Travel Adventures of a Krishna Monk

by Krishna-kripa Das

Monday, May 18, 2015

Travel Journal#11.8: Toronto, Ireland, Holland, Radhadesh, Luxembourg, Germany


Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 11, No. 8
By Krishna-kripa das
(April 2015, part two)
Toronto, Ireland, Holland, Radhadesh, Luxembourg, Germany
(Sent from Manchester, England, on May 18, 2015)

Where I Went and What I Did

The last half of April, I went on harinama every single day. Early the morning of April 16, I returned from Sacred Sounds in New Jersey and caught two hours of sleep before flying to Dublin via Toronto, where I had a twelve-hour layover and visited the temple, caught up partly on my sleep, had a couple meals, went on harinama for two hours, and chanted the evening arati song for the Deities. In Dublin we did three hours of harinama the first day and had our nine-hour harinama the next day. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday we chanted in Dublin at least three hours a day. Next we went to Kilkenny, Bagenalstown, and Cork, before flying to Amsterdam to attend King's Day. I chanted with Sivananda Sena Prabhu and wife, Moksa Laksmi Devi Dasi, in Rotterdam, along with other six devotees two days for two hours each day, and I spoke on harinama at the weekly Saturday night program there. On Sunday, the day before King's Day, I chanted with Sivananda Sena Prabhu, Moksa Laksmi Devi Dasi and two other devotees in Amsterdam, which was already very crowded. King's Day was amazing with over 200 devotees chanting for eight hours. More people from the crowd were enthusiastic to participate than usual. The next day I went with Harinama Ruci, the world harinama party, and devotees from Germany to do harinama in Luxembourg for two hours, thus beginning our journey to the Simhacalam farm for the upcoming Nrsimha Caturdasi festival. Amazingly, two people we met in Luxembourg joined our party for two days. We stayed the night at Goloka Dhama and chanted with seven devotees from there in Kaiserslautern the next day. That night we stayed at our temple outside Heidelberg and chanted in Heidelberg the next day.

I share wisdom from Srila Prabhupada's lectures, realizations about japa and harinama from Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami's books and journal, and insights from Duryodhana Guru Prabhu in Ireland and Kadamba Kanana Swami in Radhadesh. I also share many interesting insights and realizations from newer devotees I was doing harinama with in Ireland and Germany.

Thanks to Eleanora, who kindly paid most of the cost of my bus from Kilkenny to Cork. Many, many thanks to Sivananda Sena Prabhu of Rotterdam for all the harinamas, and his donation of many euros, a new watch and a new suitcase with wheels. Thanks to Govinda Prabhu of the UK for donating the extra euros from his trip to Amsterdam. Thanks to Sadbhuja Prabhu, who allowed me to travel from Radhadesh to Simhachalam, in his traveling temple bus.

Thanks to Vishnujana Prabhu for the photos from our trip to Luxembourg and Germany with me in them and the closeup of the Goloka Dhama sandesh. Thanks to Simon P. whose picture of the Toronto temple I downloaded from Wikipedia. Thanks to the Students of His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari Worldwide, whose picture of the Toronto Hare Krishna deities, Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinatha I downloaded. Thanks to Krishna.com for the picture of the Radhadesh deities, Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha.

Toronto

When I bought my round trip ticket from Dublin to New York last year, I was very happy to find out I had a layover of twelve hours in Toronto on the return. I had never chanted Hare Krishna in the streets of Toronto nor visited our temple there, which is in an old church building, and I was eager to do both. With the expert directions of Bhakta Nick, I made it to the temple by bus and subway in about an hour and a half. I took breakfast and a nap, and went on harinama. Apparently two devotees regularly go on harinama for 2½ hours each afternoon, but one was out of town and the other decided not go to out. Bhakta Nick had to do reception, and I was wondering if I would have to go out alone, when one Indian devotee, Vijay Krishna Prabhu eagerly agreed to come out. He was a great asset, playing the karatalas in time, singing on key, having a loud voice, and being agreeable to chant in public for two hours. While we chanted, we met a young devotee from Russia who joined us for the last forty-five minutes. A few people were happy to see us, and I passed out several invitations to the Toronto temple Sunday feast. 

On returning to the temple I took a shower and a nap, sang the evening arati song, and had dinner at the Govinda's restaurant in the temple building, before returning to the airport by public transportation, thus completing a quick but fulfilling visit to Toronto. One devotee had made incredible oatmeal for breakfast in Toronto with dates, raisins, and nuts, and I took some for my breakfast in Dublin the next day. Thanks to Bhakti Marga Swami, who got me in touch with Bhakta Nick, and Bhakta Nick himself for spending a lot of time facilitating my visit.

Dublin Nine-Hour Harinama


Ananta Nitai Prabhu said, “I usually just do five hours of harinama, so I was overwhelmed with the idea of doing nine hours. I decided I just had to surrender to it, and the time went by so fast.” Actually Ananta chanted over nine hours as he and Nimai did a harinama themselves in the morning to Temple Bar, where Gopi Gan and Karuneshvari sell samosas, to get some breakfast.

I was also surprised how fast the nine hours went by, especially considering the temperature was in the fifties (10–15° C), and it was very windy.

One Indian man from Dubai donated ten euros and took two books. I invited him to Govindas, and when I saw him the next day, he took pictures of us and told me he went to Govinda's. His wife is very involved in ISKCON activities in Dubai and is impressed with Radhanath Swami.

One young boy took an interest in the chanting party, and one of the devotees gave him the karatalas, showing him how to play. He could not grasp the one-two-three, but he was often in time. Most amazing to me was that he stayed for quite a while for someone his age (https://youtu.be/jqKukztGa_8):


  
As usual, some people danced with us.

 
 
Others took photos.

We went through the populated Temple Bar area, and a bunch of ladies from a hen party joined us.

We chanted outside a music store called Gandharva Loka owned by a devotee. 

At 7:30 p.m. we relocated to the usual Saturday night harinama location. 

While we were there, a group of young people took part, taking pleasure in dancing with us. I praised the best of the dancers, and they stayed and danced even more (https://youtu.be/wWUtx8M97cE):


Harinamas in Kilkenny, Bagenalstown, and Cork

Ananta Nitai, Nimai, and I planned to chant in Cork for two days, but we did not have any place to stay there, so we decided to stay with Eleanora, a retired school teacher who is enthusiastic about harinama and lives between Dublin and Cork, near the city of Kilkenny, after doing harinama there the first day. Then we planned to do harinama in Cork the second day. That way we could do harinama in two places.
 
Kilkenny has a castle, which was a popular site for tourists to visit, and by chanting there we could count on people regularly coming by. 


As is often the case, the people most interested in the harinama were little kids. The next most interested were school girls, who passed us while buying something from the shop. One group of them asked what we were doing.
That evening we chanted in front of the supermarket in Bagenalstown between 6 and 7 p.m., and we also encountered a steady stream of people going shopping after work. You could understand practically no one had ever seen the Hare Krishnas before. Most people either smiled or ignored us. One middle-aged lady inquired about what we were doing and gave us a euro. We had forgotten to bring the books to this second harinama, but I had a few pieces of literature in my computer bag in the car, so I got them out and gave her a King of Knowledge. She considered it was probably worth more than one euro and gave another one.

I was amazed that on three occasions that day passersby shouted complete gibberish at us as they walked or drove by. I guessed that is because they are unfamiliar with us. In Dublin, where people know us, they usually say “Hare Krishna” or “Hare Hare” as they pass by. We are chanting in Dublin so often people have assimilated some words from the chant.

We were happy to chant in a new place, and Eleanora was very happy to be doing harinama near her home.

We found it was too expensive to go to Cork the next day, so the others returned to Dublin, and I went to Cork alone as my flight was from the airport there. We chanted for an hour in Kilkenny in the morning, before traveling to our respective destinations. We saw people eating breakfast at sidewalk cafes or on the way to work. Again people mostly ignored us or smiled at us, as they passed. One lady who had a spiritual mission of her own was very happy to encounter us, considering it providential, and bought a book. We did not encounter any real malice at either of the new places.

I chanted outside the bus station in Cork by myself before taking the bus to the airport. I set out my hat and a small Bhagavad-gita and three pamphlets. Three people gave me donations totaling €2.20 in the forty minutes I was there, and not one wanted any literature. Soon after I had begun singing a taxi driver who was from Kolkata came up to me, exclaiming, “Where have you been? I never see any Hare Krishnas chanting in Cork!” I told him we have few devotees in Cork but that we have a restaurant and temple in Dublin, where there are many devotees. 
 
Chanting in Rotterdam

Sivananda Sena Prabhu and his wife, Moksa Lakshmi, are both very dedicated to chanting Hare Krishna in public. They chant in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague, and other cities in the Netherlands. Recently the government has restricted them for using amplification and singing in populated places in The Hague so they are focusing on Rotterdam, their hometown, and Amsterdam, the largest city.

We chanted in Rotterdam two days for two hours each, and both times we had nine devotees, seven men and two women.

I was amazed hear one young Muslim lady cry out, “Krishna!” as we passed and slapped her friend's hand in approval. To hear the Muslims chant the name of Krishna was rare for me, but Moksa Lakshmi says that because they chant every week in Rotterdam, quite of number of the Muslims call out “Krishna” when they see the devotees now.

Chanting in Amsterdam the Day Before King's Day


Although I have come to Amsterdam each year since Kadamba Kanana Swami first invited me in 2008, I never had done harinama in Amsterdam the day before the event. Amsterdam was the most crowded I have ever seen it, except on King's Day itself. That we were chanting there was an unexpected surprise! The national train company in the Netherlands that Sivananda Sena Prabhu works for gave him Sunday off from work, informing him just a day or two before, and thus he could drive me to Amsterdam, and also go on harinama.

King's Day Harinama
 

Kadamba Kanana Swami brought 180 devotees from his Vyasa-puja festival in Radhadesh to Amsterdam to chant eight hours on King's Day, when Amsterdam is converted to one gigantic street party attended by many tens of thousands of people. When I asked him how his party in Radhadesh had gone, he replied, “This King's Day harinama is the real party. That party in Radhadesh is just an excuse to bring people to the real party.”


People were happy in the association of devotees.
 
 
 

Groups of people danced with us.
 

Young ladies danced with the devotee ladies.



These two ladies were so happy to dance with the devotees.

  
One male devotee took pleasure in swinging the onlookers around.




A female devotee did as well.


People enjoyed bridge dancing.

At King's Day, you get people from all over the world. I talked to people from Mexico this time.
 
One man held a temple flyer in his mouth while taking photos of the devotees.
 
People took pleasure in taking pictures of their family members with the devotees.

One couple spent time with the chanting devotees, and said they liked how the chanting brought everyone together. I was explaining how the chanting brings us in touch with God, and because of that, it also brings us all together. I suggested they get a book from Gaura Karuna Prabhu, and they did.

Many people danced with the devotees, and a few were inspired to chant. To people who were looking intently at the devotees, I would show the mantra on the invitation card, pointing out each word as we were saying it and encourage them to sing along.

Some were very happy when I gave them the words to the mantra, and sometimes they would continue to chant it on their own.

Here is a video clip showing some people chanting and following the party (https://youtu.be/uNRT318-q0Y):




Toward the end we chanted under a bridge in the park, and many, many people enjoyed dancing with us.
 

Some people took books and followed our procession toward the end. There were a variety of people attracted, an old man with a beard, who was dancing, and some small children, and many young adults dancing with delight as well.

One devotee from South Africa who came for the first time said, “You really see what a good thing we have going with this harinama. You come to a place where people are supposed to be having fun, and they are just dead.” The harinama is the real party.

It seems to me that what we are doing at King's Day is demonstrating for the people in general that if we enjoy in relationship with Krishna we will have more fun than if we enjoy in ignorance of Krishna. I think some people got a little realization that we had something real we were offering them.

Many, many hundreds of invitations were distributed. Gaura Karuna Prabhu of Czech Republic of the world harinama party, Harinam Ruci, distributed 200 books and many others distributed books too.

The next day in class Kadamba Kanana Swami said, “Those who did not go to King's Day, what can I say, you missed something very, very special that could have given you a higher taste in your spiritual life.”

Here is a series of video clips from the event (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGerEnGdI0xJhoCuZpa0T5sDHUIS4q4jq):


Japa at Radhadesh


Japa is not one of my favorite activities, and I do not usually think of it as fun, but I really enjoyed chanting my sixteen rounds at Radhadesh, meditating on the beautiful form of the Gopinath deity. Getting back late from King's Day, I missed the whole japa period, and I started chanting in the temple room at 9:00 a.m., after the morning class. I was only going to chant four rounds and then have breakfast. Then after four I decided to chant eight. After chanting eight, I decided I would chant twelve rounds and then proofread my guru's blog. But at twelve, I was chanting so briskly it would just take twenty or so minutes more to finish sixteen, and so I did. I like thinking of the mantra as the means to awaken my dormant love for Krishna, and it helps to see the form of Krishna when I am thinking in that way, to become inspired. Thus that japa session was probably my favorite of the year so far.

Harinama in Luxembourg
 

One African man was the first person to delight in dancing with our lively international party of nine male devotees on our two-hour harinama in Luxembourg the day after King's Day (https://youtu.be/8Q__Ji1nUHU):


At one point we met a group of Nepalis who would very enthusiastic to meet the devotees. You can see how they participated (https://youtu.be/B5EPxY8RTSw):


One lady watched us, along with her husband and kid. She ultimately danced with us for a while. She knew the mantra and told me she encountered Hare Krishna in Geneva but lives in Luxembourg now. I told her about our castle in Radhadesh and said we had lots of festivals there (https://youtu.be/v_Xu_1pde-E):


 
One lady let us pose on her merry-go-round, but were not allowed to play our instruments on it.
 
We met one young man named Jason who had only heard of Hare Krishna from the Internet. He followed us for an hour, sometimes dancing, sometimes chanting, sometimes banging on the drum, and sometimes clapping. He had so much energy one devotee asked him if he was on some drug, and he replied, “No, Hare Krishna is giving me so much energy.” Later on a older man with a tambourine joined us briefly. Both appear in this video clip (https://youtu.be/uAhyZ6AlmYk):



One young lady named Michele bought a book and then followed us for over half an hour. Both she and Jason were generous enough to offer us food and drinks they had bought, but there was nothing that we could accept. 
 
They both came back to the van with us, and were even considering following us to the German farm in the lady's car, but we had trouble locating it and were behind schedule.

Altogether in Luxembourg, the devotees distributed about thirty books.

I slept in the hallway of the men's ashram at Goloka Dhama because people were snoring in the rooms, and just after midnight I was awakened by the guy and girl who had followed us on the Luxembourg harinama. They had gotten lost trying to find Goloka Dhama. We did not want to wake up the devotee ladies to accommodate the new girl, so we let her sleep in the van. It was too cold, however, and as a result, she ended up coming inside, instead of sleeping in, and going to mangala-arati. They both went to the second part of the morning program, and they came on harinama with us that day, before returning to Luxembourg.

Harinama in Kaiserslautern

The devotees at Goloka Dhama were excellent hosts, cooking us a wonderful feast of Ekadasi prasadam.


Then about seven of them joined us on the day's harinama at Kaiserslautern. They were happy to have an additional ten people at their morning program, and to have the opportunity to go on harinama with such a lively group of devotees.

It was beautiful seeing Michele, who joined us from Luxembourg, dancing with us on harinama.
The same was true for Jason.

Our chanting party went into several shops.

A worker in a clothing shop, although shy at first, danced in a circle with us, and an older lady chanted (https://youtu.be/ZPweEOyxcA0):


A cashier in one shop chanted the mantra and also danced in a circle with us (https://youtu.be/PCUtsWlGC6E):


A worker in an optical shop invited us into her store and then danced with us (https://youtu.be/f5fnthAMX3s):


We would dance at the pedestrian malls, and many people would watch and take pictures.
 
One guitar player joined us briefly.

Sometimes guys danced with us (https://youtu.be/7YWVPefHWaU):


Sometimes ladies danced with us (https://youtu.be/QAIljSUEwbw):


And sometimes children danced with us (https://youtu.be/1pEB80Cg-5c):


 After the harinama, we returned to our van.
 

Then, just before lunch, we devoured the amazingly colorful and tasty varieties of sandesh which the Goloka Dhama devotees had given us.


Chanting in Heidelberg

A couple of young ladies, who were smiling as if pleased to see our party, disappeared into the entrance of a building, and I followed them to give them an invitation to our Heidelberg temple. One told me she was a kindergarten teacher, and that very morning they had done Indian dance, and the song they had danced to was Hare Krishna. She was surprised to run into us chanting Hare Krishna on the street on the very same day. I encouraged them to come to our Sunday program at least once, and said it included the chanting and a free vegetarian dinner. The other girl was a vegetarian, and I suggested they visit together.

Many people took pictures of us in Heidelberg.
 
We continued chanting in shops including “The Pure Shop.” You can see what it was like (https://youtu.be/6E_N_exSA-o):


Later a group of young people danced with us outside, and those who were too shy to dance with us watched them and took pictures (https://youtu.be/b9oDtzofY_8).


One man played guitar with us (https://youtu.be/O5q2heUCKX0):


I talked to a tourist from Orange County in California, who was happy to see us, and I told her I lived in our temple in San Diego for six years, and I said we had a place in Laguna Beach.

The book distributors were happy with Heidelberg as it was busier than the previous city.

We stayed out for about 2½ hours. Gaura Karuna Prabhu, who distributes books, and I, who like to do 3 hours of harinama each day, decided to go back out for another 45 minutes, while the others took lunch. Gaura Karuna Prabhu sold another Gita during that time.

As we were traveling to our next location, during a five-minute toilet stop, Dvarakadhisa Prabhu, a German book distributor, sold two books to a couple of German ladies who were traveling to Prague. I then gave them an invitation to the Prague temple and the main restaurant.

To see the pictures I did not include in this issue from the same time period, click on the link below:


Insights

Srila Prabhupada:

From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.20 on September 25, 1972, in Los Angeles:

We are educating people to gratify their senses through Krishna. If you want to dance, dance through Krishna.

Painting is not to be stopped, but it must be diverted to Krishna and then there is purification.

In Vedic culture the tax was 25% of the gain. If you had a loss there was no tax.

From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.18 on August 21, 1972, in Los Angeles:

Krishna in Bhagavad-gita, Krishna as Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, and Krishna as Lord Caitanya are all teaching how to approach Krishna. Only Krishna can teach how to approach Krishna.

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

from Japa Transformations:

Early morning is a good time, but if you cannot spare it then, then do it [your chanting] in the afternoon when you save some time for it. But a good block of reserve time is essential. During that time, you should create an environment in which you’re not being bothered by your children or your work worries. Even worse is externally dividing your time between chanting and other duties. Be determined to find a time in the day which is your japa time, and carry it out faithfully every day. Steady performance of this routine will bring you good results. It does not exactly matter whether it is early in the morning or later in the afternoon, as long as it is a time of peace and uninterrupted chanting. Strive to find that time and carry it out for Krishna’s sake and for our sakes. It’s too important to be neglected.”


By the force of Prabhupada’s movement
they [the
harinama devotees] are fulfilling Lord Caitanya’s
prediction that His names
would be sung in every
town and village of the world. In their
multicolored, informal clothing
they are going out
independently to chant Hare Krishna
in public.
By this
act they are purifying
their minds and
the performance of
the
yajna is
imperceptibly bringing
peace and prosperity
to the world.”


The ecstasy comes from
chanting the Hare Krishna mantra,
which cleanses the mirror
of the mind and increases
the ocean of transcendental bliss.
It helps one to get a taste of the nectar
for which we are always anxious.
By chanting in public
these devotees are doing
the greatest welfare work
for humanity.
The casual passersby may
not appreciate at first,
but if the devotees are determined
and go out every day, the people’s minds
will be changed. They will find themselves
singing Hare Krishna to themselves
and opening to the Lord who gives them bliss”


These three
devotees appear like
free spirits, chanting
in public with no
inhibitions. They
are dancing freestyle
and smiling with genuine emotions.
They know they are the lucky
ones out of millions in ignorance.”


Sankirtana men are like soldiers
in the army of Lord Caitanya.
They don’t use lethal
weapons but a nonviolent
chant which is very effective
in cleansing the mirror
of the mind. They fight
illusion (
maya) by singing
the names of Lord Hari.
They do battle with
the forces of evil by
chanting sixteen rounds
and controlling the
senses by avoiding
the four types of prohibitive
sins. By chanting
hari-
nama in public, they
feel full satisfaction,
and at death Krishna
promotes them back to Godhead.”


They are smiling and moving
with a bounce. In Prabhupada’s time
when he raised his arms
hundreds of devotees would
get up and dance. On the
occasions when he personally
began to dance, the place
would go wild with jumping
and leaping. Even today
there are eruptions of
en masse dancing in
temple rooms or down
the streets at Ratha-yatras.
Dancing is a symptom
of ecstasy. Lord Caitanya
moved even the tigers
and elephants to dance
in the Jarikhanda Forest.
In the beginning of the Movement
the people used to think
that dancing Hare Krishnas were high on LSD.
Now they know it is natural ecstasy,
and sometimes they join in.”

Duryodhana Guru Prabhu from Ireland:

from a lecture entitled, “Do Your Dharma, Eliminate Your Karma”:

If you are leading a life with no direction, then you are not doing your dharma.

The average word in Sanskrit has 22 meanings. I used to run the Sanskrit department for the production of Srila Prabhupada's books for some time when Srila Prabhupada was on the planet.

Examples of dharma are the law, justice, an expression of your nature, and your essence.

The dharma based on the body and the dharma based on the soul are both important, but the dharma of the soul is more important.

Service to God is eternal. It generates no karma. As long as we generate karma we have to come back to this material world and suffer birth, death, old age, and disease.

Let say you are a creative type, an artist, but your parents convince you go to school for an MBA. You may get a good job and make a lot of money, but because you are not acting according to your nature, you will not be satisfied at heart.

If you are not contributing to society, you are not doing your dharma.

If our desires are not in harmony with our dharma, then we should not endeavor to fulfill them.

Srila Prabhupada's dharma was to bring the philosophy of India to the west, which was too absorbed in technology and other manifestations of materialism, and to teach the people out to use their material resources for Krishna and become spiritually perfect.

If you do your dharma, you will feel fulfilled, but satisfying selfish desires provides only temporary happiness.

Did you ever count all the thoughts that your mind comes up with in one minute? Just like rivers flowing to the sea, the desires which enter our mind are endless.

Joining the Hare Krishna movement, I had experiences I never had before. I had a charmed life and blessed life in many ways.

Your dharma does not have to be big. You can do spider dharma and not monkey dharma.

Dharma resides in your heart.

Bhagavad-gita is God talking. If you do not think it is God talking, read it. Have you ever heard anyone talk like that? No. Only God can talk like that.

People who are proud of figuring out how to “get away with” doing as little as possible and still retaining their job, will not be able rise above that consciousness.

Do not make yourself crazy because you are not perfect” is one message we can gather from Bhagavad-gita 18.48: “Every endeavor is covered by some fault, just as fire is covered by smoke. Therefore one should not give up the work born of his nature, O son of Kunti, even if such work is full of fault.”

Doing your dharma for God is sacrifice.

Krishna said, “Think about what I said, and then do what you wish to do.” He does not say, “I will force you.” or “I will make you feel guilty for the rest of your days.” God is love.

If you are forcing people to do things, you are not being God-like.

In Bhagavad-gita 18.66, Krishna says in effect, “About all those other things you think you have to do, set them at My feet, and you are good to go . . . I don't you want you to stress over them.”

Q (by me): Could you describe the difference between the heart and the mind?
A: What does Krishna say about the mind? It can be our best friend or worst enemy, but God is in the heart.
Interjection (by me): Krishna says when we have attained tranquility, the Supersoul [God within] is reached.
A (continued): Yes. When the mind is in balance, we can connect with God in the heart.

The mind thinks, and the heart loves.

Our intuition is always right, but sometimes it is clouded by desire.

People do not realize that the mass slaughter of animals in slaughterhouses has a mass karmic reaction for the whole society that supports that industry in many ways.

The Sanskrit word for meat is “mamsa.” This comes from two words, “mam” means “me” and “sa” means “he.” The implication is that in this life I eat the animal and in the next life he eats me, and so on, life after life.

Kadamba Kanana Swami:

Every action has future consequences, whether it is spiritual or material activity. The mind, however, focuses on one thing, and we think we must have this one thing.

Sex life is full of all kinds of consequences and thus the sages recommended it be eliminated or reduced to the minimum.

If devotees are too attached to sex life, they will find they have less energy for devotional service. When they increase their enthusiasm for different activities of devotional service, then they can naturally reduce absorption in sex life. If one tries to reduce sex life to follow scriptural injunctions or out of a sense of duty, it will not last. It will become a heavy duty.

Bhakti is described as loving devotional service, that we actually love to do the service. It is done with a sense of love, even before the stage of prema.

In the middle of the King's Day kirtana, there is no chance for the people to do their nonsense. We have so many devotees, we create a transcendental atmosphere that affects the people. When we go in the tunnel it is amplified, and they come running into the kirtana. We can see from that how our devotion can be increased. [By immersing ourselves in a spiritual atmosphere.]

If we take our material desires and put them in a box and put them on a shelf, and just get absorbed in devotional service, we will find that when we have free time, and we take down the box, it is half empty. We may exclaim with alarm, “Who has stolen my material desires?” It is Krishna, who is a thief.

I do not know how much love I have for Krishna, but I cannot imagine a life without serving Krishna.

Being from Holland, I loved water and boats. When I became a devotee, we had a program on a boat, and it was nice but nothing special. The best part was the audience could not escape. Either they heard about Krishna from me, or they jumped in the water.

This practice is not boring. Not like we have to give up so many things. We have colorful personalities. We have a movement that is based on individualism. Everyone uses their individuality in serving Krishna, and that lifts us above the ordinary. It is not just devotion but service to Krishna.

In my youth, at King's Day, I would play my guitar and sing, “It is a free day and in a free way, we are going to play.” But now I know what real freedom is.

Orange [the color worn by those in the renounced order of life], for me, means “I belong to Krishna.” The others wearing orange there at King's Day do not know.

Bhakta Rick reserves our spot at King's Day. You do not just sign up at the city council. You have to tape it off, stay there the night before, and fight for it. But he has been doing that as a service for years.

Those who did not go to King's Day, what can I say, you missed something very, very special that could have given you a higher taste in your spiritual life.

Bhakti comes from bhakti. That is the secret.

If we make an effort to stay close with the other devotees, as at this festival, that will help us in a time of need.

Radhadesh is here because of sacrifice. It is not like one rich man donated the castle and everything else. Sacrifice for the glorification of Krishna is what will save us and what will save the world.

Ananta Nitai Prabhu:

When I distribute books at the houses, some people recognize me from harinama, and even though they do not know what harinama is, they say “it has a calming effect on my mind, keep doing it.” They speak such encouraging words about the harinama, and they are not even in ISKCON.

I chanted “Gauranga” in the presence of one pregnant lady, and she said the baby started kicking.

I remember before I moved in the temple I was addicted to smoking. I decided I would smoke and chant Hare Krishna and one of them would have to go, so I did. I would smoke a cigarette and then chant Hare Krishna, and then smoke another cigarette and chant Hare Krishna. Eventually the smoking went away.

People think it is either book distribution or harinama sankirtana [chanting in the street] but you can do both. By doing harinama the people get to know you, and then when you do books at the houses, it is easier because they know you.

When you are selling books on the street, you only reach a certain number of people, but with harinama, you touch everyone.

I would distribute books during the London Saturday night harinama, I would do thirty books in an hour which is what I usually do in a whole day.

Spiritual life is not about following social trends but doing your individual dharma according to your nature.

One lady said to us in Dublin while we were chanting in the streets, “What you are doing will get harder and harder. I hope your prayer reaches God's ear.”

There were a couple girls who were chanting with me. I was a little worried I was spending so much time with them. Before they left I took down their addresses in my iPad. Later my iPad exploded. I took it to the shop, and they said, “This never happens.” I concluded Krishna was protecting me.

Divya Simha Prabhu [from Poland] speaking at Amsterdam Sunday feast:

I used to do Olympic sports. I believed, like many people, that to be successful at something, I should put all my energy into it, and so I did. Now as a devotee, I am trying to put all my energy into two things, the holy name of Krishna and talks about Krishna. I used to worry, “how can I be free from anger?” or “how can I be a better person?” Now I find by chanting about Krishna I am becoming tolerant and humble. We can understand the third verse of Siksastaka in reverse. By always chanting the holy name, we will become tolerant and humble.

After a few days you can attain ruci, the platform of taste, if all you do is chant the holy name and talk about Krishna.

If we get a taste, we can pray to Krishna that we never lose the taste. I have had a taste and lost it. Now I pray to Krishna to never lose the taste.

Premarnava Prabhu:

Comment on a class on Krishna's protection:

The devotees were doing really well on sankirtana in Londonderry during the time there were many riots. Once they were distributing books while a riot broke out. They kept on distributing books until it got really bad, and then went to their van. Two IRA guys overpowered them and started driving away with their van. In those days, the IRA would burn vehicles as a protest. Mo did not know what to do so he just grabbed onto the leg of one guy as they were driving away and cried out, “Nrsimhadeva” as loud as he could. Two guys suddenly appeared and came to their rescue, pulling the IRA men out of the van. Mo got in the driver's seat and started drive. Looking at the IRA men in the rear view mirror, they appeared completely confused by what had just happened.

Comment on a class about restricting sex life:

One disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura made an independent arrangement to get married. Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura found out about it and engaged some of his stronger disciples in physically retraining the man from attending the wedding he had arranged for himself. Later that disciple took sannyasa, the renounced order of life, and he spoke with tears of gratitude about how Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura had saved him.

Savyasaci Prabhu [from South Africa]:

We have to find that person who we feel happy to bow down to.

People think the God must be perceivable by our senses to exist, and because they do not see Him, they think He does not exist, and therefore, they are free do whatever they want.

Even though the people at King's Day felt happiness in the association of devotees, but because are not taught in present day society that that is a valid way of being happy, they could not accept it, although they experienced it.

From a van conversation:

When I went on my first retreat with the devotees, as we returned I said to my friend, “Do you realize that we sang the same song the whole weekend? If anything is spiritual, that must be it. Otherwise we would have gotten tired of singing the same song.”

Rasika Mangala Prabhu [from the Soho St. temple]:

From the comments section of a class:

One devotee gave his mother a tulasi necklace, but after some time she returned it. She said found it was hard for her to eat meat while wearing it, but she was not ready to become vegetarian.

I had some friends who I used to drink beer with. One time I went out with them after I became a devotee, but I did not drink. I shared with them some nuts that were mixed with some maha-prasadam spicy preparation from Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's temple in Mayapur. In the course of the evening, our discussion turned toward spiritual topics. Two of my old friends expressed interest in learning meditation, and I agreed to teach them how to chant Hare Krishna on beads as a meditation the next day. One of them was too drunk to remember his promise, but the other came and learned Hare Krishna meditation. He liked it and kept up with it for awhile.

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Some people doubt that devotees in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness are greatly advanced in spiritual life, but you can see many of these symptoms of bhava, the preliminary stage of love of Godhead, manifest in different devotees:

kshantir avyartha-kalatvam
viraktir mana-sunyata
asa-bandhah samutkantha
nama-gane sada rucih
asaktis tad-gunakhyane
pritis tad-vasati-sthale
ity-adayo ’nubhavah syur

jata-bhavankure jane

When the seed of ecstatic emotion [bhava] for Krishna fructifies, the following nine symptoms manifest in one’s behavior: forbearance, concern that time should not be wasted, detachment, absence of false prestige, hope, eagerness, a taste for chanting the holy name of the Lord, attachment to descriptions of the transcendental qualities of the Lord, and affection for those places where the Lord resides – that is, a temple or a holy place like Vrindavana. These are all called anubhava (subordinate signs of ecstatic emotion). They are visible in a person in whose heart the seed of love of God has begun to fructify.” (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.3.25–26)