15th November, 2015. Vrindavan
Srila Prabhupada’s Tirobhava Mahotsava day at Vrindavan.
I was very fortunate to be present on Sunday at Vrindavan and attend the 38th disappearance festival of Srila Prabhupada.
I knew that the temple will be full to its capacity in the morning so I stayed back in the apartment and chanted my rounds. As I was leaving, Arti mataji, whose family I was staying with, asked me if I am keeping normal fast or nirjala fast till noon. I had completely forgotten that it was fast till noon today for Prabhupada disappearance day! I thanked her for reminding me and in my heart profusely thanked Krishna for not allowing me to make this blunder. I further resolved never to stay without the association of devotees!
I reached temple around 7.45am and straight away went to Prabhupada samadhi and paid my humble obeisances. It’s always a very humbling experience to be here, more so as with each passing day I realise how much Srila Prabhupada did for us and what little I am doing to reciprocate.
As every year, devotees carried Srila Prabhupada’s deity around all the Goswami temples in Vrindavan, people from all walks of life paid their respect to this Premi Bhakta who spread Krishna bhakti all around the world. Here are some pictures which I copied from the official webpage.
In the temple, a very tastefully decorated pandal had been set up for the disciples and followers of Srila Prabhupada to glorify him. One by one senior devotees came and paid their respects to Srila Prabhupada. It was amazing to see how each one of them had their own connection with Prabhupada. HH Lokanath Maharaj said that Prabhupada is still here with us, HH Gopal Krishna Maharaj said that we need to introspect on what actions we can take which will further increase the glorification of Srila Prabhupada, another devotee shared how is serving Prabhupada in `vipralamba bhava’, each one had their own unique relationship with Srila Prabhupada.
Later, it was time for Abhishek ceremony.
There was sumptuous prasadam arranged for everyone at Goshalla and I overate!
Srila Prabhupada’s quarters were opened to visitors in the evening with very beautiful decorations.
In the midst of all this I was thinking how to remember Prabhupada. I was very fortunate to meet a very senior devotee who shared some gems written by Srila Prabhupada himself on the connection between Guru and disciple. I am sharing the same. It will be very nice if we can read them loudly, meditate on each of them and remember our param guru.
“The spiritual Master lives forever by His divine instruction and the disciple lives with him.”, because I have always served my Guru Maharaja and followed His teachings I am now even never separated from Him. Sometimes Maya may come and try to interfere but we must not falter, we must always follow the chalked out path layed down by the great acharya’s and in the end you will see.
-Letter to Cidananda — Bhaktivedanta Manor 25 November, 1973
Please be happy in separation. I am separated from my Guru Maharaja since 1936 but I am always with him so long I work according to his direction. So we should all work together for satisfying Lord Krishna and in that way the feelings of separation will transform into transcendental bliss.
-Letter to Devotees in New York City, 19th January, 1967
I understand that you are feeling my absence. Krishna will give you strength. Physical presence is immaterial; presence of the transcendental sound received from the spiritual master should be the guidance of life. That will make our spiritual life successful. If you feel very strongly about my absence you may place my pictures on my sitting places and this will be source of inspiration for you.
-Letter to Devotees in New York City, 19th January, 1967
You cannot survive without my mercy and I cannot survive without your mercy. It is reciprocal. This mutual dependence is based on love—Krishna Consciousness.
-Letter to Jayatirtha Dasa, 22nd, January, 1967
The senior devotee emphasised on each of the above statements, we read them loudly, repeatedly. Especially highlighting how wonderful is the last statement where Srila Prabhupada is equating love with Krishna consciousness. And in a very beautiful and sweet way he is showing us that an amazing relationship exist between a factual guru and a factual disciple. If both are ‘sat’ then one can’t do without the other. What is the meaning of guru without disciple and what is the meaning of disciple without a guru? A very powerful statement by Srila Prabhupada.
You cannot survive without my mercy and I cannot survive without your mercy
Can we imagine a heart who feels like that ! It is reciprocal, this mutual dependency which is based on love – Krishna consciousness. We should be very careful not make the relationship between a Guru and disciple a business affair. We should contemplate if there is heart in the relationship? Where is the intensity of dependence on Guru? This is the actual reality, neither can survive without the mercy of the other. So beautiful.
Then we read the below statement from the book of HH Satsvarupa Maharaj.
Memories of Prabhupada are nectar. Without them, there would be no substance to Prabhupada consciousness. If there were no memories of Prabhupada, then he would become only a legend. But there is a lot more to Prabhupada consciousness than memories of him. By meditating on the memories and practicing internal, minute-to-minute surrender, we will be Prabhupada conscious. This internal cultivation is very important. Prabhupada recall doesn’t mean only remembering what he did in the 1970s, it means recalling our need to serve him now. -HH Satsvarupa Goswami
In the end we read the following famous lines from a poem written by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
He reasons ill who tells that Vaishnavas die
When thou art living still in sound.
The Vaishnavas die to live and living try
To spread a holy life around!
All glories to the disappearance day of Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.