In my last blog I wrote the following:
“Tonight we have a public program which we wanted to precede with a Hari Nam Sankirtan. The weather is especially inclement, Cold, rainy, and windy. However I keep hoping against hope as the sun occasionally peers through the clouds and gives some indication that it might be sunny enough after all to go on Hari Nam. It is all in the hands of Mahaprabhu and Sri Guru. They will decide. They can make the rain stop or start at will. So we will see if it becomes favorable for Hari Nama.”
When I suggested to the devotees that Guru can arrange everything they asked “Can Guru change the Weather?” “Sure” I said, and I told the following stories:
This pastime of Srila Prabhupada is related by Guru Das in his book about Srila Prabhupada “By His Example” on page 249 in the section titled Krishna’s Mercy. I am reproducing it exactly as it appears in the book.
“Late at night, when everyone else was asleep, was a nice time to be with Prabhupada. He was usually in a very mellow mood, so if I wanted to have his precious darshan I would sometimes stand outside his door and make slight noises so he would come out to see what the noise was and invite me in. We were staying in the new quarters in Mayapur, in the first of the four, large residence buildings. The sky was overcast; I was yearning for Prabhupada’s association, so I went near his rooms and made walking and chanting sounds. No servants were around, so Prabhupada came out himself saying, “Who is that?” He saw me chanting, smiled, and came all the way out of his quarters.
Srila Prabhupada walked up and down the balcony with me, then turned towards the fields and walked to the balcony railing. He looked out and said “The farmers beg Krishna for rainwater.” He paused briefly, “All right, take it!” As Prabhupada swept his hand down as if dispensing rain, a lightning bolt crashed; suddenly the sky opened and rain came down furiously.
“Take it,” he said quietly, and walked into his rooms.
This pastime of Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja was related to me by Raghava Pandit Prabhu who was in Spain when it happened.
Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja was visiting the ISKCON Temple in Spain during what was considered one of the worst droughts in history in that area. No rain had fallen in over a year and every Church, Temple, and Mosque had held prayer vigils with their congregants in order to beseech the Lord for rain. The ISKCON Temple also performed Sankirtan in the hopes that by following the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and performing the Yajna for this age, then as Lord Sri Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita that rain produces grain and rains are produced by Yajna so the Yajna for the age would produce rain. Unfortunately the ISKCON devotees did not have much success either.
Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja did not know about the drought when he came. When he arrived with his party they were told to be very careful with how much water they used and that they should buy their own drinking water. So when he inquired they told Him about the situation as described above. When he was told about it he responded by asking if the devotees had done Kirtan. They informed him that they had. He said if all of you have strong faith in Krsna and do Kirtan for this purpose with such faith then it will rain. Of course there is a vast difference between one who chants Nama Aparadha and Nam Abhasa and one who chants Shuddha Nam. Shuddha nam is not lip deep it is heart deep coming directly from the heart of the pure devotee. Shuddha Nama carries the aroma of the saffron particles from the Lotus Feet of the Lord with in the heart of the pure devotee. Some of the devotees who did not recognize the transcendental position of Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja thought that their Nama Aparadha and Nam Abhasa Kirtan was as good as his Kirtan.
These devotees did not recognize that Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja was displaying his Vaishnava compassion for the suffering jivas who needed rain the way Srila Prabhupada had done. Although Srila Gaur Govinda Maharaja was trying to help the devotees to have strong faith and share the glory with them that night at the program in the temple some of the devotees thought that this was some kind of false ego trip on Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja’s part. Therefore some of the devotees left the temple room during his Kirtan. Their cynicism was soon removed after Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja began one of his brimming with ecstasy kirtans and very soon clouds began to appear in the vast clear blue sky. As the clouds gathered the sky became dark and overcast. Gradually as Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja continued with his powerful kirtan of Shudda Nama the rains began to pour and pour and the drought was officially over.
The devotees were amazed by these stories and really enjoyed hearing them. I told them that Sri Guru is Sarva Deva Maya Guru, the sum total of all of the demigods, he can create or stop rain at will if he likes. So I said lets have faith in them and see how they can help us by taking away the rain.
So when we left Cardigan Wales it was rainy, cold, and windy. The devotees in Abeystwyth where the program was being held told us the weather was the same there. On the way to Abeystwyth about an hours drive north something amazing happened. Little by little the rain reduced, the wind reduced the clouds got less gray and the sun started to peer its head out from between the clouds and it got warmer. When we finally arrived in Abeystwyth and got out of the car in the parking lot the complete miracle happened. On cue in the best Hollywood directorial tradition when we exited the car there was absolutely no rain, the wind was almost completely tame, the clouds had turned from black to white and were much sparser, and the Sun shined through them casting his warming brilliant rays on our Hari Nama Sankirtan. Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gaura Govinda Maharaja had heard me and they were merciful to prove that it is correct The Guru is “sarva deva maya guru” the sum total of the demigods and they can by their desire change the weather for the benefit of performing Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtan. So off we marched with the Sun warmly shining on our heads and the wind at our backs and rain at a far distance. Lord Caitanys Hari Nama Sankirtan proceeded down the streets and walkways of yet another town and village Abeystwyth Wales. Some people greeted us with smiles others with looks of bewilderment, some swayed a little, some walked by annoyed, some laughed derisively, everyone benefited. A group of young girls in white fairy costumes in a very gay spirit marched along with us laughing and shouting hare hare and some other incoherent words in their attempt to chant the Mantra. After about 100 yards they left us blessed with some powerful sukriti that will benefit them in this or some future life. By the recitation of Nama Abhasa and joining the march of Lord Sri Caitanya’s Sankirtana Party they had just erased all of their past sinful activities from all of their previous births. Is there any better welfare work to be done than Hari Nama Sankirtan? We stopped at a large bus stand and one intense man with a crazed look in his eye walked past swiftly 3 times glaring at us each time while saying Hare Krishna with a sarcastic look on his face. WOW another liberated soul. He even took a book on the 4th pass. Does Lord Caitanya’s mercy know any bounds? Then we went to the Town square and sang across the street from the clock tower. Some young teenagers bobbed their heads and looked at us weirdly and laughed. In fact off and on through out the course of our march several young people did exactly that. These youngsters in the town square sat down on the benches and listened. Then a couple took books. Two young girls sat and listened and looked at the book “Controlled by Love”. They looked at Srila Gurudeva's picture and the picture of Sri Sri Radha Krsna. Their interest peaked and they were informed of the program at the hall around the corner and they said they would come. We were about 20 minutes away from Program time it was time to pack up and move on to the hall. Our Guru Guardians now arranged that while the sun was peeking through the clouds a light rain drizzled down at the same time to provide us with the all auspicious Deva snana, the blessing rain of the demigods when one feels rain and sun on their head simultaneously. This blessing arranged by the spiritual masters signaled their blessing for our faith in going forward to perform Lord Caitanya’s Hari Nama in the streets of Abeystwyth Wales even though the weather appeared way to inclement. We started on our march to the hall for the program. The two young girls followed us eager to drink some more nectar of the holy name and get more of Lord Caitanya’s Mercy. On the way to the hall I remembered the poem of Srila Prabhupada to his spiritual master where He says “Miracle done Your Divine Grace” Thank You Srila Prabhupada, Thank Srila Gaura Govinda Maharaja, Thank You Srila Gurudeva, Thank You Lord Caitanya, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, for another Hari Nama Sankirtan Miracle!