Travel Adventures of a Krishna Monk

by Krishna-kripa Das

Monday, April 18, 2016

Travel Journal#12.7: Vrindavan, Mumbai, Istanbul, and Dublin

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 12, No. 7
By Krishna-kripa das
(April 2016, part one)
Vrindavan, Mumbai, Istanbul, and Dublin
(Sent from Dublin, Ireland, on April 17, 2016)

Where I Went and What I Did

For the beginning of April, I continued living in Vrindavan and being part of the Krishna Balaram Mandir 24-Hour Kirtan Party, originally established by Aindra Prabhu in 1986. I chanted daily from 1 to 4 p.m. in the afternoon and from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at night. Sometimes I would chant harinama for half an hour near the main gate of the temple with Ananta Nitai Prabhu, who I often do harinama with in Dublin. On April 3, I traveled with devotees from Vrindavan, including Janananda Maharaja, to attend the Bharatpur Ratha-yatra in nearby Rajasthan, a five-hour-long event. On April 4, I attended a program celebrating the appearance of Aindra Prabhu in this world, and I heard and share lots of wonderful stories about and appreciations of him. On April 8, I went to Delhi to pick up a harmonium that Prema-sankirtana Prabhu of Newcastle kindly sponsored for me. Ananta Nitai Prabhu accompanied me, and we did harinama at several venues throughout the journey. April 9 I took the train from Mathura to Mumbai, where I gave a talk to college students about how Krishna consciousness can be seen as a science. I chanted harinama at Juhu Beach with different friends every day for at least an hour in the evening for the four days I was there. While in Mumbai, Gaurav Bhuta, a friendly devotee dentist, whose office is full of Krishna posters and books, and who treats the Juhu brahmacaris, kindly cleaned my teeth for free. Then I returned to Dublin, the gateway to Europe, America, and India for me, for two days of harinama with Premarnava Prabhu and others, the second day being Rama Navami, when we chanted in the streets for almost six hours.

I share notes from Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and his books. I share excerpts from Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami’s books and his online journal. I share notes on classes by many visiting lectures and senior devotees in Vrindavan, such persons as Prahladananda Swami, Janananda Goswami, Rama Raya Prabhu, and Madhavananda Prabhu, to name a few, and longtime resident Deena Bandhu Prabhu as well. I also share notes on classes by few speakers from Mumbai, including Radha Govinda Swami, who spoke on Rama-lila for upcoming Rama Navami.

I am sure many of you will like to join me in thanking Prema-sankirtana Prabhu of Newcastle profusely for very kindly sponsoring a new harmonium for me, as my previous one looked to be in a very sorry state for many years. Thanks to Gaura Hari Prabhu of Norway, who donated his cadar for use as a strap for the harmonium. Thanks to Gaurav Bhuta of Mumbai for the free dental cleaning and toothbrush. Thanks to Abhinav Verma for the recording of my college talk in Mumbai. Thanks to Karbhajan Das Prabhu for his pictures of me and himself on Juhu Beach.

Itinerary

April 14–20: Ireland
April 21–23: Newcastle, England
April 24: Leeds, England
April 26: Radhadesh (Kadamba Kanana Swami’s Vyasa Puja)
April 27: King’s Day in Amsterdam
April 28–29: Rotterdam
April 30–May 1: Birmingham 24-hour kirtana
May 2–May 9: Newcastle
May 10: Edinburgh Harinama and Evening Program
May 11–July 9: The North of England and Scotland
July 10: Prague Ratha-yatra
July 12–16: Polish Woodstock
July 30: Berlin Ratha-yatra
August 5–11: Baltic Summer Festival
August 18–21: Trutnoff (Czech Woodstock)
September 13–: New York City Harinam

Vrindavan 24-Hour Kirtan

Srila Prabhupada very much wanted a 24-hour kirtana in Vrindavan for many years. Devotees started it, but it would always peter out. Aindra Prabhu told me personally in 2005 that once a Godbrother of his informed him of a dream he had in which Srila Prabhupada was lamenting the inability of his disciples to maintain a 24-hour kirtana program in Vrindavan. When Aindra Prabhu heard that, then and there, he decided to fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s desire and due to his unbreakable enthusiasm and faith, and the mercy of the Lord and His pure devotees, he was successful.

After Aindra Prabhu left this world unexpectedly in 2010, other leaders of the party had to arise. At present, Prabhupada disciple, Banabhatta Prabhu is in charge of the party. He is a friend of Pancagauda Prabhu, the temple president, who encouraged him to step up and take that role. Years ago in Miami, Banabhatta Prabhu was temple president, and Pancagauda Prabhu was his vice president, so they have known each other for quite some time. Banabhatta Prabhu is grateful to be able to help with the party, and he is enthusiastic to encourage the members of the party to increase their attendance at important temple programs, like mangala-arati and Srimad-Bhagavtam class.

Other devotees playing leading roles are Gokulendra Prabhu of Croatia, who has been there three years. He in charge of the 24-hour kirtana ashram. He kindly allowed me to join the team from March 21 to April 9. He said they needed help with the shift from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., and because I have chanted during those hours for several days straight at the Polish and Czech Woodstocks, I had a sense it would be possible for me and was willing to try. I do not have any special talent, singing or playing instruments, so I thought helping out on that night shift would be a good way I could be an asset. Each person on the party takes two three-hour shifts, and so that night shift was one of mine.

Vrindavan Prabhu, who was with Aindra Prabhu ever since he was fourteen years old, also looks after the party.

Originally I would also chant at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m during the day, but it was difficult to get enough sleep time and personal time to chant on my beads before 10 a.m., having taken rest at 1:20 a.m. I like to go to mangala-arati and Srimad-Bhagavtam class and would interrupt my sleep to attend those events although the ashram policy is you can skip mangala-arati if you sing to 1 a.m. Thus I changed my shift to sing from 1 to 4 p.m. after eight days. During 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. you get to see the deities and to encourage the visiting pilgrims to participate by your enthusiasm, and during 1 to 4 p.m. you do not have to worry about people bumping into you as you try to dance for Krishna, which was a welcome relief.

Everyone on the party who was dedicated to chant six hours a day was a special personality. Still some really stood out. One devotee, Radha Shyam Vilas Prabhu, would chant from 10 p.m to 4:30 a.m. every day. He chanted loudly with great feeling and would help keep the party together. One Vaikuntha Murti Prabhu from Croatia would chant the response loudly, which was a great encouragement to me. In March, the 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift had devotees who would not sing the response very loudly and that was hard for me, especially as it is difficult to stay alert and be energetic at night. You just don’t want to be forced to sing both parts.


As the deity doors were closed during both my shifts, I looked at pictures of Radha-Krishna in the temple room and offered my little song and dance to Them.



Bharatpur Ratha-yatra


The expedition from Vrindavan to the Bharatpur Ratha-yatra was a typically amazing Indian adventure. Originally we heard buses would leave for Bharatpur at 10 a.m. for the 1 p.m. Ratha-yatra. The drive was said to be 1½ hours. Later they decided to feed the devotees breakfast in Bharatpur to save time and leave Vrindavan at 8 a.m. As I finish singing at 1 a.m. at night, there was no way I was going to leave Vrindavan by bus at 8 a.m. It was just too austere. I heard Janananda Goswami was going by car around 11 a.m., and that sounded like a better deal. Later I learned they were going to take senior devotees from the car park between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. I decided to show up at 10 a.m., and I fortunately got a ride. Not surprisingly, it turned out it takes at least two hours to get to Bharatpur, in the neighboring state of Rajasthan, not just 1½.



There were lots of amazing things about the event. 



The Jagannath cart had a cart with a generator behind it just to power the sound system.


The cart rolled exactly on top of one of the coconuts used in the inauguration ceremony and it smashed flat.

People were enthusiastic to photograph the event from all angles.

From atop a rickshaw.

From the sound system truck, with its awesome speakers that practically blew your ears out, and which had its own generator.

A policeman clapped to the kirtana.

Ladies danced.

Janananda Goswami led a fired-up kirtana (https://youtu.be/uXYeT0DjFXU):


Several ladies enjoyed dancing to it (https://youtu.be/dZqY4dLEF-M):


During the procession,  more people threw flowers at us than I had ever encountered. People also sprayed us with water to counteract the heat of the sun.

Here is some more video to give you a feel for what it was like (https://youtu.be/MZNexafm06U):


Banabhatta Prabhu said I could write a whole article just about all the different items they gave us to eat or drink during the course of the procession. There were bottles of water and bags of water. There was a mango drink. There was an amazing red lassi that tasted like rose water, and there was another lassi as well. There were bags of a papaya shake. There were little cups of khichri. And there were three kinds of ice cream. There were also sweet balls. I have a feeling there were probably more things too, but that is all I can remember. You definitely did not have to worry about being hungry or thirsty during the Ratha-yatra procession.

The streets were periodically decorated with colored dyes.

Aftter the five-hour Ratha-yatra, we took a prasadam dinner, and returned two hours to Vrindavan, arriving at 9:15 p.m.

I had just enough time to take a shower before singing during my shift from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

What an amazing day!

Aindra Prabhu’s Appearance Day

Radha Madhava Prabhu was the moderator for the program. He mentioned near the beginning of it that Aindra Prabhu says in his book that one who has realized his svarupa-siddhi [eternal relationship with Krishna] sometimes feels such separation from Krishna that he feeling prays to be instated in his vastu-svarupa [constitutional position].

Pancagauda Prabhu [ISKCON Vrindavan Temple President]:

Srila Prabhupada says it is our duty to glorify the acaryas [the great spiritual teachers]. Aindra Prabhu did not introduce anything new. He took what Srila Prabhupada and Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave and inspired people to take it more seriously. By chanting the holy name in sankirtana we advance in devotional service. Through his traveling temple and sankirtana party in New York City, he was innovative in thinking of ways to attract people to the chanting. His enthusiasm and desire to enter into the pastimes of Vrindavan dhama was inspiring. When telling the Damodar lila he told how Mother Yasoda by getting the others in the village to supply ropes was engaging everyone in Krishna consciousnness. That was his mood. To keep the holy name in the center was his drive. He had a high standard of kirtana. He wanted the instruments to be played nicely for Krishna. He wanted everyone to chant. When he talked for hours in his room, he would remind us that we fell from Goloka and our business was to go back there.

There are many wonderfully constructed temples in Vrindavan now, but we want when people come to Krishna Balaram Mandir that they become mesmerized by the kirtana and inspired to take part.

Dadhivaksa Prabhu:

Aindra was my dear friend. In 1975 we had a 24-hour kirtana in Vrindavan, 24 people for an hour each. We developed a friendship from our mutual interest in 24-hour kirtana. He said if ISKCON throws me out, I will live at your house. He wanted me to make my son a devotee. I told him to pray for him. Now my son is a brahmacari and department head at our temple in Mumbai. That is his mercy by his prayers.

Mukunda Datta Prabhu:

We did sankirtana together on the Radha Damodar party in 1977.

He was never interested in anything material. Everything he did was spiritual. He was interested in going back to Godhead, very intently. He had no official position. He was not an official person.

Aindra Prabhu electrified a generation of people with enthusiasm for kirtana. He was not ordered to do this, but it was an expression of the Krishna consciousness in his heart.

He was very intense about chanting the holy name of Krishna.

Banabhatta Prabhu:

To imagine the Krishna consciousness movement without Aindra Prabhu is not possible.

I could understand he really had a taste for Krishna consciousness.

By associating with those associated with Aindra Prabhu, I am inspired.

Like his CD title “Vrindavan Mellows” indicated, He had developed incredible abilities to take these mellows of devotional service he was apparently experiencing and putting them into his kirtanas.

Bhagavat Purana Prabhu:

There are many meanings for the name Aindra, Aindra can be explained as the energy of Indra. Indra, although used to refer to the post of the king of heaven, means “the best,” thus Krishna is the ultimate Indra, and His energy, is Sri Radha.

Gopal Prabhu:

One Delhi businessman told me he would come to Krishna Balaram Mandir every day at 6:00 p.m. for the kirtana and arati.

Thank you Pancagauda Prabhu, and the others, for keeping the 24-hour kirtana a focal point in the temple.

Please devotees, especially those from the West, come sit in the kirtana, during the peak darshan times, greet the pilgrims, and inspire them to chant and dance. That is best service you can do here for Srila Prabhupada and Aindra Prabhu.

Deena Bandhu Prabhu:

Like no one else, Aindra Prabhu, personified the verse, “harer nama eva kevalam.” That may sound narrow minded, but in this age chanting the holy name is the only remedy.

Although it is so much trouble to maintain this temple, it is worth it because people are hearing the holy name.

A couple teenage girls told me they visit the Prem temple but were disappointed there is nothing going on there. “We like to come Krishna Balaram because there is always chanting. It is very alive.”

He was the soul of Krishna Balaram Mandir.

Vrindavan Dasa:

I grew up with Aindra Prabhu, joining his party at the age of fourteen. I worked closely with him for ten years.

He was goal oriented. He had the greed to attain the loving service of Radha-Krishna in Vrindavan.

He was very focused, emphasizing pure, alloyed devotional service.

He was a renunciate. He never got married. He was strict with his dealing with women. Whenever he had to talk with a lady, he always made sure there was another person standing there with him.

He was extremely musically expert and could play any string instrument and any woodwind instrument.

He was chanting suddha-nama, the pure holy name, and he was a proponent of it. Because of this, he was influential in spreading the holy name all over the world.

I have seen many young devotees all over the world who were inspired to become kirtaniyas because of him. One said, “I would be in a bar right now if it was not for Aindra Prabhu.”

He was very learned and focused. When he spoke, you would learn so much from him.

Although very advanced, he was still our close friend.

Once when Amala left the room, Aindra asked him where he was going, and he replied, “I am going to Vrindavan’s birthday party.” Aindra said, “What? Vrindavan’s birthday party? Didn’t he invite me? Am I not his friend?”

Bhakta Charles:

We can hear the philosophy, but until we see someone who lives the scriptures, we will not be inspired to advance.

Aindra Prabhu was instrumental in Lord Caitanya’s continuing sankirtana movement.

I think Aindra Prabhu must have got some of the Krishna prema that Lord Caitanya placed in the Padma River for Narottama das Thakura.

Aindra decided not to return to America when his father was dying but sent a garland of tulasi manjaris for him to wear when he died. Later he had a dream in which it was revealed his father was a Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura disciple who fell away but got to have Aindra as a son to become better situated spiritually.

Mukunda Datta Prabhu (Head Pujari), from Switzerland:

I met Aindra Prabhu in 1984 in New York City when he was chanting sankirtana all around.

He said once he was playing mrdanga in a kirtana to greet Srila Prabhupada and Prabhupada smiled and said, “Jaya!” Aindra Prabhu took that as an indication to make kirtana his service to Srila Prabhupada.

He took inspiration from different Gaudiya Vaishnava kirtana singers in developing tunes.

Because of his purity and his love he attracted so many devotees to assist him.

Even now after six years, still people are becoming inspired by him.

Aindra Prabhu was completely fixed in focus on Vraja bhakti which is what Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally came to teach. Because he was fully absorbed in raganuga-bhakti he was able to preach this.

He was enthusiastic to speak about Krishna. He could go on for hours. Usually class ends at 9:00 or maybe 9:15 or at most 9:30 a.m. But he would go to 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and a couple times the conch shell would blow for the noon arati and he was still speaking.

When I would offer obeisances to him. He would stop me, saying that we were friends.

He dressed the deities in a very natural way in Vraja-bhava. He dressed them for eight months. Because the gopis sometimes steal the flute, Aindra Prabhu once put Krishna’s flute in Radha’s left hand, and for that he got removed from that service.

Follow Rupa-Raghunatha

One devotee I knew from 20 years ago shared a book he wrote with me in Vrindavan. It is called Follow Rupa-Raghunatha, and it is about the path of bhakti, from sraddha to prema. It talks about how there are two paths of raganuga, an internal path, wherein one’s spiritual identity in Krishna’s pastimes is revealed from within, and an external path, where one approaches a guru who reveals it. He quotes Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura as rejecting the external path. Apparently one devotee wrote a book describing the external path and neglecting to say much about the internal path, which some people may take as endorsing the external path, so in Follow Rupa-Raghunatha the author wanted to describe the internal path which was recommended by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Srila Prabhupada to correct the situation. The external path is more subject to cheating and slower than the internal path, and those who reject the internal path to pursue it are misled. Included in the book are different works by Raghunatha Dasa Goswami describing the moods and activities of the residents of Vrindavan so that one may become attracted to their mentalities. In the book the author stresses that even hearing the different raganuga works does not begin until the point of nistha, and he warns about reading literature beyond one’s qualification and gives lists of books to be read at different stages. The effect of reading the book is to increase one’s desire to advance along the path from sraddha to prema. If the book is of interest to you, it is available on Amazon, and in Vrindavan from the publishers at followruparaghunatha@gmail.com.


Prabhupada's Favorite Picture of Radha Krishna

One friend, who worked as a care taker for Srila Prabhupada’s garden in Los Angeles, said that the Prabhupada disciples there told him this picture of Radha-Krishna, which is also hanging in the Vrindavan brahmacari ashram, was Srila Prabhupada’s favorite.

Cooking on a Cow Dung Fire

One brahmacari, Devananda Pandit Prabhu, spends fifteen days living in our ashram in Vrindavan, and the next fifteen preaching in his native Maharashtra.

He cooks for himself in a cooker he personally built which uses cow dung as fuel. Mung dal boiling in the pot cooks the rice and vegetables. In Vrindavan, he gets his cow dung fuel from the gosala.

A Day in Delhi

Traveling is always an adventure, especially in a foreign country, and even more so in India. The day I went to Delhi to pick up my harmonium was no exception. I was so glad Ananta Nitai Prabhu, who I have done many harinamas with for several hours each in Dublin, decided to join me.

Thanks to also Prahlad Prabhu of the 24-hour kirtana party, who gave us lots of tips on getting to Delhi.

We ended up chanting lots of harinama on the way, Ananta Nitai with his one-headed drum and me with my karatalas. We chanted perhaps half an hour waiting for a bus to Delhi where Chitikara Road from Vrindavan meets the Delhi-Agra Road. After we flagged down several buses going to other places, one driver of a car going to Delhi agreed to take us there for the same price as I was told the bus cost. We chanted in that car for half an hour for the spiritual upliftment of the driver and three other passengers, and no one complained. The driver of the car dropped us at the Delhi Metro eleven stops closer to the city center than I expected, which was a mixed blessing as the metro is cooler and more comfortable.

We decided to try chanting on the metro, as we have chanted on the metros in New York, London, and Paris, and I do not recall every being told to stop. Indians, of course, generally appreciate the chanting, so that was more reason for encouragement. We chanted to the Delhi Musical Store, where I got the harmonium, which Prema-sankirtana Prabhu, a friend from Newcastle had kindly paid for. Then we chanted from there to the Radha-Parthasarathi temple, the largest ISKCON temple in Delhi, which is easily visible as you approach the Nehru Place metro stop to the right of the train if you are coming from Vrindavan or to the left, if you are going toward Vrindavan. It is just a short walk through a park to reach the temple from the metro station, although you do have exit the metro station on the opposite side of the park, and turn left and walk till you see the actual entrance for the park on your left.

At our Delhi temple, a Western couple went through the temple security ahead of us, and they had the guy toss his cigarettes into the trash before entering. I thought I should talk to the couple, to make them feel welcome. They were from Poland, and I told them about how I had been to the Polish Woodstock fifteen times and I told them about the location of the Hare Krishna temple and the Food for Life program in their native Warsaw. I also gave them my card and told him I could tell them of many places to see in India during their 2½ month visit. It was their first day in India, and I was glad I talked to them.

Leaving the ISKCON temple, we boarded the Delhi Metro toward Vrindavan. This time as we began to sing, one guy told it was not permitted that we sing on the metro. He was obviously not someone in an official position. When he indicated we should stop, I said, “But everyone benefits from the chanting.” He had nothing to say to that, and so we continued chanting. When he began complaining again, I suggested to Ananta that we move to another part of the train, and there were no further incidents with him or anyone else. Two people gave up their seats to us. Some people took videos. One guy decided he wanted to be the lead singer, so I gave him a card with the words, so he would get them all right, and we tried to follow his tune the best we could.

When we reached the border of the city, a very friendly young Indian Krishna devotee, who had relatives who lived in Mathura and had visited Vrindavan many times, helped us by locating the Mathura bus, considering it was his duty to assist us.

Half way back, we had a 25-minute rest stop at one food place, and I unpacked my harmonium and played a Hare Krishna tune for the people.

Two web pages, as well as individuals I talked to, advised pilgrims to go all the way to Mathura after 8 p.m. as it would be unlikely to get a ride from Chitikara Road to Vrindavan. It was 11:30 p.m. and to continue to Mathura and to come back to Vrindavan seemed laborious to me. As it was only a 5 km (3 mile or 1 hour walk) from Chitikara Road to Krishna Balaram Mandir, if we did not get a ride, I thought that was a better deal, so we decided to go for it. There was a rickshaw at Chitikara, but the guys would only take us for 100 rupees. We had spent 20 rupees going the other direction earlier in the day, so I was not about to spend 100 rupees just to avoid a walk or hunting for a better deal. We proposed 60 rupees, as usually the drivers fill a rickshaw with 6 people and charge them 10 rupees each, and thus they would get their standard fare. They rejected this, and because I felt they were just trying to rip us off, I began walking. I trying to flag down the few cars that went by, and after just few minutes one guy, who has a taxi business called Hari Om and who was returning from an airport drop, stopped and gave us a free ride. It had been a long day, and I felt Radharani was smiling on us. I got back in time to do the last hour of the 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift. I was so happy to be back in Vrindavan I danced the whole half hour that I wasn’t playing the harmonium, despite the lateness of the night and exhausion of the journey.

College Program in Mumbai

To please my friend, Adbhuta Hari Prabhu, who does college outreach in Mumbai, I gave one lecture there Sunday evening to some students about how Krishna consciousness can be seen as a science. Here is an audio recording by Abhinav Verma (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8G_-3HDls9WN21SeFgxaEJkbWM/view?usp=sharing).

Harinamas in Mumbai

Because I missed the weekly Sunday night harinama in Mumbai, giving a college lecture, Abhinav (playing the harmonium in the video below) and Prema Rasa Prabhu (dancing) arranged we chant on Juhu Beach later in the evening, 8:20 to 9:20 p.m. I was amazed to see hundreds of people on the beach at night. While we sang, at least fifteen people joined us for some time, some singing, some dancing, one who played the drum, several who played the karatalas, one who bowed down to our party, and others who just listened. Here is a video clip with a guest mrdanga and kalatala player (https://youtu.be/0ez2A1N_HDk):


The next day Gaura Hari and Prema Rasa Prabhus came out, and Abhinav joined us at the end. This time we went about an hour and a half. One young guy, who was not a regular devotee, happily listened to us for well over half an hour.


The third day, Gaura Hari Prabhu was at Mira Road, and everyone else was busy, so I walked for half an hour down the Juhu Beach, playing the evening tune on the harmonium and singing Hare Krishna by myself, and then I turned around, and continued chanting until I reached the temple.



I encountered Karbhajan Prabhu, a senior brahmacari who regularly frequents the Juhu Beach, considering it a place of pilgrimage because Srila Prabhupada would daily walk there rather than maya [a place of sense enjoyment] as some devotees do.

The next day several devotees seeing me asked, “Where is your harmonium?”

The final day, I invited Govinda Bhasya Prabhu, who is from Los Angeles, and is a friend of my friend Nama Kirtan Prabhu, to join us. He added lots of youthful energy to our party of myself and Gaura Hari Prabhu.

I was happy to do daily harinamas at Juhu Beach, and I think we have so many devotees there at our Juhu temple, they could easily maintain a program of daily harinama there. It is refreshingly cooler on the beach late in the day and hundreds of people are there to hear the holy name, and many are happy to do so.

Chanting Hare Krishna at the Istanbul Airport

Normally I never would have been brave enough to chant in the Istanbul airport except Ananta Nitai Prabhu told me he did it two years ago on the way to India and so I tried it myself on my way back to Europe that year. I had a good experience, so I tried it again. I only had 15 minutes till boarding was scheduled for my flight to Dublin, so I decided to show up 15 minutes late for boarding because I wanted to chant a full half an hour. I chose a spot on a long corridor, far from vendors and gates, so no one could claim I was disturbing their activities. A couple of smiling young ladies asked me if I was singing at Laksman Jhula earlier in the year, and I smiled and said I was. They seemed very happy to encounter us at Rishikesh and to now be reminded of the experience. I asked where they were from, and they said “San Francisco.” I explained we had a center in Berkeley, near the university, where we do the chanting on Sundays and follow it with free vegetarian food. They were interested, and I told them to look up “Hare Krishna” and “Berkeley” on the internet, and I gave them my card with the Hare Krishna mantra on it, and saying, “If you cannot find it, email me.” Then they rushed off to catch their flight to California. At least three people took videos or photos, a few people smiled, and one guy gave the “thumps up” gesture of approval. The very last minute I played, two men, maybe in their thirties, donated change totaling 3.30 Turkish lira. In such venues, I do not put out donation boxes or books, as sometimes authorities are sensitive. There was a Travelers Box machine in the airport that takes your Turkish change and sends the equivalent in dollars, minus their commission, to your PayPal account, so I got $1.07 for it. When I got to my gate twenty minutes late, they had not even begun to board the flight.

Chanting in Dublin

The day I arrived from India, I hoped to chant 2½ hours on harinama in Dublin, but my half-hour nap lasted 2½ hours. Still Premarnava Prabhu and a fired-up Polish book distributor from our Irish island joined me on harinama from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. Many people were still on the street, and passersby donated €15.35 and took two books.

One young guy came up to me and said he remembered seeing me singing in Newcastle. I asked if he was based there, and he replied that he lived in Manchester. I told him I am singing by the Arndale in Manchester the week of May 23, and he said he would look me up. 


The next day was Rama Navami, and we did 5½ hours of harinama. A young man from Croatia joined us much of the time, and Manu Prabhu came out for the last two hours, greatly increasing the ecstasy. The last hour it rained, and we chanted in a protected area in front of the G.P.O. [General Post Office]. Here is some video of Manu singing (https://youtu.be/t7prQcilZJI):


Passersby donated €50.80 and took a Bhagavad-gita, two Chant and Be Happys, and three Beyond Birth and Deaths.

Doing the dharma of the age was a great way to celebrate the appearance day of Lord Ramacandra, the great example of dharma Himself.

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

Insights

Srila Prabhupada:

We are so sinful . . . because of this materialistic technological civilization we have become so dull and rascal we cannot understand the simple truth that we are eternal souls that transmigrate from one body to another.

We are thinking “I am American,” “I am European,” “I am cat,” “I am dog,” but when we understand we are spirit soul we can be done with these material designations.

A human can inquire “What body will I get next?”

Nature is a machine. Have you seen a machine that works without an operator? How do we think nature is operating without the Supreme Controller? Because we see no machine acts without an operator, although we cannot see the operator, we must conclude that there is some operator controlling the material nature. Human life is meant for inquiring about the identity of that operator.

Artificially we are thinking in terms of American consciousness or African consciousness. To attain Krishna consciousness, we have to give up these false designations.

Narada-pancaratra explains sarvopadi vinirmuktam . . . When we give up these bodily designations we can attain bhakti.

Everything is dependent on consciousness. Krishna conscious is the original standard of consciousness.

If you do not know how the machine of nature is working, where is your education?

Material life means misusing the independence of the soul.

Q: It is foolish to leave the spiritual world.
A: That is the meaning of independence. Whatever you like, you may do. Otherwise there is no meaning to independence.

Krishna never forced Arjuna to accept the instructions of Bhagavad-gita.

If one does not accept this education then there is no difference between him and a dog. A dog never inquires.

Thus the Vedic injunction is to inquire about the soul. Go to a proper guru and take lessons from him.

A dog’s father never asks his child to go to school.

From Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.8.17, purport:

“Lusty desires are very strong in everyone, and they are the greatest impediment to the discharge of devotional service. Therefore those who are very much influenced by lusty desires are advised to take shelter of Sanat-kumara, the great brahmacari devotee.”

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.26.34 in Mumbai on November 1, 1975:

Because big, big scientists cannot see the soul, they do not believe it exists and transmigrates from one body to another body.

Because the gross body stops working, it does not mean that the soul stops working with its mind, intelligence, and false ego.

There is a Bengali proverb saying that everything you have been doing for your spiritual life will be examined at the time of death.

The dandavat is the symbolic representation of submission.

Simply by offering obeisances before the deity and the spiritual master, even if one has no inclination to study Vedic philosophy, one will attain perfection.

Fearfulness is for our next life because we do not know where we are going.

If you have to prepare yourself to get a better situation in the next life, then why not prepare yourself to go back to Godhead.

To go back to Godhead is the highest perfection, samsiddhi. To attain it, you simply have to train the mind to think of Krishna.

The method is simple, become a devotee of Krishna, and always remember Krishna.

One devotee in Hyderabad became so attached to serving the deity there when he was transferred to Madras he could not stay because he was suffering so much being separated from his deity service.

Real intelligence to attain the stage of bhava, and then maintain that stage of bhava at the time of death, and enter the kingdom of God.

From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.45 in Laguna Beach on July 26, 1975:

“The dog is also running, and a man is also running. But a man thinks he is very much civilized because he is running on motorcar. Both of them are running, but a man has got a particular type of body by which he can prepare a vehicle or cycle, and he can run on. He is thinking that ‘I am running in greater speed than the dog; therefore I am civilized.’ This is the modern mentality.”

“The real destination is Govinda, Vishnu. . . . na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnu. They are running in different speed, but they do not know what is the destination.”

“If I do not know what is the destination and try to drive my car in full speed, then what will be the result? The result will be disaster.”

“Our position is such that we cannot become controller. That is not possible. If we want to become controller, that is my [our] artificial desire. And the resultant action we will have to suffer. First of all you must understand this, that we are controlled. Either you agree to be controlled by Krishna or you agree to be controlled by maya, but you cannot become controller. Is there anyone here who can say that ‘I am controller’? . . . I may think that ‘I am controller,’ but I am controlled by drugs, by sense gratification, desires – kama [lust], krodha [anger], lobha [greed], moha [illusion], matsarya [envy]. So there is no question of the living entity's being independent. That is not possible. He is dependent. But if he becomes dependent on Krishna, then life is successful.”

“In the human society there is some form of dharma. Either you are Christian or Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist. Throughout the whole world, any civilized nation, they have got some dharma or religious system. Why? Through it, you should understand what is the goal of your life.”

“So what is the difference between going to the heavenly planet and going to Krishna? The difference is abrahma-bhuvanal lokan punar avartino ’rjuna: ‘My dear Arjuna, if you go even to the highest planetary system, Brahmaloka, you will again fall down.’ Then? Mad-gatva na nivartante: ‘If you come to Me, you will have not . . . ’ So why not select this, that ‘I have to work for the next life. Why not devote this life for Krishna? I shall go back to home, back to Krishna’? This is intelligence.”

“Try to make your life perfect by accepting Krishna consciousness and studying the philosophy and practicing the method. Then you will be happy.”

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:


“The Hare Krishna chanters in the
City are a core group
of about nine devotees.
More devotees join them
in the afternoon after their
workday, and visiting devotees
and interested passerbys
sometimes sit with them
and sing. They usually begin
at 1:30 P.M. but on
‘Maha-Saturday’ they start early at 11:00 A.M.
Their regulative observance
of kirtana six hours a day, seven days
a week, is an incredible sadhana
and is like the lines in
a stone. Their example
is like a modern-day
equivalent of the bhajanas
of the Gosvamis like
Dasa Raghunatha.
They are the gold standard for harinama
parties all over the world.
I offer my humble obeisances
to the Hare Krishna chanters in the City.”

From Japa Walks, Japa Talks:

“Prabhupada recommends that we cultivate feelings of regret. When Ajamila expresses his regret at his sinful life, Prabhupada says we should also adopt this mood and always remember the sins we have committed. When Maharaja Pariksit regrets the offense he committed to the meditating sage, Prabhupada writes in his purport that all sins can be washed away by repentance. Repentance is appropriate when we consider our inattentive chanting and our failures to surrender. We see our inadequacies, some of which may be attributed to the sinful activities we have performed in this life, as well as in our long history of rebellion against God. If these feelings of regret induce a purified and humble state, then we welcome that. That regret and humility is not the same as when a neophyte devotee falls into self-pity and becomes crippled. Such a neophyte stops doing service and feels too unworthy to be a devotee. Then he inevitably falls back into sense gratification and degradation.”

When Krishna says not to fear (ma sucah), it also means we should not fear His wrath. We expect our friends to forgive us if we rectify our offensive behavior. Do we think that Krishna will be less magnanimous than an ordinary jiva? Krishna is the kindest person of all, and whatever kindness we see in this world has its origin in Him.
Don’t worry needlessly. Krishna is not building a grudge toward us over all our lifetimes of rebellion. If we sincerely turn to Him, we don’t have to worry that He will pull our file and read the record of our misbehavior.


“In Harinama-cintamani, Haridasa Thakura
begs Lord Caitanya
for the taste of the Holy Name.
He says he is willing to
forgo transference
to the spiritual world, but
he begs to taste the nectar
of the Holy Names. The
harinama chanters in
the City are fortunate
souls. Like Haridasa Thakura,
they have sacrificed all
other activities just
to chant the Hare Krishna mantra.
Like Haridasa, they
are begging Lord Caitanya for
the taste of the Holy Names,
and by His grace
they are already tasting it.
If not, how could they
go out every day for many hours
and sing loud kirtana in the crowded streets?
They are already recipients
of the highest nectar, but
they are greedy for more.”

From Can You Practice Vrindavana-bhajana in the West?:

“I like the prayer of Sanatana Gosvami after Lord Caitanya finished instructing him. He said, ‘You have taught me plenty, but how will I, a low person, realize it and speak it to others as You desire? Please put Your feet on my head and bless me with realization.’ Lord Caitanya complied with Sanatana’s request. Sanatana knew he needed it. What good is teaching unrealized precepts of love of God?”

Radha Govinda Swami:

From a Hindi lecture in Mumbai before Rama Navami translated by one Juhu brahmacari:

Sita, appealing to Rama to let her accompany Him to the forest, said “I will wash Your feet when You are tired and make a fan and fan you, and I will be very pleased serving You in this way. There will be no misery for me.” When one is happy within, one is very satisfied. “I will be with You and serve You. I cannot live without Your service. I will make a bed for You when You are tired and massage Your feet the whole night. If I do not go, I will feel great pain in Ayodhya, bereft of Your service. Without You there is no possibility of happiness. O moon of the sun dynasty, without You Indrapuri [heaven] is like hell for me. All my happiness is with You only. I will see your lotus face which is like the full moon and be satisfied with that. My greatest pleasure is to massage Your feet and see Your moon-like face. Therefore do not worry about me. Please do not leave me. I want to go only because I want to serve You. Your service is my life. Without Your service, I cannot live.” Every wife should be so enthusiastic to serve her husband. She should feel life is like hell without the service of her husband. The wife is always dependent on the husband. It is his duty to always make her happy. By cooperation there can be happiness. Sitaji is teaching what is the duty of the wife. She did not have the experience of the opulence of Ayodhya but went to the forest. She is not considering the forest to be a place of difficulty. Her thought of making a comfortable resting place for her husband Rama in the forest is an exalted thought. The world would be better if the wives’ minds were occupied with such exalted thoughts. Rama considered the austerities of forest life would not be difficult for Him but would be difficult for her, thus he again advised her to stay in Ayodhya. She cried out of thought of being separated from Rama, and Rama understood the seriousness of her feelings, and said she could come with Him. He encouraged her to pack necessities quickly because He wanted to follow His father’s order before any incident could stop Him. Rama had to agree to bring Sita because practically she could not live without Him and she might kill herself if should could not go. She was happy Rama agreed, and asked his mother Kausalya for her permission to go, apologetic that she could not serve her. Kausalya gave her permission and blessed her, “As long as there is water in the Ganga and Yamuna, you will be famous as the faithful consort of Lord Rama.” Her feelings could not be understood. She longed for the return of the divine couple.

We can learn from these pastimes that following religion is not always easy.

Prahladananda Swami:

People are not informed that they are spiritual, and furthermore, that the goal of life is Vishnu.

People want to be deathless and there is a solution, to take shelter of Lord Vishnu, but they do not know this, and instead they take shelter of insignificant people who cannot help them.

We are proud, but we do not even know we are not our bodies. Our knowledge is actually negative

There is a story of one man who survived the Titanic because he was covered with oil from the boiler when it exploded, and the oil protected him from the cold water. He was celebrating his survival in New York City a month later, and he got intoxicated and hit his head on the curb, and went unconscious and drowned in a inch of water on the ground.

In the pastime of Vrtrasura, the demon Vrtrasura was actually victorious because he took shelter of Vishnu and attained the abode of Vishnu, while Indra, the demigod, was absorbed in materialism, ignoring Lord Vishnu.

Brahma and Shiva, by becoming angry when insulted by Brighu, showed they were affected by ignorance and passion, and thus that they could not protect one from the material energy, being themselves affected by it.

When Guru-kripa Prabhu went to make life members in India, the first people he talked to teased him, arguing that Karna is the hero in Bhagavad-gita and not Krishna and Arjuna. Guru-kripa presented the truth about Krishna and Arjuna. They stubbornly did not accept it, and Guru-kripa became angry. Then they challenged, “Your guru cannot even protect you from becoming angry.” Guru-kripa replied, “Well, last year I would have punched you in the head, but now by the grace of my guru, I have controlled my anger.” They liked that and became life members.

Janananda Goswami:

Indra seems to be chosen to teach us a variety of lessons, mostly how not to act.

Even the demons have a spiritual master.

Our spiritual strength is not ours but is given by Krishna, and if we offend a devotee, what to speak of our spiritual master, we can lose it.

Yajnas (sacrifices) must be performed under the direction of an expert priest.

The weakness of the brahmanas [the priestly class] is the gateway through which Kali-yuga [this degraded age] has entered.

The brahmanas are above the administrative class and should not present an opinion just to please the administrators or they will become compromised.

Pride, and the desire to gain respect, is a great danger in spiritual life.

We all have our part to play in society, and beyond that, we have our ultimate part to play.

All of the activities in our life have the ultimate goal of self-realization. They are all meant to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

We do not have anything to give. Everything always belongs to the Lord. This misunderstanding is the root cause of pride.

Srila Prabhupada explains that all the property in society belongs to the brahmanas who take care of it on behalf of the Supreme Lord. Because they have better things to do, they let other divisions of society assist them.

If one acts purely, without attachment to the results, under the direction of a pure devotee of the Lord, one’s activities will be wonderful and attractive to people.

Once Srila Prabhupada came to the London temple room in the middle of the day. Two of us were there, and we bowed down. The guest bowed down with his feet toward the Deity. Srila Prabhupada asked the pujari, “What are you doing?” He replied, “Washing the dishes.” Srila Prabhupada responded, “No, what are you really doing? You are supposed to be teaching people how to offer their obeisances.”

We must be very careful to never misuse what we are given in charity because it is all meant to be engaged in the Lord’s service.

Deena Bandhu Prabhu:

There is danger at every step in this world.

One devotee in Sri Lanka stepped on a mine in the recent war and lost a leg.

The lotus feet of the Lord are our actual shelter.

Devaki was in anxiety about Krishna going to gurukula in Avantipura (Ujjain). Krishna reassured her, Balaram has one thousand friends and I have millions of friends, and they can protect us. Because they were playing the role of brahmacaris, They decided They would walk from Mathura to Avantipura.

The boat to carry us across the ocean of material existence is the vast accumulated knowledge given by the sampradaya (lineage of spiritual teachers). Just by contacting the sampradaya so much transcendental knowledge is immediately available to us.

Muktipade means the place where even mukti gets liberation. That is the kingdom of God.

Just as a son inherits the property of the father, if he merely remains alive, if we just remain alive in Krishna consciousness, we will attain the kingdom of God.

Srila Prabhupada said regarding George Harrison, “He has done for more our preaching than we have done in the last ten years.”

Once George Harrison met with Srila Prabhupada, and Srila Prabhupada was explaining how this material world is full of inevitable miseries. The next day, George cancelled the album he was in the middle of working on, and began another one called Living in the Material World.

George Harrison wrote in one song, “The Lord Loves the One (Who Loves the Lord),” from that Living in the Material World album:

“We all move around,
With objectives in mind,
To become rich or famous,
With our reputations signed,
But the few that can reach,
To this coveted slot,
Don't escape old age creeping,
Through their bodies,
Like a rot.”

One Gaudiya Matha sannyasi told me one story. Parvati was saying to Lord Shiva, “Is is so easy that everyone who takes his bath at the sangam [confluence of the rivers] will get liberation?” Lord Shiva replied by saying, “We will do a drama, and you will see just how easy it is.” Lord Shiva dressed like an old man, and Parvati dressed as his wife. Parvati asked people who had come to bathe and attain liberation to help her husband get to river. They were inclined, but Parvati warned, “If you have any sin, you will die if you touch my husband.” Hearing that they ran away. This went on until the late afternoon, when one guy who was warned that if he touched the old man if he had sin he would die, replied, “No worries. I will first take bath [and thus become liberated from my sins], and then I will help your husband. At that Lord Shiva said to Parvati, “He will get liberation because he actually has faith.”

We have to become so attached to chanting the holy name, that when death comes we continue chanting, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare  Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”

Mahaman Prabhu:

Jaya and Vijaya, understanding the desire of the Lord to fight, accepted His offer of them taking three births as demons instead of seven births as devotees. That would also mean they would return to the spiritual world faster.

No one could utter the name of Vishnu in Hiranyakasipu’s kingdom, except Prahlad.

One dog appeared at Laksman’s door in great pain. Laksman inquired from the dog why he was suffering. The dog said he would rather talk to Lord Ramacandra personally about it. Laksman explained this to Rama, and Rama invited the dog into the palace and asked him to explain his situation. The dog explained that one brahmana beat him with his stick. Hearing this, Rama sent his men to find that brahmana. They did, and Rama asked the brahmana why he was so cruel to the dog when his duty was to be kind to everyone. The brahmana explained that dog blocked his path and would not move. He did not want to contaminate himself by touching the dog, so he beat him with a stick. Rama said that usually brahmanas are not punished, but in this case, He would like to ask the dog what he thought the punishment should be. The dog said the brahmana should become the head of a matha [ashram]. Rama was incredulous and the dog explained. “In my previous life I was the head of a matha and I was very cruel to the residents, and thus I got this body of a dog, and I think that may happen to that brahmana.

One man whose son died at a young age complained to Rama there must be some anomaly in His government that this occurred. Rama investigated and learned that someone was performing authorized austerities in His kingdom and that was cause of the untimely death. Rama advised them to preserve the boy’s body, and he searched throughout the kingdom and found a sudra torturing his body with hopes of attaining heaven. When he could not be dissuaded from his austerities, Lord Rama killed him, and returned to his palace. When he asked about the state of the boy who had died prematurely, he learned that he had revived and was playing happily.

Unconditional surrender to the order of the spiritual master is the most important quality a disciple can have.

If we are sincere in our purpose, by Krishna’s mercy we will be successful.

When Prahlad affirmed the Lord was in the pillar, the Lord thought that because He was in pillar, He should appear from the pillar to confirm His devotee’s statement.

Sadaputa Prabhu:

From Alien Identities, Chapter 11 [“UFOs and Religion”]:

“This idea of love in relation to the Supreme Person can be compared with the “universal love” mentioned in many UFO communications. These communications often define the ultimate One as an impersonal energy or force. Yet love is something having to do with persons. If the One is impersonal in nature, then how can love have a truly universal role? Note that this problem does not come up in modern scientific theories. According to modern science, love is simply a recent outgrowth of hominid evolution in Africa, and it has nothing to do with ultimate causes. But if the personal quality of love is a fundamental feature of nature, then it is natural to ask how this could be. If there is a Transcendental Person behind the universe, then the answer is that the universe was crafted according to the loving intentions of that person.”

“According to the Vedas, the material world is fashioned out of an energy called maya. Maya means illusion, magic, and the power that creates illusion. The basic Vedic idea is that the universe is created as a playground for souls who seek to enjoy life separately from the Supreme Being. If these souls were in full knowledge of reality, then they would know the position of the Supreme, and they would know that such separate enjoyment is impossible. The universe is therefore created as a place of illusion, or maya, in which these souls can pursue their separate interests.

“Another aspect of the Vedic world view is that the Supreme Being wants the materially illusioned souls within the universe to return to Him. But for this to be meaningful, it must be voluntary. The real essence of the soul is to act freely out of love. Thus if the soul is forced to act by superior power, then this essence cannot be realized. For this reason, the Supreme Being tries to give the soul the knowledge of how to return to the Supreme in a delicate way that does not overpower the soul’s free will.”

Tattva-vit Prabhu:

From a lecture on Rama Navami in Dublin:

As the body has different limbs that are not different than the body itself, the Lord expands as different Vishnu-tattva incarnations than are not different from Vishnu Himself.

Rama’s concern was to keep intact the promises of His father, and thus He went to the forest without hesitation.

Lord Rama’s making a bridge to Lanka of floating stones is comparable to Lord Krishna’s lifting Govardhan Hill. Both activities indicate the supreme power of the Personality of Godhead for no ordinary human could perform either feat.

We are a select group here. There are not many people in Dublin today who are seeking the protection of Lord Rama.

Vitthaleshwar Prabhu:

Sri Visvarupa shows great humility in accepting the demigods request.

Although the spiritual nature is unlimited, it can nonetheless increase.

To simply inquire about the Absolute Truth is the business of human life. If we have no interest in this, we have not attained the human platform.

By practicing bhakti-yoga we gradually realize the knowledge that we are hearing about, and we become more fixed.

Srila Prabhupada thought it was more important for him to translate Sri Caitanya-caritamrita than Caitanya-bhagavata because it includes the teachings of Lord Caitanya as well as His pastimes.

The intelligence has to be convinced about the philosophy for us to proceed without doubt.

It is not that when one advances he spends the day reading Brahma-samhita and leaves the Bhagavad-gita gathering dust on the shelf. The advanced devotee appreciates all the transcendental knowledge.

The devotee puts Krishna above everything else. Although most of us may not be on this level yet, we should see that as the ideal.

The only way we can give up sense gratification is to experience a higher taste.

Our relationships in this material world are on the false platform of the body.

What we look forward to in our relationships, whether they are between friends or lovers, is perfect reciprocation. In this world, even if we found such reciprocation, it would come to an end at the point of death.

We have so much knowledge about Krishna in the transcendental literature we have been given, we practically know more about Him than anybody else.

In our spiritual practice, we have help from all the personalities in the Bhagavatam, so there is no lack of assistance, but we have to take the trouble of taking the books off the shelf and reading them.

As long as Krishna sees we are trying to give our all, He will preserve what we have and carry what we lack.

Srila Prabhupada spoke of “a progressive march back to Godhead.” He described Krishna consciousness as “the perfect theistic science.”

We are not escaping reality, but we are escaping to reality. Here people are thinking they are merely their material bodies and are forgetting their identities as souls.

Good karma is not really good because you have to remain in this material world to enjoy it.

I was doing padayatra in America, but I could not find anyone to take care of our deities when I went to India, so I brought Them with me.

A real spiritual master is willing to accept the karma of his disciples to give them the opportunity to go back to Godhead. Krishna gives him protection.

Prabhavishnu Prabhu:

Although Visvarupa had a tendency to side with the demons, knowing the exalted position of the demigods and that fact that Lord Brahma, the supreme authority within the universe, wanted him to act as their priest, Visvarupa accepted the position.

Giving to and receiving from the Lord is done by the other classes through the brahmanas, thus the brahmanas need to be very pure.

Sometimes we visit a temple and we are barraged by brahmanas asking for donations, and we do not feel like going to such temples.

In ISKCON, the devotees try to inspire the guests by speaking with them about Krishna, teaching them to chant japa, and inviting them to take part in kirtana.

In Nepal I heard some gongs and karatalas coming from a temple. I thought there must be some ecstatic kirtana going on. I looked and saw a young girl dancing and an old lady rolling on the floor. In the corner there was a machine that was playing gongs and karatalas.

Srila Prabhupada considered that there should be kirtana for every arati, not just the ringing of the bell.

Srila Prabhupada considered that kirtana was sufficient for the installation of the deities, but he would employ local brahmanas to do the standard rituals so the people would take it seriously.

The less we follow our spiritual practice the more we will affected by the mode of ignorance, and the more we follow it, we will be very spiritually pure.

A reporter asked Srila Prabhupada why he came to Australia. He replied, “To save you from a dog’s life.”

Although Srila Prabhupada did not aspire for wealth or fame, he became wealthy and famous, yet he used whatever he was given to uplift society.

Srila Prabhupada was so much in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord’s instructions are distributed to human society through him.

Rama Raya Prabhu:

Prabhupada, in one place, refers to the holy name as our Narayana-astra, weapon of Narayana.

This Narayana-kavaca is composed of many names of the Lord’s incarnations.

Srila Prabhupada says that Lord Caitanya is the dearest and truest friend of every living entity.

We had a serious court case in Boston, involving a minor, and we chanted the Narayana-kavaca mantras before Srimad-Bhagavatam class every day for two and a half years, and it worked. Had they won the court case we would have had to liquidate the temple, but we settled out of court for a fraction of the cost of the temple.

In March or April 1966 Srila Prabhupada visited the Scindia steamship office, thinking of returning to India, being frustrated by the lack of cooperation of his Godbrothers, the lack of financial support, and the lack of interest, but then he was advised to move to the Lower East Side, and there he met with success.

When his chanting party was written up in The New York Times, Srila Prabhupada said, “This coverage in the most prestigious newspaper in the world, The New York Times, marked the beginning of the success of my movement.”

Yamuna Devi writes, “When Srila Prabhupada came to London, it was like he ignited a firestorm.” So many people became then interested in Krishna consciousness.

To follow Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas is to have the intense desire to bring as many fallen conditioned souls to the shelter of Lord Caitanya as possible.

I have been gone for 4 years and 8 months, and I am sure that Srila Prabhupada is pleased with all the developments you have made to Krishna Balaram Mandir to make it an even better facility.

Srila Prabhupada’s last words before leaving New York City for the final time after the 1976 Ratha-yatra, spoken with gravity were, “I have taken the benediction to go on like Arjuna, fighting for Krishna.”

One who is completely surrendered to following the order of the spiritual master is free from the illusory energy.

The ultimate offering of a garland to Krishna is that of many conditioned souls reconnected to His service.

Our ultimate position is as beggers at the feet of the previous spiritual teachers. What are we begging for? Bhaktivinoda Thakura recommends begging for the maha-mantra.

Q (by Acarya-nistha Prabhu): What is our goal as far as delivering souls?
A: Our task is not complete until we bring the people all the way back to the spiritual world.

I meet many people who know the devotees from the 60s and 70s when we were more active. Now they are older, in their 60s, and they are inquisitive and regularly come by and take books and talk with me.

I also meet people who personally saw Srila Prabhupada in 26 Second Avenue and other places in New York City.

Srila Prabhupada commissioned the painting of Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes on top and Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana devotees on the bottom.

We get realization from what we actually do.

Madhavananda Prabhu:

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says the Sankhacuda pastime demonstrates the anartha of desire for fame and lust. Lust is the end result of the desire for fame.

Without respect for superior persons, there is no culture.

When the Muslim ruler entered the assembly of the brahmanas and Vaishnavas discussing the Srimad-Bhagavatam with Sanatana Goswami, all these saints immediate stood up in respect.

Sometimes we say that all the leaders in ISKCON are our siksa gurus, but you cannot force faith.

Raghunatha Goswami writes in his Manah-siksa that he is on the path of bhakti but he is attacked by robbers of desires for fame.

Sankhacuda was advised by Narada to fight Kamsa, when he was searching a suitable combatant. When they fought for sometime and neither emerged victorous, Garga Muni explained that Sankhacuda could not defeat Kamsa because they were both blessed by Lord Shiva and because they were both destined to be killed by Krishna.

Krishna said to Madhumangala that He gets more pleasure from the harsh words of the old ladies of Vraja than the prayers of the personified Vedas.

Rupa Goswami says that Krishna punched Sankhacuda ten or eleven million times before killing him because he was such a rascal as to drag Radharani away by the hair.

Sometimes we think conquering lust is the goal, and that if we conquer lust, we will be advanced. But bhakti is not dependent on renunciation.

Krishna tells Uddhava in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam that bhakti is caused by bhakti.

Rupa Goswami says that simply by bhakti we can defeat lusty desires. [for the verse]

Gaura Govinda Swami says a sincere disciple will always hanker for the chastisement of the guru.

Q (Prahladananda Swami): How was Sankhacuda able to touch Radharani’s hair when Ravana could not touch Sita but merely a maya-Sita?
A: In the spiritual world, Sridama, the brother of Radharani, had a quarrel with Her, and they cursed each other. Radha cursed Sridama to become a demon, Sankhacuda, and he cursed Her to take birth in the material world. Thus Sankhacuda was not an ordinary demon, but Radharani’s brother.

There was one professor who knew every verse of the Gita since he was eight years old. He also knew hundreds of verses from the Bhagavatam and many verses of Caitanya-caritamrita and from the Goswami literature. On the other hand, his personal opinion was that Jagannatha was Buddha, and he liked to eat fish. Thus he had so much knowledge, but not the beginning of bhakti.

To think that because seva-aparadhas [offenses in Deity worship] are not as bad as nama-aparadhas [offenses to the holy name] that it is alright to commit them is the seventh offense against the holy name, committing sinful activities on the strength of chanting.

Rasaraja Prabhu:

Srila Prabhupada considered that Bhaktivedanta Institute was meant for those people who would not otherwise come to our temples. That means well over 99% of the people.

Srila Prabhupada wanted us to challenge science. Some think he wanted us to discredit science so we go on with Krishna consciousness. My understanding of this is that we want to challenge science by doing science in a superior way and thus showing scientists the value of Krishna consciousness.

Think of some problems that they are not able to solve in science and show how Krishna consciousness can solve them.

Vira Krishna Prabhu:

Lord Nrsimha appeared to please His devotees, not only Prahlad Maharaja, but also Hiranyakasipu, formerly his doorkeeper in Vaikuntha, the spiritual realm.

The Lord takes a particular form to execute His mission.

Lord Caitanya used to chant and dance at Nrsimha temples and offer prayers to Him.

Devotees pray to Lord Nrsimha to become free from unwanted desires.

Association is very important. Even associating with mayavadis or materialists briefly can deviate us from devotional service.

Why are there so many prayers in Srimad-Bhagavatam? The more we hear the glories of the Lord, the more we increase our love for Him.

In Vrindavan, specifically Nandagram, there is a deity of Lord Nrsimha worshiped by Nanda Maharaja. Nanda was worried that Krishna was being attacked by demons and that Krishna may fall sick, and he approached Garga Muni for a deity to worship for Krishna’s protection. Garga said that Krishna was as good as Narayana and did not need another protector, but out of parental love for Krishna, Nanda pressed him for an answer. Thus Garga advised him to worship Lord Nrsimha. The deity is made of wood. If you visit Him, they will give you some of the nice rice and laddus they offer Him there in Nandagram.

The Sri sampradaya is very close to ours in that they strictly worship Lord Narayana only and do not worship the various demigods.

You can see Ramanaujacarya’s body, which is still intact, after so many centuries.

Ramanuja’s guru gave him a mantra that could liberate everyone and send them to the spiritual world but he warned him to not give it to non-brahmanas or he would go to hell. Ramanuja shared the mantra loudly in a public place so everyone could hear and become eligible for liberation. When asked why by his guru, he said that although he may go to hell, so many people would go to the spiritual world that it was worth it.

Premarnava Prabhu:

From a class on Rama Navami:

I was subjected to see two or three Bollywood movies on luxury buses. I could see that in every case the plot was modeled after Ramayana. There is always a villain who kidnaps the heros’ wife. The difference is if you hear the original Ramayana you make spiritual advancement.

In Ramesvaram, there are still floating rocks. They weigh a few kilograms, but if you put them in water, they float.

I was in a train that stopped at Citrakuta, the forest where Sita and Rama stayed. Even the beggars that got on the train there were chanting names of Sita and Rama.

When Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana, came to surrender to Lord Rama, the monkey soldiers were all doubtful about his character and there was a lot of commotion. Lord Rama asked Hanuman. Hanuman said he studied Vibhishana’s facial features and considered he was truthful. Rama agreed and spoke a verse declaring how He will accept anyone who surrenders to Him. He said He would even forgive Ravana if he surrendered.

Last time I went to South India, I went to Vijaya Rama, the place where Rama gave the last rites to Jatayu, and where Jatayu returned to the spiritual world.

Hanuman was generally always victorious because of his perfect faith in Lord Rama. However, one time Sita and Rama needed a Shiva lingam for a sacrifice, and Hanuman went to get one but he returned too late. Sita made a Shiva lingam out of sand, which they used instead for the sacrifice. When Hanuman returned, the sacrifice was over, and he felt bad. Lord Rama felt compassionate and said, “In the future, there will be a big temple here in which your Shiva lingam and that of Sita will both be worshiped, but the regulation will be that yours is worshiped first.”

There is a famous story in the Sri sampradaya that King Kulasekhara was so much into the Ramayana pastimes it was like they were still happening. When he heard Ravana kidnapped Sita, he dashed off to Ramesvaram to cross the sea and chastise him. He charged into the sea with his sword, and just before he went completely under water, Sita and Rama appeared on a vimana [airplane] just above the water to reassure him that They were already united and he need not worry.

From a conversation:

Dinadayal Prabhu says, “He who fails to prepare, prepares to fail.”

Indian man visiting Dublin:

From a conversation on harinama:

I challenged one Christian man, “You tease us for having many Gods and are proud of having just one, but in the history of Christianity, how many people have you killed in the name of your one God whereas how many people have the Hindus killed in the name of their many gods?”

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yasyam vai sruyamanayam
krishne parama-puruse
bhaktir utpadyate pumsah
soka-moha-bhayapaha

“Simply by giving aural reception to this Vedic literature [Srimad-Bhagavatam], the feeling for loving devotional service to Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, sprouts up at once to extinguish the fire of lamentation, illusion and fearfulness.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.7)