PUNE ANNUAL KATHA DAY 5 – Challenges and Struggles (amended)


All glories to the assembled devotees.

nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

dhule dhule gora chanda, hari guna gai
asiya vrndavane, nace gaura rai

The moonlike Lord Gaurachand dancingly arrives in Vrndavana, swaying to and fro, singing the glories of Lord Hari. Every footstep is a dance. Mahaprabhu’s Vrndavana kirtana had everyone dancing also. So the whole Vraja-mandala welcomed Gaura Sundar. Gaura Sundar entered Vrndavana. Not only the Brajavasis, but the animals, birds and trees of Vrndavana are also devotees. Braj is Cintamani. Every tree there is a desire tree. They all welcomed Caitanya Mahaprabhu and danced with Him. The whole of Vraj was filled with waves of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and it became brighter by Gauracandra’s light. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was doing Vraj-mandala Parikrama. Every Kartik we also walk on that very same path during Vraja-mandala Parikrama. When Yamuna sees Him, she runs towards her Lord. Lets sing this song and meditate on Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Vrndavana visit.

om namo bhagvate vasudevaya
bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma su-durlabhah

After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.

The definition of mahatma is given by the Lord. Such surrendered great souls are very rare. Prabhupada was such aa sudurlabha mahatma. He knew Vasudeva is all in all.

Sukhdeva Goswami tells us in Srimad-Bhagvatam. This is one of Prabhupada’s most quoted sloka.

abhira-sumbha savannah khasadayah
ye’nye ca papa yad-apasrayasrayah
sudhyanti tasmai prabhavisnave namah (SB 2.4.18)

Kirata, Huna, Andhra, Pulinda, Pulkasa, Abhira, Sumbha, Yavana, members of the Khasa races and even others addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.

If those who are sinful (papi), take shelter of the Lord, they can be purified. The list is given in the sloka. Kirata, Huna, Andhra, Pulinda, Pulkasa, Abhira, Sumbha, Yavana are the members of the Khasa races. The above-mentioned historical names are the different nations of the world. For example, the area of East Germany and part of Russia is known as the province of the Hunas and the Greeks are known as Pulindas. The conclusion is that the Lord, being all-powerful, can, under any and every circumstance, accept anyone from any part of the world, either personally or through His bona fide manifestation as the spiritual master. Lord Caitanya accepted many devotees from different communities.

Our acaryas get inspiration from this sloka. Making them Krsna conscious is very difficult, but if Maha Visnu empowers his devotees then the impossible becomes possible. You have also seen it. It is day 5 today. How Prabhupada established ISKCON and made so many of them Krishna conscious and it is still going on.

People are becoming pure and Sanatana dharma is being established all over the world. At the Matchless Gift storefront Prabhupada asked the first batch of devotees if they were ready to follow the 4 rules and regulations. They said yes.

All types of adharmic – irreligious things are going on all over

yatra adharam catur vidha
dharmo rakshati rakshitaha

Dharma protects us only if we protect dharma. It’s said – thou shall not kill. But nobody follows it. All kinds of sinful activities are going on all over the world. In countries where irreligion is prominent, it was a big challenge to establish dharma. It’s only possible if the mahatmas, the devotees empowered by the Lord, do it.

By Prabhupada’s efforts the Bhagavat-Gita is being taught all over the world and these yavanas have become devotees. Instead of saying Bhagavan uvaca, they say Allah uvaca. There is no difference. Their rosary has 99 beads which are 99 names of Allah. Allah means ‘God which is great’. And if we want to say the Lord which is attractive what we will say? Krsna!! ya karshiti sa krsna.

Prabhupada went to the printers all alone. He carried the printing papers on his head. Many a times he would go without eating anything. He did not have money for breakfast. If 1000 books were printed, only 200 copies were given to him. Only when these were paid for, would he get the remaining copies.

Now comes the distribution of books. Swamiji would personally go and distribute books. In the hot sun, on an empty stomach, he would go on book distribution. Once he fainted. This incident occurred in 1964 and he was taken to hospital. His Guru Maharaja had ordered him on the bank of Radhakunda. ‘If you ever get money, print books’. Prabhupada never forgot this order. He made it his life’s mission. Whenever he had money, he printed and distributed books. He faced monetary problems, but still he kept going on.

When he went to New York, slowly he got some help. Later when ISKCON was established, he printed and distributed more books. He kept writing books the entire night. He wrote about 70 books which are now translated into more than 70 languages. He founded the Bhativedanta Book Trust in 1972 to publish his books.

Once when the Bhagavat-Gita was to be printed, 76 railroad truck loads (bogies) of paper was required. It was a big challenge for Prabhupada and his disciples.

Prabhupada once wanted 17 volumes of Caitanya Caritamrita printed in 2 months. The manuscript was ready. His disciples thought it was just impossible, but Prabhupda wanted it printed. And by the Lord’s mercy 17 volumes of Caitanya Caritamrita were printed in 2 months.

A total of 350 devotees from all over the world were coming to Mayapur. This was the first time in the history of Calcutta and they were very excited. In the flight, the devotees sang mahaprasade govinde. Nowadays when the air hostess sees our tilak and sikha she asks; “Swamiji, what will you have? Vegetarian or non vegetarian?” It was different then. After prasada the devotees started doing kirtana. Soon these ecstatic devotees were in a dancing mood and all of them stood to dance. The captain made an announcement for them to be seated or there would have to be an emergency landing.

All these Kirata, Huna, Andhra, Pulinda, Pulkasa, Abhira, Sumbha, Yavana members of the Khasa races were now devotees and Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction that all such people along with the devotees will sing Jai Sacinandana Gaura Hari, had been realised.

Prabhupada wanted to establish sadachar-etiquette in the West, but it was a challenge. They would say, “Swamiji, go back”. An Indian in the West once said to Prabhupada, “Swamiji, never say these two things to these people – 1. become vegetarian and 2. change your dress. Here you will have to wear western clothes. Prabhupada said, “If they don’t listen to me, I will go away, but I will not wear clothes like you and I will surely tell them.”

patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati,

This is a big list of what the Lord eats. Lord did not say chickenam muttanam, but patram, puspam. He did not change his dress. In fact he changed their dresses. The men all started wearing dhotis and females were wearing saris. He ensured that they follow the 4 rules.

The people were suffering due to drug addiction. A survey showed that 2 out of 5 people were fit for a mental hospital. They are facing so many problems due to their vices of drinking and smoking. Another survey found that America was the number one country for diseases – adhi-mental sickness, and vyadhi- diseases of the body. Millions of dollars are being wasted on their addiction. So much is being done to stop drug addiction, but it is all in vain. Yet, once a person joins ISKCON, he easily leaves all the addictions.

param drstva nivartate

Unless one is transcendentally situated, it is not possible to cease from sense enjoyment. But one who has tasted the beauty of the Supreme Lord Krsna, in the course of his advancement in Krishna consciousness, he no longer has a taste for dead material things. When one is actually Krishna conscious, he automatically loses his taste for material things.Once they get the taste of holy name – keshava madhava tujya namat re godava, amrutahuni goda nava tuze deva – they leave the lower things automatically without any effort.

Another big challenge was that Prabhupada was alone with a small drum. There was no mrdanga. Our movement has two important musical instruments, the mrdanga and karatals. He had no extra dhotis or saris. Prabhupada started importing those from India and slowly the preaching was increasing. He had come to America with just 5 dollars and no friends. In one year he had 5000 dollars and many disciples. He established New Vrndavana in the West. This was just one. There was lots of other properties.

Once he asked a man how many children he had. The man replied that he had 8. At that time it was normal to have that many children. The modern trend is – we two, our two. Prabhupada said to him, “Give me one. I will train him and he can go and preach.” Like this he asked many grhastas, but nobody agreed or came forward. Once a man asked Prabhupada on a train, “Please bless my son.” Prabhupada did not reply and again he asked. Prabhupada responded, “Give me your son.” This was his blessing. The man left that compartment and went far away to another compartment.

The situation has changed now. Many are joining. In the West at that time the family structure was loose, so they were joining Prabhupada. They need not ask anybody. But at that time in India nobody was joining. They had to ask their family who would not agree. In the West boys and girls were joining, but there were obstacles as well.

Many times the centre and temples were attacked by atheists. Some parents would say that the Hare Krsna’s brainwashed their children. On one occasion many parents rallied together to make a case against Prabhupada for brain washing. Prabhupada said, “Yes you have made their brains dirty and I have washed them.”

The case went from the Low court to the High court. They won the case and on 17 March 1977. The New York Supreme court dismissed all the charges and Hare Krsna was announced as a bonafide religion with its roots in India. This was a victory of dharma.

jayas tu pandu-putranam yesam pakse jansrdanah.

The victory is always with the sons of Pandu because Lord Krsna is associated with them. We had Lord Krsna with us and victory had to be there. The Hare Krsna movement became victorious. Prabhupada said, “Now my mission is complete as the court has announced ISKCON as a religion.”

At that time we had lawyer devotees in ISKCON. They knew the law of land and the law of the Lord. Prabhupada had said to them to quote the law of the Lord from his books in court.

Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita describes in detail about Srila Prabhupada, the challenges he faced, his achievements. Many books are written on Prabhupada. I have also written a few. One more book about Prabhupada in Bombay is upcoming. The manuscript is ready and soon it will be published. And the name of the book will be Bombay is my office. Prabhupada in Bombay.

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