Travel Adventures of a Krishna Monk

by Krishna-kripa Das

Sunday, February 22, 2015

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


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

Where I Went and What I Did

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

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

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

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

Insights

February 22–27: Gainesville
February 28 – March 3: Tallahassee
March 4: Gainesville
March 5 – March 6: Jacksonville
March 7 – April 8: Florida (Gainesville, Alachua, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa)
April 9–11: Washington, D.C.
April 12: Albany
April 13–15: New York City
April 16: Toronto
April 17–23: Ireland
April 24–25: London
April 26: Radhadesh
April 27: Amsterdam (King’s Day)

Lord Nityananda's Auspicious Appearance Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was so happy I danced a lot.

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


Krishna Lunch

 

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

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

First Friday

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

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

Chelsea talked to people and distributed some books.

Then we did a walking kirtana around the entire place.

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

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

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

Chanting at Lake Ella

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

Chanting at Florida State University

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

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

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

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

Chanting at University of North Florida

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

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

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

When Dorian and I were chanting this young lady

did a crude sketch of us.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The young and the young at heart danced.

Students danced.

Ladies danced.

Even a few guys danced on the left.

A couple danced.

Amrita danced with some very enthusiastic Indian girls.

Even the prasadam servers danced.


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


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

 People would swing each other around.

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

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

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

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

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

All in all, it was a great event.

Chanting at the Riverside Arts Market

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

For more pictures click on the link below:

Insights

Srila Prabhupada:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Srila Raghunatha Das Goswami:

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

Text 124

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

Text 125
Just as the sweet fragrance of musk perfume
is not different from the substance musk,
just as moonlight is not different from the moon, and just as the
beautiful blossoms of a tree are
not different from the tree,
in the same way Sri Radha is not different from Lord Krishna.”

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:

from Saranagati, Sri Nama-mahatmya, verse 7:

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

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura:

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

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

from “Poem for February 2”:

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

Caturatma Prabhu:

from a lecture on Lord Nityananda's Appearance Day:

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

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

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

on Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura's appearance:

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura introduced innovations wearing proper shoes and use automobiles that we not part of traditional Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

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

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

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

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

The astrologer all agreed that his chart said “brilliant preacher of sanatana-dharma.
He was the eleven generation in the line of Narottama dasa Thakura's father, a very auspicious family.

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

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

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

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

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

Kalakantha Prabhu:

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

Thoreau said most people lead a life of quiet desperation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saying anything in the name of honesty can be violence.

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

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

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

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

False humility is the back side of conceit.

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

Evil convinces us this material world is not enjoyable.

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

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

from Valentine's Day lecture on Bg. 3.35:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nanda Dasi:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tamohara Prabhu:

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

Laksmipati Tirtha Swami asked that Nitai be his traveling companion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subuddhi Krishna Prabhu:

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

Dina Bandhu Prabhu:

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

Hanan Prabhu:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

?: I got a book at a music festival.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Krishna House Ista-gosthi:

What do you like about Krishna House?

Krishna Lunch.
All the devotees.
Opportunity that we get to preach with Krishna Lunch and book distribution.
Kirtanas.
Prasadam.
Having morning and evening activities.
There is wonderful vibration I have never experienced anywhere else
The outreach programs in the evening.
It is one of easiest places to be a devotee.
our Gaura Nitai deities
the family mood
Sarananagi Saturdays
there is everything we need
morning program
making mangala arati sweets
how easy it is to fit in
it accommodates the needs of different people
inspiring devotee association
great guidance
lots of service opportunities
a unique opportunity
doing programs

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

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

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

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

Student at USF:

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

Conversation with a Greyhound bus driver:

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

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

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