Vrndavana And The Prabhupada Book Marathon
I am sitting in the goshalla in Vrndavana surrounded on all sides by cows. Meditating in the quiet of the early night. All over the ISKCON world at this point thousands of devotees are making selfless efforts to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books to the conditioned souls.
Vrndavana – the place where 5000 years ago the gopis, addressing Krsna in separation, recited a verse, which was so dear to Lord Caitanya.
tava kathamritam tapta-jivanam
kavibhir iditam kalmashapaham
shravana-mangalam shrimad atatam
bhuvi grinanti ye bhuri-da janah
The nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your activities are the life and soul of those suffering in this material world. These narrations, transmitted by learned sages, eradicate one’s sinful reactions and bestow good fortune upon whoever hears them. These narrations are broadcast all over the world and are filled with spiritual power. Certainly those who spread the message of Godhead are most munificent.
Vrndavana – This is the place given to the Gosvamis by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to set the foundation for the spreading of Krsna Consciousness through transcendental literature. This is where Jiva Gosvami trained and sent out the first traveling book distribution party from the very place where Srila Prabhupada had stayed – the Radha Damodara temple.
Here Srila Prabhupada had meditated deeply on his mission, the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and his guru maharaja who here in Vrndavana told him:
“If you ever get money print books”
It was here that Srila Prabhupada began his translation and commentary on the Srimad Bhagavatam with the intention of creating a revolution in the world. In his preface of the Srimad Bhagavatam compiled in Vrndavana he writes:
“Human society, at the present moment, is not in the darkness of oblivion. It has made rapid progress in the field of material comforts, education and economic development throughout the entire world. But there is a pinprick somewhere in the social body at large, and therefore there are large-scale quarrels, even over less important issues. There is need of a clue as to how humanity can become one in peace, friendship and prosperity with a common cause. Srimad-Bhagavatam will fill this need, for it is a cultural presentation for the re-spiritualization of the entire human society.
It was 50 years ago at this time that Srila Prabhupada finally crossed the ocean to the western world on behalf of his predecessors armed with transcendental literatures. Who would have known what was about to happen. Nobody.
We can hardly imagine what it was like – alone in a foreign land – culture language – everything different and at the age of 70. To introduce this message in such a hostile situation was no easy task, practically impossible. Srila Prabhupada at this time would go alone door to door in the freezing winter of New York, trying to sell his Srimad Bhagavatam and establish a centre for Krishna Consciousness. A lone soldier who left the safe precincts of Radha Damaodara and Sri Vrndavana Dham on the order of his guru maharaja for our benefit. Where would we be if he had not come – God knows. If we are at all indebted to Srila Prabhupada the least we can do is to assist him in his mission.
Srila Prabhupada gave his life to get these books out there.
Srila Prabhupada wrote in the Caitanya Caritamrta Adi 12.9:
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura wanted to print as many books as possible and distribute them all over the world. We have tried our best in this connection, and we are getting results beyond our expectations.
When he arrived in LA in 1975 he said:
“Where is book? Where is book? Where is book? So kindly help me. This is my request. Print as many books in as many languages and distribute throughout the whole world. Then Krsna Consciousness movement will automatically increase.”
At that time book distribution was on fire all over the western world.
Although Srila Prabhupada is not with us in his physical form he is with us all in his books. As we have been saved simply by his mercy – he sacrificed everything for us if we are at all indebted at least we can do our best to assist him in this greatest of welfare activities to dispel the darkness of ignorance in this age of kali –
In 1976 Srila Prabhupada wrote to his disciples:
“If you feel at all indebted to me then you should preach vigorously like me. That is the proper way to repay me. Of course, no one can repay the debt to the spiritual master, but the spiritual master is very much pleased by such an attitude by the disciple.”
Being in Vrndavana is a wonderful inspiration but the real work is the preaching – it is the greatest service to the Lord. To take Vrndavana everywhere.
On Srila Prabhupada’s return to the Radha Damodara temple in 1967 he wrote to his small band of disciples in New York:
“We have tremendous task before us. Vrndavana is an inspiration only but our real field of work is all over the world. Even if I die you are my future hopes and you will do it. I am feeling very much for you all.”
Srila Prabhupada is with you all –
‘He lives forever by his divine instructions and the follower lives with him.’
I pray here in the dhama that you will take the mercy of Srila Prabhupada with all your heart and give it to others by giving your best to distribute as many books as you can. We have nothing but his mercy to offer. Let us give this greatest gift, Srila Prabhupada’s books, far greater than all the Christmas gifts that unfortunate conditioned souls are so busily tied up with at this time of the year. This book distribution will untie those knots of bondage and bring peace and unity to the world.
So let us take the mood of dependence on our heads as we go to the streets, the battlefields of kali yuga, armed with sastras and pray that we may become instruments in this great mission for the pleasure of our life saver Srila Prabhupada. Please read Srila Prabhupada’s Markine Bhagavat Dharma poem if you want that real inspiration.
And finally on the disappearance day of his Guru Maharaja in Dec of 1973 Prabhupada said:
“So this is a memorable day. What he desired, I am trying little bit, and you are all helping me. So I have to thank you more. You are actually representative of my Guru Maharaja [Srila Prabhupada starts to cry] because you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Maharaja.