Travel Adventures of a Krishna Monk

by Krishna-kripa Das

Friday, September 19, 2014

Travel Journal#10.15: Poland, Czech, Germany, and Slovakia

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 10, No. 15
By Krishna-kripa das
(August 2014, part one
)
Polish and Czech Woodstocks, Czech Padayatra, Ancient Trance Festival,
Leipzig Ratha-yatra, Bratislava, and Prague

(Sent from Brooklyn, New York, on September 19, 2014)

The end of July and beginning of August was the time of the Polish Woodstock festival where many, many, tens of thousands of people came in touch with Krishna sound and Krishna food. After the Polish Woodstock I crossed practically the entire Czech Republic four times in two weeks, first going to travel with the Czech padayatra to obscure villages in the extreme southeastern part of that country, chanting for hours a day with them and doing an evening program in different towns. Then I went to the Ancient the Festival in Taucha, Germany, just north of Leipzig, where devotees based in Leizpig share kirtana with the people each night. In the middle of that was the Leipzig Ratha-yatra. Then I traveled across Czech Republic to Bratislava, Slovakia, to do harinama and talk about Vedic cosmology. After that I went to Prague for a harinama and evening program on the way to Trutnov Open Air Music Festival (Czech Woodstock), where Guru Das Prabhu was our senior guest for the third year. My visit to Czech ended with Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa Puja Day at the Czech farm with guests Guru Das Prabhu and Kadamba Kanana Swami.

I share notes from Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and a quote from his books. I have quotes from Narottama Dasa Thakura’s Prema-bhakti-candrika. I have incredibly beautiful realizations from Indradyumna Swami about sharing Krishna at the Polish Woodstock festival, and other valuable realizations from other senior devotees who assist him. I share beautiful stories revealing Srila Prabhupada’s charming qualities told with affection by Guru Das Prabhu. I share notes on Vyasa Puja offerings from Prabhupada disciples and Kadamba Kanana Swami at the Czech farm. I also have notes on a great class by Trilokatma Prabhu, a senior Czech devotee, and notes on a class by Jivananda Prabhu, a Slovakian book distributor. 

I lost many of my pictures of this time period when I lost my camera card in Brussels in August before I had copied all of them on to my computer. I just have the few videos I took and a few special pictures, specifically those of people who met me in different places, those of people I distributed books to on Janmastami, and those from the opening of the Trutnov Open Air Music Festival, with the Hare Krishnas and the Christians together on stage. 

thank Vishnujana Prabhu for his photos of Czech Padayatra, Trutnov, and the Leipzig Ratha-yatra, Surya Kunda, Syama Sakti, Patrycja Siva, and Victoria Davydova for their pictures of the Polish Woodstock, and Der Fahrende Tempel for their photos of the Ancient Trance Festival and Leipzig Ratha-yatra, Asta Ivaškevičiūtė and Krishna Tempel Leipzig for their photos of Leipzig Ratha-yatra, and Dina Vatsala Prabhu for his picture of Kasturi Manjari dd.

I thank Nanda Kumar Prabhu and Punya Palaka Prabhus for their kind donations, the Bhakti Loka devotees for funding my trip to Bratislava, and the Czech Padayatra devotees for the prasadam snacks for my trip.

Polish Woodstock in General

People are coming earlier every year, and the Hare Krishnas are the only ones there at that time. Chaturatma Prabhu says the people he has talked to say many people come early just to spend time with the devotees., 

Harinamas and Ratha-yatras at Woodstock



Many of the early comers were happy to see the devotees and danced with us, and later things really took off.


The first two days, I distributed invitations to our Krishnas Village of Peace. 




Sometimes I would dance at the same time.

The last two days we did not have invitations to our Krishna camp to pass out. Perhaps the organizers felt everyone knew about it from the first three days of flyer distribution. I had Polish mantra cards with me, and I decided to give them to people were dancing with us or pulling the cart. By the second day I had developed a strategy of showing the onlookers, who were helping to pull the Ratha-yatra cart, the mantra card and pointing to the words as we were saying them. I would do that three times during the response part of the kirtana, inducing them to respond. Then I would give them the cards, and the most fortunate ones kept singing. Then I would go on to the next person.


As usual many people pulled the cart, danced, sang, and took the maha-prasadam we distributed with great pleasure.

You can see some of the dancing in this series of video clips (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGerEnGdI0xL3YF3-ljne-TGRgrat18Zc):


The Mantra Yoga Tent



Many people enjoyed dancing with us in the Mantra Yoga tent.

We started in the late afternoon. In the beginning, there were just a few people participating, but they did so with great pleasure (http://youtu.be/sqyb5BGVTS8).


As time went on, more people would join in. Aditi Duhkhaha Prabhu, who is a popular kirtana leader at the Ukraine festival, chanted at the Mantra Yoga tent at the Polish Woodstock for the first time and got many people dancing (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGerEnGdI0xL6FIUlzeVMVTG3xM_DO1Ct).


Acyuta Gopi sang very lively tunes that were easy to follow, and many people danced and some chanted as well (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGerEnGdI0xLSRTQYUO_gO05mgVVpUk3F).


Badahari Das Prabhu sang sweet tunes with great devotion and many people danced (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGerEnGdI0xKtePz6b4qC3DrF-LixsDfx).


Of course, it is always extra special when Indradyumna Swami, the inspiration behind our whole Krishna’s Village of Peace festival at the Polish Woodstock, sings himself (http://youtu.be/Zyo5s1nmrxs).


Madhava Prabhu was usually our last singer of the evening, singing for over two hours, and ending sometime around 2 a.m. It was great to hear him and see the influence of his chanting on the crowd (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGerEnGdI0xLfO_rfjxLiZjU7Ti9CZK_S).


We started chanting at our Mantra Yoga tent a day earlier than previously. We had kirtana from 7:00 p.m. to almost midnight. The devotees were not planning to chant so late the first night, but the audience was very enthusiastic for us to continue, asking always for one more song.

One young man wanted to talk to me. He learned some spiritual practice involving many gods. I explained there was one supreme God. He was upset that his wife broke up with him. I explained that our relationships in this world are not perfect. I suggested before pursuing another girl, he should try to advance spiritually.

One girl found the chanting had a good effect on her mind, and wanted to know more about it.

At least a couple people asked how they could join. I encouraged them to buy some books and chant, and I asked where they were from, to tell them of a temple or a nama-hatta in their area.

One guy said he saw me every year for five years at Woodstock and once at Rewal at our Festival of India on the Baltic coast.

One guy has seen me every year since the Woodstock in Zary in 2002, and was happy to encounter me again.

Many people were happy to get mantra cards.

One girl who lives near Wroclaw was happy to take an invitation to the temple.

Badahari Prabhu said the people up front by the stage were all chanting. At one point he had one side of the crowd chant the lead and the other chant the response. It was amazing to see the participation. The devotees tried to end the kirtana early the first night, but when they stopped, the people started chanting Hare Krishna to a melody of their own. I was thinking that for most of them, this was the first time they had chanted with the devotees for a whole year, so it is no wonder that those who were touched by the experience in previous years would be eager to do it again, especially after such a long separation.

One guy who stayed until the end of one evening kirtana wanted me to thank everyone in the band for him for he wonderfully appreciated the atmosphere created by the music. I told him by chanting the mantra himself, he could create such a spiritual atmosphere. However, he was brought up as a Catholic and developed a distaste for the idea of a supreme being, so he was not so inclined to explore the philosophy behind the wonderful experience.

At the end of Madhava Prabhu’s kirtana, one girl wanted me to teach her a dance step.

I met two parties from Saxony (Sakschen) in Germany, who loved the spiritual atmosphere and one of which was led by a girl who was curious about the philosophy. I gave them German mantra cards with the contact details for the Leipzig temple and told them we were going to do a festival on August 9 there in Leipzig with the cart, which I pointed to, with singing, dancing, drama, and free vegetarian food. Perhaps they will come.

The third night I did not bring enough mantra cards, and so I danced the last half hour or so. During Madhava Prabhu’s kirtana at the end it was wonderful to see the intensity of the dancing. The wooden floor was visibly vibrating when the people were jumping up and down at the same time.

While giving out mantra cards to people who had been dancing at our tent as they leaving, when the people were not too much in a hurry to be on their way, I would chant the mantra with them along with the response part of kirtana. Then I would smile and said, “Dobrze! [Very good!]” In at least three cases, instead of continuing on their way out, they went back in the tent and continued dancing.

In the late afternoon, when the kirtana in the mantra yoga tent was just beginning, there were just four girls dancing up front, and me dancing at the rear. A new girl came up and decided to follow my dance step, then a few people began to follow and we had about seven. The others gradually left and that first girl danced a while longer. I talked to her afterward, and learned she was brought up as a Catholic, but was not satisfied with that and was exploring other religions. She said she went to the questions and answers tent and was impressed with what was said. She said she was from Bialastok, and I pointed out that one of the four girls dancing in front, Patricja. was also from Bialastok, and she could inform her about our programs there. She expressed interested in that but the friends she was with wanted to leave, and I never saw her again. I gave her my card, and if she writes me I will attempt to connect her again with Patricja.

Although most of the German people I talked to were either from Berlin or Saxony, just a bit to the south, I met one party from near Frankfurt. I explained to her that we have a farm just two hours by train from Frankfurt, and that we have a our biggest festival coming up on August 17. They took a picture of the contact details from a flyer the German devotees produced which has brief description of bhakti-yoga, as well as all contact information for all the temples in Germany and the other German speaking regions of Europe.

I talked to a man who had visited our Hare Krishna temple in Zurich years ago, and who said the Hare Krishnas had the best food in the world.

A new girl who came for the first time said she had three meals with us each day, and she found the food was better and better each time. I rejoiced hear of her great faith and love for prasadam.

During the Woodstock each year, Isabela of Kostrzyn invites friends stay at her family’s home in Kostrzyn, although she lives in Wroclaw now. She always brings her friends to our camp for the prasadam, spiritual food. She said she just had three friends stay this time, since when she had twelve stay it was too chaotic. It reminded me of how aging makes us less adventurous in that way.

All the devotees were saying that people were are getting more appreciative each year. People were more inclined to shake hands, slap hands, and even embrace the devotees, than before. So many people danced with us in the kirtanas with great happiness. Many chanted with joy. Some seemed to realize the more you put into it, the better it was.

One girl asked what drug we were on, and I explained that we were happy from chanting the mantra because it was a spiritual sound vibration. She responded, “Is the idea that you are so happy from the chanting that you do not feel the need to take any drug?” I replied, “Yes. You got it.” I was very happy she understood. It is a simple point, but a lot of people are so materially attached they cannot understand it.

Many people could understand there was some special energy in our Mantra Yoga tent. We would mention the spiritual energy when we explained the word “Hare” in the mantra. There is a spiritual energy the helps us to connect with God and a material energy that distances us from God. When we chant “Hare” we are calling to the spiritual energy to connect with God, Krishna.

After the Polish Woodstock, from the point of view of your body and mind, you are wiped out and are glad it is over, but from the spiritual point of view, you are sad it has come to an end, you feel affection for the others who shared the experience with you, and you look forward to next year for another opportunity to be an instrument in giving a higher taste of spiritual consciousness to thousands of people every day.

As it has been for the last 14 years, it was very fulfilling to see so many people happily coming in touch with the spiritual energy, and it was very fulfilling to be part of a very amazing team of devotees of different ages, different races, different nationalities, and different backgrounds, all cooperating together for the spiritual benefit of all those they contacted.

Thanks to Indradyuma Swami, and his leaders like Jayatam, Nandini, and Rasikendra Prabhus, and all those who played a part in the great sacrifice.

Harinama at the Train Station

I was very happy that Syama Rasa and Vishnu Puri Prabhus were very enthusiastic about coming on harinama with me at the train station in Kostrzyn the day after the Woodstock, where many, many hundreds of people were waiting for trains to different parts of Poland. Some of the people there were very happy to encounter the jolly Hare Krishnas once more before returning home. Some of them happily danced, sometimes in a circle around the chanting party. Many people reached out to receive the mantra cards I would show them as we passed. Devotees who were going to the train station on the way to their homes joined us briefly.


We felt Lord Caitanya blessed us for taking the trouble to go out and benefit the people even in our exhausted state. One devotee said he felt a burden of sin lifted from him. They all thanked me for inducing them to go out and chant.

Harinama on the Train to Poznan

I was hoping to catch a ride with some devotees to avoid having to ride the crowded Polish trains after the Woodstock and to avoid paying for the less crowded but expensive German ones, but all I could do was hope. Even though I took the train the two days after Woodstock, there were still no seats. In fact, I could see that the queue to buy tickets was so long I would miss my train, so I got on the train and bought the ticket on board.

On the train someone who plays in a band asked about my harmonium, and I used the opportunity to play and sing five Hare Krishna mantras. I could see a couple of the guys were into the chanting, and I later said if they would sing along, we could video it. The guy who played in the band volunteered to record the video, but because he was most enthusiastic, I said he should sing, and I found someone else to take the video (http://youtu.be/TSAEDUKIRSg).


I was still a little spaced from the festival, and I realized later that I should have passed out cards with the mantra and sang it responsively as we usually do. Tiredness really decreases the quality of my service and my appreciation of practically everything.

Czech Padayatra



Both my friends who organize and those who participate in the Czech Padayatra invited me to come this year. I had some time between the Polish and Czech Woodstocks, so it worked out. I had hoped to spend three or four days there, but because several potential rides from Kostrzyn, the place of the Polish Woodstock, fell through, and I had to unexpectedly take the train, thus I only had two and a half days on padayatra. Still it was worth it.

Lord Caitanya predicted that his holy name would be chanted in every town and village of the world, and we sometimes wonder how that will practically happen. Padayatra is an important way we can see this could happen. Almost every day the devotees and their ox cart go to a new town or village, and sometimes they chant through other villages on the way. Through padayatra, people get to experience the three main gifts of the Hare Krishna movement, the chanting of the holy name, the tasting of vegetarian food offered to Krishna, and the philosophy of the Vedic literature. Most of these people rarely go to the larger cities, like Prague, where devotees have a temple, chant on the street at least twice weekly and where there about seven Hare Krishna restaurants. Thus padayatra brings many people in touch with Krishna who would otherwise miss out. Thus I think that these devotees, lead by Muni Priya Prabhu, will get so much mercy from Lord Caitanya for performing that wonderful service.

On the way to Kyjov, the place of the padayatra, I chanted for an hour or so at Usti nad Orlici, a small city where I changed trains. One young boy who was with his mother gave me a small donation, and then stopped a little ways away, desiring to listen and not continue on his journey. After a while, his mom convinced him to continue. Sometimes you encounter people in tiny out of the way places who have some attraction to the chanting.

I was sad I missed the day’s padayatra, but the devotees did a harinama after lunch to advertise their evening program the next day, so as it turned out, counting the harinama in the middle of my journey, I ended up doing three hours of harinama on the first day as well. We had nine devotees chanting and five distributing books. As it was late in the day and most shops had closed, often there would more book distributors in the street than people.

The Czech book distributors are very enthusiastic. They try to never miss an opportunity to distribute a book. They would even approach bus drivers, from one side of the bus, or the other.


Last year they did 1,300 books on the whole padayatra, but this year they had already done 1,700 books when I joined them, and they still had several days to go. By the end they had exceeded the quota they strove for this year..

Padayatra has another nice feature beyond harinama and that is that the deities of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda come along. It is Their desire that the chanting be spread to every town and village, and Their visual presence is a reminder of that.

They stay outside on Their cart at night, and their pujari, Lila Mohini dresses them warmly. The sides of the cart are also covered to keep the wind and cold out.

Muni Priya Prabhu has been organizing the party for many years, and his son, who is now initiated as Nrsimha Caitanya Dasa, assists him. The party seems to run very smoothly.

The second day we did five hours of harinama where we were going to have the evening program. One young man danced a bit with us on harinama, and later came to the evening program. There he participated in kirtana and purchased a book. As we would chanting enroute to the next town the next day, he also spent a little time with our chanting party.

Muni Priya Prabhu asked me to speak briefly about their “Peace Walk.” I explained that on the material plane we have many differences. Some people are strong, some are weak, some are intelligent, some are not so intelligent. We have different races, genders, and nationalities. Even religion, which is meant to bring us together as children of one divine father, because of sectarianism, has become just another thing to divide us. Although different religions and philosophies describe us as all equal on the spiritual plane, generally we are offered no clear way of attaining practical realization of this truth. In our padayatra, our walking festival, we share with people three powerful spiritual activities that can help us to attain that spiritual plane where we experience all living entities, whether they be plants, animals, or human beings, to be children of one supreme spiritual father, and on which we can live in peace. These are the chanting of the Hare Krishna, study of the ancient Vedic literature, and tasting of food that is offered to God in devotion, In this way, we help to bring the people we meet to the spiritual plane, beyond our superficial differences which become the causes of conflict. We invite you to participate in these activities and get some experience of this truth.

The day we did the evening program in Kyjov, the local TV station did a story on the padayatra. If you know the Czech language or have someone to interpret it for you, you may like to see it at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3HXYoMciyc#t=269 It includes a brief interview with me in which I praise the enthusiasm of the Czech devotees for doing the event steadily.

It was beautiful to see all the kids who attended our Kyjov program chanting along with the devotees (http://youtu.be/S864KRzpx7k):


The third day we walked to a new city, Milotice, chanting for four and a quarter hours on the way, and we had an evening program there. As the evening program was at a different location than the school where we stayed, we took the ox cart to and from the evening program, and I led a kirtana each way.

The evening program consists of three or four kirtana segments, two or three bharat natyam dances, and a drama, “Liquid Beauty.” They give out gifts to those in the audience who participate most in the kirtana, like incense, pictures of Krishna, pictures of Srila Prabhupada, a picture of a horse, (there is a horse in the drama), and books.

One girl very happily showed her mom the picture of Krishna she won.

One older lady started moving her hands as if dancing while sitting on the bench. Later she got up and actually danced. At the end, she donated all kinds of vegetables from her garden.

People have a good time, hear and often also chant the holy name, and hear a little philosophy. At the beginning there were about 40 attenders in Milotice and at the height there may have been 55 people. An attendance of 80 is not uncommon for the evening programs and is considered a good evening.

Here is some video of the chanting there (http://youtu.be/7cbaVaZr4I4):



I appreciate that the Czech devotees let me sing on the harinamas, let me give the morning class, and let me give a lecture during the evening program, and thus I felt that I contributed something to the event. I am not so interested in just attending events for the sake of attending them. I like to make a contribution. Sometimes I go to some program, and even though I am the most senior person there, the leaders prefer to assign all the kirtanas and all the classes to others. I would rather go to places where the people think I have something to contribute. I do not think my contribution is greater than others. I just want to have the opportunity to share something, and just do my quota of the talking and the singing.

I am not a very charitable person, because I appreciated their program, I gave donations to the Czech padayatra, once when I left them, and then on Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa Puja day as I ended my final visit to Czech Republic.

Ancient Trance Festival

I went to the Ancient Trance Festival in Taucha, near Leipzig, for the second year. Sadbhuja Prabhu and a group of devotees from Germany regularly attend that event. They set up a yurt and have a campfire, and sing kirtana and tell spiritual stories late into the evening. They also give the people prasadam halavah or sweets from the restaurant. 


What I liked most about it was seeing how new people were very enthusiastic to chant and dance. Generally the people at that event are open to esoteric knowledge and are more receptive to hearing new ideas and trying new practices than at the concerts we go to.

You can see a little of that in this video (http://youtu.be/0enjl5qhSNw):



There I met two people I had just seen the week before at the Polish Woodstock, a girl from Belgium, and a boy from Germany. To Femke, the girl, who took prasadam with us at Ancient Trance Festival and was next visiting Prague, I gave an invitation to our restaurant there.

I was happy to learn that the Govinda catering business in Leipzig is now also a Govinda restaurant. They have three drivers, and people can order prasadam on the phone and have it delivered to their place, which is especially popular on lazy Sundays and rainy days. Five devotees, headed by Pradyumna Prabhu, work together on that business, and it is very stable. They catered the Ancient Trance Festival, and I was always happy to eat what they had made. Their vegan bread spread and their two pasta sauces were especially nice. Their granola bar sweets were also very tasty.

Leipzig Ratha-yatra


In the middle of the Ancient Trance festival, was the Leipzig Ratha-yatra. 


Kadamba Kanana Swami added a lot to the kirtana in the procession, chanting both at the beginning and also at the end.

I talked to a couple of onlookers who had encountered Hare Krishna but never Ratha yatra before. They followed the procession and soon became caught up in the chanting and dancing. I encouraged some of the local devotees to talk with them.


The route was in a crowded section of the market area and was better than previous years. Augustusplatz, the place of the stage show, was also a superior venue.

At the beginning their were few devotees, and I hoped more people would come from the German Kirtan Mela. Apparently people were give the chance to sign up for buses to the event, but no buses were organized. Still, by the end many devotees were participating and many people were attracted.

Bratislava

Apparently neither the devotees nor the other residents of Bratislava are enthusiastic to go out in public when it rains. I could not relate to rain as a reason to cancel harinama, especially after living so many months in the often rainy England, and so I took the tram downtown and chanted by myself at a tram stop sheltered from the rain, for an hour and twenty minutes.

One guy kicked my donation basket, scattering the coins I had placed in it, and showing disgust at the thought of helping me pick up the coins, continued on his way. Some others helped me pick up my coins, and one man who saw what happened asked if I was alright and contributed a few euro cents, but had no interest in an invitation to the temple.


A young man came up to me with a friend and showed me the invitation to our 26 Second Avenue Saturday programs that I gave him in New York City last fall. I gave him a card for our local temple in Bratislava, telling how it is easy to find by tram. He then told me that he was from France. His friend threw in a few coins, including one and a half Croatian kunas.

A man named Peter, who wore a single strand of tulasi neck beads, said he was aware of the temple. I invited him to my class that evening of the cosmology of the Bhagavatam. He did not come but gave a small donation.

That was all my interactions with people, except for an older man who smiled several times while saying “Hare Krishna” and a few Slovakian words the only one I could recognize was the equivalent for the word “ecstasy.”

Thus that day it seemed to me that Bratislava was one of those places where the cost of going downtown and back exceeds that amount that people contribute in charity, at least in an hour and twenty minutes. That is pretty amazing since the transportation is just 36% of what it costs in Manchester. In some places the rainy days are better than the sunny ones because the people appreciate the extra austerity of coming out in the rain.

The Bratislava devotees made up for it on the last day of my visit, as nine of them came out the morning before my bus to Prague and chanted for an hour. The weather was much better that day. We had seven men and three ladies in our party, and we followed their usual harinama route through the downtown. It seemed a little quieter than usual because it was morning. The tourists were the most excited to encounter us, and many took pictures of us. There is not so much for tourists to see in Bratislava, and I think we were probably the most exciting event of their day. I was happy that so many devotees were able and willing to adjust their schedule to come out.

Prague

A friend of mine, a Kadamba Kanana Swami disciple, Mayapur Chandrodaya Prabhu, invited me to come to Prague last April, and I told him the best day was the day before the Trutnov Open Air Music Festival (the Czech Woodstock). That is also Wednesday, one of the two regular harinama days in Prague. Vidya-vacaspati Prabhu, who has a lot of musical talent and great dedication to harinama, led kirtana as usual. We followed our usual route from Republic Square to Mustek, to the museum, to Old Town Square, to the bridge across the river, and back through Old Town Square to Republic Square.


Jasmine, a regular attendee of Krishna Lunch in Gainesville, recognized me while I was on the harinama. She was so happy to remember Krishna Lunch she wanted to embrace me. She has another year at University of Florida, so we will see her when we return. I told her about our main restaurant in Prague, so she could have more Krishna food, but it unlikely she would go, having a flight the next morning to Florida.

I met a lady who lives in Pushkar, Rajasthan, and who took pictures of our party with great happiness. She told me that she loves living in India, that she feels the people there have a lot to offer, and that this year she is planning to visit Vrndavana, the land of Krishna’s attractive childhood pastimes. I told her that Sunday is Krishna’s birthday, and asked if she would still be in Prague. When she said yes, I told her how we were having a big festival on that day on our farm, about an hour from the city, and she took down the contact details for it, and I gave her my card. She said she would definitely stop by our main restaurant in Prague the next day..

While I was talking to that lady, another asked me for directions to Govinda’s Restaurant, and I described how I had just gotten to the restaurant from Republic Square myself that very day.

One guy played his guitar for a while and danced with the men. Then he danced with the women.

As usual Prague harinama was filled with nice interactions with the public, and I was glad I took the trouble to come. Here is a little video from it (http://youtu.be/uOktodPYF0o):


Every Wednesday the devotees have an evening program in Govinda’s Butik, on the ground floor of the restaurant.

I volunteered to give the lecture and spoke on how Krishna reciprocates with our surrender, and how that might motivate us to surrender more and experience the nectar of Krishna’s infallible and blissful reciprocation.

I added a standing kirtana for ten or fifteen minutes at the end of the program, reminding the people that Srila Prabhupada’s original evening programs at 26 2nd Ave. ended with a final kirtana. and it was beautiful to see everyone chanting and dancing,


Kasturi Manjari Devi Dasi, who was my translator once recently on Czech padayatra was incredibly helpful, singing a nice initial kirtana, translating my lecture, and playing drum for my final kirtana.

Thanks to Nila Madhava and Mayapur Chandrodaya Prabhu for their hospitality at Harinam Mandir, a new project in downtown Prague, that provides accommodation, service, and worship opportunities in the city of Prague for several devotees.

Trutnov Open Air Music Festival (Czech Woodstock)

As we waited in line to register at the Trutnov Open Air Music Festival (Czech Woodstock), one guy played “My Sweet Lord” for us on his guitar (http://youtu.be/SmVcHIYMQOQ).





The opening ceremony included participation by both the Christians and the Hare Krishnas. 



The Christians went first, speaking, singing songs, and reading from their scripture.


Then Srila Prabhupada’s disciple, Guru Das Prabhu spoke. 



Punya Palaka Prabhu translated.


After speaking Guru Das Prabhu embraced the Christian priests.



Then Nrsimha Caitanya Prabhu led such a lively kirtana, that even the Christians clergyman were dancing.


At one point Harinamananda Prabhu swung some of the Christian men around in the kirtana.


Tulasi Sukova, a young devotee lady, swung one of the Christian ladies around.

A couple of the Christians were from Ukraine, and they held a Ukrainian flag on the stage. People expressed sympathy for the Ukrainians who are killed or displaced due to Russian aggression.



At one point, they were clapping during our Hare Krishna kirtana, while holding their Ukrainian flag at the same time!


After the opening program on the stage one jolly Christian preacher, who liked our kirtana very much, came to our Krishna camp along with his wife and talked with the devotees and had prasadam. 




The preacher’s wife was vegetarian and does tai-chi.

The first night during the evening kirtana in our Krishna camp one young man told me he remembered me from last year. He thought I was amazing. He said he liked how I danced in front of the stage with the onlookers last year. Although I was tired, and therefore unsociable, and thus more inclined to dance on our stage, I danced a little with the crowd in front of the stage just to please him. He ended up chanting along and also would sometimes join us dancing on the front of our stage in addition to dancing in the crowd. He came every day at least for some time, and you could see he really liked to sing and dance with the devotees.


Friday, the first full day of the festival, we always do a Ratha-yatra or harinama in the Trutnov city center and then through the Trutnov festival site and finally ending up at our Krishna Camp. 


In the town, we would chant on the sidewalks and streets. 


A man playing piano on the sidewalk played along with us. I caught the tail end of it one video (http://youtu.be/lNfk1r6iumo):




Some people are always willing to chant and dance with us during this event.


As the harinama party arrived at our Trutnov Krishna camp, I noticed one lady who was smiling radiantly and looking steadily in the direction of the kirtana party. I talked to her after the harinama was over. She explained that she and her husband had been coming to our camp for three years, and that they loved the chanting. They had been waiting all morning for us to begin our chanting, and so they were overjoyed when the kirtana party had arrived. They were from Brno, and I told them about our programs there. They live within a kilometer of our temple, and knew of a friend who had gone to it, and they promised they would visit after they returned home. They wrote me an email after the festival.

On Saturday, Hare Krishna devotees got to chant on the second stage at the Trutnov festival, which does not happen every year. One musician canceled, and we were given his slot. Noon is not a popular time, but a few people listened, chanted, and danced with us (http://youtu.be/F4sY9z9zkOg).


After we chanted on the second stage, we did a harinama to our Krishna camp at the event (http://youtu.be/3uyrYpXnEFU).



The people were so happy to chant with us!

Later in the festival we did another harinama through the woods where the vendors were set up as in the above video, and we were so inspired to see how people participated by singing, and dancing, and following our chanting party, some even coming back with us to our camp, that we all became more determined to return again to Trutnov next year to share kirtana with the people.

We had kirtana on our stage every day and a variety of devotees led. There were Nrsimha Caitanya, Vidya Vicaspati, and Punya Palaka Prabhus to name a few (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGerEnGdI0xKN9UF5OWRB4MPOow_2jaWa):



Our audience was so enthusiastic, they kept chanting between kirtana singers and the devotees encouraged them (http://youtu.be/7198bOoc6dY):



The World Harinama Party went to Prague to do harinama on Janmastami and then to attend the festival at the Czech farm, but I stayed at the Trutnov festival. Gaura Karuna Prabhu gave me a Bhagavad-gita As It Is and two Krishna book, volume twos, telling me to distribute them. I am not a real book distributor but how could I turn down the chance to distribute books which are so dear to Srila Prabhupada on such an auspicious day as Janmastami. Amazingly enough, talking to no more than eight people, I was able, relatively effortlessly to distribute all the books.


Karel of Trutnov bought Bhagavad-gita As It Is.


A student at Hradec Kralov bought a copy of Krishna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Part Two, and immediately began reading it.




Martin (right) of Žamberk bought bought Krishna: The Supreme Personality 
of Godhead, Part Two. He and Oto (left) are friends from high school. Oto is from Brno but will study in Prague beginning this fall.

Our leader, Punya Palaka Prabhu, has different friends he sometimes engages in performing on our Krishna camp stage. On Sunday, the final day of the festival, and the auspicious Janmastami day, Dasa Vokata, “the mother of the Czech underground”, along with her partner, Olda Kaiser, sang the Hare Krishna mantra to the tune made popular by George Harrison in “My Sweet Lord.” According to Punya Palaka, “It was quite something. They have been a popular couple since the 80s, even in the mainstream society, often appearing on TV and in the most prominent movies.” What amazing good fortune for them to sing Hare Krishna on Janmastami to an receptive audience! (http://youtu.be/GoMtTLWXA3U)


Before that Jirka Labusa, famous Czech actor and colleague of Olda Kaiser, read from Krishna book on our stage.

In previous years we would chant late into the evening at our Krishna Camp stage. People would drop by our place after the bands finished on the main stage for a final kirtana of the year. Martin, the Trutnov organizer and friend of the devotees, got complaints from neighbors for the loud music extending late into the night and had to pay expensive fines. Thus he told our Krishna organizer, Punya Palala Prabhu, that we had to end at midnight. I did not know that, and as everyone’s voice was scratchy from singing so much, I got to sing the last kirtana. I sang from midnight to 12:30 a.m. on Janmastami, the time of the traditional midnight arati on that day, a singing opportunity I never would have gotten at any temple. I sang simple, lively tunes, and I saw many people dance, with quite a good number chanting. One middle aged lady took a lot of video of it. That made it a very rewarding Janmastami for me. After the kirtana I honored the prasadam I had stashed for the midnight break fast.

Desiring to hear the glorification of Srila Prabhupada on his Vyasa Puja Day, after sleeping just two hours and fifteen minutes, I took three buses and a metro to the Czech farm where guest speakers Guru Das Prabhu and Kadamba Kanana Swami were observing that festival with the Czech devotees. Notes on the wonderful words spoken are included in the insights section below.

I was defeated by the feast, which seemed to never stop, as they served everyone plenty of Srila Prabhupada’s maha-prasadam from the many offerings made by the devotees in addition to the feast preparations. I had to say “no” to maha, something I never do.

Gaura Karuna Prabhu, in his liberality, let me keep the profit from my Janmastami book sales. I donated half to the Czech Padayatra and also supported the Czech farm by buying prasadam for my journey to Paris the next day.

Insights

Srila Prabhupada:

As we are becoming purified by hearing about Krishna, the gopis became purified by dancing with Krishna.

The dirty thing is “I will be happy by material sense enjoyment.” That we must counteract.

from Krishna, Chapter 1:

Those who are demoniac or atheistic by nature can hardly assimilate any good instruction, however authorized it may be. That is the difference between demigod and demon. Those who can accept good instruction and try to live their lives in that way are called demigods, and those who are unable to take such good instruction are called demons.”

Narottama Dasa Thakura:

from Prema-bhakti-candrika, Chapter One:

Text 7

The various characteristics of loving devotional service have been deliberately described by these two great personalities [Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis] in their books. One who hears these descriptions feels transcendental happiness in his heart and takes shelter of the sweet Divine Couple.”

Text 10

My desire is to have my heart purified by the statements of the Vaisnavas, scriptures and spiritual master and seeing the unity of these three I will always float in the ocean of love of God.”

from Prema-bhakti-candrika, Chapter Three: Atma-nivedanam (“Self-surrender”):

O Lord, Narottama is very unhappy. Please make me happy by inspiring me to perform sankirtana.

Indradyumna Swami:

You have come from all different countries, even nations at war with each other [Russia and Ukraine], and you are working together. This is because you have the spiritual vision that all are souls and all are equal. Srila Prabhupada described this movement as the United Nations of the spiritual world.

You have come to share Krishna’s message of peace and love with anyone who comes to the festival for whatever reason.

Why are we sharing the holy name with all the drunks at Woodstock? Some people may ask what is the point of sharing something so great with those who cannot appreciate it. Those people do not understand the power of the holy name. The holy name creates within people the impetus for spiritual life.

Srila Prabhupada said humorously that as Lord Ramacandra conquered Ravana with an army of monkeys and bears, he with his disciples was spreading Krishna’s message in this world.

Krishna performed His pastimes as if on a stage to attract people, but Lord Caitanya brings the audience up on the stage and engages them in the pastimes so they may become attracted to be part of them.

The sages at Naimisaranya desired to benefit the people in general by stopping the influence of the age of Kali. We are following in their footsteps by thinking how to spiritual benefit the hundreds of thousands of people who have come for Woodstock.

Devotees in our sampradaya have a history of being innovative in thinking of ways to attract people to Krishna, and we try to following in their footsteps. We have some bands the people like playing in our tent, and these attract 10,000 people a night, and then the people become attracted by the prasadam and the kirtana.

We are all liberated, or almost so, and we do not have any problems except those in our minds, and in a few short years we will be back in the spiritual world. Therefore we can focus on our service to help the people.

We watch people come in touch with Krishna for the first time. There is something special about that first time. These kids are taking their first steps to Krishna, and that is wonderful for us. We do not care about what they look like or the mistakes they make. We are just happy they are performing devotional service for the first time.

I think of how pleased Srila Prabhupada is for you cooperating together and how you will get unlimited benefit.

Prabhupada told Guru das, “The Krishna consciousness movement will save the world in its darkest hour.”

Prabhupada said, “We will take over the world with culture.”

Someone told us, “The Christians just come and preach but you Hare Krishnas put on a great festival.”

We should always maintain a feeling of humility. We were doing just the same things as them a very short time ago. We are not better than them, just a little more fortunate, and we want to make them more fortunate.

Srila Prabhupada said in Geneva, “I have been everywhere and seen everything, and my advice is to take sannyasa.

The kirtana in the mantra yoga tent is probably the most important part of the festival. Do not stay up in front and dance; bring the others in. This festival is to facilitate them.

Chaturatma Prabhu:

You are in the right place at the right time and with the right people. This is one of the best opportunities to share the holy name with hundreds of the thousands of people. Every morning thank the Lord that you are able to be part of this great opportunity to spread Krishna consciousness.

a senior devotee guest at the Polish Woodstock:

You cannot beat the words of Lord Caitanya. This sankirtana is the prime benediction. It is the nectar for we are always anxious.

If you have no taste, associate with someone who has the taste.

Bada Haridas Prabhu:

Like Caturatma said, I would like to give you all a big hug.

Although some of you have your own personal difficulties, you have come out here to benefit others. That is Vaishnava.

We just need the eyes to see how Lord Caitanya’s mercy is flowing.

It takes some time to attain perfection, but the result one receives from chanting or hearing the holy name, is that he is freed from hellish conditions.

We see young people who never met Srila Prabhupada who have dreams of Srila Prabhupada and who have taken Krishna consciousness very seriously.

Our whole idea of getting mercy is to show mercy.

Guru Das Prabhu:

Srila Prabhupada asked me to ask the American ambassador to give the devotees a house for the American devotees in Delhi. It was Sunday, so I had do go to the ambassador’s house. His wife answered the door and was furious. She did not robes and shaved heads, especially on Westerners. She slammed the door. I stayed in the driveway and chanted. The ambassador came with the car, and asked what he could do. I said that I was a disciple of Bhaktivedanta Swami and I was from Brooklyn, and I needed to talk to him. He knew that his wife would be upset and took me to the furthest part of the property to talk. I said that my guru wanted a free building for his American disciples studying in Delhi. He did not go for that, and I presented Srila Prabhupada’s plan two, that we would be willing to pay for such a building, in any currency of the world.

People tend to deify Srila Prabhupada, but he came in human form, and his humanity is most endearing to me. He appears to have had to struggle with the same things that confront us.

The Swamiji before Srila Prabhupada was very compassionate, smiling, etc.

Srila Prabhupada tamed his disciples in different ways.

Because of Srila Prabhupada’s pure actions Krishna bestowed His mercy upon him.

Srila Prabhupada missed India, especially Vrindavana.

Once Acyutananda wanted me to preach in yellow. Why? Because I was grahasta but I was preaching. I could not relate to it and neither could Srila Prabhupada. There is enough separation in our movement, what to speak of the world!

More than once Srila Prabhupada went to the office in New York where the boats are dispatched to India. The man in the office said, “You come here to look at the times, but you never go.”
Srila Prabhupada said, “No, I cannot go. I have to stay here and execute my mission, but still I have this desire to go. So I come here.”

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura had a disciple who was a thief. He confessed to Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura that he still had a desire to steal, but not for the things, but to see the people’s reaction afterward. Wise Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura asked the disciple if he did it one more time, would he get it out of his system? He said yes. So Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura told him to move the pilgrims stuff into another room.

One lesson to learn from the story of Narada and his disciple the snake is that we should use our propensities in Krishna’s service.

Slowly, slowly, Swamiji charmed us into becoming devotees.

He never demanded anything. His trunk was his desk. He walked long distances and quickly.

He said to study nature for it is a high manifestation of Krishna.

On his morning walk, he would use nature to teach us things.

As Srila Prabhupada saw the good in us, I understood we should see the good in each other.

During a walk, a policemen leaned out of the window of his car, and said, “Hiya Swamiji!” Srila Prabhupada commented, “He has heard us on the radio show.”

Going with Srila Prabhupada was always fun. So many unexpected things would happen. These were miracles. Miracles are defined as deviations from normal.

In the midst of chaos, Srila Prabhupada would be peaceful.

I had so much association with Srila Prabhupada, I often think when confronted by a bewildering circumstance, “What would Prabhupada do?”

We have so much to be thankful for! We have a nice way of life. We have nice people to associate with, beautiful people who talk about high-minded things, not just passing sense gratification.

As Srila Prabhupada said, he has given us a tangible way of life.

As he smiled and encouraged us, I am sure he would smile and encourage you because you are doing the same things he taught.

He just wanted us to be happy. Like a material father, he just wanted us to be happy.

Q: What was Srila Prabhupada’s idea of the brahmacarini ashram? Some people say it is unnatural.
A: He did not tell the unmarried ladies it would be better if they were married. He did feel everyone should be protected. He dealt with them individually.

Srila Prabhupada’s proof that the brahmacaris and brahmacarinis were satisfied was they were happy living on their respective floors of the ashram without mixing.

If Srila Prabhupada comes to you in a dream, you should take it as a great blessing.

Jeep story.

In the beginning there was not so much quarreling, but then people developed different ways of seeing and doing things.

Dasa anudasa [thinking ourselves the servant of the servants of Krishna] can save the world if we take it seriously.

Srila Prabhpada would say things like, “the table can come here,” as if the table were a person.

We are all individuals. Even our watches have different times.

If you are absorbed in the ecstasy of serving Krishna, how do you have time to quarrel?

Try to keep a sense of humor, keep a sense of time, and be humble like a tree, even if someone carves his initials in you.

Every place I go I see the devotees are so nice. But I have to realize that the devotees are being so nice to me. Sometimes people say the other devotees are not always as nice as they are to me, but they can be that nice, because they are that nice to me. Acting in that way can eliminate quarrel.

These are Yamuna’s karatalas. They are magic. He rings them. [They rang for a long time.] One man in Hawaii originally joined in London. After 35 years, he admitted to me, “I stole Yamuna's karatalas, and I returning to you.”

Madhudvisa Swami had just become a swami, and he was determined to not associate with women. He would try to avoid thinking of women, and reading about women. When he had been a swami for just a week, Srila Prabhupada sent Madhudvisa Swami alone with Yamuna Devi to Jaipur. Sometimes they would have to go places by rickshaw. The rickshaw was small, and Yamuna was large. He said, “I tried to put my danda [rod the swamis carry] between us, but I could not help rubbing up against her.” But gradually he came to see things on spiritual plane that it did not matter.

Yamuna’s motto about bhakti was, “If you live it, you can give it.”

No one would sell karatalas, mrdangas, and Srila Prabhupada’s books to Siddha- svarupa Swami’s hippy-like followers, so I did. I sold them $309 worth, and someone told on me to Prabhupada. I was called in. He asked if I had sold books, etc. to those people. I said yes. He said with happiness, “They are reading my books? They are doing kirtana in the streets?” He said this to minimize those who protested my action.

Srila Prabhupada did not like artificiality and pettiness.

I could never lie to Prabhupada. The first time I tried, he read my mind and busted me. It was terrible.

What would Srila Prabhupada do?” If I could not understand how to a apply the scripture in my life, I would think “What would Srila Prabhupada do?”

George Harrison chose Prabhupada as his guru like I did by seeing that Prabupada was such a great personality and yet he was so human. George said that Srila Prabhupada made him feel so comfortable. He made us all feel so comfortable. That is why we joined him. Even when he chastised us, as for delaying the Krishna-Balaram temple opening, it was like a caress.

At a George Harrison celebration in Berkeley, there was a problem with the sound system. The musician playing at the time had played sitar since age 3. He was a showman though, and would do amazing rifts just to impress the audience. He said he had never experienced such a terrible sound system in his life. He was about to leave. Then a devotee leaped out of the crowd and adjusted the system so he could continue.

The Govardhan pastime is special because all the residents of Vrndavana can see Krishna for seven days straight. At one point Krishna lets the hill shake, and the gopas and gopis rush to help Him. But does He need our help? Does he need our wealth? No, he wants our love. It is all about loving Krishna, loving the devotees, and loving the people in general.

Prabhupada said the two secret weapons of Krishna consciousness are prasadam and kirtana.

One day Srila Prabhupada told us, “This is the appearance of Lord Caitanya. Stay in the temple and chant japa and kirtana.” And he gave us a manuscript of Sri Caitanya-caritamrita he had worked on. So we did that. He told us to fast. Around 1:00 p.m. even the most advanced of us got restless. We decided to go out and chant in the street. We chanted outside his apartment, he came to the window and gestured to us, by waving his arms downward. We took it as he was upset that we disobeyed his order to stay in the temple. We were crestfallen and started walking back to the temple. Upendra Prabhu came running after us, saying Prabhupada wanted to see us. We were frightened about what Srila Prabhupada would say, but what he said was wonderful, “Lord Caitanya has given you the intelligence to chant outside the temple. This is called harinama-sankirtana. Now do this every day.” That is how harinama started in California.

There was an unconscious rivalry between San Francisco and New York. The New Yorkers were by the book, and we were by the heart. I am not advocating one way or another. Both are important.

Jaya Gurudeva Prabhu [a Prabhupada disciple from Czech Republic]:

I was with some summer students in India. I felt a pain in my heart of separation from my godbrothers. Next we visited the ISKCON temple in Bhubhanesvara. I saw arrangements for a festival, and inquired about it. They said it was the Vyasa Puja of Gaura Govinda Swami. My godbrother Gaura Govinda Swami was being honored, and my godbrother Subhaga Swami was speaking and conversed with me afterward. The pain of separation went away.

When you think of Srila Prabhupada he is there, and he responds.

Guru Gauranga Prabhu was my vartma pradarsika guru [the person who showed me the spiritual path]. When I was initiated, Guru Gauranga told Srila Prabhupada, “This boy is from Czechoslovakia.”
“Is it a small country?” he asked.
“Yes, it is small country,” I replied.
Srila Prabhupada said, “I want you to translate my books into Czechoslovakian.”
When my godbrothers asked what name I was given, Guru Gauranga Prabhu shouted “Jaya Gurudeva.” Srila Prabhupada added from the vyasasana, “Das!”

The day after the Prague Ratha yatra, the Prague paper had the headline, “Lord Jagannatha Visits Our City of Prague.”

Mahadyuti Prabhu:

Some devotees speak their offerings as though speaking to Srila Prabhupada and others as if speaking about Srila Prabhupada.

I was never good at speaking to Srila Prabhupada. When I came within 5 meters of him, my body would start shaking. I was terrified of him. Once I tried speaking directly to Srila Prabhupada, and he shouted at me.

Some people say you should not compare gurus. I do not know about that. Srila Prabhupada is the best guru. He was especially empowered by Krishna to preach Krishna consciousness at a certain time and place and under certain circumstances. He had to undergo extreme austerity. Others had the same opportunity to spread Krishna consciousness before Srila Prabhupada. They had the same knowledge, and they had the same facility, in other words, they also had nothing. But they did not do it. Even among extraordinary gurus Srila Prabhupada is super extraordinary, and it is important that we keep that understanding within us and express it through our activities.

Sometimes devotees are in a quandary about a certain issue, whether we should to this or that, and they consult their friends, a sannyasi, or a senior devotee, but what amazes me is sometimes Srila Prabhupada is the only person they do not consult. That is unfortunate and also a little scary. Actually now people have more access to Srila Prabhupada and his teachings than his disciples did. If you have a computer and an internet connection, you can access practically all of his teachings. It is important we stay united around Srila Prabhupada and his teachings. There are others that represent Srila Vyasadeva, but they do that by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada. Without Srila Prabhupada they would not be doing anything.

We must continually try to increase the quantity of our service to Srila Prabhupada’s mission and try to improve the quality of our service to his mission.

The debt we have to Srila Prabhupada is impossible to repay, but it is our duty to try to the best of our ability.

Kadamba Kanana Swami:

from his Vyasa Puja offering to Srila Prabhupada:
We didn’t really know Krishna, but you convinced us that He is God, first of all by your own incredible dedication to Him, by basing everything you said on scripture, and by using logical arguments. And simultaneously you melted our hearts with prasadam and kirtana.

In your maturity you brought to the West the fruits of a lifetime dedicated to Krishna, of being a disciple of a great spiritual master. You were the great lover of Krishna, the wise grandfatherly person with the perfect human touch. You were the expert manager. You sang with a strong and melodious voice and were an expert mridanga player and an excellent cook. You were the perfect leader, with all the necessary experience, and in the process you just transcended old age.”

Trilokatma Prabhu:

There is a science in the Vedic scripture of omens. Some people perform activities to counteract inauspiciousness, but that comes in the karma-kanda section of the Veda and is not of interest to devotees. Srila Prabhupada explains that only by Krishna consciousness can you eliminate all material inauspicious.
Our happiness and distress in this life comes from our actions in our past life, and only by engaging in devotional service can we surpass it.

People wonder why they encounter suffering in this life. Suffering can inspire us to inquire about higher truth. By not trying to counteract negative things we show we are surrendered to our destiny.

Srila Prabhupada did not want us to wait for or plan for future happiness, rather we act to please Krishna.

We may make elaborate plans for future happiness, but we practically see that material nature can and does easily frustrate our plans.

Some people argue against the idea of free will saying that because of our conditioning we are not actually free.

Our Vaishnava philosophy explains we have two options: (1) to try to enjoy without reference to Krishna and (2) to try to enjoy in relationship with Krishna. If we think we can enjoy without Krishna we become controlled by the three modes of material nature. Then our expression of free will is limited. For example, as a cow, we can choose to eat grass here or to eat grass there. We imagine that we can enjoy in so many ways, but that is due to our lack of vision. We are like animals within an enclosure who can only choose to go here or go there within that enclosure.

The dying person can see the servants of Yamaraja coming for him at the time of death. The pastime of Ajamila is evidence of this. When the gross body fails, still the subtle body functions.

Some people who got the book Second Chance and previously had near-death experiences told the book distributors that they actually saw those beings that come and get you at death [the servants of Yamaraja] that are described in the book.

Only by surrendering to Krishna can we counteract inauspicious things in our lives.

Krishna takes all the karma at the time of initiation but leaves enough to inspire us to take our spiritual path seriously.

Whatever happens to the devotee, he sees as directly under the control of Krishna for his ultimate benefit.

In the form of paramatma, Krishna is waiting to reciprocate as a living entity surrenders in some way or other.

We can only stay in the society of devotees by Krishna’s mercy, and we should always pray for Krishna’s mercy.

When we put our service to Krishna first in our life, then everything becomes very easy.

Srila Prabhupada expected that those he initiated would dedicate their lives fully to Krishna’s service.

That we are all choosing to serve Krishna with our free will is what we have in common despite our many differences.

We should not focus on the defects of devotees. There are others whose service it is to regulate the lives of the devotees.

Everyone has responsibility for himself and how he is representing this Krishna consciousness movement.

We try to change what we can influence, and tolerate that which beyond our control.

How we react in the moment makes our future.

Even when we are under the three modes of matter, we have the free will to surrender to God or to try to make a material solution.

comment by Avadhuta Prabhu: It seems we have the choice to accept that what happens to us is proper or that it is improper. If we are humble and we have an idea of the Supreme, we will accept it is proper. [As a doctor, he experiences that many patients do not accept what happened to them is fair.]

Jivananda Prabhu:

The hippies were very attached to doing just the opposite of what Srila Prabhupada taught by engaging in illicit sex and intoxication, but because they chanted Hare Krishna they changed.

We may not be great preachers but we can give the people Srila Prabhupada’s books, and by reading them they can become purified.

Even a small child can take part in chanting and even take part in preaching.

In our own lives, through the chanting we have changed so much.

Previously very few people were vegetarian. Now there are many. We can see this Krishna consciousness movement is having an effect.

It is not necessary to travel outside our country. Even within our countries there are plenty of places no one has ever chanted Hare Krishna.

In society, people take care of the dogs with such dedication it is as if they are deities. Instead of going back to Godhead, they are going back to doghead.

-----

nitya-siddha krishna-prema ‘sadhya’ kabhu naya
sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya


Pure love for Krishna is eternally established in the hearts of the living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, this love naturally awakens.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 22.107)