by Rukmini Walker
Saturday, August 24th, the day following Sri Krsna Janmastami (the Appearance Day of Lord Sri Krsna) is the Appearance Day of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, my spiritual master.
Vyasa Puja Offering, 2019
namah om vishnupadaya krsnapresthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta swamin iti namine
namaste saraswate deve gaura vani pracarine
nirvisesa sunyavadi pascatya desatarine
My Dear Srila Prabhupada,
We once heard that a wise astrologer saw a photo of you and said, “He can build a house in which the whole world can live”.
But what does that mean, really, ‘a house in which the whole world can live’?
In 1944, in the midst of the harsh reality of world war, you explained your vision for that house in the first issue of your Back to Godhead magazine.
In that first article, you wrote:
“Politically India may ask all so-called foreigners to quit the shores of India, but spiritually she did never ask anybody to do so, nor will she do so even now. She will rather invite all the so-called foreigners to come and exploit the spiritual resources of India’s advancement, and this transcendental exploitation will not only enhance the glory of India but will also enrich the glory of the whole world for unity, faith and humanity.”
As Lord Krsna lovingly lifted the Govardhan Hill as an umbrella of protection for the residents of Vrndavan, in the same way you lovingly built a house to give protection and shelter for us from the storms of Kali Yuga.
This house you built has a veranda facing out to the world. You stand on that veranda, looking out at the suffering of the people of the world. When you sometimes see that some are being excluded, with a tear in your eye, you call out, “ Bring them in, bring them in!” Or you exclaim with compassion, “Let no-one go hungry within a ten mile radius of this house!”
As you face out to the suffering world, your glance benedicts everyone it touches, creating what you call, “imperceptible auspiciousness” as you bless all directions with the Holy Name of Lord Krsna.
At its center, this house has a courtyard, with an overflowing fountain of gratitude to the Source of all life, Sri Sri Radha Krsna. They are the owners of this house, which you built for Their pleasure: Their worship is celebrated by every member of the household.
The veranda of this house has four pillars: mercy, austerity, truth and purity. These pillars uplift us to sattva guna, the place where we access the joy of spiritual and secret knowledge (raja vidya, raja guhya), giving us direct perception of the self by realization.
The interior pillars in the courtyard are five:
To cherish the sanga of all sadhus…
To chant the holy name in humility, love and attention…
To hear and chant the beautiful Bhagavatam, enriched with your emotional ecstacies…
To revere the loving seva of the Deities of Lord Gauranga and Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundar…
And to imbibe the mood of living in such a holy dham.
In this house, there is an ambience of six loving exchanges (dadati pratigrnati) that sustain us and give us strength. Only in this mood can we authentically relish and share what you’ve given us.
This house must retain its strong, impenetrable foundation. We must be always vigilant to maintain the deep and wide foundation that you created – the principle of unity in diversity, connecting with all living beings of the world.
In this house the whole world can live. We are a joint family, a joint culture, where all voices are honored. We honor the elders, the voices of past tradition, who also need to see the bright faces of possibility in the youth. And the youth, who are the voices of the future, need to hear the discernment of experience and wisdom in the voices of the elders.
In this way, we build on our shared strengths; rather than allowing the foundation of the house to crack, due to the seepage or flooding of cynicism, small-mindedness or sectarianism.
You built this house with strong timbers of whatever is favorable to Bhakti, and you reject the worm-eaten planks of antiquated ideas that are unfavorable to Bhakti.
Your house rejects cheating religion, which is like inferior marble that’s full of holes, and filled with wax. In the fire of ordeal, that wax would melt, leaving us to cry for what is real, sincere, and sustainable.
Your Guru Maharaj built a marble palace to establish his mission at Bagh Bazaar in Kolkata. When his disciples began vying for the better rooms that faced the Ganges, he became disheartened. Yet sometimes he indicated that one day you would be the one to expand his mission beyond all borders.
We too must always remember that we are mere servants in your house. We must keep before us your intention in building such a house.
As you foretold in 1944, you built this house, inviting the world to, “come and exploit the spiritual resources of India’s advancement, and this transcendental exploitation will not only enhance the glory of India but will also enrich the glory of the whole world for unity, faith, and humanity.”
Thank you, Srila Prabhupada, for the blessing to live and serve in your house, and, following in your footsteps, to always welcome others to join us.
Your eternal daughter,
Rukmini Devi Dasi
**To listen to the audio recording of this blog, please click on the arrow in the audio player below.**