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Srila Prabhupada – Disappearance Day 11th Nov 2018

November 11

Srila Prabhupada was born Abhay Charan De on September 1st 1896 in Calcutta, India. His father was Gour Mohan De, a cloth merchant, and his mother was Rajani. His parents in accordance with Bengali tradition, employed an astrologer to calculate the child's horoscope, and they were made jubilant by the auspicious reading. The astrologer made a specific prediction: When this child reaches the age of seventy, he would cross the ocean, become a great exponent of religion, and open 108 temples.(Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever Well-wisher". page x.) It is noteworthy that in that very same year, 1896, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's book was accepted into McGill University in Canada, a pilot light for preaching in the West. When young Abhay had been unwilling to go to school, his father saw the humour in it, and always treated him kindly, and was lenient. His mother however, hired a man to escort young Abhay daily to school. Gour Mohan De was also a pure hearted Vaisnava. He often used to take young Abhay to the local Sri Radha-Govinda temple. Where young Abhay was seen to be stood for many long hours offering prayers before the Deity. "The Deity was so beautiful, with His slanted eyes". (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987. "Your Ever Well-wisher". page xiii.) As Abhay grew up he became more and more devoted to the Deity form of the Lord. He was especially enamoured with the Jagannatha Rathyatra festival that was held in Calcutta each year. Hearing and understanding the significance of the festival Abhay would sometimes check railway timetables to go to Jagannath Puri where Lord Caitanya personally attended some 500 years before. Every year a conservative estimated 5 million people attended the festival, this absorbed Abhay more in the mood of Rathyatra. 1901 (circa) Young Abhay conducts his very own first Rathayatra. His father making a small cart, three feet high with a canopy resembling closely the huge carts in Puri. all the local children and many adults would come. Abhay stood out as a leader even then, as he organised and engaged everyone, even many of the mothers were engaged by him in cooking, (especially his sister Bhavatarini), who all cooked special preparations to be offered and distributed as 'prasadam' at this Rathyatra festival. At age 6, his father purchased upon his request, his own Radha-Govinda Deities. Seeing the family engaged from his birth, watching his father performing the 'puja' at home, and going regularly to see Radha-Govindaji, it was only natural. From this day on whatever foodstuffs were brought before him by his parents, he would first offer to Sri Radha-Govindaji, and then eat Their 'prasadam'. He also used to daily offer them a ghee lamp, and properly put Them to rest at night. Little is know of his adolescence. During his college years his father arranged a marriage, selecting Radharani Datta as Abhay's bride. In 1918 they were married, but for several years Abhay lived with his family and Radharani with hers. This was to facilitate his finishing his college education. As it was recognised that the added responsibility of supporting a family is a challenge. In his fourth year of college Abhay felt reluctant to accept his degree, a degree that was given by the British. He had become a sympathiser to the Nationalist case, which advocated 'National schools', Freedom from British Rule, and Self Government (Self Rule). At the same school (Scottish Colleges) in the class one year ahead of Abhay was the highly spirited Nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose, who later became the leader of the Indian National Army formed to overthrow British Rule of India. Abhay was attracted to the pure and simple teaching of Mohandas K. Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi). Who stood by the ancient pure principles of moral India, and regarded Bhagavad Gita above all other books. His personal habits too, and life-style were pure, as he lived a life as a saint, 'sadhu'. Abhay had seen many 'sadhus' and was not overly impressed. However, Gandhi had more integrity than most. Gandhi called on all Indian students to rebel and give up British mundane, manipulative educations, that would ultimately bind one in slavery to the British Raj and would deny the Indian people of their freedom, religion, culture, and inevitably their country. The schools shaped the students, 'brainwashing' them to British Imperialism, teaching them the corrupted philosophies taught by the Christian Church funded Western Indologists shaping them for the control of generations to come. Abhay weighed up the 'pros' and 'cons'. Abhay then rejected his diploma even after completing his fourth year and passing his examination. So doing he made his principled stand of protest in response to Gandhi's call. When Gandhi called for a boycott of everything British and 'non-co-operation' after the British soldiers had gunned down hundreds of innocent, unarmed Indians who gathered at a peaceful rally at Jallainwalla Bagh, Abhay moved closer towards Gandhi's independence movement. Abhay's father was somewhat disturbed for Abhay's future, but didn't resent his decision. More concerned for Abhay's future than Indian politics Gour Mohan De arranged employment for Abhay through a prominent friend, distinguished surgeon, and chemical industrialist, a Dr Kartick Chandra Bose. Dr Bose gladly accepted Abhay as his department manager in his firm. 1921 His wife gave birth to the first son and child, while she was just 14 years old (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. June 8th 1974. Morning walk conversation. Geneva, Switzerland.). 1922 marked the first meeting of Abhay with his spiritual master. Some of Abhay Charan's friends were going to see a 'sadhu' who was preaching in Calcutta, a descendant in the Brahma Madhwa Gaudiya line coming through Bhaktivinoda Thakur, his father none less. The 'Scottish School' educated, and prestigious leader of his group of friends, was asked to come along too. At his family home Abhay Charan De had seen so many 'sadhus' come, his father a pure devotee of the Lord, would daily invite 'sadhus' to his house for 'prasadam', and as a general feeling […]

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