The fifth day of the ILS was the Appearance Day of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, the spiritual master of Srila Prabhupada. ILS delegates were given a break from seminars on this holy day so that they could spend a day in prayers, meditation, hearing and chanting.
After mangala-arati, Niranjana Swami and Radhanatha Swami delivered a special class to mark the occasion.
Niranjana Swami explained that one can learn Prabhupada’s mood of humility from his diary entry on board the Jaladuta on 10thSeptember 1965, where he says, ‘Today the ship is plying very smoothly. I feel today better. But I am feeling separation from Sri Vrindaban and my Lords Sri Govinda, Gopinath, Radha Damodar. The only solace is Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita in which I am tasting the nectarine of Lord Chaitanya’s Leela. I have left Bharat Bhumi just to execute the order of Sri Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati in pursuance of Lord Chaitanya’s order. I have no qualification, but I have taken up the risk just to carry out the order of His Divine Grace. I depend fully on Their mercy so far away from Vrindaban.’
“The criteria of the devotees’ success is not that he thinks ‘I am authorised, therefore I am qualified’. One should think, ‘I am authorised, but I need to be aware of my lack of qualifications, and will always become dependent on the Lord’. Success is always guaranteed to those who are conscious of their subordinate position,” said Niranjana Swami to the delegates, many of whom had lined up 30 minutes before the lecture to hear the two speakers. “Srila Prabhupada always gave credit to his higher authorities, his spiritual master and Lord Chaitanya, and never took credit for himself.”
Niranjana Swami recollected how Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraaswati Thakura instructed Srila Prabhupada in 1936 to push the Krishna consciousness movement to the English speaking world.
“Srila Prabhupada told us that if we strictly try to serve the spiritual master seriously, Krishna will give us all facilities,” concluded Niranjana Swami. “Therefore he requested us to please take this movement seriously. Prabhupada told us, ‘I shall go away and you will live, but you should push this movement’. The rest is dependent on ourselves – in how we keep ourselves in this humble and subordinate position.”
In the next address, Radhanatha Swami recalled Srila Prabhupada’s instructions delivered on a previous appearance day of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. “Srila Prabhupada told his followers that Lord Chaitanya had instructed all those born in India to accept this message and share it with the world. He explained that it was Srila Bhaktivinoda Thaura’s desire that people from the West and the East should accept this movement equally. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has asked: Oh, when will that day come when people from America, England, France, Germany and Russia will take up karatals and mridangas and chant Hare Krishna in their towns?”
Radhanatha Swami mentioned that Srila Prabhupada always felt the presence of his Guru Maharaja, and never felt alone. “After one year, Srila Prabhupada had only $200 left from the sale of his books. He invested everything he had in renting 26, Second Avenue. He had nothing more. In this way, Srila Prabhupada was always reminding us that our existence is fully reliant on how we humble ourselves, and how we depend on our spiritual master, and Lord Chaitanya.”
Radhanatha Swami read out a letter from Srila Prabhupada in which he ended the letter by saying, “I am trying a little bit and you are all helping me. So, I have to thank you more. You are actually the representatives of my Guru Maharaja… because you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Maharaja.”
Radhanatha Swami explained that in the recording, Prabhupada said his last words in a choked voice. He urged everyone to keep aside differences, since they were all insignificant and did not matter in light of the instructions from our spiritual masters.
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