Monday, January 07, 2013

Travel Journal#8.23: North Florida and New York State

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 8, No. 23
By Krishna-kripa das
(December 2012, part one
North Florida and New York State
(Sent from Brooklyn, New York, on January 7, 2013)

What I Went and What I Did

December started off with a new event for the North Florida Hare Krishnas on its very first day, the St. Augustine Christmas parade. In Gainesville, we had our last week of Krishna Lunch on the campus for the year, and I chanted on the campus through Wednesday. That Wednesday we had our usual harinama at the Gainesville Farmers Market, which had a special feature this time. Thursday Andy drove me to University of North Florida where Hladini, Amrita, Dorian, and Dorian’s friend, Tim, and I chanted together for four hours outside the Student Union as hundreds of students traded in their used books. Hladini also distributed many cookies and invitations to our Thursday evening program which Tim ended up coming to for the first time. On Friday I flew to Philadelphia where I saw Radha-Saradbihari and Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu, and Sraddha dd, and where I took my niece, Fern, to my friend Haryasva Prabhu’s Govinda’s Restaurant, along with Jaya Sita dd and Varuni, a couple friends from Florida. The next day I went to Stuyvesant Falls, New York, about 100 miles north of New York City, where my initiating guru, Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami had his Vyasa Puja ceremony that weekend. For the next week after that I served Satsvarupa Maharaja, by cooking his breakfast and lunch, cleaning his room, and washing everyone’s dishes. Muktavandya Prabhu, who was also assisting Satsvarupa Maharaja, and I went to Hudson on the warmest day of that week and did harinama for an hour, and we received some favorable gestures and smiles from a few locals and no negativity. On Saturday the 15th, I made a day trip to New York City to do harinama and kirtana, and to hear from my siksa guru, Niranjana Swami. That harinama was a special experience because of the response, and I share some video of some Santa Clauses dancing along with our party.

I share insights of visiting guests like Niranjana and Rtadhvaja Swamis and Malati Prabhu, as well as senior devotees in the Alachua Country community like Kalakantha and Sesa Prabhus. I tell of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami’s Vyasa Puja ceremony and include some nice excerpts from his autobiography, The Story of My Life, in which he describes the early days with Srila Prabhupada. Then I share details from presentations by newer devotees in Gainesville and Jacksonville.

Lord Jagannatha Blesses the St. Augustine Christmas Parade

By the grace of enthusiastic devotees from Alachua, Ratha-yatras are on the increase in North Florida. For the first time we had a Ratha-yatra cart in the St. Augustine Christmas parade. It was also special as this was first time as the new replica Jagannatha Deities rode on the cart. Dharma-raj Prabhu and his family, as usual, made all kinds of practical arrangements, getting the cart there, and decorated.

Although I love freely distributing promotional literature about Krishna consciousness because I am convinced it will benefit the people, I was not very enthusiastic during the beginning of the parade because I thought the authorities would not appreciate us doing that at the parade and that the vast majority of the people would not be interested. Of course, I did it anyway as a matter of duty, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Many, many people were happy to see the devotees, and they reached out with smiles and words and gestures of approval to take the Krishna, Reservoir of Pleasure and On Chanting Hare Krishna pamphlets that we were distributing. Of course, the prasadam candy canes were even more popular. After two-thirds of the parade, a light rain started, and I hid the pamphlets under my kurta for protection and continued to distribute. Later Kesava Prabhu got a call from the organizers in St. Augustine, saying that we won the award for the most unique float. Of course, that is not so surprising. Who is more unique than Lord Jagannatha, His brother, and sister on their glorious cart and His entourage of singing and dancing followers?, St. Augustine, Florida’s newest online magazine, in an article “The St. Augustine Christmas Parade Wows the Kids” posted on December 1, writes “And honorable mention goes to the Hare Krishna devotees, who sang and tambourined their way through the city in a colorful injection of ethnic and religious diversity.” The two pictures illustrating this article were taken by Brian Nelson of and are used with his permission.

A Special Harinama at the Farmers Market

With devotees working on Krishna Lunch and finishing up projects and papers and studying for finals as the semester ended, we had few devotees to chant at the first Gainesville Farmers Market in December. There was one surprise addition to our chanting party though, and that is our friend, Anna, a Quaker lady in her sixties, who originally came in touch with Hare Krishna at the very same Farmers Market perhaps a year or so ago. She developed a fondness for chanting Hare Krishna on beads, attends some programs, and sometimes helps serve out the Krishna Lunch on the porch of Krishna House. She chanted with us for an hour at the Farmers Market, spontaneously giving out invitations to those sitting or standing nearby, so they could benefit from some of the gifts the Krishna consciousness movement is sharing, as she herself has.

December 15 Harinama in New York City

As I walked from 34 West 31th Street, where the Chinese bus from Albany dropped me off, to find our harinama in Union Square, or as it turned out, Washington Square Park, I was amazed to see somewhere between 10% and 25% of the people were dressed as Santa Claus! “What is going on?” I wondered. Later as I researched this article, I found out, “SantaCon!” According to Wikipedia, “SantaCon is an annual mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading publicly on streets and in bars in cities around the world. The focus is on spontaneity and creativity, while having a good time and spreading cheer and goodwill.” [Donaldson James, Susan (December 11, 2009). "Santa Con: Kringle Chaos is Coming to Town". ABC News. Retrieved December 18, 2011.]

People are in mood of celebration around Christmas, and during SantaCon, that is intensified. Thus during our five-hour harinama, many jolly Santas danced along with the devotees, as you can see in these videos by Bhakta Peter of The Bhakti Center:

We ended our harinama fifteen minutes to eight, a little early, as many devotees wanted to attend the rest of this month’s six-hour kirtana at the Bhakti Center, with Niranjana Swami as a special guest. We made an announcement to those dancing with us at the end to follow us to 25 First Avenue for some more singing, dancing, and refreshments, and about five or six of the Christmas partiers came along. I noticed two of them stayed at least two hours. The most enthusiastic was Yael, a NYU student, who was attracted to the kirtana in Washington Square Park being a percussionist. Although it was her first encounter with Hare Krishna kirtana, she played the djembe drum with the party for several hours, came to the Bhakti Center for more kirtana and prasadam, and she even washed a few pots. The next day she returned to catch the end of Niranjana Swami’s lecture.

She showed up for a few
harinamas the next week, and hopes to visit the Chicago temple when she returns home for the holidays.

It was awesome for me to see all the people doing so many acts of devotion as a result of meeting the harinama party on the SantaCon day. This daily four-hour harinama in Manhattan organized by Rama Raya Prabhu is a very powerful outreach event!


Niranjana Swami:

To accept one’s imminent death as good news takes realization.

My mother was ninety and had no interested in hearing the word “death.” As far as she was concerned, she would live another hundred years. Although there were signs that things would not improve, she did not take them seriously. Five months before she passed away she was in a rehabilitation hospital and she told me, “I do not belong here. This place is only for old and sick people.” Life is meant for learn how to deal with the unavoidable event of death, but our present society is not dealing with this. My aunt got notice she was going to die within a week, and my sister invited me to visit her. My aunt said about me, “Look at him. Look at his eyes. Look at how peaceful he is! He looks like he knows the purpose of life.” Then she addressed me directly, “I can tell that you can accept whatever happens to you in life. Can you teach me to be like that?” People detected that something was going to happen and so they left, not for a long time as it turned out. I explained that soul exists beyond the body, and takes up another body according to one’s karma. Then an old friend came in and our conversation ended, but at least she could understand her situation and try to deal with it.

As it turned out I was with my mother alone in the room as she was dying. I saw her breathing was slowing down, and I decided to stop reading and chant Hare Krishna kirtana. And so I was chanting Hare Krishna for five minutes when my mother left her body. When I messaged Devamrita Swami, he replied that Prabhupada told Giriraja that parents of devotees at the time they leave their bodies will realize their good fortune of having a child who became a devotee. When my sister came in the room she said to me, “Your face is glowing. As soon as I saw your face. I knew everything was alright.”

We have to feel as a result of our devotional service that Krishna is there making arrangements in our life.

Bali Maharaja was cheated by the Lord, to whom He had offered three steps of land, but who had taken everything in two. But Bali was so elevated, he was not disturbed.

Voluntary repentance is the way to get the Lord’s attention, not to blame others.

Pariksit Maharaja saw the curse as an opportunity to become detached from all his material possessions and to become attached to Krishna.

The devotees have the greatest asset and the greatest benediction—to remember the Lord. The Lord minimizes other things in a devotee’s life to facilitate that.

We should practice developing this consciousness throughout our life, not just at the time of death.

from a conversation after the lecture:

In 1972 I lived in a hippy commune on Cape Cod. There were 15 fifteen of us, and we all had our own dogs. We considered that we would not want to kill our dogs and so it was hypocritical to kill animals for food, and thus we all became vegetarian. Many people liked to cook, but no one liked to clean up, so there were piles of dishes in the sink. As I was becoming a devotee by reading Bhagavad-gita, I knew Krishna would not accept the offering if the kitchen was not clean, so I would always clean the kitchen before I cooked. When the others understood that I would clean the kitchen before it was my turn to cook, they became even less enthusiastic to clean their own pots and dishes. I became resentful that I was doing everyone else’s dishes. When I came to the temple for the first time, I had been reading Bhagavad-gita for some days. When the devotees asked me if I wanted to do some service after the Sunday Feast, I agreed. They led me to the kitchen, and I saw a pile of pots that was bigger than I had ever seen before. I was shocked, but because I agreed to do some service, I did it, although reluctantly. When I was halfway through, another devotee came in. His name was Narendra. He was rejoicing seeing my fortunate position being engaged in the Lord’s service, but it was difficult to appreciate his mood. Then he spoke to me some words that completely transformed my consciousness: “By cleaning Krishna’s pots, you are cleaning your heart.” Then I saw the service in a completely different way. It was different than cleaning the pots at the co-op house. These were indeed Krishna’s pots, and I was becoming closer to Krishna by cleaning them.

Rtadhvaja Swami:

from Kalakantha Prabhu’s grandchild’s grains ceremony:

When we were having festivals almost every weekend in LA, Srila Prabhupada told us, “If you let me know, I can give you a festival for every day.”

These events, like the child’s grains ceremony, allow us to remember that human life is meant for self-realization not sense gratification.

There is a pastime with Narottama Dasa Thakura. He would not take the grains at his grains ceremony repeatedly. Then they realized that the grains had not been offered to Krishna first. They made a new batch, and offered it to Krishna, and tried again, this time successfully.

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami [Vyasa-puja address]:

The purpose of the guru is to guide the disciple to go back to Godhead as soon as possible. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura advised to go back in this life. Why wait for additional births?

Srila Prabhupada said if you are 75% pure you can go back.

Srila Prabhupada said, “If you hold on my dhoti I can take you back to Godhead. I have a key to the back door.”

My task is to represent Srila Prabhupada to you. I have been representing Srila Prabhupada to people since being temple president in Boston.

I am in stable health and sound mind, and I am determined to serve you for the forseeable future.

It is said of the guru that he lives forever, and the follower lives with him by his instructions.

We serve the guru by taking care of him and serving his preaching mission.

I preach by the way I live my life and by my writing.

I wrote Srila Prabhupada asking if I could write, but fearfully, that I was so daring to write when he has written so nicely.

Srila Prabhupada replied, mentioning all the acaryas [previous spiritual teachers] who wrote extensively and saying, “Any self-realized soul can write unlimited books not deviating from the original purpose.”

Lilamrita [Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami’s biography of Hare Krishna founder Srila Prabhupada] is second best selling Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) book next to Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

I am writing now for my daily web site, beginning with quotations from a rasa-sastra, accompanied by illustrations, and then a japa report. I continue the japa report although it is repetitious because devotees say it helps their japa. I draw a picture. Then I tell about my life, telling my interactions with the devotees I live with, the local devotees, and those who visit here, along with material from the books I am hearing each day. And finally I tell about my deity worship.

By reading these writings is the best way for my disciples to keep in touch with me. It takes only ten minutes to have a relationship for me in cyberspace each day.

I try to write a book a year and present it to my disciples on Vyasa-puja day.

We have 150 books on Kindle and e-readers.

Radhanatha Swami looked through Prabhupada Smaranam and liked it very much. He promised to get help to print many copies for his followers.

I have written about Prabhupada, practices of devotional service, and the chanting of the holy name.

It is the duty of us all to produce as many Krishna conscious books as possible. People can help with these different tasks:

  1. We have funds. We need cover designs and proofreading for fifty low run books.
  2. Locating and digitizing art work.
  3. Obtaining a tripod for photography.
  4. Typists and proofreaders for my autobiography.
  5. Visit and promote and our Facebook site.
  6. Buy ebooks and post comments on them.
  7. Print 50 sets of 100 of my books to place in schools and libraries at $7 per book.
  8. Transferring audio tapes to digital format.

We owe such a debt to the Goswamis, Krishna dasa Kaviraja Goswami, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Srila Prabhupada for all their books.

I wrote 25 books about Srila Prabhupada.

I give people Caitanya Vaishnavism through a variety of genres.

If you attain pure love for Krishna, I will consider my spiritual master duties successful, and you can bless me, and we can go back to Godhead together. Srila Prabhupada writes about this in connection with Dhruva Maharaja taking his mother back to Godhead. That is my request of you. Thank you very much.

Vyasa-puja Homages:

Haridasa Prabhu:

You have led us by your example to be a follower of Srila Prabhupada. You are his faithful and empowered representative. Your writing of books is a great contribution in this. You are inextricably linked with Srila Prabupada. Your honesty has endeared you to your readers.

Rama Raya Prabhu:

You have linked us to Srila Prabhupada wonderfully for so many years. When I have your association I feel Srila Prabhupada’s presence.

I could distribute cards for your site on harinama.

Krishna-kripa das:

You praised your disciples who are publishing and selling Russian translations of your books. I just wanted to say from my own experience at the Ukraine festival, Isani and Alexi Prabhus set up their GN Press book table at the very beginning of the festival and go to the very end. Instead of working a single book table together as many couples would do, they have two separate tables at different locations to increase sales. This year new and reprinted titles numbered five, including Entering a Life of Prayer, Prabhupada Appreciation, Japa Transformations, and Distribute Books.

When I quote from your journal on my blog, I could include a link to it.

A friend of my loved your Begging for the Nectar of the Holy Name in which you share your personal struggle. He learned from that it is alright for devotees to be personal and to share feelings, not just to be austere and stoic.

How did you help us? Your writings gave me faith in Srila Prabhupada and the holy name. Your instruction to dance more in kirtana has made me so enthusiastic to dance in kirtana, I do it even when everyone else is sitting down.

Haryasva Prabhu:

I feel sadness that I am not reading or distributing your books as I have in the past.
Prabhupada and the holy name are two gifts you emphasized.

I felt I just missed Srila Prabhupada, but through your writings I feel connected with him.

I find that new people find your books to be easy reading.

Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu:

After three years of interviewing for Lilamrita, the message I got from the devotees was that they wished they had given Srila Prabhupada more time to write as that is what is left, and that they feel bad they did not take advantage of his presence while he was here. This is a realization I had that any disciple can help to do these two things in connection with you.

Mother Lilavatara:

When I met you I felt you were someone special and would be someone special, and you were.

Thanks for teaching us to be more regulated.

The pictures Guru Das posts are special to me.

Your drawings of the devotees are so funny to me and make me so joyful. They make my heart feel so light.

Thank you inspiring us to go back to Godhead by improving our chanting.
Your servants have done such a wonderful job for you over the years.
Thank you for guiding me to become more Krishna consciousness.

Satsvarupa dasa Goswami:

reading from his autobiography, The Story of My Life:

No talent is required to make a combined diary and autobiography interesting.”—Mark Twain

The Swami kept leading the chanting for a full half hour. After awhile I got bored, but I kept going and eventually entered into a trancelike stage. It was far out. I went past boredom and became absorbed in the sound vibration. . . . I had the mantra almost memorized, and I was mesmerized. By the time it was over I felt that I was high. I left the storefront and walked home chanting in my mind and feeling certain that I would continue to attend the meetings. I felt I wanted to change my life and become pure.”
My first personal contact with Srila Prabhupada was in a formal setting — the question and answer period after his lecture. In the company of about fifteen people I raised my hand, and he recognized me. I asked, “Is misery eternal?” My question came from my reading of Van Gogh’s letters to his brother, Dear Theo. In one letter Van Gogh proposes to his brother that “misery is eternal.” I wanted to know what the Swami thought. Without hesitating he answered me, “Yes misery is eternal. You may break your arm and go to the hospital and have your arm healed. But then you may go out and break your leg. In this world there is no end to miseries. But there is another world . . . ” Swamiji explained that if you develop love of God and go back to the spiritual world you will be free of miseries, because there is no misery there. I was satisfied to be recognized, and his answer was assuring, overriding Van Gogh’s dismal view.”
The early years with Swamiji were my favorite as ISKCON was a small movement, like a family.”

from a talk with disciples about japa:

Acaryas [the great spiritual teachers] say kirtana [chanting loudly with others] is more important than japa [individually chanting softly] because more people benefit, but that does not mean japa is not important, it is fundamental. Srila Prabhupada said it is the most essential instruction.

Japa is so personal. We speak to Krishna and Radha, and ask Them to engage us in Their service.

Lord Caitanya would not eat at the house of anyone who did not daily chant 64 rounds (100,000 names of the Lord).

I know one lady who plays the harmonium and sings kirtana, but does not chant her sixteen rounds of japa. Better that she would chant sixteen rounds first and then play the harmonium.

The mantras are a gift and should be handled gratefully.

In recent years, I have finally been able to pay attention to the names while I chant.

I pray to the holy name, “Please forgive me. Please protect me.”

I long for the day when I feel emotion like in “Siksastakam.”

Chanting is cozy, intimate and warms the heart.

Q: What does it mean no hard and fast rules?
A: It is not like Deity worship where you have to clean yourself first. You can chant morning or night. You can chant in the bathroom. The mantra can be chanted by anyone. You do not have to be initiated to chant. You can even still be doing sinful activities and still chant.

Q: Can you change the words?
A: No. Srila Prabhupada said not “Dear John.” No om, no sivaya. You can play any variety of instruments, and Prabhupada encouraged the musicians to play with us.

Q [by Rama Raya Prabhu]: How would you encourage us to preach in America?
A: Do Union Square harinama. There are bright spots: Kalakantha, Vaisesika, Hari Vilasa. Jayadvaita Swami said the Las Vegas center is encouraging. Take a place and do something, and it will become a bright spot that will be inspiring to others.

comment by Mother Lilavatara: I say Hare Krishna to the people. When they ask what it means? I said it is a blessing. They like that. They say, “I need all the blessings I can get.” Saying Hare Krishna to everyone I meet helps me, as now that I am older and cannot go out so much to share Krishna with people.

comment by Sankarsana Prabhu: Your example of chanting, getting up early, and being regulated, inspies me.

I yearn to progress to suddha-nama.

My disciple in Russia, Isani wrote a prayer, “Dear Lord, please give my guru maharaja nama-ruci [taste for the holy name].”

One should not chant too slowly.

Kalakantha Prabhu:

The conditions of Satya-yuga are similar to the Biblical description of the Garden of Eden. Then when Adam and Eve begot Cain and Able they two brothers got involved in agriculture which corresponds to the second age, Treta.

comment by Vaishnava Dasa: At Janaki Kunda in India one sage was reading the Vishnu Purana. There it said at the end of this age of Kali, the maximum age a human will live is seventeen years while the average is only twelve. A girl could conceive a child at age five.

No doubt that the teaching of Jesus Christ is pure bhakti, but with all that has happened over the years, it is hard to encounter his pure teachings.

I was involved with one meditation group where I had to pay for the mantra, and each successive class was more expensive than the last. The introduction to pure devotion is free, the intermediate instruction in devotion is also free, and the advanced classes in devotional service are also free.

Malati Prabhu:

There are two levels of liberation (1) freedom from material desires, and (2) positive engagement in Krishna’s service.

The Mayavadis accept the light but do not find out the source of the light, so theirs is an inferior understanding.

The natural instinct of the liberated person is to engage in the devotional service of the Lord.

Bowing down before the Lord is offering a service to Him.

Srila Prabhupada said we should not give children younger than ten the deities because they have not yet developed the necessary cleanliness.

Strictly speaking one should not set the holy books on one’s lap because the clothing below the waist is impure.

Srila Prabhupada’s father gave him 5-inch Radha-Krishna Deities which Prabhupada named Radha-Govinda like the larger Deities of his neighbors.

Srila Prabhupada said the Ratha-yatra cart is not different from the Lord and by decorating the cart one can make great advancement.

The Ratha-yatra symbolizes the gopis pulling Krishna from Kurukshetra to Vrindavana.

All religions are meant for awakening the dormant instinct for devotion for the Supreme Lord—to reconnect with the Supreme Lord.

When we went to England, we were thinking, “We are going to meet the Beatles and get them to chant Hare Krishna.” That was our strategic plan.

We could understand we needed special empowerment to spread Krishna consciousness in England. We had heard from the scriptures about the glories of the lotus feet of the spiritual master, so before leaving for England, we asked Srila Prabhupada if we could touch his feet. We had seen the Indians do it, but we could see Srila Prabhupada did not really like it. He consented, and so we did.

I have interviewed 183 of Srila Prabhupada’s female disciples and at least 180 said he was glowing.

When leading kirtanas in Tompkins Square Park, Srila Prabhupada would encourage people to sing along, and more people began to get involved.

Srila Prabhupada called his society “The International Society for Krishna Consciousness” because he wanted people to understand that Krishna is God.

As soon as George Harrison came in contact with the devotees his devotion sprouted up.

I have had people tell me that they had no idea what Hare Krishna was but because George Harrison made the record, they chanted.

From 1970 to 1971 was a Hare Krishna explosion with 32 new temples being opened.

In the beginning we called the Sunday Feast, the Sunday Love Feast. I think we should get back to calling it that. The world needs a lot more love.

On Srila Prabhupada’s morning walks you got insight on practically applying the teachings in life.

Srila Prabhupada was an expert musician, especially with mrdanga and harmonium, but he made it clear that playing the instruments was simply an accompaniment to the chanting of the maha-mantra.

Srila Prabhupada wrote 6,000 letters that have been archived, and 30,000 photos were taken of him and 70 hours of videos made about him.

Mahatma Prabhu was interesting how organizations were managed. He had seen the Hare Krishnas with their chanting and dancing and happy disposition, and wondered how they were managed. He secured the opportunity to witness a meeting between Srila Prabhupada and his main leaders. Prabhupada began by preaching. Two hours later he was still preaching. Then Mahatma understood that Srila Prabhupada managed by preaching.

Sesa Prabhu:

My daughter was teaching some 1st or 2nd graders as a student teacher as part of getting her teaching degree. One of the boys in the class said to her, “Miss Spellman, I saw you in the parade!” So she had to explain to the teacher and the class that she was in the UF Homecoming parade as a Hare Krishna devotee. The husband of the teacher came by and mentioned how he enjoyed the Krishna Lunch as a student. Then the teacher asked my daughter, “What do you believe?” Later at home at the dinner table, we discussed the best way to answer this, and concluded, “We believe the purpose of life is to love God and serve Him.”

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura considered that first three processes of devotional service, sravanam, kirtanam, vishnu smaranam, hearing, chanting, and remembering the Supreme Lord, are primary, and the other six are contained within these.

We can become absorbed in so many things in life, but they may not be good for ourselves or others, but Krishna kirtana is good for both ourselves and others.

Remembering the Lord is natural, especially when we are in difficulty. When the U.S. astronauts were in a dangerous situation, the American leaders advised the citizens to pray to God for their safety.

The five kinds of smaranam (remembering):
  1. to contemplate something we previously experienced
  2. dharana: to focus our meditation on a specific subject
  3. dhyanam: to meditate on a specific form of the Lord
  4. dhruvanusmriti: a flow of remembrance of some pastime of the Lord.
  5. samadhi: complete absorption.

comment by Mother Akuti: After I gave a class where we talked about how Lord Caitanya got all the animals to dance, we went on harinama, and I encouraged the devotees at least to get all the people to dance. That day we saw a lot of people dressed in animal costumes, and they all danced with us.

Citsukananda Prabhu was preaching in Trinidad, and he met the person who corresponded with Srila Prabhupada before he came to America about coming to Trinidad. The man even showed him the letters he received from Srila Prabhupada.

comment by Malati Prabhu: At the first arati of Radha-Shyamasundara in Vrindavana, Visakha Prabhu wanted to get a picture of Prabhupada doing the arati, but a tall sannyasi was standing in her way. She tapped the sannyasi on the shoulder twice, and the second time said pointing to her camera, “If you stand where you are, you will get a nice vision of Srila Prabhupada offering arati. but if you let me stand there the whole world will get that vision.” The sannyasi kindly traded places with her, and so we have that historic photo.

Tulasi Priya dd:

People who travel tend to be less bigoted, more tolerant, and more open minded.

A temple or place of pilgrimage is so powerful that no matter what your consciousness is, you will connect with Krishna simply by going there.

The Muslims have an idea that at least once in your life you should visit Mecca. Similarly, for us it is valuable if once in our life, we can go to India and visit Krishna’s birthplace.

We watch people’s lives like we watch a movie. We wonder what will happen to our friends next.

Dina Bandhu Prabhu:

In the purport to Bhagavad-gita 11.55 is a description of the spiritual world as having many planets. This tradition has more details of the spiritual world and what is going on there.

Our activities of exploiting material nature which we are thinking are making us happy are actually creating our distress.

Mental speculation is to think that by the power of our inductive reasoning we can understand the ultimate truth without hearing about it from a higher authority.

Bhagavad-gita 18.55 gives make practical suggestions of how to engage in devotional service to Krishna.

Srila Prabhupada explained to one devotee who was entering the household life and worried about how he would get good association there, “If when you are working, if you are remembering that you are working for Krishna, then you are associating with Krishna.”

Amrita Keli dd:

This Hare Krishna mantra is spiritual sound vibration, and it is completely different from any other sound vibration you have heard.

I started chanting Hare Krishna on my way to class, and I found my day went much better.

Bhaktin Laura:

As a result of chanting eight rounds a day, I became more peaceful and was not haunted by things I had done in my past. Recently, because of the end of the semester, I have been too busy to chant eight rounds a day, and I can see I am sometimes haunted by such thoughts as before. I am so glad I am finished now, and I can return to chanting eight rounds.

Bhakta John:

In addition to the famous example of God appearing to Moses as a burning bush, in the Bible it also says the Lord manifest as, “A pillar of a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night.”

comment by Ananda Loka Prabhu: When I was a tennis instructor, I would remember Krishna by chanting before and after going to work, bringing prasadam to the students, and bringing a small set of beads I could chant on when not otherwise engaged.

comment by Sruti Sagar Prabhu: To avoid bad association, Indradyumna Swami advised me to chant 64 rounds then, glorifying that practice for two minutes before saying at least chant 16 very good rounds.

Krishna-kripa das:

Sign on a church between Gainesville and Jacksonville, “You are the only Bible some people will read.”

from a post on Facebook:

Forty years ago on this day, Dec. 9, 1972, I broke my leg skiing. It hurt like hell, and it was awkward using crutches for six weeks with the snow and ice. In July of that year, my father had passed away, and my grandmother was to pass away in May of the next year. Thus when the Hare Krishnas told me seven years later, that the material world was a miserable place, I felt they actually understood the truth.


susrusoh sraddadhanasya
syan mahat-sevaya viprah

O twice-born sages, by serving those devotees who are completely freed from all vice, great service is done. By such service, one gains affinity for hearing the messages of Vasudeva [the Supreme Lord].” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.16)