Sunday, April 28, 2013

Travel Journal#9.5: North Florida

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 9, No. 5
By Krishna-kripa das
(March 2013, part one
North Florida
(Sent from London, England, on April 28, 2013)

Where I Went and What I Did

March began for me with my alternative Spring Break. While my friends from Krishna House visited our farm in Mississippi and temples in Houston and New Orleans, I decided to chant at the North Florida schools whose Spring Break was later in the month, Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee and the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville. In the ten-day break, I did harinama on nine of the days, organizing eight of the harinamas, and joining Amrita Keli dd and her friends on the remaining day on the green at UNF. The second week of March, I was back in Gainesville, chanting on the campus there, until Saturday, March 16, the day of the St. Augustine Ratha-yatra, another delightful experience.

In the “Insights” section I have great quotes from my personal reading of Srila Prabhupada’s books, very inspirational Srila Prabhupada memories by Yadubara Prabhu, extensive notes on a lecture Kalakantha Prabhu gave in Mayapur on what encouraged him in his devotional service and practical and effective ideas for encouraging others, some additional knowledge about Lord Shiva, the greatest of Vaishnavas, and notes on other lectures by senior and junior notes from classes in North Florida.

First Friday Harinama in Tallahassee

I love it when the devotees from Gainesville come and chant at First Friday in Tallahassee. We can do some very lively chanting that attracts people’s minds with a large group of enthusiastic young devotees. There were sixteen of us stopping in Tallahassee on the first evening of our Spring Break trip. Daru Brahma Prabhu now distributes his spiritual food on the access road to Railroad Square, and everyone has to pass by his booth, both coming and going. We set down a few blankets and chanted near where the prasadam was served out, but we had so many people we could also chant on the street which encircled Railroad Square, and as we did so, many people were happy to see us and some joined in the dancing with enthusiasm. Damodar Prasad was very happy to distribute five Bhagavad-gitas in a half an hour to the many people walking by. Tulasirani and Hladini also distributed many books. It was Alex’s first time, and she really liked the event. We chanted from about seven to about ten in the evening. It was a great way to start the Spring Break.

Harinama in Tallahassee

Nimai Pandit and I stayed in Tallahassee for our alternative Spring Break trip while the others continued on to Houston. On Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s appearance anniversary we chanted at Tallahassee’s Lake Ella. The Thakura had great faith in the chanting as a spiritual practice saying, “Srinama-sankirtana [the congregational chanting of the the holy name] is the best sadhana [spiritual practice]. If other sadhanas help us in krishna-sankirtana, then they deserve to be called sadhana; otherwise they are simply impediments to sadhana. Sri-krishna-nama-sankirtana is the emperor of sadhanas. It is the only infallible sadhana capable of bringing us to siddhi [perfection].”A new person joined us at the lake, played the African djembe drum and bought a Bhagavad-gita. I had prayed to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura that she buy a book. After all, the book distribution was his idea! He had told our Srila Prabhupada, “If you get money, print books!” We ended having seven people chanting altogether, and Nimai Pandit Prabhu distributed so many cookies I had to make another batch. Melanie wrote, “I’ll never forget that little girl with a slice of half eaten pizza in one hand so enthusiastically accepting the prasada [food offered to the Lord] in the other. She was in bliss!” Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati also promoted prasadam distribution as well as the chanting of the holy name, saying “We have to force-feed prasada to persons full of anarthas [nonbeneficial desires]. Those who have no interest in spiritual life should be given prasada. By taking prasada they will gradually attain kanishtha-adhikara [the first stage of devotion to the Lord]. If someone has no inclination for bhakti [devotion to the Lord], then a devotee should offer some food to Krishna while chanting mantras and then give him that prasada.

We also chanted at Lake Ella on Sunday, and Franco and Eric, two workers at Krishna Lunch in Gainesville, who had come to Tallahassee to visit a friend, came to the Sunday feast program, and then kindly drove us to Lake Ella and chanted for half an hour with us.

Monday and Tuesday Nimai Pandit joined me in chanting on the campus with a book table, invitations, and oatmeal cookies. We met many interested students who were previously unaware of our lunch program, cooking classes, and Bhagavad-gita classes and who came to know of them. Nimai Pandit Prabhu, although originally expressing shyness, ended up going out by himself with the book table on Wednesday and Friday while I was in Jacksonville, and he collected the emails of many interested students. Thursday it rained.

Harinama at UNF in Jacksonville

While chanting at UNF, I talked to one girl who glanced toward the kirtana as she walked by. I invited her to our program of hatha yoga, spiritual discussion, chanting, and vegetarian food. She was a political science major, and she said they could use doing some yoga in the political field. I replied that they could use some chanting too. I asked if she was hungry and offered her rice, vegetables, and granola, and she took a handful of granola. She said she was vegetarian and that none of the clubs serve vegetarian dinners, and that she would come by our Krishna Club.

When I offered an invitation to someone who walked by, another boy who overheard me said, “I’ll take one.” His name was Dan, and he had done meditation, and he also said he would come to the programs.

Troy, who had once played drum for Amrita Keli and I, came by and stopped to talk. I offered him some granola which he accepted.

One boy who liked the club but was busy on Thursday, the day of our meetings, came by. He was happy when I told him of our Friday breakfast program, with its walking meditation on the nature trails, singing, class, and breakfast, and I took his email so we could remind him about it.

One man with a party of twenty high school students from Miami came right up to me, and figuring they were on a tour, I explained myself by saying, “This is the free speech area.” He asked if I was with the university or was just here recruiting. I said we had a club here, and I was promoting our meetings. I told him that we also had clubs at University of Florida, where we distribute 800 plates of food a day, and also at Florida State University, where we distribute 130 plates a day. He said he ate the food at UF, back when we served it for free, probably decades ago. He said, “I have a question for you. Most students are from Christian backgrounds, so how do you introduce them to your tradition, which is so different from their own.” It was a great question, and I wished I had a great answer all prepared to give him. The best I could do off the top of my head was to say that glorification of the Lord through song is present in practically every tradition. And I told the story of attending the progressive dinner organized by the chaplins at UF. There I talked to girls in a couple of different Christian choirs and explained that glorifying the Lord in congregation through song, according to our tradition, is the most powerful spiritual practice for this age. Both girls agreed, each saying, “That is what I like best about our church too.” The leader of the high school group was satisfied with my answer, and I wished his party well on their tour of UNF, one of my favorite campuses because the people are so friendly and have time to talk.

Tallahassee Rainbow Gathering

I failed in convincing my friends from Krishna House to go to the Tallahassee Rainbow Gathering on the way back from their trip to Houston, so I only had three participants lined up to go and one of them canceled at the last moment, having to serve in our Tallahassee Restaurant, Higher Taste, to cover for someone who did not show up for work. Thus I was left to chant and distribute Krishna food at the Tallahassee Rainbow with just one other devotee, an Indian Ph.D. physics student and brahmacari, Nimai Pandit Prabhu. As Rainbow Gatherings are not ideal places for Indian brahmacaris, Nimai was afraid to go, so I told him to pray to Srila Prabhupada and Gaura Nitai for protection, and off we went to distribute halava from Krishna House in Gainesville and some very tasty and nutritious kitri which Daru Brahma and Nama Kirtana Prabhus had freshly prepared in Tallahassee.

The gathering was conveniently located at Moore Lake, under half an hour from our student center in Tallahassee. Two people were too few to carry our supplies, so we engaged some helpful Rainbows. One girl, who was visiting from Michigan with some friends, helped us carry stuff both in and out, and on the way out when we sang Hare Krishna, she sang along, all this without having had contact with the Hare Krishna devotees before. I met Amanda, who I saw several years ago at University of North Florida, and who arranged a program with the devotees and her peace organization on the campus. In later years, I would see her at the Ocala Rainbow Gather, and this year, in Tallahassee. She took two plates of prasadam, one when we arrived and one just before we left. We had a little extra kitri that we left at a crossroads called Max’s Corner, along with some halava, The bulk of the extra halava we left in a box at a school bus in the parking lot, along with a message to give it to our friend, Kyra, from Alachua, who we heard was camping out there and who we were sure would distribute it. After the event, we encountered Kyra later in Alachua at a Sunday feast, with friends from the Tallahassee gathering, and learned that she did get some of the halava we had left, but the Rainbows had distributed a lot of the halava without her assistance. It was beautiful to see the Rainbow kids that Kyra had brought singing and dancing before Radha Shyamasundara in Alachua. At the gathering we also met Bhakta Clay, a new devotee from the Tallahassee area, who had lived in Krishna House while I was traveling. Nimai talked with him briefly, and he helped us carry our remaining supplies out and chanted with us on the way. One boy at the trading circle asked if I could recite Bhagavad-gita as he worked on some handicrafts. I was more interested in chanting Hare Krishna than reciting the Gita, but considering that it was rare to be asked to speak the Gita, I read the four key verses from chapter 10, which he appreciated. Because of his sincerity, I gave him a Gita which I paid for myself. As we left, a young man needed a ride to the city, and we let him come in the back of the van. He recognized we were Hare Krishnas, and recited the entire Hare Krishna mantra perfectly and told us how much he liked Bhagavad-gita. I explained how it had so many universal truths in it and he agreed. On the whole, it was inspiring to be instrumental in some people getting initial contact with Krishna, and others happily getting another dose of Krishna food and Krishna chanting. I was grateful to Nimai Pandit Prabhu for his going beyond his limits in doing that outreach, and he was glad he had come.

Saint Augustine Ratha-yatra

Saint Augustine Ratha-yatra is one of my favorite experiences of my winter in North Florida. Because people come there from all over the United States, it is a great location, and this year, the weather was perfect, sunny and in the 70s (the low 20s Celsius). Before the Ratha-yatra, we do harinama on the very crowded and narrow St. George Street, which is otherwise not allowed. In the beginning very few people took the Krishna, Reservoir of Pleasure pamphlets we were freely handing out, but after the awhile, people loosened up and many people began smiling and taking them. A few people even danced with the devotees.

It was first Ratha-yatra of the season for the Alachua-based Jagannatha Deities, who go to about six Ratha-yatras in North Florida in the course of the year. The sound system was good, the chanting melodious, and many devotees danced.

We had a stage show in the park, and some devotees played music there during the harinama and the Ratha-yatra, and there was more chanting and traditional Indian dance as part of the stage show afterward. There was also a free feast with a curd vegetable preparation that was very good.

During the chanting at the stage show I danced for awhile amidst the crowd of people wandering through the park and those having lunch. Tulasirani dd engaged some of the middle-aged bikers in dancing, which was a humorous and surprising first for her.

As our festival was ending and as we were cleaning up, locals who had come each year thanked us for doing the festival, and it was beautiful to see their appreciation.

The St. Augustine Record printed an article “Decorated chariot rolls through St. Augustine” in which author Sheldon Gardner which describes the festival and includes brief descriptions how some of devotees became attracted to Krishna consciousness. Thanks to The Record for the Ratha-yatra cart illustration above.


Srila Prabhupada:

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.49, purport:

Somehow or other one must be enlightened about his past, present and future. One who is interested only in his present body and who tries to enjoy his senses to the fullest extent is understood to be engrossed in the mode of ignorance. His future is very, very dark. Indeed, the future is always dark for one who is grossly covered by ignorance. Especially in this age, human society is covered by the mode of ignorance, and therefore everyone thinks his present body to be everything, without consideration of the past or future.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.50, purport:

For example, if one is struggling in the ocean, he must swim through it alone. Although many other men and aquatics are swimming in the ocean, he must take care of himself because no one else will help him. Therefore this verse indicates that the seventeenth item, the soul, must work alone. Although he tries to create society, friendship and love, no one will be able to help him but Krishna, the Supreme Lord. Therefore his only concern should be how to satisfy Krishna. . . . We should remember that everyone is responsible for his own life. If an individual becomes a pure devotee of Krishna, he is then delivered from the ocean of nescience.”

from Cc. Adi. 14.1 purport:

The Hari-bhakti-vilasa confirms that difficult things become easy to understand if one remembers Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and easy things become very difficult to understand if one forgets Him. We actually see that even those who are very great scientists in the eyes of the general public cannot understand the very simple idea that life comes from life, because they do not have the mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. They defend the false understanding that life comes from matter, although they cannot prove that this is a fact. Modern civilization, therefore, progressing on the basis of this false scientific theory, is simply creating problems to be solved by the so-called scientists.”

from Cc. Adi. 14.19 purport:

Because of His protecting and maintaining this world in the present Kali-yuga, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is known as Visvambhara, which refers to one who feeds the entire world. The movement inaugurated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu when He was present five hundred years ago is again being propagated all over the world, and factually we are seeing its practical results. People are being saved, protected and maintained by this Hare Krishna movement. Thousands of followers, especially Western youths, are taking part in this Hare Krishna movement, and how safe and happy they feel can be understood from the expressions of gratitude in their hundreds and thousands of letters.”

from Cc. Adi. 14.22 purport:

In the Caitanya-bhagavata this pastime is described as follows: "The Lord, with His beautiful eyes, would cry, but He would stop immediately upon hearing the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. When the ladies, understanding the fun of the Lord, discovered that He would cry and then stop upon hearing the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra, they all took it as a clue to chant Hare Krishna as soon as the Lord cried. Thus it became a regular function. The Lord would cry, and the ladies would begin chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, clapping their hands. In this way all the ladies of the neighboring houses would assemble in the home of Sacimata to join in the sankirtana movement twenty-four hours a day. As long as the ladies continued to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, the Lord would not cry but would very pleasingly smile upon them."

from Cc. Adi. 14.51 purport:

Our Krishna consciousness movement is introducing this bona fide method of worship in the Western world. Its members are going from village to village and town to town with Deities of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, teaching people how to worship the Lord by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, offering prasadam and distributing prasadam to people in general.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, chapter 34:

No one, while remaining on the material platform, should discuss these different descriptions of bhava and anubhava by quoting different statements of transcendental literatures. Such manifestations are displays of the transcendental pleasure potency of the Lord. One should simply try to understand that on the spiritual platform there are many varieties of reciprocal love.”

from Bhagavad-gita As It Is 10.12–13, purport:

Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and one should always meditate upon Him and enjoy one’s transcendental relationship with Him.

Kalakantha Prabhu:

The value of my poeticized Srimad-Bhagavatam is that it is very condensed. Thus you can cover all the pastimes in the Krishna book in just thirty classes.

from a lecture given in Mayapur:

This verse has many interesting facets. For one thing, it puts the position of father, mother, husband and guru on the same level. Nobody should take any of these responsible positions unless they are capable of giving real shelter to their dependents. No one would think I cannot be a perfect mother or father, therefore I should not become one. Similarly, no one should think I cannot be perfect as a spiritual master, therefore I should not become one. Caitanya Mahaprabhu encouraged everybody, yare dekha, tare kaha 'krishna'-upadesa amara ajnaya guru hana tara' ei desa. (CC Madhya 7.128) Everybody, wherever you go, whomever you meet, tell them about Krishna and that way become a spiritual master and try to liberate your land.”

There is something very wonderful about the commonality between gurus, husbands, and parents and the responsible people. And that is they have the wonderful ability to give unconditional love to their dependents, love that is given so freely regardless of how the dependent responds, that is the unifying quality of these various positions.”

Ravindra Swarup Prabhu wrote a very beautiful and eloquent praise of Srila Prabhupada, in which he described how he went, this elderly swami went to the lower east side of New York City Manhattan very degraded place, and presented sainthood as a viable career option.”

So I was thinking about what has kept me in Krishna consciousness for forty years. In every case, it was the loving reciprocation, the loving presentation of the devotees.”

Srila Prabhupada was there [in Mayapur] each morning giving class, taking us around, circumambulating the Deities and ringing the bell, making everyone dance in ecstasy. Speaking from the 7th canto telling us how the same hand that ripped apart Hiranyakashipu was patting the head of Prahlad Maharaja.”

In this way so many wonderful memories were there. I was twenty years old, very inexperienced, I felt like I was living the Caitanya-caritamrta and those memories of Srila Prabhupada and his kindness have kept me in Krishna consciousness.”

H. H. Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja and I lived in the back of a van together for years. We have very different backgrounds. He was very experienced, college educated, and he was very strong in his spiritual life. Every morning he would get up at midnight every day and he would chant many rounds and write a letter to Srila Prabhupada every day and read and then he would wake me up. . . . He never ever made me feel anything but very much appreciated and respected and loved. Never did I feel like he is laying some kind of guilt trip on me or feeling better than me. I never thought I felt anything from him but this unconditional love. That sustained me for many, many years.”
H. H. Tamal Krishna Maharaja was so kind to all of the families in the community and very accommodating to everybody and very respectful and appreciative and so unconditional in his love. . . . He said not everybody can oversee a community. He said the Six Goswamis could do this, dhira adhira jana priyo. He quoted this same verse, they were dear to every body, both devotees and nondevotees. And they would come to them for advice.”

And finally one very special devotee, Yamuna Devi Prabhu, Prabhvi. I don’t dare call her Mother Yamuna. I tried that one time and she said, yes, Father Kalakantha. . . . We would go to her ashram for Srimad-Bhagavatam class. It was so sweet. She and Dina Tarini were so learned and also loving in their approach to Krsna consciousness. . . . She told about the time that they were recording the Radha Krsna temple album. All of the devotees were at the studio in Apple records. George was in the control room mixing. They were recording for several hours. . . . She was awake by herself, so she sat down at the harmonium began singing a bhajana. . . . She [had] listened to this bhajana over and over again, never seeing it in print. Just to pass the time, she started singing as best as she could remember “Bhaja Hu Re Mana.” Of course she sang bhaja mana hu re. And she was just singing and when she finished George came out of the studio, and said I was recording that and I want to put it on the album. . . . She had no idea it was being recorded. She did not want to put it on the album but George insisted, ‘I have to put it on.’ There were many mistakes in the language and the words.”

Later Srila Prabhupada heard the bhajana and said, ‘You have made a mistake.’ She was so embarrassed, and said ‘I’m sorry.’ He said, ‘No, no, that’s alright, you can fix it later.’”

So when talking to new people, look for some way in which they are better than you. Maybe they are older than you, maybe younger, more educated, better looking more experienced, something in them that is superior to you and then talk about that thing.”

The second thing yena tena prakarena, manah krsna nivesayat (from The Nectar of Devotion) first of all, think about Krishna, the rules and regulations can come later.
Another thing that was very radical I noticed whenever students came to the temple room, they would see the murti of Srila Prabhupada in our small temple room, and they would become very disturbed, just very strange. We had a full size murti of Srila Prabhupada in a small temple, and it just dominated everything. So we opened a Bhaktivedanta Library in another room and we moved the murti there. Then the students seemed to feel more comfortable. It was less strange because they did not know who Prabhupada was. So when they came we started teaching them about Prabhupada, reading Lilamrta over lunch everyday, talking about his life, teaching the words of the songs he taught us and explained the meaning and then more and more of them started joining and then they said, ‘Why is the murti of Srila Prabhupada not in the temple room?’”

When they asked for it, then we brought it back. And now it’s cool because they tell the other students, ‘Oh yeah, that’s Prabhupada, he’s so cool.’”

We let them come in on the basis of an experiment. We say just enroll for a semester. You have to get up early and chant eight rounds, but there is no commitment. You don’t have to be a member of ISKCON, you don’t have to join ISKCON, you don’t even have to like ISKCON. Just learn bhakti and then decide. You do this for one semester, and you attend your classes and then after a semester, you decide if you want more. If you don’t like what you got then you go right back to where you were, karma back guaranteed.”

And one more important point is this, conversely to catch them doing something right, we have learned not to catch them doing something wrong. Somebody is eating with their left hand. What do we do? ‘Oh, Stop that.’ they are going to feel very uncomfortable like they are on trial. Any moment they can be punished. So we just started noting down, I and the other senior devotees, in our little notebook that they are doing something wrong. Once a week, we sit down together and say here are some of the rules of etiquette we would like you to learn. And without pointing any fingers, we say, eat with the right hand and so many other details.”

This analogy of guru and parent is very similar. Nothing in my life has prepared me more for taking disciples than having children. You give them love and love and love and that is very natural, but then they do what they are going to do. You learn the meaning of unconditional love when you have children. But with disciples, it is so much nicer. No diapers. And in most cases, they do what you suggest.”

To see people equally is only possible by loving everybody.”

We should know that’s the indication we are advancing, when we don’t feel enmity towards anyone else. When we feel love towards them, we can see ourselves honestly, if I would have been in that person's position then I would probably be doing the same thing. We could see how we are common. Not distinguishing by gender or age or race or country, and we can give that affection unconditionally. That is a signpost that we are actually coming closer to loving Krishna. That will be the success of our movement and that will be the glory of Srila Prabhupada. When all the followers of ISKCON show unconditional love, then the whole world will become Krishna conscious.”

Find the entire text of this lecture at:

Kaliyaphani Prabhu:

comment before St. Augustine Ratha-yatra:

The holy name is Krishna. And Krishna is the worldwide solution for everything.

Laksmimoni dd:

Material things are never as good as we thought they would be, nor do they give us as much satisfaction as we thought they would.
There is a small tinge of the idea of spiritual separation in material life. When we are separated from someone we like, we just remember the good things about them.

The association of the Lord is so nice that when it is lost, one desires it even more than before, and because of that desire, one remembers the Lord constantly and thus gains the perpetual association of the Lord by that constant remembrance.

There is a feeling we have of a lacking within, which is there ultimately because we are lacking Krishna, and to be fixed in devotional service, we have to understand that there is nothing that can remove that feeling of lacking until we attain Krishna.

In spiritual separation one appears to be dissatisfied because he has not attained Krishna, but on the other hand, he is satisfied because he is remembering Krishna more intensely in separation and associating with Him through that remembrance.

We have to hanker to hanker for a taste so that we want to do devotional service.

If we do not desire Krishna, we have to desire to desire to Krishna, and if we cannot desire to desire Krishna, we have to desire to desire to desire Krishna.

George Harrison wrote “My Sweet Lord” after a conversation with Srila Prabhupada in which he was explaining separation from Krishna. When the dawn comes when we see the initial light we anticipate the sun rising, and our desire to see the sun develops more and more.

Srila Prabhupada created the society of devotees to keep us strong in Krishna consciousness.

Sometimes Krishna disappears as a test for His devotees.

comment by Kalakantha Prabhu: Garuda Prabhu in his book about the rasa dance of Krishna gave an analogy in which God disappearing from the gopis who desired enjoy His association alone and reappearing when they cooperated, is compared to God disappearing from sectarian religions who claim to be His favorite until the time they learn to cooperate with each other, when He will appear.

comment by Syamala Kishori dd: One can say the gopis are humble because they did not mind being used as a example for all eternity of devotees who became so proud that Krishna disappeared from them.

Nanda dd:

When life gets especially tough, we must increase our hearing and chanting about Krishna so that that we can see our situation in proper perspective.

comment by Ballabha Sena and Gopala: Prabhupada said in morning walk in Dallas that we know we are beyond the regulations of sadhana-bhakti if we are beyond eating and sleeping.

Yadubara Prabhu:

[Yadubara Prabhu has several slide shows of still photos taken from the Following Srila Prabhupada video series. He came to Krishna House in Gainesville one Friday evening and commented on some on these slides. Below are some highlights. One devotee youth said she dreamed of Prabhupada that night as a result of his wonderful presentation.]

The San Francisco devotees were very liberal and the New York devotees were conservative, but Srila Prabhupada was such a great soul he encouraged both. Once when Srila Prabhupada was recuperating in New Jersey, the San Francisco devotees sent him a reel-to-reel recording they had made with Hare Krishna chanted to a new tune and accompanied by all kinds of unusual instruments. The New York devotees were aghast, but Srila Prabhupada accepted it, happy that they were still chanting Hare Krishna.

Gaurasundara read all kinds of books about India and learned about the idea of a brahmana, and so he asked if Srila Prabhupada could make him a brahmana. As a result Srila Prabhupada had the first brahmana initiation in Boston.

Prabhupada’s favorite flower was the gardenia because of its wonderful fragrance.

Srila Prabhupada asked his disciples why we had taken so much trouble to organize the San Francisco Ratha-yatra. Then he answered his own question, “It is the compassion of the Vaishnava.”

Srila Prabhupada always paid special attention to the children. He loved the children very much. He understood they were the future of the movement.

Srila Prabhupada noticed there was salt in the caranamrita, the ISKCON Press book he was giving class from had a bad binding, Prabhupada’s name was simply “A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami” instead of “His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,” and the picture of Srila Prabhupada’s guru was upside down on the altar, and thus he could understand something was wrong —they were minimizing their spiritual master.

Srila Prabhupada would be concerned when something was wrong and do the needful, but he never became angry or morose.

Sahajiyaism and impersonalism are two enemies of Vaishnavism.

Whenever the train would stop in India, the devotees would get off the train and have kirtana. One time enroute from Bombay to Amritsar, the train stopped at Mathura for 20 minutes and the devotees had an especially ecstatic kirtana there in the holy dhama.

I asked Srila Prabhupada if I could travel with his party and take pictures. Srila Prabhupada asked if I planned to become a devotee. I was attracted, but I did not think I would join, and so I told him that, and he said, “You cannot stay.” I stayed for two months, and he did not say anything. He knew I was attracted. I came to understand that we cannot stay with the devotees for long if we do not become a devotee. If we try, we will not be able to enter deeply into the association.

One devotee engaged some boy scouts in kirtana. Kirtana was our life and soul. It was about all we did.

In Surat there were four or five engagements each day with full prasadam.

Prabhupada came on the harinamas his discples did at the Kumbha Mela. He could have stayed with friends in Allahabad, as he knew many people from living there for years, but he preferred to stay in the cold in a tent with his disciples.

Three-year-old Sarasvati would tug on people’s shirts and say, “Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and you should surrender to Him.” Srila Prabhupada said she was a perfect preacher as she told others what she knew about Krishna.

Srila Prabhupada did not care for style of the garments offered him but the devotion they were offered with.

Jean [now Visakha dd] wanted to do a photo essay of a Indian village and suggested she asked Srila Prabhupada which one. Prabhupada replied, “Vrindavan,” and so she did the photo essay and became a devotee in the process, touched by the devotion of the widows chanting in Vrndavana.

Radhika Ramana Prabhu:

from a lecture in Alachua on Shiva Ratri:

Shiva and Parvati lived at Kedarnatha. Once they went to take bathe in the Mandakini, and they saw a beautiful baby, and Parvati was attracted to the beautiful boy who appeared there, but they were busy taking bath, so she set him in their ashram and bathed, When they returned, they found they were locked out of their place, because the boy was Vishnu, and he took over their ashram, and that became Badrinath, and Shiva and Parvati created a new place nearby.

A devotee of Lord Shiva was so faithful in worship, Lord Shiva wanted to reward him, and asked what benediction he wanted. The young devotee said he did not know what was best, and asked Shiva to give him wherever Shiva considered to be best. Lord Shiva thought for a while, and decided devotion to Krishna is the ultimate benefit, and gave him that.

Lord Shiva wanted to participate in Lord Krishna's dance of love, but was told it was not possible. After much protest, he was told he could bathe in a special river and get the body of a gopi, and so he did and joined the dance. But as he is Shiva, the Lord of the dance of destruction, he did an extreme dance that was rocking the whole area. Krishna came to him, praised His dancing and offered Him a benediction. He asked to witness all of Krishna’s pastimes.

Shiva likes to connect people with Krishna.

Shiva asked Yasoda to sprinkle Him with water from Krishna’s bath and remnants of food offered to Krishna.

One early Rajapura Jagannath pujari was annoyed that the local residents were offering everything to a Shiva deity nearby and not Lord Jagannath, so he hid the Shiva deity. After returning to Mayapur he fell from his bike, vomiting blood. He had dream where Shiva appeared saying, “You are so great a devotee of Jagannath you can offend me? You will suffer until you pour water on a Shiva Deity at Alalanatha. He did not immediately follow that order, but he continued to suffer until he did.

Parvati asked for Lord Jagannath’s prasadam, but not for herself. As mother of the universe she wanted to share it with all her kids.

Madhava Prabhu:

Just as in math we start with addition, and then learn the other operations, and then calculation, algebra, and higher and higher mathematics, we start with our regulated spiritual practice (sadhana) and ultimately attain prema (pure love of God).

Comment by Bhakta Paul: We all want to go to heaven, but we don’t want to die first.

Prema Manjari dd:

Defending is the same as fearing because it is the reaction to fear.

In Sweden I was appreciating the beauty of nature during a japa walk and then I noticed a bug trapped in a web and a spider approaching it. I also saw a bird swooping down to catch a worm. I was suddenly struck with the cruelty that is present in nature all around us.

Fear of maya [the energy that causes us to forget our relationship with God], fear of separation from Krishna, and fear that harm may come to Krishna are the fears of the devotees.

A nondevotee sees himself as the Lord of all he surveys, although he may not do so consciously.

Fear of maya [the energy that causes us to forget our relationship with God] is a very healthy fear.

A friend of mind decided she would not take the devotional services to seriously and do some other things. Her experience was that the further she got away from her devotional practice, the more she felt anxiety.

We can be fearless for a day by trying to be complete surrendered to Krishna for that day.

Get up before maya gets up.

Through the different activities of our morning program we are taking shelter of Krishna in different ways.

We have to both endeavor our best and depend on Krishna’s mercy.

Only if we relish pleasure internally from our relationship with Krishna can we be truly detached from the external world.

Try to see how everything Krishna does is good, and behind apparently bad things there is a great good. We have to practice this.

comment by Tulasirani: We do our best to show Krishna that we want to advance our relationship, but we knows that result is up to Krishna.

Nama Kirtana Prabhu:

from a conversation after class:

Gambling seems harmless but there are a lot of bad activities associated with it.

Rohini Kumara Prabhu:

Consider the people in general to be your brothers and sisters and invite them to experience Krishna consciousness.

Q: Suppose a senior person is always very condescending to me. How do I handle it?
A: Approach your authority and explain the situation and ask him the best way to act.

Tulasirani dd:

An ordinary man cannot complete satisfy one wife, but Krishna could completely satisfy so many.

Krishna performed a pastime of having a headache, saying that only the dust of the feet of His devotees could cure it. Narada asked all varieties devotees including Krishna’s queens and the great demigods but only the gopis would risk hellish punishment for committing such an offense [by touching their foot dust to Krishna’s head] to relieve their beloved Krishna’s headache. Seeing the gopis devotion, Narada desired the dust of their feet.

Many of the great teachers in our line are assistants of the gopis in their original spiritual forms, and they retain their completely selfless spirit in their activities in this world.

By our offering prayers and glorifying the pure devotees we can attain the platform of pure devotional service because when we do those things, Krishna will be pleased to help us.

We have taken to this path of pure devotional service, and so we must become purified. We can go through the purification kicking and screaming, or we can surrender to it.

Every time I do not feel like going on harinama, going on book distribution, or going to mangala-arati but I do it anyway, telling Krishna, “I do not feel like doing this, but I am doing it for You,” then it becomes really sweet.

Better to do your sadhana with complete attention and focus than to do something that is way more than you are capable of doing, with distraction.

Krishna consciousness takes great determination, and when you are surrounded by loving devotees, who are supportive, then it is a lot easier.

Sometimes it is valuable to come before the Deity and say, “I want to come to the point of complete surrender, please help me. That is all I want.” I always feel better after that.

The more we do our activities for Krishna’s pleasure, the happier we will be and the more we will be inclined to act for His pleasure in the future.

from a conversation after the St. Augustine Ratha-yatra:

I was walking down the same street, hours after the harinama was over, and it seemed so boring. But that is what the people experience every day. Sometimes we forget how life sucks without kirtana.

Dr. Dina Bandhu Prabhu:

The sweetest thing for the Supreme Lord is when the living entity uses his free will to offer Him presentations in devotion.

Karma-yoga is like if you are an expert chef and you make what you are best at cooking and offer it to your friend. Bhakti-yoga is like if you ask what your friend wants to eat and make that for him.


from a conversation:

Banka means very good looking, so banka-bihari means Krishna is a very good looking performer of pastimes.


The name of Krishna is purely spiritual. There is no knowledge as great as that of the name, and no practice of austerity or meditation, no result of spiritual activity, no form of renunciation, no act of sense control, no pious act, and no goal that can match it. The name is the supreme liberation, the supreme destination, and the supreme peace. The name is eternal life itself. The name is the supreme devotion and the supreme intelligence. The name is the supreme love and the supreme remembrance. The name is the soul's reason for existence. The name is the lord of the soul, the most worshipful object, and the supreme guru.
These high praises are verified by the realizations awakening devotees gain as they practice chanting, and so they come to have deep conviction in the holy name.”
Agni Purana