Remembering H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami on his 71st vyasa-puja, Dec. 4th 2008: On the Occasion of H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami's Vyasapuja, his disciples, godbrothers, Mayapur devotees and URI friends remembered several pastimes of Maharaja and offered their glorifications. URI (United Religious Initiatives) top leaders and representatives from their different cooperation circles have assembled at ISKCON Mayapur to hold its Global assembly from Nov. 30th to Dec. 5th in honor of H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami who was one of the founding member of URI.
At this juncture when this huge organization is paying tribute to H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami we are reminded of an affectionate remark and an instruction by Srila Prabhupada to H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami. They are: In one morning walk Srila Prabhupada had lovingly remarked, "... so if I would not have students like you, they would have taken me as a crazy man..."
In one letter he wrote, "...appeal yourself to the high class of men not the mass. Mass, too, we do not eliminate anyone, but if the best men are there to run on things, mass will follow later".
Today by H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami's vision, the URI leaders are here at Sri Mayapur Dham for their global assembly 2008. Many are also visiting India first time.They received a glimpse of Manipur Vaishnava culture when they saw the Deities Sri Sri Radha Madhava along with ashtasakis were dressed in Manipuri outfit for the first time and in the evening the Ranganiketan group performance of Rasa-lila.
Their love for H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami was unconditional. This has been plainly exhibited by accepting to hold URI global Assembly without second thoughts at ISKCON, Mayapur and without any condition or verification. It is amazing that in the physical absence of H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami they have taken his instruction so seriously.
What attracted the top leaders from religious organizations or from scientific community or any statesman to H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami? We get the answers from their tributes itself which I share below: (Due to lack of space we are presenting here only selected tributes' excerpts)
William E. Swing, the Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of California and founder of URI had expressed about H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami few years ago, "Abundant thanks to God for the birth of Dr. T. D. Singh.. a great man of peace, Dr. T. D. Singh. He has been a gift to many people in this world... The URI recognizes you as a dear friend and as a pioneer in bringing people of faiths together to pursue peace among religions".
From Rev. C. Charles P. Gibbs, the Executive Director of URI, "...His gracious, joyous and humble spirit, his deep reverence for God, his keen intellect, his compassionate commitment, his gracious hospitality and his ready laugh are an inspiration and are incomparable gifts to any interfaith effort for peace justice and healing. ....In particular Dr. T. D. Singh had been an extraordinary gift to URI...It has been a privilege to work side by side with Dr. T. D. Singh, to travel with him, to share visions of the possible and to join hands to make those visions real. But perhaps the greatest privilege has been to sit with him in stillness in the presence of the sacred evoked so purely in his beautiful chanting."
From Father Maximilian Mizzi, OFM Conv. Delegate General for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialogue, Assisi, Italy, "...Dr. Singh is a man with great human qualities, which stem from a great heart. He is a man of deep understanding, compassion, humility, love and spirituality. It doesn't take long for Dr. Singh to understand the human qualities of a person with whom he comes in contact. Compassion and love in Dr. Singh go beyond the barriers of race and religious background. Because of his respect for every human person, Dr. Singh doesn't make any distinction between rich and poor, a VIP and the man in the street. He treats every single person with the same respect and love..."
From Ven. Jinwol Lee, Zen Master(Korean Buddhism), "I appreciate the personality and character of Dr. Singh as a good Hindu Acharaya and interfaith educator. He always looks compassionate and humble. I believe that his friendship with various religionists could be a model for promoting peace and love among diverse people of the world. I welcome his efforts to promote inter-religious cooperation and education for peace and harmony in the society of India and the world."
It was a touching moment when Mr.Malik, from Malaysia following Islam faith declared that with all sincerity, he love and miss Dr.T.D.Singh very much and all his disciples are now his brothers.
Maharaja as sincere and pure devotee, who wish has been fulfilled today as Global Assembly is taking place in Mayapur. He is an empowered & bonafide disciple of Srila Prabhupada and he has also empowered his disciples to organize such a big event in Mayapur. The program ended with Lotus feet washing ceremony, bhoga offering and Pushpanjali.
With regard to preaching among scientific community, Srila Prabhupada had told H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami, "...if you make one scientist Krishna Conscious that would please me..."
Tributes from Noble Laureates of Physics and Chemistry:
From Charles H. Townes, a NL in Physics: "Dr. Singh's contributions to the understanding of religion and the relation between science and religion have been important and will have a long standing influence."
From Richard R. Ernst, NL in Chemistry: "Dr. T. D. Singh represents for me a perfect role model how citizens and in particular academics should think, feel and behave. He has been building bridges between groups of society and between different schools of thought. He has bridged the gaps between science and philosophy. He showed to us what true humanness is; he showed to us what wisdom and compassion really mean. Let us keep his spirit alive, let's not forget him as a role model and improve our own being."
On this auspicious occasion of H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami's 71st vyasa-puja, let us seek his blessings and guidance on how to receive and fix this seed of God's love in our heart and subsequently plant it in other's heart whom we get in touch.
H.H. Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami Srila Sripada maharaj ki Jay. Srila Prabhupada ki Jay.