Recently I had the good fortune to attend the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Hare Krishna movement in Australia at the Sydney Temple. The festival was attended by eighty of the original Hare Krishna devotees in Australia. As they shared their remembrances and realizations of the early days of our movement, I reflected on our future at Hare Krishna Valley.
Pratapana Prabhu spoke to me about the necessity of making our Hare Krishna farms successful. He emphasised that modern civilization as we know it is declining. In due course of time people will be forced to return to live on the land. He said that while people are not so interested in rural life at the moment, we need to develop our farm projects so that we can facilitate people seeking an alternative way of life in the future.
Charu Prabhu gave a presentation about the Temple he is running in rural Utah USA (http://www.utahkrishnas.org). He hosts extremely successful festivals. Recently 50,000 people celebrated Holi, the Festival of Colors. Srila Prabhupada once said, ‘I have a disease, I do not know how to think small!’ So as we build our momentum at Hare Krishna Valley and attract more devotees to live here, I would like to think we will stage similar events.
Charu Prabhu also expressed the need for Hare Krishna devotees to be open about their faith when dealing with the public. We can be proud of Krishna and of being His devotees. At Hare Krishna Valley as we try to be open about who we are, many people are attracted to our way of life. During the cooking retreats we host with Kurma Prabhu, we teach the guests to chant Hare Krishna and to offer their food to Him. Generally our guests find our lifestyle interesting and our philosophy thought provoking.
Mother Jagattarini told of her association with Srila Prabhupada in the early days in Australia. She had been a famous actress and wanted to use her fame in service to Srila Prabhupada. She was interviewed by a prominent Sydney newspaper who included pictures of her before and after she became Krishna conscious. Although when the pictures were shown to Srila Prabhupada she became quite nervous, he said that she looked unhappy in the first picture but now she looked very happy. This made me realise how fortunate we all are. Before we came to Krishna consciousness we were unhappy, but Srila Prabhupada gives us the opportunity to experience the highest bliss in service to Krishna.
Probably the most moving part of the festival for me was meeting Srila Prabhupada’s disciple Yasomatinandana Prabhu, who is suffering stomach cancer and is close to death. Although his body is frail he attended part of the festival just to join the assembly of devotees. He looked effulgent and I could see that he was at peace with his departure from this world. Yasomatinandana allowed me to realise that if we just give this one lifetime to serving Krishna – no matter how much of a struggle it may be – Krishna rewards us beyond our imagination.
So I have become incredibly inspired to help make Hare Krishna Valley a successful project. The Hare Krishna Movement has become well established in Australia in the last forty years due to the hard work of Srila Prabhupada and of his disciples. Now it is the duty of all of us to push on this grand movement into the future for the benefit of mankind. If you are interested in becoming a part of the growth of Hare Krishna Valley, please contact me on 0405 577 453 or [email protected]pamho.net.
I remain yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada.