Shiv Kumar Lohia
Most Revered and Respected Srila Prabhupada,
Today is a very auspicious day, as you appeared on this day.
As early as in 1935, on the occasion of Vyasa Puja celebrations for your Spiritual Master, you wrote a poem which delighted him. One of the stanzas was;
Forgotten Krishna, we fallen souls
Paying most heavy the illusion’s toll
Darkness around, all untrace
The only Hope, Your Divine Grace
In other stanzas, you also mentioned that though Caitanya is full of brace but unknown to all. After reading the poem Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur was especially keen that you preach and write in English.
I have heard and read so many amazing tales of your courage, determination, vision and administrative prowess. The list is endless. Had my fate ordained, I could have had your audience in flesh and blood.
How wonderful it would have been to meet you during one of your strolls with your devotees at Victoria Memorial in Kolkata or at Temple at Albert Street. To watch you doing so many jobs at a time.
I was feeling uneasy about the same. However, one of your writings helped me out. In CC –Madhya lila 17.5, you wrote “It is not that everyone is able to see Krishna or Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu physically, but if one hears about Him through books like Sri Caitanya Caritamrita and through parampara system of pure vaisnavas, there is no difficulty in becoming a pure vaisnava free from mundane desires and personal motivation.”
I could realize that same applies to you as well. As I went through various preaching programmes, attending ISKCON temples, participating in programmes there, watching the dedication of the devotees there, reading your books, hearing your lectures, I could well realize the power punch the whole package have on a person like me.
Later on I came to know that you have laid maximum emphasis on preaching in all possible manners. You have also left a priceless treasure trove of rare gems in the shape of books on all relevant scriptures. The magnitude of hard work, dedication and divine intelligence can only be felt but can’t be described in words.
The infrastructure in shape of ISKCON that you have created is beyond description, as the same is not made of bricks and mortar but love and true compassion towards mankind at large. This infrastructure is wholly working to attract souls towards Krishna.
They are doing the works as inaugurated by Lord Caitanya Himself- ceto darpana marjnam. I experienced this when I attended Conference at Mayapur way back in 2005.
Thereafter, I was repeatedly contacted, invited to visit ISKCON temples and their programs. I was encouraged to read your books. That has changed my life.
There is a strong evidence of the potency of your preaching in the mission you created. Srila Prabhupada, your books, your lectures literally chased me down.
The dramatic way in which they entered my life ensured that they are not different from you – sentient and completely ecstatic. It gives access to your personal presence. Following the process in your books and lectures with unflinching shraddha is the medicine for all material ills. It nourishes our spiritual health.
Your words are straightforward, no mincing words. The simple logic of your purports unfolds the verses of scriptures in totality. You have challenged the dogmas and exposed the limitations of so-called scientific advances, proving beyond doubt Krishna’s supremacy.
Srila Prabhupada, I am changing bit by bit, as if you are chiseling a devotee out of a stone, visualizing the outcome and carving out meticulously by each and every hammering.
Your penchant for maintaining high quality in devotional practice is unparalleled. You never accepted any deviation or any halfhearted attempts.
In a letter to one devotee you said, “This routine work such as chanting, speaking, rising early, cleaning, cooking and offering prasadam, arati, reading books – these activities are the backbone of our Society, and if we practice them nicely in a regulative manner, then our whole program will be successful. If we become slack or neglect these things, then everything else we may try will fail. So it is very important that you keep your standards very high in these activities, then your preaching will be strong.”
I am amazed at the whole edifice built by you all over the world. The commitment and dedication of your trusted soldiers are worth emulating. This speaks volumes about your leadership quality.
Cakshu dan dilo jei, janme janme prabhu sei.
You are the chosen one by Krishna to enlighten the world.
Once a devotee approached you and said, “ Srila Prabhupada, I can trust you. I can surrender to you. But I can’t trust your representatives. I can’t surrender to them, because I fear they may cheat me.” And you replied “Don’t surrender to me either, I may also cheat you. Surrender to Krishna.”
In purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.8), you wrote,
“The success of spiritual life is satisfying the spiritual master and thereby getting his sincere blessings.
Srila Vishvanath Cakravarti Thakura has sung in his famous eight stanzas on the spiritual master as follows, ‘I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master. Only by his satisfaction one can please the Personality of Godhead, and when he is dissatisfied there is only havoc on the path of spiritual realization.’
It is essential, therefore, that a disciple be very much obedient and submissive to the bonafide spiritual master.
Srila Suta Goswami fulfilled all these qualifications as a disciple, and therefore he was endowed with all favors by his learned and self-realized spiritual masters, such as Srila Vyasdeva and others.
The sages of Naimisaranya were confident that Srila Suta Goswami was bona-fide. Therefore they were anxious to hear from him.”
Srila Prabhupada, you too fulfilled all the qualities as mentioned above. The whole world knows that you were chosen to carry out the most sacred order of Lord Krishna Caitanya-
prithvithe ache yata nagaradi grama/sarvatra prachar hoibe mora nama.
The task of spreading the holy name in every town and village etc. of the world is a daunting task. I can dare say that before you successfully attempted, it was an unimaginable task.
But you had the blessings of your spiritual master, who realized your potential. However, for more than 25 years, the flame of such desire kept on burning in your heart. You had nothing else but your conviction, determination and unflinching faith in your spiritual master.
You were blessed with the hitherto unknown greatest wealth of the Golok- goloker premdhana – harinam sankirtan.
You followed the foot-steps of Lord Caitanya Himself as mentioned in CC-madhya lila 25.264-68:
Jiva nistarite prabhu bhramila dese-dese
Apne asvadi bhakti karila prakase
“To deliver all fallen souls, the Lord traveled from country to country. He personally tasted the transcendental pleasure of devotional service, and He simultaneously spread the cult of devotion everywhere.”
You followed the Lord Caitanya’s footsteps in spreading the Krishna consciousness:
Krsna-tattva, bhakti-tattva, prema-tattva sara
Bhava-tattva, rasa-tattva, lila-tattva ara
“Krishna consciousness means understanding the truth of Krishna, the truth of devotional service, the truth of love of Godhead, the truth of emotional ecstasy, the truth of transcendental mellows and the truth of the pastimes of the Lord.”
In purport to CC,madhya-lila 10-67, you write, “Even if a person is rejected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotees of the Lord do not reject him, therefore the Lord’s devotee is more merciful.”
My dear Srila Prabhupada, I am a fallen soul. You have so kindly and graciously illuminated my path. Please take me in your merciful embrace. Wherever and whenever I am at fault, please punish and correct me as has been said in the following lines:
durdaive sevaka yadi yaya anya sthane
sei thakura dhanya tare cule dhari ane
“If by chance a servant falls down and goes somewhere else, glorious is that master who captures him and brings him back by the hair.” (cc,Antya-lila 4.47)
Your insignificant servant,
Shiv Kumar Lohia