108th Srila Vyasa-Puja Offering
by Shankabrith Dasa
To the lotus feet of my beloved Spiritual Master Jaya Om Visnu pada-paramahamsa-parivrajakacarya astottara-sata nitya-lila-pravista Sri Srimad His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Srila Prabhupada.
The only acarya and savior of most fallen wretched soul like my humble self for the next ten thousand years. But for the shelter of his divine lotus feet I would have been lost forever in the cycle of repetition of birth and death. Constantly visiting all the 21 hellish planets, life after life, tossed into the hells such as Rourava and Maha Rourava, dragged by the servants of Lord Yamadharmaraj, I would have never ever had the chance of tasting the association of Vaisnavas. Only by his grace I am able to recite the holy names of Krsna, which is impossible for sinful souls like me without his mercy. The holy names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are chanted only by those who are free from lust, greed, anger, and those who have exhausted all material desires. Whereas I am still trapped by these qualities and yet only by his grace alone that I am able to chant Krsna’s names which are the only means for me to be free from such material condition of life.
Therefore on this auspicious day of your 108th Sri Vyasa Puja I once again fall flat at your lotus feet again and again, Srila Prabhupada. Kindly protect me from all my offenses to Your Divine Grace, what to speak of my offenses towards the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna and His pure devotees?
Srila Prabhupada, I am unable to bear the separation from your physical presence, passing each day without the association of Vaisnavas and service to Your Divine Grace is like passing a yuga. We, your spiritual sons now stand orphaned within the home that you so kindly built for the whole world to live in. I do not know what is my sin, like me so many of my other sincere guru-bhais and sisters all stand orphaned today at different parts of the world. It is very difficult for me and others to decide as what should be our course of action in following your instruction as well as carrying on our life in this world in that direction. What are we supposed to do? And where we are supposed to go? With all these obstacles we can only re-dedicate ourselves to Your Divine Grace by simply remembering our good fortune of the association you gave us while you were physically present on this planet.
As far as I am concerned, that is how I have been meditating each year ever since you physically departed from this planet to carry on your eternal seva to Krsna elsewhere. I only hope that soon I may have the chance to join Your Divine Grace and serve you elsewhere even as a dog or blade of grass. Till such time I will carry on my life simply by contemplating on the words I had heard from Your Divine Grace. In 1976 you ordered me to assist your mission for Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu by expanding it further in the south of India at Bangalore and rest of South India. I did what I could do within my humble capacity. You were pleased and blessed me with encouraging words. Although I did not deserve all that mercy you showered on me, still you kindly did so just to purify me and strengthen my resolve to remain in your seva of assisting your divine mission in this part of the world.
Similarly remembering in my heart all that I heard from you directly, while you were seriously discussing with the Endowments Minister of Andhra Pradesh, and praying to your lotus feet I once again attempted to fulfill your desire in that regard. You desired that your students (ISKCON) and TTD work together for spreading Krsna consciousness. You were prepared to give all guidance to the Government, provided they follow you. Ever since then I contemplated on it and tried to execute it. However only in 1980 I was able to take this as my next service to Your Divine Grace. And by your mercy I was able to fulfill your "manobhistam" in this direction to the best of my humble ability. As desired by Your Divine Grace I did gradually succeed in making the TTD Authorities accept your instructions. As a result of your mercy they too provided free land, building and various other kinds of services for spreading Krsna consciousness at Tirupati, and from Tirupati to all parts of the world. Therefore ISKCON Tirupati was a project to be dedicated for glorifying Your Divine Grace.
Whereas, today once again at Tirupati I am re-dedicating myself to revive that mission to glorify in that true spirit and for carrying on the next part of the mission of Your Divine Grace: “The Vaisnava community project or Daiva-Varnashrama.” Primarily because now in your physical absence, a shelter is needed for sheltering the suffering orphaned devotees like myself and others. Particularly the senior spiritual sons and daughters of Your Divine Grace in your physical absence certainly need such a place to peacefully carry on their life in Krsna consciousness as desired by you. Some are already in their old age. I am also soon approaching such a stage, and many more in the future will also need a place where all those who desire to sincerely wish to follow your teachings are able to peacefully practice devotional life that you carefully taught us.
On this occasion of the 108th Sri Vyasa Puja of Your Divine Grace, I therefore humbly pray at your lotus feet again and again to please give me the courage, strength, and protection to establish this project as an offering to Your Divine Grace before life departs from this wretched body.
It is not our aim to have our own institution or enjoy "prathista" for name or fame. For us we are satisfied with what you gave us as the law book, "Bhaktirasamrtasindu the law book of pure devotional service.” But for Your Divine Grace to whom else I can bring to attention this issue? Helplessly I pray that you kindly show me the right path to move forward in the direction you expected all of us to perfect our lives.
Hence I humbly pray to Your Divine Grace to bless me and permit me to move forward in the direction that You desired us to practice Krsna consciousness. Our attempts and projects will boldly glorify you, and you alone, we wish to dedicate all our life, action and activities to Your Divine Grace only.
Your most fallen servant of your servants,