Saturday, June 01, 2019

Travel Journal#15.10: Simhachalam and Paris

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 15, No. 10 
By Krishna Kripa Das 
(May 2019, part two) 
Simhachalam and Paris
 (Sent from Paris on June 1, 2019)

Where I Went and What I Did

I attended the joyous Nrsimha Caturdasi festival at Simhachalam, our Nrsimha farm in Bavaria, Germany, where Lord Nrsimha is the natural center of attention, and where the festival crowd grows in size each year. I took a overnight bus from Munich to Paris, when I did harinama every day for the rest of the month, either in Paris itself, or Sarcelles, the community in which the Paris ISKCON temple is located, occasionally chanting Hare Krishna alone and sometimes with almost twenty devotees. Exalted guests Janananda Goswami and Vaiyasaki Prabhu visited us in Paris the last two weeks of May.

I share quotes from Srila Prabhupada’s books and lectures, and quotes from the Free Write Journal of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami. I share notes on classes by Bhakti Bhusana Swami, Bhaktivaibhava Swami, Candramauli Swami, Krishna Kshetra Swami, Parividha Prabhu, and Kadamba Kanana Swami at Simhachalam. I include excerpts from Back to Godhead magazine articles by Visakha Devi Dasi, Caitanya Carana Prabhu, and Guru Dasa Prabhu (disciple of Bhaktimarga Swami). I share notes on classes and conversations in Paris by and with Vaiyasaki Prabhu, Bhakti Prabhava Swami, Nitai Gaurasundara Prabhu, Gaura-Nitai Prabhu, Sutapa Prabhu, Aksayananda Prabhu, Acarya Prabhu, and Nitai Caran Prabhu.

I would like to thank Sutapa, Parividha, and Krishna Caitanya Prabhus for their kind donations.

Thanks to Kate and Rufat for their photos of our Paris harinamas, and thanks to Yolcu Aziz Kaya for his video of our harinama at Garges Sarcelles.


May 19 – July 17: Paris [except BI seminar on evolution in FL: June 6–10]
July 18: London harinama
July 19: Nottingham harinama and program?
July 20: Sheffield Tramlines harinama
July 21: Birmingham Ratha-yatra
July 23: Sheffield harinama and program
July 25: Accrington program?
July 26: Liverpool harinama program?
July 30 – August 3: Pol’and’Rock Festival (formerly Polish Woodstock Festival)
August 4–5: Berlin harinamas
August 6–12: Vaishnava Summer Festival (Lithuania)
August 13: flights from Vilnius to Olso to Dublin to Montreal
August 14–18: Vaishnava Sanga Festival (Canada)
August 20: Dublin harinama and Tuesday Evening Kirtan
August 21–22: harinamas in the Newcastle area
August 23: Janmastami in Newcastle
August 24: Vyasa Puja at Soho Street
August 25: Leeds harinama and program?
August 27: Sheffield harinama and program
August 29: Accrington program?
August 30: Liverpool harinama and program?
August 31: Liverpool harinama
September 1: Liverpool Ratha-yatra
September 2–6: Newcastle area harinama
September 7: York harinama and program
September 8: Great North Run harinama (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
September 9–10: Dublin
September 11–April 2020: NYC Yuga Dharma harinamas & North Florida Colleges

Chanting Hare Krishna at the Nrsimha Caturdasi Festival at Simhachalam

I attended the Nrsimha Caturdasi festival at Simhachalam in rural Bavaria in Germany from 2009 to 2012, and again in 2015. It was a wonderful experience I think every devotee should have at least once in his or her life. I was happy to see my friends from Alachua, Visvambhara and Dhruva Prabhus, attend for the first time this year, and they had a great time. Recently I have been in the UK at this time, but this year the festival was about the time I usually go to Paris, so I decided to stop at Simhachalam on the way. Simhachalam used to have only a few devotees, but now there are forty devotees living at or nearby the temple.

Different senior devotee visitors like Bhaktivaibhava Swami, Bhakti Bhusana Swami, Candramauli Swami, Krishna Kshetra Swami, Parividha Prabhu, Kadamba Kanana Swami, and Devaki Devi Dasi attended this year. There were many wonderful kirtans with devotion you could feel.

Here Parividha Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Simhachalam Tulasi Puja on Nrsimha Caturdasi (

Kadamba Kanana Swami chants Hare Krishna on Nrsimha Caturdasi morning at Simhachalam (

Devotees at Simhachalam in Bavaria bathe their deity of Nrsimhadeva in various colorful substances midday on Nrsimha Caturdasi. Because the temple was packed full I took this video standing on a bench outside (

Candramauli Swami, Visvambhar Prabhu, and others dance in jubilation on Nrsimha Caturdasi at Simhachalam (

More dancing with the swami (

Not wanting to go for a day without doing harinama, Harinama Ruci, led by Balavanta Prabhu and a festival devotee, chants Hare Krishna on Nrsimha Caturdasi afternoon around the Simhachalam temple (

Balavanta Prabhu of Harinama Ruci chants to Lord Nrsimha on His appearance day (

Another fired-up kirtan for Nrsimha Caturdasi (

Bhakti Bhusana Swami chants Hare Krishna on Nrsimha Caturdasi (

Syama Rasa Prabhu chants Hare Krishna during the Nrsimha Caturdasi evening parikrama (

After the parikrama, for the pleasure of the Nrsimhadeva, there was a more elaborate fireworks display than I usually encounter at Hare Krishna events.

Syama Rasa Prabhu chants the final Nrsimha kirtan on Nrsimha Caturdasi (

Syama Rasa Prabhu of chants Hare Krishna as devotees rock Nrsimha deity and dance with joy at Simhachalam the evening of Nrsimha Caturdasi (

Syama Rasa Prabhu chants Hare Krishna during the final kirtan on Nrsimha Caturdasi (

The feast was scheduled to be served at 9:30 p.m., but the kirtan continued after that. I wondered why the kirtan kept going on and on. I later learned the pujaris were waiting for the kirtan to end to close the curtains, and Syama Rasa Prabhu was waiting for the curtain to close to end the kirtan! Thus by the tricks of the Lord, we got some extra kirtan in on His appearance day!

Devotees offered a nice cake to Lord Nrsimha on His appearance day!

The cake tasted as good as it looked. 

Speaking of sweets, the next day, Lord Nrsimha was actually appareled in sandesh:

Unfortunately, I had an evening bus to Paris, and missed tasting it the next day.

Devotees chant Hare Krishna during the Tulasi Puja kirtan the day after Nrsimha Caturdasi at Simhachalam (

Parividha Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada disciple and performer, chants Hare Krishna at Guru Puja the day after Nrsimha Caturdasi, and lots of lively dancing happens (

Kadamba Kanana Swami chants Hare Krishna the day after Nrsimha Caturdasi and many dance, including Candramauli Swami (

Devotees at the Simhachalam Nrsimha Festival chant Hare Krishna as Kadamba Kanana Swami gets in the vehicle taking him to Munich airport. I had a bus from Munich to Paris, so I caught a ride with him and his party to get closer to the city (

Chanting Hare Krishna In and Around Paris

The first day on harinama in Paris one man came across the busy street at Hôtel de Ville to tell me he attended ISKCON in Myanmar (formerly Burma). He was in Europe on business in Geneva, but was visiting several countries while here. His female companion was from Paris. He was happy to be reminded of Krishna, and he gave a donation.

The second day on harinama one young lady named Kate, happy see us chanting and distributing books, said she regularly attends the Hare Krishna programs in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

She took this photo of me and Rufat chanting Hare Krishna in front of the Nike shop in Les Halles, and desiring to get a copy for this journal I later wrote her on Messenger, finding her on Facebook by searching for “Kate in North Carolina”. 

Another day at Les Halles, Marat, a retired Russian devotee based in Paris for many years, and myself chanted for three hours and people gave us 13.81 euros and took four small books, which is actually very good for a two-person harinama in Paris, especially in Les Halles. 

Acarya Prabhu, our main Paris book distributor, also had a good day in Les Halles. He became inspired by hearing of the Yuga Dharma Ashram harinama party in New York City distributing sets of several books bound by a ribbon, and in Les Halles he had one of his early successes at that.

While I was chanting at Garges Sarcelles, the larger of the two train stations near our Paris temple, one Turkish gentleman, Yolcu Aziz Kaya, who has a bookstore in Paris, took this video of our party (

One virtue of singing at Garges Sarcelles is there are a good number of Bangladeshis living in that region which is just ten minutes from our temple by bus. A number of them consider themselves Hindu and enjoy taking part in Krishna worship. One week I was happy to inform three Hindu Bangladeshis about our Radha Krishna temple in Sarcelles and its Sunday evening program.

Here Jagattarini Devi Dasi chants Hare Krishna during the Wednesday kirtan at Yoga Lyrique, the new downtown Paris center for “programs on Vedic literature and philosophy and kirtan concerts and chants of mantras” (

Sudevi Manjari Devi Dasi chants Hare Krishna at Yoga Lyrique (

Janananda Goswami chants Hare Krishna at Les Halles during the Paris Thursday evening harinama, devotees sing and dance, and a passerby donates some remnants from Kentucky Fried Chicken and receives a book (

Rohininandana Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Les Halles, and Martine, a favorable peace worker who devotees had met elsewhere and who happened to pass by, plays shakers and dances (

Prakash Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Les Halles (

I decided to chant by the Indian shops in Paris between Gare du Nord and La Chapelle one day a week as last year. People there always donate between 20 and 50 euros and take a good number of books, which is at least twice if not three or four times as good as anywhere else in Paris. We have books in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Nepali, and Gujarati, in addition to French, English, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and a few others I cannot remember. The last two Fridays in May we ended up distributing seven small or medium books each week in Tamil. Last year when I would chant on Sunday, people complained as I disturbed their day of rest but Friday late afternoon presents no such problem. I have a sense that the weekly chanting by the Indian shops stops when I leave Paris, but I think it should continue at least one day a week, because of the book distribution, the collections, and the informing of new people about our Radha Krishna temple in Sarcelles, all of which are valuable.

On Friday, Gauranga Prema Prabhu chanted Hare Krishna by the Indian shops in Paris (

Here Rufat chants Hare Krishna (

Followed by Marat (

Of course, I also chanted by the Indian shops.

Saturday we chanted with a party of nineteen devotees at Hôtel de Ville. The battery on my phone was dead, so I could not take videos. Many people showed some appreciation for the kirtan, and about half of these would take invitations to Yoga Lyrique from me.

I was so happy that five regulars from the Sunday morning program at Yoga Lyrique decided to join Gauranga Prema Prabhu and myself for harinama at the awesome hill in Paris, Montmartre, located nearby, from which you can get a good view of the city. Olivier, in particular, proved to be a wonderful kirtan leader.

Here Olivier chants Hare Krishna at Montmartre in Paris (

Olivier continued to chant Hare Krishna, and passersby danced with devotees (

Gauranga Prema Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Montmartre in Paris, and a cafe crowd appreciates (

Sudevi Manjari Devi Dasi chants Hare Krishna near Montmartre (

Vaiyasaki Prabhu, famed Srila Prabhupada disciple and musician, chants Hare Krishna at Yoga Lyrique, the downtown Paris center for sharing Vedic culture (

Olivier chants Hare Krishna at Les Halles (

Gaura Bhakta Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Les Halles, and two guys dance, one being dragged away by his female companion, thus reminding us of how maya distracts us from Krishna consciousness (

Gaura Bhakta Prabhu chants Hare Krishna and two groups of girls dance (

Prakash Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Les Halles, and three girls play shakers, two returning to interact with us a second time (

Rohininandana Prabhu, who has organized Paris harinamas on Thursdays and Saturday for several years, chants Hare Krishna with his party at Les Halles (


Srila Prabhupada:

“Since the Absolute Personality of Godhead is omnipotent, He has both unlimited and limited potencies. This is the meaning of omnipotent. To be omnipotent, He must have not only unlimited potencies but limited potencies also. Thus to exhibit His omnipotency He displays both. The living entities are endowed with limited potency although they are part of the Lord. The Lord displays the spiritual world by His unlimited potencies, whereas by His limited potencies the material world is displayed.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi 7.116, purport)

“When one is actually liberated he no longer identifies with the material world. The symptom of mukti (liberation) is that one engages in spiritual activities instead of falsely engaging in material activities.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi 7.118, purport)

From Seeing God Within and Without” in “Back to Godhead, Vol. 53, No. 5 (Sep/Oct 2019) [a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.18 in Bombay on April 9, 1971]:

“Nowadays, accepting sannyasa life is forbidden because nobody can actually strictly follow the rules and regulations. Nor has anybody got any inclination to accept sannyasa. Therefore in this age sannyasa is sometimes forbidden. But if you ask, ‘Why have you taken sannyasa?’ the answer is that this sannyasa is not karma-sannyasa, which means simply giving up all ordinary work, rituals, and so on. This sannyasa is devotional sannyasa, or Vaishnava sannyasa. The Vaishnava sannyasi is anyone who gives up everything and simply devotes his time for pushing on the Krishna consciousness movement. He is also a sannyasi.

“We have to work under Krishna’s representative. If we want to be expert in anything, then we have to work under some expert. Therefore we accept a guru. We do not serve Krishna directly; we accept a guru. The principle is that the guru is the representative of Krishna, and if we work under the guru and if we can satisfy the guru, then Krishna is satisfied. That is very easy to understand. Suppose in office you are working under some officer. You have no acquaintance with the proprietor, but your pay, your promotion will be considered by the proprietor on the recommendation of this officer. When the officer will say, ‘Yes, this man has worked very nicely,’ then your increment of pay and your promotion will immediately be accepted by the proprietor.”

From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.26.16 in Bombay on December 25, 1974:

“Those who have forgotten the Supreme Lord and have identified themselves with this material world, for them, the fearfulness is there.” But those who are not in the material existence but in the spiritual existence, or spiritual life, or spiritual activities, for them, there is no bhaya [fear].”

Bhayam is there, fearfulness is there, so long our existence is not purified. Then there is bhayam. And when existence is purified, then there is no bhayam, no fearfulness. Just like Prahlada Maharaja was put to so many trials or tribulation by his father, but he was never afraid of. This is the sign of spiritual advancement, because so long I identify myself with this matter, there will be bhayam, and when I am out of this conception of material existence, when I understand that ‘I am spirit soul,’ aham brahmasmi, then there is no more bhayam, no fearfulness.”

“Nature is working under the influence of time, and that time factor is enforcing the influence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore it is called prabhavam paurusam prahuh kalam. This is the influence. You have to abide by the influence of time. That means influence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, you deny. Just like crazy fellow: they think that “I have nothing to do with government laws.” But the influence of government must be felt when he is arrested and put into the jail. Similarly, by time factor we may do something now without any fear, but time factor will place me in the fearful condition without any fail.”

“The more we possess asat-vastuasat-vastu means the material things—there will be more anxiety. Therefore, according to Gaudiya Vaishnava principle, Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s life and His next disciples’, the Gosvamis’, life is to completely get free from any material possession.”

“So in order to get out of this fearful situation of life—that is material life—if we take shelter of the lotus feet of abhaya-caranaravinda re, Krishna, then this bhayam element, fearfulness element, will be completely nil.”

“This Krishna consciousness begins: srnvatam sva-kathah krishnah. Simply these centers are created to give chance to the people in general to hear about Krishna. Srnvatam sva-kathah krishnah. Because as soon as we hear about Krishna attentively and try to assimilate it, then the purification of the heart begins.”

“So sri-krishna-sankirtanam is so nice. It has no expenditure, no loss; simply gain. If you kindly hear sri-krishna-sankirtanam, if you cannot chant Sri Krishna, the holy name of Krishna, you are so reluctant, or if you cannot . . . because that requires little fortune—if we simply hear, that will also help us.”

Bhakti means when you are designationless, purified in Krishna consciousness, then, when your senses are purified, the senses are no more material. In our contaminated state, our senses are acting in designation. ‘I am Indian. I have to work for India. The others must go out of India.’ Or others are thinking, ‘Now your visa is finished. Now you can go out. You cannot stay here.’ This is all due to designation. But real life is designationless. The United Nation is working, but there is not… They are not working on the platform of becoming designationless. They want to keep the designation. They are struggling there to become united for the last twenty years. And the… We have seen in New York the United Nation center, only the flags are increasing. Because unless one becomes designationless, no designation, there cannot be any unity.”

“Nothing belongs to us. Everything belongs to Krishna. If we accept Krishna the center, and we work under His direction, as it is said in the Bhagavad-gita, our life is successful, our whole program is peaceful. All tranquility, everything, is there.”

From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.28–29 in Vrindavan on November 8, 1972:

“Krishna also says in the Yoga chapter, Sankhya-yoga chapter, Krishna says, yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantar-atmana sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah [Bg. 6.47] He’s yogi. That is yogi. Not for health’s sake, or curing the liver disease or reducing fat, yoga system. This is not yoga system. But people are so much absorbed in the bodily concept of life, everything they want with this, in connection with this body. That’s all. Instead of vasudeva-para yogah [Vasudeva is the goal of yoga], they..., there is sarira-para yogah [the body is the goal of yoga]. Sarira-para yogah. Farce. These are all farce.”

“Just like Darwin’s theory. He has no knowledge. He’s simply studying this body. That’s all. So one who is interested to study this body, he has been described in the sastra as ass and cow.”

From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 19.175:

[Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said:] “If one is infected with the desire for material enjoyment or material liberation, he cannot rise to the platform of pure loving service unto the Lord, even though he may superficially render devotional service according to the routine regulative principles.”

From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 1.50, purport:

“Refraining from sensual enjoyment, one should voluntarily accept all sorts of difficulties for spiritual realization. This is called tapasya. An enjoyer of the senses can never realize God, godliness or the science of theistic knowledge.”

From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 7.119, purport:

“It is the statement of Carvaka Muni that one should beg, borrow or steal money to purchase ghee and enjoy life (rnan krtva ghrtam pibet). Thus even the greatest atheist of India recommends that one eat ghee, not meat. No one could conceive of human beings’ eating meat like tigers and dogs, but men have become so degraded that they are just like animals and can no longer claim to have a human civilization.”

From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 7.120, purport:

“The mission of human life, as described in the Bhagavad-gita, is to surrender unto the Supreme Lord and become His devotee, but the Mayavada philosophy misleads one to defy the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and pose oneself as the Supreme Lord. Thus it has misguided hundreds of thousands of innocent men.”

From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 7.141, purport:

“We have opened hundreds of centers all over the world just to give people in general a chance to hear about Krishna and accept Krishna’s prasadam. These two processes can be accepted by anyone, even a child. It doesn’t matter whether one is poor or rich, learned or foolish, black or white, old or still a child — anyone who simply hears about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and takes prasadam is certainly elevated to the transcendental position of devotional service.”

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

From Free Write Journal #40:

“Prabhupada said in 1966 that there was enough Krishna conscious literature that we couldn’t finish it if we read twenty-four hours a day.”

“The many demons who come to kill Krishna are delivered by Him, and He is never endangered. He destroys their bodies, like a child breaking a toy. And so the demons provide sport but no disruption of peace.”

“I advise against 50-year-olds getting married again; for social life, they should mix intimately with likeminded devotees. Remarrying at an advanced age is not conducive to the renunciation that should be occurring at that stage of life.”

“I say we should renounce—but we have to do something. There are many alternatives. Instead of lamenting that we are lonely and not cared for, we should depend on Krishna in a practical way. We should find out likeminded devotees and engage with them in devotional activities like kirtana, reading Prabhupada’s books, and listen to live lectures from around the world. If one is not living near a temple, one can pick up by computer with live presentations all day long from ISKCON centers around the world. This can be very fulfilling and interesting, even for one who is invalid or who lives alone.”

Bhakti Bhusana Swami:

Harikesa was paranoid about the possibility of third world war, and thus he purchased this farm out in the middle of nowhere. He was advised to worship Lord Nrsimha because of having a problem with ghosts, so we had to have an altar for the deity he traveled with. Krishna Kshetra Prabhu advised we get a permanent Nrsimha deity for the farm here, and the worship has progressed over the years.

I have not been to this festival here for years, but seeing how important this festival is, I promise to come every year from now on.

Bhaktivaibhava Swami:

The asuras [demoniac] have just the opposite tendency of the devotees. Thus we can expect opposition when we promote Krishna consciousness in society.

Lord Krishna is always reciprocating with us. If you think “nothing belongs to God” then Krishna will reciprocate by not letting anything belong to you by taking everything away from you in the form of death.

Because of Krishna’s reciprocation, in the higher planets, where they understand more that Krishna is the supreme controller, they are less affected by the miseries of birth, old age, and death.

The last attempt of Hiranyakasipu to kill Prahlada was to wait until he was asleep and have him tied up with the naga-pasa [snake ropes] and thrown in the ocean. The ocean washed him ashore, and the ocean personified praised his devotion to Lord Vishnu. Narayana sent Garuda to devour the naga-pasa and thus free Prahlada.

Candramauli Swami:

Although Srila Prabhupada mentions that each of the nine processes are equal, later in the purport of the verse describing the nine processes he mentions the necessity of regularly chanting the quota of Hare Krishna maha-mantras in addition to whatever is our favorite devotional service.

Pralambasura and Dhenukasura represent qualities that one must try to eliminate oneself.

Pralambasura represents attraction the to opposite sex, and Dhenukasura represents the burden of the struggle to attain mundane knowledge.

When the Lord is insistent, the devotee cannot get away without accepting a benediction. So it was with Prahlada.

Srila Prabhupada makes it clear that if one has envy, one is living in the material world. If one is without envy, one is living in the spiritual world.

Any service can be done in the mood of giving Krishna consciousness to others.

Srila Prabhupada said he saw his spiritual master only nine or ten times but he only asked one question, “How can I serve you?”

The devotee knows if the Lord allows someone to act as an enemy, there is some reason behind it. The Lord may want the devotee to become purified, to gain some knowledge, or to become more humble.

One who blames someone for acting irreligiously shares in the reaction.

When Srila Prabhupda would speak about Prahlada Maharaja, sometimes he would cry seeing the extent of his devotion and his compassion.

A Vaishnava searches out ways to serve the devotees of the Lord.

There should not be something material that I think I need to be Krishna conscious.

Every other position is taken, so you have to be yourself.

Canakya Pandit says there are three things you should always be satisfied with, food, wife, and money, and there are three things you should never be satisfied with, chanting the holy names, hearing the glories of the Lord, and charity.

It is said the perfection of love of God is so valuable, you should try for it 10,000 times.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that envy is the worst of the six material qualities of lust, greed, anger, illusory, and madness, and contains all the others.

Krishna Kshetra Swami:

Prahlada gave us varieties of devotional engagements. He also gave them to his father, but his father would not appreciate them.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said we should appreciate Hiranyakasipu because if he did not cause all the trouble he did, Nrsimhadeva would have never appeared, and we would not be having this festival.

The acaryas say that the Kumaras were qualified to pass through the first six gates of Vaikuntha, which represent six kinds of opulence, but they did not yet have the qualification of bhakti needed to pass through the seventh gate.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says we worship Nrsimhadeva because he kills our inclination toward performing activities for our own enjoyment.

Through these nine kinds of devotional services we can come to feel the presence of the Lord in our hearts.

Parividha Prabhu:

The first drama in history was staged to celebrate the victory of the demigods over the demons. The demons, not wanting to be ridiculed, sent ghosts to enter the bodies of the actors to disturb them. Since then to counteract this, before a drama begins, an arati to the stage is performed.

If you do some effort to distribute Krishna consciousness, that much mercy you give out, you will receive.

Visakha Devi Dasi:

“According to Srila Prabhupada and the scriptures, satisfaction comes by desiring and amassing, not more, but less, and thoughtful people come to a similar conclusion. In a December 15, 2017, New York Times article called ‘My Year of No Shopping,’ author Ann Patchett writes, ‘Once I stopped looking for things to buy, I became tremendously grateful for the things I received. . . . It doesn’t take so long for a craving to subside, be it for Winstons or gin or cupcakes. Once I got the hang of giving shopping up, it wasn’t much of a trick. The trickier part was living with the startling abundance that had become glaringly obvious when I stopped trying to get more. Once I could see what I already had, and what actually mattered, I was left with a feeling that was somewhere between sickened and humbled. . . . There’s a reason that just about every religion regards material belongings as an impediment to peace.

“Srila Prabhupada concurs: ‘People must be taught how to be satisfied with only what they need. In modern civilization there is no such education; everyone tries to possess more and more, and everyone is dissatisfied and unhappy.’ (Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.19.21, Purport) And: ‘Satisfaction of the mind can be obtained only by taking the mind away from thoughts of sense enjoyment. The more we think of sense enjoyment, the more the mind becomes dissatisfied. In the present age we unnecessarily engage the mind in so many different ways for sense gratification, and so there is no possibility of the mind’s becoming satisfied.’ (Gita 17.16, Purport)”

Vaiyasaki Prabhu:

Kirtan is glorification. And the person most worthy of glorification is Krishna.

We have divine love in our heart, but it does not come out, being restricted by all the negative things also in our heart.

When we chant the mantra we connect with the spiritual world because the mantra is a divine sound coming from the spiritual world.

The mantra is like a rope pulling us out of the quicksand of the material world.

You get out of the mantra what you put into it. Thus it is best to put 100% into it.

Why do we not put everything into it? We have been cheated by so many people for so many lives that we do not even trust God.

When Krishna says there is no doubt, as he does often in Bhagavad-gita, He is saying, “Trust me.”

Kirtan is not just chanting. Japa is just chanting. Kirtan is different.

Japa is like page, and kirtan like a book. You can tear a page but not a book.

The leader sings the mantra, and it enters the ears of the audience and inspires them and they sing and the inspired singing inspires the leader to sing in a more inspired way, and it goes on in that way increasing in inspiration.

Kirtan is like puja [worship] to the deity of the mantra.

People are atheistic because they do not want to have a relationship with God, and so God disappears from their life to fulfill their desire.

I decided to develop my relationship with Krishna by thanking Him for all the gifts He has given me by giving Him a gift in return. I decided to offer beautiful melodies to say thanks.

Whatever you do for Krishna do it with the mantra, for the mantra is nondifferent from Krishna.

If we are doubtful about God’s existence, we can in a quiet place say to God, I do not know if You exist or even if You can hear me, but if You can, give me an unmistakable sign. I told this to someone, and in three or four days she contacted me very excited because she received a sign.

Kadamba Kanana Swami:

Although Hiranyakasipu displays great affection for his son, as soon as his son was considering there was someone greater than himself, he was ready to kill him. This indicates that he was only concerned with his own honor.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura advised that we pull out the weeds of material desires that threaten our creeper of devotion, but here we are advocating worship Nrsimhadeva to destroy obstacles.

There is a difference between devotional service in bhava and in prema. In bhava there are still traces of suffering due to Vaishnava aparadha but not in prema.

There are six Puranas in ignorance and six in passion. There are five in goodness, and one amala Purana, Srimad-Bhagavatam. So we view Prahlada Maharaja as depicted in the pages of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the spotless Purana.

At the end of one’s fifth year, one begins to understand a little how things are working, and so it is the time to begin education. If we learn devotional service at that age, that will benefit our whole life.

Devotional service is the only occupation that can bring us satisfaction. All other engagements bring about suffering.

Demoniac people imagine they are being taught how to attain happiness when actually they are being taught how to suffer.

Children because of their inexperience can easily be misled into sense gratification bringing immediate happiness.

Once Srila Prabhupada said that the entire material world is anartha, unwanted. He liked the phrase “a fool’s paradise.”

How was Prahlada able to instruct his demoniac classmates? Although he was also a child, he was a self-realized child who was himself instructed by Narada Muni, who is considered empowered by the Lord with bhakti-shakti, and he transmitted that to Prahlada. Prahlada had such deep faith it was convincing them. He knew there was nothing of value in this material world and only devotional service was substantial.

There was a temple commander in Vrindavan who used to beat the dogs to keep them out of the ashram. Once after I had just taken rest, I heard this beaten dog crying. I came out of the ashram, grabbed the stick from the temple commander, and said, “If you do that again, I will break every bone in your body.”

I was on a flight where the plane was rocking the entire time. I was in such anxiety, I chanted sixteen rounds in a single hour. I have not been able to do that since.

If we are released from this unholy alliance with this body, we should be happy.

In addition to hearing, thinking about and assimilating the message is important. The body is secondary, and everything in relationship with the body is therefore also secondary.

Time is there in the spiritual world, in that things happen in a sequence and there are beginnings and endings, but time is not predominant as it is in the material world. In the spiritual world, rasa [the taste of spiritual relationships] predominates.

Schools that kill the natural urge of the soul to serve the Lord in great happiness are slaughterhouses.

We are damaged by our demoniac education. We have to repair so much damage.

We are teaching transcendental knowledge in a demoniac society so there will be challenges.

If you have strong sanga and strong kirtana, the kids will benefit and we will be successful.

From a car conversation:

Jagadisa Prabhu (the driver): How do we stop being focused on just survival?
Kadamba Kanana Swami: At your meetings, limit your discussion of present operations to half an hour or forty-five minutes, and use the rest of the time for creativity and development.

Involve everyone in the discussion from the beginning so they will be behind what you ultimately decide to do.

I hope to arrange for accredited courses in the Brooklyn temple that will teach people Vedic knowledge that is of practical use in their lives. I also hope to have conferences there.

Bhakti Prabhava Swami:

One book distributor told an Indian Christian that Krishna considered him a vimudha [a big ass] because he had no interest in purchasing a Bhagavad-gita. The man was so offended, he called a policeman, and exclaimed, “This man called me a vimudha!” My advice to you is to never call an Indian a vimudha.

Krishna says the soul is not the doer in verses 13.30, 3.27, 5.8–9, and 5.14. In Bg. 5.15, He says He is not the doer either. In Bg. 18.14, he mentions five factors of action, and says that one who does not consider these is not intelligent (Bg. 18.16).

Krishna controls the three modes as the Paramatma, seated in everyone’s heart.

A devotee is conscious that Krishna is the supplier of remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness.

The Supersoul tells the demigods, “Here is a guy who wants to move his body.” Different demigods control different parts of the body.

Sometimes it becomes very clear that we are not the doer. The functioning of our heart and our digestion happen without our control. The thoughts that arise in our mind appear under the control of the Paramatma.

The Supersoul controls the gross body, the subtle body, and the senses.

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says the doer is the false ego. Baladeva Vidyabhusana says the doer is the spirit soul who desires.

The advanced devotee observes desires arise in his mind while the conditioned soul considers the desires to be his own.

Descartes said, “I think and therefore I am,” but that is not Krishna’s philosophy because He does not consider the self to be the mind.

We cannot fulfill all our desires, thus we have many unfulfilled desires from previous lives. Krishna recalls these, and fulfills them one by one.

The spiritual soul is incapable of having material desires, but it becomes a bewildered soul when it identifies with the thoughts that arise in the mind.

A devotee is not surprised when Krishna changes his plans. What happens he considers to be Krishna’s mercy.

We should always be engaged in devotional service to the Lord offered without interruption. When there is a gap and we seek to fulfill our own desires, we are separated from the devotional service of the Lord.

We know what it means to be under the control of the material energy because we have so much experience in this life.

In our conditioned state, it is not possible to understand what the liberated state is actually like.

In yogamaya, we forget that Krishna is God, but we do not forget Krishna.

It is nice to understand that we are a spiritual soul but beyond that what are we actually?

Yogamaya assists those in Vaikuntha who want a more intimate relationship with Krishna.

Few persons were able to understand the plan of Krishna when He was present in this world. Gandhari, when Krishna and the Pandavas went to console her and her husband after the battle, said, “I know who is responsible for organizing the battle of Kurukshetra. It is you, Krishna. I curse your whole dynasty to be vanquished.” Krishna replied, saying that He was wondering about what to do with His dynasty, as it was becoming too powerful and was becoming a potential burden for the earth.

Nitai Gaurasundara Prabhu:

Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami because he is highly advanced in Krishna consciousness sees everyone as greater than himself, and thus he had many spiritual masters.

Brahma had an easier job of performing tapasya than ourselves because at that point in the creation, there were practically no objects of sense gratification manifest to distract him.

Even if we do have the good fortune of hearing the Lord in the heart, we are so distracted by so many things, we do not listen.

People have practically just a few moments to listen to us, and then they are distracted. If we can speak to their hearts, they may listen a bit longer.

If on book distribution we perfect the art of attracting people in a superficial way, we may be successful for sometime, but it is likely we will be carried away by illusion as many book distributors have been in the past.

The more one distributes books out of duty, the more one sees the presence of Krishna in that activity.

If we are surrounded only by sinners, how can we can become inspired to perform hardships for self-realization?

Fortunately Lord Caitanya has made it easy, and if we become attached to service of His powerful devotees as much temptation that surrounds us so much protection will be there.

If the bhajananandi mood creeps too much into our institution, we will not have the inclination to go out and share Krishna consciousness.

Srila Prabhupada was fearless in sending his disciples out in public to share Krishna consciousness because he was completely convinced they would be protected by the whole chain of previous spiritual teachers.

Srila Prabhupada said that someday the historians will write in their books that this movement saved the world from its destructive course. That is not a small thing, and we have the opportunity to be part of it.

As a new devotee in Montreal, they engaged me in peeling potatoes. After three hours, I was wondering how long this would go on. The devotee next to me said something I will never forget, “Be transcendental. We are on the transcendental platform here.”

If you want to complain, you can complain all day, even in the temple. If, however, you consider that the devotees surrounding you are your best friends in your struggle against maya, it will be easier.

As a leader in France for many years, it was a struggle for years to accomplish anything. I would take shelter that Srila Prabhupada said, “If you cannot increase this movement, at least maintain what I have given you.”

Praying for the Lord to send people and to help us to be more sincere ourselves will help. Working on improving our dealings with those around us is something we can practically do that will be beneficial.

Caitanya Carana Prabhu:

From Dasaratha’s Dilemma” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 53, No. 5 (Sep/Oct 2019):

“If we too [as Dasaratha, the father of Lord Rama did,] respond to adverse destiny by sticking to our dharma and absorbing ourselves in our Lord, destiny’s ultimate benevolence will eventually become manifest.”

Gaura-Nitai Prabhu:

The great warriors are always listed in the history books, thus Krishna wanted Arjuna to fight and be victorious and become famous.

It is odd that people speak of fighting for peace.

Krishna created the world, and thus He created the problems and He knows how to solve them.

“Das” means always servant, not part time master and part time servant.

A life meant for no purpose is not worth saving.

If we are servant, we never know what service we will get from Krishna. Vrtrasura was sent to be the leader of the demons and fight against the demigods.

We are part of this movement, and we do whatever we can to help out.

Nowadays practically no one fights out of chivalry. People fight for wealth, property, fame, etc. Perhaps a boxer who is so rich he does not need the money may fight out of chivalry.

The higher taste is serving Krishna’s pastimes. Wherever we are, we just want to fulfill Krishna’s desire. Vrtrasura had this desire that Vishnu’s desire be fulfilled, that Indra be victorious and the Vrtrasura himself be killed and go back to Godhead.

Everyday we are lacking Krishna’s visit, we are not successful.

One devotee who was very sick, chanted with great concentration and intensity, so much so that Krishna actually visited her and sat next to her, and leaned against her. She just chanted, not knowing what else to do. At the end of her prescribed chanting, Krishna smiled and left. Her guru told her that was to increase her desire for Him and thus intensify her practice.

The demigods each have their carriers they ride to go into battle. For Indra an elephant and for Shiva a bull. What carriers are we using to go to the battlefield? The metro and the RER [the regional subway serving Paris and its region].

The secret of distributing sets of books to businessmen is to understand they are motivated by fame, and if they know their friends gave a good donation for them, they will also.

We must convince the people of the value of the books in their language. Explain that he books tell how to get the full happiness, the full consciousness, that is possible in human life, whatever is most attractive to them.

If we glorify the books in a straightforward way, when they open the books, they will not be disappointed.

You can say the books are for the most intelligent people or for the leaders of society for this is all true, but do not misrepresent them as being something they are not.

From an istagosthi:

If we are routinely late for mangala-arati, it can indicate we are not thinking of the deity as a person.

Sutapa Prabhu:

One disciple of Srila Prabhupada wrote him a letter soon before he left this world saying he wished he could trade his youth for Srila Prabhupada’s old age so Srila Prabhupada could go on preaching. Srila Prabhupada appreciated the disciple’s loving sentiment, but said that how much they loved him would be shown by how they cooperate to spread this movement in his absence.

This shows that it is easier to embrace old age and death than it is to give up the false ego.

The Lord was not impressed with the Precetas 10,000 years of austerities in the water as much as He was by their friendly cooperation.

So many demons came to Vrindavan but actually they did not cause as much trouble as Brahma and Indra, the demigods.

In Brhad-Bhagavatamrita, Brahma said although both he and Indra caused distress to Krishna in Vrindavan, he caused more distress by separating Krishna from His devotees, the cowherd boys.

There is an African proverb saying if you want to walk fast, walk alone, but if you want to walk far, walk with others.

Despite being pure devotees and despite being in the presence of Krishna, the Pandavas each had different idea about what to do with Asvatthama, who had killed their children. So if we are not pure devotees and if Krishna is not personally present it is no wonder that we disagree.

What to do to cooperate better?
At least be friendly to each other.
Engage in the six kinds of loving exchanges.
Each individual must be overcoming their anarthas [unwanted qualities].
Each must understand the importance of the mission.

Fifteen years ago we started having all the brahmacaris eat meals together in the brahmacari ashram, and that act had great impact improving the devotees’ relationships.

It is our job to encourage the other devotees to purify themselves.

Jayananda Prabhu visited a devotee who had left the temple and worked in a butcher shop, and ignoring his blood stained apron, Jayananda gave him a hug, and that devotee said later that he came back only because of Jayananda’s loving interaction.

There is a German proverb: “Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as he could be, and he will become as he could be.”

Internal discord is our greatest enemy.

Disunity in the leadership is especially bad.

Leadership has to have sensitivity and spirituality in addition to strength. In the Pandavas, Bhima had strength, Yudhisthira had sensitivity, and Arjuna had spirituality.

In leadership in a diverse group, here is a strategy: We have respect for everyone. We have to agree on a course of action. We have to cooperate to carry out the action.

Aksayananda Prabhu:

We are searching for transcendental emotions. Chanting mantras, like Hare Krishna, can help us.

A sage considers the result of an action before performing it.

People in general think if something bad does not happen immediately as a result of performing an act, then it is OK, but they do not consider what may happen in the future.

The conceptions of ourselves that our society encourages us to accept are temporary, based on our body which ends at death, and thus are illusory.

We constantly search for a perfect person to have a relationship with this person.

If we are part of a couple, in the course of the day, we can count the conflicts that arise. This is natural as we are all different individuals with different opinions.

Because we are imperfect we do not have perfect relationships although we desire to, and we usually blame our partner for the defects in our relationships.

When we have a relationship with Krishna, He helps us elevate ourselves to a higher degree of perfection.

While we are in touch or connection with Krishna, we attain the qualities He has, and that is our perfection. Thus loss of our connection with Krishna is the cause of all our defects.

Yoga deals not with the state of our body but the state of our spirit.

Yoga refers to our connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No other connection can be considered yoga.

When we are in the presence of someone we have a relationship with, we consider ourselves in terms of the relationship which we have that person. In the same way, in the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we attain the self-realization of thinking ourselves as His eternal servant.

To be religious it is not sufficient to believe in God, one must follow the instructions of God.

Some people, who consider themselves religious, are only interested in what God can do for them.

In the Vaishnava tradition, one can have very strong emotions for God in a particular relationship, like that of master, friend, son, or husband. There are many examples in the sacred literature of different devotees in these different relationships.

People worship Krishna for less important things because they do not know that Krishna can give us perfect relationships.

In course of practicing bhakti-yoga we come to understand our true nature and become self-satisfied. We did not care about any external condition because we are satisfied because of our connection with Krishna.

There are three levels of emotions, those in the gross body, which are experienced in particular parts of the body, those in the subtle body, which are temporary and have some relationship with our gross body and which those who do not know of the spiritual level sometimes consider spiritual, and genuine spiritual emotions.

If the emotion is in connection with Krishna, it is considered to be spiritual and is experienced with all the senses.

Often when we chant Hare Krishna in the street, the more complicated one’s mind is, the less time one will be able to stay and hear the chanting, while people who are more simple and uncomplicated, appreciate more and stay longer.

Vrtra in Vrtrasura means something that covers everything.

People calculate others in relationship to their own bodies.

People conclude Krishna really exists when He gives them a slap or helps them get out of a jam.

Demons are persons who fight against God’s will. They may appear soft-hearted, or they may give in charity. They may accept God is the supreme power, but still they go against His will.

Vrtrasura is considered a demon because he fought against the demigods who are representatives of God.

Indra got angry with Visvarupa thinking, “I am paying for this sacrifice but half of the oblations being done for the demons.” Thus he killed him and was tormented by the reaction of killing a brahmana for a year, having to hide in the filament of a lotus flower.

One way of giving birth is through a sacrifice. Because Vrtrasura was born of the fire of sacrifice, he was considered the son of the performer of the sacrifice.

When devotional service awakens in our heart, we have no taste for material existence.

Although engaged in varieties of devotional service, we still are reluctant to have Krishna make decisions for us, and thus it is still difficult for us to surrender to Krishna.

We tend to identify ourselves with our activities in addition to our bodies.

Being attached to the results makes it difficult to offer the result to Krishna. If we see Krishna as the one who gives us the money originally then it is easier to offer it to Him.

Our love and devotion are ours, and we can choose to offer them to Krishna. If we do not have much love and devotion, we can offer our sincerity.

Acarya Prabhu:

It is important we are honest about our position regarding material attachment because Krishna is witnessing.

We can see the amazing transcendental position of Vrtrasura when we consider he was surrounded by attacking enemies and at the same time all his associates were deserting the battle, but he was not in the least disturbed in his consciousness.

Krishna is expert is showing us our anarthas. That is His mercy.

Even those in the Bhagavatam who are not yet pure devotees, if they have some connection with Krishna, they can have some amazing qualities.

Krishna feels indebted to and rewards those who try to follow His pure devotees or the injunctions of the scriptures by giving such people divine qualities.

Bhakti is not hindered by any circumstance in the material world.

Everything can be appear to be very wonderful in our life, and then everything can change all of a sudden. This is Krishna’s mercy to show us the real nature of this world and to inspire us to take complete shelter of Him.

We are heavily burdened by the reactions to our fruitive activities, but by giving these fruits to Krishna, we can become relieved from this heavy burden.

When we are speaking on behalf of Krishna we can really touch people’s hearts.

Srila Prabhupada explained that he was successful because he was repeating Krishna’s words although for hundreds of years people came from India to America but were not able to influence anyone to become Krishna consciousness. He further said that spiritual life is simple, that you have only to repeat what is mentioned by the acaryas and Krishna.

Narada had good qualities to take advantage of the association of the devotees [not being distracted by play, etc.], and he was determined to execute their instructions, thus he easily attained success.

Only one who is liberated can bring one to the other side of conditioned life.

Both Brahma and the insignificant ant are criminal because they have plans to enjoy Krishna’s property.

The sastra is to restrict us from the enjoying spirit. Instruction is not required to enjoy intoxication or illicit sex but rather for the opposite.

Varnasrama is to regulate our life to bring it into relationship with Krishna.

The two sons of Kuvera were so intoxicated that even in the presence of Narada they did not properly cover their naked bodies, until Narada spoke, cursing and ultimately blessing them.

The essence of a pure devotee is he is remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead 24 hours a day.

Guru Dasa Prabhu (disciple of Bhaktimarga Swami):

From A Meditation on the Importance of True Humility” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 53, No. 5 (Sep/Oct 2019):

“The Tao Te Ching advises that humility is the best policy. One quote I like is translated as follows: ‘If the sage wants to stand above people, he must speak to them from below. If he wants to lead people, he must follow them from behind.’ (Chapter 66)”

“Jesus also advised humility. He said, ‘So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.’ Matthew (King James Version) 20:16.”

“Last year I heard a talk about this same principle at a conference in San Francisco attended by hundreds of defense and corporate lawyers. We were told how the U.S. Marines follow this principle – they eat together by reverse rank order. The newest private eats first. The general eats last. It is not a written rule but is a tradition going back for centuries.”

“False pride in ourselves or in our knowledge makes us miserable. Humility is liberating. When I think about how small I am and how little I actually know, it is liberating, like a weight lifted off my back. I am not in control, so why worry? Stress at work? Stress at home? It will all pass. It is just material nature and time playing their usual tricks. All of our stresses and insecurities are like a fleeting shadow play. Shakespeare said it well: ‘All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.’

“We all have our parts to play at various stages of life, but unlike the actors in a Shakespeare play, we forget we are acting and think we are the character we are playing.”

“True humility does not mean self-hatred. It’s an acknowledgment of our own limitations, and that is all. As I have heard some wise friends say, one who is humble does not think less of himself, but thinks of himself less. We should seek that humility which does not diminish our sense of self-worth but abhors narcissism and self-promotion.”

“Finally, the value of humility in our spiritual quest is that it opens our minds and hearts to instruction from higher authorities. If we do not have humility, we close the door to learning. Spiritual sources of knowledge are guru, sadhu, and sastra. It’s easy to feign respect for these higher authorities and put on a show of humility; it’s not as easy to truly achieve that humility. Without achieving it, who are we fooling? We might fool others, and we might fool ourselves, but we can’t fool the Paramatma in our hearts, the Supersoul who sees and knows all. Ultimately only the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the witness who actually matters – and we can’t fool him. So why try?”

Nitai Caran Prabhu:

From an ista-gosthi:

My mother visited New Vraja farm community in Hungary for five days. She was impressed with the cleanliness and organization and said, “Now I see why you are with the devotees.”

In conversation with other devotees, I learned that if I do not listen to my authorities that I am listening to my mind. I learned I have fear that if my authorities are wrong something bad will happen.

Mahatma Prabhu writes in his book that during japa we should meditate on Krishna’s lila [pastimes] not our lila.


Mahavishnu Goswami from Gujarat inspired me to memorize whole chapters of Bhagavad-gita back in the early 1990s. The hardest to memorize was Chapter Eleven, the Universal Form, which took me three years. Reviewing it recently, I notice it is still the greatest challenge. Chapter Eleven does contain a very special verse, text 54, revealing that the Supreme Lord can only be understood, and even seen personally, by performing unalloyed devotional service. The word ananyaya stresses that the devotional service cannot be mixed with anything else. Thus this verse is more emphatic than the more often quoted verse, Bhagavad-gita 18.55, which stresses that Krishna can only be known by devotional service.

bhaktya tv ananyaya shakya
aham evam-vidho ’rjuna
jñatum drastum ca tattvena
pravestum ca paran-tapa

“My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding.” (Bhagavad-gita 11.54)