Reunion Festival in Sanctuary (Open letter)

Reunion Festival in SanctuaryBhakti Caru Swami: Dear prabhus,Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.In the early eighties, when I used to spend a lot of time in the Bay Area, a godbrother of ours, Citsukananda prabhu, told me that quite a few devotees who have left ISKCON are living in that area. One day, along with him, I decided to visit them. We just collected their addresses and knocked at their doors. One devotee was so happy to see us; he revealed to us that he a dream that morning that some devotees came to him and had a kirtan in the house. Although not many of them became actively involved in ISKCON, it was still nice that some of them responded so favorably. At that time I noticed that many of them are not really ready to come back to ISKCON, for various reasons.During the last few years, due to different responsibilities, I haven’t been able to put any effort in trying to get the devotees who left ISKCON to come back. However, I always felt that we should keep our doors open for them to return.Recently, I came to New York. The day before yesterday I had a program at the Sanctuary on 1st avenue, from where Yajna Purusa prabhu and his team of brahmacaris operate. When I got out of the car, they greeted me with kirtan. After my initial exchange with them, I noticed that there was a gentleman dressed in regular clothes standing next to us. At first I could not recognize him. But then he smiled at me and told me, “You look the same; you didn’t change at all.” Then I realized that it was Ramesvara prabhu. I was so happy to see him. We embraced and held on to each other for quite some time. He became so humble. I urged him that we walk together into the temple, but he insisted that he walk behind me. It was a quite a persuasion from both our sides. Eventually I won and forced him to walk along with me, with our arms on each other’s shoulder. I had to meet a group of devotees before the program; I was taken to a room where an arrangement was made for me to sit on a sofa while others sat on the floor. I suggested that Ramesvara prabhu and I sit on the sofa together. He was vehemently opposed to the idea. No amount of urging and pressure could make him change his resolve. Finally I decided to sit on the floor also. We had a very sweet exchange, and I had the good fortune of telling everybody about his glorious services to Srila Prabhupada. During the class that I gave to quite a large number of devotees, I was emphasizing the need to preach in order to spread Krsna Consciousness. At one point I emphasized the role of the youth to take over that responsibility. At the end of the class Ramesvara prabhu pointed out that while the youth has to go out and become actively involved in preaching, the grown-ups and householders have to give them the necessary support. He suggested that while the brahmacaris go out to distribute books, the householders can sponsor the books. Taking a cue from that I asked who would like to sponsor books. People started to come up with all sorts of pledges. Right there in about less than ten minutes’ time, we had pledges for two thousand Bhagavad Gitas, and Ramesvara prabhu volunteered to match that pledge. It was indeed a very exciting evening.It is very exciting to see how these stalwart devotees are coming back. I am sure our movement is going to benefit immensely when we can bring these devotees back to the fold and engage them in active service to Srila Prabhupada once again.I am sure that many of the devotees who left ISKCON, after going through various experiences, are now ready to come back. On our part, we have to reach out to them with all sincerity, keeping the door wide-open.I am also thinking of proposing to the GBC that we form a committee especially designed to achieve accomplish that mission.I hope this meets you well.You servant,Bhakti Charu Swamiette
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  • Yes!!! Very True... Hariii Bol!!!
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