Vyasa Puja Offerings to Srila Prabhupada
Cover Image for Sri Vyasa Puja Offering 2021
August 31, 2021

Sri Vyasa Puja Offering 2021

Dear Śrīla Prabhupāda,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to your lotus feet.

The perfect lives and teachings of saintly devotees confer a precious eternal inheritance upon the souls of this world. Infused with love of Krishna, they personify His compassion, grace, and blessings. They teach us how to see Krishna’s glories, feel His love, and hear His message in and through every aspect of His natural world.

As such, the sun can represent Śrī Krishna—the active principle of illumination. The moon then becomes the more passive and intuitive nature, whose wisdom is received through reflection. Expanding further, the stars of heaven, assembling as constellations to dance across the vast tapestry of the night time sky, symbolize the ācāryas. With celestial powers beyond the scope of mortal vision, they expand the luster of Krishna consciousness. Even in the absence of the sun and moon, the influence of these saintly devotees serves as our guiding light, especially during the dark night of the soul.

Their pastimes and precepts reveal profound spiritual realities, shedding light on the inevitable challenges, obstacles, victories, and realizations of all who have gone before. For those who follow in their footsteps, they brighten the horizon, showing the way while teaching us how to perceive and reach our ultimate aspiration. They extend an invitation to join with their associates, to be included among those most fortunate souls who dance the journey on an enlightened pilgrimage of the transcendental song. Through their ability to touch, inspire, connect, and empower us, their stories become our story.

They come to this world only for the benefit of others. Their selfless service, the hardships they endure while here, the thankless tasks they undertake on our behalf, and the affectionate personal care displayed in all their dealings instill in us a desire to emulate them.

Mine was a generation lost in its quest for truth. We pursued sets of ideals, abstract philosophies, impersonal concepts, and future circumstances to fill the inner void, as if the key to peace and love awaited somewhere and sometime outside of us. With your appearance, our hearts awakened to the truth already living both amidst and within us. How rare in life is the golden opportunity to meet a pure devotee of Våndävana bearing messages from home!

In the barren soil of the Western world, you discerned some potential that had not yet become manifest. Your humility softened our hearts, transforming them into fertile ground made receptive to the seeds of devotion. Having initially planted the seed of faith, you continued to serve as gardener, cultivating our tender creepers with compassion, encouragement, and love.

Our first meeting seems so long ago and yet so near at hand. Those of us in New Vrindavan were exceptionally blessed with your physical presence here in 1972. We had the extraordinary experience of celebrating both Śrī Krishna-janmāshtamī and Śrī Vyāsa-pūjā with you, allowing us to witness how you worshiped Krishna on the day of His appearance and, in reciprocation, how He glorified you on Śrī Vyāsa-pūjā.

We followed your footsteps physically and spiritually as they led us into a vast new frontier concealed behind the veil of all we had once accepted as reality. In the light of this dawning truth, the most precious concepts of love, devotion, compassion, forgiveness, and sacrifice took on a life beyond mere words. We saw them personified in you as sacraments, touching and revitalizing the very essence of our existence, the deepest core of our hearts.

Never had we met anyone who loved so unconditionally. It was self-evident that you carried Śrī Krishna in your heart. Gradually, you bestowed insight into the wonderful nature of Krishna’s mysterious heart. You are the one to grant that realization, for as Krishna dwells in the heart of His pure devotees, they reside in His heart as well.

Rising in the east to spread light and life as foretold, the dawning rays of your influence reached western shores in due course of time. The blessings of Krishna followed in your footsteps as you circumambulated the globe, transforming lives, like a touchstone, everywhere you journeyed. The poetic prophecy Kavirāja Gosvāmī offered in praise of Lord Caitanya was fulfilled in you, who strung a garland of the Holy Name and prema to embrace all of the earth.

You came to prepare, train, and accompany us on our journey back to home. You restored life to our comatose souls with the immortal nectar of the Holy Name. You revealed the purport of “die to live,” granting us entrance into the munificent current of vraja-rasa, as it flows in and through the paramparā.

We so yearned for you to stay with us physically so that your vision for New Vrindavan would properly become manifest through your continuous guidance. Instead, unprecedented darkness befell when you withdrew your mortal pastimes from the vision of this world. It all seemed so dissonant. In your disappearance pastime, we felt that we had not only lost you, but we had lost ourselves as well. The darkness we endured before meeting you seemed to have returned with a vengeance. The light of your association vanished beneath the horizon; our lives were plunged into the dark night of the soul.

All of nature reflected and confirmed the depth of our loss. Flowers which had blossomed in your footsteps now wilted, joining in our mourning. The sun and moon seemed to fade. The breezes stirred leaves in the trees, whispering your message. Autumn showers felt as though devas were crying. Trees shed their foliage, covering the paths on which your footprints had lingered.

Upon your departure from this world, our hope seemed utterly crushed, leaving no other recourse than to turn, in renewed earnest, to your instructions, books, and memories. You told us numerous times that everything is contained within your books, that you live forever in your instructions. You assured us that since you were always chanting Hare Krishna, if we did the same there would be no disconnect between us. While we had accepted this with faith, our realization had remained theoretical. It was now clear that your vānī was our only remaining shelter.

Although we had been studying your books all along, it was always with the benefit of your personal presence. Deprived of that advantage, we were led to go deeper, seeking the essence of all that you had taught and exemplified. Yearning like cātaka birds, we kept our sights turned upward awaiting rains of mercy, never looking back to the ground below where you initially found us.

With the introduction to love-in-separation came memories of my childhood pastor echoing meaningful statements from Jesus: “Seek and ye shall find…I have so much more to teach you, but you cannot bear to hear it now…It is better that I leave so that the Holy Spirit can lead you into deeper intimacy…[so] that the spirit of truth can come upon you, as your ongoing counselor and comforter. He will lead you into deeper communion with me.”

Seeking further insight and confirmation, we turned to our favorite—Krishna book, where your voice and mood are quite tangible. You describe how the Vrajavāsīs found solace and shelter while enduring separation from Krishna by remembering His loving words, absorbing their hearts in His pastimes, and living life to the fullest, all in eager anticipation of His imminent return. For He had promised he would, indeed, return. From the pages of Krishna book a parallel experience emerged as we found the dynamic of ever-increasing love of the Vrajavāsīs for their beloved Krishna being reflected in our relationship with you, Krishna’s dearmost representative.

While we had formerly sustained our enthusiasm with the eager anticipation and preparation for your next visit, your physical presence in our lives remained all too close for deeper reflection.

Following in the footsteps of the Vrajavāsīs in the absence of their Krishna, we found our hearts naturally drawn to go more deeply into your vānī. At long last, all that we had seen and heard before began to fall into proper place as the larger story opened in new chapters, inviting our eager participation. It was as if further volumes of Caitanya-caritāmrita were unfolding before our eyes.

These subsequent chapters awakened an inner wisdom to discern subtle light within the darkness and a deeper love within the pain. Thereafter, a new dawn approached on an internal dimension.

Within the darkest times, the self-effulgent jewels of blessings, pulsating like the stars above, appear more prominent. Indeed, even Śrī Krishna appeared in this world at the hour of midnight, and Lord Caitanya appeared in the shadow cast by a lunar eclipse.

The ecstasy of separation in and of itself cannot remain the final goal. Rather, it serves as a catalyst to encourage the heart to grow fonder, to nourish certain reunion. And when reunion takes place at last, it is witnessed and reflected in eyes that have been anointed with the salve of enhanced devotion. Thus the object of love appears even more attractive and radiant than before.

Truly, after those joyous times of walking and talking with you, followed by the painful anguish of separation, we are now invited to enter the deepest mystery of communion as it unfolds in your physical absence. The fundamental lessons you initially imparted were the seeds which blossomed in time. Therein a new realm unfolded where you personally extend the sweetest assurance.

The way you continue to deal with us makes it increasingly clear how intensely Krishna yearns to develop a deep relationship with His parts and parcels; one that is so intimate, so close, so enduring and steadfast that nothing and no one can disrupt it. In this light, joy reawakens refreshed in the hope that within one ending, a new beginning awaits. One that awards a relationship with you even more profound than what we had known before. Now you are calling us to look within, to confront the subtler shadows lingering in the valleys of our internal landscapes.

The deep darkness gradually gave way to new light, revealing that solitude of heart need not be lonely or isolating. A true encounter with you transcends past remembrances and future hopes, integrating time and space within the present moment. Here and now is the opportunity to gaze into the mirror as you hold it before our eyes. Therein awaits the liberating power of your presence, which frees us from past regrets and future fears. Your loving example grants us courage to face the shadows within and around us, which are not to be feared as much as the initial temptation to repress and deny them. Turning toward our shadows, accepting them as teachers, reveals within our greatest despair the first indications of everlasting light, directing us to the areas in our lives still in need of love, compassion, understanding, and grace.

Truly, separation from you has compelled us to descend to the furthest and darkest recesses of our own hearts, to invite the Holy Name to illumine us from deep inside. Communion in the solitude of heart progresses to sharing within a community of the faithful, and from there, by Lord Caitanya’s grace, to the mission of preaching and distributing the love of Vrindāvana, thereby expanding the rays of the benediction moon.

Although you, the external manifestation of the Supersoul, are no longer physically walking beside us, the realization that you are now living within us dawns as we attempt to delve more deeply into the Vrajavāsìs spirit; to share your gifts with others, to touch their hearts as you did ours, to find how you are dictating our thoughts, words, and actions. May our transformed lives testify to your ongoing presence. Following in the footsteps of the Vrajavāsìs, who sustained their lives by krishna-kathā, we will nourish our hearts by the process increasingly known and loved as Śrīla Prabhupāda Memories. This keeps your legacy ever fresh, alive, and growing.

The final pastimes of your mortal presence shook our lives to the very core, serving as a challenge to test our faith. As the representative of Lord Nityānanda, you remain forever the firm foundation on which to build our spiritual lives. You serve as the perfect mediator between God and man, fully understanding and representing both parties and endearing yourself to the hearts of all.

In gratitude for the fond memories you have impressed upon our hearts, we worship Nandotsava, the most perfect day for your Vyāsa-pūjā. Krishna’s mysterious appearance occurred while darkness covered Mathurā; it was only on the following day, Nandotsava, when the truth dawned in the hearts of the Vrajavāsīs that the long-anticipated son of Yaśodā had appeared in order to fulfill all their desires. How appropriate and significant for your appearance to take place on the joyful festival day of Nandotsava.

Among countless souls wandering aimlessly through dark labyrinths of material nature, amidst the clouds of worldliness, shadows of empiric theology, and mists of illusion, you have appeared as our Morning Star, a luminary bearing special significance. You rise daily to brighten the predawn sky, heralding the sun’s rebirth at daybreak, thereby representing the process of initiation. Foretelling eventual homecoming, you continue to shine in the world, guiding souls who have lost their way back to the path from creation to Creator. May the light of your pastimes and precepts dawn within our hearts and continue spreading to all the world, lifting our consciousness high above the dark and fearful shadows. Bless us that we may internalize the truth in all you have taught and exemplified.

By watching over us in japa, during the precious brāhma-muhūrta, the Morning Star reflects the revelation of the Holy Name from His initial dim glimmer in nāmābhāsa to the full luster rising in śuddhanāma, highlighting krishna-prema as the ultimate goal. May you continue to grant us access to the substantial nature personified in that transcendental sound, who is more radiant than the sun.

May this spirit of Śrī Vyāsa-pūjā awaken daily remembrance of your ongoing appearance as you continue to light up this world and shine within our hearts until the darkness is completely dispelled. Guide us, we pray, onward across the ocean of birth and death to the self-effulgent landscape on the distant shore, to the embrace of our eternal homeland. With this blessed assurance, each year we celebrate Śrī Vyāsa-pūjā with ever-increasing joy and appreciation, acknowledging the reality of your enduring presence in our lives moment after moment, here, now, and forevermore.

Your eternal servant,

Varsana Swami