Honolulu Temple Vyasa Puja Offering 1975

By Kailasa Candra dasa

All glories to Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,

Our beloved spiritual master. He is translating the cream of the Vedic literatures in over ten languages so authoritatively and exquisitely that he is singlehandedly destroying the voidism and impersonalism that has the world in its relentless clutches.

"We think that we have met Your grace by the will of providence (sandarsito dhatra), and thus we accept you as captain of the ship (darna-dharah) for those who desire to cross the dangerous ocean of Kali, which destroys all the good qualities of a human being." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.22)

First of all, we have to be able to separate the reality from that which isn't. In other words, we have to want to know what is what. The Vedas succinctly express these veiled yet all-pervading truths. They are so extensive that we couldn't realize all of them in our lifetime. When somebody decides, without reservations, motives or self-deception, to unravel the mysteries of the Vedas, he soon sees that these texts make two things very clear.

1) The Supreme Personality of Godhead is Krsna, the most powerful mystic (Yogesvara) and the possessor of all-attractive transcendental opulences. The goal of our lives is to regain our currently covered personal association with Him. He dwells on innumerable planets of infinite variegatedness in the anti-material world (nirasta-kuhakam), with unlimited forms of dazzling splendor and sweetness. We are actually His eternal servants (jivera svarupa haya -- krsnera nitya-dasa), being spiritual in essence. Now we have come to the material world, the land of the temporary and painful material energy, due to our original envy and pride (minute independence). This was a great mistake on our part. In the spiritual sky with Lord Krsna, everyone (everything) is of the same spiritual nature: eternal, full of knowledge and bliss (sac-cid-ananda).

2) The only way to reestablish our real position, after having fallen victim to this futile alternative, is to come in contact with a bona fide spiritual master (guru). Be wise enough to recognize him, hear from him and surrender to him with favorable service. The Vedas affirm this:

tad vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet: If you want to understand spiritual matters, you must accept a guru. (Mundaka Up. 1.2.12)

dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhyam mahajano yena gatah sa panthah: It is very difficult to understand the secret of spiritual consciousness, but one who advances by the instruction of the previous acaryas and follows in the footsteps of his predecessors in the line of disciplic succession will have success. Others will not. (Mahabharata, Vanaparva 313.117)

jivan-chavo bhagavatanghri-renum na jatu martyobhilabheta yas tu: The person who has not at any time received the dust of the feet of a pure devotee upon his heart certainly is a dead body. (Bhag. 7.5.32)

Sandarsito dhatra. We think we have met Srila Prabhupada by the will of providence (the causeless mercy of Ksirodakasayi Visnu). Roaming fearful and helpless, never sure if we were progressing. Then we saw the mountain range: the guru. Streams ran underneath the desert because they would dry up if they had to snake on top of the hot sand exterior. Sometimes the bedrock was broken here and there, and oases bubbled up onto the surface. We sampled some of these oases, but found them ultimately leaving us little more than the mirages which constantly baffled us. We always had some everchanging plan for progress but, horribly, the thought lingered in our conscious substratum that perhaps we were only going in circles. The blemish of our struggle, fear and doubt burst when we finally saw the mountain range. Now the goal is in sight.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, which Prabhupada is translating for us, the story of Kapiladeva, an incarnation of Krsna from the spiritual world (avatara), instructing His mother Devahuti about spiritual science is presented. Sadhu is a synonym for mahatma (great soul), and Kapila gives important details about these sadhus and their elevated position:

"The symptoms of a sadhu are that he is tolerant, merciful (karunikah) and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures and all his characteristics are sublime (sadhu-bhusana). Such a sadhu engages in staunch devotional service to the Lord (bhaktim kurvanti ye drdham) without deviation. For the sake of the Lord he renounces all other connections, such as family relationships and friendly acquaintances within the world. Engaged constantly in chanting and hearing about Me, the sadhus do not suffer from material miseries because they are always fixed on Me with their thoughts (mad-gata-cetasah). O My mother, O virtuous lady, these are the qualities of great devotees who are free from all attachment. You must seek attachment to such holy men (sangas tesv artha te prarthyah), for this counteracts the pernicious effects of material attachment. In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart (hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah). By cultivation of such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and service begin (bhaktir anukramisyati). (Bhag. 3.25.21–25)

Kapila told Devahuti to seek attachment to such a spiritual master. Lord Caitanya also said lavamatra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya: "Simply a moment's association with a pure devotee (bhagavad-sangi-sangasya) cannot be compared to being transferred to heavenly planets or even merging into the Brahman effulgence in complete liberation. For living entities who are destined to die (martyanam), association with pure devotees is the highest benediction." (Bhag. 4.30.34) Any kind of inoffensive contract with Srila Prabhupada, done in fear or ignorance of his prowess, with lavish pomp, or like a pauper, will bring inconceivable benefit (ajnata-sukrti). The Bhagavatam elucidates that association for sense gratification is certainly the path of bondage. But the same type of association, performed with a saintly person (sadhusu), leads to the path of liberation, even if performed without knowledge (vihitodhiya) (Bhag. 3.23.55).

To associate with Srila Prabhupada through his devotees, books, tapes or with him personally presents the opportunity to hear from him. He is constantly hearing about Krsna, as confirmed by Kapila Muni in His association with him allows us to have this transcendental message transferred through our ears into our minds.

"My dear Lord, You are glorified by the selected verses uttered by great personalities. Such glorification of Your lotus feet is just like saffron particles. When the transcendental vibration from the mouths of great devotees (mahan-mukha-cyutah) carries the aroma of the saffron dust of Your Lotus feet, the forgetful living entity gradually remembers his eternal relationship with You. My dear Lord, I therefore do not need any other benediction but the opportunity to hear from the mouth of Your pure devotee." (Bhag. 4.20.25) Hearing the Vedas from mental speculators, will not help us. By hearing from the spiritual master, everything becomes transparently clear. The submissive disciple (snigdhasya sisyasya) is endowed with favor from the spiritual master (Bhag. 1.1.8). He lives transcendentally and continues to remember the Lord even at the end of life when the power of remembrance is slackened due to derangement of bodily membranes.

Bhakti kurvanti ye drdham: Kapiladeva gives us information that the spiritual master is engaging in staunch devotional service to the Lord without deviation. In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna says, sadhur eva sa mantavyah: a sadhu is a strict follower of devotional service (sevaya). It is thus further confirmed in this verse of the Gita (4.34) that he imparts realization because he has already realized the truth.

Mahat-sevam-dvaram ahur vimuktes: "Service to a mahatma is the royal road to liberation." The Bhagavatam says by regular service to the pure Vaisnavas, one can clear the dirt from his heart and thus enjoy supreme peace, liberation from material attachment and satisfaction automatically (prasidatotyanta-samam svatah) (Bhag. 4.21.40). To become enwrapped in the pastimes of the spiritual world, which is the process called Krsna consciousness, we have to gain the higher taste of wanting nothing more than to always hear about, glorify and remember Lord Sri Krsna and His transcendental pastimes. The methodology of the most intelligent aspirant is service to the guru. "O twice born sages, by serving those devotees who are completely freed from all vice, great service is done. By such service, one gains affinity for hearing the message of Vasudeva, (Krsna)" (Bhag. 1.2.16). Narottama dasa Thakura, a great acarya in our line of disciplic succession says chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payeche keba: Unless one serves the spiritual master and acaryas, one cannot be liberated. In the Bhagavatam, Maharaja Rahugana inquired from the great saint Jadabharata how he could attain this liberation from material entanglement. Jadabharata replied, vina mahat-pada-raja-'bhisekam: "O King, the perfectional stage of devotional service cannot be attained without being blessed by the dust of the feet of great devotees."

So this dust from the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada is of utmost importance. And just what is the dust of his lotus feet? It is his orders.

Spiritual science has no room for directionless sentiment. If we don't see this, then we are being bewildered by that which is not (maya).

acaryera mata yei, sei mata sara
tanra ajna langi' cale, sei ta' asara

If we at all want to advance in spiritual life, we must take the order of the spiritual master as our life's mission. The Upanisads say that to one who has staunch faith in the words of the spiritual master and the words of Krsna (yatha deve tatha gurau), the secret of success in Vedic knowledge is revealed.

The spiritual master is personally present in his order (vani) and picture. Srila Prabhupada, by the grace of Lord Krsna, singlehandedly established our international society because he did not deviate from the order of his spiritual master, His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Astottarasata Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta left the mortal world in 1936, he ordered all of his disciples to follow the desire of Lord Caitanya in preaching this Krsna consciousness. Prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama. "Move all throughout the world and preach in every town and village."

He did not name a successor, but so many of his disciples immediately squandered a huge amount of funds and energy in court squabbles to try to win the post of guru. Therefore, because they intentionally deviated from their spiritual master's order, they lost their preaching potency. In fact, most of them never even took it up. But Srila Prabhupada, unlike many of these others, did not have much personal contact with Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. Yet Prabhupada followed his spiritual master's orders. And now he is the spiritual master of the world (Jagad-guru), the current representative of the spiritual chain (Brahma-sampradaya) which descends from Lord Krsna through Brahma, the empowered creator of the universe.

Kapiladeva concluded His discourse with Devahuti by describing that, through association of pure devotees, hearing the pastimes of Lord Sri Krsna liberates one from all material contamination (mukti), and than actual bhakti begins. When we achieve complete freedom from that energy which is superfluous to us, then we once again meet Lord Krsna in the spiritual sky and actually reawaken our dormant, eternal relationship with Him. This is called param gati or the supreme goal. Srila Prabhupada is not Lord Krsna or God, but he is as good as God because he is the confidential servitor of the Lord (saksad dharitvena . . . kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya). All advancement that a disciple makes toward reestablishing his eternal relationship with Krsna must go through the facility of the spiritual master (yasya prasadad bhagavatprasadah) and if (yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ‘pi).

"My Lord, devotees like your good self are virtual holy places personified (tirtha-bhutah svayam). (Bhag. 1.13.10) "Those great sages who have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord can at once sanctify those who come in touch with them. We here at ISKCON Honolulu are inconceivably blessed to have Srila Prabhupada's personal association for our purification. The grounds here offer him a mango tree in the front yard complimented with a backyard bamboo hut under one of the largest banyan trees in Hawaii, and the only whole set of Pancatattva deities (Lord Caitanya and associates) in our whole movement. And we, the devotees, are attempting to offer him some humble service and follow his orders. This is not just some nice material arrangement, but on the contrary, that which Srila Prabhupada has given is Vedic, and because it is perfectly bona fide, those who are following it are getting the result of clearing away all illusions and realizing their actual position as loving servitors of Krsna.


Your servants at ISKCON Honolulu

Manasvi dasa adhikari / Vraja-kisora dasa brahmacari / Niscintya dasa brahmacari / Godruma dasa brahmacari / Bhumna dasa brahmacari / Laksmana dasa brahmacari / Kardama dasa brahmacari / Mayapura-candra dasa brahmacari / Madhvacarya dasa brahmacari / Vasudeva Ghosa dasa brahmacari / Rama-laksmana dasa brahmacari / Kanva dasa brahmacari / Yasodadulala dasa brahmacari / Nitai-gauracandra dasa brahmacari / Pandu dasa brahmacari / Kailasa-candra dasa brahmacari / Hrsikesa dasa adhikari / Harivasara dasa adhikari / Ranga-ranjana dasa adhikari / Premarnava dasa adhikari / Bhakta Michael / Bhakta Howard / Bhakta Steve / Bhakta Eric / Bhakta Derrick / Iksvakurani-devi dasi / Gopila-devi dasi / Sita-devi dasi / Kadamba-devi dasi / Taruna-devi dasi / Desampunyati-devi dasi / Jayasri-devi dasi / Bhaktin Carissa / Rohini-devi dasi

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Quotes from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are copyright by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust