(HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, Melbourne, Australia, 20th May 2012) Lecture: Sunday Feast

In America there is a famous project in a farm known as New Vrindavan, and there was some time that that farm was separating from Iskcon and Prabhupada’s movement, and they were not exactly strictly following Prabhupada’s standards anymore, it was in time like that for sometime. They used to live off tourism because they had a beautiful place called ‘Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold.’ Many buses would come with tourists. So there was a tour and all the tourists came, and the tour guide was there:

‘Ladies and gentlemen and here we see the beautiful floor which was carved by the devotees themselves. See the beautiful flower design in the middle.’

The tourists saw and clicked with their cameras, ‘very nice.’

Then they took the whole group to the deity of Prabhupada. The tourist said:

‘Yes this is actually the founder of our movement…’

All the tourists are looking and taking photos and pictures of the deity of Prahbupada. And one lady she heard him speak in a deep commanding voice. And he said:

‘Take my shoes!’

She was wondering who was speaking.

‘Take my shoes!’

She thought:

‘Who is speaking?’

She saw that no one else was noticing it.

‘Take my shoes!’

Then the tour guide said:

‘Now we are going to have a look at the ceiling. At the beautiful mosaic inlay that the devotees had laid with their own hands.’

And all the tourists were looking up. Then the voice said:

‘Take my shoes!’

The voice was so strong, so she just did it, and put them in her bag. Never in her life had she stolen anything and she had stolen those shoes! So there’s a big drama in the temple, ‘someone stole Prabhupada’s shoes! Who would do such a thing? Who in the world would steal Prabhupada’s shoes?’

It had to be a devotee, since no one else would care for those shoes, but a devotee might know that the shoes are very valuable. Therefore, the temple authorities decided to call a meeting, and they called everyone into the temple. They said:

‘We called everyone together for a very serious thing. Someone has made a very very great aparadha, a very great offence. The reactions will be terrible. I mean I wouldn’t want to be in a position of that person who stole Prabhupada’s shoes. I don’t know how many lifetimes this person will have to suffer in hellish conditions, but although the offence is very great, the devotees are very forgiving. Therefore we do not hold it against you and we understand. This afternoon when we leave from here, the door will be open and you can just quietly put the shoes back and everyone will forgive you.’

The managers thought:

‘It’s done, you just wait and see at 3 o’clock these shoes will be back.’

But at 3 o’clock the shoes were not back. They were gone and never were they back! The years went passed and somehow or other and he differences between that group and Iskcon were worked out and they returned to Prahbupada’s standards. They again began to follow Prabhupada’s standards. The lady who had the shoes had forgotten all about it for quite some years. Then she had a dream, and suddenly in her dream Prabhupada came and Prabhupada said:

‘Those shoes that you took, you can return them.’

So then she took the shoes and put them in the parcel and sent it with it a letter of explanation to the temple, and that is how this story comes to us! Now we are looking at the murti of Prabhupada. So you may not all be aware of that but in the worship of the murti (of a deity) it is a practise that you take the shoes off the deity. In deity worship there are different arrangements for the care of the deity that is made, and one of the things is that night you put the deity to rest. You cannot move the deity like here, at night we cannot take all of them off the alter to put them at rest, but they have a bed. So we are not putting the deities in the bed (it’s stays on the alter) but we take their shoes and move the shoes from the deities and put them next to the bed. As the scriptures says that the deity is then in the shoes, so they are present in the shoes.

So Prabhupada’s shoes were removed and then he left, and then the shoes came back and Prabhupada was back! So we should understand that Prabhupada is here!

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