By Acarya Dasa
On July 18th 1966, in New York City our dear Srila Prabhupada officially incorporated ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness). On this day many years later, we were preaching in the Kozhikode area. Little did we know what a memorable day it would be for our pāda-yātrā too.
We spent a few days in Kozhikode performing saṅkīrtana, enthusiastically distributing books and getting lots of media attention. Pāda-yātrā was featured in the local newspapers and news channels and whenever we would make announcements about the glories of Srila Prabhupada’s books, many people would gather to purchase the books. We were surprised to see all the people who came. This was certainly Nitai Gaurasundar’s arrangement and we were just instruments in the Lord’s plans; He is seated in everyone’s hearts and inspires us from within. We were all busy the entire day with books in our hands and filled with enthusiasm to serve. At the end of that day when we calculated how many books were distributed we arrived at a grand total of 626 maha-big books, the highest book score in the history of the ‘All India Padayatra’. Jai Srila Prabhupada! All the pāda-yātris were very happy knowing that Lokanath Swami would be pleased to hear about our book score. Together we stand for the Lord.
One day while we were traveling through Mankavu, a suburb in Kozhikode on our way to the Tali Temple, we were stopped by some policemen. They stopped our Pāda-yātrā cart in the middle of the road causing a traffic jam. Prahaladvatsal Dasa approached the policemen and spoke to them strongly but kindly while the people in the traffic jam began to shout. One of the policemen was just about to touch Prahaladvatsal Dasa when Ritudvipa Dasa loudly said, “Don’t touch a devotee!” When he said this the policemen understood that we were God’s men on a preaching mission and they let us continue on our way. Hari bol! As the great saint, Tukaram Maharaj says in one of his most celebrated abhangas or verses:
Mau menahuni aamhi Vishnudaas | Kathin vajras bhedu aise
The verse describes devotees as being softer than the softest wax to the servants of Vishnu; yet devotees can be harder than the hardest weapon of Lord Indra (kathina vajras bhedu aise) whenever opposition is concerned.
The situation helped me realize how united pāda-yātris are, and especially in a crisis. We are serving the Lord together and He is giving us strength in every difficult situation.
Jai Sri Sri Nitai Gaurasundar!