Travel Adventures of a Krishna Monk

by Krishna-kripa Das

Monday, June 22, 2015

Travel Journal#11.10: Manchester Ratha-yatra and Harinamas in The North of England


Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 11, No. 10
By Krishna-kripa das
(May 2015, part two)
The North of England and London
(Sent from Newcastle-upon-Tyne on June 22, 2015)

Where I Went and What I Did

The second half of May I began by staying in Manchester for a week to do harinama to promote their Ratha-yatra on Saturday, May 23. Midweek I just took a brief trip to Sheffield to go to their Wednesday evening program and Thursday afternoon kirtana at the Burngreave Ashram as it was worth the trip to attend the two programs. After Ratha-yatra I went to London because Sthita-dhi Muni Prabhu, my friend, godbrother, and fellow assistant of Sadaputa Prabhu, was visiting after doing two presentations in Radhadesh at a devotee academic conference. I learned that the South London ISKCON devotees had organized a 24-hour kirtana the same weekend as the Manchester Ratha-yatra, and I sang in about 10 hours of it. After spending Monday and Tuesday in London, I returned to The North to attend the nama-hattas and do harinamas in Sheffield, Preston, Liverpool, and Leeds, and to attend the Newcastle monthly 8-hour kirtana on the last Saturday in May.

I share an excerpt from a lecture by Srila Prabhupada, quotes from Brhad-bhagavamrita by Sanatana Goswami, quotes from Navadvipa-dhama Mahatmya by Bhaktivinoda Thakura, excerpts from the daily journal and books of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, and notes on lectures by Bhakti Charu Swami, Dhirashanta Swami, Dayananda Swami, and Sthita-dhi Muni Prabhu. Dayananda Swami collected some interesting quotes on forgiveness, some of which are included.

Thanks to Hassan Mahmood for the pictures of his friend playing karatalas with me, thanks to Manchester ISKCON for pictures of the Ratha-yatra, and thanks to Govardhan Devi Dasi for the pictures of us chanting in Leeds. We credit Caitanya-candrodaya Prabhu for the picture of me and the hot dog shop.

I would like to thank Sthita-dhi Muni Prabhu, Anthony Bate and the Preston nama-hatta, Alan Miles and the Liverpool nama-hatta, ISKCON South London, and Janardana Prabhu and the Leeds nama-hatta for their kind donations.

Itinerary

June 22: Newcastle
June 23: Edinburgh Tuesday night program
June 24: Newcastle
June 25: Blackpool and Preston nama-hatta
June 26: Southport and Liverpool nama-hatta
June 27: Newcastle 8-hour kirtana
June 28: Paris Ratha-yatra
June 29–July 3: Paris harinamas with Janananda Goswami and Harinama Ruci
July 4: York harinama and Manchester kirtana with Madhava Prabhu
July 5–9: Newcastle
July 10: Leeds
July 11: Chester
July 12: Manchester
July 13–15: London
July 16–19: Prague
July 20–26: Baltic Summer Festival
July 28–August 2: Polish Woodstock
August 3–15: Czech Padayatra?
August 16–18: Bratislava?
August 19: Prague?
August 20–23: Trutnov (Czech Woodstock)
August 24: London
August 25: Edinburgh?
August 26: Newcastle
August 27–30: Newcastle retreat?
September 2–3: Sheffield
September 4–7: Ireland
September 8: New York City

Harinama in Manchester

One day I chanted 4½ hours in Manchester's city center to promote our Ratha-yatra. An English lady chanted a few mantras with me, an Indian man gave me a vegetarian pastry. 
 

A young Asian guy played the karatalas a little while and his friend sent a picture of us.

I met an Indian lady who knew the Scottish devotees and had just moved to Manchester. She was very happy to learn of our Ratha-yatra and local temple. People got a couple books and donated enough to cover my weekly bus ticket.

On the way to Sheffield, I chanted through the Manchester Piccadilly train station till where they check your tickets. After I showed my ticket, a policeman came up to me and said a couple people said I was speaking negatively to them. I said I was a Hare Krishna and was just chanting “Hare Krishna.” He was aware that is what Hare Krishnas do and advised me just to be more sensitive toward other people. I asked if it was OK I chanted in the train station. He said it was. I invited him to Saturday's Ratha-yatra. He said he had the day off and would be downtown with his daughter and he might come.

A curious Muslim girl asked if she could play my harmonium when I was chanting downtown. I reluctantly agreed, as you never know what will happen in those cases. Usually the people just play the keys, but she just pumped the bellows, so I played the keys and chanted Hare Krishna for three or four mantras as her friends watched amused. It must have been a funny sight.

One young Indian couple stopped by as I was chanting Hare Krishna. The girl, Priyanka, had been attending the ISKCON temple in Tirupati since she was very young. She and her partner, named Krishna, were happy to learn of the next day's Ratha-yatra and the details about the Manchester ISKCON temple.

One English guy in his thirties or forties stopped by and bought a Gita because he just wanted to know what it was all about. That was the last of the four days I had been chanting in Manchester, and the first Gita sold.

Harinama in Sheffield

One Indian lady gave donations and took a small book from me two days in a row.

Manchester Ratha-yatra


Krishna blessed us with sunny and warm weather for the Manchester Ratha-yatra, which was held in Cathedral Gardens, where some people enjoy themselves and others pass by when going between city center to Victoria Station and the nearby parking lots.

Devotees attended from Newcastle, York, Leeds, Sheffield, Preston, Liverpool, Chester, and London, as well as from Manchester itself. 


Because Janananda Goswami has many disciples in Newcastle, more of my friends from there came than usual.


Before the Ratha-yatra, about ten or fifteen devotees did a harinama for about 45 minutes down Market Street and gave out invitations and told people about our festival in Cathedral Gardens.
 
 

One mother and daughter from Portugal were very attracted by the Ratha-yatra procession, the mother videoing it while the teenage daughter beamed with happiness. I told them we had Hare Krishna centers in Lisbon and Porto, and they could find them on the internet.

 A group of ladies delighted in dancing at the front of the procession briefly.

At the end, some onlookers also joined the dancing.

Janananda Goswami's lively singing and dancing really boosted the enthusiasm during the cart procession. Purusurama Prabhu later commented on how all the kirtanas that day were very good.

At one point Janananda Goswami danced with a brahmacari from the Manor, swinging him around.

The devotee ladies also swung each other in dance.

Except for one young British man who complained the prasadam was so cold he could not eat it, everyone said the prasadam was very good, with one young man describing it as fantastic. I especially liked the cabbage pakoras and the cake, but I found the vegetable dish a bit spicy for my taste.
 
One young Oriental lady was attracted by my garland. I gave it to her boyfriend to place it on her, and she was happy to receive it.

One young British lady moved with the music during the final kirtana, raising her hands in the air from time to time. As the chanting ended I gave her an invitation to the Manchester temple with the mantra on the reverse side, telling her these were the words to the song and our invitation to our Manchester center where we had weekly programs with the chanting and the Indian vegetarian food that she had experienced that day. Later I saw she went to the book tent with the mantra card, and an Indian devotee lady taught her how to chant japa and gave her beads.

Several onlookers joined in the dancing at the final kirtana.

South London 24-Hour Kirtana
 
Normally I would not go to London for the South London 24-hour kirtana because I consider that my field is The North of England, but since I was going to London to see my friend, I decided to go early for the South London 24-hour kirtana. I rode back to Bhaktivedanta Manor with Parasurama Prabhu after the Manchester Ratha-yatra. By the time I took the underground and the overground and walked to the South London temple in Croydon it was 12:30 a.m. A young man who helped me navigate the overground said “Gauranga” to me as we parted. I asked if he would like a Gauranga wrist band, and he said he followed another path but that he would wear the wristband, so I gave one to him. I was thinking of chanting till 2:30 a.m. and then taking a 2-hour nap like I did at Birmingham, but the organizer asked me to sing during his own slot at 3:00 a.m., which was generous of him. By then it was the brahma-muhurta time and then mangala-arati, so I decided to chant till 5:30 a.m. Then I chanted from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., so I got a good ten hours in altogether. The organizer, who had invited me to come to their South London kirtana at the Birmingham 24-hour kirtana earlier in the month, thanked me for coming and even gave me a donation.

Radha Londonisvara Das Prabhu was one of the big kirtana leaders, and he did a good job.

Dhirashanta Maharaja shared some nice realizations about the holy name with us. I shared a room with him and got to know him better which was nice. I usually just see him briefly at festivals in Eastern Europe.

London Visit

I took my friend, Sthita-dhi Muni Prabhu, to see different sites important in the history of ISKCON London. In addition to our present temple of Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara at 10 Soho Street, we visited 7 Bury Place, the site of the first temple, Russell Square, where Srila Prabhupada would take morning walks, and Conway Hall, where Srila Prabhupada did a series of lectures.
 
We also visited Trafalgar Square, the site of the festival after the London Ratha-yatra.

I went on harinama each day. One day the dancing was so lively I videoed it. Gopinath Prabhu led a great kirtana, playing my funky harmonium, and several onlookers joined us and played instruments and danced for a while (https://youtu.be/ykRU2aivtVo):


While waiting in line for prasadam at Govinda's Restaurant, I got talking to a young American lady who first learned about Hare Krishna from buying a book in Union Square. Later she became attached to a British guy and moved to London, and she now participates in different devotional activities in the Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara community.

Chanting in Preston

I chanted for a while along the streets in Preston with Tony, the organizer of our Preston programs, and then I chanted on my own. One young gentle couple with pleasant smiles was walking by, and I gave them an invitation to the program that night. They asked how to get there, and I tried to describe it the best I could. They actually came to the program and had a good time. I encouraged them to invite their friends. They said because just moved to Preston they had no friends. I smiled and said, “'We can be your friends.” The lady was vegetarian her whole life, being raised that way by her parents. They gave their email for the mailing list. I hope we see them again.

Chanting in Liverpool

I had the best day I ever had chanting by myself in Liverpool. We previously would begin our harinamas at Marks and Spencer, but the last time I chanted there, a Gaudiya Math person was annoyed that I chanted so close to his Gaudiya Math book table, so I asked the devotees to suggest another venue, which they did, St. John's Shopping Center. An Indian man who had his own guru wanted to donate something to Bhagavan, so he bought some nuts that the devotees later used in the dessert for the program that night. A young Englishman donated bananas. Many people tossed some coins in my bowl, and they amounted to over £20 (over $30). One lady described the singing as beautiful. Another said she had not seen the Hare Krishnas for years and said it was lovely I had come out to sing.

One family from Southport ate their lunch no more than three yards (three meters) from where I was singing and gave me £2 as they were leaving. The husband said that they never see Hare Krishnas in Southport and that if I chanted there I would be a hit. That was striking to me because the bus I had taken from Preston to Liverpool that day had passed through Southport, and since I had a day ticket, I seriously considered getting off and chanting in Southport for some time. I think the next time I make the journey I will get off in Southport and chant for a while there.

Newcastle Eight-Hour Kirtan

I am always inspired by the enthusiasm of the Newcastle devotees for their monthly 8-hour kirtana. There is always lively singing and dancing and an amazing feast.

 Dhananjaya Prabhu often plays the bass.

The guys dance.
 
They even lifted Prema Sankirtana Prabhu off the ground!

The ladies dance too, but my pictures of them were blurry.
 
The prasadam seems more opulent each time.

Here are just the sweets and savories.

Chanting in Leeds


I was so happy ten devotees chanted together in Leeds before their monthly program on the last Sunday in May. I get the best turnouts there. Govardhan dd and her husband, John, now come all way from Scarborough regularly to participate in it.

Later one of the Johns from Leeds chanted with me after the program for an hour on Briggate Street. We met an Indian man who had been in our Krishna-Balaram temple in Vrindavan the previous week. He was happy to learn of ISKCON programs in Leeds.

Uncommon Photos

Some devotees are creative with their sikhas.
 
Would you eat at a restaurant named Samsara?


Sometimes people take misleading shots of you.
Just for the record,
I have nothing to do with traditional British sausage hotdogs.

For more photos taken but not included, click on the link below:

Insights

Srila Prabhupada:

From a lecture on August 17, 1973:

Prabhupada: This morning when I was walking, some of our students inquired that “If somebody says that 'I do not believe in God,' what is the immediate answer?” The immediate answer is that you come to the street; instead of going to the right you go to the left, and here is a constable, he is your God. Immediately he will arrest you and harass you. So how you can say that you are independent of God? There is God for everyone, but the status of God may be different. One may be worshiping a police constable as God; [laughter] one may be worshiping his boss as God; one may be worshiping his leader as God. So in this way, everyone is worshiping some sort of God. But we are worshiping the Supreme God. That is the difference.
Devotees: [applause] Jaya Prabhupada!
Prabhupada: That is the difference. You cannot live without God, but your God may be of different quality and my God may be of different quality. Now what is that different . . . quality? We are selecting God: the richest, the most reputed, the most beautiful, the most wise. That is our God. You are selecting a God who is less intelligent, no knowledge, not beautiful, not so strong—a false God. That is the difference. Everyone has to accept some God, because it is the nature of every living entity to serve under somebody superior. That is the definition given by Lord Caitanya: jivera 'svarupa' haya—'nitya krishna-dasa' [Cc. Madhya 20.108]. Every living entity is by nature, by his constitutional position, is a servant; but he is originally servant of Krishna. But because he has forgotten Krishna he has to become servant of so many people. Generally, so long we are not servant of God, we are servant of our senses. That is our position. We have to become servant. But our present position is that we are servant of our senses. I accept to serve somebody, not to that person, but that somebody gives me some money, and with that money I satisfy my senses. So because I am servant of my sense, I agree to serve somebody, even though I do not like it. [applause]

Sanatana Goswami:

From Brhad-bhagavatamrita:

[Narada Muni said:] “It is quite fitting that your devotees care only for prema-bhakti, pure devotional service to the Lord’s lotus feet. Such prema-bhakti for the Lord, who is very affectionate to His devotees, fulfills all their ambitions and is alone their final goal.”

Bhaktivinoda Thakura:

From Navadvipa-dhama Mahatmya:

In the Vayu Purana as well, the Lord Himself speaks of His appearance, 'In Kali-yuga I will appear in populated Navadvipa on the bank of the Ganges as the son of Sacidevi to begin the sankirtana movement. I will appear in a brahmana's house in the best of brahmana's family.'”

In the Agni Purana, the following is said: 'He will appear as Gauranga and will be very peaceful with a long neck, and surrounded by devatas, or devotees.' In the Garuda Purana it is said: 'In Kali-yuga, the devotees will give up all other holy places and reside in either Vrndavana or Navadvipa.'”

The Skanda Purana says: "In Kali-yuga, anyone who takes shelter of Mayapur and worships Me will be freed of all sins and attain the highest goal. The glories of whatever tirthas are present throughout Navadvipa increase a million times in Kali-yuga. The glories of all tirthas increase by association with Gauranga just as the value of metal increases by association with a touchstone. Mayapur is none other than the spiritual energy of the Lord, Yogamaya, which increases everyone's bliss."

Bhakti Charu Swami:

It is still a custom to go to Kurukshetra during a solar eclipse to take bath in Simanta-panca.

Nothing other than pure devotional service to the Lord is the goal. The great sages aspire for this only. Other practices are means, but devotional service is the goal.

Is samadhi perfection? What do you do when you see the Lord in the heart? In santa-rasa, they are just happy with that, but others will not be satisfied with that. Thus the sages who are perfect in meditation are aspiring for devotion like the devotees, because they have only santa-rasa or meditation on the Lord. Love is manifest in the form of service which is the actual engagement of the living entity.

Dhirashanta Maharaja:

The challenge is to be a proper receptacle for the spiritual sound.

We may think that chanting Hare Krishna is difficult, but try standing on your toes with your arms in the air or standing on one leg with your arms in the air. In comparison to these austerities, chanting Hare Krishna is very easy.

If we try to accomplish our other responsibilities before chanting 16 rounds, then we will find we have no time to chant Hare Krishna at the end of the day, but if we chant Hare Krishna first, we will find we have more energy to do our other duties properly.

Srila Prabhupada said, “If you chant your 16 rounds of Hare Krishna by ten in the morning, you will not have any anxiety during the day.”

It is said that each hour of your sleep between 8:00 and midnight counts as two hours, from midnight to 3:00, each hour counts as an hour and a half, from 3:00 to 6:00, each hour counts as one hour, and sleep after 6:00 has no value.
 
Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

From Japa Transformations:

Japa should be chanted from the heart, the seat of affections. It is an act of love toward Radha and Krishna. Short of love, it is a pleading. Anything less than that is just reciting the outer covering of the mantras, the syllables without the heart. I should not be satisfied with my little speed rituals in the morning. It is a desperate act, with time running out. When will you love Radha-Krishna while reciting Their names? When will you dare to ask for service? There is a legion of lackadaisical chanters, and they are not appreciating suddha-nama. I have far to go, but seem stuck in namabhasa. Chanting more is one remedy. Praying at other times for improvement in nama-bhajana. Even writing, asking for it.”


All harinama devotees should
know the 'Siksastakam' and take
its lessons to heart.”


Prabhupada said, 'Just hear,'
and there is a lot of wisdom
and practical advice packed in
those words. Because the name
of Krishna is more merciful than
His form, all you have to do
is chant it with submission
and love and you are
vaulted to the front
ranks of advancement
in
nama-bhajana. No
need for complicated
meditation or discursive
thought. Just call out
to Radha-Krishna, 'Please let
me chant Your names,
please let me serve You!'”


Today’s drawing shows four devotees
dancing and chanting
with upraised arms.
They look like they
are having fun but seriously
engaged.
Harinama
is like that. It is
simultaneously a happy
and a heavy
vrata (vow).
To sing Hare Krishna
brings waves of bliss.
The devotees are attached
to go out into the streets
and express their
joy and share it with the nondevotees.
But the obligation to
do it every day,
and in the pressure of
the materialistic atmosphere
of the city, can be daunting.
The
harinama devotees
are spiritual warriors
and connoisseurs of spiritual happiness.”

From Wild Garden:

O Prabhupada,
I play my part,
an actor on the stage,
in the start of old age,
please touch me again
tell me when.
Let me be your son
as I am, happy serving you
in a way that makes you
smile,
and claim me as a worker
for your cause.”


Harinama devotees are expansive,
and they embrace the world
with a performance of congregational
chanting. With open hearts,
they guide everyone to
hear Radha and Krishna’s
names, and better yet,
ask them to join in the singing.
They are making the greatest
act of charity by
distributing the holy names.
How? Because singing
God’s names
cleanses the mirror of the mind
and lets one see he
or she is a spirit-
soul, an eternal servant of Krishna.
Chanting Hare Krishna relieves a person
of birth and death and promotes
one to the eternal spiritual world.
So there is no higher welfare
work than promoting
harinama.”


Harinama devotees are motivated
by love. They don’t
go out mechanically or
merely by a sense of duty.
They love to sing the
holy names, and they love to attract people
to the bliss of congregational chanting.
They love Lord Caitanya and
Srila Prabhupada and desire
to please them by carrying out their requests
and mission. The
whole endeavor is
motivated by love,
and by acting in this way. Krishna,
who is
bhakta-vatsala,
is inclined to the devotee
because He is conquered by the
bhakta.”


I remember chanting japa in the
street and feeling dissatisfied
that I was 'chanting to the
air' with no counting of the
numbers. I expressed this to
Prabhupada, and he informed me how to
use the small counter beads tied
to the bead bag. Quotas give
us a proof, a tangible recording
of the substantial accumulation of
beads we have accomplished.

At the Krishna-Balarama Mandira
the twenty-four hour
kirtana inspired
by Aindra Prabhu has
been going on for many
years. But Prabhupada said,
'Vrndavana is inspiration only.
Our real mission is worldwide.'
Devotees have to come out
of Vrndavana and present
congregational chanting in the
big cities of the West.
This is the compassion Prahlada Maharaja
spoke of when he said he
didn’t want to go back to go back to Godhead
unless he could take the fools
and rascals with him. Devotees
who have left Vrndavana to chant
in the city are making a great
sacrifice. Krishna is pleased
with them and is making
Vrndavana in their hearts.”

 
Dayananda Swami:

If we cannot forgive, it means we are in maya [illusion], because we do not understand that by the law of karma we are getting distress because a bad misdeed of our own.”

We have to forgive ourselves first, not beat ourselves over the head for some mistake we made. If we cannot forgive ourselves, it will be more difficult to forgive others.

Our Krishna consciousness is demonstrated by how quickly we can pacify mental agitation and go on with life.

Haridas Thakura shows an amazing example by forgiving the people who beat him twenty-two marketplaces, and Jesus Christ also did so by forgiving those who nailed him to the cross. With such good examples, why do we refuse to forgive people? Maybe we think we are not on that level as those great saints or think that our chanting alone will bring us to a higher level.

Forgiving is not about the other person so much as it is about our relationship with Krishna. Krishna is looking to see if we are willing to forgive and move on.

Quotes about Forgiveness from Different Sources:

Forgiveness is the release of all hope for a better past. (Alexa Young)

If we apply an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, most of the world will be blind and toothless.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own.” (Chinese proverb)

Forget the past that sleeps and ne'er
The future dream at all,
But act in times that are with thee
And progress thee shall call.” (Bhaktivinoda Thakura)

Forgiveness is the only medicine that can cure the hurting soul.” (David Bruce Linn)

On the platform of tolerance and humility, we will not become offended and feel the need to forgive an offender.

We should be able to act to protect innocent people without hating the offender.

There was a case of a boy stabbing a girl to death in the presence of her mother, in which the mother had the sentiment of wanting to help the boy. The boy had anger on his face throughout the whole trial. The mom said to the boy at the end of the trial, “I do not feel angry with you, but I am very hurt. I pray that God may act so you may lead a better life.” And the anger disappeared from the boy's face.

There is a case of a six-year-old black girl who was being escorted to a white school the day after segregation ended in the United States. The white people were saying nasty things to her the whole time. The people escorting saw she was saying something to herself the whole time, and they asked her about it afterward. She said she was praying to God for the people who were speaking harshly to her. And she was only six years old.

Those things we think we cannot forgive, we have to examine philosophically and ask why. The main philosophy is to consider thus, “My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.8)

Whatever happens, if I take shelter of Krishna, I will come out smelling like roses.

If we start complicating things, such as our observance of Ekadasi, we may find our outreach activities get minimized.

In 1970 my father to me yelled from another room to see a program on the TV. It was a newscast of the Ratha-yatra in London. I recall seeing the devotees happily dancing with upraised arms. My father said, “This is real religion!”

By rendering devotional service, we get piety, and become qualified to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam. One who has a taste for hearing is qualified and fortunate, and by such hearing one becomes motivated to engage in devotional service.

Srila Prabhupada was noted by his guru as one who likes to hear.

Whether we can understand it or not, it auspicious to hear.

To see Krishna in the sphere of our activities is a very auspicious thing.

A child sees, but without knowledge, what does he actually see? Those without factual knowledge will just speculate on what they see and not see the reality.

When one new devotee heard the Bhagavatam class, he was amazed that the speaker always spoke on things that were on his own mind.

Comment by Sakhya Rasa Prema Prabhu: Bilvamangala Thakura felt that his eyes were going to all the wrong places, and so he took them out, but then he saw Krishna. So that is evidence that Krishna is not seen with our ordinary eyes.

Sthita-dhi Muni Prabhu:

The reason we feel a sense of separateness from God is that we have the freedom to love to God. If there was only one choice, there would be no love. Krishna likes relationships of love, and so there has to be the choice.

If we have some natural piety, we will admit that we should offer the fruits of our work to the Lord, but we may not be so enthusiastic, because we are still in an unnatural condition.

The rules are meant to draw out the joy in our hearts. If we are too upset about them, we have to recalibrate.

The point of physical therapy is not to do the physical therapy well but to be able to move naturally. Similarly the goal of bhakti is not to do the activities of the practice perfectly but to purify the heart so we are in a healthy condition.

Krishna has our best interest in mind. He wants to party with us.

It unfolds now, not like a pie in the sky at the end.

As time goes by, we work through our tests, and go on to the next level.

By doing the bhakti now, the renunciation comes naturally.

The experience of bhakti as no limits.

Q (by me): Have you see from your practice evidence of Krishna's protection and His providing for you?
A: I have a sense that Krishna puts me into different situations that I would not have voluntary put myself in which have made me grow in ways I needed to grow.

I see there is something beneficial to be gained from any situation.

In the history of ISKCON there was a devotee that did a lot of good things and a lot of crazy things, but Srila Prabhupada would always encouraging him, sometimes being very heavy, but all to keep him moving forward.

If you crack the whip or lavish them with praise, that is all for the same purpose, to encourage them to move forward spiritually.

Through the difficult times I realized that the knowledge alone was not enough to completely deal with the situation, but it gave me a construct that could keep me going through the difficulties.

Radha Londonisvara Das Prabhu:

When you act for Krishna's pleasure, you can get so absorbed you do not notice the passage of time.

Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Quoted on a “MHK: Meditation the Hare Krishna Way” brochure:

What lies before us, and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”

-----

I like verses describing the superexcellence of Krishna's beauty such as:

krishna-madhuryera eka svabhavika bala
krishna-adi nara-nari karaye cancala

The beauty of Krishna has one natural strength: it thrills the hearts of all men and women, beginning with Lord Krishna Himself.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi 4.147)