Travel Adventures of a Krishna Monk

by Krishna-kripa Das

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Travel journal#11.1: Gainesville and Jacksonville


Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 11, No. 1
By Krishna-kripa das
(January 2015, part one
)
Florida
(Sent from Gainesville, Florida, on January 21, 2015)

Where I Went and What I Did

I returned to my base in Gainesville, Florida, for the first three months of the New Year. We started the year with a large harinama event at the Taxslayer Bowl at the stadium in Jacksonville attended by 36 devotees from Alachua, Gainesville, and Jacksonville.

In Gainesville, in addition to chanting for 2½ hours during Krishna Lunch, the prasadam distribution at the University of Florida, we chant Wednesday at the Gainesville Farmers Market and Friday with the Alachua devotees on the corner of the University campus. Besides my practice of going to the temple morning and evening programs and reading one hour, I added cleaning the floor of my room and practicing mrdanga to my daily routine, along with chanting Queen Kunti's prayers from memory every Sunday, and I hope I can maintain them throughout the year.

In this issue, I report my expenses and income for 2014, and I thank the many, many people who kindly supported my program of traveling and promoting the public congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord and speaking on the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. I also apologize for a video I posted that some devotees complained about. I include a picture of a practical innovation at Krishna House.

I share notes on a couple lectures from swamis visiting Gainesville, Danavir Goswami and Bhakti Prabhupada-vrata Damodar Swami. I have notes on classes by Prabhupada disciples in the Alachua and Gainesville communities, Kalakantha, Nagaraja, Ranjit, and Sesa Prabhus, some from other initiated devotees, and a few nice realizations from very new devotees.

Thanks to Vishnu-priya dd of Jacksonville for her kind donation. Thanks to Prahladananda Swami for his generous donation for my doing the service of proofreading his book on health. Thanks to J.R. for his pictures of me on harinama in Gainesville.

Itinerary

January 21: Gainesville
January 22: Jacksonville
January 23–28: Tallahassee
January 29–31: Tampa
February 1 – April 8: Florida (Gainesville, Alachua, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and Tampa)
April 9–11: Washington, D.C.
April 12: Albany
April 13–15: New York City
April 16: Toronto
April 17–24: Ireland
April 25: London
April 26: Radhadesh
April 27: Amsterdam (King's Day)

Accounting for 2014

Because people give me donations, I feel I should tell how I spend what I am given.

ACCOUNTING FOR 2014
CATEGORY
AMOUNT
travel
3404.01
gifts
492.52
health
294.46
maintenance
102.70
food
64.03
festivals
48.33
books
26.77
communication
13.03
rent
10.56
loans
9.00
donations – public
665.25
donations – private
3692.80
balance
107.37

Gifts are donations to temples, swamis and and presents for my relatives. Communication is phone, internet, and computer expenses. It does not include my British phone expenses which Satya Medha Gauranga Prabhu kindly pays for, for which I am grateful, and which amount to around $50. Books are the cost of books bought for harinama minus books specifically sold, but many books are given in reciprocation for donations on harinama and these are not included here. The festival fee is for the Baltic Summer Festival. Rent is what I paid to stay in Mayapur. Public donations are those people gave me on harinama, mostly in Europe. As far as travel, I went to Ireland, India, England, Holland, Belgium, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Slovakia, and France.

I am very, very grateful to GN Press, Kaliya Krishna Dasa (NYC), Dhruva Das (Oregon), Navina Shyam Das (Dallas), Tara Das (Mayapur), the Newcastle temple, Premarnava Das (Dublin), Srikar (Gainesville), Tony (England), Clive (Chester), Caitanya-candrodaya Das (Ukraine), Sivananda Sena Das (Rotterdam), the Preston nama-hatta, the Liverpool nama-hatta, Ajay (Huddlesfield), the Leeds nama-hatta, Gopalacarya Das (Govindadvipa), Jivananda Das (Slovakia), Janananda Goswami, Mariana (Sheffield), Vishnu Priya Devi Dasi (Newcastle), Kevin (Govindadvipa), Atmanivedana Das (NYC), Uma Devi Dasi (Michigan), the UNF Krishna Club, Sundari Gopi Devi Dasi (Jacksonville), Karuna Rasa Das (Watford), Raghunatha Bhatta Das (Scotland), Rama Raya Das (NYC), Gauridas Pandit Das (York), Madhava Gauranga Das (Rotterdam), Nanda Kumar Das (Dublin), Sanatani Devi Dasi (Oslo), Bhakti Rasa Das (Newcastle), Charu Gopika Devi Dasi (NYC), Jagannath Misra Das (Bulgaria), Jon (Leeds), a devotee in the Queens temple, an Indian man who visited the Harinama Ashram (NYC), an Indian man on the street whose father was a life member (Philly), Mithuna Prabhu and ISKCON Queens, Sudevi Devi Dasi (Tampa), the USF Bhakti Yoga Club, Mohnish Goel (Delhi), Haladhara (Sheffield), Urmila (Leeds), Priya Sundari Devi Dasi (Leeds), Shelina (Govindadvipa), Doug (Preston), Jason (Sheffield), the London Soho temple, a lady on harinama (Philly), Mike (New Vrindavan), Jon (Florida), a German brahmacari in Mayapur, TravelersBox, and Gaura Karuna Prabhu (Czech Republic), and others who forgot to note down for their kind donations. I am also very grateful to all the anonymous persons who gave me donations on harinama. Thanks to all the people who have helped me in different ways who are too numerable to mention completely. Some include Kanwar and Mariana, who let me stay at their place whenever I come to Sheffield, Doug whenever I come to Preston, and Lovelesh and Amrita Keli Devi Dasi whenever I come to Jacksonville, Dr. Karuna Rasa Das of Watford, who gave me a medical checkup, and Gaura Krishna Das, who always gives me a lift to Bhaktivedanta Manor, and makes life in England easier. Jiva Goswami Das helped me incalcuably by giving me a new netbook computer, and Dorain made it easier for me to study on the road by giving me  Smartphone that I put Gitabase on.

Public Apology for “Brighton Harinam--Dancing Outside a Shop” Video

I want to publicly apologize for publishing a controversial video called “Brighton Harinam--Dancing Outside a Shop” on YouTube in the summer of 2013. Some devotees objected to Mahavishnu Swami's joking behavior with a costumed man who was dancing with our party. I should have had enough intelligence to realize that might offend some devotees, and I should have edited out that section of the video. Otherwise it is a typical harinama video showing onlookers having a good time dancing with the devotees. I am sorry I offended some devotees because of my thoughtlessness, and I promise to use greater discretion in posting videos in the future. That video is no longer publicly accessible on YouTube in its original objected-to form, and in its place I have put an edited version made by my friend Vidyapati Prabhu removing the major complaint.

Harinama at the Taxslayer Bowl (Formerly Gator Bowl)

Devotees in Florida chant at the stadiums before the football games because that is one of the few times you can reach a lot of people at once. Alachua devotees and Jacksonville devotees have joined together and chanted before the Gator Bowl (recently named the Taxslayer Bowl after a company that is funding it) around New Years time for several years. Godruma and Vishnu-priya and other devotees from Jacksonville put on a nice feast for all the devotees before or after the harinama depending on the time of the game.

This year lots of people became exposed to the Hare Krishna mantra for the first time as the teams that were playing were from Tennessee and Iowa, where there are not many parties of Hare Krishna chanters.

As I was standing in front of our chanting party, dancing and handing out pamphlets, one jovial man from Tennessee asked me who Hare Krishna was. I explained that Hare Krishna are names of God in the ancient Sanskrit language of India. He asked if we worshiped the same God as the other religions worship. I explained there is one supreme being who is fulfilling the desires of all other beings, and that is the Supreme Lord, who we and all other religions are worshiping. He asked if we accepted the Bible. Not wanting to discuss the merits of the Bible, I said, “Christ said to love the Lord with body, mind, and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself,” and we agree with that. If everyone followed that, the world would live in peace. God sent Christ to teach that truth. He then asked what was the position of Jesus Christ. That is always a touchy subject with Christians, so I was a little worried. I said God and Christ are simultaneously one and different. He smiled and said, to my great surprise, “I like that!” I continued explaining that Jesus said he was the son of God and he prayed to God, but he also said that he and the Father were one. Therefore, they are simultaneously one and different. He said, “You are very articulate.” He explained he was a Apostolic Pentecostal, and that while the Pentecostals worship the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as distinct, the Apostolics consider them all to be one. One of Lord Caitanya's main teachings is that the pure souls [and in fact all emanations from God] are simultaneously one with and different from God, and for me to encounter a Christian who was excited to hear this philosophy really made my day, and I asked to take his picture.

Another fortunate encounter was a young lady who looked so happy to meet our chanting party I had to offer her an “On Chanting Hare Krishna.” One of the two guys with her asked some questions about our philosophy, and I answered them in such a way that he thought it sounded reasonable. She was from North Carolina, and I told her about our centers there, and gave her my card, offering to let her know details about them.

 As we ended our brief conversation, and they were walking away, Mother Madhumati approached the lady, and offered her a garland.

Then Madhumati invited her to dance.

She looked so happy dancing with the devotee ladies. You can see from this video, she really entered into it (http://youtu.be/I6vekhdSyaM):


Then the two guys she was with got into the dancing (http://youtu.be/wHDxWXalyUE):


During the rest of the harinama others took pleasure in playing the tambourine and dancing with the devotees (http://youtu.be/jDGbA_7LWNU?list=PLGerEnGdI0xLJJaibnU7l40IDgh8jbrA7):


Krishna Lunch

Some devotees from the Vaishnava Youth Mexican Bus Tour visited Krishna Lunch after their tour ended in Alachua so we had a few extra chanters and servers on the campus.

Here Nitya Lila (center), who I met chopping vegetables at the German Kirtan Mela, and later serving Radha-Govinda in Brooklyn, happily serves Krishna Lunch. Chelsea, who chanted with us in New York City, during school breaks from Rutgers University, also serving the lunch (right), decided to live in Krishna House for the spring session.

Chanting at the Farmers Market

The steps of an abandoned fast food place at the plaza became our new venue for our harinama at the Farmers Market.

All the devotees were so enthusiastic, we stayed out for 2½ hours!

Some people sat and listened to us.

Some clapped.

Some moved with the music.

 Some took pamphlets.

And also enjoyed reading them.

Some took books that Caitanya and Mikey distributed.

Chanting on the Gainesville Harinama

Devotees from Alachua and Gainesville have been chanting on the corner by the University of Florida every Friday since before I moved there in 1994. 
 
On January 16, we had a party of 16 men, 10 women, and 4 children!

I stand in front of the party and dance, 

 and invite people to the Krishna House programs in Gainesville.

One family of five walked by our party, and I talked to the parents briefly. The man had fond memories of eating Krishna Lunch 30 years ago. He said he also liked our music. He said, “It is part of the culture!” It was beautiful to see such a positive impression of Hare Krishna.

Innovation

Different temples have little innovations that make life easier. Microphone cables are always getting tangled up, and untangling them takes time away from more important services.

Here Badahari Prabhu, the devotee in charge of maintenance at Krishna House in Gainesville, put brackets on the pujari room door so you can roll up and store the microphone cables and the microphones themselves in a simple elegant way.

To see the pictures I took but did not include in this journal, click on the link below:

Insights

Danavir Goswami:

The devotees do not have to take many courses to learn good qualities, but they are included in bhakti-yoga. The Lord personally reciprocates with His devotee, and so the devotee becomes greatly influenced by Krishna as a rod in a fire attains the qualities of fire. The devotees become qualified in that way to act in the position of God.

If God were here He could bless us, but His devotee can also bless us because he is empowered by Krishna.

Krishna purifies everything, and so His devotee purifies everything.

If God is good, why are there so many problems in this world?” This is the most frequently asked question. God does not force His will upon us. And thus people engage in sinful activities and suffer.

If God came to a city, and the residents decided to receive and serve Him, then their whole city would become transformed. But if people did not believe He was coming, and just went on with their sinful life, such an opportunity would be missed.

We are thinking we are the only living beings in the universe, but actually most living beings are happily situated in the spiritual world.

People ask, “Why does Krishna give us free will if we misuse it?” but do we really wish that God made us robots? No parent will hold a gun to the head of his children, even if they do foolish things, in order to force them to do good things.

We have to tolerate because we cannot really do anything the calamities are coming from a higher authority. Instead of spending our lives trying to counteract these things, it is better to focus on pleasing Krishna.

Christ is the ideal example. He prayed to Krishna as he was being crucified, “They know not what they do.”

In the Israeli army I had permission to do my offerings to the Lord. People were envious of me because I got exempted from parts of the program they were forced to do. One guy, the biggest one, said, “If you do not stop ringing that bell, I will push it down your throat.” So I stopped ringing the bell.

Haridas Thakura tolerated. In this movement, some devotees were disowned by their parents. That is very hard, but they had to tolerate.

It is the mercy of the spiritual master that he chastises us and thus corrects us. If you are going to hell, and someone tells you to stop, it is mercy.

Q: The Vedas say life is on every planet. Why do the scientists not detect it?
A: Maybe they have not gone to other planets. Life on other planets may not be as it is on this planet. It may be more subtle, and we may not be able to perceive that. The yaksas warned the Pandavas not to go further in the Himalayas. Bhima did not take that instruction very seriously. Then the yaksas said that even if you go, you will not be able to see anything anyway.

Q: We talk about Krishna consciousness being blissful, but here we have to tolerate so much. How to understand?
A: Even they tried to kill Krishna Himself. That is the nature of this world. Krishna does not force people to behave. If we practice tolerance then we can continue to chant. If we are not tolerant, we will be distracted from the chanting by so many things. “Why is he chanting so loud? Why are these billboards here? Why are they dressing like that?”

Q: Sometimes we tolerate but internally we are gritting our teeth. What to do?
A: If you are a singer, if the sound man does not have the sound quite right, you may make a few suggestions to him, but ultimately you go on with the show because you know if you get upset, it will ruin whole performance.

Q: How do we avoid anger that has gone past the point of being possible to tolerate? A: Anger comes from lust. Better to not let lust get out of hand. Better not to contemplate the objects of the senses.

Bhakti Prabhupada-vrata Damodar Swami:

In Bhagavad-gita 2.16, “no endurance” means “no ultimate endurance.” Material things, including the body, endure for sometime but not forever.

Apparently there are sub-species of the 8.4 millon species.

Our process is to perform devotional service to serve the reality.

We are real, not as these bodies, but as spirit souls.

It is not that we were Christians and are becoming Hindus, but we are waking up to the realization that we are spiritual souls.

If a drop of water says “I am ocean” that is alright but if the drop of water says “I am the ocean” that is crazy.

The problem with many famous Western philosophers, including John Locke, is that they think that sense perception and interference are the only ways of attaining knowledge. Locke says that all we know is the sense impressions but not what is causing those sense impressions. We also agree that we cannot understand with our senses what is causing the sense impressions.

For God to be God he has to have inconceivable potencies, and we are one, the marginal energy.

Phenomenologists believe you cannot really know what is real, and all you can do is study the temporary phenomena.

We are fortunate because we accept the way of attaining sabda, hearing from authority.

The pure devotee sees so deeply that all things are all Krishna's energy and thus nondifferent from Krishna, that he is ecstatic.

The Mayavadis say everything is illusion, but illusion has no meaning unless there is a person having an illusion, and if there is a person having an illusion, that defeats the Mayavadi idea that ultimately there is no personality.

If we are convinced about the unreal nature of this world, we will be not inclined to enjoy this world either in a Western style or in a Eastern style, and thus the misconception of the karmis is defeated. The understanding of the real nature of this world is to counteract the misconception of the jnanis.

If we see the material world as Krishna's energy, then we see its reality.

We share with the jnanis the idea understanding this world is unreal, but we go beyond that because we talk about the source of this unreal world and our relationship with that source.

The demons say “that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control.” (Bhagavad-gita 16.8) We share the understanding that the world is unreal, but we understand that there is foundation, the Lord, and He is in control.

The care given to the architecture of the college buildings is to create the impression there is knowledge there.

Kalakantha Prabhu:

Emerson said the West is that strange part of the world where they think they only have one life.

You can say there is a touch of skepticism in Arjuna's question in the beginning of the Eleventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gita. In Chapter Ten Krishna describes how He exists in different manifestation in this world, and in Chapter Eleven, Arjuna asks to see this.

The tendency is to try to get as much sense gratification now before it passes away, and that puts us in the mode of passion.

People are so ambitious after sense gratification that now the weekend starts on Thursday.

Actually spiritual life is happiness now and more happiness in the future.

Activities can be classified in these four ways:
1. Important and Urgent: Crisis!
2. Important and Not Urgent: Preparation
3. Not Important and Urgent: Interruptions
4. Not Important and Not Urgent: Time Wasters

The whole life of a devotee is in the second quadrant, preparation (important and not urgent).

For the materialist, Krishna is time, the destroyer of everything, but for a devotee, Krishna is this loving person.

Hankering for the future is in the mode of passion. Lamenting for the past is in the mode of ignorance.

One in the mode of goodness does not worry for the future because of confidence that Krishna will take care.

In World War I, one Christmas the warring parties declared a truce and had a soccer game between the English and Germans. This is like the Pandavas and Kauravas meeting as friends in the evening after the day's fighting.

When convincing someone of a path of action, appealing to their more noble motives is a good strategy. Krishna does this in the Gita, telling Arjuna about the example of King Janaka and asking him act rightly as a leader so common men will follow.

If you can slave yet never crave the fruits of your endeavor,
you'll savor liberation from this worldly cave forever.”
(from a Bhagavad-gita rap)

Q (by Arjuna Prabhu): How should we approach our relationship with Krishna?
A: Just start by offering whatever you have to Krishna.

Q (by Marlon): If we are focused all about Krishna then how do we understand our individuality?
A: It is counter-intuitive but by focusing on Krishna our individual spiritual personality becomes more and more revealed to us.
Comment by Krishna-kripa das: Because we are eternal servants of Krishna, the more we focus on Krishna, the more we understand our personal individuality which is in relationship to Him.

Nagaraja Prabhu:

summarizing the Prabhupada lecture, “Somehow Fix Your Mind on Krishna”, in Back to Godhead, Vol. 49, No. 3:

Any contact with Krishna purifies our consciousness and gradually qualifies us
for eternal loving exchanges with Him.”

Ranjit Prabhu:

Jayadeva Goswami lived on the bank of the Ganges at Navadvipa, and he was the court pandit for King Laksman Sena of Bengal. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that Jayadeva Goswami imbibed the mood of Lord Caitanya from being in Navadvipa, the Lord's place of birth, even before the Lord's appearance.

When we drive past the Walgreens and we see the free flu shots, we can be reminded that disease is there and people have it and we may soon join them.

This body has a trillion cells and I have no knowledge of them or what I am doing, and yet I am the knower of this particular field.

Sesa Prabhu:

If we are trying to accumulate things, why would we want to worship someone who takes away things (Hari or Krishna).

If we keep the goal of love of God in mind, then when we meet challenges in life, we will be able to see them in the proper perspective.

We are conditioned for many births to think if we do good things, we will get good results and if we do bad things, we will get bad results, but that is not a complete understanding of how things are. Actually what happens to us is the mercy of God.

Comment by Madhumati Devi Dasi: Karma is like you hit a ball and it hits a wall and bounces back to you. Devotion is that you hit a ball, and Krishna catches it and throws it back to you.

Comment by Vaishnava Prabhu: This universe can supply the needs of all but not the greed of even one.

Janmastami, the day of Krishna's appearance, is a national holiday in India.

I failed my bar exam after so much college. I was lined up to get a good job, but because I failed the exam I was not hired. From the material point of view, I could have lost everything. But I did not experience it like that. I saw that Krishna protected my sadhana (regulated spiritual practices) and gave me different service opportunities I otherwise would not have had. Later I passed the exam.

Before Thomas Aquinas the idea that one could change one's character by practice was not popular. He got that idea from Aristotle.

Because we are trained poorly we think that sense enjoyment is the goal of life.

I had a friend who was such a bad influence on my life, I am still suffering sixty years later.

Comment by Brahma-tirtha Prabhu: I went to a house in Bombay, India, with a color TV. At that time, there were no TV stations broadcasting in color in Bombay. The TV was in the most prominent room and had garlands on it.

How does brahmacarya life reduce the fire of sense enjoyment?
He has time to hear and chant about Krishna and serve the guru. He lives in the ashram, and he practices celibacy.

In grhastha (married) life, through a spiritual partnership and sacrifice in service to others one reduces the fire of sense enjoyment.

What do you need to control the senses?
Knowledge.
A higher taste from the practice of spiritual life.
To practice contentment.


Devamrita Swami points to five myths:
1. Money brings happiness.
2. Technology brings well-being.
3. Weapons bring security.
4. The earth provides virtually unlimited resources we can exploit to satisfy our senses.
5. The earth provides virtually limitless room for the disposal of waste.
Ambarisa Prabhu (Alfred Ford) says the difference between poor people and rich people is that poor people think that money will bring them happiness, but rich people know that wealth is not the cause of happiness.
Radha Jivan Prabhu:

This world is described by the Lord to be a place where one living entity is food for another. We hide the fact by saying “I am nonvegetarian” not that “I am a meat eater.” We do not say “pass the cow,” but “pass the beef.” We do not say we want pig but hot dog.

These days the most popular movies are about real life stories because people can relate to them.

The Indian movie PK is done very expertly to mesmerize people.

Person who are a little intelligent can see there is power beyond us that is in control, and they seek to find out about it.

In the movie PK certain questions are brought out, and persons who are not deeply knowledgeable may be bewildered.

The message is that the alien who came to earth learned from the earthly people how to lie and he taught that to love, you have to be willing to sacrifice for people you love.

The movie says there are gods that we have created and gods that have created us, but it speaks without authority and confuses people.

God is not meant to supply our orders and if we take Him in that way, people will exploit that. Yet God does supply our needs, just as our parents do, without our asking.

I have been a devotee since I was twenty-three, for over thirty years, and I have seen Krishna's protection in different ways.

One young lady with two children heard the lecture of one devotee visiting Sydney. She told him she liked the lecture and agreed with vegetarianism but said that she was forced because of poverty to take a job at a butcher shop and wondered if she should give it up. He told her not to, but to offer a prayer every day to Krishna that, if He desired, to get her out of that sinful situation. The next year when the devotee spoke in Sydney he saw the the lady, now decorated with tilaka, and he recognized her and asked if she still had the job at the butcher shop. She said no and now she worked in a cloth shop for a man named Mr. Butcher.

We are bewildered by the questions raised by the movie PK because we have not taken shelter of the divine knowledge obtained by picking Krishna as our source of wisdom.

Krishna is giving relationship with God. He is not selling the various material things we are aspiring for.

The new president Mody of India gives foreign diplomats one gift and one gift only Bhagavad-gita. He considers that is India's greatest gift.

Our behavior is according our knowledge. Our state of behavior becomes culture.
Despite centuries of foreign denomination by Muslims and the British, despite destruction of temples and killing of priests by the Muslims, India's culture has not been obliterated. Because it is so deep-rooted and it is based on factual knowledge it could withstand so much.

Because we have not recognized the value of spirituality, we have not sought the truth of spirituality and thus we are subject to be cheated by godless “godmen.”

When I was young every school taught Bhagavad-gita and the writings of saints. In the evenings people would hear Mahabharata and Ramayana.

Srila Prabhupada has defined faith as “implicit trust in something sublime.”

As we have trust in an airline or a university because of the positive experience of ourselves and others, we can also have faith in a source of spiritual knowledge.

In India there are four bona fide sampradayas that give bona fide spiritual knowledge.

If your professor is speaking material that is different from the books, then you have some doubt. Similarly, if one claims to be a guru and speaks differently from the scriptures, it is natural to doubt.

In summary:
If you are looking for God with an ulterior motive, you will get cheated.
If you are looking for God you should accept a guru who is speaking about God.
That guru should present God as he is described in the scriptures.
One man, who I personally saw two years ago with 80,000 to 90,000 followers, was selling invented mantras. Now he is now in jail along with his son.

This is a story I heard a sadhu tell from the Puranas or Mahabharata. After the Kurukshetra War the Pandavas felt bad so many people were killed so their eldest brother Yudhistira could become king. Krishna explained he wanted them to teach dharma for the benefit of all citizens as the age of Kali or degradation was approaching. He asked the brothers to go out and report to him whatever strange sights they saw, and He would explain how they were symptoms of Kali-yuga.
Yudhisthira reported, “I saw an elephant with two trunks.” Krishna explained, “Just like that elephant has two trunks, in Kali everyone will have two faces. Everyone will speak one thing and do another.”
Bhima said, “I saw a big pond without water although all the small ponds nearby were full.” Krishna explained, “In Kali, my representatives are like the big pond, which although deep with knowledge, will have no money and no followers, while so many bogus people will flourish with money and followers.”
Arjuna said, “I saw a bird with writings of the Vedas on it eating the flesh of a human body.” Krishna explained, “That is a symptom of Kali-yuga. In Kali people will learn some scriptural verses and exploit people and take their money.”
Nakula said, “I saw a mother cow who had given birth to a baby and the mother cow was licking the baby cow, so much that the baby cow began to bleed, and it kept bleeding.” Krishna said, “In Kali the parents will give affection to the children by encouraging them unlimitedly in material ways but completely ignoring their spiritual life.”
Krishna explained, “I arranged that war so all these irreligious types would be eliminated and you righteous pious brothers would teach the populace dharma.”
Sahadeva said, “After a long way, I saw a boulder came crashing down a mountain knocking down everything, trees, buildings, monuments, etc. But just before it struck me, it hit plant which stopped completely its rushing speed.” Krishna explained that the boulder is Kali-yuga personified, and the trees, monuments, and buildings are philosophies trying to oppose Kali-yuga. The little plant is the holy name of the Lord which seems to be very insignificant but which actually has the complete power to stop the force of Kali-yuga.

Madhava Prabhu from the Alachua community:

The first two verses of the Eleventh Canto, First Chapter, Verses 6 and 7 are very powerful:

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is the reservoir of all beauty. All beautiful things emanate from Him, and His personal form is so attractive that it steals the eyes away from all other objects, which then seem devoid of beauty in comparison to Him. When Lord Krishna was on the earth, He attracted the eyes of all people. When Krishna spoke, His words attracted the minds of all who remembered them. By seeing the footsteps of Lord Krishna, people became attracted to Him, and thus they wanted to offer their bodily activities to the Lord as His followers. In this way Krishna very easily spread His glories, which are sung throughout the world by the most sublime and essential Vedic verses. Lord Krishna considered that simply by hearing and chanting those glories, conditioned souls born in the future would cross beyond the darkness of ignorance. Being satisfied with this arrangement, He left for His desired destination.”

comment by Shyamala: Vaisesika Prabhu said what we remember at death is what we are emotionally invested in. That was encouraging to me, that I might remember all the kirtanas that really touched me.

comment by Bhisma: I had a friend who was a devotee for a long time who was dying of brain cancer on the farm in Alachua. He had his difficulties over the years, and I was thinking he must be really cracking at death. When I asked him how he was doing, he said, “Krishna is giving me so much mercy.” He must have seen a touch of skepticism in my facial expression, and he said, “Really! You won't believe how much mercy Krishna is giving me!” I could understand from that what fortune awaits us if we are faithful to Krishna till the end.

Q (by Autumn): Is our duty at death just to remember Krishna?
A: Yes.

Manorama Prabhu:

We try to get them dancing on the bus tour in Mexico because once they are dancing, they do not care that it is the same song over and over.

Krishna Dhana Prabhu:

from “Are You Having a PL?” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 49, No. 3:

If even to get a gold medal in the Olympics takes rigorous practice and hard work, then just think how much practice and preparation are required to be transported to the spiritual world for eternity. Hence life is called a preparation.”

Tulasirani Devi:

Queen Kunti prays to Krishna, “I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.” How many people pray like this in this material world? Usually people pray to become free from calamities.

Why does she pray like this? Because whenever she experienced a calamities she realized that Krishna was there to protect her.

Krishna sends us personalized tests to see if we will take shelter of Him or run in the other direction.

If someone stops cultivating their relationship with God, whether to due to happiness or distress, that is the greatest calamity.

I had been a devotee for two years and felt I really wanted to purify myself. I prayed to Lord Nrsimhadeva in New Vrndavana, “Do whatever it takes to get rid of my false ego.” I said it three times. Several hours later I was in the most horrific car accident. I did not die, although the policemen said, “You should not have lived through that.” We could see for each of us involved in the accident how that was Krishna's mercy in every case, even for the girl who died, who left the world in a very spiritual state. In one sense I become more faithful to Krishna as I saw him respond to my prayers, but I also become more fearful of developing my relationship with Krishna and afraid of praying to him. Since then I have rectified that fearfulness in my relationship with Krishna. I do pray to Him now.

One lady prayed exactly the prayer of Queen Kunti, and she lost her husband, children, job everything was gone. She became bitter and stopped practicing.

Comment by Hari Priya: Take shelter of Krishna by taking shelter of Krishna's devotees and confide in them.

Usually we need a mixture of loving encouragement and stern correction.

Comment by Naomi: Remembering the sweet pastimes of Krishna in difficulties keeps me from blaming Him for the calamities.

In my own calamities I always meditate on this verse :

tat te ’nukampam su-samiksamano
 bhuñjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
 jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak

My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.”

How many people “patiently suffer”?

When we are experiencing calamities it is helpful to consider that Krishna has some greater plan.

Lord Caitanya's program is to chant, to dance and to serve the devotees.

Dhameshvar Mahaprabhu Prabhu:

comment by Shyamala: By giving up material attachments we are benefiting the soul which is our ultimate responsibility.

Today responsibility means to conform with the norms of our selfish society. It is reacting to satisfy material needs but is devoid of intentional enlightened action.

Regular, faithful, and practical devotional service inspires Krishna to manifest in the heart.

The pure devotee is simply interested in attaining Krishna and is not disturbed by any number of material calamities.

If my peace of mind depends on people acting the way I want, then I will always be disturbed.

By making Krishna the center of their lives, the residents of Vrindavan enjoy the highest happiness.

Comment by Tulasirani Devi: Radhanath Swami said, “When the guru sees his disciple is taking personal responsibility to execute Srila Prabhupada's mission, he is very pleased.”

Comment by Mikey: If we tolerate the dualities as Krishna mentions in Bg. 2.14, and act according to the scriptures, in buddhi-yoga, we progress.

Bhakta Mike:

If we give up Krishna consciousness to pursue the temporary, we lose both the eternal and the temporary, because we will lose the temporary anyway, and so it is foolish to give up Krishna consciousness.

Bhakta Franco:

I was brought up as a Baptist. I learned God was far away and if you did not perfectly follow the 10 commandments you would burn in hell forever. I thought, “Why bother? I am bound to make one or two mistakes.” In Krishna consciousness, I learned that God wants to be your friend.

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yasmin vijñate sarvam evam vijñatam bhavati

The devotee of the Lord knows everything material and spiritual in relationship with the Lord.” (Mundaka Upanisad 1.3)