Friday, May 15, 2009

Travel Journal#5.2: Gainesville and Tallahassee

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 5, No. 2
By Krishna-kripa das
(January 2009, part two)
Gainesville, Tallahassee
(Uploaded from Langenthal, Switzerland, on 5/15/09)


Insight from Hridayananda Dasa Goswami, Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu, Sesa Prabhu, and More
Chanting at the Martin Luther King Day Parade
Aaron, the Christian Sannyasi
Chanting at Tallahassee's Lake Ella

Where I Am and What I Am Doing

For January through April, I promised Kalakantha Prabhu, the Gainesville
temple president, I would maintain the chanting program at University of Florida during the serving out of Krishna Lunch. I also promised Tamohara Prabhu, the GBC of Tallahassee, I would spend two weekends and one weekday there assisting with the outreach.

Chanting at the Martin Luther King Parade

Devotees Chant at the Martin Luther King Day Parade

Devotees from Alachua chanted at the Martin Luther King Day Parade.

Others Clap Along
People nearby our party clapped along with our music and mantra, . . .
Baptist Ladies Smile and Clap
. . . including some smiling young Afro-American ladies from the Baptist

Trey was inspired to bring many gallons of lemonade, which he distributed to participants and onlookers. We chanted at the end of the parade for at least half an hour.

Chanting at Tallahassee's Lake Ella

Tallahassee is blessed with many parks, including the one surrounding Lake Ella, which is very close to the center of the city. Even on a cloudy January day with temperatures in the 50s F [low teens C] there were many people strolling, exercising, walking their dogs, and pushing their children in strollers.

Devotees Chant at Tallahassee's Lake Ella

Daru Brahma Prabhu, Sivam, Sivam's daughter, Subhadra, and I chanted and passed out invitations, pamphets, and flyers. We choose to sit on the gravel near the sidewalk instead of the grass to interact with more people. Subhadra, who was only about seven years old, was very enthusiastic to make sure everyone who passed by got an invitation and a pamphlet on chanting Hare Krishna. Because she was a kid, very few of the people refused her, and I think she was more successful than I would have been.

Insight from Lectures

Hridayananda Dasa Goswami: [Click here to hear entire lecture.]

If you do everything properly according to dharma, what happens is to be
considered God's will. Not that you go down the street shooting people and
claiming, “If it wasn't their karma, I could not kill them.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam describes that Draupadi was dragged by the hair into the men's gambling hall. Not that she was gambled away by Yudhisthira. Mahabharata, according to Madhvacarya, is largely corrupted, and this may be one of the corruptions.

Both male chauvinism and feminism are nasty states of being.

From Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu (SB 11.5.1-) [Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu has a class via conference call almost every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Contact Sraddha Devi Dasi at the Philadelphia temple if you want to know how to access it.]:

The demigods place many obstacles on the path of those who worship You to transcend the temporary abodes of the demigods and reach Your supreme abode. Those who offer the demigods their assigned shares in sacrificial performances encounter no such obstacles. But because You are the direct protector of Your devotee, he is able to step over the head of whatever obstacle the demigods place before him. (SB 11.4.10)

Vasista cursed Nimi to die because he started a sacrifice without him because he was delayed, and so Nimi countercursed Vasista to die. They both died. People wanted to resurrect Nimi from his preserved dead body, but the King didn't want a disgusting material body. Thus he got a benediction of a spiritual body to worship the Lord which could be manifest or nonmanifest to others, according to his will.

Varnasrama is especially meant for those not spontaneously attracted to the devotional service of the Lord.

According to Sridhara Svami, the brahmanas are born of the mode of goodness, the ksatriyas of a combination of goodness and passion, the vaisyas of a combination of passion and ignorance and the sudras of the mode of ignorance (SB 11.5.2, purport). Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu likes this as it is more symmetrical than the other description where the ksatriyas are simply in passion.

There are graduations within the varna divisions. For example, among ksatriyas, Yudhisthira is so detached, he is practically a brahmana, while Bhima is completely different.

Imaginary as far as the virat-rupa is concerned does not mean “made up” because the virat is described in the sastra, but rather it means to think the virat-rupa is more substantial than the Lord's spiritual form

The kala-rupa (form of time) aspect of the virat-rupa (universal form) is the side of God nobody likes-Krishna as time, the destroyer of all.

If you are following varnasrama, at least you do not do any sin.

A demon is one who disregards the scripture. This is clear from
Bhagavad-gita Chapter 16, especially verses 18 and 23.

Failure to worship a respectable person is considered disrespectful. It is not that you respect your diksa (initiating) guru, and ignore everyone else. Often offenders start on a lower level and work their way up to disrespecting their guru.

The virat-rupa has metaphorical elements in it, like “vegetation is the hairs on His body,” but is not completely metaphorical. The universe is like an organism in that it is unified, with parts working together, and has a single consciousness pervading it. Brahma is technically the soul of the universe, and Garbodhakasayi Vishnu is its Supersoul.

Arjuna is given divine vision to see the vast expanse of time and space
brought into one time and one space.

As we can move our hand by our own will, because it is part of our body, the Lord can move things in the universe simply by willing, and in that sense, it can be said that the universe is His body. In reality, He is more expert at moving His body, than we are moving our body.

Q: Why do the demigods put obstacles in the path of devotees?
A: Sometimes they are upset they are no longer getting worshiped, like Indra in Vrindavan. It is like in an organization, if the boss favors you, your other superiors become envious of you and may make trouble for you. Not only do we have to overcome the temptations of impiety, but we have to overcome the temptations of piety given by the demigods.

Q: Nowadays people cannot at all relate to the idea of worship of one's
spiritual teacher. What to do?
A: If you look at the scriptural descriptions of the guru-disciple relationship, you can see it is the ideal situation to transmit knowledge. When we do have good teachers that we really benefit from, we feel like worshiping them.

I have to keep learning about the problem of envy in human affairs. I forget about it, and then I am reminded again.

Sesa Prabhu:

Through Krishna consciousness we can give people an experience of a love
that dissolves the divisions between people.

We seek rasas (relationships) in this world because we have an eternal rasa with Krishna.

Krishna, who is the controller, who agitates everything, and who descends into this world, agrees to be controlled by His devotees' love. We love God by surrendering to Him, and He loves us by allowing us to control Him.

In this world, however, if people are attracted to us, we have a tendency to exploit them.

“Master our passions instead of letting our passions master us.” -Kalakantha Prabhu

“In any group I was with, I would look to see if there were people
from a variety of backgrounds. If there were, I thought, 'There must be
something to it.' I found that there in the society of Krishna devotees. -Ali Krishna Devi Dasi

“By looking at people you can tell who is having illicit sex and who is isn't. The ones who are celibate have a certain glow. I got this test from Bhakti Vikas Swami.” -Stavapriya Das

Conversations with Others About

I met Aaron, an old man with graying hair but youthful energy, dressed in robes, coming to Krishna lunch. He travels in the north in the summer and the south in the winter, reminding people about God. “God's will has always been simple,” he says. “Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.” He says he is a follower of Christ, but not “the Christ of the world.” He said he loved taking prasadam with Hare Krishna devotees in Eugene, Oregon, and helped out with the dishes afterwards.

Trey and Aaron, A Christian Mendicant, Wash Dishes

Here he assisted Trey with the dishes in the Gainesville Krishna House.

Aaron's lifestyle reminds me that end of life is meant for sannyasa, leaving
home, traveling the world, and reminding others of the teachings of God.

I asked Frank, a medical student with a serious interest in Krishna
consciousness, what he thought of a recent conversation about the pros and cons of wearing devotional clothes? He replied, “I am attracted by peoplewearing what they feel comfortable in.”

nāma vinu kali-kāle nāhi āra dharma
sarva-mantra-sāra nāma, ei śāstra-marma

“In this Age of Kali there is no religious principle other than the chanting of the holy name, which is the essence of all Vedic hymns. This is the purport of all scriptures.” (Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Ādi 7.74)