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By Kavicandra Swami
After reading the awesome accounts of Indradyumna Swami’s preaching, I am quite embarrassed to tell about my little tours. But drops of water fill the jar, and I do believe that Krsna appreciates our efforts, no matter how puny they may be. It is always blissful to be able to meet non-devotees and tell them something about Krsna and give them books. I am quite late with this account but here are some memories of my last visit with the Druze. This was all arranged by Vibhisana prabhu, a long time Israeli devotee who now concentrates his preaching with the Druze.
If you don’t know much about the Druze, you can check www.Krishna.com where the Back to Godhead article by Dhira Govinda Prabhu is posted.
Our friend Sheik Hussein arranged a one-day tour. We went to his house early in the morning and drove off to visit many of his friends. First we went to a Muslim village. All the elders were waiting for us. The village chief was happy to receive us and explained that in their village there were many Christians and that they all lived as brothers. The village is noted for having the best watermelon in Israel and I was given the honor of cutting one. The photographer only showed my head, but they were are all happy to see me do it. It was very delicious. He introduced his sons and his grandaughter. These are all very sociable and open-minded people. They are all unhappy with all the so-called religious conflicts and are praying for peace. I have included photos from this stop.
Next we drove quite far to villages that are right on the Syrian border. Previously, Israel and Syria were at war and we saw a lot of abandoned bunkers. It is beautiful farmland, and they are very happy there in the mountains. Mostly they are growing apples and olives.
A devotee, Gopa Kumar Prabhu, is from one of these villages. He joined in Tel Aviv and then went to New Vrndavan. He helped a lot with the Druze tour of India, and the people here were happy to see him as a devotee. Now he stays in Guna Avatar Prabhu's community outside of Tel Aviv and is working on Arabic translations.
These are Druze villages and we met the mayor and all the Druze leaders. They were all very happy to get Arabic language Bhagavad Gitas. Again, photos are included. They are worth the proverbial thousand words.
I was told that for the next day Sheik Hussein had arranged a meeting with the leader of the Kabbalah center. I was surprised when we found that all the Druze leaders were also there, and a large number of the Kabbalah students came. There was also an influential Muslim man and a Christian leader. Many devotees from various parts of Israel also came. Noted was Guna Avatar Prabhu, who has been preaching in Israel for many years. Also, Isvara Krsna Prabhu, who is doing PhD work at Oxford, was there. That day the newspaper had a very favorable review of his Hebrew Bhagavad Gita, which is aimed at the academic community.
The Kabbalah people presented me with beautiful fruit baskets and many books. They even gave me the full 27 volumes of their scripture, the Zohar. It is in Hebrew, but he said that just the vibration would be beneficial. The Christian gave us copies of his book on the traditional Palestinian process of conflict resolution. It is very interesting and quite Vedic, but unfortunately it seems that very few leaders in the area are interested in resolving their conflicts.
The Sheik was considering this a historical peace meeting since he was bringing together leaders of so many religions . Everyone spoke, and there was a big feast with many varieties of fruits and nuts. Rabbi Shaul was a very learned man, and we shared a lot of ideas.
The Kabbalah is known as mystic Judaism. They believe in reincarntaion and are not accepted by the orthodox Jews. This Rabbi is quite successful, and many are coming to his center. He was happy to get our books in Hebrew. We had some nice exchanges. He said that their world leader in New York was planning some big parade and wanted the Hare Krsnas to join in. I especially agreed with their point that one should never never blame others for his troubles.
tat te ‘nukampam su-samiksamano bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak
Translation: "My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim."
They also stress that one should not be reactive but should be proactive. We pray they will read Srila Prabhupada’s books and learn of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
We need some book distributors to help out in Osophia and other Druze villages. If anyone is interested, please inform me and we will help to make some arrangements. We have living space and a preaching center that needs a preacher.
He also showed us the 72 Hebrew names of God. One is Om, one is Mahesh, and another is Hari. He is teaching Hebrew to the Indian ambassador and they often find common words. It appears that many religious and or spiritual leaders are trying to find common threads amongst different religions. Most of them, when they read Srila Prabhupada’s books and hear the philosophy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, are very happy and enlightened.
Srila Prabhupada ki jay!
© CHAKRA 10 October 2002
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