PIONEERING THE WAY
Srila Prabhupada Impacts Mexico (Part 13)
SRILA PRABHUPADA LEAVES MEXICO CITY
This would be Srila Prabhupada's last day in Mexico City and he followed his usual routine of getting up very early in the morning to translate and to chant on his mala. He would go for a walk in the old section of the Chapultepec Park. He would then return for greeting the Sri Panca-Tattva and the morning lecture. With no exception, this has been his morning schedule during his stay. Now, in the last hours of his visit, he was very pleased with the way the temple functioned despite its being recently opened, a new branch of the Hare Krishna movement. He saw the temple president's sincere efforts, the experience of older devotees, and the cooperation and enthusiasm of the new Mexican devotees blending and creating marvelous results, creating a strong new temple for the Hare Krishna movement, ISKCON.
The purpose of His Divine Grace's visit to the Hare Krishna temple in this country was fully accomplished in those five days of intense preaching. In a very short time he reached out to all sections of Mexican society; from young to old, poor and rich. In the university he reached out to the mass of unprepared youths and intellectuals; at the Masonic lodge and the hotel conference hall, Casino de la Selva, he reached out to society's established leaders like businessmen, professionals, and politicians. But whether preaching in open air Cuernavaca, Zocalo, to passers by, or in the hi-tech television studio to twenty-million viewers, Srila Prabhupada exhibited a relentless desire to elevate society by providing Krishna consciousness. He introduced Vaishnava initiation into the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra; he began the distribution of his books in Spanish among the selected audience at the Casino de la Selva; he had established the sadhana bhakti at the temple as the means to become Krishna conscious. In relationship with the above Srila Prabhupada wrote:
"The Krishna consciousness movement has spread all over the world within a very short time (within five years), and mundane people are very much astonished at this. However, by the grace of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we understand that everything is possible by the grace of Krishna. Why does Krishna have to take five years? In five days He can spread His name and fame all over the world like wildfire. Those who have faith in and devotion to Krishna can understand that these things happen so wonderfully by the grace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We are simply the instruments."
(Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 4.79, Purport)
Rohini Kumara das: Srila Prabhupada liked so many things about Mexico: the people, the weather, the fruit like papaya, the guanavana, the Mexican chico zapote. He was thinking the people in general have a good nature to be able to become good Krishna devotees.
The old mansion was nice and very well located in the heart of the good section in Mexico City, not far from the official house for the President of the country, easily reached and therefore giving very good facilities for preaching and Deity worship. Srila Prabhupada liked it very much and he asked the devotees to make that building the permanent place for the Hare Krishna temple in Mexico City.
Srila Prabhupada left his rooms accompanied by the swamis and his personal entourage. All the devotees assembled in the main hall started the kirtan. The time of Srila Prabhupada's departure from the temple had come. Everybody started chanting, "Jaya Srila Prabhupada! Jaya Srila Prabhupada!"
His Divine Grace was coming down step by step till he reached the main hall where the devotees were doing the kirtan which was so intense. It seemed like the mrindagas, drums, the kartals and everyone were crying, telling Srila Prabhupada not to go. His Divine Grace walked towards the exit, he took a step through the arched doors and came down a few steps. He was with His hands folded thanking everybody for this hospitality and the eagerness to take advantage of His Divine Grace's association. Everybody was following him till the outside gate. His Divine Grace got aboard his car and left for the airport.
On his way to the airport Srila Prabhupada's car was followed by various cars filled with devotees. They had tasted the nectar of the association of a pure devotee of Krishna. Their spiritual master was sent by Krishna. They did not want him to go to India. His Divine Grace came from there to Mexico to touch their lives, but now he is going away, breaking their hearts. Now as they follow His Divine Grace's car, they want as much as possible to get his vapu association. They are hoping after he is gone they may follow his divine instructions or vani.
Rama Govinda dasa: All the devotees wanted to be with Srila Prabhupada as much as possible, therefore we followed His Divine Grace to the airport. When Srila Prabhupada came to the airport his secretary and others took charge of the formalities. Srila Prabhupada took a seat on an airport bench and all of us took a seat near or down on the floor. Very boldly, Lalita Prasad das, a devotee from Colombia, took a seat beside Srila Prabhupada and His Divine Grace started talking with him. I was behind them:
Srila Prabhupada: Are you Mexican?
Lalita Prasad das: No, I am from Colombia.
Srila Prabhupada: Why you speak English?
Lalita Prasad das: Because my family moved to New York some years ago.
The conversation went on and we all were watching how Srila Prabhupada interacted with the newly initiated disciple.
The devotees wanted to be with Srila Prabhupada as much as possible. They wanted to be nearby, where His Divine Grace was, taking as much association of Srila Prabhupada. For most of them this was the only time that they had the chance to be personally with Srila Prabhupada.
The time to board the plane came and Srila Prabhupada rose up and walked toward the exit. Srila Prabhupada walked and gradually the devotees could not longer see Srila Prabhupada. He was going somewhere to preach and give the mercy to another place, but they know if they follow His Divine Grace's instructions that wherever they are Srila Prabhupada will always be with them.
Rama Govinda: Srila Prabhupada was out of our site. We could not see His Divine Grace anymore. He went away to board his plane. We all felt separation for our most beloved Gurudeva Srila Prabhupada. We all got ready to leave the airport, to go back to the temple. I turned my face back and I saw H.H. Hanuman das Goswami clean out some tears from his face. He also was feeling Srila Prabhupada's separation like of all us. Then everyone went back to the temple as they came.
Rama Govinda das
(R.G. Bhakti Prapanna Parvata Maharaja)