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Following Srila Prabhupada DVD 301

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We had this letter from Karandhar in Los Angeles that Prabhupada is traveling and everyone should invite him to their temple, and Karandhar said, that, "Of course, he won't go, but it's the etiquette for the disciple to invite the guru to visit the temple." So I was absolutely sure that while Prabhupada might travel to Europe or something, one or two temples, he wasn't going to go around the world, what to speak of come to Australia. And so I wrote him the letter, the form letter, I put in a very persuasive argument and every embellishment and I said, "We are just dying for you to come here," fully confident that that would never happen. And gosh, two or three weeks later, they said, "Prabhupada is in India, they're having a big program in Bombay at the Cross Maidan," and that he wanted to come to Australia right afterwards, "Please send tickets for three people." We were stunned. We never thought that Prabhupada would come to Australia. And as far as three tickets for three people, our income was $100 a week, maybe that was a good week going out and selling Back To Godheads. Where are we going to come up with $3,000? So we had a we put like one of those thermometers on the board for fundraising, and lo and behold, there was a devotee there, and he came up to me one day and he said, "I would like to facilitate Prabhupada's coming to Australia, and I heard you need $3,000 "and he had just sold a house. I got the tickets for Prabhupada and he came to Australia. He came with Vegavan and Padmavati, who had just been married, and he came with the Deities Radha-Gopinath, that had been used at that Cross Maidan pandal. Vegavan sat on the plane with the deities in his lap. There was a whole bunch of devotees that have joined recently. Some had just joined that week, seven days ago, some just two days ago, but Prabhupada decided he was just going to initiate everybody. When Prabhupada arrived, Bali Mardan and Vegavan were carrying Radha Krishna Deities. So Srila Prabhupada obviously wanted that there were some brahmanas. So we got initiation, five of us got first and second initiation simultaneously. Of course, I didn't know what a brahmana was. I hadn't a clue really what initiation meant, although I did understand about following certain principles and chanting rounds. But at some point, someone announced, "Ok, we're going to have five brahmanas here, so you need brahmana threads," and Bali Mardan took off a thread that he was wearing around him and said, "Make some of these." So I got up from the fire arena, were sitting by the fire, ran out, went up and down the street looking for string, something similar, I got as close as I could. And then I came back and set by the fire again, and was making these long string things with knots in them. Later on, somebody said, "Ok, now you're a brahmana, so you have to wear a brahmana thread too, so make one for yourself." And I said, "What's a brahmana?" And I was confused. And then someone else said, "Ladies don't wear brahmana threads." That was going on, the initiation was going on, and the installation was also going on. We didn't know the Deities were coming really, when They came, we didn't know what to do. But in the year between the first visit and the second, we made a lot of progress, and we'd built a beautiful altar there. And that's when he said, "When I was here before I prayed to the Lord, that He would instruct you from within how to take care of Him, and He has done so." So he was very pleased with the Deity worship by then when he left the previous year, he was thinking we were very much mlecchas. Because I was totally shy, I've always been shy, being interviewed by those reporters, I think the only way I could have done that was because of my commitment to ISKCON and the devotees and Prabhupada. I wouldn't have normally left home, but I met the devotees and I just had to come and join the temple. It was a force that was way stronger than any of my personal qualities would prevent from happening. So I was very embarrassed. I was worried about my mother, because she cried when I left home and she was upset, she didn't understand. From an early age I used to tell her I came from another planet, you know, I was from outer space, and she never really understood that. So it was difficult to explain why you're going with his wind sect and why you're bowing down on the dirty Paddington streets to some Indian person that we've never met before. So it was a scary time for me. I just turned 18 and I had no worldly experience. I was totally going against society, totally going against my parents. My thoughts have mellowed considerably since then. I now realize that the Hare Krishna movement isn't the monster I thought it was. 30 years ago, I was frightened of what I didn't understand. I know many of my daughter's devotee friends, and I found them to be loving, warm people. I love my Hare Krishna grandsons, who have turned out to be normal everyday boys, and she's come to no harm. In fact she is a lovely girl and I am very proud of her. But I had that strong conviction that I have to do this, because Krishna was helping me. I know that sounds a bit trite, but initially, when I wanted to leave home I thought, "How am I going to leave home?" So the very next day, my mother said, "When I was 17, I left home. So if you want to leave home, it's OK." I thought, "Aha, Krishna is helping me." That real connection with God was coming. You know, it's like that for you take one step towards God, and He takes many steps towards you. So I could feel that. The first time I went to the temple, I was just totally overwhelmed with the prasadam, the smells. I thought, "Finally I'm home." So if I did anything in this life, I was going to stay there, and I was going to do it, because this is my ticket out of the material world, and this is the only place ever that I ever felt comfortable. So there was something special happening there due to Prabhupada's potency. I met Karandhar just before the summer Ratha Yatra in '71. He had come up to Portland to meet me and to tour the temple, and he told me about how important book distribution was. And so I was assigned the task of selling books. We had the hard bound books in Portland and the idea that we had at that time was to go to the bookstores and convince them to carry the books. And in those days, it was very easy to convince the bookstores to carry spiritual books. And then we drove down to San Francisco for the summer Ratha Yatra. For many devotees, that was the first time they ever saw Srila Prabhupada, and it was the first time that I ever saw Srila Prabhupada. Everything I had been feeling from my own chanting, and from hearing Prabhupada's bhajans became very magnified, intensified. Hundreds of devotees were crying, genuinely crying. That kirtan was a very special ecstatic kirtan and a lot of mercy from Srila Prabhupada and Lord Jagannatha that day. I was also very emotional. I was crying, and very effected. I knew I was going to dedicate everything that I had to Srila Prabhupada. So I had been in the temple already a year-and-a-half. And Prabhupada was coming. So I remember that Malati Jyotir-mayi, Mandakini and myself, we stayed back, everybody else went to the airport. And that was really really, really badly because all the other devotees that had already met Prabhupada were like on another platform and they were so excited. And Mandakini, we had to do everything. It pushed me to the point where I was kind of feeling negative, so I was feeling really bad about myself. So Prabhupada came through the door into Bury Place, and Malati was first in line then Jyotir-mayi I think then Mandakini, and there was a temple door and I hung back to the back. So Prabhupada walked in with a big smile on his face and he gave a garland to Malati he gave a garland to Jyotir-mayi, he gave a garland to Mandakini, and then he turned to go into the temple room. So I thought, Well, you know, this is right because I'm such a nonsense. I don't deserve anything from Prabhupada." But I remember when he went into the temple room, it was kind of late in the evening, Prabhupada offered his obeisances very deliberate and very slow and just very transcendental. And then he stood up and he just held his hands and just looked to the Deity so nicely. And then he went upstairs and then all the devotees got back from the airport. And we were all in a big room. And it was either Ekadasi or it was going past midnight and it was going to become Ekadasi. So Prabhupada was giving out sweets and he gave them to each devotee, and I stood way in the back because I was feeling so badly. He was kind of forced me to come. I didn't feel right coming up, but he forced me with his hand and put it in my hand like that, he smiled and dropped it in my hand. And then there was some talk about, "Oh, it is Ekadasi and there is cornstarch in the icing sugar that goes into Simply Wonderfuls." And Prabhupada said something like, "We are not fanatics," and everybody, you know, took their Simply Wonderfuls. It was in the middle of the night when His Divine Grace arrived, and we were all lined up to meet him. But the most amazing thing was that when he arrived, he was golden. He was just golden. And you could hear the devotees, as Prabhupada was walking by, you could hear one devotee after another, they were gasping in surprise, "He is golden!" "He is golden!" "He is golden!" and he really was. Prabhupada just appeared on this specific occasion... it was different than other times. Prabhupada is always transcendental and effulgent, but this particular time he was he was looking like a walking Deity or something. He was just looking very golden. When I was in L.A., I know Prabhupada had wanted us to carve some murtis of Radha-Krishna. This is before we had installed any Deities, and he was at the time trying to cast them in America to see if it could be facilitated. So he had Subal carve out a rough form of Radha-Krishna. And then he asked Subala myself to go to different foundries all over. We were very inexperienced, and didn't even know the right things to ask. So we'd go and we would see Prabhupada and he'd say, "So what intelligent information do you have for me today?" because we usually told him some nonsense. So then Prabhupada left and went to San Francisco... and then a while later, when he came back to San Francisco... he might have gone to India again... he wrote me a letter saying that he wanted to know what was what was happening with those murits that we carved, and we should bring them up to make sure he gets them. Eventually, he decided that they should be cast in India. There was a program also that he had of a Deity walk, where we would take the Deities on Sunday and walk all around the whole block with the small Deities. And we were asked to go into the houses in the early morning and ask people who could take a flower from their garden. Then we would bring the Deities around the back down the laneway and past his window, and he would stand up. I remember we would all look forward to that, and he would look out of his window when he heard the kirtan coming. And we would all stand there for some time jumping up and down so happy to see him. And then we would go around, bring the Deities to the front, and outside the temple would place the Deities, and then each one of us would give a report. This was quite shocking for me because I was such a new devotee, but you would have to walk up in front of the Deities with your hands folded and say, "My dear Lord, this is what I've done this week." and say what your service was, and so on, so forth. It was such a spontaneous kind of a mood to talk to the Deities like that. I was at first I was a little shocked but I grew to quite like that, and everyone in the temple would have to present themselves and say what they had done for the pleasure of the Deities. Prabhupada was fixed in his preaching mission, and that was his ecstasy. But every now and then his internal emotions would bubble up sometimes. So usually Prabhupada would come and offers obeisances to the three altars, and then he would come and sit on the vyasasana. Then we would offer obaisances and we would still be in the process of bowing down and he'd be sitting on the vyasasana and he would begin with the Sanskrit, om purnam adah purnam idam, the Sanskrit rolling out. And nothing came, there's nothing coming. So we all looked up and Prabhupada was sitting and he was looking at the Deities, and tears were just pouring down his eyes, just he couldn't speak, just tears pouring down his eyes. And it was the most far out thing because then he pulled himself up straight, he took a deep breath, and just you could tell he just suppressed physically just pushed it down and went on with this business. It was like daruka, it was a disturbance to his service. But there was no question that Prabhupada was on the highest level. But he was so dedicated with spiritual master, that he would not let his personal extasy interrupt his service to his Guru Maharaja. Then one time Prabhupada was leaving. The vyasasana was in the back, and there was a side door, and Prabhupada had his slippers right there. So Prabhupada went out and he had his back to us, and he was just slipping on his slippers. I think someone was helping him slip them on. He turned to us and we were just sitting there with our mouths open, nobody moving and Prabhupada said, "Yes, if I told you everything, you would faint," and then he walked up to his room. Prabhupada invited all the other temple presidents to come and see the L.A. standard and he wanted this standard to be introduced, especially with the Deity worship with the three altars. When we got the building Prabhupada went room to room and picked out what each room should be used for. Where you walk in now, and there's a temple, that actually wasn't the temple that Prabhupada chose. Prabhupada had another vision that wasn't our vision. His vision was to have mainstream America come into that with their shoes on and sit in the pews and hear Bhagavad-gita and kirtan on the stage. We put Prabhupada's vyasasana on the stage, and he had Vishnujan play the organ. I even wanted to take out the stained glass and Prabhupada said, "No, that must stay." He said,"Don't touch anything here." Even where the minister spoke, what it is called? A pulpit, he kept that because he wanted the devotees to come and speak too. It was so surreal to sit in the pew and hear Bhagavad-gita and hear Vishnujan singing, Jaya Madhava on an organ. Even Prabhupada would play the organ. We would sit and he would play the organ. I wish there was tape recordings of that. Prabhupada saw that the American people were becoming disenchanted with their churches. He said, "Now I will enchant them with Krishna consciousness." So he thought, they're inclined to come to a church, let them come back to this church, but hear Bhagavad-gita and hear the kirtan. Prabhupada's vision was totally, he was thinking mainstream America, not hippies. Prabhupada's vision wasn't that we all become monks. You know, he wanted judges and politicians, doctors to come to the temple. They are not going to all become monks and save up. But we had another vision: come to the temple and save up. But that wasn't Prabhupada's vision. Prabhupada used to come in from the back of the temple room, because his quarters were upstairs, there was a hall he came down. We didn't have the big Rukmini Dwarkadish then, we only had small Radha Krishna. Prabhupada came in from the back of the temple room he looked, and he called Silavati over... Shilavati was the pujari and he said, "There's tilak in Krishna' eye." She went and she looked and she couldn't see anything, and she came back to Prabhupada. Prabhupada said, "No ther is tilak in Krishna's eye." And she looked and she looked and she looked, and right in the very.... it was a tiny speck of to tilak in Krishna's eye. There was another moment that was very special to me. There were some devotees, I think it was brahmacaris they came from Germany and they were saying that the head pujari should not be a woman Prabhupada said. I remember the shortly after that Prabhupada came, and I was in the Deity room, I just did aratik and Prabupada came in. He was on his own he just been outside, and because the temple room doors very close to the front door he just came in to see the Deities. I was just standing there next to Prabhupada and he turned to me and said, "Are you in charge?" And I said, "Yes Prabhupada." He smiled and nodded and he said, "That's very good." It was like Prabhupada knew that I was given a hard time, but he was like a nod and a wink. Once a year when Prabhupada came, that was actually what kept me going because otherwise it was very tough. The room was full. The condensation was dripping as it did in those days. It was just so packed and such a small space, it was impossible to believe how many people could fit into such a small space. But Prabhupada had finished giving his lecture. "And that is Krishna consciousness. Are there any questions?" And immediately an Indian lady stood up and her question was, "Swamiji, can you see God?" It was like a challenging tone and immediately Prabhupada replied, "Yes, you cannot?" And then he looked around the room and said, "Krishna is everywhere, you cannot see?" And there was silence, definitely, she didn't know what to do. So Prabhupada said, "Why you cannot see God?" And she didn't know what to do. Then Prabhupada said, "Do you want to see Krishna?" And the lady getting embarrassed and she looked down and said "No, Swamiji." And Prabhupada immediately said, "Therefore you cannot see." One beautiful memory from that time, actually, it was it's actually concerns Suddhajaya, a French devotee who joined around that time when he was visiting from Paris and this was his first meeting with Prabhupada. The temple was crowded and he was sort of just peeping through the door. And he asked at the end of Prabhupada's lecture...he started just telling Prabhupada, he said, "You know, I met the devotees here in London, I came here to get a job, but I met the devotees, and I just find this so attractive, I just want to be around them. And now I've heard you speaking, and you know, it's just so beautiful, so wonderful to be here in the temple, surrounded by all these wonderful devotees and listening to you. I don't want to go back to find a job, I don't want to go back to Paris. I just want to stay here with all the devotees." Prabhupada turned and with a big smile, he said, "That is because from crow you have become swan," and everyone just like erupted into laughter and jaya and cheering. It was a very nice moment. When he got initiated Prabhupada said, "Ah, the swan." Oh, right, the swan.

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Duration: 22 minutes and 27 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Posted by: lopter001 on Sep 9, 2021

Following Srila Prabhupada DVD 301

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