Travel Adventures of a Krishna Monk

by Krishna-kripa Das

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Travel Journal#12.11: From Newcastle to London

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 12, No. 11
By Krishna-kripa das
(June 2016, part one)
Newcastle region, York, Sheffield, Leicester
Northampton Ratha-yatra, Chester, London
(Sent from London on June 17, 2016)

Where I Went and What I Did

In the beginning of June I chanted in Newcastle for three days, and then I chanted harinama in York with a party led by Govardhan Devi Dasi and went to the York nama-hatta. I traveled with four York devotees to hear Janananda Goswami speak the next day at the Leicester Sunday feast program. The next week I chanted in Chester-le-Street and Durham on Monday, and then Sunderland, Newcastle, Sheffield, and Leicester the rest of the week. Sacinandana Karuna Prabhu, whose Weekend Warrior programs I would attend in the London area, invited me to the first ever Northampton Ratha-yatra, where he is now based. Later that day I went on a late-night Saturday harinama with the Leicester devotees, and many people danced with our party. I did harinama with devotees in Chester and spoke at the Chester nama-hatta on Sunday, and then went to London for a week to do harinama with the Harinama Ruci traveling harinama party and my friends at our Soho Street temple.

I share insights from many Srila Prabhupada lectures, mostly on the prayers of Queen Kunti. I share notes on Janananda Goswami’s Sunday feast lecture in Leicester. I share excerpts from Back to Godhead articles by Suresvara Prabhu about cooperating to please Srila Prabhupada and Caitanya-carana Prabhu about “Damodarastaka.” I share realizations on chanting Hare Krishna by Govardhan Devi Dasi and Gauridas Pandit Prabhu, who facilitate the York nama-hatta. I also share notes on Dayananda Swami’s lectures in Newcastle.

Thanks to Ramai and Vrinda Prabhus for their kind donation toward my travel from Newcastle to Sunderland and back. Thanks to Barbara of Liverpool for her kind donation, and Karsna Prabhu of Chester for contributing to my travel there. I would like to thank Dennis and the York nama-hatta for their kind donation to my travel between York and Newcastle and Bass for giving me a ride from Newcastle to York. I thank Govardhan Devi Dasi and Ashish for donating to me the harinama collections in York from Saturday and Sunday. Thanks to Aayush and Reena for letting me stay with them in Sheffield, and to Bali Mardan and his son for letting me stay with them in Leicester and driving me to the Northampton Ratha-yatra and to the Megabus stop. Thanks to Gauridas Pandit Prabhu for driving us from York to Leicester to see Janananda Goswami. Thanks to Joe Kenny for his picture of the Sheffield nama-hatta, and to Mark for his picture of the Chester harinama.

Itinerary

June 13–20: London
June 20–21: Stonehenge Solstice Festival
June 21–June 24: New Mayapur, France, with Janananda Goswami
June 25–30: Paris, France, with Janananda Goswami [June 26 - Ratha-yatra]
July 1: Newcastle
July 2: York harinama and nama-hatta
July 3: Scarborough with Govardhan Devi Dasi and John
July 4–5: Preston and Blackpool, with Govardhan Devi Dasi and John
July 6: Newcastle
July 7–9: Polish Padayatra
July 10: Prague Ratha-yatra
July 12–16: Polish Woodstock
July 17–26: Polish Summer Festival Tour
July 27–29: Berlin harinama?
July 30: Berlin Ratha-yatra
July 31–August 4: Czech Padayatra
August 5–11: Baltic Summer Festival
August 12–14: Ancient Trance Festival?
August 15–17: Bratislava?
August 17: Prague?
August 18–21: Trutnoff (Czech Woodstock)
August 22: Prague
August 23: London
August 24–27: Newcastle [including Janmastami and Vyasa Puja]
August 28: Leeds
August 29: Newcastle
August 30: Edinburgh
August 31–September 1: Newcastle
September 2: Sheffield
September 3: York
September 4: Newcastle
September 5–12: Ireland
September 13–: New York City Harinam

York Harinama


York harinama was especially nice this month as Govardhan Devi Dasi was there to sing. I was too busy playing instruments, singing, and distributing flyers to take pictures.

At the nama-hatta program there were three persons who are becoming regulars which was inspiring to see.

The next day, before our journey to see Janananda Goswami in Leicester, Ashish and I chanted for an hour and a half in York, and it was a pleasant experience. We learned that you cannot play music before 11:00 a.m. in the city center in York on Sunday, so we chanted between the city center and the railway station, which was fairly busy, until 11:00 a.m., and then went to our usual place.

Chanting in Chester-le-Street

All my Newcastle friends were busy, so I chanted with Atul Krishna Caitanya Prabhu for an hour and almost a half in Chester-le-Street, his hometown, and felt happy to brighten up his day, as with his health it is hard for him to go to the temple regularly.


He told me how his town has a spiritual history and showed me the Parish Church of St. Mary’s and St. Cuthbert’s, dated back to A.D. 883, where monks called anchorites lived, walled up for years in a sealed-off room to focus on prayer and contemplation.

Atul wrote of our time together, “Lovely afternoon with Krishna-kripa Das. We visited the Anker’s House Museum attached to the Parish Church where the Anker (Hermit) would be walled in for a life of solitude and prayer. We were also invited to see the Church's copy of The Lindisfarne Gospels, which contain the first Gospel to be written in Anglo-Saxon English. We also were invited to ring Cuthbert’s Bell in the Church tower. Then on to Front Street for a beautiful harinama, thank you Krishna-kripa Das for blessing my hometown with your company.”

Chanting in Durham

As soon as I got to Durham, set up my book display and began chanting, an Indian woman, who attends our temple in Leicester, where I happened to be the day before, stopped by, buying a Bhagavad-gita, and making for a good day.

Chanting in Sunderland

While chanting in Sunderland, I was challenged by a guy who had been imprisoned for ten years for stabbing someone. He claimed he prayed to God in prison for three or four years and got absolutely no response, and so he became an atheist. He said came to feel sorry to the person he hurt but not that he felt sorry to God. I argued that feeling compassion for someone is a quality that comes from associating with God, trying to show him that his years of prayer had some tangible result, but he claimed compassion was purely a human emotion with no spiritual basis. It was humbling for me not to have a convincing argument. I know many stories of people becoming devotees as a result of witnessing God answering their prayers, so I think of that as a reality, but it was a reality that former convict had no faith in.

Chanting in Newcastle

I chanted in Newcastle by myself three days in a row. I do not remember any striking experiences, although I see that many more people say “Hare Krishna” to you in Newcastle than a lot of British towns as we have had a continuing presence there for many years and this particular week people were more charitable than usual.

Dayananda Swami chanted at our Wednesday night kirtana, and I share this video of that  (https://youtu.be/CLeRWZwFgPA):


The last day I was in Newcastle told my Facebook friends, “I had a mixed day on harinama. A bird crapped on my harmonium, and I had to wash it off. The ends of my fingers went numb from the continuous north wind in Newcastle, even though it is June. But a Newcastle University student bought a Science of Self-Realization, and a smiling man shook my hand, saying he is most of the way through the book he bought from me and he really likes it.”

Chanting in Sheffield

In Sheffield I talked to an Indian lady who had lived in Sheffield for years and not known about the ISKCON nama-hatta programs, which have been going on for three decades. That just underscores the importance of having devotees visibly out in the streets to connect people with local Hare Krishna activities. One fortyish man gave £2, declining a book because he already had one. Apparently from reading it, he felt we were worth contributing to. On the whole, I felt happy to be singing in Sheffield.

Three Latvians who are becoming devotees, Valeri, Alexandra, and Marita, regularly drive an hour from Barnsley to attend the Sheffield nama-hatta. They were the cooks this week.


Our attendees this week, from left to right and top to bottom were: Geoffrey, Valeri, myself, Aayush, Harisuta Devi Dasi, Alexandra, Reena, and Marita. Adam had to leave early, and Joe took the picture.



Speaking of Sheffield, we take this opportunity to congratulate Mariana of Ukraine, who has been regularly active in the Sheffield nama-hatta for several years, and who was just initiated by Indradyumna Swami this month as Madhavi-rani dasi. We hope she is steady in her service to her guru and she attains spiritual perfection as a result.

Northampton Ratha-yatra

As at some other places in England, the Northampton Ratha-yatra is the contribution of local Hare Krishna devotees to that city’s yearly carnival, which involved a parade for two and a half hours through the streets of the city, both the business and residential areas, and a festival in a park. As the entries in the parade were lining up, we began our kirtana, and thus I led for forty minutes, even before the parade left the park. Many people, both watching the parade and part of the parade, were attracted by the devotees.

I took some video clips of it (https://youtu.be/-d76THyaaf0):


One devotee, Nikhil Gohil, shared on YouTube his video of the procession (https://youtu.be/_Ip7Pu8v4kA):



Devotees also got to sing for 5 minutes on the single festival stage.

ISKCON PandavaSena shared this video on Facebook:


If you do not have Facebook, see this lower resolution one produced from downloading the other one and uploading it to YouTube (https://youtu.be/-nDvEQ9oW8o):


From the stage, I noted those who participated most enthusiastically and gave them “Krishna Wisdom” pamphlets after. Someone seeing me give out those pamphlets asked me for one.

The devotees were happy about participating in the event and discussed how they could increase next year.

Leicester Harinamas

I attempted to add two additional harinamas on Friday to the harinama schedule in Leicester, but only one person joined me for ten minutes for the first one and the second one got rained out. In Leicester, there are many Indian people who are willing to give donations but who say they already have the books.

Saturday is the usual harinama day in Leicester, and devotees go out twice, from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. We missed the first one because of attending the Northampton Ratha-yatra, but I did not want to miss the second one. Seeing all the partiers dancing with the devotees reminded me of the late-night harinamas we used to have in Gainesville, after the Friday evening program. Maybe I will start that up again when I return to Florida.

One girl, who was playing guitar as a street musician, stopped playing her guitar for money and sang with us. She had been to Hare Krishna free prasadam events in her native Latvia. I encouraged her to play her instrument along with us, if she wanted to, and she did. She also chanted and danced much of the time as well. I gave her the details of our Sunday feast, temporarily located at the Krishna Avanti Primary School, and she said she and some Latvian friends who like Hare Krishna would come. I thought of other Hare Krishna events in the UK she might like, and I mentioned the Stonehenge Solstice festival, and how the devotees sing for six hours and distribute vegetarian food. She was excited, saying that she had wanted to go to Stonehenge, especially at the solstice, and I explained to her briefly how to get there.

A group of five girls danced with us twice. The blond girl playing the drum was not a devotee or a drummer but joined our party because she liked to dance. Here are some highlights (https://youtu.be/PbM5FZuv_KY):


Chester Harinama


Eight devotees participated in harinama in Chester. The city was extra crowded with people observing a ceremony for the Queen’s 90th birthday and participating in and watching a triathlon. We felt grateful that we were not told to abandon our spot and to move on until it was time to pack up and go to the nama-hatta program anyway. One nice Indian couple with a young boy learned of our program by seeing our harinama and attended it that very day.

Here Bhanu, the young Indian girl, is singing. I am playing a harmonium, which is covered with a harinama cadar, because it is raining. Karsna Prabhu is playing the drum, and Āhāradā Devi Dasi is playing karatalas. The guy in shorts is smiling and moving with the music.

That we had lots of people on harinama, that two or three people really liked my lecture, that the new couple came, and that a couple of people contributed to my travel made it feel like a successful day.

London Harinama with Harinama Ruci

As often I have been chanting in public by myself in recent days, it was extra special going out with Harinama Ruci and my Soho Street friends. This time the main singer for Harinama Ruci was Syamarasa Prabhu, an Indradyumna Swami disciple from Croatia, who sings attractive melodies.


We would begin in front of Radha-Londonisvara Mandir on Soho Street in Central London. Sometimes people would even begin dancing with us there.


Devotees would swing passersby.



Sometimes people would imitate the dancing devotees.


Some people wanted photos of themselves with the devotees.


I suggested to this lady (above) to dance with the devotee ladies, but she said she did not know the steps. I encouraged her anyway, and she finally did and had a great time. She even said she would join us the next day.

The first day children from France, primary schoolers from Hartlepool (England), ladies from Holland, and young people from Spain delighted in chanting and dancing with Harinama Ruci and the Soho Street devotees at Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus (https://youtu.be/ViwDLJHvtNQ):



Two young Italian ladies (above, in black), one based in London and the other visiting her, danced with the female devotees for half an hour as our chanting party proceeded through Covent Garden on our second day of chanting Hare Krishna in London with Harinama Ruci and the Soho devotees. In one bar, the staff behind the counter enjoyed dancing until the boss lady came upstairs and made us stop and leave. Glasgow students delighted in chanting and dancing with us at Leicester Square. It was a lively day as you can see (https://youtu.be/Rd7ytH1E6Y8):



Visnu Jana Prabhu and another devotee took lots more video of the Glasgow students (https://youtu.be/ucQobuUnChY):




I asked the girl on the left, who is swinging with Mangala-vati Devi Dasi, where the kids came from, and she told me Glasgow. I told her that we had a farm in Lesmahagow and programs in Edinburgh. She said she knew of Lesmahagow but that she lived nearer Edinburgh. I gave her my card, and said I could tell her the addresses of our places.

We were more successful entering a clothing shop than we were at the bar. This time four employees chanted and danced with us and later accepted invitations to our temple open day and the London Ratha-yatra (https://youtu.be/4sLqr1z9gUU):



Insights

Srila Prabhupada:

From a letter to devotees, San Francisco, March 30, 1967:

“If you always chant Hare Krishna, read my books, and preach this philosophy sincerely, then Krishna will provide you with all facility, and you will not fall down into material entanglement.”

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.29 on April 21, 1973, in Los Angeles:

Regarding Putana, the witch who tried to kill Krishna, Krishna considered, “Somehow or other I have sucked her milk, thus she is My mother.” Thus He blessed her with the position of mother eternally.

No one can do harm to Krishna nor can anyone give anything to Krishna. So why are we giving so many things to Krishna? Because if we give to Krishna, then we become benefited.

“If you try to satisfy Krishna in all respects, you will be satisfied in all respects.”

“I receive so many letters daily how they [my disciples] are hopeful in Krishna consciousness.”

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.29 on October 9, 1974, in Mayapur:

[Commenting on Krishna’s dealing with Putana] “The service side Krishna always accepts . . . a little service.”

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.30 on April 22, 1973, in Los Angeles:

As our body is working because of the vital force, the universe is working because of the supreme vital force, Krishna.

Krishna is within the heart and also without as the visva-rupa, the universal form of the Lord.

Those who cannot see God have been advised in the Vedic literature to see God in so many ways: The highest planet is the skull of God. The mountains are the bones of God. The sole of God is the lowest planet.

Because God is great he can create an immense manifestation, such as this cosmic creation, but he also can create microscopic living entities. His greatness is not just one-sided. You can produce a 747 airplane, but can you produce a fly-sized flying machine? No, that is not possible.

If you can keep yourself always in the company of Krishna, all perfection will be there.

We are requesting everyone “chant, chant, chant,” and they are replying “can’t, can’t, can’t.” This is their misfortune.

If we put literature in his hand, he is becoming fortunate. He would have squandered his hard earned money in so many sinful ways, but if he purchases some book, no matter what the price, his money is properly utilized.

Somehow or other, bring everyone in this Krishna consciousness movement, and he will be profited.

The Lord is the source of the bliss that the impersonalists meditate on.

A devotee is always prepared to render service to the Lord.

Human life does not begin unless there is a conception of religion.

In Kali-yuga is practically 80% is sinful. The four pillars of sinful life are meat eating, illicit sex, intoxication and gambling. We request our students to break these pillars, so their sinful life will collapse. And then chant Hare Krishna.

If one has no good engagement, sinful engagements cannot be stopped. You must give people good engagement. The government has failed in this, but we have succeeded.

So-called yoga and meditation are all rascaldom because there is no engagement. There is engagement here with deity worship, sankirtana, etc.

We are forced to take birth, but Krishna voluntary comes to this world. Krishna has a great plan to take people back to home, back to Godhead, and therefore, He comes here.

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.30 on October 10, 1974, in Mayapur:

It appears that the living entity loses his individuality when it is merged with the Brahman effulgence just as a green bird appears to lose its identity when it enters a green tree, but actually that is not the case.

The Lord comes to show us how to work and be happy, not that things come automatically. If you work, things come automatically, but not otherwise.

We are forced to accept happiness and distress because of destiny, but that is not so with Krishna. 

If you simply try to understand the constitution of Krishna, you become liberated.

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.1.6 in 1974:

If one has to remember Narayana at the time of death, then why not directly practice?

The sankhya-yoga system of philosophy is very much liked in Europe and Western countries because it is a system of metaphysics analyzing the whole cosmic manifestation.

You may analyze the creation very nicely but that does not mean you understand the source of creation. You may be a big scientist and analyze the material creation, but at the time of death, if you do not remember Narayana, you could end up as a cat or dog in your next life.

Just by analyzing the blood of a patient, you do not cure his condition.

In every birth you get a father or mother, but only in a human birth can you get a guru and Krishna.

If you do not take advantage of the second birth, initiation into spiritual knowledge, what is the difference between you and a cat or a dog?

You must make a cultural institution where people get the education to remember Narayana at the time of death.

I change my body after this body is no longer useful.

We do not give any stress on the bodily dress but on the soul within.

Our movement is to revive a person’s consciousness and take him back to Godhead.

We want to help people to be Krishna consciousness, not cat conscious nor dog conscious.

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.31 on April 23, 1973, in Los Angeles:

There is no one who is not afraid of Krishna, yet Krishna is afraid of Yashoda.

Even though Krishna is so beautiful He can enchant Cupid, Radharani can even enchant Krishna.

Every devotee can have such a privilege as Yashoda or Radharani if the devotee becomes sufficiently advanced.

Not I love You, Krishna, and You give me this. There is no such mercantile exchange. Krishna wants that kind of love.

When Krishna was a child, Krishna played perfectly as a child. When he played as the lover of the gopis, he played perfectly as lover.

The residents of Vrindavan do not know that Krishna is God, they just know that Krishna is wonderful. As they see His wonderful activities, that wonder increases more and more. They want Krishna and love Krishna.

Krishna is simply waiting for us to turn our face toward Him, but unfortunately, we are not looking for Krishna. We are looking for something else.

From a lecture given on  March 29, 1977, in Bombay:

When human society becomes devoid of dharma it becomes animal society. Dharma is given by the Supreme Lord – what Krishna says. “Always think of Me.” It is a very simple thing. Even a child can do it.

If you are thinking of Krishna within and without, what need is there to perform austerities? If you do not come to the point of thinking of Krishna within and without, what is the value of your austerities?

Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita, Matra sparsas tu kaunteya . . . tams titiksava bharata. We have to tolerate. Lord Caitanya says the same thing. Trnad api sunicena taror iva sahisnuna.

There must be an institution in India for teaching Krishna consciousness to the Indians and to those who come to India.

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.21 in Los Angeles on June 18, 1972: 

We can have riches if we bow down to the Lord, otherwise they will be a great burden.

If you misuse the power and do not feel obliged to the Supreme Lord, who has given you the power, then you’ll be finished very soon. Ravana is an example.

Krishna is purusa, the enjoyer. All else is prakrti.

In the material world, the purusa is artificial, just prakrti imitating purusa, like a woman in man’s dress.

Everyone is trying enjoy, but he cannot. It is a false conception to think oneself the enjoyer. This disease can be cured only by surrender to Krishna.

When the kings became puffed up and defied the authority of God, monarchy was finished.

Everyone should know his power is given by the Lord for His enjoyment.

We should always engage everything in Krishna’s service.

If you have good engagement, there is no scope for wrong engagement.

Engage yourself always in Krishna’s service, then maya [illusion] will not be able to touch you.

Mayavadis try to stop the senses by force. This is like plucking out the eyeballs.

The scientists think the dead stone and the living entity are the same, but the living entities are a different energy, a superior energy.

The big scientists are called fools and rascals because they consider this body as the self.

A dead man cannot use his senses. One without spiritual vision cannot use his senses in the Lord’s service, and thus he is considered spiritually dead.

Rich men must regularly see the Lord in the temple to become free from their false pride.

Seriousness or no seriousness, if one bows down to the Lord, he gets the result.

The temple is meant to give chances to the nondevotees to engage in devotional service.

Hearing is essential. By hearing we can realize the value of the deity.

However important a man may be, he must accept the supremacy of the Lord.

Because of the subordination of Maharaja Prataparuda to Lord Jagannath, the Pathans (Moslem warriors) could not conquer him.

Devotion to the Lord will even help you in your material life. The devotee does not want to enjoy, but Krishna makes all arrangements for the devotee’s enjoyment.

Your American standard of living is maintained, even if you move to another country. Just as a hog, even if he goes to heaven, will look for stool. Similarly, an Indian, even in America, pursues the spiritual.

If we are intelligent, we will understand our happiness and distress is fixed up by our destiny. Therefore, we should not worry about it. Use your energy to develop Krishna consciousness. Endeavoring for material happiness is a mistake.

This is a foolish civilization that is unaware of these truths.

Lord Krishna:

From Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.80.43:

“Simply by the grace of the spiritual master a person can fulfill life’s purpose and attain eternal peace.”

Janananda Goswami:

Because Krishna is complete, both all-knowing and absence of knowledge are there in Krishna. And yet Krishna’s knowledge is always increasing.

By dancing and singing together, the members of the Panca-tattva relish the ecstasy the gopis feel in relationship with Krishna and make it available to others.

Everything in someone we love is lovable to us.

Because everything is a expansion of Krishna, if we hate something, indirectly we are hating Krishna.

People like to spread their name and fame, and Krishna does too.

When we look at Krishna’s beautiful form, our attraction to Him increases more and more.

Maya is the director of the drama of the material world. When you are in a drama, you have to identify with the part to be effective. Maya makes us completely forget our real identity and completely identify with our role in this world.

The more love you have, the more you are concerned with the pleasure of the other person, and so it is true with loving God.

The first book I got was the Krishna book. I got it in a secondhand bookstore.

It may seem inconceivable that the pastimes are repeated and yet they are ever fresh. Even in this world, we experience that kids do the same thing every day, but it seems ever fresh to them.

The material energy seems so distant from Krishna, but actually it is not. Everything is connected to Krishna. We just need to see how to connect it.

Parasurama Prabhu has an almost unlimited ability for expansion of service.

Mahavishnu Swami is so serious about Srila Prabhupada’s instructions he practically never misses mangala-arati, and he even attends the Bhagavatam class, when it is given by Bhakta Ben. He goes on harinama for four to six hours a day, and he distributes books every other day.

The incorporation of ISKCON on July 13, 1966, did not make the news yet it was the most important of such events.

Govardhan Devi Dasi:

After chanting for three hours in the street nothing much bothers you.

Chanting the Hare Krishna mantra gives you the spiritual vision to see you are not your body.

When you chant in public, Krishna gives you special mercy.

Suresvara Prabhu:

From “To Cooperate is To Love” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 50, No. 5, September / October 2016:

When another GBC man wrote to inform Prabhupada of more dissension in the ranks, Prabhupada was philosophical:

Material nature means dissension and disagreement. . . . But, for this Krishna consciousness movement its success will depend on agreement, even though there are varieties of engagements. In the material world there are varieties, but there is no agreement. In the spiritual world there are varieties, but there is agreement.

Different individuals have different ways of engaging material nature in devotional service. The agreement that harmonizes the “varieties of engagements” is their shared purpose, to please Kṛṣṇa.

The materialist . . . cannot come into agreement with varieties, but if we keep Krishna in the center, then there will be agreement in varieties. This is called unity in diversity.

To illustrate, Prabhupada sometimes gave the example of concentric circles. No matter how many circles we draw, if they all share the same center, they never clash. In the same way, if pleasing Krishna is at the center of our intentions, we’ll be able to “agree to disagree” and continue working cooperatively to serve the Lord even when differences arise.

Prabhupada knew this would be an ongoing challenge:

I am therefore suggesting that all our men meet in Mayapur every year during the birth anniversary of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. With all GBC and senior men present we should discuss how to make unity in diversity. But, if we fight on account of diversity, then it is simply the material platform. Please try to maintain the philosophy of unity in diversity. That will make our movement successful. (Letter, October 18, 1973)

On March 16, 1976, in the holy land of Sridham Mayapur, along the Ganges’s green expanse, dozens of young Americans have crowded into Prabhupāda’s room at ISKCON’s international headquarters. He thanks them for cooperating to profusely distribute his books for the benefit of suffering humanity.

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu – He is God Himself, Krishna Himself – He felt, alone, unable to do this task. He felt. So this is the position. You are cooperating; therefore I am getting the credit. Otherwise, alone what could I do? Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself wanted our cooperation. He is God, Krishna. And therefore cooperation is a very important thing . . . Nobody should think that, “I have got so great ability. I can do.” No. It is simply by cooperation we can do a very big thing. “United we stand, divided we fall.” Sankirtana. Sankirtana means many men combined together, chanting. That is sankirtana. Otherwise kirtana. Sankirtana means many, many combined together. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission.

Urmila Devi:

Krishna is not the cause, in one sense, because He is aloof, enjoying His pastimes, as Krishna, while as His expansions as the purusa incarnations, He is the cause.

We are all looking for happiness. In the U.S. Declaration of Independence it is said we have the right to pursue happiness, but it does not say we have the right to find it.

Something false cannot give you happiness.

The Absolute Truth is noncontextual truth.

Contextual truth is relative. Krishna advises Arjuna that dishonor is worse than death and later He advises do not be attached to honor or dishonor.

My father asked Prabhupada if he could come to the temple if he was not a devotee of Krishna. Prabhupada replied, “It does not matter what your religion is. What is important is to know God and love Him.”

A study showed that those companies which remained successful, had plans for a succession and had leaders who took the blame themselves for what went wrong and gave credit to others for success.

Some religions say that God is not in charge of destruction, and they have another being in competition with God that takes charge of destruction.

One explanation is that there is death because we cannot fulfill all our desires in one life.

Thomas Kuhn says in his book on scientific revolutions that the paradigm only shifts with the death of the older people who are invested in it.

Krishna is not the cause in that He is busy enjoying with His associates in Goloka Vrindavan.

Krishna does not want there to be an illusory energy just as the government does not want to have to create a prison and parents do not want to have to punish their kids.

Hypnotism works because when the mind is asleep its functions of acceptance and rejection are not present. Thus the patient is open to the suggestions of the hypnotist.

Generally in different religions one seeks the truth to enjoy the material world or to liberate oneself from this world.

When we are in love with something, even our latest phone, which is a sort of perverted santa-rasa [relationship of adoration], we feel pleasure. Imagine how much joy there is in loving the source of everything!

We seek a total consuming love for the cause of all causes.

Srila Prabhupada did not demand that people change their faith. I know initiated devotees who live in Catholic monasteries.

Srila Prabhupada sometimes said that not blaspheming devotees who have dedicated their lives to propagation of his holy name includes blaspheming Christ and Muhammad.

Because we are talking about things that are beyond time, some things are not understandable to us, like how we came to the material world.

If you chant and do not offend devotees, you will realize that you are a fool, in so many ways, for neglecting Krishna, even now.

Dayananda Swami:

From lectures at the North UK Retreat the previous month:

In 1978 one young man was second in line in command on a cargo ship and making loads of money, but he realized that wasn’t what life about. So he and his girlfriend traveled to all the places the hippies would go, but he realized they also did not have the ultimate truth. He got back to Southampton and started hitchhiking to London. A van stopped and picked them up. After a while, the van driver started preaching Krishna consciousness. The guy really got into the philosophy. Then the van driver asked him for a joint, and he was confused that the driver was preaching this pure philosophy but wanted to smoke pot. At any rate, he gave him a joint, and driver lit it. The van driver took him to the Bhaktivedanta Manor and introduced him to the leader of new devotees, and he never left. We can learn from this that even if we are not following perfectly, we can still preach.”

There is a story about a guru would give a class, and one bull would faithfully attend it. Somehow the guru was unable to continue giving class, and the question of who the disciples would hear from came up. The guru recommended the bull, and the other disciples were incredulous. Then the guru explained, “The bull would faithfully come every day to hear class, and when I would get to an important point, he would stop chewing his cud, so I can tell he was attentively hearing.”

From classes in Newcastle:

Just as in a conversation you tell the main point first and then fill in the details, Krishna summarizes his message in the Second Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, and then explains the details.

Until we get the association of devotee, we cannot be introduced to Krishna.

To remember Krishna in every situation is Krishna consciousness. Without Krishna consciousness, we are just playing in the shadows.

Krishna is always there, but if we do not see Him, how can He help us?

Krishna gives us the consciousness to be happy in every situation.

We are either serving Paramatma (the Lord in the heart) or the material energy.

I was on sankirtana and visited many shops on seven or eight streets. At five o’clock, I went to the car. I felt around my pocket for the keys, but they were not there. I went to all the shops again but no keys. Then as I was walking, I felt my head slowly turn and focus on the ground, and there were the keys. Without Krishna giving me some special mercy, I never would have found them.

We must regularly hear from the revealed literature, so we can see the path. Not many people last the whole life in devotional service. That is because they do not regularly hear and see the world in terms of what they hear.

Our bodies are changing so slowly we do not notice it, yet we are foolishly becoming attached to them.

This is not a practice run. It is the real thing. The clock is ticking. We have limited time to attain perfection.

Q: How to get a strong desire to go back to Godhead?
A: Associate with people who have a strong desire. Pray to Krishna for that desire.

Impersonal realization gives some satisfaction to the mind, but it does not satisfy the senses.

Once one of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples went to hear from once of Prabhupada’s godbrothers in Calcutta. When he returned, Srila Prabhupada asked what the godbrother had been saying. After hearing what was said, Srila Prabhupada replied, “You have been scarred for life.”

If we have a desire to hear about genuine spiritual life, Krishna will send a suitable person to hear from.

Mukti means liberation whereas vimukti means devotional service.

The neophyte devotee just thinks of “me and Krishna” and does not appreciate the other devotees or their service.

Devotees on the middle level avoid envious people because when encountered they will blaspheme the Lord or His devotees.

Srila Prabhupada could speak the philosophy to all kinds of persons and make it suitable for their understanding.

The pure devotee puts the vani (instructions) in practice and thus we can learn greatly from him.

Although in this age we may not have so much personal association with our guru, we can download thousands of lectures of advanced devotees and be inspired by listening to them.

Without the association of devotees, we cannot be sure our realizations are actually valid. There is a story about a prisoner who got Bhagavad-gita in prison but did not have the association of the devotees. Later when the devotees got the clearance to go into the prison, they met the man. The devotees praised his fortune in reading the Gita, and asked him the conclusion. He said, “When I get out of prison, there are six kinds of people I can immediately kill.”

Our insurance for remaining a devotee for life is to follow the program Srila Prabhupada gave us.

We need knowledge to start devotional service and also to maintain devotional service. Knowledge means that we enjoy association with Krishna more than material activities.

The more we sacrifice for Krishna, especially by serving the devotees and by serving the people in general by giving them opportunities for devotional service, we come from the third-class to the second-class platform quicker.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura stressed attentively chanting the holy name, association with devotees, and giving mercy to others.

Caitanya-carana Prabhu:

From “Meditating on the Damodarastaka” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 50, No. 5, September / October 2016:

“God is both great and sweet. Awareness of His greatness evokes submission, whereas awareness of His sweetness evokes affection. Devotee seekers need to be aware of both features, for submission and affection symbiotically reinforce devotion. For exalted devotees such as Yasoda, however, their awareness of Krishna’s greatness is almost entirely eclipsed by their absorption in His sweetness.”

Caitanya Vallabha Prabhu:

From his announcements at the Newcastle temple:

As Maya has her trident of (1) miseries caused by the mind and body, (2) miseries caused by other living beings, and (3) miseries caused by the forces of nature, we have our trident of (1) distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books, (2) harinama-sankirtana, and (3) distribution of prasadam.

Gauridas Pandit Das:

We are spiritual, and the Hare Krishna mantra is spiritual, coming from the spiritual world, and when these two meet, the result is wonderful.

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When chanting in the streets, I try to remember I am out here to please Lord Caitanya because He considered hearing the holy name of Krishna would greatly benefit everyone spiritually, and thus He would chant in public daily with His associates. By this meditation, I feel inspired to continue.

kathancana smrte yasmin
duskaram sukaram bhavet
vismrte viparitam syat
sri-caitanyam namami tam


“Things that are very difficult to do become easy to execute if one somehow or other simply remembers Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But if one does not remember Him, even easy things become very difficult. To this Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu I offer my respectful obeisances.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 14.1)