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Fsp Dvd 5-101

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All the devotees with Prabhupada are just arriving at the new temple that we got just a few months ago on la Rue Le Sueur. So Bhagavan thought that rather than Prabhupada speaking in the temple room, he should speak from the balcony so that he could speak to the people in the street. And also he liked the idea that it was a kingly way of speaking as in the past, the French kings would speak from the balcony to the crowds. But he had to ask for permission. So he asked the administration of Paris if it was possible and the officials told him, “Yes, it’s possible, but you cannot use a microphone.” So when he said that to Prabhupada, Prabhupada started to laugh and he said, “This is the way to say yes when in fact you want to say no,” as it’s impossible to talk to a big crowd of people without a microphone, they will not hear. In the London temple, the Deities were carved by Shyamasundar; and here also the Jagannatha Deities have been carved by the devotees themselves. So it was a French devotee who was a sculptor who was called Dayamrgya who carved Them and then I painted Them, and there is two particularities on Subhadra here. First She is smaller, she should be a little bit bigger; and the reason is that when Dayamrgya wanted to carve Her, he forgot that he needed to have the little topknot on Her head. Then when he realized he had to do that, then he had to make Her shorter in order to be able to carve the topknot on Her head. So that’s why She is smaller. She also has different eyes than most of the Jagannatha Deities, and the reason was that I painted them according to a picture that I got from India. But I didn’t like the look of the eyes of Subhadra so I just changed the eyes and I made them lotus-shaped eyes, which no Subhadra Deity ever had in any Deities from India. But everybody found it very, very beautiful, and Prabhupada found Them very beautiful though very unusual eyes for Subhadra. Later during that visit to London before Bhagavan and I went on to Paris, Srila Prabhupada called us into his room to give us some more instructions and inspiration; and I was very much hoping at that time to receive a personal instruction from Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada gave many general instructions but, of course, a disciple always hankers to have some personal interrelationship with his spiritual master and receive some special instructions. I was a little shy to ask, but at one point I spoke up and I said, “Srila Prabhupada, could you give me some instruction?” So Srila Prabhupada leaned over the desk at that time and looked at me in my eyes and he said, “Preach boldly and have faith in the Holy Names.” I’ve always tried to follow that instruction of Srila Prabhupada as a guideline for the rest of my life. I was so nervous at the time, I don’t remember how I felt. I just felt blessed that Prabhupada would see me, notice me and give some instruction that I could build the rest of my devotional career upon. Then Prabhupada, to further encourage both of us, he reached over into his drawer and he gave me one of his dhotis and he gave Bhagavan das one of his undershirts and he just smiled. Then after a little more conversation, we left for our service in Paris, France. I did wear that dhoti actually. It was bright saffron and, of course, I was a grihastha at that time; but it was the tadiya, it was the paraphernalia of the spiritual master and, therefore, divine. We know that Mahaprabhu Himself, in order to encourage His own followers, His own disciples, He would sometimes give them pieces of cloth. A piece of His cloth was sent to Maharaja Prataparudra, who worshiped it as nondifferent than the Lord. A piece of His cloth was sent to Gopal Bhatta Goswami in Vrindavan. So this tadiya, this nectar, this mercy of my spiritual master, I took that very seriously. I used to wear that as a chaddar actually. And sometimes when the sannyasis would come through, they would chide me, “You’re a grihastha and you’re wearing saffron?” I said, “Yes, this is no ordinary cloth. This is the dhoti of our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada. I’m not taking it off for anything.” Those of us who came into France as devotees from outside the country quickly learned that French culture was a highly intellectual culture. I think a young person in France in those days by the age of 13 or 14 probably knew more about history and politics than a college graduate in America. And one thing that we went out of our way to do was arrange as often as possible for Srila Prabhupada to meet with intellectuals and thought leaders of the day. So he met with college professors and he met with Cardinal Danielou and he met with leaders from the World Health Organization, he met with leading Sanskritists, and the meetings were important because it gave us an opportunity to see how does a pure devotee of the Lord speak to different levels of people. I think what was most astonishing was Srila Prabhupada’s ability to listen carefully to each person’s particular level of spiritual development and address them on that level. As they approached him, Srila Prabhupada would reciprocate, sometimes becoming very, very firm, very outspoken: “Why do you speak this philosophy? Don’t you understand the dangers here?” He was concerned, not out of any kind of pride or sense of superiority but because this was dangerous, these philosophies are leading people astray. Atma-hana, killers of the soul. One of the leading figures in the Rosicrucian movement in Paris came to see Prabhupada, and he was quite naïve because Prabhupada kept saying, “So what is that?” and “What does that mean?” as if Prabhupada had no idea about anything. It was a technique that he was employing; and me and Yogesvara, we started to get the giggles and we were sitting behind the man, because whatever the man said, Prabhupada would say, “Why?” Anyway, after leading this person on and on and on, finally Prabhupada said, “So what is the ultimate?” He said, “It’s indescribable.” Then Prabhupada said, “That means you don’t know.” But still the man never became put off by Prabhupada. He thought that Prabhupada really wanted to learn about the Rosicrucians. It was really very funny. Another point that Prabhupada said, “So what is the highest thing?” He said, “Well, it’s a flame.” Prabhupada said, “A flame?” “Yes.” Prabhupada said, “Why a flame? Why not a person?” But like I said, the man never caught on that Prabhupada was just pulling him along into this endless forest of foolishness. One of those that we invited was a psychiatrist, and the reason we invited him is because he was Christian but in his care of his patients he was using religion, talking a lot about Christianity. So we thought it would be very interesting to have him meet Prabhupada, so we invited him to come. I went to meet him to bring him to Prabhupada and the first thing he said was, “Where is the patient?” So we said, “There is no patient. We invited you to come and meet our spiritual master.” He said, “But I came to see a patient. Where is the patient?” And when he saw there was no patient, he didn’t want to come and he just left. So I was kind of embarrassed, and I went back to explain to Prabhupada that he didn’t want to come up because he thought he was coming to take care of some sick person. So Prabhupada just laughed and he said, “He didn’t realize he was the patient and we were going to cure him.” When Prabhupada arrived at the airport in Paris, of course there were a lot of devotees there with flower garlands and so many things; and at the same time, the Indian ambassador to France arrived. It so happens that the French government did not send a proper welcome party for the ambassador, and one of the ladies that was supposed to do something ad hoc for the French government saw the devotees and she thought very quickly, “Well, we didn’t prepare anything, but they look like they’re prepared.” So she came up and begged the devotees if they would help out receive the ambassador and the devotees said yes because we already had garlands, we were dressed, we were doing kirtan. So a group of devotees accompanied the few French officials that came and welcomed the Indian ambassador to France and garlanded him and said Hare Krishna. The French officials that were there, especially the one lady, so appreciated that the devotees came at the last minute and really gave a welcome by which the ambassador felt very pleased and honored that she offered to help us out. The devotees very astutely said, “Well, our spiritual master has just come. Is there any way you could honor him?” She said, “I will do what I can,” and she arranged that Prabhupada be honored officially by the city of Paris and by one of the French city officials. So when I received that letter saying that Prabhupada could be greeted officially at the Paris City Hall, the letter was saying how it would be the vice-president of the Paris City Council that would be receiving Prabhupada, which is an equivalent of what a mayor will be in America. So that was a very, very important personality. In this greeting speech, he was explaining how Paris had always been conscious of the spiritual values, so Paris was very happy to receive someone who is an ambassador of Indian spirituality. Then because Yogesvara in his letter had explained a little bit of who Prabhupada was, so Mr. Assouad, the mayor, gave some praises of Prabhupada’s achievement, saying how it was wonderful that at this age of 70 years old he came to France and started this spiritual movement. So a lot of very, very nice words of appreciation of Prabhupada. This woman here is the official reception director for VIP’s coming to Paris. In fact, she was the woman who arranged for Srila Prabhupada’s reception at the Paris City Hall. The protocol was made very clear to us – that when we go into the reception room, everyone should stand and the mayor will give his opening remarks and then Srila Prabhupada can reply. The way it worked out was somewhat different. The mayor waited and Prabhupada sat, and the mayor started getting nervous and Prabhupada sat. Then everyone was looking at Srila Prabhupada and I leaned over and said, “Srila Prabhupada, they’re waiting for you to stand.” Srila Prabhupada looked at me and said, “I’m supposed to stand for who?” and refused to stand. So the mayor started his remarks and gave his greeting to Srila Prabhupada seated, probably the first time in the history of the country that anyone had been received in City Hall without standing up. Then when the mayor was finished saying how Paris has always been such a spiritual city, Srila Prabhupada stood at that moment and said, “Mr. Mayor, you have spoken very nicely about how France is such a spiritual country, etc. Let us examine what is spiritual,” and went right for the jugular, that there is a soul within the body and any government that is unaware of the difference between the soul and the body is a demonic government. “Just like your Napoleon Bonaparte,” (he pronounced the name “Napoleon Bona-partee”), “he said, ‘I am France.’ France is there. Where is Napoleon? The soul is gone. Where has it gone? This is the importance of proper spiritual training is to understand the difference between the body and the soul.” He took seriously what the mayor had just said about the importance of the spiritual values in life. So he told him, “The government’s duty, the duty of the politicians, the duty of all the leaders of the people is to train the citizens in God consciousness and spiritual life. And if they do not teach the values of spiritual life, how there is a soul different from the body, if they do not teach how there is God who is the supreme controller, then they are not doing their duty. They are simply doing harm to the citizens.” So that was pretty bold for Prabhupada to talk in such a stern way to the mayor of the city of Paris, and we could see when looking at him that he was astonished by what Prabhupada was telling him. But Prabhupada really took the opportunity to give them a lesson on being good politician and doing really their duty as the leaders of France. He was strong, and that was Prabhupada’s style. He was strong. He didn’t mince words. He could be very understanding and was always sensitive but never compromising. An opportunity like this in the City Hall of Paris before the mayor, before press, before dignitaries, Srila Prabhupada was the acharya, the representative of Krishna and Krishna’s world, and there was no compromising the message at all, ever. I will not remember exactly everything that Prabhupada had said during that lecture, and it’s sad that it’s not in the sound track and no recording was done because the recorders didn’t work. You can see them on the movie, they are trying to get the recorder to work and it doesn’t. But right after the City Hall reception when we went back to the temple, all the devotees wanted to know what happened. So I told them the whole story of what happened during the whole reception, and they wanted to know what Prabhupada had said and what the mayor had said. I was able to retell the devotees exactly with all the details everything that Prabhupada had told the mayor, and the reason was that when Prabhupada would talk, he’d talk always in such a perfectly structured way that it was extremely easy then to reconstruct the whole lecture, even though it was something like maybe a 15 minutes talk, 15-20 minutes talk, because the points were really following each other in a very logical order. I realized that a few times after having in the same way repeated to devotees different lectures that Prabhupada had given when the devotees could not be around; and I was always amazed by that, of how Prabhupada was able to speak so concise, so precise, so perfectly structured. And that’s one of the things I always liked so much and admired so much in Prabhupada was his intelligence in the way he knew the philosophy, wrote the books, explained the philosophy, but that when he was speaking in public, it was always in such an effective way. It was really remarkable. What made it ironic was that at the very same time that Prabhupada was being received as a VIP in the City Hall, Indradyumna was leading a sankirtan book distribution party in the Paris Metros and found himself under arrest by the Paris police. This was not an uncommon irony, that Srila Prabhupada would be received as a dignitary, a missionary ambassador of peace from India, and yet the program for peace that he was initiating rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. So they didn’t dare not receive him because they recognized that as someone with a large following who was very respected by Indian culture, they had to receive him. But yet at the same time, they would do whatever they could to suppress the sankirtan activities. A few reporters were there. There were articles. At that time, there were a lot of reviews, different magazines but very intellectual magazines that were writing articles about us; and most of the time these magazines, that was very nice what they were saying about us. But the general daily newspapers, they were also very often writing articles on us and sometimes it was very nice but sometimes it was making fun of us because we were so strange and they could not take it seriously, all these people in these yellow and white robes dancing in the streets with the little sikha. It was so strange to them and they would call them the “fou de Dieu,” which means “people who are mad for God,” because they would see us chanting, our arms raised and so ecstatic and so happy and smiling. So for them we were the “fou de Dieu,” people completely mad after God. Even though they were sometimes making fun of us, it was nice and kind so it was not bad. It was not like much later on when we had these anti-cult groups, then that was very, very bad and nasty, but not at that period. So right after the official greeting, then we went with everybody at the room where we had prepared all the prasadam. We had a buffet with all kinds of very wonderful vegetarian dishes, and everybody talked very happily. It was very nice. When Prabhupada saw this magnificent historical building, he was so astonished to see that he said, “I didn’t know that this kind of building still existed.” And then when he came in, Prabhupada was just saying how beautiful the building was because he was seeing all this wood carving on the walls and all these Greek and Chinese vases and big, big, big chandeliers on the ceilings, the furniture it was very, very antique, all the draperies. It was very luxurious, very, very beautiful. So in one of these articles, one of the journalists who was there saw that when Prabhupada came in, all the devotees paid obeisances. So the way he reported it in the newspaper was that all these Hare Krishna devotees kissed the carpet where so many great personalities had been walking like the General DeGaulle, like the Queen of England had walked on this carpet and the devotees were kissing the carpet. It’s true that to people who see us doing that, they all interpret it in such funny ways. It was strange for them. For us, we don’t even pay attention to it, it’s so normal. But for them, it’s really weird. The brilliance and genius of Srila Prabhupada’s mission was that he started off in such a humble way and always made himself accessible to people on all levels so that moments like this in official government receptions or other elegant environments in no way should be interpreted as an aloofness or a sense of elitism on his part. They were nice to-do’s when they could be arranged. It brought a certain notoriety or cachet to a visit. The really significant moments, however, were not receptions by fleeting politicians but rather the in-depth philosophical meetings that Srila Prabhupada had, sometimes with very ordinary people.

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Duration: 24 minutes and 17 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: lopter001 on Jan 3, 2022

Fsp Dvd 5-101

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