When Srila Prabhupada arrived at the Commenwealth Pier in Boston fifty years ago in 1965, he did not know if he should turn left or right. With only forty Rupees and a trunk containing Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagvatam,Srila Prabhupada carried the instructions of his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur close to his heart. In a poem that he penned upon his arrival in America he said,”O Lord, I am just like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance, O Lord, make me dance as You like.” That, ladies and gentlemen,was only the beginning…
2015 marks the 50th year of Srila Prabhupada’s historic arrival in America. His arrival in America created a world-wide revolution. Hare Krishna became a household name. Malaysia, a small country often referred to as the country between Thailand and Singapore was not excluded from receiving Srila Prabhupada’s mercy. In 1971, Srila Prabhupada made his one and only trip to Malaysia on his way to Sydney,Australia.
To commemorate this most historic occasion, the devotees in Malaysia put together a two-day festival to celebrate and remember Srila Prabhupada’s contribution to this world and at the same time further distribute Srila Prabhupada’s mercy to all those who are yet to receive it.
The festival was inaugurated by HH Bhakti Vrajendranandana Swami,President of ISKCON Malaysia, HG Gopal Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada’s disciple who visited Malaysia in the early days with Srila Prabhupada and HG Loka Bandhu Gauranga Prabhu, a disciple of HH Jayapataka Swami who is the Deputy Minister in the Federal Territories Ministry of Malaysia.HG Simhesvara Prabhu, Regional Secretary of ISKCON Malaysia delivered the opening speech and spoke about the various achievements of ISKCON Malaysia since its inception in 1979.
HG Kripa Sindhu Prabhu, Temple President of Sri Jagannatha Mandir,ISKCON Malaysia National HQ and HG Param Brahma Prabhu, Temple President of ISKCON Ipoh were mainly instrumental in organising this festival.
The festival proceeded with a Mahabharat quiz for school children. More than 250 school children from the vernacular Tamil schools took part enthusiastically in this quiz. Every student that attended was presented with a Bhagavad Gita. Thus, there was no real competition as everyone went home a winner.
A food and fun fair with devotees selling delicious prasadam was indeed a crowd puller. Malaysia is known for its spread of delicacies due to its multi cultural society. It was such a hit that the stalls ran out of supply earlier than expected.
On day two, the festival started with a Harinam in the city center. Devotees gathered in the Krishna Temple in Brickfields and danced their way through the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur singing the holy names. Upon arrival at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Kuala Lumpur everyone was mesmerised with Srila Prabhupada katha by HG Gopal Prabhu and HH Bhakti Vrajendranandana Swami. HG Gopal Prabhu described how he volunteered himself to come to Malaysia when Srila Prabhupada asked who could preach in this part of Asia. They both brought the devotees to the glorious yesteryear on how ISKCON was established in Malaysia. Wonderful and inspiring pastimes that made the younger generation realise how much we owe to the earlier generation of devotees for not only paving the path but decorating it so beautifully and enabled us to slide through the path of bhakti with lesser obstacles. We are all definitely eternally indebted.
A senior member of the ISKCON Malaysia congregation, HG Tyaga Caitanya Das and his team produced a multimedia presentation on Srila Prabhupada that was exquisite. The well thought of presentation included Srila Prabhupada’s remarkable journey in introducing Krsna Consciousness to the world and the many successes Srila Prabhupada achieved in the following years up till now. Every success that ISKCON achieves is a success for Srila Prabupada.
The devotees and guests went back with immense appreciation for Srila Prabhupada and a stronger desire to further assist in his mission.
We must also mention that HG Gopal Prabhu choked up remembering how there were only a handful of devotees in Malaysia when he first came in the 70s and now we have a hall packed with devotees. With more than 30 centres nationwide and 34 ratha yatras annually,Malaysia is definitely a success story. Actually when it comes to ISKCON, every country is a success story, every devotee is a success story. Such is the mercy and potency of Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada ki JAI!
Mathuralilesvari Devi Dasi