Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 7, No. 12
By Krishna-kripa das
(June 2011, part two)
(Sent from Oslo, Norway, on July 13, 2011)
Where I Was and What I Did
The second half of June was such a busy time for me, I get exhausted just thinking about it. I traveled in the North of England with Janananda Goswami, Adi Karta Prabhu, and Isvara Prabhu to several nama-hatta and home programs in Leeds, Sheffield, York, and Nottingham, and ending with a city festival the devotees put on in Leicester. Each day we did harinama for a couple of hours in a different city. After the city festival in Leicester, I returned to London for the Saturday night harinama and the Crawley Ratha-yatra the next day. Then I spent a day at the Manor, giving the morning and evening classes, and leaving that night to do harinama and prasadam distribution for six hours, from midnight to 6:00 a.m. at the Stonehenge Solstice festival attended by about 30,000 people. After a couple days of harinama in London, I went to the University of Leeds to attend and present a paper at an academic conference called “Empowerment and the Sacred” organized by Premanjali dd, a Ph.D. candidate and disciple of B. B. Govinda Swami. Then I traveled with a book distribution party from Scotland and lectured on faith and empirical evidence in science and religion at our nama-hattas in Leeds, Sheffield, and Preston, after doing harinama during the day, sometimes alone and sometimes with others.
I share lots of realizations from recorded lectures by Srila Prabhupada and Bhakti Tirtha Swami and from classes by Janananda Goswami, Adi Karta Prabhu, and Isvara Prabhu. I also share excerpts from Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami's latest book, Prabhupada Smaranam. I tell about some results of the Gouranga campaign in Scotland and the North of England, and about a youthful devotee with a lot of energy who served at the Soho temple for two years.
Scandinavian Ratha-yatras: July 8–16
Croatian Harinama Tour: July 19–30
Poland Woodstock: August 1–7
Berlin: August 8–10
Belfast: August 11-18
Trutnov Open Air Festival (Czech Woodstock): August 18–21
Leipzig?: August 22–23 (Janmastami, Vyasa Puja)
Polish tour: August 24–28
Kirtana-mela, Leipzig: August 29–September 4
Lvov, Ukraine?: September 6
Kharkov, Ukraine: September 7–8
Ukraine Festival: September 9–15
Boston Ratha-yatra and Prabhupada festival: September 17–18
New York: September 19–23?
Philadelphia Ratha-yatra: September 24–25
Albany: September 26–30?
Arizona, Nevada, Florida: October–December
Traveling with Janananda Goswami and His Party
It was nice going on harinama in a different city each day. Janananda Goswami is able to encourage people, especially young people, to participate by chanting and dancing, and that makes it all the more lively. In Nottingham, one girl danced with our party at five separate points in our harinama. During our journey it was inspiring to hear the realizations of all the senior devotees in the party. It was also refreshing to hear Adi Karta Prabhu leading a few harinamas.
Our party, mostly of devotees from the Bhaktivedanta Manor, led by Parasurama Prabhu, and including Maha-Vishnu Swami, distributed prasadam and chanted from midnight to 6:00 a.m. This year differed from last in that we had a Ratha-yatra from roughly 1 a.m to 3 a.m. I never remember as a Hare Krishna devotee doing Ratha-yatra at that time of night before. Maha-Vishnu Swami had an accordion with the text of the Hare Krishna illuminated so others could see and chant along and many did. Others read the mantra from the side of the cart and also chanted along. Some attenders were very happy to see the Hare Krishnas as their festival, although at least one wondered why the Hare Krishnas were at a Druid festival.
Empowerment and the Sacred
I never planned to present a paper at an academic conference as I do not really feel academically qualified, however, I find I often end up doing things I never planned on doing and this was another. My friend Bhakti Rasa Prabhu, from Newcastle, who is getting a degree from a Wales university, invited me to attend a conference he was attending called “Empowerment and the Sacred” and possibly present a paper. Premanjali dd, an organizer of the conference, knew me from my speaking at the Leeds nama-hatta last year and was eager to have more devotees present papers at the multidisciplinary conference she was co-organizing, along with Lori, her friend. Just the title “Empowerment and the Sacred” filled me with thoughts of how Krishna empowers people in general, and especially how he empowered Srila Prabhupada, and so I agreed to do it. I wrote about Srila Prabhupada and how his personal empowerment and his empowerment of his disciples could be seen from the point of view of Bhagavad-gita, saints in the tradition, and scholars of religion, and what theists can learn from these examples about becoming empowered themselves. It was a challenge, but I found it spiritually uplifting to glorify Srila Prabhupada, Krishna, and their devotees in that way. Kim Knott, a local scholar, who had written books and papers on the Hare Krishna movement and is favorable to it, thought my presentation was acceptable for an academic conference, although obviously more like that of a practitioner than an academic. She felt I could have made the people more ready for the final Powerpoint slide showing a list of qualities and activities leading to empowerment, and I could see her point. She indicated that some kinds of conferences are more suitable for practitioners to share their views and such a multidisciplinary conference as this was among the more favorable. Ironically at those conferences solely attended by religion scholars, one is less inclined to find appreciation for the views of those who practice the religions! I asked her if she would be willing to determine whether such a presentation as mine would be accepted at particular conference, and she agreed. I also asked Premanjali dd to look out for suitable conferences for me to present something. So I may in fact end up presenting papers at other academic conferences in the future.
Notes I took on the conference which relate to religion and may be of interest to devotees:
Kim Knott (University of Leeds)
Britain is becoming respiritualized.
One poll says two-thirds of people say religion has an important role to play in life, but also two-thirds say religion is more divisive than race.
People are more spiritual than religious, and people are less inclined to institutional religion. Religion is returning, but with many varieties and with variety both within and between groups.
Kim Knott sees three divisions regarding religion: religious, secular, post-secular, and she argues there is no neutral point from which to view all three.
Interesting definition of sacred, Veikko Anttonen, 2000, 280-81:
“The sacred is special quality in individual and collective systems of meaning. In religious thinking it has been used as an attribute of situations and circumstances which have some reference to the culture-specific conception of the category of God, or, in non-theological contexts, to some supreme principle . . . [secular sacred things have to do with love, freedom, and other valued ideas]”
Post-secular includes those who value humanistic values like equality but want to add the mystical like some satanists, or geographers who want to include the idea of the sacred in their field. The term post-secular is become more and more popular and even councils [what they call the local government bodies in England] are using the term.
Phrases like “unholy alliances” signal something worthy of investigation.
Religion, Education, and Empowerment—A Conversation Between the Baroness Professor Haleh Afshar, Dr. Robert Beckford and Shaunaka Rishi Das:
Baroness Haleh Afshar:
Religion is not necessarily developed by education.
Some people are so devout, that because of tight frameworks imposed by their others or themselves, they cannot see beyond their particular vision.
When women began studying the Koran, we found women are entitled to wages for housework and for suckling their baby, and that marriage was meant to be a contract. So in fact, we found Moslems were feminists but did not realize it.
Dr. Robert Beckford:
We should teach about religious leaders who actually changed something.
Shaunaka Rsi Dasa:
I had to go through an interreligious dialog within myself, going from a Irish Catholic to becoming a Vaishnava Hindu.
I find we use God and soul in completely different ways, so we have not had a real dialog in England with those of Eastern traditions.
Because of my Irish Catholic background, I was able to help the dialog between the Hindus and the Oxford theologians, and some Hindus appreciated I was just the person who was needed to do it.
Dr. Robert Beckford:
I like to read Jesus as someone simultaneously reforming a corrupt religion and someone fighting against the impediments toward spirituality presented by the Roman Empire.
Shaunaka Rsi Dasa:
Rg Veda has an idea of cosmic order which is common to Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions.
Locke came up with the idea of private and public space—secularism. This was an experiment and one that is not necessarily successful.
Lack of education in religion breeds fundamentalism, both theistic and atheistic, and that is not good.
I was an Irish Hindu and that was a problem for some of the Oxford wallas, and it still is, and to see that was disturbing for me.
We all live in a world of advantages and disadvantages, and we have to make disadvantages into advantages.
We have to show how a religious man can think broadly.
Baroness Haleh Afshar:
I find the Moslem men to be the most narrow, and among them, most narrow are the Moslem religious leaders.
Although people love to talk about wives submitting to husbands, in Islam, there is only submission to God.
If you have interesting ideas, universities are a great place, while people are still questioning.
Shaunaka Rsi Dasa:
I will accept both ideas of education within and outside the university, because I am Hindu, and we can see either or.
Knowledge is nonsectarian.
Thinking outside the box naturally disturbs people who think inside the box. It is important to ask challenging questions. It does not mean to undermine the faith of those who think in the box, but to develop their faith.
Dr. Robert Beckford:
I would consider myself a failure if I was not in trouble. I think theologians are meant to cause trouble.
Every Muslim man thinks he has the right to beat his wife, but if you look at the text as it is, it says if you have a disagreement, you should work it out, and if you can't work it out, you should live separately, and if that does not solve it, you can strike. Strike does not mean in the sense of hitting, but in the going on strike and withholding services.
Shaunaka Rsi Dasa:
In the west there is a differenc between philosophy and religion, and in India philosophy and religion go together. Thus in the western academies, although India has been independent for 60 years, there is real inability to really communicate with those of Indian thought.
Matters of faith need to be be discussed.
Shaunaka Rishi (Oxford Centre of Hindu Studies)
The Educational Needs of the Hindu Community in the UK:
There are samprayada schools, like the ISKCON school and the Swami Narayana school.
The ISKCON Avanti school has branches in Harrow, Leicester, East London, and a secondary school.
The Oxford Center for Hindu Studies (OCHS) is the only one of its kind in the world, because it brings multiple disciplines and theology in one place.
Starting the OCHS, I found Hindus do not have an interest in academic study of their own tradition, and it was difficult to convince them of the need for it and to get support.
The ISKCON Avanti school had difficulty finding qualified practicing Hindus to be teachers. They had to go beyond ISKCON, and even beyond Hindus to find teachers.
87% of British-born Hindus between 14 and 17 said their greatest fear was how to teach their children about their tradition.
Lack of education about their own tradition is becoming a concern for Hindus.
In the 1830s British began missionary activities and other countries followed suit.
At one point in the past, according to a poll, 37% of people in Ireland said all Hare Krishnas should be driven out of Ireland.
I encountered two amazing instances of blindness:
A Hindu man whose son wanted to marry a white Irish Catholic girl who was speaking words of lamentation to me about that while I was standing there with my wife, also from a white Irish Catholic background.
The Belfast man asking if I was a Catholic from Ireland because of my accent, although I was dressed as a Hare Krishna monk.
Integration means you do not lose your voice. Assimilation means you blend in with everyone else.
I see that of the people graduating from the OCHS many are vocational scholars
Robert Ivermee (University of Kent)
The Religious and the Secular: Bengali Muslims and the Calcutta Madrasa:
One solution to the problem of the absence of religion is to have neutrality of religion where each religion has some time in addition to the secular subjects.
Professor Neil Whitehead (University of Madison)
Divine Hunger—The Cannibal War-Machine:
There is a relationship between the free market economy and violence and war. War is used as an image and we have “war on cancer,” “war on hunger,” “war for freedom,” etc.
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war.”—Shakesheare
The divinity of kings was replaced by the divine free market economy.
There is a cannibal war machine exploiting indigenous people and using violence to take their natural resources, and thus increasing its own profit and sensual enjoyment.
“The Kingdome of God is gotten by violence...”—Hobbes, Leviathan XV
The cannibal war machine now does not even require the state. It is beyond national interest.
U.S. military energy consumption is 524 trillion BTU and is 10 times that of China and 30 times that of Africa.
The new world order is violent. The cannibal war machine profits from creating disorder and using war to reestablish it.
I will say it was pretty depressing to write this.
To speak about things that nobody wants to speak about is a duty of the academics, who have a long term culture memory.
Unveiling the war machine is the beginning of fighting against it. Like any other human problem, recognizing it is the beginning of solving it.
It is not that war machines have not existed and have not gone out of being because they become unprofitable.
Understanding how we look from the point of others is the beginning of understanding what is going on.
To change the situation, we are going to have to get people to give up things we do not need, and that will be difficult.
Academia is part of the war machine, and now anthropologists are being recruited for military purposes, at salaries far more than universities can offer.
Laura Desfor Edles (California State University, USA)
What is Sacred? The Symbolic Landscape of Christianity in the United States Today:
The religious right is so powerful in the U.S. because of financial resources and because of the ignorance of the American masses.
Sociologists point out that the U.S. is the most religious of industrial nations, but at the same time, has the least knowledge of religion.
Still, progressive Christian groups are rising in America. They consider the election of Obama, who they consider as one of their own, a great victory.
Progressive Christians have symbolic difficulties.
Any evangelical will say “Yes” to the question “Is Christ the only way?” and thus Larry Falwell thinks Jim Wallis, a progressive Christian, is not a Christian at all, because he will not say “Yes” to that question.
Progressive Christians value one's individual spiritual journey.
The religious right acts as if they own the title Christian, and thus some progressive Christians prefer to call themselves progressive spiritualists.
Progressive Christians honor the search and questioning, while the right honors boldly accepting the Bible as infallible.
The progressive Christians have a bumper sticker, “Able to think and pray.”
Some of the progressive Christians say, “Jesus did not turn anyone away, and neither will we.”
Jana Weiss (University of Munster)
Civil Religion as a Rhetorical Instrument of Empowerment: The Martin Luther King Day in the United States:
There is an idea of civil religion in which Martin Luther King is a modern prophet.
Civil religion can empower minority groups.
“If George Washington symbolizes the creation of the Union and Abraham Lincoln its preservation, Martin Luther King symbolizes the continuing effort to confer its benefits on every citizen.” (New York Times, January 15, 1986).
Civil rights and King have been integrated into the civil religion.
Although Reagan signed the proclamation to establish the King holiday, he previous opposed such an idea, thus there was a cartoon showing him to be lamenting while he signed the bill.
The idea of civil religion can be traced to some of the French enlightenment philosophers.
Lindsay Driediger-Murphy (University of Oxford)
Divine Commands, or Commanding the Divine? Religion and Empowerment in the Roman Republic:
Romans used divination, interpreting divine omens, signs, etc. before acting in political decisions.
People who took the signs to heart could think that because they got the signs had the gods on their side.
There is a case when a Roman leader did not march on his enemies, following certain signs of divination, and was later vindicated when it was revealed that he would have been ambushed had he continued to march toward them.
Persons lost and regained power through submission toward gods.
“It is because you conduct yourselves as less than the gods, you rule.”
Scholars tend to talk about rituals that were practiced rather than the actually beliefs of the performers and that is something that needs to be addressed more.
Philip Lockley (Oxford University)
Awaiting or Making the Millenium’: Visionary Rituals, Agency and Socialism in Industrial England:
“I have it in my power to take active measure in furthering or attempting to further, the cause of human redemption. It is by human agency it can be done. We are fellow-workers together with God.” James Smith, “The Redemption of Man”
Luis Guilherme (University of Abersystwyth, Wales)
Can there be Empowerment without the Sacred?:
Neitzche saw the end of a transcendental God. Now we have so many small gods, rock stars, athletes.
Måns Broo (Åbo Akademi University)
Constructing Sacred Practice Yoga in Turku, Finland:
Some see yoga as the search for wellness.
Yoga teachers universally value the philosophy of yoga, most having tried to read Patanjali's yoga sutras, but most preferring popular contemporary yoga writers.
Some say yoga gives freedom from competitiveness.
By and by, the practice makes you feel lighter, and you identify yourself less with the physical body.—realization of a yoga practitioner
Among modern America college students, more value personal identity rather than social identity as in the past.
Yoga practitioners do not usually proselytize yoga among their nonyogi friends.
Some yoga people accept many teachers, and often they have no single authority.
Yogis seek and report satisfaction through their practice.
Belief may or not be there, but the practice is the key thing for the yoga practitioners.
Suzanne Owen (Leeds Trinity University College)
‘From Secular to Religious? Druidry and the Charity Commission Decision:
The Druids became registered with the England and Wales Charity Commission as a religion, although they had no supreme being, and had to settle on 'nature' as the supreme being to fulfill that requirement.
There is a movement to unify all the pagan groups so that they will be seen as a larger movement.
Tehri Utrainen (Abo Akademi University, Finland)
Angelically Resources: Young Finnish Women working with Michael and Co:
In Finland, among many women, many of them belonging to the Lutheran Church, there is an interest in cultivating relationships with angels, which often alienates them from their contemporaries.
You can find parking places and lost objects with angels, gain clarity of emotions, cut unbeneficial emotional ties, meditate, get guidance, and go on trance journeys.
Some people come to depend completely on these angels.
All these women had suffered from depression, a very deep loneliness, in the past, and they find companionship with the angels.
They find new friends, giving up old ones, who cannot appreciate their interest in angels.
Tina Eftekhar (University of York)
Iranian Women’s Empowerment in “Inter-Universal Mysticism”:
Over the last thirty years there is a growing “Inter-Universal Mysticism” movement within Islam in Iran which involves getting aligned through intuition with Mohammed. People find they gain confidence, become motivated, and attain peace of mind through the path. In particular, women within Islam who are frustrated by restrictions placed upon them find liberation and empowerment through the “Inter-Universal Mysticism.”
The ladies who become empowered through the practice do not become feminists but come to see in terms of human beings and not in terms of gender.
Roy Ward (University of Leeds)
Jack Kerouac’s “Wake-Up” and the Creation of Beat Buddhism:
There is an Avalokitsvara, a bodhisattva with 1000 arms which manifest to express his compassion.
‘Evidence of Empowerment in the Hare Krishna Movement:
Krishna tells in the Gita how he provides what His devotee lacks and preserves what he has. Founder-acarya of ISKCON, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, came to the west without funding or followers, and no plan to attain these other than presenting his chanting of Hare Krishna, and lectures and literature on Krishna and His instructions, and yet he was blessed with followers who funded and helped him expand a worldwide, yet very complete, transplant of traditional Krishna bhakti in an alien culture, amazing religion scholars such as Harvey Cox and Tom Hopkins. Prabhupada credited his success to faith in his guru and the holy name. One Godbrother also praised his faith in the holy name. Prabhupada's prayers on coming to America reveal his great humility. Scholars praise his determination and devotion. Also amazing was his ability to empower people to take on tasks they never dreamed of doing in the service of Krishna, which astounded Tom Hopkins. After giving examples of empowerment of his disciples I conclude with a list of qualities leading to empowerment in a theistic context: humility, determination, devotion, prayer to the Lord for empowerment, faith in one's spiritual preceptor, and faith in the holy name of the Lord.
North England Nama-hattas
Two weeks after attending the Leeds and Sheffield nama-hatta programs with Janananda Goswami I went back as the speaker and talked about faith and empirical evidence in science and religion. I found in both of the cities one lady had come for the first time two weeks before and then came each week for the next two weeks. It is nice to see new people becoming regulars at the programs. One of the leaders of the Sheffield program loves the chanting, and I told her about the monthly harinama in nearby Manchester which she did not know about but was ecstatic to hear about. I traveled with the book distributing brahmacaris in their van, and I got an increased appreciation of their austerities for Srila Prabhupada's mission by doing so.
Insight from Lectures
This present government encourages liquor, but Maharaja Yudhisthira's government would not do so. That is the difference. One drop of wine makes a place impure. Here they put things in to alcohol to sterilize them but according to the Vedic understanding that makes them more impure.
Only the holy name can purify the sinful situation. No other yajna will be effective.
Even just drinking water or grinding spices so many living entities are killed, and thus five kinds of sacrifice are recommended to counteract this. But in this age, simply by chanting Hare Krishna we become purified.
When the king hangs a murderer, he is helping him atone, otherwise he will be slaughtered in the next life.
In this world people have propensities for meat eating, intoxication, and sex life, but the Vedic way is to restrict them. Sex life is restricted by marriage. Restriction is needed for meat eating, intoxication, and sex life because they are bad. There is law you cannot brew liquor at home but not that you cannot cook chapatis.
Human life is meant for purification of existence. Due to impure consciousness we have to transmigrate from one body to another. All purification methods are based on cleansing the heart.
The scientists cannot understand this movement because they cannot perceive the soul.
If we understand the repetition of birth and death is a disease, we can take the cure of the tapasya. The Krishna consciousness movement is for creating tapasvis, who can purify themselves from having to continue transmigration.
The yajnas showed the power of Vedic mantra by immediately giving the sacrificed animals new bodies.
Only the sankirtana yajna is recommended in this age. Everyone can join it.
Bhakti Tirtha Swami [from a video lectures]:
Srila Prabhupada did not think small, and he did not want us to think small. If we think small, we are denying the unlimited potency of the Lord.
I am more in awe of what Srila Prabhupada has given as the years go on. If our appreciation is not increasing, we are cheating. We are committing offenses that block our progressive advancement.
Lack of gratitude is a great obstacle. If we are telling Krishna, due to ingratitude, “You are supposed to be merciful to the your devotees, but somehow you missed me.” He is not like to give us more mercy.
Lord Caitanya is standing there in Mayapur with His huge arms, as if he is overseeing the universe, which He is.
Prabhupada wanted life-size deities so we would take them to be more real.
By inviting the Lord, we are showing the Lord we are serious about the relationship.
By inviting the Panca-tattva, we have to upgrade our relationship. As the Panca-tattva manifests more and more each day during the installation festival, we are getting more and more ready to receive the Lord. The more we think of doing our service for the pleasure of the deity, the more the community is brought together. The deity is a great way to access the spiritual world.
The little building with a few attendants known as the embassy can enable or block our entry into a whole country. Similarly treating the temple and its residents properly we can attain the spiritual world.
There are some monks in Ukraine who were buried alive in small rooms to focus on their devotional practice with just their rosary. In many cases after they left their bodies, their bodies did not decompose because of their advanced spiritual state. If our sannyasa vow was like that, I never would have volunteered.
When we have darsana, Krishna is looking to see if we have become like the residents of Vrndavana, and are thus ready to come back to the spiritual world.
We should consider what we have to do to change our consciousness now that the deity has come. We should see everything at the temple to be the property of the deity.
Every religion is being studied closer as so much terrorism has been there in the name of religion.
The biggest demons were not those who do sins without regret, but those like Ravana and Putana, who directly attack devotees and the Lord and subvert their plans.
Difficult situations we go through with others can really bring us together. I was in Christchurch, and after the earthquake people who never talked to each other were helping each other.
The material world is a reflection of the spiritual realm, and we can learn something of the spiritual world from this world.
Ignorance is a cause of distress.
There is some comparative relief in this world but not complete satisfaction.
Because we have a relationship with the material world, we are affected by it.
All of us have gifts to offer, and to offer gifts to God is the perfection of giving.
Srila Prabhupada gives the example of the father, who gives a chocolate bar to his son, and the son offers a piece of it back to the father, to illustrate the principles of giving to God.
By giving the gift the holy name brings us together, and it purifies us.
We have different bodies and minds and we judge each other according to this, but in actuality from the spiritual point of view, we are equal.
Realization of spiritual truth cannot be realized on our own. We need God's grace.
That we have a body and food to eat is Krishna's mercy.
It is not that God wants us to suffer. But when one breaks the rules he suffers. The suffering can be a learning experience that will help us. God does not want to punish us for the sake of punishment. We do not want to just relieve people from their suffering, but we want to relieve them from the cause of suffering. A prison is not meant to be like a Hilton Hotel for it is meant to rectify.
The weekly Leeds program got seven new guests. Organizer Raghunatha Bhatta Prabhu explains that the two-hour harinama in the city center, ending one hour before the program, during which they distribute invitations with a catchy topic, is their strategy for popularizing the program, and it works. Each week they get at least one or two new guests, but this week was exceptional.
It is a sin to identify with the body. We think, “How's that? I am not doing any harm thinking I am my body.” But actually the misidentification with body causes lust, greed, and anger, and compels us to do so many sinful activities.
I like drama because our situation in this material world is just like that of someone playing a role in a drama.
There is a casino in Melbourne, Australia, in which an average of one person commits suicide each day from gambling losses. This is madness.
When I was young I was one of 250,000 people who came to see Mick Jagger at Hyde Park, and we each had to pay five pounds to get in, which was a lot in those days. Then we heard him, this hero of ours, singing about how he has not got no satisfaction. I felt like I got ripped off.
Our frustration in this world is because we cannot experience the unending knowledge and happiness our soul seeks.
One magazine predicted in 1955 that the biggest problem in 1995 would be boredom because machines would take over the work people previously had to do. In reality, people are working longer hours in 1995. In 1955 the ladies generally did not always have to work, but now husband and wife have to work just to survive.
We are impressed with the beauty of others, and say, “I love your eyes” but if the eyes were plucked out and given to us, we would be disgusted. In this way, we can see material beauty is an illusion.
Comment by Adi Karta Prabhu: Alfred Ford's aunt had a tracheotomy because of cancer, yet she was so addicted to smoking she continued to smoke cigarettes through the hole in her throat.
Even while living in this world, by spiritual practice we can experience the happiness we are looking for.
Q: Why is a dog satisfied with its lot in life and a human not?
A: All our senses are agitated by their different objects, and so we are not satisfied
There was a man who was swept up in the tsunami off Indonesia and survived. Then a year later, he slipped and fell face down in a puddle of water and drowned. Thus our karma follows us and is inconceivable.
If we consider everything to be Krishna's and think how to engage it in His service, our anomalies will decrease.
The Muslims in England really like the harinamas. They will dance with you and have their pictures taken with you. The Muslim section of Oxford Street, just before the Marble Arch, is the best place for positive response to harinama on the whole street.
The greatest benediction is to connect people with Krishna consciousness.
If you have great wealth and you do not share it or if you have medicine for a disease and you do not make it available, you are a great miser. Similarly if you have spiritual knowledge to end all one's miseries and bless one with eternal life and you do not distribute it, you are a great miser.
My father would watch TV till 11:00 p.m. every night, and exclaim, “All rubbish!” and turn it off, and the next night do the very same thing.
Many people had heard of the chanting of Hare Krishna, but they have not heard suddha-nama. But Srila Prabhupada has given us the pure holy name.
Good things take some time, and so it is with developing love of God.
The greatest happiness is, somehow or other, to share Krishna consciousness with others. Isn't it? Maybe we do not do it as much as we did, but we remember it is the best thing we've done.
Because we are part of Krishna, if we please Krishna by sharing knowledge of Him, He will be pleased, and we will be pleased.
I have a friend who is a psychologist. He tells his patients who are depressed to outstretch their hands over their heads and then be as miserable as they can. He finds they they smile and break out of their unhappiness.
In a letter to Dayananda Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada told us to pray like this, “My dear Krishna please remind me to chant Your holy name. Please do not put me into forgetfulness.”
If the devotees want you to go back to Godhead, what can Krishna do? He promises to fulfill the desires of devotee.
Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:
from Prabhupada Smaranam, manuscript:
This is a picture of night sankirtana in downtown Boston in 1970. The Broadway musical “Hair” was showing at the theater in Boston. “Hair” was a musical about what hippie life was like in the 1960s and the very last scene ended with the entire cast singing the Hare Krishna mantra. The devotees took the opportunity to stand right outside the theatre and chant Hare Krishna to the exiting theatre goers who had just heard “Hare Krishna” sung in the theatre. The devotees would distribute handfuls of burning incense and hold out conch shells asking for donations. The crowd was in a good mood having just heard the Hare Krishna mantra and when they saw the nontheatrical authentic version of Hare Krishna chanters it warmed them up. Devotees would usually collect forty of fifty dollars within a few minutes and thoroughly enjoy themselves chanting in such a heart-warming atmosphere.
“He [Prabhupada] has emphasized book distribution, but Jiva Gosvami said Deity worship is also necessary for purification. Prabhupada has purified the world with Deity worship.” (p. 197)
“When I received initiation, Prabhupada said in his speech that the daksina or obligation that the disciple owed the guru was to preach Krishna consciousness on his behalf.” (p. 212)
“Before he [Prabhupada] came to America he visited the prisons in India and gave lectures to the inmates trying to reform them.” (p. 231)
from Journal and Poems, Book I (January-June 1985), “Beyond Dogmatics” quoted in Vihara Bhavan #324, “OLD FRIENDS”:
“To say that no one can have absolute knowledge is to become an absolutist oneself.”
from Japa Transformations, quoted in Vihara Bhavan #352, “Selections from Published Books”:
“I remember Prahladananda Swami’s three tips on chanting: (1) Hear the syllables carefully; (2) Have faith you are reciprocating with the Divine Couple; and (3) enjoy the chanting.”
Adi Karta Prabhu:
The scientists cannot explain how the pyramids were constructed but they still maintain that man thousands of years was very primitive.
The problems with the teachings of Jesus is that because he did not write any books and because there was no recording equipment we do not know exactly what they were. Some teachings were written down fifty years later.
How could you love someone who sent billions of people to hell forever? It is an absurd idea. We understand if one even once calls out the name of Krishna, he can be freed from more sins than he can commit in one lifetime.
Most people do not know what love is. They just try to benefit the body. If I build a hospital and your life is extended twenty years, you are still going to eventually die, and you still do not know where you will go.
People are interested in personalities, movie stars, rock stars, athletes, etc. And therefore they should be attracted to Krishna, the supreme personality.
In forty-five years a survey states 40,000 churches will close in England, but although Krishna appeared five thousands years ago, Krishna temples are still being opened.
The goal of all religions is love of God, but the advantage of the Vedic tradition is there is so much knowledge of God that it becomes easier to love Him.
Janananda Goswami met a Native American scholar and descendent of the Sioux tribe on an airplane. In conversation the man described their history was they they came from India 20,000 years ago. There is an eagle on the top of the totem pole, and it is analogous to the Garuda stamba of India.
Janananda Goswami said one of the teenagers who saw us dancing on harinama in Belfast asked, “What are you guys on?”, thinking we had found a better drug than he had ever seen.
We should be convinced that this knowledge is perfect and is what will give the most benefit to this world.
Western culture is not based on spiritual principles.
If you take the chanting of Hare Krishna very seriously, you will realize material pleasure is insignificant.
We may say everyone should preach, but unless you experience pleasure from your spiritual practice, you will not feel inclined to preach. And if you do not take your spiritual practice seriously, you will not feel pleasure from doing it.
Which is more important you or your Frerari? You are of course, no one would be so foolish to think his car is more important than himself. But we do foolish think the body is more important our spiritual self. This is foolishness.
We do not need liquor to be happy, we are naturally happy.
from a conversation:
70% of Christians believe that Christianity is not the only way, and 40% of Baptists believe that Christianity is not the only way. One black Baptist minister taught his congregation namaste, the Indian greeting, saying it meant “I offer my respects to you” and that it expressed a superior mood of respect to American greetings.
If you fall in love with someone, you want to tell everyone about that person, and so it is with Krishna.
These young kids we saw in Nottingham today have the propensity to become devotees. They may look a bit grungy, but then again we looked grungy, back in the 70s when we joined this movement.
If you want to be part of ISKCON, you have to be a preacher.
Rama Carana Prabhu:
Rohini was the mother of the serpents, Kadru, in a previous life.
As soon as you are quiet, you find Krishna starts speaking to you from within, and because people do not like it, they keep themselves busy so they do not have to worry about Krishna speaking to them.
Mohammed gave basic moral instructions, even including you should not sleep with your mother or your sister, and it was too much some people and so he was chased into the mountains and was almost killed.
Krishna-kripa das [meditations]:
To Hare Krishna book distributors TLC means Teachings of Lord Caitanya, while to the people in general, it means “tender loving care.” In actually Lord Caitanya's teachings are His tender loving care for all the living entities who are His children, indicating how they can attain love of God, the ultimate goal of life, and the supreme spiritual pleasure.
British road sign: “Tiredness can kill. Take a break.”
Caitanya Vallabha Prabhu:
One couple wanted Gouranga engraved on their wedding rings because they liked the sound of it.
I told one lady I met to say “Gouranga,” and she said, “I always do.” I was surprised, and she explained “Whenever I see it written on a bridge, I always shout “Gouranga” until I get to the other side of the bridge.”
Bhakta John Prabhu:
I was working in Tesco, and a fellow asked to see my tattoo of the letters “GOURANGA.” After I showed it to that one person, the whole day all the other Tesco workers came up to me, wanting to see it themselves.
Ganesh [Nepali devotee living in York, England]:
I prefer Nepal to England. In England there is more facility, but no time to use it!
Notes on Goodbye Party for Ambika dd:
Ambika dd, a young devotee, left the Soho London ashram after two years to returning to the country she came from, and devotees spoke words of farewell.
Ambika dd found Krishna consciousness at age fourteen.
After a cold rainy Ratha-yatra she stayed up all night chanting with the devotees on Nirjala Ekadasi and then went to the whole morning program.
Akarsani Radha dd said, “One Muslim man was being very heavy with Ambika, but I was busy talking to someone else so I could not help her. After I finished talking, I look over and saw she was being very heavy with the Muslim man. Then man went away. I asked her if the man was very difficult to deal with. She said yes, but he was going to the ATM to get money to buy Bhagavad-gita because I insisted that he read it. And so he did.”
ye janah paryupasate
yoga ksemam vahamy aham
“But those who fully worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form—to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.” (Bhagavad-gita 9.22)