Seeing The Real Vrndavana

 

1vrindavandham

 

Seeing The Real Vrndavana
by Hayagriva Dasa
excerpted from Back To Godhead Magazine
Oct 1, 2006 Volume-03 Number-31 (Indian)

Learning from Srila Prabhupada how to see beyond the material coverings to perceive the real dhama

I bend down to get through the door and enter a small, sparsely furnished room. Suddenly, I’m face to face with Srila Prabhupada. He’s sitting on the floor behind a low desk piled with books and papers.

“Jai!” he says. “Our Hayagriva has arrived.”

I pay dandabat obeisances by prostrating myself and touching his feet with my right hand. Then I place my hand to my forehead. To remember the spiritual master’s lotus feet is to remember Krsna. The effect is as cooling as sandalwood.

“nama om visnu-padaya krsna presthilya bhu-tale srimate bhaktivedanta- svamin iti namine,” I say, offering respects. Then I sit before him, and he smiles.

Although seventy-six, Prabhupada seems as ageless as ever. His head is freshly shaved, and the aroma of mustard- seed oil tells me that he has just received a massage. His complexion is radiant, his eyes clear, his face full and healthy. This is the face that attracted me that day when I was walking down New York’s Houston Street and first met him, the face that brought so many young seekers to that little storefront temple on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights. For us, his face embodies all the attractive qualities of devotion, for it’s a pure, truthful, and compassionate face. It is both happy and grave. It is magnanimous, gentle, and forgiving. It is also determined and self-controlled, and, above all, most learned and intelligent. It’s a face not afraid to love and give all in love for Krsna.

Indeed, Prabhupada’s face conjures all those virtues that lead to love of Krsna. It’s not an ordinary man’s face. It transports an entire spiritual fact, the Vedic culture, an atmosphere of bhakti . I first began realizing his potency just by Jlooking at his face. Whenever I’m Kr,na conscious, it makes me joyful. Whenever I’m not, I’m afraid to look at it; it accuses me, makes me ashamed without uttering a word. What power there is in the spiritual master’s face! What magne tism! What volumes of wisdom! ‘

“I’m glad you invited me here, Srila Prabhupada,” I say.

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Vrindaban Days

Vrindaban Days  Front cover

Vrindaban Days
Memories of an Indian Holy Town
by Howard Wheeler (Hayagriva dasa)

“This transcendental land of Vrindaban is populated by goddesses of fortune, who manifest as milkmaids and love Krishna above everything. The trees here fulfill all desires, and the waters of immortality flow through land made of philosopher’s stone. Here, all speech is song, all walking is dancing, and the flute is the Lord’s constant companion. Cows flood the land with abundant milk, and everything is self-luminous, like the sun. Since every moment in Vrindaban is spent in loving service to Krishna, there is no past, present, or future.” -Brahma Samhita (as excerpted from the book Vrindaban Days by Hayagriva das)

It is with great pleasure that we share with you this travel journal by Hayagriva Prabhu as a free PDF download which you can veiw or save by clicking on the underlined link below;

Vrindaban-Days

This book is a free pass to India through the personal memories of Hayagriva Prabhu.

Many of you have also read the other exciting book by Hayagriva Prabhu entitled “The Hare Krishna Explosion”, which you can also download by clicking on book at bottom of page.

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Prabhupada’s Vision for New Vrindaban: Simple Living and High Thinking

Krishna and Balaram with cows in Vrndavan

click on image to enlarge

…So, if you seriously want to convert this new spot as New Vrindaban, I shall advise you not to make it very much modernized. But as you are American boys, you must make it just suitable to your minimum needs. Not to make it too much luxurious as generally Europeans and Americans are accustomed. Better to live there without modern amenities. But to live a natural healthy life for executing Krishna Consciousness. It may be an ideal village where the residents will have plain living and high thinking. For plain living we must have sufficient land for raising crops and pasturing grounds for the cows. If there is sufficient grains and production of milk, then the whole economic problem is solved. (Letter to Hayagriva by Srila Prabhupada, June 1968)

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Stay High Forever

055_-_BTG_Year-1969_Volume-01_Number-26_Page_31

I enjoy reading and re-reading to old issues of Back to Godhead Magazine. And it seems the older the issue the more relishable the content, as is the case with this 1969 issue…

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva das
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine 1969 Vol. 1, No. 26

The joyful history of a dynamic transcendental movement

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare vibrates from a walkup temple on New York’s Lower East Side, from the sidewalks of Haight Ashbury, from Golden Gate Park, from a London flat, from student quarters in Hamburg and Amsterdam, from a storefront in Santa Fe, an exbowling alley in Montreal, a sprawling university campus in Ohio, from Old Vrindaban in India to New Vrindaban in the West Virginia mountains, and from Boston and Buffalo to Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver and across the Pacific to Hawaii.

Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The voices chanting the magic vibrations are invariably young. The chanting, accompanied by khartals (small hand cymbals), tambourines and drums, is often loud and frenetic. The dancing is vigorous. The middle-aged and elderly usually stand in doorways or look through windows, watching in amazement, unaware that they are witnessing a process of spiritual realization that has been practiced on this planet for thousands of years. They do not understand. No one really understands. The chanting just spreads. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna …

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The Hare Krishna Explosion

055_-_BTG_Year-1969_Volume-01_Number-26_Page_01

The joyful history of a dynamic transcendental movement
Excerpted from the Back to Godhead Magazine 1969 Vol. 1, Number 26

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare vibrates from a walkup temple on New York’s Lower East Side, from the sidewalks of Haight Ashbury, from Golden Gate Park, from a London flat, from student quarters in Hamburg and Amsterdam, from a storefront in Santa Fe, an exbowling alley in Montreal, a sprawling university campus in Ohio, from Old Vrindaban in India to New Vrindaban in the West Virginia mountains, and from Boston and Buffalo to Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver and across the Pacific to Hawaii.

Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The voices chanting the magic vibrations are invariably young. The chanting, accompanied by khartals (small hand cymbals), tambourines and drums, is often loud and frenetic. The dancing is vigorous. The middle-aged and elderly usually stand in doorways or look through windows, watching in amazement, unaware that they are witnessing a process of spiritual realization that has been practiced on this planet for thousands of years. They do not understand. No one really understands. The chanting just spreads. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna …

The Hare Krishna Explosion
By Hayagriva dasa

Hayagriva dasa

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To Edit or Not To Edit – That Is The Question

Srila Prabhupada-with-book

This is another very nice article by Govinda dasi on Book Changes, posted recently on the Sun. We are reprinting it here, as it is a very important issue, and needs to be shared with every devotee.

…Yes, he read his books daily, and he spoke from that original Bhagavad-gita for over 10 years! He gave lectures on nearly every verse in that original Gita, and he requested only a couple of corrections, such as “the planet of the trees,” (to be changed to “the pitris”), and a couple of other small corrections. Had only those few changes been made, perhaps this controversy would never have occurred.

However, the problem is this: BBT did not simply edit Srila Prabhupada’s books and make simple Sanskrit corrections; rather, they edited Srila Prabhupada’s books and made sweeping changes, over 5,000 of them in the Gita alone, and thus changed the “writer’s voice” that had been so artistically created by Srila Prabhupada and Hayagriva working together.

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The Hare Krishna Explosion

This is the index to the Contents of “The Hare Krishna Explosion” by Hayagriva dasa. We have posted it here almost in its entirety. This index will give you immediate access to the chapters by clicking on the following underlined links.

Also for a free PDF download, you can click on link at bottom of post.

The Hare Krishna Explosion
The Birth of Krishna Consciousness in America 1966 – 1969
by Hayagriva dasa

Contents

Note and Preface

Part I: New York, 1966

1) Visitor from Calcutta
2) Transcendental Invitations
3) Who Is Crazy?
4) Second Avenue Fire Sacrifice
5) The Hare Krishna Explosion
6) Back to Godhead

Part II: San Francisco, 1967

7) Swami in Hippieland
8) Flowers for Lord Jagannatha
9) Mad After Krishna
10) Soul Struck
11) San Francisco Rathayatra
12) Passage to India

Part III: New Vrindaban, 1968-1969

13) Enter, Srila Prabhupada
14) New Vrindaban, West Virginia
15) Seven Temples on Seven Hills
16) Krishna, The Flower-bearing Spring
17) The Guru and The Poet
18) Paramhansa in the Hills

Glossary of Non-English Words
The Author

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The Spiritual Master: Emissary of the Supreme Person

This is a well researched, nicely written article by Sriman Hayagriva Prabhu, with many quotes from Srila Prabhupada’s books. Worth the read!

The Spiritual Master: Emissary of the Supreme Person
By Hayagriva Dasa Adhikari
Published in Back to Godhead Magazine 1970, Vol.1, No.38

brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja

“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. By the mercy of both Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya-līlā 19.151)

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srila Prabhupada, once said that religion without philosophy is fanaticism and philosophy without religion is mental speculation. For a sincere student engaged in God realization, major philosophical points should be understood in the light of the guru, scripture and practical devotional service. One of the first points to understand is the position of the spiritual master. How is he related to Krsna? Is he Krsna? Is he an ordinary man? How should the disciple approach him? How can one know that the spiritual master is bona fide? What is the duty of the spiritual master? What are his symptoms? These and other questions concerning the spiritual master and Krsna are discussed herein by way of authoritative evidence compiled from the writings of Srila Prabhupada, the spiritual master himself.

In addition to rendering devotional service to Krsna through the spiritual master, the student should come to a philosophical understanding based on scripture of his own identity and the identity of the Supreme Person, Sri Krsna, and His emissary, the bona fide spiritual master. This understanding should correlate with the basic teachings of the spiritual master and other great saints and sages.

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Matchless Gifts; Summer 1966

…Srila Prabhupada was lecturing from the Bhagavad-gita…then, incredibly, midway through the lecture, an old white-haired begrizzled Bowery bum entered the storefront and walked right through the middle of the room, past all of us who sat in shocked silence, and on up towards Srila Prabhupada, who sat beneath the back windows. I didn’t know what he was about to do, but I noticed that he was carrying a package of paper handtowels and a couple of rolls of toilet paper. He didn’t say a word, but walked right past Srila Prabhupada and carefully placed the hand-towels by the sink and the toilet paper on the floor under the sink. Then, clearing his throat and saying something incoherent, he turned around and walked out. No one knew what to say and no one knew whether or not Srila Prabhupada had been insulted.

“Just see,” Srila Prabhupada suddenly said. “He has just begun his devotional service. That is the process. Whatever we have—it doesn’t matter what—we must offer it for Krsna’s service.”

Sleepers Awake!
New York: Summer 1966
By Hayagriva das

Excerpted from ‘Back To Godhead’ Magazine
1970-1973 Vol.1, No. 46

When I first met my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, I felt that there was never a time when I did not know him. I never tire of telling of my first meeting with him on the streets of Lower East Side New York. At the time, I was hurrying from my Mott Street apartment, which had become a refuge for psychedeliacs, to a much quieter apartment on Fifth Street where I hoped to get some peace. I was walking down Houston Street and across Bowery, past the rushing traffic and stumbling derelicts, and after crossing Bowery, just before Second Avenue, I saw His Divine Grace jauntily strolling down the sidewalk, his head high in the air, his hand in a beadbag. He struck me like a famous actor in a very familiar movie. He seemed ageless, though later I found out that he was seventy years old. He was wearing the traditional saffron colored robes of a sannyasi, the renounced order, and quaint white shoes with points. Coming down Houston Street, he looked like the genie that popped out of Aladdin’s lamp. I was fresh from a trip to India, and His Divine Grace reminded me of the many holy men I had recently seen walking the dirt roads of Hardwar and Rishikesh and bathing in the Ganges. I had gone to India to look for a guru but had returned disappointed. It was on this bright July morning, when I was least expecting it, that Sri Krsna, out of His infinite mercy, sent guru to me. The old Vedic adage—by the grace of Krsna you get guru, and by the grace of guru you get Krsna—was justified. Afterwards, Srila Prabhupada (as we were later to call him) often told me, “If you are sincere, you don’t have to search out your guru. Krsna will send him.” So amid the hot clang and clamor of Houston and Bowery, guru had found me out.

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Krsna lila: The Divine Forms and Pastimes

…The boys who are playing with Krsna and herding cows in Vrndavana are not ordinary living entities. They are highly developed sages who have acquired perfection by the accumulation of pious activities in past lives. For those who are under the spell of materialism, Krsna is an ordinary boy, but these cowherd boys in Vrndavana accept Him as their Master, and their Supreme Lovable Object. Consequently, all the individual boys and girls who sport in Goloka Vrndavana enjoy Krsna’s spiritual bliss. Similarly, the gopis are not ordinary cowherd girls, but are great sages who transform themselves in order to enjoy conjugal love with Krsna. Lord Caitanya spoke of them in this way: “Oh what penances did the gopis perform to eternally enjoy the beauty of the Lord Krsna? They drink His beauty with their eyes and they fill their eyes, their limbs and their hearts with celestial visions of His beauty. O, blessed are they, for they enjoy that sublime beauty which is the sweetest in the creation and which has no equal. The pure love of the gopis is like a glass that reflects this sweetness and these attributes. As the Lord sees these reflections, His sweetness increases and so does the love of the gopis. And both His sweetness and their love grow and grow as though competing with one another. And though both attain new brilliances, neither admits defeat in this wonderful competition…”

Krsna lila: The Divine Forms and Pastimes
By Sriman Hayagriva das Adhikari
From Back to Godhead Magazine 1970 Vol. 1, No. 32

Lord Krsna’s pastimes, His appearance and disappearance, are continuous and eternal throughout the universe. As far as these pastimes are concerned, there is no stoppage. It is hard for the common man to understand how Krsna’s lilas (pastimes) can be eternal. To our conception He was present on earth 5,000 years ago, and now He is gone. We compare Him to ourselves. We remain on this planet for 100 years at the most and then, like a bubble, we pop and disappear. Although this is true for ourselves, we should not compare our condition to that of the Absolute Godhead. His Body is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge, whereas ours is mortal and full of misery and ignorance. Consequently we cannot understand how Krsna’s lilas are eternal.

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The Guru: Via Media to God

I like these early articles published in Back to Godhead Magazine. The mood was different in the early days of this movement, as the emphasis was on preaching. We understood the importance of Hari Nama Sankirtan, Book and Prasadam distribution, and there was not so much politics and internal wrangling, as we see today. Devotees had such profound appreciation for Srila Prabhupada, and the Mission of Lord Caitanya. We were unified; “Srila Prabhupada built a house the whole world could live in”, and we were in a unique position to change the world. To go back to those early days, we need only to put Srila Prabhupada and Krishna, back in the center of all our activities.

The Guru: Via Media to God
By Hayagriva das
“Excerpted from ‘Back To Godhead’ magazine, courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc., http://www.Krishna.com.” 1970 Vol. 1, No. 34

It is always best to assume that we are in the modes of ignorance, and at least we will be right on that point. When knowledge is staggeringly finite, humility is the best policy. On the spiritual path one tries to make progress to the modes of goodness and then transcend, for it is not always possible to transcend the modes all at once. God alone is perfect, and we are always imperfect, even in our so-called liberated state. It is because we are imperfect that we have to take shelter of the perfect.

Lord Caitanya advises that we take shelter of a sadhu, who is a holy man of spotless character, sastra, which is scripture, and guru, who is the perfect spiritual master. The scriptures should be the guidelines for the other two. The guru is liberated because he follows scriptures, and the sadhu is pure and honest because he accepts scriptural principles. The insistence on the authority of the scripture is to discourage people from inventing their own religions and to warn others against following such fabricators.

Actually, only God can establish a religion that is bona fide. Religion refers to man’s relationship with God or the Supreme Absolute Truth; it is neither a mere ritual, nor a set of regulations, nor a conglomeration of mental speculations concocted by man. Actual religion is to know God and one’s relationship to Him. And this is not possible unless God reveals who and what He is and reveals man’s relationship to Him. It is not that we can artificially say, “Oh, I think God is this, so I think if I do this or this I will become God, and then I’ll be happy.” One who invents in this way may be well intentioned, but he is actually misguiding himself and others.

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Spiritual Bongos And Neighborhood Beats

Spiritual Bongos And Neighborhood Beats
By Damodara Dasa

Adapted by Nandimukhi Devi Dasi from Remembering Srila Prabhupada (copyright 1998 Daniel Clark)

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, my spiritual master, enacted his life’s activities from his birth in 1896 to his passing in 1977. I knew him for the last eleven years of his exemplary pastimes. But to say I knew him is going too far. I watched him. I listened to him. I talked with him and corresponded with him. I followed him and obeyed him—and disobeyed him. I learned from him. I bowed down before him and prayed to him. I loved him, and still do. Through those eleven years, that person I first knew as the Swami, then as Swamiji, and then as Srila Prabhupada guided my life.

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The Story of MATCHLESS GIFTS

The words “Matchless Gifts” means something very special to the followers of this Hare Krsna movement. The founder and Acharya of this movement, His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, arrived in the United States from India. Alone, and at the late age of 69, and practically penniless; in September of 1965, on the order of His Spiritual Master, Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Swami, He came by freighter steamboat, to attempt to spread this Krsna Consciousness to the western countries. He also asked Him to print books. In July 1966, in a storefront in New York City, He began the International Society for Krsna Consciousness, ISKCON, practically single-handed; except for a small group of bohemians and hippies, whom He attracted, while walking the streets of New York City.This small storefront building, had been a curiosity shop before Srila Prabhupada rented it, and someone had painted “Matchless Gifts” over the storefront window. At that time, no one realized just how prophetic these words were; for it was there, that this worldwide movement was started, at the storefront called “Matchless Gifts”. -Krsnadas

The Story of MATCHLESS GIFTS
By Hayagriva das

I walked around the corner with him, and he pointed out a small storefront building between First and Second Streets, next door to a Mobil filling station. It had been a curiosity shop, and someone had painted Matchless Gifts over the window. At the time I didn’t realize how prophetic the words were.

When I first met my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, I felt that there was never a time when I did not know him. I never tire of telling of my first meeting with him on the streets of Lower East Side New York. At the time, I was hurrying from my Mott Street apartment, which had become a refuge for psychedeliacs, to a much quieter apartment on Fifth Street where I hoped to get some peace.

I was walking down Houston Street and across Bowery, past the rushing traffic and stumbling derelicts, and after crossing Bowery, just before Second Avenue, I saw His Divine Grace jauntily strolling down the sidewalk, his head high in the air, his hand in a beadbag. He struck me like a famous actor in a very familiar movie. He seemed ageless, though later I found out that he was seventy years old. He was wearing the traditional saffron-colored robes of a sannyasi; the renounced order, and quaint white shoes with points. Coming down Houston Street, he looked like the genie that popped out of Aladdin’s lamp. I was fresh from a trip to India, and His Divine Grace reminded me of the many holy men I had recently seen walking the dirt roads of Hardwar and Hrishikesh and bathing in the Ganges. I had gone to India to look for a guru but had returned disappointed. It was on this bright July morning, when I was least expecting it, that Sri Krsna, out of His infinite mercy, sent guru to me.

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With Srila Prabhupada in Vrndavana

“We should try to make Krsna happy like the gopis of Vrndavana. In Vrndavana everyone is trying to please Krsna—the birds, trees, cows, the river and all His associates. It is not that Vrndavana is only here. We can have Vrndavana everywhere. Krsna is not limited. We should not think that Krsna is far away in Goloka Vrndavana and cannot accept food from us. If you offer food with love, Krsna eats. Krsna does not leave Goloka Vrndavana, but His expansion goes and accepts food. This Vrndavana, which so happens to appear in India, is as worshipable as Krsna. As Krsna is worshipable, His dhama [residence] is also worshipable. So we cannot offend His dhama. If we live in Vrndavana, we are living with Krsna, for Vrndavana is nondifferent from Krsna. There is no difference between the original Vrndavana and this Vrndavana. Vrndavana is so powerful.”

With Srila Prabhupada in Vrndavana
By Hayagriva Dasa

Vrndavana, India, the land of Krsna five thousand years after the disappearance of the Supreme Person, is invaded by eighty American and European disciples of Srila Prabhupada. The white and saffron robed pilgrims arrive in Vrndavana for Karttika, a celebration of Krsna’s rasa dance with the cowherd girls (gopis) of Vrndavana. Yearly, Vrndavana is crowded with Karttika pilgrims from October 15th to November 15th, the best time of year for Vrndavana, a month of clear, pleasant days and cool nights.

Vrndavana is approached by train from Delhi to Mathura, about ninety miles to the Southeast of Delhi. From Mathura, one takes a bus some eight miles to the village of Vrndavana bordered on three sides by the holy River Yamuna. As a cowherd boy, Krsna sported in the Yamuna, and Vaisnavas consider its waters more purifying than the Ganges itself. In Krsna’s time, Vrndavana was a forest, as its name indicates. Today it is a congested holy-town forgotten by the tourist maps, a town of crumbling temples, memories, chanting devotees, filth and poverty-stricken masses. Tourists whiz by it on the Delhi-Agra Express, unaware of passing Krsna’s old abode. Vrndavana was rediscovered by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His disciples Rupa and Sanatana Gosvami in the early 16th Century. Many magnificent temples were built in honor of Lord Krsna, but despite the sanctity of the place, it has not been kept up.

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Paramhansa in the Hills (Chapter 18)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva das

Part III: New Vrindaban, 1968-1969
Chapter 18

Paramhansa in the Hills

When we arrive at the foot of Aghasura Road, the devotees are waiting beside the powerwagon. The air is vibrant with the humming of bees and fragrant with the sweet aroma of white locust flowers.

The devotees offer obeisances as soon as the Lincoln turns down the driveway. They fall face down on the grass and gravel.

“Oh, there are many waiting here,” Prabhupada says, stepping out of the car. “Jai Sri Krishna!”

Little Dwarkadish, six years old, timidly obeys his mother and garlands Prabhupada with gardenias and red roses.

“Oh, thank you, Mr. D.D.D.,” Prabhupada says. “D.D.D.” is his nickname for Dwarkadish-das, who has just arrived with his mother from the Los Angeles temple. Present also are other recent arrivals: John and Susan, students from Ohio University, where Prabhupada lectured; Patita-pavana and Uddhava, two brothers from New York; Rupanuga and his five-year-old son Ekendra; and Nara-narayana, the carpenter who’s been helping Vamandev repair the farmhouse.

“So, where do we go from here?” Prabhupada asks.

“It’s two miles up that road, Prabhupada,” Ranandhir says, pointing at the muddy Aghasura winding its way down the creek through locust and maple.

“And we go in this?” Prabhupada asks, looking at the old powerwagon.

“It’s as strong as a tank, Prabhupada, “ Kirtanananda says, getting inside and starting it. The engine roars and smokes as he revs it up.

“Why not walk?” Prabhupada suggests.

We protest that the two-mile trek would be too hard on Prabhupada. Driving the power-wagon over Mr. Thompson’s property is quicker and easier.

Paramananda calls me aside to inform me that he couldn’t contact Mr. Thompson.

“He wasn’t in last night or this morning,” he says. “I guess it’s all right to drive over. He’s never refused.”

“Well, it’s an emergency,” I say.

Purushottam and Devananda load Prabhupada’s luggage in the back of the powerwagon. Prabhupada curiously asks about the vehicle’s model as he gets in. To cushion the jolts, we’ve placed clean pillows over the bare springs of the seat. Shama-dasi has even garlanded the dashboard.

Once Prabhupada is securely seated, Kirtanananda starts driving up the gravel road to Mr. Thompson’s farm. The powerwagon shudders and lurches forward. Hrishikesh, Paramananda, Ranandhir and I jump in back. The other devotees run behind in a hurried procession.

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The Guru and the Poet (Chapter 17)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva das

Part III: New Vrindaban, 1968-1969
Chapter 17

The Guru and the Poet

In his room, Prabhupada reads from an advance copy of Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, which he has paid Dai Nippon Press to print. Prabhupada is very pleased.

“Now that they have done this nicely,” he says, “we can make immediate plans to print our Krishna book.”

Kirtanananda and Pradyumna prepare prasadam for distribution tomorrow. New announcements are posted on campus: SWAMI BHAKTIVEDANTA AND ALLEN GINSBERG: A NIGHT OF KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS IN COLUMBUS. MAY 12. TRANSCENDENTAL PASTIMES. ECSTATIC ILLUMINATIONS.

Prabhupada talks about the financing of “the Krishna book,” which is to be a summary of the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, dealing specifically with the pastimes of Lord Krishna in Vrindaban and Mathura. George Harrison is particularly interested and has offered to donate printing expenses.

“Just see how these books are attracting,” Prabhupada says. “My Guru Maharaj always said that books are the big mridanga.“

At nine p.m., Allen Ginsberg enters. He has just flown in from Louisville, Kentucky. Concluding a long tour of college poetry readings, he is eager to return to his Cherry Valley farm in upstate New York. When he sees Prabhupada, he smiles broadly.

“Hare Krishna!” he says. As always, Allen touches Prabhupada’s feet, offering obeisances, then sits cross-legged on the floor. “So, we’ll sing tomorrow?”

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Krishna, The Flower-bearing Spring (Chapter 16)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva das

Part III: New Vrindaban, 1968-1969
Chapter 16

Krishna, The Flower-bearing Spring

I return to West Virginia in time for a major snowstorm. Aghasura Road becomes a shimmering white path through a fantasy land of icicles. In the little farmhouse, nucleus of our transcendental village, it is impossible to keep warm. Cold air somehow seeps through the old floorboards and cuts through cracks. We stoke the woodfire in the steel oil drum. At night, the oil drum glows crimson, like a self-contained galaxy in the dark blue cold of space.

We are spared the worst northwest winds sweeping down from the Arctic and Canada, and across the plains from northern Ohio, for our wise pioneers built the little house on the eastern side of Govardhan Hill. Still, the sun rises late, reluctantly. We sit two hours in the predawn darkness, chanting aratik mantras, reading Bhagavad-gita, and stoking the fire. There are always logs to cut, brambles to break, firewood to haul in to dry before burning.

The predawn hours are the coldest. We stand wrapped in blankets before the little altar as Kirtanananda offers incense, camphor, ghee, water, handkerchief, flower, peacock fan, and yak-tail whisk to the Radha Krishna and Jagannatha Deities.

“When making aratik offerings,” he writes Prabhupada, “is it proper to meditate on the different parts of the Lord’s body?”

Prabhupada writes back no. “The Lord is actually there with you,” he replies. “And you are seeing all of His bodily features, so there’s no need to meditate that way. Food should be offered before aratik…”

Of course, this means getting up earlier to cook. We take turns tending the fire. I don’t thaw out until I’m in my office in Columbus.

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Seven Temples on Seven Hills (Chapter 15)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva Prabhu

Part III: New Vrindaban, 1968-1969
Chapter 15

Seven Temples on Seven Hills

The Montreal temple is located in a large, grey Gothic building near McGill University. The ground floor is occupied by a commercial printing company. The upstairs bowling alley has been converted into a kirtan hall and living area for new devotees—Shivananda, Jayapataka, Hansadutta, Vaikunthanath. Now it is crowded. There has been a flurry of activity since Prabhupada’s arrival.

Kirtanananda and I visit Prabhupada in his nearby apartment. As always, it seems, Prabhupada is seated behind his footlocker, the familiar aromas of gardenias, incense and sandalwood about him. Goursundar and Govinda dasi scurry about, fretting that too many people are disturbing him. We pay our obeisances, and I offer Prabhupada yellow roses, which Govinda dasi arranges in vases.

“So how have you come?” Prabhupada asks.

“By plane from New York,” I say.

“Ah, very good. And in New York they are doing nicely?”

“Yes, Srila Prabhupada. Very nicely.”

“And what about New Vrindaban? That is doing nicely?”

“The owner has finally agreed on a long term lease,” I say, “but he wants the timber.”

“Oh, that cannot be. We must have all rights.”

“The coal rights were sold sixty-five years ago,” Kirtanananda says. “This is the case with all the properties in that area.”

“This means that if the government develops the coal industry, we may be asked to vacate,” Prabhupada says, concerned. “And no law can stop it.”

We admit that this is a point to consider.

“Yes,” he continues, “even if the government does not interfere, if some big industry moves into our vicinity, our New Vrindaban will fade away.”

I suddenly envision the little farmhouse and willow tree enveloped in a haze of smoke, the pastures invaded by steel drills abusing Mother Earth, giant smokestacks….

“New Vrindaban must be free from industrial contamination,” he says. “Industries like mining will ruin everything. Consider well the land’s future.”

“Most of the coal has already been mined through underground tunnels,” Kirtanananda says.

“Another important point,” Prabhupada goes on. “What happens to the property after ninety-nine years?”

I don’t know,” I say, not having really thought of this. “We won’t be around then.”

“But the Society will,” he says. “There must be an agreement that at the end of the lease, the property will go to us.”

This had been our oversight. Of course it must go to the Society! Great temples will be rising from the blackberries and pokeweed!

“We’ll try to get Foster to agree,” I say.

We then describe the property. As soon as Prabhupada understands where the main road is, he asks, “How do you get up to the farmhouse?”

“Well, that’s the big problem,” I admit. “It’s not really what you’d call easily accessible. But you could drive a jeep or horse and wagon up it. Otherwise, it’s a two mile walk.”

Prabhupada reflects on this a moment.

“Hm. Horse and buggy would be better,” he says at length. “You should avoid machines and become as self-sufficient as possible. And horses are pleasing to look at. They are the most beautiful of animals.”

Kirtanananda presents a quart of blackberry chutney and one of raspberry jam.

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New Vrindaban, West Virginia (Chapter 14)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva Dasa

Part III: New Vrindaban, 1968-1969
Chapter 14

New Vrindaban, West Virginia

When Kirtanananda phones from West Virginia, I tell him that Prabhupada wants Mr. Foster converted to Vaishnavism.

“Impossible,” he replies. “We don’t agree on anything. I’ve just moved out to the back farm for some peace and quiet.”

“What about selling? Is he interested?”

“No, but he still favors five year leases on small parcels.”

“But we require the property!”

“Patience,” he says.

Impatient, I begin looking at real estate in the Poconos, near Wilkes-Barre. Prices, however, are prohibitive. Still, letters from Prabhupada keep pushing the conception of a rural ashram in West Virginia:

“We should always know that Vrindaban is not localized in a particular area, but that whenever Krishna is present, Vrindaban is automatically there. And wherever the holy name of Krishna is chanted, Krishna is present. There is no difference between Krishna and His holy name. So now Krishna is blessing a nice piece of land, resembling Vrindaban, to be a new place of pilgrimage for you Western devotees. So you must try for it.”

Satsvarupa has opened a fourth ISKCON center in Allston, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. From there, Prabhupada writes Kirtanananda, May 23:

“If this piece of land is turned into New Vrindaban, I shall forget to return to Indian Vrindaban. I am getting older and older, so actually if I get a peaceful place, as you describe, the rest of my life will be continued translating Srimad-Bhagavatam and other Goswami literatures, assisted by some of my disciples like you. So anytime you take me to your new hermitage, I shall be very glad to go there.”

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Enter, Srila Prabhupada (Chapter 13)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva das

Part III: New Vrindaban, 1968-1969
Chapter 13

Enter, Srila Prabhupada

In his long absence, Swamiji’s words haunt me: “Although I am practically on the path of death, still I cannot forget my publications. I wish that if I live or die, you will take very serious care for my publications.“

We are bewildered trying to keep the ISKCON ship afloat, subsisting on the only supplies left—the holy names, the words, the taped lectures, the few books and pamphlets, the memories and photographs.

“Although I am practically on the path of death….”

(Swamiji always said “practically” for “actually.”)

His publications! The Word in English! Before me sits the first complete draft of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, ready for final English revision. “It must be published at once,” he told us repeatedly. “Either get some publisher, or we print it ourselves. Complete it quickly.”

Leaving San Francisco, even revising the manuscript on the plane, I return to New York to work with Brahmananda, who is still hounding publishers.

In Matchless Gifts, we carry on, keeping silent vigil for reports on Swamiji’s condition. Every day, we wait for a letter from Swamiji himself, signed in a large, firm hand, “Your ever well-wisher, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.”

Soon letters from Kirtanananda begin to arrive. Word spreads. Swamiji and Kirtanananda were detained overnight in London because someone on the plane was infected with smallpox. A twenty-four hour quarantine. They were accomodated in a hotel by the airline. In the morning, Swamiji was feeling much better, and they were in Moscow in three hours.

Swamiji was not impressed by the stark silence of the Moscow airport. Nor by the peasant women mopping the floor, nor by the Marxist tracts. Women should be protected, and in every society there exists the four castes. How can the sudras, the working class be expected to dominate government? The four castes were proclaimed eternal by Krishna Himself. Mr. Marx cannot arbitrarily abolish them. Such is the illusion of demons.

“We stayed in Moscow about an hour,” Kirtanananda writes, then reboarded and were in Delhi by midnight. We arrived in the middle of the monsoons, so when we got off the plane, the hot and humid Indian air hit us. It was like walking into a scorching brick wall.”

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