Friends of the BBT
BY: DINA SHARANA DASA
Nov 30, USA (SUN) The new Nov/Dec issue of "Friends of the BBT" Newsletter is out. This edition of the international BBT news includes stories on the following:
"Ecstatic Sankirtan Festival" - the sleeping giant of Alachua wakes up! Visit from Vaisesika prabhu
"An Ocean of Compassion; Poetry by Srila Prabhupada" - long awaited translation and presentation by Dasaratha-suta prabhu
"Living at Govardhana" - a conversation with Keshava Bharati Swami about the Sanskrit translation team
"College Preaching" - in India, report by Bhima prabhu
"Library Party in Full Swing" - news from Vijay prabhu about the new effort.
Srila Prabhupada's Ocean of Compassion
Srila Prabhupada’s Poetry:,The Ocean of Compassion, with translations by Dasaratha-suta Dasa, is soon to be released. Dasaratha-suta Dasa recently shared with me his inspirations and motivations for translating Vaishnava literature written by our previous acharyas.
He states, “Srila Prabhupada has given us a treasure house of Vaishnava books written by the great acharyas, and he mentioned several times that it was going to be up to us to fulfill the mission of seeing that these sublime writings are properly translated.”
Inspired by Srila Prabhupada’s instruction, Dasaratha-suta has spent three decades eagerly reading and studying Srila Prabhupada’s books, even if at times it has meant sleeping less. In 1980, Dasaratha-suta went to serve in Vrindavan. But his health deteriorated, and he became completely bed- ridden, sometimes with jaundice, sometimes hepatitis, and sometimes malaria.
To take his mind off his illnesses, he began learning Hindi, Bengali, and Sanskrit. He never studied with a formal teacher, but by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy he determinedly taught himself to read and understand these three languages.
“I discovered just by reading, regardless of whether I understood the language or not, that the shastras are living. If you want to be with transcendental literature, the book you are reading will reciprocate and you will begin to understand it, even if you do not know the grammar. Once it pulls you in, it’s not academic at all—it’s devotional. I related to shastra on a personal level and began collecting numerous books written by the Vaishnava acharyas.”
Over the course of many years, Dasaratha-suta began collecting the original poems Srila Prabhupada had composed. In 1994 Dasaratha-suta was diagnosed with cancer. During his battle with the disease, he realized how in just a few short years Srila Prabhupada had translated over sixty books. Inspired by his guru, he began to embark on the project of collecting Srila Prabhupada’s poems.
Eventually, Dasaratha-suta ended up living in a small shack at the Murari Sevak community in Tennessee, using only a primitive laptop computer operated off a car battery. Here he embarked on the mission to fulfill his dream of translating Srila Prabhupada’s poetry. His shack had no electricity, so at night, he used an oil lamp to work by. He hoped that once he had completed this project someone would publish the poems.
After approaching several divsions of the BBT he met with little success to help fund his project. When his dear godbrother, Kalakantha Dasa shared the project with Bhima Dasa at the Mumbai BBT, Bhima enthusiastically agreed to publish the book.
Dasaratha-suta feels that Srila Prabhupada’s Poetry: An Ocean of Compassion will enliven the Vaishnava world. He states, “Srila Prabhupada’s translations of the scriptures are his personal ecstasies. However, what makes Srila Prabhupada’s poetry unique is that he was not translating or commenting on the scriptures but speaking from his inner heart as a poet. These writings are purely Srila Prabhupada’s own composition of rhyming verses, as well as an expression of what he was experiencing in his personal life at the time.”
I found myself inspired by Dasaratha-suta’s determination to follow in Srila Prabhupada’s footsteps to see a project through to completion despite numerous setbacks. We look forward to seeing Srila Prabhupada’s Poetry: An Ocean of Compassion released in early 2006.
Read the Complete Nov/Dec Issue of
"Friends of the BBT Newsletter"