One Sincere Soul

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By Janananda Gosvami

Have the days gone of the brave pioneering adventurous warriors in Krishna consciousness. Going alone to far distant places armed only with faith in Srila Prabhupada and the holy names. No money, support, place to stay, or assets of the material form. Is it still possible or effective to go out on the streets chanting Hare Krishna in the old fashioned style. It was not unusual for devotees in far fetching cities and towns to go alone against all odds. It may not be the trend of the day some may say, but the following might provide food for thought

Satya Medha prabhu who is a young devotee from Bangladesh, a disciple of HH Jayapataka Swami, working and living in Newcastle upon Tyne in the north-east of England. Newcastle is famous as a heavy working class city. The last place one would expect a shy, slightly built, brown bodied, Vaisnava to single handedly confront the forces of Kali. He goes out several days a week alone, even though he works full time in the IT world. Here is one of many of his amazing accounts which I hope will inspire others to take up the challenge of bliss. “This sankirtan movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large. It gives us a taste of the nectar for which we are always anxious”

“Just last week I had an hour of Harinama in Newcastle city centre in the morning nobody gave any donation. I tried to distribute books but no one seemed to be interested. The weather forecast was heavy rain, but morning was quite sunny. I thought of going to Sunderland, a nearby city. When I reached Sunderland city centre, it was full of people shopping. I set up the book table in front of a bank so that the wind didn’t blow away the books. I was hesitating whether to put a donation box or not as I knew from the past that people here are very reluctant to give donations or buy books. Even I had heard that the people are a bit stone hearted , and very materialistic. Especially on Saturday they tend to drink incessantly and can become quite mad by the combination of the football matches and pubs. I was thinking - let me do Harinama for an hour then I’ll go back to Newcastle safely before it is dark. After a few minutes of starting Harinama some kids came and put some money in the donation box. I wasn’t expecting this, maybe kids liked the tune. So let me continue singing in this way I thought. Then there was another bunch of older boys, followed by a group of girls who came to give donations, They took books. It was just the beginning. Later 15-16 years old boys and girls were coming to take books and give laxmi. When they came others started following them from all directions - young men, elderly gentleman, young and elderly ladies, college students – all types of people were coming. The donation box was full in no time and all the books were gone. More people came. I said “I’ve no books left”. They said “take the money anyway”. It started raining, but I couldn’t stop Harinama. People were still coming and giving donations, smiling and waving their hands. I was looking at their faces - Krishna is so wonderful, Krishna is so merciful - He gave them intelligence. I’ve a low voice, and I cannot sing nicely. After two and half hours my speaker’s battery ran out, I was trying to sing from the top of my voice. Thank you Krishna for allowing me to be a little instrument for Your pleasure. If I could only sing nicely to please Krsna!!

.
11 November, 1967 My Dear Brahmananda, I have read your statements regarding opening centers. I am not in agreement with Mr. Altman that we are expanding very thinly. In my opinion, a single sincere soul can maintain a center. You know I started the center at 26 2nd Ave. alone. I took the risk of 200.00 dollars per month for the rent. At that time there were no assistants. Mukunda was at that time a friend but there was no responsibility for him for maintaining the center. Gradually Kirtanananda and Hayagriva joined but they did not take any responsibility. Still I was maintaining the establishment simply depending on Krishna and then Krishna sent me everything—men and money. Similarly, if a sincere soul goes out and opens a center in any part of the world Krishna will help him in all respects. Without being empowered by Krishna, nobody can preach Krishna Consciousness. It is not academic qualification or financial strength which helps in these matters, but it is sincerity of purpose which helps us always. In this way you will follow my example as I did in the beginning at 26 2nd Ave. That is preaching, cooking, writing, talking, chanting everything one man’s show. I never thought about the audience. I was prepared to chant if there were no man to hear me. The principle of chanting is to glorify the Lord and not to attract a crowd. If Krishna hears nicely then he will ask some sincere devotee to gather in such place. Therefore, be advised that thousands of centers may be started if we find out a sincere soul for each and every center. We do not require more men to start. If there is one sincere soul that is sufficient to start a new center. Your ever well-wisher A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

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1 Locanananda dasa

The times have surely changed, Maharaja, but must WE change with the times?

Harinam Sankirtana is eternal, and it is the chanting of the Holy Name that is at the heart of our movement. The Krishna consciousness movement expands as our chanting of the Holy Name expands. There is no limit to the opportunities we will have to introduce the world to the chanting of Hare Krishna as long as we earnestly desire to do so.

Back in 1971, Harivilas Prabhu and I were going out daily to chant on the streets of Paris. We thought we would soon be leaving for India, but Krishna had another plan. We received a telegram from Srila Prabhupada who wanted to see our new temple. Actually, we had no temple, only my small apartment, but we took the telegram as a sign that there was a temple in Paris waiting to be discovered. So we cancelled all other plans and began to search for the temple Srila Prabhupada wanted to visit.

In 1971, we rented a house in a suburb of Paris called Fontenay-aux-Roses which Srila Prabhupada actually visited the following year. From there, we moved to a new center
in an affluent Parisian neighborhood and soon thereafter acquired the New Mayapur
property where Srila Prabhupada personally installed the Deities of Krishna Balarama
in 1976.

I left France in 1983 and returned to New York where I still reside twenty-five years later. During those twelve years, from 1971 to 1983, I saw the population of full-time devotees
in France grow from the two of us (Harivilas prabhu and myself) to more than 400, including seventy-five full time book distributors, a new devotee program with twenty-five young bhaktas, and a farming community that included a gurukula with 100 students and sixty adult members.

I look back at this phenomenal growth as one of Krishna’s miracles, and I was very fortunate to bear witness to its unfolding. Whether these things can occur again depends upon our faith in the Holy Name, our perseverance and determination, and upon our sense of urgency to deliver the world from its darkness and despair.

Your servant,
Locanananda dasa
NYC

Comment posted by Locanananda dasa on May 28th, 2008
2 kavicandra swami

Thank you very much for this one. I hope that others will follow his example. The first harinam party I saw was one devotee, Narada Muni Prabhu. I was captured. I often go by myself and have found it to be most blissful. There is no shelter other than that holy name.

Please continue your glorifacation and promotion of Hari Nama Sankirtan….

Your servant,
Kavicandra Swami

Comment posted by kavicandra swami on May 29th, 2008
3 Locanananda dasa

Despite inclement weather, devotees gathered tonight in New York City at Times Square to spread the mercy of the Holy Name. We took inspiration from a video showing how we belong to a great family of devotees that performs sankirtana throughout the entire world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxTVxyTnyRk

(There is also a link to The Sankirtana Movement video under Vaisnava Media in the right-hand margin on this page)

We are all connected by this chanting, and we can take transcendental pride in joining the mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu with all of the acaryas in our line. Let us also take strength from and encourage one another as we propagate the yuga dharma under the direction of our dearmost spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, and his trusted followers.

Comment posted by Locanananda dasa on June 1st, 2008
4 pustakrishna

Ditto for South Africa and many other places in those former days. It was not us, really, but the inspiration of Srila Prabhupad working through us. It was truly transcendental! What I can say, in each and every circumstance, and for each and every bhakta, what we realize is that SRILA PRABHUPAD BROUGHT OUT THE VERY BEST IN EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. It did not matter what background we had, what experience we had, what kind of karma we had, Srila Prabhupad created, willed, our good fortune.
Today I was reading about Hrdayananda Maharaj’s discussion on homosexuality and Krishna consciousness. It was closed to further comments to write in that article, but I wanted to say just this. That Srila Prabhupad did not reject his homosexual disciples. Some of them performed very great service for Mahaprabhu’s mission. Great service. And, if later they returned to material consciousness, being swallowed by their karma again for the time being, who could discount the value that Srila Prabhupad brought to their lives and eternal existence by engaging them, any of us, in Krishna conscious service.
And, whatever karma one came with, it was set aside to reawaken the souls to their eternal connection with Krishna.
We never know what seeds are sown by sankirtan or preaching work or book distribution. These seeds are mercy of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga. Many will fructify in this or future lives. As Srila Prabhupad expressed, he was not concerned with the result, leaving all to Krishna’s mercy. Srila Prabhupad said above, and he also told me personally, to continue to preach Krishna consciousness, even if no one is there to listen, then you yourself will be benefitted. We are very happy to hear the story in this article because it reinspires us to carry on. Srila Prabhupad prepared himself for decades and then began his preaching work in the West at age 70. We servitors who are watching the years roll on can become reinspired to serve Sri Gurudeva with renewed vigor into the mature years of our lives. It is possible, it is possible, it is possible. Hare Krishna. Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on December 22nd, 2008

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