Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 18: conclusion: The perfection of Renunciation: Verse 69
na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu
kaścin me priya-kṛttamaḥ
bhavitā na ca me tasmād
anyaḥ priya-taro bhuvi
Translation: There is no servant in this world dearer to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.
The Supreme Personality of God head Sri Krishna has spoken so many subjects elaborately, but now in the concluding verses of chapter 18 He is now revealing his heart. When someone is revealing his heart then it means there is something really special. Krishna says that there is no one who is dearer to me. So, who is Krishna talking about? In the previous verse BG 18.68 Krishna talks about
ya idaṁ paramaṁ guhyaṁ
bhaktiṁ mayi parāṁ kṛtvā
mām evaiṣyaty asaṁśayaḥ
Translation: For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.
Krishna is telling one who give this knowledge to the devotees is the one person who is so dear to him. This is the heart of the Lord. The only reason why the Lord incarnates is to attract all of us the Lost conditioned souls who are making so many plans in this material world to become happy by taking us back to God head. Here the Lord is telling us whoever is assisting him in this mission for reclaiming the conditioned souls Back home, back to God head is dear to me. One such devotees who assisted the Lord in his mission who is the personification, a living embodiment to us is Srila Prabhupada who reached Boston’s Commonwealth Pier by Jaladuta, at 5:30 am on September 17,1965. Another event passed in Srila Prabhupad life which is on September 2nd which is his Sanyas.
In this world a person is known from the people who really appreciate him. It is the inherent need for all of us to seek some recognition or appreciation and we all like it. But unfortunately, this material world is designed or conditioned by 3 modes of material nature , so all the appreciation and recognition which we may receive from the people of this world is also temporary, and it keeps changing. You may be a Super star one day and get all the glorification and very next day that situation can change. So, such glorification which is not based on some eternal principal or eternal reality have no value. Appreciation or word of glorification if they come from a great personality or a Spiritual personality as a great value. Srila Prabhupad life has shown from his life what really a true devotee is.
Who is Srila Prabhupada and what are the gifts he has given us? Srila Prabhupada is the personality who is been counted among one of those successful leaders of the world who achieved great success in their careers at the age of 70. How many in this world was able to do it? It is only Srila Prabupada in the history of human civilization who has done something so extraordinary, so remarkable and impossible to match his success with anyone else. What did Srila Prabupada have. He did not have any material support nor help from anyone, no money no contacts except for the unflinching faith in the words of his Spiritual Master. One of the Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Sanyas Disciple, Sripada Nayananda Dasa Babaji Maharaj writes like this. One day Guru Maharaj was giving darshan to all the devotees. Then he turned his head and looked over to his left side, where he was standing. He was looking intently at someone and became silent for a long moment. So Sripada Nayananda Dasa Babaji happened to look behind him and clearly saw that the person with whom he was making eye contact. It was Abhaya Charanaravinda Prabhu. He thought that they were looking at each other in a special way. Then Guru Maharaja again addressed the audience in front of him and said, ‘But I have a prediction. Very soon in the future it may be, I predict that one of my disciples will cross the oceans, and preach the message of Lord Caitanya . This was Srila Prabhupad Glory. And it is Srila Prabupada’s humility he never mentioned this incident. The first meeting itself Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura saw the young man’s entire future, and Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja truly made it come to pass exactly in this way.
What Srila Prabhupada was able to give us is something beyond words. In the scriptures the glory of the pure devotee of the lord comes over and over. When you are engaged in the service of pure devotee then only the confidential secrets of Transcendental knowledge are revealed. Srila Prabupada has done this, and was able to achieve this knowledge only through his love, compassion, humility and his faith in his words of his Spiritual Master.
Another pastime is said by Godbrother of Srila Prabhupada, Hridayananda Goswami Maharaj. Between 1963-65 where they were staying in Radha Damodar Temple. He had a good fortune of meeting Abhaya Charanaravinda Swami who was so sincere. One night he was sleeping and he heard someone was crying in the mid night . He wondered who was crying and thought someone from the street might be crying. But this happened continuously for few nights. Then one day he decided to check it out, he came near the arena of Srila Rupa Goswami samadhi and found that Srila Prabupada with a broom in his hand brooms near Rupa Goswami Samadhi and while doing that he was crying in complete surrender, humility and praying to Rupa Goswami to give his mercy so that he can fulfil his Spiritual Master mission. Srila Prabupada did not want any recognition at all. He could have done this during day time in front of everybody but he chose to beg for mercy during dead of night when everyone was sleeping and crying with compassion to save all of us. This was the essence of Srila Prabhupad’s heart. Only some one with such love and compassion can be worthy of this verse that Krishna is speaking. Someone who gives this message to others with such a sincerity, love and compassion is the one extremely dear to Krishna. Krishna says a pure devotee live in his heart and I live in theirs. I do not know anything higher than this. So many places Krishna reveals his heart and if you really want to love me or worship me, first you worship my devotee. This is what Krishna wants and this is what gives Krishna greatest pleasure. Krishna himself has also spoken about Srila Prabupada from his lotus mouth.
ebe nama sankirtana tikshna khadaga laiya
antara asura jivera phelibe katiya
Translation: “Taking the sharp sword of the congregational chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, (nama-sankirtana) I will root out and destroy the demoniac mentality in the hearts of all the conditioned souls.”
yadi papi chadi dharma dure dese yaya
mora senapati-bhakta yaibe tathaya
Translation: “If some sinful people escape and giving up religious principles go to far off countries, then my senapati-bhakta (military commander) will come at that time to give them Krishna consciousness.”
– Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Sri Caitanya Mangala, Sutra-khanda, by Locana das Thakura
In the glorification of pure devotees, it is sometime explained that a pure devotee can empathize the pain and suffering of the conditioned souls even better than Krishna. Why because on the behalf of Krishna the pure devotee comes to this material world , goes through the cycle of birth and death and undergo several difficulties. This is not due their previous karmas that they have to undergo like fallen souls like us but due to their empathy and love for fallen souls. And it is said that a poor man can understand the situation of a poverty-stricken person much better than the person who has wealth and all opulence’s. Similarly, the pure devotee comes to the world to fulfill the mission of the Lord and show real compassion to all of us.
There are so many past times of Srila Prabhupada. We are celebrating the Jaladuta weak. One such past time is. When Srila Prabupada was just reaching the Boston Harbor by Jaladuta there is another ship leaving the harbor. There is a custom or tradition that when one ship is entering the harbor and other ship is leaving the harbor the captains of both the ship come out of the deck and will wave at each other. So, on this day when Jaladutta was coming in to the dock, an effulgent personality wearing saffron robes comes out and as the Captain was waving, he waves back at the captain. The captain smiles and the ship depart. Years later the Captain happens to receive Srila Prabhupad’s books and he opens the book and recognizes the person who waved at him at the harbor. And just Srila Prabupada waved at him once he took to the path of Krishna consciousness and became a devotee by reading Srila Prabupada’s books.
A Russian member of the Hare Krsna ( ISKCON) named Purnamasi Devi Dasi told the story of when she was imprisoned by the KGB (during USSR times) for practicing and preaching Krishna Consciousness in the Soviet Union. While she was in jail, she would encourage other prisoners to chant Hare Krsna Maha mantra but the authorities tried to stop her in many ways including threatening to kill her. But nothing worked. So finally, they did something very unusual. They brought a real witch to the prison to stop Purnamasi Mataji and deprogram her. The witch arrived with her assistant and KGB officers. They tied Purnamasi to a chair and the witch and her assistant started hexing, doing passes, chanting spells, with their eyes rolled in trance. They were trying to infuse a dark creature into Purnamasi’s body. She could sense it and all around became covered with fog. Realizing she was coming under their control, she started chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra but this did not stop it, the creature was going inside. As she began to lose consciousness, she chanted out loud the Narasimha mantra, but even that did not stop the creature. Finally, she started chanting Srila Prabhupada pranama mantra. Right away the witch came out of her trance and stopped all her activities. She then said to the KGB officers: “I’m leaving”. But they did not let her go, they ordered her to finish her job. The witch insisted: “No, I am leaving, I will not go on any longer!” “Why? What happened?” asked KGB officers. She told them: “You simply do not see, but I see: there is a very strict old man standing over there wagging his finger on me with so much anger. I cannot do anything against him”. This old man was Srila PRABHUPADA the Founder Acharya of ISKCON.
What are the Gifts that Srila Prabhupada has given us? There are unlimited gifts. Everything we have, everything we know about Krishna, every service we do for Krishna is all by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada. We have to glorify Srila Prabhupada for this amazing gifts. The three main gifts given by Srila Prabupada are, the books ( Grantham or shastra). How hard Srila Prabhupada worked to give these amazing literatures. It is humanly impossible to do what Srila Prabhupada has done in the span of only 12 years with so much preaching, initiating, accepting disciplines, travelling all over the world 14 times and the same time writing, walking up in the night and experiencing all type of inconveniences like someone robbing his typewriter, crazy ladies barging in to his room, tolerating all that. He said his books are his basics. When devotees come and tell Prabhupada that this temple did so much books he was happy. This is what his Spiritual Master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura also wanted. If you have money print books, distribute books this is Brhad-mrdanga. Brhat means bigger, at large, bigger mrdangam play as loud as you can. So, go out and distribute books in all corners of the world. Once a devotee came to Srila Prabupada and he started smiling and laughing and telling that everybody is enjoying their books and some of the book distributors are so enthusiastic that they met some people in the streets and started to give them some books. And they showed all your books and within 5 minutes all their hands were filled with books and some devotees gave them prasadam and they all were happy. Srila Prabupada smilingly said this is our philosophy and principle Hands full of books, stomach full of prasadam and wallet empty.
There is the story of the legendary Daivi Shakti Mataji who is still doing amazing service in Vrindavan Dham. She was known for her amazing preaching and distributing books, also bringing new Bhaktas everyday to the temple to Join Srila Prabupada’s army. One day she came across a perfect gentleman. She started showing Srila Prabupada’s books. This person like Srila Prabhupada’s books very much, so she started showing one after the other. All his hands were finally full of books and she said that that’s all I have. He said he will take all of them and asked her how will he pay her. She said you can give any donations whatever you like. So, he said my hands are full and my wallet is in my pocket. So, she said she will take the wallet from his pocket and will take the money. She grabs the wallet and takes all the money from it, and she said this will be fine. But the gentle man was amazed and said that you have taken everything how will I go home I don’t have a dollar to go back so she said no worries she can help him to get home. Mean while one of the cops saw this and thought that there might be some problem and thought of checking them up and so the gentleman told the cop there is no such problem. Finally the person reaches his home they both together put back all the books and while she was leaving she told him if you like you can write a cheque for us for our temple .That person laughed at her and told you have given me bunch of books, took all my money from my wallet and now you want the donation and he does gives her donation, and this person later took initiation from Srila Prabupada and today he is our beloved Chandramouli Maharaj. This is how Chandramouli Maharaj came to Krishna consciousness through the power of Srila Prabupada’s books.
There is one more beautiful story of a devotee books in the adventures land of Russia. Srila Prabupada went to Russia for few days and just through one person there was fire of Krishna consciousness in whole of Russia. There is an episode in Russia when the communist war was going on and KGB was active. One devotee was selling books in the streets. And one person was feeling angry and came charging at him, shouting at him and trying to beat him. This devotee was trying to protect himself but he was very small in the hands of this hefty guy. Then suddenly a KGB agent came and he somehow managed to relieve this devotee from this hefty guy. As soon as KGB person realized that he had saved a Hare Krishna devotee he started to run away because he did not want anyone to notice him talking to Hare Krishna person. Those days it was serious offence talking to any religious person. This devotee ran behind him to give a gift for saving his life and gave a Bhagavad Gita. He quickly took it and put it in his bag and was about to leave this devotee again approached him and asked for a donation. He gave some money to him. In those days on the street there will be a spy who will spy the KGB agents. As usual a spy saw this KGB agent talking to Hare Krishna devotee and thought of spying this KGB agent for few days. He felt suspicious when he saw that this KGB agent closing all his doors, windows and some strange sound was echoing from his room. He decided to peek in to his room and saw this KGB agent is transmitting some message. Actually, this KGB agent realized what is the ultimate goal of life by reading Srila Prabhupad’s books and started appreciating it and he was also chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Somehow this KGB agent realized that he was spied upon and very soon he will be caught so He smuggled himself to Germany and first thing he did there was searching for Hare Krishna temple and became an ardent devotee of Srila Prabupada and later he became the temple president too.
Once Srila Prabupada was teaching in the most popular and reputed Institute the MIT. He said You all teach so many subjects in MIT but where is the subject which teach about the All mighty (GOD). Without God consciousness all the science, all knowledge is nothing but a burden pushing down and down to ignorance.
The next wonderful gift which Srila Prabupada gave is the Harinama Sankirtan. Srila Prabupada began this movement with Harinam. He had his cymbals and with closed eyes for 45 minutes or so he used to pour his heart out to Harinam Kirtan. Even today in New York temple where Srila Prabupad first came, when devotees come here to this temple the children of homeless people even though they have not seen Srila Prabupada they will scream and top of their voice say Jay Srila Prabupada. They could still feel the mercy of Srila Prabhupada. So many people come there and talk of Harinam. The Holy name even if we take unknowingly still can take you out of the cycle of birth and death. Srila Prabupada has such faith in the Holy name. One time one devotee a journalist came to meet Srila Prabupada in Hyderabad and asked the difference between Advaita and Daivata. That time in Hyderabad and in surrendering areas there was a drought season. So Srila Prabupada said why you waste time in Advaita and Daivata, whether you know about them you are going to starve and die so why don’t you chant the Holy name Hare Krishna from your heart so everything is taken care off. Some people will ask Srila Prabupad why we have to chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra again and again. It is not the word but the repetition that is how the mind works. One person said you repeat something and go on repeating, he doesn’t mind chanting 1234 and experience same bliss and concentration. So, Srila Prabupad said you count 1234 then you are fed up start chanting the Holy name. I am sure you will be fed up counting 1234. The name of Lord is non different from the Lord. It is the Chintamani stone. The degree you keep chanting with faith in the Holy name, you get the joy or bliss.
The last thing and the very important gift Srila Prabupada gave which is joyfully accepted everyday by each one of us is Krishna Prasadam. One time a devotee came and asked Srila Prabupada how do you show a blind man the beauty of mother nature. Srila Prabupad said by giving the blind man by giving prasadam, and the vision of Krishna consciousness. Those who are blinded by material engagement we have to give them Krishna prasadam then the blinded eyes filled with dirt and garbage will open. Prasadam has played an important role in everyone’s journey in the path of Krishna consciousness. There was a past time during the time of Sri Ramanujacharya. He ate prasadam from Lord Ranganath and went to wash his hands in Kaveri river. When he washed his hands some remnants of prasadam washed off and a fish ate it. And immediately in front of everyone’s eyes the fish rose out of water with 4 hands as a Vishnu dootha and went back to God head. His Disciples were shocked and said Gurudeva we eat your Mahaprasadam everyday this is surprising . So Ramanujacharya said to his disciples you eat my Mahaprasad but you don’t eat like this fish. The fish has no malice in her heart, never offended anyone, ate the Mahaprasad in her true original consciousness. This is the power of prasad. So many devotees in the western world surrendered to Krishna and to Srila Prabupada simply through prasadam.
Another incident happened in Los Angeles, California which shows the power of Krishna prasadam. In LA the devotees go out for chanting Harinam sankirtan and one person used to shout and yell at the devotees angrily every day screaming at the top of his lungs. One day one devotee decided to give prasadam. Other devotee discouraged him thinking of the consequences but this devotee was very determined to give prasadam to that person anyway whatever be the consequences. So, one day he put some halwa in a bowl and dropped it in front of his gate. That man shouted back but the devotee walked away. Then the devotee repeated the same process. Within few days the shouting and yelling of the man stopped. When devotees passed by him, he simply stood there and watched them . Then one time during Janmashtami festival the devotees were so busy in the temple, they could not go out for Harinam Sankirtan. And then after 20 days they are back on the streets during Sankirtan. So that person who used to shout and yell at them came and asked them where there were for past few days. So, the devotees gave him the prasadam. He said he missed the prasadam and it was amazing. So, the devotees invited him to come to the temple so he could have more prasadam to which that person agreed. Finally, he dedicated his life to Krishna and Srila Prabupada. Even Srila Prabupada said within 8-mile radius of temple no one should be hungry. Remnants of Krishna is so important. Srila Prabupada has given us the path of Krishna consciousness in a simple, amazing and extra ordinary way. All what we can do is we have to open our heart and accept the process, chant the Holy name and distribute Srila Prabupada ‘s book to others. When we give this to all people around us can change and that will please Srila Prabupada and Krishna . Srila Prabupad said once you just hold on to my Dhoti. I have the Key to the back door that his promise given by him to us to take us back to Krishna.