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Following Srila Prabhupada DVD 306

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In Los Angeles, I would take Prabhupada out for his morning walk. One day he would go to Venice Beach, and one day he would go to Cheviot Hills Park, a big beautiful park with a golf course, and one day he would go to the very wealthy part of Beverly Hills. There was one house that had plate glass windows in the front and every time he would walk by that house, a big German shepherd would come up and bark at the window. So this one day we were walking by that house and the person in the house opened the front door and let the dog out. And the dog came running across the front yard towards Prabhupada and me, and I thought I was going to die in protection of my spiritual master. So I turned around and faced the dog, and Prabhupada had paid almost no attention, he had just kept walking. He was 10 or 15 steps ahead of me. So I turned around and ran to catch up and the dog started chasing along the grass, never came onto the sidewalk. As I got close to Prabhupada, he just turned around and took a wide stance and picked his cane up over his head and just one “hut” – “Hut!” and the dog just shot back to the house. And he said, “If you say hut to an animal, they’ll respect you. And take stick.” He said, “If you take a stick and say hut, they’ll respect.” So later on we were in Jaipur, and they had given Prabhupada a room in the Jaipur Palace. And one of the big monkeys, the langurs, had torn the door off the kitchen and eaten all the bhoga. So they replaced the door, and I was in Prabhupada’s room on a day that just happened to be filled with a lot of people including influential Indian guests. And we kept a stick inside the back door. All of a sudden there’s a noise outside, you can hear this door rattling, and I look out the screen and there’s a monkey trying to take the door off the kitchen. So I picked up the stick, remembering the dog, remembering Prabhupada’s example, and went out and got six feet or eight feet away from the monkey. And as he heard me come, he turned around and stood up. And as he stood up, I lifted the stick up and said, “Hut!” He looked at me and he puffed his chest up and he bared his teeth, and he growled and he started walking towards me. And I ran, I turned around and ran back in Prabhupada’s room, and he and all of his guests just broke out laughing. He said, “You do not know the process,” and then he laughed more. He said, “If you had said hut again…he was testing you. If you had done it twice, he would have backed away.” A couple of days a week you were at the incense factory, a couple of days you were on sankirtan, and then between that and cooking offerings and distributing books as well, you were running all the time, there was a schedule all the time, there was always something to do. Your life was full of Krishna, of service. But I think one of the biggest joys for me was the sense of community, the sense that you had Prabhupada at the center, that you were all working for a common goal, you were all spiritual pilgrims really on a path together, sharing prasadam together and multi-tasking. It was exciting, it was really, really exciting, the kirtans. I remember you’d run home and throw off your thing, you’d take a shower, and then you’d run to arati and then you’d dance your heart out and sing and dance your heart out. Then there’d be a class and you’d do garlands or something to stay awake. Then you’d put the Deities to sleep, and then you’d get everything ready for the morning, and then you’d get your few hours. And the next day would come and you have your Deity worship or cooking your offerings, and life was so full. We had so much energy then too, and we were totally focused on doing what we were doing. So there was this big temple, which was the biggest temple when I joined in ISKCON. I think there were 75 devotees there then, and that was massive. New Dwaraka was the hub of book publishing, the BBT headquarters was in New Dwaraka. Prabhupada said “print books” was one of the core services of the ISKCON movement; and here in New Dwaraka it was an opulent temple, beautiful Deities, but it was a very effervescent community, very sparkly, and it was driven by our desire to please Srila Prabhupada. I think when Prabhupada came, it was like God was coming, Krishna was Himself coming, and all the stops were pulled out. You were up for days and nights just making sure that everything was really done as pucca as possible. And I think in some way Prabhupada, when he came, he appreciated our enthusiasm and our dedication, and it was an absolutely rich experience. I’m very thankful I had all those years. Somebody coming to the Sunday Feast program in Los Angeles owned a 16 mm camera and was a film student and apparently approached Karandhar about filming Srila Prabhupada. So I think it was Karandhar’s idea to have Prabhupada give Bhagavad-gita classes. So this was a staged situation. The idea was to film Prabhupada speaking Bhagavad-gita which would be applicable for the people in general and have something for television. I shall speak on Bhagavad-gita As It Is. The purpose of saying Bhagavad-gita As It Is explain that there are many editions of Bhagavad-gita, they are interpreted in their own way, giving up the spirit of Bhagavad-gita. So this particular name, As It Is, significant, perhaps there is no other edition of Bhagavad-gita where it is written as it is. In this connection, Professor Dimock of Chicago University has written a Foreword, and he very much appreciates the theme. He says, “Swami Bhaktivedanta comments upon the Gita from this point of view, and that is legitimate.” So he accepts that Bhagavad-gita As It Is is legitimate presentation of the great book of knowledge. He also says, “More than that, in this translation the Western reader has the unique opportunity of seeing how a Krishna devotee interprets his own texts.” So about Krishna, the devotees actually can interpret about Krishna book. Others, if they are not devotee, how they can interpret on Krishna? Just like a member of a family can say very nicely about the head of the family. How outsiders can say about the family? That is not possible. Similarly, about Krishna a Krishna devotee can speak nicely, not others. Others have no right to speak about Krishna. And Krishna also admits Arjuna as the right student of Bhagavad-gita. In the beginning, Krishna says that “I have selected you as My student because you are My friend and you are My devotee.” So in other words, we can understand that Bhagavad-gita can be understood who has intimate relationship with Krishna. Just like Krishna says, “You are My dear friend.” That is intimate relationship with Krishna. And without becoming a devotee, nobody can be intimately related with Krishna. These are the factors to be understood. So this Bhagavad-gita was spoken 5,000 years ago to Arjuna in the Battlefield of Kurukshetra, and the science of understanding God is there in this Bhagavad-gita. Bhagavad-gita is the science of God. Everything has got some science, scientific book, to understand that particular subject matter. Similarly, there are different types of concept of God. Generally, they take it as an idea, but we don’t take it as idea. We take God as concrete fact. Just like you are seeing me, I am seeing you. This is concrete fact. Similarly, God can be seen by you, and God is already seeing you. There is no doubt about it. But you can see also God. So that process we have to understand – how to see God. That process is mentioned in all the Vedic scripture. That is called bhakti-yoga, that process. Krishna also says in the Bhagavad-gita: bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah. If anyone wants to know Krishna, what He is, then one has to accept the process of bhakti-yoga. There are different types of yogas. Yoga means linking oneself with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So speculative yoga will not help us. You have to take concrete yoga. Concrete yoga is Krishna consciousness. So we have given our introduction of the Bhagavad-gita that one has to understand Bhagavad-gita as it is directed in the Bhagavad-gita. There is direction how to read Bhagavad-gita. People are reading Bhagavad-gita without taking the direction. This we have explained in the manner that if you take some medicine, there is some direction on the bottle that “This is the dose: you take so many drops so many times.” That is direction. Similarly, for understanding Bhagavad-gita actually, you have to accept the direction as given by the author Himself, Krishna. He says that long, long ago, some 40 millions of years ago He first spoke this Bhagavad-gita to the sun-god. And the sun-god transmitted the knowledge to his son, Manu. And Manu transmitted the knowledge to his son, Iksvaku. Imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam, vivasvan manave praha manur iksvakave’bravit. So the rajarsis, they are all kings. Manu is king, Maharaj Iksvaku is also king, and the sun-god Vivasvan, he is also king. He is the king of the sun planet, and his grandson, Iksvaku, became the king of this planet, Maharaj Iksvaku. And in this dynasty, which is known as Raghuvamsa, Lord Ramacandra appeared. It is a very old monarchical family. Iksvakuvamsa, Raghuvamsa. Vamsa means family. So formerly the kings, the head of the administrative executive, they used to learn the theses or the injunction given by God because a king is… Conclude. About half a minute left. No, no, you cannot do like that. Now you conclude here, that’s all.complete. Actually we should just change over. We can change loads, we can pick up right there, Prabhupada. Due to Chitsukananda’s fervent devotion, he was able to get this beautiful temple in Mexico City across from Chapultepec Park and fill it with wonderful, angelic Mexican devotees. Prabhupada was very inspired and impressed by the Mexico City yatra. When he was there in Mexico, he talked a lot about the relationship between Catholicism and Krishna consciousness, that at heart there is no difference. He was struck, though, how the agony of Christ went against the grain of Vaisnavism. I remember one time in Mexico there Prabhupada was resting in a room at a life member’s home or something and on the wall was a crucifix, Jesus in agony on the cross. I had closed the door so Prabhupada could rest, and about a half an hour later I heard his bell ring and I opened the door. He was sitting on the end of his bed looking at this crucifix on the wall, and there were tears streaming down his eyes and he said, “Just see, they have killed their spiritual master so that they can continue sinning. Please remove this from the room.” And he had me take it out of the room I recall when Srila Prabhupada was invited to give an interview at a television station. And when Srila Prabhupada was greeted by the host of the show, who was one of the most popular hosts of any television show in Mexico, Srila Prabhupada was so humble. He was like a child. When the interviewer shook his hand to greet him, Srila Prabhupada smiled back at him with so much humility it practically melted my heart. The short devotee who is wearing a white sari is Bhavatarini-devi-dasi. She was known to all of Prabhupada’s disciples as Pisima, which means “the father’s sister” in Bengali, because she was Prabhupada’s sister. Pisima would come very often to the temple in Calcutta…that’s me with my back to the camera, we were staying there too at that time…and she would bring prasadam for Prabhupada and for the devotees as well. She was a very gentle, kind, loving person. But there was a problem because Pisima cooked, as is traditional in Bengal, in mustard oil and sometimes it would be hard for Prabhupada to digest her dishes, although they were very delicious. When Pisima heard about this problem, she said, “My brother can digest nails if he wants to.” And on his side, Prabhupada once said, “Whatever my sister cooks, we have to eat. This is her display of love for me.” And she had great devotion for her brother, not just because he was her brother but also because he is such an exalted devotee of Radha-Krishna. Srila Prabhupada said that his sister was a devotee of Radha and Krishna from her very birth. Whenever we offered Pisima the respect that she so much deserved, she was very humble. She would say, “I am a mere lady. I cannot give you anything. I cannot do anything for you.” Quite often under her sari she would carry a bottle of Ganga water or Jamuna water and she would liberally sprinkle the devotees around her with this water, which was great fun except for me because I usually had a camera with me. I would have to hide my camera under my sari when she pulled out her Ganga jal. That first Rathayatra I have seen that is led by ISKCON Calcutta. At that time I am reading in the university, Calcutta University, I am a student. I was not initiated at that time, but I am the follower of this movement. And among the family members, Prabhupada’s family member, Pisima, myself and my sister Jalatala. Then there were not so many Bengali peoples because at that time Bengali people, they are thinking, “Oh, these people are foreigners,” because it is very new thing to them. “How this could be possible being a foreigner they are shaving their head, they are worshiping our Deity?” They are suspecting something. But how Prabhupada is merciful. The first publicity we got, front page in all the newspapers, they say, “This is the first time that foreign devotees are chanting and foreign devotees are going on the street with the chariot, which is a miracle.” And Prabhupada was very pleased. Prabhupada told us that every year you celebrate Rathayatra, particularly in Calcutta because Calcutta is a place where he started Rathayatra at the age of 5. He was born in 1896, and he started Rathayatra 1902. I met Prabhupada at Desha Priya Park pandal program. Then I decided that I should take diksha or initiation from him because what I have heard from his lecture has melted my heart. So when I met Srila Prabhupada, he inquired my name and where I have come from, what do I study. So everything I told him and he said, “You please come to the temple every day, see the programs and you join every day whether you like or not, and then I will give you diksha afterwards.” Then Prabhupada said, “Are you happy?” I said, “Oh, I’m so much happy, Srila Prabhupada.” In the beginning, the mood was very nice. We were very not so much rich but we were pure in heart. We were very working hard, going to monument esplanade to distribute. I went personally. Once Jayapataka Maharaj told me, “Please come, you are Bengali.” I am the only Bengali boy. So I every day used to go after my college over, then distributing book. Then when the Bengali people see me, “Oh, you are Bengali, you work with foreigners. Oh, maybe they are CIA.” Then I told them, “Why you are saying all these things, because their Guru Maharaj is Bengali.” “Oh, their Guru Maharaj is Bengali? Is it possible?” “Yeah, you can come and see. He was born in Calcutta. He went abroad to preach this Krishna consciousness movement. Why not you are coming to our Calcutta temple?” So then so many people are interested, Bengali people, they used to come and participate.

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Duration: 24 minutes and 11 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 6
Posted by: lopter001 on Sep 9, 2021

Following Srila Prabhupada DVD 306

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