HH Lokanath Swami Maharaja 114th Vyasa-Puja Offering to Srila Prabhupada

Dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my humble obeisances at the dust of your divine lotus feet on this most auspicious event of your 114th Vyasa Puja.

I remember in 1976 a reporter in Delhi had asked you, “Are you talking of some principle when you talk of God?” You replied, “Not principle but a person like you and me.”

Mayavadi impersonalists, on the other hand, talk “God is love”, “God is Light” and so many other concepts. Srila Prabhupada, you never just said Krsna. Every time you talked of Krsna, you qualified your statement with ‘Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead’. Other commentators have interpreted bhakti as devotion, something passive; you sit around having peace and love. However, Srila Prabhupada, you did not just settle with that, you talked of bhakti as devotional service wherein we serve the Lord in all ways with love and devotion. Many people are trying to tear Krsna apart—attempting to break Him to pieces, taking His limbs and scattering Them hither and thither – wanting to get rid of this personality. They want the kingdom of God, but without God Himself, so that they are answerable to no one. However, you counteracted, what you so correctly termed, all impersonal calamities. You established the Personality of Godhead, for which Krsna must have been extremely pleased with you.

Srila Prabhupada, the fact is that you were the only person in India who openly criticized, not only demigod worship and impersonalism, but, also everything that fell short of complete surrender to Krsna. Your Divine Grace never compromised in your preaching, saying, “Neither will I compromise, nor should any of my students. We are firmly convinced that Krsna is the Supreme Personality and all others are His part and parcel servants. This we must declare boldly to the whole world, so that they should not foolishly dream of world peace unless they are prepared to surrender to Krsna as the Supreme Lord.”

Giriraja Swami once revealed; that before coming in contact with you, his goal was to become God. He wrote ‘You are God’ in big letters in his room to remind himself of the target he had set for himself to achieve. He was searching for someone to help him in this endeavor. Whenever he received news of any godmen coming from India he would consider if they could help him. With this in mind, he came to see you.

You observed him carefully, and recognizing his impersonal tendencies, you asked him, “Do you want to be God, or do you want to serve God?” Giriraja became very excited and thought, “Finally I have met someone who can think of making me God.”
He replied, “Of course I want to be God.
You thundered, “If you want to be God then it means that now you are not God! One who is not God can never be God. God is always God; God never becomes God. So you can never become God.”

Just this one thunderbolt smashed the impersonalistic aspirations cherished by Giriraja.

Often your greatness is spoken of in terms of your having founded the International Society for Krsna Consciousness. You translated and wrote over seventy books, initiated five thousand disciples, opened more than one hundred temples and set up many farm communities, all in a matter of a little over a decade. However, an aspect of your greatness not discussed so frequently is your personal qualities. Dear Prabhupada, you had all the divine qualities, the twenty-six qualities of a pure Vaisnava. Everyone can understand just how compassionate, kind, caring, friendly and expert you were.

You will be known as Jesus is, or even more so. When we talk of Jesus, we know he had some eleven disciples, but he did not open monasteries, write books, or travel around the world. His spiritual qualities are well known, especially his compassion. But your compassion is no less.
You were there for everyone on the planet, even the animals. You loved their very souls. You went on record to say that cows are also citizens and have the right to live. Cows, despite being very dear to Krsna, cannot speak, and so you spoke on their behalf.

Similarly, you wanted to save the trees from harm. For instance, when our Krsna Balaram temple was being constructed in Vrndavana, you took great pains to ensure that the Tamal tree was preserved. In fact, you built the courtyard around the tree, rather than simply cutting it off, which was the easier and hassle free option. You could see the folly of cutting trees for paper to print news of sex and violence, and so, you recommended in your purport to SB 7.2.12 that “paper mills should manufacture paper only for publication of ISKCON literature because ISKCON literature is published for the service of Lord Visnu.”

Although born in India, your vision was all encompassing. Thus, you stated, “I am an Indian, but my plans are all American.” Your movement has westerners and easterners, individuals like Ambarish Prabhu, the greatgrandson of Henry Ford, and people like me, a simple village boy. Yet, you cared for us equally. Bhakti Tirtha Swami said he never felt even for a moment that Prabhupada discriminated against his colour. When the brahmacaris and sannyasis wanted to get rid of the women disciples, you did not allow that, saying, “They also came, how could I refuse them? They are also attracted to Krsna.” This proves that you were transcendental to bodily designations and were willing to help anyone on the journey back to home, back to Krsna.

You were a kind father, always concerned about our well being. At the opening of Krsna Balarama temple, you insisted to the leaders that we should be given cow’s milk to drink and not buffalo’s milk. Sruta Kirti recalls how, while in India, despite him being your personal servant, you went out of your way to instruct the person arranging your cooking, to see that he got oatmeal and fruit in the mornings and steamed vegetables and cheese in the afternoons – “let him have whatever he requires to stay healthy”. He recalls, “Srila Prabhupada nurtured me not like a father but more like a loving concerned mother.”

In 1967, after a period of less than two years with your followers, due to illness, you left America for India. Rupanuga said there was a tremendous outpouring of feelings of separation and grief at your departure. They all knew that you were their life and soul and none of them were sure if they would ever see you again.

Subsequently, you resumed your preaching, and made many thousands of disciples, and we all feel precisely the same thing! You are our life and soul! Even those of us who have not had the privilege of extended association with you cling on to those special moments we had with you – a smile or simply something you said or did – and this enables us to carry forward our Krsna Consciousness! Even if you chastised us, we were always convinced that it was a manifestation of your love and concern for us, and we whole heartedly accepted it as your blessings. During those intimate moments, you would become my Prabhupada, and these are moments that we cherish.

It was not by accident or chance that you were born on the day after Sri Krsna Janmastami. You were following in the footsteps of your dearmost Lord, and Krsna wanted His pure devotee to be born on the day after His own birthday. I can see the hand of the Lord in this, and your intimacy with the Lord is the
proof. In the life of an ISKCON devotee, Janmastami and your appearance day are the two most important days. Thinking of your appearance in this way is a very wonderful way to meditate on these days.

You traveled by boat to America, paying little heed to your health, had no money, only forty rupees, no friends, and not even anyone to receive you. Your notings in your Jaladuta diary reveal that America was such an alien land to you that you did not even know whether you had to turn left or right upon disembarking. But you had Krsna, He was your friend and guide. You went to a country to spread the gospel of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, where practically no one had heard of Krsna. You attracted the attention of the world because you succeeded against all odds. They would probably have cared less if you had flown to America, been picked up by a limousine, and taken to a five-star hotel.

With mundane relatives, you can always find someone else. Another girlfriend or boyfriend, adopt a mother or someone adopts you, another somebody. Life goes on. However, we cannot replace you with anyone. In general, the affection of your disciples and followers is intact, in fact in most cases it is an everincreasing and ever-satisfying experience.

Once, many people gathered to try to make an egg stand on end. Many tried and failed. Christopher Columbus made a dent on one end of the egg – just enough so that it did not lose it’s contents – and it stood. People said that anyone could have done it! In hindsight, people may state that anyone could have done what you did, but the fact remains, dear Prabhupada, that no one other than you could have done what you did, as you were chosen by Caitanya Mahaprabhu as “Mor senapati bhakta.”

This attempt is a meager one to try to describe some of my realizations. Every bird flies according to his capacity; I have my level and from wherever my present elevation in Krsna Consciousness is, I’m trying to describe what I see. Knowing the spiritual master is like trying to know Krsna. There is much more than meets the eye, unfathomable depths. I wish I could have glorified you to the fullest extent but what could I do. I am crippled with my limitations, but I hope and pray that this offering will further purify me and be pleasing to you.

Your humble servant,
Lokanath Swami.


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