So many of us have heard of, and even follow closely, the experiences of Partha-Sarathi das in Iraq. Most of us haven't met him, but he has an impact on our lives nonetheless.
He inspires. Simply by being the person that he is and doing the things that he does the way he does it, he inspires. Is it not amazing that we have a devotee out in Iraq, facing death everyday, and yet remaining fixed at the lotus feet of Krsna? In such a fearful situation he puts all his faith in the holy name and just gets on with it. And he's made a couple of devotees while doing it!
I've never met him. I've seen him several times with Kadamba Kanana Swami at our Durban Rathayatra, but my husband shared a room with him last year at Rathayatra (before we were married or had even met) and was just blown away by his humility, his devotion and just the great guy that he was.
I got in touch with him this morning. I think its important that as devotees we let each other know how much they are appreciated. Its a big and important part of our vaisnava culture. In it he replied, "Thank you so much for the letter. It was very nice to read, even if the words best suit some other devotee. It is still hard for me to really grasp that I am some sort of inspiration. I am just a normal guy doing a service. unlike many other devotees in ISKCON."
And that's just it...he is just doing a service...but it's the way in which he's doing it and the people's lives that he's changing while doing it.
"For me being in Iraq is neither an austerity, nor is it a hellish condition. It is a place I ended up somehow or other, a place where I can freely give the message of Sri Caitanya to so many souls. It is not about the insurgency, it is not about supporting the current government of America. It is about following in the footsteps of great devotees and giving our hearts to all we meet. To me it is what I owe Srila Prabhupada. He gave up so much to save us. he endured so many obstacles. I am not a pure soul, I a struggling like any other soul in the material world. But by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada he has given me the gift of devotional service. To keep it to myself is miserly."
19 April 2008; Iraq
ISKCON has many preachers who have preached fearlessly in the past and preachers who are fearlessly preaching right now. In South Africa alone, devotees like my Guru Maharaj, Partha-Sarathi das Goswami, Riddha Prabhu, Ramanujacarya...faced so much trouble establishing Krsna Consciousness in a country riddled by apartheid; Sarvabhavana prabhu and so many others who risked their lives to distribute books; Indradyumna Swami who faces so many obstacles with his Festival of India, and those who just go on and on preaching despite the price they pay with their health. And no doubt there are many, many more fearless warriors that I have not mentioned or even heard about.
Srila Prabhupada has spiritual soldiers and warriors that he can surely be proud of.
Thank you, to all of you, for showing us how its really done :)
P.S Check out Partha-Sarathi das's website www.battlefieldbhajans.com
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