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Following Srila Prabhupada DVD 305

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The setting of the cornerstone of a temple is an extremely important thing. What happens is when this pit is established, it is actually protected by Ananta Sesa, which means that it’s very well protected indeed. And, of course, the manner in which the ceremony takes place also determines the outcome of the power of protection that the pit has. Now, in the case of this particular cornerstone, Prabhupada later on confided, he said, “When we first purchased this land from Mr. Nair, I did not see how we could keep this land.” He said, “But I thought if I bring Krishna here and I ask Krishna to sit tight, if He sits tight, if He stays, then I knew that it is possible we will be able to keep this land.” He built the temple, and the temple is there today to prove what can be done. By the order of the pure devotee of the Lord, on his order this temple was built by Krishna’s protection. So even Prabhupada did not believe it was possible, yet Krishna made it possible. So somehow this cornerstone laying was very significant in that regard because this is certainly part and parcel of Prabhupada asking Krishna to sit tight. And we know historically that when the police came to drag people away, the devotee girl Maitihili was holding onto the pole and they were pulling on her legs. And they tried to come with oxy-acetylene torches to cut down the temple; somehow they were cutting, but they could not finally get the Deity away. So Krishna sat tight. But Prabhupada had that power, evocative power, to bring Krishna to a place, ask Him to sit tight, and through the power of this pit of the cornerstone made it stick for all time. I was a brahmacari, I was not even initiated at that time. There was a class going on, and he asked this question in the class. He said, “How do you know that Krishna is God? Why do you believe me?” So some devotee said, “Because it says in the Bhagavad-gita, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo,” and all that, quoting some verses from the Bhagavad-gita. Or saying that because Prabhupada… “No, I may be lying also, I may be lying. How do you know that Krishna is Krishna?” So someone quoted from the Bhagavad-gita some verse. He says, “Yeah, but whether you believe the Bhagavad-gita or not believe Bhagavad-gita, the translation or interpretation may be wrong. How do you know that Krishna is Krishna?” So actually I was a very new devotee at that time. So all the senior devotees were giving their explanation and Prabhupada kept saying, “No, no. This is not a good answer. This is not a good answer. That’s not enough.” And then finally there was a little quietness. I was even afraid to say what I felt like saying, so very meekly I put my hand up and Prabhupada said, “Yes?” And I said, “Prabhupada, I believe it is Krishna because I can feel Krishna. When I say Krishna, I can feel Him, I can feel it. That’s why I believe in it.” And then his eyes grew up like that, “Yes! That is it! You can feel Krishna’s presence, that’s why you believe in Krishna!” And he looked at me with so much happiness that “Yes! Your answer is right.” Whenever he was in Bombay, every morning I would take his breakfast for him and he liked wadas. Whenever he came into town, he would send his servant to tell Mrs. Warrier that he was here; and the next morning, idlis or wadas had to be given. I used to take it in and I used to wait around, waiting for Prabhupada to give me a sweet back in return. Sometimes he would tease me and give me a piece of idli back or a piece of wada, and I would say, “No, I want the sweet on your plate,” and wait there till he gave it to me. At times he would tease me so much that he would eat all his prasadam and I would still be waiting for my sweet, I would never leave without it. And then he would go to put the last one in his mouth, then he would just hand it to me and let me go. He would laugh. He knew he was teasing me with it, especially when he would pick up the idli and he would give it to me with this amused look in his eye like “Are you going to take it?” I was stubborn, I wanted that sweet, that was it. I’d go in the evening too for the class just to get the sweet, the pera or the burfi that they were giving out. Sometimes he would be kind enough to tell Visala, “Give her her sweet so she can go and play,” or sometimes I would have to sit through the whole class and then I would get my sweet. I remember there were times when his servants weren’t around and I would get to pick up his shoes and help him slip his feet into it. Every evening my mother would make a garland for the lecture, and I was thinking about it. When I was that little, I used to feel embarrassed because all these devotees would come with these beautiful thick nice garlands. They would buy the flowers and make these beautiful garlands, and I got this thin little thing that my mom had made with the champa flowers or the mogra from the garden. And the more I thought about it, it was actually true – Prabhupada would take the big heavy ones off and he would leave the thin ones on, and he’d be smelling them. So actually he did like that offering. In some of the pictures you’ll see of Bombay, you see he’s got that champa garland around his neck, he hasn’t taken that one off. The morning walks were very informal, pretty much whoever wanted to go could go. And a lot of times the devotees were so sick, most of them were under their mosquito nets when Prabhupada took his morning walk. So I remember one morning Prabhupada was just taking off for his walk and so Brahmananda, Nara Narayan, myself and Srimate trailed along after him. We came to the gates…remember those big wooden gates at the front of the property?...and they were closed. And this was after mangal aratik. Prabhupada became livid. He was so angry. He said, “Why are these gates closed? I’ve told you the gates must be kept open for mangal aratik so the villagers can come.” He said, “Do you think this mangal aratik is just for you? No, it’s for everyone! You think this Krishna consciousness is just for you?” He was very angry that we were being so self-centered and not thinking about the welfare of the neighboring people. I remember that in Melbourne he gave me second initiation, and I had been initiated in 1971 by mail in Hong Kong. So I received one letter and he said, “Your initiated name is Jagajanani-devi-dasi.” And then very shortly after that we received another letter in Hong Kong saying that the name has been changed to Jagatarini because there was already somebody with the name Jagajanani. I had never received a fire sacrifice for first initiation so I sat in on the fire sacrifice in Melbourne, and then he gave me second initiation upstairs in his room. Then we all went out to collect guru dakshina, which was something new. It was a bit of a novelty, we weren’t familiar with that concept then. I remember going down one street nearby and going shop to shop, and one of the shops that I went into was a butcher shop and that man gave more than anyone else. So when I came back, I commented on that to Srila Prabhupada and I said I’d gone into this butcher shop. It was kind of a childish thing to say. And so he said, “Oh, that is very good,” and he was very kindly and fatherly. At the end of that visit to Melbourne, I brought my parents to see Srila Prabhupada. My mother and father came in, and my mother was very suspicious, she was uncomfortable. But my father was gracious and so he sat near to Srila Prabhupada, and my mother hovered by the door; and then they gave her a seat, and she sat down. Srila Prabhupada had this blue-colored type of a couch, French-style chaise lounge or something like that, and he was sitting on that and he looked so elegant, so genteel. They both sat down and then the first thing Srila Prabhupada did was he looked at my father, who was respectful, and he said, “Your daughter will deliver you.” And my father was a little embarrassed, I think, he couldn’t really understand Srila Prabhupada’s accent. So he started laughing nervously and he said, “Oh, yes, we always thought she’d do something like that.” And then Srila Prabhupada looked at him quite earnestly and said, “Don’t think that she’s given up your service.” He said, “Because of her, so many generations forward and backward in your family will be delivered because of her.” And he went on to explain to him that he had gone so many places in the world and wherever he went, people thanked him for what he had done for their children and he’d saved them from so many vices and so forth. My father was very gentle and so he was respectful, and afterwards Srila Prabhupada turned to me and said, “Your father is a gentleman.” Then my mother, who was also very pious in that sense but she was nervous, at the very end of that darshan, Srila Prabhupada took this carnation garland, it was solid and full of carnations, and he took it very gracefully from his neck. And then he asked his servant, “Give this to her.” And so they handed her this garland, and she was so taken aback. He was so charming, and she didn’t know what to say. She took that garland home and put it on a plate of water and kept it on a vase, in some way kept it and preserved it as long as she could in appreciation from that visit with him. This is a lecture Srila Prabhupada is giving at the Town Hall in Melbourne, Australia, in 1972. The devotees had gone to Melbourne after they had established a temple in Sydney, and they had become quite popular in Melbourne because of elaborate street sankirtan that was performed every day by the devotees in downtown Melbourne. Caru and Vaibhavi were there and Upananda was there, and there was a whole crew of…we called them “the ecstasy crew.” The ecstasy crew were people that didn’t get initiated but they religiously showed up every day for sankirtan in downtown Melbourne. So right on the same street where the Melbourne Town Hall was located the devotees were chanting up and down every day. So when Prabhupada arrived and they had Prabhupada’s lecture at Melbourne Town Hall, it was quite widely publicized and many of the people that had been seeing us on the street every day were there. There were some hippie gurus that came to see Srila Prabhupada, some famous hippie gurus in Melbourne. And everyone thought that this one hippie guru who would stand on a soapbox every day in downtown Melbourne in various places and preach his own hedonistic philosophy, and he was very quick-witted…so everyone thought that he would come and be able to challenge Srila Prabhupada. So many of his followers came that night also. But Srila Prabhupada quickly philosophically defeated him and humbled him, and he came forward at the end of the lecture and chanted and danced with all of the disciples of Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada was very adept at defeating the impersonalists and the hedonists, and this Melbourne Town Hall lecture was quite a grand success for the devotees. It was a large turnout. It was over 2,000 people that came to that, and so it was quite amazing. This universe is called chaturdash bhuvan, 14 planetary systems. This is called Bhu-loka. Above this, there is Bhuvar-loka. Above that, there is Jana-loka. Above that, there is Mahar-loka. Above that, there is Satya-loka. Above that, there is Brahma-loka, the highest planetary system. Similarly, down also we have got Tala, Atala, Talatala, Nitala, Patala, etc. This information you get from Vedic literature, 14 worlds. Each and every universe is consisting of these 14 planetary systems, and there are innumerable universes. That you also get information from Brahma-samhita: yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti. Jagad-anda-koti. Jagad-anda means this universe is a big ball just like anda, egg. Everything, every planet is just like egg, this brahmanda. The universe is also like egg. So there are many, many, many millions of jagad-anda. And in each and every jagad-anda, kotisu vasudhadi vibhuti-bhinnam, there are innumerable planets also. So these are the information we get from the Vedic literature. If you like, you can accept. If you don’t like, you can reject. That is up to you. I was in Vancouver temple, and I heard that Srila Prabhupada was coming to L.A. I’d never seen Prabhupada before so I got very excited and I asked Bahudak, which was the temple president, that I wanted to go to meet Prabhupada. And he said, “If you want to please Prabhupada, you stay here.” So I said, “OK, prabhu.” And as soon as he left I ran upstairs to the brahmacari ashram and I didn’t even take any clothes, I just grabbed my coat and I ran out the back door. I didn’t have any money, and I was in Canada. So I start hitchhiking, went across the border, got across almost to the end of Washington state the first night. And Prabhupada is arriving the next day around 4:00 in L.A. So I think I was about a thousand miles away from L.A. As soon as the sun came up, I started hitchhiking. And the first car that came over was a brand new Corvette, and this guy was an Air Force pilot. He said, “Where are you going?” I said, “I’m going to L.A.” He said, “Jump in,” and amazingly enough he was driving about 120 miles an hour. It was great, it was fun. To make a long story short, he drove me two blocks from the temple in L.A. and I got there about 20 minutes before Prabhupada came in. I ran upstairs, took a shower, put on a dhoti, put on tilak, ran outside into the alleyway and flowers were showering from the top of the building, and Prabhupada’s car pulled up and the door got opened and Prabhupada came out. It’s the first time I saw him, and his smile was great. The devotees were jumping up and down, and it was like being in the spiritual world. I think I was the first devotee widow, the first widow in the movement. And somebody told me that in India you can tell a person’s status by how they’re dressed and it was important what you’re wearing, and so it would please Srila Prabhupada if I put on all white. So I went to Culver Center and bought tons of white fabric and began wearing white, but I wasn’t sure if that was correct. We were new at everything. Nobody knew much about Vedic culture. So I wanted to go before Prabhupada, have him see me in white, and then I felt like I would be able to tell by his reaction. Maybe he would say something or give me a nod or something, make a comment. So I was determined that Prabhupada see me wearing a white sari. Every time Prabhupada would come to LAX Airport, as soon as he walked through the terminal, if you said your obeisances and you really said the full prayer, by the time you stood up you didn’t even get a glimpse of him, especially if you were in a female body because all the guys would stand in front of you and you didn’t get to see Srila Prabhupada. So I formulated a plan, and I didn’t tell anyone – it was my big dream, my big secret – that the next time he was coming to LAX, I would wait at the bottom of the escalator with my daughter and all the way down the escalator he might only see me and he might say something. So that’s what I did. I dreamt about it, I planned it, I couldn’t wait. And sure enough, I heard he was coming to Los Angeles again. So I did exactly that. I dressed up my daughter, we waited at the bottom of the escalator. It was difficult because the big tumult was upstairs, the big kirtan, but I stood there. And just as it went in my dreams, he came down the escalator and there was me and Nimai and he stopped at the bottom of the escalator. He leaned forward, he took the little bouquet of flowers that we made for him, he looked at me, he saw the white sari, and I got a definite nod of approval. Without a shadow of a doubt, I got the nod of approval, a very pleased nod. And that one nod, the power of Prabhupada’s nod kept me in white for 18½ years because of that nod. Meanwhile, what was humorous is the escalator kept going, and so all the sannyasis that were right behind him were getting squished like an accordion. We were always told that Srila Prabhupada’s favorite flower was a yellow rose. So I brought one to the airport to give to him. So he steps off of the mover and comes to the firm ground, and I’m standing there right in front of him. He looks at me right in the eyes and I hand him the rose, he takes the rose and gently nods his head and walks on. And for that one moment also, the kirtan, all the devotees and chanting, it seemed to just be a moment of silence that I got to share with Srila Prabhupada. And just one moment in time that Srila Prabhupada accepting a gift from me lasts a lifetime. All the devotees were coming back from the airport, and I remember meeting Prabhupada’s feet before meeting Prabhupada. I just remember him walking by as he was coming into the temple room and just seeing his feet walking. And I just remember that there was so much light around his feet, and I could see Prabhupada as a great huge being because I was looking up from the floor at him. That’s etched in my mind, that wonderful memory of just seeing his effulgent feet and then kind of working my way up from the feet up to his golden smile. During kirtan, Prabhupada was so enthusiastic and always encouraging the person who was leading. He would be looking around the room and I myself personally, I was feeling like I could touch the ceiling. I’d be jumping as high as I could, and I just felt like there was no bounds. I was also feeling that we were all like little puppies jumping up and down in great joy and happiness seeing our spiritual master. So Prabhupada was always encouraging, looking around, and he’d be with his gong, he would take the hammer and he would be gesturing, waving it up and down for everybody to dance. Prabhupada also, he had such perception. Sometimes in my mind I’d be thinking – I was young – “Oh, I wish Prabhupada would look over here, I wish he would look at me.” All of a sudden, Prabhupada would be looking directly at me, piercing me with his eyes, and I felt very foolish. But Prabhupada always fulfilled your desires that way, so it was always a special experience every day for months being able to have the mercy of dancing in front of Prabhupada. And then, of course, during Jaya Radha-Madhava, Prabhupada himself would be so absorbed, sometimes he would stop, being choked up. And I remember how Prabhupada would talk. He would say, “Actually I am just a kirtan man.” One time we were on the beach walking like this and the crabs were going out, and the crabs were running into the water as it was coming in. So Prabhupada indicated that they had a relationship. And he was explaining that a big elephant cannot go against the waves of the sea even though he’s so strong, but a little fish can swim out against the waves and the reason is because the fish has an intimate relationship with the sea. So in the same way a devotee, he can surpass all others because of his intimate relationship with Krishna. He can do things that nondevotees cannot accomplish.

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Duration: 23 minutes and 4 seconds
Country: Andorra
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Posted by: lopter001 on Sep 9, 2021

Following Srila Prabhupada DVD 305

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