Friday, December 21, 2012

Travel Journal#8:22: Alachua and Gainesville, Florida

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 8, No. 22
By Krishna-kripa das
(November 2012, part two
Alachua and Gainesville, Florida
(Sent from Radha Govinda Temple, Brooklyn, New York, on December 21, 2012)

Where I Went and What I Did

I had greatly hoped to make it to Alachua in time to hear the wonderful remembrances on Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance day, but I just caught the end of the kirtana and the feast, and a few remembrances in the evening, which I include below. The next day, we chanted for two hours before the football game in Gainesville, and Dravida Prabhu, who loves to chant, joined us, making it even better than usual. That night we went to a nice festival Madhava Prabhu from the Alachua community had at his place with beautiful kirtanas, enlightening talks, and tasty prasadam in celebration of the anniversary of the appearance of Krishna as Govardhan-sila in his life. Sunday was the Govardhan Puja festival in Alachua. For several days leading up to The Festival of the Holy Name in Alachua, Madhava Prabhu, the kirtana leader from Switzerland, sang kirtana for two or three hours every night and by the grace of Krishna and my friends with cars, I was able to attend all of them. Wednesday we had an amazing harinama at the Farmers Market with thirteen people taking part. Thursday I got to speak about gratitude for Thanksgiving, and people said they liked the lecture. I sent it to the ISKCON Desire Tree website, and you will be able to find it there in a few days. This year’s Festival of the Holy Name was the best so far, and I will mention a few high points for me. Dravida Prabhu, who visits this time of year specifically for the Festival of the Holy Name impressed me by taking eight hours out of the festival to drive with us to Tallahassee to lead the harinama before the football game for a couple of hours. For the final week of November, I stayed in Gainesville’s Krishna House, helping to maintain the harinamas and evening programs, and inspired to see and work with some very enthusiastic new devotees.

Among the insights, there are many wonderful quotes from the letters of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura, soon to be published as Patramrita, by Touchstone Publishing. Also particularly inspiring are realizations from Dravida and Kalakantha Prabhus. And there are other gems as well.

Prabhupada Disappearance Remembrances

Rasa Lila dd:

Srila Prabhupada patiently teaches me every day something new about Krishna, just as he did when he was present.

He taught you can do something amazing for Krishna at any age, and now that we are approaching his age, we might consider that if we are thinking we are too old to do anything, we should think again.

Mukunda Prabhu:

The Bhaktivedanta Archives is building a concrete room with a door like a bank vault to preserve Prabhupada’s materials and just today on his disappearance day someone came through with a donation.

Vegavati dd:

In Hawaii there were two camps of devotees that disagreed, but when Srila Prabhupada was there and the kirtana was going on, there was so much spiritual love no differences existed.

Puskara Prabhu:

I was in Vrindavan in 1977 the whole time from April to November, when Srila Prabhupada left this world.

Toward the end, rickshaws were delivering salt for the samadhi [holy tomb] but we were in some kind of illusion thinking that Srila Prabhupada would stay.

I was given the job of calling Ramesvara in LA to tell him that Prabhupada had left.

When there was a debate about whether Srila Prabhupada would go to Govardhan or not [just a few days before he left this world]. I asked Bhagatji [a friend of Srila Prabhupada’s] whether Prabhupada would go, and he said with conviction, “He will not go,” as if I were a fool for asking.

There was a devotee Sac-cid-ananda who would sing every day for Srila Prabhupada in his last days. One day he did not sing and Prabhupada asked for him to.

Several times Krishnadasa Babaji Maharaja came. Prabhupada very much liked his association. At different times Srila Prabhupada said he was paramahamsa [topmost devotee].

Once I was painting trees in Vrindavan, thinking all the trees in Vrindavan were desire trees and so it was OK. Then I felt bad because Krishna wasn’t there, so I added Krishna and some cowherd boys. I showed it to Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada looked for a long time and didn’t say anything. Then he said, “What is the idea? Where is it in the books?”
I said, “The Nectar of Devotion.
What verse?” Srila Prabhupada replied.
I said, “Krishna is unlimited.”
Srila Prabhupada replied, “Krishna is unlimited, but you are limited. Stick to the book.”

Gauranga Prasada Prabhu’s Going Away Party

Gauranga Prasada Prabhu was a new devotee in Gainesville who was very eager to apply himself to different aspects of Krishna consciousness such as cooking for the Lord and playing the harmonium and singing. He left Krishna House after not even two years to become the bhakta leader in the Tucson temple, and the Krishna House devotees had a nice going away party for him.

Kalakantha Prabhu: Gauranga Prasada was seeking the truth. He was immediately attracted by Krishna consciousness. He was supported by his family. He has many talents. It is clear he is continuing his practice from a previous life.

Hanan Prabhu asked devotees to say three things each about him:

Clayton: Sincerity, simplicity, wailing on the harmonium with total absorption. Ananda Loka Prabhu: His bright smile. Srutisagara Prabhu: Hard-working, humble. Ghee, butter, hing. Tulasi Priya dd: A good example for me. Dr. Dina Bandhu Prabhu: Always said “welcome home” each weekend when I returned from Jacksonville. New lady: Made me feel at home. Girl with glasses: Eye-opening, laughter. Tall Indian male: Positive. Jai Nitai Gauranga Prabhu: Reliable. Father: An old soul. He had a wisdom about him. He has given so much. Mother: He is well loved. Thank you all here for showing him compassion and giving him safety. Haribol. Amrita Keli dd: Completely lovable, without fault, potent. Just today he came into my dream to remind me to help in the kitchen five minutes after I said I would be there. Andy: A mine of valuable gems like potency, kindness. I feel very enriched. Syamala Kishori dd: Enthusiasm. I love your kirtana.

I mentioned his enthusiasm, his happiness, and his kindness. He kindly sent some Krishna sweets to my relatives for me when I was overseas. I wish him well.

Gauranga Prasada Prabhu:

My plan for life was originally very clear, go to school, get a job, raise a family, but now I feel my life is much more uncertain, but in the best possible way. I just want to serve Krishna and be with the devotees. The rest is just details.

I am grateful for the service opportunities here at Krishna House, which I think are more extensive than any other temple.

comment by Kalakantha Prabhu: I appreciate you were always willing to do the needful.

Harinama at the Farmers Market

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving there were no classes at University of Florida, and so both students and Krishna Lunch workers had more free time. Thus we were able to have a harinama with thirteen people at the Farmers Market! Four of us came together, driven by Michele, a new devotee who loves kirtana. Then a couple more devotees joined us. Then two Krishna Lunch workers along with the sister of one of them. Michele gave the new girl a mantra card, and she chanted Hare Krishna for the first time. Jaya Sri Krishna Prabhu joined us and played the drum. One lady on a nearby bench seemed to be enjoying the kirtana, so we gave her a mantra card, and she chanted along. Later Damodar Prasada gave her a book. Thus Krishna really reciprocated with my desire to have a well-attended harinama in the Farmers Market upon my return to Gainesville. It was great that two new people chanted the mantra.

The Festival of the Holy Name

Festival of the Holy Name is an annual kirtana festival during Thanksgiving weekend featuring two days of 12 hours of kirtana at ISKCON New Raman Reti in Alachua, Florida. This year’s was the third festival.

It was a treat having Niranjana Swami fly in just to be part of the Festival of the Holy Name this year. Agnidev Prabhu, a legendary Hare Krishna kirtana leader, also was a special guest. And of course, there were Madhava and Amala, as usual, as well as Mitra Prabhu, who came from North Carolina, and locals like Visvambhara and Jagannatha Kirtana Prabhus, to name a few.

One friend from Tallahassee, Sara Black, a young Mormon music major, who just completed her Ph.D. dissertation on kirtana at Hare Krishna festivals came to the Festival of the Holy Name for at least the second year. Inspired by her research, she is now writing a book on the recent explosion of interest in kirtana. I encouraged her to stay and hear Niranjana Swami, and she stayed and appreciated the kirtanas of both Niranjana Swami and Agnidev Prabhu. In fact, she and her husband stayed to hear Visvambhara Prabhu whose singing they had previously developed an attachment for and who did the last segment on Friday evening. It was wonderful to see them both intently singing Hare Krishna and clapping along with the music. She developed an interest in Hare Krishna festivals when she grew up in Utah and attended the Holi festival that Caru Prabhu organized his temple in Spanish Fork.

The group of local second generation American Vaishnavas including Gaura Shakti, Krishna Dhama, Govinda, and Ramachandra, and many more, who organized the festival did a great job, and it gets better every year. All thanks and blessings to them.


Srila Prabhupada:

from a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.1, given in Bombay, on December 25, 1976:

This is the difficulty at the present moment that we take leadership of the society although we remain in the bodily conception of life.”

There is a not a problem of overpopulation. We are all sons of Krishna, and He is providing for us. The problem is that we are mismanaging and then claiming God is not providing.

The more you become godless, the more miseries will be inflicted by material nature.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (from Patravali, a collection of his letters soon to be published by Touchstone Publishing in an abridged work called Patramrita):

If the mind does not become disturbed at the time of chanting mantras then it should be understood that the chanting is being done perfectly.

In order to test us and benefit us, the Supreme Lord has placed different types of inconveniences in this world. We have to realize those things as being beneficial for us and thus accept them gracefully. Glorious are those who serve the Supreme Lord. In the midst of all difficulties, keep hearing about, chanting, and remembering the Supreme Lord. Other than this I have no better advice. You should always chant a fixed number of rounds of the holy names of Lord Hari. If there is any problem for openly decorating your body with tilaka then you can do it mentally while chanting the appropriate mantras. Know for certain that the holy name of Hari and Lord Hari Himself are one and the same. Know for certain that chanting the holy names of Hari and meeting the Supreme Lord directly are one and the same. Sri Harinama Prabhu is the worshipable Lord of liberated persons.

There is no comparison to Sri Gaurasundara’s compassion, and there is no limit to Sri Krishnacandra’s sweetness.

Simply by reading about glorification of the Supreme Lord and the devotees, all our needs will be fulfilled. Do not be impatient for the result, but rather always chant the holy names of Krishna with patience and tolerance. The Supreme Lord will certainly not sit quietly. According to the degree of one’s sadhana, Sri Gaurahari certainly awards one auspicious results. Service to Hari is called bhakti. You will realize that chanting of the names of Krishna is in itself bhakti.

The forefathers of that family in which a devotee takes birth attain special benefit so that their lives become successful. There is no need to pray for them separately.

Dreams are false. They are manifestations of the enjoyment of one’s thoughts, and they are the results of one’s previous bad association. Therefore just throw away those things from the heart.

Sri Gaurasundara tests us in various ways by putting us into difficulties and different kinds of association. It depends on the good fortune of the living entities for them to pass those tests. As the indwelling Supersoul, Sri Gaurahari has revealed the eternal truth in the hearts of the living entities out of His causeless mercy. Those who have taken shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Hari and the spiritual master never trust the illusory words of misguided people. Only unfortunate people become bewildered by hearing deceitful words. One need not worry about that.

It is the duty of householders to worship the deity of the Supreme Lord with faith and devotion. A householder who has taken complete shelter of the holy names, having realized his relationship with the Supreme Lord, respects deity worshipers. Those who avoid worshiping the deity just to save money incur the sin known as vittasa?hya, or miserliness. Householders with abominable characters and restless minds must engage in deity worship.

You are a learned person and so you must know the scriptural evidence the smarta Bhattacarya Raghunandan has quoted in the ekadasi-tattva.

devata pratimam drstva. yatinacaiva tridandinam
namaskaram na kuryaccet upavasena suddhati
You are the father, but still you should offer obeisance to your sannyasi son, otherwise you will have to purify yourself of that fault by observing a fast for one full day.”

You were inspiring him to enter a miserable family life, which is a more severe form of vow than the severe vow one takes to worship Hari, because it instills a great fear in one’s mind. Your attempt was not proper.

Those who are faithful and devoted never face obstacles or inauspiciousness. Only those who desire material enjoyment and liberation face inauspiciousness in life.

I have been wandering about since my birth for the attainment of the goal of life about which you have been deceived for the last twelve years. I did not feel any need to hanker after sense gratification, which is the aim of your life and wealth. I never felt any need to accumulate wealth to mitigate my hunger, to maintain my wife and children, or to supply fuel for my illicit desires. I have never made any endeavor for material wealth like you.
Lord Krishna has never put me into any sort of difficulty or anxiety regarding filling my belly, like He has you. I only try to earn that much wealth with which I can engage in the service of Lord Vishnu, and with which I can keep my sinful body healthy just to serve Lord Hari. Apart from that, I never tried to earn any wealth whatsoever. Even today, I am not greedy for anyone’s wealth. I am not greedy for perishable material wealth like you.
Please bless me so that I can remain greedy for eternal wealth, birth after birth. I wish that even my greatest enemy would not have greed for enjoyable wealth. May I not have any desire other than to pray for the benefit of my greatest enemy. Bless me that I may not see in the last days of my life the face of atheists who are greedy for wealth for the purpose of enjoying profit, adoration, distinction, gold, and women.

We, surrounded by enemies, are determined to engage in the service of Lord Hari and His devotees. All of us are more or less forgetful of Lord Krishna while serving the six enemies. All of you together should serve Lord Hari with unity. This is my request. Ekaki amara nahi paya bala. “I have no strength to do it alone.” Remembering this line, all of you should continue to execute kirtana-yajña, which is the goal of life. The responsibility of the leaders in charge of the execution of kirtana-yajña is to make friendship with all, and especially satisfy all the Vai??avas, while engaging in the service of Hari.

This material world is temporary—nobody has come here to live forever. When the Supreme Lord keeps one in a particular place, he should gladly stay there and accept His rewards and punishments. All types of rewards and punishments awarded by the Supreme Lord are meant for our benefit. We welcome the rewards of the Lord’s external energy, maya, whereas we consider her punishments as troublesome. Since the punishments of maya are awarded so that one can obtain the Lord’s mercy, the devotees do not disregard them; rather they gladly accept them as the Lord’s mercy and simply tolerate them. Those who cannot understand worldly inconveniences to be the Lord’s mercy ultimately fall into a state of disappointment while searching for material happiness and advancement.

Our material miseries and scarcities will go away by participating in festivals in the association of those who serve the Supreme Lord. To always remain engaged in hearing and chanting the glories of Lord Hari is the instruction of saintly persons, scriptures, and the Supreme Lord.

According to proper etiquette, in day-to-day business, one should normally start a letter by saying, “all glories to,” or by offering obeisances at the top of the letter.

By calling out the holy names of the Supreme Lord while fixing our mind upon Him, all auspiciousness is achieved. The Supreme Lord alone is the one who awards worldly prosperity, happiness, and distress. We are maintained by Him and are surrendered unto Him. Whatever arrangements He makes for us, we should humbly accept.

Every disturbance is a fault of my mind; nobody can actually harm me in this world.

Try to avoid quarreling. There is no possibility of disharmony if the purpose is one. In the spiritual world, apparent conflict of interests helps to increase the glories of loving service to the Supreme Lord.

Even by riding on the motorcar of the Madras Gaudiya Matha, the principle and guise of a sincere beggar can be maintained. There is no need to externally display artificial renunciation, or luxury by imitating the sahajiyas. Renunciation is a state of the heart. There is a gulf of difference between the considerations of those who misuse renunciation and that of the followers of King Janaka and Raya Ramananda. By taking advantage of, and by imitating, King Janaka or Raya Ramananda, and thus acting like Ravana, is not internal renunciation, or yukta-vairagya. When duplicity is externally displayed, having entered the heart, nobody can achieve his true welfare.

People are extremely averse to us and so their behavior will surely be exhibited according to this mentality. If we can patiently tolerate their insults then one day they will definitely repent their misdeeds.

None of you should be afraid of natural calamities, such as heavy rain or disease. Embrace them and then bid them farewell in due course of time. Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharaja used to say that when painful diseases come to our body, if they are not pampered, or do not get excellent food, they will automatically leave. Diseases stay longer in the bodies of aristocratic people because of their luxurious living.

As soon as bodily pleasures are increased, the propensity for serving the Supreme Lord decreases. That is why the Supreme Lord spreads thorns on the path of all kinds of comfort for those upon whom He shows mercy.

I have received your humble letter dated the 29th March and have understood your present physical and mental condition. Always remember the lotus feet of Lord Hari, the spiritual master, and other Vaishnavas without interruption while accepting that all physical and mental miseries are a result of one’s previous karma. In this mood, always pray for the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Gradually, by Krishna’s will, all types of miseries will be destroyed and you will become empowered for the service of the Supreme Lord so that the inclination for constantly worshiping Lord Hari will be awakened. All impediments in the form of bad association will be removed and the propensity to always serve Lord Hari, the spiritual master, and the Vaishnavas will predominate.
I hope that you will soon be cured of your physical and mental illness by the Lord’s mercy so that you will increase our happiness by being engaged in the worship of Hari. It is quite warm here. If you feel extreme pain then invite a devotee known to you from Gaudiya Matha and hear from him Hari-katha and Hari-nama.
There is no happiness in the material world. The material world creates many disturbances by manifesting various kinds of disasters. Although there is good and bad, and partial purity in it, material life often produces varieties of disturbances. That is why the tat te nu’kampam verse has been presented.
There are no such disturbances in the abode of Goloka. Anyway, there is no alternative but to tolerate all inconveniences that come to us at various times and at various places.

Let them harass you as much as possible; you simply must quietly tolerate these disturbances. We firmly believe that the people of the world will not allow injustices to predominate. The Supreme Lord arranges everything for our benefit—this is our firm faith. The atheists cannot flourish in this world for long, for eventually they are pulled down by the punishment of providence. Everything takes place by the will of the Supreme Lord.

The duty of relatives is that they should first offer some foodstuffs to the Supreme Lord on the day of sraddha and then offer some portion of the Lord’s prasada to the departed soul and thus help him achieve his ultimate welfare. Offering the departed souls prasada will satisfy the devotees of the Supreme Lord. There should also be performance of harinama.

When maya conditions us, we remain busy calculating who is big and who is small.

We should unconditionally accept whatever condition Krishna puts us in at any time. The desire to gain physical health with the sole intention of worshiping Krishna is also favorable for devotional service. A non-devotee’s endeavor to demand service from the Supreme Lord, such as becoming cured so that he can attain the platform of anarthas is not acceptable. But to pray for good health to the destroyer of obstacles, Ganesa, and at the lotus feet of the destroyer of obstacles, Lord Nrsimha, for the sake of Krishna bhajana is certainly acceptable.

If our photograph is worshiped when we are alive; this will make us fall down.

If you constantly engage your mind in the Lord’s service then no one can harm you. If you are restless or dissatisfied with others then an inclination for the Lord’s service will not be present within your mind. Your words, body, and mind will form a mental displeasure that will not allow you to serve Hari. Therefore become tolerant like a tree, and by the Lord’s will stay at Samanta-pañcaka. This will be beneficial for you. Wait for the day when Lord Gaura Hari will send you elsewhere.

The dear devotees of Sri Gaurasundara have no other business than to take the treasure of His distribution of Krishna-prema [love of God] and distribute it door to door. This business is their only means of livelihood as they execute their loving devotional service to Krishna.

As Srila Rupa Gosvami elaborately explains in his Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, there are five principal rasas—neutrality, servitude, friendship, parental love, and conjugal love—and seven secondary rasas—amazement, humor, chivalry, compassion, fury, fear, and dread. Altogether there are twelve rasas, the supreme object of them all is Sri Krishna. In other words, our love and affection are actually meant for Sri Krishna. Unfortunately, out of ignorance, we stubbornly try to squeeze happiness and love out of material relationships, which are not directly connected to Krishna, and thus life is experienced as a constant frustration. The solution is simple: surrender to Krishna, love Krishna, love Krishna’s devotees, and be happy forever.

Pray to the holy name with your heart and soul so that the holy name may bestow mercy upon you. Remembering astakaliya-lila is not to be performed when one is full of anarthas. Only by kirtana can smarana be practiced. At that time, realization of astakaliya-lila-seva is possible. One should not artificially practice astakaliya-lila-smara?a.

We are insignificant beggars. If a rich person or a particular community harasses us then Lord Nrisimha will protect us. No community can hurt our feelings for our religious beliefs.

When the futility of false ego is understood, then we give up bad association and come to know that worldly happiness, worldly knowledge, and worldly settlement, etc., are all useless in comparison to realization of the Supreme Lord, who is eternal, and full of knowledge and bliss. Only when one is initiated into Krishna consciousness like this can he obtain supreme auspiciousness.

By installing deities of Lord Jagannatha and Lord Mahaprabhu in the villages of England and offering Indian foodstuffs to the Lord and then distributing them as maha-prasada, gradually the people of England will support the service of the Supreme Lord by showing sympathy and being faithful. In the future, qualified persons will go there and benefit the people by propagating pure sanatana-dharma.
Oh!When will the time come when all the people of that country honor the transcendental maha-prasada in the Lord’s temple while chanting the holy names of Lord Gauranga with a purified heart and thus understand the value of spiritual life?

Because we will forget the Supreme Lord if we are are satisfied with material happiness, the merciful Lord has created various dangers to test us. Happiness in this material world guarantees forgetfulness of Krishna. Hence, miseries are examples of His compassion.

There are differences of opinion between the resident devotees of the matha and the “big” householder devotees. According to the considerations put forth by Maharaja in Delhi, the Supreme Lord and His devotees are the only objects of service. Just by serving the Supreme Lord and the devotees, the weight of our attached household activities will decrease. But if the residents of the dhama think of themselves as “big devotees,” just like the sahajiyas of Kuliya, and transform the servants of the matha into their servants, then rather than serving the dhama, they will imagine themselves as being objects of service in Vaiku??ha. Living in the dhama is only to serve the devotees, but if instead of serving the Supreme Lord and the devotees, service is demanded from them and displeasure is shown at their activities, then rather than dhama-seva, an offense called dhama-bhoga will be committed.
It is better to live in a place of material enjoyment and serve the devotees of the dhama from a distance than to be an enjoyer of the dhama.

Simply by worshiping Hari, the body, mind, and soul will remain healthy, but if one is averse to bhajana, these three will act unfavorably.

The tendency for material enjoyment is one hundred percent present in the Western countries. Therefore their faith in God is very weak.

Sastra says, “One should take shelter of saintly persons while giving up bad association.” Those who mistake nondevotees to be devotees make a mistake like trying to cheat a blacksmith out of steel. We need not talk about others, but while serving Lord Hari, the spiritual master, and other Vaishnavas, discussions of Agha, Baka, Ravana, and so on automatically arise. Anyway, everything is the Lord’s test. I did not expect such unfavorable behavior from my so-called disciples. Anyhow, this is Kali-yuga and so everything is possible.

To ascertain the varna of a person is the essence of varnasrama. To merge familial identity with one’s personal nature is not its purpose.

The followers of Sri Rupa, without putting faith in their own power, attribute all their successes to the original source. We too do everything for the pleasure of Sri Krishna Caitanya, Sri Rupa, Sri Bhaktivinoda, and our spiritual master.

Bhakti Tirtha Swami (from a YouTube video lecture):

The Vedic scriptures are the oldest scriptures on the planet, and if you follow them, they will make you a better Christian or a better Moslem. And the end result of that is that you will understand that we are servants of God, beyond all sectarian designations.

In our movement we have people of different nations and races all working together to benefit society. Where else is there such an example?

Niranjana Swami:

When a diplomat visited Prabhupada in Geneva, Srila Prabhupada started out by asking if he had any questions. The man said, “No.” Then Srila Prabhupada asked for the harmonium, and played a beautiful Hare Krishna tune for twenty minutes or so. Then he said to the man, “This is what we do.” Then he asked Guru Gauranga Prabhu to give the man prasadam. So I tell this story as a simple introduction to this 12-hour kirtana program. This is what we do.

Badahari Prabhu (from Krishna House):

Using mechanical substitutes for essential body parts or functions cannot extend life without the sanction of the Lord.

Our hearing apparatus works 24/7 and thus can protect us from calamity at all times.

Morning is best for the spiritual cultivation because the ether is not polluted by materialistic sound vibrations.

Srila Prabhupada and Krishna are ready to take you with them, if you are willing to give up the desire to control.

It is hard to be detached from the material world, but because someday you will need to be, it is good to practice.

Beg borrow or steal, somehow get devotional service. The more devotional service we do, we build up our spiritual body.

Comment by Gauranga Prasada Prabhu: Laksmimani dd says that pride, such as that in Vedic scholarship, is one thing that remains as indicated by the word prayesu [almost to nil] in Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.18.

Caturatma Prabhu:

In Vrindavan, I was noticing three Govardhan silas on Indradyumna Swami’s altar at the MVT. I asked the origin of them. He said he had to confiscate them from his disciples, and he did not know what he was going to do with them. I said, well I have been wanting to worship Govardhan for some time, I would like to worship them. He said, “Well you’re not shy about asking.” He also had a very large sila, one that was completely impractical to travel with and, he did not have a clue what he would do with Him. I said, “I know just the person, a hefty devotee, who has a desire to worship Govardhan. That was Madhava [from the Alachua community].”

Dravida Prabhu:

The prayers of Brahma are very conclusive and many acaryas have written explanations of them.

Brahma had just experienced that his intellect had failed to appreciate the divinity of Krishna, and so he spoke this verse (SB 10.14.3): “Those who, even while remaining situated in their established social positions, throw away the process of speculative knowledge and with their body, words and mind offer all respects to descriptions of Your personality and activities, dedicating their lives to these narrations, which are vibrated by You personally and by Your pure devotees, certainly conquer Your Lordship, although You are otherwise unconquerable by anyone within the three worlds.”

What is the ultimate goal of life and how to attain it?” is the main question of a seeker.

There is a logical order to the four imperfections of a conditioned soul. First we have imperfect senses, then we make mistakes, and when we make enough mistakes, we become illusioned, and when we present our illusions as factual knowledge we cheat others.

Adhoksaja is a combination of three words, ja meaning janma or birth, aksa meaning the eyes, or the senses in general, adha which means pushing down. Aksaja thus means knowledge born of sense perception, and adhoksaja therefore means that which pushes down this knowledge born of sense perceptions.

Krishna wants only one thing: love.

One may be a multi-millionaire but if he has no one to exchange love with he is unhappy.

How to serve the topics of the Lord? With our body, by following His instructions, with our minds, by thinking of the topics, and with our words, by repeating them to others.

Two of Jarasandha’s daughters were wives of Kamsa, so he was upset with Krishna for killing Kamsa and leaving them unprotected.

Everything begins with hearing. If we had not heard about Krishna, how could we have become attracted to Him?

Kathamritam means that hearing about Krishna is like nectar, but you cannot drink too much of such nectar, nor does it have any bad side effects.

Our constitutional position is not to be a university student nor to work a certain job, nor to be a man or woman, nor even a human being.

On Halloween people dress in costumes but if they forget it is just a costume and continue to act as a ghost or Napolean, then they really have a problem. That is our situation in this world.

The topics glorifying Krishna are the purifying force.

The most valuable thing you have is your desire to be Krishna consciousness, and that we must increase by our practice.

The main reason we stay in the material world is because of our desire to hear about things other than Krishna.

Srila Prabhupada said if you take one step toward Krishna, Krishna takes ten steps toward you. These steps are the taste He gives you.

Everything depends on the intensity of one’s attention.

The secret is to keep everything fresh and new. For me it is verses. There are always more verses, and the verses have great depth. The verses are like old friends. And the books . . .

The sastra [with a long ‘a’ (the scripture)] cuts off our attachments, but the sastra [with a short ‘a’ (the weapon)] cuts off our head.

The Siksastakam is throughout the Padyavali (a collection of verses) of Rupa Goswami and was gathered together by Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami.

Step to memorize verses:

  1. read translation
  2. figure out meter
  3. look at word meanings for the first line
  4. practice saying the first line while remembering its meaning
  5. repeat steps 3 and 4 with all the lines of the verse
  6. practice your verses periodically

The “Madhurastkam,” which describes the sweetness of Krishna, only works because it is about Him. It would become trite to describe any other person as being sweet in so many ways.

Similarly if anyone were dressed as opulently as the Deity one would consider the person to be overdressed but for Krishna such opulence is appropriate and pleasing.

Some people look for the bliss at this festival and that festival, but hooking up with Lord Caitanya and His movement and all the previous spiritual masters by making a contribution to the mission, we taste the real bliss. We forget that this is something bestowed upon us.

Constant prayer and willingness to do austerity for Krishna makes us advanced.

Prabhodananda Sarasvati said, “Lord Caitanya is more magnanimous than ten million mothers.”

The real friend is the friend who will introduce you to your eternal friend Krishna.

The real guru inspires you to chant the holy name.

The holy name is like a touchstone. When our consciousness touches the holy name it becomes transformed.

The chanting is attractive because Krishna is present there.

Three things come from devotional service, the pleasure of serving Krishna, direct experience of Krishna, and detachment from other things. This is compared to the pleasure of eating, nourishment, and freedom from hunger.

Ajamila was so grateful that the holy name saved him from the Yamadutas that he very seriously took to devotional service and attained perfection.

The holy name is supremely pure and made of spiritual bliss.

If we want to associate with Krishna, He is willing to associate with us, primarily through His avatar as the holy name.

There is no downside or bad effect to the pleasure of the holy name. It is all up. Stay high forever.

Talks of materialistic people steal the most valuable gem, our desire for Krishna.

By associating with the faithful, we become faithful.

Progressing in devotional service means refining our activities so they are supportive of chanting.

By chanting japa during class we can commit two offenses at once, inattention to chanting and insulting the Bhagavatam speaker.

Srila Prabhupada was always completely focused on what he was doing for Krishna, and thus he was able to do so much in just eleven years.

In the Eleventh Canto, one verse states that the greatest pure devotee does not want to forget Krishna even for a moment, even in exchange for all the wealth in the world.

Comment by Lilananda Prabhu: Bringing a television into your home is like bring in billions of people who are against Krishna.

Comment: If one chants the names of Nitai Gauranga, Bhakti devi comes chasing after you.

Comment by Kaliyaphani Prabhu: Regarding the Gauranga campaign you mentioned where devotees in Scotland put up posters saying “Chant Gauranga” everywhere, I have a couple stories:

A devotee doing street sankirtana [book distribution] in Scotland stopped a young mother with a small son. He was a scruffy, cheeky-looking kid. After the exchange, the devotee said to the kid, ‘Can you say Gauranga?’ The reply was, ‘Aye, I can. But it’s nae Gauranga, it’s Gauruunga!’

Two devotees going door-to-door in central Edinburgh entered a very posh-looking restaurant with the idea of going round the tables to collect. There were big pillars, chandeliers, etc. They hesitated at the doorway thinking it was too posh. Then a customer at a table must have recognized them and at the top of his voiced yelled out, ‘Gaaaaauuuuraaaangaaaa!’ the sound reverberating round the hall and shattering the devotee’s doubts!

If you make a habit of glorifying devotees you will derive such pleasure from that activity that you will not feel the tendency to criticize devotees. Radhanath Swami is a good example of that.

When we are doing japa and kirtana, we should think, “Now is my time to associate directly with Krishna and to forget everything else.”

We have to come to the platform of always following Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to attain purity in chanting.

Dhanesvara Prabhu was the manager of the production team of me (Dravida Prabhu), Gopiparanadhana Prabhu, and Hridayananda dasa Goswami to complete Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavatam translation. At one point, things were difficult and Gopiparanadhana Prabhu suggested that we worship the Bhagavatam. So we set up an altar and put the Bhagavatam on it, and worshiped it, and ultimately we were successful in completing the translation and publishing it.
We should think, “By chanting the holy name purely all my aspirations will be fulfilled.”

Because we are chanting Hare Krishna, Krishna is reducing our taste for meat eating, illicit sex, intoxication, and gambling.

All of us have the capacity to appreciate the holy name as Rupa Goswami did: “I do not know how much nectar the two syllables ‘Krish-na’ have produced. When the holy name of Krishna is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. And when the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert.”

We can pray to the holy name for the strength to avoid sinful activities.

Kalakantha Prabhu:

One devotee walked from Africa to Mayapur chanting Hare Krishna. The devotees in general were very impressed with him, but Srila Prabhupada was not impressed. That devotee eventually stopped talking with other devotees and lived alone, saying he wanted to focus on his chanting. Ultimately, however, he went away because people stopped paying attention to him.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura was opposed to the idea of seminal succession of spiritual masters, and so rather than initiating his son, he advised his son to approach Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja for initiation.

We cannot become advanced by imitating the symptoms of advanced devotees, but rather absorbing ourselves in Krishna and naturally becoming advanced.

Whatever taste we have for hearing about Krishna is our greatest gift.

The great acaryas [spiritual teachers who teach by example] are not appointed but emerge.

After a day of searching by the order of Dronacarya, their teacher, Duryodhana could not find anyone superior to himself and Yudhisthira could not find anyone inferior to himself. Dronacarya then proclaimed, “Yudhisthira is fit to rule the world and Duryodhana is fit to have his body eaten by jackals.”

Anuttama Prabhu tells a story of an experience on sankirtana:
One man said, “I don’t want your book. I have my own religion. You are going to hell.” Anuttama replied, “What religion are you?”
The man said, “Christian.”
Anuttama inquired, “Are all Christians going to heaven?”
The man said, “No, not all Christians.”
Anuttama asked, “So only people in your church?”
The man replied, “No, not all people in my church are going to heaven.”

The madhyama devotee’s relationship with the innocent person is this: “I want to help this person as much as he wants my help.”

As soon as you take to spiritual life seriously, some people will love you and other people will hate you.

The neophyte devotee cannot abandon the society, friendship, and love of the material world to pursue Krishna.

In no religious scripture will you see a statement like “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me.” Only Krishna is so bold as to say this, but He says it not because He is arrogant, but to establish the truth. He does this in half a verse. And in rest of the four main verses He talks about His devotees and how He reciprocates with them.

There is a long standing discussion in theology about whether God is attained by works or grace. The relationship between the two is cleared up in Bhagavad-gita: “To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me. (Bg. 10.10)

If the most important thing to a person is God, then that person is a devotee or a Vaishnava.

Nondevotees consider the activities of the Lord are too amazing to be true. But what do you expect God to do? Actually the more amazing the activities of Krishna are, the more they are worthy of God, and the more they give us faith in Krishna.

Often in the rest of the Bhagavatam, Sukadeva Goswami quotes other sages, but in the Tenth Canto he speaks himself.

We are frustrated with relationships, we have been hurt in relationships, and so the last thing we want is a relationship with God.

It is pleasing to associate with people who think God is the most important.

Who do we talk to? Who do we reveal our mind to? That is how we associate.

As for seeing someone reputed to be a sadhu: See him once. Take notes. Point out where he differs from Bhagavad-gita. If invited again, point out the differences between his philosophy and Bhagavad-gita, and say you would rather read Bhagavad-gita than hear him.

We cannot gain a taste for Krishna consciousness by pretending we have it.

In fund raising, there is happy money and unhappy money. Unhappy money is that is received by making people feel guilty or which they regret giving and never give again. Happy money is money people feel good giving because they are shown the practical benefits.

Statistics show that a man who retires without a good positive engagement generally dies within two years after retirement.

The highest principle is relationship among the devotees, so if to proceed with our agenda damages our relationship with others, we might consider making an adjustment.

If I ask someone to do something and they say no, I take it that Krishna is telling me to find someone else.

Our standard for wearing saffron at Krishna House is that the devotee as been chanting Hare Krishna for year, and he has a commitment to work full time on the mission for at least two years.

Sesa Prabhu:

Bhakti is compared to an ocean, as there are levels of depth of understanding.

I like to use the indexes in Srila Prabhupada’s books because they are prepared by the devotees with the devotees’ point of view in mind [rather than using the different search engines].

One feature of sin is that it causes us to do more sin.

Sin does not just mean you go and rob a store. You could go to a store and purchase something and also be engaging in sin, if that object you purchase does not help you remember Krishna.

Sinful activities take away knowledge of our constitutional position as loving servants of God.

If you do not want to have a relationship with God, you get the reactions as you deserve.

The results of chanting:

The good results of nama-aparadha (offensive chanting):
it will fulfill one’s desires, but not give love of Krishna
it will allow one to occasionally chant without offense, and that inoffensive chanting will purify the chanter, and thus he gets the association of devotees who instruct him how to chant properly.

Chanting is namabhasa (the clearing or intermediate stage) when done in ignorance, but nama-aparadha (offensive chanting) when done for liberation or sense enjoyment, or by a Mayavadi (one who denies the form of the Lord). Namabhasa has these benefits:
elimination of sinful reactions
liberation from Kali and material consciousness
freedom from fear and worries
freedom from fear of demons
boundless spiritual bliss

benefits of pure chanting, suddha-nama:
chanting once clears sins from millions of births.
chanting twice gives Krishna prema, love of Krishna.

Krishna is so kind he steals away our sins, even though we may not desire it.

Madhava Prabhu (from Alachua County):

Underneath the Govardhan Hill that Krishna was lifting, each resident of Vrindavan experienced that Krishna was looking at him or her. All of them were free from all material tribulations.

Madhumangala offered to hold the hill for Krishna with his stick, thinking that Krishna must be tired.

Yasoda prayed to Giriraj (Govardhan, the king of hills) to become soft so Krishna would not feel distress in the course of holding it with His soft hand.

Viewing Krishna as he was lifting the Govardhan Hill, the residents of Vrindavan said, “Until now we have not appreciated how Krishna is the very ornament of the earth. He glances lovingly at us. He is delighting our minds with his gentle smile. He is more dazzling than anything.”

Krishna’s ankle bells worshiped Krishna in silent meditation. When he lifted the hill, they jingled slightly, charming the demigods, who worshiped them.

Madhava Prabhu (from Switzerland):

It is said that Krishna will only appear in purified heart, but the holy name is so merciful He will appear even before our heart is pure.

Kirtana is Krishna’s time, or rather, our time with Krishna. You can always talk later.

Srila Prabhupada would say to cry for Krishna, and Aindra Prabhu would say, “If you cannot cry for Krishna, then cry that you cannot cry for Krishna.”

Sacinandana Swami advises to make a resolution at the beginning of kirtana-melas to chant for eight of the twelve hours each day.

Pray to the mind, “I have served you so nicely, just lay off for the next few hours.”

Jai Nitai Gauranga Prabhu:

When asked for evidence that Krishna consciousness is a science, Srila Prabhupada would often quote Bhagavad-gita 2.13, “As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.”

If people come from all over the city to honor someone, that is amazing, but it is more amazing if people come from all over the nation. In the case of Maharaja Pariksit, people came from all over the entire universe to witness the end of his life.

It is not enough to have theoretical knowledge of God and His protection to become free from fear.

a Vaishnava youth:

Because we are eternal spiritual souls, death is unnatural for us, and it creates fear within us.

Once I was in a new city and was involved in a relationship with someone who was my best friend at that time and who cheated on me, abruptly ending the relationship. In my distressed condition I chanted japa, and as I chanted, I came to realize that all the things I usually take shelter of, like my family and friends, were temporary, and that Krishna is the real shelter. I understood that Krishna had created the situation so I would realize that truth. Since then I have found Krishna to be my true shelter in other situations as well.

Hanan Prabhu:

Anger will make you miserable and make your life shorter.

Anger is like holding something burning in your hand.

Researchers had angry people blow on a glass and analyzed that it produced poison. In an hour an angry person can produce enough poison to kill a guinea pig.

There is a story that Alexander the Great came to Vrindavan. He sent his servant to tell a sage that Alexander the Great was here. The sage, who was worshiping Krishna, the greatest of the great, was not impressed with Alexander, and said, he had no interest in coming out to meet Alexander, but that if Alexander liked he could come in. Alexander, who was used to getting a more royal welcome, was upset. The sage, hearing that Alexander was upset, referred to Alexander as the servant of my servant, which angered Alexander even more, and so he came with drawn sword, demanding to know why. The sage explained that because he had conquered anger while Alexander was still controlled by it, that Alexander was the servant of his servant.

People deal with anger in three ways: by not expressing it, by expressing it violently, and by managing anger and expressing it in a positive way.


sadhu-sanga’ ‘sadhu-sanga’ — sarva-sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya

The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 22.54)