Which place is greater Navadvipa or Vrindavan?

"Soon a personality will appear to preach the teachings of Sri Caitanya and freely travel all over the world with His message." Bhaktivinoda Thakura, 1875

"Soon there will come a time when the chanting of Krishna's Holy Name will be heard in England, France, Russia, Germany and America." Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Sajjana-toshani (Nityanana Suryodoy, 19th century)

When the Indian cargo ship Jaladuta docked in New York Harbor on September 19, 1965, it had a strange passenger on board by American standards: a 70-year-old indian sannyasi, a monk in the state of renunciation. He had renounced everything worldly and, at the direction of his own spiritual master, devoted himself exclusively to spreading the teachings of Krishna. His name was A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He came as a completely penniless person who had just survived the long, over a month long boat trip from Calcutta. The age and the exhausting journey almost cost him his life. His only wealth was the holy name of Krishna. But he also wanted to distribute this.

After a year of great difficulty and hardship, Srila Prabhupada was able to found the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), an organization where people could come together to practice Krishna consciousness together. The devotion and spiritual purity of Srila Prabhupada attracted many, mostly young people, who could not identify with the values ​​of a bourgeois, materialistic society.

In just ten years, a small, extremely humble temple in New York grew into a worldwide organization with over 100 centers and farm communities, a large publishing house, and a number of other projects. All over the world, members of society practiced publicly sankirtan, the common chanting of the Holy Names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna. The holy name resounded everywhere in the form of what was previously only known on the Indian subcontinent Maha mantras: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Srila Prabhupada writes in Caitanya Caritamrita (Adi-lila, verse 17.213): "Fortunately, our Hare Krishna movement has become very popular all over the world, especially in the civilized world of Europe and America. Generally nobody complains about it us and demands that we be expelled from the city. Only in Melbourne, Australia has such an attempt actually been made, but it failed. We are therefore now introducing the Hare Krishna movement in big cities around the world, such as New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, and by the grace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu are all going very well. People happily accept the principle of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, and the result is most satisfactory. "

In the commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam (December 4th, 48) he writes: "One should especially seek the company of brahmanas (priests) who are elevated to the position of Vaisnavas (devotees). In this way, conversations about the Srimad Bhagavatam, who are the Character and the games of devotees and the Lord describes to be effective very quickly. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness has been organized for this purpose. In every center of this society takes place - not just in the morning, evening and noon, but practically 24 Hours a day - devotional service takes place. Everyone who comes into contact with society becomes a devotee of their own accord. We have had the practical experience that many karmis (people who seek material wealth) or others come to society and find a very pleasant and peaceful atmosphere in the temples of ISKCON. [...] Everyone can join the International G Join and be initiated into society for Krishna consciousness. "

In the 1970s the "Hare Krishnas", the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, were known practically everywhere. Soon these singing and dancing monks and nuns in their colorful flying robes were part of the general cityscape. As different as the appearance of the "Krishnas" was, their reception by the population was just as opposite. While some referred to them as skipping fools because of their physical appearance, others who looked a little deeper recognized the sublime religious philosophy and sacred tradition of India. Although there have never been so many devotees to Krishna, they appeared with a mystical power, as if there were millions. This power was based in part on its exotic flair, which was made for television programs and magazines; but her real strength was her devotion to Krishna and her spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada. They have been compared to angels from Vaikuntha, the spiritual world. And they really were. Sent down by the Supreme Lord Himself to save the fallen souls.

Srila Prabhupada writes in his foreword to Bhagavad-gita: "Our Krishna consciousness movement is genuine, historically authorized, natural and transcendental as it is based on the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. It is gradually becoming the most popular movement in the world , especially among the younger generation. But older people are also showing more and more interest, yes, many fathers and grandfathers of my students encourage us by becoming members for life of our large society, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, in Los Angeles Many fathers and mothers used to visit me to show their gratitude for leading the Krishna Consciousness Movement all over the world, some of whom said it is very fortunate for Americans to have me running the Krishna Movement Consciousness began in America, but in reality the original father of this movement is Sri Krishna Himself as it began a very long time ago and its teaching has been passed down through a succession of spiritual masters to modern human society. If I have any merit in this connection, it is not due to me personally, but to my eternal spiritual master, His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya 108 Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja Prabhupada. "

In many countries the Hare Krishnas became known and loved for their colorful celebrations and festivals. The palette ranged from classic festivals that were previously only held in India, such as the Carriage Festival, in which large, colorfully decorated carriages with the images of the Supreme Lord are pulled through the streets, to the weekly Sunday festival for guests and friends.

"In every center of our institution, ISKCON, there is a festival of love every Sunday, and when we see people come to our center, chant, dance, eat prasada with us, get happy and buy books, we know that undoubtedly Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is present in such transcendental activities and that He is very pleased and satisfied, "writes Srila Prabhupada in the commentary on Caitanya-caritamrita (Adi-lila, 9.50).

In the same book (Madhya-lila, 13.19) he writes about the London Carriage Festival: "In 1973 there was a glorious Ratha-yatra festival in London, England, and the carriage was pulled to Trafalgar Square. The London Newspaper The Guardian published an article on the front page with a photo and the headline: 'ISKCON-Ratha-yatra in competition with Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.' Nelson's Column is a very impressive statue of Lord Nelson and can be seen from a great distance, just as the people of Puri (India) compared the Ratha-yatra chariot to Mount Sumeru, so our chariot rivaled in the eyes of them Resident of London with the Nelson Monument. "

Despite his advanced age, Srila Prabhupada traveled tirelessly from country to country, giving lectures, giving interviews, organizing, translating the most important works of Vedic literature and bringing the message of Krishna to millions of people. He founded the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, the largest publisher of ancient Indian Vedic literature at the time, and accepted thousands of students who enthusiastically distributed his translations, which were soon to be published in millions of copies in many of the world's most important languages.

In the introduction
of the first chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada writes: "I continue to strive to publish books just as my spiritual master has instructed me. Now this year, 1976, I have completed the Seventh Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam and a summary The Tenth Canto has already appeared under the title, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Nevertheless, the Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Cantos have not yet been published. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to pray to my spiritual master I am neither a great scholar nor a great devotee; I am nothing more than a humble servant of my spiritual master whom I try to please by sharing these books of the help of my students in America, to our delight scholars appreciate all over the world these publications. Let us publish more and more volumes of Srimad Bhagavatam together so as to please His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. "

Srila Prabhupada required the general public and especially the members of ISKCON to adhere to various regulatory principles. A non-violent diet as possible was very important to him, whereby the protection of the cows was particularly important to him, because these animals are described by the Vedas as one of the mothers of humans and Krishna also attaches great importance to the welfare of these animals.

"Protecting the cows is of the utmost importance, because if you take good care of the cows, they are guaranteed to give enough milk. In America, the cows on our various ISKCON farms are adequately protected, and we have had practical experience that we get more than enough milk. The cows on other farms do not give as much milk as ours; because our cows know perfectly well that we are not killing them, they are happy and give milk in abundance. [...] If we say that the cows must be protected, the meat eaters will protest, but in response to their objections we can say that Krishna places great importance on protecting the cows and that is why those who feel the urge to eat meat should eat the meat of unimportant animals such as pigs, dogs, goats and sheep, but in no case should they kill cows as this affects the spiritual progress of human beings Devastating society, "writes Srila Prabhupada in the commentary on verse 9.15.25 of the Srimad Bhagavatam.

He also writes in the commentary on verse 1.7.37 of the same book: "According to Manu, the important author of civil laws and religious principles, even someone who kills an animal is to be regarded as a murderer, since animal food is never intended for civilized people. whose primary duty is to prepare for the return to God. Manu says that behind the killing of an animal there is a veritable conspiracy of sinners, all of whom must be punished as murderers, as well as a group of conspirators who collectively kill a person .The one who gives permission to kill an animal; the one who kills the animal; the one who sells the slaughtered animal; the one who prepares the meat; the one who distributes the food, and finally the one who eats the meat - they are all murderers and are subject to the same punishment by the laws of nature. "(The Karma of the Meat Eaters)

Such and other principles were and are uncomfortable in (in) cultures, where the massive slaughter of animals, simply to satisfy the perverse cravings of the tongue, is omnipresent, and so ISKCON was controversial in public from the start. And not just in the western one. The Indians distrusted the Americans and Europeans, who suddenly tried to act like Indians; moreover, in general all gurus who are successful in the west had a bad reputation in India for good reason. Opposition came from the conservative Hindus, who to this day still refuse non-Indian converts access to various temples. Harsh criticism and accusations also came from various so-called Godbrothers of Prabhupada in India (other students of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, the spiritual master of Srila Prabhupada), who were jealous of his successes.

"Sometimes jealous people criticize the Krishna Consciousness Movement because we boys and girls alike are engaged in spreading love for God. Not knowing that boys and girls in countries like Europe and America are very free, throw These fools to the boys and girls in Krishna consciousness that they would 'mix', but these scoundrels should bear in mind that the manners and customs of a community cannot be changed overnight, but there are both boys and girls When trained to be preachers, these girls are not ordinary girls but as good as their brothers who preach Krishna consciousness. Engaging boys and girls in completely transcendental activities is therefore a means that has been used to promote the Krishna movement. The jealous fools who accuse us of 'mixing up' boys and girls are blamed for their e have to be satisfied with their own folly because they cannot imagine how to spread Krishna consciousness by using means and ways that are beneficial for that end. Their template methods will never contribute to the spread of Krishna consciousness. [...] Since, for example, boys and girls in western countries have free intercourse with one another, special concessions are necessary with regard to their customs and habits in order to bring them to Krishna consciousness. The acarya (teacher) must find a means to bring them to devotional service. For this reason, I sometimes undertake to marry boys and girls, even though I am a sannyasi, and in the history of the sannyasa class there has never been a sannyasi who married his disciples, "writes Srila Prabhupada in Caitanya-caritamrita (Adi - purple, verses 7.31-32 & 37).

Commenting on the next verse, he adds: "However, we teach both men and women thoroughly how to preach - and indeed they preach wonderfully. Of course, we strictly prohibit illegal sexual relations. Boys and girls who are not married are not allowed to sleep together or to live together; therefore there are separate living quarters for boys and girls in each temple. "

"The teaching of bhagavata-dharma (the eternal religion of all people) can be spread under all circumstances, among all people in all countries. Many envious people accuse this movement for Krishna consciousness to subvert the strictness of so-called Hinduism. This is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu affirms that devotional service to the Lord - the process of bhagavata-dharma now being made known through the Hare Krishna movement - in every country, to every person, in every life situation and among Bhagavata-dharma does not limit pure devotees to the Hindu community, for a pure devotee stands above a brahmana. Hence, it is not irresponsible to divulge the sacred cord to devotees in Europe, America, Australia, Japan, Canada, etc. Sometimes these pure devotees who have been accepted by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu are not allowed to to enter certain temples in India, and some of the brahmans and gosvamis from the upper castes refuse to accept prasada (consecrated food) in the temples of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. In fact, this is against the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; the devotees can come from any country, and they can be of any religion or race, ”writes Srila Prabhupada in the commentary on Caitanya-caritamrita (v. 25.120).

“The principle that only Indians and Hindus can be accepted into the Vaisnava church is a misconception. So much should be preached that everyone becomes a Vaisnava.The Krishna Consciousness Movement is designed for this purpose. There is no obstacle to spreading the Krishna consciousness movement even among those born in candala, mleccha or yavana families, "commented Srila Prabhupada on Sri Caitanya's instruction that the Holy Name be in each Corner of the world should be heard (Srimad Bhagavatam, verse 4.8.54).

The western devotees, who were ignorant of many Hindu customs, were not very well received in the Indian temples. They were rejected or laughed at. Such treatment could not be tolerated by Srila Prabhupada, to whom his disciples were very dear. So he began to build temples himself in India, which are now generally recognized. He writes in Caitanya-caritamrita (verse 25.183): "Following in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, we have built temples both in Vrndavana and in Mayapur, Navadvipa, just to provide a place of refuge for the foreign devotees who come from Europe and America Since the Hare Krishna movement began, many Europeans and Americans have visited Vrndavana, but have not been properly received by any asrama (monastery) or temple, and the International Society of Krishna Consciousness regards it as their duty to give them refuge There are so many tourists who come to India to understand India's spiritual life, and the devotees in our Vrndavana and Navadvipa temples should arrange whatever is necessary to serve them as well as possible accommodate. "

Be it the seemingly liberal Western culture or the conservative Indian culture: Srila Prabhupada did not allow himself to be hindered at all by ephemeral circumstances such as tradition and culture; he was a servant of Krishna and not a servant of any supposed tradition or religion. He accepted whatever was conducive to his ministry as a minister; the rest were rejected. In doing so, he by no means only offended the Indian traditionalists. Their western representatives also had their part, which was impressively demonstrated by the clothing and demeanor of the ISKCON members.

In the western states, the often radical concepts of ISKCON, which completely alienated the members of the organization of the consumer society, were heavily criticized. Critics who complained daily about the abnormalities of the consumer society were now confronted with people who had actually and consistently renounced consumption, pursuit of money and sensual enjoyment. Interestingly enough, many of these critics then turned out to be hypocrites, because now they began to criticize the Hare Krishnas for being themselves indeed had turned away from the consumer society! Sect commissioners and pastors from various established churches and self-proclaimed anti-cult experts incited the public against ISKCON members by accusing ISKCON of brainwashing (for constantly chanting the names of God) and even child abduction. They did so despite the fact that the constant chanting of the names of God is a recommended practice in all world religions and that there is or was at least one direction in practically every religious movement that is specifically dedicated to this practice. Also, ISKCON could hardly be blamed if individual underage young people (from mostly defective families) fled into the organization and deliberately evaded their parents' access through long-distance travel.

Commenting on verse 9.24.62 of Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada writes: "At present devotees in western countries are attracted to Krishna consciousness and lose interest in materialistic activities, and therefore some people try to put obstacles in the way of this movement. However, there is no way they can stop this movement or prevent the activities of the devotees in Europe and America with artificial obstacles. "

When Srila Prabhupada passed away in November 1977 in Vrndavana, India, he left an international religious organization and about five to ten thousand disciples who were to carry on his mission together. However, his greatest legacy was the invaluable translations of the most important traditions of Vedic culture. These translations were lavishly designed and published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Today they are works of genuine spirituality that are valued by many religious people and equally respected textbooks and reading books in the universities of the world. They are among the most beautifully presented and most useful religious books of the Vedic tradition.

The main works of Srila Prabhupada are: Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad Bhagavatam (German Edition in 12 Volumes), Caitanya Caritamrita (German Edition in 11 Volumes), The Teachings of Sri Caitanya, The Nectar of Devotion, Sri Isopanisad, The Nectar of Instruction, Krishna, the Source of all joy (German edition in 2 volumes).

"I have to admit that I owe all of my translation work to the inspiration of my spiritual master, for I myself am extremely insignificant and not qualified to cope with this materially impossible task. I do not consider myself a particularly great scholar, but I have full trust in the service of my spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. If I have any merit in my translation work, it is all thanks to His Divine Grace. If His Divine Grace were now physically present, it would certainly have cause To great pleasure. But even if he is not here physically, I am convinced that he is delighted with this translation work. It gave him great pleasure to see that many books have been published to promote the movement for Krishna consciousness. Therefore this International Society for Krishna-B Awareness formed to carry out the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, "writes Srila Prabhupada in the afterword to Caitanya-caritamrita.

After the founder's departure (November 14, 1977, in Vrindavan India), ISKCON got into a state despite Srila Prabhupada's best efforts great darknesswith most of the original members leaving the organization. To this day, ISKCON has not really managed to come to terms with this difficult past and to reflect on the good instructions of the founder on how to successfully manage and continue the organization. In the past few years, however, well-run reform movements, especially in India, have received strong support. Fortunately, Srila Prabhupada's spiritual message or chanting of the Holy Name is completely independent of material circumstances or church organizations like ISKCON. No matter what state ISKCON is in, whether you are a member or not, Srila Prabhupada is available to people of all cultures and religions in the form of his books and thus spreads Krishna consciousness and the chanting of the Holy Name.

Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was not one of those cheap gurus from Asia who traveled to the West with a watered down philosophy about the spiritual inexperience of the West