Home > Spiritual discourses > Prabhupada - a flower offering

So, today we will read a very wonderful song written by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, which is not very well known. It is an introduction, or an offering to Sri Sri Radha-Damodar after he finished writing the Gitar-gan, which is a bengali version of a Bhagavad-gita message, but in popular wording. Srila Prabhupada wrote: "I am taking the lotus feet of my spiritual Masters, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada, and I also give all my humble obeisances to all my siksha-Gurus, or instructing spiritual Masters and I pray to all of them. They are like desire trees who can fulfill the desires of everyone and only when they give their mercy to us and to me will my sufferings find an end"

Here we are hearing Srila Prabhupada offering prayers and obeisances to his diksha-Guru and to his siksha-Gurus. We may dwell for a moment on what was the preparation Srila Prabhupada went through to later be able to do what he actually did. There are many different wonderful appreciations which have been given towards Srila Prabhupada over the years. One of them is that he was recognized by many of his Godbrothers, what to speak of his disciples, to be a shaktyavesa-avatar, a person in whom the divine plan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifested. The energy of the Lord took appearance in the Personality of Srila Prabhupada. Then there are other appreciations, how Srila Prabhupada comes down from Goloka to help us here and return to Goloka. But nevertheless, regardless of these backgrounds of this divine personality, now, meditating a little bit about the preparation, what was his mental upbringing, what was the influence in his heart which got him all the way to the point of sacrificing anything and everything just to make his bold move, this bold step, peniless to go to the western world with a few books in his bag to spread Krishna-consciousness and with this clear conviction that this message was for the whole world. Not that he wanted to make a few disciples to have a confortable life in the west, or anything like that, which one may suspect if one has no faith in the transcendental position of the spiritual Master.

But Srila Prabhupadas upbringing, his preparation, his prayers, his maha-mantras, his books he wrote, his attitude he developed, that is so much in the line of Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Haridas Thakur that we can only conclude that he was an empowered agent of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaja, one of the closest acquaintance of Srila Prabhupada, and being called siksha-Guru by Srila Prabhupada, he used to always say: Dayal Nitai, dayal Nitai, most merciful Nitai. And this most merciful Nitai he invested his loving potency in the heart of Srila Prabhupada, because he was definetely most merciful. That was exactly his peculiar trait, his mercifulness, his unconditional, his unlimited effort to make everybody happy in the family of Krishna-consciousness, everybody. And the struggle he had to go through to accomplish that is amazing. Just like we are discussing sometimes, when you are recruiting new people, you are recruiting from the rock bottom of this world and you get a bunch of Jagais and Madhais, I am just giving them as an anology here because we see that Sri Nityananda Prabhu himself, as he went out preaching, he preached to everybody, but he didnt stop the preaching when he met Jagai and Madhai. Rather he said: Yes, then I have to make the effort to get these people saved, which let all the way to him being insulted and beaten. And when Mahaprabhu lost his patience and called the Sudarshana to kill these demons, then it was Sri Nityananda Prabhu to appeal on behalf of the demons saying: My dear Lord, don't forget your real mission, it was to save everybody, now here is a good case for you to show your mercy. They are in great need of your mercy. And then of course we can understand how everything manifested, that Jagai and Madhai became great devotees by the mercy of Nityananda and by the mercy of Gauranga Mahaprabhu. So we can see that when you preach not only gentle brahmins walk in who have all the purification rituals behind them and who are just ready to surrender to the higher duties of spiritual life. No, people coming with so many loads of attachments, so many impediments. The people when they come to our Krishna-consciousness movement, they are very frequently troubled by their previous samskaras and it is quite common that in our communities we suffer from that. We suffer from the bad habit's of some of the newcomers, the character, the frustrated lust they have within themselves, and and and...it's a long story. So Srila Prabhupada was so merciful to make every effort to happily accommodate those who came to his mission, so that they could not only enter spiritual life, but that they could stay, perfect themselves and reach the highest goal of love for God. That was his mission, he was adamant about it. He dedicated himself completely to that purpose, and then we can see who is that divine personality of Srila Prabhupada, who is that divine personality who came to us, to give us so much of his kindness and of his grace. So when Srila Prabhupada was still in India we can see that he was already in that mood. It was not something what just dawned on him, or something which just kind of appeared, no. Srila Prabhupada had been preaching all over that before in India. He went to one city in India, Jhamsi, and he tryed to open a preaching center there. He published the back to Godhead magazine, he helped his Godbrothers in many occasions. There are many Godbrothers were he went out of his way to help them. And Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaja was even living in one of Srila Prabhupadas houses and was running his preaching center for many years out of there. So Prabhupada was involved in the Gaudiya Math, he was involved in opening the Bombay temple, he was involved in opening and helping the Allahabad preaching. He was always there were he could help. And after he became varnaprastha he cooperated with the movement of Srila B.S. Goswami Maharaja, he cooperated with the movement of Srila B.P. Keshava Maharaja, he cooperated and he was always thinking of how to accomplish it, how to fulfill this sweet vision and merciful plan of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada. And he knew very well that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur has said that: I want to spend the last ten years of my life preaching in the west. So Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur was not able to fulfill that cherished dream, but Srila Prabhupada gave those ten years to his Gurudeva to spread the holy name of Krishna in the western countries. So he was very convinced that was the plan of Krishna. But you can see that Srila Prabhupada was always of the nature of wanting to give the teachings of his spiritual Master to everyone and wanted to do anything and everything so that the poor conditioned suffering souls can be benefitted by the great gift of love of Krishna-bhakti. He was definetely convinced of prthivite ache yate nagaradi grama, sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama. He was so convinced that in every town and village of the world the holy name of Krishna will be heard, it will be sung. So he went forward against all odds and with all the difficulties you can imagine, but he was simply interested in only one thing, that is pleasing the lotus feet of his spiritual Masters. Now we had just an interesting discussion about siksha-Guru this morning. Sometimes the question of siksha-Guru arises, because siksha-Gurus are a very valuable gift given to us by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And when we meet a siksha-Guru who maybe a seniour Godbrother of ours, who maybe a representative of our spiritual Master, or he maybe another Gaudiya Vaishnava whom we happened to meet by the will of providence, or some situation after our spiritual master leaves this physical plane, all these things may be possible, but such a siksha-Guru will always enhance your original love and greatfulness, he will enhance your spiritual dedication and your spiritual surrender to guru-tattva. Otherwise it is very questionable what kind of a siksha-Guru is that.

So here particularly the siksha-Gurus of Srila Prabhupada of whom I know in particular only Srila Sridhar Maharaja, even though he must have had more because he is using the plural way here. So they were encouraging him to do that. They were encouraging whim to go out and spread Krishna-consciousness. In the words of Srila Sridhar Maharaja, he said: "What Bhaktivinoda Thakura conceived was started by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada and it was taken to the extend beyond imagined by Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja from ocean to ocean all around the world. Even the demigods will be surprised by what he did. And we are very proud of him. "

So this song I am reading to you, it was not compiled after having had a succesful campain. This was compiled here in Vrindavan in the Radha-Damodar temple after he finished one of his books. Prabhupadas preaching thoughts were directed towards Bengal, towards UP, towards America, towards London, towards Africa, towards China, towards Russia, towards everywhere, and that is evident by his activities. He made so many peculiar efforts towards reaching to every nook and corner of the world that we really can understand that his mercy was the mercy of Mahaprabhu, that the whole world will be able to reach to this transcendental family. So as he was preparing himself for that mission he was always in the mood of prayer. We know these other more famous prayers which Prabhupada wrote on the Jaladutta, which are very clear, because they are showing his surrendered mood and how he was totally dependend on the grace of Krishna. But here in this particular song, he is bringing the siddhanta into a very clear focus. And it is very charming to see what Srila Prabhupadas mood was at that time. So even some of the things he writes here will be very difficult to tolerate, to hear for his disciples. But we know when you read the songs of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, his expression about his own personality, they are definetely not agreeable with us, but still they are there and we respectfully recite those songs as they were compiled by him.

"Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami they are the spiritual Masters of all Gaudiya Vaishnava Acaryas. Together with Srila Raghunath Bhatta Goswami, Srila Jiva Goswami, Srila Gopal Bhatta Goswami and Srila Raghunath das Goswami they founded an Association and they were very closely connected to each other in Vrindavan dham. "

Now what is that association ? That is the Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha mentioned by Srila Jiva Goswami in each one of his Sandharbas. The Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha is a natural association. To not have that association ignores many facts. And that natural association was here because they were all Gurus. They didnt feel that they were Gurus, they all considered themselves disciples of the Supreme Lord. But factually most of them had their disciples and so did their disciples again accept disciples. So even at that time Radha-kunda, Syama-kunda, Vraja-mandal Vrindavan was a buzzling place of Gurus and their disciples, constructing temples, inspiring Kings, compiling literature and making any and every plan to get this movement distributed to the whole world, which at those days was well lets say from Tibet to Manipur to Afghanistan, to Kanjakumari and wherever else they could reach. But it was right there this spirit. So this Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha was founded because they were very closely associated with each other. Because they really cared for the same purpose, they had something very intimately in common. And that prominent concern is the movement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So Srila Prabhupada said that Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami are the natural spiritual Masters of all Gaudiya Vaishnava Acaryas. They are our supreme teachers.

"I am longing after nothing else then to be under the exclusive protection of these Goswamis. Amongs all those Goswamis Srila Jiva Goswami stands out as the shining light of knowledge. And he has given me with his full mercy a residence very close to his lotus feet in the Radha-Damodar temple"

Srila Prabhupada was moved. He was looking at the Samadhi-mandir of Srila Rupa Goswami when he was writing or when he was eating and I can imagine the tears coming up in his eyes as he was thinking why you have put me here at the lotus feet of your beloved Radha-Damodar, and with Jiva and with Krishna das Kaviraj. You know he was writing his books there, were they were always compiling. There were is the thick atmosphere of Goswami bhakti in condensed form and that was which Prabhupada inbibed 100 percent and purely. And therefore he was there, expressing here: "Srila Jiva Goswami mercifully gave me a place in the holy dham. " So somehow or other we are also coming to Vrindavan by their grace and we are able to do some service in Imlitala, Yamuna-kunja. Next to Gopeswara Mahadeva in our Vanshi-kunja, in Vrinda-kunja, in Vipralambha-kunja, in separation of our beloved Srila Prabhupada who is now again with Krishna. And we are trying to capture the mood of what he was doing and what will be succesful for our spiritual life so that we will not get lost, that we will not get sidetracked by the many, many things in this life which are enticing us with the same old boring mayasic attractions, which are lingering in the subtle consciousness, in the sub-consciousness and which appear like vashanas within our awareness here and there, and always have to be uprooted and cut as they appear. And again we have to get out of trouble by keeping engaged in devotional service. Today, tomorrow, the next day, next week, next month, next year, until the day you leave this bodily plane hopefully thinking only of Sri Hari and Sri Gurudeva who will immediately transfer you to the abode of love, to the loving service where you long to go. So this is actually what we can gather from here, the greatfulness, the emotion, the message which appeared within Srila Prabhupadas heart. And it appeared there not like in a beautiful scenery. It appeared there as a rushing Ganga-river, coming from Gangotri with all the force possible, imaginable to just go all over and to get all the negative things of this kali-yuga simply swept away. Because that was Prabhupada, Prabhupada was not a silent appreciator. He was right out going straight on revolutionary. He didnt care wether he was preaching to the communist or to the capitalist. When he preached to the communist he said: " Your communism is a good idea, but put Krishna in the center", then he said " Your democracy, well without God in the center it will not work". Like this, he was always telling everybody in this world that God has to be in the center. You have family trouble ? Thats because God is not in the center. You have troubles with anything else in this world ? Because God is not in the center. As soon as you do put God in the center, the problems are gone. They are gone for good. You can start your transcendental life immediately when all the difficulties in this world are overcome by putting Krishna and Guru in the center of your life. There will not be any difficulties really which cannot be overcome. Because Guru and Krishna they will never be against the higher interest of your existence. They are always the permanent well-wishers and they are also knowledgeable about whats good for you. So therefore surrender to Guru means surrender to Krishna and to put our life in the hands of the protection of Krishna. And then Krishna turns around and says: " Yes, you want to be like that ? You want to love me ? Then please love my beloved devotees. " And he will put some devotees under your care. Just like Krishna puts so many devotees under the loving care of Srila Prabhupada. And he was so capable of protecting them. Even an insignifican't fellow like myself got six letters from Srila Prabhupada in those years, and I could see Prabhupada wrote 15.000 letters to his disciples. Can you imagine the degree of love and determination. He was untireless to make sure that everybody knows what to do and how to do and where to go and how to accomplish everything. Really Srila Prabhupada gave an example which cannot be compared to any normal human effort. And the love which emanated from him it is just so extraordinary that hardly anybody can imagine that such a thing was visible. I was looking for some Jesus Christ figure when I went out for my spiritual search and I didnt really know where and how to look for him, but I knew I would not gonna find him in some institution surrounded by opulence or anything like that. I thought I must find him somewhere on the streets. And that was exactly Srila Prabhupada, more revolutionary then any revolutionary, more knowledgeable then any scholar, more dedicated then any lover, dedicated and fully, fully rooted in the transcendental teachings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which nobody in the west knew about of it's existence. I mean, who knows the Bhagavatam in the west ? Who knows the real meaning of the Gita in the west ? Yes, some Gitas have been previously translated, but which of them conveyed surrender to the message of the Gita, to the speaker of the Gita, transforming our life. No, that did not cure the readers nor the writers of those Gitas. They just thought it is a very nice cultural presentation here, we have some interesting yoga-book, but this dedication, wholehearted surrender to the Lord of the Bhagavad-gita, to the Lord of Arjuna, Sri Krishna, that came to be known throught the grace of Srila Prabhupada. And that was no fuss. Not that Krishna is this and Krishna is that, it was Sri Bhagavan uvaca, the Supreme Personality of Godhead speaks, ok ? got it ? The Supreme Personality of Godhead speaks. That means the One without a second, Creator of everything and nobody above Him, and you ought to obey Him. If not then you are thinking you are some kind of an extraordinary fellow who knows better than God ? You think you can make things different ? This is God speaking, Bhagavan. And whatever He says is good for you, obey ! And then Prabhupada was putting it into practice because he was totally obedient to his spiritual master. He was so obedient to Sri Krishna and to his own spiritual Master. So it is a great grace that we met such a personality, of such a caliber within our life ! Such a great sage walked amongst us in this world ! And he not only walked but he allowed anybody to be part of his family ! Regardless if they were a prostitute before, or they were a drug-dealer before or whatever deficiency they may have had in this material world, he would not consider it a disqualification for being part of his beloved intimate family. And that is absolutely unheard of, unknown of. Even though you find many Gurus nowadays, Gurus of all kinds of philosophical currents, but Srila Prabhuapda was absolutely extraordinary in the sence that he gave the parampara of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the parampara of Lord Brahma. He gave exactly that which the Supreme Lord has sent to us for our spiritual upliftment. Not like so many other Gurus, they don't have a real parampara, or they do not even have a Guru. Some people say: " I am a Guru, but I don't have one, I just made all that up" Prabhupada came to us in a very, very wonderful way and his own activities he conducted they were totally in the spirit of a loving renunciant, a mendican't. Even though by the arrangement of Krishna he was later chosen to manage great amounts of resources for establishing temples and bookfunds and so many other things, it never stopped him from being that humble, all caring, loving personality who simply came to give us his grace. It didnt change that.

Srila Prabhupada goes on to write: "I am such a bad and sinful thinking person because I am always absorbed in the pleasures of material sense gratification. Even though this is my mental condition I am still praying to my Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, to be merciful to me, to come to me and to pull me out of this darkness. I am simply a fool, I am extremely fallen and I have taken a very low birth. And even though, my Guru Maharaja has mercifully showered the rain of his divine compassion on me. "

I mean that fourth shloka makes us shake. How Prabhupada could write such a thing. But it is very helpful, it is very soothing to hear that because you know whats going on in our minds. You know our minds are attacked sometimes by the thoughts of pleasures, sense gratification, how the mind is very, very naughty, nasty, justifying, criticising. Like one person once gave an example: " The mind is like a fly, and the fly likes to sit on the stool. And when you go and push away the fly from the stool, the fly may flight a bit and return immediately to the stool" So that is very much the condition of the mind. Just like a fly. So with that type of mind, how to practice spiritual life ? How to not feel depressed ? How to not run away ? All that is pretty tuff. And we may sometimes feel depressed: " Oh, I am trying to chant Hare Krishna, but still my mind is bothering me in so many ways. " Then you read this what Prabhupada writes here and you go: Oh my Gurudeva come and pull me out of this darkness ! Be merciful ! You yourself said that you had that type of situation, well then I can go on in my struggle against maya. Because that means your mercy will definetely come to me, you will not reject me if my mind is naughty sometimes and I will try to dedicate my mind, my body, my words to your service. Thats sannyas. Body, mind and words dedicated to the service of Krishna from morning to the evening. And then it will be good, it will be somthing which will uplift us.

Prabhupada goes on: "Oh my dear Supreme Lords, saviour of the fallen, all knowing Sri Sri Nitai-Gaura, oh Advaita Prabhu ocean of mercy, oh all the devotees who are lead by Srivas and by Gadadhar, please all of you give this servant mercy. Because I understand that Your mercy is the true essence of life. "

The mercy of the associates of Mahaprabhu and all the Vaishnavas is the essence of life. You know we are here now happily united because we feel that the mercy of the other devotees is very important. When you go out there on the street and you forget that, if you think that the money in your pocket is the essence of life, then you are lost. If you think that the mercy of your political or connections you have in this world, thats important, you are lost. But when you remember that really the mercy of the Vaishnavas is the essence of life, when you realize that, you are in good shape. So crying out for the mercy of the Vaishnavas is very good, this is very helpful, thats the best medicine. doesn't matter that they are full of faults. Sometimes our mind is a nasty rascal and says:"don't go to the temple, don't go to the temple, I have seen many faults there. " Of course there is faults. What do you want, are you free of faults ? But still, the mercy of the Vaishnavas is the only thing which is going to uplift you from mundane consciousness. And if you will give a better example, then you will inspire them. We are always inspired by very good devotees with very good performance and we are always feeling distance towards devotees with bad example, who are obscenate, who are on a trip, who are puffed up, thats never enchanting. But still the general association of devotees, we are depending upon it. And overcoming the problems which arise in the association with devotees, that is in fact the best way to get the medicine of devotional life. So if you just stay by yourself and say: " Oh, I am very happy when I am alone, but when I go and meet other people I become very upset" That is another illusion. Because the preacher goes out of his way to help others, so he cannot stay alone. And after he preaches to somebody, and he convinces somebody of the beauty of Krishna-consciousness then where is he gonna send him next ? He has to have a place to send him. Not every grhasta is going to make in his home a temple were other people can live or visit regularly. Thats very difficult. Only very, very strong preachers can do such a thing. So the mercy of the Vaishnavas thats really all we are made of. And we should never forget that.

Prabhupada goes on: "Vrindavan is a beautiful, magical place. And there is a special area called Seva-kunja. An area of divine service, an opening in the forest. And in there is a very holy temple of Sri Sri Radha-Damodar. I take the lotus feet of These archa-vigrahas as my only shelter, and I pray to Them be merciful to me and guide me to the highest goal of life. "

Srila Prabhupada was looking from his room. You can sit in his room and you can have darshan of Radha-Damodar. So he was sitting there and he was thinking: "Oh Srila Jiva Goswami, how you have given me this shelter here." So Radha-Damodar is so merciful to Srila Prabhupada, and they empowered him, they gave all their mercy to him. as we clearly can see. The love of Prabhupada to Radha-Damodar is so real and his dedication to Them is so real. Radha-Damodar mandir is one of the most famous temples in the world because of Srila Prabhupada. He made him famous. There is no other temple as famous in the world as Radha-Damodar because of that.

He goes on: " Oh Radha-Damodar, please take this book, Gitar-gan, as a puspanjali, or offering of flowers to Your lotus feet. What I know and what I write, I am exclusively depending on Your Lordship and it was You who got me to write these verses. "

What a beautiful description. Prabhupada says: " You are pushing me to write this." One devotee said in the other day: " In the preaching you sometimes experience that you are saying something that in one way or another you didnt know before." You are listening to yourself speaking and how things are coming out of your mouth which are surprising to yourself. Becaues it is Krishna who takes over when you simply offer your heart and your mouth to Him. And if there is somebody in the audience who needs to hear something and who has come on that day to that Sadhu to listen then Krishna is utilizing him and sending a message to that person. Thats a reality. Thats a divine reality we experience and we live with. So Prabhupada is confirming that: " My Lordship, You made me write these books. And now I am offering it to You as a flower offering. My dear Radha-Damodara, please accept this Gitar-gan. "

Then Srila Prabhupada goes on: "It is my wish, forever and forever to be under the shelter, the fearless shelter of Your divine lotusfeet. Your faithful Abhay Charan. This poet who was given the name Bhaktivedanta says: I am nothing but an insignifican't servant of You. Please free me from the ropes of the illusion maya. "

This is how Srila Prabhupada ends this puspanjali, this offering to the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Damodar and his offering of glorification to our parampara, to his Gurus, to the Vaishnavas, to the mission which was given to him, which at that time was not known, except in his heart of course he knew that Lord Krishna and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada had a big plan with him. He couldnt stay in Vrindavan and just chant 64 rounds every day and wait until he could leave this world. He was rather then that living in Vrindavan and moving frequently to Delhi. He had another place in Delhi were he was also organizing, because he needed money, so he went out and he collected with Magazines in Delhi. Even in India it was a great struggle. And then he was able and he went to Radha-press on the Bank of the Yamuna and he did all the efforts to make this beautiful Srimad Bhagavatam to come into appearance, Easy Journey to other planets, Gitopanishad, Ramananda-samvada. Srila Prabhupada prepared for a great attack against the illusion of this world. And that was his entire career. Going out to every challenge, meet that challenge and get the people to understand the high position of the Supreme Lord, who is the only one who is going to save you. In one television interview Prabhupada was asked what was the meaning why he came to the west. Then he said: " The people in the west do not know the law of God. I came here to teach you what is the law of God, and that you will obey it. " So without understanding God and the laws of God how can we get out of our conditional, negative existence. Prabhupada was very bold and he was so dedicated that those who took his message to heart, they did not shy away from making extreme efforts for serving his purpose and for taking the holy name of Krishna to every place and the situation has not changed. The suffering conditioned souls in this world are really suffering, they need the devotees more then ever. It is wonderful to see that the followers of Srila Prabhupada, in different parts of the world, still go on to do everything possible that the people who are suffering for their illusion and ignorance, can come and appreciate all the great nectar-gifts, Srila Prabhupada gave us, matchless gifts, as the name of Srila Prabhupadas first storefront in New York, matchless gifts. The only time in life that a name of that type could really meet it's inner meaning. They were matchless gifts, because there were no other gifts you could compare to them, nor will there ever be any gifts which could be compared to them. And if you want to be a lucky fellow my friend then find out where to get those matchless gifts, and go and distribute, because you will be part of the most wonderful campaign this age of Kali has ever seen. And you will be known as one of those who got the grace to be able to distribute matchless gifts under the direct guidance of our supreme general incharged, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Gaurapremanande, Haribol !

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