Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Travel Journal#9.12: More English Adventures

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 9, No. 12
By Krishna-kripa das
(June 2013, part two
More English Adventures
(Sent from Erfurt, Germany, on August 6, 2013)

Where I Went and What I Did

After two days in Brighton, Janananda Goswami and the world harinama sankirtana party, along with Mahavishnu Swami, came to Croydon for their third Ratha-yatra. Then I returned to Newcastle, desiring to be there for three days of Janananda Goswami’s visit, before I returned to the London area to go with Parasurama Prabhu to the Stonehenge Solstice festival, with its seven hours of kirtana, for the fourth time. After the Stonehenge event was the Birmingham Twenty-Four Hour Kirtan, which I also attended for the fourth time. Then back to Newcastle, my base in the summer, to spend the last week of the month. Janananda Goswami canceled some of his engagements to rest up and to catch up on his work, and we were blessed that he decided to stay in Newcastle. Even though resting up, one day he took us to three towns for harinama!

In Newcastle we did not often have morning classes, and when we did I gave a lot of them, so I do not have so many lecture notes, but my daily reading program of fifteen minutes each from Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, and The Nectar of Devotion has yielded many beautiful insights from Srila Prabhupada which I am very happy to share. Beyond that there are excellent realizations by Sacinandana Swami and Janananda Goswami. I include my notes on Sacinandana Swami in the section where I describe the Birmingham kirtan, while those of Janananda Goswami are in the insights section.

Thanks to Vidyapati Prabhu for the videos of the Croydon Ratha-yatra and the Stonehenge Solstice Festival and its Ratha-yatra. Thanks to Vishnujana Prabhu for his pictures of the Stonehenge event, and to Mickey Shah for his pictures of Sacinandana Swami and Madhava Prabhu at the Birmingham Twenty-Four Hour Kirtan.

Croydon Ratha-yatra

Different impressions stuck out in my mind regarding the Croydon Ratha-yatra. I had a desire to go to it since last year when I advertised it by chanting three hours and passing out invitations the day before. I could not go because I previously committed to do a program in the Leeds the same day, but the desire was there, and Krishna fulfilled it this year. Lord Jagannatha did His usual pastime of starting the parade with sprinkles of rain but ending it with a beautiful sunny day. A city official, wearing a flower garland, gave a short speech, and impressively swept the streets for Lord Jagannatha, following in the footsteps of Maharaja Prataparuda of Lord Caitanya’s time.

Mahavishnu Swami was there, with his unlimited energy and enthusiasm for kirtana, and that made it all the more festive. Janananda Goswami was there to encourage us to dance for the Lord with arms in the air. Many devotees came from Soho St. temple for the festival. Yuka, who became interested in Hare Krishna while studying near Newcastle, but who moved to Bristol, surprised me by showing up at the Croydon Ratha-yatra, in addition to the ones in Bath and London.

Both devotee and local onlooker photographers stood on benches to get good shots.

I found some people of Indian backgrounds did not know we had Hare Krishna programs in the Croydon area, so the Ratha-yatra served the purpose of educating them about that.

One common laborer type named Ralph who was slightly intoxicated, found the kirtana to be more intoxicating, and enjoyed it very much. He participated during the end of the parade and during the kirtana in the park where the festival was held. He had friendly talks with devotees, and went on the harinama from the festival site to the van with the devotees who were returning to Soho. It was wonderful to see a regular sort of local guy come appreciate the happiness of the chanting of the holy names.

One young happy and peaceful couple I talked to was attracted to the Ratha-yatra, and they were happy to hear of the festival in the park and the local Croydon programs.

I was happy seeing that the Ratha-yatra reached out and touched people in different ways, what to speak of all the benefit people got from seeing the form of the Lord, hearing the name of the Lord, associating with the devotees of the Lord, and imbibing the food first offered to the Lord.

As usual I could not just be absorbed in the kirtana because I wanted to give out invitations to people who looked interested and to take a few pictures as well.

Vidyapati Prabhu recorded a rather lengthy video of the whole event for those of you who have time to watch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3p3xJIg0CZ8&feature=share&list=UU14VMd3QqNZb10NSE2gVwGA):

Stonehenge Solstice Festival

This was my fourth and favorite visit to the Stonehenge Solstice festival. Nearly thirty thousand people come to Stonehenge on the longest day of the year, and Parasurama Prabhu serves out several thousand plates of prasadam, while devotees chant Hare Krishna from midnight on June 21 until 7:00 a.m. When there is good weather, like this year, he has Ratha-yatra at midnight for two hours.

Vidyapati Prabhu shared some video of the midnight Ratha-yatra this year (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGgp5vfimrQ&feature=share&list=UU14VMd3QqNZb10NSE2gVwGA):

Turns out this year the day leading up to the solstice was nirjala Ekadasi, a great day for staying up all night and chanting Hare Krishna, and I think a few more devotees came because of that.

Because Janananda Goswami, my spiritual authority for my summer base in Newcastle, in the North of England, was visiting Newcastle, I decided to stay there as long as possible before coming south to Bhaktivedanta Manor to travel with Parasurama Prabhu to the festival. Thus I booked a train to London which takes three hours to make the journey instead of the six and a half for the bus although it costs 28.50 GBP instead of the 8.50 GBP. Because a train in front of mine struck a person, my train was delayed by 52 minutes, and Parasurama Prabhu had to leave without me to get to the Stonehenge by midnight. Thus after spending an hour on the internet looking for cheap buses, had to spend 36.20 GBP on a train to Salisbury and 6 GBP on a bus to the Stonehenge site. I arrived at 2:30 a.m., missing the midnight Ratha-yatra, but catching most of the chanting afterward. The East Coast train company, to their great credit, gave me train vouchers with 28.50 GBP value which are good for one year, since I said I was delayed over an hour in reaching my final destination.

There are many alternative people who come to Stonehenge on the solstice day, and many people loved listening to our chanting, some in prayerful meditation, like these girls below:

The one on the right also took pleasure in spinning around in circles several times on a couple occasions.

Many people enjoyed dancing with us, and many enjoyed playing their instruments, like djembes [African drums].

The devotees were kind to let me lead the kirtana at one point, and it was wonderful to see the enthusiasm of the devotees and the onlookers. Several devotees made positive comments afterward, and I considered, despite the difficulty because of the delayed train, that Krishna had arranged that I come and sing. Recently I have been praying to the previous spiritual masters in our line, like Rupa Goswami and Bhaktivinoda Thakura, to chant purely, and I am sure that helped. Janananda Goswami had previously advised that I go to the Stonehenge festival, though it meant leaving his association in Newcastle, and that very morning he gave me 50 GBP, which it turned out I needed to take the train to Salisbury.

Mahavishnu Swami (playing the accordion below)

Saksi Gopala Prabhu, and Vidyapati Prabhus were very lively kirtana leaders. Devotees said that more people followed our chanting party than in other years. I was so happy to see the many people smiling, dancing, and even chanting along with us.

Some stayed for hours. Some said they chanted with us at the Stonehenge every year. Once a lady held the mike of her personal amplifier to the mouth of Mahavishnu Swami so more people could hear.

One young lady, playing the big karatalas in the above picture, danced with us as we were walking to the parking lot. She later took prasadam, and told how she had seen the devotees chanting in London. I gave her the temple invitation for London and told her of the Saturday harinama which leaves the temple at 7:45 p.m. as she liked to dance with us.

Vishnujana, Gaura Karuna, Syama Rasa, and Harinamananda Prabhu, the devotees comprising a world harinama party, shared their kirtana enthusiasm with the people, with Gaura Karuna selling a good number of books. They were a great addition to the festival.

Vidyapati Prabhu shared some video of the chanting after the Ratha-yatra, including some of me leading (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cToOs-ArgGE&feature=share&list=UU14VMd3QqNZb10NSE2gVwGA):

Other people posted videos too like this (http://youtu.be/kWRFi298Y8A):

And there was this clip by CBS with the devotees chanting in the background and me holding Mahavishnu Swami’s danda (http://youtu.be/7DQFdclc6Is):

Birmingham Twenty-Four-Hour Kirtan

Birmingham Twenty-Four-Hour Kirtan is an annual event that has been going on for fourteen years and is regularly attended by Sacinandana Swami

and Madhava Prabhu.

Different dignitaries spoke at the beginning of it, and I noted some things they said. The only Hindu chaplin for UK prisons begged us for Bhagavad-gitas for the prisons. A leader of Hindu youth said he came for thirteen times and he felt Krishna was present. He said that the Hindu population of prisons is the lowest of any group, and activities like our kirtana program are beneficial for the youth.

Sacinandana Swami:

To praise Krishna is to give attention to Krishna.

We must pray, “For so many years I have forgotten you. Now I am your sincere and serious servant.”

Once we understand that direct connection with the Krishna is the goal, we must become inquisitive to know the means to attain this goal. The holy name is that means.

What is the use of going to churches, temples, and mosques if the heart is filled with inauspicious qualities like envy, etc.

Srila Prabhupada said that Krishna consciousness is meant to purify the impure heart.

Of all the qualities of God, mercy is the most powerful.

Love of God is the highest gift because it is the most powerfully transformational on the heart.

The holy name is like the sun. We are joyful to greet the sun but when the sun is covered by clouds and mist, that is not possible. The offenses in chanting are the clouds and mist.
We have turned away from Krishna since time immemorial and thus that bad habit can attack us at any time. We must bring the mind back to the holy name, and we will find the kirtana to be the most spiritual experience.

I got a letter from a Bedouin in the desert in Arabia who wrote to say he and his camels were listening to the Birmingham 24-hour kirtana [on the Internet] and singing along.

Haridasa Thakura prays, “Be merciful and appear on my tongue in the holy name.”

Today break the habit of inattention.

Regarding habits, I tell one story. In Hamburg, in the north of Germany, some person drove his car into the harbor. Upon investigation, the reason was found to be he was habituated to following his GPS and he was encouraged by his wife to do so. Even though the GPS was sending him straight for the water, he continued following it. Germans are accustomed to obeying authorities, for better or for worse.

I request you give up the world of your own mind and to sing from the heart. You are in the association of devotees, and that will help you.

One devotee of Lord Rama heard that the Lord has appeared in Kali-yuga in Jagannatha Puri on a bluish hill, Nilacala. Eager to see the Lord, he traveled to Puri to see the Lord in the temple, but he was dejected when he saw the blackish form of Jagannatha on the altar, and Lord Rama was not to be seen. He walked some distance and took rest under a tree in disappointment. Subhadra told Lord Jagannatha, “You promise to maintain anyone who takes shelter of you, but this devotee has left your temple hungry.” Lord Jagannatha thanked Subhadra for reminding Him of his promise. In the form of a brahmana boy, He stole His own maha-prasadam and brought it to the devotee of Rama, saying that “Lord Rama has sent me to you to bring His own maha-prasadam.” The devotee was surprised because he had not see Lord Rama in the temple, and the Lord in the form of the brahmana boy advised him to look more closely. The devotee returned to the Jagannatha temple, and this time when he viewed the Deity, He saw the form of Lord Rama, greenish in color and carrying a bow.

The Goswamis taught the whole world to cry out for the Lord, “Where are you?”


The kirtana was great. Some of my favorite singers were Sacinandana Swami, Madhava Prabhu, Manu Prabhu, Radha Londonisvara Prabhu, Gopibhava dd, and the Vaishnava youths, Amala, Nadiya, and Jahnavi.

The kirtana was at a new venue, and I was very happy because there was much more room to dance. Many of my friends from Newcastle danced so hard their bodies ached the day after, such as Lauris below.

I do not dance that hard any more. Some of my friends from Sheffield also danced with my Newcastle friends.

Parasurama Prabhu wanted me to get a bunch of people to dance during his singing slot, and I told my Newcastle friends, and he was pleased with their performance.

I did not know about any sleeping accommodation at the site. I saw a tapestry of Jagannatha hanging from the balcony, and decided that if I took a nap behind, I could be in the presence of the kirtana, get some sleep, and not be noticed by others. I took three naps of about 45 minutes each. I also dozed off for about ten minutes after lunch while sitting cross legged on the floor and leaning against the wall. There was a shower in the prasadam hall, but with only cold water, a minor austerity. Thus I tried to spend as much time in the kirtana as possible, and I think it was an increase since last year. The next night I slept just five hours at the Birmingham temple, and walked 50 minutes to the downtown and took a six and a half hour Megabus to Newcastle and did harinama for three hours that afternoon, without noticeable exhaustion. Kirtana gives you energy. I recall that during the bus ride home I felt a void without the constant kirtana, and that I felt the three hours I did on harinama that afternoon in Newcastle to be not so much at all because of chanting the entire previous day.

I took a little video of the Birmingham Twenty-Four Kirtan at (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGerEnGdI0xLwPb4RMQ2PjcyM-agpBr1u):

There is a more complete thirty-minute video of the event at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaHibJKpv20):

Harinamas with Janananda Goswami in the Newcastle Area

Janananda Goswami canceled his travels to catch up on his health and his correspondence, but fortunately for us, he stayed in Newcastle, going out on harinama a few days, once to three towns, Byker, Wallsend, and North Shields. These towns see only one harinama per year, so it is an unusual experience for them. In Byker people at an outside cafe looked at us, 

and a couple ladies on the street tried chanting the mantra.

In Wallsend, a couple guys danced with us.

And a couple of ladies took pictures of it.

North Shields was best because it had a crowded central location in front of a mall of shops near the train station. When we came down one street, two girls siting on a bench began clapping in time to the music as we approached them. Seeing they appreciated, we stayed there chanting, and all at once, three respectably dressed men took pictures of our party, with the clapping girls behind us. I could not take pictures as I was leading and playing the harmonium, which was a little frustrating for me. Prema Sankirtana Prabhu did well in North Shields, inducing many people to dance and selling books. I hope to go back to North Shields again, my favorite of the three places.

In Newcastle, we have a two-hour kirtana program every Wednesday. Once the devotees surprised me by serving a feast afterward with four desserts, an event that does not happen every day.


Srila Prabhupada:

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 5:

One must be very vigilant to remember that he is the part and parcel of the transcendental body of Krishna, and that it is his duty as part and parcel to give service to the whole, or Krishna. If we do not render service to Krishna then again we fall down.”

In this connection Srila Rupa Gosvami gives evidence from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Eleventh Canto, Twenty-first Chapter, verse 2, in which Lord Krishna says to Uddhava, ‘The distinction between qualification and disqualification may be made in this way: persons who are already elevated in discharging devotional service will never again
take shelter of the processes of fruitive activity or philosophical speculation. If one sticks to devotional service and is conducted by regulative principles given by the authorities and acaryas, that is the best qualification.’”

This is confirmed also in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Eleventh Chapter, verse 32, in which the Lord says to Uddhava, ‘My dear Uddhava, any person who takes shelter of Me in complete surrender and follows My instructions, giving up all occupational duties, is to be considered the first-class man.’”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 7:

In the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Third Chapter, verse 21, Prabuddha tells Maharaja Nimi, ‘My dear King, please know for certain that in the material world there is no happiness. It is simply a mistake to think that there is happiness here, because this place is full of nothing but miserable conditions. Any person who is seriously desirous of achieving real happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of a spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation and arguments and thus be able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters. Everyone should try to find such a bona fide spiritual master in order to fulfill his mission of life, which is to transfer himself to the plane of spiritual bliss.’”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 1.218, purport:

The spiritual master initiates the disciple to deliver him, and if the disciple executes
the order of the spiritual master and does not offend other Vaishnavas, his path is clear.”

One who is envious of the success of a Vaishnava is certainly not a Vaishnava himself but is an ordinary, mundane man. Envy and jealousy are manifested by mundane people,
not by Vaishnavas. Why should a Vaishnava be envious of another Vaishnava who is successful in spreading the holy name of the Lord? An actual Vaishnava is very pleased to accept another Vaishnava who is bestowing the Lord’s mercy. A mundane person in the dress of a Vaishnava should not be respected but rejected. This is enjoined in the sastra (upeksha). The word upeksha means neglect. One should neglect an envious person. A preacher’s duty is to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, make friendships with Vaishnavas, show mercy to the innocent and reject or neglect those who are envious or jealous. There are many jealous people in the dress of Vaishnavas in this Krishna consciousness movement, and they should be completely neglected. There is no need to serve a jealous person who is in the dress of a Vaishnava.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.29.46, purport:

Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead dictates to the pure devotee from within, the devotee is saved from all material activities.”

A pure devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always thinking of how fallen, conditioned souls can be delivered. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, influenced by the merciful devotees’ attempt to deliver fallen souls, enlightens the people in general from within by His causeless mercy. If a devotee is blessed by another devotee, he becomes free from karma-kanda and jnana-kanda activities.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 9:

Those who are less intelligent want to worship different demigods for some material gain rather than worship Krishna. But here it is stated that a devotee who is always engaged in offering prayers to the Lord is worshipable even by the demigods themselves. The pure devotees have nothing to ask from any demigod; rather, the demigods are anxious to offer prayers to the pure devotees.”

The devotees who come to visit and offer respects to the Deity take three drops of caranamrita [the water used to bathe the deities] very submissively and feel themselves happy in transcendental bliss.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 10:

The beginning of Krishna consciousness and devotional service is hearing, in Sanskrit called sravanam. All people should be given the chance to come and join devotional parties so that they may hear. This hearing is very important for progressing in Krishna
consciousness. When one links his ears to give aural reception to the transcendental vibrations, he can quickly become purified and cleansed in the heart. Lord Caitanya has affirmed that this hearing is very important. It cleanses the heart of the contaminated soul so that he becomes quickly qualified to enter into devotional service and
understand Krishna consciousness.”

In the Fourth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Twenty-ninth Chapter, verse 40, the importance of hearing of the pastimes of the Lord is stated by Sukadeva Gosvami to Maharaja Pariksit: ‘My dear King, one should stay at a place where the great acaryas
[holy teachers] speak about the transcendental activities of the Lord, and one should give aural reception to the nectarean river flowing from the moonlike faces of such great personalities. If someone eagerly continues to hear such transcendental sounds, then certainly he will become freed from all material hunger, thirst, fear and lamentation, as well as all illusions of material existence.’”

Some way or other, if someone establishes in his mind his continuous relationship with Krishna, this relationship is called remembrance.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 11:

Srila Rupa Gosvami describes one who is fit for becoming engaged in devotional service. He says that persons who are neophytes and who have developed a little love of Godhead are not interested in the activities of sense gratification, in proportion to their devotion. But if there is still some attraction for sense gratifying activities, then the result of such activities should be offered to Krishna. This is also called engagement in the service of the Lord, with the Lord as the master and the worker as the servant.”

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung a nice song in this connection. While offering himself as a fully surrendered soul, he said, ‘My mind, my household affairs, my body, whatever is in my possession, my dear Lord, I offer to You for Your service. Now You can do with them as You like.’”

In the Narada-pancaratra there is a statement of how one can act in all spheres of life for the satisfaction of the Lord. It is stated there that a person who is actually in devotional service must be engaged in all kinds of activities—those prescribed in the revealed scriptures and also those which are accepted for livelihood. In other words, not only should a devotee engage himself in the prescribed duties of devotional service which are mentioned in the revealed scriptures, but he should also perform the duties of his practical life in Krishna consciousness.”

In the Hari-bhakti-vilasa there is the following statement about self-surrender: ‘My dear Lord, a person who has surrendered himself unto You, who is in firm conviction that he is Yours, and who actually acts in that way by his body, mind and words, can actually relish transcendental bliss.’”

In the Skanda Purana there is another statement about tulasi, as follows: ‘Tulasi is auspicious in all respects. Simply by seeing, simply by touching, simply by remembering, simply by praying to, simply by bowing before, simply by hearing about or simply by sowing this tree, there is always auspiciousness. Anyone who comes in touch with the tulasi tree in the above-mentioned ways lives eternally in the Vaikuntha world.’”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.29.51:

One who is engaged in devotional service has not the least fear in material existence. This is because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Supersoul and friend of everyone. One who knows this secret is actually educated, and one thus educated can become the spiritual master of the world. One who is an actually bona fide spiritual master, representative of Krishna, is not different from Krishna.”

from a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.2 given on Feb. 23, 1975 in Caracas, Venezuela:

Just as one must accept the law of the state whether or not he has faith in it, so it is with the law of God.

If you want to have real peace, try to understand what is God and what is your relationship with God, and act accordingly.

You cannot see your mind or intelligence although you have mind and intelligence. They are very subtle.

If we think of dog at the time of death, we attain a dog’s body. If we think of God at the time of death, we attain a spiritual body like God.

We have scattered our love between so many things in this world. We have to correct this and transfer our love to God.

from a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.3 given on Feb. 24, 1975 in Caracas, Venezuela:

We can change our religious faith, but we cannot change our dharma of rendering service. In material life we have so many objects of service, but in spiritual life we serve the Supreme Lord.

If the husband does not please even one of the family members, so much disruption in family life is there, so in reality the husband is the servant of his family members, although he is thinking he is the master.

If we do not have sufficient engagement in the service of God, we will keep a dog and serve that.

The India, the Mayavadis recommend to worship any demigod and the result is the same. This is false religion.

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 12:

A similar statement is in the Third Canto, Seventh Chapter, verse 19, of Srimad-Bhagavatam: Let me become a sincere servant of the devotees, because by serving them one can achieve unalloyed devotional service unto the lotus feet of the Lord. The service of devotees diminishes all miserable material conditions and develops within one a deep devotional love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’”

A similar statement is found in the First Canto, Nineteenth Chapter, verse 33, of Srimad-Bhagavatam: There is no doubt about one’s becoming freed from all reactions to sinful activities after visiting a devotee or touching his lotus feet or giving him a sitting place. Even by remembering the activities of such a Vaishnava, one becomes purified, along with one’s whole family. And what, then, can be said of rendering direct service to him?’”

The same thing is confirmed in the Adi Purana by Krishna. While addressing Arjuna He says, ‘Anyone who is engaged in chanting My transcendental name must be considered to be always associating with Me. And I may tell you frankly that for such a devotee I become easily purchased.’”

Rupa Gosvami has stated that five kinds of devotional activities—namely residing in Mathura, worshiping the Deity of the Lord, reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam, serving a devotee and chanting the Hare Krishna mantra—are so potent that a small attachment for any one of these five items can arouse devotional ecstasy even in a neophyte.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 13:

In the Eleventh Canto, Twentieth Chapter, verse 9, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Lord Himself says, ‘One should execute the prescribed duties of varna and asrama as long as he has not developed spontaneous attachment for hearing about My pastimes and activities.’”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 14:

Actually, the cultivation of knowledge or renunciation, which are favorable for achieving a footing in Krishna consciousness, may be accepted in the beginning, but ultimately they may also come to be rejected, for devotional service is dependent on nothing other than the sentiment or desire for such service. It requires nothing more than sincerity.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 16:

Spontaneous love of Krishna as exhibited by the Vrishnis and the denizens of Vrindavana is eternally existing in them. In the stage of devotional service where regulative principles are followed, there is no necessity of discussing this love, for
it must develop of itself at a more advanced stage. . . . We must always remember, however, that such eagerness to follow in the footsteps of the denizens of Vraja (Vrindavana) is not possible unless one is freed from material contamination. . . . Sometimes someone is found imitating such devotional love, but factually he is not freed from anarthas, or unwanted habits. It has been seen that a so-called devotee proclaims himself a follower of Nanda, Yasoda or the gopis, while at the same time his abominable attraction for mundane sex life is visible. Such a manifestation of divine love is mere imitation and has no value. When one is actually spontaneously attracted to the loving principles of the gopis, there will be found no trace of any mundane contamination in his character.”

According to the regulative principles, there are nine departmental activities, as described above, and one should specifically engage himself in the type of devotional service for which he has a natural aptitude. For example, one person may have a particular interest in hearing, another may have a particular interest in chanting, and another may have a particular interest in serving in the temple. So these, or any of the other six different types of devotional service (remembering, serving, praying, engaging in some particular service, being in a friendly relationship or offering everything in one’s possession), should be executed in full earnestness. In this way, everyone should act according to his particular taste.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 18:

Emperor Bharata provides a typical example of detachment. He had everything enjoyable in the material world, but he left it. This means that detachment does not mean artificially keeping oneself aloof and apart from the allurements of attachment. Even in the presence of such allurements, if one can remain unattracted by material attachments, he is called detached. In the beginning, of course, a neophyte devotee must try to keep himself apart from all kinds of alluring attachments, but the real position of a mature devotee is that even in the presence of all allurements, he is not at all attracted.”

Asabandha means to continue to think, ‘Because I’m trying my best to follow the routine principles of devotional service, I am sure that I will go back to Godhead, back to home.’”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 19:

In the Narada-pancaratra it is clearly stated that when lust is completely transferred to the Supreme Godhead and the concept of kinship is completely reposed in Him, such is accepted as pure love of God by great authorities like Bhisma, Prahlada, Uddhava and Narada. Great authorities like Bhisma have explained that love of Godhead means completely giving up all so-called love for any other person. According to Bhisma, love means reposing one’s affection completely upon one person, withdrawing all affinities for any other person. This pure love can be transferred to the Supreme Personality of Godhead under two conditions—out of ecstasy and out of the causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.”

An example of such extraordinary mercy is given in the Eleventh Canto, Twelfth Chapter, verse 7, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, wherein Lord Krishna tells Uddhava, ‘The gopis in Vrindavana did not study the Vedas to achieve Me. Nor had they ever been in holy places of pilgrimage. Nor did they devoutly execute any regulative principle. Nor did they undergo any kind of austerity. It is simply by My association that they have attained the highest perfection of devotional service.’”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 2.32:

The nectar from the lips of Lord Krishna and His transcendental qualities and characteristics surpass the taste of the essence of all nectar, and there is no fault in tasting such nectar. If one does not taste it, he should die immediately after birth, and his tongue is to be considered no better than the tongue of a frog.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 2.38:

If by chance such a moment comes when I can once again see Krishna, then I shall worship those seconds, moments and hours with flower garlands and pulp of sandalwood and decorate them with all kinds of jewels and ornaments.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 2.48:

Even though I do not see the moonlike face of Krishna as He plays on His flute, and although there is no possibility of My meeting Him, still I take care of My own body. That is the way of lust. In this way, I maintain My flylike life.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 2.49:

Unalloyed love of Krishna is like an ocean of happiness. If someone gets one drop of it, the whole world can drown in that drop. It is not befitting to express such love of Godhead, yet a madman must speak. But even though he speaks, no one believes him.”

from Srimad-Bhagavtam 4.29.68, purport:

Narottama dasa Thakura advises everyone to stick to the principle of carrying out the orders of the spiritual master. One should not desire anything else. If the regulative principles ordered by the spiritual master are followed rigidly, the mind will gradually be trained to desire nothing but the service of Krishna. Such training is the perfection of life.”

“‘As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.’ (Bg. 2.13) Unless all human society understands this important verse in Bhagavad-gita, civilization will advance in ignorance, not in knowledge.”

from a lecture on Srmad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6 given on April 18, 1974, in Hyderabad, India:

Why are people not interested in God? Because they are sinful.

It does not matter if you do this business or that business, you are successful if you have some money. Similarly it does not matter if you follow this religion or that religion, you are successful if you develop your love for God.

Janananda Goswami:

notes from a Bhagavatam class in London:

On the spiritual plane, the past and future enhance the enjoyment of the present.

The gopis wish that Krishna would return to Vrindavana not because they want to enjoy with Him, but because they know that He cannot enjoy anywhere but Vrindavana.

Srila Prabhupada says that Krishna performs so many pastimes so His devotees can enjoy recounting them.

Our sadhana [spiritual practice] is the order of our guru [spiritual master].

Somehow we must bring some of the conditioned souls to Krishna for His pleasure.

Sankirtana is meant to bring us from the platform of “what I want” to the platform of “what gives pleasure to Krishna.”

The djembe [the African drum] should serve the mrdanga [the traditional drum used in Gaudiya Vaishnava kirtana]. If it dominates the mrdanga it should be taken and thrown in the bin.

notes on classes in Newcastle:

Krishna is our best friend, and He has appeared in Bhagavad-gita. You should always carry Bhagavad-gita with you. Just as serious Christians carry their Bibles and serious Muslims carry their Korans, you should be serious and always carry Bhagavad-gita.

The surrender Arjuna speaks of in Bhagavad-gita 2.7 is not a forced thing.

It is not that Krishna is saying surrender or go to hell.

In Brighton there is a shop near the railway station selling meat and beer called “Hell’s Kitchen.” At least they recognize it.

If you have a very good relationship with someone, you could say that you are surrendered to that person. When we want to live for Krishna’s pleasure, that is real surrender.

Real spiritual life begins with surrender. Not blind surrender but surrendering in knowledge.

As Kali-yuga has progressed, the impetus to surrender is even greater than in Arjuna’s time.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura said that the material world is characterized by turmoil and annoyance.

If you are miserly, you will be miserable.

Accepting Krishna as an authority is the beginning of accepting transcendental knowledge.

We cannot expect people to be on the level of Arjuna. They are just a little inquisitive at best.

In Brisbane, Australia, we had a program in a suburb 18 kilometers (11 miles) outside the city in a working class neighborhood, with a little park and a band stand. The devotees were passing out invitations in the city center. I was thinking, “who is going to come to such a program?” but 500 people came out of curiosity, with their kids and their dogs, etc.

By associating with the devotees of the Lord, hearing and rendering service, our natural spiritual qualities will awaken.

In London in 1973, Srila Prabhupada explained how you can become a spiritual master, “You simply have to follow.”

Q: What are the qualities I should be looking for in a spiritual master?
A: The guru in ISKCON must follow Srila Prabhupada and inspire others to follow Srila Prabhupada. By his association, there must be a change in your heart. You should become disinterested in material life and attracted to Krishna and His qualities, attracted to chant and to serve. You must become enthusiastic about spiritual life.

Unless we hear the holy name, we cannot expect much. If we do not take the medicine, what can be done?

Srila Prabhupada is so kind he has come to the surface [from the depths of his Krishna realization] to benefit those who live on the surface.

In London in July 1972, the devotees got the time of Srila Prabhupada’s arrival wrong, thinking he was to arrive three hours later. Devotees were setting up the room for his reception when he arrived. He sat on the vyasasana asked where the devotees were, and the leading devotees explained the situation. He noticed the prasadam we had brought and took some. He liked the fried chickpea flour and nuts, etc.

In 1977, at the time of Srila Prabhupada’s last visit, London was first in book distribution and in making new devotees, four or five devotees a month. In the car, as I drove him to the temple, I thought that Srila Prabhupada would talk about that. But he just talked about the cows [at Bhaktivedanta Manor] and how they were being looked after. He mentioned how he was going to America to teach varnasrama.

On the last Vyasa Puja in 1977, there were not homages, but Tamal Krishna Goswami spoke about Srila Prabhupada’s life. I do not know if it is recorded, but it was one of the best lectures I have ever heard. [Ekanath Prabhu of Bhaktivedanta Archives says they do not have a recording of it. If anyone has such a recording, let us all know.]

Sometimes Srila Prabhupada would say things just to break our false egos.

Sometimes we engage everything nicely except our false ego.

If we are going to do something, we should do it well.

If our austerity will make us proud, better not to do it.

Baladeva Vidyabhusana protected the Gaudiya Vaishnava line of succession from attacks of those in other lines of succession and played a key role.

As the satellites are controlled remotely by scientists from earth, the material world is controlled by the Lord who is situated in His abode.

That the Lord is unseen is not a reason for denying His existence. So many things we accept without seeing.

We have about 100,000 regular practicing devotees in Russia.

Other processes are there, but they are not so effective as the chanting of the holy name in this age.

We chanted in Byker, Wallsend, and North Shields yesterday. One man came up to me in one of those towns and said, “It is a relief to see some happy people in this troubled world.”

In Sydney, someone came up to us on the harinama and said, “What are you doing?” We answered, “We are chanting Hare Krishna.” The person replied, “But why aren’t you chanting Hare Krishna every day! There are so many problems that need to be rectified!”

We are interested in changing our consciousness not our lifestyle.

from a car conversation:

When Prabhupada was present, there was not all this talk of “you have to put Prabhupada in the center.” We put Prabhupada in the center by following his instructions to put Krishna in the center.

Some gurus have several Vyasa Pujas in different places on different days, but we never did that for Srila Prabhupada. I doubt whether it is right.

Bhakti Rasa Prabhu:

The impersonalist philosophers say that the supreme is unlimited and therefore cannot have form because to have form would limit Him. The Vaishnava philosophers agree that the supreme is unlimited, but they say that to deny the ability of the supreme to have form would limit Him.

comment by Indira: When I grew up in India, tribal people were considered anarya, non-Aryan. But I would disagree with that because many such people worshiped Lord Jagannatha, and so were actually advanced.

The Goswamis who lived under a different tree each night taught by this example that the human form is not meant to secure a comfortable residence.

If we are miserly we will be miserable because we will have to remain in the cycle of repeated birth and death.

The spiritual master manages the transition from from our miserly conditioned state of existence to our liberated state of existence.

If people do not understand the eternal existence of the soul, then karma seems like a very heavy explanation for terrible events like mass shootings. It is a help to understand that the soul is not harmed. It continues to exist but just changes bodies.

In Kali-yuga our knowledge is limited, and our capacity to learn more is also very limited.

reflection by Krishna-kripa das: When we speak of the miseries of birth, death, old age, and disease, we tend to think of birth and death as most severe, but because birth and death are brief events, disease and old age, because of their longer duration could actually 
cause us more suffering in the long run.

Krishna-kripa das:

from a conversation:

One attender staying for the weekend in our temple told her husband to wake up because his nephew had come to visit. Actually the nephew had not come, but it was time for the evening kirtana, and she knew if she told him it was time for kirtana, he would just return to sleep. The trick worked, and her husband came down looking for the nephew and stayed for the whole kirtana, playing the mrdanga.


param padam vaishnavam amananti tad
yan neti netity atad utsisrikshavah
visrijya dauratmyam ananya-sauhrida
hridopaguhyarha-padam pade pade

The transcendentalists desire to avoid everything godless, for they know that supreme situation in which everything is related with the Supreme Lord Vishnu. Therefore a pure devotee who is in absolute harmony with the Lord does not create perplexities, but worships the lotus feet of the Lord at every moment, taking them into his heart.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.2.18)