07 May Bhakti Charu Maharaj’s Summer Visit To Singapore
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja left for Singapore on 27th April 2016 from Ujjain. Maharaja took a time off from his hectic schedule to visit Singapore from 28th April up to 2nd May 2016. The organizer of Artha Forum had requested Maharaj to re-visit Singapore after the forum they held recently in Singapore on January 2016. The main purpose was to follow up with the previous forum attendees. The gathering took place on 30th April 2016 with 40 attendees and the topic on Hinduism was being discussed. Click on the following link to watch the talk.
Another reason for Maharaja’s visit to Singapore was due to the devotees from Bangladesh.
Said Maharaja, “These devotees are working so hard. They work for 10 to 12 hours a day, then the commuting takes place for another 2 to 3 hours and it takes another hour to get back. So fifteen hours a day spent thus. They cook themselves. Still they chant 16 rounds. And they display such enthusiasm. The one day leave that they get as a free vacation, from morning to evening, they are at the temple. They earn little from working so hard. They live in such a difficult condition, still the way they display commitment to Krishna consciousness is remarkable.”
Therefore, Maharaja felt obliged to visit the Bengali devotees and spend some time with them. Maharaja wanted to reciprocate their loving services towards Krishna and also to the other devotees.
Meanwhile, on the days that followed, Maharaj also conducted a short retreat on Vaishnava etiquette in English on 29th April followed by two sections, morning and evening, on Saranagati, the art of surrendering in both English and Bengali from 30th April up to 2nd May.
For Vaishnava Etiquettes, Maharaja spoke about the three stages or type of devotes; the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, the madhyama-adhikārī and the uttama-adhikārī. The verses from which Maharaja spoke about these three types of devotees were taken from Srimad Bhagavatam. These verses were 11.2.47, 11.2.46 and 11.2.45 respectively.
Maharaja stated that the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī or the neophyte devotee, recognizes Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrenders to Krishna. However, he doesn’t recognize other devotees and considers only himself to be the devotee of Krishna. The madhyama-adhikārī or the second-class devotee can discriminate between the pure devotees of Krishna and the non-believers or those who are detrimental to the Lord. They generally preach to the innocents and respect other devotees who accept the Lord as the one and only master. On the other hand, they ignore those who offend the Lord as they do not want them to become even more offensive. As for the uttama-adhikārī devotees or the top-class devotes, they believe that everyone else has become devotees, however, they are the only ones who couldn’t become a devotee. These pure devotees usually don’t preach because they can’t find fault in others, instead, they want to perfect themselves.
Maharaja also stated that Srila Prabhupada is a first-class devotee, and there is no doubt about that fact, however, Prabhupada had to bring himself down to the second-class devotee in order to spread Krishna Consciousness all over the world. Therefore, we should be grateful to Srila Prabhupada. A way to show gratitude to Prabhupada is by maintaining the healthy relationships with other devotees. The worst thing that could happen to ISKCON is if the devotees start to quarrel. To forge and maintain these relationships, Maharaja advised us to be engaged in the service of the Lord.
As for the Saranagati lecture, Maharaja selected several songs each day written by Bhaktivinoda Thakur from the Sarangati book and analyzed each word to perfection.
At the end of the Saranagati class in English, His Grace Devaki Nandan Prabhu announced the center’s plan to attract buyers for all of Prabhupada books especially in Singapore. After careful consideration, they decided the best way to distribute books all over Singapore is by operating an online website as distributing any ISKCON written books is really difficult with all the restrictions in Singapore. On that day, Maharaja was asked to officially inaugurate the website which was given the name, “Gita Reading Society”. The link to website is attached below.
Maharaja had mentioned that a day would come in Singapore whereby people will queue up to buy Shrila Prabhupada’s books in the center.
Overall, Maharaja had a really packed and a hectic schedule during this short stay in Singapore. Although Maharaja had been in a poor state of health, He still wanted to spend time with the devotees in Singapore as well as Malaysia. Maharaja hopes that Krishna Consciousness would spread widely in this region.
After spending four days in Singapore, Maharaj left for Kolkata on his way to Sridham Mayapur.