Prabhupada Comes To Detroit July 1971 (Part 3)

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Nityananda das, New Jayapur, Vanua Levu, Fiji Islands


Prabhupada elaborated how we, as eternal living entities, are part and parcel of God, and as such, we also share His nature of seeking pleasure and enjoyment. He recited from his fathomless memory a sloka from Brahma Samhita (5.37):

ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih
goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

“Every effort is being made here to surpass distressed condition and to reach to the platform of happiness. The whole struggle is there. Why people are running by motorcar this way and that way? The background is to be happy, how to become happy. But they are making planning: "I shall be happy in this way. I shall be happy in that way." Just like there is advertisement, "Come on. There are some naked girl pictures." They are inviting, "Come here. You will be happy."

Srila Prabhupada emphasized that our real business was to solve the problem of not finding happiness despite searching for it, life after life, and getting frustrated instead. It was a matter of restoring our constitutional healthy condition, not to try for comfort in this temporary material body. Even if there were difficulties, a serious man will tolerate them while remaining fixed on the purpose of human life. Animals cannot understand the need for higher consciousness, but why should they then be treated as though they had no soul? Animals are less intelligent than humans but still they should be given protection. The Bhagavata community recognizes the equal rights of all living beings. A pandita or learned man is thus Krishna conscious.

So one who is actually pandita, he will see a learned brahmana, a hog, a dog, and a candala, an elephant, like that, everyone, all living entities—that means all living entities—on the equal level because he sees to the soul, not to the body.

Prabhupada said our movement is to revive our lost consciousness of being a spirit soul, part and parcel of God, Krishna. We can never be happy in this material atmosphere, just as one cannot be happy living in the water even if he is a good swimmer, and a fish cannot be happy on land, even it is given a “velvet bedding.” We must go back to Krishna. Then Prabhupada implored his audience to take advantage of this program and be happy, that our movement is not ordinary, nor bluffing, nor cheating, nor a religious sect. It is an authorized cultural movement to awaken our lost Krishna consciousness.

So I am very happy to see you all, American boys, Indians. This is wanted. We want to unite the whole world under this Krishna consciousness movement. And actually that is happening. In our society we have got devotees from all section of people—from Christian, from Jews, from Hindus, from Muhammadan, from black, from white. It doesn't matter, because we are seeing according to the Bhagavad-gita, panditah sama-darsinah. A learned man sees every living entity on the equal level.

Prabhupada noted that our process of chanting Hare Krishna was simple, free, not secret, and for everyone without hard and fast rules. One should start chanting from whatever condition he is in and then see the results in how the character is being transformed, how one is purified, how the face becomes brighter.

It is practical. So that is our request, that you take full advantage of this center. You come here. It is being guided by one of my best disciples, Bhagavan dasa. So he and others will help you. Please come regularly to this temple and take advantage of it. Thank you very much.

Devotees: All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Then came the always-mesmerizing and interesting question and answer period. For me, this was much easier to absorb and follow than the lecture. I had a strong urge to ask a question but could not muster the wherewithal to do it. It was simply wonderful to witness Srila Prabhupada’s quick and precise answers, almost as though he had prepared them in advance, and often filled with delightful humor and a personal quality that was extremely endearing. Bahulasva das asked, “What is the thing that would please you the most?” and instantly Prabhupada replied, “Chant Hare Krishna.” All the devotees resounded with, “Hare Krishna!”

That is the simple thing. You are chanting. I am very much pleased. That's all. I came to your country to chant, that "You chant also along with me." So you are helping me by chanting. So I am pleased. But this tendency is very nice, that you want to please me. That is very good. And to please me is not very difficult.

Prabhupada continued by quoting Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s order to become a guru by, "Whomever you meet, you talk to him about Krishna." Then he cautioned about changing the divine message and compared it to adding sand into sweet rice - it becomes spoiled. “So many people say, "Oh, Swamiji, you have done wonderful." So I say, the secret of my wonderful activities is that I have not tried to adulterate it. I am simply presenting as it is.”

Prabhupada pointed out, “Because I am not adulterating the sweet rice with sand, people are tasting it very nice. So you also follow the same principle. Don't try to adulterate. Present it as it is. And people will like it. There is no difficulty.”

I have come here for the first time, but before me, Bhagavan dasa, he has organized. But what is his credit? He has presented the thing as I have told him. That's all. This is wonderful. In Los Angeles also our program is going on very nicely. He, my disciple in charge, Karandhara—he's present here—he's simply doing what I instruct, and he's doing very nicely, first class. Everyone who comes, they become enchanted with the temple, with the activities, with the disciples. So this is the way. This is called parampara system. Don't try to manufacture.

Prabhupada completed his answer with, “So if you say like that, "What Krishna says is all right," that will please me. We don't want to adulterate and bluff. Hare Krishna. Go on.”

I remembered very little of this lecture, except the part about the sand and sweet rice, which I used in my simple attempts to preach thereafter. Hearing it in person from Prabhupada, it was a favorite analogy amongst the many that Prabhupada taught us. Otherwise, in these beginning years, although I tried to listen attentively, most seemed to pass into one ear and out the other. My ability to listen and remember at that time was rather poor. But the effect was gradual and purifying.

Srila Prabhupada’s routine during his three day visit to Detroit was to stay at a smaller, non-descript house on a quiet street somewhere in the suburbs, and to visit the temple early every morning to give the Srimad Bhagavatam class and enthuse the devotees. He also came at least one evening unexpectedly, I seem to remember.

After the kirtan one morning, Bhagavan das’ one and a half year old son Vaishnava continued playing kartals, shakily as an infant would do, but keeping a steady rhythm as well. Prabhupada watched and said, “Oh, very good,” then laughed, and launched into an impromptu class on the permanent benefits of advancement in Krishna consciousness. He quoted from the Gita - Sucinam srimatam gehe yoga bhrasta sanjayate [Bg. 6.41].

He described how sometimes a practitioner of bhakti-yoga will again succumb to maya and fall down from the path due to maya’s strong influence. Yet whatever advancement made by such a person is never lost. In their next life they will begin where they left off and continue making progress from that point.  There is no loss in Krishna consciousness, unlike with the karmis who must leave behind all their material gains at death. They will lose all, unlike the devotee who keeps his spiritual gains. Of course, the karmi does take with him the results of his pious and impious activities with him to the next life.

And anything, whatever you gain in this material world... Suppose you become very rich man, good factory, working. But as soon as this body's ended, everything is ended. Lost everything. These things will not go with you. Your factory, your skyscraper building, your millions of dollars, bank balance, that you'll have to leave behind you. You have to go with your work only, what you have done, pious or sinful activities.

(....To be continued)

Prabhupada Comes To Detroit July 1971 (Part 1)

Prabhupada Comes To Detroit July 1971 (Part 2)

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