The year 2013 so far at Sri Krishna Mandir, Singapore, has been marked by a lot of overseas preaching trips to various countries and we have only just crossed a little more than the half-way mark of the year.
The latest venture was Philippines. This trip followed the grand Ratha Yatra celebration here in Singapore on July 7th wherein devotees from New Zealand, China, Malaysia and India joined the Singapore contingent in a grand spectacle which eventually ended up on the TV screens of millions of people in the Asia-Pacific region and India.
A team of six devotees headed by His Grace Sundar Gopal Prabhu spent 3 days in Manila, Philippines, from July 27th to July 30th. Although a very short trip owing to the overwhelming service awaiting us back in Singapore due to the upcoming Janmastami celebrations, it was highly successful to the extent that it can easily be termed as a landmark in the preaching scene in Philippines.
Our hosts there in Philippines were Varuna Prabhu and his wife Gunamala Mataji. They have been in the Hare Krishna movement since the early 1980’s. But owing to the bogus gurus who have sprung up in ISKCON after the departure of Srila Prabhupada from this world, there has been a lot of turmoil in the temples in Philippines as in all parts of the world and gradually the temples disintegrated to deplorable conditions and now, all the once full-time devotees of those temples are just in their homes running their families – far from being in the fire of Krishna consciousness.
But Varuna Prabhu and his wife Gunamala Mataji have been sincerely waiting for the opportunity to be back in the fiery preaching mood that was prevalent the world over during Srila Prabhupada’s time. About 3 to 4 years ago, they were informed of the Rtvik system of initiations that Srila Prabhupada wanted. Plainly said, the Rtvik system means that anyone who wants to become a disciple in the Hare Krsna movement will be a direct disciple of Srila Prabhupada and not of any via media. They immediately took to it and understood that their actual guru is Srila Prabhupada. But they were still hungry for some active service.
Recently, over the past one year or so, Gunamala Mataji has been hearing a lot on Facebook about Sundar Gopal Prabhu’s preaching in countries like New Zealand, China, India and so on. And thanks to Hanuman Prabhu of New Zealand, who was telling her of all the excellent work that Sundar Gopal Prabhu was doing in his preaching tours, she was convinced to invite Sundar Gopal Prabhu over to Philippines.
And within 3 days of his stay along with the other devotees, they were fully charged to revive the Hare Krsna movement in the country.
What was the magic formula?
Mangalarati, chanting 16 rounds visibly, excellent Prasadam, nice kirtan and discourses on the sound philosophy of Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. There was even a Q&A session on the Rtvik system based on sound philosophical understanding and on how to deal with arguments from the bogus guruvadis.
Sundar Gopal Prabhu was a source of great inspiration to the devotees there because he practiced what he preached and he preached only what Srila Prabhupada preached. This has been the missing link in ISKCON – an exemplary leader.
One of the Bhaktas, who was chanting only 8 rounds immediately began chanting 16 rounds. And ever since we have returned to Singapore, we have been receiving so many positive reports of their advancement.
After two decades, the preaching has again begun in Philippines and that is great service to Srila Prabhupada!
It is ecstatic to see all the devotees enthused just by following the strict morning program given to us by Srila Prabhupada! From this it is quite evident that we don’t need to manufacture anything. We just have to follow the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. Then all success is guaranteed!