Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Return of the Hero


Bhakti Raghava Swami visits Mayapur, August 2006

MK: Prabhu, please say few words about Bhakti Raghava Maharaja, because many presently resident devotees don’t know him.
Jananivasa Prabhu: OK. Bhakti Raghava Maharaj, he was doing many servicies here in Mayapur and he left 16 years ago. He had a lot of problems to come back because Indian government was getting all the British commonwealth people and in fact all the foregners out, so they should come back with a visa. He did not want to go, he was fixed in his preaching, so… He collected many signatures from the local Nama Hatta devotees, but the foregn registration office did not like that – he was going to the central, he was going over their head. Anyway, they made it more difficult, they did not let him back for 16 years, and finally he came.
He was involved mostly with the Nama Hatta in beginning stages, he was the pionier of Nama Hatta. Jayapataka Maharaj founded Nama Hatta. Late 70-s it started, I can not remember… anyway, he was instrumental in pioneering the
Nama Hatta program, which Bhaktivinoda Thakur started. I think oly one person was doing it at that time in India - Sachinandan, disciple of Lalit Prasad Thakur.
So, Jayapataka Maharaj started it as part of ISKCON program.
Bhakti Raghava Maharaj was a pioneer of spreading the Nama Hatta program in all the villagers, he was very active. They would go to some far out there placies, where you can only go by bicycle, heApart from this service he was also doing Ddeity worship for sometime. He was also doing some youth preaching in Kolkata, some collage preaching, etc.
And the incident when he lost his leg was in 1980-s, I can’t remember exact year, when the temple was attact by 30 dicoits (bandits) 1 o’clock in the morning.
They came throwing hand-made bombs, axes and spheres… then they began smashing all pad-locks off the doors and coming to the temple. At that time Bhakti Raghava Maharaja came with another devotee named Ekadasi das.
Maharaj rushed in without any bodily conciderations whatsoever. He was not even armed, he was just picking up stones and throwing at them, they were armed with bombs… Everyone was terrified, no one would come to the temple from the Long bld, because the bandits were throwing bombs here and there just to let us know they were around.
where was the temple at that time?
Jnvs: The temple was at the bottom of Lotus bld, Conch bld was not there at that time. So, Bhakti Raghava Maharaja just faught on the interest of Radha-Madhava, had no concideration for his own safety. He wasjust throwing whatever he could find at them. Then one of them throw a bomb on him which hit his leg.
At that time the bandits stole Radharani – because they had contacted an astrologer and he told them that She was made of solid gold. She actually was made of asta-datu, combination of metals, where a token of gold and siver are put, but they thought that She was a solid gold, so She was their target. They took Radharani.
I think 3 or 4 were shot dead here. The official gun man run off and locked himself in the bathroom, it was devotees who managed to find the guns and started to shoot at the bandits.
Nitai Chand Maharaj was also there and recognised some of the attackers.
Actually the court case is still going on.
I went to the court about 4-5 years ago, the main person did not come to that court because he was called at another court for another dicoiting he did.
MK: How is this case still going on so many years later?
Jnvs: Well, it’s the Indian low. Everything takes a long time.
MK: Was anyone put in jail?
Jnvs: They arrested few people at the time, they went to jail. But 4-5 years ago when I spoke to the judge he said that the leader of those bandits, Ekram Shek, he came from Bangladesh across the border and when they cross back the police don’t do anything on their side. The leader was muslim, but there were some hindus too in the gan. So, once after that this Ekram Shek performed some other robbery and after that they got drunked in celebration. He got on the bysycle and was going on Krishnanagar hi-road and the state bus was going on top speed, he was not riding strait because of drunked and he went under the bus and was scraped down the Krishnanagar hi-road for about 100 yards. He just got spread out on Krishnanagar hi-road.
The lower told me that our of 30 of those dicots only 3 still living. Very dangerous game.
MK: So, Maharaj is here after 16 years, did he tell you his plans?
Jnvs: He stay here for 2 days, then he will go to Bombay.He got visa now, so that means he can come back any time now. He also spend a lot of time in Hiderabad. Most of his disciples are there, he spent a lot of time preaching there, so after being there he is just visiting Mayapur and Vrindavan.
MK: What did he do after he went from India (16 years ago)?
Jnvs: He spent a lot of time in Indonesia and he actually establishe very very big varnashrama community there. He got about 500 acres of land, they have been recognised by the government as a village. He teaches in Gurukula there.It’s under a different name, but it is same as Gurukula, which is recognised by the muslims. Muslims took over that country, before vedic system was practiced there. They more or less did not change the educational system, so it is very similar to Gurukula system. He got some degrees. There are lots of devotees there, big ashram, village. He goes to America sometimes, but most of his preaching in Indonesia.
MK: Will he be coming here more often now?
Jnvs: I think we will see him more often now, as he allowed to enter the country, he has disciples in India, they will be calling him also.


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