild. It's... I mean horns and cymbals and... You name it. They just... It was a full wild party-sounding kirtana. And some of the devotees in New York were like 'Oh, my gosh! What is this!' But Prabhupada loved it. He was so happy. And I noticed this. He was so happy that they were still chanting. It didn't matter that it was a different tune, it didn't matter that they were wild hippies with dancing and frenzies and probably some of them were intoxic... Most of them even were still taking intoxication. Prabhupada loved it! There was another one they sent that was called 'Narada Muni the eternal spaceman' which was a little record that they made. They were creative and innovative and far out that's the kind of people that were in San Francisco. And Prabhupada encouraged them. Whereas the nature in New York was to criticize and put them down. Because they weren't conservative enough. Prabhupada didn't have that mood at all. Instead he encouraged both. And... they were a little wild for me too, because I was a little bit I wasn't as conservative as a New Yorker but I was somewhat conservative, but... what amazed me was when we went back there. Sometime later we traveled back to San Francisco with Prabhupada. They have completely changed. The chanting had purified them. They were totally different, they were beautiful. I mean we're talking about Mukunda, Yamuna... Syamasundara, Malati, all these earlier devotees. Malati was so wild. And they were really heartfelt people willing to try anything and they loved Prabhupada. And they were out to do whatever they could.

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Duration: 24 minutes and 1 second
Country: United States
Language: English
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Posted by: lopter001 on Jun 7, 2021

Following Srila Prabhupada _ DVD 102

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