Preaching in Pakistan
BY: DEENA BANDHU DASA
Dec 27, VRINDAVAN, INDIA (SUN) Bold preaching comes to sharp focus in the wake of Benazir Bhutto's assasination.
His Grace Sarvabhauma Prabhu just returned from a very successful preaching tour of Pakistan. Usually we can't really report about this type of preaching, but due to the nature of this tour, it was already highly publicized in the media and the authorities in Pakistan were also closely monitoring, so it is no
Previously when Sarvabhauma was living in Pakistan, he was regularly invited along with all the ISKCON devotees to preach at the ashram of one famous saint. Now that saint is no more, but his son Sant Yudhisthir Lal left Pakistan and established an ashram in Raipur, India. He has also continued to invite
Sarvabhauma and the devotees to come and explain Bhagavad Gita to his congregation. This relationship has been going on for about 25 years.
Sant Yudhisthir Lal was taking a pilgrimage to Pakistan for the opening of the
first Krishna Temple in Pakistan since Partition. So he invited Sarvabhauma to
join with them for their Shadani Tirtha Yatra in Scinda, especially for this
historic temple opening in Ghotki, in the province of Scinda. There were 74
pilgrims headed by the Sant and they left by train on the 22nd of October. They
were travelling under a special Pilgrimage Protocol agreement between India and
At the Wagha Border they were received by Government officials from the Evacu
Trust Board, a body in Pakistan that oversees all Hindu Temples, headed by
Saheed Ragab Ali. All the media were present along with hundreds of hindu
devotees. They garlanded the Sant and Sarvabhauma and the media persons
interviewed them. Prasad was then taken by all the pilgrims in a pandal
arranged at the train platform itself.
Without any of the ordinary customs and immigration botherations they boarded
the train for Lahore and reached on Ekadasi evening. They had satsang in the
Gurudwara in Lahore where ekadasi prasada was also distributed.
Early morning they boarded a train reaching in the evening for a 3 day program
at the Shadani Darbar and there was a huge pandal with 3-4 thousand people were
attending. There every night Sarvabhauma spoke on the Bhagavad Gita and many of
our ISKCON devotees from the nearby town of Larkhana did kirtan. And all
appreciated Sarvabhuama's lecture and they enthusiastically took part in the
Then traveling in several vehicles, they visited three different towns having
programs along the way with thousands of people receiving them and taking part
in the kirtans. For our security and for their intelligence the government had
hundreds of agents making videos and taking pictures of every thing they did.
Even many of these agents told Sarvabhuama that they appreciated things that he
said. In this was our preaching was going beyond just the people and places
where we were, but going to all the different government officers and they were
having to hear our preaching.
Reaching Ghotki, the site of the temple, they found people from 40 towns in
Scinda gathered together along with many important saints to witness the
establishment of the first Krishna Temple to be built in Pakistan after
In his address, Sarvabhauma explained that the establishing a temple is like
making a hospital for treating the perverted consciousness of the individuals
to bring it to Krishna Consciousness. This temple is the embassy of the
Spiritual World. It is not surprising that every town and village includes
Pakistan also, and Mahaprabhu's mercy is manifesting here, only time was
separating. Everyone is saying that this is a very unique event that no one has
seen in his life, as many Muslims had also come for this event, so the
conclusion is that Krishna is the uniting force to bring us all together.
Next morning they reached a small island in the River Indus (Sindhu) where
there was an ashram called Sadhu Bela. After 25 years he saw much development
there and there was a beautiful of diorama of Radha Krishna's Jhulan Yatra.
He was sitting in the program held there with the head of the Evacu Board
Retired General Zulifqar. He's originally born in Rohtak in Haryana, but moved
to Pakistan at Partition. He was very excited when Sarvabhauma said that he had
just been doing preaching programs in Rohtak the week before the pilgrimage.
The General asked, "Ganga and Yamuna are sacred rivers for the Hindus, what
about the Sindhu?" Then Sarvabhuama chanted the mantra where it mentions Sindhu
and he was delighted to know that.
Since these programs were being broadcast on TV, radio, and in the newspapers,
old friends watching the programs began to call Sarvabhauma to have programs in
their homes and temples in Karachi like the year before. Last year he did 18
days program of one chapter of Bhagavad Gita a day and last a day huge pandal
where 3,000 people attended. This was in the posh Clifton area of Karachi, so
it was attended by the high class Hindu industrialists and professionals. They
had been very impressed that no one had ever explained Bhagavad Gita so clearly
the way Sarvabhauma was doing from the Bhagavad Gita As It Is of Srila
Prabhupada. Our devotees did kirtan and this was a great opportunity for them
as mostly the ISKCON devotees are from the working class and this gave them
access to very nice people.
He told them his special pilgrimage visa was up in a few days, but since they
are very influential people within a day, they got it extended up to four
months! This was practically impossible to do. At the train station when
Sarvabhauma was seeing off the Sant and his devotees, two agents approached him
and wanted to know why he wasn't on the train. They had been observing the
whole pilgrimage from the beginning so they recognized him. He informed they
that he had gotten an extension. They said they would come to the house where
he was staying to check out his papers the next day.
When they arrived, they apologized to him and said, that they had orders for
him to immediately proceed to Lahore where he would be sent across the border
by foot. But then they examined all his papers and saw that he indeed had an
extension. Then they said that they really appreciated his talks as they had
been assigned to watch the pilgrimage. They couldn't believe how the programs
would go up to 2 AM almost every day. They themselves couldn't keep up with the
schedule. They took photo copies of his papers and sent them off to Lahore.
They next day emergency was declared so everyone forgot about him as they had
more important problems to deal with.
Four days program on Bhagavatam was held in different houses in Karachi and
then on 5th day there was a huge pandal at Kunja Bihari Temple, the largest
temple in Karachi. Later he travelled and did programs with the devotees in
Hyderbad, Mirpurkas, Shukkar, Mithi (BP), Panoquil, Mirpurmatelo, and his
hometown of Rohri. People were very anxious for Krishna Conscious preaching
there. Sarvabhauma told me that throughout the entire pilgrimage he wore only
devotional dress and there was absolutely no inconvenience.
Anyone interested in preaching there should contact Giriraja Maharja or Gopal
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ki Jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki Jaya!
Pakistan Preaching ki Jaya!
In service of Srimati Vrinda Devi,
Deena Bandhu dasa