Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Thinking about Srila Prabhupada

I heard a disturbing--but not surprising--story about an offering written by one of my Godbrothers for this year's Vyasa-puja book, which commemorates the appearance of our spritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. This got me thinking about my own offering for this year, which in turn made me think about posting some of my past offerings here. This one was written on behalf of the San Diego, California ISKCON center in 1994.

nama oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale
śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine

namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe

śrīla prabhupāda dayā karaha vicāra
vicāra karile citte pābe camatkāra

Anyone interested in logic and argument should apply them to the mercy of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda! If they do so they will find it strikingly wonderful.

For more lives than anyone can count, we have
worked hard at becoming the most fallen of souls,
Our hallmarks, our pride: ignorance, misfortune, and sin.
We have majored in forgetting Kṛṣṇa, doing extra coursework
in denying our eternal relationship with the Lord.
Our own bodies, born and bred in Kali-yuga,
serve as our diplomas: Fool Number One,
devoid of any grace.

But Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Thief;
He has stolen our misfortune by
sending Your Divine Grace, His personal envoy,
to show the folly of our self-imposed exile.
You have changed our lives by demonstrating
pure devotional service to Kṛṣṇa, conceivable to us only
by Your Divine Grace.

The matchless gift, which
immediately relieves all material distress,
opens the way to the best of fortune,
bestows transcendental happiness,
is rarely achieved,
transcends even liberation,
and is the only way to attract Kṛṣṇa,
is available only at the lotus feet
of the pure spiritual master.
Anyone who wants any happiness must learn
bhakti from a bona fide guru,
making his word one’s life and soul.
Lord Caitanya shows this as the root
of the devotional creeper.
We can attain love for Kṛṣṇa
only by the spiritual master’s
divine grace.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, you are the supreme professor
of the science of devotional service.
Anyone who claims to know anything about Kṛṣṇa
must have heard it from you.
Any goodness found in the word in this age of anxiety and discord
is strictly due to your taking the word of your spiritual master
as life and soul, and showering us with
your causeless mercy.

The task of preaching is our legacy;
you left you mission incomplete
so we could spend our lives pursuing its fulfillment.
We are your limbs in this dark world, and
apart from you, our lives have no meaning;
apart from Your Divine Grace –
your causeless mercy – we have no life.

As we approach the Śrīla Prabhupāda Centennial year,
your helpless children – your “boys and girls”
(though boys and girls, perhaps, only in your eyes anymore),
those who came in the years of struggle,
the new counterculture kids who remind us
of ourselves not so long ago,
and the world’s great hope, the gurukula alumni,
who show us all how to remember Kṛṣṇa
everywhere and when –
pray to dedicate our work, words, and thoughts
to establishing your reputation as the universal teacher of pure devotion
so all may be attracted to your lotus feet
and receive your causeless mercy.

Just as we get water from the earth by digging,
we hope to get one more drop of your mercy
by our service to your great mission.
That drop of mercy, we hope, will yield
humility, forbearance, compassion,
and freedom from personal ambition.
Only then will be fit to free
all fallen souls of Kali-yuga
from the ignorance and misfortune they so prize
and share the great treasure of
Your Divine Grace.


Babhru das said...

I gotta say that I'm less than thrilled with what the blog's format did with the line lengths in some of the stanzas. I fiddled with things in editing mode, but I couldn't figure out how to get the poem all the way to the left margin. Arrgh!

Anonymous said...

Radhe Radhe

Great offering. The words really reflect you.