The Inspiring Life of Srila Haridas Thakur: Devotion Beyond Boundaries

Srila Haridas Thakur, a revered saint in the Gaudiya Vaishnava Parampara, lived a remarkable life dedicated to the chanting of the Holy Names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. Born in the village of Buron, in what is now Bangladesh, Srila Haridas Thakur’s life is a testament to unwavering devotion and the universal nature of spirituality.   

A Devotee from Birth: From his very birth, Srila Haridas Thakur displayed an intense devotion to the Holy Names of Sri Krishna. His background as a Mohammedan by birth did not deter his deep connection with the Supreme Lord. His devotion led him to the banks of the Ganges at Phulia, near Santipur, where he came into the company of Sri Advaita Acarya, a prominent vaishnava saint of the time.

Challenging Times:Srila Haridas Thakur’s devotion to the Holy Names began to draw attention, and not all of it was positive. The local Mohammedan administrator, filled with malice, accused him of behaving like a Hindu and summoned him for trial. This marked the beginning of a challenging period in Haridas Thakur’s life.

A Test of Faith: When ordered to abandon his chanting and recite the Kalma, a Muslim prayer, Srila Haridas Thakur resolutely declared that the Supreme Lord is one, regardless of the different names people use to address Him. He refused to abandon the chanting of Hari Nama, even in the face of severe punishment. Hari Das Thakur answered with conviction: 

khanda khanda haï deha jay jadi prana
tabu ami vadane na charii hari-nama

“You may cut my body to pieces, and the life may leave it. But I will never abandon the Holy Name which my tongue will ever continue to chant.” (Chaitanya Bhagavat 16.91) 

 The Ordeal: The local king, influenced by the administrator, ordered that Srila Haridas Thakur be beaten in twenty-two marketplaces. However, Srila Haridas Thakur’s unwavering devotion to the Holy Name shielded him from harm, and he did not feel any bodily discomfort during this ordeal.

 Divine Protection: Just as Prahlada Maharaja was protected from harm by the Lord’s divine intervention, Srila Haridas Thakur’s faith and devotion shielded him from the attackers. Even the Mohammedans who sought to harm him realised he was no ordinary person.

 Forgiveness and Redemption: Witnessing the greatness of Srila Haridas Thakur, the attackers were humbled and sought his forgiveness. Srila Haridas Thakur, in his magnanimity, forgave them, and they were absolved of their offences.

 Miraculous Encounters: Srila Haridas Thakur’s life was filled with miraculous incidents. He would chant the Holy Name in a small cave-like hollow by a tree near Phulia. The devotees hesitated to stay there despite a poisonous snake inhabiting the tree’s roots. In response, Srila Haridas Thakur peacefully asked the snake to leave, and it complied, deepening the devotees’ faith in him.

 Teaching the Power of Chanting: In another instance, Srila Haridas Thakur emphasized the significance of loudly chanting the Holy Name, explaining that it not only benefits the chanter but also uplifts others, even birds and animals. This teaching drew the ire of a proud Brahmana, resulting in his downfall due to Vaishnava aparadha.

 Divine Revelations: Srila Haridas Thakur had a special relationship with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who revealed His divine form to Haridas, bearing the scars from the beatings Haridas endured for his devotion.

 Transforming a Prostitute: Srila Haridasa Thakura’s compassion extended to a prostitute sent by Ramacandra Khan to distract him. Instead, she became his disciple, giving up her previous life and dedicating herself to chanting the Holy Name. 

 Legacy and Departure: Srila Haridas Thakur’s presence enriched the lives of all who encountered him. His devotion, humility, and teachings left an indelible mark on the Bhakti tradition. He would chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra 300,000 times everyday. He was appointed as the Acarya of the Holy Name by Caitanya Mahaprabhu himself. His departure from this world, in the presence of the Lord, marked the end of a life dedicated to the chanting of the Holy Names.

Srila Haridas Thakur’s life serves as an inspiration for all, demonstrating that true devotion knows no boundaries of caste or creed. His unwavering faith in the Holy Name and his ability to forgive even those who sought to harm him exemplify the highest ideals of devotion and humanity. His legacy continues to inspire seekers on their spiritual journey, reminding us of the power of the Holy Name and the universal nature of spirituality.

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The disappearance of Srila Prabhupada

The disappearance of Srila Prabhupada

nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhutale

srimate bhaktivedanta-swamin iti namine

namas te saraswate deve gaura-vani-pracharine

nirvishesha shunyavadi pashchatya desha tarine

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet. Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanya deva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.”

The disappearance day of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness) allows us to meditate on his pastimes and his teachings. Srila Prabhupada had this to say about the disappearance of vaisnavas:

“As Lord Krishna’s appearance and disappearance are all spiritual, transcendental, they are not ordinary things, similarly Lord Krishna’s devotee, His representative, who is sent to this material world for preaching the glories of Lord Krishna’s. Therefore, according to Vaisnava principles, the appearance and disappearance of a Vaisnava are considered all auspicious.” 

Srila Prabhupada was a pure devotee of the Lord who appeared to realise Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is described as the most merciful of all incarnations. He had predicted that Holy Name would be chanted in every town and village of the world.

prthivite ache yata nagaradi –grama

sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur had sent some of his sannyasi disciples to realise this Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction. Still, they returned without much success, and vaisnavas thought that Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had predicted, but it would not come true because of Kaliyuga. But Srila Prabhupada had complete faith in the instruction of his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Srila Prabhupada was the empowered personality who appeared to fulfil Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction.

In Srila Prabhupada’s life, we see how he was determined to carry out the instruction of his spiritual master. On one occasion, Srila Prabhupada went to Bombay to collect funds for printing the first canto part three of Srimad Bhagavatam. Someone Bombay told him that a very pious lady called Srimati Sumati Morarji, who likes helping sadhus. Srila Prabhupada proceeded to her secretary’s office but did not let Srila Prabhupada get an audience with her. But, Srila Prabhupada was determined to see her.

So he sat down on the staircase from where she was going to exit, and he stayed there for five hours chanting the Holy Name and then in the evening when she was going home. She saw Prabhupada was sitting there. She asked her secretary who is this, Swamiji, and he replied that Swamiji was from Vrindavan. Then she gave an appointment to Srila Prabhupada for the next day. She agrees to pay for the printing of the whole Srimad Bhagavatam first canto, part three. So this example shows that how determined Srila Prabhupada was.

Finally, when Srimati Morarji agrees to facilitate Srila Prabhupada trip to America. He would walk from the residence of the Sindhiya company to Andheri station 3-4 km every day just because he did not have money for bus fare. So we see how Srila Prabhupada made so many sacrifices to establish this Krishna Consciousness movement, and Srila Prabhupada opened Vaikuntha temples worldwide. 

After Srila Prabhupada had come to India with his western disciples for the first time, the city of Vrindavana hosted a big reception. In the reception, it is said Srila Prabhupada took Vrindavana to the whole world. So Srila Prabhupada took Vrindavana to the world as a whole and established Vaikunthas all over the world. Srila Prabhupada said that ISKCON centres and temples are part of Vaikuntha. So he made all sorts of arrangements, and he trained his disciples and sent them throughout the world and instructed, “Go out and preach Krishna Consciousness.”

He has to go through the great austerities, for example. When he was living at Radha Damodara temple, he would take a Tonga (a light horse-drawn two-wheeled vehicle used in India) and go to Mathura, travelling in the third class compartment and then reaching Delhi. He proceeded to mission getting books printed and also distributed. He visited different libraries to distribute Srimad Bhagavatam sets and started to publish Back to Godhead magazine. And He visited coffee houses, clubs, restaurants to distribute these Back to Godhead magazines and one day while distributing these books magazines in the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. He fainted due to sunstroke, but he again resumed book distribution when he came back to consciousness. So Srila Prabhupada taught by his example the importance of book distribution. 

Srila Prabhupada went to Russia for five days which was known as the Soviet Union in those days. Thus, Srila Prabhupada planted the seed of Krishna Consciousness that is continuing to grow. 

He was determined to serve Krishna. Once in New York, he was not well, and the devotees were advising him to go and take rest in Gita-Nagri. Srila Prabhupada looked at the moment and said, “Please don’t take away my privilege to struggle for Krishna. So Srila Prabhupada struggled to establish this Krishna Consciousness movement. 

Even when He was physically not too well, he did not stop his preaching. In the last days on the planet, when he was in Vrindavana, he was so weak that he could not even sit down. He could barely speak, but he had a devotee who read out the Sanskrit had another devotee reading of the commentary of the acharyas. Srila Prabhupada was whispering the translation and purport. This shows us how compassionate Srila Prabhupada was and how determined he was to save humanity.

Srila Prabhupada said in his last days, “As long as Book distribution goes on, I will never die”.

So on this auspicious day, we should glorify him. We should remember him. We should beg mercy at his lotus feet, cry for his mercy. We should dedicate ourselves to following Srila Prabhupada’s instructions than “vaisnavera krpa paya sarva siddhi.”

If we can get the mercy of such a Vaisnava sadhu, we will achieve the perfection of our life and make spiritual advancement. 

Srila Prabhupada ki jai.

Your Smallest act of Charity can make a difference and bring smiles to Needy Faces.

How Hare Krishna Movement Spread to the World

How Hare Krishna Movement Spread to the World

According to Vedic tithi, Srila Prabhupada landed in America after a 37 days long, tiring journey. He went there by a cargo ship named “Jaladuta”. According to the English calendar, 17th September 1965 is an unforgettable historic day, when Krishna bhakti or Krishna consciousness revolution (Hare Krishna Movement) erupted in the entire world. On this day, Srila Prabhupada resolute the devotional service of Krishna in the heart of American People on his spiritual master’s order.

Srila Prabhupada’s Journey To America

Srila Prabhupada vocalized that everyone wishes to go to London in general, but I planned to go to America instead. I used to think about how to go to New York. I always make new strategies thinking about how can I reach there and what should I do about it. So many questions arise in my mind, such as is going through the Tokyo route fine? Going through which way will cost less? I always used to think about all this. I always had an aim to go to New York.

How He Planned His Journey

Nearly at the age of 70s, a septuagenarian started printing books, prepared passports and kept many other documents ready, which are compulsory for the set foot in America. For doing all this, he struggled a lot but never stopped preferment of Krishna Bhakti. Even because of his increasing age, he faced many health issues, but these hurdles could not distract him from his aim.

How Sumati Morarjee Agreed:

The mistress of Scindia shipping company Sumati Morarji has not accepted Srila Prabhupada’s obsecration. She even tried to dishearten him for going to America. But Srila Prabhupada was highly undeterred. So, in the end, Sumati Morarji was constrained to send Srila Prabhupada to one of her cargo ships.

Hurdles Faced In Ship

In that unprecedented journey, envoy Srila Prabhupada in a ship named Jaladuta was travelling to promote Krishna bhakti among the people of America. Despite having suffered two heart attacks during his journey of panic and dizziness, Srila Prabhupada still depended on Lord Krishna to follow the Guru’s instructions. After 15 days of an agonizing journey, the seafarers were startled to see the Atlantic ocean that much calm.

Seafarers Statement About Miracle

They said that they were feeling as the rein of the ship was in Lord Krishna’s hand. In a conversation, Srila Prabhupada said that he was all alone. No one in my family was with me. But I felt that Lord Krishna was with me. On the day he stepped into the land of America, he wrote about Markine Bhagavata Dharma, a poem on the preaching of Bhagavad Dharma. In this poem, he wrote about the conversation to Lord Krishna about everything in the heart of Srila Prabhupada and pleaded for his blessings.

Summary Of The Poem 

He wrote: Hey Lord,

You are so kind to this tiny person. I don’t know why you brought me to this materialistic world. So you can do whatever you wish with me. Here most of the people are indulged in rajasik and tamsik work. But I know you are a great magician or if you want you can do anything.

Srila Prabhupada’s Entreaty

Hey Lord!  

I can just repeat your words, and if you want, you can manipulate my words and make them understanding. With your grace, my words will get sacred and will be perforating. I am just a puppet of your hand. However, you want me to dance, just make me dance too. I don’t have little Bhakti and Gyan. But I will entirely rely on your holy names. I got the title of Bhaktivedanta, and if you want, you can make this name accurate.

Srila Prabhupada Ji’s Appearance

As a miserable beggar as a native of Vrindavan covering by gone shawl in body, wearing ordinary sleepers, tilak at the forehead, kanthi mala in the neck and taking Japa mala in hand. Vaishnava Sanyasi came to New York for the first time.

Reaction of People

People of New York unnoticed this ordinary-looking sanyasi. They were unaware that this person came to relieve them from an essential part of our life: the life and death cycle. He has the priceless treasure of Krishna Bhakti which is the ultimate treasure of life.

How Srila Prabhupada Cope in America

Srila Prabhupada said that when he reached America, he had 4 Dollars only. When he insisted captain of the ship Shriman Pandya to purchase one set of Srimad Bhagavatam, he asked how much it cost, Srila Prabhupada answered 16 dollars. Sriman Pandya gave him 20 dollars instead of 16, which is the only thing other than books he was having along with him.

Result of Prabhupada’s Journey

Srila Prabhupada’s journey to America is exhilarating. After reaching there, the intensity of the publicity of Krishna Bhakti increased.

What Should We Comprehend

Each moment of the founder of the ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada’s life is dedicated to his spiritual master and Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. And this is the ultimate reason that he was successful in bringing the revolution of bhakti. So we all should admire him and learn the lesson of extreme dedication, devotion and sacrifice.

Your Smallest act of Charity can make a difference and bring smiles to Needy Faces.