Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 16, No. 19
By Krishna Kripa Das
(October 2020, part one)
New York City
(Sent from Brooklyn on October 17, 2020)
Where I Went and What I Did
I continued living at Radha Govinda temple in Brooklyn and chanting Hare Krishna four hours a day with Rama Raya Prabhu’s NYC Harinam party, except on Saturday when we chant for seven hours. I also made sweets for Radha Govinda’s 4:00 p.m. offering. I also celebrated the 54th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s first kirtana in Tompkins Square Park on October 9. In addition, I took and was given some special photos with stories behind them, many more so than usual.
Since I am not doing so much proofreading these days, I have been able to focus on reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. I am presently reading Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Eleven, Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila, and The Nectar of Devotion, and thus I share many inspiring quotes from these books. I share excerpts from the writings of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami as usual. I also share notes on lectures at Radha Govinda temple in Brooklyn by Candrasekhara Swami, Hansarupa Prabhu, Narada Rishi Prabhu, Rama Raya Prabhu, Shobha-mayi Devi Dasi, Navina Nirada Prabhu, Hari Vilasa Prabhu, and Natabara Gauranga Prabhu. In particular, I include notes on a book distribution seminar by Navina Nirada Prabhu.
Thanks to Mera Chitra for her kind donation. Thanks to Dr. Richard Goodman, Dr. Goody for short, who took the photo of me singing with the harmonium and the one of Alex proposing to Minna after harinama. You can follow Dr. Goody on Instagram @drgoodyphotos. Thanks to Kaliya Krishna Prabhu for sharing his video of me chanting Hare Krishna at Columbus Circle. Thanks to Ernest for taking the video of me dancing at Washington Square Park. Thanks to Rupacandra Prabhu and Elena for taking the photos of our party of devotees at Tompkins Square Park.
September 12–?: NYC Harinam
December 5: Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami Vyasa-puja
December 24: Albany, Christmas Eve with relatives
January–April 2020: Tallahassee
Chanting Hare Krishna in New York City
We would chant daily at Washington Square Park, Columbus Circle, or Union Square Park. On the rainy days we would chant in the temple room.
Because I am used to chanting for three hours in public every day, when it rained I chanted one hour in the temple room and then three hours in the subway station. I was encouraged in that neither the policemen nor the transit officials restricted me in any way from chanting in the subway station and eight people gave donations and two accepted books. Of course, I wore a mask as is required by all.
Here are videos in chronological order from our harinamas during the first half of October:
I chanted Hare Krishna at Columbus Circle on the second day of October, and Kaliya Krishna Prabhu took this video (https://youtu.be/ozecGK4mrGQ):
Here Kaliya Krishna Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park (https://youtu.be/FJiPUcVN3M8):
While Kaliya Krishna Prabhu chanted Hare Krishna, a mother, who recently purchased a Srimad-Bhagavatam set from us, and her daughter, played shakers and danced (https://youtu.be/UC8raxnUX5I):
Shyama Mohini Devi Dasi, accompanied by her husband, Radha Krishna Prabhu on drum, chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park, and Richard dances (https://youtu.be/hy2fTRCE9rE):
Radha Krishna Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park (https://youtu.be/FVkvJq0weDM):
Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park, and devotees dance, and a mom and her two daughters dance and play shakers (https://youtu.be/W8eAHpSYNUM):
Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park, and devotees dance (https://youtu.be/WnRiyYN-MF0):
Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park as a professional team records his party (https://youtu.be/yaDMgvtRVBY):
Jaya Jagannatha Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park, and Ananta Govinda Prabhu plays drum (https://youtu.be/Y6iTNtH5Qwk):
Braja Sundari Radha Dasi chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park, and I dance (https://youtu.be/R1ZajQBw7k0):
Namarasa Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park (https://youtu.be/PE4Ctt6Oy-s):
While Jahnavi Harrison chanted Hare Krishna, passersby played shakers and danced (https://youtu.be/42mUb2hmY20):
Jaya Jagannatha Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park (https://youtu.be/gqH4nlQjp-g):
Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park, and a couple plays shakers and dances (https://youtu.be/YkSBEUDvoi0):
Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park on a Sunday evening (https://youtu.be/xhfwOhDr0os):
As Rama Raya Prabhu’s Hare Krishna kirtan became more intense, and several passersby played shakers and danced, encouraged by Caranti Devi Dasi, and one even played guitar (https://youtu.be/blQeNrsacW4):
Kaliya Krishna Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park, and a mother and daughter play shakers (https://youtu.be/98rHOGrVgz0):
Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park, and a girl who interviewed Rama Raya Prabhu and myself for her show about sounds of Washington Square plays shakers and chants (https://youtu.be/2QuC41VJiHw):
Later she purchased the Bhakti Yoga book and two devotional stickers.
Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washingon Square Park, and two passersby dance (https://youtu.be/H-xOsuWDGqI):
Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, joined by five visiting devotees from Syracuse (https://youtu.be/BTBgoKd9es4):
Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, and a mother and two daughters play shakers (https://youtu.be/gVF9LYtsYcE):
Kaliya Krishna Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Columbus Circle, and a passerby, Xavier Joshua, who previously played with us once in Union Square, plays saxophone (https://youtu.be/bOQSqAnYQKA):
Divyangi Devi Dasi, our book distributor, chants Hare Krishna at Columbus Circle the next day (https://youtu.be/gQTMd5GfNv8):
Shyama Mohini Devi Dasi chants Hare Krishna in Washington Square Park, accompanied by her husband, Radha Krishna Prabhu, on drum (https://youtu.be/VjXsBHq7ZL4):
Minna chants Hare Krishna with the NYC Harinam party for the first time at Washington Square Park (https://youtu.be/Ly87GEs19EM):
Visiting book distributor, Navina Nirada Prabhu, chants Hare Krishna after guru-puja at Radha Govinda Mandir in Brooklyn (https://youtu.be/YJAy12l6UuY):
Braja Sakhi Devi Dasi chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park with Bhakti Center devotees (https://youtu.be/frFhVWwGEjs)
Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Columbus Circle, ISKCON NYC temple and congregational devotees dance, and kids passing by clap and dance (https://youtu.be/oYWWx6c51ro):
Kaliya Krishna Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, Richard dances, Ryan plays shakers, and Sally, who is 85 years old, chants (https://youtu.be/OlPrDaa5jAY):
Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, and a girl, who listened to our chanting while she ate lunch, plays the shakers (https://youtu.be/bLbm86mVzj0):
Jaya Jagannatha Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Washington Square Park (https://youtu.be/RjxcjZfx9Vk):
I visited Tompkins Square Park on the occasion of the 54th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s first kirtana there back on October 9, 1966. Each Sunday after that date, devotees would chant Hare Krishna there for three hours. I tell about my visit in a separate article, which you can read in a separate window, by clicking here:
This man wearing The Beatles mask was happy to buy a book about Krishna, knowing of the Hare Krishna connection with that famous band!
This personal friend of Shyamasundar Prabhu knew he was present when George Harrison left his body, and he was happy to learn of Shyamasundar’s book telling of his experiences with the famed musician, Chasing Rhinos with the Swami.
Temple president, Hansarupa Prabhu, cleans railings at Radha Govinda Mandir.
Marcus, who hangs out by our chanting parties, just had to buy
this T-shirt when he saw it advertised on eBay!
From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 16.238, purport:
“One cannot be really renounced until one actually becomes disgusted with material activity and sees it as a stumbling block to spiritual advancement.”
“Since Krishna is the Absolute Truth, whatever is accepted for His service is also the Absolute Truth.”
From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 16.263–264, purport:
“According to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s instructions, a devotee should never be puffed up by material power. He should know that material power is the result of one’s past good activities (karma) and is consequently transient. At any moment all one’s material opulence can be finished; therefore a devotee is never proud of such opulence. He is always humble and meek, considering himself lower than a piece of straw. Because of this, the devotees are eligible to return home, back to Godhead.”
From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 17.39:
“‘Vrindavan is the transcendental abode of the Lord. There is no hunger, anger or thirst there. Though naturally inimical, human beings and fierce animals live together there in transcendental friendship.’”
From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 17.45:
“When the Lord loudly chanted ‘Haribol!’ the trees and creepers became jubilant to hear Him.”
“Purport: The loud chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra is so powerful that it can even penetrate the ears of trees and creepers, what to speak of those of animals and human beings. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu once asked Haridasa Thakura how trees and plants could be delivered, and Haridasa Thakura replied that the loud chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra would benefit not only trees and plants but insects and all other living beings. One should therefore not be disturbed by the loud chanting of Hare Krishna, for it is beneficial not only to the chanter but to everyone who gets an opportunity to hear.”
From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 17.48–49:
“When someone heard the chanting of the holy name from the mouth of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and someone else heard this chanting from that second person, and someone again heard this chanting from the third person, everyone in all countries became a Vaishnava through such disciplic succession. Thus everyone chanted the holy name of Krishna and Hari, and they danced, cried and smiled.”
From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 17.75:
“Krishna is an ocean of mercy. He is especially merciful to the poor and fallen. Without His mercy, there is no possibility of happiness.”
From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 17.131:
“The Lord’s holy name, His form and His personality are all one and the same. There is no difference between them. Since all of them are absolute, they are all transcendentally blissful.”
From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 17.135:
“Krishna’s holy name, transcendental qualities and transcendental pastimes are all equal to Lord Krishna Himself. They are all spiritual and full of bliss.”
From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita Madhya 17.137:
“The mellows of Lord Krishna’s pastimes, which are full of bliss, attract the jñani from the pleasure of Brahman realization and conquer him.”
From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 17.140:
“‘Those who are self-satisfied and unattracted by external material desires are also attracted to the loving service of Sri Krishna, whose qualities are transcendental and whose activities are wonderful. Hari, the Personality of Godhead, is called Krishna because He has such transcendentally attractive features.’”
From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 17.145, purport:
“When we came to New York in 1965, we never expected that the Hare Krishna maha-mantra would be accepted in this country. Nonetheless, we invited people to our storefront to join in chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, and the Lord’s holy name is so attractive that simply by coming to our storefront in New York, fortunate young people became Krishna conscious. Although this mission was started with insignificant capital, it is now going nicely. The spreading of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra in the West has become successful because the young people were not offenders. The youths who joined this movement were not very advanced as far as purity is concerned, nor were they very well educated in Vedic knowledge, but because they were not offenders, they could accept the importance of the Hare Krishna movement. We are now very happy to see that this movement is advancing more and more in the Western countries. We therefore conclude that the so-called mlecchas and yavanas of the Western countries are more purified than offensive Mayavadis or atheistic impersonalists.”
From The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 12:
“Caitanya Mahaprabhu has recommended that everyone chant the Hare Krishna mantra just to cleanse the dust from the heart. If the dust of the heart is cleansed away, then one can actually understand the importance of the holy name. For persons who are not inclined to clean the dust from their hearts and who want to keep things as they are, it is not possible to derive the transcendental result of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. One should, therefore, be encouraged to develop his service attitude toward the Lord, because this will help him to chant without any offense. And so, under the guidance of a spiritual master, the disciple is trained to render service and at the same time chant the Hare Krishna mantra. As soon as one develops his spontaneous service attitude, he can immediately understand the transcendental nature of the holy names of the maha-mantra.”
“‘Who is that person who will not agree to worship the land of Mathura? Mathura can deliver all the desires and ambitions of the fruitive workers and of the salvationists, who desire to become one with the Supreme Brahman. Certainly Mathura will deliver the desires of the devotees, who simply ‘aspire to be engaged in the devotional service of the Lord.’ In the Vedic literature it is also stated, ‘How wonderful it is that simply by residing in Mathura even for one day, one can achieve a transcendental loving attitude toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead! This land of Mathura must be more glorious than Vaikuntha-dhama, the kingdom of God!’”
From The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 13:
“In the Eleventh Canto, twentieth chapter, verse 9 of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Lord Himself says, ‘One should execute the prescribed duties of varna and asrama as long as he has not developed spontaneous attachment for hearing about My pastimes and activities.’ In other words, the prescribed forms of varna and asrama are ritualistic ceremonies of religion intended for economic development, sense gratification or salvation. All of these things are recommended for persons who have not developed Krishna consciousness; in fact, all such activities are recommended in the revealed scriptures only to bring one to the point of Krishna consciousness. But one who has already developed spontaneous attachment for Krishna does not require to execute the duties prescribed in the scriptures.”
From The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 14:
“Sri Rupa Gosvami says that learned acaryas recommend that we follow the regulative principles even after the development of spontaneous love for Krishna. According to the regulative principles, there are nine departmental activities, as described above, and one should specifically engage himself in the type of devotional service for which he has a natural aptitude. For example, one person may have a particular interest in hearing, another may have a particular interest in chanting, and another may have a particular interest in serving in the temple. So these, or any of the other six different types of devotional service (remembering, serving, praying, engaging in some particular service, being in a friendly relationship or offering everything in one’s possession), should be executed in full earnestness. In this way, everyone should act according to his particular taste.”
From The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 16:
“How a devotee in the form of a man can desire to become a gopi is stated in the Padma Purana as follows: In days gone by there were many sages in Dandakaranya. Dandakaranya is the name of the forest where Lord Ramacandra lived after being banished by His father for fourteen years. At that time there were many advanced sages who were captivated by the beauty of Lord Ramacandra and who desired to become women in order to embrace the Lord. Later on, these sages appeared in Gokula Vrindavan when Krishna advented Himself there, and they were born as gopis, or girlfriends of Krishna. In this way they attained the perfection of spiritual life.”
From The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 17:
“These are practical examples of how one can develop to the stage of ecstatic love by the association of pure devotees. It is essential, therefore, that one constantly associate with pure devotees who are engaged morning and evening in chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. In this way one will get the chance to purify his heart and develop this ecstatic pure love for Krishna.”
“In the Padma Purana there is the story of a neophyte devotee who, in order to raise herself to the ecstatic platform, danced all night to invoke the Lord’s grace upon her.”
From The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 18:
“The strong conviction that one will certainly receive the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is called in Sanskrit asa-bandha. Asa-bandha means to continue to think, ‘Because I'm trying my best to follow the routine principles of devotional service, I am sure that I will go back to Godhead, back to home.’”
“When one is sufficiently eager to achieve success in devotional service, that eagerness is called samutkantha. This means ‘complete eagerness.’ Actually this eagerness is the price for achieving success in Krishna consciousness. Everything has some value, and one has to pay the value before obtaining or possessing it. It is stated in the Vedic literature that to purchase the most valuable thing, Krishna consciousness, one has to develop intense eagerness for achieving success.”
“Unflinching faith in devotional service, in Lord Krishna and in the spiritual master makes one highly elevated in the activities of devotional service.”
From The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 19:
“An example of such extraordinary mercy is given in the Eleventh Canto, Twelfth Chapter, verse 7, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, wherein Lord Krishna tells Uddhava, ‘The gopis in Vrindavan did not study the Vedas to achieve Me. Nor had they ever been in holy places of pilgrimage. Nor did they devoutly execute any regulative principle. Nor did they undergo any kind of austerity. It is simply by My association that they have attained the highest perfection of devotional service.’”
“In the Narada Pañcaratra it is clearly stated that when lust is completely transferred to the Supreme Godhead and the concept of kinship is completely reposed in Him, such is accepted as pure love of God by great authorities like Bhisma, Prahlada, Uddhava and Narada.”
“From the example of Candrakanti as found in the Padma Purana and from the example of the gopis as found in Srimad-Bhagavatam, it appears that a devotee who always thinks of Krishna and who always chants His glories in ecstatic love, regardless of his condition, will attain the highest perfection of unalloyed devotional love due to Lord Krishna’s extraordinary mercy.”
“If a devotee is continuously in love with Lord Krishna and his mind is always fixed upon Him, that devotional attitude will prove to be the only means of attracting the attention of the Lord.”
“In the Narada Pañcaratra Lord Siva therefore tells Parvati, ‘My dear supreme goddess, you may know from me that any person who has developed the ecstasy of love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and who is always merged in transcendental bliss on account of this love, cannot even perceive the material distress or happiness coming from the body or mind.’”
From The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 20:
“Without relishing some sort of mellow, or loving mood, in one’s activities, no one can continue to perform such activities. Similarly, in the transcendental life of Krishna consciousness and devotional service there must be some mellow, or specific taste, from the service. Generally this mellow is experienced by chanting, hearing, worshiping in the temple and being engaged in the service of the Lord. So when a person feels transcendental bliss; that is called ‘relishing the mellow.’ To be more clear, we may understand that the various feelings of happiness derived from discharging devotional service may be termed the ‘mellows’ of devotional service.
“This relishing of transcendental mellow in discharging devotional service cannot be experienced by all classes of men, because this sweet loving mood is developed only from one’s previous life’s activities or by the association of unalloyed devotees. As explained above, association with pure devotees is the beginning of faith in devotional service. Only by developing such faith in the association of a pure devotee, or by having in one’s previous life executed devotional activities, can one actually relish the mellow of devotional service. In other words, this transcendental bliss is not to be enjoyed by any common man unless he is so extraordinarily fortunate as to be in association with devotees or to be continuing his previous birth’s devotional activities.
“The gradual process of development to the stage of devotional service is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam, First Canto: ‘The beginning is to hear about Lord Krishna in the association of devotees who have themselves cleansed their hearts by association. Hearing about the transcendental activities of the Lord will result in one’s feeling transcendental bliss always.’”
“This joyous life is attained by one’s reaction to reading Bhagavad-gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam, or else from associating with persons who are very interested in the spiritual life of Krishna consciousness—specifically those who have made the determination to achieve the favor of Govinda by being engaged in transcendental loving service at His lotus feet.”
From The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 21:
“The maha-mantra (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare) is also simply an address to the Lord and His energy. So to anyone who is constantly engaged in addressing the Lord and His energy, we can imagine how much the Supreme Lord is obliged. It is impossible for the Lord to ever forget such a devotee. It is clearly stated in this verse that anyone who addresses the Lord immediately attracts the attention of the Lord, who always remains obliged to him.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.22, purport:
“The moving tendency of the human being is misused by visiting places for sightseeing. The best purpose of such traveling tendencies could be fulfilled by visiting the holy places established by great acaryas and thereby not being misled by the atheistic propaganda of moneymaking men who have no knowledge of spiritual matters.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.4.1, purport:
“The whole Vedic adventure is to draw one’s attention entirely unto the lotus feet of Lord Krishna without any diversion, as instructed in the Bhagavad-gita (15.15).”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.4.2, purport:
“A devotee of the Lord never thinks of his household paraphernalia as his own, but surrenders everything for the service of the Lord. Thereby living entities under a devotee’s care get the opportunity for God realization by the management of a devotee-master.”
“Maharaja Yudhisthira and householders like him can turn everything to light by dovetailing so-called material assets in the service of the Lord, but one who is not trained or is unable to turn everything to the service of the Lord (nirbandhah krishna-sambandhe) must give up all material connections before he can be fit to hear and chant the glories of the Lord, or in other words, one who has seriously heard Srimad-Bhagavatam for even one day, like Maharaja Pariksit, from a fit personality like Sukadeva Gosvami, may be able to lose all affinity for material things.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.23.56 (quoted in Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 17.185, purport):
“Anyone whose work is not meant for elevating him to religious life, anyone whose religious ritualistic performances do not raise him to renunciation, and anyone situated in renunciation that does not lead him to devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead must be considered dead, although he is breathing.”
The humble servants of Srila Prabhupada:
[The verses themselves are all personally spoken by Krishna unless otherwise noted. The purports are by the commentators.]
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.25.24:
“Absolute knowledge is in the mode of goodness, knowledge based on duality is in the mode of passion, and foolish, materialistic knowledge is in the mode of ignorance. Knowledge based upon Me, however, is understood to be transcendental.”
“Purport: Srila Jiva Gosvami elaborately explains in his commentary on this verse that the material mode of goodness does not award perfect knowledge of the Absolute Truth. He quotes from Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.14.2), proving that many great demigods in the mode of goodness could not understand the transcendental personality of Lord Krishna. In the material mode of goodness, one becomes pious or religious, aware of a higher, spiritual nature. On the spiritual platform of purified goodness, however, one establishes a direct, loving relationship with the Absolute Truth, rendering service to the Lord rather than merely maintaining a connection to mundane piety.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.25.25:
“Residence in the forest is in the mode of goodness, residence in a town is in the mode of passion, residence in a gambling house displays the quality of ignorance, and residence in a place where I reside is transcendental.”
“Purport: Throughout the history of India, many millions of persons from all walks of life have adopted the orders of vanaprastha and sannyasa and have gone to sacred forests to practice austerity and perfect their self-realization. Even in America and other Western countries, persons such as Thoreau achieved fame by retiring to the forest to reduce the scope and opulence of material involvement.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.25.26:
“A worker free of attachment is in the mode of goodness, a worker blinded by personal desire is in the mode of passion, and a worker who has completely forgotten how to tell right from wrong is in the mode of ignorance. But a worker who has taken shelter of Me is understood to be transcendental to the modes of nature.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.25.27:
“Faith directed toward spiritual life is in the mode of goodness, faith rooted in fruitive work is in the mode of passion, faith residing in irreligious activities is in the mode of ignorance, but faith in My devotional service is purely transcendental.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.25.28:
“Food that is wholesome, pure and obtained without difficulty is in the mode of goodness, food that gives immediate pleasure to the senses is in the mode of passion, and food that is unclean and causes distress is in the mode of ignorance.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.25.29:
“Happiness derived from the self is in the mode of goodness, happiness based on sense gratification is in the mode of passion, and happiness based on delusion and degradation is in the mode of ignorance. But that happiness found within Me is transcendental.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.25.31:
“O best of human beings, all states of material being are related to the interaction of the enjoying soul and material nature. Whether seen, heard of or only conceived within the mind, they are without exception constituted of the modes of nature.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.25.34–36:
“A wise sage, free from all material association and unbewildered, should subdue his senses and worship Me. He should conquer the modes of passion and ignorance by engaging himself only with things in the mode of goodness. Then, being fixed in devotional service, the sage should also conquer the material mode of goodness by indifference toward the modes. Thus pacified within his mind, the spirit soul, freed from the modes of nature, gives up the very cause of his conditioned life and attains Me. Freed from the subtle conditioning of the mind and from the modes of nature born of material consciousness, the living entity becomes completely satisfied by experiencing My transcendental form. He no longer searches for enjoyment in the external energy, nor does he contemplate or remember such enjoyment within himself.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.26.1–2:
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Having achieved this human form of life, which affords one the opportunity to realize Me, and being situated in My devotional service, one can achieve Me, the reservoir of all pleasure and the Supreme Soul of all existence, residing within the heart of every living being. A person fixed in transcendental knowledge is freed from conditioned life by giving up his false identification with the products of the material modes of nature. Seeing these products as simply illusion, he avoids entanglement with the modes of nature, although constantly among them. Because the modes of nature and their products are simply not real, he does not accept them.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.26.12, purport:
“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura states that if one worships the example of the liberated gopis of Vrindavan, who accepted Lord Sri Krishna as their paramour, one can free one’s mental activities from the contamination of lust.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.26.15:
[King Pururava said:] “Who but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who lies beyond material perception and is the Lord of self-satisfied sages, can possibly save my consciousness, which has been stolen by a prostitute?”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.26.23:
“Because the mind is not disturbed by that which is neither seen nor heard, the mind of a person who restricts the material senses will automatically be checked in its material activities and become pacified.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.27.52:
“By installing the Deity of the Lord one becomes king of the entire earth, by building a temple for the Lord one becomes ruler of the three worlds, by worshiping and serving the Deity one goes to the planet of Lord Brahma, and by performing all three of these activities one achieves a transcendental form like My own.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.27.53:
“One who simply engages in devotional service with no consideration of fruitive results attains Me. Thus whoever worships Me according to the process I have described will ultimately attain pure devotional service unto Me.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.28, Chapter Summary:
“It is better to avoid condemning or praising anything of this world, because doing so simply entangles one in matter and deprives one of the higher goals of spiritual life.
“Although material existence is unreal, those who lack discrimination remain entangled in the cycle of birth and death because of their absorption in sense gratification. All the phases of material life – such as birth, death, sorrow and happiness – belong not to the soul but to the materialistic false ego. By learning to distinguish between the soul and its opposite, matter, one can destroy this false identification.”
“The prescribed remedies for lust and the other enemies of the mind are meditation on the Supreme Lord and sankirtana, the loud chanting of His names. The remedy for the disease of false ego is rendering service to the Supreme Lord's saintly devotees.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.28.1:
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One should neither praise nor criticize the conditioned nature and activities of other persons. Rather, one should see this world as simply the combination of material nature and the enjoying souls, all based on the one Absolute Truth.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.28.2:
“Whoever indulges in praising or criticizing the qualities and behavior of others will quickly become deviated from his own best interest by his entanglement in illusory dualities.”
“Purport: For example, an honest citizen distinguishes between the life of civil freedom and that of imprisonment, whereas a foolish prisoner distinguishes between comfortable and uncomfortable prison cells. Just as for a free citizen any situation in prison is unacceptable, for a liberated, Krishna conscious devotee any material position is unappealing.
“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura indicates that rather than trying to separate conditioned souls by materialistic distinctions, one should bring them together to chant the holy names of the Lord and propagate the sankirtana movement of Lord Caitanya. A nondevotee, or even an envious third-class devotee, is not interested in uniting people on the platform of love of Godhead. Instead he unnecessarily separates them by emphasizing material distinctions like ‘communist,’ ‘capitalist,’ ‘black,’ ‘white,’ ‘rich,’ ‘poor,’ ‘liberal,’ ‘conservative’ and so on. Material life is always imperfect, full of ignorance and disappointing in the end. Rather than praising and criticizing the high and low features of ignorance, one should be absorbed in Krishna consciousness, on the spiritual platform of eternity, bliss and knowledge.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.28.8:
“One who has properly understood the process of becoming firmly fixed in theoretical and realized knowledge, as described herein by Me, does not indulge in material criticism or praise. Like the sun, he wanders freely throughout this world.”
“Purport: Every living entity emanates from the Supreme Lord and is thus naturally full of realized knowledge. But when one becomes attached to praising or criticizing material good and bad for one’s personal sense gratification, one’s expert knowledge of the Lord becomes covered. A pure devotee should neither love nor hate any aspect of material illusion; he should rather accept whatever is favorable for serving Krishna and reject whatever is unfavorable, following the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master.”
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.28.13:
“Actually, the living entity is transcendental to material existence. But because of his mentality of lording it over material nature, his material existential condition does not cease, and, just as in a dream, he is affected by all sorts of disadvantages.”
Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:
If you are interested in the writing of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, visit his web site: http://www.sdglegacy.com/.
From Prabhupada Meditations, Volume 3:
“Book distribution and prasadam distribution are peaceful ways to spread Krishna consciousness. In performing sankirtana, though, Prabhupada was determined not to be stopped by anyone.”
“We need not be intimidated by thinking of Prabhupada as a general. One can possess the fighting spirit in many ways. If a devotee has a terminal disease and continues to chant his rounds, that is fighting. If a mother continues to take care of her children despite the difficulties, that is the fighting spirit. Whenever we continue to set good examples and not admit defeat or hopelessness – that is the fighting spirit of Srila Prabhupada.”
“Prabhupada sat down and began singing. Hayagriva with his beard and checkered shirt was hitting the big cymbal with the drumstick. Swamiji accepted it.
“With rough and ready hands (clap-clap-clap), we were like a bunch of peasants stomping their feet. Our sleeves were rolled up. Young men clapping as Swamiji sang the bhajana. The boys played off each other’s voices so we wouldn’t get bored. The main thing, though, is to hear when the Swami sings.
“Look over at the others. Look at their faces moving back and forth with eyes closed. Look up at the Swami. Each one is into his own experience, but you are all together. You are not long-time friends, but there is a bond.
“The thick-bodied clapping keeps the kirtana solid. It helps concentration; it is what the Swami invites.
“The kids are at the door. Trucks grinding gears. We are bunched at that Swamiji’s feet in that one part of the universe, drawing from the kirtana that he is giving—and they can’t get at us now. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
“Prabhupada asserted a solution to crime
based solely on the transcendental power
of the Holy Name and prasadam
to purify the hearts of criminals.
When challenged that his plans
were like that of so many religions,
Prabhupada replied, ‘No.’
We are strictly following,
and it is potent.”
“Prasadam worked. It made you feel satisfied and free of sex agitation. Everything seemed nice. You didn’t want to argue with people. Prasadam helped to heal the ailing self. The atma is not only the soul; it is also the mind, body and self. All of these will be satisfied by eating prasadam.
“When you honor prasadam, the body says, ‘I like Krishna consciousness.’ The mind says, ‘I like it too. I’m not agitated anymore.’ The self claims, ‘This prasadam was offered to Krishna. Swamiji says it is not ordinary food.’
“Prasadam was an item of faith, a sacrament. It was as good as the Eucharist taken in the Catholic Church. The Eucharist is surrounded with awe and mystery in a ceremonial ritual. Prasadam was eaten from a plate on the floor with the boys and the Swami. Someone might doubt, ‘You are eating like everything else. What is the difference?’ Swamiji would reply, ‘This is offered to Krishna.’
“As with all other Krishna conscious activities, prasadam depended on Swamiji’s presence. He was right in our midst as we ate with his invitation, ‘Take more, take more.’
“Nations such as the Italians know how to relax and satisfy themselves when it is dinnertime. They put their problems aside, and they eat. With Swamiji we did that also, but without heavy sense gratification, and without wine and meat. It was spiritual eating. It was satisfying but not merely gastronomic satiation. It was also different than taking the holy Eucharist once a week (or at most once a day) in the form of a tiny thin wafer.
“ . . . The boys joked, ‘Satsvarupa, you have to work this afternoon, so you need to eat more to be spiritually strong.’
“Swamiji heard them and smiled, ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘be spiritually strong. Eat prasadam, that is our answer.’ Regardless of what a critical onlooker might say about overeating, Swamiji was our leader, and he was the one who told us to eat more. He did not say we should start with one chapati and decrease from there—not in those days. This was the happy entrance into Krishna consciousness. Each of us came with our many hang-ups and lamentations, but prasadam took care of it all. Although it is true that we should not eat in a mood of sense-gratification, as indulgence, there was something wonderful in the beginning—the enjoyment of eating in good company. The loving exchanges brought us into Krishna consciousness.”
“Eating has always been celebrated as a way to share love and togetherness. Rupa Gosvami even mentions these two forms of loving exchanges among devotees: ‘To accept prasadam and to offer it to others.’ A spiritual family eats together in the spirit that Swamiji showed us. There was something to be learned from that example and not just laughed at as funny stories from 1966, ‘when everyone ate a lot.’”
“He [Prabhupada] liked to stay here [Bhaktivedanta Manor]. Even in the photos of Prabhupada at the Manor, he seems very peaceful. He was happy to see the Britishers looking like Vaikuntha angels, dancing in the temple before Radha and Krishna. It gave him a special satisfaction because Britain had so long been a predominator and spoiler of Vedic culture in India. Prabhupada reversed this in a nice way and gave Krishna consciousness to England.”
From Prabhupada Meditations, Volume 4:
“Prabhupada said, ‘When I publish a book, I feel I have conquered an empire.’ He conquered more than an empire; he conquered his devotees’ hearts.”
From The Wild Garden: Collected Writings 1990–1993:
“The date is set, when I will have to leave this body behind. Prepare yourself for that parting. Behave in ways conducive to that fact. Whatever I think of at the end will determine my next destination. For the materialist, death is a reverse. It is a wrenching away, a tragic defeat. Devotees shouldn’t die like that. A devotee’s anguish is that he or she did not attain Krishna prema. We will feel that anguish.”
“Death is inevitable, it’s not far away. Wind up your material life today. Why do you eat so many sweets? Is it really to keep your body healthy and strong? What acts do you carry out to serve your body but which have no spiritual benefit? Nothing is more important than self-realization. How gradual does your path have to be? At my age the word ‘gradual’ takes on a new meaning. I do not have time for long-term plans, and there are no senior citizen discounts in the spiritual realm.”
From Calling Out to Srila Prabhupada:
“O Prabhupada, whom we think of day and night;
“O Prabhupada, who came to America with Srimad-Bhagavatams as his only means, who sold volumes to bookstores in order to pay for groceries, and who thought in the beginning, ‘They will never accept this Hare Krishna mantra, but let me try.’
“O Prabhupada, who happily endured the austerities of New York winters on behalf of Lord Krishna; O master, who years later made thousands of disciples and had many houses to reside in, but who said, ‘I was happier in the beginning in New York because I had no one to depend on but Krishna;’
“O Prabhupada, who favored New York City by opening his first ISKCON center there and by singing in Tompkins Square Park, who beat the one-headed drum hours at a time and sang strongly, who braved all the rudeness and strangeness just to deliver us from birth and death by giving us the holy name;
“O Prabhupada, whose preaching was guided by Lord Krishna, whose preaching was ‘to go in like a needle and come out like a plow,’ whose preaching was pure, and who stayed to do it, who fulfilled all the qualities of a saint, being tolerant, merciful, friendly to all, and fixed in the Absolute Truth;
“O Prabhupada, who loved his disciples and nurtured them like a mother cares for her children, and who, like a father, imparted to his sons and daughters the gift of courage to stand and fight; O Prabhupada, please live vibrantly in our thoughts and actions.”
From Japa Transformations:
“Japa cannot be compared to anything else. You pray from the heart. Yet japa can be compared to championship golf. Sometimes you use a heavy driver, sometimes you use the iron, sometimes you use the putter, sometimes you make a birdie or an eagle, or you make a lot of bogies, or you make par. Sometimes you wind up in the water. Sometimes you wind up in a sand trap. Sometimes you do real well and move up in the competition. You play it real carefully and measure your shots. You don’t have to wear special shoes or shirt. There are no hard and fast rules. The main thing is to keep trying sincerely and stay awake. This morning I have been alert for eight rounds so far, and I’m hoping to keep it going. I’m chanting mostly subpar in audibility, but I’m paying attention.
“I love japa! It’s my favorite sport. But I’m not a champion. I’m just an amateur. I’ve been working at it for a long time, and yet I remain an amateur. Sometimes I have to cry out, ‘Fore!’ as my ball sails into the crowd. You wouldn’t expect that from me after all these years. But I keep trying. I honestly keep trying. Japa is the easiest form of spiritual meditation. Many people enter the competition, and many people improve over the years. They attend seminars. They go on japa retreats. They study books. They get down on their knees and pray. They get frustrated and throw the clubs down. You do it on your own. Japa, please let me perform You to the end of my days. Don’t let me break my legs or need surgery that I have to lose a year of japa. I’m already chanting less because of my injured shoulder. I’ll get better, though. You’ll see me. I’ll get better. Japa is my favorite sport. Japa is my most serious meditation. Japa has been given to us by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Prabhupada says the order of the spiritual master to chant at least sixteen rounds daily is most essential. I pray to Krishna to bless me.”
From Prabhupada Nectar:
Srila Prabhupada advised: Cook for Krishna like a young man with a big appetite.
“Again he [Srila Prabhupada] emphasized that Krsna consciousness is already there in the heart. Otherwise, how could so many Europeans and Americans take up Krsna consciousness so quickly and seriously?”
From Prabhupada Meditations, Volume 4:
“Dealing with Our Illusory Prabhupada
“The first time I heard the phrase ‘illusory Prabhupada,’ it was spoken to me by my Godbrother Bhurijana Prabhu. I was startled to hear that phrase. Bhurijana said that he had been serving Srila Prabhupada in Hong Kong while Prabhupada was in America. Bhurijana thought that he had subtly begun to do things differently from the way Prabhupada did them. To rationalize his behavior, Bhurijana tried to justify his actions based on what he thought Prabhupada would say. In this way he felt like he was still in line with Prabhupada. He never actually forgot Prabhupada and had no other desire than to serve him, and so he began to serve Prabhupada as he conceived of him in his own mind.
“Then Prabhupada came to Hong Kong. When Bhurijana came to meet him at the airport, it was a shocking experience. Seeing the real Prabhupada, to have to answer to him and surrender to his instructions, was a crushing blow.
“To describe one’s creation of an ‘illusory’ Prabhupada is a very honest statement for a disciple—to admit that a duality can exist between Prabhupada as he is and Prabhupada as we want him to be.
“We all want to strive to replace any imagined idea of Prabhupada with the real person. One way to do this is to expose ourselves to Prabhupada’s books, lectures and letters. Of course, the letters are sometimes jarring unless they are read carefully according to person, time and place. For example, Prabhupada might strongly reprimand someone and tell him not to write poetry. A poet may be hurt by Prabhupada’s condemnation of something he holds dear. But one has to consider whether the person Prabhupada wrote the letter to was misbehaving in other ways—was writing poetry as an excuse for not doing other service? Was his or her poetry expressing materialistic sentiments? There are so many things to consider. Therefore it is good for us to expose ourselves to the ‘real’ Prabhupada as he wrote many letters to different people, thus we have to carefully understand the context from which he is speaking.
“There are many ‘Prabhupadas’ floating around our movement. (How often do we hear, ‘Prabhupada said,’ offered by someone trying to end an argument?) Our search for the real Prabhupada will have to be a sensitive and ongoing one. We have to be patient with ourselves as we serve Prabhupada. Even if there is some trace of illusion in ourselves, ultimately there is nothing illusory about Prabhupada. It is natural to select certain instructions that we think fit our situations and personalities. When we try to relate to the spiritual master as preachers, we even encourage newcomers to find something in Prabhupada’s teachings that they can follow wholeheartedly. We just have to be careful not to present a watered-down version of what Prabhupada is teaching. Until we are pure, there will always be some trace of compromise in our ability to follow, but we should always seek to increase our surrender and to know internally who our spiritual master is and what he wants from us.
“Neither should we be afraid of the possibility that we have created an ‘illusory Prabhupada.’ It’s not like the ‘illusory Vasudeva’ that the demon Salva created to dishearten Krsna on the battlefield. Salva said, ‘Krsna, I have Your father here, and I am going to cut off his head. There is nothing You could do about it.’ Salva then cut off the head of the mystic illusion. When Krsna saw it, He appeared to be unhappy for a moment. But since Krsna is never overcome by illusion, He then grew more determined to fight. Any service to Prabhupada is valid. If we are determined, we will gradually work out of our misconceptions of Prabupada. And we are never cut off from the mercy.
“The Prabhupada we worship and who appears to us is our inspiration for devotional service. Salva used the ‘illusory Vasudeva’ in an attempt to harm Krsna. But if we worship Prabhupada we will always be benefited with confidence in Prabhupada’s mercy, we can strive to cut away too much compromise in our service and to respond to Prabhupada as he is.”
Ruci is the stage where we have a taste for devotional service, and we do not have a taste for anything else. At asakti one becomes attached to a particular type of a relationship with Krishna, and at bhava one begins to act in that relationship.
The nine stages of devotional service can be divided into vaidhi, raganuga, and ragatmika, with the earlier stages being vaidhi and the final stage being ragatmika.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura lists about thirteen apasampradayas which are like an encyclopedia of potential deviations from pure Vaishnava philosophy.
Printers desiring popularity printed all kinds of literature about Lord Caitanya, not discriminating between the true and the false.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura upon attaining a bona fide copy of Sri Caitanya-caritamrita came to realize that Vaishnavism is the pinnacle of religion, and he went to war with those deviant Vaishnava sects distorting the pure teachings of Lord Caitanya.
The deviant sects fall into three groups, those claiming propagating devotional service the right of their group which has some hereditary connection with disciples of Lord Nityananda, those like smartas who focused on rules for going to heaven, and the sahajiyas, who did kirtan but did not abstain from illicit sex or intoxication.
The deviant groups were so numerous that pure Vaishnavism was choked out, and thus Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and later his son, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, through their writing, pointed out the deviations and reestablished the pure teachings of Lord Caitanya.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote in the musical style of the Baulas and signed his name with a Baula pseudonym in his attempts to correct their misunderstanding.
The presence of illicit sex and intoxication are indications that groups are deviant.
Comment by Rama Raya Prabhu: Srila Prabhupada writes, “If one is not interested in preaching, talking constantly to the nondevotees, the influence of the modes of nature is very difficult to surpass.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.46, purport)
Comment by Navina Nirada Prabhu: I like the point made by Rama Raya that the lack of compassion by those groups is evidence they are deviant.
As the marginal energy, we have to identify with either the material or spiritual energies. There is no third option.
Vishnu creates the building materials. Then Brahma uses the building materials to build the house.
The dissolution is like playing a cassette tape backwards. That which previously became more detailed becomes merged together.
The attempt to enjoy the material world does not really work but most people do not realize that and so they continue endeavoring in that way.
Even the first verse of the Bhagavatam describes many features of the Supreme Lord: He inspires Brahma within the heart. He creates the worlds. Even the great demigods are bewildered by Him, thinking this world which is ephemeral is actually real.
Each planet has a different karma, and different living entities live there.
Although the Supreme Lord is everywhere, the materialist is not able to see Him anywhere.
At the end of Brahma’s day, the living entities merge temporarily into the body of Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, and at the end of Brahma’s life, the living entities merge temporarily into the body of Kananodakasayi Vishnu.
The creation and dissolution of the material world is play for the Supreme Lord, but it is not His most enjoyable play, as a lot of really bad things go on here.
We cannot fulfill our desires nor can we fulfill each others’ desires, but the Supreme Lord can fulfill everyone’s desires.
Modern ideas of history are inaccurate. For example, thousands of years ago when man was supposed to be very primitive, the Egyptian pyramids were built to such a high precision it would be difficult to duplicate today.
People are easily distracted and so there are whole seminars on maintaining focus, but for a devotee who always carefully chants the holy name for two hours every day, focus is natural.
People die playing video games. It happens more often than you think. They forget to eat and drink, being so absorbed in the games, and they just die. They are so absorbed in the virtual reality they forget the actual reality.
In the early days of the Hare Krishna movement, people did the morning program, and they spent the whole day on harinama. Everyone was so blissful, and there was no opportunity for “palace intrigue.”
People would hurry back from their services for the evening arati. The evening arati kirtanas were legendary in New York. People made cassette tapes of them. We had to put reinforcements in the floors to keep them from bowing from all the devotees dancing.
Service in the temple takes you off the mental platform.
90% of the content of the internet is pornography.
The devotees by achieving and maintaining a level of purity by practicing bhakti-yoga can hope to make some progress against materialism.
In our temple at 55th Street in Manhattan, though some faults were there, all we experienced was transcendental ecstasy.
People who like the devotees, but who are philosophically at odds with us, when they saw the Hare Krishna! film realized that what Srila Prabhupada achieved could not be achieved by anyone else. He had a purity that made it all possible.
We have to hold on to the desire to be pure. It is hard to be pure. Every encounter we make is a choice between purity and impurity.
No one plans to fall down, but you do have to plan not to fall down. You have to know what your triggers [allurements] are and avoid them.
Your time living in the temple practicing Krishna consciousness could not be better spent anywhere else. It will benefit the rest of your life.
Comment by Rama Raya Prabhu: Srila Prabhupada said, “If we simply present Krishna Consciousness in a serious and attractive way, without need to resort to fashionable slogans or tricks, that is sufficient. Our unique asset is our purity. No one any where can match it.” (Letter to Yogesvara, December 28, 1971, Bombay)
When asked by Hari Vilasa in Paris about how to show your love for your spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada said “You show your love for your spiritual master by keeping your vows.”
We are trying to maintain Radha-Govinda’s service. We did not expect much success, but we see things are going on nicely. If you do the right thing, you will get the right result. Therefore, we should always do the right thing.
Every devotee can hear and advise. We are all here because of good guidence by our elders, and we can share that.
Pariksit maintained his focus despite many reverses. That is the test of a pure devotee. Srila Prabhupada was like that.
Sincerity in service is the key to advancing spiritually.
Who would believe that the prayers of Prahlada Maharaja were those of a five-year old child?
Who would think to approach an enraged lion? Yet Prahlada Maharaja was fearless because of his sincerity in service.
Either by choice or force we will have to give up all our material connections.
When Srila Prabhupada noticed the bathrooms for the workers in Mayapur were not clean, he said there would be no second initiations, implying that the devotees were not clean enough to be brahmanas because they did not correct the situation.
A devotee asked, “Are you seeing Krishna?”
Srila Prabhupada replied, “Yes, just like on closed circuit TV.”
By serving the deity, one comes to enhance his awe and reverence with genuine affection.
Harikesa thought he was not qualified to preach in the iron curtain countries despite Srila Prabhupada’s insistence. Srila Prabhupada was trying to get Harikesa to understand that his order is the qualification. Finally Srila Prabhupada told the devotees to buy him a ticket, take him to the airport and put him on a plane, and the rest is history. Now the iron curtain is no longer. Prabhupada knew he would be successful. Harikesa didn’t.
New York is the most famous city in the world.
Why maintain? Because Krishna has plans.
There is no limitation except that we impose upon ourselves by our negative thinking.
We have to recognize Srila Prabhupada’s voice. Sometimes we listen to other voices.
I was living in Vrindavan for years. I was thinking, “Perhaps I should get some land in Vrindavan.”
But my godbrother said to me, “Vrindavan is not a place to live but a place to die.”
There was so much wealth in India that the Moguls could plunder it many times.
The association of devotees is what protects our creeper of devotion.
Ashram means shelter. We protect each other. Not “I did not see your bag of potato chips; you did not see my bag of potato chips.”
The year, 1975, was the closest we came to nuclear war. India and Pakistan were at each other’s throats. India was allied with Russia, and Pakistan was allied with America.
Devotees asked Srila Prabhupada what to do when the bombs start falling.
Srila Prabhupada said, “Chant Hare Krishna. The preaching will be very good after the war.”
Srila Prabhupada just saw the goal. He was not disturbed by having to step over a few bums to enter 94 Bowery.
There is a Confucian saying. “The person who says it cannot be done should not disturb the person who is doing it.”
Narada Rishi Prabhu:
Devotees are very rare. Please stay here and continue. Those who stay get the nectar.
In West India once some beggars came to the temple. I invited them for prasadam, and when they were satisfied, I suggested they stay and said we would give them food, clothes, and a place to live, and they would not have to go begging from door to door. Although they had no better situation, they were so unfortunate they could not stay.
If Srila Prabhupada had no compassion, we would not be here chanting Hare Krishna and taking prasadam.
The guru neutralizes the karma of the disciple and connects him to Krishna.
Even if the spiritual master becomes invalid, by serving him in that condition, one can get great mercy.
By the mercy of the guru, the disciple becomes able to do so many things.
Although Krishna is the supreme spiritual master, He sets the example of accepting a spiritual master to teach the people in general.
Comment by Rama Raya Prabhu: Srila Prabhupada would say don’t criticize show better.
We should act in such a way that when people hear of our activities they become inspired in devotional service.
Shobha-mayi Devi Dasi:
We have already been through all these animals species. Let’s not do it again.
Even the millionaires live an animal life so what is the use of that life?
Pariksit renounced his whole kingdom to focus on Krishna. He could have stayed in the palace, but he left that and abandoned his royal dress, giving up food and water, and heard Srimad-Bhagavatam. He understood it was Krishna’s plan.
We experience frustration in our devotional service because it is Kali-yuga, but there is no ultimate frustration because whatever we do in devotional service has an eternal result.
All the sages came from all over to bless Maharaja Pariksit and witness his death.
Without the mercy of Krishna one does not get a bona fide guru and without the mercy of the guru one cannot realize Krishna, thus we progress on two parallel tracks.
Prasadam is Krishna. If you are throwing prasadam in the garbage, you are throwing Krishna in the garbage.
Rama Raya Prabhu:
Deity worship is required to change our focus from our body to Krishna’s body.
Radha Govinda graced the Hare Krishna pandal program in Jaipur in 1972, and according to Yamuna Devi, Srila Prabhupada considered the deities used in the pandal programs to be installed.
When Hansarupa Prabhu took charge of the management of ISKCON New York he said his goal was to make ISKCON New York as attractive for devotees to visit as Vrindavan or Mayapur.
Srila Prabhupada said the spiritual master does not know everything. Only Krishna knows everything, but the spiritual master knows whatever Krishna wants him to know.
Rather than trying mechanically to give up material desires, it is better to engage positively in devotional service to the Supreme Lord.
Srila Prabhupada gave people what they needed to connect them with Krishna, both individually and collectively at the same time, which is an amazing accomplishment.
It is difficult in New York City because you have to be spiritually very strong to be neither attracted or repulsed by what you encounter here.
What happens is the plan of the Lord, and because we are trying to execute the will of the Lord, we have nothing to fear.
If you really want to help the people, Krishna will tell you what to say and when to say it.
Navina Nirada Prabhu:
There are two versions of the story of Krishna saving Maharaja Pariksit. In one the body of the king is destroyed by the brahmastra and is recreated by Krishna, and in the another, Krishna expands and forms a shield protecting Maharaja Pariksit from the heat of the brahmastra.
I ask people, “Are you everywhere or are you here?” Most people think it is a mystical question, and say, “I am everywhere.”
I reply, “You are not everywhere, but you are only here.” The past is gone, and the future has not come, all you have is this moment, and this moment is Krishna.
We do not know anything, but if we chant Hare Krishna, Krishna will tell us what we need to know.
The siddhanta cannot be changed, but the presentation always has to be made appropriate for the audience.
I talked to a old lady who had a care taker. She accepted a book and gave a donation, and then said, “Thanks for coming and speaking to me.”
When people say, “Are you a . . .”
You answer, “Yes. I am a Hare Krishna.”
To get the mercy of the spiritual master you have to dedicate yourself to his mission.
Bhurijana Prabhu advised I ask myself these questions:
Who are you?
Who are you trying to please?
What do you want to contribute to the mission?
I was inspired to add one more:
What am I ready to sacrifice to make my contribution?
Vidura instructs: Highly regard loss that brings great gain.
There is nothing more degrading than the association of ungrateful people.
Comment by Rama Raya Prabhu: Srila Prabhupada would say that as long as we are grateful, we will be allowed to stay.
New York is actually the best place for harinama and book distribution. People are receptive and suffering.
Comment by Natabara Gauranga Prabhu: My guru, Jayapataka Maharaja, is often asked how he can continue through meeting so many serious physical challenges.
He said, “I just consider all the gifts I have gotten from my guru, and thus I am inspired to continue.”
There is a grain of truth in any criticism, and we should look for that.
Vidura hit the road for twenty years and came back to give one speech, and then he was gone again.
Thank you for being who you are and for doing what you are doing – keeping the yajna going.
From a book distribution seminar:
New York is the best place to distribute books because the whole world is here. I have been around the world twenty times, I know. Many of the 8,400,000 species are here.
In New York you can be straightforward whereas in other places that is not possible.
In New York you can get a “yes” or “no” answer. In California they say, “Whatever.”
Do you know how many people I meet who say they came to the park looking for an awakening?
We are not here to argue, to sell something, or to convert people. We are here to share our joy. I would just like to present an opportunity for you.
I read an hour of Gita and an hour of Srimad-Bhagavatam each day as a fifteen-year-old kid, and as a result, I learned English and I learned Krishna consciousness.
Srila Prabhupada said, “I have written all these books just to get people to chant Hare Krishna.”
In speaking to people, if you direct your attention to the soul, you often will find someone is home, although you may not think so.
You can pray to Krishna as the Supersoul to wake the people up.
You have one, two or three sentences to make your presentation.
Distributing books with harinama is the easiest and most blissful way of distributing books. You do not have to say so much because the harinama does the talking.
Write down 108 reasons why you distribute books. If you do not have that many, just write down a few.
If you are hazy about your identity, you will make very little impact on others.
A day without reading Srila Prabhupada’s books is a day wasted.
Tell them your name. Tell them what you are doing. Tell them how they will benefit.
Collect hooks from other book distributors.
When asked how to train book distributors Srila Prabhupada said, “Do not teach them techniques. Just teach them how to be sincere in Krishna consciousness.”
Closed ended questions are good for getting rid of people or for people you know will say “yes”.
If you want to get rid of someone, ask them if they want to buy the book. If they say no, say goodbye and wish them a nice day.
Open ended questions:
How are you doing?
How is the mind?
Are you mindful or mindless?
What’s your mantra? Is it survival or is it enlightenment?
These questions are to engage them in conversation.
You cannot have an inferiority complex or a superiority complex.
If you are near the harinama, you can ask the people, “Have you seen this before?”
Then you can ask them, “Do you like it?” Most of them say “yes,” and if they do, they have already crossed the point of no return by appreciating the devotees.
At the table:
It becomes easy because they have made the first move.
Ask, “Have you see this before?”
Put a book in their hands, gently. Not in their face or their chest.
Tell them something about the books: Books on meditation and yoga. Tell’s you how you can become free from stress. You’ve heard of stress?
You can show them the pictures, especially the changing bodies and karma ones.
Other potential lines include:
“You can be lonely in a crowd or you can be totally connected just by yourself.”
“The purport tells you how to apply it in their life. That’s what’s missing from most Gitas.”
I show them Science of Self-Realization and ask, “Are you self-realized?” Whatever they say is good.
Show them Bhakti-yoga, and tell them, “There are two things you need for lasting relationship are respect and a service attitude.”
With Easy Journey to Other Planets, the cover sells it.
Spiritual Yoga. That book is a little heavy, and it gets heavier. Tell them is not about the exercises but the philosophy of yoga.
Do not get hung up on the money issue.
Say, “We do not sell these, we just ask for a donation. We are just out here to share the knowledge.”
If they do not give, just say, “No worries. You know where we are.”
You can speak to people with a childlike innocence.
After a while, you have experience of all the common reactions, and you realize it doesn’t have to do with you, and then you can let it go.
My goal is to get as many people as possible to get an appreciation of Krishna consciousness.
I tell people, “This is our community service program. We bring everyone out to benefit others.” They often appreciate that.
The bottom line is that people appreciate you.
When asking for donations remember you are not a salesman. You are just giving people an opportunity.
You can tell people we are taking money so people take the books seriously.
Be so focused on your goal that nothing they say and nothing your mind says can disturb you.
If people feel you have some motive, they will become stingy.
One old lady watched from across the street for ten or fifteen minutes. Then she came up and said, “Are you taking drugs?”
“No.” I replied.
Then she said, “That’s really sad. I was hoping to buy some of whatever you had.”
End with the opportunity to continue the relationships. Bring them to the harinama.
Sankirtana never gets boring, and it never gets stale.
The sankirtana is the winning team. It is just a question if we want to be part of it.
The more you appreciate something, the easier it is to share it.
Charlie Chaplin said 50% of success is just showing up at the right time.
Jaya Gurudeva sold Charlie Chaplin’s wife a Bhagavad-gita. He met her again sometime later. She said of her husband, “In his last months of life, he was reading Srila Prabhupada’s Gita every day.” As Srila Prabhupada liked Charlie Chaplin so Charlie Chaplin liked Srila Prabhupada.
Your success is the making the holy name and the Srimad-Bhagavatam the main focus in life.
Everything is there in harinama-sankirtana. You do not have to look anywhere else for anything.
Because I tried to help others in their services, I feel have had some success in life.
Hari Vilasa Prabhu:
Why do we try to understand the creation? Sarga and visarga are two of the ten topics in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Srila Prabhupada speaks about ‘the platform of knowledge.’ Thus knowledge is more than just information.
The material world is not false. It is very real, but it is not what we think it is. We think it is meant for our enjoyment. If you think it is for your enjoyment, you will be disappointed.
David Hume argues that there cannot be God because there are so negative features in this world like tornados, earthquakes, birth defects, etc. That is because he makes the apriori assumption that the material world is meant for our enjoyment, and thus the frustrating features indicate lack of a perfect designer.
Only if you abandon the conception that is meant for your enjoyment, can you see that the material world is perfect. If you consider that the material world is meant for your purification, you can see the perfection in it.
Raghunatha Goswami says that humility can destroy our inclination toward sense gratification. If we are humble, we will not consider we are in a position to be the enjoyer of material resources.
If we get into someone else’s car and we think it is ours, we can get into a lot of trouble legally. It is the same with the material energy.
In varnasrama you are just meant to play a role. You are not a controller. You are not a proprietor. You do not have to worry about success or failure. You just have to play your role. Thus it is a great relief.
Krishna allows people to experience things as if they are in control for a while, and then He suddenly reveals the actual situation.
When the war was going very badly, Hilter could not deal with it, and he would stay up very late watching movies to get it off his mind, although he was thought to be such a very powerful personality.
Most people are drawn kicking and screaming to the truth, so how dear to Krishna are those who voluntarily seek the truth!
When death is standing in front of us, it is very easy to understand we are not in control.
Comment by Jaya Jagannatha: One reason the Bhagavatam gives so many details about the creation is so people will realize they are so much controlled by the material energy they will not conclude that they can escape from it by their mental speculation like the jnanis generally do.
One distinction between human life and animal life is private property. When human beings do not respect the property of others they descend to animal consciousness.
Comment by Rama Raya Prabhu: In the Hare Krishna movement, we are taught to be happy by uniting Sita with Rama rather than exploiting Sita for our enjoyment like Ravana.
Natabara Gauranga Prabhu:
The body is finished at death, but the mind is not finished until one attains liberation.
Krishna is the controller of all these demigods so He can easily bestow what any demigod can.
Krishna fulfills His devotee’s desires in such a way that he does not have more material desires.
The reciprocation of the audience with the speaker inspires the speaker to speak with more enthusiasm.
If the speaker speaks according to his own inclination, what he says will be inspiring to the audience.
Absurd inquiries are evidence of lack of submission.
The more we clearly understand that we are servants of Krishna, the more we can enthusiastically serve Him.
Once Srila Prabhupada explained the parampara system as the real Vedic technology.
There is a story that a new devotee lady had great difficulty understanding Srila Prabhupada’s Bengali accent, but when she came to the point of accepting him as her guru in her heart, the next time she heard one of his classes it was perfectly clear.
We want to present Krishna consciousness in a sweeter way, more appreciable to others.
In addition to chanting holy name, we want to get others to chant the holy name, and to get others enthusiastic to distribute the holy name.
Caranti Devi Dasi:
From a conversation:
Regarding Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:
“I love his paintings. He is my favorite artist now. No, really. I’m not kidding.”
The following verse reveals why so few people attain spiritual perfection. They think other subjects to be more interesting than self-realization. This verse wakes us up and invites us to examine our priorities and to adjust them if necessary.
“There is no stronger obstruction to one’s self-interest than thinking other subject matters to be more pleasing than one’s self-realization.”