prepared by HG Gunaavatara Das
On 28 October 2017, devotees travelled 50 kms from Yashodapura Ashram to conduct our regular food for life program at the Prasat village. Right from the morning itself, we started cooking sweet green beans and banana with coconut milk. Some enthusiastic villagers also joined us in this. Most of the Cambodian people are very friendly especially so if we can speak their language and try to be familiar with them. However, as they were new to cooking for the Lord, we had to tell them not to not taste any preparation before offering to the Lord. A few men helped us ready fire wood, stove and then also helped in keeping the fire alive at the required intensity. A few women folk
helped us in scrapping the coconuts and cutting the bananas. As we cooked, we tried to know more about each other. In the conversation, they also showed their interest in knowing more about Hare Krishna- like what is Hare Krishna? Why we keep tuft of hair/sikha?What do we eat if we do not eat meat every day? How do we get strength if we do not eat meat? And many more such questions. They even inquired about our personal lives, primarily if devotees can get married or not; if devotees can work like them or not? To this we said that anyone who liked to get married can get married according to the scriptural injunction, and also they could work in any occupation according to their natural quality. However, we added that the best work for family life was agriculture. We supported this with the explanations by our spiritual master. Some time they would also ask as to what we had in our farm. To this we said that we had cows and agricultural plantation. We added that though we kept cows, but they were not for killing or selling, because killing cows is consider as great sins.
So after the sweet was ready our devotee then offered it to the Lord, and because that day was a Buddhist day festival so we offered the first prasadam to the monks in the Pagoda. About 11.00 am we started the program in one of the village kindergardens’. By the permission of the teacher we were allowed to invite people to gather in that place. In a while, quite a lot of people came along with children and older people, all about 50 people. Before we used to have the same program at this place, and they had liked it so much, so that’s why they would come again to enjoy the kirtan, they also like the sweet that we distribute. That day we came with one volunteer called Nicole from Brazil. She had travelled to many countries to experiment in working with different local societies. She had studied journalism. She had used used all the experiments for her study. She had also offered voluntary services at our ashram for four days, and also at the different organizations in Siem Reap.Before distributing prasadam we did Damodara Puja, and gave a short speech about who Lord Sri Krishna is. We mentioned that the word Krishna meant the Supreme Personality of Godhead who can deliver us from the hellish planets and take us back home, back to Godhead. Krishna in Khmer is known as Preah Keo, with his secret cow Preah Ko or Surabhi. Krishna appeared about 5000 years ago in a village called Vrindavan and that He is the Original Supreme Godhead who came from spiritual world to teach us about the importance of village life, protection of the cows and how to be happy in this world by serving cows, and the saintly person. We offered ghee lamp to Lord Damodara/Krishna, because this was the first time for them so we still have to guide the carefully how to offer the lamp to the Lord. Hope by teaching this simple method of offering lamp and Chanting Maha Mantra, this will cleanse the hearth of the villagers so that they can have more peace in their life, and moving forward to be a better person. As Lord Buddha said that, we have to lead our self in such a way so that we can become good person, by meditation and controlling the mind, speech and the action. And as our spiritual master said for the people who have love to Godhead they will developed all the good quality in their hearth. That’s what we always explain to Cambodian people that how there was no contradiction between Krishna Consciousness and Buddhism, because Lord Buddha is avatar of Lord Krishna we are following the teaching of Lord Buddha as mentioned in above, by regular chanting of the holy name, and doing well to the other and society.
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