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2017: Submit a Tribute : Entry # 305
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Bhakti_Madhurya_Govinda_Goswami-1968-Sept-29-San Francisco, California
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ggoswami108@gmail.com
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2017 SRILA PRABHUPADA VYASA PUJA OFFERING
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED BY BHAKTI MADHURYA GOVINDA GOSWAMI (FORMERLY MAKHANLAL DAS)

My dear-most father, Srila Prabhupad,
Please accept my prostrated dandavat pranams at you lotus feet. Taking your feet upon my head, I eternally worship you as my all-in-all, my everything, for indeed, without your loving mercy I am simply brain dead in every respect, devoid of all good qualities, and completely bankrupt. I was a hopelessly sinful person before coming in contact with your divinely empowered representatives, who always carry your loving shakti. In this way, I consider your beloved servant, Upendra prabhu, to have been my vartma pradarsika guru, for he used to repeatedly invite me to the temple, and exhorted me to come to your programs in San Francisco in 1967. However, do to my mountains of sins, I was delayed by destiny to see you for the first time until you arrived at the airport in September, 1968. So many times Upendra invited me to the temple, but I was too covered over. Besides, I was too contemptuous, for I falsely thought “The swami is always here, so I can always go see him later.” This contemptuousness was a disaster for me because I could have had some of wonderful, intimate association with you on your walks at Stowe Lake in San Francisco’s beautiful Golden Gate Park. At that time there were only perhaps six or utmost eight devotees with you on the walks—Syamasundar prabhu, Malati, Upendra, Gurudas, Yamuna and her sister, Janaki, Govinda dasi, and a few others. It is my greatest lamentation that I carelessly blew off the most precious opportunity for your most intimate association in those golden days. Oh, what a fool I was, paying dearly for my sins.
In 1967, I began my first association with devotees by coming to the later famous “Love Feast.” However, by the time I came to the temple, you were travelling. This came as a rude awakening for me since I arrogantly thought the swami was always in San Francisco and I could always go meet him when I felt like it. When I found out that you were travelling, I was deeply disappointed, as I finally realized that I had “blown it.” Such is the high cost of false ego; but at least I had begun my association with devotees, hooked by the super delight prasad that your beloved disciples were cooking for Sunday feast. The cooks were Yamuna, Malati, and their extended families, and the prasad was literally out of this world! Even though they had trouble paying the rent for the small store front, they only cooked in pure ghee because they were personally trained by you. You also had very little money in New York, but I have never heard that you cooked in vegetable oil. Although very poor, it never crossed the mind of even one of your disciples in those early days to cook in vegetable oil, because they were all personally trained how to cook by you only.
In 1967, I had become friends with Gurudas, who at that time was married to Yamuna. They had a small apartment not far from the temple, and I visited over there. Photography was his hobby, so the walls were literally wallpapered with black and white photos of you only. Since I was a bankrupt person, having never met you, I couldn’t understand why Gurudas had only one subject for all his photos—the Swami. My attitude bordered on being offensive. Being mundane, I was thinking “there are so many beautiful things in this world—why he only takes pictures of the Swami?” I could not understand that it was because of his deep love for you that he had only one subject for his photos. On top of that, there was only one picture of you in the temple room—a black and white photo in which you were very grave—not smiling at all. In my bankrupt condition, this did not help me build faith and love for you. In contrast, in the painting of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur by Yadurani, he was smiling munificently; thus, I was more attracted by him than the almost stern black and white photo of you. This was my profound lack of understanding, a gross poor fund of knowledge. All of these misconceptions changed within a second, however, when I finally saw you for the first time at the airport in San Francisco. I will describe this later.
As a “little devotee” the” little things in your pastimes where I was personally present certainly appeared to be “big,” not insignificant. Here are some examples:
I was on morning walk with you in Los Ageless, perhaps 1971, in the Cheviot Hills Park. Not long before I had witnessed a hippy offer a stick to a devotee, but the devotee rather rudely just threw the stick on the ground. Certainly, the stick had no value, but I thought the devotee should at least have politely accepted it and thrown it away later. I had heard a rumor that once someone had offered a Vaishnava saint some ashes and he accepted them just to engage that soul. Based on this, my mind was disturbed, because I felt that the devotee who was offered the stick should at least have faked appreciating rather than being rather obnoxious in the way he forcefully threw it to the ground. My mind being disturbed over this incidence, I wanted you to clarify, but I certainly was not going to disclose that the “gift” to the devotee was only a stick; so I inquired from you, “Srila Prabhupad, if someone offers us something, shouldn’t we accept it” (on behalf of Krishna just to engage them in service)? You replied “Yes, but it should be something useful.” I certainly would never have mentioned the stick—that would have been too embarrassing, so I only brought up the principle. Your answer was significant because it elucidated multiple points. First, this small incident proves that you were clairvoyant in your manifest pastimes. You were aware that the hippie had offered the devotee something useless, thus you replied accordingly. Secondly, you wanted to cure me of my sentimental false conception, which it did.
Next, there was an incident in which you did accept something unofferable to a saint. Soon after the opening of the then new Valencia street temple, about 1971, (the devotees had closed the old Frederick street temple because we needed something much larger) the prabhus rented a medium sized lobby of a hotel (or maybe a Hindu owner donated it for the occasion). It was a special program organized for hosting you, giving you the opportunity to speak before a group and offer your darshan. By this time (probably 1971) a few Indians were coming when you were in town. On Frederick Street, almost exclusively hippies came to the temple because it was in the heart of the then famous hippie haven known as the Height Ashbury district of san Francisco. At this program, one Indian man offered you a slice of whole wheat bread. You gracefully accepted it and took a bite! You then handed the bread back to the most fortunate Indian man, but it was now “maha maha prasad,” the remnants left by the maha bhagavata spiritual master, having potency far above even “normal” maha prasad. Of course this was a desa kala patra special mercy exhibition by a paramahamsa, thus it should not whimsically be imitated; yet this incident was an exhibition of your infinite love, compassion, and tolerance.
The next “minor” but hugely significant instructive pastime was in Portland Oregon later in 1971 or perhaps in 1972. By then I was the president of the Seattle Washington temple, and I had come down to Portland with a van full of devotees from Seattle and Vancouver, Canada. You went on a morning walk in a very nice Portland park, and I accompanied you along with a few devotees. The walk was at least an hour long, but you weren’t speaking anything. Because of your silence, except for your soft chanting, I was feeling a profound separation from your instructions and sacred words. I realized that although the Vapu, or physical association with the Acharya, was very nice, the real wealth was when you spoke something—anything whatsoever, even if it was only light, informal chatting. Every word you said was glorious, regardless of the subject. Sometimes you discussed something that to fools appeared, at face value, to be mundane, but it didn’t matter, because of coming from your lips, it was transcendental. During the walk, you did say only one thing. There was a bird up in a tree that was singing very prettily. You pointed at the bird and said, “That (the singing) is Krishna.” Obviously you did not mean that the bird was an incarnation of Krishna, but rather that the beautifully singing was part of Krishna’s opulence in material nature, as described in the Bhagavad Gita, seventh chapter, where Krishna says “I am the fragrance of the earth…the heat of the fire…I am the strength of the strong,” etc.
Another instance of a minor but wonderful pastime took place on a morning walk in the park in Chicago, 1975. I was standing close to you. You stopped for a moment, pointing at a tree. There were other devotees present, but you asked me to pluck a twig and inspect it. It seemed like the most important instruction in the universe. Naturally, I immediately broke a twig on your order. You asked me, “Is it hollow?” I replied, “no, Srila Prabhupad”. I was disappointed that the twig didn’t meet your criteria. So were you. You were looking for a tooth brush. I don’t know if you ever used a plastic tooth brush, but you certainly preferred a hollow twig with strands in the middle, like in India.
Going back to earlier days--I had already moved into the temple just after Rathayatra in 1968, which means August. Naturally, when I heard that you were coming to San Francisco again the following month, I was very excited. At last, I would meet my guru. I had accepted you, even though my faith was not super strong. September arrived, and I jumped into a van along with a group of devotees, to go greet you at the airport. There was no security in those days, so our small band, including a few colorful hippies, pressed forward to reach the waiting room adjacent to where your plane would arrive. The ladies had baskets of flower petals ready to make a path for you. We watched the windows with great anticipation. After your plane arrived, we waited anxiously as passengers walked down the stairs from the door to the plane. Suddenly some devotees appeared. Anticipation and enthusiasm ran high, for we knew that the sight of devotees meant that the Swami was coming soon! Then you appeared in full splendor on the platform at the top of the stairs. You were glowing like millions of suns! You were smiling so broadly that it reached every living entity in the universe. You were covered by about five large gardenia garlands. You were very fond of gardenias, and in those days, they were highly scented. With both arms raised in the air out of love and appreciation for the small band of devotees and their kirtan who had gathered to greet you, you were like a massive broadcasting dish that was spreading Krishna prem all over the universe. You were so exuberant that all present became drowned in an ocean of your divine love. I felt as if I were being struck by a tsunami of love never experienced before. All doubts, all fears, all hesitations evaporated instantly. I was enveloped, overpowered by your divine presence. Although I remained standing, internally I was knocked over. Though uncharacteristic of me, I burst into tears. I had never ever had an experience like this before! Instantly I understood, “oh, he is not an ordinary living being! He is not from this world!” Although raised up an atheist, I could see with my own eyes that you were from a divine realm, an avatar of the highest order. I thought and felt by realization within my heart that you had descended to deliver the whole world. Although not raised in a Judaic culture, I had heard about the concept of “The Messiah”—the great divine personality empowered to deliver the whole world. Within moments of seeing you, I exclaimed to myself, “Oh, he is the Messiah! He is the Messiah! Of this there is no doubt!” At that moment, you entered my heart with your blazing effulgence and unconditional love, and you have stayed ever since. In fact, you will stay eternally. I take shelter of your lotus feet forever. Years later, in 1974-75, a little old man in the old temple room in the Lotus building in Mayapur used to ecstatically shout “Whole world sunshine Prabhupad!” May I ever dwell in that everlasting sunshine as your eternal servant.
Bhakti Madhurya Govinda Goswami
HTML Block
2017 SRILA PRABHUPADA VYASA PUJA OFFERING
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED BY BHAKTI MADHURYA GOVINDA GOSWAMI (FORMERLY MAKHANLAL DAS)

My dear-most father, Srila Prabhupad,
Please accept my prostrated dandavat pranams at you lotus feet. Taking your feet upon my head, I eternally worship you as my all-in-all, my everything, for indeed, without your loving mercy I am simply brain dead in every respect, devoid of all good qualities, and completely bankrupt. I was a hopelessly sinful person before coming in contact with your divinely empowered representatives, who always carry your loving shakti. In this way, I consider your beloved servant, Upendra prabhu, to have been my vartma pradarsika guru, for he used to repeatedly invite me to the temple, and exhorted me to come to your programs in San Francisco in 1967. However, do to my mountains of sins, I was delayed by destiny to see you for the first time until you arrived at the airport in September, 1968. So many times Upendra invited me to the temple, but I was too covered over. Besides, I was too contemptuous, for I falsely thought “The swami is always here, so I can always go see him later.” This contemptuousness was a disaster for me because I could have had some of wonderful, intimate association with you on your walks at Stowe Lake in San Francisco’s beautiful Golden Gate Park. At that time there were only perhaps six or utmost eight devotees with you on the walks—Syamasundar prabhu, Malati, Upendra, Gurudas, Yamuna and her sister, Janaki, Govinda dasi, and a few others. It is my greatest lamentation that I carelessly blew off the most precious opportunity for your most intimate association in those golden days. Oh, what a fool I was, paying dearly for my sins.
In 1967, I began my first association with devotees by coming to the later famous “Love Feast.” However, by the time I came to the temple, you were travelling. This came as a rude awakening for me since I arrogantly thought the swami was always in San Francisco and I could always go meet him when I felt like it. When I found out that you were travelling, I was deeply disappointed, as I finally realized that I had “blown it.” Such is the high cost of false ego; but at least I had begun my association with devotees, hooked by the super delight prasad that your beloved disciples were cooking for Sunday feast. The cooks were Yamuna, Malati, and their extended families, and the prasad was literally out of this world! Even though they had trouble paying the rent for the small store front, they only cooked in pure ghee because they were personally trained by you. You also had very little money in New York, but I have never heard that you cooked in vegetable oil. Although very poor, it never crossed the mind of even one of your disciples in those early days to cook in vegetable oil, because they were all personally trained how to cook by you only.
In 1967, I had become friends with Gurudas, who at that time was married to Yamuna. They had a small apartment not far from the temple, and I visited over there. Photography was his hobby, so the walls were literally wallpapered with black and white photos of you only. Since I was a bankrupt person, having never met you, I couldn’t understand why Gurudas had only one subject for all his photos—the Swami. My attitude bordered on being offensive. Being mundane, I was thinking “there are so many beautiful things in this world—why he only takes pictures of the Swami?” I could not understand that it was because of his deep love for you that he had only one subject for his photos. On top of that, there was only one picture of you in the temple room—a black and white photo in which you were very grave—not smiling at all. In my bankrupt condition, this did not help me build faith and love for you. In contrast, in the painting of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur by Yadurani, he was smiling munificently; thus, I was more attracted by him than the almost stern black and white photo of you. This was my profound lack of understanding, a gross poor fund of knowledge. All of these misconceptions changed within a second, however, when I finally saw you for the first time at the airport in San Francisco. I will describe this later.
As a “little devotee” the” little things in your pastimes where I was personally present certainly appeared to be “big,” not insignificant. Here are some examples:
I was on morning walk with you in Los Ageless, perhaps 1971, in the Cheviot Hills Park. Not long before I had witnessed a hippy offer a stick to a devotee, but the devotee rather rudely just threw the stick on the ground. Certainly, the stick had no value, but I thought the devotee should at least have politely accepted it and thrown it away later. I had heard a rumor that once someone had offered a Vaishnava saint some ashes and he accepted them just to engage that soul. Based on this, my mind was disturbed, because I felt that the devotee who was offered the stick should at least have faked appreciating rather than being rather obnoxious in the way he forcefully threw it to the ground. My mind being disturbed over this incidence, I wanted you to clarify, but I certainly was not going to disclose that the “gift” to the devotee was only a stick; so I inquired from you, “Srila Prabhupad, if someone offers us something, shouldn’t we accept it” (on behalf of Krishna just to engage them in service)? You replied “Yes, but it should be something useful.” I certainly would never have mentioned the stick—that would have been too embarrassing, so I only brought up the principle. Your answer was significant because it elucidated multiple points. First, this small incident proves that you were clairvoyant in your manifest pastimes. You were aware that the hippie had offered the devotee something useless, thus you replied accordingly. Secondly, you wanted to cure me of my sentimental false conception, which it did.
Next, there was an incident in which you did accept something unofferable to a saint. Soon after the opening of the then new Valencia street temple, about 1971, (the devotees had closed the old Frederick street temple because we needed something much larger) the prabhus rented a medium sized lobby of a hotel (or maybe a Hindu owner donated it for the occasion). It was a special program organized for hosting you, giving you the opportunity to speak before a group and offer your darshan. By this time (probably 1971) a few Indians were coming when you were in town. On Frederick Street, almost exclusively hippies came to the temple because it was in the heart of the then famous hippie haven known as the Height Ashbury district of san Francisco. At this program, one Indian man offered you a slice of whole wheat bread. You gracefully accepted it and took a bite! You then handed the bread back to the most fortunate Indian man, but it was now “maha maha prasad,” the remnants left by the maha bhagavata spiritual master, having potency far above even “normal” maha prasad. Of course this was a desa kala patra special mercy exhibition by a paramahamsa, thus it should not whimsically be imitated; yet this incident was an exhibition of your infinite love, compassion, and tolerance.
The next “minor” but hugely significant instructive pastime was in Portland Oregon later in 1971 or perhaps in 1972. By then I was the president of the Seattle Washington temple, and I had come down to Portland with a van full of devotees from Seattle and Vancouver, Canada. You went on a morning walk in a very nice Portland park, and I accompanied you along with a few devotees. The walk was at least an hour long, but you weren’t speaking anything. Because of your silence, except for your soft chanting, I was feeling a profound separation from your instructions and sacred words. I realized that although the Vapu, or physical association with the Acharya, was very nice, the real wealth was when you spoke something—anything whatsoever, even if it was only light, informal chatting. Every word you said was glorious, regardless of the subject. Sometimes you discussed something that to fools appeared, at face value, to be mundane, but it didn’t matter, because of coming from your lips, it was transcendental. During the walk, you did say only one thing. There was a bird up in a tree that was singing very prettily. You pointed at the bird and said, “That (the singing) is Krishna.” Obviously you did not mean that the bird was an incarnation of Krishna, but rather that the beautifully singing was part of Krishna’s opulence in material nature, as described in the Bhagavad Gita, seventh chapter, where Krishna says “I am the fragrance of the earth…the heat of the fire…I am the strength of the strong,” etc.
Another instance of a minor but wonderful pastime took place on a morning walk in the park in Chicago, 1975. I was standing close to you. You stopped for a moment, pointing at a tree. There were other devotees present, but you asked me to pluck a twig and inspect it. It seemed like the most important instruction in the universe. Naturally, I immediately broke a twig on your order. You asked me, “Is it hollow?” I replied, “no, Srila Prabhupad”. I was disappointed that the twig didn’t meet your criteria. So were you. You were looking for a tooth brush. I don’t know if you ever used a plastic tooth brush, but you certainly preferred a hollow twig with strands in the middle, like in India.
Going back to earlier days--I had already moved into the temple just after Rathayatra in 1968, which means August. Naturally, when I heard that you were coming to San Francisco again the following month, I was very excited. At last, I would meet my guru. I had accepted you, even though my faith was not super strong. September arrived, and I jumped into a van along with a group of devotees, to go greet you at the airport. There was no security in those days, so our small band, including a few colorful hippies, pressed forward to reach the waiting room adjacent to where your plane would arrive. The ladies had baskets of flower petals ready to make a path for you. We watched the windows with great anticipation. After your plane arrived, we waited anxiously as passengers walked down the stairs from the door to the plane. Suddenly some devotees appeared. Anticipation and enthusiasm ran high, for we knew that the sight of devotees meant that the Swami was coming soon! Then you appeared in full splendor on the platform at the top of the stairs. You were glowing like millions of suns! You were smiling so broadly that it reached every living entity in the universe. You were covered by about five large gardenia garlands. You were very fond of gardenias, and in those days, they were highly scented. With both arms raised in the air out of love and appreciation for the small band of devotees and their kirtan who had gathered to greet you, you were like a massive broadcasting dish that was spreading Krishna prem all over the universe. You were so exuberant that all present became drowned in an ocean of your divine love. I felt as if I were being struck by a tsunami of love never experienced before. All doubts, all fears, all hesitations evaporated instantly. I was enveloped, overpowered by your divine presence. Although I remained standing, internally I was knocked over. Though uncharacteristic of me, I burst into tears. I had never ever had an experience like this before! Instantly I understood, “oh, he is not an ordinary living being! He is not from this world!” Although raised up an atheist, I could see with my own eyes that you were from a divine realm, an avatar of the highest order. I thought and felt by realization within my heart that you had descended to deliver the whole world. Although not raised in a Judaic culture, I had heard about the concept of “The Messiah”—the great divine personality empowered to deliver the whole world. Within moments of seeing you, I exclaimed to myself, “Oh, he is the Messiah! He is the Messiah! Of this there is no doubt!” At that moment, you entered my heart with your blazing effulgence and unconditional love, and you have stayed ever since. In fact, you will stay eternally. I take shelter of your lotus feet forever. Years later, in 1974-75, a little old man in the old temple room in the Lotus building in Mayapur used to ecstatically shout “Whole world sunshine Prabhupad!” May I ever dwell in that everlasting sunshine as your eternal servant.
Bhakti Madhurya Govinda Goswami
Posting you your Tributes book
Opt-out of getting a physical copy of the Tributes book?
No - I want my physical copy to read
Whom should we address the book parcel to?
BHAKTI MADHURYA GOVINDA GOSWAMI, C/O ISKCON ACCOUNTING
Where should we post your Tributes copy to?
41 /77 Prabhu pada marg, Punjabi Bagh West
41 /77 Prabhu pada marg, Punjabi Bagh West
new Delhi, new Delhi 110026
India
Map It
41 /77 Prabhu pada marg, Punjabi Bagh West
41 /77 Prabhu pada marg, Punjabi Bagh West
new Delhi, new Delhi 110026
India
Map It
Almost there...
Almost there...
41 /77 Prabhu pada marg, Punjabi Bagh West
41 /77 Prabhu pada marg, Punjabi Bagh West
new Delhi, new Delhi 110026
India
Map It
Supporting Notes (optional)
I submitted on April 15th but there was a problem on your site at that time.