Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Travel Journal#8.20: The North of England and London

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 8, No. 20
By Krishna-kripa das
(October 2012, part two
The North of England and London
(Sent from Stuyvesant Falls, New York, on December 12, 2012)

Where I Went and What I Did

As Newcastle and The North of England are my base in the summer, I felt I should return there before going to the U.S.A. for the winter. I spent a few days in Newcastle and was happy that Prema Sankirtana Prabhu encouraged a few new devotees to go out with us on harinama, and they all had pleasant experiences. During one busy period from October 21 to October 29, I gave nine evening lectures, in Newcastle, Sunderland, Leeds, Sheffield, Preston, Liverpool, Bolton, Manchester, and London. Harinamas in Sheffield, Preston, and Bolton stand out in my mind. In Sheffield favorable people talked to me, in Preston a couple who met us on harinama came to our evening program, and in Bolton several children joined us, carrying our mantra signs, chanting, dancing, and even trying to play the drum. I have several pictures of that lively Bolton harinama. I was planning to fly to New York on October 30, so I could be there to do harinama on Halloween, but Hurricane Sandy, under the direction of the Supreme Lord, delayed my departure, so I got to chant for a few days with my London friends on Oxford Street. One London devotee who was committed to doing harinama every Thursday night at 6:00 p.m., decided to increase for Karttika and do harinama 6:00 p.m. every night that he had no other engagement. Thus as it turned out on Halloween, I got to give two lectures and go on harinama for four hours. Indeed, had I turned down the second lecture opportunity and continued with the harinama, it would have been six hours. I like college outreach programs, however, as I met the devotees at that time in my life and like to encourage people of that age, so I spoke to the students instead of doing more harinama. In London, I also met some friends from America, specifically, my former temple president in St. Augustine, Vasudeva Prabhu, who came to the UK to help start a devotee restaurant in Nottingham, and Estefania, who encountered the devotees in Gainesville, and was enroute to India to study Bhakti-sastri and for pilgrimage. She joined us for harinama in London on Halloween.

I do not have so many lecture notes to share, as I was staying at places without morning programs, just a few from London where I ended out the month, most notably one by Candramauli Swami and another by Gaura Krishna Prabhu.


Dec. 12–19, 2012: Serving Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami in Stuyvesant, NY
Dec. 19–23, 2012: harinama in New York City
Dec. 24–25, 2012: Visiting family in Albany, NY
Dec. 26, 2012–
Jan. 7, 2013: harinama in New York City
Jan. 8–April 2013: Gainesville, FL (with visits to Tallahassee and Jacksonville)

Memorable Harinamas in the North of England

This time in Sheffield was the only time I could not find anyone to go out with me on harinama. Moreover it was lightly sprinkling a lot of the time. Still a few people stopped to talk:
  1. an Eastern European who did not know we had Hare Krishna programs in Sheffield.
  2. two Muslim couples, stopping at different times, who upon hearing my explanation, considered that chanting God’s names in public was a good thing to do.
  3. a lady who was a follower of another Gaudiya Vaishnava group who did not know there were Hare Krishna programs in Sheffield.
Because of informing a few people about our local programs and our process of chanting the holy name, the fact that I was chanting alone in the rain did not negatively color my experience, but rather I felt glad I had gone out on harinama in Sheffield.

In Preston, Bhakta Doug is full of enthusiasm. The weekly Thursday program that had been reduced to a monthly Thursday program has been elevated to its former status as a weekly program by him. Moreover Bhakta Doug is always ready to go on harinama. While the two of us were on harinama, we met a couple who attend our programs at Bhaktivedanta Manor. The man works during the week at different cities in the UK, sometimes at a company office in Chorley, just 20 minutes from Preston. He was happy to learn of our Thursday programs in Preston, and he and his wife attended it that very night.

I was surprised to see the number of people roaming the streets of Bolton on Saturday during the time of our monthly harinama. Some were children who were attracted to join our kirtana party.

A few boys danced.

Two girls carried our Hare Krishna mantra signs in front of our party for some time. 

One guy even tried playing the drum.

One girl bowed down to the the devotees.

One girl delighted in taking pictures of her friends with the devotees. The children must have participated for at least 45 minutes. Local devotees say that this was not the first time the kids participated. After the harinama, as we were driving to the temple for the program after, two of the girls who had held our mantra signs, spotted us in the car, and ran up to smilingly knuckle touch our driver.

Vrajendralal Prabhu, singing in front in the picture below, is the leader of the monthly Bolton harinama program, which is generally the last Saturday of the month.

Thanks to Manish Negi for the photos. To see more, if you have access to Facebook, click on this link:


Candramauli Swami:

Even the residents of Vrindavana got into trouble because of their relationship with Krishna, but He saved them in the end. Krishna will always save you. Sometimes not in the beginning but in the end.

Life is about learning how to die in the right consciousness, thinking of Krishna, so you attain the spiritual world. One is happy to leave when Krishna says it is time to go.

Spiritual life is difficult, but material life is impossible. Material life is impossible because whatever you gain you lose, but in spiritual life, your spiritual assets come with you to the next life.

Hanuman becomes a physician, Murari Gupta, in Lord Caitanya’s pastimes. Actually he was also a physician in Lord Rama’s pastimes because he brought the herbs to bring Laksman back to life.
In the last stanza of the “Damodarastakam” the phrase “your unlimited pastimes” refers to rasa-lila [Lord Krishna’s celebrated dance with the gopis].

If we could hear Krishna’s flute we would drop everything in the material world.

When pride enters, Krishna is gone.

Bhakti means to assist the Lord in His pastimes.

The gopis always aspire to assist Radha and Krishna in Their pastimes.

People say they love God, but what do they actually do for God?

If you want to do something to increase the happiness of the other person, that is love.

Radharani can please Krishna by being mad at Him, and that is difficult to do, but Radha can do it.

Krishna wants to taste love from each and every soul.

In this world, people pray to God for food, but in the spiritual world, they consider what food to offer to God.

Prabhupada says Krishna’s favorite sweet is rasgulla.

The soft sweet sound in the heart is the Lord, and that loud voice is our false ego.

Krishna’s name, Gopi-vallabha, means one who gives ever newer pleasure to the gopis.

Niranjana Swami:

from a recorded lecture in Ukraine:

Krishna enjoys by sharing the pleasure He enjoys with His devotees.

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

from his autobiography entitled, The Story of My Life:

Krishna-kripa quoted Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati as saying harinama sankirtana was the emperor of all sadhanas. Every form of sadhana must have its connection with harinama sankirtana in order to have its meaning. He said this was the best quote he had ever found and Agnideva said, ‘Wow!’ I hope I connected to harinama sankirtana while describing the spring, otherwise it’s useless. We chant while we work, singing the Lord’s Names.”

from Viraha Bhavan, October 25, 2012 poem:

I am remembering Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati’s saying that the Hare Krishna mantra
is nama-bhajana to Radha.

Gaura Krishna Prabhu:

When Gopa Kumara attained Goloka Vrindavana and ran up to Krishna and embraced Him, they both fainted in ecstasy. At Heathrow you will see many reunions, but nothing like that.

Our reunion with Krishna comes through service.

We each have a special thing to offer to Krishna. Although He is self-sufficient He is missing that special thing until we reconnect and offer it to Him.

Kirtida dd:

Krishna explains that without tolerating dualities we cannot come up to the level of spiritual knowledge.

Radha Mohan Prabhu:

Just as people all over world were interested when Bin Ladin was killed, all the demigods were very interested to hear that Krishna had killed Aghasura.

Although Krishna as the Lord is worthy of being served, He took pleasure in letting His friends eat their lunch while He searched for the calves.

comment by Gaura Prabhu:

One student who joined a devotional retreat in South Africa became convinced that this Krishna consciousness was something special by the end of it because all we did was sing the same song and yet it got better and better. Thus he joined and became a very good preacher.

Radha Ramana Prabhu (of Wales):

conversation of prospective disciple with Radhanatha Swami:

prospective disciple: I feel you are my spiritual master.
Radhanatha Swami: I feel I am your servant.


tava kathamritam tapta-jivanam
kavibhir iditam kalmashapaham
sravana-mangalam srimad atatam
bhuvi grinanti ye bhuri-da janah

[The gopis addressing Lord Krishna:] “The nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your activities are the life and soul of those suffering in this material world. These narrations, transmitted by learned sages, eradicate one’s sinful reactions and bestow good fortune upon whoever hears them. These narrations are broadcast all over the world and are filled with spiritual power. Certainly those who spread the message of Godhead are most munificent.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.31.9)