Saturday, October 18, 2008

Srila Prabhupada's Big Plan

Sometimes we hear devotees talk about a grand plan Srila Prabhupada had for spreading the teachings of Lord Chaitanya, even before he came to the West. We have a hint of that plan, and perhaps a glimpse into his internal life, in a poem he wrote aboard the Jaladuta. On September 13, 1965, he wrote in his diary, “Today I have disclosed my mind to my companion Lord Sri Krsna.There is a Bengali poem made by me today in this connection.” He called this poem "Prayer to the Lotus Feet of Krishna."

krsna taba punya habe bhai
e-punya koribe jabe radharani khusi habe

dhruva ati boli toma tai
Dear brother, Krishna, it is as certain as the Pole Star that you will attain your good fortune only when Srimati Radharani becomes pleased with you.

sri-siddhanta saraswati
saci-suta priya ati

krsna-sebaya jara tula nai

sei se mohanta-guru
jagater madhe uru

krsna-bhakti dey thai thai

Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who is very dear to Lord Gauranga, the son of mother Saci, is unparalleled in his service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna. He is that great saintly spiritual master who bestows intense devotion to Krsna at different places throughout the world.

tara iccha balavan
pascatyete than than

hoy jate gauranger nam

prthivite nagaradi
asamudra nada nadi

sakalei loy krsna nam

By his strong desire, the holy name of Lord Gauranga will spread throughout all the countries of the Western world. In all the cities, towns, and villages on the earth, from all the oceans, seas, rivers, and streams, everyone will chant the holy name of Krsna.

tahale ananda hoy
tabe hoy digvijay

caitanyer krpa atisay

maya dusta jata duhkhi
jagate sabai sukhi

vaisnaver iccha purna hoy

As the vast mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu conquers all directions, a flood of transcendental ecstasy will certainly cover the land. When all the sinful, miserable living entities become happy, the Vaisnavas' desire is then fulfilled.

se karja je koribare
ajna jadi dilo more

jogya nahi an dina hina

tai se tomara krpa
magitechi anurupa

aji numi sabar pravina

Although my Guru Maharaja ordered me to accomplish this mission, I am not worthy or fit to do it. I am very fallen and insignificant. Therefore, O Lord, now I am begging for Your mercy so that I may become worthy, for You are the wisest and most experienced of all.

tomara se sakti pele
guru-sebaya bastu mile

jibana sarthak jadi hoy

sei se seva paile
tahale sukhi hale

taba sanga bhagyate miloy

If You bestow Your power, by serving the spiritual master one attains the Absolute Truth-one's life becomes successful. If that service is obtained, then one becomes happy and gets Your association due to good fortune.

evam janam nipatitam prabhavahikupe
kamabhikamam anu yah prapatan prasangat

krtvatmasat surarsina bhagavan grhitah

so 'ham katham nu visrje tava bhrtya-sevam

My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, because of my association with material desires, one after another, I was gradually falling into a blind well full of snakes, following the general populace. But Your servant Narada Muni kindly accepted me as his disciple and instructed me how to achieve this transcendental position. Therefore, my first duty is to serve him. How could I leave his service? (Prahlada Maharaja to Lord Nrsimhadeva, Bhag. 7.9.28)

tumi mor cira sathi
bhuliya mayar lathi

khaiyachi janma-janmantare

aji punah e sujoga jadi
hoy jogayoga
pari tuhe milibare

O Lord Krsna, You are my eternal companion. Forgetting You, I have suffered the kicks of maya birth after birth. If today the chance to meet You occurs again, then I will surely be able to rejoin You.

tomara milane bhai
abar se sukha pai

gocarane ghuri din bhor
kata bane chutachuti
bane khai lutaputi

sei din kabe habe mor

O dear friend, in Your company I will experience great joy once again. In the early morning I will wander about the cowherd pastures and fields. Running and frolicking in the many forests of Vraja, I will roll on the ground in spiritual ecstasy. Oh when will that day be mine?

aji se subidhane
tomara smarana bhela

baro asa dakilam tai

ami tomara nitya-dasa
tai kori eta asa
bina anya gati nai

Today that remembrance of You came to me in a very nice way. Because I have a great longing I called to You. I am Your eternal servant and therefore I desire Your association so much. O Lord Krsna, except for You there is no other means of success.

Srila Prabhupada's long-time friend and godbrother, Srila B. R. Sridhara Maharaja., opined that this poem, directed to Krishna, gives clues to Prabhupada's internal spiritual life:

He expressed his own position in eternal lila in his poem. I conjecture like that. Hare Krsna! In his diary in Bengali he wrote, “Today I cooked some bati-caccari. It was quite delicious. So I ate something. Today I expressed my inner feelings to my friend and wrote a poem about that.”

And that friend came to his aid. He was so earnest in his prayer to Krsna that he might be able discharge the duty that had been given to him by his Guru Maharaja that Krsna came down to help him—his friend helped him in this propaganda work. So saktyavesa-avatara. I take him; I cannot but take him to be so.

Addressing Krsna he wrote, “You are my eternal friend. Forgetting You, I have come to this world and I have been suffering the kicking of Maya, the goddess of misconception. If You come to help me in this campaign, then after finishing this I can again join You. When I shall be united with You again I shall wander along with You the whole day in keeping the cows in the forest. Running this side and that side in the jungle, in the forest. And then, lutaputi, to fall on the ground in different shows of play. I aspire after that day. I have got this good chance to serve my Gurudeva. For that reason my heartfelt appeal to You is that You please come to help me. I am Your eternal servitor, therefore so much aspiration I have got for You. You, no other, are my only resort.”

So after performing this service he aspires after a life in the cow-keeping lila of Krsna, and he is appreciating that sort of friendly service of Krsna very much from the core of his heart, his aspiration after finishing his worldly preaching campaign.

So what was Srila Prabhupada's grand plan? Feeling himself helpless and completely dependent on his friend Krishna, he talked the Lord into helping him. And, it would seem, his plan worked brilliantly.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Growing family

This is Everett Todd DeKiep. He's my grandson. My daughter, Krishnamayi, brought him into our families (ours and the DeKieps') last week. She and her husband live in Helena, Montana, where he works as an economist for the state and she works at the Lewis and Clark Library in Helena.

Our family has always been pretty close. My daughters are bright, independent women who have their own relationships with Krishna consciousness. I'm proud of them, and I think Everett is really cute.

Family relations in Krishna consciousness can be a little complicated sometimes. On the one hand, we understand that time brings us together and then separates us. On the other hand, my immediate family members are all devotees of Krishna. This part of my life has revealed a theme of trying to balance those perspectives. Ultimately, I need to focus my energy on life's real goal, and I'd like to do so in a way that encourages the rest of my family to do the same in their way, and in their time. In any event, my time and energy are shifting progressive toward the life of total commitment, somewhat as I knew it before getting married over 35 years ago, but on a deeper level. Some may find that disconcerting, I suppose, and I am working on mitigating that discomfort. In the meantime, I try to follow wherever my sadhana takes me. Proceeding with caution is not among my interests these days.