VYAS PUJA OFFERING 2009
SRILA PRABHUPADA, “THE BIG BOAT”
Waves of the Big Boat:
When a huge tanker moves through the ocean, waves are created that travel for hundreds and hundreds of miles.
The wake of the Big Boat can be seen reaching shores of continents even thousands of miles away. Envisioning this, we can see that such a great personality as Srila Prabhupada has certainly impacted this whole planet, and will continue to do so for thousands of years.
To limit his ability to affect everyone in this universe is certainly simple minded. And though his “vahana” is certainly his Iskcon, to think that all spiritual growth seemingly “outside” of the Iskcon institution is separated from him, is similarly over simplified.
In the wake of the Big Boat, we not only see spiritual growth in one dimension, but in many dimensions.
We now see the popularity of Kirtan raging in the Western world. We see many other teachers and gurus, endorsing and leading Kirtans, in Yoga classes, in stage performances, at parties and reunions; the list goes on and on.
We see other Gurus, big and small, teaching their flocks to chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. We also see many animal rights movements springing up everywhere, a huge vegetarian movement, anti-furcoat movements, etc. Perhaps such pious work is designed for those jivas who have not yet the sukriti, pious karmas, to chant Hare Krishna and become Vaishnavas, but who are busily accruing the sukriti to do so.
I see this in my own family; my sister, who met Srila Prabhupada in 1968, but could not grasp his teachings, was a devout meat-eater. Now, so many years later, she is a devout vegetarian and animal rights spokesman. All this I see as the “waves of the Big Boat.”
Every jiva has Krishna in his or her heart, from human to animal to insect. Not all will have the adhikar, eligibility, to receive pure Vaishnava teachings. Some will have to go a different way, through the portals of karma, jnana, or yoga. Our job is not to judge them, especially those who are somehow progressing on the path of Krishna Bhakti. Our adhikar and their adhikar may certainly be quite different.
Krishna has created a vast variety of living entities with their different moods and desires He likes variety. When the jiva turns to Him, and expresses a desire to know Him, from within that jiva’s heart, Krishna guides him to a suitable guru or path. If the jiva is not sincere, He sends a guru who will cheat him, and assure him that he is indeed God. The “Cheaters and the Cheated.”
If the jiva is very sincere, and has also a good “bank balance” of sukriti, pious works, he may be drawn to a pure hearted Vaishnava guru. It is not for us to decide. This decision takes place within the heart of the living entity, and by the divine direction of Supersoul. It is foolish for us to criticize it.
Even we may not agree, or we think within our minds, “Oh, what does this person see in this teacher? How can they be so simple or blind?!” it is not proper for us to say these things.
As the waves of the Big Boat reach every shore of every nation, we will see that Krishna consiousness, or at least an inclination toward God realization, is reaching everyone. The demoniac will feel threatened and the innocent will become inspired. And if they are very fortunate, they will take up Hare Nama in some way, with some guru or teacher, Iskcon or otherwise.
Many yoga teachers from New York to California are chanting Hare Krishna. Such are the waves of the Big Boat.
Organizations such as the Seva Foundation of Ramdass, inspired by his Guru Maharaj Nim Karoli Baba, a Vrijbasi saint, have regular kirtans. Very recently I learned that at the time of Srila Prabhupada, Nim Karoli Baba sent a messenger disciple to Srila Prabhupada while in Vrindaban, requesting Srila Prabhupada’s disciples to come chant Hare Krishna at his ashram. Nim Karoli Baba saw the waves of the Big Boat. And so must we.
We must become more broadminded, and refuse to place limitations on the power and scope of our Gurudev Srila Prabhupada, and the divine mission of Lord Chaitanya. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has predicted the chanting of Hare Krishna in every town and village, and it will happen because He wants it--not because of us. (Rather, perhaps, in spite of us.)
Instead of fretting, criticizing or splitting hairs over this or that, perhaps it is wiser to pray for an opportunity to serve in this great movement of the Kali Age. Srila Prabhupada once said, it will go on, as the Lord has predicted, either we help or not help.
And if we choose to sit by the wayside, someone else will come to help.
Our best course is to chant the Holy Names, and pray to our Gurudev for guidance in finding some service we can do in this worldwide Sankirtan movement. And thus be able to ride the waves of the Big Boat--without “wiping out.”