Sunday, 1 July 2012

Prabhupadanugas Costa Rica

A Farm at Puriscal, Costa Rica

The Lotus Faces of Sri Sri Radha Govinda

Jun 29, 2012 — GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA (SUN) — A concrete proof of raksisyatiti visvasah: the faith that 'He will surely protect me.'
I. Phatos
Sri Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita (17.3): sraddha-mayo ‘yam pususho: the purusah, the living being, in made of faith.
When in 1969 Srila Prabhupada commissioned Shyamasundara, Mukunda and Gurudas, along with their respective wives —Malati, Janaki and Yamuna— to open a Hare Krishna temple in London, they never asked him for money to pay the rent. Nor did Srila Prabhupada offer them any. On those golden days, that was the spirit of surrender and utter dependence on Lord Krishna's protection. They had implicit faith in the potency of their Spiritual Master's order. They knew that by pleasing Krishna's pure devotee, the Lord will surely provide anything and everything they needed to accomplish their otherwise Herculean task.
And they succeeded!
Guru Prasad Swami has been related to the Costa Rica ISKCON program since his years as an anodyne Chaplain's assistant serving at United States Southern Command (Panama Canal). Thanks to Mother Sevya's (ACBSP) initiative, several devotees headed by Saunaka, Kirtidev and Narayan opened the Costa Rica branch of Srila Prabhupada's movement in 1975.
To mark the upcoming 40th Anniversary of the establishment of the Hare Krishna Movement in Costa Rica, Guru Prasad Swami had the great idea of celebrating such an auspicious event by inaugurating a brand-new temple. And guess what? The money to build the brand-new won't come from his pockets or inheritance (he is the owner of a big estate in Harlingen, Texas), nor from the donations he receives from his followers and wealthy Indian donors, nor by the non-existent proceeds coming from book distribution, an activity which in his zone has come to a screeching halt.
So, wherefrom the money would come? Of course: from the selling of Srila Prabhupada's farm in Costa Rica! In 2002, Guru Prasad made the following commentary to Yamuna Jivana, the then farm's Temple President: "Whenever I come to this farm, the only thing I see is a whole bunch of green dollars!"
Guru Prasad never had the will nor the talent to develop the farm (for the matter, he has not the competence to manage any project. He's just goes on bluffing his peers to keep his posts as a mediocre GBC and guru.) Therefore he bullheadedly embarked in his botch of selling Srila Prabhupada's farm in Costa Rica—dragging along other authoritarian figures like Bhakti Bhusana Swami, Manonath and Virabahu. When consulted by Srila Prabhupada's loyal servants, the lady who donated the farm, Radha Govinda devi dasi (Verónica González), emphatically and bitterly refused that the land she gave to the Hare Krishna movement solely for the purpose of developing a self-sufficient agricultural community based on cow protection and worshiping of Lord Krishna, unilaterally and abusively ended up being sold by Guru Prasad Swami. Just see the contempt; just mark how this so-called follower of Vedic culture flagrantly ignored the heartfelt desire of a pious and elderly woman!
Please imagine the following scenario during Srila Prabhupada's days: "Guru Prasad: ‘Srila Prabhupada: I want to celebrate the 40th anniversary of your mission in Costa Rica. And for that purpose I have the great idea of selling your farm, which is located at an excellent location, just in the middle of the biggest cities of the country –San José and Cartago. I don't know how to make money, nor can I inspire others to make money. Therefore I want you to give me the money."
Just see! A tragicomic materialization of Srila Prabhupada's story as told by Nikhilananda dasa:
"In a jolly mood, Srila Prabhupada told the following story: ‘Once, a disciple arranged a grand reception for his guru. He offered him many costly gifts and an opulent feast. Surprised, the guru asked him how he could afford all these arrangements. Prabhupada stopped, laughed, and imitated the disciple: "It is all your mercy, Guruji." But he didn't tell his guru that he spent his spiritual master's funds.' The devotees burst into loud laughter."

Srila Prabhupada heartly laughing after telling the story
about a disciple misspending his guru's money (Schloss Rettershof, 1974)

When the respected Maharaja assigned by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura to preach Krishna consciousness returned from England, the only thing he submitted at the lotus feet of his gurudeva was a printed booklet containing the transcriptions of his own lectures to this Lord and that other Theological Society. And at what cost! Making a humongous effort, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta managed to wire him 700 rupees each month. In those days (1930), a rupee was a solid coin made of pure sterling silver.
Incapable of submitting anything tangible, valuable —something coming as the sweet fruit of the sweat of your brows— to his guru, Guru Prasad instead SOLD half of Srila Prabhupada's farm in Costa Rica. And now we have to watch, to verify, if he is capable of even making a good investment with other people's money. What to speak of pushing forward Krishna consciousness boldly! As Panchadravida Swami once told K. das brahmacari before me in Bombay (1978): "You are very generous with other people's money!"
Shyamasundar has written eloquently: "We lived a few blocks from the temple, and one time there was no money for the rent. I was working as a carpenter and not making very much, and supporting a family. And a few of the others devotees, like Jayananda, who was a taxi driver, gave all their money. A few of the other devotees had jobs, but less than ten percent. Everyone else was a hippie. So there was never enough money, because we were feeding everybody on the streets every day, and there was rent to pay and gas to put into our cars to go out and programs and so on. So we were really in a bind. There was no money for the rent. We were behind two months, and we were in very great danger of being evicted. The landlord had severely gotten down on us. Malati and I walked out of Ashbury Street one morning early to walk to the temple for kirtan. And there were all these hundred dollars bills blowing down the sidewalk, one after another. We were just running down the street picking up these hundred dollar bills. There wasn't a single person on the street. No one figured out where they came from. But these kinds of things we began to expect of Krishna. Another thing Prabhupada inculcated in us from the early days was if you take risk for Krishna, stick your neck out to spread Krishna consciousness, Krishna must help you personally. And those who see Krishna closest take the biggest risks for Him. And we tested that to the max. And it worked. We got to see Krishna. We got to see hundred dollar bills rolling down the street! This spirit has died now. We are too comfortable."

II. Dénouement
But the great news is that never is there such a thing as scarcity of Krishna's mercy for the faithful. By the way, I'm just narrating a piece of history while pushing myself to be a good servant of Ananda Vidvan Swami, Harinamananda, Upendra, mother Sevya, and the rest of the devotees loyal to Srila Prabhupada in Costa Rica. They are the faithful.
After approximately one year and a half, Guru Prasad Swami and allies had no choice but to surrender to us half of Srila Prabhupada's farm [history here: The Costa Rica Farm. Epilogue], an extraordinary, blessed event that took place on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012. I travelled from Guatemala to Costa Rica just to bear witness of this wonderful event.
A broad-minded Vaisnavi and true brahmani whose name is Jagat Mohini dasi, decided to donate her 10-hectare farm located in Puriscal, a most enchanting, tropical district at a distance of just 40 minutes from the capital city, San José.
Here is a description of Puriscal I found in the web:
    "Puriscal is up in the beautiful inland mountain range, located some 50 km ( 32 miles) west-south-west of San Jose. Here, you can have the best of many worlds: a comfortable spring-like climate all year round, close to the Pacific Ocean beaches, and an interesting drive through the country to get to the Escazu / San Jose city area. (Note: when looking for Puriscal on a map of Costa Rica, be aware that depending on the map it may be listed as Puriscal, Santiago, or Santiago de Puriscal.)"

District of Puriscal

Ananda Prabhu was staying at Radha Govinda Dham when I called to inform him that I had just invited Kurma Rupa Prabhu, the Director of Care for Cows (Vrindavan) to travel to Costa Rica in order to meet his old-time friend, Ananda Vidvan Swami. And while not saying a definite yes, he had told me: "Please check online a reasonable round-trip ticket, because we are just in the middle of the high season."
Excited, I went ahead and called the devotees at Radha Govinda Dham to inform them about the great news of Kurma Rupaji's imminent arrival. Next, while talking to mother Jagat Mohini over the phone, Ananda raised the issue of collecting the lakshmi to pay Kurma Rupa's ticket. Jagat Mohini immediately volunteered: "No problem. It will be an honor to perform this service for him."
Then mother Jagad Mohin drove all the way from Turrialba, where her home is, and went straight to Radha Govinda Dham to meet with Ananda Vidvan Swami. She wanted to tell Maharaja that she had taken the decision to donate her Puriscal farm to Care for Cows International! Unconditionally, no strings attached. For a long time Jagat Mohini had been planning what to do with her farm. Not even a week had elapsed since a Muslim psychic had foretold her a very strange thing: "A cow's farm is coming to you flying."
Now she got it! With the upcoming visit of Kurma Rupa Prabhu, Krishna was indicating to her to give the farm to Care for Cows, the wonderful institution that is promoting a most cherished desire of Srila Prabhupada: worldwide cow protection.
Jagat Mohini dasi is a very educated lady; nonetheless, she is very straightforward when it comes to expressing herself. That is what she wrote when I asked her to tell us how she hatched the idea of donating to Care for Cows her beautiful farm at Puriscal:
    "My dreams have become true!! I bought this land 20 years ago, but somehow or other all projects I wanted to implement there never worked: an asrama for Bhagavat Maharaja, a center for advancing Vedic culture, etc. So I gave up all hope and even a wooden house I built there. But two weeks ago Ananda suddenly called me up and intimated to me that he wanted to import pure gir cows from India! And of top of that, Ananda informed me: ‘Kurma Rupa is in Miami right now!' So the first thing that came to my head was: Let him come! Let him come and take this land in Puriscal! And then we would bring cows there!
    "I must say that I have not giving away anything; we are just the caretakers of whatever we have received in this Earth. I cannot give away what is not mine; rather, I have been giving the opportunity to serve somebody of the caliber of Kurma Rupa, and other devotees like him who want to share the joy of serving the cows!!! TO SERVE THE COWS IS TO SERVE HUMANITY AT LARGE!! TO SERVE THE COWS IS TO SERVE GOVINDA!!!
    My obeisances to all. Hare Krishna.
    Jagat Mohini dasi
At 7: 30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12th, 2012, after a 4-day marathon of feverish activities which included a foot-walk all around the Puriscal farm, long meeting with our lawyer, Blanca Briceno —who kindly donated her professional services— and other errands, presented before Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Govinda was the Deed of Transfer duly signed by mother Jagad Mohini dasi and Kurma Rupa Prabhu. Ananda Vidvan Swami conducted the sundara aratik amidst loud chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Ah, what nectar! Srila Prabhupada's loyal servants in Costa Rica got his bountiful blessing in the wonderful, mystic ways narrated above. In less than a two-year period, the most generous Lord Krishna, through His dear lady servant, Jagad Mohini dasi, gave us back the ten-plus hectares Guru Prasad snatched from Srila Prabhupada's hands. What a miracle! What a blessing!
We humbly fall at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada, our beloved gurudeva, as well as to the holy feet of all hard-core Vaisnnavas and Vaisnavis, and fervently pray to them that never, but never, allow us to fall prey of the desire to exploit others for our own selfish satisfaction.
All glories to yuga acharya, Om Vishnu Pada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja Prabhupada!
All glories to mother Jagad Mohini dasi!
All glories to go seva!

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