Srila Prabhupada explains why cooperation is the essence of the movement

By editor - 9.9 2023

The purport of the verse is that even Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu — He is God himself, Krsna Himself — He felt, alone, unable to do this task. He felt.

So this is the position. You are cooperating; therefore I am getting the credit. Otherwise alone what could I do? Ekaki amara nahi paya bolo.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself wanted our cooperation. He is God, Krsna. And therefore cooperation is very important thing. Nobody should think that “I have got so great ability. I can do.” No. It is simply by cooperation we can do very big thing. “United we stand; divided we fall.” This is our…. So be strong in pushing on Krsna consciousness, and Krsna will help. He is the strongest. Still, we must be combined together.

Sankirtana. Sankirtana means many men combined together chanting. That is sankirtana. Otherwise kirtana. Sankirtana. Bahubhir militva kirtayeti sankirtana.(?) Bahu. Bahu means many, many combined together. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission, combined together. All nations, all persons they should combine together. There is hope in our society, combination. There are Hindus; there are Muslims; there are Christians; there are black, white. Combine them.

That looks very beautiful, just like combination of many flowers. There is black flower also. It looks nice, very nice. Each and every flower take alone; it is not beautiful, but when they are combined together, it looks very beautiful. It is attractive. And that is wanted. Because from the spiritual platform we are all working. Panditah sama-darsinah [Bg. 5.18]. Spiritual platform, every one of us, we are servant of Krsna.

So where is the competition between one servant with another? There is…. Even there is competition, the center is Krsna — “Who can serve more?” Therefore that competition is very welcome, because there is no personal interest. Everyone is trying how to serve Krsna more. That is wanted. The competition is there in his real form and perverted form. In the real form Krsna is the center, and the perverted form, I am the center. I compete with you to satisfy my senses more. What is called? Heliocentric or…?

Pusta Krsna: Egocentric.

Prabhupada: Egocentric, yes. This is egocentric.

Tamala Krsna: It should be Krsna-centric.

Prabhupada: Yes, then it is perfect. The competition must remain. The others, they say, “Why competition? Make it zero.” That is imperfect. But competition to satisfy Krsna, that is reality.

From Hari Sauri’s diary

Sri Dhama Mayapur, March 16th, 1976

GAURA PURNIMA. The Appearance day of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Everyone fasted until moon rise and then took an Ekadasi feast, although Prabhupada said this was not compulsory.

* * *
Prabhupada kept to his regular schedule, walking first up on the roof and then coming down to walk around the grounds.

Prabhupada’s attentiveness to every detail is nothing short of amazing. As soon as he came out into the cool morning air on the roof top, he noted a lota that was standing next to the freshly watered Tulasi plants. None of us thought anything of it, but vexation immediately crossed Prabhupada’s face. He asked one of the devotees to check if there was a lota in the toilet room.

“No, Srila Prabhupada,” was the reply.

Prabhupada shook his head. He recognized it as one he has been using. “See how aparadhi, offender. They have used that lota for watering. Great offender. This is going on, mlecchas and yavanas.” The thought of using a contaminated receptacle to water Srimati Tulasi Devi was abominable to him, and he warned us to see that it does not happen again in the future. “One who has used that, he has no sense how to water the Tulasi plant. He should be instructed, ‘You never use that toilet lota.'”

It was yet another indication of our lack of Krsna consciousness. Obviously some of us still think of Tulasi Devi as a mere plant, but Prabhupada is fully conscious of her exalted position.

During the walk Srila Prabhupada spoke continuously, engaging everyone in debate, challenging and exposing the defects in the philosophy of the Communists and scientists, and training his men how to present Krsna consciousness as the topmost system.

He seemed more enlivened than usual, obviously invigorated by the presence of his leading preachers. He talked the whole walk, particularly on the point of leadership in human society. If change is required, or continuous revolution, as the Communists say, then that means imperfection in the leaders. But we have had the same leader, Krsna, for millions of years without any need of change.

Then in another incident he demonstrated his ever-watchful concern for our spiritual lives. Surrounded by his sannyasis and GBCs, he descended the central staircase to the first floor. He caught sight of a woman waiting to go up to the second floor. He stopped and asked what she was doing.

She said she had to go to see Hridayananda Goswami.

Prabhupada became very concerned, and sent for Hridayananda Maharaja.

When he came, Prabhupada demanded to know why he was having a woman visit him in his room. As everyone stood around, Prabhupada chastised him, saying a sannyasi should not even talk to a woman. Hridayananda explained that it was a misunderstanding. She was actually coming with her husband to discuss her initiation.

“That may be,” Srila Prabhupada said, “but I have to respond as I understand it.”

It was a salutary lesson in how careful one must be to protect one’s spiritual life.

* * *
Somehow, as if by divine arrangement, the verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.38 was an exact reference to the appearance of Lord Caitanya. It wasn’t planned, as Srila Prabhupada has been lecturing on the verses in order since mid-February. Yet it was exactly appropriate. Pusta Krsna loudly read out the translation to the packed assembly. “In this way, my Lord, You have appeared in different incarnations, as human beings, as animals, as a great saintly person, as demigods and as a fish and a tortoise. In this way You maintain the whole creation in different planetary systems and kill the demoniac principles in every age. My Lord, you therefore protect the principles of religion. In the age of Kali You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore You are known as Tri-yuga, or the Lord who appears in three yugas.”

Srila Prabhupada gave a long lecture, revealing the purpose of Lord Caitanya’s descent here in Sri Mayapur Dhama, 490 years ago. He explained that the Lord’s mysterious advent can be understood only by the mercy of great devotees like Srila Rupa Gosvami. “Caitanya Mahaprabhu is described here as channah kalau. In the Kali-yuga He’s not appearing as other incarnations, not like Nrsimhadeva or Vamanadeva, or Lord Ramacandra. He is appearing as a devotee. Why?

“Now, this is the most magnanimous avatara. People are so foolish, they could not understand Krsna. When Krsna said, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam [give up everything and surrender to Me], they took it: ‘Who is this person ordering like that, sarva-dharman parityajya? What right?’

“That is our material disease. If somebody is ordered to do something, he protests, ‘Who are you to order me?’ This is the position. God Himself, Krsna, what can He say? He orders, the Supreme Person, Supreme Being. He must order. He’s the Supreme Controller. That is God. “But we are so foolish that when God orders that ‘You do this,’ we take it otherwise: ‘Oh, who is this man? He’s ordering like that. Why shall I give Him?’ ‘I have created so many dharmas, ‘isms.’ I shall give it up? Why shall I give it up?’ Therefore the same Lord came again as Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

“Today is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance day, so we must discuss this very thoroughly, [the way] that Rupa Gosvami understood it. Therefore we have to go through guru. Rupa Gosvami is our guru. Narottama dasa Thakura said, rupa-raghunatha-pade, hoibe akuti, kabe hama bujhabo, se yugala-piriti. If we want to understand the transcendental position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then we have to go through guru-parampara system. Otherwise it is not possible.

“So this is channah-avatara. He’s Krsna, He has come to give you Krsna-prema [love of God] but He’s acting like a Krsna devotee. This is covered. He is not commanding now, ‘You do this’ — yes, He’s commanding, ‘Do this,’ but in a different way.

“Because people misunderstood, ‘Oh, who is this person commanding?’ Even some so-called rascal scholar, he has said, ‘It’s too much to demand.’ They have remarked like that. Yes, sophisticated persons, they are thinking like that. But our process is to submit. Unless we submit, there is no hope of advancing in Krsna consciousness. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s teaching: trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna/ amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih. “If you want to chant Hare Krsna mantra, then you have to take this principle, trnad api sunicena. You have to become humbler than the grass. Grass, it is lying on the street. Everyone is trampling down. Never protests.

“Taror api sahisnuna. And more tolerant than the tree. The tree is giving us so much help. It is giving us fruit, flower, leaves, and when there is scorching heat, shelter also. Sit down underneath. So beneficial — still, we cut. As soon as I like, I cut it down. But there is no protest. The tree does not say, ‘I have given you so much help, and you are cutting me?’ No. Tolerant, yes. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu has selected.

“And amanina manadena. For oneself one should not expect any respectful position, but he, the devotee, should offer all respect to anyone. Amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih. If we acquire this qualification, then we can chant Hare Krsna maha-mantra without any disturbance. This is the qualification. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to teach these principles.”

* * *
In mid-morning Prabhupada spoke again, this time at a grand initiation ceremony and fire yajna. He awarded sannyasa to seven men, brahmana to fifteen devotees, and hari-nama initiation to twenty five.

The devotees had beautifully decorated the entire temple room with flags, festoons, and banana trees. Prabhupada’s vyasasana had an abundant array of flowers hanging from its umbrella.

A central aisle was left clear, from Prabhupada to the Deity room at the other end of the temple. On either side the new initiates sat before him, each behind a leaf plate containing some grains and a banana for offering into the fire. Behind them, over five hundred devotees crammed in, eager to watch the ceremony.

Srila Prabhupada described brahmana initiation as the means of elevating one to the highest position in society. It is not dependant on birth, but on qualification, and it culminates in sannyasa. “Caitanya Mahaprabhu also wanted to introduce this system. Kiba sudra, kiba vipra, nyasi kene naya, yei krsna-tattva-vetta sei ‘guru’ haya. He never accepted this, that by birth … no. Either he is a brahmana or he is a sudra, by caste or by birth; either he’s a grhastha or a sannyasi, it doesn’t matter. He can become a guru. How? Yei krsna tattva vetta. One who knows the principles of Krsna consciousness, one who understands Krsna, he can become a guru.

“So guru is the post given to the sannyasis, to the brahmanas. Without becoming a brahmana, nobody can become a sannyasi, and sannyasi is supposed to be the guru of both all the asramas and all the varnas.

“So the preaching work … We require so many sannyasis. People are suffering all over the world for want of Krsna consciousness. My Guru Maharaja used to say that there is no scarcity, this is false propaganda. The only scarcity is that there is no Krsna consciousness. That is the difficulty. Actually that is the fact….

“Anyone who knows the science of Krsna, he can spread this Krsna consciousness movement. And there is great necessity, great necessity. And the preaching work is meant for the sannyasis. So we have got some sannyasis who are doing very nicely, so today we shall make a number of sannyasis more to spread Krsna consciousness all over the world. And those who are going to take sannyasa, they should remember how much responsibility they have got. Live like a very strict sannyasi.”

Noting the youthfulness of the sannyasa candidates (all except Hamsaduta are in their mid-twenties) and the fact that all are from the West (Prabhupada decided not to award it to Tatpur dasa this year after several doubts were raised by others on his maturity), Prabhupada encouraged them to push on the movement. “Caitanya Mahaprabhu took Himself sannyasa at the age of twenty-four years. So it is not that in old age one has to take sannyasa. That is not in the sastra. From brahmacari asrama one can enter into the grhastha asrama or vanaprastha asrama or sannyasa asrama, as he thinks fit. There are no such rules and regulations that only the old man without any energy, he’ll take sannyasa. No. Rather, the young men…. Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu did personally. He had beautiful wife, young wife, sixteen years old. At home, very, very affectionate mother, and His position was very great. As a young man He could collect hundreds of thousands of men by His order only, to make civil disobedience movement upon the Kazi, in this land. So the civil disobedience movement was started by Caitanya Mahaprabhu for a good cause.

“So there are so many things. I especially appeal to the natives of this land to take part in this movement of Caitanya Mahaprabhu for the benefit of the world. And we are trying to construct a very attractive temple here. Let them co-operate. It doesn’t matter whether he is Hindu, Muslim. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is for everyone.”

Hamsaduta, Ramesvara, Adi Kesava, Dhrstadyumna, Pramana, ‚atadhanya, and Jagat Guru were effulgent in their new saffron lungi and uttariyah. One by one they prostrated themselves before Srila Prabhupada and received from the hand of His Divine Grace the tridanda that will now symbolize their total commitment to a life of renunciation. Then each of the first-initiates came forward to receive a new spiritual name and a set of beads. Finally, the sacred fire was lit and mantras chanted, bringing the ceremony to a highly successful completion.

* * *
Attendance at our temple for the Gaura Purnima day was phenomenal. Estimates of the number of pilgrims entering the front gate ranged between 9,000-25,000 per hour, depending on the time of day. The flow continued for well over seven hours.

Most of the visitors saw the picture exhibit as well as the temple. The road from the front gate to the temple was so packed it became nearly impossible to walk. The local police reported that people were coming from all over Bengal simply to see our ISKCON temple.

Many devotees sold copies of the Gitar-gana, and mass distribution of halava prasadam went on throughout the day.

Prabhupada was extremely pleased with the turnout. Before our ISKCON temple was established here, only a few hundred people would venture to this side of the river from Navadvipa on Gaura Purnima day. None would come after dark. Now, within a mere three years, the Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir has become the chief attraction, not just in the local district but in the whole of Bengal. This has drawn the attention of hundreds of thousands to the sacred birth site and activities of Lord Caitanya.

* * *
In the early afternoon Tamal Krishna Maharaja brought the Radha Damodara party for a special darsana with Srila Prabhupada. Radha Damodara TSKP has over one hundred men working out of six Greyhound-style buses, twenty-five men under Tripurari Swami working in six airports, and another ten men presently converting two more buses.

Over seventy eager young men, most of them in their early twenties, packed the room and crowded the doorways. They gave Prabhupada a large donation of travelers checks, and he encouraged them to continue their work of book distribution and fund raising.

He complimented their efforts, and showed them the plans for future Mayapur development. Encouraging them to collect more and more funds for Mayapur’s construction, he told them, “So you are the pillars of this construction work. We are doing all our construction work on your contribution. So go on preaching and distributing books.”

Srila Prabhupada was in the best of humor, and deeply appreciative of the work his disciples are doing to establish Krsna consciousness in the world. Typically, he wanted to know whether they were all comfortably situated. Tamal Krishna informed him they were occupying an entire wing of the building on the floor above.

Prabhupada shook his head in mild wonder. He said that when this first building was completed, he was thinking, “Such a big building! How will it be filled?” Now it is packed and overflowing. He likened it to the appearance of Matsya-avatara, the fish incarnation. When He first appeared He was tiny, and a muni kept Him within his water pot. Yet He continued to grow and grow, and each time He was put into a bigger container. Finally He was put into the ocean, and still that was not big enough.

Glancing affectionately at the bright youthful faces, Prabhupada declared, “Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s soldiers to fight with maya!”

They cheered back, “Jaya, Prabhupada!”

Prabhupada went on to explain that cooperation is the essence of the movement. Quoting a line from Ohe Vaisnava Thakura he told them, “The purport of the verse is that even Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu — He is God himself, Krsna Himself — He felt, alone, unable to do this task. So this is the position. You are cooperating; therefore I am getting the credit. Otherwise alone what could I do?

“Ekaki amara nahi paya bol. Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself wanted our cooperation. He is God, Krsna. Therefore cooperation is very important thing. Nobody should think that ‘I have got so great ability. I can do.’ No. It is simply by cooperation we can do very big thing. ‘United we stand; divided we fall.’ So be strong in pushing on Krsna consciousness, and Krsna will help. He is the strongest.

“Still, we must be combined together. Sa”kirtana means many men combined together chanting. That is sankirtana. Otherwise kirtana. Bahubhir militva kirtayeti sankirtana. Bahu means many; many combined together. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission — combined together. All nations, all persons, they should combine together. There is hope in our society, combination. There are Hindus; there are Muslims; there are Christians; there are black, white. Combine them. That looks very beautiful, just like combination of many flowers.”

Bringing the darsana to a close, Prabhupada glorified them with a final few words of praise. “Hare Krsna. All glories to the sankirtana party, Radha Damodara!”

* * *
Nanda Kumara Swami arrived from Africa. He gave a depressing report on ISKCON’s Africa mission. He said Brahmananda Swami is struggling very hard but meeting with little success.

* * *
Hamsaduta Swami’s two Mercedes buses finally came in from Germany, via Vrndavana, to considerable fanfare and interest from the devotees. Aksayananda Swami also accompanied them.

The bullock cart party sent out from Hyderabad has also arrived, successfully completing a journey of some fifteen hundred kilometers.

* * *
The beautiful moon rose at 6:20 p.m. Brilliant and full in the sky, it bathed the countryside in its cooling luminescent rays, symbolizing the transcendental appearance of the Lord and the fulfillment of His mission.

Prabhupada broke his fast, taking prasadam at 7:45 p.m.

The grounds and temple were mobbed with pilgrims. It was virtually impossible to go down into the temple room, and the narrow road to the front gate was jammed with tens of thousands of Vaisnavas.

At one point Prabhupada sent me out to see how many visitors had come, and he was very, very happy to hear of the large crowds. Typically, he wanted assurance that prasadam was being distributed to all.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => TD 1-9: Sri Dhama Mayapur