Friday, September 11, 2009
A golden day in world history
A seventy year old man stepped off the cargo ship 'Jaldoota' anchored of the port of New York. He wore saffron clothes and carried a trunk that contained 3 books, a typewriter, his kartals (metal cymbals) and Rs 40 (Approximately 7 dollars then)
He had had 2 heart attacks on the way from Kolkatta to the USA, while crossing the turbulent Atlantic Ocean. When he alighted from the ship, he did not know whether to turn right or left.
This man was 'His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami'. Fondly called Srila Prabhupada, He went on to launch the International Society For Krishna Consciousness(ISKCON). Today it has 350 centres, 60 rural communities, 50 schools and 60 restaurants worldwide.
ISKCON is not just an organization- It is a movement. The Hare Krishna movement of love, peace and spiritual awareness. It is a movement which has taken the glorious Vaishnav culture and tradition, earlier concentrated only in the state of Bengal, to every country and every continent- from Russia to China, from Dubai to South Africa from United Kingdom to Singapore. A movement that is rapidly growing, ensuring that the holy names of the Lord are sung 'in every town and every village'.
Before leaving for the US, Srila Prabhupada was staying in the beautiful place of Vrindavan. He had accepted sannyasa, renounced worldly life, and he could have chosen to remain there, peacefully meditating on the Supreme Lord. What prompted him to leave the place so dear to him, at the fag end of his life, to go to a land with a culture completely opposite to the one he was used to?
It was the instructions from His spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, given to Him when He was a young man. His Gurudev told him ," You are an educated man. Go preach this knowledge to the west in English." He took this instruction to heart and spent his entire life trying to fulfill this aim, eventually succeeding beyond anybody's wildest imagination.
It was Prabhupada's compassion towards all living entities, and his strong faith in the Supreme Lord that enabled him to go through so much struggle to fulfill his life's mission. He wanted to give what was dear to him to the entire world. For this purpose, he authored some eighty volumes of translations and summary studies of India's great spiritual classics. Highly respected by the academic community for their authority, depth and clarity, they are used as standard textbooks in numerous college courses. His writings have been translated into over fifty languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 to publish the works of His Divine Grace, has thus become the world's largest publisher of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy. In just twelve years, in spite of his advanced age, Srila Prabhupada circled the globe fourteen times on lecture tours that took him to six continents.
It was his sacrifice, his efforts, his love and nourishment, his straightforward attitude, his refusal to compromise on spiritual standards, that softened the hearts of materialistic people all over the world. Thousands of people have given up meat-eating, intoxication, gambling and illicit sex and are leading pure vaishnav lifestyles. His disciples are simply carrying forward his inheritance and this movement is benefiting everyone across the globe.
Everyone can be a part of this glorious movement.
To know more about ISKCON click here.
To know more about Srila Prabhupada click here.
To know about ISKCON Pune and find out about our activities click here.
Jai Srila Prabhupada!!!