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Following Srila Prabhupada _ DVD 202

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Here it is the moment of truth actually. You see, we’re pulling the Rathayatra cars out into the street more or less in front of the temple on 518 Frederick Street. I’m in the middle of all of this because I figured if anyone’s going to get squashed, I’m the designer and architect, I should be the one to get squashed. When we had finally built them and realized how massive they were, we were scared stiff as to what would happen when we took them off the blocks and started rolling them down the hill. We thought they would continue to roll and go right through the temple door and out the back and down into the Bay. I might add, it had no brakes whatsoever and, therefore, if it had gotten away, it would have gotten away. What we did with the paint was we used natural earth pigments. I took deep tone latex base and mixed the pigments with water and had it shaken up at the paint place. So what we did was we used the same pigmentation that they use in Jagannatha Puri. You see how many men it was required to brake the Rathayatra car. All of this was designed and built custom within a matter of a few weeks. I think we had about six or eight weeks in which we built everything from scratch, and we were able to acquire lumber. We spent very little cash for lumber. Most of it was acquired from donation and wood that was left inadvertently lying around. Srila Prabhupada sent Nara Narayan up to design the carts. I remember one meeting that Nara Narayan was walking around the room holding his head, and Srila Prabhupada said what was the matter because you could see Nara Narayan was in anxiety. He told Srila Prabhupada that he needed special empowerment, he felt he needed a special empowerment in order to do these carts, and he told Prabhupada it had to come in a name. So Prabhupada told him, “All right, for this now you have become Viswa Karma, the architect of the universe.” Nara Narayan lit up, and that was all he needed to get his inspiration for figuring out how to build all the three carts because he had to invent the scopes for the domes coming down. The tops were designed so that the whole Rathayatra car could slip under a 15-foot-high overpass. So the entire part came down. We had it all designed the year before, we just took a pole and lowered it down, but that cart was only 35 feet tall. These were over 60 feet tall. So we just were building it, we didn’t think. Then Srila Prabhupada was in Los Angeles, he happened to talk to Tamal and said, “And how is the lowering mechanism going to be designed?” Tamal said, “Oh, Nara Narayan is working on that. He knows all about it. He’s a genius engineer, he can do it.” So Srila Prabhupada said to Tamal, “So who is checking on Nara Narayan?” Tamal said, “Oh, you don’t have to check on Nara Narayan, he knows what he’s doing.” And Prabhupada said, “Why not ask?” So Tamal phoned up, he said, “Ha, ha, ha, I hate to ask you this, I mean, it’s so silly, but how are you doing the mechanism, how is it raising up?” We said, “Well, we’re just…we’re…uh…” We hadn’t thought of how to do it. So Locan, myself, Madhudvisa and Jayananda, we all sat there for four days without sleeping, day and night, not able to figure out how to raise the top. Finally, somehow or other it came to me how to make this telescoping tube that could be raised up in increments, which is sort of the model that’s been used ever since except it’s been made much more sophisticated since then, much better design. Then Prabhupada said sternly, “No one should ever be in charge completely of something, there should be committee to make sure.” Because Prabhupada, if anyone, had tremendous confidence in what I could do and Tamal had complete confidence in what I could do, and yet I had made the biggest blunder that could have destroyed the whole festival if we had not stopped and worked that out. When he first came to the temple, I wasn’t very conscious of who he was because I was a brand new devotee. He came into the temple room, and everyone paid their obeisances. When everyone had their heads down, I looked up at Srila Prabhupada and he laughed, he smiled at me. It was the first realization that I ever had, that he was the first person that had ever loved me. That was very clear, that he was the first person in my life that had ever loved me and that he knew clearly who I was and everything about me. I felt he saw right through me, not in a bad way, not like saw through my artificiality, but saw who I really was. That was a very special thing. Then everyone sat down and he spoke a little bit, and then someone brought him a plate of sweets. I remember he took a gulabjamon and he tossed it in his mouth from his lap, and I remember thinking that was so incredible. I’ve tried it in the past and it just lands on my forehead or over my shoulder, but it was so incredible to watch him. Everything he did was so perfect and aristocratic. Oh, these are the horses. This is interesting. My father made the horses. My father was a dramatic Holocaust survivor. His heart had flames coming out of it from the Holocaust in the Warsaw Ghetto. And so he built these horses. He painted them with fire and with smoke – they looked as though they were smoldering – and he put them on the front of the Rathayatra cars, which was quite a contribution, four for each Rathayatra car. I wanted to engage him, so I asked him to do it. But when I saw the horses, I was absolutely horrified. They looked like horses of the apocalypse coming out of hell. So my father was very proud of them, they were rather dramatic horses. My parents, I should say, were separated for 40 years. So my mother was also at the Rathayatra Festival, and my mother and father hadn’t seen each other for maybe five years. My mother walks up and said, “Who has made these horses?” She recoils in horror seeing these smoldering, burned, crazed horses with wild rolling eyes. “Who has made these horses?” I look at her and say, “Uh, my dad made them.” She said, “Well, this will never do!” So she went and grabbed buckets of paint and painted them all up with a nice merry-go-round design, caparisoned and white and clean and healthy-looking horses. And they looked at these horses together and they sort of felt, “Yes, this is what we’ve done to honor our son’s choice,” and I could see that they both felt great satisfaction. From my perspective as a budding transcendentalist, two years in the movement, I thought, “This is their devotional service. This is the moment that was created for them by Lord Krishna to accomplish something in their lives and to give my brother and myself permission to go forward with the power of the pitris behind us.” I got the Krsna Book published in Japan by Dai Nippon. I had to go there to supervise. This was the first book with color photos. This was very special. The windows to the spiritual world. I went there in I think it was May, and I told Dai Nippon…I met with all the executives…that there was a festival in July and I wanted to bring the finished book to the festival in San Francisco. So it meant they had two months to produce the book and they said, “Impossible.” I said, “Well, there is no impossible. You have to do it because I want to present the book to the spiritual master at the festival.” They said, “Well, it’s impossible, but anyway we’ll try.” So they worked so hard, and I would go every day and push them. Every day I would ask them, “Are you going to have it ready? Are you going to have it ready?” They’d say, “It’s impossible, it’s impossible.” Then I booked my return flight to arrive in San Francisco the day of Rathayatra, and actually they didn’t have it ready. I said, “This is going to have serious repercussions for our future business with you” and so on, and then I went to the airport. So as I was walking up the stairs to get on the plane, this big black limousine drove out onto the tarmac, it had flags on it. Dai Nippon was one of the largest companies in Japan, they printed Time magazine and everything. This long black limousine and it comes right to the airplane, and out come all the Dai Nippon executives in their blue suits. There were about five of them. So I went down and they were all bowing from the waist, and they gave me this carton. The stewardess is saying, “Come on, you’ve got to get on the plane, we’ve got to take off.” So I just took the carton, I thanked them and got on the plane. I couldn’t wait for the plane to take off. I tore open the carton, and there is this silver shining Krsna Book. It was so ecstatic. Then I start going through the book and looking at everything, the pictures and how it all turned out, and there was this man next to me. He was a business executive, American, and he saw me. He said, “What do you got there?” I said, “Oh, this is my spiritual master, I printed the book in Japan, it’s the first book.” He said, “How much is it?” And I said…whatever I said, “Ten dollars” or something, which was a good amount in those days. He said, “OK, I’ll take it.” So then I came to San Francisco, went right away to Prabhupada’s apartment. I brought in the carton, presented the book to Prabhupada. Prabhupada was so pleased and he said, “How many copies do you have?” I said, “Well, there were 20 but now there’s only 19.” He said, “Oh, only 19? What happened to the other one?” I said, “Well, I sold it on the plane to the person next to me.” Prabhupada said, “Oh, very good, this is very auspicious that the first copy was distributed.” Then he ordered, he said, “All these books,” there were only 19 of them. He said, “These should all be distributed at the Rathayatra.” And then the one that he had in his hand, he said, “And this one also.” You couldn’t see the deities until They were on the ratha cart. That was one of our technicalities that we thought had to be there, that no one should view the deities until…it was like looking at prasadam before you offer it. So nobody’s going to see the deities until They get on the Rathayatra cart. And then when They were all up on the cart, then They would be revealed in all Their magnificence. I think there were some disturbances going on, and Prabhupada had given Vishnujan the Nrsingha prayers. Vishnujan had just been up with Prabhupada and came down and we were on the street right in front of the temple, and Vishnujan said to all of us that Prabhupada had given him this mantra for protection of the festival and right on the street he taught us. I think this is the first time we chanted the Nrsingha prayers. Myself and Gargamuni and others there, we did not want Prabhupada to go to the Rathayatra Festival. What happened is that we got threats. The Black Panthers sent word that “We’re going to attack your guru if you hold this festival,” and they were very credible threats. So we were afraid. So we told Prabhupada that “You shouldn’t go to the festival,” but Prabhupada couldn’t accept it. First of all, he didn’t care so much about threats. But second, it was just inconceivable that Prabhupada would not go to the Rathayatra and Prabhupada insisted on going, and I was insisting Prabhupada not go. So Prabhupada insisted, “You must take me.” So Gargamuni was driving the car. He drove very slowly and he took a very roundabout route in order to arrive late at the festival. Things started out well, but they quickly got worse. One of the carts had a certified weld that cracked, and Balarama’s car was out of commission. The newspapers wrote an articled called “Harried Krishna.” That was just after we were attacked by the Black Panthers. So they had all these Black Panthers all in afros, black T-shirts and black pants and they attacked with some martial arts. So Brahmananda and others were fighting them. We had poles to keep people from getting crushed under the Rathayatra cars, very beautifully decorated poles. So we used these poles to fend them off. My father was dressed like an Old Testament prophet of old with his white beard, and he stood there and he had a staff and he was crashing it onto the ground crying, “Tolerance! Tolerance! Tolerance!” We marched literally seven miles to the sea. At one point, there were cars parked on either side. I cried out, “Move the cars!” and 25 people would grab each car and just send it skittering. Subhadra’s cart had an interesting miracle attached to it as well. What happened is we came along and Shyamasundara had used a piece of malleable iron as the axle for Subhadra’s cart, and it had started to get worn through after two years of Rathayatras, which we weren’t aware of. So we warned everyone not to ride on Subhadra’s cart because we were worried about it not being strong, but guess what? People got on anyhow and the wheel bent almost horizontal. We thought, “Oh, no, we’ve lost Balarama’s cart, now we’ve lost Subhadra’s cart. What on earth are we going to do?” So it suddenly occurred to me and I said, “Wait a minute, I want 50 people to lift Subhadra’s cart,” and 50 people rushed forward and lifted Subhadra’s cart. “And I want another 50 people to grab the wheel and bend it down again,” and they did. They came and they took the wheel and that piece of iron that was two-and-a-half inches thick, they just bent it back again so the wheel was perfectly vertical.” Then I said, “Now I want another 50 people to guard it so nobody gets on,” and nobody got on. Gate Park, all of the devotees stopped. Srila Prabhupada was supposed to give a lecture at the beginning of the Rathayatra Festival; but because there was some disturbance at that time, Prabhupada delayed his arrival and he entered Golden Gate Park up the road about a mile or so from the beginning and then walked back towards the Rathayatra cart and took everybody by surprise. Prabhupada had many garlands that were given to him and he took one of his garlands off and he looked for Jayananda and he garlanded Jayananda with the flower garland that was given to him, making that benediction to Jayananda. Prabhupada began to dance in a circle, and you see Prabhupada’s flowing robes. Bhavananda picked out the fabric for that cloth.. I saw this really nice shimmery peach silk satin cloth, but it was actually an upholstery cloth. But it was beautiful, so I wanted that. So I bought that, and I insisted…Madhudvisa was tearing his sikha out…I insisted on buying real pearls. I wanted to make real pearl buttons and a real pearl button on the side…you know, the little strap that goes under his chin on his Prabhupada hat…a real pearl there. So Madhudvisa, mumbling and grumbling, gave me the money. And when Madhudvisa brought the cloth over, Prabhupada looked at it and said, “As you dress me, so I shall dance.” It was wonderful. He gave instructions about the dancing, I know that, for that year. I think it was 1970 that he told the devotees how to dance, in front of the deities specifically, based on the descriptions that are in the Chaitanya-caritamrta. At that time, the Chaitanya-caritamrta was not available. In one group, Lord Nityananda would be the dancer in front of one chariot. In another chariot, I think it was Advaitacarya may have been the dancer. Like that. It was basically for the pleasure of the deity, then you have an ecstatic dancer. Not to impress the crowd but, in Krishna consciousness, for the specific pleasure of the deity. Prabhupada was showing the devotees that he liked to dance, not just the Swami step but jumping up and down. That was a new revelation. He introduced that at La Cienega Boulevard temple. At the temple, he had introduced the jumping. Before, the Swami step was the conservative dance step that was used by everybody. But when Prabhupada started to jump at the La Cienega Boulevard temple in Los Angeles, that’s when jumping became part of the choreography of the temple. At the start of the procession we had speakers on Subhadra’s car, and Jivananda and I and a couple other devotees were sitting in the back with microphones to have kirtan over the microphone. Then Prabhupada sent word back that he didn’t want the speakers anymore and he just wanted kirtan parties in the crowd like in India. So Jivananda and I turned the speakers off, hopped out and started doing kirtan. We marched literally seven miles to the sea. Nobody thought of complaining or why don’t we have buses to take us or something. People marched seven miles to the sea; and when they got there at the Family Dog Auditorium, which was run by Chet Helms who did all the Janis Joplin and Grateful Dead concerts and Moby Grape and Quicksilver and all that…there are those horses again…he let us use that place, and there were 10,000 people waiting at the beach who hadn’t wanted to go through the ordeal of marching. I was helping to cook, and then I went down to the Family Dog Auditorium, where Srila Prabhupada was going to come after. There were so many people that would participate actually that we filled the Family Dog Auditorium and simultaneously the beach was also filled with people, and we were distributing prasadam in both places, big kirtans were going on in both places. I was in the Family Dog when Srila Prabhupada arrived, and it was just so wonderful. Srila Prabhupada was such a swan amongst men, and he floated into the Family Dog Auditorium. There were literally thousands and thousands of hippies present, and they were all in their full regalia because this was a big event for them. So just ordinarily, in that day, people’s dress was interesting enough. But for this Rathayatra Festival, they really decked themselves out. Many dressed as Radha and Krishna and similar costumes like that. So Srila Prabhupada came amongst this. He walked onto the stage, and he looked out amongst the throngs of hippies and he smiled. Then he said, “I have come to make all the hippies into happies.” That evoked a tremendous tumult of transcendental roaring from all the devotees that were present and everyone got swept away in this wave, this tidal wave of ecstasy that was coming from Srila Prabhupada’s heart, and danced for hours and hours and hours. Vishnujan would be chanting and swooning, and then he would cry out, “Chant and dance, and when you’re tired take prasadam! And then come and chant and dance some more!” And that’s literally what went on for hours and hours and hours. There were so many unusual people there and Srila Prabhupada explaining that the people in general had become hippies because they were disillusioned with modern society; but if they didn’t find any guidance, then they would end up in a more difficult situation than the one that they had actually left. And he urged all of these drug-taking hippies to take up his message of Krishna consciousness and actually become first-class human beings. It was an amazing experience for me. I think it was what cemented my understanding that I should stay within the Krishna consciousness family. They assigned duties to everyone, and I was to be in charge of making the feast with the idea of feeding between five and ten thousand people, maybe more. So undaunted…I had never really cooked for large amounts of people…but in those days, we could climb Mount Everest and not be tired. Prabhupada’s energy was just driving the movement so powerfully that if we were given a duty to do, it was nothing. It was a feast actually that Prabhupada requested. There was so much prasadam there, we had gotten truckloads of watermelons donated so at the end we just stopped slicing the watermelons and just started giving whole watermelons to take home with them or to serve out.

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Duration: 23 minutes and 53 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 202

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