73. Following Srila Prabhupada

I am now the proud owner of the complete DVD set of ….

Yesterday was the premiere of Volume 7 of the series at the Melbourne Temple organized by Yadubara Das who is also the projector director. His team have been working on this unique work over the last 5 years, releasing a DVD every 2 months. The show was slated for 7:30pm. But I was there at 7pm, took the 3rd row (didn’t want to show too much that I was an eager beaver) and watched the devotee boys set up all the gear for the evening. Slowly the crowd starting arriving at the theatre hall and within 20 mins, it was packed. After some minor technical glitches, we started the movie at about 7:45pm. We started with those series that focused on the pilgrimage of the western devotees to India with Srila Prabhupad under the world sankirtan party initiative.

I enjoyed it. Every frame. The footage begins with a group of young devotees starting their travel from Egypt and how they carried out their kirtans at the airport with curious bystanders and fellow passengers, along with some ever watchful military force. Throughout the video, there are recollections of funny and memorable incidents from the devotees who were present then. This footage from Egypt to Mathura with stop overs at Mumbai, Surat and Amritsar also highlighted the hospitality extended by the Indians-both poor and rich, wherever the party went.

What captivated me the most about the whole video was the extent of enthusiasm, energy, passion, commitment, attitude, hard work and sheer happiness that the young western devotees exhibited in the hot, humid, crowded streets of India. A devotee recollects what an onlooker has said then, “if this is how the devotees are, I can’t imagine what their guru must be like“.  And I think this is where the energy came from – their desire to make Srila Prabhupad happy. All the hardships they faced were nothing compared to their intense desire to serve Srila Prabhupad, to see him satisfied, to help him succeed.

I came out of the hall feeling so sad that I missed out on those early years of the late 1960s and 1970s. I cursed my luck that I had to be born so much later and hence missing out on the chance to serve Srila Prabhupad so directly, right in front of him, in the way I saw in the footages. But I think I made up for this loss by getting these DVDs. Now, I will have those hundreds of devotees, Srila Prabhupad and all those personally missed years in my living room. And by just buying these DVDs and watching it, I know I am serving Srila Prabhupad directly too.

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