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26 : Vyāsa-Pūjā Book Nectar

Every year a full volume of nectar is produced in the form of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Vyāsa-pūjā book. Much of what is written may seem repetitive, but if we try to enter into the spirit of those offerings, our hearts will be touched. ISKCON leaders, rank-and-file devotees, old-timers, newcomers—all express gratefulness, appreciation, and affection for our glorious Śrīla Prabhupāda. It is doubtful that any spiritual master since Lord Caitanya has evoked so much affection from so many people.

The Vyāsa-pūjā books are a storehouse of transcendental gems, snippets of Prabhupāda-līlā and thoughtful, love-filled realizations about Śrīla Prabhupāda. No person of this material world, however great, could provoke so many varied, profound, and reverential offerings. Certainly it is the duty of the disciple to glorify his spiritual master, but most Vyāsa-pūjā offerings to Prabhupāda are written with sincere feelings that express far more than simply formal laudations. Even offerings written previously by those who are now fallen should not be disregarded. The realization and love they expressed then was real, if not mature, and will not go in vain. And the Vyāsa-pūjā books are also a repository of wonderful photos of His Divine Grace.

How many times have I pulled a Vyāsa-pūjā book off the shelf “just to look at the pictures of Prabhupāda” and found that a half-hour or more had passed as I read offerings which I had already read so many times before? I then think, “So much time has passed. I have so many things to do.” But my time has not been wasted.

I enjoy reading the Vyāsa-pūjā books, and thus I originally wanted to include several of those which I consider to be most memorable. But as this book eventually expanded more and more, I dropped the idea lest this work would become too expansive. So I advise my readers to themselves read the Vyāsa-pūjā books. It’s a totally nectarean experience. Go “waste” an hour or two!

Anyway, I decided to include two sample offerings from the great ocean of Vyāsa-pūjā book nectar. Here is Mahānidhi Swami’s offering from the 1991 Vyāsa-pūjā book:

JSP: Vyäsa-püjä Offering, 1991 from Mahänidhi Swami

Vyāsa-pūjā Offering, 1991 from Mahānidhi Swami

Dear Śrīla Prabhupāda,

Please accept my humble obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet. I am writing this Vyāsa-pūjā offering to a picture of you that is in your bhajana-kuṭīra in Vṛndāvana. Every day since March 1977, when you personally instituted the service, your disciples have offered your daily lunch prasāda to this picture, which is nondifferent from you. Taken in November 1972, this timeless photograph shows you, Śrīla Prabhupāda, honoring prasāda in the kitchen of your “eternal home,” the Rādhā-Dāmodara temple in Sevā-kuñja, Vṛndāvana. In color photos your effulgent, beautiful golden form adorned with bright saffron cloth immediately captures our attention and satisfies our spiritual sense. But this photo is black and white. Your colorful sannyāsa garments and brilliant body are covered with dark tones and highlights. This photo is unique in that it’s saturated with the intensity of your mood, Śrīla Prabhupāda: determined, daring, fixed, and empowered with Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s message.

How would a magazine editor correctly caption this photograph? “Śrīla Prabhupāda taking prasāda at the Rādhā-Dāmodara temple.” Obviously, this caption doesn’t sufficiently portray the deeper, inner meaning that powerfully resonates here. Resting part of your left hand, you sit humbly on the floor as you deftly and delicately grasp a portion of prasāda with your right hand. You appear relaxed but poised for action.

Your lotus face is fully illuminated by the brilliant sunshine penetrating through the sandstone latticework window overlooking Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s samādhi. The Brahma-saṁhitā explains that during creation the Supreme Lord, Mahā-Viṣṇu, impregnates the living entities into the womb of material nature by His glance. Similarly, in this photo the sunlight beaming through the window appears like the merciful glance of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī that is falling directly upon you, Śrīla Prabhupāda. With that glance from the samādhi, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī infused you with the spiritual potency to preach pure devotional service to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa throughout the world.

Sevā (service) begins with the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, who eternally serves Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in Sevā-kuñja (the service grove) by massaging Her lotus feet and decorating Her hair and Her splendidly beautiful transcendental form. Five hundred years ago Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī sat in Sevā-kuñja (the present site of the Rādhā-Dāmodara temple and your bhajana-kuṭīra) and served Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in the form of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by executing His order to preach and write about the science of devotional service to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī is called the abhidheya ācārya, the spiritual master serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Himself was a perfect servant. And he taught devotees how to correctly and pleasingly serve Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govindaji.

Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda, you spent the first six years of your sannyāsa in Sevā-kuñja, serving Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī by compiling books on bhakti, the science of pure devotional service. Empowered by the service ācārya (Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī) you then left the service forest (Sevā-kuñja) and courageously entered the sophisticated jungle of New York City. You established Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Deity of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govindaji (the service Deities), and you taught the aborigines how to serve Them. In fact, Śrīla Prabhupāda, you compassionately ventured into the jungles of every major continent to convert the forests of material enjoyment into replicas of Śrī Vṛndāvana’s Sevā-kuñja. Sex and sense gratification are replaced by surrender and service to Rādhā-Govinda. Boldly you traversed the forest’s dangerous paths, filled with mad monkeys, envious snakes, and atheistic tigers. You tamed all the two-legged animals, filled their bellies with prasāda, and led them in the “swami step” across the forest floors.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, you conquered all the beastly conditioned souls with service to Kṛṣṇa. Patiently and expertly you taught us how to serve the Rādhā-Govinda Deities, serve Tulasī-devī, serve Kṛṣṇa’s holy names, serve prasāda, serve the spiritual master, serve the Vaiṣṇavas, serve Lord Caitanya by preaching to others, serve, serve, and forever serve—jīvera svarūpa haya kṛṣṇera nitya-dāsa. In his spiritual form, every living entity is an eternal servant of Rādhā-Govinda.

As Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Rūpa Gosvāmī sat in Sevā-kuñja to serve humanity, and as Śrīla Rūpa Mañjarī she eternally resides in Sevā-kuñja (in the spiritual world) rendering loving service to Rādhā-Gopinātha. Similarly, Śrīla Prabhupāda, as Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami you resided in Sevā-kuñja serving humanity by compiling your purports to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, teaching one and all to find happiness, peace, and perfection through the loving service of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda. And now, Śrīla Prabhupāda, as an intimate servant of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī you eternally reside in Sevā-kuñja (in Goloka Vṛndāvana) rendering pure loving service for the pleasure of Rādhā-Gopinātha.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, you are an eternal resident of Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma, the blissful spiritual world, where everyone is fully surrendered and serves Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa with dedication and selfless love. Please bestow your mercy upon this lowly one, so far away from the world of pure devotional service. We are trapped in the jungle of exploitation and bound by the ropes of selfishness. We beg your mercy. Śrīla Prabhupāda, please lift us out of this dark jungle of forgetfulness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and into the brilliantly blissful forest of Sevā-kuñja. Please grant us eternal service at your lotus feet and the lotus feet of the divine couple, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Gopinātha. Śrīla Prabhupāda, our only prayer is that you please grant us the completely undeserved privilege of pure devotional service and allow us to serve you birth after birth.

Your servant,

Mahānidhi Swami

Next is one of the most charming Vyāsa-pūjā offerings ever written. This one is by Guru dāsa, written in 1977 on behalf of ISKCON Vṛndāvana:

Vyāsa-pūjā Offering, 1977 from Guru dāsa

Dear Śrīla Prabhupāda,

I am sitting in the very rooms you resided in and started our movement in, hearing the same bells you heard, writing this in the same spot in which you wrote and translated the immortal Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (bringing the higher world of Kṛṣṇa to the lower world of matter), and seeing the formidable jewel-like form of Rūpa Gosvāmī’s samādhi, steady and encouraging. Your old stove stands in the corner, and I retaste the prasāda you cooked for us back in 1966. What a trick! Who would have thought that you could bring order and responsibility to those Kali-yugites, dedicated to chaos and irresponsibility?

I sit and stare, and the blank page stares back at me. It is again the time to write a Vyāsa-pūjā homage, though it should be done at every moment. How do I glorify you, who are so unlimitedly glorious? It is hardly expressed in a few thousand words, and I cannot aptly put my overwhelming feelings for you down on paper (just as I must desist from adding a humble, self-effacing statement to all others herein, since I cannot begin to deface what is already so low that it is uncriticizable). It is you who give us the taste for the spiritual. I am not so serious, but love for you keeps me plodding along, and I pray that all of us may continue to back you with fuller conviction as you will show us the way back home.

In these rooms I see advertisements for your first three volumes of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; I see “League of Devotees” pamphlets; I see “De’s Pain Liniment.” I see old membership books, chemistry beakers, bookstore distribution lists, etc. I see all the services we are presently engaged in, and you have already done them. I think I should just recount some of the examples of your preaching in Vṛndāvana, since this is being written on behalf of the Vṛndāvana devotees. This will be my glorification of your limitless, wonderful qualities.

Once I awaited your arrival in New Delhi airport. You requested me to arrange a car to go to Vṛndāvana. “Vṛndāvana doesn’t mean buying a ticket. It is an attitude, a way of accepting the special mercy of the dhāma.” You were not only arranging the ticket but taking me through the gate yourself.

I thought that if I could choose the highest pleasure—spiritual or mundane—of all the unending pleasures available, that pleasure would be to be with you in Vṛndāvana. The purest devotee and the purest place combined. Now the desire is being fulfilled.

Vestiges of sentiment and romanticism still needing to be dispelled from our brains and cut by your sword of correctness lay waiting to be smote down like untrained soldiers.

Before having come into your direct contact, we read books of so-called spirituality, ideas with no applicable basis. The books spoke of a neophyte disciple waiting before the door of his guru with quiet determination, while excessive heat and cold attacked the beatific devotee. After three days of patient austerity, the gate opens, the guru stands there, and the neophyte becomes a disciple. But you saw that we cannot even stand in one place for five minutes. So you engaged us in Kṛṣṇa’s service. Another of these books told of a disciple’s not eating for many days. But you saw how we grow restless if we do not eat, so you fed us kṛṣṇa-prasāda. You in fact teach us the perfect balance of sanctity and activity, of work and play, of bhajana and preaching, of action and inaction, of devotion and preaching, of pāñcarātrika and bhagavad-vidhi. And so with the idea of the highest pleasure of you and Vṛndāvana together, I anticipate your arrival in Delhi’s Palam airport.

There are only two of us to greet you, but you accept our garlands and sandalwood and rosewater with a grace that makes us bashful, as if the whole of the world were there greeting you. The Ambassador car pulls up, and we await some words. You hand me your (at the time) small white satchel, which you carry our movement around in; but still you say nothing. You glide into the front seat, and we get into the back with your traveling secretary.

Exchanging whispered news of devotees and activities around the world, we talk in low, subdued voices, so as not to disturb you. Minutes pass like hours as we await your transcendental words, some instruction, some acknowledgement. But transcendental as you are, you remain silent. I have another realization: there is no need for you to acknowledge or appease us. By now our society has begun to establish itself as it should be—catering to your mood, not ours. If you want to be silent, that is correct, and we should not expect or push anything else. And so from that time on, whenever meeting with you I let you establish the mood, not me. If you want to joke, I joke; if you want to chastise, I bow my head remorsefully; if you want to talk business, I talk business; if you want to talk philosophy, I talk philosophy.

I remember in Calcutta once when being sent on a special mission I came in and stated with importance, wanting glorification, “I am going now,” and you simply turned and walked into the bathroom.

Yet in the car we still anticipate some divine instruction, some words of wisdom—anything—as you in all your natural beauty sit relaxed in the front seat. At a red spotlight, the Indian version of the Hell’s Angels roll up next to your open window. You turn your head slightly and say “Hare Kṛṣṇa,” and the young greaseball says “Hare Kṛṣṇa” back. He jabbers to his friends, and they jabber back, and they turn into Gandharvas and young innocents by your grace. We still await, murmuring the mahā-mantra silently.

We glide to the outskirts of New Delhi on the way to Vṛndāvana. Your voice of authority and patience finally breaks the vacuous silence. You say, “Cement.”

Another realization—here again all those romantic books about perfumed saints and do-nothing sadhus vanish like bubbles popping in the air. The practical application of devotion instead.

You point to a large water tower and say, “We should build one like that in Vṛndāvana.” We are on the way to finalize all the arrangements of a piece of land given to us by the grace of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, after the promises of court jesters, kings, mice, and men all failed. You had sent me to Vṛndāvana to scout land and/or already built temples. We narrowed down our choice to this piece of land in holy Ramaṇa Reti (“enjoyable sands”).

When we arrived in holy Vṛndāvana, your ever-bright eyes became even brighter. We are staying at Saraf Bhavan, and you set up camp on the top floor, like a field general. The floor consists of six small side rooms around a long hall, and we are preparing for the next few days of amazing events.

Somehow or other, without any advertising or announcements, your old friends, Godbrothers, officials, etc., start showing up. Summoned by some silent nonunderstandable means, they begin to appear—like silent natures out of jungle thickets, an enigma to the common covered man.

We first arrange for a ground-breaking ceremony with the ex-owner of the land in Ramaṇa Reti, the present site of our Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma Mandira, while in the next room another dissatisfied person, who wanted the same piece of property, waits. Police and retired members of parliament appear, and you talk to them, and they convince the agitator that any thoughts of getting the piece of land are in vain. One gosvāmī, hardly able to see, led by his son, comes from Rādhā-Dāmodara, while his arch-rivals—two other gosvāmīs—arrive simultaneously. You spring up from your seat faster than a speeding bullet and put the enemies in different rooms to avoid their fighting (although they live in the same temple compound, they haven’t spoken to one another for years). You satisfy each one of them separately; they each take you as an ally, and you discuss and draw up papers which arrange our stay at some rooms at the top of Rādhā-Dāmodara temple. Your secretary is simultaneously drawing up the contract for accepting the Ramaṇa Reti property and the contract for the rooms at Dāmodara.

Some bābājīs (in their off-white cloth) and your slightly bearded Godbrothers arrive, and you at once host them and then feed them amidst all the other agreements and arrangements. You are like the great ringmaster we used to see as children, running the whole show, the central attraction, training all—a dancing bear in one ring, a tightrope-walker in another ring, and the lions in another ring—you continue to control from your seat this great transcendental circus in this most transcendental arena, Vṛndāvana.

I remember one time a dog charged at you, snarling, looking like Śālva or the Keśī demon charging Lord Kṛṣṇa. You raised your stick and said, “Come on.” The dog stopped short, you gestured slightly with your stick and the dog sat down, still growling. Then you threatened again, and he lay down and whimpered. When we rounded the block for the second time, the whole performance was repeated, but the third time we saw that the dog was your servant and friend; he was tamed. I thought of him as my companion or Godbrother, remembering how you similarly trained us all.

You then explained how “Beware of the Dog” was a symptom of modern false civilization, where one may walk the street peacefully and from behind a large closed gate the dog barks at you, “Do not come here,” each gate separating one man’s property from the other man’s property, no one sharing, no spiritual center.

I was beginning to learn by your example the balance between practical hard work for Kṛṣṇa and temple devotions which sanctify that hard work. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness there is no room for dry rituals. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” you told, and I could see that “devotee” means whatever Kṛṣṇa wants, that’s all. We are His toys. The sincerity of the offering is the essence, not the wealth. “Anyone in any part of the world may offer a fruit, a flower, some water, to Lord Kṛṣṇa and He will accept,” you taught. And so you engage us to work hard, day and night, for Lord Kṛṣṇa. “We should not waste a moment,” you recently wrote me in a letter. “Take my example, not a moment is wasted. The karmīs sit in the park and say, ‘My son-in-law said this, etc.’”

The next day I came to see you, and some more transcendental instructions were taking place between you and Subala dāsa:

Śrīla Prabhupāda: You do not like to live with the devotees?

Subala: No.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Why is that?

Subala: They gossip and talk nonsense.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Then you must change the gossip into transcendental talks. So many people come to me with nonsensical talks, and I transform them into transcendental talks.

Subala: We are always fighting.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: You must consider it to be your fault. If each thinks that way, there cannot be fighting. If someone calls me prabhu, and I think that I am master, that is wrong.

Subala: I just want to stay in Vṛndāvana.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: It is better that you give Vṛndāvana to others. If Idid not leave Vṛndāvana, you could not know Vṛndāvana. Rather you should go out and preach and come back and build a skyscraper [pronounced “scrapper].

The next day on the morning walk, we saw many devotees, sadhus, etc., as regular as ārātrika, who came to you to pay respects (they are so regular you can set your watch by them). We started to walk towards Ramaṇa Reti. You tell how the nimba tree is medicinal. We see women picking up cow dung, and you say, “Everything is used in India. That is proper.”

I say, “Cow dung is purer than other dungs; it does not attract as many flies.” You smile mischievously and say, “Oh, you have done research?” Then you say, “Therefore this is proof that cow dung is antiseptic.” I say, “Yes,” and you order me to study nature, for that will reveal many truths of the Bhāgavatam. Especially this is true in Vṛndāvana.

“Living in Vṛndāvana is like lying on the lap of Kṛṣṇa,” you say, but later you qualify that “Kṛṣṇa is not loitering in Loi Bazaar.” And over the years you come and go, you come to speed up the construction of the temple, you taste the water, you stand and count the bags of cement used. You question in much detail. “How much the price of āṭā (flour)?” I say Rs. 1.60 a kilo, and you split up all the prices to how much an average devotee can eat. For instance, “a devotee eats one quarter of that. Therefore Rs. 45 is spent per man on rice.” And you break up all the items, including spices, wood for cooking, and still you cut down on the amount we are spending to feed the devotees. One of the items, a vegetable, you ask what is the cost per kilo. I say, “Sixty paisā.” You tell the story of “damn cheap babu.”

The foreign babu comes and gets the local prices and says, “Damn cheap, damn cheap,” while he is being charged twice the amount as the local residents. “Sixty paisā,” you say. “It should cost thirty paisā.” I quip that those are the prices of 1953. (I remember seeing your account book in your rooms at Rādhā-Dāmodara and how much you would spend, and you would account for everything). You then say, “Do it that cheaply anyway,” and we do it by your empowered potency. You ask not only the price of vegetables, but the cost of cement, steel, as well as the timings of the Frontier Mail, the Toofan Express, and the Punjab Mail trains. You expect me to know all the local residents, and you introduce me to them as they come to see you.

You initiated me into the vast etiquette and intrigues of Vṛndāvana society, and sometimes send me on seemingly impossible missions, like the time you sent me to borrow three crores of rupees (Rs. 30,000,000) from the home minister of India, to be paid back in foreign exchange, or the time you sent me to ask the American ambassador to India to allow us to live in one of his houses free, or when a king wanted Rs. 50,000,000 for his palace and you told me to say that since we are brāhmaṇas and you are the king, you must give to the brāhmaṇas. If we see all these things in the transcendental light, they are not outrageous; rather it is the mundane darkness that is outrageous.

I remember the time we were walking on the banks of the Yamunā, the full moon still in the morning sky. You point with your cane to the moon and say, “They say the moon is dust. Why are those sands (pointing to the Yamunā) not shining and those sands (pointing to the moon) shining? If it is reflection of the sun as they (the scientists) claim, then the sun is there—why are those (the moon’s) sands shining and those (the Yamunā’s sands) not?” The moon talks intrigue us all as we press close to one another to hear you.

Sometimes we walk through the back alleys of this vast wonderland. Your cane rings on the red stones. You decided to reside one night again in your old rooms, and four of us are fortunate enough to accompany you, sleep in a heap in your kitchen to keep warm, in the post-Kārttika night chill.

Slowly the Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma construction begins, a well is dug, but the water is salty. But then another, producing sweet water blessed by Balarāma, awes the neighbors, who all have salt water. The construction rolls on slowly, a string of endless obstacles, no money, no materials. You push us harder; you come yourself and solve everything. You come and live at Śeṭhjī’s house nearby, a paṇḍāla cover is erected to fuel your preaching fire, and you speak how the true bhakta is the only unmotivated yogi, whereas jñānīs, yogis, and karma-yogis are all tarnished by motivated liberation wishes.

During another mass pilgrimage the devotees stay at Lakṣmī Rāṇī Kuñja, and you deliver the famous Nectar of Devotion series of lectures at Rādhā-Dāmodara Temple. After the lectures, devotees and guests all squeeze into your small rooms.

You talk to me many times about vairāgya, how we should give up material attachments. You also teach tolerance. I asked you whether it is sometimes very hot or cold in Vṛndāvana to test how much one loves Kṛṣṇa by staying here, and you answered, “Yes, sometimes Kṛṣṇa tests that way.” Titikṣā must be developed.

Your house is finally being completed. I remember the frantic rush to put everything in order for your first viewing; the floor and your newly varnished desk dried literally thirty seconds before you walked in. Of course this is not unique, as probably every temple in the movement has experienced this same rush before your arrival and how miraculously everything comes together almost the same instant as you step your lotus feet inside.

Your old Godbrothers come, and you host them in your new rooms, along with the later afternoon stream of guests from every part of India. You sit back relaxed and talk to them, enlighten them, until night comes and the bright stars appear in the Vṛndāvana sky. Again your magnanimity is all embracing. I remember one night you say to me, “Let’s go to some temples. Can you arrange? What time is their darśana?” Later you tell me, “Darśana does not mean for you to see the Deity, but rather for the Deity to see you.” I arrange a car; by that time the news has leaked out, in the unexplainable way of our Kṛṣṇa conscious grapevine communications, more speedy than any modern telecommunication system, and suddenly I am being petitioned, lobbied, cajoled, begged, and ordered that I take everyone along. You get in the front seat along with the driver and then you motion to one devotee, “Come on,” and as the front seat is filled, you say, “There is room in back, come on,” and the back seat is filled by the pillars and big guns of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. A stack of GBCs and sannyāsīs squash in the back seat. After it is filled, Gargamuni Mahārāja shows up, and you say, “Come on, come on,” and so he squeezes in the already saturated back seat. As the car is ready to limp off, Pañca Draviḍa Mahārāja comes ambling along with his daṇḍa, eager to join, and we can’t refuse him. He lays across all of us, with his hands and legs hanging out the window. You ask, “Where to first? Where to next?” and my muffled reply comes from under the Vaiṣṇava bodies. When we reach Govinda temple, you walk out majestically, and we pile out, like the clowns in a circus, all getting out of the small car. During the morning walks, we sit down by the side of the road, and you teach the whole varṇa and āśrama system.

Your personal friendliness knows no bounds. Like a kind father, you instructed me to invite all the gosvāmīs and special people of Vṛndāvana to our first Vyāsa-pūjā ceremony at Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma Mandira. It was gloriously decorated, and many special guests came. We had just finished washing your lotus feet. I was drying your lotus toes one by one by one, and you looked at me and asked, “Have you invited such and such?” As I worked very hard to make everything nice for you, I readily said, “Yes, he told me he would be a little late,” and you looked pleased. After we bathed and dried your feet, the senior devotees began to offer flowers and offer daṇḍavats (prostrating themselves) three times. As Iwas offering daṇḍavats for the second time, you called me again, I thought, “Uh oh, who did I forget to invite? Śrīla Prabhupāda always catches all of our mistakes,” and I leaned close to you. Instead of asking anything, you simply took your fingers and so kindly ruffled my śikhā and the top of my head. All the devotees crowding around cried, “Ahhh!” in one well-wisher’s voice. I felt my years of service again rewarded. You are so Kṛṣṇa conscious that every time your finger extends, your lips open, your eyes look, or your eyebrows twitch, it is great preaching. I begin to become astounded at how much of your precious time you have given to us. Recently going in to see you in your rooms in Bombay, I say, “I do not want to take too much of your precious time.” You reply, “No, no, you can come any time, and also bring some honey.” You then ask, “How do you like these rooms?” I say, “They are wonderful because you are in them now, but if you were in another place, they too would be wonderful. Because of Your Divine Grace they are a tīrtha.Tīrthī kurvanti tīrthāni, you corrected my pronunciation and said, “Yes, one who keeps Kṛṣṇa always, one who remembers Kṛṣṇa—

yoginām api sarveṣāṁ
mad-gatenāntar-ātmanā
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ
sa me yuktatamo mataḥ

—that place becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious.” Then we both at the same time, as if by magic, said: man-manā bhava mad-bhaktaḥ.

Each minute with you is the fulfillment of a dream, a special event, and you have given the treasure house of many hours. (You have changed our vocabulary, so we talk like you. We gesture like you and give the same answers to questions as you do, and we try to preach like you). We embrace the paramparā not out of duty but because we are attracted to your way of doing things. Your defense of Kṛṣṇa is boundless, and we watch in awe at your untiring strength, as everyone except simple devotees are exposed to be fools and rascals. A simple proof of your changing us is that the word duty was unknown and unused in our upbringing. No one taught us a sense of duty because no one knows what or whom to serve. The whole system of dharma and duty has become a practical engraved truth to many now, as you have brought duty to us, and even though the things from the ancient Vedas at first seemed unattractive, they are now a way of life.

These truths shown by your example that have changed so many lives are wonderfully unique and obviously graced by Lord Kṛṣṇa. The general society may not understand us, but they have to recognize us. A judge recently in court stated that we are bona fide, which in itself is a great step for what was an unknown teaching just eleven years ago. It took Moses, Mohammed, and Jesus Christ much longer to establish their teachings as bona fide in the courts of law. Now it is our duty to change the scientists, who are the modern smārta-brāhmaṇas and high priests of today. You tell me, “Our movement is sublime, the books are sublime, and Kṛṣṇa is supplying everything. Now go out in Poland and Russia and arrange for meetings with the scientists.” I say, “Communist scientists?” You say, “Why not? Two plus two equals four for both the communists and capitalists. It is not that because I am communist I can say two plus two equals five.”

“You must convince them of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness. I predict that Russians will become first-class theists.” I said, “Yes, because there are less sense objects to distract them.” “They will view my books carefully. They have respect for Indian culture and the Sanskrit texts. The Jagāis and Mādhāis will change. Even Vālmīki was dacoit and changed, so you go and arrange everything.”

One of your greatest gifts is your great understanding of every situation in perfect perspective. They (the lawyers in New York) wanted to end the “brainwashing” litigations, but instead you wanted to extend them for fourteen years, using your books as evidence. “Exhibit A—Bhagavad-gītā.” Only you can come up with the most remarkable ideas, using each situation in its best capacity to give Kṛṣṇa consciousness to everyone. Where we are shortsighted, you see all sides of each situation and apply it. So many times I have watched as we, your disciples, have wanted to condemn, but you see and explain the other point of view. This fairness, according to time and circumstance, must be learned. You have said about someone we were criticizing, “He is not to be blamed; he was taught what he knows, as you have been taught what you know, so rather than blame him, rectify his teachings.”

For example, one day as we were shooing away ducks in our path, we said, “You rascals,” but you calmly replied, “As you are thinking they are rascals, they are thinking you are rascals.” So you always teach that preaching means seeing from the perspective of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s viewpoint and attracting others also to Kṛṣṇa’s Vedic version. We owe our gratitude to you only. What I feel when in your association—that strength, that determination, that enthusiasm, that ecstasy—is an unequalled feeling, for only you are the great touchstone of deliverance. I pray that we all can remember these things and remain steady in our devotional service.