Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 6, No. 13
By Krishna-kripa das
(July 2010, part one)
Den Haag, Paris, and Zurich Ratha-yatras and More
(Sent from Leipzig, Germany, on August 16, 2010)
Den Haag Ratha-yatra
Zurich Harinamas and Ratha-yatra
Insight from Srila Prabhupada, Atmanivedana Swami, Janananda Swami,
Dina Sharana Mataji, Gopaswami Prabhu, Prithu Prabhu,
Ramakantha Prabhu, Lilasuka Prabhu, and Others
Where I Went and What I Did
After the Netherlands Padayatra, we did a harinama in Maastricht, and stayed overnight in Antwerp, Belgium, where a nice devotee couple gave us a ride the next day to Den Haag Ratha-yatra, a new one for me. That evening we took the train to Paris so we could attend the next day’s Ratha-yatra there. We briefly visited New Mayapur, the Hare Krishna farm in central France, and returned to Paris where we chanted on the metros, at the Eiffel Tower, and other places. Then we took a train to Zurich where we also did Ratha-yatra and harinamas.
Click on the following to see video:
Cloudy skies threatened to rain on the Den Haag (The Hague) Ratha-yatra, but by the Lord’s mercy, the rain did not start until the parade was finished, and even then it was not torrential. Before the parade, I was dancing to the preliminary bhajanas on the stage, when a devotee told me they needed help in carrying Lord Jagannatha and His brother and sister from the car to the Ratha-yatra cart, so I got to do this special service. In Den Haag, there is a large congregation mostly from an Indian background, as many people with Indian ancestors who populated Surinam ultimately migrated to Holland. Some of the young Indian ladies had a single peacock feather in their hair, reminding one of Krishna. It was humorous to see one security guard so attired in her security vest. The parade route was not as filled with people as one might desire, but it was also not completely vacant. The sound system was powerful, and the kirtana could be heard a long distance. The feast after the parade included a great eggplant vegetable preparation and some halava with the grains nicely cooked. The stage show had a lot of Hare Krishna chanting with youthful musicians, and I enjoyed dancing along with the transcendental vibrations. We had to leave a little early to take the train to Paris for their Ratha-yatra the next day.
Click on the following to see video:
I was worried that because I arrived 40 minutes late for the Ratha-yatra in Paris that I would have difficulty finding the cart, but it was still at the starting point. Although the devotees had rented a 4,000 euro sound system, the generator would not start, so it was of no use. At one point there was a kirtanafar in front of the party and one behind the cart. It occurred to me that because the kirtana was so far ahead of the cart, neither the deities nor the devotees pulling cart could hear it. I asked my devotee musician friends if they might like to do another kirtana between the ropes so that the deities and the devotees who were pulling could also hear. Janmastami Prabhu, who plays accordion, Gopinatha Prabhu, who plays the mrdanga, along with some of his Vaishnava youth friends, thus formed a new kirtana group, and I was happy to contribute by encouraging them in this way.
During the parade Indian devotees served a purple nectar drink, water, fruits and other prasadam to participants, a nice feature.
Friends from Radhadesh, including new friends I had met on the Netherlands Padayatra were also there, and it nice to see them again.
The festival at the end was in Les Halles, a very happening place. The devotees distributed prasadam for a few hours and had a stage show. There was one really rocking kirtana during which some of the devotees in the audience got up on the stage, and that was the best part of the stage show for me. I helped clean up after the prasadam distribution as well.
Click on the following to see video:
Although a traditional walking harinama (street chanting party) counts as a demonstration in Zurich and requires special permission, a party sitting down and playing instruments by the lake is perfectly OK. During the heat of the summer, the grassy area by the lake is packed with people. Every Saturday in the summer a group of devotees chants there. There are a variety of Gaudiya groups in the Zurich area, and people from many of them come to chant Hare Krishna together. When I was there, the chanting continued for four hours, 4:00-8:00 p.m. The people relaxing, bathing, and sunning themselves nearby did not seem much disturbed by the appearance of the kirtana party. We passed out invitations to Sunday’s Ratha-yatra to the more interested people. As the sky filled with dark clouds, and sprinkles began, we ran back to the car, still chanting kirtana and playing instruments.
Bhaktin Sabina, a follower of Aindra Prabhu, is the most enthusiastic organizer of their harinama party. She went out with me and Dhruva the Tuesday after the Ratha-yatra, in response to my enthusiasm to go out. We chanted twenty-five minutes to the lake, and when we arrived there and sat down, one family was happy about our presence, and the kids took some movies of us. Later a couple of men from Iran listened to the kirtana for almost an hour and then talked to us afterwards. One lady sat on a bench and listened for over an hour. She had just flown in from Africa and found the music by the lake to be a way to relax after the flight. She had been to India many times, attending Janmastami at our Delhi temple sometimes, and even becoming a member there. She did not know that we had a temple in Zurich, so it was nice we were able to connect with her. I was impressed that a harinama party of only three people, with only one really good musician, could elicit such a nice response.
The devotees invited me to their Ratha-yatra in Zurich last year, but I could not fit it in my schedule, so I decided to come this year. The parade takes place in a scenic grassy area with lots of trees along the lake, which is crowded with people in the summer and was better than most areas than municipalities give us for the parade.
At the stage show, I talked to different visitors, including a few German tourists who I told about our temples there. I talked to a couple college girls, who were studying biology and had a lot of faith the theory of evolution. I had forgotten the extent to which some people believe in it. In 1967, a group of mathematicians showed the evolutionary biologists that the probabilities make it impossible. However, the evolutionists, proud of their theory, were convinced the mathematicians must have made some mistake and did not take them seriously. The girls ended up trying prasadam.
Insight from Lectures
In our material condition, the potency of the soul is covered. Similarly, when a fire is covered by ash, its full heat cannot be felt, but when the ashes are removed, and we fan it, it will blaze and be useful in so many ways.
We are giving so much credit to the one who goes to the moon, but we do not give credit to the person who has created it.
Liberation means you go to the spiritual sky, and you don’t come back. It is not that you spend millions of dollars to go to the moon planet and touch it and bring some sand, and you are successful. If you go, then live there.
Freedom means any place you go, you can stay. If you want that sort of liberation, associate with mahatmas, great souls. If we associate with debauchees, we become debauchees. If we associate with mahatamas, we become mahatma. By this Krishna consciousness movement, we can turn debauchees into mahatmas.
Although born in a demoniac family, by the blessings of his grandfather Prahlad Maharaja, Bali was a great devotee.
The Lord is called aksai, because he is never conquered. Only if He accepts voluntary defeat by his devotees, out of love, can He be defeated.
If our wealth is not engaged in the service of the Lord, it will be our downfall.
The easiest way to connect with the Supreme Lord is through the transcendental sound vibration, but we need to hear in deep way for it to enter our heart.
The brahmanas were performing sacrifice which they knew from the scripture is meant for the Supreme Lord, but they could not understand they could better serve the Lord by giving in charity to His cowherd friends who approached them.
When we preach, we should pray to the Supreme Lord to be an instrument in encouraging the people to chant the holy name.
When we chant japa, we also should pray to able to engage in the devotional service of the Lord.
When some service comes to us, we should take advantage of it immediately and not let our mind come up with excuses, otherwise the Lord will be less inclined to give us service in the future. He will give it to a more enthusiastic devotee instead.
Krishna is not imposing His service on us. It is up to our free will.
Throughout the day, we should meditate on what we learned in Srimad-Bhagavatam in the morning and how to apply in our life. Otherwise, we will just forget it, and what will be the benefit?
Srila Prabhupada shows by his personal example how to transcend the material influence by complete absorption in the Lord’s service.
When Lord Ramacandra was king, at the front door of the palace, he provided facility for people to submit complaints about how the kingdom was being run. Each evening Rama would send Laksmana to check the front gate, to see if there were any complaints, so he could address them before taking rest. Lord Ramacandra’s kingdom was so well run, there was never a complaint. One evening the Lord had the intuition that someone had a complaint so he sent Laksmana four times. The last time, when Laksmana went and returned, reporting there was no one with a complaint, Rama asked if there was anyone there at all. Laksmana replied that there was just a dog. Rama had Laksmana go and find out the complaint of the dog.
The Lord is equal to everyone. The different bodily forms we possess are due to the personal desires of living entities.
Kirtanananda, Hayagriva, and Umapati, before they became Krishna devotees, went to India in search of spirituality. It was at the very same time Srila Prabhupada was traveling by boat to the USA. They visited different ashrams and found that the so-called sadhus, despite their philosophy, were all addicted to marijuana, something they had experienced and rejected as being insubstantial. Thus they were disillusioned. When they returned, their friends induced them to meet Srila Prabhupada, and when they did, they became so happy to find that the genuine spirituality they had searched for in India, had come to them.
The devotees who met Srila Prabhupada made great spiritual benefit for three reasons.
1. They got the association of a pure devotee
2. They got to hear the chanting of the holy name and the sacred scriptures.
3. They got Krishna prasadam, prepared by Srila Prabhupada himself.
An animal will defend its own territory, but humans will try to control more land than they require.
Srila Prabhupada said to be a brahmacari a [celibate monk] in the age of Kali is the greatest austerity.
Brahmacarya [celibacy] is for self-purification.
We came because we all had some realization that the material world is a miserable place. So we should remember that and strive to progress.
A wife in the beginning is candramukhi (moon-faced [soothing]) later onsuryamukhi (sun-faced [blazing]), then jvalamukhi (fire-faced [firey]), and then you become antarmukhi (one who faces within).
One who is only dedicated to preaching should take sannyasa [the renounced order of life].
Our eyes are meant to see Lord Jagannatha, but sometimes we are so distracted, looking here and there, that even when Jagannatha is on His cart, we do not see Him.
So many ways people get the Lord’s mercy at the festival, pulling the cart, seeing the Deity, hearing the kirtana, taking prasadam.
In 1970, in front of many hippies, Prabhupada told them, “All of you who have seen Lord Jagannatha will go back to Godhead next life.”
This Ratha-yatra festival is a very important part of our preaching. Once Srila Prabhupada said that by Ratha-yatra and book distribution we will conquer the world.
Prataparuda Maharaja offered Ramananda Raya that he could resign with a pension that was greater his salary. Comment by Dhruva, “Everyone wants that.” Response: Every can get that by surrendering completely to Lord Caitanya. You can get a pension beyond what you can imagine.
King Prataparudra was astounded to see the bliss of the devotees in kirtana.This is not ordinary sankirtana, explained Svarupa Damodara. This is prema sankirtana. It comes from Goloka Vrindavana.
Last year there were four djembes and only one mrdanga in the Paris Ratha-yatra kirtana. The mrdanga is considered Balarama and also an incarnation of Krishna’s flute. The djembe has no such spiritual standing. It is not part of Lord Caitanya’s original sankirtana party, although anything can be used in the Lord’s service. If the djembe is used it should serve the mrdanga and not control it.
The whole process of Krishna consciousness is to change our identity into that of a humble servant of the Lord.
Prataparudra Maharaja got the Lord’s mercy by sweeping the street before Lord Jagannatha, by serving the Lord’s devotees, by his determination, and by following the devotees’ instruction to read “Gopi Gita” to Lord Caitanya in the garden.
At the Ratha-yatra, don’t walk along the side, like a tourist, looking at the sites, or gossiping with your friends the whole way. Try to enter into the mood of the pastime.
We are chanting Hare Krishna, but we are not trying to apply the varnasramadharma. Some places varnasrama is a dirty word. But we should try to understand it and apply it as far as we can. We should not criticize people for their imperfection.
Now there are cigarettes without nicotine. You can still enjoying smoking but not experience the nicotine. It is like the near beer.
More kirtana is required. Much more kirtana. Because we are not satisfied by doing kirtana, we still seek happiness in other things. Whatever our situation, if we do more kirtana, we will become more purified and become happy.
Lust is seeing ourselves in the center and seeing everyone is relationship with ourselves for our enjoyment.
When Jayapataka Maharaja was learning Bengali, he was practicing with a farmer working his field around Mayapur. He asked the farmer if he had ever been to Calcutta. The farmer said once. Jayapataka Maharaja asked why only once. The farmer said, “I will never go to that sinful city again. I saw a man holding hands with a woman in public there. I will never go to that sinful city again.” That was back in 1971.
India is second only to the United States in for cow slaughter. Although cow slaughter is banned in Gujarat, they ship thousands of cows to Mumbai for slaughter.
In Kansas, there was legislation making a course on safe sex mandatory. One headmistress refused to be forced to teach a course on safe sex instead of a course on no sex. She took the issue to the courts and won. That was ten or fifteen years ago.
There are two kinds of ruci (taste). If you are just attached to the good musical arrangement of the kirtana, that is only the first kind of ruci. We have to come to the second type of ruci, attachment to the name of the Lord.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura said that only those who attend thekirtana will be successful in Kali-yuga.
September 17 to October 3 is the World Holy Name festival.
We have become so lazy because of these MP3 players. One devotee told me, “Better I hear the chanting from the lips of a pure devotee, so I play Prabhupada chanting, and then I can do what I like.”
One of the best harinamas I did was in a village called Loche [in France] on its market day. We had fifteen devotees, many who had never gone on harinamabefore. We got off to a slow start. The car wouldn’t start at the gate. Then it started to rain, more heavily than ever I had seen in Europe. We decided to go out anyway. It was raining so hard, in two minutes I was soaked, even through my raincoat.
George Harrison said, “What really convinced me about you was I saw you chanting on Oxford Street in the snow, getting arrested, in the sun, in the cold, in the rain, etc. I understood you had to be really sincere.”
One couple becoming interested in Krishna consciousness was taking an advertising course at a college in England. The professor showed a video on techniques of expert advertising. The best example showing all the techniques at once was the devotees doing harinama. The professor pointed out different features like color, sound, originality, and smiling, and concluded the devotees had every single aspect of expert advertising. “Look at the reaction, every single person on the street was affected by it.”
I did harinama for a week in north England, only to towns that the devotees said we had not done harinama in forty years. The results were outstanding. The people were very positive although they had never seen the chanting in their town before.
You can walk down Oxford Street wearing a dhoti and fifty to a hundred thousand people will think of Krishna. When they see a book distributor wearing western clothes, they will not think of Krishna unless they talk to him.
I have never seen the response being as good as it is now. Now people really do not care how you dress, whether you have purple hair or whatever. Now the police even protect us.
One vendor stored up his rotten vegetables for a whole week and would throw them at us and hurl insults. Once his wife was there. She said, “We are Christians. We cannot treat people like that, whatever they do.”
Finally she convinced him. She said they should come and meet the devotees, and they would see they are good people. As so they did. The devotees were very forgiving, and would bring presents to the man. The man then began to save up his best produce and give it to the devotees. He began to come to the temple. One time Srila Prabhupada was there, and the man and his wife got initiated.
Dina Sarana Mataji [GBC, on Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s disappearance day]:
Because of his amazing ability to write volumes of literature about Vaishnava philosophy and his ability to preach extensively the message of Lord Caitanya, people could understand Bhaktivinoda Thakura was an eternal associate of Lord Caitanya.
He was very humble and charitable.
He taught that we should always glorify the Lord, and that is the only way we can control the mind. To do this we must give up all pride. We must consider ourselves powerless. We have to become completely tolerant and free from all kinds of violence, both gross and subtle.
We have to learn how to defeat opposing philosophies without becoming disrespectful.
Now people are killing thousands of sharks a day. They claim they are protecting people from being killed, but perhaps only one person a year is killed by a shark. So who are the real killers?
Because of lack of respect for others we have so many problems in this movement.
Once, as a result of our interfaith preaching, one woman decided she wanted to move in the temple. She dressed very loudly and spoke very loudly. She thought she was a guru that no one recognized. No one wanted her to move into the temple. The GBC felt we should accommodate her, but neither the temple president nor anyone else wanted her in the temple. I suggested maybe if someone agrees to take care of her, then it would be alright, but no one wanted to take care of her, so I had to do that. She came with so much paraphernalia she had to have her own room and it just barely all fit in. I went to see her with anxiety in my heart. I had no clue of how to deal with the situation. She was sitting on an elaborate seat, and she gave me a cushion at her feet, and she talked and talked. I felt more and more powerless in this situation. It seemed to me Krishna was having a good time manifesting as this lady whose lifestyle was completely agitating all our minds. So I said, “Yes, you are a guru because there is something I can learn from you.” When I said that, she stopped speaking and began to listen to me. She dressed more conservatively, stopped being so loud, and began chanting Hare Krishna.
Not everyone who chants Hare Krishna is in the disciplic succession. The greatness of Bhaktivinoda Thakura is that his voluminous writings followed the Vaishnava siddhanta.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura predicted three things:
(1) One person would come and spread the teachings of Lord Caitanya all over the world.
(2) Residents of Russia, the USA, Germany, and other countries will get together with mrdanga and karatalas, in the streets of their cities and chant the holy name of the Lord.
(3) White people would come to Bengal, and sit with the locals and chant Hare Krishna.
Some people argue that if Lord Caitanya, Srila Prabhupada, or Lord Jesus Christ were personally present they would follow, but that is not the case. If you do not have the mentality to recognize and to follow their representatives even now, if they were personally present, you would not recognize or follow them.
I never would have met Srila Prabhupada personally, but I happened to be in India because my husband who was previously brahmacari for five years decided he wanted to return to that position and sent me to Vrindavana to be a widow for the rest of my life at age twenty-four. Thus I saw Prabhupada in India and got to talk with him for an hour.
Everything is in Srila Prabhupada’s books.
Some people claim that Srila Prabhupada did not give us everything, but they are just making propaganda to advance their own cause, and to do so they are criticizing a great acarya, so we can understand what is their actual position.
Even if your guru deviates, if you are sincere, you will remain steady on the path, by Krishna’s grace.
Gopaswami Prabhu [Prabhupada disciple, resident of New Mayapur, France, lives in a mud hut, he personally constructed, with his wife, and has constructed a larger hut as well, demonstrating the practicality of Srila Prabhupada’s principle of simple living and high thinking.]
Srila Prabhupada had a meeting with the mayor of Paris. The history behind that is that the ambassador of India arrived almost the same time as Srila Prabhupada, but the city officials had not arranged to greet him. The devotees gave the ambassador one of the two garlands they had for Srila Prabhupada and had a kirtana to greet him. The city officials offered to do something in return for the devotees, and they asked that Srila Prabhupada meet the mayor. Prabhupada spoke about the responsibility of the leader in human society as described in the scripture. Prabhupada liked very much the city. He said Paris was most beautiful. The devotees took him to the most famous places.
The history of the castle of New Mayapur is it was a boon from the French king to a warrior who helped defeat the English in the 13th century. It was destroyed and then rebuilt in the nineteenth century by the family of that warrior. The last heir lost his money gambling and had to sell it. It went through different people until 1950 when an idealistic soldier bought it to be part of a city of happiness and brotherhood he wanted to create. He bought up or constructed about 20 or 30 houses as part of that project, including a theatre, but ultimately the man became old and could not fulfill his dream. Srila Prabhupada was shown several unsatisfactory properties one day until the evening when he saw the New Mayapur castle and property, which he selected as just being suitable for the devotees. The owner and Srila Prabhupada got on well, and a cash payment for a certain amount was immediately agreed on. Originally Srila Prabhupada called the property New Bahulavan, after one of the twelve forests of Vrindavana, but when he saw the beauty of the Gaura Nitai deities the devotees installed there, he renamed it New Mayapur. Srila Prabhupada liked the relaxing atmosphere there.
The Lord’s pastimes are not only inconceivable to the mind and intelligence but wonderful to the heart.
If you are intimately related with someone, you are always interested all the activities of the person not just some of them.Srila Prabhupada explains if we understand the Lord’s greatness as far as his relationship with the creation is concerned, it will increase our faith in Him.
It understandable that we can appreciate the speaking of the Lord from His transcendental position because we are actually part of the Lord Himself.
The Lord is a true friend because He never gives up on us.Although scientists value logic and reason, to say the harmonious universe arose as a result of an explosion of a chunk having an unknown origin is not so logical or reasonable.
There is a process to go from one planet to another, which described in Brhad-bhagavatamriWhere can we find statements like those in Bhagavad-gita,where the Lord in our heart, comes out and speaks to us?If we keep our humility, appreciation of the ecstatic chanting of Hare Krishna, and faith in the realizations of Srila Prabhupada, then Krishna will not let us get carried away by the illusory energy.Krishna’s darsana (vision of the Lord) begins with the chanting of the holy name which Load Caitanya and Lord Nityananda are giving for just the price of one’s faith.
Once I had this exchange with Srila Prabhupada:
Q (by me): What about your internal life?
A (by Srila Prabhupada): That you do not require.
Q: But we would like to know about your internal life?
A: [More loudly and emphatically.] That you do not require.
Srila Prabhupada said spiritual life is common sense, but common sense not so common.
To reinitiate a disciple whose guru is not hopelessly entangled in sense gratification is an offense.
No one can die, even a demoniac person, unless Krishna sanctions it.
If we are suffering, we sowed the seed of that suffering in the past. Every cruel deed will follow us for years.
The more we take, the more is taken from us. The more we give, then more we get.
Song lyrics: “The more we take, the less we have to give. The more hearts we break, the less we want to live. ”
Forgiveness is very difficult unless we can understand through transcendental knowledge that we were just getting the reaction from our past activities. The person who causes us trouble is just the immediate cause.
One day we are perpetrator, the next we are victim. This is the cycle of karma.
We have to rise to the platform of transcendental knowledge.
A third of our life is beyond our control as it up to God, a third of our life is beyond our control as it is up to other people who we do not have control over. A third we have control over but so much of the time we are bewildered by vacillations of mind which really make no sense. So there is very little we have in our control, so we must be careful to do positive actions for our spiritual development.
We must be holy in mind, body, and soul. Not that we are holy in thought and eat like a pig.
Q: Life and death are not in our control . . .
A: Yes. But that does not mean you can eat like a pig if you have liver problems.
Chant a fixed number of rounds and gradually you will be able to understand the Bhagavatam.
We have to understand we are idiots, and idiots cannot understand. So we have to follow the instructions of the spiritual master, and then we will become pure, and we can understand perfectly.
This material world is a potato peeling machine. By bumping together, we become purified. It is a painful process, but we chose to come here.
Either you turn to Krishna, or you get beaten up by Krishna’s material energy.
Q: Why did God gives us independence?
A: We have always been independent. That is our nature. There is not a why to it.
Krishna is creating a great drama. There are different roles. You can choose to some extent.
One disciple of Srila Prabhupada began, “Sometimes when I am in maya . . . ” Srila Prabhupada stopped him, and said, “You are always in maya, but sometimes you fall into Krishna.”
A pure devotee sees everything is being done by Krishna.
George Harrison stayed in my home in Vrindavan. I asked, “George how much money did you make since Christmas.” He said, “Ninety days, ninety million.” I asked him how he felt about it. He said, “For every dollar, there is an equal amount of pain, misery, and anxiety.” I was shocked. I asked him why the anxiety. “I am aware at every moment my life can end like happened to John Lennon.” I explained that no one can kill you unless Krishna lets them. Even demons cannot die, unless Krishna sanctions it, what to speak of those like you and I who chant Hare Krishna.”
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said, “Everything is minutely controlled at every moment by Krishna.” If at every moment we see that, that is Krishna consciousness. We have to be in the present. The past is useless, except that we can learn from it. The future is a mystery. Nobody knows about it. Only Krishna knows.
Vedanta-sutra explains how we sleep. Krishna removes all the things we are thinking about. We fall into a trance. Krishna puts us on His heart. That is the deep sleep phase. That is why we feel so good after our sleep. Without Krishna we cannot even sleep. Even an animal cannot sleep without Krishna.
We have nothing to do with the body except that we are conscious of it.
What happens when Prithu das scratches his nose. He feels this discomfort. He desires to scratch, and Krishna understands that, and moves the material energy so his arm moves to scratch.
There is much more pain in this material body than pleasure so it is a bad deal.
In an Indian village in the 1500s, at noon every bird in the village died. They asked the local guru, who thought for a moment, and said it Krishna’s mercy. The next week at exactly the same time, all the dogs died. Again they asked the guru, he thought for a moment, and replied that it was Krishna’s mercy. The people were dissatisfied, but what could they do? The next week all the fires went out in the village. Again the guru said it was Krishna’s mercy. The people were really upset. Some thought the guru was bogus and wanted him removed. The next week the Moslems came, after sacking all the nearby villages. They had killed the men, raped the women, destroyed property, etc. When the Moslems got to the village, the leader saw no fires were burning, no dogs were barking, and no birds were chirping. He decided it was a trap and so he and his men skipped that village. When the guru was consulted, he explained it was Krishna’s mercy.
I talked to a nuclear scientist who did not believe in God. I told him, “You cannot prove scientifically that God does not exist. Why do you not believe in God?” He asked why I believed in God. I said I had set of experiences that could not be explained in any other way. He said that he had not had such experiences. I said, “I feel sorry for you, and I wish that someday you might experience God knocking on the door.”
The bishop of St. Patrick’s said the day after the 9/11 crisis, the, “I do not know where God was in New York yesterday.” That means he is fool. Krishna was right there in the heart of all those involved. He is even in the heart of the Dalai Lama, when he says, “I see no need for God.”
Krishna can interact at every moment with each living entity individually.
Prithu Prabhu sang a beautiful song with the refrain, “Reign in me again.”
Bhaktivinoda Thakura said to remove the demons from our heart.
For the last three weeks of Srila Prabhupada manifest appearance in this world, Prithu Prabhu sang for him six hours a day.
The doctor told us at the end, “None of you could tolerate the pain in Prabhupada’s body.” Physically he died of kidney failure. The doctor said he would have to go on dialysis twice a week to live. Srila Prabhupada said that he did not want that. He took it that it was Krishna’s indication his life was over.
In everything moving and not moving, there is nothing but Krishna, that is Krishna conscious.
Prabhupada liked to hear what everyone had to say because he realized that Krishna could speak through anyone. Once, after hearing everyone’s opinion, he said, “Nothing makes sense.” Later he told what was clearly the best course of action, explaining that Krishna had told him what to do.
Once Sivananda and myself asked Srila Prabhupada this question, “TheBhagavatam said those who are chanting the names bathed in all the rivers in India in previous lives. Did we live in India in our previous lives?” Prabhupada laughed, “It may be.” Then he became grave and said, “Actually I created your good fortune.”
Without Prabhupada in the west, there would be no chanting of Hare Krishna, elaborate deity worship, or prasadam. He wrote more than Shakespeare in the little time he had.
How can we perceive Krishna in the distress of death unless we learn to perceive Krishna in the smaller distresses throughout our lives.
We have to learn to love what is. We have an argument with reality. And as long as we do, we have to live in the material world.
Frank Sinatra said, “I do it my way.” Jesus Christ said, “Let Thy will done.”
My father always said, “If you don’t hear, you have to feel.” Either we hear from Krishna, or we get beat up by the material energy.
Q: Is it important that we go to the sacred rivers now?
A: Our temples are also pilgrimage places.
Once Jaya Tirtha and I thought our temple in Frankfort was too big for us, and we wanted to sell it. We expressed our desire to Srila Prabhupada. He was incensed and said with great force, “Even if a child is born deaf and blind, does it mean you kill it? No you don’t kill it, you develop it.”
Why do we dress Gaura and Nitai the same? Lord Caitanya wears yellow, and Nitai wears blue. Do Radha and Krishna wear the same thing? No! We just get cloths from these Muslim garment makers and accept them without thinking.
It is important we have relationships among the devotees. If you have friends here, where will you go? If you have friends elsewhere, then you will go elsewhere.
Joke: In heaven, they decided to go on a vacation. Someone proposed Bethlehem, Mary said, “Last time I went there, I could not get a room.”
Another proposed Jerusalem, Jesus said, “I had such a bad experience there.” Another suggested Rome. The holy spirit was ecstatic, saying, “Great, Rome! I have never been there.”
In Christianity, originally it was understood that the saving event was “loving God with our heart, body, and soul,” which we can agree with. Later Paul changed the saving event to “Jesus Christ dying on the cross.”
A child does not smoke or drink, but by association, one learns these habits. Similarly, Krishna awards the former yogi good association, so he can progress spiritually.
The spiritual world is pure, and we must be purified to go there. The impurity is the desire for sense gratification.
Just come here, chant Hare Krishna, hear Bhagavad-gita, take prasadam,and do some service for Krishna.
Because Srila Prabhupada promised by following his instructions, we will go to Krishna, we can count on that. Just has Krishna fulfilled Narada’s blessing that Kuvera’s sons see Krishna, Krishna will fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s promise to us.
We are meant to serve Krishna. When we reject this, we still serve, but we servemaya (illusion), and ultimately we give pain to Krishna. But we cannot be happy giving pain to Krishna.
A child does not have to ask his parents for his necessities like food and clothing, but the parents automatically provide them. Similarly Krishna takes care of our necessities of his devotional service.
Q: Why does Krishna come in different incarnations?
A: Just for fun. Why is He blue? Why is He a cowherd boy? These are all His pastimes for His enjoyment.
Krishna takes away our excessive attachments, and Krishna carries what we lack in the form of devotional qualities.
Ways we can benefit from suffering: Krishna gives us experiences so we can get rid of our anarthas [unwanted qualities]:
If we lose our job, we have more time to inquire about the truth.
If people cause us trouble, it can help us to become detached.
In general, suffering must result in purification to be beneficial.
I have been secretary of the GBC for eight years, and I never talk about it. That is probably why I have been secretary of the GBC for so long.
Our karma must come back to us, but for devotees the other devotees perform us the service of delivering these reactions. If you have a healthy attitude to your suffering, it is more purifying.
Suffering can help us come to the point of being equal in happiness and distress, seeing both as Krishna’s mercy. If we are unable to see our suffering is Krishna’s mercy, it will decrease our faith.
Our anarthas are like a layer of mud at the bottom of a glass. The water seems clear until you stir it up, and then you see how dirty it is.
One hippy-like person was cleaning his relative’s attic and found one of Srila Prabhupada’s books. He read that the Hare Krishna maha-mantra was a very powerful sound vibration from the spiritual world. He decided to try and sat in yoga position and chanted loudly and carefully, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.” Nothing seemed to happen, so he tried again. It was not clear that anything was happening so he set the book aside. The next day, he went for an excursion in the Belgian countryside and happened to come across Radhadesh. He was attracted by what he saw, and he never left. That was thirty years ago.
Citta, subconscious, is more subtle than buddhi, intelligence. It contains all kinds of impressions and anarthas, unwanted things, produced from a selfish conception of life. The buddhi accesses impressions in the citta and uses them to discriminate. The transcendentalists get from the scriptures better knowledge by which to discriminate for the benefit of the soul.
When an experienced driver drives a car, his mind interacts directly with thecitta, and the buddhi doesn’t really act.
We learn to not take this material world very seriously.
Tolerate. Chant Hare Krishna. Take prasadam. Cultivate detachment.
Absorb the mind in Krishna’s activities.
When I was a five-year-old kid, I had a toothache. Then my friend came to play with me, and I was so absorbed in play I completely forgot my toothache. After my friend left, the toothache came back. This is just a material example. Imagine how powerful it is if we absorb our minds in Krishna!
Even chanting in the namabhasa (clearing stage) destroys all our karma.
One does not have to be especially intelligent and study all the scriptures because Krishna gives buddhi (intelligence) to those who please Him by their service.
For one who remembers Lord Caitanya, very difficult things become easy, and if one forgets Lord Caitanya, very easy things become difficult. (Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 14.1).
When we enjoy in this world, we generally enjoy at the cost of others, therefore there is some negative reaction.
The conditioned soul is generally a zombie, identifying with the mind and body and absorbed in such impressions and interactions based on them.
Additional thoughts on dealing with suffering:
1. There is one English saying, that gives some advice, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” Suffering can motive us to apply ourselves more to our spiritual practice.
2. To deal with a devotee’s problem, Srila Prabhupada once recommended to a devotee that he stand in front of the deity, and say, “Dear Sir: This is the problem.” Krishna would take care.
3. We should not be disturbed that we encounter misery in this world:
a. because it is a prison house.
b. because Krishna certifies it is a place of misery: Bhagavad-gita 8.15 and 9.33.
c. the illusory suffering conditions are simply creations of the mind, and therefore, we should fix the mind on Krishna, as the Avanti brahmanaconcludes. (Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 11).
“Even if born of a lowly family, a person who follows the Ratha-yatra car when the Deities pass in front or from behind will surely be elevated to the position of achieving equal opulence with Vishnu.” (Bhavisya Purana, quoted in Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 9).