The Return of Radha-VrindavanCandra

by Suresvara dasa (from Oct. 1978 B.S.)

The motorcycle gang that had attacked the temple was now gone. But, for the devotees, life without the presence of the Deities was simply another type of death.
June, 1973 had just begun. We were in Flint, Michigan, two weeks out of the San Diego temple on traveling sankirtan. Everyone on the party was distributing a lot of Krsna conscious literature except me. I was finished, burned out by my own bodily desires for peace, “I just can’t face the folks every day any more, prabhus. I’m leaving.” Hav­ing thus spoken, I cast aside my book bag and stuck out my thumb, my mind overwhelmed with grief. My destination: New Vrindaban
New Vrindaban is the transcendental land of Sri Sri Radha Vrndavana Candra, Their expansions and Their faithful devo­tees. In the Caitanya Caritamrta (Madhya 7.69, purport) Srila Prabhupada writes, “In our Krsna consciousness movement we inaugurated the New Vrindaban acti­vities wherein devotees are always en­gaged in the transcendental loving ser­vice of the Lord, and this is not differ­ent from Goloka Vrndavana.” While New Vrindaban’s mud is as good as Go-loka’s cintamani, my heart was dirtier than a dog eater’s. The fan of material desire was still turning strong, now blowing my devotional creeper down the highways and byways of America’s Midwest. I had lived in New Vrindaban two years earlier. Now back again? What would I find?

I reached the Detroit temple late that afternoon. Govardhana prabhu greeted me and when I told him where I was headed he asked if I’d heard the news. News? He said that early that morning a gang of bikers had attacked New Vrindaban, shot up some devotees and even assaulted the Deities. Peace?! Indeed! There is always some disturbance in the material world, even in a holy place. When Krsna walked the earth five thou­sand years ago He daily killed so many demons around Vrndavana. He even had to kill the Putana witch right in His own bedroom. Similarly, a devotee once ex­pressed his amazement to Kirtanananda Maharaja that there was some maya in the temple. Maharaja replied that, in the kingdom of maya, the really amazing thing is that there is a temple at all. Twenty-four hours later I was walk­ing down Limestone Hill Road toward New Vrindaban. Down and around a couple of miles of bumbs and bends, I stopped even with Floyd’s place and gazed at Bahulaban, New Vrindaban’s reception farm, now in full view. I no­ticed a makeshift pi’lbox mounted on top of the old milk house. As I walked closer, I could see a rifle protruding from the small square stack. Then, abruptly, the rifle pointed at me.
“Haribol” I hollered.
“Hare Krsna,” a voice called back. The rifle disappeared and Romaharsana prabhu came running down the bank to greet me. I asked him what had hap­pened. He told me how a motorcycle gang had surprised the devotees during Srimad Bhagavatam class. And the Deities? He looked away and said what every other devotee would say the rest of that week, “We didn’t protect Radha-Vrndavana Candra so They left.”
The Deity form of the Supreme Lord is none other than the Supreme Lord Himself. In the Srimad Bhagavatam (10. 3.46. purport) Srila Prabhupada com­pares the Deity to a postbox. The post-box has the same potency as the post of­fice. If one puts letters in an authorized postbox, the function of carrying letters is performed without a doubt. Similarly, the Deity form of the Lord, authorized by the Lord’s scripture, can deliver the same unlimited potency of the Lord as when He is personally present.
Of course, no one can challenge the Supreme Lord in His Deity or any other form. No one is equal to or greater than Krsna. The Brahma-samhita declares that even big yogis and philosophers, af­ter undergoing severe austerities and pen­ances for thousands and millions of years, can barely approach the tip of the toe of His lotus feet. (Bs. 5.34) So what chance do mlecchas on motorcy­cles have? In On the Way to Krsna Srila Prabhupada relates how during the Hindu-Muslim riots in India, each would go to the other’s house of worship, smash the sacred images and say, “We’ve killed the Hindu god! We’ve killed the Muslim god!” And during Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement against the Brit­ish, people rioted and broke many gov­ernment postboxes. In this way they thought they were breaking the govern­ment. All foolishness.
A horrible pall hung over New Vrin­daban that week. Everything was going on. The crops were planted, the cows were milked, the preparations were cooked. But the faces of the devotees looked as empty as Radha-Vrndavana-Candra’s altar. Many wondered how they could continue. In the Vedic litera­ture Krsna tells Narada that He is neither in Vaikuntha nor in the hearts of the yo­gis, but that He is present wherever His pure devotees are chanting His glories. This is the most exalted mood of ser­vice in separation, recommended by Lord Caitanya and all great devotees. Unfortunately, we were neither very great nor very devoted. In fact, bereft of the beautiful vision of Their Lord­ships Radha-Vrndavana Candra, we all felt completely useless.
Saturday came. Amazing news, al­most too good to be true, began to spread around New Vrindaban like wild­fire. Radha-Vrndavana Candra were coming back on the altar that night! Every -one came alive, overwhelmed by Their Lordships’ causeless mercy. All day long we thought of Them. We couldn’t help it. They were doing everything. As the afternoon turned to twilight everyone finished their work and cleaned up on time for the evening program. Tulasi worship followed Bhagavad-gita class. Now the lights were dimmed for the eveningarati and Kirtanananda Maharaja asked me to lead the singing. 1 swallowed a million feelings. Then the curtains opened.
Obeisances. We rose. Who could ima­gine such a moment? The devotees looked at the Deities. The Deities looked at the devotees. Looking! Looking! Rad­ha-Vrndavana Candra looked stunning, challenging. The devotees were praying. “0 Your Lordships, please don’t leave us. We are hopeless without You. We will protect You. Please let us serve Your lotus feet.” No one moved. What would happen next? Someone nudged me to start singing. Slowly I began “The Eight Prayers Glorifying the Spiritual Master” in a strange, disembodied voice. Still no one moved. It was very clear that the inmates were up for inspection. Kirtan­ananda Maharaja presented himself and all of us to the Deities at his regular place up front. All souls are eternal, full of bliss and knowledge. Seeing our worshipable Deities again, were we more ma­ture in knowledge?
Someone tossed some flowers to the altar. We all began to sway a little, but our eyes remained fixed on the Deities. The pace began to pick up. Were we passing inspection? Then Maharaja’s dancing moved from a watchful measure to leaps of joy. Transcendental bedlam began to break loose everywhere. Flow­ers filling the air, covering the altar. Devotees charging, pirouetting, practical­ly leaping out of their bodies. This went on for a moment or maybe forever. From then on, I don’t remember sing­ing or touching the floor or anything until, “Jaya Radha-Vrndavana Candra, Radha-Vrndavana-Candra, Radhe!!” Again and again, stronger and stronger.
“Jaya Radha-Vrndavana Candra, Radha-Vrndavana-Candra, Radhe!!!” Who can describe this? All the devotees went mad. Peace at last. Radha-Vrndavana Candra had returned.

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Reader Comments

Kiranasa prabhu, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, told me his first day living in NVC was the day the demons attacked. It was his first day in any temple.