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740211 - Lecture Festival Appearance Day, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati - Vrndavana
Prabhupāda: (prema-dhvani prayers) So, all these garlands, the Vaiṣṇava who has come, garland. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (break)
Dr. Kapoor: Most revered Prabhupāda, my brother and sisters of ISKCON and devotees. It's not a, it is not merely an act of formality that I rise to speak on this occasion. The appearance day of Śrīla Prabhupāda. It is a day of great importance to me as with everybody else who has come here today to celebrate this function. I do not know how to explain the importance of this day. Should I say that on this day was laid the very foundation for the beautiful mansion of ISKCON which Prabhupāda is building and which promises to be the 'Taj', so to say, of the spiritual world. The greatest wonder of the spiritual world.
Should I say that on this day, fell a seed from the spiritual tree of Kṛṣṇa prema which was sown by Mādhavendra Purī and of which the trunk was Śrīmān Mahāprabhu and the branches were Advaita, Advaita Ācārya, Nityānanda Prabhu, Rūpa, Sanātana and those.
A seed fell from this tree on this day in the form of Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja. It has sprouted in the form of Gaudya mission and it is now growing in the form of ISKCON and I hope you will continue to grow until the prophecy of Mahāprabhu is fulfilled. The prophecy, the teachings of Mahāprabhu will be carried to every nook and corner of the world.
But I should like to express the importance of this day in a different way which is more dear to me. I should like to say that on this day was born a great spiritual scientist, a great spiritual alchemist, who worked wonders with the science of spiritual alchemy. You know the science of alchemy changes baser metals into gold and silver. Now this spiritual alchemist had the wonderful power of changing baser men into superior men. Of changing sinners into saints, of changing nonbelievers into believers. Non-Vaisnava's into Vaisnavas and when I say this, I speak from my personal experience. Should I tell you, that I was a very different man some 45 years ago. I was a rank ah, rank ah, I shouldn't say non-believer, but I was a rank Māyāvādī. A firm believer in the doctrine of Advaita-ism. As a student of philosophy and as a favourite student of Dr Reddy the head of the philosophy Department of Allahabad University. I had come to believe that there was no philosophy on the face of earth higher than the philosophy of Advaita-ism. The philosophy of Māyāvād and there was no end superior to the end of the attainment of nirvikul samādhi in which one realises one's complete identity with Brahma. (break)
This was my firm belief, and it was impossible for anyone to dislodge me from it. But you know..., and you’ll not believe what happened one day when I first met my Prabhupāda, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Goswāmī Mahārāja, at Allahabad at the house of one Mr. De, sometime in the month of August 1931. As I went to see him, he stared into my eyes, seemed to be looking deep into me, and it appeared that he had discovered something that nobody had discovered. He had discovered the ghost in me, the ghost of Māyāvāda, which had possessed me. And at once, you see, he started his alchemy. It was a long and a passionate discourse, which continued for about an hour and a half. I listened to him, spellbound. It was magic. I was charmed. As the words were coming from his mouth, I felt…, I felt that they were cracking the innermost…, penetrating the innermost recesses of my heart and were working a wonderful change in me.
There was a strange ring in his words. There was a magic in it. The words seemed to be rousing me from my dogmatic slumber of Māyāvāda. I seemed to wake up and see a new light. There was a great commotion in me, you see. All my old beliefs seemed to be dashed into pieces. The strongest arguments on which the edifice Māyāvāda is raised seemed to have been cut into pieces by the sharp arguments of Prabhupāda, and it appeared to me that the edifice of Māyāvāda, which had stood like a temple in my heart, was crumbling. Pillar after pillar was falling, and I saw that in very little time it was reduced into ashes. There was, as I said, a great commotion in me, a great storm. Old beliefs and new—a tussle went on. And this went on for a very long time. It went on for about a year. And during this period, I followed Prabhupāda wherever he went. I went with him from Allahabad to Benares, from Benares to Calcutta, from Calcutta to Darjeeling, from Darjeeling back to Calcutta, and then to Allahabad, and then finally I came along with him here, Vṛndāvana. That tussle which had been going in my mind, that storm which was raging, had to subside. It did subside, and peace and calm was restored in my mind. But the peace that was restored, the calm that was restored, was not the calm of Māyāvāda, the still and barren calm of Māyāvāda, but the delightful and peaceful calm of bhakti. I was now a changed man. I was inclined to bhakti. I was inclined towards Vaiṣṇavism. And so one day in Rādhā-kuṇḍa, perhaps in the month of Kārtika on the day of Puranmaṣi, I was duly initiated by Śrīla Prabhupāda.
So I say that this day is a great day of great importance to me, because it has completely changed my life. I was just an insect of the grain. Prabhupāda picked me up and made me a different man altogether. Now, Prabhupāda is no more. But should I say that Prabhupāda is no more when Prabhupāda Bhaktivedanta Mahārāja is with us? I believe that Prabhupāda is functioning through him. He is also a great alchemist. He is also working wonders. What my Prabhupāda did to me, he is doing to millions and millions of people all the world over. And it will not be an exaggeration if I say that the indomitable spirit with which he is working, the crown of success which he wears, leave no doubt that Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktivedanta Mahārāja is the true successor of Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Goswāmī Mahārāja. So that we may say on this day of the appearance of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Goswāmī Mahārāja that although Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Goswāmī Mahārāja has disappeared, he lives in Prabhupāda Bhaktivedanta Mahārāja. And so Prabhupāda has disappeared, and yet he is alive and active, and long, long live Prabhupāda!
Prabhupāda: So, ladies and gentlemen, this is my spiritual master's appearance anniversary day. So as Dr. Kapoor has explained to you that Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura changed his life, similarly my life was also changed by this great saintly person. I was inclined to nationalist movement, follower of Mahatma Gandhi. So in 1922, at that time I was manager in Dr. Bose's Laboratory. I was young man, and just three or four years before, I was married, and I got a son also. But one my friend, Mr. Mullik—he's no more existing—he informed me that "One sādhu has come to Calcutta, Gauḍīya Maṭha sādhu. So would you like to see him?" At that time I was nationalist, and I had no very good experience, so I denied: "Oh, I have seen so many swamis. What is the use of going there, wasting time?" But he insisted and took me to Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. And immediately after seeing us, he changed my life. He immediately said that “You are all educated young men. Why don’t you preach the cult of Caitanya Mahāprabhu in the Western world?” I said, "Who will hear your cult of Caitanya Mahāprabhu? You are dependent nation, and who will hear? First of all you must have independence." Because I was inclined to independence movement. I left my educational career in 1920, joined this movement. So he argued, and he defeated me, and there was long talk. Then after coming down on the street, my friend Mr. Mullik asked me, "What do you think of this sādhu?" So I appreciated. I said, “Yes, now Caitanya Mahāprabhu's cult is in the hands of an able personality. Now it will be spread all over the world, I think.”
Then I was transferred from Calcutta to Allahabad for business concern, but I was always thinking of this sādhu—I am giving a short history—but my life was changed. Of course, I was born in a Vaiṣṇava family, Caitanya cult was my life and soul, but due to education and bad association, or the modern association, I was declined. Now this Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura again revived my consciousness. In this way, in 1933, I became regularly a disciple of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. And then in 1936, before his passing away, I wrote one letter to my Guru Mahārāja, that "You have got many disciples. They are giving you direct service—they are very fortunate. But I am a gṛhastha, so I could not do anything for you. So if you kindly order me something to do, then I can try for it." So again he said the same thing, that "Whatever you have learned from us, try to preach in English."
Then I started this Back to Godhead magazine in 1944, on this very birthday of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, and I was looking forward for the opportunity how to implement this order of my Guru Mahārāja. Then in 1965—before that I was translating Bhāgavatam—and when three books were published, then I prepared myself to go to America, singlehanded. Not for getting any material reputation, but simply to try, because I knew my Guru Mahārāja was very, very anxious to preach this cult. So when I saw that there were other, my big Godbrothers—I cannot say that they could not do anything; at least there was no any tangible result—then at the age of seventy years, I thought, "Let me try if I can do something." So I left India in 1965 and went to New York, thinking, "What shall I do? I do not know what for Kṛṣṇa has brought me in this place without any friend, without any money." I had only forty rupees with me, and a return ticket in the Scindia Navigation Companies. So for two, three months, six months, there was no response. I was simply maintaining myself by selling my books. But these young boys, American boys, gradually they joined me in 1966. I was chanting in a park—what is that, Tompkinson (sic) Square?
Prabhupāda: Yes, and these boys, gradually they came and joined and danced with me. Then, the New York Times they published first of all. I think our Brahmānanda—Bruce—and our Acyutānanda—what is... Bernard?
Prabhupāda: Charles, yes. They were dancing first, hand to hand. Then this news was spread very nicely. One paper, Voice, they printed that "We understood that God is dead, but now I see," the reporter said, "that Swami Bhaktivedanta has brought back God in his saṅkīrtana." This was the remark. Then gradually we developed, and next branch was established in San Francisco. First in New York; then in Canada, Montreal; and Boston. Here is one my student, old student, is present, Satsvarūpa Mahārāja. This boy was very enthusiastic from the very beginning.
So by the grace of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and my Guru Mahārāja, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, we have made a ground, at least. We have got now one hundred branches all over the world, and especially in Europe and America, Australia, and Japan—everywhere—from Scandinavia down to Melbourne, north and south, and all over the world. So these boys are now present here. They have learned how to chant, how to dance, how to offer āratrik to the Deity. We have got Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Jagannātha Deity in all our temples, besides Guru-Gauranga. So it is…, it was the desire of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. So although my kind Godbrothers like Dr. Kapoor, he said that I am doing wonderful, actually I do not know any magic art to do this wonderful, but just I am trying to follow the footsteps of my Guru Mahārāja. That's all. But in the śāstras we see that,
- yasya deve parā bhaktir
- yathā deve tathā gurau
- tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
- prakāśante mahātmanaḥ
- (ŚU 6.23)
So I can speak you frankly that I have no asset except that I wanted to please my Guru Mahārāja. That's all. That little strength, whatever success I have got, it is due to his blessing. Similarly, the śāstra is also there. If we follow actually the order, as it is described by Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, that "The order of Guru Mahārāja is my life and soul," jīvātmā he has mentioned… So in this way, if we try to follow our ācārya, bona fide ācārya,
- evaṁ paramparā-prāptam
- imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
- (BG 4.2)
Then, to have bona fide ācārya means like this, that's all. Simply you have to follow.
So today is this auspicious day. My disciples, I request you that I have tried to follow, and you also try to follow. There is great responsibility in your hands because you have to preach. I am now old man of seventy-eight years. I do not expect to live many years more. But you simply follow the footsteps of the ācārya, tādera caraṇa-seva-bhakta-sane.
- tādera caraṇa-sebi-bhakta-sane bāsa
- janame janame hoy ei abhilās
- (Nāma-saṅkīrtana 7)
This is the secret of success. You have to follow the Gosvāmīs.
- Ei chay gosāi yāra tāra mui dāsa
- (Nāma-saṅkīrtana 6).
You have to follow this principle. Ei chay gosāi yāra tāra mui dāsa. Rūpānuga-viruddha-apasiddhānta-dhvānta-hāriṇe. Ei chay rūpa-sanātana gosvāmī. If we desire to serve them, they are the śrī-caitanya-mano-'bhīṣṭaṁ sthāpitaṁ (Śrī Rūpa Praṇāma), these Gosvāmīs. The Vṛndāvana-dhāma is discovered by the Gosvāmīs, ei chay gosāi yāra tāra mui dāsa. Don’t deviate from the instruction. Caitanya Mahāprabhu…, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura said,
- rūpa-raghunātha-pade hoibe ākuti
- kabe hāma bujhabo se jugala-pīriti
- (Lālasāmayī Prārthanā 4)
We should hanker after to understand what is that jugala-pīriti. Don’t jump over. Don’t jump over, that "I have understood Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa prema." No. It is not so easy. Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa prema… To understand rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinīśaktir asmād (CC Adi 1.5), this is not ordinary affair, dealing of a young boy and a young girl. It is the expansion of the hlādinī-śakti of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. So in this way, in Vṛndāvana, if we want to understand, then,
- tādera caraṇa-sevi-bhakta-sane vāsa
- janame janame hoy ei abhilāsa
- (Nāma-saṅkīrtana 7)
This should be the motto of life. Then you are success. Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)