In 1999, as the first edition of Watering the Seed was in its very last stages of completion, the author underwent major heart surgery and was not able to review the final proofs. Still, the manuscript was printed, privately, by his disciples, and the entire stock of books was exhausted within very few years. When the question of reprinting the book arose, His Holiness Giriraja Swami resolved to personally review the existing material and add new one to it. He also decided to print with a reputed devotee firm: Torchlight Publishing. As a result, this “revised and expanded” second edition of Watering the Seed has now appeared to enrich the collection of devotional works composed by the disciples of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
To repeat verbatim the instructions of one’s guru is in one sense perfect knowledge. However, the “parrot-fashion” method of transmitting knowledge is not enough to deeply touch the hearts of the listeners. Something more is required: vijnana realized knowledge.Once in Bombay, an important life member asked one of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples a question but was not satisfied with the answer. And so, when Srila Prabhupada next came to Bombay, the life member complained to Srila Prabhupada about it. When Srila Prabhupada questioned the disciple as to why he hadn’t answered the man’s question, the disciple replied, “But I did, Srila Prabhupada! I read straight from your books!” “That’s the mistake,” Srila Prabhupada replied. “He wanted to know what you know.”
Another well-known story illustrating the necessity of “walking the talk” involves a sadhu (sometimes referred to as Mahatma Gandhi) and a woman whose little son ate too many sweets. The woman wanted her son to stop eating sweets, and she thought that if the sadhu told him, the boy would stop. But when she asked the sadhu to admonish her son, the sadhu asked her to come back the following week. She duly returned the following week and the sadhu then looked at the boy very seriously and said: “Do not eat so many sweets. It is bad for your health.” The mother of the boy was intrigued. “Why didn’t you tell him this last week?” she asked the sadhu. “Oh,” the sadhu replied, “first I myself had to stop eating sweets. Otherwise, how could I teach him properly?”
His Holiness Giriraja Swami received the seed of the creeper of devotional service from Srila Prabhupada in 1969. The seed of the creeper represents sambandha-jnana knowledge of one’s relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When one is convinced about this relationship, one then acts accordingly. That is called abhidheya or, in other words, watering the seed. By doing so, one ultimately reaches the stage of prayojana, the ultimate goal of life, pure love of Godhead.
Watering the Seed is comprised of eight chapters. Chapters One and Seven consist of a collection of didactic episodes of Srila Prabhupada’s life between 1970 and 1977, mostly in India, as seen and experienced by the author. The remaining chapters of the book deal with a variety of philosophical and practical topics treated from the specific Krishna conscious viewpoint taught by Srila Prabhupada. There are two ways of executing devotional service. Devotees absorbed in cultivating Krishna consciousness exclusively for their own sake are called bhajananandi, whereas devotees absorbed in teaching the message of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam to others are called gosthy-anandi. Although both types of devotees are to be worshiped by ordinary persons, Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita (18.68) that “For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.” Srila Prabhupada taught his disciples accordingly.
His Holiness Giriraja Swami first came to India in the fall of 1970, and there he continuously served the mission of his spiritual master until 1999. As a preacher and as a manager, he had ample occasion to learn firsthand from Srila Prabhupada right until Prabhupada left this world. Watering the Seed is the first ripened fruit of their relationship.
A large portion of the book consists of edited transcripts of lectures, based on the Vedic scriptures, given by His Holiness over the years in various places. One chapter consists of “Appeals and Messages” delivered on special occasions such as international conferences and jubilees. Another chapter deals with contemporary issues and their Krishna conscious solution. Chapter Six is entirely dedicated to the glorification of Srila Prabhupada’s books and the sankirtan- yajna as is Chapter Five. In fact, every single chapter, every single lecture, every single anecdote is permeated with Srila Prabhupada’s powerful and loving presence.
Giriraja Swami’s style of writing is deceptively simple, and he is expert at presenting difficult concepts in simple ways. One remarkable example of this comes under the title “Perfect Question, Perfect Answer” in Chapter Eight. Therein, a high-ranking army officer inquires, in a public program, about the ultimate goal of life. As revealed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the ultimate goal is prema pum-artho mahan: pure love for God, and Giriraja Swami proceeds to explain what it means by telling General Oberoi the story of Krishna’s headache what the cure was and at what cost. And the general completely understood.
Watering the Seed is Krishna consciousness in action, the touching tribute of a sincere disciple to his beloved master. It is our contention that anyone who reads this book cannot fail to find him- or herself uplifted and encouraged on the path of bhakti.
Srila Prabhupada lives forever by his divine instructions and the follower lives with him.
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