Reports from Devotees Far and Wide
From Adridharan das of Calcutta, India
17 January 1994
Dear Bhakta Prabhu:
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I have received your fax dated 14th January ’94 and have gone through the contents. It was unfortunate that I was not able to receive your association during your visit to Vrindavan. However, my U.S. trip was worthwhile, if you may call it that. I was able to meet some of the top specialized architects who do the kind of work we are attempting here in Calcutta. I saw many of their works and subsequently interviewed them and selected three prospective companies. I am waiting for their working proposals and then we will negotiate and select one company. We hope to begin work in the next few months.
I have just finished my traveling around the U.S., and it was quite a shocking experience. For me it was returning back to the U.S. almost after 15 years, when the times were very good. The situation is now in a dismal condition. Something like a consortium of many maths or more like an American version Gaudiya Math. Temples are struggling to maintain the deities, scarcity of devotees even to take care of the essential temple program, salaried workers in the garb of devotees. Small kutumba (family) of disciples, gurus are feeling comfort and secure in their relationships, oblivious of the house of ISKCON crumbling around them. It was very depressing. Most of all, the inabilities of the leaders to see that something is even fundamentally wrong made things unbearable. The solution is another matter, but unless we confront the truth that we have messed up can we move to the stage of correction. Preaching to the Americans is practically nil. The whole game plan is to strike at the Hindus, which is after all a soft target. We don’t have the strength nor the potency of inspiration to strike at the real target, the Americans. Anyway, you already know everything. What else can I say? To me, the solution is as clear as crystal—unless we can put Srila Prabhupada back in the center, so that everybody can have relationship with him, I don’t see a bright future.
From Bhakta das, Bangkok, Thailand
19 January 1994
Dear Das Dasanudas devi dasi:
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!
Thank you very much for your fax letter which just arrived. For so many weeks I was wondering when I would receive copies of the magazine. I understand the problems of transportation. There is no cheap and efficient way that I know of, except to have them personally carried in a suitcase when a passenger flies between SIN and BKK. That is best. Any other way is not cost efficient.
I believe I will be stopping over in Singapore sometime in early March. The date is not yet established, but I will advise Bhima when the plans are confirmed.
Yesterday in the earthquake the Los Angeles Temple was destroyed. The deities were not damaged, but the temple room is finished. In 1973 I was present along with Jayatirtha when Srila Prabhupada was screaming at Jayatirtha and severely chastising him for making that temple room in deliberate disobedience to Srila Prabhupada’s command. That temple room was never blessed by Srila Prabhupada, and now we see the effect 20 years later! We must be convinced of the absolute infallibility of every word Srila Prabhupada has spoken or written. He is perfect. He is our only source of perfect knowledge. If our senses support what we hear from him, then we can accept it, but if our senses tell us Srila Prabhupada is wrong, we must reject that as false knowledge. That is faith. Whatever he says I accept in total without doubt. If we have this conviction, then every easily we can understand who is Krishna, who am I and the process of devotional service to go back to home, back to Godhead.
Each day I am realizing how wonderfully simple Krishna consciousness is and how it is truly available for everyone, as much as the sunshine is there for everyone. Srila Prabhupada’s mercy is not selective. It is only our receptivity that makes it appear that some are getting more mercy than others.
Whatever I write is just from my heart. I am a fool who disobeyed, ignored and threw stones at the face of my spiritual master for many years. By his causeless mercy only I have been picked up and allowed again to follow my vows and try to become an obedient child. This is not humility. It is fact. He is so kind, so good and so compassionate that again and again he forgives us our offenses and continues to implore us to take up the Harinama with determination. He certainly understands all our weaknesses and he knows that eventually the child will learn to walk! We can never find words sufficient to glorify His Divine Grace. His glory is limitless. But, I know that he will be most satisfied simply when he sees us all chanting and dancing together, with tears of love in our eyes, our bodies shivering in bliss, the hairs standing up like sticks all over our body and our voices choked up as we realize our eternal position as servant of the servants of the servants of Sri Sri Radha Krishna.
Your name is very nice. Just like my name. Both have the same meaning. When Srila Prabhupada told me my name, he said, “Your name is Bhakta dasa. This name means that you are the servant of the devotees. The more you think of yourself as the servant of the devotees, the faster you will advance in spiritual life. The more you think you are becoming a master, the faster you will go to hell!” So the deep-rooted desire for personal recognition is one of the hardest anarthas for the aspiring devotee to overcome. Our mind starts to tell us how we are so advanced, and this is the most dangerous idea. We have seen what has happened to innumerable devotees by this thinking. So we must always beat our minds continually by remembering that we are nothing except infinitesimal particles of spirit embedded in maya, due to our refusal to surrender to the will of the Lord since time immemorial.
Please offer my respects and sincere best wishes to all the devotees with you.
Your servant always,