Those Were the Days

While leafing through an old photo album in my mother's apartment last week, I chanced upon the above picture taken in 1974 at New Gokula Dhama in Bridesville, B.C., Canada. Back then, the ISKCON devotees from Vancouver had established a rural project of about 1600 acres near the U.S./Canadian border. We had over a dozen milking cows and a couple of bulls, named Jaya and Vijay. They were destined for the slaughterhouse, but the community felt compassion for them and so we tried to train them to do manual work on the farm. I was elected for the unlikely task. (The photo shows Vijay -- but I can assure you that Jaya was much bigger!) Despite the trials and tribulations training the bulls -- or should I say, attempting to train the bulls -- it was a lot of fun. In fact, living on Krsna's property with so many nice devotees engaged in His service, was the perfection of life. As young men and women living in a rural community, with Krsna in the center, we shared an immense inner joy. Devotees were so happy that it was simply contagious. Farmers from down the road would often come and visit just to take prasadam and soak up the plentiful rays of spiritual bliss. Time passed, and eventually the farm was closed for various reasons; but those who spent time there have never forgotten those pleasurable years in our collective history. In fact, just a month before New Gokula's original temple president, Bahudak Prabhu, passed away from this world, he wrote to me and quoted the following words from a popular song: "Those were the days my friend/ We thought they'd never end/ We'd sing and dance forever and a day/ We'd live the life we choose/ We'd fight and never lose/ For we were young and sure to have our way..." Bahudak was right. Those were the days for sure -- and it was all because of Prabhupada's unlimited kindness upon a ragtag bunch of hippies who, by his magic transcendental touch, immediately became "happies."

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

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Causeless Mercy (#63)