Durban, South AfricaJan 7-9, 2010
After two successful and inspiring programs in Pietermaritzburg, two more programs were held in Durban, on the 7th and 8th of January. About five-hundred people attended the program at the Seva Samaj Hall in Reservoir Hills.
During the first evening program, the local devotees performed the traditional Vedic foot-bathing ceremony, offered Guru-puja, and then surprised Srila Maharaja with a birthday cake a week early.
After that, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu Nation and the Chairperson of the Zululand District Local House of Traditional Leaders was welcomed and honored on the stage, personally garlanded and presented with books by Srila Maharaja, and then requested to speak a few words.
He said, “I am delighted to be here at this special occasion to formally welcome his Divine Grace, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja on his first visit to South Africa. Guruji will already be well-known to Hare Krsna devotees and the Hindu community in South Africa, and, indeed, beyond.
“I read with great interest that Guruji is one of the leading teachers of pure bhakti in the world and has authored many best-selling books. I know that they are widely read here too, as there has been a growing interest in Guruji’s ideas and, of course, in the practice of yoga in a stressful world….
“So, in our respective faith’s teachings, we find the keys to solving our society’s most intractable challenges. The spiritual and practical values which Guruji promotes will, if observed, help to eliminate the ills that continue to blight the lives of our people. HIV/AIDS, poverty, unemployment, preventable disease and ill-health, and other forms of social deprivation.
“Guruji has provided insightful guidance and loving shelter to all, irrespective of color, creed or class, who come to him seeking these eternal truths….
“With these short remarks, it therefore gives me great pleasure to formally welcome Guruji and to extend him a warm and proud South African welcome. I hope he will feel as welcome among us as I felt in India. Welcome! Your Holiness. Our country is blessed by your visit to our Province of KwaZulu Natal. We will be privileged to listen to your message to us.”
Srila Maharaja began his lecture by saying, “First of all I am very impressed by Prince Buthelezi. He is very generous. My many, many thanks to him.
“One thing I want to tell you is that at this age of 90 years, with the help of Vaisnavas, I am traveling around the entire world. Why? In truth, in all countries, people are in the prison of Maha-maya, the Lords potency of delusion. We think that we are now liberated and ruling over our countries, but this idea is wrong. We are under the jurisdiction of Maya, and we are bound to obey her orders.
“First of all we should think, ‘I am not this body.’ The freedom of the body is nothing. We are spirit souls, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord.
“Love is God and God is love. What is the meaning of love? To love God means to love His creation. Cows, buffalo, goats, and all other animals are the sons and daughters of God; so why kill and eat them? If you love God, why not love His sons and daughters? Do not eat meat. God has made a rule. ME-EAT – those who you are presently eating are standing in a row to kill and eat you in your future lives. Whatever you do brings reactions. Every action has a reaction.
“I have come to say that even though you are free from the rule of Britain, France, Spain, and other countries, you are not truly free. You are in the prison of Maha-maya, and therefore you are obeying her order. Under her order you are influenced to think that you are not the soul, that you are not part and parcel of God; rather you are this body. Under her order you are made to think that if you will eat delicious food, or if you have 10,000 dollars, then you will be very happy. Please remember that you drink liquor or take meat only on the orders of Maya.
“This is not freedom. Freedom means breaking out of the clutches of Maya and realizing that you are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, and that you are by nature always happy. If you realize your soul in this way, then you will realize God.”
On the final night in Durban, Mr. Armichand Rajbansi, the former Chief Minister of the House of Delegates parliamentary chamber for Indian people and leader of the Minority Front, attended the program. For the past fifty years he had been influential in improving the lot of the suffering masses in South Africa.
Sometimes calling upon his disciples to speak and sometimes speaking himself, Srila Maharaja enlightened his audience by sharing with them the topics of the ancient Vedic scripture, Srimad-Bhagavatam. After discussing the first nine cantos, he elucidated on the appearance and sweet childhood pastimes of Lord Sri Krsna.
He said, “One morning, Krsna and His group of young cowherd friends entered an elderly gopi’s house to steal butter. After catching Krsna red-handed, that gopi told Him, “Yasoda does not believe us when we tell her about Your thievery, so I will take you personally to her house.” She took Krsna’s hand and, covering His face with her veil, walked to the palace of Mother Yasoda. Arriving there she called out, “O Yasoda, O Yasoda, I have personally caught Krsna stealing my butter. Yasoda came out of her palace and said, “Where? My son is sleeping. How can this be?” That gopi then uncovered the head of the boy whose hand she was holding, only to find that it was her own son. Thus, she became very ashamed.
“One day, when Krsna was about two and a half years old, Mother Yasoda began to think, ‘All the gopis are complaining that my son steals their butter. I have so many very good cows, like Padma, Kalindi, and others. If it is true that Krsna is stealing, it must be because our maidservants cannot prepare butter properly; that butter must be sour. I will therefore give leave to all the gopis. I will personally milk the cows and churn yoghurt to make butter.’
“As she was churning the yogurt, she was absorbed in Krsna’s boyhood pastimes while singing, ‘Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti.’ Her voice was so sweet, and that is why Krsna’s voice is sweet; He received His sweet voice from her. Krsna is beautiful, but Mother Yasoda is more beautiful, and that is why her son is beautiful.
To watch this entire lecture, please click here.
To read about these beautiful pastimes, you can download for free, the book Sri Damodarastakam (2.5mb).