An Australian Hare Krishna Pioneering pastime from 1971/72.
The Hare Krishna Movement, The Positive Alternative.
This is the story of one young teenager who eventually became a devotee of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna by first going into the main Cathedral in the City of Melbourne called St Paul's Cathedral to pray to Jesus.
This was on February 17th 1972 almost 7 months after first going to Sydney Temple in May 1971.
When this young man entered the Church as a last resort to try and find some meaning and purpose to life, he went down on his knees in total helplessness and, with tears in his eyes, prayed to Jesus.
“Please my Lord use me in your service, in your plan, my life is now useless, it is better you use me in your plan to spread God Consciousness”
He prayed like this for about an hour, then to his surprise, a young Hare Krishna devotee in saffron robes walked in the Church (Syamananda dasa a brilliant artist was admiring the various paintings in the Cathedral).
This young man was very moved by the devotee’s simplicity and knew the mumbling he was hearing was like the rosary, yes, he was chanting the names of God, the Hare Krishna mantra.
This young man took this as a gift and message to his prayers from Jesus, who was showing him the way.
This young man was amazed and without knowing much about Krishna except for his previous association with Upananda dasa now Avadhoot Maharaj some eight months earlier in Sydney Temple where he would read KRSNA BOOK to him while he cooked for Radha Gopinath, he now had tears in his eyes seeing this young devotee and remembering his association in Sydney.
He never took his eyes off Syamananda dasa. When the devotee left, the young man followed him out and watched what he thought was one of God's angels, walk up the street.
The young man then walked no more than ten yards up Swanston st, Melbourne when a bubbling young girl in her mid teens approached him in a beautiful sari with flowers in her hair “Hari Bol’’ she said, then continued
”I’m with the Hare Krishna Movement and here is our magazine Back to Godhead, we are having a love feast tomorrow, come along and experience the ecstasy of Krishna Consciousness!''
This young man was blown away, as they used to say back then, he was thrilled and truly believed Jesus had answered his prayers.
Probably the most astonishing thing was when he turned up the next day (February 18th 1972); it was Lord Caitanya’s appearance day one of the most auspicious days in the Krishna Conscious calendar.
He appeared on February 18th 1972 1486 AD
Back in those days we went by the date in Srila Prabhupada's Book ''The Teachings of Lord Caitanya'' because that is all the information we had.
The fact is every year it is a different date, the actually date for 1972 was the 29th February.
All he new is it was Lord Caitanya's appearance day on the 18th of February because everyone told him this and that he was there on a very auspicious day.
Anyway he then went on to play the part of Haridasa Thakur in a play (because he had a scraggly beard) where Lord Nityananda was hit on the head with a clay pot.
Lord Caitanya (played by Kurma dasa instructed Nityananda Prabhu (played by Ajita dasa) and Haridasa Thakur (played by the young man who only the day before was praying in a Church for direction from Jesus) to go to everyone’s house in Nadia and request them to chant Krishna’s name.
The two great devotees eagerly set forth and began to knock on each and every door with the request, “please chant Krishna’s name, worship Krishna and teach others about Krishna.” They were happily received by the pious people, while the envious would blaspheme them.
Completely unconcerned by favorable or unfavorable reactions, they proceeded around the town.
In Nadia there lived two very sinful brothers called Jagai played by Upananda dasa now Avadhoot Maharaj and Madhai (Played by Sanak dasa –Stavros Steve Vergis) Jagai and Madhai were born in pious Brahman families however; due to bad association they had become meat eaters, drunkards, thieves and arsonists.
There was no crime that they had not committed, including the most abominable sin of killing cows and Brahmans. The entire town was terrified of these two persons who seemed to be the very personification of all sinful activities.
On the day Nityananda Prabhu (played by Ajita dasa) and Haridasa Thakur (played by the young man) were moving in the town, these two brothers, completely intoxicated were alternatively fighting and embracing each other.
After observing them for some time Nityananda Prabhu compassionately decided to deliver them and thus approached them.
Despite the warnings of the town people Lord Nityananda and Haridasa Thakur, approached the two drunkards instructing them to chant the holy name of the Lord.
Hearing these words the two sinners looked up and seeing the two saintly figures roared in anger. They lept up and ran to catch the two sannyasis. The two devotees fled at the sight of the attacking brothers.
Apparently terrified they shouted, “Krishna! Save us!! Govinda!,” and ran. (The young man remembers clearly Arjita and himself doing this)
The two brothers wandered off in their drunken condition along the banks of the Ganga where Caitanya Mahaprabhu bathed. Constantly drunk, they started harassing and terrorizing the devotees.
Eventually Nityananda and Haridasa went to the Ganges to see Lord Caitanya (played by Kurma dasa) however the two brothers again accosted them. On seeing Lord Nityananda, Madhai (played by Sanak dasa) became furious and struck Him with a broken earthen pot.
When Jagai (played by Upananda dasa now Avadhoot Maharaj Maharaj) saw the blood flowing from the wound, he became compassionate and restrained his brother.
While Nityananda Prabhu patiently stood, looking at the brothers with compassion, tolerating the pain and humiliation, Haridasa ran to tell Caitanya Mahaprabhu about the incident. (Yes, the young kept repeating his lines for this part and kept repeating the name of Lord Caitanya so he would not forget)
Hearing that Nityananda Prabhu had been hurt by the brothers, Caitanya Mahaprabhu ran towards them with the intention to kill them.
He summoned His chakra which looked like death personified to the two terrified brothers.
However Nityananda Prabhu quickly intervened and begged Caitanya Mahaprabhu to stop. He reminded Him of His mission to kill the sinners by saturating them with love of Godhead. Thus appeased the Lord took back His chakra.
Nityananda Prabhu told Caitanya Mahaprabhu that it was Jagai who had saved Him from further harm at Madhai’s hand. Hearing this Caitanya Mahaprabhu said to Jagai, “By protecting Nityananda you have purchased Me.
You may ask any desire you have in your heart. From today on you will have pure love and devotion for Krishna” Hearing this Jagai fell at the feet of the two Lords and grasping the feet of Caitanya Mahaprabhu wept.
Seeing the wonderful transformation in his brother, a remorseful Madhai begged for the mercy of the Lord. However, since he had committed the worst of all offences, that of attacking a Vaishnava, the Lord did not even consider all his pitiful pleas for mercy.
Only after Madhai grasped the feet of Nityananda Prabhu and received His mercy did Caitanya Mahaprabhu agree to deliver Madhai also.
That night the young man who took directions from Jesus, joined the Temple and and shaved up that night done by Sanak dasa and he eventually become initiated by Srila Prabhupada.
To this very day he is thankful to Jesus who directed him to Srila Prabhupada who in turn began teaching him about Krishna’s pastimes.
That young man was me Gauragopala dasa ACBSP
Remembering Srila Prabhupada the best days of my life.
When we all went to meet Srila Prabhupada in April 1972 at Melbourne Airport, the first thing I noticed was he had a distinct golden aura around him that stood out from all others; his wonderful skin glowed and caught the attention of everyone in the Airport lounge, he was so happy to see his disciples.
I handed him a big red rose, he took the rose off me and with a big smile, taped me on the head with his cane. I had tears in my eyes; it was such a special moment to see my Spiritual Master.
Later many devotees gathered around me asking what it felt like to be tapped on the head by Prabhupada with his cane.
Those days were very remarkable. So kind and merciful is Srila Prabhupada, who gives even the most degraded a chance to become Krishna Conscious. Most of us were just teenage boys and girls back then, sincere seekers of truth.
I also remember the program at the Melbourne Town Hall meeting in April 1972 and the wonderful kirtan Srila Prabhupada led.
It was remarkable; everyone was totally fixed on hearing Srila Prabhupada chant Jaya Radha Madhava, we all danced in total ecstasy. Never before or since have I heard such a beautiful kirtan.
When we all returned to the Temple at 14 Burnett Street, St. Kilda. (It is a place of pilgrimage and I still go there at least once a year to remember Prabhupada.)
I was assigned to stay out in the front of Prabhupada’s room and even sleep there after the programs we attended. My job was to bring Prabhupada prasad, clean clothing ready for the next morning and guard his room.
Some amazing conversations went on in Prabhupada’s room. Some nights he would call devotees in and preach to the early hours of the morning.
The following night we went to a Franciscan Monastery. As Srila Prabhupada made his way to the monastery, he and his disciples were greeted by the monks and a long table full of different fruits. This was very artistically arranged and Prabhupada was very pleased.
I immediately went and preached to a middle aged monk, however stopped and went and sat down in front of Prabhupada with many other devotees.
I then saw Prabhupada call over Vegavan PrabhuJörgen Sundvall, who then came and taped me on the shoulder. He whispered in my ear,
“Prabhupada wants you to continue preaching to that monk, such preaching is more important than even associating with the Spiritual Master.” Wow, so I got back up and went back to preaching to the monk.
Back then, Srila Prabhupada did not eat till after coming back from a program. He would then eat a hearty meal of prasadam while listening to a recording of his lecture.
Afterwards Prabhupada would discuss Krishna Consciousness with Syamasundara das, his secretary, Nanda Kumar das, his personal servant and an excellent mridanga player, and Hanuman dasa.
There was only four of us in the room. I stayed in the room for about an hour and listened to them discuss the Town Hall program. Prabhupada found Hanuman a very humorous character. Hanuman was also very excited about taking sannyas off Srila Prabhupada on the following Sunday.
The next morning, while I was half awake out at the front of Srila Prabhupada’s room, I noticed two small feet gently walk past me without making even the slightest sound, I sat up immediately and paid my obeisances.
Prabhupada was a little jolted on his way to the bathroom by my obeisances and said softly to me, ‘Hare Krishna not so loud’. Over the years Prabhupada always acknowledged me. When I drove the Hare Krishna Temple bus, he asked me if it was mechanically sound. The bus could never go faster than 60 mph.
In April 1972 before the explosion of devotees in Australia, when Prabhupada came to Melbourne, there was only 12 of us living in the Temple, for five days we had very close association with Prabhupada, every day I went to his room with his nicely ironed clothing and stayed sometimes for hours. You see, there were not that many devotees around, there was more in Sydney at this time, about 25. Those early days I relish.
I remember one time when one devotee Dhoumya dasa threw water over me in play and I chased him through the Temple running past Srila Prabhupada’s room, he heard us run past and came out to find out what was going on, he said to Syamasundara,
''Who was that running past?''
Prabhupada walked up the hall and went into a room finding me wrestling with Dhoumya who was trying to hide in a cupboard, on seeing Prabhupada we immediately paid our obeisances.
Prabhupada immediately started laughing.
It was at 83 Hereford Street Glebe Temple near the Sydney Uni in July 1972 we began our preaching mission up North. There were 16 of us, boys and girls on the double Decker Bus.
We had written in big letters on the side ”The Hare Krishna Movement, The Positive Alternative” spreading the mission of Lord Caitanya for the first time on Australian soil.
In July 1972 we left Sydney Temple for the trip of a life time we came to believe that we had probably taken us thousands of life times to achieve such a privilege.
We were on the very first preaching mission to every Towns and Villages around Australia.
The devotees on this first travelling preaching mission were:
Madhudvisa Swami, Caru (only came part of the way) Balarama, Chittahari, Yasomatinandana, Dvaipayana, the cook, Krsna Caitanya (Ted Spencer who the previous year was the world champion for surfboard riding), Kuntiboja, Kainaram Srngi (now Muralidhar das) (meet up with in Cairns) Krishna Prema (meet up with in Cairns) And me Gauragopala, I shared Bus driving duties with Chittahari and Balarama
The ‘boys’ (because that’s what we were back then) lived in the Brahmacari quarters, which were the bottom deck of the bus (except for the bus drivers who had a private space upstairs), while the second deck (upstairs) was the Brahmacharini or girls quarters, they are:
Ambika, Kamarupa (who joined us in Cairns) Sukla devi-dasi and Elayne Mitchell also joined us there in the Commune at kuranda near Cairns.
Most of us were teenagers back then except for Madhudvisa Swami, Balarama, Chittahari and Krsna Caitanya dasa.
Krsna Caitanya dasa was the great Ted Spencer, who famously declared-
“When I surf, I dance for Krishna”, urged on in his heats by a full Hare Krishna cheer squad.” (Bells Beach, Australia – the Age Newspaper).
Other famous surfers like Nat Young also spent time with us when we arrived in Brisbane.
Unknown to me due to being on the road, my initiation letter from Prabhupada dated July 10th 1972 had arrived in Sydney that I would not pick up until after our Bus trip up North.
It was on this bus trip a devotee continued suggesting we came from the impersonal Brahmajyoti that started the ‘origin of the jiva’ controversy a few months earlier.
That idea was quickly rejected in a letter from Prabhupada called ‘Crow-And-Tal-Fruit’ Logic that eventually was sent to all Temple Presidents in Australia. Madhudvisa Swami quote this to us –
Srila Prabhupada – ‘’Those who are in the Brahman effulgence they are also in the fallen condition, so there is no question of falling down from a fallen condition. When fall takes place, it means falling down from the non-fallen condition’’. (Letter to Revatinandana — Los Angeles 13 June 1970)
It was a hot topic back then in 1972 but Prabhupada was personally present to guide us
We all new this was a very auspicious time and that the teachings of Srila Prabhupada we were hearing, was the revelation of a long kept secret and explanations that told us about the universe and it’s creator Lord Krishna.
On the way we chanted on the streets of Newcastle and all Towns in-between Sydney and Brisbane, such as Kempsey, Coffs Harbor, Grafton, Ballina, Lismore and the hippie center of Australia, Nimbin.
But by far the spookiest place we went to was Byron Bay; Kainaram prabhu claimed he had seen the ghost of a dead girl who had been killed by a train many years ago.
On many occasions people had claimed to pick up this lonely little girl to take her home only to find when they got to there home she had mysteriously disappeared. People would go up to the house to tell the little girls parents only to find she had died many years before.
Obviously it was just an urban legend and our simplistic youth was intrigued. Madhudvisa Swami used this to preach to us the difference between the subtle and gross body.
After Byron Bay with all the hippies, we went to Murwillumbah where we chanted in the streets for the first time. Soon (1977, 5 years later) we would establish the farm New Govardhana there.
We then went inland to Lismore, then Armadale where there was a university. We meet an Indian Professor who invited us to the Uni where we chanted and distributed Prasadam. Many Indian families lived there and some of us went to their houses to speak from Bhagavad Gita as it is.
As the night progressed, the Indian women cooked up some amazing food preparations that we offered to Srila Prabhupada.
That place was very, very cold. Every morning, even in the middle of winter, we had cold showers behind the bus. To give one an idea, Chittahari was walking to the bus one cold morning with what we thought was a board, it was his underwear (kopings) frozen solid!
We eventually arrived in Toowoomba in Queensland and chanted to the redneck out back Queenslanders who thought we were some alien invasion from another planet!
From there we went to the Gold Coast, made up of the major towns of Coolangatta, Burleigh heads, Surfers Paradise and Southport. We chanted in all these places, distributed Back To Godhead Magazine and Prasadam and spoke to the enormous crowds that gathered around us.
Many of the devotees on the Bus, like Balarama and Krsna Caitanya where surfer board riders, they attracted many young people to learn about Krishna and take prasad. Especially Krsna Caitanya who was a well-known celebrity around the world.
Then we went to Beenleigh, in-between the Gold Coast and Brisbane. The day we arrived in Brisbane, we chanted on the city streets and were on page two of the Couramail Newspaper the next day.
The headline was “The Hare Krishna’s have arrived with the chant of peace”
Brisbane was also having their annual ‘Festive show’ that attracted tens of thousands of people.
We chanted out the front gates of the ‘Show grounds’ where so many people saw the Hare Krishna’s for the first time, many receiving BTG Magazine.
It was there Nat Young, another famous surfer and friend of Krsna Caitanya dasa (Ted Spencer) joined us for a few days and become friends with Madhudvisa Swami who nicely preached to him about Krishna.
We never had the full version of the Gita in those days, only the abridged edition with the forward by Allen Ginsberg.
Those years were extraordinary. Dwaip cooked up beautiful offerings to Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya and Nityananda while Chittahari, Balarama and myself were the Bus Drivers. Yaso and Kuntiboja were the inquisitive philosopher, well, actually we all were.
We just new we were very fortunate to be on that bus hearing such wonders of creation. Some of us asked ‘what did we deserve to hear the Srimad Bhagavatam. Some of us speculated we were yogis, mystics, devotees and even demons from the Satya-yuga.
Madhudvisa laughed and simply said ''It is by the causeless mercy of Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada that the seeds of Bhakti are now sown in our hearts''.
Madhudvisa read from one of Prabhupada’s original volumes if Srimad Bhagavatam he brought with him in 1965 to America.
In those days we would chant on the streets for 8 to 10 hours a day. One night at the showgrounds we chanted to 10 pm because there were so many people. We chanted through all the Towns and cities as we proceeded up north to Cairns.
We went through Towns like Bundaberg, Mackay, Hervey Bay where we had big feast with hundreds of curious locals attended, (the Americans call them rednecks, we call them yobo’s).
Gladstone, Rockhampton, Airlie beach, Townsville, where we where on the front page of the main paper, actually all papers in all Towns were doing articles on us that kept us very busy doing interviews and arranging interviews with Madhudvisa.
At Kuranda, just outside of Cairns, Madhudvisa lead a blissful kirtan through the hippie community and hundreds of them, some were naked mostly teenagers, joined in chanting Hare Krishna and dancing.
Elayne Mitchell has said on the experience – ''I was there at Kuranda in 72 and went on the bus to the Millaa Millaa Buddhist colony for the Janmastami. It was very special.
I had been going to the temple regularly before going to Cairns and I remember well, except for a few young guys, the only time people were naked in the commune was when they went swimming.
Most of us wore beautiful long hippie dresses or sarongs etc. some of the guys used to get around naked as I recall, but my girlfriend and 8 or 9 other friends and I who I all hitchhiked up from Melbourne together were quite chaste and wore nice clothing.
After a few months in Cairns I lived in the Temple in Melbourne for a few months, then lived in the Adelaide Temple for a few months, then moved back to Melbourne and lived in a flat with Deva Darshana Devi Dasi after she and Jaya Dharma Dasa split up.
It was while living with her that I met Brian my future husband. We got married in May 1974 and our daughter Narayani was born later that year''
There was an explosion of devotees around 1972, the communes we went to in Australia were full of hippies at that time, we chanted through the forest areas and were like the pied piper, naked hippies as young as 14 came out of the forest and followed us singing Hare Krishna, there were hundreds of them at a place called Kurandar which is in Northern Queensland.
It was truly amazing at that time, I have never seen anything like it since, even today 47 years later, if you stand on the hill where all those hippies once gathered and chanted Hare Krishna, you can still see where the high water mark of transcendental bliss reached in the early 70s.
So now, 47 years later, you can go up on that steep hill in Kuranda and look down over the beautiful forest, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark that place where the wave of transcendental bliss finally broke and rolled back.
Devotees before this had never visited anywhere outside of Sydney or Melbourne. We were the pioneers at the very beginning of Lord Caitanya’s Golden Age in Kali-yuga.
We celebrated Janmastami at a Buddhist colony not far from Kuranda; we loaded as many hippies as we could in the double decker Hare Krishna bus, all chanting Hare Krishna and dancing ‘on the bus’ to the excellent blissful kirtans with Madhudvisa leading.
HIS KIRTANS WERE ALWAYS VERY SPECIAL.
Prabhupada called Madhudvisa Swami the Emperor of Kirtan and Vishnujana Swami the King of Kirtan.
The following day was Vyasa-puja and Madhudvisa had lit a candle under Srila Prabhupada’s photo, the aura, bliss, love and security from that photo permeated the entire bus with an amazing mood of reverence and Krishna Consciousness.
They were amazing days and there was a childish innocence about those days; In fact we thought Madhudvisa was old (he was 24, Chittahari was 22 Krsna Caitanya was 23 and Balarama was 29).
The rest of us were still teenagers. The present generation I don’t think realize how young we were in those beginning years of ISKCON.
There was also no hanky panky going on, everyone was very sincere, very dedicated and very attached to Prabhupada.
We only ate offerings to the Deities and absolutely nothing else, if it was not prepared on the Bus we would not eat except on rare occasions at an Indians home as we did in Armadale.
We had a beautiful photo of the Panca-tattva with a wonderful Photo of Prabhupada at their feet.
No one even dreamed of eating anything unprepared by devotees or even drink soft drinks in those blissful days. EVERYTHING we ate was prepared by devotees.
It was in the Temple room at 83 Hereford St. Sydney in early February 1973 that Srila Prabhupada and myself were alone as all the devotee had gone on Sankirtan.
Srila Prabhupada had noticed the paintings of Lord Caitanya and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur that I innocently put on the step of his Vyasasana to keep them off the wall and floor while I was cleaning.
Srila Prabhupada laughed and laughed saying that is not where those Personalities go, the emotion in his eyes and his humility, I will never forget, he stayed in the Temple room chanting japa for about 10 minutes while I continued cleaning the Temple room in bliss!
At Melbourne’s third Rathayatra in July 1974, Srila Prabhupada had attended, during the procession I tried to stay as close to him as I could while playing the mridanga drum, it was a very special time dancing there with Srila Prabhupada and later on in front of him in a hall where we celebrated Rathayatra and listened to a lecture by Srila Prabhupada and a wonderful feast.
In 1976 I was Srila Prabhupada’s Bodyguard at Melbourne Temple and not only stayed out the front of his room, but slept there as well.
At the time four well shaven suited men, all in their forties would always come by the Temple harassing us with high tech cameras and listening devices.
Keep in mind that the average age of a devotee back then was twenty-five so these adult men were pretty scary.
They would also follow us our on street Sankirtan, film us and try to intimate the devotee’s distributing books by taking many, then ripping them up and throwing the books or magazines in a rubbish bin! These guys were real heavy
These men were part of a self appointed fundamentalist Christian deprogramming group with the Catholic Church that dealt with what they considered threats to the Catholic Church's youth being converted to other faiths.
One afternoon Pusta Krishna Swami went down to speak to them and one of them, in a barrage of abuse, threatened to kill Srila Prabhupada.
Coming back with a stunned look on his face Maharaj said “These people are demons! Big demons!!
Pusta Krishna Maharaj was horrified what these men had said, and was reluctant to even repeat it however; he did tell only a few devotees that Prabhupada’s life had been threatened.
Hari Sauri prabhu, Srila Prabhupada’s personal servant at the time, was appalled and disgusted that a pure devotee of Krishna was threatened in this way and was so concerned we bought a shotgun.
The next day while also guarding the Temple hiding out the front of the Temple in a car out the front of ‘Prabhupada’s House’ these men all walked past trying to provoke the devotees and scare them.
When I opened the door of the car suddenly, one of them, Tom Erickson, who had been personally blessed by the Pope, pulled out a handgun and pointed it at me.
Erickson was the ringleader and high up in the Catholic Church, a private detective known and even respected by many as a deprogrammer and even a rumoured hit man.
Amogha dasa was at the front gate and out of fear, I ran from the car and crawled the front wall of the Temple, about 7 feet high, so quickly that Amoga was astonished how I went over the fence like lighting.
We then went and told Prabhupada what had happened and he said “Then our movement is having some success, these men feel threatened because our movement is having so much success with today’s young people”
We called the police as Prabhupada instructed and they came and spoke with them and Ugrasrava dasa who never stopped giving lip to them and calling them demons to their faces.
Unfortunately the police did nothing, they new who he was, while Ugrasrava just called kept calling them dogs of the Catholic Church among other things.
At night I would stay out on the balcony of Prabhupada’s House with the shotgun that Hari Sauri had bought, staying awake watching Srila Prabhupada through the window translate late into the night.
Even though the night was freezing cold out on the balcony, watching Srila Prabhupada gave me warmth as he translated which was truly amazing. Prabhupada would go around to all the windows and doors to make sure they were locked.
For days these men intimidated devotee and guests but we were told to ignore them, except for Ugrashave Prabhu who constantly gave them lip to let them.
Actually nothing they could do could stop our preaching movement that they and the Catholic Church desperately attempted because we had Krishna and Prabhupada on our side and their arrogant threatening presence only made us more determined to spread the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
A week after Srila Prabhupada had left a drive by shooting occurred and gunshots went through one of the windows – Kurma dasa’s room. He was there at the time and was fortunately unhurt as the bullets went into the wall.
The next day it made page two of the Melbourne Sun and the Australian public were outraged that such violence could happen over Religion in Melbourne.
A few months after that someone attacked our Temple again and through a small bomb over the back fence exploding on one of the cars, only a few hours before that I was resting in that same car while doing guard duty.
This attack also made the first bulletin on the evening TV news all over Australia.
The outcry of the public, due to the media reports, seemed to stop any further attacks from these Catholic fundamentalist fanatics.
During all these attacks we remembered what Srila Prabhupada had said “Then our movement is having some success, these men feel threatened because our movement is having so much success with today’s young people”
Many years later the main offender from the Catholic Church Tom Erickson got very sick due to a blood disorder and had his leg amputated.
Then to the surprise of the devotees, he rang the devotees in Melbourne and apologised for what he had done when Srila Prabhupada was here and asked the devotees for forgiveness for harassing all the devotees and yes he was forgiven.
Spiritual life is like learning to walk no matter how many times you fall over you always get up and keep trying.
Leave the ''judging of others'' up to Krishna, often karma has many twists and turns and often leads to what you may least expect.
If one is critical of another who is trying their hardest to overcome their past mistaken actions and are always spreading rumors of how disgusting he or she is and how fallen they are, then such hate WILL lead to the so called fault finder ''devotee'' thinking of the exaggerated version of the fallen soul they hate, then at death such a devotee WILL be born in the exact same situation of those they are disgusted with and angrily hate!
The conclusion is we should never ever give up trying to be Krishna Conscious no matter what you have done in the past or what others think.
Actually we all live in glasshouses in this material world, we are all here because of our past sins, no one is innocent in the material world.
This material world is always in a state of decay, disrepair and in constant need of maintenance.
"This material creation is not our real home and we all should not even have come here in the first!!"
Yes, it was a mistake we foolishly chose to came to this temporary material creation with out foolish attempt to build God's Kingdom without God.
No matter how hard we try, we can NEVER find permanent satisfaction, happiness and loving relationships in this alien environment called the material creation.
Only a fool will try to find comfort in these temporary dysfunctional material bodily vessels that will eventually grow feeble, diseased and old, ending up being food for maggots, bacteria and earthworms.
Therefore, the REAL purpose of this rare human form of life is it should be used to help one GET OUT OF THIS MATERIAL WORLD and not try and make ourselves comfortable in these decaying material bodily vessels!
Our only desire while trapped in this material creation within these material bodies, should be to "Go back home, Go back to Godhead" and attain the perpetual Spiritual Worlds of either Vaikuntha or Goloka Vrindavana.
PHOTO - Hare Krishna Traveling Temple June 1972 Melbourne Australia.