On July 31st padayatra camped on the outskirts of the Manalmedu Village, 10 kilometers away from Karrur. There was an old age home nearby where many disabled, diseased and elderly people lived. We thought because they could not walk to come see us that we would go to them. So, we went there and had a wonderful kirtana and katha for the residents. When we were leaving the old age home we noticed a man very cruelly dragging a cow to his village. It was painful to watch and we understood by the manner in which he was treating her that he was going to kill her for sure. A few of us followed him as he entered his village. When he reached his house we saw a large pile of cow flesh. It was very evident that he was preparing to kill the cow that he had hauled to his home. We were both horrified and really scared when we saw that he had a big sharp instrument that he was going to use to cut the cow’s head.

Sometimes when people see sadhus or devotees they tell us to ‘go away’ or ‘get lost’ but we could not just stand by and let this heinous act occur. However, to our surprise he saw us watching and called out to us, “Hey Maharaj! Come here. What are you doing here? What do you want?” Parthasakha Dasa from Tamil Nadu had once instructed us to be very careful in certain areas here, especially in areas where there are dacoits and robbers. He even said that some people would not allow us to do kirtana in their area –therefore we were really terrified when this man called us. We took the name of the most merciful Nitai Gaurasundar and went to talk to him. We told him that we were padayatris and that we were doing parikrama of Char Dhama[1] and that we were preaching the message of Lord Krishna all over India. We told him that we travelled with Sri Sri Nitai Gaurasundar deities on a bullock cart. We then asked him if we could come to his village to do sankirtana. He listened attentively as we spoke and said, “Yes, of course, please come.” I then said to him “Okay, we will come but please clean this pile of flesh before we come here.” Whilst we were speaking he had forgotten about the cow that he was going to slaughter and when we left he was busy making arrangements for the padayatra’sarrival.

When we arrived at the village the man we had met earlier had informed everyone there that we were coming. There was 150 people gathered around us and all of them participated in thekirtana singing and dancing. When we asked them to raise their hands they would raise their hands, and when we said chant the mahamantra loudly they would chant in a thunderous way. They simply did whatever we asked of them like innocent children . It was indeed the causeless mercy of the Lord, because nothing else could allow for this to happen. After the kirtanaeveryone took darsana of the Lord and then we had katha. I quoted a verse from Caitanya Caritamrta:

kali-kale nama-rupe krsna-avatara[2] Which translates as, “In this age of Kali, the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, is the incarnation of Lord Krishna.” I explained to them that Krishna descends in the form of his name in the age of kali yuga. This holy name is the maha-mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

I went on to say that only by harinaam will we be delivered from all the sins we have committed in this lifetime. I then narrated the pastime of Lord Ram when the monkeys were building a bridge to Lanka. The monkeys wrote “Ram” on each stone and tossed them into the ocean. When the stones hit the water they started to float. So, I explained the Lord’s name can deliver even a stone –we are just like these stones heavy with sin but if we chant the holy names we can be delivered. Some of the people listening to the katha had tears in their eyes. I encouraged them by saying, “You are good people.” I then asked them, “How can you kill cows. Killing a cow brings a lot of sin.” We later found out that every Sunday the village would buy a cow, slaughter it and eat it. It had become a sort of tradition that they were just following for years without any real reason behind it.

After the katha we served kitchari prasadam to everyone. When we normally do prasadamdistribution people gather all around us but this did not happen here. They surprised us by forming a queue and then sitting in a line to honor prasadam, just like how we devotees do. A few people bought Bhagavad-gitas and we gave them free japa mala beads with every book. The ladies came to us crying, they expressed how fortunate they were that we had came to their village with the Lord. The man that we had met earlier came up to me after the program. He thanked us for coming to his village and reached out to shake my hand. I was wondering, “Should I shake his hand after all he has killed so many cows?” I then took the name of Sri Nitai Gaurasundar and shook his hand anyway. He was so pleased. I said to him, “You are a good man why are you slaughtering cows. If you want to eat meat, eat goat.” He replied, “But killing goats are also sinful.” I responded, “But if you kill a cow you will take birth the number of times equal to each hair on the cow’s body.” Since he appeared to be the leader of the village we invited him to join us for managal arati the next morning. I thought of this verse in Bhagavad-gita:
yad yad acarati sresthas
tat tad evetaro janah[3] Which translates as, “Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps.”

Sure enough the next morning he came and he also brought 20 people with him to attendmanagal arati. Afterwards he took a sankalpa or solemn vow in front of Sri Sri Nitai Gaurasundar to never slaughter cows or eat meat from that moment on. He then asked us to teach him how to chant. He chanted with us, purchased 6 Bhagavad-gitas, gave a donation and walked with us to our next destination. I asked him to please chant the holy names and took down his telephone number. I told him that I would call him and follow up with him. He was very glad. He paid obeisances to us and returned to his village.

This whole arrangement was due to the mercy of Srila Prabhupada. It was Srila Prabhupada who ordered Lokanath Swami, my beloved Gurudev to start padayatra. Now padayatra goes with Sri Sri Nitai Gaurasundar to places where no one else reaches. What we had experienced in the village was a miracle. The people were hypnotized by the darsana of Sri Sri Nitai Gaurasundar and never objected to anything we said –they just listened with rapt attention. We were all surprised how these people who were slaughtering cows so ruthlessly could be so virtuous. This was the Lord’s way of displaying the power of the holy names. After all He delivered Jagai and Madhai, He can deliver anyone.

We are celebrating ‘World Holy Name Week” this month and so we are intensifying all our preaching programs and doing sankirtana everywhere we can to spread the holy names. We were inspired by the incident that occurred in this village and by Lokanath Swami’s mercy we were instrumental in changing the hearts and minds of the village folk. This has increased our faith in the holy names. Gobhakshaka (one who eats cows) turned into gorakshaka (one who protects cows) that day.

Patitapavana Nitai Guarsundar ki! Jai!
Jagat Guru Srila Prabhupada ki! Jai
World Holy Name week ki! Jai

 

Book Scores – July 2016

NB: All books distributed were in the Tamil language as padayatra is currently in the state of Tamil Nadu

Small books (soft cover)         6684

Medium books (soft cover)     42

Big books (soft cover)             146

Maha Big book (hard cover)   2808

Total :                                     9680

 

[1] Charm Dhama refers to the names of four pilgrimage sites in India, Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram.

[2] Adi-lila 17.22

[3] Bhagavad-gita, Chapter 3 text 21

2

 

Distributing japa mala beads and teaching the villagers how to chant

3

Acarya Dasa taking down the telephone numbers of some of the people padayatra met, so he can follow up with them.