Srila Prabhupada in Parikrama
Before Srila Prabhupada came to the Western countries nobody knew that there existed an eternal and transcendental place called Sri Navadvipa Dham. In Srila Prabhupada’s pranam mantra:
“namas te Sarasvati deve Goura Vani Pracharine Nirvisesha Sunyavadi Pascatya desha Tarine”
means that “by preaching Mahaprabhu’s vani (instructions)” he is delivering the ‘pascatya desa’ western countries from impersonalism and nihilism.”
Through Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s instructions, we learn that the spiritual master reveals the dhama to the disciple and it’s very clear in our case, that Srila Prabhupada with his unlimited compassion revealed the topmost dhama to his followers.
Sri Navadvipa dhama’s mood is full of personalism and love exchange between the Lord and His beloved devotees. Hearing about it fulfills our most inner desire to love and to be loved. In fact, to perform Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama is the antidote for our disease of the impersonalism.
We have no historical registration how many times Srila Prabhupada was personally performing Parikrama in Navadvipa, but we have got at least one amazing pastime from a Godbrother of his, at the time of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, in Campahatti:
“…The last year of his life Gurudev (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur) organized Navadvipa mandala parikrama. In our Temple united thousands and thousands of pilgrims. Pilgrims with their tents filled everywhere around this place. The last evening Maharaj gave a lecture. In the afternoon of that day one of our God brothers – Bhakti Sharanga Goswami Maharaj arrived from London. He arrived in the ship and directly came to Navadvipa. He tried to preach in the west but was not successful in that. Maharaj used to tell about his great desire of preaching the glories of Lord Chaitanya’s teachings in the west. He remembered that this desire also was in Bhaktivinod Thakur and he also strongly believed that it will happen. And this was also the last wish of his mother – Srimati Bhagavati Devi before her departure from this world.
At that moment I mentioned that something amazing happened. Guru Maharaj started to gaze to the crowd of people and especially to the sides of sannyasis and brahmacharis in saffron. But later he turned his sight to my side. For a long time he gazed upon someone and silence filled the hall. And I turned back and could see that Guru Maharaj was exchanging with sights with Abhay Charanaravinda Prabhu. I thought that they are looking to each other strangely. Then Maharaj again looked to his front and told:
“But I am predicting. I am predicting, that the next disciple of mine, who will cross the ocean – but it will not be soon, I won’t be able to see it – this devotee will bring here the whole world!”
And I remember this happening and thinking that Srila Prabhupada did everything as he already predicted…”
Srila Prabhupada was very emphatic about the importance of performing Sri Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama, he compare the necessity of coming to the Holy dham, as the same necessity of eating. If one devotee doesn’t eat prasadam, he can leave the body, so it’s also necessary to come for the sacred places for nourishment, for inspiration and renew the enthusiasm in spiritual life.
In the early days in 1972, Srila Prabhupada personally encouraged Parikrama how is described in the book “Festivals” written by HH Lokanatha Maharaja:
“…He also encouraged a group of devotees to go on Parikrama in the mornings walking to nearby places of Lord Chaitanya’s pastimes…”
“…Devotees remember him stressing in his lectures the importance of coming to the holy dhamas. We could see how pleased Srila Prabhupada felt in the association of his enthusiastic disciples from all over the world.”
We can experienced the greatness of Srila Prabhupada’s work when we see devotees from over 50 countries chanting Hare Krishna in ecstasy in Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama! We can feel that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s prediction described above, in Campahatti, has been fulfill!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!