Friday, June 12, 2009

Travel Journal#5.3: First Friday / Prahlada on Campus

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 5, No. 3
By Krishna-kripa das 
(February 2009, part one)
Gainesville, Tallahassee
(Sent from Leipzig, Germany, on 6/12/09)


First Friday

Sri Prahlada Chants on Campus

Insight from Hridayananda Dasa Goswami, Indradyumna Swami, Jayadvaita SwamiAindra Prabhu, and Other Devotees
Tamohara Prabhu: On Devotional Relationships

Where I Was and What I Was Doing

The first half of February meant chanting at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, and going to Tallahassee for harinamas and the festival for Lord Nityananda. It was a special month because Indradyumna Swami and Sri Prahlada visited Alachua, and Sri Prahlada chanted with us on the UF campus, to the delight of both the devotees and the students. Param Gati Swami also visited us for a couple weeks in Gainesville. In Tallahassee, Sivam and I chanted at a new event for us, First Friday, and found it a great opportunity to give many nice people a chance to hear Krishna’s holy name.

First Friday

An abandoned industrial park in Tallahassee’s Railroad Square was transformed into a colony of art galleries, and on the first Friday of the month, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., they have an open house, and people leisurely stroll from one gallery to another. Daru Brahma Prabhu, who runs the Krishna Lunch at Florida State University and who serves daily a hundred students, finds First Friday to be a chance to distribute prasadam (spiritual food) to a wider audience. He is assisted by Ramayana Prabhu and Rafael, who serve out, as well as set up tables and chairs on the grass for the guests to eat at. Also taking advantage of the many people strolling around Railroad Square is Garuda Prabhu, whose Peace on Earth Yoga Center occupies a building in that area. Garuda teaches hatha yoga for free Monday thru Thursday, and had spiritual programs on Saturday and Sundays, during the day, a more ecumenical one on Saturday, and a more Krishna centered one on Sunday. 

Sivam and I chanted at First Friday in February, March, and April. We had different nice experiences. I met Jena at Garuda’s center, and she ended up attending many future harinama. There we also met her friend, Ashley, who came on one harinama at the Lake Ella park. Sometimes Alex, an FSU student who received a Gita from Ananda Vidya Prabhu, and who is taking a serious interest in Krishna consciousness would come and play his guitar. Jena would also come. Once a lady and her husband listened to one Hare Krishna melody till the end and asked us to play another, staying to hear. Other person gave us a $12 donation. Sometimes children would dance in front of us as their parents waited in line for prasadam. All and all, it was a pleasant atmosphere to share Krishna sound with a mostly appreciative crowd devoid of negativity. I look forward to returning to Tallahassee for First Fridays whenever I am in northern Florida, and sharing the Hare Krishna mantra with others.

Sri Prahlada Chants on Campus

When Sri Prahlada chanted during the lunch serve out on the campus, many more devotees came than usual. Jaya Sita came and played her cello. The combination of Sri Prahlada, Jaya Sita, and the large number of devotees attracted more attention than usual, and several people stopped to see and hear, and became inquistive.

All the devotees were very enlivened. I hope Sri Prahlada can come out at least two times during his next visit.

Insight from Lectures

Hridayananda Dasa Goswami (2/5/09):

King Pariksit is glorified by how he treated those above him and those subordinate to him, and by his character.

We do endeavor, but we depend on Krishna, as Krishna recommends in Bhagavada-gita 8.7, “Remember Me and fight.”

Krishna is the Supreme Personality of  Personal Trainer and our life is filled with different exercise machines, and Krishna engages us with different ones. We chant Hare Krishna, and Krishna accepts us into a personal program. If we are running into difficulties and do not pass a test, Krishna administers the test again.

From our perspective, Pariksit was bitten by a snake bird and passed away, but for him it was a promotion.

To maintain material attachments means to ignore the fact that they are our enemies (Bg. 3.39).

We have to seriously take care of our spiritual life, and we also have to take care of everyone’s spiritual life. If you see everyone as spiritual soul, you will understand they are our family members, and we should encourage them.

We should think of our mission as dialog and not monolog.

Q: What is the best thing I can do for my grandfather who is dying?

A: I would just pray for his spiritual progress. It was Krishna’s arrangement that he had a Vaishnava daughter who would pray for him.

[To hear the entire lecture visit this link:]

Indradyumna Swami:

Srila Prabhupada once told the German devotees, “If there is no disturbance, there is no preaching.”

brahmana who performed rituals for material benefit, blasphemed Narottama Dasa Thakura for preaching as appeared in kayastha family. Goddess Durga appeared in a dream and told the brahmana he would get leprosy, which he did. Narottama Dasa Thakura mercifully placed his feet on the man’s head and told him to dance in an ecstatic kirtana that lasted all night. During the kirtana, the symptoms of leprosy left the man, and he fell at the lotus feet of Narottama Dasa Thakura, begging for initiation. Narottama Dasa Thakura embraced him and gave him initiation.

You cannot be compassionate if you have material desires because you will become envious of the material success of the people you are supposed to be delivering.

All too often we are busy as a bee with the affairs of this world, yet self-realization is our real business. Thus there must be a class of renounced persons to remind people that before they die they must learn they are souls, Krishna is God, and we have an intimate relationship with Him.

Sadhus spend full time on self-realization and share their realization with others, and society would maintain them, feeling gratitude. Sadhus are so satisfied they need just the bare necessities.

One sadhu begged from Lord Nityananda’s parents to have Nityananda to be his brahmacari assistant. Seeing Nitai’s mother crying from the loss of her son, the sadhu gave her a Deity of Muralidhara, saying, “If you worship Him nicely, you will see your son’s face in the Deity.”

Param-gati Swami:

The Vaishnava has no enemies in that he has no one that he thinks badly of in his heart, but some people many think of a Vaishnava as an enemy.

Q: What do we do if our mind creates impediments?

A: Staying in the association of devotees can help us.

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, (from his journal, Vrindavana 7):

In Dhanurdhara Swami's book he interviews Aindra dāsa, who said as follows: “My experiences is that chanting is not a matter of simple endeavoring to articulate some syllables. Actually, such chanting is not really chanting. Chanting looks like chanting, but actually chanting is Krishna dancing by His own sweet will. He is making His Divine descent from Goloka dhama and dancing on our tongues. The holy name is a beautiful sweetest-of-all-sweetest cowherd boy. He is a cowherd boy, a beautiful blue cowherd boy, handsome and completely captivating to the heart. By the mercy of Hare, Radha, our hearts have become undeniably intensely enchanted by the sweetness of that little cowherd boy Krishna, and because we have become enchanted by Him—and He is aware of that, naturally—He will not leave us alone. Again and again and again He pastures on our tongues, by forcing His way into our consciousness, dancing on our tongues.”

Jayādvaita Mahārāja is a down-to-earth guy. When I told him Bhūrijana and I were discussing whether it was better to go next life to be with Prabhupāda where he was preaching in the material world or to join with Krishna in His pastimes in the spiritual world, Maharaja replied: ‘I’d take whatever I could get.’”

Chaturatma Prabhu:

When the Deity is worshiped in the householders’ home, the household gradually comes to understand the Lord is the actual proprietor.

If the senses are uncontrolled, there is no intelligence.

Kalakantha Prabhu:

We have to be aware that in our attempts to preach we may be trying to validate our choice to accept Krishna consciousness by convincing others to also accept it.

Q: How can we be humble when we understand we are one of a few fortunate people in devotional service?

A: The advanced devotees feel so low for having left Krishna.

If you ask people questions about their philosophy of life, after a while, they will run out of things to say. Then you can present Krishna consciousness.

Sri Prahlada Prabhu:

A real friend tells the truth for one’s benefit. Vibhisana said, “It is rare to find a friend who will tell us the truth for our benefit. But rarer is to find someone who will listen to it.”

We experience pain simply because of our false identification with our body and this world.

When Krishna told Dhrtarastra before the war that the fight could be avoided if he gave the Pandavas their rightful kingdom, Dhrtarastra told Krishna what He said was true, but he was so attached that Krishna’s illuminating remark was like a flash of lightening in the sky.

At the end of life we want to be in a space where we can give up sense gratification as a matter of realization not artificially.

Mother Ali Krishna:

Missing observing the Lord’s festivals is like forgetting your mom’s birthday. 

Circumambulating the Lord is a way of putting the Lord in the center of our lives.

By bowing down in the temple we touch the dust of the feet of the Vaishnavas.


Sometimes people say with outrage, “How can you say someone is put in a suffering condition because of their past acts?” I reply to them by asking, “Is it more reasonable to think the Lord whimsically puts one person in a good situation and another in a bad one?”


Bhakti cannot be checked by material circumstances nor is it caused by material things. By taking shelter of people who have bhakti, we develop bhakti.

Tamohara Prabhu on devotional relationships, especially marriage:

There is a way of wanting the best for someone but still accepting them as they are, and at the same time, maintaining our own spiritual standards.

The biggest problem is a difference in enthusiasm because the two partners.

One must help the other get through the low points.

We should always start out thinking of the marriage as a lifetime commitment. Not that I will try this person, and if it doesn’t work out then I’ll try someone else.

It is helpful to have a mentor who is a senior grhastha.

Changing circumstances or changing partners will not help. We have to change ourselves.

Sharing deeply in a devotional way can keep a relationship together. Other differences and problems will seem minor.

We must keep a sense of service to our partner. Because our family members are Vaishnavas, we must not be too familiar. Avoid offending them. Look for opportunities to serve them.

Be discriminating in the beginning before making a commitment, and when you do make a commitment stick with it.

I never recommend that a devotee marry a nondevotee.

There is a continuum between lust and love for God.


tasmad ekena manasa
bhagavan satvatam patih
srotavyah kirtitavyas ca
dhyeyah pujyas ca nityada

Therefore, with one-pointed attention, one should constantly hear about, glorify, remember and worship the Personality of Godhead, who is the protector of the devotees. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.14)