Wed, Jan 5, 2011 — Many people have asked how we can connect with the pure disciplic succession now that Srila Prabhuapda is no longer physically present and we do not see any empowered acharya present in the disciplic line from Srila Prabhupada.
This is perhaps the biggest personal issue I have had to face in my coming to Krishna consciousness. I discovered Krishna consciousness in Australia in 1985 and met the devotees in Perth, Western Australia in 1986.
My sisters were always telling me how nice the “Krishna food” was. So when I saw Gopal’s I had to go inside and try out the “Krishna food.” And it was really wonderful. They had a simple menu of rice, dhal subji, halva and a drink. My first “prasadam experience” was quite amazing. They had only one subji and it had brussel sprouts in it, and up to that day in my life I did not like brussel sprouts. But I thought, “I will try it anyhow.” And the taste was so nice I could not believe it. I think at that point I was convinced that Krishna must be God. He must be, otherwise “How could He make brussel sprouts taste so good?” Anyhow, that is the way I was thinking then.
So I kept on coming back to Gopal’s for lunch every day. I was working as a very highly paid computer system’s analyst for a big Mining company and it took me half an hour to drive to Gopal’s and the same to drive back. I only had an hour for lunch. But by this time Krishna was becoming more important to me than anything else.
One thing that really struck me at Gopals was in the center of each table they had a stand with a few small Prabhupada books and some Back To Godhead magazines. I was completely captivated by the Back To Godhead magazines. I was always looking at the paintings of Krishna.
One day I asked one of the devotees, “How many of these magazines have you got?” And he smiled and said, “We have been printing it every month since 1966,” and I was amazed. And then he said, “And we have them all upstairs!” So I immediately wanted to go up there and see all these BTG’s!
He took me upstairs and it was a temple with a library that had a full set of Srila Prabhupada’s books and also a set of Prabhuapda video tapes. And on the bottom shelf of the huge bookcase was 15 big folders full of old Back To Godhead magazines. It was a complete set going right back to early editions published in the 60s.
With all these BTG’s to look at I thought I was in heaven for sure. From that moment on I spent so much time in that temple watching the Prabhupada video tapes, reading his books and looking at the Back To Godhead magazines..
The first time I saw a video of Srila Prabhupada I was totally captivated. This was The Acharya Part 1. I was stunned and I couldn’t believe it. It was just such an nice feeling. So over the next few months I watched all the Prabhuapda video tapes, looked at all the Back to Godhead magazines and read all Prabhupada’s small books like Beyond Birth and Death, Perfecton of Yoga, Perfect Questions Perfect Answers, The King of Knowledge, Easy Journey to Other Planets and bigger books like Science of Self Realizaton, Teachings of Lord Caitanya and Nectar of Devotion. I read the Bhagavad-gita As It Is and then started reading Srimad Bhagavatam. I got up the the beginning of the Second Canto in Srimad Bhagavatam then suddenly got a very strong desire to join the Hare Krishna movement. I realized my life as a highly paid computer systems analyst was leading me nowhere and I knew that I should be serving Srila Prabhupada in Krishna consciousness.
I know that seeing Srila Prabhupada in person and associating with him so intimately through the video tapes had a big impact on my life. I continued to watch those video tapes, and when DVDs were invented I noticed that there were no Prabhuapda DVDs. Everyone else had DVDs but there were no Prabhuapda DVDs. So I approached Nrsimhananda Prabhu at ITV with the offer that I would make the Prabhupada DVDs for ITV as my service to Srila Prabhuapda. We asked Ambrisa Prabhu if he could advance the $25,000 needed to produce the DVDs and he did. So due to the mercy of Nrsimhananda Prabhu and Ambrisa Prabhu the Prabhuadpa DVD set became a reality.
The DVD project ended up taking more than five years to complete and we discovered there was so much more video of Prabhuapda which had never been released before.
We ended up with over 50 hours of transcendental video with the quality of the audio and video improved amazingly from anything anyone had seen before. That is almost 20 hours of Prabhupada nectar that had never been released before.
And somehow, with the help of dozens of devotees all over the world, and one very great soul called Uddhava Gita Prabhu (who spent years at a computer inserting the translated subtitles into the Prabhupada DVDs), we managed to translate the entire Prabhuada DVD set into over 20 languages. It was a huge effort.
So now we have subtitles for English, Russian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Estonian, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Malay, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish. We also have alternate sound tracks, one with a voice over in Russian and the other with a voice over in Italian [on the first DVD only].
It is my personal experience that the Prabhuapda DVD set is a real treasure-house. You can imagine I have watched everything hundreds of times and I still watch it and enjoy it more than ever. It is not like some material movie–once you know the plot you don’t want to watch again. No. With the Prabhuapda DVD set the more you watch it the better it gets… The more you want to see it again and again.
So if you are prepared to use a little time each day watching a Prabhupada video I am sure you will find it a completely transforming and refreshing experience.
Srila Prabhupada has the amazing ability to explain very deep philosophical points in such a simple easy to understand way. It feels very good and one feels completely protected watching the DVDs.
This it is such an easy way to become totally absorbed in Krishna. Also the DVDs are a wonderful way to introduce new people to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna.
The Prabhuapda videos have had an amazing effect on my life. They have helped me personally to discover that Srila Prabhuapda is living, he is very much alive and preaching, and that he is still the current link to disciplic succession to Krishna.
So my humble request is that you please make time in your busy life every day for Srila Prabhupada. It is not difficult. Every morning we can read something from Bhagavad Gita and we can make a regular time to watch a Prabhuapda DVD in the evening. If you try this simple program it will have an amazing effect on all aspects of your life.
To understand this you need to experience the power of associating with Srila Prabhupada for yourself. There is no need to be spiritually advanced to start this process.
When I walked into Gopal’s in 1986 I was a big meat-eater and doing so many sinful things, but that did not stop me from being attracted by Srila Prabhupada. And as I spent time associating with Prabhupada by watching the videos and reading his books automatically my bad qualities started to disappear.
The transformation in my personal life was amazing and quite surprising to me and it happened simply through my association with Srila Prabhuapda.
Please take this a little seriously and try this experiment in your life. Get the Prabhuapda DVDs and watch them and see how this transforms your life!
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!