Preaching In Punjab

Posted on October 18, 2011 by Anita dasi

by Caru Chandrika dasi

PATIALA

On 14th September, Rati Manjari didi, Rasesvari didi and I (Caru Chandrika dasi) first went to Patiala, in the state of Punjab to the home of Gopal prabhu. I met Gopal prabhu in the summer of 2007 in Delhi while distributing books. He then came to Govardhan during Kartik for a few days. I introduced him to Gurudeva, and his first impression was a�?Why is everyone giving him so much respect and getting so excited over him?a�? Then I explained to him about Guru tattva and who Gurudeva actually is (as far as my understanding). Then Gopal prabhu came for Kartik again the following year. As he was already chanting and his faith had grown in Gurudeva, he then accepted Hari nama initiation from Gurudeva on the last day of Kartik. He began to visit Vrndavan regularly, and as a result became very attached to Vraja dhama. Then he took diksa from Gurudeva in Kartik 2010. He has maintained a deep desire to come and live in Vrndavan in a few years time.

We had a program at Gopal prabhua��s house. He invited his family, friends and neighbours. After the bhajans and hari katha, we had a very lively kirtan and everyone began to dance ecstatically.

We organised a program at the local Radha Krsna mandir for Saturday 17th September and so we quickly made a poster to advertise the event and printed fliers which we distributed along with Gurudevaa��s books. I went to the Punjabi University, which is the biggest university in India, to distribute books and fliers for the program. There were thousands of students. Everyone I approached was very open, friendly, and interested in the books. They often took at least three or four books at a time, and gave generous donations. Rasesvari didi went to an indoor shopping centre to distribute books and also got a very good response.

 

PREACHING DOOR TO DOOR

On the day of the program, I distributed books and fliers door to door. I remember one time when I was in Amritsar with Gurudeva for a big program. Before the program Bakula didi (from Germany) and I were distributing books in various places around Amritsar. Then one day we came back from book distribution, and went to see Gurudeva. He immediately said to us a�?Have you been door to door?a�? We said a�?No, Gurudeva.a�? Then Gurudeva said very firmly a�?You should go door to door to distribute books.a�? So we did, and got a very good response. Since then I have always tried to distribute books door to door. In India people often invite you into their homes and offer you refreshments, and at the same time ask questions, which gives you a good opportunity to preach.

On the night of the program around 50 or 60 people came. Rasesvari didi led most of the bhajans, and then one lady from the local area sang a few hindi bhajans. Rati Manjari gave hari katha in hindi while everyone listened very attentively.

 

PUNJABI PEOPLE REALLY LIKE TO DANCE!

Afterwards we had a kirtan, during which, I said to everyone a�?I have heard that Punjabi people really like to dance. Is it true? I dona��t believe it. I havena��t seen any of you dance yet. I want to see you dance. Everyone, please stand up.a�? Then I began to sing and everyone began to dance. After the kirtan many people came to our book table to buy books. One lady whose name was Mrs Tondon bought books, and then she invited us to her home.

She, her husband and son were all doctors who worked in their own clinic situated on the ground floor of their house. The first thing Mrs Tondon said to us was a�?Oh, how you people dance! It was so wonderful!a�? They offered us some refreshments and we talked to them about Krsna bhakti.

 

HOSHIARPUR

The following day Rasesvari didi and I caught the bus to Hoshiarpur on the invitation of Madan Mohan prabhu. Rati Manjari didi stayed behind as she wasna��t feeling well enough to go on such a long bus journey. It took 5 hours to get there, but we felt obliged to go as when Madan prabhu had invited us, I said a�?Okay, wea��ll try to comea�?, and then he said, a�?No, dona��t just try a�� you must come!a�?

After arriving at Madan prabhua��s place, taking prasadam and a little rest, he invited us to go out on nagar sankirtan. He brought a microphone and loud speakers. About 30 people joined us. We went around the local area where he lived. Many people came out of their homes to see us and some joined in. The lady who is dancing so enthusiastically in the middle is Madan prabhua��s wife. They are both very enthusiastic about preaching. Previously, they were in Iskcon, but then Madan prabhu took initiation from Gurudeva during kartik 2010. Since then he was going out on nagar sankirtan and having programs at his house every Sunday. However unfortunately he couldna��t continue for the last few months due to unforeseen circumstances. Therefore, he was very happy to arrange another Sunday program after a long period without.

After nagar sankirtan, we came back to Madan prabhua��s house and started bhajans. Rasesvari didi led most of the hindi bhajans. She has a very nice voice that was appreciated by all. I gave the class and Madan prabhu (who is sitting next to me) translated into hindi, followed by gaura arati, tulsi parikrama and then prasada. Everyone seemed to enjoy the program very much. They also purchased some of Gurudevaa��s books afterwards.

Madan prabhu and his wife were the perfect hosts, very kind and hospitable. They asked us to stay on for a few days more, but we had to beg their leave as Ananga didi had already arranged another program at her home in Chandigarh for us the very next day.

 

CHANDIGARH

Although not so many people came to the program in Chandigarh as it was arranged at such short notice, one man called Jagadish, who Ia��d met while distributing books during the kumbha mela in Haridwar two years ago, came with his girlfriend all the way from his village called Nathana near Bathinda in Punjab a�� around 250 kms away. It took them around six hours to come by bus. Now that is real enthusiasm! We have seen that sometimes people who live a very short distance away from the location of a program cana��t come, while others who live some distance away make an effort to come. But it is very rare for a non-devotee to come such a long way for such a small program.A� We can understand from this that it all depends on onea��s accumulation of bhakti sukriti. On many occasions we invited people to come and meet Gurudeva, telling them about the glories and benefits of sadhu sanga over and over again, but they never came even once to meet him, due to a lack of sukriti; whereas others, whom we invited, immediately came to see him without any hesitation, due to their accumulation of sukrti.

When Jagadish first arrived before the program I was chatting with him and his girlfriend and he told me that he gets up at four o clock every morning and does pranayama. Then I said, a�?Oh, that is a perfect time for chanting hari nama, you should chant hari nama every morning.a�? After explaining the glories of hari nama we chanted together and then he promised that he would start chanting every morning. Just recently he sent me an email saying that he has been feeling very peaceful as a result of chanting every day. He also told me that he would definitely come and join our vraja mandal parikrama during Kartik.

We then went on to have a very nice program there. Actually Gurudeva stayed on two occasions at Ananga didi and her husbanda��s previous home in Amritsar and had very successful programs in the famous Durgiana mandir there. I was very fortunate to go with Gurudeva at that time. Since then, Ananga didi would occasionally phone me and invite us to go to Amritsar for preaching. When she heard that we were coming to Punjab, she said, a�?This time you must go to Amritsar. I will arrange programs for you.a�? I said, a�?It isna��t possible this time as Amritsar is very far and we only have a short time.a�? However, when we arrived at Ananga didia��s place she really tried to persuade us all to go. Rasesvari didi and I were very hesitant to take another long bus journey so soon, but Rati Manjari didi was very enthusiastic to go (as she hadna��t gone to Hoshiarpur with us). In the end, Rasesvari didi and I decided to stay in Chandigarh and distribute books, and so Rati Manjari didi ended up going to Amritsar alone. However, the next day I received a phone call from Arun Karna who had helped arrange all of Gurudevaa��s previous programs in Amritsar. Arun Karna is quite a funny character, but Gurudeva always appreciated his efforts. He said a�?Why didna��t you come to Amritsar? You must come!a�? I said, a�?Okay, Ia��ll try.a�? He said, a�?No, you cana��t just try, you have to come, 101% you must come! Papa is calling you.a�? What could I say to that? I felt, a�?Our real a�?Papaa�? (Gurudeva) is calling us to go there. So the next day Rasesvari didi and I got on a bus to go on another 5 or 6 hour journey to Amritsar!

 

AMRITSAR

That evening we had a program at the home of Shaheen didi (whose house we were staying at). Around 40 people came. Shaheen also sang some lively hindi bhajans and everyone appreciated the hari katha given by Rati Manjari didi.

 

Arun Karna had arranged a morning program for us in the Durgiana mandir (where Gurudeva had previously spoken) the next day, which would be broadcast live on television all over Punjab. So Rasesvari didi and I began distributing books just outside the Durgiana mandir and inviting people for the program.

We sang a few bhajans and then Rati Manjari didi spoke in hindi. I was supposed to speak in English after her, but there wasna��t time, as we started late and then time ran out.

Arun Karna is sitting there on the left at the back listening very attentively along with everyone else. Leta��s hope those who were watching it on television were also as captivated.

Arun Karna had arranged for us to speak to the students of Spring Dale senior school (a very famous English medium school) straight after the program. However, just as we were leaving the Durgiana mandir, a man approached me, calling a�?Caru Chandrika!a�? I recognized him as Deepak, who I had previously met in Amritsar and had introduced to Gurudeva before. We chatted briefly and then he invited us to come to his home for a program. So we agreed to go after the school program.

 

SCHOOL PROGRAM

When we first arrived at the school we were invited into the vice principala��s office and while we were waiting he asked many questions about Krsna bhakti. One thing he said, that struck my attention, was that a�?The knowledge in Bhagavad Gita and the Vedaa��s etc, are not relevant now or are not applicable to those living today a�� they are teachings of the past.a�? I said, a�?No, not at all. This maybe a common misconception amongst some people, but there is no evidence for this anywhere in the Vedas. On the contrary in the Srimad Bhagavatam, which is the essence of the Vedas, Sukadeva Gosvami says to Pariksit Maharaja in the second canto, a�?Know that all that I have described in reply to your proper inquiry is just according to the version of the Vedas, and it is eternal trutha��. Also the fourth verse of Catuh Sloki Bhagavatam (four main verses of Srimad Bhagavatam) explains that: a�?A person inquisitive about the Supreme Absolute Truth should inquire always and everywhere, both directly and indirectly etc.a�� Jiva Gosvami explains that in this verse, sarvatra sarvada a�� for all time, place and circumstances, means that the principles of bhakti yoga, which is the essence of all knowledge delineated in the Vedas, are apt for everyone in all time, place and circumstances. After hearing more evidence he seemed to accept the point that Vedic knowledge is eternal meant for all time.

cheap xeloda manufacturer After answering his questions for at least forty minutes, we were invited into a class room where around one hundred students were seated, all about 18 years old. After being introduced to the students, I was asked to speak. I asked them what they thought was the essence of Bhagavad Gita. Not many could say, but one student quoted: (what most Indian people think is the essence of Gita) the verse: a�?karmany evadhikaras te, ma phalesu kadacanaa��, etc.a�� You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruitsa��, etc.a�? Then I explained that this is just a general instruction, and went on to tell a story in order to elucidate atma tattva, culminating in the explanation of the real essence of Bhagavad Gita as described by Gurudeva a�� a�?man-mana bhava mad-bhaktoa�? etc. – all in thirty minutes. Rati Manjari didi spoke for a short time after me in hindi, also explaining atma tattva, bhakti tattva etc. Rasesvari didi then ended by chanting the maha mantra very sweetly. All the students seemed quite charmed by the presentation and thanked us very much.

 

THE GOLDEN TEMPLE

Our next stop was the Golden temple. Who could go to Amritsar without visiting the famous golden temple? Even Gurudeva went there. So following in his footsteps we also went. Rasesvari didi distributed books there for a while there, and then Rati Manjari didi and I went to Deepaka��s house.

Deepak and his wife had invited all their family, friends and neighbors. Around 40 people came, which was a pretty good turn out at such short notice. He said next time we come he would be able to invite far more.A� There we had a short but sweet program of bhajans and hari katha. You can see Deepaka��s wife (in the middle next to her children) leading hindi bhajans very enthusiastically. Her children also danced Vrajabasi style for some time during the bhajans. However, during the program we got a few phone calls from Shaheen didi, calling us to quickly come to her house, as many people were waiting there for us to come and give the program. Therefore we had to cut the program at Deepaka��s place a little short.

When we arrived, Rasesvari didi was leading a lively kirtan and then Rati Manjari didi gave hari katha. Many came and bought books after the program a�� a successful end to our preaching in Amitsar and Punjab.A� After four programs in one day a�� it was definitely time to take rest!

Gaura premanandi! Hari Hari bol!

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