Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Travel Journal#8.10: Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 8, No. 10
By Krishna-kripa das
(May 2012, part two)
Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool
(Sent from Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on June 26, 2012)

Where I Went and What I Did

The second half of May we did harinama [chanting Hare Krishna congregationally in public] practically every day for three hours, mostly in Newcastle upon Tyne in the Northeast of England and in nearby towns, but also one day in Manchester and Liverpool. It was inspiring to see a few new people coming to the temple programs who found out about them from the harinamas.

Chanting at a Bus Stop, South Shields, England

I share an excerpt of a letter by Srila Prabhupada, realizations from Janananda Goswami and Yadunandana Swami and Prabhupada disciple, Jagatatma Prabhu, and realizations from the devotees of our Newcastle harinama party.

Chanting in The North of England

Besides chanting in Newcastle, being inspired by Janananda Goswami, who takes seriously Lord Caitanya’s desire that His holy name be spread in every town and village, we chanted in Sunderland, North Shields, South Shields, Byker, Walker, Heaton, Durham, Tynemouth, and Wallsend.

Devotees had not chanted in Byker recently, and the people were very happy to see us. One young drunk man, impressed by the happiness of devotees, asked what we had taken, because it seemed to him that it must be more powerful than what he was using! After Baker we chanted on the lawn around a church in Newcastle near the university where many, many young people were enjoying the first sunny, warm day in May. Sri Gadadhara distributed many books in both places, and it was one of his best days.

One day we did harinama up to a Hindu temple where they let us sing for their beautiful Radha Krishna deities, who were prominent on their central altar, and where they gave us many fruits and sweets as prasadam and invited us to sing at their Tuesday program.
In Tynemouth one old man, who called himself Crazy Ken, remembered when the Hare Krishna mantra single produced by George Harrison made the “Top of the Pops,” bought a Chant and Be Happy for five pounds and later amazed us by coming to the Wednesday evening chanting program in Newcastle the next week and having a great time.

We visited Manchester and Liverpool one day and did harinama in both places. From seeing us on harinama, two boys around twelve years ago came to the Liverpool monthly nama-hatta program, and they stayed for an hour or so, hearing the kirtana and part of the lecture. It was inspiring to see that people were reciprocating with our attempts at outreach.

In Newcastle, we did our two-hour Wednesday evening chanting program in the park across from the temple one week because of the good weather, and twenty people stopped to listen for some of the time!

When it was time to stop, a new person came to hear, so we sang another Hare Krishna tune for his benefit. Afterward we packed up our sitting mats to leave, and one couple told us, “We just bought this pizza and were going to listen to you as we ate it, so please don’t stop singing.” So we sat down and sang another tune. It is rare that people want us to sing for them, but it happened twice in a row. I think we should do more chanting programs in the park!


Srila Prabhupada:

letter to Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, 11/4/70:

Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said that this chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra will be heard in every nook and cranny of this globe. He is God, so there is no doubt about it. So if we are intelligent we will take advantage of this opportunity and get the credit. If we do not, someone else will.”

Krishna is inducing Arjuna to fight and thus be successful in this world. He does not tell Arjuna to retire.

Janananda Goswami:

Sometimes we see that even people who have difficulty giving up the four primary sinful activities, because they have a nice attitude of service to the devotees, are able to have the association of devotees for their whole lives, while others who appear to follow very strictly for some time, encounter difficulty, and lose the association of the devotees. Thus to have a humble attitude of service to the devotees is very important.

Yadunandana Swami:

Srimad-Bhagavatam establishes Krishna as the Supreme Truth and devotional service, without material motives, as the path to realize Him.

Kali tries to destroy the final leg of religion, truthfulness, through hypocrisy.

Regular correction is required to stay on the path of pure devotional service, but if by administering such correction we create quarrel, that will defeat us.

The leadership should be so good that none of the innocent (brahmanas, women, children, old men, cows) will think “How will I be taken care of?”

There is no hurry to take initiation. Prabhupada waited eleven years.

The holy name can give us a jolly, transcendental experience of a different dimension.

Second initiation means taking responsibility. You may take responsibility earlier, and that of course, is better.

Patiently being committed to a place with a team of cooperative devotees will gradually develop a community in that place.

The Ajamila story shows how one who has become completely degraded can attain God in this very life.

Not everything is God, but God is everything.

Ajamila’s second wife must have been a lot younger than he. Otherwise how could Ajamila have a small child at age 88?

Offensive chanting is a cause of stagnation in spiritual life. Like stagnated water becomes smelly, similarly offensive chanting is a smelly state.

comment by Bhakti Rasa Prabhu: Sometimes we get discouraged because we focus on the things we cannot do instead of what things we are doing right. This is a trick of maya, illusion.

Srila Prabhupada does not give any false assurances that for a devotee there will be no external impediments. Rather, he says if we chant Hare Krishna sincerely, tolerating the impediments, then we can remember Krishna and attain Krishna, nonetheless.

Once Bhaktivinoda Thakura stayed at temple that was known to be haunted. So many ghostly disturbances happened, but Bhaktivinoda Thakura chanted through the night, until they stopped. His analysis of situation was the pujari was sinful and had become a ghost, but his sinful reactions were vanished by the chanting of the holy name, and he became free.

We sacrifice to Krishna in proportion to our devotion.

We have to have conviction that chanting the holy name is the best investment of our time.

Jagatatma Prabhu:

The unfortunate feature of Kali-yuga is the instead of protecting the offenseless creatures the government leaders are harassing them.

There are so few tigers that the Indian government made a law that those killing the tigers could be shot on sight. At the same, the cows, which only benefit humankind, are not offered any protection.

Nonviolence does not mean just not beating someone but educating people so they can go back to the spiritual world.

Twenty years later, Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu met the professor of Hinduism, who Prabhupada criticized as a cheater when he could not explain to Prabhupada what was meant by Hinduism. The professor came up to Ravindra Svarupa and said, “Do you remember me? I am the professor that your Swami Prabhupada argued with years ago.” Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu remembered and replied, “Yes,” and worried what the professor might becoming thinking. In response, professor said regarding Srila Prabhupada, “He was right.” The professor could not admit that Prabhupada was right on the spot, but he was willing to do so years later.

The devotees are trying to benefit others, but sometimes the government leaders are so demonic they are causing trouble to the people who are trying benefit others.

The people are killing the innocent animals so how can they be happy?

The best way to benefit the world is to spread Krishna consciousness because people will become offenseless.

The demigods are watching you and helping you, because if you become pure devotees, you will benefit even them.

Prema Sankirtana Prabhu:

If we read Bhagavad-gita, and we follow whatever we read, we can make so much spiritual advancement.

Sri Gadadhara Prabhu:

Speaking from the scripture leads credibility to what is said.

I distributed a Bhagavad-gita to the leader of the Brahma Kumari group in France, not realizing who he was, simply by pointing out the statements Krishna makes about His identity as the Supreme Lord which defeated the man’s conviction that Lord Brahma was supreme.

In the history of Hare Krishna in France, the book distributors did very well selling many books all over the country. Prabhupada met them and asked if they read the books. When the book distributors replied that they did not have time to read them because they were spending so much time distributing them, Srila Prabhupada was upset with them.

The child is wonderful for his parents because of its innocence, and it represents a change from their life of work and bills. But that happiness is not enjoyed for long.

One who cannot teach his child how to perfect his life spiritually should not have children for he himself is still a child.

Our Western minds cannot conceive of how to be affectionate to family members without being attached to them. It is possible if Krishna is in the center, and you see your family members as Krishna’s servants and you carefully encourage them in their lives dedicated to Krishna.

Even in other religions, like Christianity and Islam, names given to children have a spiritual basis.

Srila Prabhupada taught renunciation and then detachment. Renunciation is voluntarily refraining from sense enjoyment although one may have a taste. Detachment means in the presence of sense objects you are not attracted.

Bhakti is the means and end, but the end is pure bhakti.

Our habit for so many lifetimes is to serve the senses.

One for all, and all for one should be the mood for doing sankirtana.

The devotee’s desire is always to do better service. Prabhupada says that one is a fool if he thinks he can repay the spiritual master. Feeling indebted, the disciple tries to do as much as he can do to serve the spiritual master.

In many places it appears people have some fear to spread the sankirtana movement.

If we hope to inspire others, we should associate with the devotees who are inspiring others.

Lord Caitanya organized his sankirtana parties, selecting singers and dancers.

The more we chant the holy name with concentration, the more we can feel the holy name.

If we want to be better in one service, we have to follow those who are expert. There are always those more expert than us we can learn from, and when we are better we can teach others.

Vamana Prabhu:

Arjuna had been preparing 14 years for this fight, and here on the day of the battle, he does not want to fight.

What is the news of the world? There is one pot on the cauldron, in which we are cooking, and it is stirred by a witch named Maya.

What is most astonishing? Although we see death around us, we think we will live forever.

Bhanu Swami once explained to us that even an advanced Vaishnava can fall down from his spiritual position by offending a devotee.

comment by Sri Gadadhara: In Ramayana it is described that Indra chooses a suitable higher planet for each pious living entity.

There is one ISKCON farm in Indonesia which was successful because it is staffed by farmers who had become devotees. They do not even have electricity there. I went there and saw there was complete attendance at the morning and evening programs. That you practically do not find anywhere.

If you have nice service attitude, if you make a mistake, people will more likely to forgive you.


sanketyam parihasyam va
stobham helana eva va
asesagha-haram viduh
One who chants the holy name of the Lord is immediately freed from the reactions of unlimited sins, even if he chants indirectly [to indicate something else], jokingly, for musical entertainment, or even neglectfully. This is accepted by all the learned scholars of the scriptures.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.2.14)