The following is an evening slide show presented by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami on June 2d, 1984 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Hrdayananda dasa Goswami:
Of course Srila Prabhupada’s principle pastime is giving Krishna to the world.
and he did this of course āpani ācari' bhakti śikhāimu sabāre Prabhupada used to quote Caitanya Mahaprabhu by his own example who taught and then he also gave a verbal instruction. So, of course we have those two aspects of Srila Prabhupada’s glory; his example and his philosophical teaching. So, I thought I would say a little bit about his teaching in his books. His pastimes of writing his books which is something I have to always think about. So, Srila Prabhupada, not only in his books but also in his practical activities illustrated a degree of dependence upon Krishna and faith in Krishna which was practically not to be seen anywhere else in the world.
As stated in the Bhagavad-gita, vasudeva sarvam iti- A great soul after many many births and deaths understands that Krishna is everything. In his commentary in the Eleventh Canto, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura again and again emphasizes the point that there are different stages of advancement in devotion to Krishna and in the lower stage, one considers service to Krishna to be the most important thing and in the higher stage one considers devotion to Krishna to be everything. So this stage of devotion of understanding how service to Krishna is everything not only something and not even the most important thing but everything, obedience to order of Krishna, Krishna’s representative and very boldly presenting Krishna as the Absolute Truth crossing over all the barriers which basically are simply the mental concoctions of Maya.
It was Srila Prabhupada with his style of preaching and force and intensity of his preaching actually demonstrated to us how to transcend our liberated Krishna consciousness beyond any mental consideration. At the same time, he was very diplomatic very expert in understanding things according to time and place so that can be illustrated in his books, in his famous Bhaktivedanta Purports in which he is always insisting that Krishna is the Absolute Truth and of course Krishna is the absolute truth and people always used to say well that this is your opinion and Prabhupada always used to answer very strongly “No, it is a fact”. So that’s just one little thing I wanted to mention this morning ... this absolute conviction, confidence in Krishna which is based on realisation, based on full realisation and full devotion to Krishna.
So, that’s not exactly not an anecdote but is something I have been thinking a lot - how Srila Prabhupada presented, beyond any material consideration, how he presented this very powerful movement, powerful in the sense that Krishna is everything and everything must be adjusted for the pleasure of Krishna. We take these things for granted but it’s very difficult to have the courage, the realisation and the determination, the confidence, the strength of character in an atheistic world, in a materialistic world when people simply ridicule Krishna avajananti mam mudha to actually present the absolute truth in a very bold and uncompromising way and that is illustrated in Prabhupada’s books and also in his practical activities. So that’s not exactly an anecdote but its something which I often remember so with the permission of Acaryadeva… Acaryapada (laughter) Even I get mixed up… So, I have gotten the permission of Acaryapada, so I’m going to go and rest a little bit and then you can continue your lila-smaranam, haribol.
Devotee: Jaya Acaryadeva!
(sings Jaya Acaryadeva)
Jayapataka Swami: Srila Acaryadeva ki,
nama oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale
śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine
namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe
namo mahā-vadānyāya kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāya te
kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-nāmne gaura-tviṣe namo namaḥ
namo brahmaṇya-devāya go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca
jagad-dhitāya kṛṣṇāya govindāya namo namaḥ
kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca
vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma
rāma rāma hare hare
mūkaṁ karoti vācālaṁ
paṅguṁ laṅghayate girim
yat-kṛpā tam ahaṁ vande
Srila Prabhupada ki,
Jayapataka Swami: So, if everyone can sit in such a way that their back is not facing Srila Prabhupada.
Last year there were lots more devotees who were here at the time of Prabhupada’s arrival in New Panihati, then, although seem there are few here. So, it’s nice that Gokularanjana began ii last year. I can tell you about when Srila Prabhupada came to old Panihati or Adi Panihati in uh… in India. The… as you know Panihati Dham is one of the five places where Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu permanently resides. It’s the place where Lord Nityananda danced, where…
There are some more seats for the swamis.
And that’s of course that’s where the chida-dahi festival that we will be observing today, this afternoon… that we are observing today was held and there are many other pastimes at old Panihati. So one member of the Legislative Assembly something like the state senate, or… state senate would be here, state senator came to see Prabhupada and told him that “We want to give you the Panihati temple to develop because we have faith in your movement and in you… you personally.” So Prabhupada was… he was very overjoyed. He said this is a very important place. So we all got into a car, or a caravan of cars and he said “Well let’s bring along some picnic.”
So… because Panihati dham is of course, famous for picnic, this picnic of Lord Nityananda when Raghunath Dasa provided a vana-bhojana or chida-dahi picnic for everyone under the banyan tree on the Ganges side. So we all went there. Prabhupada saw the banyan tree where Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya sat under and accepted Their prasada, it’s still there. We saw the broken temple of Raghu… Raghava Pandit and it was… so many banyan trees had grown into the… it was the same old original temple 500 years old but some banyan seeds fell on the temple so little banyan trees started to grow and they had grown roots going right into the walls and all the walls were just… it was not wall or banyan tree. It was all one. If you tried to cut the tree down, you will knock the wall down. The house was… it was a hopeless case. So, Prabhupada said we should take a photograph of it and reconstruct it as it was and then put the picture of the original so that we can show the historical, the same place, the same form but due to the ravages of nature we had to rebuild it, and then we went down to the tree again where Lord Caitanya sat and he said “We want to build a big temple.”
It was a big mystery because the area was only about a 100 feet by 70 feet and right on the bank of the Ganges there was already a 30 foot by 40 foot kirtan hall and then there was about 10 foot by 15 foot seat under the banyan tree where Lord Caitanya sat and the open air was only bits and pieces on the different sides. So the devotees were wondering how are we going to build a temple here? So the MLA said, cause he thought we were only going to fix up Raghava’s house.
Prabhupada said “No we will have a big temple here of the 150 feet by 70 feet… you know by… it will 50 feet wide and it’ll be about 150 feet high.”
So I was just trying to figure out, “How is this going to happen?”
He said is, “We’ll do is, you just build the temple… the columns up 16 feet, 18 feet and whatever is there now on the ground floor, we will leave it, we will begin from the second floor up. The people they will be able to walk underneath the temple, go and see everything. We’ll be above that.” So that attracted everybody’s fancy and then all of a sudden Prabhupada across the… across the way from the tree where Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda sat under there was another grihasta house, and in their house they had a temple of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda also of Balaram and Revati. So the householder begged Srila Prabhupada “Please come over.”
Turned out he was member of the Suvarna Vanika family where Prabhupada is also previous caste he was member of that family or he come historically from that family. And they worshipped Srila Prabhupada. They gave him a very nice seat and darshana. After he took darsana of the Deities the members of the household they came and they started to fan Srila Prabhupada with their own hands with little palm fans. Prabhupada told us that we should do a little kirtan. It was very spontaneous. There was nothing planned but then as he was leaving, this sadhu came and said, “Please come and see my temple.” Suddenly Prabhupada, he agreed and it was a big Kali temple. It was a small temple but a huge Kali deity, and Prabhupada offered his respects to Kali, said “She’s a devotee.” and then that Brahmana gave a salagrama-sila and that was the first salagrama-sila that was worshipped in Mayapur. The first salagrama-sila in our movement. He had a Narayana there and just spontaneously he gave.
Anyway now that Gokula Ranchana… I can say more later. He is here. You can tell because you were here when Prabhupada came, so you could kind of talk about his arrival here to New Panihati. One thing that Prabhupada said, we were driving along and the road was terrible from Calcutta to Panihati ... I mean the road was very big, but on both sides there is all kind of just shacks and little industrial units, factories and then sometimes you’d see a real… an ancient mansion and a big yard with all kind of orchard in the background. Prabhupada looked and said “This is hell.” He says, “Before, outside of Calcutta…” he said, “…these were all bagan baris.”
Bagan bari means like country estates. Before they would leave Calcutta and go out, little half hour ride by horse and buggy, or by you know, their Model T Ford or whatever and these were all the mansions that all… and you could see there were mansions there, and uh, he said, “Now…” you know, “…with their so called industrial revolution they have spoiled everything, made it so dirty made it so terrible.” He said, “They offer the people in the village who are the 600 rupees a month or sixty dollars a month wage which is you know such… so much. Two dollars a day. Phew. Much more than their average 80 cents a day. So they all come running to… and thinking that “Now we are going to get such a high wage.” and then they come live and work in some factory but they have to live in one of these slums. Their children go up in a slum area because it’s so hellish the husband starts to drink where he wasn’t drinking in the village and then because of bad association there is prostitution and then they have money, because they’re drinking, they have nothing to do so they gamble their money away. In this way all of their good qualities go to hell. So, he was lamenting that how due to a type of unplanned un-Krishna conscious industrial development without you know… and false propagation, and he told us… he made one comment that we want to... “We want to preserve the dignity of the farmers, preserve the dignity of agriculture, because in this way people can be independent, and they don’t have to depend on this type of a false situation. They can actually, in that occupation they could more easily practice God consciousness than being one of these factory workers. I’ll say more later now. Gokula Ranchana. That’s some of the pastimes. There are many more of Prabhupada going to old Panihati or the original Panihati. Maybe we could hear something about his coming to New Panihati.
Gokula Ranjana dasa:
nama oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale
śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine
namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe
So, just briefly to mention the history of the Atlanta temple, before Prabhupada came so that the full impact of what it meant to the Atlanta temple. At that time we were a ve… a small temple living on the other side of the track so to speak I guess, you know, a small little house and for years and years trying to get a better situation for Lord Caitanya’s movement, Srila Prabhupada’s society, struggling to find a better facility and we just had this one little house and then another little house later but they weren’t adequate by any means and the… the temple had been over on 13th street for maybe uh… for about four or five years at that point there were so many attempts to get other buildings and they all fell through in the end and there was lots of prejudice also at that time in terms of they did not want to rent to us because we were controversial, and being in the south there’s a lot of prejudice against anything that is not Christian or specifically that’s not Southern Christian and so the temple started to expand. More devotees were coming and so at the point Balavanta Prabhu was the temple president and he had made this friendship with an older man. His name was Bhakta Fred we called him, and he was able to convince the landlord of this property to finally allow us to stay here.
Since then we’ve developed a relationship with him. His name is Mr. (inaudible). Rupanuga Prabhu calls him our guardian angel. Sort of an unusual character, but… So we had arr… you know, moved into this property but it was in extremely bad condition Vedaguhya, and Sahasrangi Prabhus can testify. They work crews to fix everything up, and uh, the place was just, you know, just like… They were… I know for a fact that that building, and that building for some time had just been deserted. You know, just bums had been coming in and out. Even still they didn’t want to rent to us. So, we finally were able to secure the place and we were in the process of moving the Deities, and you know what it is like to move a temple. It is a big endeavor. Moving… we only… Gaura Nitai had been installed for about a year and Jagannatha was not… had not come yet, and uh, we put Gaura Nitai in the back seat of a limousine and drove Them through the uh, city.
Balavanta sort of took the best route and was… as we were driving he was telling Them all about the city of Atlanta, that They were the predominant Deities of. It was kind of unusual to see the reactions that some of the people when we stopped at red lights ... when they saw these two deities sitting at the back seat with their crowns on and… (laughter)
So finally we… so, we were in the process of moving in and simultaneously to that also we discovered under our noses the Atlanta Airport and it was the best facility for book distribution… for distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books that had come along you know at that point, and uh, it was just incredible the amounts of books that we were distributing. We thought it was just… the re… The scores were just phenomenal, and we thought it was unlimited how many books we could distribute, and uh, then right after that, about a month or two after we moved in, we got… there was a rumor being passed around that Prabhupada might come here, but we just never really took it seriously because when Prabhupada came into America, it meant we were… maybe… could go see him in New York or he would go to Los Angeles or Chicago ... the bigger temples. Never to a place like Atlanta.
Atlanta was such a small place. But now that we had this better facility and Swarupa Damodara who was staying here then, and he had been writing to Prabhupada that this is a very nice place, nice climate. So the next we knew, we had like a two week warning I believe something like that, Prabhupada was coming, and we didn’t have any place for him to stay or anything. We were just… so we just went wild. The whole temple just went on a 24 hour a day, two week long marathon to fix everything up and throughout the two week period, there was like, “No he’s not coming. This GBC is trying to get him over to that zone. No.” and then, “He is coming.” It was back and forth and finally he was coming, and so we met him at the airport with all the devotees, and everyone was thinking… all the other devotees in the movement at that… in North America were thinking that this was would be the perfect place to come see Prabhupada because this is a small temple. It’d be real intimate. So somehow or other, just everyone thought like that, and so it was… it was, you know… it was incredible. It was something like 3, 400 devotees came, and uh… (laughter) there was Tamal Krishna brought the entire Radha Damodara party, all the brahmacaris and for the first time he introduced them to Prabhupada, and uh… and uh, Srila Gurupada brought his travelling library party the BBT Library Party. Tripurari brought the the BBT Book Distribution Party. Dharmatma had this women’s party that was just starting out that time, and uh, all these other temples, everybody was just coming and uh, so we had a huge kirtan out at the airport.
That’s the… they actually, after that they passed a law about that, that we couldn’t have kirtans any more at the airport, but somehow or other we were able to… I mean, we took over the airport. Fortunately or unfortunately at that time I was chosen to stay with the limousine. I wasn’t in the airport and my job was to somehow or the other secure the… right in the middle of you know… where they drop passengers, the taxi stand there. I had to secure that spot with limousine and you know there are always asking you to keep moving on, and in the old airport, it was a smaller space so it was… you… I was taking up half of the space practically and all the police were gathering around trying to ask me to leave, and I just was like saying, “Well, it’s just a few… few more minutes. It’s a very important person coming here.” And finally it just like, somehow or other kept dragging on and on and on like half hour already.
There was a delay in the plane and the police were just furious so it was an opportunity to preach. I had all the police standing around and I… so I just uh... they wanted to tow the car away. At one point in there, I lost the keys to the car as well, I was so nervous. (laughs) I couldn’t find the keys to the car, and I really went crazy and I found them, and then… so then I started preaching to the policemen. I said, “Well just imagine somehow or the other Jesus Christ was coming, (laughs) and know you, and it was your responsibility to make sure that his ride was there you know. Would you listen to the police?” (laughter)
You know I just, and they thought… their reaction was the same, they started laughing so they said “Alright, we’ll give you…” you know so I was able to keep limousine there and I was feeling really proud of myself (laughter) so I was… I made sure that I was sitting there right behind the wheel, and I was like holding on to it cause I wanted to be the one to drive. I mean I went through this whole thing to keep the limousine there (laughs) so I’m holding on you know, and I see… then all of a sudden I see you know, the kirtan’s coming and the I hear the car door open you know, on my side and there was Balavanta he tapped me on the shoulders and said “Get out, get out.” so I was asked to leave, and then so I then I stood… I figured this was one experience I had where I was really… I had this realization of like, I wanted Prabhupada to see me you know. I was really young I guess, or immature, or puffed up, or whatever, but I wanted Prabhupada to see me so I… I just stood there by the door and I tried to open the door and somehow or other Prabhupada’s head was always in the other direction, (laughs) and so I specifically went around to one of the doors to open that door, I figured he was coming on that side. Instead Tamal Krishna and Paramhamsa Swamis, they went in to pushed me aside and Prabhupada just always had his head looking the other way, just got in the car like that and just waved to everyone and I was completely dejected (laughs).
I had a realisation at that point that we can’t be… we have a right to be attached to our service but not to the results of the service. So I… Because I was attached to the idea that I had you know, fought off the demons, or the police from moving the vehicle. I wanted Prabhupada to recognise that but anyway… but in any case (laughs) I didn’t get any rec… externally anyway. Then simultaneously while all of this was happening at the airport, the vyasasana was being built. The stairs were not built, and the back was being put on. I think, (inaudible) were you helping with the vyasasana at that point? They were building the vyasasana at the time that Prabhupada was at the airport, so no one knew whether or not he was going to be… whether or not it was going to hold him or anything, You know.
As he… you know everyone… so he comes into the temple room, everyone was just staring to see if everything is going to hold together, and we were fortunate that they had built it properly but first when Balavanta brought Srila Prabhupada in a sort of a roundabout route to the temple and all the devotees were out at the front of the temple who had been at the airport, and had a big huge kirtan and when Prabhupada s… Balavanta told me that Prabhupada when he saw the devotees, he had been sort of resting at the back seat he looked forward, and he was looking out like that and Balavanta was explaining you know… they were parked at that intersection down there. He was explaining that this is women’s house, that’s the men’s house and in the middle is the temple, and he saw all the devotees and Prabhupada was really like, his eyes got real bright and he’s real, he looked very happy and uh, I… we by Krishna’s mercy and by (inaudible) Vedaguhya prabhu also had to (inaudible) for pictures. I have some pictures of when he was just arriving, they’re big enough so that everyone can see. Yeah, here it is, just arriving. (inaudible) He’s first getting out of the car. So all the devotees were singing Kirtan in the front lawn and the porch when Prabhupada drove up and uh, this is a picture of him coming out of the limousine here.
Jayapataka Swami : Srila Prabhupada ki,
Jayapataka Swami : Nava Panihati Agamana ki,
Gokula Ranjana dasa: That’s Swarup Damodara there. There’s Gurupada, Rupanuga and Balavanta here.
Comment: Bala drove?
Gokula Ranjana dasa: (laughs) He got to drive, and here he’s coming out of the car, and some of the other devotees. I think this is Vedaguhya here, and uh, this… this devotee here was supposedly the secretary of… what’s? Comment: Maharsi.
Gokula Ranjana dasa: Maharsi, yes. He is the one who said that… he had just come to tell Prabhupada the story that Maharsi had told him to come to Prabhupada because Prabhupada was the one that could teach him the highest knowledge, and so then Prabhupada came in to the temple room and it was… Gaura Nitai were there on the altar and all the devotees had a kirtan. He still had his jacket on ... it was in the winter and the Deities were wearing… They had red, long coats and the women had embroidered beautiful peacocks onto the coats.
I think the Deities in Murari Sevaka are still wearing this outfit ... real nice colorful blue and green peacocks on the coats. That was a real nice outfit and Prabhupada just, you know, he stood there and was having darshan and he noticed at that point that we had mirrors on the ceiling ... we’ve taken them down after last winter ... they were too much trouble they were falling but at that point we had put them on and, uh… so Prabhupada was looking up and he turned to Balavanta; he said, “What is this?” and he said to Prabhupada that it was mirrors and Prabhupada, you know… cause if you looked at it it looked liked there was two altars, you know, cause they were real clear at that point.
So then, Prabhupada marched back through the… we had an aisle as generally devotees do and we were chanting and uh, he sort of marched back very slowly and gracefully to the vyasasana and sort of like a general reviewing his troops and he had a big smile on his face, and uh, you could notice there were tears in the… in his eyes. He was really… really had a… had a really big blissful smile, and then he got on the vyasasana and then he started to speak but as you could notice right from the very beginning that he was you know… there was a lot of emotion in his voice you know almost like he was… you could hear, you know he was almost like choked up so he started to say, “I have…” you know, “…travelled to all these different temples. I have come from Caracas, Miami, that’s how he said Miami, so many temples I have travelled to, and I can see that of all the temples your temple is the best.”
Gokula Ranjana dasa: Then everyone started chanting, “Jaya!”. Then he started quoting from this song parama karuna pahu dui jana nitai gauracandra, and he said, “So these two prabhus Nitai-Gaura who appeared 500 years ago in West Bengal India are now standing here on your altar in Atlanta today.” and everyone started chanted “Haribol!” [Break] Jayapataka Swami:
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma
rāma rāma hare hare
mūkaṁ karoti vācālaṁ
paṅguṁ laṅghayate girim
yat-kṛpā tam ahaṁ vande
So by the festival in Panihatti is called Mahotsava ... Maha means great, ut means to uplift, go up and sava means everyone. So that great festival which uplifts everyone is called a mahotsava.
So especially the Vedas advise us that we should go to janatāgha-vipla… to the janeṣv abhijñeṣu we should go to the persons, hear from the persons who have transcendental knowledge, take their association of the vaisnavas so we feel that uh… if nothing else the festival was successful because Srila Acaryadeva has kindly come here to give us his association and its by the presence of many vaisnavas that one gets more and more enthusiasm.
The sankirtan movement means many people together perform the sankirtana-yajna or the congregational chanting of the holy names. This slide show was put together by Trivrikarma Swami. I haven’t gone through it yet so… Is that Bangladesh? Why don’t you go to the next shot?
Jayapataka Swami: Oh go back this side. Back, tsh tsh.
So what happens is that in Bangladesh a great… well what we couldn’t do is here we are having Panihatti festival which is of course Panihatti happens on the bank of the Ganges. This is a tributary of the Ganges river and Panihatti festival is where many devotees with Lord Nityananda were chanting Hare Krishna and all of a sudden it wasn’t expected but Lord Caitanya came so like that, we’re very honored that the servant of the servant of Srila Prabhupada, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Acaryadeva he’s agreed to come even before even though we didn’t uh… couldn’t expect it. Today I heard he was coming, yesterday he was not coming. I phoned him up and said, “We already have our high hopes up, don’t deprive us since you are merciful you should come on up.” So he decided to come.
Jayapataka Swami: So, since he has already explained so nicely from the Bhagavad-gita, the basis and purpose of this Krishna conscious movement for cutting the attachment to this material world and for going to the spiritual world from whence we do not have to return ever, so here is a tour of our Bangladesh preaching in east Bengal which Lord Caitanya toured and many of His associates appeared and will see what’s in the slideshow. I don’t know myself so it’s a surprise. It’s like Candid Camera for me. This is… I believe this is where our vehicle got stuck and required about 300 people to pull it out and I had to direct it; that’s why I had to pull my dhoti up so Hare Krishna. Here is the vehicle that got stuck. Devotees: Laugh
Jayapataka Swami: This is the Mercedes bus that I travelled about. That’s Vaiyasaki Dasa my assistant in Bangladesh, now he is in North America. He is an old veteran there. You might have heard his kirtans, Vaiyasaki Dasa.
Jayapataka Swami: Yes. He went on the tour. So did a number of other... This vehcle is towing it out. Actually this whole thing began because they didn’t listen to me. (Laughs) I told them to go the other way and… But you can see spontan… they… we didn’t... they weren’t… this wasn’t for money. This was for love you see. But we tied our van and all the people, and all together, they yelled, “Haribol!” and they pulled it.
Question: They were Muslims?
Jayapataka Swami: Hindu, Muslim you name it, Hare Krishna. Hare Krishna we got out, don’t worry. These are the… the lady with a kind of saffronish sari in the middle is the secre… the tall one she is the secretary and president of the Bangladesh Cottage Industry Program. She… the tall one recently got the President’s Award for doing the most help to the people. So I was telling her how she should also incorporate Krishna Consciousness with her social upliftment and the secretary agreed to chant Hare Krishna every day and signed a pledge to that effect. In the back you can see Prabhavisnu Swami our assistant GBC; that’s his sikha there, Haribol.
Here’s where I probably signing their pledge. Krishna kir… Well what happened was this Vicitra Vasini…
Is Latikabhakti here? She didn’t come? She was there also. There was three matajis. This one mataji’s from England and Vichitra Vasini from Hawaii and one other. So we had a big program with 75,000 people. At the last part of the program, the Sankirtana leader raised his arms and he said “The mercy of Nitai-Gaura comes raining down like a flood of mercy!” so it started pouring raining so we had to run inside this house to get away from the rain. So, then we began to preach, nowhere to go. So these people they are all signing up to chant Hare Krishna every day.
That’s Subhag Swami Maharaj at the front for selling books in Bangladesh which is a 80 % Muslim country. He had to spend one month in Jayal but it didn’t dampen his enthusiasm. He is still preaching there very actively. Go on. Jaya Nitai-Gaura Haribol. This is the arati. There’s Vaiyasaki. The President of the function gave me an introduction. I was the chief guest for the function which was the National Sanatana Dharma Sammelan. The ambassador of India and the Minister of Banagladesh were represented there. Now we have quite good relations with the government. It was due to a misunderstanding that was addressed.
This is a typical house of Bengal ... grass roof, mud floor with cow dung coating and these are the residents, mother and daughter. Here are some of the devotees distributing books and beads. People are very eager. You can see the habitat. It’s beautiful. They are under a mango tree behind there are all bamboo forests. It’s by the side of a river. This was during the day time. They had various lectures. In the night time we did our program.
This one is one student getting Srila Prabhupda’s books.
This is a common sight, people staring. (laughter) But they are interested. As you soon you start to preach to them they’re all ears but they don’t know what to think. There is no road. This bus in the middle of a village and there was no road. We drove over 3 miles of fields so you’d be amazed too. (laughter) Anyway we bathed in the river. That’s all there is? Hare Krishna. No piranhas ... (laughter)
This is a meeting with all the village elders. They all came around and they’ve decided… they set up about thirteen nama hattas branches for propagating the message of Srila Prabhupada. That’s again Subhag Swami. Here we were discussing they were offering us forty acres of land to build a gurukula. They said the children in this are they need a gurukula and they’d like us to establish a gurukula there. On the left that’s doctor… what’s his name? Doctor Bose or something. He was the head of the district sanatana dharma conference. We were under the date trees and coconut trees. So the purpose of these tours is actually to encourage people to take up the process of Krishna consciousness and to take up the philosophy in a practical way, so the response is incredible. This is outside of the main meeting area. There are of course many vendors selling peanuts and wha… you name it.
This is one of the bridges. It’s just two bamboos. How many thousands of people crossed over to hear the Krishna Conscious presentation! People there they make average wage of may be a dollar or fifty cents a day, but still even though they are so poor they want to get books and beads. They… they want their spiritual development. So people say if the people aren’t fed, if they are still hungry then they don’t want spiritual things, but actually it’s the rich people who say that, who are very puffed and inflated that it’s not necessary that one has to first have economic development. Who’s going to provide economic development? There is nearly a hundred million people in Bangladesh. America puts millions of dollars there. You don’t see any change.
What’s the econ… They have a beautiful surrounding, their grass hut, economic development means they put a road in or a pump in, give them a brick house. How is that going to appreciably, or they maybe get some more vitamins in their meal, but they are still suffering old age, disease, death. So they know that this life... We don’t discourage them to develop economically but the point is that in this life there is only one end and the real purpose of life is to go back home, back to Godhead. So along with their endeavors they want to achieve spiritual realization.
This is Latikabhakti, who’s now in New Orleans. She’s from Sweden. She was preaching there.
Here are some of the children who want to join the gurukula. We actually made nine devotees at this program. Haribol. Haribol (loud).
Jayapataka Swami: This is what Acharyadeva was talking about ... supernatural powers ... Sanatana Dharma Maha Sammelan. This was another... for some reason they never showed the crowd. We did a series of tour for one week. Here was another program that we arrived just at sunset and all the people came.
Here is a typical crowd. More than the flash can pick up. Just thousands and thousands of people, but this wasn’t the biggest crowd. There must be about ten thousand people here: Men on the left, women on the right. This was... we started a new program which was a completion to get everyone to chant. To get women to chant we employed the mothers, and then to get the men to chant, the men would encourage them. What happened was we had a program at one place and then we were going to… we went to see the birthplace of Raghunath Das Gosvami... not Raghunath... It was one of the Gosvamis.
Jayapataka Swami: Lokanatha Gosvami, and we couldn’t get there. We were travelling by bus and there was a bamboo bridge and we were just not going to take that ten, twelve ton truck across the bamboo bridge. This one sadhu was there and he said “Please come see our temple.” So we went just for fifteen, twenty minutes and all these people spontaneously were receiving us. It was very…we had to walk couple miles to get in there, may be half a mile, it wasn’t so much. These are different…
This is another program in Dhaka. They said Trivikrama Maha… he did a good job but he did not know the different places. We had so many different programs. Basic program was there would be some introductory lectures, arati, then some more chanting competitions, sometimes a few more lectures by the different devotees, then the different devotees and I would give a Bhagvatam class and we’d show movies. Hare Krishna.
Devotees: Haribol! Jaya Gaura Nitai!
Jayapataka Swami: This is another typical scenery of Bangladesh. I mean it’s incredibly opulent trees, coconut. In all the villages these houses are built around these manmade lakes called pukurs. Here is the birthplace of Vasudeva Datta.
Devotees: Haribol! Jaya!
Jayapataka Swami: Vasudeva Dutta was of course dearmost devotee to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. On the left is Nishthula Dasa, a Canadian devotee… Irish devotee… I forget who’s living in Bangladesh near Pundrika Dham. This site was donated to us for developing a temple there. So we did some excavation to find the foundation of the original temple you see. Near… Pundarika Vidyanidhi was the guru of Gadhadhara. He lived in Caturgram which is the far east of Bangladesh ... eastern Bengal. Just about half mile from his house, Vasudeva Datta house and Mukunda Datta, their houses were there, so... Hare Krishna.
We were inspecting. In the back, just… I don’t know if you can see. At the back just… I don’t know if you can see. We started an excavation on the side how this project could be developed. These Deities are backwards. Maybe you could turn it around. Jaya Varsabhanavi Murari Gaura haribol! Because Pundarika Vidyanidhi... These Deities are Pundarika dham. ... the birthplace of Pundarika Vidyanidhi because Pundarika was Vrishabhanu, the father of Radha in Krishna lila, so we call the Deities Varsabhanavi meaning “Radha the daughter of Vrishabhanu-Murari” and of course, Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Murari is enchanting.
So there… this is also backwards, but anyway. This is… now in Pundarika dham for our annual festival. The annual festival this year fell on February 7th. After leaving Atlanta, I went back for the Ratha Yatra in Madras and then I went here. There was about 40 -50, 000 people came over a four day festival. We were feeding... Here are the dharma sabha or the religious conference where we gave lectures. And this picture is taken from within the place where a non-stop forty-eight hour harinam chanting of Hare Krishna will go on. This is the veranda of our temple of Pundarika dham. You can see the rice paddy fields and the scenery in the back. This is the little village children chanting. This one’s really fired up in the front there. He’s got the kartals. (laughter) He is about four years old and he is leading the kirtan.
Jayapataka Swami: This is actually taken after the festival but you can see that there’s some steel pi… steel rods sticking up; we’re building a kirtan hall there. Ran out of… We got up that far before we ran out of money. In the back there’s a uh… a lake, manmade lake right by this temple. It’s very beautiful. Anyway go on.
Question: Is that Vyasasana for Prabhupada?
Jayapataka Swami: Yes, told them make a bigger one. This was on Rama Navmi. We did a bathing ceremony for the small Deities of Varsabhanavi Murari. Abhishek with milk and yoghurt, ghee, honey, sugar water, dab juice and so many other things. Jaya! Devotees: Jaya!
Jayapataka Swami: Prabhavisnu Swami. This is the first… No this is the first major temple to be. He is doing the initiation ceremony there ... first major temple to be constructed since Bangladesh became Bangladesh. Som… Hold it back. Turn it back. There was some ... what happened? Back? We’re going forward. Okay, stop there. This you see Mrs. Ma… Mandanaya, can you see that... Bengali lady wearing tilak with her sindhur. You were saying they don’t wear a tilak, only widows. She is a married lady. You see it, you don’t see it. Got a pointer. (laughter)
Devotee: Jaya Acaryapada.
Jayapataka Swami: Hare Krishna. They… actually they took a video of this. We should get the copies. People are very uh... this is their biggest enjoyment is these festivals. This is uh, more interesting to them than everything else. But it takes an incredible amount of endeavor to put on these festivals but the rewards are unlimited. Here are some devotees taking initiation Here are some of the local organizers. This is where we fed over 20,000 people prasadam.
Jayapataka Swami: We’ve formed a joint committee there where we work with the local leaders of place although the worship and management is officially in our hands but we work cooperatively with the local dignitaries. The uh… Here’s the temple that was constructed. So we had to… 20, 000 plates. People always ask “Where does that food relief money go?” That’s where it goes, but it’s only a drop in the bucket compared to what’s actually needed. It goes in the… I mean distributing of prasadam. Here is again the spiritual conference. Again there are so many people listening. They listen from 4 in the afternoon until 11 o’clock at night, about seven hours straight, different philosophical lectures. I was presiding. We had different lectures speaking. It’s the limitation of these flashes. That was the end of the Bangladesh tour.
Here if the Calcultta Book Fair. This is the largest book fair in Asia, and we had the award winning booth for having the most titles in the most different languages. We actually sold book in Russian, Czechoslovakian, Russian, Hebrew all different languages. We actually were selling the book over the counter. People were coming there.
Jayapataka Swami: Yes. That’s another shot of Prahladananda Swami. Now he is regional secretary in Peru and Ecuador. This is Bhakti Caru Swami. We went to see a few other stalls to see how they were doing but of course we they just had Bengal language. Adridhāraṇa Prabhu the President of Calcultta. You see there at the back, Chinese, Arabic, Persian, but normally you show these. But people were coming and buying. We had Chinese people there was every day we got a report especially Russian bought books, check round if the KGB was watching and they’d buy a book. Here is Bhaktipada’s Pa… Prabhupada’s palace of gold. We had a whole display. Prabhupada, I don’t know if the picture comes up but Prabhupada when you walk up the center figure was the big deity of Srila Prabhupada. BBT books flood the world with spiritual knowledge. Every second a Bhagavad-gita As It Is, is distributed.
Jayapataka Swami: Then we went to see the Soviet book stall. They have these really big books but they are completely subsidized. You can buy it for twenty cents but a huge big book. But our stall was packed with people. The devotees, they could not keep up with the demand.
Jayapataka Swami: Srila Prabhupada, ki, jaya!
Jayapataka Swami: This is Srila Prabhupada in the Calcutta temple. This is bathing in the Calcutta Ganges. Hare Krishna. A lot of these shots. So unfortunately I don’t have any shots of the Panihatti uh, festival because every… last year I was here for this Panihatti festival so… but you get a taste what it’s like about 200,000 people go to the Panihatti festival.
(Pujari rings bell from altar)
Jaya Nitai-Gaura, Jagannatha, Subhadra, Balarama ki,
Jayapataka Swami: And they all line up and instead of distributing the khicuri rice dala mixture, we distribute the chira and dahi. So tomorrow we have a big program. Everyone can freshen up and have rest. It’s nice so many devotees have come.
Jayapataka Swami: I wanted to be. I don’t know if it’s going to be possible now, because some other commitments.
Are there any questions?
One can’t… it says even by repeated bathing in the Ganges… it takes repeated bathing before one gets purified but even by even a moment’s association with a devotee of the Lord,
’sādhu-saṅga’, ‘sādhu-saṅga’—sarva-śāstre kaya
lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya
one can achieve all perfection in life. So this is specially an opportunity when one can associate with hearing and personally at the festival and in this way understand what is the inner purpose of Lord Nityananda giving the mercy to Raghunath Dasa Gosvami. What was the purpose of Srila Prabhupada touring all over the world. Tomorrow morning we will have some smarana-sabha or remembrances of Srila Prabhupada here in new Panihatti and elsewhere and then at noon or one o’ clock… at noon there will be the offering of chira dahi and then there will be different programs which Balabhadra Prabhu can announce in the morning. So are there any questions?
Question : Did the Bangladeshi government hear about the construction of our temples?
Jayapataka Swami: It’s registered. Our society is registered.
Question: So they haven’t complained… (inaudible)
Jayapataka Swami: Not yet, thank Krishna.
Jayapataka Swami: Well in the winter because there are so many rivers that it’s so difficult to travel in the rainy season. Government is... we don’t talk about those things, but the Government is somewhat favorable now, but we just don’t discuss those things.
Question: Will there be time to… (inaudible) …their first grain ceremony?
Jayapataka Swami: They’re six months of age? Five or six months. Have to offer sweet rice at noon along with chira and dahi. May have time. Maybe we can do two at one. Then I can just say the mantras once. (laughter) (conchshell blows)
Devotees: Jaya Srila Acaryapada!
Transcribed by Ushati Chitra devi dasi
Revised by Jagannatha dasa Brahmacari