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.
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