Travel Adventures of a Krishna Monk

by Krishna-kripa Das

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Travel Journal#11.4: Ocala Rainbow & More Florida Adventures


Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 11, No. 4
By Krishna-kripa das
(February 2015, part two
)
Ocala Rainbow Gathering, Gainesville, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville
(Sent from Gainesville, Florida, on March 22, 2015)

Where I Went and What I Did

The second half of February started off with an adventure – sharing spiritual food and song at the Ocala Rainbow Gathering. Then I spent a couple of days chanting at Krishna Lunch in Gainesville, and then on to Orlando and Tampa for three days of chanting on campuses and inviting people to evening programs. Then the next weekend was another harinama at a special venue – the Monster Truck Rally at Jacksonville's Everbank Stadium. The final week I was back at Krishna Lunch, with the exception of the final day of February, the first day of spring break, when I went up to Tallahassee.

I share insights from Srila Prabhupada's books, Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami's journal, lectures from three Prabhupada disciples in the Gainesville/Alachua area, namely, Brahmatirtha Prabhu (Bob Cohen of Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers), Kalakantha Prabhu (temple president of Krishna House), and Ranjit Prabhu, and a lecture by the manager of Krishna Lunch, Hanan Prabhu. I also share comments and realizations by devotees at Krishna House.

I want to thank Vishnu Priya Devi Dasi of Jacksonville for her very generous donation.

Thanks to Autumn for her pictures of the Ocala Rainbow Gathering, Raju for his pictures of the program at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Dhira Prabhu for his pictures of the chanting party at the Monster Truck Rally in Jacksonville, and Govardhan Isvari Devi Dasi for her picture of chanting at the Farmers Market.

Thanks to Jaya Sri Vrinda Devi Dasi for editing and proofreading.

Itinerary

March 22–25: Gainesville
March 26–27: Tampa
March 28–31: Tallahassee
April 1–3: Jacksonville
April 4–7: Gainesville
April 8–11: Washington, D.C.
April 12: Albany
April 13–15: New York City
April 16: Toronto
April 17–23: Ireland (Dublin and Cork)
April 24–26: Rotterdam
April 27: Amsterdam (King’s Day)
April 28: Radhadesh, Belgium
April 29: Germany
April 30–May 3: Simhachalam, Bavaria, Germany (Nrisimha Festival)
May 4–July 16: United Kingdom

Ocala Regional Rainbow Gathering


Devotees had saved up 27 buckets of Krishna food for me to distribute at the Ocala Regional Rainbow Gathering, although I asked them to save just 8 buckets. Devotees from Alachua County have been attending this event for many years. I originally had a party of four devotees, and I decided 16 buckets was all we could handle. Fortunately Vaishnava Prabhu of New Vrindaban, who had cooked much of the prasadam, and Tessa, who loves to distribute prasadam, decided to also come at the last minute, so we had six devotees altogether, the others being Dorian, Autumn, and Chelsea, who drove her car.


We chanted over 5 hours as we walked through the Ocala National Forest with a trolley of prasadam (Krishna food), feeding people on the way. 


We stopped as we met people, and some of us served them while the rest of us sang.



Some people played their instruments along with our music.

 Some people danced.

One lady said of the coconut raisin halava, “This is the best food you guys have ever given me.”

This guy said of it, “Everyone should have the opportunity to experience this.” 

Another guy said of the prasadam, “Truly excellent.” Another said, “It is amongst the best food I've had since coming to these woods.” The people were so grateful we came.
 
Some had an odd assortment of eating vessels.
 
Some used coconut bowls.
 
One used chopsticks made from leaves to eat off a leaf plate.

Each day after we serve the Krishna Lunch to the students in Gainesville, the extra prasadam goes to a student cooperative living facility and to homeless shelters. What is left after all that, we sent to a pig farm for some time because we did not want to just it throw away. One young lady who was eating our food at the Rainbow Gathering told me she worked at that pig farm, and her service was to feed the old Krishna Lunch to the pigs. The pigs were so excited when she opened the buckets to pour the old prasadam down the chute. About the pigs chasing after the prasadam, she said, “They really went to town!”

One guy followed our chanting party for two hours, and Tessa really impressed me by giving him her own beads and bead bag and teaching him how to chant the Hare Krishna mantra using them.

We gave our extra prasadam to different kitchens at the gathering before we left.


At the end, we chanted and distributed prasadam near the path to the trading circle and one of the prominent kitchens.


We ended by giving a box of halava and a cooler of spaghetti to those at the main gate.

We did not return home till 8:30 p.m. Although it was a long and tiring day, the devotees were all glad they went and look forward to next year. The people we saw there were among the most grateful we have ever meet.

Chanting at the University of Central Florida in Orlando

Within fifteen minutes of my setting up my table and beginning chanting, one young lady asked if she could listen to my singing while she ate her lunch. She sat in a sunny patch of grass across the sidewalk from me, and ate lunch and listened. Because it was market day and we did not reserve space for our local Bhakti Yoga Club, I was relocated by a student union official. I told my listener I was sorry, but I had to move. She gave me a dollar donation, and I gave her a Bhakti Yoga book after verifying she did not already have it. She was happy to take the book. I asked if she did some kind of meditation, and she said she did and that if she had no other engagement she might come to our program on Friday.

Ultimately we chanted by the library, which had more traffic than the free speech area given us by the student union representative. There one young lady said “Haribol” to us as she passed. Turned out her mother was a Hare Krishna devotee in Brazil. We invited her to our program and gave her a card for the local temple, in case she wants to connect with Krishna again in Orlando.

Chanting at the University of South Florida in Tampa

I chanted with Raju Manthena at the University of South Florida by the library and the student center for 3½ hours, passing out invitations to our Bhakti Yoga Club program that evening.


Seven people came to the Bhakti Yoga Club meeting after seeing us earlier that day. Such a large number of newcomers coming from our chanting and passing out invitations is exceedingly rare. One regular from last semester came, saying she was too busy to come this semester. She danced like anything, and said she would return the next week. Two ladies who came for the first time when I visited several weeks ago were still coming.


There was a lot of participation in the chanting as you can see in this video (https://youtu.be/iU99uUtjS2A):


Chanting at Valencia College in Orlando

As two devotees and I were chanting at Valencia College in Orlando, an older man with hair that was mostly gray passed us twice, the second time asking if he could record us in his studio. Kishor asked if he was a professor. And he replied, “Yes.” “Of what?” Kishor asked. “Of sound,” he said. He explained he had read our book and knew all about us. He got Kishor's phone number. Later I looked up Valencia on the Internet and found they have a major called “Sound and Music Technology.” After a couple of weeks, the professor called Kishor to schedule a recording session.

Chanting at the Monster Truck Rally


One little girl loved dancing with the devotee ladies, and her father loved to take pictures of it.

One blond lady enjoyed dancing with the devotee ladies.

Guru Vagmi Prabhu always distributes pamphlets.

So does Mother Nitai.

In the beginning people were less receptive in general than usual, but at the end we met many people happy to encounter the devotees and their chanting.

This video shows what it was like at a not very busy time (https://youtu.be/Gjr7UuE5VsY):


Chanting at Krishna Lunch
 

Chanting at the Farmers Market


Innovations in Outreach
 

Bada Hari Prabhu, the maintenance man at Krishna House, not to be confused with the musician, thought of a novel tool for education – a Bhagavad-gita video built into the lunch table. 





   
Insights

Srila Prabhupada:

From Beyond Birth and Death:

We are all seeking enjoyment through these bodies, but bodily enjoyment is not our actual enjoyment. It is artificial. We have to understand that if we want to continue in this artificial enjoyment, we will not be able to attain our position of eternal enjoyment.”

Our enjoyment can be perfected when we participate in the enjoyment of God.”

If we keep displeasing our supreme father, we shall never be happy within this material world, in either the upper or lower planetary systems.”

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

From “Poem for February 15” in Viraha Bhavan:

The Hare Krishna chanters in
the City have found
the secret source of joy –
the nectar for which
we are always anxious.
It is lamentable that
only a relatively few people chant
the holy names
and that people think of it as sectarian religion
or mythology or brainwashing.
The devotees are trying their best
to chant the Names
but they are a minimum
amount of people in the world.
When, O when, will the people of the world
take to the chanting of the Names
and taste the nectar of holy love?”

Brahma-tirtha Prabhu:

How is it that Srila Prabhupada gave us in the beginning of our spiritual lives books like The Nectar of Devotion and Krishna which deal with such advanced topics?

Srila Prabhupada made the highest knowledge of devotional service available and then taught the process by which we can attain it.

Srila Prabhupada writes in a letter about a disciple who rendered a lot of service to him but who thought that Srila Prabhupada was existing only because of his service. Because of thinking of Srila Prabhupada in this way, as if he were a common man who was dependent on others, he lost the chance to serve him.

Krishna gives a taste of his association and then removes that opportunity. He did that with the gopis. Why did He leave them? Because of their pride.

It may look like the lamentation of the gopis losing Krishna is the same as that of a materialist, but they are completely different.

Even Srila Prabhupada said “I am going to need some help in figuring this out” to Hridayananda Goswami, Jayapataka Goswami, and Harikesa Prabhu, regarding the cosmology of the Fifth Canto.

The Fifth Canto is to create awe about the Lord's creation.

Kalakantha Prabhu:

The scientists admit that they do not know it all, but because they know more than we do, they are our authorities.

People have fanatic blind faith in science.

Science and the Bhagavatam agree that the universe is beyond our understanding, but science thinks that someday they will understand it, while the Bhagavatam states it is so inconceivable we will never understand it.

The members of the British Raj, observing an eclipse in India, noticed that the Indian astronomers, just by moving a few stones, calculated its timings very accurately.

Science tries to explain how the universe works, but the Vedic knowledge can explain why the universe exists and why we are existing in it.

Because of the living entities' desire to enjoy matter, Krishna had to create a material world to fulfill those desires.

The extent and diversity of the universe is explained in the Vedic knowledge to help us appreciate it, but why it exists is more important.

A couple reasons the planetarium is central to the temple in Mayapur are: (1) Srila Prabhupada wanted to demonstrate our faith in the cosmology of the Vedic literature. (2) The atheistic communist government of Bengal at the time would be more supportive of a planetarium than a temple.

Technology can be used in Krishna's service, but it cannot help us find Krishna. So find Krishna first through devotional service, and then use technology in His service.

Comment by Tulasirani Devi Dasi: My sister, who is a plant scientist, was very depressed at how human beings can be so cruel to each other and to the environment. She found no explanation for it. I presented that this universe is created for those who are envious of God. She replied, “That is the most logical explanation I have heard.” But she could not accept it because she did not have proof.

Comments by me:

Sadaputa Prabhu said that mathematicians in 1967 presented to biologists that according to probability theory, evolution was highly unlikely. The biologists replied that the mathematicians must have made some mistake, “because we know evolution happened.” Then the mathematicians left them alone, understanding the kind of people they were dealing with.

In Forbidden Archeology, the authors show many examples of scientists discrediting evidence simply because it does not fit in with the accepted theory. According to the scientific method, if evidence is found that is incompatible with the present theory, the theory should be modified so that it accounts for all the evidence. The scientists are proud of having objective knowledge by following their scientific method and they criticize the blind faith of the religionists, but when they discredit evidence to maintain their theory, they demonstrate blind faith in a theory which has evidence against it, which is an inferior position to the religionists they are criticizing.

Kalakantha Prabhu (continued):

from a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.19:

There was a difficult legal case in our Chicago temple in 1974. Devotees explained both sides to Srila Prabhupada and asked for his advice. He replied, “My advice is that you depend on Krishna.”

There is no greater emotional attachment that I have experienced in this life than attachment to my children.

Loss of a child is the worst thing for a parent, either physically or to a lifestyle they do not agree with.

Why does Krishna neglect people? Because they neglect Him, like the rebellious adolescent who wants to do his own thing without concern for the parents.

When we rebel against Krishna we always have that unsettled freedom, “How will I survive?”

Krishna is controlling everything, and He is my friend, therefore there is no anxiety.

Recognizing our helpless position is the beginning of our freedom.

We should be contrite that we gave up our wonderful relationship with Krishna.

A pure devotee is a person who depends on Krishna.

Pure devotion is expressed by our actions more than merely our words.

A person who is thinking he is successful but who has no connection with Krishna is not actually successful.

Our sadhana evokes the mood of pure devotion in our hearts.

One of my godbrothers was distributing books, and someone came up to him and said he had a donation for him but it was in his car, and told him to come with him and get it. He came to the man's car and the man pulled a gun on him, and demanded all his money. He gave him the money. The man said, “Because you have seen my face, I will have to kill you.” The devotee started chanting “namaste narasimhaya . . .” The man's accomplice came up in a car, and urged his friend to get in, and he did and they drove away.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said to work as if everything depends on you, and to pray like everything depends on Krishna.

If we are trying to do something, and it just does not work out, it may be that it is not Krishna's desire, and that is not a bad thing. However, if we have an order by the spiritual master, we should endeavor to carry it out no matter how difficult it is.

Three reasons people believe in impersonalism:
1. Fear of a personal relationship with the Absolute.
2. Pride in or ambition for the attainment of Godhead.
3. The teachings of Sankaracharya [Advaita Vedanta].

What do Vaishnava texts say about impersonalism?
1. The impersonal, God in the heart, and the Supreme Person are three nondual features of the Absolute Truth. (SB 1.2.11)
2. The impersonal comes from the personal feature of the Absolute Truth. (Bg. 14.27)
3. The impersonal realization is more difficult to achieve and maintain. (SB 10.2.32)

Krishna many times uses the Sanskrit equivalents of "I", "me", and "mine" in Bhagavad-gita so the impersonalists have to do a lot of word jugglery to explain the Absolute to be impersonal.

There is a problem of the conflicting interpretations of the Vaishnava and impersonalist:
aham brahmasmi: I am spirit [Vaishnava] or I am the Supreme Spirit [impersonalist].
tat tvam asi: You (Krishna) are that Supreme [Vaishnava] or You (the individual) are that Supreme. [impersonalist]

There are many examples of impersonalists becoming devotees but no examples of devotees becoming impersonalists.

Comment by Syamala Kishori Devi Dasi: The adolescent rebels against his parents while at the same time being maintained by the parents. In the same way, the conditioned souls rebel against God while they are being maintained by Him.

Ranjit Prabhu:

In Bhagavad-gita 7.10 Krishna explains that He is “the original seed of all existences.” Later in Bhagavad-gita 14.4, Krishna stresses this point by mentioning that He is “the seed-giving father.”

Animal life is characterized by constant fear.

Material life ends in failure because as they say, “You can't take it with you.”

Krishna says that there is no other performer than the three modes of material nature.

Bhagavad-gita 2.55 says one in the transcendental consciousness gives up all desires for sense gratification, not that he gives up all sense gratification. We should direct our desires to hearing and chanting the holy name and service to the spiritual master with the understanding that Krishna is nondifferent from His holy name.

We can pray for the holy name to enlighten us with this understanding of His nature.

Krishna explains to Arjuna that his idea was very limited.

Ted Turner was going to give a billion dollars in charity, and he did so to UNICEF. He also bought up a lot of prairie to protect buffalo which were becoming extinct. Now if he was Krishna consciousness, he would have protected cows.

Seeing the ability of the Vedic literature to give a consistent explanation for what we see in this world, we can have faith that its description of the spiritual world could also be accurate.

Hanan Prabhu:

Prayer is more than just what you generally think of. It is opening your mind and filling up your heart.

Prayers can make miracles in your life. I have experienced this. Prayer is a primary devotional act in my life these days.

My elder brother in Israel said, “During the two-week war in 1973 I prayed like I never prayed in my life and I felt so protected.”

A Sufi poet said, “Every heart will get what it prays for the most.”

Prayer is not easy because our ego gets in the way.

Bhagavad-gita is in one sense a book about transformation.

Arjuna had what psychologists would call a breakdown.

Bhagavad-gita is set on a battlefield because Krishna wanted to show even in the most difficult situation if we have knowledge of yoga we will be victorious.

As the three primary colors produce all varieties of colors, from the three modes of material nature all material varieties are produced.

Prayer in the mode of ignorance is to harm others. Prayer in the mode of passion is for our own benefit. Prayer in the mode of goodness is to benefit others, to transform ourselves, or to just glorify God. Prayers to do the will of God are transcendental.

Prayer is not mere recitation of words although that is part of it. Srila Prabhupada gave the example of the parrot, who can be trained to chant "Hare Krishna" but does not do so when attacked by a cat.

I saw someone running with fear on his face who disappeared into the bushes, and the policemen who followed him and then arrested him. I was a little disturbed, so I decided to pray for him, the policemen, and myself. Several months later, someone I recognized came to do hours for Krishna Lunch as community service. I asked what was his offense, and he said, “running from the police.” Then I remembered how I knew him.

Love without service is not real love. It is still about me.

The taste a devotee gets in the beginning is like a free trial given by a company hoping you get attached to their product.

One businessman told Prithu Prabhu he took Krishna consciousness seriously when he read Bhagavad-gita 2.40 and learned there was no loss in devotional service.

Q: Do you have example of your plans being frustrated by Krishna and it turned out for the better?

Comment by Kalakantha Prabhu: I was on the town council of LaCrosse. A redneck guy ran against me in the next election. I lost by one vote. If my wife voted for me, I would have won. Rtadhvaja Swami then said we need someone in Gainesville, and I was free to go, so I did.

Additional comments on classes:

Comment by Naomi: So God does not do anything in the spiritual world. He just enjoys?

Comment by Nicholas: One devotee explained that everything is easy in the beginning in devotional service because we are coming up to the level we were at in our previous life. Then there is sort of a plateau.

Comment by Mikey: I find when I go on harinama sankirtana I am forced to participate and I get so inspired it fuels me for another week. Therefore, I always go out on Friday and chant on the corner with the devotees from Alachua.

Comment by Nicholas: I decided I would just talk about spiritual things. It annoyed some of my friends. Some of them it still annoys so I do not associate with them. Others, however, who developed a taste for talking about spiritual things, now search me out for such talks.

From an evening discussion including sharing inspiring moments:

Varangi Radha Devi Dasi: I have been noticing that my life is really empty without the devotees.

Michael from New Vrindavan: Krishna has been taking care of us since time immemorial. Why won't He take care of us now?

Haripriya: I have been just trying to hear the holy name, and it has made me very inspired.

-----

ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
mama vartmanuvartante
manusyah partha sarvasah

[Lord Sri Krishna said:] “As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pritha.” (Bhagavad-gita 4.11)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Travel Journal#11.3: Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Gainesville, and Alachua


Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 11, No. 3
By Krishna-kripa das
(February 2015, part one)
Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Gainesville, and Alachua
(Sent from Gainesville, Florida, on February 22, 2015)

Where I Went and What I Did

February started out with a full day of festivities in Alachua and Gainesville celebrating the all auspicious appearance of Lord Nityananda, a principal associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who greatly assisted Him in spreading the chanting of the holy name throughout India and beyond. After chanting at Krishna Lunch in Gainesville for a week, I joined a party of ten devotees going to chant and help distribute Krishna food at Tallahassee's First Friday. Then I stayed in Tallahassee, chanting at Lake Ella on the weekend and behind the Florida Statue University library on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. 

 Then Wednesday afternoon I took the bus to Jacksonville and attended the nama-hatta program at Amrita Keli Devi Dasi and Lovelesh's place. I was happy to see a couple students from the campus there as well. Then I chanted with Amrita Keli and devotees from Krishna Club on Thursday and Friday, advertising Friday's four-hour kirtana which was held in the student union ballroom. Saturday, Valentine's Day, I chanted with Dorian at a new venue for us in Jacksonville, the Riverside Arts Market. In the evening I attended a nama-hatta program of Jacksonville devotees at a local Hindu temple where Kalakantha Prabhu gave a lecture on family life in Krishna consciousness, Ekendra and Tulasi-priya Prabhus sang beautiful bhajans, and many Indian ladies and their kids danced.

I share insights from Srila Prabhupada's lectures, quotes from great spiritual teachers preceding him in his line, including Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura, a nice realization on harinama from Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, words on Lord Nityananda Prabhu's appearance day, from Caturatma, Kalakantha, Tamohara, and Hanan Prabhus, and much more.

Thanks to Syamala Kishori Devi Dasi for her pictures of First Friday.

Itinerary

February 22–27: Gainesville
February 28 – March 3: Tallahassee
March 4: Gainesville
March 5 – March 6: Jacksonville
March 7 – April 8: Florida (Gainesville, Alachua, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa)
April 9–11: Washington, D.C.
April 12: Albany
April 13–15: New York City
April 16: Toronto
April 17–23: Ireland (Dublin and Cork)
April 24–26: Rotterdam
April 27: Amsterdam (King’s Day)
April 30–May 3: Simhachalam
May 4–July: United Kingdom 

Lord Nityananda's Auspicious Appearance Day

For much of Lord Nityananda's Appearance Day and the days after I was feeling gratitude for Lord Nityananda making the chanting of the holy names available to us.

After mangala-arati that day we chanted two verses containing twelve names of Lord Nityananda, which I memorized before the day ended.

nityanando 'vadhuty indur
vasudha prana vallabha
jahnava jivita patih
krishna-prema-prada prabhu

padmavati-suta sriman
saci-nandana purvaja
bhavon matta jagat-trata
rakta-gaura-kalevaram

(1) Nityananda: the embodiment of eternal bliss
(2) Avadhuty-induh: the moon of all avadhutas (renunciates)
(3) Vasudha-prana-vallabha: the beloved of the life-breath of his wife Vasudha
(4) Jahnavi-jivita-patih: the husband enthusing Jahnavi with life
(5) Krishna-prema-prada: bestower of ecstatic love for Krishna
(6) Prabhu: the Lord and Master of the devotees
(7) Padmavati-suta: the dear son of Padmavati
(8) Sriman: full of splendrous transcendental majesty
(9) Saci-nandana-purvaja: older brother of Sacimata´s son (Lord Caitanya)
(10) Bhavonmatta: maddened with overwhelming ecstatic emotions
(11) Jagat-trata: the savior of the universe
(12) Rakta-gaura-kalevara: having a complexion that is golden tinged with red

In Alachua, it was wonderful the devotees offered the deities a new outfit, and at the bathing ceremony of the small Gaura Nitai deities, everyone got to take part.

I learned more details than before about Lord Nityananda Prabhu from Caturatma Prabhu's class.

I just record a very few of these below as I was busy in the kitchen washing cilantro and cutting curd. Ever since I was a new devotee helping with the feast was always part of a festival day for me, so I decided to do that. I also rolled a few puris for the feast in Krishna House as well.

I was extremely happy that Syamala Kishori Devi Dasi (in the dark blue sari), who is in charge of special events at Krishna House, organized a harinama between the Gainesville midday program for Lord Nityananda and the evening program in Alachua. I think she was intending to just go around the block, but I suggested we go down University Avenue across from the University where there are some shops.

Then Dhameshvar Prabhu (front and center) suggested we go in the bars and restaurants in the mood of Lord Nityananda. The devotees were so enthusiastic we continued chanting in the temple when we returned.

I was so happy I danced a lot.

You can see a few highlights in this video (http://youtu.be/yQsYZI5HfIU):


Krishna Lunch

 

On rainy days we chant and serve under the library walkway.

Purusartha Prabhu, on the harmonium, began chanting with us again twice a week.

First Friday

At the Krishna Dinner at First Friday in Tallahassee I met a girl named Michele who goes to Krishna Lunch at UF and her boyfriend Zak who goes to Krishna Lunch at FSU – a Krishna Lunch couple spanning two universities! They sat with some devotees from Krishna House in Gainesville and were comparing the different halavas. They liked the halava at FSU better as it sticks together more. Bassil, who also sampled both halavas, agreed. If only every campus had Krishna Lunch!

We chanted sitting down for awhile with Syamala Kishori Devi Dasi leading beautifully.

Chelsea talked to people and distributed some books.

Then we did a walking kirtana around the entire place.

 Syamala took this rare picture of Mike and his four-armed form.

Syamala and Bhaktin Chelsea had a great time dancing in front.

Mikey told me later he had many inspiring experiences distributing books.

Chanting at Lake Ella

On a sunny and warm Saturday I chanted at Lake Ella for three hours joined by Bassil, who was visiting from Gainesville to see if he might be better situated here in Tallahassee. Nama Kirtan Prabhu joined us at the beginning and end and Karl at the end. At least a couple of people liked the music, which impressed me as none of us are real musicians. One young lady who passed us said she might return for one of our free vegan cookies, and I joking replied if she did not, we would track her down. When she passed by again, just a few minutes before we packed up, going in the opposite direction, I was wondering how she would get her cookie as we could easily leave before she returned. As it turned out, we had packed up and were walking to the car, when she came back. We gave her a cookie, and several of us talked to her. She ended up taking an invitation to Krishna Lunch FSU and five cookies for her five friends. Many people sat in hearing range of us, but there was no sign of aversion to our music, just several cases of appreciation and one or two of suspicion by passersby. Bassil gave a long-haired older man a Beyond Birth and Death, saying it was the best book he ever read. Bassil and Karl helped distribute cookies. It was a good day.

Chanting at Florida State University

I met one girl who took a class on religions of Southeast Asia, which included Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. She was attracted to Bhagavad-gita and Science of Self-Realization, and would have given a donation and taken them if I had a credit card reader. She said she would go to the ATM and return but she never did.

One young man came up to me because he heard my kirtana. He had gone to Krishna Lunch the previous year when Daru was doing it and had chanted kirtana with Daru at our place, thus he was attracted by the singing. He was majoring in philosophy. I encounter more philosophy majors at this school than any others. He spoke about coming to the Krishna Lunch again and coming to the Bhakti Yoga Club meeting that evening.

One Chinese girl who came to several programs a couple weeks earlier came to our Tuesday Bhagavad-gita class. I stressed how bhakti-yoga was the easiest yoga as you can engage your natural talents in the service of the Lord. You can do music for the Lord, or art, or cooking. As I knew she had a masters degree in accounting, I also said you can do accounts for Krishna. After prasadam she stayed for over an hour helping with the Tallahassee Krishna Lunch accounting and giving several practical suggestions. It is actually so rare that people are so enthusiastic to immediately apply what they hear in class it was inspiring to see. She also brought some vegetarian Chinese dumplings which we boiled and offered to Krishna, and included as part of the evening meal. When she left I gave her a few vegan cookies for her roommates. Actually devotional service is so valuable if that girl becomes a pure devotee of Krishna, all our outreach activities in Tallahassee over many years are a success.

As I was waiting for Nama Kirtan Prabhu to pick me up and take me to the Jacksonville bus, I kept singing and one young lady happily stopped by who had gone to Krishna Lunch before and even cooked for the previous Higher Taste restaurant run by the devotees from South America. She had nice memories of that and the devotees, even though she never got paid for her work. She liked my vegan cookies, and I gave her a few to go to make her happy.

Chanting at University of North Florida

Some devotees from the University of North Florida Krishna Club and I chanted on the green for several hours for two days to promote the club and their four-hour kirtana event.

The first day I chanted by myself and also with Amrita Keli, the Hare Krishna chaplain at UNF, and several students for seven and a half hours. Once one student came by on her skate board, and listened for a while.

Then she sat on her skate board, reading Visakha Devi Dasi's illustrated Bhagavad-gita, as I continued to chant.

When Dorian and I were chanting this young lady

did a crude sketch of us.


Rae Jeana, the president of Krishna Club, and Dorian came out both days for several hours themselves. She sang and played the drum and Dorian played the karatalas (http://youtu.be/d0k1ty SgDn7k):

After I left, Rae Jeana, Dorian, and a friend of theirs sang for more than an hour before our Krishna Club meeting.

At the Krishna Club meeting we had more new people than usual. These included a young lady who was friend of a regular attender and a young Indian gentleman who had been to the Wednesday nama-hatta but never to the campus program. The lady told me that the friend who brought her to Krishna Club previously gave her Radhanath Swami's The Journey Home, and that she had already read 70 pages of it and was fascinated. Kara, a regular attender, for the first time led the few minutes of hatha-yoga in the beginning, and did so very confidently and efficiently.

I chanted my favorite tune in the kirtana, one that is beautiful to hear but is difficult to sing, and I was happily surprised to hear how well the students chanted in response. After the prasadam and before the lecture, Amrita Keli, our Hare Krishna chaplain at UNF, decided it would be good to go to a vigil happening just then at the Gandhi statue in front of our room to protest the recent and widely publicized cruel killing of three Muslims by an atheistic antagonist. We held candles and different people spoke. I did not speak as it is a delicate situation, and I was not sure exactly what to say. Amrita, from her campus interfaith work, knew many people involved in the quiet demonstration.

I spoke on that night's Bhagavad-gita verse describing lust which is later transformed to wrath which is the all devouring sinful enemy of the world. In the course of the lecture I mentioned how that assassin was moved by anger arising unfulfilled selfish desires to perform such a cruel act. Devotional service to the Lord, as a side effect, destroys selfish desires that lead to anger, but those who are too atheistically inclined will not perform it, and so they remain subject to anger and its destructive consequences.

One result of attending the vigil was the program went late, and we did not have time for the second kirtana, which is a nice feature of our program at UNF's Krishna Club. Other such programs in other places often only have one kirtana. Srila Prabhupada's original programs at 26 2nd Avenue, were kirtana, lecture, and then another kirtana. Sankirtana is the dharma of this age, and it is good to have as much of it as possible.

The second day I chanted on the campus, Richie, a guitarist, who previously had no relationship with Krishna Club, played along with Rae Jeana and Dorian (http://youtu.be/dge5qpxhuiQ):


Later another boy joined Richie in playing guitar with us. When we left Richie said he would like to play with us again, and later that day he came to our four-hour kirtana event.

University of North Florida is my favorite school to chant at because students from the Krishna Club always join me in chanting. Besides that, new students also often join us and listen, sing, talk with us, or play instruments.

Devotees from Gainesville and Alachua came for the four-hour kirtana event organized by the Krishna Club at the University of North Florida.

Rae Jeana, the president of the Krishna Club, spoke in appreciation of kirtana, “I find I am often lost in the tangle of my mind, and I see other people in the same situation. By the chanting, I become free from this tangle. I find I connect with Krishna, and so I feel am never alone. I also feel through the chanting that I connect with others.”

Haripriya, daughter of Yadubara and Visakha Prabhus, said she had been chanting her whole life, but just in the last few months she felt more intimately connected with the holy name. She explained that recently she has been chanting kirtana in different countries, and has noticed how universal the chanting is. It does not depend on race, religion, or nationality. All kinds of people get caught up in the kirtana, and through the holy name they experience they are all connected.

One young lady silently listened to the kirtana. During dinner she talked to Mother Akuti. Afterward she sang softly in addition to just listening. Just ten minutes before the end, Amrita asked if she wanted to dance, and she said yes, so Amrita brought her into the dance. I thanked her for coming after it was over and asked her if she had come to Krishna Club activities before. She had not. She just found a flyer on the floor of the library and came to the kirtana event. I gave her a flyer for the club and told her the address of Kalakantha Prabhu's program at the Hindu temple the next day. Devotees told me later that she came to the Krishna Club meeting the next week, and that she is talented lady, playing five instruments.

Gauranga Prasada Prabhu, playing the harmonium, started off the evening with beautiful tunes.

Matt, who has been coming to Krishna Club for over two years, led a Mayapuri's tune he learned on the guitar.

Two young ladies who regularly attend Krishna Club smiled, chanted, and clapped, while sitting in the audience.

Then when the devotees on the stage invited others to join them, they took advantage of the chance, and blissfully chanted on the stage with the other devotees. Madhava Prabhu, on the far right, who loves devotional music, came all the way from LaCrosse to help out.

The young and the young at heart danced.

Students danced.

Ladies danced.

Even a few guys danced on the left.

A couple danced.

Amrita danced with some very enthusiastic Indian girls.

Even the prasadam servers danced.

 Kalakantha Prabhu led the final kirtana, inspiring many people to dance.


People danced in a circle, into the center and back out.
 

 People would swing each other around.

At the end of the final kirtana, everyone was dancing.

The Krishna Club regulars came up in front at the end of the program.

A girl who had come to our Thursday program for the first time, being inspired by a friend who is one of our regulars, also came to the Friday kirtana program, staying almost the whole time. When she left, she told me to tell her when I would be singing on the campus green again because she wanted to join me.

About 130 people came to the kirtana, fewer than we hoped, but the people who did come had a wonderful time, and many stayed for many hours. Thus it was a great success, and Amrita was talking about doing two this semester instead of just one.

Vaishnava Prabhu from New Vrindavan made wonderful vegan spaghetti, and people liked the prasadam.

All in all, it was a great event.

Chanting at the Riverside Arts Market

In other parts of the world I go on harinama every day, but when I am in Gainesville, I take the weekend off, primarily because I do not know of places where there would be a lot of people on the weekend. I feel a little bad about that, so when I had a chance to spend Saturday in Jacksonville, a far bigger city, I took advantage of it. When Dorian and I got to the Riverside Arts Market we were surprised that the person who greeted the market guests was an older man who had attended our four-hour kirtana program the night before and loved it. I gave him the invitation to our Saturday programs in Jacksonville, and asked him the best place for us to chant where we would not disturb the vendors. We settled on a sunny place between the parking lot and the market entrance. Many favorable people came by. The first person I talked to knew about our event the night before, and asked how it was. She took an invitation for the weekly programs on the campus. I met one guy who remembered talking with me at the Jacksonville Ratha-yatra in September of 2013. We tried to encourage him to stay and chant with us, but he had different excuses to go and do something else.

For more pictures click on the link below:

Insights

Srila Prabhupada:

from purport to “Nitai Pada Kamala”: “If one actually wants to enter into the dancing party of Radha-Krishna, he must firmly catch hold of the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda.”

from a lecture on the Appearance Day of Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura:

The most important of the so-called followers of Lord Caitanya are the jati-gosai, who have created a caste of goswamis. Such an idea is not part of the traditional culture.

Although the brahmana community had rejected Sanatana and Rupa Goswamis, Lord Caitanya made them Goswamis, the topmost level of brahminical culture. Thus the hereditary brahmanas do not like Lord Caitanya.

Tirtha Maharaja, who was formerly with the Ramakrishna Mission, became an early disciple who helped Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura greatly.

In 1922 when I met Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura, he said “Why don't you preach this Caitanya cult in the Western countries?” That was a memorable day. I talked in so many ways, “Who will hear your Cbaitanya's message? We are a dependent country.”

I was married in 1918 and had my first child 1921, so in 1922 when I was convinced by my Guru Maharaja, “Here is the proper person who can give a real religious idea” I considered that this great personality was asking me to preach, but I was married, and he did not say I should give up my married life.

In 1928, there was Kumbha-mela, and the Gaudiya Matha people came to Allahabad, and sought my support, and started a center there in Allahabad. Because I was always thinking of them, I was very happy to meet them again.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura had 50 of his 64 temples in Bengal, and then others in Madras, Puri, Allahabad, etc.

I wrote him in December 1936, “I could not do any direct service for you as a householder. Is there anything I can do for you?” He replied, “Try to preach whatever you have learned from me in the English language. That will do good to you and others.” It was the same instruction he gave me in 1922.

Because he desired, only thing is I believed in his words, cent per cent.

This movement should go on. This should not be neglected. Try sincerely to follow the rules and regulations. They are not difficult. They are simple, but because you are trained differently . . . . By the grace of Lord Caitanya I am hopeful that this movement can be accepted by everyone. This movement should be pushed on.

If we struggle hard to push on this movement, even if we do not get any followers, Krishna will be satisfied, and our goal is to satisfy Krishna. Our acaryas will be satisfied. Guru Maharaja will be satisfied. And by their being satisfied, Krishna will be satisfied.

There is no question of stopping anything. The question is purifying. Everything must be utilized in Krishna's service.

I am simply a postal peon just delivering the message of my Guru Maharaja.

from a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.19 at Vrindavan on September 16, 1976:
One is not a brahmana unless he acts as a brahmana. This is the Vedic system.

They have discovered nuclear weapon, but not something to counteract it.

Hitler had the nuclear weapon but did not use it because of its mass destruction, but the Americans got it and used it against Japan.

Srila Raghunatha Das Goswami:

from Sri Stavavali, Volume 4, Sri Visakhanandabhidha-stotra (Prayers with Names that are the Bliss of Visakha):

Text 124

Lord Madhava is famous in the three worlds
because His name is connected to the name of Radha.
Sri Radha is famous in the world
because Her name is connected to the name of Lord Madhava.

Text 125

Just as the sweet fragrance of musk perfume
is not different from the substance musk,
just as moonlight is not different from the moon, and just as the
beautiful blossoms of a tree are
not different from the tree,
in the same way Sri Radha is not different from Lord Krishna.”

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:

from Saranagati, Sri Nama-mahatmya, verse 7:

Blossoming fully, the flower of the holy name takes me to Vraja and reveals to me His own love-dalliance. This Name gives to me my own eternal spiritual body, keeps me right by Krishna's side, and completely destroys everything related to this mortal frame of mine.”

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura:

Let me not desire anything but the highest good for my worst enemy.”

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

from “Poem for February 2”:

Going on harinama is a
delightful experience. At first
a devotee may be reluctant,
thinking he is tired or
he or she may be afraid they
will be mocked by the public.
But once they get out there
and sing with the group,
the spiritual energy
takes over. The pleasure-
giving potency infuses one with
bliss, and Krishna gives courage
to endure any unfriendly
reception from the nondevotees.
The more regularly one goes
out one gains confidence
and wants to do it every day.”

Caturatma Prabhu:

from a lecture on Lord Nityananda's Appearance Day:

Lord Nityananda Prabhu did not do sankirtana in just a few villages around his home or just the nine islands of Navadvipa, but in every town and village.

The members of the kirtana party of Nityananda Prabhu did not eat for three months. They were absorbed in chanting and dancing with Lord Nityananda Prabhu.

Children who chanted the name of Nityananda were so overpowered by ecstatic devotion seven people could not restrain them. Some went for a month without eating, being absorbed in ecstasy.

on Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura's appearance:

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura introduced innovations like wearing proper shoes and using automobiles that were not part of traditional Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

He was the fourth of Bhaktivinoda Thakura's ten children.

He had the thirty-two auspicious characteristics of a great soul.

At six months it is time for a child to take solid food and that is celebrated with the grain ceremony in the Vedic culture.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura's grain ceremony was celebrated on the cart of Lord Jagannatha on the day of Ratha-yatra when the cart stopped in front of his house.

The astrologer all agreed that his chart said “brilliant preacher of sanatana-dharma.

He was the eleven generation in the line of Narottama dasa Thakura's father, a very auspicious family.

He started worshiping the Kurma-sila at the age of seven and maintained it through his youth, not distracted by adolescence, which takes devotion.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura noted that his son Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura heard his lectures with rapt attention.

He read all the books in the Sanskrit College library in Calcutta.
Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharaja encouraged him to produce a calendar, panjika, for the Gaudiya Vaishnavas.

One can visit the dhama as a tourist, seeing this place and that place, or as a pilgrim, serving the residents of the dhama.

Gaurakisora Das Babaji Maharaj, observing the renunciation of Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura and his vow to chant many holy names said, “I see the renunciation of Rupa and Raghunath in my Prabhu.”

Kalakantha Prabhu:

Psychologists say we act compassionately toward those less fortunate than ourselves because we want people to help us when we are in an unfortunate condition.

Thoreau said most people lead a life of quiet desperation.

Spiritual life means addressing the issue of inevitable suffering and not postponing it.

Yoga means to live our life today so we come to peace with existence.

When we return home after seven years, although all our cells have changed, people still recognize us and feel affection for us because we are different from our body.

To share knowledge of a higher happiness is a compassion that is beyond any sectarian religious idea. It is a noble idea throughout history.

Sometimes we have an idea that God is a vindictive person ready to zap us at any moment. God is not mad if we go away, just sorry.

His outreach to humanity through His representatives and His literature are proof of God's compassion.

Nityananda is Krishna's first expansion to reach out to humanity.

He would go everywhere and anywhere and approach anyone and everyone and invite them to chant the Holy Name, even though the people he approached had not previously shown any interest in anything spiritual.

If you are shy, go into the closet and chant.

I can sit here and tell you how nice the chanting is, but when you try it yourself you can see.

The Wellness Center reported that depression rose 60% and suicide went up 100%. They found it was due to social media. People think they are connected, but they are not really connected.

Chanting brings peace of mind and culturing knowledge brings peace of mind.

Q (by Ananda Seva): People think material prosperity is evidence of God's favor.
A: Any parent knows you cannot always fulfill the kids' desires. You have to discipline them. Discipline is not always what the kids want, but it is what the kids need. Thus adversity is also God's favor.

Sudama, the garland maker of Mathura who gave Krishna and Balarama garlands, asked the Lord for the same benedictions as Maharaj Parikshit asked for, complete attachment to the unlimited Lord Krishna, association with His devotees, and friendly relations with all living beings.

When we chant it is just ourselves, Krishna, and His mercy.

If we are either angry with ourselves or proud of ourselves, it will be difficult to have friendly dealings with other people.

Not wanting respect but respecting everyone is the strategy for having friendship with all beings.

Saying anything in the name of honesty can be violence.

Diplomacy is the art of telling someone to go to hell and have them look forward to the trip.

To be a devotee means to always respond in a friendly way. There is a saying “to disagree without being disagreeable.”

Canakya Pandit lists four ways of dealing with a rascal. Start with sweet words and try to understand his point of view. Everyone has the potential to do the right thing, and if we start in the right way, they may respond rightly. If that fails, offer them a gift to bring them to a position of a compromise.

It takes a while for us to realize that sense gratification will not make us happy so it is not a surprise that people have difficulty.

False humility is the back side of conceit.

Comment by Syamala Kishori Devi Dasi: The acaryas explain that Krishna dealt more harshly with the garment seller in Mathura than usual because He was with Balarama and He considered the garment seller's impudent refusal to give in charity was offensive to Balarama [who is most respectable, being both the Lord and a great devotee].

Evil convinces us this material world is not enjoyable.

One aspiring devotee in New Zealand decided to join ashram, but he had never had the experience of sex, so he wanted to do it once before he moved in. He started the evening by taking an attractive girl he knew out to a bar. He was just sitting on the bar stool with the girl when someone came into the bar and punched him in the head, and he fell to the ground unconscious. He had to go the hospital. When he recovered from his wounds, the first thing he did was to join the ashram. He had enough of the material world.

In just 6% or 7% of the Bhagavad-gita verses Krishna talks about Himself.

from Valentine's Day lecture on Bg. 3.35:

Once Srila Prabhupada was teaching some of the early devotees how to cook. Mukunda opened the door to the kitchen, interrupting the lesson, and Srila Prabhupada asked him what he wanted. He just said he wanted to see his wife. Srila Prabhupada replied, “Do you want to go back to Godhead or back to wife?” Later Mukunda inquired, “Isn't there love in Krishna consciousness?”
Prabhupada replied, “Love is for Krishna.”

Duty is a foundational principal in Bhagavad-gita. Also in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, first of all, Maharaja Pariksit inquired about the duty of man at the end of life.

Krishna does not expect us to immediately love Him: “If you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way develop a desire to attain Me. If you cannot practice the regulations of bhakti-yoga, then just try to work for Me, because by working for Me you will come to the perfect stage. If, however, you are unable to work in this consciousness of Me, then try to act giving up all results of your work and try to be self-situated. If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however, is meditation, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain peace of mind.” (Bhagavad-gita 12.912)

Love for Krishna is dormant in the heart and is awakened by hearing and chanting about Him, but it is a gradual process until it is fully manifested. During that time, our relationships with others can be done in a way that nurtures our relationship with Krishna.

Krishna explains to the gopis that there are three kinds of lovers: (1) those who do not reciprocate when loved, (2) those who reciprocate when loved, and (3) those who love whether reciprocated with or not. In the last category are true friends, parents, and saints.

One cannot execute the duties of household life if there is no love just the warrior cannot execute his duty of fighting if there is no anger.

How can we be selfless in our relationship with Krishna without being selfless in our relationships with others?

Nothing has provided me with more experiences that have helped me in my service to Srila Prabhupada than my being married and raising a family.

Comment by Ekendra Prabhu: This verse about doing our own duty seems to indicate that we must have someone in our life who can enlighten us about our duty otherwise we will not have a clue what to do.

If our children know they are loved unconditionally that is the most powerful force in encouraging them to do the right thing.

Comment by Dhira Prabhu: Devotees asked the Srila Prabhupada about what to do in the case of a nuclear war. He advised them to chant Hare Krishna, explaining in that case, “The kirtana starts here and goes on in the spiritual world.”

If we make our duties to Krishna the prime duty in our lives, then somehow or other we will have time for the other things.

Nanda Dasi:

Although people make a show of being united, in different ways their diverging interests eventually become manifest.

Comment by Syamala Kishori Devi Dasi: As souls we are eternal, knowledgeable, and full of bliss, and so we are very much similar despite our bodily differences.

Q (Kalakantha Prabhu): When Srila Prabhupada was here, there was a great deal of unity. Since then there have developed schisms over GBC actions that some could not accept, What to do about this?
A: We have to focus on our points of unification. Wait for the tide to change. Our points of unity are so strong that in time the differences will be revealed to be inconsequential.

The Precetas were all individuals and did different things just as you at Krishna House do different things, cooking, serving out lunch, cleaning.

Comment by Tulasirani Devi Dasi: When you are dancing in kirtana together, all differences melt away, and I have experienced that.

It is said Krishna swallows the fire of disagreements between His devotees out of His compassion for them.

Comment by Dhameshvar Mahaprabhu Das: It is good to stick with our group in the beginning. Later when we mature we can deal more individually because it is not that everyone in ISKCON is good and everyone outside ISKCON is bad.

Tamohara Prabhu:

The entire of village of Ekacakra was absorbed in love of God seeing Lord Nityananda enact the pastimes of Krishna.

Laksmipati Tirtha Swami asked that Nitai be his traveling companion.

All the expansions of the Lord have their own personalities. Lord Nityananda was funny, childlike, and without material desires.

Srila Prabhupada explained we must get spiritual strength from Balaram (Nityananda) and Lord Gauranga to advance in Krishna consciousness.

If we approach the degraded people to give them the holy mercy, Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda will be merciful to us.

Madhai and Jagai were like a street gang. Because they were fully engaged in sinful activities, they did not have time to criticize devotees.

Because Jagai advised his brother not to strike Lord Nityananda again, Lord Caitanya became merciful and blessed him with love of Godhead and revealed his Vishnu form. Seeing the mercy Jagai received, Madhai appealed to Lord Caitanya for mercy, and Lord Caitanya advised him to take shelter of the feet of Lord Nityananda, which he did, and Lord Nityananda embraced and forgave him.

Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda continue to extend their mercy through the chanting of the holy name of the Lord.

Comment by Advaita Acarya Prabhu: Until the 17th century in Vrindavan, there was a debate about whether Gaura Nitai could be worshiped on the same altar as Radha Krishna. Baladeva Vidyabhusana, with his commentary on Vedanta known as Govinda-bhasya, resolved this.

Subuddhi Krishna Prabhu:

The powerful lion often has but one club. Similarly Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja had one disciple, Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura.

Dina Bandhu Prabhu:

We are better off in doing outreach to be situated in an ashram, either as a householder or renunciate, or in other words, to be committed to a spouse or to be committed to practicing celibacy, because then our minds will be peaceful.

Hanan Prabhu:

One Christian who preaches to gang members says that we have circles of compassion. For example, for some people compassion extends to their immediate family, while for others it extends to the whole community.

I encountered a man in a place of pilgrimage in India who said he came to feed the ants. Because it was a holy place he wanted to feed the ants there as a good deed.

Do you have examples of compassion touching your heart? Say briefly.

Mikey: It touched me how Mother Caitanya first invited me on harinama.

Ananda Seva Prabhu: I feel God is compassionate to me because I am surrounded by a lot of people I did not really deserve to be associated with.

?: One study show homeless people with less are willing to give more.

Rasa-raja Prabhu: I feel grateful for all my mentors.

?: I have been traveling since high school. I felt grateful for the many people who have helped me along the way.

?: I got a book at a music festival.

Mother of Gauranga Prasada Prabhu: I am grateful I can receive compassionate messages.

Tulasi-priya Devi: If you would subtract all the compassion I have received this life I would just be a pile of ashes and not a real person like you see here.

Brahma-tirtha Prabhu (formerly Bob Cohen, who inquires in Perfect Questions, Perfection Answers): I am composed of the compassion I received. I had a spark of interest, and Srila Prabhupada fanned it, and I am grateful for that.

Prahlada explained to his classmates that the Lord was present everywhere but that we have to please Him to see Him everywhere.

I was explaining to my father that in India people are really happy. Although we think wealth, fame, and beauty are causes of happiness, we see that people who have these are not always happy. Marilyn Monroe committed suicide out of loneliness.

The story of Karna shows that even if you are powerful, if you align yourself against Krishna, you will lose everything.

Preaching is a mood not merely an activity. Cooking nicely and cleaning the temple room can be preaching.

Srila Prabhupada had no position in the Gaudiya Math but he took seriously the instruction of his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.

The example of rowing shows that if you benefit others you also benefit yourself. The boatman also crosses the river in addition to the people he is rowing.
Lord Nityananda would preach to the most difficult people, not to demonstrate His personal potency, but to show the power of Lord Caitanya's mercy.

Krishna House Ista-gosthi:

What do you like about Krishna House?

Krishna Lunch.
All the devotees.
Opportunity that we get to preach with Krishna Lunch and book distribution.
Kirtanas.
Prasadam.
Having morning and evening activities.
There is wonderful vibration I have never experienced anywhere else.
The outreach programs in the evening.
It is one of easiest places to be a devotee.
Our Gaura Nitai deities.
The family mood.
Saranagati Saturdays.
There is everything we need.
Morning program.
Making mangala arati sweets.
How easy it is to fit in.
It accommodates the needs of different people.
Inspiring devotee association.
Great guidance.
Lots of service opportunities.
A unique opportunity.
Doing programs.

Improve:
increase size of temple room
increase japa period
fewer bunk beds
the healthiness of the food
evening cleaning
classes on instruments
hatha yoga classes
increase people at the evening programs
put English translations of the morning and evening prayers and the history
the karatala playing is too loud
how easy it is to try out different services
organize harinama more
keeping track of former residents and reaching out to them

Madhava Prabhu: I wish I could be thirty years younger so I could move in.

Haripriya: I see how mangala arati brings the community together.

Kalakantha Prabhu: On loud karatala playing: Kirtana is about the holy name, not heavy metal.

Student at University of South Florida:

[One Friday at USF in Tampa while I was singing in front of the library, I gave a young lady who stopped by an invitation to our club that meets on Thursdays. After the next meeting of the club, which I did not attend, being at my home base at Krishna House in Gainesville, she added me as a friend on Facebook, and I inquired how she liked the meeting. She replied as follows:]
Tonight was mind opening, truly resonated within me. I look forward to learning more and joining you on Thursday! It's a blessing to have crossed paths with you. Safe travels and a safe return, my friend.”

Conversation with a Greyhound bus driver:

In a previous issue, I mentioned how a bus driver, in addition to advising his passengers not to smoke on the bus or even in the bathroom, would advise them to quit smoking altogether. I rode on another bus with the same driver, and he made the same announcement. I mentioned it to him, and said I put it in my blog. I commented that it was a bold thing to say, although it is for the smoker's and everyone else's benefit if he stops smoking. He said he smoked over fifty years. He was a chain smoker who smoked four packs a day. If he awoke in the middle of the night, he would have a cigarette before going to sleep. Then he got a cancer and he stopped. He still craved cigarettes for many years. He would take three deep breaths and the craving would go away. He said he did not think he could give it up without a higher power. Now he wants to lose fifty pounds. I asked if he had a lunch break in Tallahassee, hoping I could turn him on to Krishna Lunch. I mentioned how I was vegetarian for thirty years. He did not think he could become vegetarian and did not think it was important. I explained that because we are aware how much the animals suffer when we kill them, we are responsible and have to suffer a reaction to such unnecessary violence. We want peace in this world, but as long as we are committing violence, we cannot have peace, because the violence will come back to us as karma. To my surprise, he agreed that what I said was true.

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apannah samsrtim ghoram
yan nama visvaso grnan
tatah sadyo vimucyeta
yat bibheti svayam bhayam

Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately even by unconsciously chanting the holy name of Krishna which is feared by fear personified.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.14)