Two days after I first saw Srila Prabhupada and the devotees at Brandeis University in Boston, on Nrsimha-caturdasi, May 1, 1969, he gave a beautiful talk about the nature of a Vaishnava, how a devotee is an ocean of mercy:
“This atheist is so unkind, cruel, that he is prepared to kill his own son, beloved son, five years old. That is atheism. And theism, the father who tortured him so much—after the death of his father, he’s praying to Nrsimhadeva, ‘Please excuse my father.’ This is theism. So that is the difference between Krishna consciousness and ordinary consciousness. Vaishnavas are very kind to everyone. Vancha kalpatarubhyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva ca. You utter this prayer, krpa-sindhubhya eva ca. Vaishnava is an ocean of mercy. There is no end. As you cannot draw all the water from the ocean—it is not possible—similarly, a Vaishnava, a devotee, is an ocean of mercy. You can draw from it as much mercy as you like; still, it is full.
“So, Prahlada Maharaja is the symbolic representation of Vaishnava. Try to be not imitator, but follower. Don’t try to imitate: ‘Oh, Prahlada Maharaja was thrown into boiling oil. Let me try, fall into the boiling oil.’ No. That is imitation. First you become like Prahlada Maharaja, then that will be possible. Don’t try to make experiment. That is not good. But try to follow. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. Follow mahajanas, great personalities, what they have done. You cannot imitate them. You have to follow them. You have to follow the instructions of Krishna or His representative, but not imitate them. Then you’ll fall down. Anusarana, not anukarana. Anukarana means imitation; but anusarana, following. So what Prahlada Maharaja did, we have to follow his example. His example was that in spite of continuous torturing by his father, he never forgot Krishna. This we have to follow. In spite of all kinds of inconveniences and torture by the atheist class of men, we shall never forget Krishna consciousness. There are many examples. Just like Lord Jesus Christ, he was tortured, he was crucified, but he never agreed that there is no God. So that should be our motto. This is following. Either you be Christian or Hindu or any, but be God conscious. Krishna conscious means God conscious. And in any circumstances, do not forget. That is called saranagati. That is surrender.”
I pray to follow in the footsteps of Sri Prahlada Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada, and all pure Vaishnavas in their line.
Yours in service,