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 secret.

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 Pakistan.

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 kirtan.

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 Partition.

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 Krishna Maharaja.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ki Jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki Jaya!
Pakistan Preaching ki Jaya!

In service of Srimati Vrinda Devi,

Deena Bandhu dasa



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