1985 Kīrtana Party of Prabhupāda
Dear Śrīla Prabhupāda,
Please accept this humble offering as a small token of our debt to your causeless mercy upon us, on your Vyāsa-pūjā day.
Sounds of kīrtana flood the air, all but the holy name is heard.
The dust of Vaiṣṇavas lotus feet bless all throughout this war-torn world.
Ocean waves of clashing karatālas, gleaming golden in the sun,
Mṛdaṅga rhythms pace our hearts, Vaikuṇṭha dancing carries on.
Godless darkness cripples hope, but one sun lights the way
Breathing life into dull matter—a token price to pay.
O brother, hear my broken song, though unfit I am to sing;
In Kali s age the one last chance to us my lord did bring.
And now he leads the kīrtana as it resounds through all the worlds.
Come and see his great exploits, please listen to my words.
Prabhupāda leads the kīrtana party, Gaurāṅga by his side,
Dancing, chanting in prema-bhakti, the holy name his pride.
Nityānanda, Advaitācārya, on either side of the Lord,
Gadādhara and Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura attend His every word.
A little behind the Pañca-tattva, Six Gosvāmīs dance:
Śrī Rūpa, Raghunāthas and Jīva, Śrī Gopāla, Sanātana.
Behind Gosvāmīs come the ācāryas, then Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura,
Gaura-kiśora Dāsa Bābājī, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Ṭhākura.
They all praise Śrīla Prabhupāda, bestowing him their best;
Blessings are for those who carry the orders of the rest.
They urge him on with pleasing smiles, jaya Prabhupāda,
But he is just a humble servant, serving their command.
Prabhupāda plays a blue mṛdaṅga, a palanquin behind,
Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, bedecked with flowers, ride a golden siŕhāsana.
Loving devotees carry Their Lordships, worshiped by all the worlds,
Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Gopīnātha, whose beauty surpasses all words.
The procession passes through towns and streets; people come to see.
Of those who view, a few decide to take our company.
Prabhupāda clasps them by the hand. How would you like to serve?
Take a position to your liking, just do not leave or swerve.
There are other mṛdaṅga players following Prabhupāda s beat;
Karatāla players, singers, dancers, all clasp his lotus feet.
Thousands of voices join together, the ecstasy of the name
Swells in tides of transcendence, to share one common aim.
Behind the party are devotees, editing Prabhupāda’s books,
Layout, translation, production, just one word, one look
Will change the heart of conditioned souls, start them on their way.
Spiritual life begins anew, hope for a better way.
Legions of devotees with tear-filled eyes, books in every arm,
Take every risk and every chance, lest others go to harm.
Without his books, what hope is there, forlorn fellow man?
Drink The Nectar of Devotion, worship Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Some launder the soiled clothes of those on hari-nāma,
Others cook, with gladdened hearts, sumptuous prasādam.
Some wash pots and others set up tents in advance,
Some bring water to the thirsty or massage those who dance.
The saṅkīrtana party of Prabhupāda, oh, what great bliss
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Traveling through the universe, the procession makes its way
To lonely planets of concrete streets, where smog blots out the day,
Into the heart of asphalt jungles, where the animal is man,
Transform the atmosphere anew into Śrī Māyāpur Dhāma.
The jīvas come in different dress, white, black, and old,
Young, males, and females, there s room for all, they re told.
While passing through one town in a snowbound north country,
He cast his loving glance my way, as I had come to see.
He caught me up and pulled me out, one foot in the grave,
As I embraced my chains of madness, another industrial slave.
Sometimes I distribute books, sometimes I erect the tents,
Sometimes I cut trees to clear a way for great events.
Whatever position, being a member is certainly a great boon,
Managing others, taking prasādam, having darśana in his room.
Bliss it is, but hard-earned bliss, for māyā is always there;
Prostitutes lining the road are poised to drag one in their lair.
Charlatans offer different types of intoxicating brew,
Bewilder minds of naive Vaiṣṇavas who look for something new.
Demoniac scientists create computers from homogeneous soup;
Bewildered by mile-long formulae, some may even bloop.
Religionists and speculators quote sectarian books.
Bewildered parents wave old diapers, casting longing looks.
Imitation kīrtana parties often pass the other way.
For those who don t keep him in sight may dearly have to pay.
Conditioned minds attached to madness sometimes are inert,
And shameless senses given rope will always tend to flirt.
But the party moves undaunted, though some may fall away.
Prabhupāda goes to save them, or “they will be back some other day.
City to country, planet to universe, hari-nāma must go on.
Prabhupāda leads in ecstasy an eternal rising sun.
Then, one day, we turn to see Śrīla Prabhupāda has gone;
No longer dancing with us, he has decided to move on.
Some other part of the party has received his kindly glance,
Some other land, some other world is witness to his dance.
For us who tend his orders, to lose sight of him?
But looking down, his footprints clearly mark the path we re in.
Now those who assisted Prabhupāda must maintain the same beat,
Recalling the instructions they learned at his lotus feet.
Others come to help keep time, and make the pace anew.
Cooperation is our guide—Śrīla Prabhupāda wants us to.
The holy name, the holy name resounds in every ear;
Its ecstasy removes all darkness, frees us from all fear.
Others come, his desire is heard, take up the banner too.
This movement is infallible, our shelter is Mahāprabhu.
Chant with us, dance with us, read the books we bear,
Take prasādam, know Lord Kṛṣṇa, be happy is our prayer.
After going round the kīrtana, what things I haven t done?
I find myself with bag in hand, a service to be won.
Within the bag unlimited books, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam
“Take some help from others, “says the drummer Bhagavān.
Bottomless bag of unlimited books do Prabhupāda’s will.
Distribute books, distribute books, distribute more books still.
As we distribute, people take and read with great delight.
This is our vow to do the needful and take up the fight.
Our last request that with unflinching mind we may go on
Undeterred by Māyā’s traps to chant Lord Kṛṣṇa s song.
And in our service sometimes we may gain his company,
That he may come to where we chant, that sometimes we may see
His radiant smile, loving glance, and forceful reprimand.
Our master, Śrīla Prabhupāda, let me forever be your man!