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Srila Prabhupada Visits the Big Island

I don’t know how widely these brief and inaccurate accounts of Srila Prabhupada’s visit to the Big Island
of Hawaii have circulated, but I would like to again try to set the record straight. Some people
irresponsibly spread misinformation, as if deliberately. Small details may seem insignificant but one
change leads to another until people with clouded minds or motives are allowed to fabricate myths.
I have tried for years to properly document Srila Prabhupada’s visit to the Big Island because I knew it
was highly significant, especially for the hundreds of devotees living there now and in the past,
particularly those interested in starting another farm project there. A couple of years ago I sent out
another request asking for devotees to write me if they were present at that time and had any
memories to share. No one wrote to me, yet shortly thereafter I heard that some people were spreading
inaccurate or misleading reports.


Long ago I sent my memoirs of this event to Satsvarupa and company, but they told me fire had
consumed my writings, which I had sent on three different occasions. I don’t know if there were three
fires or if the same fire burned for months and my manuscripts accidentally fell into it each time.
Gauridas Pandit heard a similar story about the disappearance of his memoirs, which were likewise
excluded both from Sat’s huge 6‐volume treatise and his extensive “Red Book” series.


In other words, there seems to be a conspiracy to minimize, undermine or ignore those who understand
Srila Prabhupada is the only bona fide spiritual master for all devotees in the Krishna consciousness
movement. Even years before Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance in 1977, Hawaii ISKCON manifested the
first sahajiya camps, camps that idolized local preachers as gurus‐‐even in Prabhupada’s presence. The
dangerous misconceptions that were later institutionalized in the maya gbc‐iskcon were born in Hawaii.
Why the first Honolulu temple was sold and how the devotees in Hawaii were scattered and misled is a
sad and interesting story of how the first seeds of sahajiyism manifested in the western mission of
Krishna consciousness.


Govinda dasi had nothing to do with the Ookala farm on the Big Island. She had left ISKCON after she
and Gaurasundar das sold the first Honolulu ISKCON temple years earlier. She tagged along to the
Ookala farm with Prabhupada and Guru Kripa (swami), in the Lincoln Continental that I rented and
drove, because she lived on the Big Island and was hoping Prabhupada would visit Gaurasundar das’s
rented farm near Kalopa State Park. She of course didn’t rent the car to pick up Prabhupada, nor did she
drive him anywhere on the Big Island.


Srila Prabhupada certainly did not “doze” on the way to the farm. I watched Prabhupada in my rearview
mirror often, to and from the farm, and never saw him ‘doze.” Nor did Srila Prabhupada ever doze. Even
the so‐called sleep of a pure devotee is not really sleep at all. Of the many things that Prabhupada did
and said that day on the Big Island of Hawaii, these people report very few facts yet claim that
Prabhupada “dozed” on the way to the farm.


Someone reported that a proposal for a “neo Vedic village” was presented to Srila Prabhupada and he
rejected it on the basis that worship of Sri Sri Gaura‐Nitai should be done in the mood of austerity. In
truth, I had presented a plan for a smallish Vedic‐style temple, with goshala and ashram, for preaching
to tourists and showing an example of cow protection, Deity worship and ascetic living. I presented no
proposal for creating a village.


Srila Prabhupada liked the plan‐‐particularly the water‐color paintings illustrating the proposal. He told
me, “Your ideas are very nice…” He did not reject the concept at all, and particularly not on the basis
that we should worship Sri Sri Gaura‐Nitai only in austere conditions. His only doubt was: “…but
practically speaking, where the money will come from?” When he saw I had no plan or propensity for
collecting money, he tried to pacify me by explaining that temple construction was not essential, since
Sri Sri Gaura‐Nitai were satisfied with our profuse offerings of fruits and flowers. (We had also been
worshipping Lord Jaganatha, Baladeva and Subhadra.)


Srila Prabhupada did not reject the preaching plan I presented, but he was doubtful about how we
would raise the funds to create it. He was also doubtful about the suitability of the Ookala farm for farm
development. He noted our lack of flat land and a good water source such as a stream, well or spring.
Srila Prabhupada assured me, however, that our program and the farm itself were ideal for a
brahmacari ashram. He told me we could keep the farm. Nonetheless, leading GBC men kept agitating
to sell it.


I didn’t want to draw Prabhupada into this debate again, so I left to go preaching in South India.
Unfortunately, shortly after I left, this farm was sold by the GBC and the latest round of Honolulu temple
leaders for less than half of what it was worth. And our cows were given away to hippies of questionable
character. This was done against my advice, advice of other devotees, and the advice of Srila


Prabhupada. The lskcon leaders involved claimed that Prabhupada had said the Ookala project was
useless. They said he was totally disgusted with Gaurasundar das, who had started it. They created these
lies, apparently, to justify selling it quickly and cheaply and giving away Krishna’s cows to hippies.
Unless devotees have carefully heard from Srila Prabhupada and have accepted His instructions as they
are, their memoirs should be avoided. Devotees who have not defended His mission against the deviant
misconceptions being propagated by the maya‐gbc are probably not reliable persons for documenting
Srila Prabhupada’s lila. Srila Prabhupada often warned, “Milk touched by the lips of a serpent may have
poisonous effects.”


I suggest that devotees interested in the Big Island and Srila Prabhupada’s visit there read the accurate
and more full account at www.krishnaconsciousnessmovement.com under the title “Srila Prabhupada
Blesses the Big Island”. I again request that any devotees who were present that day and attended the
guru‐puja and class write me with their memories.
Om Tat Sat. Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.

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