Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 15, No. 19
By Krishna Kripa Das
(October 2019, part one)
New York City and Boston
(Sent from New York City on October 19, 2019)
Where I Went and What I Did
October started off with a very successful harinama in Boston on its first day. The rest of the first half of the month I remained with the Yuga Dharma Ashram harinama party, chanting Hare Krishna for six hours a day in New York City, except a few days when I was sick and only did four or five hours. Our ashram and harinama were visited by Kadamba Kanana Swami, a great blessing for us. Also Krishna Kshetra Swami visited New York City and spoke at 26 Second Avenue.
I share an excerpt from a lecture by Srila Prabhupada. I share a quote by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. I share notes on classes at 26 Second Avenue by Chandra Shekhara and Krishna Kshetra Swamis. I share notes on classes by Kadamba Kanana Swami at the Bhakti Center and at the Yuga Dharma Ashram. I also share notes on classes by Rama Raya, Keshav Anand, and Mahotsaha Prabhus.
Thanks to Nanda Gopal Prabhu of Hartford for his donation covering the cost of my visit there to see Niranjana Swami later this month. Thanks to Yamuna Bihari Prabhu for his very generous donation back in September.
Thanks to Kaliya Krishna Prabhu for his videos of Natabara Gauranga Prabhu and Devarsi Narada Prabhu chanting in Penn Station subway station and for his photo of Roger Spottiswoode with Mahotsaha Prabhu.
October 1 – December: NYC Yuga Dharma harinamas
November 1–3: Bhaktivedanta Institute cosmology conference in Gainesville, Florida
January–April 2020: North Florida colleges, mostly Florida State University
After visiting my relatives on Martha’s Vineyard, I decided to do harinama in Boston instead returning to New York as I could not get there in time for the New York harinama. The week before I told my plan to Chatamayi Devi Dasi, a Boston devotee who loves harinama, and I encouraged her to tell all the devotees who might be inclined to come. We settled on 4:30–7:30 p.m., beginning on Newbury Street, a busy shopping street in Boston, and ending at the Copley metro station. I was surprised beyond my expectations since during the three hours 17 devotees participated. Only two were temple residents, the others being part of the congregation. One couple who sets up a book table during the weekly Friday harinama in Boston attended with their book table. A couple of college-aged girls came by and bought a Bhagavad-gita and a Science of Self-Realization. We had plenty of “On Chanting Hare Krishna” pamphlets and prasadam lollipops to distribute, and the children even helped with the distribution. We got a late start, which is never a surprise, but we did chant 3 hours from 4:53 to 7:53 p.m. Eyni, who I knew from Newcastle, attended, with her new initiated name, Ekalesvari Devi Dasi, along with her husband, Aravind, and they each led the chanting at one point toward the end. Many, many thanks to Chatamayi Devi Dasi and all the Boston devotees who took the trouble to come out for harinama on a Tuesday evening.
Chatamayi Devi Dasi chants Hare Krishna outside Copley station in Boston on a spontaneous Tuesday evening harinama she organized (https://youtu.be/Th55mLeoCTM):
Shyam Rupa Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Boston (https://youtu.be/6_Klz_y0amo):
Radheshyam Prabhu of Pune chants Hare Krishna in Boston (https://youtu.be/qUXFMQ_oi38):
Arjun Shyamsundar Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Boston (https://youtu.be/7trH4TzSn9A):
Ekalesvari Devi Dasi chants Hare Krishna in Boston, accompanied by her husband, Aravind, on harmonium (https://youtu.be/0DeqSMHa_yM):
Aravind chants Hare Krishna accompanied by youthful Subhadra, who is enthusiastically learning harmonium (https://youtu.be/TM5MrwW7rYM):
Chanting Hare Krishna in New York City
Some people working on a film asked me if they could film us. I said yes, and I gave them Natabara Gauranga Prabhu’s phone number. Unfortunately, I was not there when they came the next week as I left a little early being sick, but a most amazing thing happened.
A famous director, Roger Spottiswoode, came by. Mahotsaha Prabhu recalls the interaction:
“He’s making an upcoming film called Either Side of Midnight. It’s a multicultural film about New York City. He’s a really nice gentleman who was speaking to Natabara Gauranga Prabhu for a while about filming us along with the harinama party doing a stand up kirtan. He wanted me to stand in front of the kirtan party and when the main actor passed by I would stop him and ask him to chant with us. The film story is about a Jewish man who’s on a journey to meet up with his girlfriend who’s all the way across town. Along the way he meets various people from different religions and interacts with them. He came up to me before they started filming and explained the whole process and what they were planning to do so I just told him jokingly that we’ll do it if he takes some of our books. I showed him a ‘Sapta’ [set of seven hardbound books] and he said, ‘Ok, I’ll take it.’ He gave a very generous donation for our participation in the film so I also added the Lilamrita set.”
Kadamba Kanana Swami chants Hare Krishna with the Yuga Dharma Ashram harinama party in Union Square (https://youtu.be/5Ahx6vxSy4U):
Kadamba Kanana Swami chants Hare Krishna with the Yuga Dharma Ashram harinama party in Atlantic Ave. / Barclays Center subway station in Brooklyn under the uptown 2 and 3 train (https://youtu.be/C8QeyosABNw):
Kadamba Karana Swami led such a fired up kirtan that an MTA employee felt it interfered with customers hearing the subway announcements, and he engaged the police in restricting us.
The policemen were good-natured, saying that they personally liked the music, and they ate the cookies we offered them, which usually policemen do not do. Fortunately, they allowed us to continue but without the amplifier.
The policemen were good-natured, saying that they personally liked the music, and they ate the cookies we offered them, which usually policemen do not do. Fortunately, they allowed us to continue but without the amplifier.
Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna to a Madhava tune in Atlantic Ave. / Barclays Center subway station in Brooklyn (https://youtu.be/oUgi5ycjPcc):
Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna to a Madhava tune at Penn Station subway station below the uptown A/C/E trains, and I dance. Video by Kaliya Krishna Prabhu (https://youtu.be/eb8CJUpf5o0):
Devarsi Narada Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Penn Station subway station. Video by Kaliya Krishna Prabhu (https://youtu.be/yVR-8t7-6oI):
Krishna Nama Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Union Square (https://youtu.be/_A0ET_1Ps_4):
Krishna Prasad Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Jackson Heights / Roosevelt Avenue subway station in Queens, and two guys play shakers and dance as their friends watch and take pictures (https://youtu.be/k1psU8B66JU):
A man who buys seven books plays karatalas as Devarsi Narada Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Jackson Heights / Roosevelt Avenue subway station in Queens (https://youtu.be/0JXUzOW34yk):
Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Union Square (https://youtu.be/uJjj67nDf_I):
Damodara Prasad Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Union Square (https://youtu.be/BiS3q_kS2GM):
Devarsi Narada Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Times Square (https://youtu.be/vFrs4o8hYSc):
Priya Krishna Prabhu, who often joins the Yuga Dharma Ashram team on Saturdays, making a nice lunch for them as well, chants Hare Krishna in Times Square subway station (https://youtu.be/0A68_ODIrh4):
Bhakti Lata chants Hare Krishna in Times Square subway station (https://youtu.be/4d3yHIaVsm8):
Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Times Square subway station and some devotees dance while others pack up for the evening a little earlier than usual, being displaced by a musician (https://youtu.be/YX-68L4m1qY):
Each year in October, our Yuga Dharma Ashram harinama party has to move 20 feet to the south to facilitate the building of a sukkah, a tabernacle, used in the Jewish week-long festival Sukkot.
The devotees noticed after constructing the building this year, which was bigger than ever, the Jews painted it orange.
Mahotsaha Dasa Brahmachari had this brief conversation with them about that:
Mahotsaha: I like that color.
Jewish guy: Yeah. It matches you guys.
Jewish guy: Don’t worry. We are all on the same team.
Krishna Prasad Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Union Square, and Nadia dances. Both Krishna Prasad and Nadia were formerly in Krishna House in Gainesville, as was Kalki Prabhu, who is distributing books (https://youtu.be/9c5ZuOf0Y9c):
Nadia of Mexico, who lived at Krishna House in Gainesville during the spring semester, chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, during a brief visit to New York from her present residence in Guadalajara, Mexico (https://youtu.be/y7Vpyy9vgmc):
Devarsi Narada Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Union Square and three ladies play shakers and dance, the one on the right being the mother of the one in the center (https://youtu.be/N9JSQ3QQQIA):
Priya Krishna Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Union Square with Yuga Dharma Ashram devotees, who are visited by a congregational group from ISKCON Hartford (https://youtu.be/wOfqbQz1pQQ):
Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna to a Madhava tune at Union Square, a passerby plays shakers, and several dance, including some of the Hartford devotees (https://youtu.be/LRmXAh3tV_s):
Murli Krishna Prabhu, who used to chant Hare Krishna in public in New York City with Aindra Prabhu in the 1980s, chants Hare Krishna at Union Square with the Yuga Dharma Ashram harinama party (https://youtu.be/RFptX0grEMY):
Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Times Square, and a costumed man dances (https://youtu.be/BuEJinLbLW8):
Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Times Square, and three girls chant the Hare Krishna mantra (https://youtu.be/bZhtskSCvhw):
Waking up sleeping souls: Kaliya Krishna Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Union Square, and a drunk man gradually revives and bows down (https://youtu.be/7VgjVvPh_Dw):
I went to the doctor for my yearly physical one day and noticed above quote on his wall which I missed the previous year.
Yuga Dharma Ashram devotees riding the subway to harinama.
What do you do when you have lots of leftover bread and bread crumbs?
Make bread upma!
From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.18 in Mayapur on September 28, 1974:
“Krishna is so kind. He’s personally teaching. That is perform yajna. He’s personally chanting, dancing, Caitanya Mahaprabhu. . . . Personally He’s teaching us, ‘Perform this yajna, you rascal, and you’ll get everything. You’ll get everything.’ Now, where is the proof? The proof is Krishna consciousness movement. We are simply chanting Hare Krishna maha-mantra and spending crores [tens of millions] of rupees. Simply.”
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:
“The chanting of Krishna’s name is the only meditation, the only sacrifice, the only worship in this Kali age—the name is the means, the name is the end.”
Chandra Shekhara Swami, who regularly speaks at 26 2nd Avenue in New York City, chants Hare Krishna after a Saturday night Bhagavad-gita class there (https://youtu.be/_ymy4Cu8zhA):
If we have faith in something but we do not focus on it, then what kind of faith is it?
We often think that skeptics and atheists do not have faith, but they do have faith. They just have faith in something else.
When you get on an airplane you have faith. You have a lot of faith. You have faith in the pilot, in the mechanics who checked out the plane, and in the TSA authorities, that they did their job and no one with a gun is on the plane.
The whole world is a slosh of the three modes of material nature, both within and without.
In the mode of passion, we are always trying to get ahead, and our happiness is tied to our success and failure.
We already have faith but in material things, however, if we learn to act in the mode of goodness, we will come to have faith in the Supreme Lord.
By engaging in devotional service, our faith is transmuted from faith in material things to faith in the Supreme Lord.
We may say we have faith in something, but what we give our money to, what we give our time to, and what we do first, all these are indications of what we actually have faith in.
The more we realize that sense gratification will never actually satisfy us the more we can take to devotional service.
Faith has a bad rap in modern society because faith usually means blind faith, and blind faith is never good.
We know if you have faith in Krishna, you will come to see Krishna face to face, either in this life or a future one.
There is as much faith in science as there is in any other thing.
When Srila Prabhupada described Krishna consciousness as a science of self-realization he meant that it is structured, it is detailed, and it delivers the result that is promised.
Krishna Kshetra Swami:
Krishna Kshetra Swami chants Hare Krishna at 26 Second Avenue after his lecture on Bhagavad-gita (https://youtu.be/PGFKk2g0itE):
Nothing happens nowadays without being plugged in. Have you noticed that? Nothing happens without being wired up.
In Srila Prabhupada’s 1966 diary, he would daily record different things:
1. his expenses
2. his income
3. the selling of his books
4. his visits with others
5. his correspondence
He would often say that someone said they would visit but they didn’t.
Thomas Hopkins has deep appreciation of Srila Prabhupada, his movement, and his books. The subject of his dissertation at Yale in 1962 was Srimad-Bhagavatam. He would tell us, “Call me Tom.” He was amazed to visit 26 Second Avenue and see on a table Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad-Bhagavatam. At that time there were only two translations of Srimad-Bhagavatam in America, and he was amazed to encounter a third.
This discussion is taking place on a most unusual place for a philosophical discussion to take place, on a battlefield just before the battle.
Krishna advises Arjuna to fight but leaves the choice up to Arjuna.
I would say that Bhagavad-gita 18.58, 18.59, and 18.60 all fit together, making a single point.
Karma has become a household word, especially in New York City. A lot of our understanding of what karma is, comes from this book, Bhagavad-gita.
Acts have moral consequences.
Ethics addresses the question, what should I do?
Consequentialism emphasizes concern for the consequences of one’s actions.
Deontological ethics means acting out of duty, not knowing the consequences, and thus the question is, what is my duty?
Then there is virtue ethics, in which the understanding is that it is not always possible to determine one’s duties, but if one acquires virtues he will be able to understand the best way to act in a certain situation.
In the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna seems to be speaking out of consequentialism and virtue ethics, while in the beginning of His instructions, Krishna seems to be speaking as a deontologist emphasizing duty. Later, however, Krishna brings in virtue, and it could be said that virtue is emphasized above duty in the end.
The Bhagavad-gita is very much about ethics.
In one of Plato’s dialogues the question is asked, is something good because it is God’s command or are things intrinsically good?
I would answer the dilemma by saying that it is not in God’s command but in God’s preference where goodness is found. Because Krishna in the Gita stresses bhakti, which means acting to please God, this is appropriate.
Hannah Arendt, a 20th century philosopher, talks about labor, work, and action. Labor is getting a wage to survive. Work involves building a structure that lasts. For her, action is activity performed in consultation with others, that makes a difference in people’s lives.
What greater necessity is there than to find the preference of the Lord and act according to it.
Paraphrase of an excerpt from a Harmonist article: Those who do not wish to worship Lord Vishnu are immediately expelled from the transcendental plane of His worship. They will find congenial occupations on this mundane plane with a body and mind created by the deluding potency.
The service of Krishna will be found to be enriching, unfolding, and satisfying with ever new tastes.
Question by a Prabhupada disciple: In this age it is not often clear what exactly our nature is. How do we know how to engage our nature in Krishna’s service if we do not know what our nature is?
Bir Krishna Goswami once said, “If you can find an activity that you can do ten, twelve, or fourteen hours a day and not get tired, that is your nature.”
Sudras we tend to deprecate, but sudras engage in service, and service to the Lord is our perfection.
One philosopher in the 20th century distinguished the difference between “freedom from” and “freedom to.”
We have the freedom to chant Hare Krishna and the freedom to serve Him.
Question (by Nikki): Is our purpose to align our will with the will of God?
I would say the Bhagavad-gita is circling around the issue. Maybe Krishna is making it clear to Arjuna that he really should act to His direction. He also may understand that Arjuna has already decided to act according to His direction, but He may be speaking for others who have not decided to act as Krishna directs.
I see the Chinese ying-yang symbol, which indicates each arises from the other, is related to the Gita verse 14.10: “Sometimes the mode of goodness becomes prominent, defeating the modes of passion and ignorance, O son of Bharata. Sometimes the mode of passion defeats goodness and ignorance, and at other times ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this way there is always competition for supremacy.”
Our tendency to be judgmental of ourselves can spread to being judgmental of others which can become dangerous Vaishnava aparadha.
Raja-vidya, “the king of knowledge,” can also be translated as “knowledge for kings.”
Yes, you can say that Krishna is kicking down our sand castles.
Kadamba Kanana Swami:
From a lecture on the first day of Karttika and the anniversary of the installation of Sri Gauracandra at the Bhakti Center:
Karttika is month when we can capture Krishna, and we can get spiritual mercy.
When we travel, we have to leave so many things behind, but when Krishna comes from the spiritual world to this material world, He brings everything with Him.
Who could understand the exalted love of God in Vrindavan? Although Krishna brought His pastimes from the spiritual world to the earthly Vrindavan, He kept them covered so only a very few could understand them.
Rukmini told Krishna, “There is one thing you cannot understand.”
Krishna was doubtful.
Rukmini explained, “You cannot understand the love that Your devotee feels for You.”
Krishna realized that was true, and thus He decided to come as a devotee, and not just any devotee, but the best devotee, Radharani. The blackish Krishna appeared in the color of the golden Radharani, Gaurangi.
According Caitanya Bhagavata, when Lord Caitanya returned to Jagannatha Puri, it was the time of the snana-yatra of Lord Jagannatha. Lots of water was poured on the Jagannatha Deity, but the most amazing thing was that that water was insignificant in comparison to the tears of ecstasy shooting out of the eyes of Lord Caitanya.
Nanda Prabhu said, “We feed this boy the cream of the cream and yet still He goes and steals from others’ houses.”
Yashoda personally churned the yogurt wanting to make sure Krishna had the very best.
The month when Krishna speaks Bhagavad-gita is Marga-sirsa and is known as the month of Krishna, and the month of Damodara is known as the month of Radharani.
Lord Caitanya is giving the greatest spiritual benefit to the most fallen. So we are in the right place. We can argue that New York City is the capital of maya. Any secret sinful desire you can fulfill in New York. It is significant that Lord Gauracandra appeared here in New York on the first day of Karttika, a month of special benefit.
I am attracted to the more positive vows like reciting verses or prayers or reading.
When love in this world is formalized by marriage it becomes mixed with obligations.
Radha cannot never take Krishna for granted. She always has to conquer Krishna again. Lord Caitanya teaches like that. We also can never take Krishna for granted. We also have to always conquer Krishna.
Lord Caitanya was so absorbed in complete dedication when He finally attained Vrindavan and the river Yamuna, He dove into the river and did not feel the need to come out. His servant had to pull Him out or He would have drowned.
By the mercy of Lord Caitanya, we can all experience spiritual ecstasy that is beyond religion.
From a morning class at the Yuga Dharma Ashram:
Kadamba Kanana Swami chants Hare Krishna at the Yuga Dharma Ashram in New York City before his morning class (https://youtu.be/TvTuPp29e1c):
Anna-maya deals staying alive. Prana-maya involves enjoying life, interacting with the energies of the Lord. Mana-maya is the level of mental speculation.
It amazing that all these philosophers grasp something of the truth. Plato and Socrates explain that what we see in this world is a reflection of an ideal world. Dante understood there are levels of heaven and beyond a paradise with a rose surrounded by its petals, and on top a bright effulgence one could not see beyond.
In the more advanced stages of mana-maya one begins to focus on Brahman.
According the Srimad-Bhagavatam, those who are self-satisfied are not completely and permanently situated in self-satisfaction until they encounter Krishna.
At vijnana-maya we absorb our mind in Krishna as recommended in Bhagavad-gita, Chapter 7, “Now hear, O son of Pritha, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.” (Bg. 7.1)
Ananda-maya is complete happiness derived from actual experience of Krishna, and there is no question of doing anything else.
When ruci begins to develop, laulyam [greed] arises. Samutkantha [complete eagerness] is an advanced stage of laulyam.
Initial faith is like a point of light in a room of the darkness of maya. At nistha, there is some distance from maya. That is the minimum requirement for a sannyasi. The senses are still attracted, but one does not desire to gratify them. At nistha, madhyama begins, thus one in anartha-nivritti is still a kanistha.
At ruci, maya is described to be 3/4 to the horizon of the consciousness.
At asakti there is attachment according to the five rasas.
At bhava, maya becomes like a shadow. There is a trace that something is not right which is caused by reactions to Vaishnava aparadha.
At prema, maya is absent.
Kavi-karnapura says in Kali-yuga a brahmacari is a man who could not get it together.
A shadow reflection, a spiritual emotion, is something, but it does not mean you have attained raganuga-bhakti.
When we are given the association of a sadhu, we should take advantage of his association.
Srila Prabhupada said himself that his chanting under that tree in Tompkins Square Park marked the beginning of his movement.
Kevala ananda-kanda is prema.
Bhava and prema are agreed by authorities to be uttama. Some would also include ruci and asakti in uttama because the focus is on Krishna.
At anartha-nivirtti sometimes maya is on top of you. You have throw maya off.
Rama Raya Prabhu:
The holy name has the power to destroy all maya’s weapons.
Keshav Anand Prabhu:
Why does Lord Caitanya offer so many explanations of the atmarama verse? According to Narottama Das Thakura He wanted to show that the life of the devotee is centered around the Bhagavatam.
Madhvacarya explained every Vedic verse has eight meanings and that every verse of Mahabharata has one thousand meanings.
Madhvacarya returned to Badarikasrama after he left his body.
One of the meanings for atma is Radhika because She is the soul of Krishna, and thus Krishna can be called atmarama because He takes pleasure in Radhika.
A devotee is not satisfied until he sees Krishna face to face. He does not demand this because he is in the position of a servant.
We need to know the symptoms of advancement in devotional service.
Why is Lord Caitanya most merciful? Because He gave a science of spirituality? No other acaryas did that. He defined love of God.
Love is without offenses, characterized by possessiveness in relationship with Krishna [ask for the rest]
The gopis tell Krishna that unless they attain His presence in their opinion He has not really bestowed His mercy on them.
Kurushetra, in the opinion of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, is the best place to perform sadhana.
Comment by Rama Raya Prabhu: There is more to it. To relieve Radhika from the extreme distress She feels there is the greatest service and gives the greatest reward.
Most acaryas agree that the Bhagavad-gita verse that most completely defines God is “I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.” (Bhagavad-gita 9.18)
The verse sarvan dharman parityaja can best be understood by one who follows dharma.
When bad qualities touch Krishna, they become good.
Sanatana Goswami writes Brhad-bhagavatamrita to show that the Lord’s pastimes of opulence in Mathura and Dvaraka support His pastimes of sweetness, and to thus defeat sahajiyism.
Jayadeva Goswami was completely liberated from his body. Some dacoits captured Jayadeva Goswami and cut off his hands and feet and threw him into a well. Jayadeva Goswami continued chanting the glories of the Lord. He was thankful to the Lord that his hands and feet, which he felt he had engaged for sinful purposes, were removed. He felt grateful to be in the well because he was not able to see the disgusting material world. A king found him in the well and rescued him. He inquired who put him in that condition, promising to punish the offender. Jayadeva Goswami said he himself was the offender as it was his karma.
The liberated soul is attracted to God and out of attraction he spontaneously chants. The aspiring devotee chants hoping to attain some attraction to God.
Sankaracarya created a concept not found in the Vedas and then interpreted the Vedas in terms of that concept.
Lotus eyes means eyes like the unopened lotus in the horizontal position.
The tamasic puranas are meant to confuse people.
Padma Purana has two parts, Purva Khanda and Uttara Khanda, but the Purva Khanda has so much illusion in it.
The Saivites say that both Shiva and Vishnu are God. In the Shiva Purana, Vishnu says that for Kali-yuga He will take the back seat and Shiva can be God.
Madhusudana Sarasvati, who lived during Lord Caitanya’s time, created Vaishnava Mayavada, which Bhaktivinoda Thakura considers worse than simple Mayavada.
Madhvacarya defeated Mayavada more completely than Ramanujacarya and thus Lord Caitanya chose to appear in his sampradaya.
There is a verse that Mayavadis go to hell, and those who do not criticize the Mayavadis go to a deeper hell.
The scriptures are not taking the Mayavadis to the spiritual world but to hell because of their offensive commentaries.
Without meditating on the qualities of Krishna you will not become pure even if you read the scriptures.
The four types of people who never surrender to Krishna are listed in terms of increasing knowledge.
Ramanujacarya debated with a Mayavadi. After fourteen days he prayed to Raghunatha. Raghunatha told him, “Do not debate with him today. Rather just talk about the glorious lives of the Alvars.” Ramanujacarya did that, and the Mayavadi had a change of heart.
Bhaktinivoda Thakura makes that point that at raganuga one’s spontaneous devotional service is more important than the scriptures but not that the scriptures are dispensed with altogether as the sahajiya do.
You can support service with knowledge but not replace service with knowledge.
Bilvamangala Thakura’s guru told him that his realization exceeded his own, and that he should go to Vrindavan.
Comment by Rama Raya Prabhu: Bhaktivinoda Thakura says if you rejoice in the pastimes of Krishna’s killing the demons you conquer that anartha the demon represents.
In the final song of Saranagati by Bhaktivinoda Thakura, which Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to often quote, first your svarupa [original spiritual form] is revealed and then Krishna’s rupa [form] is revealed.
Why does Krishna reveal one’s svarupa first? Because Krishna does not interact anyone who is not fully pure.
The Vedas do not talk much about maya. It is assumed. The Puranas mention maya. In the Vedas everything is done by Krishna.
Rama came to make dharma strong. Krishna wanted to show that God is above dharma.
Comment by Mahotsaha Prabhu: Krishna gives us a spiritual body when we cannot stretch our material body to do all we want to do for Krishna.
Krishna gives His devotees spiritual bodies to fulfill their spiritual desires.
In management people say, “Think globally act locally.” One of the Goswamis said, “Keep your mind on the moon.”
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said to try to serve Krishna 25 out of 24 hours a day.
Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura said that even a moment of sleep is a waste of time.
We think that between ourselves and Krishna is illusion, but actually we ourselves are between ourselves and Krishna.
Out of love you try to cover the faults of your beloved, and out of envy you reveal the faults of the object of your envy.
To be attracted to both the material and the spiritual is blaspheme of God because it equates the disgusting material realm with the pristine spiritual nature of God and His world.
In svabhavo ’dhyatmam ucyate [Bg. 8.3] in svabhava, sva means svarupa and bhava means emotions.
If you think Krishna is there with you, the same external negative situation may be present but you will not be afraid. Srila Prabhupada had this faith and could give it to others.
If you separate yourself from Krishna you will immediately experience fear, but if you connect with Krishna you will immediately experience fearlessness. All the divine qualities begin with fearlessness as mentioned in Bhagavad-gita 16.1–3.
Even demons were thinking of Krishna, but they were not thinking of serving Krishna.
Service of Krishna is higher than Krishna.
Radha is higher than Krishna from the point of view of rasas.
The aim of life is love of God not God.
Lord Caitanya defines faith in Krishna as having faith that by Krishna bhakti you will attain all success.
To believe in God is not sufficient to be a theist. You have to believe in the scriptures.
For nondevotees perfection is to be free from maya but when a devotee attains perfection, maya helps him to think of Krishna.
Prema-vivarta is when all of nature helps the devotee remember God.
Maya gives us tests to make us stronger.
A devotee can see how Krishna is working through maya.
The opulent lifestyle of Pundarika Vidyanidhi was because in humility he did not want people to glorify him as a great devotee.
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said that Krishna made Bhaktivinoda Thakura appear as an ordinary person so that ordinary people get the courage that they could also attain perfection in Krishna bhakti.
This world is complete, even in its giving us perplexities.
The scripture says anyone who can sit in peace for three minutes is a mahatma.
You can approach a guru if:
1. You realize you are in difficulty.
2. You realize you cannot solve the difficulty.
If you get a taste for higher problems, you lose the taste for lower problems.
If you worry about birth, death, old age, and disease, then you will not worry about the small problems.
Kali approaches Vishnu and asks for tips to create confusion. Vishnu asked Kali his idea. Kali said, “I plan to hide all knowledge, and then not having knowledge people will fight.”
Vishnu said, “No, reveal all knowledge and because the people cannot discriminate they will fight over what is most important.”
Srila Prabhupada said a devotee should know everything about something and something about everything.
Ramanuja had 60,000 sannyasi disciples.
A book can give you knowledge, but the spiritual master can give you the most appropriate knowledge for you.
The main problem is if you keep thinking there is no problem.
Cows and elephants have a sense of family, but cats and dogs do not. Thus humans with unregulated lives are compared in the scripture to cats and dogs.
Garuda Purana says that people who do not use their lives to reconnect with God become animals in their next life. They lose their voices because of not glorifying God and their hands because of not serving God. Instead of walking in pride, they are forced to bend down.
God has designed this world with problems, and he supplies solutions for the problems to those who approach Him.
Being overly attached keeps us from seeing the reality.
Asanga sastrena is usually explained as meaning “by the weapon of detachment,” but a can be said to refer to Krishna because He said, “Of letters I am the letter ‘A.’” Thus another meaning is “by the weapon of attachment to Krishna.”
From a series of classes on brahmacarya training and leadership:
Radha Govinda Swami, when he got a stroke, came to realize that he made a mistake in not taking care of his health for many years. When he returned from the hospital, he immediately encouraged his followers to take of their health.
Srila Prabhupada advises a regulated life to maintain health.
1. Ayurveda teaches all diseases come from the stomach, so if you keep your digestion strong, you will not get diseases.
2. America has mostly chronic and noninfectious diseases, but India has mostly infectious diseases.
3. Ayurveda advises exercise for increasing the fire of digestion, balancing the doshas and pranas and making the mind peaceful.
4. Just ten minutes of exercises can have a greatly positive effect.
5. Ayurveda teaches exercise can free one from toxins.
6. Some chili, ginger, or pepper helps to keep digestion in order.
7. Walking is necessary, but most brahmacaris get enough in the course of their service.
8. Food is the best medicine. You do not need to eat all the items just because they are there. Choose what is best for your body.
9. If you are very tired, do not eat. Take rest first because digestion requires a lot of energy, and that will make you more tired.
10. When eating, facing north and east is better than south and west.
11. Wash your feet before and after eating.
12. Wash your mouth ten times after eating.
13. Best to eat sitting on the floor.
14. Never sleep immediately after eating. Always wait at least 30 minutes for digestion to take place. Not only Ayurveda but the dharma-sastras, Puranas, and Bible say that.
15. Never take water after eating. Hot drinks or hot water is OK.
16. Raw items should be taken before cooked items.
17. Ayurvedic medicines should be taken with hot water.
18. Do not eat curd at night.
19. Curd should be taken with sugar, dal, or pickle, never alone.
20. Ayurveda recommends only four vegetable oils, coconut, sesame, peanut, or mustard. Never olive oil.
21. Food that is cooked in oil rather than ghee is preserved longer.
22. Never put salt in milk.
23. Banana shake is there in Ayurveda.
24. Brahmacaris should eat less carrot, sweet potatoes, eggplant, and heavy pulses.
25. Ayurveda does not recommend eating only raw vegetables. If you do, you will get old age diseases early, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
26. Take as little water as possible.
27. Ayurveda says never listen to your mind, listen to your body.
28. Eat tasty but simple food. Use taste to make your body healthy.
29. Eat when hungry.
30. It is better to eat cold food when you are hungry than to eat hot food when you are not hungry.
31. If weakness accompanies our hunger, then it is true hunger.
32. Never overeat. Ayurveda recommends eating until just a little hunger is left, not until we are completely full.
33. Do not eat from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. because the food will not be digested with proper assimilation.
34. Taking fruits with salt or chat masala is best.
35. Excess is bad and too little is bad.
1. Sleep is a waste of time.
2. Never sleep facing north. Sleep facing east for spirituality, facing south for health, or facing west for economic development.
3. Do not sleep more than 48 minutes at a time during the daytime.
4. Do not ever sleep between 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
5. Wash feet before sleeping.
6. Do not sleep on your belly.
7. Conquer sleep by not sleeping.
8. Many diseases are caused by not enough sleep so you cannot artificially reduce it.
Job of the Bible is mentioned by the name Yakub in the Puranas but more details are given.
[I missed this session because of attending a class by Krishna Kshetra Swami.]
You cannot be a leader without being a servant, and if you serve nicely, you will become a leader.
Service is not just following but following in a way that is pleasing to the person you are serving.
Originally Ravana was very confident, thinking Rama was merely a man and He just had a few monkeys, but when he saw Hanuman, just a single monkey, demonstrated such power, he became scared. Rama was very pleased with Hanuman’s additional activities in Lanka, although He only asked him to find Sita.
It is good to find some special service you can do to contribute to the mission.
Responsibility is to make sure your assigned task is completed despite the difficulties involved.
Srila Prabhupada says to use your intelligence fully and then depend on Krishna.
After seeing the facilities for storing his books at the BBT in LA, Srila Prabhupada asked, “Where is the fire extinguisher?” That the devotees had forgotten.
When you are doing service, do not expect any help. Radharani does Her service to Krishna like that. If someone does help, then you will feel gratitude. If you realize you need help, plan ahead for it.
Two problems in management: perfectionism and assumption
Sometimes one person is assuming one thing and another person is assuming another thing, but there is really no problem.
If we eliminate assumption, we can eliminate unnecessary talking.
Manu-samhita says if you cannot do a service you should say no, not that you have to say yes to all services.
Only sudras say no immediately. Brahmanas consider how they can do something.
Even if you are the most intelligent, if you do not speak nicely, no one will listen to you.
If you have a problem, always discuss.
Confucius says it is not about being right or wrong according to your idea but to please the person you are serving.
Most people are not team players. There is a rule of team playing. If there is a leader, you can discuss, but whatever the leader decides, you do. If you are not willing to do that, then start your own project and be the leader yourself.
You will be always enthusiastic to serve if you always think about how much Krishna is doing for you.
Always have friends, otherwise you cannot make it.
Be busy, look busy, feel busy. That is the life of the servant.
We cannot sustain our service without nicely chanting the holy names, mostly in the morning.
The leader should be expert to see how people fit and engage them accordingly. If in some cases he cannot do that. He should share his vision with them, so they feel inspired to help. He should give seminars. The leader should also give the people some time to pursue their own things.
If education is the basis, management becomes simple because people will understand what they are doing.
The goal of leadership is to make new leaders, not to lead your whole life.
If you want to learn management, learn from Paramatma. He just witnessing and sanctioning.
The temple president of Houston summarized his realizations from twenty years of management: Don’t manage people. Manage for people.
A successful leader creates services. Srila Prabhupada created services for people, and thus so much expansion was there. In the Gaudiya Math, they did not create services for people and thus there was no expansion.
The golden rule of management is to think that everything will go out of control, and thus one must prepare oneself for the worst, and in this way you will always be ready.
Never forget to honor the smallest of services.
Comment by me: Srila Prabhupada excelled in always appreciating the smallest service.
One person who managed for fifty years told me what he learned: We always honor the people who do big things but if we also honor even the smallest thing, then we will excel.
The peacocks, busy with their dancing, had nothing to offer Krishna. Thus Krishna took the feathers they left and put them in His hair as an offering.
In the West we just say “thank you,” but in the Vedic culture one shows gratitude through action.
If something is serious, do not call a meeting. Make it as informal a discussion as possible. Otherwise it will escalate.
If you are a leader, make yourself accessible.
Things leaders can do to avoid making themselves inaccessible:
Never sit in a closed room.
Lord Rama would try to arrange the minimum punishment for a crime so the offenders would see that Rama was trying work for their benefit and that would increase their faith in Him as the king.
Watch your sadhana as a leader and make sure it does not diminish.
Everyone should know what everyone is doing.
Everyone should have a notice board with their responsibilities listed to remind themselves and others.
As a leader, from a practical perspective, talking and listening are the most important things.
A leader must sometimes participate in what the others are doing.
Be very clear and open with financial issues. Appoint someone to handle them for you.
Do not change your decision again and again. Only change a decision for the benefit of everyone and explain to everyone why.
Keep a balance in service, sadhana, and health.
Although a new bhakta may not see that there is anything to be done in the temple, the temple commander can think of many engagements for him. Although the Mayavadis cannot imagine it, in the spiritual world there are innumerable services the devotees can render to the Lord.
Krishna is not attracted by the beauty of any women in this material world for He is only attracted to the spiritual.
Krishna makes Himself available to humanity through the words of His pure devotees.
By following what the great souls say, we can realize what the great souls realize.
The pastimes of Krishna are triumphantly victorious in all spheres, in politics, in war, in romance.
Book distribution did not just start with Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. When Sukadeva Goswami was speaking to Maharaja Pariksit he was distributing a Bhagavatam set. When Suta Goswami was speaking to the sixty thousand sages at Naimisaranya, he was distributing sixty thousand Bhagavatam sets.
There was one disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura who was impressed with the learning of many of his learned sannyasi disciples like Bon Maharaja and decided to learn Sanskrit to realize the subtleties of the scriptures. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati advised him to learn from the gardener, a young boy named Rama Dasa, who was illiterate. The disciple was confused by this, and Rama Dasa was even more confused. Because it was the order of Bhaktisiddhanta, the disciple inquired from Rama Dasa about his realizations. Rama Dasa said when I see these fruits and flowers offered to the Lord and used for the pleasure of the devotees, I feel great satisfaction. The disciple went back to his guru and asked him to explain. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati explained although Rama Dasa is illiterate, he takes every opportunity to hear from from his guru, and he listens with rapt attention, and thus he knows the import of all the scriptures.
We tend to enter into relationships with people hoping that they will reciprocate our love. In this age, we are often disappointed. We can take heart from this verse of Bhagavad-gita that there exists at least one person who will infallibly reciprocate our love and that is the Supreme Lord. Of course, to experience the greatest reciprocation, one must completely surrender. That sounds a bit scary, but actually it makes a lot of sense. We value our free choice, but we have to admit we sometimes make mistakes because of imperfect knowledge. To use our free will to follow the advice of someone who is omniscience and benevolent, therefore, is actually quite reasonable. To completely surrender to Krishna requires great faith, but we can begin by surrendering a little and experiencing Krishna’s reciprocation with that little surrender. Then with increased faith, we can surrender a little more and experience a little more reciprocation. Thus we can gradually increase our faith step by step, and that faith will not be blind but based on our factual experience. In this way someday we can come to the point where we completely give ourselves to Krishna, and Krishna completely gives Himself to us. Then we will achieve the supreme satisfaction.
ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
manusyah partha sarvasah
“As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pritha.” (Bhagavad-gita 4.11)