Monday, February 11, 2019

Travel Journal#15.2: North Florida and Tampa

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 15, No. 2 
By Krishna-kripa das 
(January 2019, part two) 
North Florida and Tampa 
(Sent from Tallahassee on February 11, 2019)

Where I Went and What I Did

I left Tallahassee briefly and was based in Gainesville from January 17 to January 27, so I could attend the Bhaktivedanta Institute 2019 Consciousness in Science conference in Gainesville and the Gasparilla Pirate Parade harinama and Ratha-yatra in Tampa. Between these events, I went to Jacksonville for two days and chanted on the campus of the University of North Florida, where I invited people to their Krishna Club, which I also attended. While in Gainesville, I also attended all the harinamas of the Krishna House and the Alachua devotees, including a special one at the Martin Luther King March, and one at the Gainesville Farmers Market. In addition to describing all the venues I chanted Hare Krishna at, I share extensive notes on the 2019 Consciousness in Science Conference, which follow the “Insights” section at the end of this journal, and some notes on outreach programs at Krishna House and the University of North Florida. Even if you are not interested in the science conference, you may like the opening lecture by Hridayananda Goswami there the first thing on Saturday.

I share notes on lectures by Srila Prabhupada, a quote glorifying the holy name from the Rg Veda, and an instruction by Krishna to Uddhava. I share excerpts from Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami’s Free Write Journal. I share notes on classes at Krishna House by Adikarta, Akhandadhi, Nanda, Ramesvara, Madhumati, Lalitanatha, Ekayani, and Hanan Prabhus as well as a couple of comments by Brahmatirtha Prabhu and Tulasirani Devi Dasi. I share excerpts from articles in Back to Godhead, Volume 53, Number 3 (May/June 2019) by Caitanya Carana, Giriraja Govinda, Indra Krishna, and Dhruva Prabhus.

Thanks to Marisa for taking the video of me chanting Hare Krishna at Krishna House. Thanks to Bhakta Steven for the use of his phone to take the video of the end of the Martin Luther King Day march. Thanks to Kira for the video of Krishna House devotees chanting Hare Krishna with me on the University of North Florida green. Thanks to Felicity for the photo of the Bhakti House program. Thanks to Bhimsadeva Prabhu, who took many wonderful photos of the Gasparilla Ratha-yatra, for, some of which I include in this blog, and the rest which you can see at:


February 10–March 17: Tallahassee, Florida State University (weekdays), Lake Ella (weekends)
   February 15: Krishna Lunch and Alachua harinamas
   February 16: Krishna House 12-Hour Kirtan
March 18–22: Krishna House
March 23: St. Augustine Ratha-yatra
March 24: Krishna Lunch Sunday Program
March 24–April 6: Tallahassee, Florida State University (weekdays), Lake Ella (weekends) [March 30: Ratha-yatra]
April 7: Jacksonville Bhakti House program?
April 8: Albany
April 9: Philadelphia
April 10–12: Washington, D.C., harinama with Sankarsana Prabhu by the museums
April 13–14: New York City
April 15–18: Dublin
April 19–24: Newcastle-upon-Tyne
April 27: Amsterdam King’s Day harinama
September 8: Great North Run harinama (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

Chanting Hare Krishna at Krishna Lunch at University of Florida

Adikarta Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at UF Krishna Lunch, and Marisa and Caranti Devi Dasi dance (

Bhaktin Lucy plays guitar and chants Hare Krishna at Krishna Lunch at the University of Florida in Gainesville, accompanied by Prabhupada disciples, Satyahit Prabhu, on the drum sticks, and Ramaniya Devi Dasi, on the karatalas (

Later Animesh comes and plays the mrdanga drum for Lucy (

Adikarta Prabhu chants a couple Hare Krishna kirtans at UF Krishna Lunch (

Satyahit Prabhu chants a couple Hare Krishna kirtans at UF Krishna Lunch (

Adikarta Prabhu plays harmonium, and he, his wife, Rucira Devi Dasi, and Animesh Prabhu chant Hare Krishna at University of Florida Krishna Lunch in Gainesville. At one point you can see the long line of people waiting to get lunch as Friday is one of the biggest days, next to Wednesday, which is spaghetti day (

Youthful Krishna House devotees happily chant Hare Krishna at University of Florida Krishna Lunch in Gainesville before being called to serve (

Bhaktin Lucy chants Hare Krishna at University of Florida Krishna Lunch in Gainesville, and Daryl and Marisa teach a new guy to chant the Hare Krishna mantra (

Marisa chants Hare Krishna at UF Krishna Lunch, and Adikarta Prabhu sells a book to the new guy who just learned the Hare Krishna mantra and who chanted with us (

Moka chants Hare Krishna at UF Krishna Lunch, and Kira dances (

Chanting Hare Krishna at Krishna House

Often the Krishna House devotees have Hare Krishna kirtan in their temple room after their evening class and dinner.

Here Marisa, who chanted Hare Krishna for the first time last February on the green at University of North Florida with me and Kira, leads the Hare Krishna chant one evening at Krishna House, where she has been living for the last semester learning about Krishna consciousness (

Krishna-kripa Das chants Hare Krishna at Krishna House, and many dance (

Thanks to Marisa for spontaneously grabbing my phone and taking the above video.

Animesh Prabhu, a youthful Indian brahmacari, chants Hare Krishna at Krishna House, and all the devotees dance (

The evening of Martin Luther King Day, the Krishna House devotees had another kirtan, and Madhumangala Prabhu played the bass as others sang. Two college ladies who danced with us in the Martin Luther King March visited Krishna House, and you can see them listening to the kirtan and sometimes chanting along in these next two videos.

Bhakta Gabriel chants Hare Krishna at Krishna House (

Animesh Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Krishna House (

Kira and Adikarta Prabhu chant Hare Krishna at Taco Tuesday, a Krishna House outreach event (

Adikarta Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Taco Tuesday, and everyone chants and dances (

Adikarta Prabhu kept singing and the chanting and dancing became even more ecstatic (

Madhumangala Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at the beginning of the Krishna House Friday evening program, and several devotees dance (

Animesh Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at the end of the Krishna House Friday evening program, and many dance (

Chanting Hare Krishna with Alachua Devotees at University of Florida Entrance

Even before I moved to Alachua in 1994, devotees were chanting Hare Krishna at the entrance to the University of Florida each Friday in the late afternoon.

Here Ekadasi Vrata Devi Dasi chants Hare Krishna with devotees from ISKCON Alachua at the University of Florida entrance (

The next week, Ragatmika Devi Dasi chanted Hare Krishna at the University of Florida entrance (

And then Phanibhusana Prabhu chanted (

Chanting Hare Krishna by the Bars Across from the University of Florida

Despite a busy weekend volunteering at the BI Consciousness in Science conference, serving meals, cleaning up the conference hall, and cleaning the Krishna House kitchen, the youthful Krishna House devotees had plenty of energy to chant Hare Krishna in public for 75 minutes, mostly by the bars across from University of Florida the Sunday evening before Martin Luther King Day, and many students happily danced, some even being brave enough to chant the Hare Krishna mantra. One young man in a blue Florida T-shirt joined us for the rest of the harinama and told us later that his sister had lived in Krishna House several years ago (

Chanting Hare Krishna in the Martin Luther King Day March

Krishna House devotees chanted Hare Krishna in the Martin Luther King March in Gainesville, Florida, and black and white and young and old alike all joined in dancing (

The young lady with the “Students Demand Action” T-shirt (in red), who had never been to Krishna House before, came that night for half the Bhagavad-gita class and an hour of kirtan along with her friend (the Indian lady next to her), who was carrying the INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE sign. 

A young man from South Florida met the devotees for the first time and enjoyed dancing with us. The King March is one of the best events to chant Hare Krishna at.

Thanks to Bhakta Steven for the use of his phone to take the above video of the end of the march.

Caranti Devi Dasi was one of the most interactive dancers, 
engaging a variety of people.

Some of the ladies danced together.

Some of the guys also got into dancing together.

I took some video from the beginning of the march before my phone’s memory filled up, and you can see many people enjoying playing shakers and dancing with the devotees (

Chanting Hare Krishna at the Gainesville Farmers Market

Here Parker leads the chanting Hare Krishna at the Gainesville Farmers Market, a venue which Krishna House does not regularly do now but which we used to do in the past, and which introduced at least two people to Krishna consciousness, including Caranti Devi Dasi, who inspired us to go out this time. Several people interact with the devotee chanting party by playing shakers and dancing (

Chanting Hare Krishna at University of North Florida in Jacksonville

Four devotees from Krishna House in Gainesville chanted on the green at the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville to advertise the Krishna Club meeting there that evening.

Here Kira chants Hare Krishna on the University of North Florida green in Jacksonville with Krishna House devotees, and Olivia, a transfer student who formerly ate Krishna Lunch at Florida State University, joins our party. Olivia later came to the Krishna Club meeting and chanted with us on the green the next day for 45 minutes (

I led the chanting there as well. Thanks to Kira for the video (

Here Brajananda Prabhu chants Hare Krishna with Krishna House devotees at University of North Florida in Jacksonville, and induced by the dancing Caranti Devi Dasi, a guy plays shakers and dances (

Aditya Varna Prabhu, visiting from Russia for the BI Consciousness in Science Conference, chants Hare Krishna from the University of North Florida green to the Fine Arts Car Park (

Brajananda Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at the University of North Florida Krishna Club in Jacksonville (

Brajananda Prabhu continues chanting Hare Krishna, and everyone but the drummer dances ecstatically (

Amrita Keli Devi Dasi, Hare Krishna chaplain at University of North Florida and disciple of Kalakantha Prabhu, has the attendees of the Krishna Club there recite a chapter from his book, The Rap of God, a rap version of Bhagavad-gita, to begin their spiritual discussion. This week they did chapter 5, and afterward I read the translation and purport to verse 5.18, and talked about it (

Although the other devotees who I came with from Gainesville returned after the program, I stayed overnight at Dhira Prabhu’s place in Orange Park, along with sankirtana devotees, Brajananda Prabhu and Bhakta Blake, to chant Hare Krishna another day on the UNF campus.

I met all kinds of amazing people on the UNF green the second day.

Although I was chanting Hare Krishna by myself at one point four others joined me, Olivia and Marco (on the left), who had come to Krishna Club the night before, and Emma and Ana (on the right), who had talked with us on the green the previous day. 

Later another guy who had talked with us the previous day talked with me and seemed interested in coming to the club.

I met one girl named Felicity, who had gotten a book from Adikarta Prabhu at a music festival and had heard we had a club on the campus. While returning to Jacksonville from the festival, she also met Madhu, who had attended the Krishna Club before he graduated from UNF. Of the four books I had displayed she and a friend both had three or four of them.

She was so happy to finally encounter Krishna at UNF, she wanted to have her picture taken with me.

One yoga teacher from Jupiter was also happy to learn of our Krishna Club as she had encountered kirtan before.

Two girls, who talked with me briefly, agreed to chant three mantras responsively with me, and they did a good job. I thought in the future, I might try to induce anyone who talks with me to sing three mantras with me before they go on their way.

One guy from a Sufi family came by and talked briefy, and Amrita Keli said that both he and Felicity came to the club the next week and that Marco came for the second time.

Felicity liked it so much the very next Saturday she also attended one of the semimonthly programs Amrita Keli has at their Bhakti House in downtown Jacksonville, and she shared this message and photo with her Facebook friends:

I would just like to put this one out there for my family to see that I’m doing exceptionally well here in Jacksonville! I found my Krishna family. Thank you again for allowing us to spiritually come together with such hospitality, Amrita Keli.”

Thus as usual University of North Florida is a very inspiring campus to chant Hare Krishna at, and it remains my favorite.

Chanting Hare Krishna at the Gasparilla Pirate Parade in Tampa

For several years Hare Krishna devotees have been chanting Hare Krishna in Tampa before the Gasparilla Parade which is watched by hundreds of thousands of people. This year and last Bhadra Prabhu has gotten a Ratha-yatra cart in that parade as well.  

I tried to attend both events, but this year our starting point in the parade lineup was a twenty-five-minute walk from where the devotees were chanting, so I could not participate as much as I wanted in it.

Here Adikarta Prabhu chants Hare Krishna with devotees from Alachua and Tampa before the Gasparilla Pirate Parade in Tampa, and festival goers dance with joy (

Animesh Prabhu played the drum with such wonderful youthful energy and expertise that Puskara Prabhu offered him $20 to remain in the harinama and not return to the Ratha-yatra.

Visvambhar Prabhu chanted Hare Krishna for the entire three-hour Ratha-yatra procession.

Some parade goers delighted in joining the beginning of the Gasparilla Ratha-yatra (

As our Ratha-yatra cart was float number 97 in the Gasparilla parade, we had to go a long way before reaching its beginning. Here Visvambhar Prabhu chants Hare Krishna as a growing crowd begins to appreciate our Gasparilla Ratha-yatra (

When we finally reached the thousands of parade viewers, it was a most amazing sight. I have never seen a crowd so enthusiastic to encounter a Ratha-yatra procession as that watching the Gasparilla Pirate parade in Tampa, as Visvambhar Prabhu and devotees from Alachua, Gainesville, and Tampa chanted Hare Krishna and danced for three hours in jubilation. Viewers perfected their sight seeing Jagannath and their touch by touching the passing devotees. Not allowed to distribute literature, devotees shared lollipops with the crowd (

I was very happy to be part of it.

Unlimited thanks to Bhadra Prabhu, for arranging our participation for the second year in that popular Florida parade, and to all his assistants.

I suggested when we returned to Gainesville from the Tampa Ratha-yatra at midnight, we might do a quick harinama, as we usually do one by the bars across from University of Florida on Saturday night. Animesh, whose birthday commenced at midnight, decided it would be very auspicious to begin celebrating his birthday with a harinama, so we chanted from 12:07 to 12:27 a.m. by the UF bars along with Daryl, who played the karatalas, and Marisa, who danced (

Chanting Hare Krishna in Tallahassee

Yogi Garuda Prabhu has been investing lots of energy in the Tallahassee Sunday feast program in recent months, bringing additional instruments and participants, and distributing many invitations along with his friends.

Here Yogi Garuda Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at the Tallahassee Sunday feast program, and many dance with joy (

Thoughts on Goals from the Krishna House Taco Tuesday Program

Caranti Devi Dasi:

My goal is to be of benefit to all I meet.

Madhumangala Prabhu:

When I do not have clue how to reach a goal, I seek help from older people, who are well rounded and experienced.

What I am doing in the future is so open-ended I find it frustrating to think about.


We have to have a direction. Otherwise we will not go anywhere.

One of my teachers says that 95% of the time an airplane is not on course, but constantly the pilot is bringing it back on course.


If the choice is pushing myself or being pulled by God, I would rather be pulled by God.

Christ said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all will be added to you.”


It is important to know where you are, to know where your goal is, and to not be distracted.

Caranti Devi Dasi:

I found endeavor for eternal happiness is actually easier than obtaining so many practical material things.


I had an idea of remodeling my grandfather’s house after he died and making it a place for spiritual cultivation, but somehow that did not work out, and I am here at Krishna House serving with all of you.

Adikarta Prabhu:

If we live for the body, life will definitely be a let down.

If your educational institution does not teach you who you are, then leave it.


Sometimes people do not change the external features of their situation, but they work on their internal motivation. Others change everything in a big way.

University of North Florida Krishna Club

Selected contributions from the ice breaker: When I think of Krishna I think of . . .

Caranti Devi: I just like the way the sound Krishna feels in my mouth.

Damodar Pandit Prabhu (of Russia): The post modern God.



From His conversation with Uddhava:

Just as gold, when smelted in fire, gives up its impurities and returns to its pure brilliant state, similarly, the spirit soul, absorbed in the fire of bhakti-yoga, is purified of all contamination caused by previous fruitive activities and returns to its original position of serving Me in the spiritual world.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.14.25)

Srila Prabhupada:

From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.8 in Montreal on July 2, 1968:

Any work, if you do it for Krishna, is bhakti. Don’t think that bhakti means simply chanting Hare Krishna and sitting down in one place. No. Bhakti means all kinds of activities. God is all-pervading; therefore bhakti is also all-pervading. From all spheres of life, devotional service can be done.”

These things Krishna has taught. For those who are attached to work, bhakti is for them; for those who are attached to philosophy, bhakti is for them; for those who are attached to the yoga system, bhakti is for them; and for those who are devotees, bhakti is certainly for them. From all angles of vision, when one comes to the point of krishne bhakti kaile sarvakarma krita haya, if one is engaged in the transcendental loving service of Krishna then everything is perfect.”

You have to approach a guru, a representative of Krishna, and if he says, ‘It is all right,’ then you know that Krishna is satisfied. You have to approach a person whose certification of your activity will ensure that Krishna will be satisfied. You have to find such a person. Then your life is successful. You will get success according to your sincerity of purpose, because Krishna is within you.”

After understanding Bhagavad-gita, if one becomes faithful that ‘I shall devote my life for the service of Krishna,’ then he is eligible to enter into the study of Srimad-Bhagavatam. That means Srimad-Bhagavatam begins from the point where Bhagavad-gita ends.”

Mad-bhakta-pujabhyadhika: ‘Take it for granted that if you worship My devotees, that is more than My devotional service.’ (Bhagavatam 11.19.21) Krishna is more pleased if you worship His devotees than if you worship Him. It is very natural. If a gentleman has got a little child and you try to please that little child, that gentleman automatically becomes pleased. You can please the child with a two-cent lozenge, and if the child is laughing and very pleased, his father immediately becomes pleased. But if you want to please the father, you will require at least two hundred dollars. So you can finish two-hundred-dollars’ business with two cents.”

From a conversation with reporters in Melbourne, Australia, on June 29, 1974:

Reporter: Your Divine Grace, do you see a time coming when all mankind will be united?
Srila Prabhupada: That is very difficult to say, but we can be united on the spiritual platform, not on the material platform.
Reporter: Well, then, would you say that this spiritual unity of all mankind is possible within this generation?
Srila Prabhupada: It is possible at any time, provided people take to the actual principles of spiritual life. But they’ll not take to these principles. For example, one of the basic principles of spiritual life is no meat-eating. Now, do you think this principle will be embraced by everyone? And yet this is one of the fundamental principles of spiritual life – no meat-eating.
Reporter: Is that a necessary . . .
Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Without this – if you don’t stop meat-eating – you cannot understand what spiritual life is. One who is mired in sinful life cannot understand what God is or what devotion to God is. That is not possible.
Reporter: And would it be the same for the rest of what you call the principles of spiritual life?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. People who are sinful, who do not follow the spiritual principles, cannot understand God or devotion to God. The basic spiritual principles include four prohibitions. We instruct our students not to indulge in gambling, illicit sex, meat- or fish- or egg-eating, or intoxication, including cigarettes, tea, and coffee. 
Reporter: Drinking coffee and tea is also prohibited?
Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes. It is also a form of intoxication. Gambling, illicit sex, flesh-eating, intoxication – these are the four pillars of sinful life. So unless one gives up these four things, he cannot understand what God is, what God’s kingdom is, what our real business here in this material world is – namely preparing to go to God.”

From a class on Srimad-Bhagvatam 1.10.3–4 in Tehran on March 13, 1975:

The conception of one world state can only be fulfilled if we can follow the infallible authority. An imperfect human being cannot create an ideology acceptable to everyone. Only the perfect and the infallible can create a program which is applicable at every place and can be followed by all in the world. It is the person who rules, and not the impersonal government. If the person is perfect, the government is perfect. If the person is a fool, the government is a fool’s paradise. That is the law of nature. There are so many stories of imperfect kings or executive heads. Therefore, the executive head must be a trained person like Maharaja Yudhishthira, and he must have the full autocratic power to rule over the world. The conception of a world state can take shape only under the regime of a perfect king like Maharaja Yudhishthira. The world was happy in those days because there were kings like Maharaja Yudhishthira to rule over the world.”

These rascal state executive, sometimes they make a show of benefit for the men, but no benefit for the animal. Why? Why this injustice? They are also born in this land. They are also living entity. They may be animal . . . they have intelligence—not as good as of man—but does it mean that regular slaughterhouse should be constructed for killing them? Is that justice?”

If he comes to the state, the king should give him shelter. Why distinction? Anyone takes shelter, ‘Sir, I want to live in your state,’ so he must be given all facilities. Why this ‘No, no, you cannot come. You are American. You are Indian. You are this’? No.”

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.3 in Mayapur on June 18, 1973:

Bhismadeva recommended in the rajasuya-yajña that ‘Krishna is greater brahmacari than me. Although I am brahmacari, but Krishna is greater brahmacari.’ Why? ‘I am brahmacari. I have avoided association of woman. But Krishna, He was young boy and He had so many young girls friend, still, He was not sexually agitated. He is the greatest brahmacari.’ That is the recommendation given by Bhismadeva. When Sisupala was criticizing Krishna, Bhismadeva supported Krishna, that ‘What kind of brahmacari I am? He is greater brahmacari than me. I think I could not save myself, keeping myself amongst the young girls. No. But Krishna can do so. He is real brahmacari.’ So therefore His another name is Acyuta, ‘never falls down,’ ‘infallible.’”

Bhisma promised, ‘Krishna, tomorrow either Your friend Arjuna will die, I am determined now, or You have to break Your promise,’ because Krishna said, ‘I will not fight.’ But when Arjuna was practically devastated by the arrows of Bhisma, he fell down, his chariot broke, everything shattered. Now Krishna saw, ‘Now Arjuna is going to die.’ So immediately Krishna took the wheel of the chariot and went to the front of Bhisma – ‘Now you stop; otherwise I will kill you.’ So this is fighting. So Bhisma saw, ‘Now Krishna has broken His promise. I stop.’ So to keep the promise of Bhisma, that Bhisma promised, ‘Either Arjuna will die, or Krishna, You will have to break Your promise,’ two things. So Krishna said, ‘Yes, I am breaking My promise. Don’t kill Arjuna.’ Therefore, for the sake of devotee, He sometimes breaks His promise. But if His devotee promises, ‘I shall do it,’ Krishna will give him all protection ‘Yes, it must be done. In all circumstances it must be done.’ This is Krishna. If His devotee promises something, that ‘This must be done,’ Krishna gives all protection.”

So Maharaja Yudhisthira ruled over the earth. Now, it is clearly stated, paridhyupantam: ‘up to the limit of the seas.’ That means all the seas – the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, the biggest oceans, the Indian Ocean. That means the whole world. Here is the proof, that formerly the emperors in Hastinapura, Maharaja Yudhisthira, he ruled over the whole world. There was only one flag. That is also stated. Up to the time of Maharaja Pariksit, there was no division. The whole world was Bharata-varsa, and the emperor of Hastinapura, they ruled over, paridhyupantam.

According to Vedic instruction, everyone should approach a guru. But who is that everyone? One who is jijñasu. Athato brahma jijñasa. One who is inquisitive to understand, ‘What I am? Am I this body or something else?’ That is beginning of spiritual instruction. Therefore, in the Bhagavad-gita the first instruction to Arjuna was to know that beyond this body, there is the soul. Dehino ’smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra . . . [Bg. 2.13] . . . Anyone who is bodily identified, there is no question of spiritual instruction. He is an ass. Yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke, sa eva go-kharah [SB 10.84.13]. The first spiritual instruction is, one must be convinced thoroughly, vijñana-vidhuta-vibhramah, that he is not this body. ‘I am not this body. Aham brahmasmi.’ This realization, ‘I am spirit soul. I am part and parcel of the Supreme Brahman.’ Krishna is the Supreme Brahman. Param brahma param dhama pavitram param bhavan [Bg. 10.12].

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.4 in Mayapur on June 19, 1973:

This is very important instruction. If the king of the state is an impious man, sinful man, that kingdom will never be happy.”

Krishna wanted Yudhisthira, who was a pious king, to rule the people so they would prosper in every way, and He wanted to remove the impious Duryodhana, thus He supervised the whole battle of Kurukshetra, becoming the chariot driver of Arjuna.

So seeing us, the sadhus, one young man came to me.
So he introduced himself, ‘Sir, I am Christian. I faithfully discharge my religious principles.’
So I, I told him, ‘No, no. You do not faithfully discharge your religion.’ So he was surprised that without talking with him, immediately I charged that ‘You don’t follow your Christian religion.’
No, why do you say like that?’
Do you eat meat?’
Yes, sir.’
Then you are not a Christian. You are not a Christian. Because in the Christian religion the first commandment is “Thou shalt not kill.” So you are encouraging killing. How you are a Christian? You are not a Christian.’ . . . .
Actually everyone is very proud of becoming Christian, Hindu, Muslim, but nobody is following. Nobody’s following.”

So when one becomes devotee, it is the statement of sastra: yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcana... Akiñcana-bhakti [SB 5.18.12]. Akiñcana-bhakti means without any motive. That is akiñcana-bhakti. I’ll become devotee because I’ll get this opportunity to exploit Krishna.’ That is not devotion. When one shall be ready to be exploited by Krishna, then he’s a devotee. Not that with a motive, that I shall become a devotee and exploit Krishna and Krishna consciousness movement and aggravate my position as sense gratifier.’ No, that is not devotion.”

[Regarding the Kurukshetra battle] Either this party or that party, it doesn’t matter. Everyone died seeing Krishna, so they were all liberated. . . . We have to remember Krishna at the time of death. But Krishna is so kind, in the Battlefield of Kurukshetra, He’s personally present. Anyone is dying, he’s seeing Krishna. So what is the question of liberation? Everyone is liberated.”

Baladeva Vidyabhushana:

Quoted in his commentary on Rupa Gosvami’s “Namashtaka 3”:

“O Vishnu! Your name is spiritual in nature and self-effulgent. Thus even though we understand but a fraction of its glories, by merely repeating its syllables we attain a refined intelligence capable of understanding the Lord. (Rg-veda 1.156.3)

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

From Free Write Journal #23:

But even in Prayaga the Lord experienced extreme Vrindavan ecstasies. He saw the black waters of the Yamuna and jumped in. When He was returned to the boat, He continued dancing and almost sunk the boat. And then He heard a cowherd boy playing a flute, and He fell unconscious. Lord Caitanya was almost too ecstatic to be safely contained within the world.”

Prabhupada showed himself as an ecumenical preacher, especially when he traveled in Europe and met with priests and seminarians. He was friendly to them and gave inclusive lectures. When asked by the Franciscan seminarian at their monastery what Prabhupada thought of St. Francis, who addressed the various energies of God as ‘Sister Moon, Brother Sun’ – and later in life he added ‘Brother Death’ – Prabhupada widened his eyes and said, ‘That is real God consciousness.’ Traveling in Europe and meeting Christians, he said all they had to do was chant the name of Jesus and stop eating meat.”

As Jayadvaita Maharaja likes to quote, ‘As the sages say, if it’s not one thing, it’s another.’”

I hardly ever go out from the house, and I don’t visit temples or attend kirtana melas, such as the kirtana mela that’s held in North Carolina, to which thousands attend every year and hear the kirtanas of the wonderful singer Madhava Prabhu. Last year he came to Stuyvesant Falls and held a kirtana right across the street in Saci-suta’s yoga studio. That I was able to attend, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. He keeps the same tune and the same beat and rhythm and goes for an hour and a half.”

I heard someone speak of ‘New Year’s resolutions,’ then I thought whether I should make some. The first thing I thought of was, ‘I resolve to improve my japa.’ I also resolve to go on writing for my somewhat small but faithful audience. I will continue to take part in the out-loud readings from Prabhupada’s books at mealtimes. I will try to see all living entities as spirit souls, although it is sometimes difficult.”

“‘A little louder,
from the heart.’
This was spoken by the
as he led us in chanting Hare Krishna
the same melody
and the same beat
for an hour and a half.
I was attentive and entranced.
From my chair I sat and participated
in the congregational
There were a hundred devotees
in the room
following the
who led us into bliss.”

Adikarta Prabhu:

Rupa Goswami mentions in Lalita-madhava that Satyabhama is Lord Krishna’s favorite wife although Rukmini is His first and principal wife.

A lot of the literature of the Six Goswamis describes Krishna’s pastimes with the gopis and not so much describes Krishna’s pastimes with His queens.

Practically all the Goswamis, including Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, were intimate followers of Radharani.

There are many religions where people have faith in God, but if one has faith but no knowledge it is difficult to progress in spiritual life, and therefore, the Goswamis wrote so many books.

Our goal should be to love Krishna, in whatever rasa [relationship].

The more you know about Krishna, the more you can love Krishna.

The gopis and Krishna have many joking affairs. They do not have sex. They just have fun.

Akhandadhi Prabhu:

From a morning class at Krishna House:

“In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.25) This verse really describes sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana.

The second verse of Patanjali says that yoga is to free you from all mental anxiety.

In the beginning Patanjali says you can meditate on anything, to bring everyone in, like a super Krishna House [laughter], but later on he makes it clear that you should meditate on isvara, the Supreme Lord, Vishnu.

At one point in his description of yoga practice, Patanjali says, “or you can just do devotional service to Krishna.”

You can only get devotion from one who is devoted.

Buddhists would agree with Kapila that “every learned man knows very well that attachment for the material is the greatest entanglement” but they do not know as we do “that same attachment, when applied to the self-realized devotees, opens the door of liberation.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.20)

I do retreat groups and all kinds of groups come, but in all cases, they are looking for a person to follow who has a greater understanding.

Brahmatirtha Prabhu:

While appreciating Krishna House volunteers at the recent consciousness conference:

We had the most successful BI conference in 25 years.

In my experience of organizing conferences those with good snacks get the best reviews.

Nanda Dasi:

Although killing many people on the battlefield, Yudhisthira had no hatred for those on the opposite side. He was fighting just as a matter of duty. Thus he is known as one whose enemy is never born.

Srila Prabhupada is always interested in the essence.

If we read the scriptures in a systematic way we will not be inclined to imitate the pastimes of the Lord.

Even though Lord Brahma is the most intelligent living being, when he appeared he was confused about his duty.

Krishna will reciprocate our attempt to love Him because he is very, very kind.

Krishna is not worrying about all the details of each living entity’s karma; He has agents to do that.

Ramesvara Prabhu:

From a morning class at Krishna House:

In Los Angeles in 1969 Srila Prabhupada standardized the morning program so devotees would have the same experience in our all temples all over the world.

Srila Prabhupada personally trained devotees in cooking, deity dressing, and studying the sastra [scripture], and those he trained would train others.

He would have the temple president, head cook, head pujari, and head kirtana leader in each of the temples come to Los Angeles for two weeks to be trained. At that time there were twelve temples in America, and one in England.

Whenever Srila Prabhupada would chant Jaya Radha Madhava anywhere in the world you could see he was completely absorbed in Vrindavan, and you could sense the of current love of Godhead emanating from him, and in the videos you can see that the devotees were overwhelmed to witness it, considering themselves very fortunate.

In Los Angeles we have one of the steamer trunks that Srila Prabhupada brought the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam to America in.

To be living in the world in a human form during the one time in a day of Brahma (8,640,000,000 years) when Lord Krishna appears is very rare.

Krishna is so attracted by Radharani’s love He decides He must experience it Himself.

It is wonderful that our stay in this material world for trillions of years can be ended in one short Kali-yuga life by the mercy of Lord Caitanya.

We are illusioned in that in each life we imagine that in this life we will be happy.

As soon as we think “Why I am not the most beautiful, the most intelligent, the strongest?” we are mercifully removed from the spiritual world so as not to cause trouble to the pure residents there.

We tried to have seven original paintings in each 400-page book. Every time we had to ask Srila Prabhupada details like: What did Draupadi look like? What did the devas look like? What does this part of the universe look like? He always knew.

I praised Srila Prabhupada for his writing. He said, “When I choose each word, I choose very carefully, considering that these will be the law books for the next ten thousand years.”

When you read Srila Prabhupada’s books, there is no difference between the association I had with Srila Prabhupada and the association you have with Srila Prabhupada.

Q: During Srila Prabhupada’s time, there was a sense that the sankirtana would very soon conquer the world. It is not like that. Why?
A: When we were awake, we were always bothering Srila Prabhupada, so when was it he could have time alone with Krishna? Thus he worked on his books when we were all asleep.
When Srila Prabhupada said I want all seventeen books of Caitanya-caritamrita in two months. I blurted out, “That is impossible!” He looked at me with a penetrating glance and said, “Impossible is a word in a fool’s dictionary.”
He left. We thought about impossibility and realized that nothing is impossible for Krishna. Then by his mercy only we were flooded with thoughts about how we could do it.
Anyone who worked on that marathon, there only credit was they were willing to work on it. If asked how we did it now, I would say it is impossible.
In answer to your question, I would say the only answer is that we are forgetting that nothing is impossible for Krishna.

Madhumati Devi Dasi:

Every kind of knowledge we need in life is there in the Vedas, and in the cream of Vedas, Srimad-Bhagavatam, in addition to pure devotional service to Krishna, other practical necessities of life are also mentioned.

Many kings in the Bhagavatam teach by their example how to rule, while others demonstrate how not to rule.

Comment by Rupacandra Prabhu: Americans tend to think that democracy is good in itself, but it is just an experiment and that is not true.

Comment by Lavanga Devi Dasi: The good thing about democracy is everyone can vote, and the bad thing about democracy is everyone can vote.

Although superficially it seems the kings are on top, in reality the brahmanas are in charge. This is shown in the case of King Venu being removed by brahmanas when he became disobedient to the brahmanas and averse to dharma.

Comment by Rupacandra Prabhu: Although Srila Prabhupada advocates autocracy as opposed to democracy, Krishna consciousness has spread much more in countries ruled by democracy.

Our society is unique in that there is not one guru but many, and the gurus are subordinate to the Governing Body Commission (GBC).

Lalitanatha Prabhu:

From a presentation on Rethinking Darwin:

Ernst Meyer said Darwin made more impact on human society than any other scientist.

Francisco Ayala writes in “Renaissance Man of Evolutionary Biology,” in Faith & Science, July 27, 2007, “It was Darwin’s greatest accomplishment to show that the complex organization and functionality of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process–natural selection–without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent.”

“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” ― Isaac Newton, The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy

The geochemist Jeffrey Bada, from the San Diego Scripps Institute writes in an article published in Earth magazine in 1998: “Today as we leave the twentieth century, we still face the biggest unsolved problem that we had when we entered the twentieth century: How did life originate on Earth?”

From a morning presentation at Krishna House:

You have to be really on the cutting edge of science to present Krishna consciousness.

I was impressed that kids from the university here and in Orlando came to the consciousness conference saying they came because no one ever teaches about consciousness.

Comment by Brahmatirtha Prabhu: I know that Sacinandana Swami puts on conferences with lots of time for people to interact between sessions, and they are very successful.

In cultures all over the world there are stone molds into which molten metal is poured. The indicates worldwide communication as independent development would be highly unlikely. In one there are traces of platinum, which has only been known to be worked with for the last few hundred years.

In Egypt there are coffins weighing 100 tons made of rock transported from at least 1,000 km, if from the nearest quarry.

The Sphinx is carved out of a single rock. One geologist discovered rain erosion on the Sphinx, but there has not been rain in Egypt like that for 7,000 years and more like 9,000 or 12,000 years old. Geologists all agreed with him, but the archaeologists refused to accept it.

In Turkey there is an accepted 12,000-year old site like Stonehenge but perhaps 50 times in size. The archaeologists deny the existence of the site, but you can go there and see it.

In Bosnia there is a site with two pyramids larger than the Egyptian Great Pyramid. It is more controversial, and I would not have included it, had I not been there and seen it myself. It is dated to 15,000 and 26,000 years ago. It is like there is another elephant in the room, but how long can it be ignored?

These extremely ancient artifacts are difficult for archaeologists to accept because they would have to admit they have been wrong for years and so many books would have to be rewritten. Funding is also an issue. Most archaeologists are honest and sincere but they have human imperfections. Because they are paid they cannot give pure knowledge like the Vedic brahmanas.

There is in Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, India, situated on a slope, an enormous round rock weighing 250 tons that they call Krishna’s Butterball, which was moved 1,200 years old. How it was formed, which is not possible by known geological processes, and how it was moved are inexplicable.

There is an uninhabited island, Pohnpei in Micronesia, with 7,500 tons of carved basalt stones although there was no basalt on the island.

In Kanchipuram there are chains of sandstone fixed into a granite ceiling as if by melting the stone, but how was that possible?

Caitanya Carana Prabhu:

From The Life of Devotional Dynamism” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 53, No. 3 (May/June 2019):

If God had wanted us to be someone else, He would have made someone else.”

The healthiest form of comparison is comparison with ourselves. If we can strive to every day become a better version of what we were the previous day, then we are on the sure path to growth.”

Giriraja Govinda Prabhu:

From Perspectives on Time and Space” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 53, No. 3 (May/June 2019):

“The Bhagavatam invites us to go higher, up to the spiritual realm, for a complete picture of reality. Modern science, in its study of space and time, limits itself to the domain of matter. The Bhagavatam takes both material and spiritual things into account in its grand narrative. So it would be difficult to expect science to reach the exact conclusions of the Bhagavatam unless science acknowledges spirit, or consciousness, and admits it into its framework. This may take time. Meanwhile the interested reader is requested to open-mindedly undertake an in depth study of Srimad-Bhagavatam, along with Srila Prabhupada’s elaborate purports.”

Indra Krishna Prabhu:

From Time” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 53, No. 3 (May/June 2019):

“Time is a great leveler; no matter who you are, you have only twenty-four hours in a day.”

“Today many people have money, fame, and position, but no time.”

“We see that destruction and death are occurring around us, but the import of it all does not get into our brains till we come to the pages of Bhagavad-gita.

“So let me focus on You, my Lord. You, the protector of the world, who gave me this life will also take it away. I have no complaint, because I am Your servant. My only request is that I would like to remember You always, including that moment when I leave this body. And if I am able to remember only You then, will You take me to Your world, where there is no effect of time? I know Your promise never goes in vain. O Lord, please help me remember only You at the end of this life, so that I do not have to return to this mortal world, where there is danger at every step.”

Dhruva Prabhu:

From Narasimha” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 53, No. 3 (May/June 2019):

“Narasimhadeva is worshiped and celebrated throughout India, mainly due to the fact that He is considered the supreme divine protector, something appreciated by all traditions regardless of sectarian affiliation. Although Hindus tend to create a hierarchy of gods and often debate who among them is actually the greatest, Narasimhadeva is respected by all Indic traditions equally, both in India and in other parts of Asia. As the divine protector and remover of obstacles, He is seen as Ganesh’s supreme counterpart. While Ganesh removes material obstacles, Narasimha can even remove spiritual ones.”

Tulasirani Devi Dasi:

While appreciating Krishna House volunteers at the recent consciousness conference:

Everyone was amazed how wonderful, warm, and inviting you were.

If people are charmed by the devotees, they will be more likely to hear from us.

Ekayani Devi Dasi:

Because Krishna has both impersonal and personal features, we can consider that impersonal realization is simply incomplete.

Comment by Lavanga Devi Dasi: I have been around Krishna House for years, and I see those who formerly practiced some kind of impersonal spiritual path have more difficulty than who were just attached to sense gratification.

Direct path (from best to worst):
Complete absorption in thinking of Krishna
Practice bhakti-yoga
Work for Krishna.

Indirect path (from best to worst):
Cultivation of knowledge
Giving up the results of work

Hanan Prabhu:

When Krishna showed His universal form to Arjuna, at first Arjuna’s friendship remained prominent, but as the amazing display expanded unlimitedly, feelings of awe and fear overpowered that.

As his family members are not interested in going to court to see the judge, those in an intimate relationship with Krishna are not interested in seeing His opulent manifestations.

When the police want to apprehend one who is speeding, they have to also speed to catch the offender, but that is not considered wrong. The acaryas says that Krishna overstepping rules of ksatriya dharma to punish the Kuru warriors on the Battle of Kurukshetra is like that.

Valmiki was going to rob Narada Muni, but Narada Muni warned him he would have to suffer the karmic reactions for that sinful act. Valmiki said he was not responsible because he was robbing people to maintain his family. Narada Muni told Valmiki to ask his family members if they were willing to share the karma from all the criminal activities he was doing to maintain them, but his family members refused. Thus Valmiki realized he had to change his lifestyle. Ultimately by following Narada’s advice he become such an elevated saint he wrote Ramayana.

In pure devotional service we must engage our body, mind, and words, not just one or two of them.


In 1990 Sadaputa Prabhu attended a conference on consciousness organized by Bhaktivedanta Institute in San Francisco. Now 29 years later, the friends and followers of Sadaputa Prabhu based in Gainesville and called Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies, Inc., organized another conference on consciousness.

I was impressed that important people in the field came, notably Stuart Hameroff, who has a yearly conference on consciousness in Tucson, Arizona, each April.

Another presenter, Brenda Dunne, who worked with Dr. Robert Jahn, in PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research) was interesting to me because Sadaputa Prabhu quoted from their numerous studies which demonstrate that human subjects can influence the output of random number generators by their mere intention, which is inexplicable to modern science.

Perhaps one of the nicest features of the conference for me was to see Drutakarma Prabhu for the first time since he and Sadaputa Prabhu moved in different directions back in 1995, twenty-four years ago. Although we both travel extensively, we were never in the same place till now, in all that time.

What follow are my notes on the conference which are not meant to be complete but are just things I found interesting or humorous. If any of the presentations seem attractive to you, someday there will be video recordings of them all online. For more information on the conference, go to their home page at


Bob Cohen, MS, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies:

The mayor of Gainesville taught political science at Santa Fe Community College, and then decided to do community service and become a commissioner. Then he went on to become mayor.

Lauren Poe, Mayor of Gainesville:

We are one of several welcoming communities in the USA. We join with faith-based groups and businesses, and try to make new people feel at home. This is especially important since the last election when there was a lot of negativity arising toward immigrants.

“I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small my mind can comprehend it.” (Harry Emerson Fosdick, Riverside Sermons)

Brenda Dunne, MS, Director of International Consciousness Research Laboratories:

My teaming up with Dr. Jahn was joking called “the marriage of the white coat and the white turban.” I was the white turban.

The PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research) researchers did several million trials of participants willing a random number generator to behave in a certain way.

The participants would say, “I have to have more than an intention. I have to have some emotional investment in it.”

The most amazing thing is that neither time or location mattered in the studies. The random number generators could be run either before or after the people had the intention, and they could be situated thousands of miles away, but still the statistically significant effect would be there. Thus it was clear that there was nothing going on in the brain that could have physically affected the apparatus.

Stuart Hameroff, MD, Center for Consciousness Studies of the University of Arizona:

Integration is in the nucleus, and firing in the dendrites.

The Hodgkin and Huxley idea is standard thought in science these days, that consciousness is at most an epiphenomena of matter, and that eliminates the idea of free will.

Penrose used Gödel’s theorem to show that conscious understanding is non-computational, that something outside the computational system is required, and that ‘something’ is most likely to be involved with quantum mechanics, such as the the collapse of the wave function and the measurement problem in quantum mechanics.

Einstein admitted he was wrong about nonlocality which he did not like like because it involved going beyond the speed of light.

In quantum superposition a particle can exist as a wave of multiple possibilities.

The ‘conscious observer’ effect of the ‘Copenhagen interpretation’ of quantum mechanics means the conscious observers cause the selection of a single state.

Most physicists, a plurality, accept the untestable many worlds theory, which is a cop out.

Sir Roger Penrose theorizes that the different quantum states are unstable, and one wins out at a given time and generates a moment of consciousness.

Anesthesia acts on microtubules. Research shows that there frequencies disappear in the blue light region of the spectrum during anesthesia. Thus consciousness can be thought of as a blue light in the brain that is not emitted. He mentions the blueness of Hindu deities, showing a photo of Vishnu.

[Comment by me not made but sent to Hameroff in an email: Interestingly the Siddha Yoga people speak of a blue light seen in meditation.]

Sir Roger Penrose argues that Platonic values are embedded in space-time geometry.

Some scientists have found in the ICU when about 50% of patients die, for a minute of time from 90 seconds to several minutes after, the brain waves jump from almost zero to the level of full consciousness.

Some Eastern and some Western philosophers say consciousness existed before the big bang.

There are about twenty constants such that if they differed from their present value even slightly then life could not have happened. These constants could be set by God, or consciousness could optimize the universal constants in the course of time.


Bob Cohen, MS, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies:

When Thomas, after whom this Thomas Center where this conference is being held was named, was mayor of Gainesville, they were choosing a city to locate the University of Florida (UF) between Gainesville and Lake City, where the toothbrush was invented. Mayor Thomas offered free water, and so UF was established in Gainesville.

Howard Resnick, PhD:

“The Epistemology of Physics and Metaphysics”

Science can only study the physical not the metaphysical. Thus if consciousness has a metaphysical component science can never understand it completely.

If you deny Zeus is the god of sky and thunder you are making a metaphysical claim just as much as if you say Zeus is the god of sky and thunder, but you are allowed to do the former as a scholar but not the latter.

Science has saved us from fanatical religion but has also become a fanatical religion itself.

You cannot prove your waking consciousness is superior to your dreaming consciousness.

Foundationalism teaches there are great truths. Those who oppose that say there are no great truths which is hypocritical because that is also a great truth.

Democracy is based on the assumption we are all equal, which is a metaphysical statement, yet science shows we differ in strength, intelligence, beauty, etc.

Those who say we worship the only real God, and everyone else worships false gods can ruin your whole day.

Newton was one of the best scientists of his day but deeply religious.

[He tells an elaborate story about how the pope gave Galileo another chance but he blew it].

In Europe for years physicists and metaphysicists lived in peace because science did not bash religion.

Fanatical metaphysics caused great difficulty.

Now scientists use the same words they formerly used to discredit religion and magic in describing quantum mechanics.

Now we have to restore the balance between physics and metaphysics.

Science is not the keeper of the gate of objectivity.

We have to get past both fanatical materialism and fanatical religion.

Someone said “I am these billions neurons,” but to me that is absurd.

I love science when it does science and not philosophical materialism.

It is important to understand Why?

Brenda Dunne, MS, Director of International Consciousness Research Laboratories:

“The Science of the Subjective”

Mass and energy can be objective, but information is subjectively interpreted.

It is funny to me that quantum leap has come to mean something very great when actually quantum leaps are very small.

I asked a physicist the difference between trivial and nontrivial. He said trivial means understandable, but nontrivial means impossible to understand.

When two hydrogen atoms form a hydrogen molecule the molecule has greater energy that the two atoms. Where does the energy come from? A little information is lost, but energy is gained.

When asked why I was studying quantum mechanics, I said, “I thought I was studying the psychology of subatomic particles.”

Complementarity means that there are not two different realities, but two different ways of seeing the same reality.

Uncertainty is what you get if you try to describe both aspects of a complementarity at the same time.

Scientists could use to learn to say, “I don’t know.”

Objectivity and subjectivity are two different ways we can interact. I can treat you as an object apart from me or see what we have in common.

I see it may be that consciousness creates the perception of space and time to organize our experiences.

We studied persons mentally affecting machines, both micro and macro.

We studied people who visualized from a distance.

My papers are at (the International Consciousness Research Laboratories website).

One man tried to replicate our experiment but failed to get the results. I asked what he told the people who were his subjects. He gave us the equipment and we spoke different words to our subjects that were more positive, and we got very significant results.

Martin Fleming, Director of Science and Philosophy Initiative:

“Why Consciousness is a Big Deal for Science”

The trait of consciousness that needs to be described is unified qualitative subjectivity.

I am the continual subject of my own conscious awareness.

Qualia are what we experience during sense perception, for example, seeing redness. It is not the emotion we experience seeing the redness.

Qualia are private and indescribable.

“The dress,” what color is it?

[According to Wikipedia, “The dress is a photograph that became a viral internet sensation on 26 February 2015, when viewers disagreed over whether the dress pictured was coloured black and blue, or white and gold.” Actually the dress on the left is black and blue, but it looks white and gold to me. How about to you?]

We can understand animals have consciousness if they have qualia.

Crick and Koch say we cannot account for the redness of red or the painfulness of pain anywhere in the brain.

Does every color have a wavelength?
Newton pointed out there is not a wavelength for magenta. It is a combination of two colors, but two wavelengths of light do not combine. The combination is in the mind.

Hitting the retina are 6 billion bits of information. Ten million bits goes down the optic nerve, but in the brain there are only 10,000 bits.

Sound and light are processed at different speeds but are experienced together.

There is clear rational evidence that consciousness is a nonneural phenomenon.

Science should embrace consciousness and not ignore it. It is the foundation of science.

If we see many people have the same subjective experience that is an objective fact.

Science deals with how things act but not what things are.

If you have the idea “I will disprove this experiment” you are contaminating experiment.

My daughter once told me: “My mind is like my browser. Seventeen windows are open, three are frozen, and I do not know where the music is coming from.”

Louis Ritz, PhD, University of Florida:

“Shifts of Attention: The Origins of Transcendent Experiences”

In my youth I wanted to understand what life was all about. I chose two paths, neuroscience and meditation.

Our mind, emotions, and physical frame are like space suits that limit our consciousness.

Out of body experiences, meditation, and death change our focus of attention.

Dr. Eben Alexander, a neuroscientist, has a book called Proof of Heaven based on his brush with death.

We are aware of that which our attention falls on.

Physical world

You can control the mind or the mind runs on its own.

Science has shown a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. It goes to the past and future, neither of which exists.

We can quiet the mind with a mantra.

Consciousness evolves when the self dissolves.

Every night when we sleep we turn off the world and the body. That leaves the emotions and the mind. When these are quiet we can pay attention to the sacred channel.

Did your parents ever tell you to sit down and be quiet? They were giving instructions on meditation.

Someone said, “I am looking for someone with a profoundly quiet mind.” I did not know who to direct him to.

Ricardo Silverstre, PhD, University of Campina Grande:

“Dualism and Beyond: Some Thoughts on Explaining Consciousness”

The thesis that everything is physical is a very metaphysical statement.

People see in fifty years many features of consciousness have not been explained by physicalism.

A zombie has no qualia.

A plurality of theories make for better science, so in the face of the fact that physicalism has limitations, it is good to examine alternatives.

David Chalmers suggests adding consciousness to the natural world studied by science.

William Haskers suggests emergent dualism. What emerges? Experiences and a self that experiences. And one more.

At present we don’t have explanatorily successful dualistic theories.

If some are developed which can explain consciousness then we can include consciousness as a feature of nature and thus expand naturalism.

Stuart Hameroff, MD, Center for Consciousness Studies of the University of Arizona:

Consciousness is a low energy function. In medicine we are always amazed that even when the body is severely damaged consciousness can still function.

Consciousness unifies.

Different features of a visual experience are processed in different parts of the brain, even at different times.

I suggest a quantum soul with the same alterations of space-time within the brain happening outside.

I see consciousness and good feeling directing evolution.

Mauricio Garrido, PhD, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies:

[This was immediately after lunch, and I missed part of it.]

The decision models in business do not take into account the environment around us.

I tweaked the parameters based on knowledge of the gunas [the three qualities of material nature described in the Vedic literature] to take these into account.

“The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God.” – Euclid

Jonathon Banks, PhD, University of Alberta:

“Does Modern Science Falsify Scriptural Claims About the Age of the Universe?”

We do not get to define science or the scientific method. These are well defined.

Different estimates of the age of the earth:
March 22, 4004 BC (Ussher)
3929 BC (Lightfoot)
20–40 million years old (Baron Kelvin)
4.54–4.56 billion years (modern science)

Fedor Vodolazskiy, PhD, Ural Federal University:

There is sound on the madyama (mind) level that can effect crystallization on metal.

Venugopal Damerla, MD, ABoiM :

“Neuro-Cardiac Effects of Audible Mantra Meditation”

90% of people believe in a higher being.

96% of family practice physicians believe spiritual practice improves health.

People with a spiritual practice live 4 years longer.

mananaath traayate iti mantrah – a mantra frees the mind

Biological, social, psychological, and spiritual are all important.

David Wolf’s study showed those chanting the maha-mantra had less depression p < .01, and even 30 days afterwards the depression did not return to its former state.

Depression leads to increased heart disease.

Nitika Parmar, PhD, California State University Channel Islands

The human genome has 3.2 billion DNA base pairs, sharing 95% with primates and 50% with bananas.
99.9% we share with other humans, and the other 0.1% make us unique.
110 billion miles of DNA are in human body when unraveled

Originally it was thought DNA goes to RNA and RNA goes to proteins, but it has been shown that proteins can go to RNA and RNA can go to DNA.

DNA can be changed.

Four Ss can change consciousness:
Sadhana – spiritual practice
Seva – spiritual service
Sadacara – spiritual behavior
Sanga – spiritual association

There is evidence that spiritual practice can change DNA.

Alexander Zalivin, PhD, Omsk State Medical Academy:

“Clinics and Dynamics of Suicidal Behavior”

Suicide is greatest in teenagers and persons aged 45–55.

WHO (the World Health Organization) considers spiritual health to also be important.

Who is at risk for suicide?

Teenagers / those aged 45–55
Those with low education
The unemployed
Those with no family or one parent
The isolated

If a suicidal person can understand he is not his mind, he can progress spiritually quickly.

Tom Aechtner, PhD, University of Queensland:

“Enhancing Religion-Science Communications”

I study persuasion for and against evolution.

There exist different techniques of persuasion:
A. Messenger credibility
B. Source attraction
C. Asking questions
D. Statistics and technical jargon
E. Social consensus
F. Message repetition
G. Contrast principle and negativity effect
H. Scarcity principles
I. Targeting undecided people
J. Tailor communications

Antievolutionists use a greater variety of techniques of persuasion.

Advertising is so effective it is regulated or banned in some countries.

Scientists assume giving people more facts will make them change their minds, but that is not necessarily true.

Most attempts to motivate to vaccinate fail.

If the people are given appointments for vaccination, but have the option to opt out they usually go along with it.

In one-on-one sessions with their doctors, if their doctors recommend vaccination, that is the most powerful factor in motivating people to get vaccinations.

Oliver Zambon, PhD Candidate, University of Queensland:

“Vaishnavism, Antievolutionism, and Ambiguities: Revisiting ISKCON-Evolution Discourse”

Modern ISKCON writing is not so antievolutionary as earlier writing.

Prabhupada was averse to atheistic ideas but not evolutionary theory.

Prabhupada was not so concerned about whether there is evolution or not but that Krishna was understood to be behind everything.

Ravi M. Gupta, PhD, Utah State University:

“Can Empirical Observation Influence Scriptural Testimony? An Exploration Through Jiva Gosvami’s Sarva-samvadini

Jiva Gosvami says there are three pramanas (proofs).
Sabda, trusted literature
Direct perception

Sabda describes things the others cannot touch, and it is independent.

What does Jiva say is sabda?
The Vedas.
Medical texts based on the Vedas.

In ordinary matters direct perception is not discounted in favor of sabda.
The main domain of sabda is that which is beyond what can be directly perceived.
Sabda is eternal, but it is revealed at different times.
Sabda can, when it decides to, overrule our sense perception, but that is very rare.
Jiva says the world is real because it is accessible to our senses.


William Deadwyler, PhD, Bhaktivedanta Institute:

I asked Srila Prabhupada how I could help him.
He said, “You could defeat Darwin.”
I was in shock, thinking of all the Christian creationists I knew from Texas, and wondering if we would end up like them.
Then Sadaputa came to my temple in a sankirtana [book distribution] van from New Vrindavan. Because he had a Ph.D. in mathematics they made him treasurer but he lacked the practical skills of a treasurer. Not knowing what to do with him, they sent him with a traveling sankirtana party.
Learning he had a Ph.D. in mathematics, I showed him Prabhupada’s letter, and asked him if he could defeat Darwin. He replied with words I will never forget, “Most mathematicians know that Darwin is wrong, but they do not say anything because it upsets the biologists so much.”

Thoudam Damodara Singh, PhD – tribute, BS Vrajapati Swami:

Bhaktisvarupa Damodar Swami got typhoid at fourteen and was cured by a naturopathic doctor by fasting forty days on whey. Thus in later life he opened a nature care hospital.

In Manipur as soon as a child is born, they chant the Hare Krishna mantra in his ear so that is the first thing they hear.

A friend told Bhaktisvarupa Damodar Swami when he was in college, “If you do not come and see Srila Prabhupada our friendship is over this day.” Thus he met Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada told him, “I have come here to give the Americans something valuable. Why do you not do like me? Why are you simply taking?”

He started schools in Manipur and Agartala.

Nobel prize winning physicist, William D. Phillips, says that God is a person.

“I suspect happiness is not in the purview of physics.” – G. Sudarshan

Richard L. Thompson, PhD – tribute, by Joshua Green:

[Note: Joshua Green said many important things which I did not write down because I worked with Sadaputa Prabhu for seventeen years and so it was not new to me.]

Sadaputa Prabhu found Easy Journey to Other Planets in a Boston bookstore in 1972. That book launched him on a lifetime career.

Themes in Sadaputa Prabhu’s life:
Life as more than matter
the excitement of discovery
inspire spiritually

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery—even if mixed with fear—that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds—it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.” from “The World As I See It,” by Albert Einstein.

Robert L. Wintermute – tribute, by Robert K. Burnside (BBT)

Easy Journey to Higher Planets was inspired by the launching of sputnik by the Russians and the discovery of antimatter.

Ian Stevenson’s colleague said, “You are either making a colossal mistake or you are the Galileo for the 20th century.”

Yamaraja Dasa was one of the soldiers in the trenches.

BBT was founded in 1972, and Yamaraja joined in 1973 and worked for 45 years from the BBT.

The 1975 Sri Caitanya-caritamrita marathon, in which BBT devotees, challenged by Srila Prabhupada, produced 17 books in two months, created a competence and spirit existing to this day.

He did the layout for Mechanistic and Nonmechanistic Science.

He was very stoic although having one of the most painful forms of cancer.

A few days before his death, he realized he would not live. His caretaker said he radiated a glow the last few days of his life.

The BI in Russia – Natalya Antonova, PhD

The Bhaktivedanta Institute in Russia went through four stages:

A Russian devotee philosopher wrote a book on consciousness and mind. He introduced the term sankirtana to the scientific community.

Stage 1:

There was popularization of Krishna conscious philosophy in scientific circles in 1980s and 1990s.

They had institute called Institute of Vedic Culture beginning in 1992.

Stage 2:

They compared Gaudiya Vaishnava to Western philosophy and culture beginning in 2000.

They produced a book called Bengali Vaishnavism gaining good reviews in scientific circles.

Drutakarma Prabhu came to Russia during this period.

Vaishnava scientists take part in different scientific conferences and are considered as equals.

Stage 3:

They formulated an alternative scientific paradigm based on Vaishnavism.

Stage 4:

Synergetic model of Vaishnava school

We have first ashram of Bhaktivedanta Institute in Russia.

A scientific school including epistemology and social philosophy, based on Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Mauricio Garrido, PhD, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies:

The main purpose of this conference is to inspire a new generation of devotees to do consciousness studies.

We want to do good science and good theology.

For some years, I saw how other scientists could participate but not how a physicist could participate.

We should think:
Is there something I am inspired to do?
Is there someone I feel inspired to collaborate with?
Is there a group I am inspired to work with?

Maybe you are inspired to bring the lofty knowledge that is discovered down to the general mass of people.

Allan Keislar: I was researching oxygenated red blood corpuscles when I met the Hare Krishnas, and I was amazed to find in Srila Prabhupada’s books: “The individual atomic soul is definitely there in the heart along with the Supersoul, and thus all the energies of bodily movement are emanating from this part of the body. The corpuscles which carry the oxygen from the lungs gather energy from the soul. When the soul passes away from this position, the activity of the blood, generating fusion, ceases.”

Dmitri Mendeleev, the chemist famous for making the periodic table of the elements, saw a table of rows and columns a Sanskritist was using to translate Sanskrit to German. Later he had a dream with the elements being placed in the same pattern.

We have three audiences:
the people in general
practitioners of bhakti

Doubts people have:

Will it jeopardize my career? If so, you do not have to try to publish controversial things in scientific journals. Other people may appreciate your contributions, and you can contribute anonymously.

If we have enough people, we can each stick to that discipline we know best.

The Vedas tell much about both transcendence and this world as well. Why? We have to navigate through the material world to get to transcendence.

Don’t have time? Start something small.

Don’t think that science will take it seriously? Try speaking their language. Try talking about things they are interested in.

We want to be heard, and we want people to conclude, “Here is another good idea.”

Martin Fleming, Director of Science and Philosophy Initiative:

We are not trying to prove Vedic statements but show there are relevant ideas in the Vedas that can help us answer the big questions.

Science teaches everything proceeds from matter in this sequence: Matter, universe, life, consciousness.

The Atma paradigm teaches everything proceeds from consciousness in this sequence: Consciousness, matter, life, universe.

We say there is a continuum of reality with the conscious field on one side and physical matter on the other.

As a computer requires an interface, we require an interface between our conscious field and physical matter.

Conscious Field↔Interface function↔Information Field ↔Physical matter

Because the sensory information in the brain is insufficient to account for the detailed images we see it has to be supplemented by sabda from the akash.

Remote viewing experiments give evidence that we can take information from the akash.

The potential is more important to the group.
The specific is more important to the individual who expresses his will.

Rice experiment by Japanese scientist:
Put rice into two containers labeled ‘thanks’ and ‘fool.’ Praise the first and criticize the second, then put them on the shelf, and look at them after six months, a year, eighteen months, etc. The ‘fool’ one rapidly decomposes but not the other.

Ryan Bissett, PhD, Science and Philosophy Initiative:

There are many scientists who have new ideas about DNA.

DNA is a template library.

DNA is a master mediary.

Cells can survive without DNA for a few days.

Drastic reductionism is out. Systems biology is the new idea.

Organism use organs which use tissues which use cells. What is the organism used by? Our consciousness.

The atma paradigm is that the atma uses the organism.

Maybe we cannot make much difference by our intention but a group of people manifesting the same intention could make a big different in biology.

There is an experiment where cells that were inhibited by an antibiotic grew flagella in a completely new way.

There is a new field of remote biology.

Martin Fleming, Director of Science and Philosophy Initiative:

In Syracuse there is a tree with branches from 40 different trees grafted on to it.

There is no one tree of life. It depends on what features you use to construct it. The branches split at no real species, only fruits.

The trunk and branches are the path of tan-mantric flow.

The example given of evolution is always microevolution such as the finches in the Galapagos.

In the Galapagos the finches are going back to one species as they are all eating the same human food waste from the tourists.

Now people are saying the group desires of the living entities are resulting in mutations even within a single lifetime.

Cointentional transformation: Transformation occurs by group desires relating to existence, understanding, and pleasure.

Consciousness is the only source of new information.

Altruism in plants is a great subject for investigation.

You cannot prove something is random or by chance. If you are using these words, you are leaving scientific discussion.

If you cannot show that consciousness evolves from matter, you are much better assuming consciousness is the beginning.

Kunal Mooley, PhD (Astrophysics), Caltech:

It could be the constants were right from the beginning, or they could have been properly adjusted later.

At present there is a chasm of ignorance.

Martin Fleming, Director of Science and Philosophy Initiative:

We talk like we have figured it out, but we would like your help.

When you see high information coming from low information, think about what is actually going on.

We are not creationists but co-creationists because the type of universe we have is based on the desire of the supreme and all of those individuals here. Thus you cannot blame the supreme.

Dmitriy Popov, PhD. (Philosophy), Philosophy of Mind and AI Research group:

“Alternative Scientific School Based on the Vedic Gnosiology”

I will speak as a Vaishnava philosopher.


to form an alternative (Vedic) scientific school, explain epistemology of sabda-pramana and guru-parampara

Vedic nyaya

scriptures are the experience of sages

Krishna describes parampara in Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.14.7–9 and anumana in Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.22.4–9.

Scientific theory (anumana) is based on metaphysics (sabda) and is verified experimentally or falsified (pratyaksha) [Popper]

Natalya Antonova, PhD (Philosophy), Chelyabinsk, Russia:

“Maya as Re-creation of Reality: Consciousness in the Context of E. Cassirer’s Representation Concept”

different levels: transcendence, intelligence, mind, physical

Yurii Zavhorodnii, PhD (History of Philosophy), Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, Kiev, Ukraine:

“Yoga in the Bhagavata Purana, Book 1”

Westerners think Puranas to be mythological and do not think them seriously philosophical.

There are 664 forms from yuj, the root of yoga in Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana), Canto One, such as:


Srimad-Bhagavatam emphasizes Krishna is the master of yoga.

Christopher Beetle, ISKCON, Tallahassee:

[I insert the abridged version of my paper here. I was frustrated as I could only read about 70% of it, and my audience was only about fifteen people. I got way behind on both preparing this journal and my personal scriptural reading because I took the time out to write my original paper, which I then had to edit to make it shorter. I was hoping to inspire some new people to purchase Mechanistic and Nonmechanistic Science or Bhagavad-gita As It Is, but I doubt that happened.]

“Consciousness in the Bhagavad-gita”

Although many scientists think modern science has or will very soon explain consciousness, other scientists have suggested consciousness is not explainable by known physical laws. Darwinist Thomas Huxley said, “It seems to me pretty plain that there is a third thing in the universe, to wit, consciousness, which . . . I cannot see to be matter or force, or any conceivable modification of either.” Physicist Max Planck said, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” Schrödinger wrote, “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”

In Mechanistic and Nonmechanistic Science (1981) (MNMS), Richard L. Thompson presents a nonmechanistic theory of consciousness drawn from the Bhagavad-gita, a summary of Indian’s ancient wisdom.

He reveals his motivation:

It [science] tells us that the individual person is nothing more than a machine composed of material elements. This machine has come into being only because it and the other machines in its ancestral line happened to be effective at self-duplication in their particular environmental circumstances. All of this machine’s attributes—including its thoughts and feelings, its abilities, and its hopes and desires—are meaningful only insofar as they contribute to the propagation of the machine’s genetic blueprint. And this is meaningless in any ultimate sense, for the genes themselves are nothing but inanimate molecules. . . .

In psychology the mechanistic premise implies that mind is merely a name for certain patterns of electrochemical interaction in the brain. This means that psychological terms such as "purpose" or "meaning" correspond to nothing more than patterns of behavior that arose as evolutionary adaptations. The mechanistic premise implies that it is pointless to seek an absolute sense for such terms or to apply them on a universal scale, for the universe as a whole consists of nothing but an inexorable flux of physical actions and reactions. . . .

Of course, some people may argue that if we have no purpose in an absolute sense, we can create our own purpose. Yet . . . if we contemplate such [a] manufactured "purpose" from the mechanistic viewpoint, we see it dissolve into nothing but a meaningless juxtaposition of physiochemical events. . . .

Actually, the mechanistic principles cannot support any line of reasoning about how people should behave. The mechanistic philosophy implies that you will simply do whatever your bodily chemistry drives you to do. This philosophy denies the very idea of the self as a responsible agent with free will, and thus it also renders meaningless the idea of moral choice.

In chapter one of his book, Richard Thompson analyzes visual perception and shows that consciousness cannot be identified with the image on the retina, the impulses traveling down the optic nerve or the activity in the visual processing centers of the brain. Visual data is transformed from one form to another, but nowhere is conscious sight taking place. He concludes that a nonphysical self perceives and makes sense of complex patterns of information in the brain and illustrates this with an analogy. As a person reading a book is not conscious of the ink on the paper but is aware of the plot and theme of the story, the conscious self is not aware of the states of the different neurons in the brain but rather complex patterns of information stored there.

Richard Thompson justifies introducing the theory of consciousness from Bhagavad-gita because “even though consciousness is a fundamental aspect of reality, it has not proven possible to adequately explain or even describe consciousness within the framework of modern science. The problem, in fact, is not that we presently have an inadequate theory of consciousness. Rather, we find that our scientific statements do not even refer to consciousness. This is a fundamental limitation of the mechanistic point of view, in which we try to reduce all explanations to mathematical calculations involving measurable quantities.” (MNMS, p. 76)

Speaking through the character Avaroha in a dialogue between characters representing different viewpoints Thompson summarizes the Bhagavad-gita understanding of the conscious self. Thompson uses the term jivatma instead of the more common atma to distinguish the individual conscious self from the paramatma (the supreme consciousness):

The Bhagavad-gita states that each individual living organism consists of an irreducible conscious entity riding in a physical body composed of gross material elements. The body is insentient, and it is described in the Bhagavad-gita as a complicated machine. (Bg., p. 830) In contrast, the conscious entity, or jivatma, is the actual sentient self of the living being, and it cannot be explained in mechanistic terms. (Bg., Chapter 2) Each jivatma possesses all of the attributes of a person, including consciousness, intelligence, and innate sensory faculties. These attributes cannot be reduced to the interplay of some underlying impersonal entities that we might hope to describe by a mechanistic theory. In a sense, we can compare the jivatmas with the hypothetical fundamental particles sought by physicists. Just as these particles are envisioned as having certain irreducible material properties, so the jivatmas can be thought of as fundamental units of conscious personality endowed with certain irreducible personal traits. (MNMS, p. 76)

Later he describes the conditioned and liberated states of the conscious self:

When the jivatma is embodied, its innate senses are linked up with the information processing system of the physical body, and thus the normal sensory perceptions of the jivatma refer almost exclusively to the physical states of machines, including the machine of the brain. (Bg., pp. 702–704) In this condition, only the jivatma’s direct perception of its own internal sensory and cognitive activities involves something that cannot be described in terms of mechanical configurations. For this reason, there is a strong tendency for the jivatma to overlook its own nature and view the world in an entirely mechanistic way.

But the inherent senses of the jivatma are not limited to observing the states of the physical body. The jivatma is capable of a relation of direct reciprocation both with other jivatmas and with the paramatma, or the Superconsciousness. This mode of interaction directly involves the use of all personal attributes and qualities, and thus it cannot be described in mechanistic terms. It can be understood and meaningfully discussed only by persons who have attained to this level of experience by direct realization. (MNMS, p. 78)

Nobel prize winning physicist, Eugene Wigner, wrote about this section of the book, “I admired Avaroha – he not only reproduces . . . the ideas on reality virtually forced on us by quantum theory, he also points to the close similarity of these ideas with those of Bhagavad-gita. As I said, this was totally new to me and refreshing. Pages 76–78 [which I just quoted above regarding the Gita’s theory of consciousness] are truly excellent.”

Thompson further explains, “The advantage of the Bhagavad-gita is that it provides extensive information about consciousness, and it also provides scientific procedures whereby a person may make practical use of this knowledge.” (MNMS, p. 81)

In Chapter 6 of his book, Thompson uses information theory to explore the claim that complex biological form can be produced from simple fundamental laws of nature in the course of vast amounts of time, and concludes the probabilities are so low that it could not happen. Complex biological form requires a complex description not present in the known laws of nature. He then introduces another element of the Bhagavad-gita’s description of consciousness, namely paramatma, the supreme consciousness, as the source of the complex forms of the living entities. As Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita 14.4, “It should be understood that all species of life . . . are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.”

In Chapter 7 of the book, Thompson discusses inspiration, where one suddenly receives the solution to a problem without having consciously made steps leading up to it. The mathematician Poincare proposed a model where the brain subconsciously tries many possibilities until the solution is found. Thompson points out the enormous number of trials needed and the extremely unlikelihood of such a mechanism evolving are problems with that model. The model in Bhagavad-gita of a supreme consciousness aware of the desires of the individual conscious self and able to manipulate matter in accordance with them is a simpler solution. In the Gita, such enlightenment by the supreme soul is described in verses such as “To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me. To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” (Bg. 10.10–11), and “I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.” (Bg. 15.15)

Thompson uses an analogy from science to illustrate the relationship between the individual and the supreme consciousness:

In classical physics we can fully characterize an electron as a minute charged particle that interacts in a certain way with an electromagnetic field. Similarly, we can understand the true character of the jivatma in terms of its natural interaction with the Supreme Person. Just as we can think of the electron as being defined by its interaction with an electromagnetic field, we can understand the jivatma as being defined by its personal interaction with the Supreme Conscious Being. (MNMS, pp. 79–80)

Features of that relationship are described in different verses in Bhagavad-gita such as 15.7 in which the individual conscious self is said to be an eternal fragment of the supreme consciousness, 4.11 where the supreme promises to reciprocate according to the individual’s surrender, and 9.29, where the supreme consciousness says He is equal to all, but for one who treats Him as friend, He reciprocates such friendly dealings.

In Thompson’s discussion he says though some may protest that knowledge of the conscious self and the supreme consciousness is not verifiable, it is certainly more verifiable than some new scientific theories involving multiple splitting universes. (MNMS, p. 83)

Since neither the individual or supreme consciousness can be measured with the devices of science, Thompson proposes the nonmechanistic science of bhakti-yoga as the means of verification.

Anticipating people will argue that the experience derived from bhakti-yoga is subjective and thus unscientific, he gives an analogy of two people watching a sunset in the presence of one who is blind from birth. The two people describing their vision of the sunset can be confident they are sharing the same experience, while the blind person may either accept it or reject it in blind faith. Thus two self-realized souls could confirm their realization while those not on that level may or may not accept their version, although it is real to them.

That the realizations of bhakti-yoga can only be confirmed by some, may cause people to reject it as unscientific, but actually that difficulty is present to an even greater degree in scientific fields like physics where one needs a multi-billion dollar particle accelerator and years of education to verify findings. Anyone can practice bhakti-yoga who has the desire to do so, without any cost, special qualifications, or years of education.

Thompson explains, “One of the most important principles of bhakti-yoga is that higher realization is impossible as long as the material senses are not brought under control. In the materially conditioned state of consciousness, the jivatma is motivated by the desire to enjoy his material situation, and he is completely preoccupied with the barrage of stimuli presented by his material senses. In this state the jivatma’s sensory channels are overloaded, and he is unable to perceive the presence of the Supersoul, even though he is constitutionally capable of doing this. Since the jivatma with uncontrolled senses has no direct access to the Supreme Person, he is prone to indulge in fanciful speculations that simply lead him further and further from the truth.” Later he quotes one Bhagavad-gita verse in this connection:

“For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for he has attained tranquility. To such a man happiness and distress, heat and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same.” (Bg. 6.7)

He introduces the positive and negative injunctions of bhakti-yoga which make conquering the mind possible. These involve refraining from activities which agitate the senses and thus the mind and adopting acts to bring the mind in touch with the supreme soul by hearing and chanting about Him. The absolute is present in the form of transcendental sound that can be heard and vibrated, and one can experience this by practice. In the Vedic tradition, one particular mantra is stressed for attaining realization in this age:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Although famously chanted by the Hare Krishnas, other groups such as Siddha Yoga, also chant it, knowing it to be recommended as protecting one from the faults of this age and promoting spiritual enlightenment.

Thompson mentioned just as in science you have authoritative literature and a community of scholars who can verify one’s progress in a certain field of study, there are bodies of literature revealed by the supreme consciousness and others empowered by Him and lineages of spiritual teachers and communities of sadhus (saintly persons) who can verify one’s progressive realizations in bhakti-yoga and thus it can be considered a bona fide science, although a nonmechanistic one.

Brenda Dunne, MS, Director of International Consciousness Research Laboratories:

The human mind has a small but measurable effect on random number generators. Several kinds of random number generators were used, and these were tested to be free of interference.

Dr. Jahn says the human operator seems to enter a relationship with the machine and both affect each other.

Remote viewing – a person goes to a place and tries to share information with a percipient at a distance.

Military folks have recorded gremlin effects on machines.

I was not prepared for the degree of recalcitrance we received due to the nature of the experiments.

Sharing the findings have been difficult.

One critic said, “I would not believe in it even it were true.”

We do not see learning curves or other cognitive effects.

Males and females produce different results.

Couples, especially those bonded together, and groups, produce greater results.

Analyzing all results it is a one in a trillion chance.

It is for the next generation to try to understand the phenomena.

Once a group of Nobel laureates in physics marched into the president’s office at Princeton demanding we close down as we were an embarrassment to the university. We got the secretary of defense and the President to tell the university president they were happy the university was supporting our work because it was good for national defense.

We observed beginners luck. The second time the effect was less, but if the subjects kept going it would increase and stabilize.

Nothing gets in the way of your own mind like your own mind.

When people’s minds were free, there was a greater effect.

Q: Did meditators do better?
A: We do not know. We could not study people, only machines. The psychology department was looking at us.

Q: Is this type of work continuing?
A: It is difficult because you could not get funding, and you could not publish. Some individuals like Dean Radin and Rupert Sheldrake do such studies.

Robert Jahn was involved in the Society for Scientific Exploration, which was set up and had a journal to provide publishing opportunities for scientific work not accepted in the standard peer reviewed journals.

Plenary Presentation on the TOVP Vedic Planetarium
And Museum Exhibits on Elevating Consciousness

Robert Grant:

We need the best science-minded devotees and the best philosophers to give their input in the TOVP. We do not want exhibits people will scoff at.

By creating doubt in different scientific explanations, we hope to leave people open to accept the possibility of the Vedic explanations.

Michael Cremo:

TOVP will answer “Who am I?” and “Where am I?” according to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.

We will have exhibits showing the limits of anumana and pratyaksa, and we will introduce the idea of sadba pramana.

Given the self is not material there must be a place the self can fully express itself.

Many scientists believe that universes will ultimately contract.

The first exhibit will use virtual reality technology to give people experiences of being different ages, different genders, and different species. It will ask the question “Who am I?”

In the material world, souls have to have different material bodies.

There are 8,400,000 species. Different beings inhabit different lokas [planets]: earthly lokas, hellish lokas, and heavenly lokas.

First we show the universe according to the Surya-siddhanta, which is more like the universe we usually see in science.

There is reincarnation, and there is scientific evidence for reincarnation.

We need to know where we are to attain the spiritual world as we need to know where the airport is to catch our flight out.

They are things in the universe that we cannot see.

There are also things in the universe that astronomers cannot see.

There will be exhibits of the unseen features of the universe.

The most important events in the history of the universe are the appearance of avatars who teach us why we are here.

When people have a true understanding who they are and where they are, they can cooperate to satisfy their material needs in a simple and efficient way so we can focus on attaining the spiritual world.

Q: How to avoid people saying this is a Hindu perspective?
Q: Which arguments are best? Collect all the arguments from devotees and ask professionals which are the best.
Q: Science has theories, which are always changing, which are like Veda, but they are not Vedanta, the conclusion of knowledge.
Q: Make the chandelier as a hologram.
Q: If you have dioramas of other avatars that Srila Prabhupada accepted like Jesus Christ it will make people more open to our ideas.
A: It should not be presented as one of many world religions.
Q: Could devotees show how people could apply this knowledge in their lives?

There is the physical branch.
There is a exhibit branch where we have a small dome theater, which will show videos, and we need all kinds of devotees to produce material.

In the entry level, we will have an animatronic exhibit of Srila Prabhupada inviting people to enter into the Vedic knowledge.

Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (TOVP) Meeting at Brahmatirtha Prabhu’s Place

Brahmatirtha Prabhu:

Srila Prabhupada wrote the temple presidents asking for all the names of those with masters or Ph.D. degrees, to give to Svarupa Damodara.

Acyutananda Swami, preaching to people at Govinda’s Restaurant in New York City, was telling how we have so many intelligent people in our movement, and he called over to Sadaputa Prabhu, who was sitting at another table, and said, “Sadaputa, say something smart.”

Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu:

Srila Prabhupada asked about starting a college, “Bhagavata College,” in Mayapur. I talked to people at the University of Calcutta about it, and they were supportive and helpful.

I explained to Srila Prabhupada we need a research library, and he said, “Only our books.” I wondered, “How could we have a whole library with only our books?” Later I inquired from Srila Prabhupada and he elaborated, “All the books from the four sampradayas [the four bona fide spiritual lineages mentioned in the Padma Purana].”

Soon before Tamal Krishna Goswami died, he told me he really wanted to work on that Bhagavata College, which encouraged me. The next day he lost his life in a car accident.

We started a project of microfilming all the Vedic literature called MATSYA.

In 1910 Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and he said many things including, “Mayapur will prosper if you build an educational institution there.” Caitanya Math there teaches that all the four sampradayas teach acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva.

In our college non-Vaishnava scholars can participate, but they have to understand the principles of sattva as principles of cognition.

Drutakarma Prabhu:

I plead guilty to naming the Matsya Project. A senior devotee asked me to promote it. I said you have to have a good name.

[Drutakarma Prabhu read a paper about how to position oneself as a scientist and as a devotee in which he asked a lot of relevant questions. I asked him for the paper, and I insert it here:]

“Science and Krishna Consciousness: Questions on How to Position Oneself”

For anyone seeking to engage with modern science as a devotee of Krishna, specifically as a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the question of positioning becomes important.

1. What is my actual identity, and how do I position myself publicly in relationship to it?

A practitioner of Krishna consciousness ultimately identifies as a jiva, an eternal conscious self, whose constitutional position is to render loving service to the supreme conscious self, Krishna. But practitioners of Krishna consciousness now find themselves in the world of matter, which covers but also reveals Krishna. The Srimad-Bhagavatam recommends that as a first step practitioners of Krishna consciousness may learn to perceive the world of matter as a feature of the virat rupa, the universal form of Krishna. Material scientists also try to understand the world of matter but in terms of atheistic views, or views that acknowledge God only as the initiator of the world of matter, which then continues to function as if there were no God.

So how does a practitioner of Krishna consciousness position himself in relation to science and scientists? Is the practitioner positioning himself professionally in a secular educational institution or scientific institution? If so, does the practitioner publicly identify himself as such? If one does identify oneself as a practitioner, then how does one position oneself to colleagues. Does one maintain a complete separation between one’s practice of Krishna consciousness and one’s practice of science? Does one keep one’s Krishna consciousness as a matter of private belief, which does not intersect or interfere with one’s practice of science? Does one’s sharing of one’s Krishna consciousness with one’s scientific colleagues extend no further than explaining cultural elements of one’s practices to those who express curiosity about them? Or does one try to introduce elements of the worldview of Krishna consciousness into one’s practice of science? If one does this, how does one position oneself? Does one think, “I am primarily a scientist, just like all other scientists, but I also just happen to be a practitioner of Krishna consciousness”? Or does one think, “I am primarily a practitioner of Krishna consciousness, who happens to be a scientist”? Perhaps if one is situated in a secular educational or scientific institution, one is more likely to adopt the former positioning. If a devotee is situated in an educational or scientific institution that is part of the society of practitioners of Krishna consciousness, one may be more likely to adopt the latter positioning. Should one go so far as to position oneself as a member of another knowledge tradition engaged in dialogue with the knowledge tradition of contemporary secular science? Whatever the case one has to position oneself in terms of one’s actual intellectual center of gravity.

These preliminary questions on positioning lead to other questions.

2. How does a practitioner of Krishna consciousness interested in science position himself in relation to the traditional system of Vedic epistemology? A brief summary of this epistemology involves three pramanas, or sources of knowledge: pratyaksa (sense perception), anumana (logical inference), and sabda (verbal testimony, specifically, the statements of sastra). Modern secular science is based primarily on pratyaksa and anumana, which are limited and imperfect. The statements of sastra, properly understood, are taken as expressions of truth. I am here giving a basic simple understanding. There are of course many nuances and subtleties. But the point is that a devotee interested in science will have to position himself or herself in relationship to this basic epistemology, especially when it involves apparent contradictions between the provisional conclusions of modern secular science and the statements of sastra.

Here one has to also position oneself in relation to traditional Vaishnava hermeneutical principles for understanding the statements of sastra. The default position is to take the direct, dictionary meaning of the words (the mukhya vrtti) rather than taking secondary meanings or indirect interpretations. Again there are nuances and subtleties, but whatever the case, one will have to define one’s position in relation to these hermeneutical principles.

3. How does a practitioner of Krishna consciousness interested in science position himself or herself in relation to the core texts of the Krishna consciousness movement, such as the Srimad-Bhagavatam? This question is of course related to the epistemological and hermeneutical questions just mentioned. Practitioners of Krishna consciousness generally accept the statements of sastra as evidence, a valid source of knowledge about this world as well as the spiritual world. Modern secular science does not. One approach might be to position oneself as a scientist and, while making no explicit mention of sastra, do research that results in findings that are in fact consistent with sastra, without mentioning sastra. Or one could openly position oneself as an advocate of the Vedic worldview as a source of true knowledge about the observable world, and propose that the findings of scientific research, properly understood, are consistent with the Vedic worldview, which should encourage respect for and faith in the Vedic literature. One way to accomplish this, while respecting the position of secular science that scripture is not evidence, is to propose: “If what the Vedic literature says is true, then we should expect to see X.” And then show we do see X. Another option, which I personally do not favor, is that we adjust our reading of sastra to conform to the current consensus in secular science. My main point is that one has to position oneself in this regard.

4. How does the practitioner of Krishna consciousness interested in science position himself in relationship to Srila Prabhupada and his statements about science? Any member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, whether a professional scientist or a devotee interested in science, has to position himself in relation to Srila Prabhupada in this regard. Ideally, this should be done taking into account the full range of Srila Prabhupada’s statements about science and scientists. Some of his statements were more positive, some more negative. It would be incorrect to take the more negative statements as representative of his whole point of view, just as it would be incorrect to take his more positive and conciliatory states as representative of his whole point of view. I believe it is possible to formulate a coherent overall picture. But the main thing is that one will have to position oneself in relation to some realistic depiction of Srila Prabhupada’s views on science. Some of us will be doing this as direct disciples of Srila Prabhupada and others as granddisciples.

5. How does the practitioner of Krishna consciousness interested in science position himself in relationship to the previous acaryas? What do we do in cases where there appears to be some contradiction between the statements made by Srila Prabhupada about science and those made by another acarya? The default position for a member of ISKCON is to defer to Srila Prabhupada. In any case, the point is that one will have to position oneself in this regard. Ideally, the decision will be made based on a truly comprehensive understanding of both the statements of Srila Prabhupada and those of the previous acaryas.

6. How does a member of ISKCON interested in science position himself in relation to other members of ISKCON who have previously made contributions to science and Krishna consciousness? How can previous contributions be fairly evaluated, how can there be building on foundations without blind following or imitation, how can there be respectful correction of mistakes, identification of shortcomings, or expressions of disagreement? Similar questions arise in the positioning of the older contributors in relation to the newer contributors. How can the new contributions be properly evaluated, so that new contributions that may differ from older ones are not rejected just for that reason alone, and not for any actual shortcomings?

7. How does a member of ISKCON seriously interested in science position himself in relationship to the existing science groups and organizations in ISKCON—the various Bhaktivedanta Institute branches, other organizations for science and Krishna consciousness? Is one already a member of one of these institutes or groups? If so, how should your group relate to the others? Should there be more unity? Should there be more diversity? Or perhaps one chooses to remain independent of any group.

8. How does a member of ISKCON seriously involved in science position himself in relationship to ISKCON as a whole? This of course will depend on the other positioning decisions one has made. For example, has one positioned oneself as a member of an ISKCON science group? Or is one independent? Whatever the case, the question of the position of science within ISKCON arises. To what extent should efforts related to science be supported by ISKCON, including financially? What priority did science have in Srila Prabhupada’s strategic vision for ISKCON?

9. Getting back to questions related to individual efforts, it seems a member of ISKCON seriously involved in science must ask, “What do I personally want to accomplish? What aspect of the Vedic worldview would I like to see introduced into the world of science? And how exactly am I going to do that? Who will my audience be, and how do I intend to reach that audience?” The question of audience is important. Will my audience be professional secular scientists? Will my audience be devotee scientists? Will my audience be the general public? Or all three. And again one has to consider positioning. Do I position myself as an independent researcher and make all these decisions on my own, or do I consult others or make such decisions collectively as part of a group, or even take direction from someone?

I can give answers to all these questions, recognizing that others may answer them in a different way. But are these the right questions? 

Brahmatirtha Prabhu:

Brahmanas are facilitated not managed. Historically in ISKCON we tried to manage brahmanas and that created problems.

Some devotees say, “I am a scientist from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and after 5 p.m. I am a devotee, and never the twain shall meet. I need that separation.” How many people have felt that or seen people who felt that?

Hari (formerly Harikesa) Prabhu:

I told the head of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), “I am working on a project in India, and I have a question, What would things look like if we stopped the earth?
He drew this diagram with all these epicycles, and explained, “We like the sun centered model better because it is a lot simpler.”
I asked if it was possible to tell which vision was true, and he said, No, it all looks the same.”
I said, “Thanks, that is what I wanted to know.”

Ramesvara Prabhu:

When I traveled with Srila Prabhupada for a month when I was BBT trustee, he said, “It is the mission of our movement to oppose any government or institution that teaches there is no intelligent designer behind the universe.”

[Regarding Connecto, a online conference for devotees interested in BI projects]

Murali Gopal Prabhu:

Study scriptures with other devotees through the eyes of science.

Study scriptures with other devotees in your field.

Comments by Brahmatirtha Prabhu:

For humanities, we have the VAST (Vaishnava Advanced STudies) conference, mostly for devotees in the humanities. We want something for devotees in BI.

Regarding VAST, we have these guidelines:

Absolute confidentiality.
You have a degree or equivalent.
Anything goes.

Akhandadhi Prabhu:

We want to get all your papers.

We want to compile a list of devotees involved in science.

Identity and Purpose:

Aristotle introduced the idea of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

Group contributions:

It will help build relationships.

It would be a good way to bring people from all different BI groups together.

Akhandadhi Prabhu:

People want to know, “How is your knowledge going to be benefit us? From science we get all these nice gizmos. What can your knowledge give us?”

Can conscious intent affect machines? Can conscious intent affect biological systems? That we want to investigate.

Comment by Adideva Prabhu: The Los Angeles museum has only been working a third of the time it has been existing. We have to make sure that the exhibits are maintainable.

Drutakarma Prabhu:

We plan to rewrite Divine Nature and make it up to date.

Murali Gopal Prabhu:

The government in the UK looks for input in curriculum development.

Akhandadhi Prabhu:

It is important that devotees know how to answer questions in a way that is faithful to our philosophy and to science as well.

Selected Appreciations of the Conference and Suggestions for Improvement

Hari Prabhu:

If you try to do too much, you end up doing nothing at all. Do one thing great. If everyone does one thing great, you will have a great effect.

Just sitting is too passive. If you get similarly minded people together to do a task together, they will be excited.

Sustainability means doing what you like well. Then you will like it and continue doing it.

Krishna Bhajan Prabhu:

I found people to connect with, and that is what I really wanted.

Murali Gopal Prabhu:

Start by writing a paper about something that is meaningful to you in relationship with Krishna consciousness. Submit it, and we are willing to work with you.

Anand Kishore das Babaji (formerly Amogha-lila Prabhu):

I liked the spirit of it. I am sure Srila Prabhupada was pleased.

Akhandadhi Prabhu:

We would not have done it any differently, but we will not do it like that again.


The 2019 Consciousness in Science Conference reminded me of this important verse which advises that all fields of human endeavor should be applied in the service of the Lord:

idam hi pumsas tapasah srutasya va
svistasya suktasya ca buddhi-dattayoh
avicyuto ’rthah kavibhir nirupito

“Learned circles have positively concluded that the infallible purpose of the advancement of knowledge, namely austerities, study of the Vedas, sacrifice, chanting of hymns and charity, culminates in the transcendental descriptions of the Lord, who is defined in choice poetry.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.22)

In the purport, Srila Prabhupada writes, “All the sages and devotees of the Lord have recommended that the subject matter of art, science, philosophy, physics, chemistry, psychology and all other branches of knowledge should be wholly and solely applied in the service of the Lord. . . . There is no use presenting dry speculative theories for sense gratification. Philosophy and science should be engaged to establish the glory of the Lord. Advanced people are eager to understand the Absolute Truth through the medium of science, and therefore a great scientist should endeavor to prove the existence of the Lord on a scientific basis. Similarly, philosophical speculations should be utilized to establish the Supreme Truth as sentient and all-powerful. Similarly, all other branches of knowledge should always be engaged in the service of the Lord.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.22, purport)