Monday, September 20, 2010

Travel Journal#6.15: Berlin, Hamburg, Polish Tour, Leipzig

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 6, No. 15

By Krishna-kripa das

(August 2010, part one)

Berlin, Hamburg, Polish Tour, Leipzig

(Sent from Kharkov, Ukraine, on September 20, 2010)


Berlin Harinama and Ratha-yatra

Hamburg Harinama and Sunday Feast

Book Distribution Seminar in Berlin

Visit to the Polish Tour

Leipzig Ratha-yatra and Sunday Feast

Insights from Indradyumna Swami, Kavicandra Swami,

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, Kadamba Kanana Swami,

Anuttama Prabhu, Prithu Prabhu, Mother Sitala, and Others

Berlin Harinama and Ratha-yatra

This year I went to Berlin the day after the Polish Woodstock to do harinama to promote their Ratha-yatra the next Saturday. The lull between harinamas in previous years made me feel empty, and I was glad Krishna gave me this solution. I was accustomed to passing out invitations to the Woodstock attendees, who mostly are eager to take them, and the Berlin crowd was tougher by comparison. Still I recall one girl from near Cologne who loved the devotees singing and listened for sometime with a bright smile. I gave her the contact information for the temple near her home in addition to a Ratha-yatra invitation.

It was my sixth Berlin Ratha-yatra in a row, and the day was predicted to have a 90% chance of rain, but by the grace of the Lord, the downpour did not happen till the next day. There was a little rain at the temple on the Ratha-yatra day, but it did not rain at the site.

Kadamba Kanana Swami was there with his lively kirtana, and Kavicandra Swami with his faith in the holy name. Prithu Prabhu was there with his strong words meant to motivate people spiritually. For me, that Sacinandana Swami was not present this year, made it less lively than it usually was.

I distributed invitations and met many favorable people, including a number of tourists. Some I told about our festivals and temples in their homeland.

I liked the stage show, which had a lot of kirtana, including some with more contemporary music, and a very funny drama as well. I found a variety of different types of people developed an interest to learn more by viewing the stage show, and they took invitations and the very attractive German mantra cards with the face of Jagannatha on them along with a description of the mantra.

One little girl asked me to put tilaka on her, and I found a devotee lady who understood her request, and I lent her some tilaka to do that service.

The prasadam was very nice and was served out sooner and longer than other years.

Click here for one very professional video on the Berlin Ratha-yatra.

Hamburg Harinama and Sunday Feast

Dhruva Prabhu increased my outreach this year by urging me to come to Hamburg where he knew a devotee named Vasudeva, also originally from India, who lived in the temple.

The devotees do harinama there each Sunday, the day the most devotees are free from work, before the feast program.

The site is at the harbor, along the boardwalk, which is crowded with tourists. They let me play the harmonium, and I sang this Bada Hari tune that Madhava sings, and everyone liked it. The harinama was almost two hours. The Sunday feast program was only attended by about 20 people, but sometimes it is more. During the kirtana, four or five of the ladies were so enthusiastic, their dancing took out them out of the temple room, and into the next room, and maybe even further. They allow me to speak and because they are promoting study of the scriptures there and my talk had many scriptural references, several leaders like it.

Book Distribution Seminar in Berlin

By Navina Nirada Prabhu

Let new devotees watch and not start book distribution until the desire naturally arises. The people you approach can feel if you believe in what you are doing.

The first time I just carried the books for other devotees and took notes, and then I tried it myself. Some things in the presentation I changed. Everyone has his own style.

Krishna is interested in our love and affection, and sankirtana is a powerful process to cultivate this love.

When the demigods churned the ocean, first came the poison and then came the nectar, so it is often with sankirtana.

I was in Hungary where I distributed some books without knowing the language. If you are just enthusiastic it is possible.

“We are showing these books to all the nice people in XYZ. Are you one of the nice people? Thank you for taking your valuable time.”

If we give attention to the people, they will automatically reciprocate.

When you go door-to-door, when they open the door, you ask, “Do you live here?” (Make a small joke.) Great, then let me show you one of these...

“Are you more philosophical or more spiritual?” “Are you more a head person or a heart person?” “Oh, you are qualified.” Make it simple.

People like to be in treated in a personal way according to their nature but even beyond this, if they detect that we respect them, we will be successful. If the person sees we are making a great effort just for them, they will be inclined. If Krishna sees we really want the people to take the book, He will sanction it.

If you know a person is not interested, just tell him the price, and he will give the book back to you, and you can leave nicely and go on to the next person.

Ask the right questions. If a person says three times “yes,” he will buy the book. So ask questions that he will reply to in a positive way. If he says three times “no,” he won’t buy the book. Open ended questions are best, i.e. “How are you doing today? How is your karma?”

My goal is to give everyone something. Some can take only a smile or an invitation card. Some take a book the first time. Leave everyone with a good impression. Consider yourself an ambassador of goodwill.

Visit to the Polish Tour

It is always nice to visit the Polish festival hour, with their team of enthusiastic devotees, led by the incarnation of enthusiasm, Indradyumna Swami himself. I love the harinamas with sixty or more people, and I always find a people to give invitations to that the other distributors did not notice. I try to distribute the extra ones on the last day of the festival, and despite our previous two or three days of distributing thousands, still some new people take them and are very happy to hear of the festival.

Leipzig Ratha-yatra and Sunday Feast

Kavichandra Swami praised the route of the procession, which included the heart of the market district. During the parade, I went into a department store to use the bathroom on the fourth floor, and as I ascended the escalators, I noticed on each floor the kirtana was so well amplified everyone could hear it.

I felt happy because two girls I gave an invitation to during the parade came to the stage show and heard the kirtana for at least an hour, finally dancing happily with the devotee ladies. The prasadam was excellent, especially the srikhand and gaja. Later the following week, Navina Nirada Prabhu asked almost everyone he met what they were doing on Saturday, and he many were very happy about our Ratha-yatra festival.

Many people looking at the kirtana at the stage show took the temple invitations I gave them.

There were many flyers with descriptions of the Ratha-yatra and devotees eagerly distributed them.

Two devotees dressed up as Lord Caitanya, in yellow, and Lord Nityananda, in blue, and they swung each other around in circles as they danced before the cart, to the happiness of the devotees.

Click here to see more pictures.

Suggestions I made for next year were: The description of the Ratha-yatra we distributed to onlookers could include the route and the place of the stage show. We had to give a separate invitation with the place of the stage show, and we had no information about the route until I asked, and then I was able to pass that information on to two or three guests who asked. It is good to think about how to improve the festival each year, and it was progress the devotees had a meeting about that soon afterward.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says Ratha-yatra is the essence of all the festivals and those who take part are preparing themselves to become residents of the spiritual world.

This includes even onlookers like these girls who, knowingly or unknowingly, swept the street for the pleasure of the Lord and His devotees.

Although usually the Leipzig devotees have a feast program every other Saturday, they have a special one on the Sunday, the day after the Ratha-yatra. After the feast, they had a spontaneous kirtana that burst out of the temple room into the adjoining room and which continued for two hours.

Insights from Lectures

Indradyumna Swami [from introductory lectures at the Polish festivals]:

[I love Indradyumna Swami’s lectures on Bhagavad-gita to the attendees of his Polish festivals. He presents the philosophy using simple analogies people can relate to, and he makes it sound very reasonable.]

The human being has higher intelligence for self-realization. Even the smartest animal is not as smart as the dumbest human being.

Unless your know who you are, you will not know what to do to make yourself happy.

Just was we accept food from other cultures, we should also accept bona fide spiritual knowledge from other cultures. Everyone in Poland likes pizza, but pizza was not invented in Katowice!

This wisdom appeared in India, but it not just meant for people of India. The sun also appears in the east, but it travels to the west to benefit us here. Similar this spiritual knowledge from India is meant to benefit the whole world.

If you are evicted from your apartment, you find another place before the date of eviction. Similar you must plan for where you go in the next life.

Bhagavad-gita can help all persons understand where they are going when they die.

If we have unfulfilled desires, even if we are old, the desires will cause us to take another birth.

As a book has many chapters, our soul has many lives. We have been a king, a poor person, an American, a Polish person, an Australian.

How do you explain one person is born into opulence and another is born into poverty? Is God kind to some and not others? No, everyone is getting the results of their actions in a previous life.

An intelligent person uses the frustration of a life of mixed happiness and distress to seek a higher realization where we are always happy.

A man accused me of being an escapist, but if you are in a burning building, escape is the best strategy.

We should be like a sailor, who does his duties at sea nicely, but knows he is ultimately going back to the land. We should sail through this world, knowing it is not our real home, and keep our sight on the spiritual world.

God is not an old man. Why should He be subjected to the laws of the material world? We learn from the Vedic literature that God, although the oldest person, is eternally youthful.

These devotees are happy because they are coming close to the happiest person God.

Kavicandra Swami:

To be attentive is most important. Even if the speaker is Lord Siva, if you are not attentive, you will not get the full benefit.

If the audience is really alive, the speaker finds he has more to say.

Srila Prabhupada was so attentive to recording his classes, if the tape jammed, he would wait until his disciples corrected it.

Srila Prabhupada said in a class, “You may say you have no love for Krishna, but I see you are coming every time. I am always saying the same thing, and yet you are still coming. Therefore you must have some attachment for Krishna.”

If we do sankirtana to become famous we will not take the bliss we experience doing it for Krishna.

Q: What makes the difference that makes one continue his whole life?

A: One must be tolerant and humble as Lord Caitanya recommends in Siksastaka 3. Enthusiasm is another key, and patience in the face of delayed success. Prayer is also powerful and essential. After the very successful opening of Krishna-Balarama in Vrndavana, Srila Prabhupada said, “Now Lord Balarama is here. You can pray to Him for strength.” Thus each year I go to Vrndavana, I thank Lord Balarama for giving me strength, and ask Him to continue for another year. Krishna will keep you around if you realize you have no place to go.

Q: Can people change their character?

A: Yes, people become from their bad qualities. We want to change. We want to be purified, to become gentlemen, to become good people.

Preaching involves confronting the unwanted things in one’s heart, and that is too much for some people, so they leave.

Singapore church weekly sayings, “Melt me, mold me, and use me.” “Let go, and let God.”

Prabhupada said controlling the mind means thinking of how to distribute the holy name.

Revealing your mind confidentially means, if you have some wonderful experience in Krishna consciousness, tell somebody.

Thank Krishna. Even if all you can do is chant the holy name, that is Krishna Himself. It is not an ordinary thing.

Some one told me he was praying that the Prabhupada disciples all live to 160 years old. That is a nice sentiment but unlikely. Better pray that you will be able to take up their preaching work.

On initiation:

Second initiation is for connecting more to Krishna, deepening the commitment.

We should not push people to get initiated artificially, but rather inspire them to surrender to Krishna. Initiation will come in due course.

Krishna Himself had a guru.

During the early days of this movement, there was one rascal who claimed to be Krishna. He said you do not need books. His idea was that books are required in Kali-yuga, but because he had advented, they were not necessary.

Lord Caitanya wanted everyone to become a guru. Every one should be come a instructing (siksa) guru or a vartmapradarsaka-guru.

It is an amazing thing that Srila Prabhupada installed so many Deities and arranged for their worship.

None of Srila Prabhupada godbrothers believed westerners could become brahmanas, but Srila Prabhupada understood the power of Lord Caitanya’s mercy.

The Ratha-yatra in Leipzig was so nice because it was in the crowded shopping area where all the people were and couldn’t get away.

Dhruva put tilaka on so many people, and I didn’t see anyone refuse him. Wearing the tilaka makes them feel more a part of the festival.

Envy comes from lust. If you want something I have, you become envious.

Srila Prabhupada said Krishna consciousness is simple.

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, Vihara Bhavan, no. 28:

“Once a disciple lost his beads and wrote to Prabhupada to please chant on another set. Prabhupada wrote back that there was no need to chant on another physical set of beads. ‘Once the blessing is given it is eternal.’”

Kadamba Kanana Swami:

Why so much austerity? If we do not follow the austerities, we will act in ignorance and passion and suffer even more. In the animal kingdom, one animal eats another, and when we do not restrict ourselves, we live like an animal, with all the anxiety that comes with that kind of life.

In this world, Krishna, out of his kindness, is always with us in the heart.

Nitzshe said as humans we can achieve so little, and then with religion, we have to give that little bit up. God is watching this and enjoying it so much that recreates the universe to do it again and again.

In dasyam, there is general service, and personal service (kinkara), where one considers the actual desire of the master.

“I am limited, but let me do as much as I can for Krishna”, can be our meditation.

These austerities of the body like celibacy are practical. If you have sex with a variety people your life becomes complicated. If you practice not having sex outside marriage, then a certain faith and trust develops that makes existence more palatable.

In my family we did water skiing for some time and then we stopped doing it. In the beginning, there was some excitement, but that waned.

Bhakti liberates us and makes us free for Krishna.

Austerity is only austerity in the beginning. For example, no meat, fish, or eggs, is now not a difficulty. Similarly, giving up alcohol or smoking is not an austerity, if you consider all the unpalatable ramifications of these habits, the expense, the filth, the inconvenience. As far as the love in the material world, our beloveds are a very sad second to Krishna. The romance wears off, and even if it lasts to the end, we become like two skeletons. In reality we are together for a limited time only, and we cannot expect such relationships to provide all that we might hope.

In this world, people walk around in their bubbles, and sannyasis walk around with needles and pop them.

In this world as people trade in their cars or i-Phones for new ones, too often we similarly trade in our husbands or wives for new models.

In any otherwise comfortable household life, without higher aspirations there is an emptiness. Like monkeys in the zoo that stay because there are well fed, the householder may feel inclined to stay in family life.

Our disease as a neophyte devotee is that we want God to catch us before we are willing to let go. A madhyama adhikari has faith that Krishna will reciprocate, and so he can act as Krishna desires.

By false ego we are absorbed in the distinctions based on that body, instead of seeing all beings as spiritual souls.

Yudhisthira was fighting but not seeing anyone has his enemy.

The main meditation for the Vaisnava is to see everyone as a devotee of the Lord. In truth, even demons are devotees of Lord Krishna because the eternal identity of all souls is that of servants of Krishna.

Actually the false ego is weak as it is comprised of the illusory energy. As long as we are serving the devotees, we are progressing.

If we see the Lord as always judging people will not be attracted.

On harinama, we can see the variety of reactions of the people.

Some people say they do not believe in hell, but hell is around us.

If we see the various diseased conditions of the living beings are all curable by Krishna consciousness, our vision will be very optimistic.

We may not think we are so successful in our preaching, but actually many souls are becoming purified.

People needed to accumulate a lot of ajnata-sukrti so they can come to the point of desiring Krishna.

The Vedic culture is to treat your enemies in such a way that they forget their enmity.

In the west, we people tend to be inimical to people in general and have a few friends. Our task is to become friends of everyone.

In the west, even if people get together, they still maintain a sense of their space around them, but in India it is not like that.

The demonic people like to be in ignorance, and they cannot hear about the Lord and His philosophy so they protest again it.

Our faith must develop into conviction.

Spiritual life may not be easy, but material life does not work out.

We do not think of devotees as our enemies, but sometimes we do not think devotees are our friends. Some devotees have different ideas about serving Krishna. Those who have similar ideas can cooperate and serve together.

Once we had more aspiring devotees than we had rooms in Mayapur. I suggested we use some of the guesthouse rooms for bhaktas, and so there was some disagreement.

When the Ganges comes to the heavenly planets, the demigods become eager to carry her in different pots instead of letting her run her course, because they want to get her mercy.

It is said the speaker of the Bhagavatam benefits the most, then the inquirer, and the next those who listen passively, for they are less involved.

When Srila Prabhupada was taking rest, he would not mind hearing kirtana.

By hearing about Krishna we are associating with Him. Our worship of Krishna is not just some quick thing like an arati. This is nice but as time goes on we learn how to worship in the way that those who know how to please Krishna worship Him.

Srila Prabhupada said, “People always had to do what I said. Even my parents had to do what I said. My classmates had to do what I say.” And even now so many people are doing what Srila Prabhupada said. He was always a leader.

Our nature may also stay the same and that is alright. If we are stubborn, we can be stubborn for Krishna. When I was sent to Vrndavana, I had so many plans for what I wanted to do. But I found Krishna wanted me to use my stubbornness in His service. He wanted someone who would stay there no matter what and deal with all the problems. I did not want to the quality of stubbornness in Krishna’s service, but it was His will. Our program is to use what is favorable for Krishna’s service and to reject that which cannot be used to serve Krishna. In Bg. 18.66 says in the first half of the verse that we must surrender to him, and in the second half Krishna says that he will remove the sinful reactions—the negative things that do not help us.

Prithu Prabhu suggested in the Prabhupada Samadhi that we have an artistic panel which on the outside that says “Tell everyone you meet about Krishna” and on the inside “Krishna is the original Supreme Lord.—krishnas tu bhagavan svayam.

Initiation lecture:

The holy name being Krishna Himself is sufficient to grant all perfection, what then is the need of initiation?

The difficulty is that we are very lazy and not determined, and therefore, accepting initiation is useful. We need to take shelter of the Vaishnava to progress.

If we give lust something it wants, it will still not be satisfied.

“Unless one is properly initiated, he can descend again into the animal species.”

In previous ages, they did not take vows—they were so responsible they did not need to.

The second initiation is not just a formality. We are expected to acquire the qualities of the brahmana.

Srila Prabhupada said in the material world one needs the qualification to attain a post, but in Krishna consciousness we attain the post and then acquire the qualifications.

Jananivasa Prabhu in Mayapur said, “It is very difficult to be a brahmana. I do not know whether I can do it this life.” If he cannot do it, what to speak of me.

After initiation one is never the same because he has a new responsibility. He may not take it seriously but the responsibility is there, nonetheless.

Anuttama Prabhu:

In Philly in ’75 when we gathered for Ratha-yatra, Srila Prabhupada gave a morning class on Ajamila. The temple was so full of East Coast devotees it was hard to find a good place to hear. Listening through the window, I remember Srila Prabhupada said, “Just like the police are everywhere and you can call an emergency number and they quickly come, similarly the Yamadutas are everywhere and come when needed.”

Illicit sex has been around since the beginning. By the grace of Lord Caitanya, the holy name, and the instructions of the guru, we are not affected as we chant on the beach.

We all have the potential to fall. It is our minute indepenence. Each day, we can do Krishna consciousness or something else. We do Krishna consciousness because material pleasure is limited and unsatisfying.

That Krishna expands for his ever-increasing bliss according to Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita 3.37 purport means Krishna wants someone to play with.

Even if we do not experience the higher taste, at least we know it is out there.

It is foolish to think maya has no effect on us. Maya is always testing us.

Bilvamangala Thakura also had a relationship with a prostitute like Ajamila, but because she was a devotee, she advised him to give his love to Krishna, thus in the middle of his life, he surrendered to Krishna and attained perfection. Ajamila, on the other hand, remained sinful throughout his life, until by chanting the name of his child, who was named after Lord Narayana, he was freed from sin and given the chance to engage in devotional service.

We need good association because we have a tendency for maya. With good friends and a good spouse, we can be woken up if we fall into the slumber of maya.

Srila Prabhupada never condemned any devotee who fell into maya. He always wished they would come back.

Ayana means wandering, and ayana means resting place, so Narayana guides the wandering of all entities or is the resting place of all entities.

Srila Prabhupada said, “It takes a gallon of my blood to make one devotee.”

Q: Lord Caitanya prayed, “Na dhanam . . . na sundarim… Some devotees have these and not distracted…”

A: We do not need these for ourselves but for preaching.

Prithu Prabhu:

Q: Should the householders come to the temple or make their home a temple?

A (by Prithu Prabhu): No temple is well managed unless all the orders of spiritual life are present. Householders can participate in temple activities, support such activities, preach to new householders about how to do it, etc.

It is not enough just to have Deities in your home. Every Hindu family has Deities in their home. Govardhan, a big gunda (thief), would have deities of Radha-Krishna in his home. I got a property from him so I became friends with him. He invited me to come for breakfast. He offered the food to his Radha Krishna Deities. He would pray to Them for people to rob. I asked him about the inconsistency in this. He replied, “I am a thief. It is my occupation. My father was a thief.”

A (by Kavicandra Swami): Making the home a temple means you invite people and engage them in Krishna activities. The people who do not feel comfortable coming to the temple can come to the householders houses.

Ignorance means you hurt yourself and others. A ’60s band member told a journalist his bad health was due to “the sins of his youth.” In passion, you succeed at the expense of others. Goodness means you know you are God’s son, and therefore, we have an obligation to Him.

In Russia it is so hot this August that people take shelter of the rivers to cool off, but because they are drunk on vodka and do not know how to swim, they are drowning by the hundreds. This is ignorance.

People with spirituality do not try to unnecessarily exploit the resources of nature. To make more such people is the solution to the environmental crisis.

Nothing else matters but that we cut the chain of material existence. Anything that does not cut it is maya.

When we chant Hare Krishna, even the pigs laugh at us, but it does not matter.

Sanatana Goswami had a touchstone in his rubbish because it had no value for him.

People my age, who led a material life, look like they just came out of the grave. They do not know what they are doing or where they are going. But we know where they are going.

They sing, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” That they try for their own satisfaction means they are demons.

The real question is how to get out of the prison of the material world. We must know “aham brahmasmi” [I am spirit]. There are 4 million people in Berlin. If you ask them, “Who are you?” How many will answer “Aham brahmasmi.” That is the best answer, but how many know?

In this world, we strive for money and reputation. I want to be a big kirtana leader. I want to be a big rock star. It is all stupid. It is all maya. But it is very difficult to overcome. Krishna says only by surrender to Him can it be overcome. Maya keeps the insincere people away from Krishna. We all have some insincerity, which drives us to activities that have nothing to do with cutting the cycle of birth and death. Attachment to matter is very strong. The question is how to get out. Srila Prabhupada was very kind. He was not attached to matter. He came and he started this society of Krishna consciousness. He is one in a million people. We have not seen anyone on the level of Srila Prabhupada who kindly came to set us free from material existence. Of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s disciples, our Srila Prabhupada was a diamond among a bunch of jewels.

In Mayapur once Prabhupada said in a lecture, “Because we have a temple, so many people are coming to hear. Without a temple that would not be.”

This is the anniversary of the incorporation of ISKCON. Prabhupada understood that unless there is a society the people will drift more and more into the material energy. They will go to the football matches, the universities, so much “asat-sanga [association with the impermanent].”

Hearing the holy name and chanting the holy name will protect us from being polluted by the material existence. But more is required. Temples are needed to help people to hear and chant the holy name.

I was temple president of Amsterdam. One man lived in a boat on the temple property. He just came for the Sunday feast, just for prasadam. I tried to convince him to do some service. He would not do anything. I finally kicked him out. He complained to Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada asked him what his service was. He said he had no service now. Prabhupada asked him what his service was in the past. Prabhupada asked, “How many books did you distribute? How many temples did you open?” When he said, “None,” Prabhupada agreed, “Prithu was right in kicking him out.”

Facility to live on the temple grounds helps us to participate in the temple programs. Like an ivy bush needs a tree to climb up, we need a structure, an institution, to support our spiritual practice.

Prabhupada went around the world and established one temple after another. That is what he did. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati wanted temples everywhere. That is Lord Caitanya’s desire that the chanting go everywhere. So there must be temples everywhere. Of course, we cannot miss the individual’s needs while supporting the institution. Both the development of the individual and the institution are important.

Some people leave temples and focus on their own spiritual development but that is not the desire of Srila Prabhupada. Every idea outside the idea of the acarya is useless.

Both a well-organized society and competent devotees are required. To focus on one or the other is immature and incorrect.

There must be brahmacaris and grhasthas both in a temple community. Both are required. Grhamedis should be criticized but not grhasthas.

Some temples in America have not seen brahmacaris for three decades. Because brahmacaris keep getting married, you have to keep making new brahmacaris. When there are no new brahmacaris, the temple dies. We see this in places like Heidelberg.

We have to go out distribute books, chant Hare Krishna, and create new devotees and build new temples. This is Prabhupada’s program.

There has to be an institution. We should not minimize it. We also must take care of the needs of the individual. To do one at the expense of the other is a materialistic idea.

If you preach something different from Srila Prabhupada, your swami hat will not save you. Renunciation means you give up your desire and follow the acarya.

The principle is not difficult. The application is difficult. This is a young society. We had these new gurus. One stressed the needs of the society but not the personal development of the individual. I talked to this guru. I said I understand we need gurus, but I do not understand how one can become a self-realized soul overnight by decree. He accused me of wanting to swallow him. I said, “I do not want to swallow you. I just want to discuss with you.” He replied, “Well, I want to swallow you, but because I cannot swallow you, I will spit you out. You have ten minutes to leave.” So my wife, kid, and I were on the street with no money for a meal the next day.

Hitler was a minority. How did he attain power? He offered to give the church whatever they wanted if they supported him. If the church opposed him from the beginning, there would be no concentration camps.

Krishna writes the script for Kali-yuga where people are bad.

I could beat you and say, “It is your karma, otherwise, I could not beat you.”

The fall of communism in Russia is directly a result of the Hare Krishna movement. They murdered and tortured so many devotees, Krishna had enough.

If there are enough devotees, we can change the whole history of the world.

Initiation comments:

I was sitting right next to Srila Prabhupada when he was talking about 1st class, 2nd class, and 3rd class men, etc. Someone in the audience accused him of claiming to be a 1st class man, but I could see that because of Srila Prabhupada’s natural humility, he was shocked. “No”, he said with complete sincerely and tears in his eyes, “I am actually a 5th class man because I am serving the 4th class men.”

The whole thing is about being connected and presenting what we have heard from the acaryas [previous teachers].

If we do not recruit new people, we will perish.

Srila Prabhupada said after the Mayapur temple opening, that without temple, if I speak a thousand people may come and then go away, but now that we have this temple, then will come again and again, and become devotees.

Devamrita Swami said that the people who come from yoga, come and remain interested only in yoga, but those who come from Srila Prabhupada’s books, become interested in the philosophy and become devotees.

Mother Sitala dd:

What we think about is important. First there is contemplation in the mind before some falling down. We must watch our mind and speech as they are an indication of where our consciousness is at.

Srila Prabhupada wrote me that we must be consciously engaged in devotional service 24-hours a day.

Srila Prabhupada repeatedly said, “Chant 16 rounds a day.”

It is not because of our practice we reach the goal, but because Krishna sees we are sincerely trying.

Srila Prabhupada explains Ajamila forgot Krishna, but Krishna did not forget Ajamila. Krishna thought, “Ajamila is attached to his child, so I will tell him to name him Narayana.” Krishna is so kind. Krishna thought, “He is a rascal. He made a big mistake. Let me help him.”

Srila Prabhupada was so grave it was frightening when he spoke on Ajamila in Vrindavana.

I have a friend whose mother, who was inimical to Krishna consciousness, was dying. She described being tormented by these creatures whenever she closed her eyes. She describes them just as they are in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Her daughter chanted Hare Krishna, and they went away. She wanted her daughter to stay by her side and chant.

I was in a car crash with a few devotees. As the car was turning over out of control, the devotee next to me yelled “Oh, sh__! I’m gonna die.” I thought “yikes, that’s not the right thing to say if this is it, and if she’s gonna

die, I probably am to,” and I started yelling, “Hare Krishna!” Now, this devotee next to me, was a very, very nice devotee, and she was certainly happy that it was just a trial run and not the actual moment of death. But, the point is that any moment we can be confronted with death, so we need to practice and practice chanting the holy name so we can do the right thing at the right time.

Raghunandananda Thakura gave invocation at Kheturi festival. Cupid, Pradyumna, is his identity. Mukunda, who was previously Vrinda Devi, was his father.

Raghunandananda Thakura was so insistent the deity eat his offering, the deity actually consumed it. His father had some doubt, as this never happened before, and so he secretly watched. Deity Gopal looked at Mukunda after eating half a laddu and stopped.

Prahlada Nrsimha Prabhu:

Because our kids are named in relation to Krishna we are always chanting Krishna’s names. This is very good. In South India they are always chanting om namo narayanaya. Vaikuntha reverberates with this mantra. Prahlad chants this and Narada also.

Ramanujacarya’s guru gave him a mantra that could grant liberation, but he was told to keep it a secret. Instead, he went to a prominent public place and announced to the people they could get liberation simply by chanting this mantra, om namo narayanaya. When his guru asked him why he did that, he explained he did not mind going to hell for disobeying his guru if so many others could be liberated. The guru realized that Ramanujacarya’s realization surpassed his own and blessed him.

The Krishna Deity, now installed in Udupi, which Madhva found in a block of gopi-candana a ship captain gave him, originally belonged to Queen Rukmini.

In Udupi, brahmanas bathe in a pond in front of the temple with their clothes on and do puja in that wet condition to remove contamination encountered enroute to the temple.

Only brahmanas and ksatriyas could see deity who faced north. One sudra sang sons of Vraja on the western side. The brahmanas wanted to stop him, but the wall crumbed, and the deity turned to face west.

Ratha-yatra is there each night in Udupi.

The Lord never forgot Ajamila’s service, and so He inspired him to name his son Narayana.

We have to follow the Vedic culture, like naming children after Krishna, because it is all good for us.

The red dot on ladies takes away lust in men. If the ladies do not cut their hair, their husbands have a long life.

We do not study as much as we hear the pastimes of the Lord. How do you study a sweet ball? No, you taste it.

We each feel a personal relationship with Krishna, and each of His forms and each of his devotees have relationship with each of us.

Vaishnava pranamas include all Vaishnavas in the universe, Hanuman, etc., because one day we will be in their midst.

Q: Only chanting Hare Krishna is said to be necessary, why Vedic culture?

A: It is the Lord’s culture. By chanting we develop this consciousness, and we learn how to act. Chanting bring us to this culture automatically.

Krishna-kripa Das:

Seeing Krishna is not easy.

a. Out of thousands among men one may endeavor for the perfection of understanding he is spirit not matter, but hardly one who has that perfection knows Krishna in truth. (Bg. 7.3)

b. Muktanam api siddhanam narayana parayana/ sudurbhatma prasantaya kotisvapi maha-mune. Out of millions of liberated and perfect beings, a peaceful devotee of Lord Narayana is very rare. (SB 6).

1. Kumaras—many births. Dhruva—six months. How long will it take us?

a. Srila Prabhupada said one life, if you follow the four rules and chant Hare Krishna.

b. Determination is very important.

c. Srila Prabhupada says although our austerities are nothing compared to what Dhruva Maharaja performed, we should emulate his enthusiasm.

2. Dhruva regretted his desire for material prosperity.

a. It delayed his return to the spiritual world.

b. It does not satisfy the soul. (SB 1.2.6)

3. Dhruva regretted his revengeful attitude.

a. He attained the Vaishnava quality of compassion.

b. He understood that others are acting as instruments of our karma.

4. What can we learn from this?

a. We should not desire materially or we will be detained in the material world.

b. We must be very pure in our intentions.

1. Demigods try to obstruct devotees.

a. Indra stole the horse from Prithu Maharaja’s sacrifice.

b. Siva was tempted by Cupid.

c. demigods send dancing girls to distract ascetics: Indra sent Menaka to allure Visvamitra.

2. If you approach Krishna for material things, he is kind and gives you His lotus feet.

a. Whatever you desire if you worship Krishna with one-pointed attention, you’ll attain the perfection of devotional service (SB 2.3.10).

b. Lord Caitanya expained, “Krishna says, ‘If one engages in My transcendental loving service but at the same time wants the opulence of material enjoyment, he is very, very foolish. Indeed, he is just like a person who gives up ambrosia to drink poison. Since I am very intelligent, why should I give this fool material prosperity? Instead I shall induce him to take the nectar of the shelter of My lotus feet and make him forget illusory material enjoyment.’

“Whenever Krishna is requested to fulfill one’s desire, He undoubtedly does so, but He does not award anything which, after being enjoyed, will cause one to petition Him again and again to fulfill further desires. When one has other desires but engages in the Lord's service, Krishna forcibly gives one shelter at His lotus feet, where one will forget all other desires.

“When someone engages in Lord Krishna’s devotional service for the satisfaction of the senses and instead acquires a taste for serving Krishna, he gives up his material desires and willingly offers himself as an eternal servant of Krishna.” (Cc. Madhya-lila 22.38-41)

Dhruva Prabhu:

That Ajamila was saying Narayana, “Narayana come eat. Narayana come drink. Narayana go to sleep,” means that Ajamila was remembering the Lord in all of his activities. To remember Krishna somehow or other in all our activities is the perfection.

In our neophyte stage we take more pleasure in finishing our sixteen rounds than in chanting our sixteen rounds.

We are fortunate that we are struggling together to chant rather than struggling alone for it is more difficult to struggle alone.

In the beginning chanting is a difficulty and later stopping chanting becomes a difficulty.

Our practice pays off in that we can remember Krishna at the time of death.

Ajamila saw one incident of an improperly dressed woman and man embracing, but at Woodstock we see thousands.

It is Srila Prabhupada’s mercy that wherever we go there is devotee association.

Q: If we have a job to do and do not do it, our authorities bring it to our attention, but if we do not chant our 16 rounds before taking rest, no one will say anything.

A: Just like no authority has to tell you to brush your teeth, because it is your own responsibility, similarly it is your own responsibility to chant your sixteen rounds.

Sad-bhuja Das KKS [temple president of Leipzig]:

Living in the country to try to make a spiritual life, one can see that he brings his city mentality with him, so that alone does not work. From attending Rainbow Gatherings, I see that the people there understand this and call it “Bringing Babylon to the Rainbow.”

People who know a lot of things do not inspire one much as those who have realization.

Q: So by doing service we become purified?

A: By absorbing our minds in service, we have no time to think of sense gratification.

Srila Prabhupada says if we think of ‘illicit sex’ we should see that Krishna reminding us not to engage in it.

We should try to find our own level of absorption in devotional service rather than being fully absorbed for one week and then abandoning devotional service altogether.

My comments:

My nirjala realization.—I found I could get absorbed in my computer services that six hours went by on nirjala Ekadasi, and I forgot completely about eating and drinking.

Both hearing and chanting are practical service.


hare krishna hare krishna

krishna krishna hare hare

hare rama hare rama

rama rama hare hare

iti sodasakam namnam


natah parataropayah

sarva-vedesu drsyate

“The sixteen names of the Hare Krishna maha-mantrahare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare, hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare—destroy all the inauspiciousness of the age of Kali. This is the conclusion of all the Vedas.” (Lord Brahma in the Kalisantarana Upanisad 5,6 of the Krishna Yajur Veda)