Friday, August 16, 2013

Travel Journal#9.14: Plymouth Ratha-yatra, Baltic Summer Festival, Sri Harinama Temple

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 9, No. 14
By Krishna-kripa das
(July 2013, part two)
London, Plymouth, Lithuania, Poland
(Sent from Trutnov, Czech Republic, on August 16, 2013)

Where I Went and What I Did 

After the harinama and evening program in Sheffield, I went to London to do harinamas for a couple days, and go to with Parasurama Prabhu to the Plymouth Ratha-yatra on Saturday, July 20. On Sunday, I flew from Gatwick to Kaunas for the Baltic Summer Festival, a new Hare Krishna festival for me, where I could see, hear, serve, and inquire from my siksa guru, Niranjana Swami, and hear great lectures and kirtanas by other senior devotees. Then I traveled with the Nitai Gauranga Traveling Harinama Party for three days in Poland, before taking an overnight train to Kostrzyn for my thirteenth Polish Woodstock festival.

I have very exciting quotes from my personal reading of Srila Prabhupada’s books, and wonderful realizations from the senior devotees at the Baltic Summer Festival, such as Bhakti Caitanya Swami, Niranjana Swami, Bhakti Visrambha Madhava Swami, Dhirasanta Prabhu, and Sankarsana Prabhu. In particular, Niranjana Swami shares some details about his becoming a devotee that I never heard before, as does Dhirasanta Prabhu, and Bhakti Visrambha Madhava Swami does a good job of answering questions put to him. I have a beautiful selection by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami discussing Srila Prabhupada’s prayer to Krishna, “Make me dance, make me dance, O Lord, make me dance as You like.” I had not heard Sankarsana Prabhu since he became a guru, and it was pleasing to hear his powerful conviction and logical presentation of the philosophy. Also I have notes from some of the lectures by Ananda Caitanya Prabhu from the traveling harinama party.

Thanks to Manorama Prabhu for the photo of the Plymouth bhajanas. Thanks to Rukmini for the picture of Ananda Seva Prabhu and I in Soho Square and thanks to the devotees who took pictures of me at the Baltic Summer festival, namely, Mathura Lilapriya dd, Ruslan Golubev, and Vladimiras Maksimkinas. Thanks to Patrycja Siva for the pictures of Bialystok, and the Sri Harinam Mandir Traveling Temple for their picture and video of our harinama in Warsaw.

Plymouth Ratha-yatra

When I knew I was flying out of London to Lithuania on Sunday, I decided to see come a day earlier and go with Parasurama Prabhu to the Plymouth Ratha-yatra. The name Plymouth, is famous in America because of the Pilgrims, and I had been to Plymouth, Massachusetts, but never before to the original Plymouth from which it got its name. I heard that Manorama Prabhu and his youth party, many from America, would come and it would be nice to see them, having traveled with them to Mexico one winter. Thus I planned to go to Plymouth Ratha-yatra, and return to London the next day to fly to Lithuania, while the others went on to do Ratha-yatra in Glastonbury.

In fact as it turned out, two days before the Plymouth Ratha-yatra, in London at our Soho temple, I encountered some of my Vaishnava youth friends, and my friend from Gainesville, Ananda Seva who surprised me by joining them for their tour. We went to the evening arati and took prasadam in Soho Square park together.


The weather was warm and sunny in Plymouth for the Ratha-yatra, and when I got there Amala Harinama was leading a great kirtana, followed by a devotee girl I recalled from Dallas, who also did a good job singing. At one point, Syamananda Prabhu, my brahmacari friend from Ireland, who lives at Radhadesh, and who joined the youth tour to assist with drama and cooking, in a characteristic humorous mood, began drumming a kitchen pot in time with the music.

Several of the devotee girls danced nicely in front of the stage, attracting people.


One of the girls engaging some of the children in the audience in dancing with her.

One older Plymouth woman, with her arm in a sling, danced with the kirtana for quite sometime. The whole Ratha-yatra route was within a pedestrian mall that was mostly closed to traffic. It was not so long in distance, but we stopped several place for a while, and it was crowded with people.
 Manorama Prabhu played the bass during the procession, something you do not usually see, and was a nice addition to the kirtana.
I was happy to see my friend Ananda Seva Prabhu (in the center below) happily engaged in the Ratha-yatra procession. He has been working a lot recently and had missed such opportunities.
Some girls began following the procession and clapping to the music.

Later they joined with the devotee ladies in dancing in a circle.



One boy danced with us when we were stationary.



Then later got some friends together and danced in front of the Ratha-yatra procession.

 Another group of ladies also enjoyed dancing in a circle with the devotees.

 After the Ratha-yatra, there was a drama and a bharat-natyam dance, and a short final kirtana.

I felt the program, which ended by 4 p.m., was much too short. I am accustomed to New York City, where the post-Ratha-yatra festival goes to 7 p.m. In London, it is also short, ending at 5 p.m. but this was even shorter. Still a lot of mercy was flowing, and I was glad that my friends and I got to go.

13th Annual Baltic Summer Festival in Lithuania

This year for the first time I came to the Baltic Summer Festival in Lithuania. How it happened is a long story. Recently I have been trying to regularly see Niranjana Swami and hear him speak and get guidance from him. He advised me to move into the New York temple during the time I had taken off from college 34 years ago. I was so attached to traveling with my friends to the West Coast, he said I was the hardest person he ever convinced to move in the temple and that he had to pray to Krishna. Thus I have concluded that he is a natural guru, someone who is a link between me and Krishna, as that is shown by his practical behavior. Some people have advised me to take sannyasa, the renounced order of life, and in order to do that I would need a sannyasa guru. He would be a logical person, as he is very exemplary in his own sannyasa, and has proved his ability to connect me with Krishna and increase my devotional service. Usually I would see him at the Ukraine festival, which I fell in love with, but now as he is encouraging me to help with Rama Raya Prabhu’s harinama in Manhattan, I have to return to the U.S.A. in September to have time to honor my commitments there. Thus I would miss seeing him in September in Ukraine, and knowing that he comes to this festival in Lithuania, I decided to come here. I have known several Lithuanian devotees in my life, especially from the Polish festival tour, and each year I meet more. Just within the last year, I got to meet Lithuanian devotees in London, Dublin, Newcastle, and at the kirtana-mela in Germany. Previously the Lithuanian festival would conflict with the Polish Woodstock festival, which I attended every year, but now that it is earlier, that is not a problem. Last year I made travel arrangements for my friend, Dhruva Prabhu, who traveled with me previous summers, to come to the Baltic festival. So Lithuania and this festival have been more and more on my mind each year, and thus I finally decided to come.

At the Kaunas airport I was greeted by my friend Lauris from Newcastle, who is originally from Lithuania, and also by some devotees the organizers had sent to get me, so I had a choice of rides. I went with Lauris, partially because he brought prasadam for me and also because I knew him better. During the festival, Lauris helped me out with transportation and connection to the internet, and I lent him my computer when his wireless did not work. I look forward to seeing the many pictures and the video he is making of the festival.

The festival is in Harmony Park, just south of Kaunas, perhaps an hour from the airport. This Harmony Park is run by people with religious ideas who want to facilitate people from all religions in an effort to create good will between different religious groups. Both the Hare Krishna devotees and those who run Harmony Park share a desire to benefit the world spiritually and have much mutual respect. This is the second year the festival has been at this location. The festival is four and a half days long, and for those willing to sleep in a common room on a mat, it is only 36 euros, plus an optional donation. I saw Kasturi Manjari from Lithuania, who has done the treasury for years on the Polish festival tour, handling the registration. At registration they asked if I wanted to do voluntary service, and I felt bad because I do so little service in general, so I said yes. I asked if I could serve meals to the senior devotees who were doing the presentations, and they said the person who usually did that service could not come and it would be a great help. Many of the presenters are from American and England, and I have friendly relationships with them, as I am almost their age and have been around for thirty years. Included among them, of course, is Niranjana Swami, who I especially wanted to see. Others I know included Bhakti Bringa Govinda Swami, Bhakti Caitanya Swami, Bhakti Visrambha Madhava Swami, Dhirashanta Prabhu, and Sankarshan Prabhu. There were also Bhakti Ananta Krishna Swami from Russia, who I have met before but do not know very well, and Bhakta Sharan Shanta Swami from Lithuania, who I met for the first time. One lady named Jamuna Pavani d.d. was in charge of cooking meals for the presenters. In particular, B. B. Govinda Swami was always very attentive to thank the ladies in the kitchen every day for the nice meals. Another benefit of serving the presenters is you get a greater variety of prasadam yourself. The downside is you have less time to catch up on your sleep, and you have to remain tired or sleep during the some of the presentations, the kirtanas, or the morning program.

I tended to compare the Baltic festival with the Ukraine festival which I am more familiar with. The Baltic festival has a one-hour chanting session before lunch in addition to the three hours of chanting in the evening which I thought was a pleasant break from hearing lectures. One devotee made the point that the evening kirtana in Lithuania begins sitting down, a feature he liked, while people stand up the whole time in Ukraine. It was amusing to me that I had not noticed that difference because I dance the whole time anyway in both places! In Ukraine the altar is elevated so it is easier to see the deities, and I told a few people about this in Lithuania so they might consider that change in the future. In Lithuania the festival is smaller so you can get to know the people better. The campus is spread out, and many devotees volunteered as drivers for a free taxi service to drive devotees from their residences to the temple hall and back. One devotee named Anton always seemed to be at the right place to give me rides, and he regularly gave me a ride to serve the presenters their breakfast. Sometimes in Ukraine, there have been long distances between some residences and the temple hall, and a taxi service would be a nice addition there. Recently there would be six different venues and four time periods in Ukraine so there were a lot more seminars to choose from. Generally, there was just the single venue in Lithuania. Apparently they do not schedule who leads the evening arati in Lithuania, and I developed a desire to do it. I stood near the front, and when no one else volunteered, they asked me to lead it.

Some of the devotees said they really liked it.
And they let me lead it the next day too.

 At the festival, I met Yajna Purusa Prabhu (in white below), an Indradyumna Swami disciple from Lithuania I knew from Rupanuga Vedic College when I was there about ten years ago. We enjoyed dancing in the kirtana together.

Below, Gundica Prabhu (in white below), who I knew from the Polish festival tour and who I saw last year at the Cardiff Ratha-yatra, swings around with another devotee in the kirtana.

They had some special events for children at the festival. One was an oxcart ride that they seemed to really enjoy. One girl, riding a skateboard, grabbed the cart, and had it pull her.

I was the mrdanga player on the kids Ratha-yatra at the Baltic Summer Festival 2013. What an anomaly! I encouraged a boy to take over, but he declined. I did not know who to ask.

I asked Niranjana Swami, but he also declined, asking if I needed to stop. I replied no, but I just know one beat. He said I was doing OK, and so I played the drum the whole time.

Since much of my purpose was to associate with Niranjana Swami, and he has fewer managerial commitments in Lithuania, the devotees in general get much more of his association there. Since he told me to spend more time in fewer places, the timing of the Lithuanian festival is better for me as it is closer to the time of the other festivals I attend in Eastern Europe, so I lose less time from my UK presence. Thus I may well come back to the Baltic Summer Festival next year. Below under “Insights” you can see the many notes I took on the lectures there.

I talked to Niranjana Swami about his instruction to me that I go to just two or three places and encourage the devotees there, and the extent I progressed in that direction. I asked if by two or three places he meant temples or regions. For example, when I am in Newcastle, I go to York, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, and Bolton, all about two or three hours away, and when I am in Gainesville, I go to Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and Tampa, all a couple of hours away. He said that was quite alright as long as I was regularly seeing the same people and trying to develop relationships with them and benefit them. We also talked about an issue that came up last year regarding friendship in devotional service. I was reflecting that I have very few people who have the same interests as me and the same lifestyle as me and who I am friends with, although I have many acquaintances who I appreciate all over the world. Some devotees say one should spend 20% of the time with those you are learning from, 20% of the time with those you are teaching, and 60% of the time with your peers, and I felt I was really lacking in that. I mentioned how one devotee suggested I solve this problem by getting married and another suggested I solve it by becoming a siksa guru and developing spiritual relationships with people. Niranjana Swami said since I said I am more or less happy being a brahmacari and feel no great necessity to get married, I might focus more on developing friendships with the men in the regions where I stay, and that was his also intention when he advised me to go fewer places and stay longer, and so that is my direction for this year.

After his classes, Niranjana Swami would hand out cookies to the attendees. It reminded me of darsanas of gurus in the old days of ISKCON. It was a pleasant exchange and everyone enjoyed it. Gregory from Tampa, who is developing an interest in Krishna consciousness, is sitting to the left of Niranjana Swami in the picture below, and I am waiting impatiently in back for the line to get shorter.

Sri Harinam Mandir Traveling Temple

Once again I joined the Nitai Gauranga traveling harinama party, now known on Facebook as “Sri Harinam Mandir Traveling Temple.” I went through Poland like last year, but this time for three days going south from Lithuania instead of for one day going east from Germany. We stopped to have lunch in rural Poland.

We chanted to a medium-sized crowd in Bialystok for almost an hour and a half, with some people smiling, taking pictures, and moving with the music. Afterward we attended a public program the devotees organized. The schedule was half an hour kirtana, half an hour lecture, and an hour of kirtana. The second kirtana was so powerful with over twenty devotees from the tour plus the local devotees.

One old man, who did the Catholic sign of the cross when he entered, really got into the dancing. Here he dances with Ananda Caitanya Prabhu, a Lithuanian devotee, who intelligently learned Polish and could thus give lectures there.

Other new people also got into it. It was beautiful to see.

The feast had at least eight preparations and maybe more. It was in a public hall with free wireless internet so I could catch up on all my proofreading during the lecture which I could not understand as it was in Polish.

The best day as far as the harinama was concerned when we chanted in Warsaw for 3½ hours, mostly in a section called Stare Miasto (Old Town).

At one point a group of people was watching us and taking pictures.

The devotees took a video of our Warsaw harinama (

The last day we drove to Krakow, but we left late and the devotees stopped to go swimming, so we did not get there until 6:00 p.m. I had booked a train to go to the Woodstock for 6:30 p.m., thinking that we would chant no later than from 3 to 6 p.m. in Krakow, so I missed the harinama altogether. It would have been better if I did harinama in Warsaw with Krishna-kirtana Prabhu and any other devotees we could find,  and taken a train from there.

Also traveling with the harinama tour was Gregory from Tampa, who is also in his fifties, and is interested in spiritual topics and appreciates the activities of the Hare Krishnas in Europe as being more progressive than the Christian church. He is married to a Lithuanian lady, and ended up coming to the Baltic Summer Festival and traveling with the harinama brahmacaris while his wife visited her all her relatives in Lithuania. I told him of some of our upcoming activities in Florida like Janmastami in Alachua and the Jacksonville Beach Ratha-yatra and hope to encounter him again there.

Other than dancing a bit and giving an insignificant donation of 5 British pounds, I was not able to contribute much to the party. No one specifically asked me to lead a kirtana or give a lecture so I just let those who were most ambitious do it. I am sure if I had known Russian, the language of the party, or Polish, the language of the country we were in, I would have had more opportunities. Still it was an chance to cultivate humility, or at least, to acknowledge my lack of it, and more positively, a chance to allow the younger people to play these roles and in that way encourage them. One devotee did ask me for my blessings that he could always be happy in Krishna consciousness, as I appeared to be so. I just told him the verse by Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami, “Things that are very difficult to do become easy to execute if one somehow or other simply remembers Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But if one does not remember Him, even easy things become very difficult. To this Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu I offer my respectful obeisances.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 14.1) I also said that if he always remained in the association of devotees, it was just a matter of time before he attained the perfection of spiritual life. Krishna consciousness can deliver the most sinful of all sinners (Bg. 4.36), we just have to continue to practice it with faith. The secret is to never give up trying.

The best part of the tour for me, in addition to the Warsaw harinama, was seeing a lot of new devotees are getting a taste for sharing the holy name with the public in general. And that is a good sign for the future of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement. Ananda Vardhana Prabhu is to be commended for providing such a wonderful facility to encourage the devotees to share the holy name in a big way.


Srila Prabhupada: 

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 4.87, purport: 

“Our installation of Deities in America and in the wealthy countries of Europe should be carried out in terms of Sri Madhavendra Puri’s activities. All the servitors of the Deity must be strictly qualified as brahmanas and, specifically, must engage in the Vaishnava custom of offering as much prasadam as possible and distributing it to the devotees who visit the temple to see the Lord.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 4.93, purport:

“The Krishna consciousness movement vigorously approves this practice of preparing food, offering it to the Deity and distributing it to the general population. This activity should be extended universally to stop sinful eating habits as well as other behavior befitting only demons. A demoniac civilization will never bring peace within the world. Since eating is the first necessity in human society, those engaged in solving the problems of preparing and distributing food should take lessons from Madhavendra Puri and execute the Annakuöa ceremony. When the people take to eating only prasadam offered to the Deity, all the demons will be turned into Vaishnavas. When the people are Krishna conscious, naturally the government will be so also. A Krishna conscious man is always a very liberal well-wisher of everyone. When such men head the government, the people will certainly be sinless. They will no longer be disturbing demons. It is then and then only that a peaceful condition can prevail in society.”

from Srimad-Bhagatavam 6.7.14, purport:
“Even if one does not accept Lord Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His instructions are so exalted and beneficial for humanity that if one follows His instructions one will be saved.

from Srimad-Bhagatavam 6.7.38, purport:

“The word purah means ‘family,’ and hita means ‘benefit.’ Thus the word purohita indicates that the priest is the well-wisher of the family. Another meaning of the word purah is ‘first.’ A priest’s first duty is to see that his disciples benefit spiritually and materially by all means. Then he is satisfied. A priest should never be interested in performing Vedic rituals for his personal benefit.”
from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 30:

“Even if devotees are illusioned by some ghastly scene or by any accidental occurrence, they never forget Krishna. Even in the greatest danger they can remember Krishna. This is the benefit of Krishna consciousness: even at the time of death, when all the functions

of the body become dislocated, the devotee can remember Krishna in his innermost consciousness, and this saves him from falling down into material existence. In this way Krishna consciousness immediately takes one from the material platform to the spiritual world.”

“There is an authoritative statement in the Garuda Purana about mystic yogis who are under the direct shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead: ‘In all three stages of

their consciousness—namely wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep—the devotees are absorbed in thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, in their complete absorption in thought of Krishna, they do not sleep.’”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 4.111, purport:

“Diksha actually means initiating a disciple withtranscendental knowledge by which he becomes freed from all material contamination.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.25, purport:

Simply by theoretical knowledge or study one cannot make any appreciable advancement. One must give up the association of materialistic persons and seek the association of devotees because without the association of devotees one cannot understand the activities of the Lord.”

from  Srimad-Bhagatavam 5.12.13, purport:

“This Krishna consciousness movement was started to engage people twenty-four hours daily in the service of the Lord and in His glorification. The students in this institution engage in the cultivation of Krishna consciousness from five in the morning to ten at night. They actually have no opportunity to waste their time unnecessarily by discussing politics, sociology and current events. These will go their own way. A devotee is concerned only with serving Krishna positively and seriously.

from Srimad-Bhagatavam 6.8.33, purport:

“As a fire, although existing in one place, can expand its light and heat everywhere, so the omnipotent Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although situated in His spiritual abode, expands Himself everywhere, in both the material and spiritual worlds, by His various energies.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 4.133, purport:

“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore never publicly discussed Krishna’s dealings with the gopis. He used to discuss these dealings only with three confidential friends. He never discussed rasa-lila publicly, as the professional reciters do, although they do not understand Krishna or the nature of the audience. However, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu encouraged the public chanting ofthe holy name on a huge scale for as many hours as possible.”

“One who is engaged in unalloyed devotional service to the Lord is already situated in the spiritual world (brahma-bhuyaya kalpate). In all circumstances, his activities and dealings with Krishna are transcendental and thus not understandable by mundane moralists. It is therefore better not to discuss such activities among mundane people. It is better to give them the Hare Krishna maha-mantra so that they will be gradually purified and then come to understand the transcendental activities of Krishna.”

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. Such loving exchanges should never be considered to be material. In the Mahabharata, Udyama-parva, it is warned that things which are inconceivable should not be subjected to arguments. Actually, the transactions of the spiritual world are inconceivable to us in our present state of life. Great liberated souls like Rupa Gosvami and others have tried to give us some hints of transcendental activities in the spiritual world, but on the whole these transactions will remain inconceivable to us at the present moment. Understanding the exchanges of transcendental loving service with Krishna is possible only when one is actually in touch with the pleasure potency of the Supreme Lord.

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 36:

“One devotee says, ‘My dear Lord, Your transcendental qualities attract even the liberated souls and carry them to the assembly of devotees where Your glories are constantly chanted. Even great sages who are accustomed to living in solitary places are also attracted by the songs of Your glory. And, observing all Your transcendental qualities, I have also become attracted and have decided to dedicate my life to Your loving service.’”

“A person who offers respect even to the ants engaged in the service of the Lord becomes eternally happy, so what is there to say of one who offers Krishna direct service?”

from Srimad-Bhagatavam 6.9.35 purport:

“In Bhagavad-gita Krishna says that He descends to this material world for two purposes, namely paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskritam [Bg. 4.8]—to relieve the devotees and kill demons or nondevotees. These two kinds of action are the same for the Absolute Truth. When the Lord comes to punish the demons, He bestows His favor upon them, and similarly when He delivers His devotees and gives them relief, He also bestows His favor. Thus the Lord bestows His favor equally upon the conditioned souls. When a conditioned soul gives relief to others he acts piously, and when he gives trouble to others he acts impiously, but the Lord is neither pious nor impious; He is always full in His spiritual potency, by which He shows equal mercy to the punishable and the protectable. The Lord is apapa-viddham; He is never contaminated by the reactions of so-called sinful activities. When Krishna was present on this earth, He killed many inimical nondevotees, but they all received sarupya; in other words, they returned to their original spiritual bodies. One who does not know the Lord's position says that God is unkind to him but merciful to others. Actually the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (9.29), samo ’ham sarva-bhutesu na me dvesyo ’sti na priyah.I am equal to everyone. No one is My enemy, and no one is My friend.’ But He also says, ye bhajanti tu mam bhaktya mayi te teshu capy aham: If one becomes My devotee and fully surrenders unto Me, I give him special attention.’”

from Srimad-Bhagatavam 6.9.36, purport:

“In Vrindavana, the damsels of Vrajabhumi enjoy transcendental bliss in the company of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, and they feel the same transcendental bliss in separation when Krishna and Balarama leave Vrindavana for Mathura. There is no question of material pains or pleasures for either the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His pure devotees, although they are sometimes superficially said to be distressed or happy. One who is atmarama is blissful in both ways.”

from Srimad-Bhagatavam 6.9.39:

“Therefore, O killer of the Madhu demon, incessant transcendental bliss flows in the minds of those who have even once tasted but a drop of the nectar from the ocean of Your glories. Such exalted devotees forget the tiny reflection of so-called material happiness produced from the material senses of sight and sound. Free from all desires, such devotees are the real friends of all living entities. Offering their minds unto You and enjoying transcendental bliss, they are expert in achieving the real goal of life. O Lord, You are the soul and dear friend of such devotees, who never need return to this material world. How could they give up engagement in Your devotional service?”

from Srimad-Bhagatavam 6.9.40, purport:

“The difference between sakama and akama devotees is that when sakama devotees, like the demigods, fall into difficulty, they approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead for relief, whereas akama devotees, even in the greatest danger, never disturb the Lord for material benefits. Even if an akama devotee is suffering, he thinks this is due to his past impious activities and agrees to suffer the consequences. He never disturbs the Lord.”

from Srimad-Bhagatavam 6.9.42, purport.:

“The Lord is present everywhere and knows the necessities of His devotees; consequently there is no need to disturb Him by asking Him for material benefits.”

from Srimad-Bhagatavam 6.9.47, purport:

“Impersonalists cannot be purified, for they do not offer personal prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even though they sometimes offer prayers, the prayers are not directed toward the Supreme Person. Impersonalists sometimes show their incomplete knowledge by addressing the Lord as being nameless. They always offer prayers indirectly, saying, You are this, You are that,’ but they do not know to whom they are praying. A devotee, however, always offers personal prayers. A devotee says, govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami: I offer my respectful obeisances unto Govinda, unto Krishna.’ That is the way to offer prayers. If one continues to offer such personal prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is eligible to become a pure devotee and return home, back to Godhead.’”
from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 37:

“One of the devotees of Lord Krishna once addressed Him in this manner: ‘My dear Lord, although You are not a professional dancer, by Your dancing You have so astonished us that we can understand that You are personally the master of all dancing. Certainly You must have learned this dancing art directly from the goddess of love.’”

from Srimad-Bhagatavam 6.10.6, purport:

“At the present moment the entire world is in a dangerous position under the spell of a godless civilization. The Krishna consciousness movement needs many exalted, learned persons who will sacrifice their lives to revive God consciousness throughout the world. We therefore invite all men and women advanced in knowledge to join the Krishna consciousness movement and sacrifice their lives for the great cause of reviving the God consciousness of human society.”

from Srimad-Bhagatavam 6.10.12, purport:

“The bhakti-yogi always thinks of Krishna, and therefore at the time of death he can very easily transfer himself to Krishnaloka, without even perceiving the pains of death.”

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

from his journal, Viraha Bhavan,Poem for July 17”:

Sometimes Prabhupada says Deity
worship is for neophytes
and sometimes he says it is essential. It is essential to me
to fix my mind on Radha and Krishna. Prabhupada says
the Deities are nondifferent from the original Lord.
I worship Them
in faith and pleasure
drinking in Their nectarean darsana.
The madhurya rasa They represent
is the highest thing there
is, and I want it in my life.
I’m grateful They
accept my simple incense
and reside with me in my bhajana-kutira.

from Prabhupada Meditations, Vol.  IV:


“Make me dance

“One of my favorite lines from the few poems that Prabhupada wrote is, ‘Make me dance, make me dance, O Lord, make me dance as You like.’ Prabhupada declared himself a puppet in the hands of Krishna, and he asked Krishna to please fulfill the actual meaning of the name Bhaktivedanta. That poem wasn’t written as the musings of a reclusive scholar. It was written onboard the Jaladuta, a freighter with one Indian-style passenger cabin. The one passenger, Bhaktivedanta Swami, had no money, yet he was striking out for America. The poem was written by a preacher, who, although fearless, appeared to be momentarily overcome by his first sight of an American city. Even Lord Krishna hesitated when He faced the Aghasura demon. Srila Prabhupada didn’t hesitate in his purpose or waver in his determination, but he realized and admitted his helpless situation to Krishna, his friend.

“Prabhupada was always turning to Krishna, but it is natural for a devotee to turn even more to Krishna when he is in a difficult situation. Nanda Maharaja also did this. When Nanda Maharaja was returning from Mathura, he began to fear that something may have happened to Krishna, his baby in Gokula, so he began to think of Krishna very intensely and chant the holy names. Similarly, Prabhupada’s Krishna consciousness was intensified on that boat-crossing as he suffered heart attacks and seasickness. He expressed himself intimately to his spiritual master and to Krishna in poems.

“The cry, ‘Please make me dance,’ is from the heart. Just as a poor man cries out, ‘Give me money,’ so the preacher who is faced with the tremendous task of preaching to foreigners, to people who have demoniac habits, also cries out, ‘Please make me dance. Please fulfill the purport of my name: devotion and knowledge.’ It took an extraordinary combination of devotion and knowledge to make even the slightest impression on these proud and dirty-minded Americans whom Prabhupada saw that day with his first glimpse of Boston, Massachusetts.

“How would he do it? Prabhupada found the clue in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. In his poem, he selected several verses describing in a systematic way the Lord’s working within the heart of every conditioned soul for his betterment. This takes place, according to Srimad-Bhagavatam, when one hears the glories of Krishna. The modes of nature which grip each person’s heart is then broken up, and liberation is possible. By recalling these verses, Prabhupada took heart for the task of preaching in America. He gathered his determination just before officially entering the country through immigration in New York City when the boat docked at its final destination. Although outwardly he may have appeared to be an immigrant, lost in the foreignness of a new country, inwardly he had gained resolve, as expressed in his poem. He was already fully surrendered to the task and awaiting Krishna to direct his steps.

“‘Make me dance!’ This is not only a desperate cry; there seems to be celebration in his voice. He wants to dance in ecstasy for Krishna! He wants to be Krishna’s puppet. Lord Krishna did make Prabhupada dance in America. We saw his stately kirtana steps in the storefront at 26 Second Avenue and his dancing in Tompkins Square Park, his ‘Swami step’ before the students at Stanford University and in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, at Ohio State University, and in public halls in London. He danced along with the energetic steps of his disciples in the hand-to-hand rings of bounding hippies at Golden Gate Park. Actually, all the dancing during ISKCON kirtanas was but a response to Prabhupada’s hand gesture inviting them, ‘Get up and dance!’

“Also, if we think of the word dance in a broader sense, as ecstatic, spontaneous celebration, as movement with rhythm and grace, then we can see that Krishna made Prabhupada dance in many ways. His writing is a dance of the spirit liberated from matter. His expressions were filled with lightheartedness or with the heaviness of guru that only a pure devotee can deliver. Krishnadasa Kaviraja also used the image of dancing when referring to his writing. He said that his words were like dolls under the puppet master, and that they had danced to their full satisfaction throughout the chapters of Caitanya-caritamrta.

“It is also significant that Prabhupada referred to his work as a ‘movement.’ This doesn’t refer to political agitation with lobbying and marches on the Capitol; it refers to the dancing in kirtana in the streets, and the movement of gathering numbers of disciples all over the world to create a favorable eddy against the current of Kali-yuga disasters. Prabhupada’s movement is like the dance of a young cowherd boy upon the many, many hoods of the poisonous serpent. Prabhupada is still engaged in his movement, still dancing for you and me, and waiting for us to join the dance. To hold back during this dance means to miss the whole purpose of human existence. Prabhupada is gesturing, ‘Get up and dance, just surrender to Krishna, do as I am doing. Do the “Swami step” back to the spiritual world with me.” Let us take courage in Prabhupada’s words, ‘If You have brought me here to dance, then please make me dance as You like.’”

Bhakti Caitanya Swami:

The advanced devotee can be in any extreme condition of material existence and be unaffected.

I have written a book on Govardhana Hill subtitled The Hill that Fulfills All Desires.

When Krishna invited Radha to come with Him to the material world, He said, “I am going there. Don’t you want to come with Me?”

Radha said, “Well if Vrindavan is not there, if the river Yamuna is not there, and particularly if Govardhan is not there, I am not going, even if You are there.”

Mathura is only 15 km from Vrndavana, but Vrndavana is so transcendentally wonderful that its residents did not even consider going the 3 or 4 hour walk to Mathura to see Krishna because it would mean leaving their beloved Vrindavan.

While Govardhan Hill is present and the Ganges is present, Kali-yuga will never really set in.

The story of Pulasta Muni cursing Govardhana Hill to diminish in size is in the Puranas. Rupa Goswami said that Radharani was sad in separation from Krishna and that Govardhana Hill is becoming reduced in height out of sympathy for Her.

Devotees do not wear peacock feathers.
Govardhana is glorified both as a form of Krishna and the best devotee of Krishna.

All the forms of the Lord other than Krishna worship Lord Krishna because They all know that it is more blissful to be a devotee of Lord Krishna than to be God Himself!

Krishna was greatly blissful being served so nicely by His devotees, but then He observed that His devotees were happier serving Him than He was being served by them. In fact, some gopis were ten times happier than Krishna, other gopis were a hundred times happier, Lalita was a thousand times happier than Krishna, and Srimati Radharani was ten million times happier than Krishna. Krishna considered, “This is not fair. I want to taste this happiness.” Thus He appeared as His own devotee.

Govardhana Hill’s grasses are like hairs on his body standing up in ecstasy, and the rivulets of water the tears of ecstasy from his eyes.

Generally snakes like sandalwood trees, but the sandalwood trees on Govardhana Hill have no snakes. If a snake does come, Govardhana arranges that it is not poisonous. If a poisonous snake does come, Govardhana arranges that the poison has no effect. These are some of the services Govardhana Hill personally performs.

All the rocks on Govardhana Hill are transcendental gem stones, like diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and crystals.

Visvanatha Cakravarti tells a pastime in which Radha is avoiding Krishna because She did not appreciate His behavior. Govardhana Hill manifested a cobra which frightened Radharani so much, she turned around and embraced Krishna for protection. She was looking over Krishna’s shoulder, away from the snake, and the snake winked at Krishna, and Krishna gestured approvingly.

 Niranjana Swami:

I like to talk about the lectures that Srila Prabhupada gave on Queen Kunti’s prayers during the beginning of 1973. I did not hear the lectures in person, but I received a recording of one of them soon afterward.

Keshava Prabhu, who passed away recently, was a real friend to me in the beginning of my devotional service. Whenever I would visit the temple, he would invite me to his office and talk with me like a friend. I was a very long-haired hippie, and I always wondered why he would take such interest in me. Ultimately it was because of him I joined the temple. He knew I had a lot of attachments, and he knew what those attachments were, but he would not talk about them. He would be my friend and talk about Srila Prabhupada. Later I heard Vishnujana Swami chant Hare Krishna, and I decided that was it, I would join the temple.

Keshava Prabhu encouraged me to move into New Vrindavan. The reason was that he knew I was attached to my dog, and that it would be possible for me to keep my dog there. When I got there, I said I came to stay, and I had my dog. They said that was fine. When I asked about arrangements for feeding my dog, they that they did not feed dogs in New Vrindavan. The dogs know how to take of themselves. There was one three-legged dog there, and even he successfully obtained his own food. Thus my conception that my dog was completely dependent on me was destroyed.

At that time when I heard this Srila Prabhupada lecture in 1973 on Queen Kunti’s teachings, it was striking to me that he said, “In the beginning when one comes to Krishna consciousness there will be so many disturbances. That is maya testing us to see if we want to serve Krishna or if we want to disturb Krishna.” I experienced that in my life at that time as I was moving into the temple. And thus I was thinking there would be more tests. But I found everything to be wonderful for several weeks, until it became increasingly hard for me to get up for mangala-arati. One devotee who was formerly in the military would wake me up and remind me that we should accept Krishna’s orders in a military fashion. After a while, it was so difficult, one morning I slammed my hand on the floor, and said, “I cannot do it.” And then I remembered Srila Prabhupada’s words about maya testing us, and I realized that I could not do it on my own, but by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy I could do it. And that experience of being saved by Srila Prabhupada’s words was not a one time experience. It has happened many times since.

Srila Prabhupada explains that we cannot expect an ocean voyage to be without disturbances by the waves, and similarly one cannot expect a very peaceful life in this material world.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura said, “The spiritual master is meant to protect the faith of his dependents.”

Narada Muni told Yudhisthira that to become detached from this world a householder should hear repeatedly the pastimes of the incarnations of the Supreme Lord from a self-realized soul. In the purport to the verse describing this, Srila Prabhupada writes how Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam can and should be heard again and again.

Srila Prabhupada describes that Queen Kunti, because of her natural humility, presented herself as being without the qualification to understand Krishna while at the same time showing herself to be the greatest transcendentalist by taking complete shelter of Krishna.

Without humility one will not become a suitable receptacle for Krishna’s mercy. And Krishna’s mercy is the only means for success.

In Brhad-Bhagavatamrita, all of the devotees Narada approached argued in favor of their own disqualifications for achieving Krishna’s mercy. However, they all were in fact recipients of Krishna’s mercy, and their humility was their qualification to achieve it.

Someone asked me, “How do we know when someone is giving something to us, whether it is Krishna giving us something.” I asked him if he had been asking people for it. If he had not been asking, and only Krishna knew his desire, and someone gave it to him, then Krishna was giving it to him.

Krishna does not say if we give give Him something, he will give us even more in return. He says He will accept it.

Because Srila Prabhupada asked for things only for Krishna’s service, he had such potency that people would actually give him what he asked for.

Srila Prabhupada saved me, and he is always saving me again and again. Every time I read his books, I see how he is saving me.

Read Srila Prabhupada’s books again and again, and go back to Godhead.

These verses selected for this selection Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.23–27 are very essential, and I often quote from them.

Because of the devotees faith in their bright future through hearing the pastimes of the Lord they can tolerate the temporary miseries of the world. On a higher level, they forget the miseries though absorption in Krishna. Even in the beginning occasionally we are so absorbed we can experience this. Thus we must seek out the association of devotees who are engaged in hearing and chanting these topics.

This process of hearing and chanting of Krishna is easiest because the Lord and the devotees of the Lord are already willing to help us and because we understand that their mercy is the cause of our success. We do not have to depend on our own efforts.

Anyone who associates with the holy name associates with Krishna directly.

Just as the process of eating is very easy and we experience we gain strength and experience satisfaction, similarly the process of hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord in the association with devotees is easy and brings us spiritual strength and satisfaction. Let us easily nourish ourselves spiritually in this way.

Lord Caitanya advised that one string the “trnad api” verse on the garland of the holy name and wear it constantly.

When we live with constant expectations from others, we will always be disturbed, and thus one strategy to be peaceful is to not to expect anything from others.

Because a Vaishnava gets his nourishment from within, he can give without expecting anything in return.

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says that Krishna does not consider it a burden to personally arrange for His devotee’s maintenance, and a devotee should never think that he is a disturbance to Krishna by depending on Him to take of Him. Krishna likes taking care of His devotees.

Arjunacarya was such a poor brahmana, that between he and his wife, they had only one good piece of cloth. When one went out of the house, he or she would wear the good cloth, and the other would stay home wearing the torn cloth.

It was a not a disturbance to Krishna to take of his devotee’s needs, but that His devotee Arjunacarya did not believe that He would take care of His devotee’s needs was a disturbance to Him.

A devotee thinks, “If Krishna does not give me something, I must not need it, and if Krishna supplies something then I should use it in his service.”

A person who wants to give Krishna consciousness to others has unlimited service.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura said “trnad api” verse, which stresses perfect tolerance and humility, is the siddha pranali (the means to attain perfection) for Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Srila Prabhupada has given us this siddha pranali. We do not have to look for siddha pranali elsewhere. And not only has Srila Prabhupada given it, but he is a most brilliant example of it.

Srila Prabhupada explains that if we chant and follow the prohibitions against sinful activities we will pass Maya’s tests, otherwise she will capture us.

One who is not disturbed is a paramahamsa, a devotee on the highest level.

Jiva Goswami asked the question to Lord Nityananda, “How is it that so many people are there in the dhama who are not in pure Krishna consciousness?” Lord Nityananda Prabhu explained that the dhama has a covering that keeps out hypocritically devoted (dharma-dvaji), who are devoid of humility but who think they are qualified to live in the dhama.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura said a preacher is useless if he cannot respect others. If a devotee cannot even respect devotees, how can he preach to the nondevotees?

‘One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor but is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.’ (Lord Caitanya’s Siksastakam 3)

Bhakti Visrambha Madhava Swami:

Q: Why might a Vaishnava remain angry if we apologize for offending them?
A: They may not think we are sincere in our apology. They may be worried that we may maintain that offensive mentality and offend others.

Q: In the beginning we may feel some pleasure from devotional service, but we learn we are not supposed to perform devotional service for our own enjoyment. What to do?
A: Devotional service gives pleasure but devotees do not want that pleasure if it stops their service. If it does not get in the way of our service, it can be accepted. Krishna reciprocates with us according our relationship with Him. Everyone wants to hug Krishna, but does Krishna want to hug us? Vishnujana Swami told me, “We do not enjoy prasadam we honor prasadam.” Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura said we do not eat prasadam, prasadam eats us, and we do not see Lord Jagannatha, Lord Jagannatha sees us.

Q: Why do we love some devotees we serve with and hate other devotees we serve with? What to do about this?
A: Everyone in this world is better than someone, and someone is better than him. We should always see what the people are good at. Raghunatha Goswami would not criticize a devotee. He considered if there was really someone wrong with person, Krishna would deal with it. Who was he to judge the devotee?

Although it is best to be attentive while chanting still the holy name will deliver one who even chants inattentively.

It is not what service you are going to do, but what mentality you are going to do it in.

Krishna and Balarama are thieves of hearts, and our business is help Them steal.

The gopis complained that Krishna and Balarama did not take as much pleasure when they gave Them items as when They stole them, because They took pleasure in the stealing.

Srila Prabhupada once said, “If you are greedy to present Krishna with something, Krishna is greedy to take it.” But what to we have to give Krishna who owns everything. Only our minute independence to choose to think of Him.

Q: I got some tulasi seeds from you, she grew for a while and died. What should I do?
A: Do not give up. Just because a mother has a miscarriage, she does not give up trying to have a baby. Try to positive and learn from your experience. It takes tulasi a while to die. See want you can do to keep it from happening again. Take a picture of her, and show it someone from the local nursery. Look it up on Google. You can find everything there.

Q: Can we worship a picture of tulasi?
A: Would a young lady be satisfied having a picture of a child or would she want a real child?

Q: Does Krishna interfere with our free will?
A: Generally no but sometimes yes. If Krishna sees you really want to be independent, He will let you go. The devotee prays to Krishna, “Do what you want, but drag me to lotus feet.”

You can ask your questions a hundred times to superiors, your equals, and your subordinates. Greed means I want the answer yesterday.

When it comes to Krishna’s service or Tulasi’s service, do not flinch, they are not poor and can afford it.

The standard for home worship is basically to do everything with love. There is a standard of worship with five items, ten items, twelve items, and sixteen items. The bathing enters at twelve items. Determine a standard you can follow. Love the deities, and They will love you back more than you can love Them.

Tulasi gives knowledge to one who seeks it. Just like you can ask your mother anything.

We are made of nothing but the mercy of the devotees, and therefore we must be compassionate to others, so others get a similar chance.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura advises to do good to others and to not worry about your own happiness. Being in the association of devotees, we will automatically be happy.

When you decide to serve the internal potency of the Lord, the external energy goes for free.

We should associate with devotees and abandon materialistic association.

We hanker for our relationship with Krishna despite the fact that it is difficult to attain.

When will Krishna faint, thinking of our love for Him. We have a long way to go.

We should induce devotees to participate in harinama by preparing prasadam and packaging it, distributing it, and getting their kids to distribute it. You have to have a heart of stone not to take a sweet from a kid. If people are not going to temple, the temple will come to them.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura explains diksa involves long term siksa that transforms one’s heart so one spontaneously kicks out undesirable habits.

One vanaprastha godsister of mine distributes books in Vrndavana. I asked her daughter if she was going to go to UK to visit her children, and she replied, “All the kids know if they want to see mother, they have to go to Vrndavana.”

Wherever Tulasi Devi is, all the pilgrimage places are at her root.
Krishna cannot be attained simply by study, hearing lectures, even though hearing for a long time. To a person whom He chooses, He reveals Himself.

We should be really affectionate to the managers who are making all the arrangements for the festival.

Lord Caitanya described three levels of Vaishnavas:
1. One who likes to chant the holy names of the Lord, and is thus the best person in the group.
2. One who has taken initiation and is serving the deity and the Vaishnavas.
3. One who is so absorbed in Krishna consciousness, he is no longer conscious of this material world.

Dhirasanta Prabhu:

Srila Prabhupada once said, “If you chant your sixteen rounds before 10 a.m., you will have no anxiety throughout the day.”

Has anybody every chanted sixteen rounds in the evening? And then all day, you are worried you have sixteen rounds to chant.

A biology teacher poured golf balls into a container up to the top and asked his students if it was full. They said yes, but then he took pebbles, and poured them in so they filled in the space between the golf balls, and again asked the students if it was full. Then sand, then water. It was an analogy for ordering priorities. If he put the water in first, he could have added nothing else. Thus we have to put our chanting as our first priority.

The holy name is a gift, the gift of Radha and Krishna, who are not different from Their names. Japa is the opportunity to develop a sacred relationship with Radha Krishna.

Sometimes we act like japa is like a horse race, and say with relief afterward, “Sixteen rounds ki, jaya!”

Srila Prabhupada said, “If we chant sixteen rounds and follow the four rules, and we help Lord Caitanya spread his mission, we will go back to Godhead at the end of this life.”

We can chant this mantra. “I am allowed to chant. I like chant. I want to chant. I love to chant.”

All the problems we have as devotees can be eliminated by our chanting of sixteen rounds.

I chant fast so there is no room for the mind to wander.

The holy name is better than mango lassi.

from a Bhagavatam class:

Srila Prabhupada said Krishna consciousness is simply but we bring our complicated mind filled with misconceptions from many births.

In the practice of devotional service we have a lot of work to overcome the past, but the process does work.

When I was a new devotee I had one attachment, rock music. In my brahmacari cabinet I kept a recording of my favorite group, Pink Floyd, and I would play it to take a break  from devotional service. I would distribute books outside music shops so I could hear my favorite songs from time to time. Then Krishna tricked me. The record shop played, “Govindam adi purusam tam aham bhajami”—the Radha Krishna temple album, and I realized what kind of music I should be listening to.

When Srila Prabhupada came to London he gave a series of classes on the Bhagavad-gita. He could see the British were very proud, so he systematically described all the atrocities of the British government against the Indians. They built the first slaughter houses in India. They introduced the drinking of tea and the smoking of bidi (a kind of cigarette). When Gandhi protested the British selling their cloth to Indians at high prices, and encouraged the Indians to produce their own cloth, British officers would cut the thumbs off ladies they saw weaving cloth in India. You have seen the camels in India? They are incarnations of the members of the British raj. In this way, he wanted to end our identification with Britain. 

Sankarsana Prabhu:

Before answering the question, “How do I succeed on the path of Krishna bhakti?” we should ask the question, “Why should I succeed on the path of Krishna bhakti?”

If we do not have love of God in our hearts we are starving spiritually, and trying to get happiness through eating, sleeping, mating, and defending, and yet not attaining the happiness we desire. We are not creatures of this world, but belong in the spiritual world with Krishna.

Even if you attain the topmost position in this world, without Krishna bhakti you will not be happy.

The guru is essential to inspire one spiritually and to give correction.

The Christians say, “I can do anything I want because I accept Jesus. I am saved.” If we think now that I am initiated, I can do anything I want” then that is the same consciousness. Actually initiation means the beginning of our life of spiritual practice. Initiation means following the guru henceforth.

An experiment was done on two groups of plants which were given the same amount of water, fertilizer, and light, in two different moods, in affection and in aversion. The plants which were nourished with affection thrived, while the others did not. If living entities with such a low level of consciousness appreciate love, what to speak of human beings.

I was brought up as a Christian and I had no understanding that I could personally offer something to God, and He would reciprocate.

We all have a tendency to love. The key is to give our love to Krishna. That is the purpose of this institution.

There are two ways to love Krishna spontaneously and according to regulations. For those whose spontaneous love has not been awakened, there are the regulative principles of devotional service.

The key to succeed in the practice is regulated daily practice.

The name of Krishna is sweet because it is Krishna Himself.

There is no taste in material sense gratification, but we think there is happiness there.

The gardener who pulls the weeds out by the roots is the successful gardener. We have chant in such a way that our deep rooted material desires are destroyed.

Can you imagine being able to behold the beautiful form of Shyamasundara in your heart? He is already there.

We all have some sincerity. That is why we are here. Did anyone pay any of you to come to this festival? No. Actually we all had to pay to come here to chant and hear about Krishna. So we all have some sincerity.

You simply have to be determined to follow, and your success will be assured.

Q: What about Srila Prabhupada’s instruction to give 50% for preaching Krishna consciousness?
A: Bhaktivinoda Thakura advised to consider one’s house and your family to belong to the Lord and keep track of them as service to Him. In this way, you can give 100% to Krishna. As a Christian I was taught to give 10% to the church. I even had to give 10% of my allowance to the church. I see that as a result of that funding there are missionary activities all over the world. I am sure that if all the devotees in Kaunas gave 10%, the new temple that has been discussed for years would already be built.

Q: Can I marry a nondevotee woman?
A: If she is willing to follow our principles and she permits you do to your spiritual practice, it may work out. The difficulty is that ideally sex is meant only once a month when trying to conceive a child, so it may be unlikely that she will be so dedicated to you that she is willing to follow that.

Persons whose children become devoted to God are very special souls. Try to help your parents spiritually as far as possible.

Q: What is a marriage blessed by Krishna?
A: When the husband helps the wife become Krishna consciousness, when wife helps the husband become Krishna consciousness, and the husband and the wife help the children to become Krishna consciousness, that is a marriage blessed by Krishna.

In “Bhajahu Re Mana” Govinda answers the question of what to do with mind if one gives up temporary sense enjoyment in the final verse of his song, the nine process of devotional service.

Beatles music does not excite the animals, but Krishna’s flute enchants all species of life.

Within Krishna’s name, there is Krishna’s form, pastimes, devotees, etc. By vibrating Krishna’s name you are connecting with everything. Everyone is anxious to be online and connect with the internet these days, but what we are connecting to is a small fragment of Krishna.

Ananda Caitanya Prabhu:

Sukadeva Goswami, although liberated from birth, originally did not appreciate the devotees until fully educated by his father, Srila Vyasadeva.

Sukadeva Goswami understood by hearing that marriage was unnecessarily entangling so he skipped it.

Bhakti Ananta Krishna Maharaja stresses cooperation among the brahmacaris in his ashram in Moscow, and that creates a wonderful atmosphere there.

One devotees said I like chanting and associating with devotees, but I have material desires. Can I ask Krishna to fulfill them? The answer she got was, whether or not Krishna fulfills them, he will treat you in such a way you get beyond them.

If you glorify the devotees in general who are trying to sincerely serve and spread the holy name, you will have no difficulties.

Bhakti Vijnana Swami told us one story. One Sacinandana Babaji lived to be 112 years old. He would make garlands for Srimati Radharani every day and chant Her name. During a drought he searched everywhere for flowers and finally found a beautiful garden on the outskirts on Vraja. He asked the owner for some flowers for Radharani. But the owner became angry and drove him out. He was upset to see how the man was so possessive he would not spare any flowers for Radharani. He decided to wait until the man went to sleep and steal some flowers. He went a small distance away to wait. He met a band of thieves, and introduced himself as another thief. When the asked him what he planned to steal, he replied “flowers.” They were surprised because flowers dry up and have no lasting value. He explained he wanted to make a garland and offer it to his swamini. He said that went he places a garland on his swamini, all his desires are fulfilled, and he is completed satisfied. The thieves admitted that whatever they stole they never attained satisfaction, and they became interested in helping Sacinandana Babaji by stealing the flowers. After the flowers were obtained the babaji made the garlands, and the thieves found to their surprise they became completely happy wearing the garlands offered to Radharani, and they became disciples of Sacinandana Babaji.

In the materialistic society the people are looking for their own satisfaction and therefore there is lots of conflict, but because the devotees are trying to serve Krishna, there is no conflict.

Bhakta Lauis:

from a car conversation:

Just as you work and at the end of the month, you get a paycheck, although there is not any evidence of it beforehand, if you do the work of your spiritual practice, at the end you will experience God.


prastuyate gramya-katha-vighatah
nisevyamano ’nudinam mumuksor
matim satim yacchati vasudeve
In an assembly of pure devotees, there is no question of discussing material subjects like politics and sociology. In an assembly of pure devotees, there is discussion only of the qualities, forms and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is praised and worshiped with full attention. In the association of pure devotees, by constantly hearing such topics respectfully, even a person who wants to merge into the existence of the Absolute Truth abandons this idea and gradually becomes attached to the service of Vasudeva.” (Srimad-Bhagatavam 5.12.13)