01 Jan Guru Maharaj’s Arrival in Johannesburg 1-1-2011, 10am
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Guru Maharaj. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Guru Maharaj arrived at Johannesburg, South Africa on 1st January 2011 bringing immense pleasure to the devotees. His short stay with us while transiting afforded us many insightful gems which we wanted to share with you for our own purification. “lava-matra, sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya – The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can obtain all success. [(Caitanya-Caritamrita, Madhya-lila 22.54)]
As we went to the domestic counters to check in Guru Maharaja told me about the correspondence that the devotees from Nairobi had sent him, appreciating the BCEC Namamrta Program Level 1 that His Holiness Bhakti Brhat Bhagavata Maharaja and myself conducted there earlier in August 2010. Helping devotees improving their japa by sharing Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on different aspects of japa has helped me become more and more attentive in my personal japa. I recall Mother Malati shared an extremely important memory in this regard. She said, “In the beginning we were curious about how to chant. What do you do when you chant, and what do you think? Srila Prabhupada said, ‘Two things. You don’t do anything and you don’t think anything. You simply hear.’ To this day my endeavour is to somehow or other hear this chanting.” After checking in a young native African gentlemen requested to speak to Guru Maharaja. Guru Maharaja gladly consented. The man requested Guru Maharaja to please pray for everyone so that they can be happily situated. Guru Maharaja requested the man to visit us. One devotee gave him our details and requested that he visit us. Another asked to take a photograph with him to which Guru Maharaj also consented.
We then processed to the viewing deck. While on our way Guru Maharaj was discussing with Kaliya Krishnadasa Prabhu about his occupation as a public speaker. He is a famous sales coach and does personal development courses in the co-operate world. Guru Maharaja shared the success of the Vedic Expo that was held in Durban earlier this year. Guru Maharaja said that the people really appreciated the expo and that the presentations where excellent. One presentation was on yoga. The presentation covered how we have so many products to nurture the external parts of our body. There are so many shampoos for the hair, so many toothpastes for teeth, so many soaps for the skin but for the internal well being of the organs of the body which are most important we neglect to care for. In Vedic culture yoga asanas are there to care for the internal organs. He continued to speak about the richness and completeness of Vedic culture and that the Vedic lifestyle is the perfect way to happiness.
Maharaj then took prasad grains as it was Dvadasi. He sat on the floor at the viewing deck. His presence invoked interest in a Muslim man who later removed his shoes and went to speak with Maharaj. Many interested persons, onlookers came to sit around him when he finished his prasad and began speaking to the devotees.
He started his talk relating how he had just come from Dubai where an all night program was held. About a thousand devotees attended. There they asked him to encourage the devotees in their New Year’s resolution. He encouraged us to make two New Year’s resolution: One is that we should try to chant all our rounds attentively in the morning or at least as many as possible. We receive sound through our ears and not our hands or mouth he said. Therefore we should hear the sound vibration of the Hare Krishna mantra while chanting. Secondly we should try to give this Krishna consciousness to others. When we have benefitted from something wonderful we naturally want to share it with others he said. Therefore we should share it with others.
He then asked if we had questions.
Nrsimhananda dasa: Srila Prabhupada often writes that we should speak from realizations. What does that mean and how should we increase our realizations?
Paraphrase of Guru Maharaj’s answer: Realization means speaking from your experiences. Why have we joined Krishna consciousness? We all have unique experiences and by speaking of those experiences that can have a great impact on the hearer. It does not mean that we have to see Krishna or wait until we see Krishna.
Kaliya Krishnadasa Prabhu: According to the Mayan Calendar 2012 spells the end of the world yet according to the Vedic understanding we still have another 423 000 years to go. What is our understanding about this?
Paraphraze of Guru Maharaj’s answer: There are different types of devastations – partial devastation where some planets are destroyed; complete devastation where all planets are destroyed and individual
devastation. We as individual may die before 2012. We have surrendered to Krishna. Surrender means that we don’t worry about anything. We have given ourselves to Krishna and He can do whatever He likes. Then Guru Maharaj explained that Krishna is protecting us even without us praying for protection and he gave the example of the earth planet spinning at high speed yet we are not flying of the surface due to Krishna’s arrangements for our protection. So what to talk about devotees who have surrendered their lives to Krishna. Guru Maharaj said that Srila Prabhupada often said that if we take one step towards Krishna, Krishna will take ten, hundred, thousand steps towards us. Then he asked Kaliya Krishnadasa Prabhu, “Have you not taken one step towards Krishna?” Then Guru Maharaj told him, “You have shaved your head for Krishna, you are chanting for Krishna’s pleasure so why wouldn’t Krishna protect you? Even if you forget Krishna at the time of death Krishna would not forget you. Therefore we can pray that, ‘My Lord I am trying to remember you but if at the time of death I cannot remember You then You please remember me.’ “
Mother Amrita Radhika: [Asked about Vastu and its relevance for devotees.]
Paraphrase of Guru Maharaj’s answer: These are the laws so we should try to follow the laws. Just like if you surrender to the king would you still follow the laws of the king? [She answered, “Yes.”] So similarly there are natural laws and we should try to abide by them. [Due to the loud noises I caught snippets of the answer where Guru Maharaj explained about vastu.]
Mother Hemavati Radhika: Please share with us how we can memorize verses.
Paraphrase of Guru Maharaj’s answer: He asked her if she knew ‘dharma setra’ [BG 1.1] and ‘dehino smi yata dehe’ [BG 2.13] verses. Basically keep repeating the lines, understand the meaning and try to remember the first words of each line. The rest will flow. He asked her to repeat thrice ‘nainam chindanti sastrani.’ [Bg 2.23] After a few minutes he asked her to say it again.
Guru Maharaj then left to take his flight Durban. The illustrious Govinda Prabhu accompanied Guru Maharaj from Dubai to Durban.
Sent by His Grace Nrsimhananda Dasa