Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 8, No. 4
By Krishna-kripa das
(February 2012, part two)
By Krishna-kripa das
(February 2012, part two)
(Sent from on April 21, 2012)
(Sent from on April 21, 2012)
Where I Went and What I Did
I took a long train ride from Mumbai to Howrah, and then on to my eternal home, Mayapur Dhama, where I stayed for the rest of February, attending Suresvara Prabhu’s seminar on Srila Prabhupada, chanting at the Kirtan Mela, going to some discussions on Vedic cosmology between Danavir Goswami and Antardwip Prabhu, who researched the cosmology for the new temple in Mayapur, and resuming my participation in the Mayapur harinama party, of which I have some nice pictures by Mother Dvijapriya.
I have lots of nectar from the senior devotees who came to Mayapur for the festival. Bhakti Vikasa Swami, Danavir Goswami, Guru Prasad Swami, Indradyumna Swami, Niranjana Swami, Sundara Swami, Badrinarayana Prabhu, Anuttama Prabhu, Brghupati Prabhu, Dravida Prabhu, Hari Bhakti Vilas Prabhu, and Rajendranandana Prabhu. A Radha Krishna pastime story and many Prabhupada stories stand out.
I also share excerpts of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes and instructions from Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami’s book, From Copper to Touchstone, and elaborate notes on a seminar by Suresvara Prabhu about Srila Prabhupada.
March 31–April 24: Mayapur, India
April 26–April 27: Chennai, India
April 27–April 28: London, England
April 28–April 29: Radhadesh, Belgium
April 30: Amsterdam (Queen’s Day)
May 4–8: Simhachalam (Nrsimha Caturdasi)
May 9–June 1: The North of England
June 2–3: Birmingham Twenty-four Hour Kirtana
June 4–16: England
June 17: London Ratha-yatra
June 17–19: London
June 20–21: Stonehenge Solstice Festival
June 22–July 24: Belfast
July 25–27: Paris
July 28: Geneva
July 29–30: Zurich
July 31–August 5: Polish Woodstock
August 6–August 15: Croatian harinama tour or Berlin and the Polish tour
August 16–19: Czech Woodstock (Trutnov)
August 20–September 1: Croatian harinama tour or the Polish tour and Berlin
September 2–September 7: Kirtan Mela near Leipzig
September 8: Leipzig Ratha-yatra
September 9–15?: Ukraine festival
September 16–October 29?: Belfast and/or The North of England
November 1–November 18: Upstate New York (SDG and Ma)
November 19–December 15: Gainesville and Alachua Festival of the Holy Name
December 15–January 7, 2013?: Vaishnava Youth Bus Tour
January 8–April 20, 2013: Gainesville Krishna House
I was never one of these devotees who went to India every year. I went every six years, 1988, 1994, and 2000, but then in 2005, I took the Bhakti Sastri course, studying Bhagavad-gita and other basic bhakti literature in Mayapur, and I ended up staying unexpectedly for 7.5 months. I decided Mayapur was my spiritual home and wanted to come every year, and so I did for three years. I loved Mayapur so much I even invited my mother to visit me here and she did in 2007. Kalakantha Prabhu invited me to assist in the college preaching in Gainesville the winter of 2008–2009, so I missed that year, and I decided because of the expense and Prabhupada’s focus of sharing Krishna in the west to go every other year for two or three months instead of every year for one month. This time I was away from Mayapur for two years and one month, the longest time since I came in 2005. I planned to come in February for many months, but it was not till two days before my return flight to London, that I had money to buy a ticket from London to India. I was worried I would be stuck freezing in London for February and March. Thus I would like to thank all my friends who assisted me in coming to Mayapur: Narayana Kavaca Das and Baladeva Vidyabhusana Das of GN Press, Kalakantha Das (temple president of ISKCON Gainesville), Ali Krishna Dasi, Dr. Dina Bandhu Das, Pandava Das, Padma Seward, Bhakta Joseph Luciano, and Bhakta Adam (Nama-hatta leader in Katowice, Poland). I cannot express how happy I am to be able to come to the holy dhama of Mayapur and attend the Kirtan Mela and the Gaura Purnima festival. On top of that I got to attend a harinama program in Rishikesh, spend three days with the 24-hour kirtana party in Vrindavan, chant and dance in the Delhi Ratha-yatra, and I hope to attend the opening of the new temple in Chennai next Thursday. I am very grateful to you all, and I hope Lord Krishna blesses you with increased enthusiasm for spiritual life.
Welcome to India!
Although travel in India is cheap compared to the West, I always like to spend as little as possible, so when I found I could go from the Mumbai Airport to the Foreign Tourist Quota office at Churchgate Station to book a train to Howrah (Kolkata) and then to Radha-Gopinath Mandir (ISKCON Chowpatty) for 22 rupees ($0.44) when a cab from the airport to the temple alone was 300 rupees, I was very, very happy. My happiness faded, however, when the train conductor said because I accidentally got into a first-class compartment, not only would I have to pay the first-class price of 78 rupees, instead of second-class price of 8 rupees, but a 250-rupee fine. I could not believe it. I have traveled in many countries, and they never charge you more than the first-class price if you accidentally sat in a first-class seat, and usually they just ask you to move. I suggested he waive the fine, since I as a tourist did not know that rule. He acted as if to not charge the fine would be the ultimate breach of dharma. I told him the fine was completely ridiculous, and I would pay for the first-class ticket to where I got off, but not the fine, and he threatened to call the police. A bunch of people around us heard the discussion but no one took my side. Ultimately he reduced the fine from 250 to 190 rupees, but the whole affair was unsettling. Probably if I had been more peaceful and had seen him as a spiritual soul, and not as “another Indian who is scheming to take advantage of an ignorant Westerner,” things would have been better. At Churchgate, I filed a complaint form, but nothing come of it. No surprises there. Another slightly humorous aspect is that on the local trains the first-class compartment does not seem substantially more attractive than the general compartment, and unless you read the sign, you would never guess you were in a first-class compartment! Welcome to India.
The guest master in Chowpatty temple was very kind and gave me a room to rest and shower in before taking the evening train to Howrah. I thank him very much for that. I was inspired to give a donation because of their hospitality there.
Having attended the Kirtan Mela in Germany in the late summer, and having heard they were planning to do one in Mayapur, my desire to come to Mayapur increased many times. This time I was more successful at eliminating other distractions and focusing on the kirtana. The event was four days of twelve hours of kirtana a day, led by: BB Govinda Swami, Bhakti Caru Swami, Bhaktivaibhava Swami, Indradyumna Swami, Lokanatha Swami, Niranjana Swami, Yadubara Prabhu, Aditi Dukhaha Prabhu, Amala Harinama Prabhu, Brajraj Sharan Babaji, Haripriya devi, Jahnavi devi, Madhava Prabhu, Mayapur Chandras, The Mayapuris, and Nitai Priya Prabhu.
Niranjana Swami, Radhanath Swami, Lokanath Swami, Sacinandana Swami, BB Govinda Swami, Indradyumna Swami, and Madhava Prabhu are among my favorite kirtana leaders and it was beautiful to heard them sing one, two, three, or even four times throughout the four-day Kirtan Mela.
On the final day, I tried to do as many hours as possible. I had a big breakfast before the 12-hour kirtana began, and I skipped lunch to save time. I drank less than usual so I would not have to leave to use the bathroom as much. I even renounced using the internet! In that way, I went to 12 of the 13 hours. Although I have faith in the holy name and like to chant, I realize because I like to other things too, it was a stretch for me to do 12 hours. It still was wonderful and extra special to be there in Mayapur and in front of the Panca-tattva (Lord Caitanya and His principle four associates). Apparently Kirtan Mela is scheduled for five days at next year’s festival.
Mayapur Harinama Party
I like being part of the Mayapur Harinama Party. It is my service in the dhama. It is not as good as when Shastra Prabhu was personally running it, when we went out for three hours a day instead of two, and we also distributed prasadam at least once a week in nearby villages. Also we formerly went to a greater variety of places in the dhama, such as Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s home and the Rajapur Jagannath temple once a week. Still we have gone to Svarupa Gunj, Hulor Ghat, the Yoga Pitha (the birthplace of Lord Caitanya) several times recently. During the Gaura Purnima festival so many people visit our ISKCON project, mostly we chant there. Dharmatma Prabhu and Mother Dwijapriya often came and took pictures and these coming from them. There are many pilgrims wandering around with out much engagement and many surround the kirtana, some brave enough to sing and dance with us.
Nitai Priya Prabhu, Shastra Prabhu’s son, often played the accordion, and Vishnujana Prabhu from Slovakia, often played the African djembe drum.
Svarupa Damodara Prabhu from Ukraine, also sang often, playing his mini accordion.
I would dance as usual.
One day was Russian Day when Russian devotees played roles like speakers and kirtana leaders for one day of the Gaura Purnima festival. About 350 Russian devotees came on harinama.
A group of Russian ladies danced in front.
It is impressive for local people to see Westerners taking up Lord Caitanya’s mission with such enthusiasm. Here is a video a Russian devotee, Bhakta Timur, took of us on February 27, one of the slower days:
[For more great Mayapur harinama pictures, check out several albums taken by Mother Dvipapriya and posted on her Facebook site.]
Notes on Prabhupada Seminar by Suresvara Prabhu
Prabhupada disciple Suresvara Prabhu has a seminar he does, of various lengths, which glorifies Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acarya and principal instructing spiritual master of ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. I went to the five-day one which he did in Mayapur. His is doing this seminar in other parts of the world, including Ukraine, where he speaks and the Bhakti Sangama festival there in September.
Why I am doing this? We need more unity. That is all based on understanding our relationship with Srila Prabhupada.
I found my Bhaktivaibhava students did not appreciate that vapuh [personal service to Srila Prabhupada] and vani [executing Srila Prabhupada’s instructions] were equally valuable. They thought I was fortunate and they were not. I decided to rectify this.
Q: What are you interested in this seminar?
Mahamaya dd: I want to be armed for different issues that come up.
“If you love me you will cooperate,” Prabhupada said, and in this age of Kali (quarrel), that is the hardest thing to do.
Why do devotees want this seminar? Everywhere people tell me I really need this. Why is this? There isn’t consistent presentation of Prabhupada in ISKCON.
4700 people were initiated by Srila Prabhupada.
Transparency is the key.
Gopiparanadhana Prabhu said, “For us love of Prabhupada is tantamount to love of Godhead.”
Aniruddha Prabhu expressed to Prabhupada his great attraction for him and, Prabhupada replied, “What attracts you to me is my love for Krishna.”
Prabhupada said that his guru lives forever by his siksa [instruction] not his diksa [initiation] although both are true.
We are not Prabhupada fanatics, but Prabhupadanugas [followers of Srila Prabhupada].
The Janmastami and Vyasa Puja festival in 1972 in New Vrindavana was practically the biggest ISKCON festival during Prabhupada’s time with 1,000 persons attending.
After I asked in disgust at 18 after just a year of college, “Is this all there is to life?” My father told me, “Yes” with a knowing smile, and added, “You should find something to keep yourself busy for fifty or sixty years to keep from going crazy.” One devotee hearing that said, “Sounds like good advice.” “Yes,” said Suresvara Prabhu, “if you are an existentialist.”
In this world, you do not see absolute power and absolute humility in one place as we did in Srila Prabhupada. Thus everyone felt compelled to bow down in his presence.
On the issue of the fall of gurus after Srila Prabhupada:
“If the spiritual master . . . is averse to expanding the fame of Lord Krishna . . . then the spiritual master must be renounced . . . and in his place accept a Krishna consciousness spiritual master and worship him. (Sri Krishna Bhananamrita by Narahari Sarkara, verses 64–65)
Bhaktivinoda Thakura says if a guru is not competent to guide us, but he does not become a mayavadi, an offender to Vaishnavas, or an addict to sinful activities, then one can ask his permission to accept a siksa guru and serve him properly.
Even in Lord Caitanya’s time, there were gurus who had difficulties.
KISS: Keep it simple sadhu.
Our core identity is we are followers of Srila Prabhupada.
There should be no rush to initiation nor aversion to the prospect of it. There is too often peer pressure to get initiation or too much aversion to it because of fear of the guru falling down.
Even if a guru and disciple are both qualified it may be that there is incompatibly in some way.
Niranjana Swami corrected a disciple who glorified him for assisting the gopis in their service to Krishna [nikunja yuno rati-keli-siddhyai . . .], saying that was true of Prabhupada but not him.
We can see practically in India that the Madhva and Ramanuja samprayadas are so strong after so many hundreds of years because of their faith in their founder-acaryas.
I asked Gopiparahadhana Prabhu, “Who is the deliverer? Is it the diksa-guru? Is it the siksa-guru?” He said, “I am sure if I looked at all of Jiva Goswami’s books to find who is the deliverer, I am sure I could not pin it down to one person.”
It takes a sampradaya to raise a sadhaka.
Jiva Goswami wrote like the wind and never changed a word.
The founder-acarya takes the sampradaya in a needed direction.
In Brahma-vivarta Purana, there is a conversation in Dvaraka between Krishna and Ganga Devi. Ganga was lamenting for the disappearance of the Lord for people will bath in her waters and deposit their sinful reactions there. Krishna replied, “After five thousand years My mantra upasaka [worshiper of the holy name] will appear in this world and spread the chanting of My holy name everywhere.” Krishna explained that then many Vaishnavas would bathe in her waters and purify them.
Upon the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada, in perfect English, Akincana Krishna dasa Babaji Maharaja said to one Prabhupada disciple, “Did you know that your spiritual master is the greatest spiritual master who ever lived. Do you know why your spiritual master is the greatest spiritual master? Because he did what no one else ever did. He spread the chanting of the holy name all over the world.”
In Caitanya-Mangala, Narada Muni was visiting the spiritual world and saw Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya said, “With the powerful chopper of nama kirtana I will cut the knots of material desires of everyone. Even if the sinners reject religion or flee to foreign countries. I will send my military field commander [sena-bhakta] to go and deliver them.” That person was Srila Prabhupada.
When Srila Prabhupada said, “Your purpose is not strong.” in response to a journalist's inquiry “Why is maya [illusion] so strong?” These words blew us over and devastated us. That statement by Prabhupada was the final comment in his famous bhagavata dharma discourses.
“A personality will soon appear in order to preach the teachings of Sri Caitanya and move unrestrictedly over the whole world with His message.” (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sajjana-tosani, 1885)
There was renaissance in West that started the same time as Lord Caitanya began renaissance of bhakti.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura corresponded with American transcendentalists Thoreau and Emerson.
Prabhupada could not have come in the 1950s or in the 1980s when people were spiritually asleep.
For the first time in history the Vatican admitted that God could reveal Himself in other traditions.
“Study Bhagavad-gita and become a real man.” was Prabhupada’s early propaganda.
Srila Prabhupada was able to cut through differences of nationality, ethnicity, and race, and connect with people immediately on the spiritual plane.
During a 45-minute flight connection in Fiji, Prabhupada convinced an Indian gentlemen at the airport to start a temple in Fiji and so he did, later becoming GBC of Fiji.
Rupanuga was impressed at Prabhupada’s ability to spit an apple seed into the sink.
I could not understand what he said but I understood everything he said was true.
When interviewing Sridhara Maharaja for Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita, Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami asked if our Prabhupada was the only one Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura told to preach in the West. Sridhara Maharaja said, “Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was always telling us we had to spread this all over the world.”
CC Madhya 23.105 and SB 4.8.54 indicate Prabhupada’s vision for a worldwide movement.
Rajendranandana Prabhu shared that seeing Prabhupada’s humility [at the end of his life] in asking his godbrothers’ forgiveness was heart-breaking.
Comment by Mahatma Prabhu: Prabhupada had the ability to get people to perform beyond their realizations, and to come to practice Krishna consciousness before they would otherwise have been ready.
All the seven purpose of ISKCON involve education.
The “imbalance of values” refers to the present civilization’s focus on meeting the needs of the body and its relative neglect of the needs of the soul.
Srila Prabhupada accepted the importance of health, sadhana [spiritual practice], and seva [spiritual service].
Radha-Krishna are Mr. and Mrs. God.
The Latin root for the word “education” indicates leading out of darkness.
Srila Prabhupada wanted “plain living and high thinking” and “building a place of Krishna’s pastimes” as goals for his farm community of New Vrindavan in West Virginia.
There was a case, which made the cover of Life magazine, where 49 people heard the screams of someone being stabbed and bleeding to death on her fire escape and no one did anything to help her. Prabhupada heard about this and said it indicated people had lost their sympathy for others.
“If you cannot practice the regulations of bhakti-yoga then work for Me, for by working for Me, you will attain the perfect stage” indicates varnasrama, the society of four social divisions.
We are very comfortable with our products of passion and ignorance, and therefore it is difficult to for us to lead a truly simple life.
Varnasrama is a bridge to Krishna and also a bridge to the world, because people can relate.
One reason for the craziness of the material world is the attempt to be equal on the material platform.
The GBC asked me to research everything Prabhupada said about varnasrama dharma. I handed it off to Hare Krishna dasi. She found that Prabhupada used the term varnasrama dharma in four different ways.
It is Krishna’s brilliance that what we are attached to can be offered to Him, and thus we can attain liberation.
96% of the Vedas are karma-kanda [rituals for material elevation].
Prabhupada most lectured on the Bhagavad-gita verse, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Now hear, O son of Pṛthā, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.” (Bg. 7.1) and most quoted the verse “One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Bg. 4.9).
Formerly varnasrama colleges were not necessary as the culture was just passed down.
The idea was that after the bhakta program for new people one would go to a varnasrama college and find one’s place in this mission.
The ox is the practically the missing link in the salvation of the world. Often the Green Peace people and others do not understand the use of the ox for fertilizing and plowing the field. If the oxen are not used in these practical ways they will end up being killed for food, either veal or steak.
Prabhupada realized that everyone could not follow the strict Vaishnava life style, and therefore, implementation of varnasrama-dharma is necessary for people to be engaged and to advance spiritually.
From Christian marquis: “Your body is God’s gift to you, and what you do with your body is your gift to God.”
Srila Prabhupada liked Socrates’ response to his disciple about what to do with him after death: “You can do with me what you like, but first you have to catch me.” Prabhupada said this meant he was Brahman realized, or in other words, that he knew he was spirit and not matter.
Organizations that are successful put their people first, not their money, not their properties, and not “keeping the wheels moving.”
Srila Prabhupada spoke more about varnasrama than any other topic because that is Krishna’s social system for advancing in spiritual life.
One should not be in hurry despite social pressure, etc., to choose a spiritual master. Choosing a spiritual master is more important than choosing a spouse.
Chanting japa is more meaningful when we have a definite idea of the service we are praying to be engaged in.
Srila Prabhupada said the head cannot do the work of the leg and the leg cannot the work of the brain.
One college student is worth a hundred men on the street.
One Pennsylvania herbalist, who cured herself from cancer, analyzed the vegetation at Gita-nagari showing what was edible, medicinal, and cosmetic. She concluded that we were sitting on a gold mine, there is such biodiversity there.
“One must dedicate everything in the service of the Lord. If one is a learned scholar, scientist, philosopher, poet, etc., then he should employ his learning to establish the supremacy of the Lord. . . . The best thing is, after all, to get relief from all material activities and engage oneself completely in hearing the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. But in case of the absence of such an opportunity, one should try to engage in the service of the Lord everything for which one has specific attraction, and that is the way of peace and prosperity.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.32)
George Harrison said, “I wanted success but I never wanted fame.”
It is no surprise that at the end of his life Prabhupada asked us to cooperate because this is the age or quarrel and because his own guru’s mission was largely failing by lack of cooperation.
Prabhupada said to Srutakirti, “So, you just do your service”, he continued. “That is all that is necessary. This is what love means. To do service.”
“Your love for me will be tested how after my departure you maintain this institution.” —TKG’s Diary
Utopia is based on Greek words meaning “no place.”
In 1970, as I new devotee I drove with other devotees nine hours from Boston to New Vrindavan. I opened the door and saw a sannyasi grabbing a temple president up against a fence and shouting at him, “Prabhupada is God. Prabhupada is Krishna. Because we did not understand that, he went back to India.” It was quite a shock. Half the people believed this deviation and half did not.
On a morning walk, I was just a foot behind Srila Prabhupada’s head. I could not hear what he was asked or what he said, because was so busy thinking like a child or like a groupie, “I am just a foot away from Srila Prabhupada.” I felt what was like a transmission in the heart, “You are just a foot from Prabhupada but actually you are millions of miles away from him.” At first I felt bad, but then I cheered up thinking, “When I come to point of following his instructions, I can meet him on the spiritual plane in the future.”
If we understand Srila Prabhupada as the founder-acarya and the foundational siksa-guru for all of ISKCON then we do not need him to continue to be diksa-guru for new people.
Comment by Mahatma Prabhu: B. R. Sridhara Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada’s godbrother, said that our Prabhupada was empowered by Lord Nityananda. “What Lord Nityananda would have done if he went to New York, Swami Maharaja did.”
Comment by one devotee: At the Prabhupada Centennial for four hours Prabhupada disciples were glorifying Srila Prabhupada so wonderfully I felt completely transported to that time and place. It was another ecstasy even more amazing any kirtana I had experienced.
In ISKCON the ideal diksa-guru enhances one’s relationship with Srila Prabhupada, the foundational spiritual master.
In the ultimate issue, there is actually no material world, but when one forgets the service of the Lord and engages himself in the service of his senses, he is said to be living in the material world.
Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:
[Note by me: On the nearly forty-hour train ride from Mumbai to Howrah and onward to Nabadwip Dham I was proofreading the electronic edition of From Copper to Touchstone, Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami’s book about favorite sections of Sri Caitanya-caritamrita. It was Lord Caitanya’s wonderful arrangement that my service to Him enroute to His birthplace was read about His teachings and pastimes. Here are some of the best parts of the book:]
“Krishna feels (as Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami expresses it) that He has been missing out on the taste of Srimati Radharani’s love. ‘Sri Radhika is the highest abode of that love, and I am its only object. I taste the bliss to which the object of love is entitled. But the pleasure of Radha, the abode of that love, is ten million times greater. My mind races to taste the pleasure experienced by the abode, but I cannot taste it, even by My best efforts. How may I taste it? If sometime I can be the abode of that love, only then may I taste its joy.’ (Adi 4.12–35)
“Prabhupada explained this once in a simple, sweet, and direct way. He was talking with Hayagriva dasa in 1967, giving him ideas for a play about Lord Caitanya. The play he was suggesting had different scenes. As he tried to explain the inner meaning of Lord Caitanya to Hayagriva, he gave this example: ‘You are my disciple and you are serving me in so many different ways. If I want to know what it is like to be you, to be the disciple, I cannot know that because I am the master. If I wanted to know that, I would have to somehow take your position.’”
“Rupa Gosvami had successfully set out to meet Lord Caitanya. Later, Sanatana received an enigmatic letter from him: ‘Where has the Mathura Puri of Yadupati gone?Where has the northern Kosala of Raghupati gone? By reflection, make the mind steady, thinking, “This universe is not eternal.”’
The holy dhamas are the most permanent places in the material world because they are eternal, but in time, even the dhamas are obscured from vision. Rupa Gosvami thus told his brother to remember the temporality of everything in the universe and to steady his mind by that remembrance.”
“We have to be single-minded in order to escape all the well-meaning friends and relatives who try to detain us in the material world. If we are attentive to them, they can dull our sense of renunciation and devotion to Krishna.”
“One significant point to note here is that although Candrasekhara is an eternal associate of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and was always receiving the Lord at his home in that alien city full of impersonalists, he failed to recognize a devotee at his door because of the devotee’s external appearance. We should take a lesson from this: do not judge devotees. If even Candrasekhara could not recognize a devotee as great as Sanatana Gosvami, what can we hope to understand about a devotee’s nature?”
The devotees in Germany were printing Prabhupada’s books in German. They wrote to Prabhupada that they were arguing with the translator over the speed of the book production. The translator wanted to be certain that there were no mistakes in the translation, but the devotees were eager for new books to distribute. They quoted back to Prabhupada his own statement that he had published his own books, even though he knew there were so many mistakes in them and tried to offer that statement as a precedent to defeat the translator. Prabhupada responded, “No, the translator is right. The books should not be published with mistakes. I may have published books with mistakes, but I also started the Hare Krishna movement all over the world. If you can start the Hare Krishna movement all over the world, then you can publish your book with some mistakes. If there are mistakes in the books, it will be a disgrace on us.”
from other writing:
For example, he [Prabhupada] went to Russia almost alone, spoke to one interested man, and left after a few days. It didn’t appear that he accomplished much, but through that one contact, he started the Krishna consciousness movement in Russia and everything developed from there. Prabhupada’s disciple went on to preach and gradually a following developed. Eventually, Prabhupada’s disciples were able to get into the Soviet countries and thousands of people have since become devotees. It appears that Prabhupada’s disciples are doing more than he did, yet they are successful only because of Prabhupada’s desire. That should be our vision, that we are successful only by Prabhupada’s desire. Then we will receive the empowerment to preach on his behalf.
Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami warns us in the Adi-lila not to consider one devotee greater and another lesser because each devotee has his or her specific role to play in the Lord’s lila.
I was in the room with Srila Prabhupada and a Sanskrit scholar as the devotees were chanting the Bhagavatam verses. The scholar criticized the devotees pronunciation of Krishna, but Srila Prabhupada said that Krishna would understand them.
In the late spring or early summer of 1970, Prabhupada was invited to speak on the Joe Pine show. Pine was famous for slapping around his guests. Prabhupada planned to say Krishna a lot and go. The interview went like this:
Joe Pine: What can you teach us? In America, we have so much. You come from India with such a high death rate.
Srila Prabhupada: The death rate is the same everywhere: 100%
Joe Pine: According to your cosmology, the earth is flat?
Srila Prabhupada: Everywhere I walk it is.
Lady assistant: Why do you shave your head?
Srila Prabhupada: Why do you shave your legs?
Joe Pine: Suppose everyone became Krishna conscious?
Srila Prabhupada: There will always be fools like you who won’t.
On the way home, Srila Prabhupada said about his responses on the show, “I can say this but you cannot.”
If a building is on fire, you want to get out.
I am speaking as someone who has experience of the flickering and the miseries of the world.
The Nazi propaganda was if you tell a lie loud enough and a long enough people will believe it, and not just a little lie, a big lie. Similarly the material energy has lies that we have rolling around in our brain:
- He is enjoying by pushing matter around, I can also enjoy by pushing matter around.
- Everything should go smoothly in all respects. (Srila Prabhupada said the world is always in chaos and by Krishna’s grace things go smoothly.)
- Everything is getting better.
Language is the verbal manifestation of the consciousness of the people.
Dravida is like a gulabjamun. Touch it and so much juice comes out.
Eskimos have many words for snow, and we have many, many words for suffering.
The material world is a no win game. This is no magical thinking but a dispassionate study of the material world.
Kids want to be older till about 22 through 27. And after that, they want to be younger. That means for just five years you are satisfied with your age.
The young person thinks in the next stage he will be happy.
Billboard in New York: Tired of the noise and filth of the city. Go to Puerto Rico!
Billboard in Puerto Rici: Going nuts on this island with nothing to do. Go to New York!
How much pleasure can your little toe give you? Yet how much pain can it cause?
The human body is not designed for eating, sleeping, mating or defending. Other animals like hog, the bear, the rabbit, and the tiger easily excel us in these.
Srila Prabhupada said that bench bugs were lawyers who squeezed money from their clients in a previous life.
We are next. The older you get the faster time goes.
A boy asked an older man to memorize his number. He said, “No, at this age everything you learn pushes something else out.”
Prabhupada was on his disappearance bed. Dr. Kiran and a team of specialist came to visit. There was no fatty tissue on Prabhupada’s bones so the nerves were touching the bone and an ordinary man would be writhing in pain, but Prabhupada simply asked for a massage.”
Prabhupada said, “Oh, Dr. Kiran, you have come such a long way. Take some rest and prasadam [spiritual food], and come back and talk.”
The materialists curse and rant and rave but the devotee sees the same event as purifying. One time there was problem with the sewage in the temple. A cursing plumber, after examining the situation, said it would be $6000 to fix, but a devotee fixed it for free, for purification.
If something does not work out as we wish, it is Krishna's arrangement for our purification.
Our problems are solved. We should not live lives of no consequence. We should not make no difference in this world.
Krishna is adventure.
We had a map of the city of Detroit. It has areas the police will not even go to after 8 p.m. at night. We had a plan to knock on every door in Detroit and distribute popcorn prasadam. The Detroit riots broke out right where we were. The cops were coming down the street with tear gas and clubs, the locals were coming down the street in the other direction with rocks and sticks, and we were in the middle. The locals seemed to have less serious weapons, so we went in their direction. When we approached them, one of them said, “Oh, it is the popcorn people!” And they opened a corridor to let us pass.
krishna bhakta niskama ataeva santa
bhukti mukti siddhi kami sakale asanta
One devotee asked another how he was doing, and the devotee replied, “Struggling in this material world.” The other devotee then asked, “Are you struggling to stay or to get out?”
I mentioned in a class that Srila Prabhupada said the more pessimistic we are about the material world the more we advanced we are in Krishna consciousness. One devotee protested, “There are so many things in this world we can use in Krishna's service.” I explained that the devotee can be happy even in the world, but we should be pessimistic about the idea that sense enjoyment in the material world can satisfy our soul.
Prabhupada explained formerly people worshiped demigods to attain a higher material happiness, but now they strive for the same goal using science and technology.
Shelter, food, and pleasure are needs which people are seeking materially in this world because they do not know of the spiritual.
Prabhupada talked to some yogis:
Srila Prabhupada: Do you accept God created this world.Yoga student: Yes.
Srila Prabhupada: An insignificant living entity can create so many things. And God with his brain has created so many things.
Yoga student: Are you saying God has a brain?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Very good.
One man asked how he could advance.
Srila Prabhupada: Just chant like these devotees.
Man: How can I chant Hare Krishna?
Srila Prabhupada: Repeat after me. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama . . .
Man: Hare Krishna . . .
Lady: I think it this chanting is just something to get into trance like primitive tribes use.
Srila Prabhupada: But you are not an authority. Krishna says satatam kirtayanto mam, My devotees are always chanting My glories.
Lady: St. Germane said we should chant the name “I am.”
Srila Prabhupada: That is not a name. Jehovah is a name. Allah is a name.
Lady: The Lord said in the Bible I am that I am.
Srila Prabhupada: I do not know the Bible. Did He say that?
Srila Prabhupada: Very well. That is OK. But if God says “I am” and I say “I am” there is a difference. If the master says, “I am” and the servant says “I am” it does not mean they are on the same level.
Lady: But ultimately we become God.
Srila Prabhupada: No. The part is eternally the part, and the whole is eternally the whole. The part is one with the machine, but the part is not the whole machine.
Lady: [finally] Very good. We are part of God.
Two people are chained up. One has gold chains and the other iron. The one with gold chains is proud telling the other he has superior chains. This is the situation in the material world.
Once Radha and Krishna and the sakhis were engaged in pastimes on a beautiful moonlit night at Govardhan Hill. Radha joking said to Krishna, “I am more beautiful than you for I am golden like the moon, and You are dark like the night.”
Krishna replied, “But what is the beauty of the moon without the darkness of the night?”
There were two new devotees who were only in the movement two weeks who approached Srila Prabhupada for initiation. Srila Prabhupada asked them, “Who is Krishna?” They replied, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Srila Prabhupada asked then, “Who are you?” and they replied, “We are His servants.” Srila Prabhupada then agreed to initiate them.
Even an neophyte devotee is in a better position than a self-realized impersonalist because he has a hope of attaining the Lord.
If Lord Caitanya came to kill the demoniac there would be no one left in Kali-yuga.
Prabhupada explained it does not matter whether one is conditioned or liberated but that the spiritual master’s instructions are to be considered the most important thing in life.
On this day of Siva Ratri we might remember that Siva is quoted in Sri Caitanya-caritamrita as saying to his wife Parvati that all kinds of worship, worship of Lord Vishnu is best, but even better than worship of Lord Vishnu is service to His devotees, the Vaishnavas.
Just because something is Vedic does not mean it is appropriate for this age or that it is appropriate for Vaisnavas.
We find it is easier to suggest what others might do to follow Vaishnava principles than to do what we need to do ourselves to follow Vaishnava principles.
A husband might demand that his wife be as chaste as Sita, but the wife might reasonably ask then that he might be as great as Lord Rama.
It is an erroneous attitude that we are gradually getting over that if a brahmacari gets married that he fell down. In reality, the grahasta asrama is one of four valid asramas. It may be the most noble path to remain renounced but the grahasta asrama is also a noble path.
Srila Prabhupada asked Allen Ginsberg to sing at the Mantra Rock Dance at the Avalon ball room although he was the most famous homosexual in America at that time. Prabhupada was interested in engaging his talent in Krishna’s service.
Whatever talents and ability you have, use them for Krishna.
We should not force a man who is happy being brahmacari to be married, nor force a person who is better situated in household life to be renounced.
To encourage their wives, husband should appreciate their beauty and speak kindly. To encourage their husbands, wives should appreciate their attempts to provide and protect them and not speak belittling words.
Prabhupada has given us such gifts. We spend two hours doing meditation on the Lord. Then we sing joyously about the Lord. Then we talk about how to be selfless and give up lust, greed, and anger.
Srila Prabhupada did not want anything from us except to become Krishna conscious and to share Krishna consciousness.
Srila Prabhupada said, “What pleases me most is that you develop your love for Krishna.”
The Vaikuntha world which Srila Prabhupada gave us is one of extraordinarily beautiful people who do not exploit each other.
Hari Bhakti Vilasa Prabhu:
As so many blessings were there for those glorifying Prthu Maharaja, glorifying Srila Prabhupada will result in so many blessings.
We should not carry out any thought that enters our heart without it being confirmed by the spiritual master.
In the course of ISKCON history there arose a Gopi Bhava Club dedicated to focusing on transcending lust by hearing the pastimes of the Lord and His intimate female devotees, the gopis. When Srila Prabhupada was heard about their program, he advised them that if they wanted to focus on a single subject matter, the focus should be pleasing the spiritual master by carrying out his instructions.
Imagine if there is one tape of Mohammed or Lord Jesus Christ speaking, that would be worth thousands of dollars, but we have hundreds of tapes of Srila Prabhupada.
One man left immense wealth to his sons and servant, stipulating in the will each son could take one thing. There were four sons, one who wanted his hockey team, another who wanted his fleet, and another who wanted his business, and the final who wanted his servant, who was destined to inherit the balance of the estate. We are like the person who wanted the servant, for we accepted Srila Prabhupada, the Lord’s servant, and not anything else the Lord possesses.
The Vedas are meant to educate us to see things are they are, not with vision that is distorted by lust.
Although Narada was uneducated, simply by hearing from the sages, the bhaktivedantas, he became completely enlightened.
I told Srila Prabhupada I was going to start a shop, and I was going to call it Krishna Shop. Srila Prabhupada said, “You should call Hare Krishna Shop so people will always be saying “Hare Krishna”!
The only way you can find a bona fide spiritual master if you become a bona fide disciple by purifying yourself by chanting the holy name of Krishna.
Once Srila Prabhupada said in a lecture, “Never leave ISKCON. Never leave ISKCON. Never leave ISKCON.” I decided in my heart if I ever did leave ISKCON I would commit suicide, but fortunately I never did.
Srila Prabhupada gave us so many books. He gave us the morning and evening programs. It is all a facility for hearing and chanting about Krishna.
Women become mystically empowered by chastity and faith in the guru.
If you treat your wife in a cruel way, she will be like Durga. But if you treat her like a devotee she will be like yoga-maya and she will help you to realize the happiness of the material world is illusory and help you to advance in spiritual life.
My Latin teacher told me, “Whenever in doubt, do the right thing.”
If you have doubts about the practice of Krishna consciousness, just chant Hare Krishna until you have faith. It may take one hour or it may take ten hours. When you have faith then you can make real progress.
At Mayapur we have a chance for the maximum mercy from the Kirtan Mela. Sankirtana is the main upadaya, or means of obtaining, love of Godhead.
Organize your time so you spend a minimum of eight hours in kirtana.
Primarily we chant for the pleasure of Krishna, a sacrifice, nama-yajna.
Be with Krishna when you chant.
Most of us are spaced out but we should be spaced in.
“By chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord, one comes to the stage of love of Godhead. Then the devotee is fixed in his vow as an servant of the Lord, and he gradually becomes very much attached to a particular name and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly or cries or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman, for he is indifferent to public opinion.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.40)
To become absorbed in kirtana is the essence of our practice.
The mind protests the chanting because it is the beginning of the end of millions of years of its dominance. “If I must chant, at least let me chant in the wrong way!”
Seeing the great beauty of Sri Caitanya some wondered if He was the god of love. But the god of love agitates the mind, while Lord Caitanya pacifies it.
People would give their lives to be here, and yet you are talking and going to the food shops, and neglecting the opportunity.
Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura said there is no instruction to stop chanting Hare Krishna or stop remembering Krishna 24 hours a day.
Use your time in Mayapur to chant in the association of devotees.
Adivasa is a preparation of consciousness for the event tomorrow.
Everyone says God is great, but they cannot explain how God is great.
The name “Prthu” means “great, wide, expansive.”
If there is no faith, there is no attention.
The Padma Purana describes in its Bhagavata-mahatmya a pastime in which Gokarna recited Bhagavatam to an assembly. At the end of the recitation, an airship from the spiritual world came to take one lucky soul from the audience back to the spiritual world. The speaker inquired from the airship attendant why only one member of the assembly attained the spiritual world. Hari Das, the attendant, said that only one person heard with faith, heard with attention, and then contemplated the subject matter, and so he attained perfection but the others did not.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the Mayapur-Vrndavana festival. The first one that Prabhupada started was in 1972 with 50 followers expected. In reality there were 70 and that was considered to be a big thing. Now there are 7,000! At the festival a cornerstone laying ceremony was done. Also the conversations between Srila Prabhupada and peace corps worker, Bob Cohen, now Brahmatirtha Prabhu, that formed the Perfect Questions Perfect Answers happened then.
Prthu Maharaja had a plan to level the earth for the purpose of increasing agricultural production. When he got to Mayapur, as he started to plow he saw a brilliant golden light, and he stopped. “Why is that?” he thought. Then it occurred to him that was the place of Lord Gaura. The little land that was dug up before the plow stopped formed a small lake that was called Prthu Kund. Now it has another name.
At his last Mayapur festival, Tamal Krishna Goswami used to gather the devotees in the evening for kirtana.
He told one devotee he was going back home. People thought he meant to his academic preaching field in the West. He got only as far as Fulia, the place of Haridasa Thakura, the border of Lord Caitanya’s area. He was one who was often the first in ISKCON to do something. He was also the first to have his samadhi next to Srila Prabhupada’s.
Guru Prasada Swami:
People cannot always act by hearing. They need to see good examples. Therefore it is important to have householders who strictly follow to show that it is possible.
By being very submissive to His guru, chanting the holy name as he directed, Lord Caitanya attained love of God, for which his guru praised Him.
Lord Caitanya told Sanatana Goswami the secret to chanting is to chant twenty-four hours a day, kirtaniya sada harih.
Comment by one swami: We are the sudras referred to in the verse who “become greater than a brahmana simply by accepting devotional service and giving aural reception to the pastimes of the Lord and His devotees.”
Because the holy name is nondifferent from Krishna, it is so powerful that even if one unconsciously chants it, one can attain liberation.
The holy name supersedes all other processes.
Srila Prabhupada’s books have the same power as the chanting of the holy name, as does the activity of spreading the sankirtana movement.
If we become disappointed in our progress, we might consider what else could we do [that would have a more powerful effect]?
The spiritual master has the power of attorney to represent Krishna to the disciple and to represent the disciple to Krishna. Krishna has chosen him to act as guru, and the disciple has accepted him as his spiritual master.
Chanting Hare Krishna is not sectarian, but if people cannot accept it they can chant their own names of God.
Bhakti Vikasa Swami:
Vedic culture, like other traditional cultures, values children. Now, however children are considered a nuisance.
Hearers of the Bhagavatam are meant to be dharmic at the least.
The Vedic culture emphasized service.
The Vedic king would perform sacrifice on the behalf of the people. If the king thought his wealth was meant for his own enjoyment then he would not execute this duty properly. Such was the case with Duryodhana, and therefore, he had to be removed.
By reading Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam we learn the revolutionary idea that we are by our very constitution servants of the Supreme Lord who is the completely independent enjoyer of all our activities.
The modern scholars present human civilization are progressive, but in the Srimad-Bhagavatam we learn in this age of Kali things are declining.
The fault with the professional Bhagavatam reciters and their hearers is that neither desire to improve themselves spiritually by reducing their material attachments.
In Bangladesh professional kirtaniyas go to festivals just like bands go to rock concerts in the west. After their two-hour performances they immediate light up a bidi [Indian cigarette], because they have been two hours without it. Thus even kirtana must be done with proper understanding.
All the teachings of the scriptures can be summarized in the statement: Desire for satisfying one’s own senses is called lust (kama) while desire for satisfying Krishna’s senses is love (prema). (CC Adi 4.165)
Now the idea of karma is well known in human society. Previously just a few scholars knew of it. Interest in vegetarianism and kirtana is also spreading.
The idea of being good without Krishna is another rascaldom.
Now there are people who do Hare Krishna kirtana not because they believe in Krishna but because it makes them feel good.
You say God. I say God. What is the meaning of God? Srila Prabhupada gave a real answer to this question.
The chanting and dancing we do in our temples is not meant to benefit just a few people but to uplift all of society spiritually.
If we start thinking “I am doing this” we get smashed individually and collectively. If we take credit, the mercy no longer flows toward us.
Comment by one devotee: Srila Prabhupada once said, “My disciples are lacking in many ways, but their great qualification is that they are willing to do whatever I say.”
from an initiation lecture:
Jayapataka Swami was just about to go to the airport to leave Bangladesh. Someone said he wanted to see him. Turns out the person wanted to ask for initiation. I was the temple president in Dhaka. Jayapataka Swami asked if I thought it was good to give him initiation. I said yes. Then he chanted on the devotee’s beads and gave him a spiritual name.
Tejiyas said a woman asked for initiation. Srila Prabhupada asked, “Do you know her?” He did not. Prabhupada replied, “You do not know what preaching means!” He then chanted Hare Krishna mantras once around her set of beads and gave them back to her. And she was never seen again.
Bhakta Bart, who lived in Krishna House for some time, became Baladeva das on February 26. 2012 in Mayapur. He was initiated by Bhakti Vikasa Swami who told him, “Baladeva gives spiritual strength. Go on parikrama. Get spiritual strength. Go back to America. Use your spiritual strength to distribute books.”
Asking for material benefits from God, Srila Prabhupada describes in a lecture, is like asking a king for a pinch of ashes.
Just as a man takes on so many responsibilities in family life because he enjoys relationships with his wife and children, similarly the Supreme Lord expands into the innumerable living entities.
Our offense toward the Supreme Lord is one of treason, a crime often given the death penalty in human society, yet the Lord does not annihilate our existence as a punishment, but gives us chances to rectify ourselves.
Krishna has a strong desire to bring everyone back to the spiritual world, and He is always making arrangements for them to return. It is His number one aim. Even if we ignore His instructions, He does not get angry but continues help us.
It is best to approach Krishna favorably, but Krishna is so purifying that even unfavorable contact with Him is better than no contact at all.
Our personal incompetence is not a problem, since our spiritual advancement happens by the power of the Lord through the medium of His pure devotee, so we should continue our service and expect their mercy.
By sharing knowledge of Krishna, one quickly becomes favored by Him. When we hear this statement, we should eagerly take up this confidential service.
Tamal Krishna Goswami: Some disciples say you want all the devotees to chant twenty-five rounds on Ekadasi. Is that true?
Srila Prabhupada: Why twenty-five rounds? Chant all day and nirjala, fast from water.
Tamal Krishna Goswami: Does that mean the preachers should not go out that day?
Srila Prabhupada: Preachers? No, that is not for them. That is for those who are sitting around doing nothing.
Q: Why does God create hell where people suffer for a long time?
A: Krishna never acts outside the principle of love. Hell is only for those who will learn in no other way. It is “tough love.” We cannot always understand that.
Comment by BMGG: Fame and opulence automatically follow a devotee and are not problems unless he tries to claim ownership of them. He must pass them on through his own guru through the chain of gurus.
Reading from Amrita Vani: What is the difference between weak-heartedness and offense?
Items of weak-heartedness:
Attachment for things not related to Krishna
kuti-nati: fault finding
jiva-himsa: envy of other living entities, Srila Prabhupada says to not preach
pratistha: seeking fame
The weak-hearted know that committing offenses is unlawful while offenders never consider their activities unlawful—whatever they do is good and the saints advice is wrong. The weak-hearted must condemn their material desires to give them up and attain perfection. If the weak-hearted do not rectify themselves they can become offenders. If the weak-hearted minimize their faults and do not rectify them, they can become offenders.
Like the verse in Canto 11 encouraging the devotee with material desires: “Having awakened faith in the narrations of My glories, being disgusted with all material activities, knowing that all sense gratification leads to misery, but still being unable to renounce all sense enjoyment, My devotee should remain happy and worship Me with great faith and conviction. Even though he is sometimes engaged in sense enjoyment, My devotee knows that all sense gratification leads to a miserable result, and
he sincerely repents such activities. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.20.27–28).
Bhaktivinoda Thakura says this verse describes one who has attained bhakti.
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says, “The weak-hearted persons hate offenses and want to give them up. The offensive persons think sense gratification is OK, and they criticize the Vaishnava who tells them to give it up.
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura: “In a world of cheaters, cheaters are respected. . . . The illusory energy tricks people out of the association of devotees. . . . If a doctor prescribes medicine which the patient wants only his disease will not cured.”
Once a man was observing me as I was boarding the plane because he saw something he did not like. He sat next to me. As the plane took off, he said, “Do you know your sweater does not match your clothes?” I said, “No. Thank you. Is there a color that would be better?” He didn’t answer but spent an hour and a half asking everything about my life. Then he talked about his life. He was western. He married a Pakistani lady, and he had difficulties with his family, and his son was autistic. He was very emotional and almost to the point of tears, and he then he stopped. He seemed like he was angry, and he just stared out the window. Then he asked in an angry way, “Why I am telling you all these confidential things about my life?” But I had not said anything, I was just listening. Then he was silent for a while, and then he smiled and clapped his hands and said, “I have got it. I told you all these things because you are happy. You do not have a wife. You do not have a job. You do not have a bank account. All your possessions are in the belly of this plane. How did you get that way?” Then I talked to him about Srila Prabhupada for a while. Then he asked, did he write a book? I said yes, and told him about Bhagavad-gita. He said, “I know a good investment. I want that book.” Unfortunately I did not have one. I hope Krishna forgives me. I got his email and arranged for him to get a Bhagavad-gita. At the baggage claim, he embraced me.
He appreciated my renunciation and how his material enjoyment did not satisfy him, and thus he could proceed spiritually.
The weak-hearted devotee is a cheater and looks for another cheater to reinforce that.
The cheating disciple looks for a spiritual master who will tell him what he wants to hear and not what will benefit him spiritually.
Rupa Goswami gives in his Nectar of Instruction the example of a jaundiced person for whom anything sweet tastes bitter. The sugar cane which cures the jaundice tastes bitter, but as the patient continues to take it, he becomes cured and it tastes sweet again. Similarly chanting the holy name is sweet, but due to the jaundice of ignorance, the sweetness cannot be tasted. By regularly chanting the holy name, the ignorance is dispelled and the chanting becomes sweet again.
The goal is kirtaniya sada harih, to always glorify the Lord Hari. Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura compares one who has lost a taste for chanting due to losing the mercy of the holy name to one who has a high fever and cannot eat. One who cannot chant or hear must suffer for some time till the fever reduces. Then he can take medicine and a sick man’s diet. When his fever reduces more, he can eat without restriction, or can hear and chant always.
The spiritual master provides the medicine and diet.
One must be very clear about one’s goal.
If one does not hate these weaknesses, he will become an offender.
It is not enough to realize you have weakness of the heart, you have to take the medicine, and not blame others for the weakness. Like the verse tat te nukampam.
The devotee does not blame Krishna for the suffering caused by his weaknesses.
Tolerate, do not blame others, glorify the Lord.
Have faith in Krishna, repent for sense gratification, going on hearing. Krishna will help get rid of these attachments if you go on hearing and chanting. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.7)
One who is too attached worries that if he stops thinking about his attachments, Krishna may take them away.
Q: What is the medicine for offenders?
A: Lord Caitanya Himself gave the example that if one takes poison he must counteract it with the nectar of immortality. Use the tongue that blasphemed the devotees to glorifying them. If one cannot do that, he must wait and suffer. Krishna does not tolerate offenses to his devotees.
Q: It is difficult to ask for forgiveness. Can we do it in our mind?
A: Yes. You have to start somewhere, but you have to get to the point of actually doing it before they die.
Comment by Doyala Gauranga: Some said you should offer them a Nrsimha garland in your mind.
A: That is a good start but you do have to get to the point of actually forgiving them.
I remember the first time I touched fire. It was a long time ago. I had been warned, “Do not touch.” But did I listen? No. But after that I never touched fire again. Whenever I got near it, I would always say, “Hot.”
After I met the devotees, I continued my business of selling illegal substances to my “friends,” praying to Krishna that I would not get caught. After a while, it dawned on me I should just give up that business.
If you cannot recognize the higher laws working beyond yourself, you are no better than an animal.
Early in the morning, Prabhupada rang for his servant Tamal Krishna Goswami, and told him, “Go to the West and preach to people, ‘Do you want to grow old?’ No. Nobody wants to be under the control of material nature.”
The more you associate with the supreme transcendence the more you become transcendental.
Krishna is ceaselessly and tirelessly trying to people back to Him and in the beginning, he does not mind offering some incentive. In the Gita, He describes such people who approach him for material blessings as magnanimous.
Jagannath Babaji Maharaja said to his servant, “I am leaving my body in a few days. I have three carts of gold coins I want to give you.” The servant replied, “But you are are in the renounced order and have nothing.” Babaji Maharaja continued, “Yes, but I am a devotee of Lord Caitanya, and he can easily give me three carts of gold coins. Do you want the gold or my eternal service?” His servant passed the test and did not want the gold. I bless you that you have the bare necessities of life and engage in the service of Lord Caitanya and Krishna by chanting the holy names.
I have lived a comfortable life for the last 20 years as a result of my previous devotional service, but I feel I have been cheated of something higher.
Only when we give up desires for sense gratification can we relish the higher stages of relationship with Krishna.
Srila Prabhupada said if you just give this life to Krishna you will be a winner. Only Krishna will never cheat you.
We alone are holding ourselves back.
This year I was not asked to speak at the birthplace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and that bothered me for a little while until I realized I was just unnecessarily proud and I put that feeling behind me, and heard the realizations of the others which I found to be sweeter than any other year.
Q: How do I know if I am hedging my bets or taking reasonable care of my body?
A: If one maintains his body for the service of the devotees than that is devotional service.
Q: To want degree can we present Krishna consciousness as providing material benefits to induce people to take it up?
A: We cannot change the philosophy but it is a balancing act how to present it to inspire people.
Gaurakisora dasa Babaji said that the conditioned souls accept so much abuse from their family and friends, but if a devotee explains to him that his material activities result in suffering and he should surrender to Krishna, he becomes offended.
My realization is that by associating with devotees that are more advanced we can progress.
I spent ten days in Varanasi which is for the Shaivites what Vrindavan is for the followers of Krishna. On the holiest day, Shiva Ratri, all they do is stand in line to see the Shiva linga (Deity of Shiva) and bathe in the Ganges. Then they wander around the rest of the day. I could see why Krishna descended as Lord Caitanya to give us chanting, dancing, and talks of Krishna.
One highlight in the Prithu pastime is the appearance of the Kumaras and his most relevant question to them, “What is the purpose of life and how to achieve it?” as well as Kumaras’ answers to that question.
The Kumaras teach one should mold one’s live so that one cannot live in peace with out drinking the nectar of the narrations of the descriptions of Supreme Lord.
The most quoted verse by Srila Prabhupada in this section is, “The devotees, who are always engaged in the service of the toes of the lotus feet of the Lord, can very easily overcome hard-knotted desires for fruitive activities. Because this is very difficult, the nondevotees—the jnanis and yogis—although trying to stop the waves of sense gratification, cannot do so. Therefore you are advised to engage in the devotional service of Krishna, the son of Vasudeva.” (SB 4.22.39)
We learn in the Bhagavatam itself that it is meant only to teach pure devotional service. That is why Narada wanted Vyasadeva to write it. Why then are so many materialistic benedictions given for hearing devotional narrations such as King Prithu as mentioned here?
The answer is that anyone who reads this section about King Prithu, although motivated by material results, will hear so much about devotional service, morality, and proper execution of his occupational duties that he will act in a way beneficial for his spiritual life.
I have a sense that nothing can really stop the sankirtana. Any one of us or any group may wait at the wayside for the moment, but the movement as a whole will continue by the grace of the holy name and the pure devotees of the Lord.
Our responsibility is to maintain the purity of the atmosphere and the purity our own self so that people who come in touch will be attracted and purified.
Comment by Praghosa ACBSP: Prabhupada is the embodiment of this verse (SB 4.23.36) because he was absorbed in this narration, and he did conquer all directions on behalf of Krishna.
Srila Prabhupada did not spend any money on sense gratification but reinvested whatever he gained in devotional service. We will also be successful in life we are able to invest everything we have in the devotional service of the Lord.
The real offense is to give up trying to give up material desires. We can pray, as Prahlada Maharaja did, to Lord Nrsimha, to vanquish our material desires.
The second offense against the holy name is really two offenses: To think the names of the demigods is equal to or independent of Lord Vishnu, and to think of Krishna as different from his holy name.
One verse in the Bhagavatam is repeated five times, once with a minor variation, twice in the “Uddhava Gita” and once in Kapila’s teachings:
“Although this material world is ultimately unreal the miseries of birth and death do not cease for one who continues meditating on the objects of the senses just as the miseries of a nightmare do not cease until one wakes up.”
Praghosa ACBSP [from a conversation after Dravida Prabhu’s class]:
Lord Caitanya did not try to reform society economically or politically by attacking the suppliers of demoniac goods, rather He taught the chanting of the holy name which removes the desire for such items from the hearts of the consumers, and ultimately reforms the economy and government in that way.
I approached a man on the street in Brussels to sell him a book. He said he already had the book, and he had the album too. “The album?” I asked, and he replied by singing, “Govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami.” He told me he liked the album so much he played it every morning.
On a street in London I tried to approach an American man to sell him a book, but he brushed me off. The traffic is on the opposite side of the street in London, and he was so eager to get away from me, he started to cross the street in front of a bus. I grabbed him and pulled him back to the sidewalk saying, “You tried to avoid Krishna, but Krishna saved your life.” I did not try to sell him a book then, as he had brushed me off before, but I am sure he will remember Krishna for the rest of his life because of that incident, and by that remembrance, he will become purified.
It is not so much what we do but the consciousness of devotion to Krishna.
The trials help us develop our qualities. The people and places we encounter are arranged by Krishna for our benefit.
We are not in control of the world, in control of others, or even in control of our own mind.
By material calculation, one might see Arjuna as a nice humble guy in the beginning of Bhagavad-gita, and then Krishna got him all riled up to kill even his teachers and his relatives.
True humility is to see things in relationship with Krishna.
For a mother, the child’s needs are the mother’s needs.
Religion is meant to gradually guide our needs to attain real freedom.
In the spiritual world, Krishna takes pleasure in serving His devotees, and His devotees take pleasure serving Him.
Ultimately Krishna makes arrangements to purify us in different ways.
The first time I came to Mayapur, via Iraqi Airlines, and we had kirtana in the airport during our 8 hours stay in Bagdad. The shieks were gawking at us. We flew to Calcutta from Delhi and took the train to Krishnanagar, and then took this train from Krishnanagar to Svarupa Ganj. There were goat herders and the goats getting on and off the train. We chanted kirtana the whole time. There were just the boundary wall and the Lotus Building, and we staying in the boundary wall. We were not prepared. My head and all my limbs were covered with mosquito bites. Pankajanghri and Janinivasa Prabhus had seen not anyone bitten as much as me. One day I did 54 visits to the bathroom. But I got off easy. Some devotees got typhoid or malaria. People would say, “You are so fortunate to get malaria in Mayapur!” Then you had your services, cooking and serving prasadam. In those days we had five classes a day. Prabhupada said Mayapur was to hear Krishna-katha, talks of Krishna. There were 350 brahmacaris from America that year. This year there were four. Prabhupada was here, and so we were more conscious not to waste time. In 1977 they had a whole Jumbo Jet full of devotees. They had to calm the devotees because their jumping during dancing disrupted the flying of the plane.
It is so peaceful to see the rice paddies and coconut trees.
If people come to Mayapur they will hear and chant about Krishna even if they do not know that is what they are supposed to do.
I talked to two German businessman who were on a mystery tour, and came to Krishna-Balarama Mandir while Aindra Prabhu was singing. I asked them if they found it a bit strange. They admitted it was different but they both said, “I have never felt anything so profound in my heart as I did from this singing. If I have ever had a spiritual experience in my life, this was it.”
When we are no longer attracted to our material toys, we can take shelter of Krishna. The holy dhama makes this easier.
Srila Prabhupada said that the material world exists only because of the desires of the living entities.
I was arrested the last day of my devotional record distribution visit in Finland. I was held for three days, and then deported. They gave me a free first-class flight back to London. They escorted me to the plane in handcuffs and then returned my passport and money on the planet.
Discussion on Vedic Cosmology with Danavir Goswami and Antardwip Prabhu
The Madhva scholars are the most advanced and have kept their tradition going and accept the Puranic version while the Sri scholars have not really kept up with it.
One Indian professor who had bought into the Western scientific version was asking how he could be expected to believe Vedic cosmology. I asked him how we could be expected believe what the Hadyen planetarian teaches that the universe has come from a void.
The Bhagavatam accepts two ideas of the varsas of Bhu-mandala:
- They are flat.
- They are like a lotus petals in the gola (spherical) forms.
Srila Prabhupada said, “They think they have crossed the Himalayas, but they haven’t.”
Sun and above is Svargaloka. Below the sun is Bhuvarloka.
Comets are called ketus.
The celestial bodies comprise grahas (planets), taras (stars), and naksatra (lunar constellations).
Parasara Muni says the height of sun’s axle varies by 45,000 yojanas in the course of a year.
Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, after the construction of the universe, has a residence within the universe above Satyaloka and below the coverings of the universe, where he is worshiped by Lord Brahma.
Divya Prabandha Prabhu:
Some say the moon is the entrance to Svargaloka and so Svargaloka begins with the moon rather than the sun.
Lord Krishna said to His beloved Radha about Navadvipa-dhama: “Because you have created this place for My pleasure, I will live here eternally. Those people who come here and worship Us will certainly obtain Our eternal service in the mood of the sakhis. O dear Radha, like Vrindavana, this place is extremely pure. If anyone comes here just once, he will obtain the results of going to all sacred places. He will quickly attain devotional service, which satisfies Us.” (Ananta-samhita, quoted in Sri Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya, pp. 98–99).