Johannesburg, South Africa — Saturday, November 10th

Child's play

Today we celebrate Lord Krishna's transcendental pastime of lifting Govardhan Hill. Because Krishna is God, He is the supreme powerful, so it is not very astonishing that He was able to lift Govardhan Hill: it was, in fact, mere child's play for Him.

Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill to prove that He was God Himself, in Person, by displaying one of His six opulences: His unlimited strength (viryasya). In the Vishnu Purana (6:5:47), it is said:

aisvaryasya samagrasya / viryasya yasasah sriyah
jnana-vairagyayas caiva / sannam bhaga itingana

"Bhagavan — God Himself, in Person — is defined as one who is full in six opulences: He whose unlimited wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation, individually and collectively, exceeds all others."

In the Krishna Book (a summary of the pastimes of Lord Krishna), Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad writes: to show that He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, "Lord Krishna immediately picked up Govardhan Hill with one hand, exactly as a child picks up a mushroom from the ground.... The inhabitants of Vrindavan.... were simply astonished to see how Krishna was holding up the mountain with the little finger of His left hand."

To display His unlimited bodily strength and power, Krishna did not have to use two hands to lift Govardhan Hill, but just one hand; He did not have to use His (typically stronger) right hand, but just His left hand; He did not have to use His whole hand, but just one finger of His hand; and He not only used one finger, but He nonchalantly, insouciantly, used just the little finger of His left hand!

And get this — when Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill, He was just seven years old!

Krishna did not have to practice, or meditate, to learn how to become God: He proved that He was God from the very beginning of His transcendental pastimes here on this earth, when, even as a child, He performed extraordinary, superhuman feats like lifting Govardhan Hill — using just the little finger of His left hand!

Tags: Krishna's Pastimes

Johannesburg, South Africa — Wednesday, November 14th

Srila Prabhupad's compassion

My life changed completely after I read Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad's Bhagavad Gita, As It Is in 1981. When I read Krishna's succinct explanation of the transmigration of the soul, I had an epiphany: I was going to try to live my life according to the principles of Krishna consciousness.

All the questions I had about Krishna consciousness were answered in The Science of Self-Realization, the next book I read by Srila Prabhupad. Eager to know more about this great Vaishnava saint, I began reading his biography, Srila Prabhupad Lilamrita. This one paragraph, from the last chapter of Volume I, A Lifetime In Preparation, affected me deeply:

Mr. Choksi [remembers]: I asked him [Srila Prabhupad], "Why couldn't you go earlier? Why do you want to go to the States now, at this age?" He replied, "I will be able to do something good, I am sure." His idea was that someone should be there who would be able to go near people who were lost in life, and teach them, and tell them what the correct thing is.

Srila Prabhupad was so merciful, so concerned for the suffering and the misfortune of others. He gave me so much hope! I felt so alone in South Africa. I wanted to be good, I wanted to love God, but there was nobody to show me how. And here was this old man who seemed to hear my cry, who seemed to understand my necessity, who wanted to come to show me how to love God, how to devote my life to Krishna...

After reading the biography of this incredibly kind and compassionate old man who tried so desperately to come to the West, "to go near people who were lost in life, and teach them, and tell them what the correct thing is," I could have no doubt: "Here is my guru!"

But alas! As I was to discover, Srila Prabhupad was dead. What was I to do? Why did Krishna make me read these books — why did He make me all excited about Krishna consciousness? — for nothing? It seemed like such a cruel trick.

But all was not lost. In The Bhagavat, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur says:

God gives us truth... when we earnestly seek for it.... The soul receives a revelation when it is anxious for it. The souls of the great thinkers of the bygone ages, who now live spiritually, often approach our inquiring spirit and assist it in its development.

And so it was that a few months later I met Yudhamanyu Prabhu, who gave me a tattered, xeroxed copy of Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Maharaj's seventeen-page pamphlet (later published as the booklet, Guardian of Devotion) — and there was Srila Prabhupad to guide me, to tell me:

"For spiritual advancement of life, we must go to someone who is actually practicing spiritual life. So, if you are actually serious to take instructions from a siksha-guru, I can refer you to the most competent of all my godbrothers, B.R. Sridhar Maharaj, whom I consider to be even my siksha-guru, so what to speak of the benefit that you can have by his association."

Krishna had not played a cruel trick on me! Srila Prabhupad was not dead! Srila Prabhupad was so compassionate and so determined to bring everybody to Krishna consciousness that even after he left this world, he still came back "to go near people who were lost in life, and teach them, and tell them what the correct thing is" — to show latecomers like me the way.

Thank you Srila Prabhupad!

Tags: Gurus & Guardians

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