Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.
Today is the auspicious occasion of "Tirobhava" festival of Jagat Guru His Divine Grace Srila A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In the book, "Gaudiya Vaishnava Samadhis", HH Mahanidhi Maharaj nicely mentions how the "aavirbhava" and "tirobhava" festival of great Vaishnavas are both equal and auspicious. Their appearance and disappearance are compared with that of the sun. When sunsets in a place, it does not mean that the sun does not exist anymore. It simply means that it has risen in some other place. Likewise, when the Vaishnava saint enters the aprakat (unmanifested) form in this material world, he simply manifests before the Sri Sri Radha Krishna in the spiritual world. So when there is tirobhav in the material world, there is aavirbhavin spiritual world and vice-versa. So both aavirbhava and tirobhav occur simultaneously and are equally auspicious. As our beloved spiritual master HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj says, "To develop a relationship with someone, we need to spend time with them." So simply by spending time with Srila Prabhupada's books, reading about him, hearing his Vani in his lectures and conversations, we will be able purify our existence and have an eternal connection with him. So let us today meditate on a few of the qualities of His Divine Grace and purify our existence. As Srila Bhaktivinod Thakura eloquently says,
He reasons ill who says that Vaishnavas die,
When thou art living still in sound!
The Vaishnavas die to live, and living try
To spread the holy name around.
Indeed His Divine Grace is eternally present in his Vani and books and is guiding so many suffering souls all over the world, even after his apparent physical absence. Just by observing the revolution which Srila Prabhupada is doing on this world's misdirected civilisation, including our own lives, we can understand that all these things are due to his purity of sadhana and devotion. It was a life-time preparation amidst so many troubles and challenging situations.
In her book "Our Srila Prabhupada - A Friend to all", HG Mulaprakrti Mataji very nicely mentions about the memories shared by the pujari from Advaita Acarya's house in Shantipura. In 1980, the pujari came to Mayapur temple and shared with devotees about how Srila Prabhupada even in the 1940s and 50s, when he was still in grhastha ashram, used to visit Advaita-Bhavan once or twice in a month, wearing white dhoti-kurta, during the weekends and used to sit and chant with great devotion and gravity, with tears in his eyes and voice choking, for very long hours. Then he will always thank the pujari for his wonderful service in Advaita Bhavan before leaving the place.
Then in August of 1965, the pujari noticed that Srila Prabhupada again visited that place in saffron clothes and was weeping more unabashedly and was chanting the Holy names with eyes closed in concentrated devotion. Once he completed chanting and thanked the pujari, the pujari asked him about his identity. Then His Divine Grace replied with tears in his eyes, "I am an unworthy disciple of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Siddantha Sarasvathi Thakura, Srila Prabhupada, my divine master. I have been coming here for such a long time because my gurudeva has given me an impossible mission. His desire was for me to go across the ocean to the Western countries and spread the sublime teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There are countless souls there who have never heard about Sri Sri Radha Krishna and so they are suffering greatly. I do know how this mission of his will be successful, so I have been coming here to this special house of Advaita Acarya, where he, Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would gather together to plan the sankirtan movement. It was here that they launched the inundation of love of God that swept India and continues to this day. Thus I have been praying very earnestly here that they will all give me their mercy that somehow they will empower me and guide me. I want to satisfy my gurudeva's desire, but I am feeling unqualified to do this. Tomorrow I am leaving for Calcutta to go upon a ship across the ocean to America. I do not know what will befall me there, but I am praying most earnestly here for help."
Then His Divine Grace sought for blessing and left the place. The pujari was simply moved by his sincerity and determination. Years later when devotees from Western countries visited Advaita Bhavan and gave a "Back to Godhead" magazine, the pujari on seeing the picture of Srila Prabhupada in it could realise that it was none other than his friend, Srila Prabhupada who had actually accomplished the impossible mission of his Gurudeva. The pujari further said, "I saw that it was indeed he, starting alone and without pretense, who had accomplished this glorious miracle against all odds."
Of the many lessons which we can learn from the life of His Divine Grace, one of the most important lessons we need to learn from the above incident is that we should always earnestly and sincerely pray for the mercy of previous acaryas and should always keep alive the intense desire to serve the spiritual master. Although his spiritual master had given instructions to him to preach in the west in the 1930s itself, Srila Prabhupada could make that dream come true only in the 1960s. But throughout the entire span of 30 years, he did not let the fire of desire to serve his spiritual master to go down or become dejected about not being able to put it into action immediately. He kept on increasing the spark of his desire to serve his spiritual master by his pure sadhana and earnest prayers to previous acaryas and hence even though he was in the late sixties, he could still make such wonders. It is definitely not possible to imitate such great souls. But let us take inspiration from His Divine Grace and remember the truth that we may not be fortunate to have the physical presence of spiritual masters and acaryas with us all the time. But we should always remember their instructions and beg for their mercy so that by their mercy we become useful instruments in their hands and fulfill their desire to serve Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Radha Krishna in this lifetime itself.
Jagat Guru His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada Tirobhava ki Jai! Srila Prabhupada ki Jai! Srila Gurudev ki Jai!
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das and Sudarshana devi dasi.
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