Offerings to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, On the Day He Appeared in This World
In the fall of 1896, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada made his appearance in this world, and each year at this time Srila Prabhupada’s disciples offer their appreciation to him. The celebration is called Vyasa-puja and gets its name from the great spiritual master Vyasa, who fifty centuries ago put Lord Krsna’s teachings into writing. Srila Prabhupada in his turn translated some seventy volumes of these Vedic literatures into English, and through his international movement he spread the science of self-realization and God consciousness throughout the world. Clearly, then, he is a supereminent successor to Vyasa in the line of gurus that has come down through the centuries from Lord Krsna. The offerings on these pages are from the eleven disciples Srila Prabhupada chose to become gurus after him and so assist him in carrying forward his life’s work.
Bhagavan dasa Maharaja
Srila Prabhupada, you would always tell us, “Just do as I am doing,” but just like children, we were very satisfied just to witness with awe how you were tirelessly pushing and expanding Lord Caitanya’s movement all over the world. But time being the mind of the Lord, we also witnessed Sri Krsna’s supreme desire to enjoy your loving association together with His other eternal associates in Goloka [the spiritual world]. Thus, along with the heavy weight of separation, the awesome responsibility of continuing the Krsna consciousness movement of Caitanya Mahaprabhu has come to rest upon us. Now, like a song which has captured the mind, your words resound day and night in my heart: “Just do as I am doing.” But how is it possible to be like you—you who are the embodiment of truth, knowledge, and purity; the visible conclusion of the Vedic scriptures; the swan amongst men; the Supreme Personality of Servitor Godhead? As Lord Caitanya’s confidential associate, you have delivered to us His supreme order—amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei desa: “Become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land!” This command, which we had always felt that only you could carry, has now been given by you to us. And because you have given us this order, it can be fulfilled by your mercy alone.
Some people may scorn and laugh at how the new guru is amusingly trying to imitate his father, just as a foolish child puts on his father’s hat, coat, and shoes and tries to feel important. But such cynics do not believe in your inconceivable and causeless mercy upon the fallen souls. Therefore, I pray at your lotus feet that just as Krsna Himself agrees to manifest in the Deity and thus give pleasure and strength to His devotees, you may also manifest yourself in my stonelike heart, so that I may give your disciples faith and encouragement to carry on the mission you have started.
The power of your separation is uprooting my attachments to this world, just as the hurricane uproots trees that have been standing for hundreds and thousands of years. I fall down at your lotus feet and beg again and again that you please continue to guide me to speak as you would speak, teach as you would teach, be bold as you were bold, and merciful as you were merciful. Due to my fallen condition I am feeling low in love of Godhead and remorseful at having hardly appreciated your association. In such a condition I am slowly crawling back to your lotus feet and have given up everything for you. Please, Srila Prabhupada, give me your shelter.
In 1977 in Bombay, Srila Prabhupada was translating Srimad-Bhagavatam when he called me to his desk and related to me that the years 1959 to 1968 were very, very difficult. There were so many obstacles in his path and so many materially difficult situations to face in establishing and founding his ISKCON society. Then he paused. Looking at me, he said, “Though I thought that those were difficult years then, now I realize that it was all Krsna’s asset. It was all Krsna’s gift to me.”
There is no political leader, there is no social reformer, there is not even a modern religious leader who has done or could do what Srila Prabhupada has accomplished in just a few years. He underwent so many difficulties in setting the guidelines and goals for the entire human society to become sane and peaceful. Not only could no other so-called big personality do it—no other big personality in this world would even care to do it. No one else ever really cared for me; no one else ever spoke the truth to me; no one else even knew what the truth was. History will show that Srila Prabhupada is just like the rising moon. And as the moon rises, all the glowworms (the so-called big, modern personalities) will diminish and disappear under the full shining light of Srila Prabhupada’s love for Lord Krsna. He has changed the course of history. He has changed the course of science. He has altered the insane path of this modern civilization. And me: he has changed my life from one of despair and suffering into a full life of bliss and knowledge, and that is why I love him.
We stood by in helpless awe
As you calmly departed amidst the roar
Of faithful devotees who loved you more
Than anyone has ever been loved before.
Now that you’ve departed from this place,
I always think of Your Divine Grace;
How long till I’ll exhaust my days,
And meet you again face to face?
I have no fear, I have no doubt,
About your orders and carrying them out.
Up, down, east, west, north, and south,
Preaching is life, the eternal bout.
Constantly merged in the ocean of bliss,
I repeatedly think, “How is this?”
Perhaps your blessings have gone amiss,
Like decorating a pig with a kiss.
Wherever I preach I feel at home,
Remembering how you did also roam;
Never afraid of the strange or unknown,
Repeating your words I am never alone.
This my offering, my prayer is done;
Please allow me to beg your pardon
For exhibiting myself so dumb,
As one who with a candle tries to illuminate the sun.
Human beings are factually insignificant in numbers when compared to the other living entities. There are 8,400,000 species of life, and only 400,000 of them are human species. The others are vast numbers of aquatics, reptiles, insects, birds, beasts, and plants. Rarely do we find human beings who are civilized to the degree that they can understand higher states of consciousness beyond the everyday affairs of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending and whatever so-called recreations one wastes his time in. Fewer still have understood that they are not their bodies. It is very difficult to be unattached to this material body, but even more difficult is understanding one’s actual position as an eternal servant of Krsna. After many years of cultivating such understanding, a small handful become perfectly pure devotees, and of these only the most fortunate may receive a full dose of transcendental energy from the Supreme Lord. Krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana: those who are spreading this Krsna consciousness movement all over the world are not only pure devotees of the Supreme Lord, but are directly empowered by Him to create other devotees. Therefore Srila Prabhupada is such a perfectly empowered preacher. Being completely controlled by Krsna, he is completely free from the control of maya [the Lord’s illusory, material energy]. Because he is the greatest proponent of Krsna consciousness in the Western world, he has not only spread Krsna’s name and words throughout human society, but he has empowered others to do so on his behalf. Therefore his opulences are expanding unlimitedly. One cannot properly offer him praise. It is said that Ananta-sesa has not been able to fully describe the glories of the Lord with his thousand mouths vibrating them since the creation of the universe, since the opulences of the Lord are ever expanding. We have also not seen the limits of Srila Prabhupada’s mercy. Rather, we are just beginning to understand its depth and magnitude, exactly as one cannot understand the greatness of the iceburg by seeing its tip protruding from the water. Therefore we can simply stand before him, humbly offering our praise and praying for his mercy upon us, since we have no other shelter than his lotus feet; they are offering shelter to the whole universe. We have fully surrendered unto those lotus feet, and we are firmly holding on to them. We pray that we may be worthy of expanding his glories more and more throughout the world.
Hrdayananda dasa Goswami
You have made me a Vaisnava guru. And how much more I now appreciate your vast and wonderful Krsna consciousness! I have accepted many disciples, and the weight of this burden of love has broken my youthful energy. The weight has crushed, like helpless birds, my power to enjoy this world.
Guru means “heavy.” The weight of the responsibility you have given me is like a colossal anchor dragging my mind inward to Krsna.
As I struggle, with tears in my eyes, to serve you, how I marvel at what you did, at what you are!
How perfect was your life on earth! How powerfully you preached Krsna’s message! How enchanting were the depths of your singing voice! And how awesome and brilliant was your voice as you revealed the inescapable network of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam!
How gracefully you devastated the enemies of God! How mercifully you cared for us as we huddled under your tender wing!
O limitless Jagad-guru! O most perfect spiritual master! Be even more kind to me now. I am a broken animal who lovingly yet pathetically struggles to pull his master’s carriage. Pull me into the world of Krsna! And place me as an atom at your lotus feet.
Your fallen servant,
Hrdayananda dasa Goswami
The great tidal wave of love of Krsna (started by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda Prabhu nearly 492 years ago in Sri Mayapur) was kept in a reservoir within India waiting for you, Srila Prabhupada, to break the dam! Now that you’ve released the divine flood-waters, there is no restraining their forward progress. Just as in the great universal inundation gradually everything is submerged, so the ocean of ecstatic chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is swelling, and already the creatures of the dry land are being drowned. Only a few birdlike persons are hovering stranded on the mental plane, but soon they will also have no place to land except within these ecstatic waters. Your Divine Grace has brought to this dark, cold, and misdirected world unparalleled good fortune, eternal knowledge, and transcendental bliss. Your sacred message and divine personality are self-illuminating and “brilliant as the sun”! Therefore, I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto your divine lotus feet on this holy Vyasa-puja day.
Queen Rukmini of Dvaraka, while talking with her female confidantes, appreciated her great fortune. Unlike other women, who have ordinary husbands with bodies made of skin, bone, blood, stool, mucus, hair, and pus, Rukminidevi had as her eternal husband Lord Krsna, who has a transcendental body of eternal blissful knowledge and beauty. Srila Prabhupada, how will we ever be able to repay you for bringing us under the shelter of our real and eternal friends: Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Madhava and Their eternal associates?
The Golden Avatara, Lord Caitanya, has manifested Himself as a gigantic tree; this tree is the tree of love of God. Simultaneously, Lord Caitanya has also become the gardener. ISKCON is one of the massive branches of this divine tree. Srila Prabhupada, you have revealed that ISKCON is non-different from your body. As gardener. Lord Caitanya wanted to distribute the fruits to everyone, but single-handedly how many fruits could He give? Seeing Lord Caitanya’s anxiety and wanting to relieve it, Your Divine Grace has profusely distributed the fruits of the tree of love of God. And you have enjoined everyone to eat those fruits of love of Krsna to their full satisfaction and to also distribute them to everyone they meet. These fruits have neither skin nor pit; rather, they are pure nectar! Being handed down intact in disciplic succession by the devotees of Lord Caitanya, their sweetness is ever-increasing. These fruits are coming along with the Hare Krsna mantra from Goloka Vrndavana, the highest planet in the spiritual sky, which is far, far beyond this material universe. Those who are tasting these fruits of love of God are recognizable because they are always chanting Hare Krsna and trying to help others. Thus, Srila Prabhupada, in offering you respects we worship ISKCON and your devotees as your divine extensions. Your Divine Grace has proven yourself the greatest benefactor to the fallen and deluded souls in this modern age. We love you for what you are, and hankering for your eternal service and association, we bow our heads down at your divine lotus feet. All glories to you Srila Prabhupada!
Jayatirtha dasa Maharaja
Submitted with an attitude of great awe and reverence to the lotus feet of my eternal spiritual guide and preceptor, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, on his most glorious appearance day.
O spiritual master, all living entities are born into this material world in dark ignorance and are overcome by desire and hate. They do not know from where they have come or for what reason they have taken birth. Neither do they see the purpose of life, and they are in fear of what will become of them at death. Wanting to find happiness and avoid distress, they labor hard, but with no good result. Seeking help, they attach themselves to leaders who promise salvation but are themselves in delusion. Thus the blind follow the blind, and all of them fall deeper into the dark well of material existence.
You, O spiritual master, are an eternal resident of the spiritual universe, which is filled with bliss and knowledge. Out of mercy for us fallen souls you descended to deliver the message of Lord Krsna, to ignite the torchlight of knowledge in the hearts of everyone so that they could see the truth and understand themselves to be eternal spiritual souls, the wayward sons of God. On coming to the Western world, you found us technologically advanced but spiritually dead. You taught us to call out the names of God with devotion and to reform our sinful habits. You breathed life into our hearts and engladdened us. You began a revolution in consciousness, and you trained us how to carry it forward. And then one day last November you departed.
O spiritual master, overwhelmed with grief out of separation from you, we took solace in your instructions, and in your words we found the strength to continue. Although the materialists will not understand this, we feel your presence with us now even more than before, and we hear you giving us guidance from within our hearts. Your mission was a mission of kindness, and now we want to show to others the kindness that you showed to us. It was a mission of enlightenment, and now we wish to enlighten others with the knowledge that you have given us. Your mission was authorized by Lord Krsna Himself, and now you have authorized us to continue it.
O Srila Prabhupada, on this, the first anniversary of your appearance to be celebrated after your departure, we pause; and with a great seriousness and depth of commitment we pledge ourselves to continue with your work. The light which came into the world with your birth has not departed. With it you have lighted tens of thousands of others, and you have left us the secret of how to light more and more. And by your grace we will do so, until the darkness of this age is just a bitter memory and the pain of ignorance is felt no more.
Praying for your mercy, I remain,
Your humble servant,
When a person receives a very nice present, he sometimes says, “I don’t know how I can thank you enough.” Who, then, can even estimate the debt of gratitude we owe to you? You have given us Krsna—the beginning, middle, and end of everything there is. How can we repay you for this matchless gift?
Materialists are amazed that we have “given up” everything. They don’t know that we have actually gained everything by obtaining Krsna. No one in the material world can possess anything. It is all controlled by Krsna. It is all taken away at the time of death. But all the nice engagements you have given us—chanting, dancing, feasting, and philosophy—cannot be diminished by time or stolen by death.
You have made us immortal. Although the greatest materialists—big scientific brains and sovereign kings—try to escape death, they are always defeated. But we who are most insignificant have been blessed with eternity, knowledge, and unlimited happiness, all due to Your Divine Grace.
No, we can never repay you. But we can always continue to glorify you, broadcast your mission, and hold your remembrance within the core of our hearts. As long as we do so, you will be pleased with us and we will also be happy. This type of debt, in which both parties remain satisfied, is truly very nice. Please continue to accept our obeisances again and again.
Your humble servant,
Before I met you, Srila Prabhupada, I had no life. My heart was like stone, covered by dust accumulated over many, many births. Without awakening my original consciousness of love of Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I remained asleep in the darkness of conditional life, suffering repeated birth and death. When I began to follow your instructions, I found them to be like a torch which caused the stonelike dirt in my consciousness to melt, and I began to feel real life.
Now you have left us to carry out your instructions, but I know that you are still with us. You reside eternally in the hearts of all your disciples. If we go on following your instructions carefully, we will certainly see you protecting us and showing us how to distribute your mercy and love all over the world. Thus, all living entities will float in the ocean of love of Krsna that you have brought to the Western world.
Therefore, my humble offering on your appearance day is that you take complete charge of me and let your mission be my entire life and soul. You specifically instructed me as follows: “We are the only hope for the human society to receive real knowledge. And our books are the only real thing. So it may take some time, but one day all this rubbish culture of slaughterhouses and brothels and this rubbish philosophy that God is dead and life comes from matter can be replaced.”
You said your only ambition is that everyone may become enlightened, though they are now deprived of that chance. You assured me, “In the future there will be a history of how Vedic culture was brought to America. We are introducing a new style of life and civilization. Everything should be ideal. Others have never dreamt of such a civilization: free life, happy life, no anxiety, and hope—great hope, that we are going back home, back to Godhead. Through increased distribution of our books, America and then the whole world will become Krsna conscious. All the world is in darkness. The scientists like Darwin and Freud are all in darkness. One day the whole world will appreciate how we have changed the face of the world from darkness to light.”
Kindly allow this transcendental message to be firmly fixed in my mind and heart, and engage me in helping you spread Lord Caitanya’s movement to every town and village throughout the world.
Your insignificant servant,
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
When I first met Your Divine Grace in 1966, I was lost and fallen. It was my inestimable good fortune that I became your disciple. I did your typing tasks, donated my salary, and brought you a daily mango. You preached in the park and in your room and in the temple. Before long, I knew you were the representative of Krsna. You dealt with us with so much affection. Love—the kind not given by any mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, friend, or so-called lover. But you gave it—because you gave us back our lost relationship with the Supreme Beloved of all living beings, Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
And not just to me or just to a few, but you gave it to millions—pure love of God. Krsna empowered you to deliver the whole world. You traveled all over the world, so humbly arriving at each place, grave and simple—but always carrying in your heart and voice the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The world desperately needs obedience to God, service to God, love of God. When you were here it was clear that only you in the entire world were delivering unalloyed love of God. This isn’t said whimsically, but after examining the evidence. You severely chastised atheists, whether they were Nobel-Prize-winning scientists, powerful politicians, or world-esteemed humanitarians. “Whoever denies God is a fool and a rascal.” In your books you have given the foundation for a Krsna conscious world order.
Srila Prabhupada, I know you are still preaching and living, and I’m praying that you will always protect and guide us and continuously manifest your mercy in the world. Let us continue working on your behalf in this kingdom of maya (illusion), saving the lost souls from repeated sufferings of birth and death. Let us bring them love of Krsna, as you so kindly brought it to us.
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
Tamala Krsna Goswami
In your hands was placed,
To offer the whole world
Krsna’s sweet name to taste.
Within the heart
Selfish desires ceasing,
Enter a minister
With lust, anger, and greed,
But in his heart
You have planted a seed.
Powerful those forces
Which lay within,
Causing the minister
Repeatedly to sin.
But not so powerful
As the seed you have sown,
And with your care,
The plant that has grown.
A wayward minister,
But by your influence,
No longer sinister.
Tried to attack,
But with your knowledge
You forced them back.
False prestige and pride
Cut by your sword,
I seek your shelter,
O merciful lord.
Stripped of illusions,
A naked soul,
I wish to fulfill
Life’s cherished goal.
Please take my hand
And guide me true.
In exchange my life
I consign to you.
The sastra proclaims you
As “servitor Lord,”
Free of false motives,
Serving without reward.
Austerity is your wealth,
Bhakti your rule.
Now I surrender,
Please make me your tool.
To heaven or hell,
By your order I shall go,
To preach the glories
Of the eternal soul.
To a God-forgetting land,
Departing with your order,
Beneath your blessing hand.
Tamala Krsna Goswami