Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I wrote this little report in a letter to Bhakta Thobile from South Africa and as it was unfolding I thought it would be good for the diary also.
I am in Germany at the moment in Nrsimha Ksetra for a few days, the home of Lord Nrsimhadeva. Devotees have gathered from Germany, Tsech and Austria for a sankirtana festival and to get the blessings of Lord Nrsimhadeva. The Deity of Lord Nrsimhadeva is one of the three major deities of this form of the Lord installed in ISKCON. One in Mayapur for India, one in New Vrndavana for the USA and one in Germany for Europe. Nrsimha Ksetra is without a doubt a place of pilgrimage and I hope that devotees will take the opportunity to visit there.
I am giving a little 3-day seminar called, “In every town and village”. The first day we discussed how Krishna consciousness is spreading to every continent of the globe America,Europe, Australia and also Africa. Which is wonderful! At the same time Krishna consciousness is like a “Culture Transplant”. It was in South Africa that Dr.Barnard did the first heart transplant. So when the heart is placed within another body, then after some time there is a reaction from the body, which wants to reject this foreign element, the new heart. So with a “Culture Transplant” it is the same, it feels foreign to Americans, Europeans, Australian and Africans and after some time we may experience some resistance in ourselves or from friends and family. So if we want to conquer “Every town and village” then we must not forget to conquer the “City of nine gates” and make sure that Krishna is treated as the most important person present there.
(I think you are aware of the story of King Puranjana in the 4th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, where the body is compared to a city with nine gates.)
Sometimes we tend to think of ourselves as the main inhabitant of this city and we forget that Krishna, the Supreme Lord of living beings, resides there too. Without a doubt Krishna is the main person living in our body, besides ourselves and all the others such as germs, worms and bacteria.
The second day we spoke about “Compassion”. A bookdistribution marathon is not a small thing, devotees make a real sacrifice. I have been traveling this marathon in the north of Europe, where devotees go out in icy temperatures. Not a small feat at all. One of the features of the marathon is the spirit of a national and even worldwide competition, something like the Olympics. Devotees want to be “number one” and win! Of course some may say, what wrong with being “number 2”? But still we wouldn’t mind winning the marathon if we could. But as we are doing marathon after marathon, year after year, the desire for such competion dies out. We need something deeper to motivate us, the philosophy tells us “Compassion”. Well, compassion is quite an exalted state of consciousness, where one is ready to voluntarily accept discomfort to relieve the suffering of others. Easier said than done. And even if we do it, how long can it go on? Sometimes compassion is born out of a philosophical understanding that to be compassionate is the best thing to be. We think yes I must be compassionate. And just like a professional actor on stage, we put on the costum of a wellfareworker and practice a merciful smile in front of the mirror. Yet, how long can we be out there in the real world, where most people are not waiting for a hare krishna devotee to come and tell them what to do with their life. No, it won’t last when we practice compassion just based on an idea. Compassion only works if we ourselves are really having a wonderful, inspiring experience in Krishna consciousness. When our heart is flowing over with ecstacy, then and only then, no austerity is too great, and can we be dedicated to distribute the mercy forn the rest of our lives. Real compassion is born in a heart full of inspiration.
Today we continue with the seminar and I am planning to discus how this inspiration depends on the mercy of Krishna and the vaisnavas. We are not in control of our heart, our feelings are like the wheather, you never know what it will be like. With Krishna’s blessings only can we be inspired.
The session became quite nice with many devotees telling what was the source of their inspiration.
Meanwhile I have flown to Australia, the other side of the world, it was a long journey . Here X-Mas & New Year is a major summer event. The devotees have a big festival after the marathon, a one week hari nama festival with about 100 devotees lead by BB Govinda Swami, Indradyumna Maharaja, Madhuvisa Prabhu. I joined for the last few days. The program went from 5pm ’till after midnight, quite a party. Lots of people dancing,at one point a group of chinese really got in to it and danced very enthusiatically for a long time. Krishna consciousness is flooding ‘Every Town & Village’.
Kadamba Kanana Swami