Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Travel Journal#9.17: Dublin, Philly, and North Florida

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 9, No. 17
By Krishna-kripa das
(September 2013, part one
Dublin, Philly, and North Florida
(Sent from Gainesville, Florida, on September 25, 2013)

Where I Went and What I Did

I went to Ratha-yatra in Dublin and did harinama there the next day. Then I flew to Orlando, stopping at Philly to visit Fern, my niece, and Haryasva Prabhu at his Govinda’s vegetarian restaurant, very briefly as my flight was delayed. Then I spent time chanting in North Florida, in the cities of Gainesville, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville, which culminated in the Jacksonville Beach Ratha-yatra. Especially in Jacksonville, lots of students participated in our chanting, and that made me very happy. In the midst of all that I saw the bathing ceremony for small Radha Shyamasundara on Radhastami in Alachua.

I share insights from Srila Prabhupada’s books, an excerpt from a poem by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, notes on lectures by senior devotees speaking at Krishna House and New Raman Reti, notes on a great class by young lady from a devotee family, and a couple of devotional observations.

Thanks to Amrita Keli dd for taking the picture which includes me at the Krishna Club Radhastami program.

A very special thanks to Praghosa Prabhu for kindly donating to support my outreach work in the UK and to Dhruva Prabhu (Kishor Dongre) for loaning me the money to buy a round trip ticket from Dublin to Orlando.

To see the approximately 150 pictures which I did not include in this blog, click on the link below:


September 25–26: Gainesville
September 27–30: Columbus, Ohio
October 1–November 24: Union Square harinama, New York City
November 25: Tampa
November 26–February 19, 2014: Gainesville [except with 5 days / month in Tallahassee, one day per month in Tampa]
February 20: Orlando, Philadelphia
February 21: Dublin
February 25–April 20, 2014: Mayapur

Dublin Ratha-yatra

Earlier in the summer, when I saw the Dublin Ratha-yatra date of September 1, I was thinking it was just another Ratha-yatra I would miss out on, but I was wrong. 

Somehow or other I found a flight from Dublin to Orlando that was $150 cheaper than those from London. Thus it was cheaper for me to fly from Dublin, even considering the $50 it takes to go between England and Ireland.

The weather was surprisingly good in Dublin. In other words, it was not raining. Lots of people watched, smiled, and photographed the procession of Lord Jagannatha and His brother and sister, being pulled by His devotees, along with lively singing and dancing.

Photo © 2013 Sebastian Rutkowski (

The sound system had serious problems, although the devotees had spent 500 euros on a professional system. One year in Paris, they spent 4000 euros on a professional sound system that also failed.

In the middle of procession, I told Bhakti Vikasa Swami I liked this quote by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura from the biography he had written: “Srinama-sankirtana [The congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord] is the best sadhana [spiritual practice]. If other sadhanas help us in Krishna-sankirtana, then they deserve to be called sadhana; otherwise they are simply impediments to sadhana. Sri-Krishna-nama-sankirtana is the emperor of sadhanas. It is the only infallible sadhana capable of bringing us to siddhi [perfection].” I said it was the most powerful glorification of the congregational chanting of the holy name that I had ever heard. In response he taught me one verse: sadhya sadhana tattva ye kichu sakala/ harinama-sankirtane milibe sakala— “[Lord Caitanya said to Tapan Mishra:] ‘Everything is accomplished by the congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord, including the goal of life (sadhya) and the means for its attainment (sadhana).’” (Sri Caitanya Bhagavata, Adi 14.143)

One young lady was very ambitiously taking photos during the Ratha-yatra, and I asked if she was with the Hare Krishnas or with the press. She explained that she was doing a report on minority religions in Ireland and happened to learn of the Ratha-yatra. What a wonderful coincidence! Later she interviewed different devotees including Bhakti Vikasa Swami, who gave her some maha-prasadam from Lord Jagannatha. When she interviewed me I told her about the festival on our Hare Krishna island for Radhastami that was coming up in a week and a half, in case she wanted another colorful Krishna festival to photograph.

The Ratha-yatra proceeded on a road frequented by tour buses thus giving many visitors to Dublin a chance to see the Jagannatha procession, hear the kirtana, and take photos.

A little devotee girl had her own little Ratha-yatra cart in the parade.

At the end of the parade, Lord Jagannatha was carried to the park.

There He, and His brother, Baladeva, and sister Subhadra also got to see the stage show.

At the stage show in the park, there were the usual mix of devotional music and Indian dances. There was a nice feast for the public, but just a single vegetable preparation for the devotees that was suitable for Ekadasi, and unfortunately it ran out before some people got it. 

Manu Prabhu did a lively kirtana at the end.

Lots of devotees played instruments and danced on the stage.

In the audience, a Slovakian couple and a few devotees danced.

So did some girls from France and Spain.

Even some of the kids got into it.

The Slovakian couple was fortunate to get a personal interview with Bhakti Vikasa Swami, and the girl got his garland. 

They were interested to hear when I told them I was chanting in their capital of Bratislava for three hours a day for three days last month, and that we have a daily chanting program there now.

The girls from France and Spain were working in Cork and came to Dublin for the weekend. They were very happy to hear when I told them that we have vegetarian food after our programs in Dublin, and they indicated they might drop by our program on a future weekend visit to Dublin. 

For some really professional photos of the Dublin Ratha-yatra, visit this website: 

Dublin Harinama

On Monday, we chanted for two and a half hours in Dublin on the big street half a block from the temple. One girl was sitting down on the steps of a shop and smiling as she watched the harinama party. I came up to her and gave her an invitation, and she asked if I had any books. I had two books, and she already had one of them but she bought the other one for a donation of 1.63 euros. She continued sitting there listening and looking at the book she got and showing it to her boyfriend until we left. An Indian student we met on the same harinama and invited to the Gita class actually came to the class that very evening. Now that doesn’t happen every day! After the class he told me how he wanted to do good for society but was worried about having no time for his spiritual life. I told him in that case he should do something for the spiritual good of society. “Have a Bhagavad-gita class at your college, and you will benefit society and your soul in one act.” He appeared to be a serious person, and I hope he takes my advice seriously, or at least corresponds with me about other spiritual alternatives.

I was happy to connect with my friends in Dublin who love kirtana and look forward to seeing them when I return in February enroute to India, for the Mayapur kirtana-mela.


I booked my flight with a four and a half hour layover in Philly so I could go with my niece Fern to my friend’s, Haryasva Prabhu’s, Hare Krishna restaurant, Govinda’s. Initially I thought the plan would work well when I found they did all the U.S. Customs in Dublin so there would be no wait in Philadelphia, but I was wrong. The people showed up so late to the airport in Dublin that with the delays in security and customs, the plane left an hour and fifteen minutes late. I was surprised that they chose to facilitate the people who arrived at the airport late rather than those of us who made it on time. Thus I just had fifteen minutes to spend with Fern and Haryasva at Govinda’s. I hope I have better luck during my stopover in the other direction in February.

Back Home to Gainesville

I was happy to return to Gainesville, and its Krishna House, Krishna Lunch, and all my old friends. I remembered some of the many positive features of my life there:

Enthusiastic singers chanting on the campus. 

This semester managed by Ananta Prabhu, who is playing harmonium in the video clip below, is in charge of the program.  

Chanting at the Farmers Market.

And people who love to sing the evening arati song.

I noticed on bulletin board the Krishna House Rules:

The devotees are very friendly at Krishna House, and took pleasure in celebrating the birthday of Rasaraj Prabhu, who has been around longer than many of its residents.

Rasaraj Prabhu also took pleasure in serving the prasadam cake he received.

Tallahassee Harinamas

This may well have been my favorite visit to Tallahassee, and as usual, it began with First Friday. First Friday was great as about fifteen devotees from Gainesville came up to chant at the Railroad Square Art Park while Daru Brahma Prabhu served prasadam. The lively kirtana of the devotees prompted inquiries, dancing, and photography. At one point the kirtana left the scene of the prasadam serve out as the had rain dampened business, and they circled around the whole area attracting a lot of additional dancers.

It turned out one of Daru’s workers quit at the last minute, and Sundari Gopi dd and Alexandra helped him with the serving out. During First Friday one young man came up to me and thanked me for introducing him to Krishna Lunch when I was on campus during the previous spring semester.

I made vegan oatmeal cookies from the recipe on the back of the oatmeal container, substituting vegetable oil for vegetable shortening, substituting 1½ tablespoons of either soy milk or water for each egg, substituting soy milk or water for the milk in equal amounts, and eliminating the chocolate chips. I had been wanting to be able make cookies that were soft, and I found that this recipe worked remarkably well. In fact, Daru offered to give me $10 for a batch for 30 cookies.

The next day we chanted at Wakulla Springs Park for the first time. It was a swimming excursion, and I was the only one chanting in the beginning. I chanted my sweetest tune and played the harmonium softly, so that we would not be seen as a disturbance and be stopped. Then Dvijamani Prabhu, a brahmacari book distributor joined me, and also sang a very sweet and melodious tune. As devotees finished swimming and had lunch they joined the chanting party.

As the day wore on, more people came to bathe at the springs. We saw several park rangers but none stopped our chanting. One group of several girls went by, half doing some dance steps to the music. Later another group of girls went by and one of them was very animated and smiling, and she asked, “What is this? What is this?” although her friends were completely indifferent to the chanting party.

A guy came up and danced with us.

Dvijamani Prabhu talked to him.

Then a friend of his also came up.

Then a couple of girls also came.

A boy who comes to Krishna Lunch in Tallahassee a couple times a week sat on a towel near the kirtana party for some time.

And very little girl enjoyed moving her arms to the music.

The devotees said that one girl even tried to chant along.

I had made cookies to distribute on harinama, and Sundari Gopi made cookies for the Gainesville devotees, and we distributed both to the people who were attracted by the chanting. To those who were most attracted we gave the pamplet, “On Chanting Hare Krishna,” and we easily distributed the four we brought out, and could have done five. We chanted with the portable harmonium as we walked back to the parking lot. Since we were leaving, no attempt was made to stop us.

We chanted in the parking lot as well.

We chanted two hours and forty-five minutes altogether, and I felt very victorious as lots of people heard the holy name, took prasadam, spiritual food, and some even literature. I was worried that we would stopped after just a few minutes, but Wakulla Springs Park turned out to be a great harinama location.

When we stopped for gas while returning to the temple, we saw some Christian bumper art with a great message:

On Sunday, I chanted at Lake Ella for two and a half hours. I invited one friend to come, and he invited two of his friends to come. Although he did not come himself, his friends did. One included a lady, perhaps in her thirties, who described herself as an ex-hippie, and who had sung with us six months before, when she played the djembe and bought Bhagavad-gita.

I chanted on the campus of Florida State University on Monday with a book table and vegan oatmeal cookies to distribute. 

One guy named Sam, who had graduated recently, told how he loved the Krishna Lunch when he was going to school. Both days he came by my table, and while I talked with him, he encouraged people to take the cookies and invitations to the lunch program.

A guy named Alan did not know we had Krishna Lunch at Florida State. He had gone to Krishna Lunch at University of Florida and remembered Daru from there. Thus he was doubly surprised. Surprised we had Krishna Lunch at FSU, and surprised that Daru, who he knew from Gainesville in the mid-1990s, was in charge of it!

One day a girl walked by with a beautifully theistic T-shirt, and I asked to take her picture.

I noticed another student also wearing the same shirt, and I wonder if there is some Christian group promoting it.

Both days I chanted on the campus I found more vegans and vegetarians than I expected to and about 70% of them were unaware of the Krishna Lunch, so I felt I played a role in connecting people with Krishna prasadam during my Tallahassee visit.

Monday evening I attended Garuda Prabhu’s free yoga classes. He has the people chant Nitai Gaura as they do the sitting postures, and they said it so sweetly and innocently that I complimented them afterward. I distributed oatmeal cookie pieces to the nineteen people present. On Tuesday when I chanted on the campus, I met four of the people I had seen at Garuda’s place the night before. They were happy to get more of the cookies.
One of them was friends with the son of a devotee from the Alachua community.

Both days on the campus I collected emails of people interested in Bhagavad-gita classes, mantra meditation, and vegetarian cooking classes.

On Tuesday one boy named Mike came for the Bhagavad-gita class, bringing two friends, one named Darrin and a girl whose name I forgot. I demonstrated to the girl the karatala beat and then clapped my hands to that beat for five minutes, while I sang the popular Prabhupada tune, until she got the beat. Then I continued singing with the harmonium. I showed the Mike the open and closed sounds you can make on each end of the mrdanga drum, and told him to do a big boom on the third karatala beat. Darrin, who was not playing instruments, I told to lead the response, and the others could follow the best they could considering they were also learning the instruments. We chanted for twenty minutes, and I was just amazed how they learned to play the instruments in time and to sing the mantra which they had never sung before, all in such a short period. That experience revealed to me Srila Prabhupada’s genius in singing a simple tune anyone could follow in order to encourage people to chant. The students all stayed for the whole class and for iced tea and cake afterward. Mike, who is majoring in psychology, was fascinated with the empirical studies of Sabom and Stevenson on near-death experiences and past life memories, and he wrote down their names so he could research them.

Jacksonville Harinamas and Krishna Club Program

On Wednesday, many devotees chanted together on the green at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. There were the three devotee ladies who are helping with the
Krishna Club, the student who is the president of the club, one boy who lived at Krishna House in Gainesville, three traveling book distributors, and myself, so it was very dynamic.

Despite spending the whole morning and early afternoon celebrating Radhastami in Alachua, we still chanted in Jacksonville almost an hour and a half, with Ekendra and Tulasi Priya, who kindly arranged that I could stay for the midday kirtana and feast in Alachua, and also chant in Jacksonville.

Our Krishna Club program on Radhastami was attended by over 40 students. Even the new room we were using was barely big enough. Tulasirani Dasi talked about Radharani and selfless love. Tulasi Priya Dasi sang a really lively tune and most everyone sang along. Many of them danced. 

Amrita Keli dd put a video of it on Facebook,, which is better than the copy below I put on YouTube:

Tulasirani and Hladini Dasi made tasty and sufficient prasadam for all. The students were so fired up a group of them started their own kirtana after the prasadam. 

Such enthusiasm was beautiful to see! All the devotees who are involved with the club are youthful, enthusiastic, and friendly, and people are easily attracted.

On Friday, we chanted five hours at the University of North Florida and at one point four students joined us, one playing guitar and another didgeridoo. I asked the students if anyone remembered a Hare Krishna tune that they wanted to chant, and they recalled the tune from the previous evening’s Krishna Club meeting that Tulasi Priya had sung beautifully, and they all sang along, with two of the new students leading some of the time. Thanks to Jessica Starr for taking the video of it:

At one point I taught Jessica the chords to the Prabhupada melody, so she could play the harmonium. Ian assisted in pumping the instrument so she could focus on the chords. Youssef played excellently on the guitar, and Dorian played the karatalas. I played the drum, except when I took the picture below:

Hladini Dasi was always talking to students and inviting them to our Krishna programs.

I love the University of North Florida because the students are willing to sit down on the blanket and sing with us. I think during the whole afternoon nine different students joined us, including two who had never been to our Krishna club meetings. Those two told us they would definitely go to the Ratha-yatra on Jacksonville Beach the next day.

Jacksonville Beach Ratha-yatra

It was the first time I have been to Jacksonville Beach Ratha-yatra in many years. Now the Festival of India, with many of its exhibits on different spiritual activities sets up there by the Seawalk Pavillion near the beach. The weather was hot, and there was a lot of sun, so there were lots of people at the beach to encounter Lord Jagannatha’s mercy in the form of His vision, the chanting of His devotees, and the food that was offered to Him.

Some beach girls helped unload the Festival of India truck, including the musical instruments.

Devotees pulled the cart past sleeping beach goers.

The procession attracted the attention of many, like these below.

One couple had a great time dancing in the chanting party in front of the cart.

Some sportsmen enjoyed pulling the cart.

A guy prominently wearing a Christian cross did too.

And some girls also got into it.

My friend Pracarananda got my award for the most colorful shirt.

One couple followed the whole parade and took prasadam afterward. They had not encountered Hare Krishna before, but had a wonderful time at the festival.

Toward the end, a group of young people enjoyed dancing with the devotees in an impromptu kirtana led by Damodar Prasad Prabhu.

One young man named Dakota, with his arms raised on the left of the picture below, who had met the Dvijamani Prabhu on book distribution earlier in the week, came back with the devotees to Krishna House and stayed for five days.


Srila Prabhupada:

from The Nectar of Instruction, verse 5, purport:

When a person realizes himself to be an eternal servitor of Krishna, he loses interest in everything but Krishna's service. Always thinking of Krishna, devising means by which to spread the holy name of Krishna, he understands that his only business is in spreading the Krishna consciousness movement all over the world. Such a person is to be recognized as an uttama-adhikari, and his association should be immediately accepted according to the six processes (dadati pratigrihnati, etc.).”

The Nectar of Instruction, 6, purport:

According to the statements of Srila Rupa Gosvami in this verse, an American gosvami and a gosvami in a family of acaryas are nondifferent. On the other hand, a devotee who has attained the title of gosvami but is not born of a brahmana father or of a gosvami in the family of Nityananda or Advaita Prabhu should not be artificially puffed up by thinking that he has become a gosvami. He should always remember that as soon as he becomes materially puffed up, he immediately falls down. This Krishna consciousness movement is a transcendental science, and there is no room for jealousy. This movement is meant for the paramahamsas who are completely free from all jealousy (paramam nirmatsaranam). One should not be jealous, whether he is born in a family of gosvamis
or has the title of gosvami awarded to him. As soon as anyone becomes envious, he falls from the platform of paramahamsa.

An empowered person who is actually engaged in the confidential service of the Lord should not be treated as an ordinary human being, for it is stated that unless one is empowered by Krishna, one cannot spread the Krishna consciousness movement all over the world. When one thus criticizes a pure devotee, he commits an offense (vaishnava-aparadha) that is very obstructive and dangerous for those who desire to advance in Krishna consciousness. A person cannot derive any spiritual benefit when he offends the lotus feet of a Vaishnava. Everyone should therefore be very careful not to be jealous of an empowered Vaishnava, or a suddha-vaishnava. It is also an offense to consider an empowered Vaishnava an object of disciplinary action. It is offensive to try to give him advice or to correct him. One can distinguish between a neophyte Vaishnava and an advanced Vaishnava by their activities. The advanced Vaishnava is always situated as the spiritual master, and the neophyte is always considered his disciple. The spiritual master must not be subjected to the advice of a disciple, nor should a spiritual master be obliged to take instructions from those who are not his disciples. This is the sum and substance of Srila Rupa Gosvami’s advice in the sixth verse.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.16.26, purport:

When Angira had first come to visit King Citraketu, he did not bring Narada with him. However, after the death of Citraketu’s son, Angira brought Narada to instruct King Citraketu about bhakti-yoga. The difference was that in the beginning Citraketu was not in a temperament of renunciation, but after the death of his son, when he was overwhelmed by his great plight, he was awakened to the platform of renunciation by instructions regarding the falsity of this material world and material possessions. It is only at this stage that bhakti-yoga can be instructed. As long as one is attached to material enjoyment, bhakti-yoga cannot be understood.”

The Krishna consciousness movement is progressing successfully in the Western countries at the present moment because the youth in the West have reached the stage of vairagya, or renunciation. They are practically disgusted with material pleasure from material sources, and this has resulted in a population of hippies throughout the Western countries. Now if these young people are instructed about bhakti-yoga, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the instructions will certainly be effective.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.16.34, purport:

The Lord and the devotees both conquer. The Lord is conquered by the devotees, and the devotees are conquered by the Lord. Because of being conquered by one another, they both derive transcendental bliss from their relationship. The highest perfection of this mutual conquering is exhibited by Krishna and the gopis. The gopis conquered Krishna, and Krishna conquered the gopis. Thus whenever Krishna played His flute, He conquered the minds of the gopis, and without seeing the gopis Krishna could not be happy.”

Pure devotees are described as sama-mati, which means that they never deviate from devotional service under any circumstances. It is not that devotees worship the Supreme Lord only when happy; they worship Him even when in distress. Happiness and distress do not hamper the process of devotional service. Therefore Srimad-Bhagavatam says that devotional service is ahaituky apratihata, unmotivated and uninterrupted. When a devotee offers devotional service to the Lord without any motive (anyabhilasita-sunyam [Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.11], his service cannot be hampered by any material condition (apratihata). Thus a devotee who offers service in all conditions of life can conquer the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita 8.214, purport:

Srimati Radharani and the gopis are not interested in their personal happiness derived from association with Krishna. Rather, they become happy by seeing one another associate with Krishna. In this way their dealings are further nourished by love of Godhead, and seeing this, Krishna is very pleased.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita 8.215, purport:

The lusty affairs of the gopis actually constitute the topmost love of Godhead because the gopis never act for their own personal satisfaction. They are simply pleased by engaging other gopis in the service of the Lord. The gopis derive more transcendental pleasure from indirectly engaging other gopis in the service of Krishna than from engaging in His service themselves. That is the difference between material lust and love of Godhead. Lust applies to the material world, and love of Godhead applies only to Krishna.”

from The Nectar of Instruction, verse 7, purport:

There are ten basic offenses, and if the devotee avoids these, he can glimpse the next stage, which is situated between offensive chanting and pure chanting. When one attains the pure stage, he is immediately liberated. This is called bhava-mahadavagni- nirvapanam. As soon as one is liberated from the blazing fire of material existence, he can relish the taste of transcendental life.”

We are sending sankirtana parties all over the world, and they are experiencing that even in the remotest part of the world, where there is no knowledge of Krishna, the Hare Krishna maha-mantra attracts thousands of men to our camp. In some areas, people begin to imitate the devotees by shaving their heads and chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, only a few days after hearing the mantra. This may be imitative, but imitation of a good thing is desired. Some imitators gradually become interested in being initiated by the spiritual master and offer themselves for initiation.”

from The Nectar of Instruction, verse 8, purport:

At first, remembrance of Krishna may be interrupted at intervals, but later remembrance proceeds uninterrupted. When remembrance is uninterrupted, it becomes concentrated and is called meditation. When meditation expands and becomes constant, it is called anusmriti. By uninterrupted and unceasing anusmriti one enters the stage of samadhi, or spiritual trance. After smarana-dasa or samadhi has fully developed, the soul comes to understand his original constitutional position. At that time he can perfectly and clearly understand his eternal relationship with Krishna. That is called sampatti-dasa, the perfection of life.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita Madhya 8.246, purport:

In the Itihasa-samuccaya, Narada tells Pundarika: “After many, many births, when a person realizes that he is the eternal servant of Vasudeva, he can deliver all the worlds.”

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

from Vihara Bhavan, “Poem for September 13”:

is the easiest, fastest
and surest way
to attain love of God.

Akuti Devi:

In our quest for the meaning of life we are blessed to have abundant guidance from the Vedic literature.

We are part of God, and as part of Him, we are meant to please Him, the whole. We are asking, “I am part of You. Please accept me back.”

We in this world are conditioned. Krishna has set the conditions, and one of them is that we must suffer.

Most of the people at the Ratha-yatra festival who I asked, “After this life, do you want to come back?” said “No, I want out of here.”

Although the mind is subtle, sometimes it seems really heavy.

Desiring freedom from mental disturbance people take shelter of intoxication, but that just increases their demonic qualities and saps their ambition for spiritual life.

We have to have a maha-cleanup [grand cleanup] of our mind. If we help each other clean our minds, very quickly we can be successful.

Krishna compares the steady mind to a lamp in a windless place. Thus we should go to a windless place. If you know you are going to be distracted by going to a place, then don’t go there.

Srila Prabhupada has created such a nice regulated program so we always know what to do. We just have to do it.

Prayer is helpful.

If people see that you are satisfied, they may become inclined to inquire why.

comment by Premananda Gaura: I know friend in Argentina that used to do flips through train cars and come out the other side. Once when he was about to do it, his girlfriend had a bad feeling and discouraged him, but he disregarded it and did four flips, getting so close to the train wheel that it brushed him, and landing with his face in a book that was on the ground. He put the book in his coat pocket, and his mother found it when she was cleaning the coat. She glanced at the book, Bhagavad-gita As It Is, and was impressed, and she encouraged him to read it. He and his whole family ended up becoming devotees.

comment by Dharmaraja Prabhu: Parjanya Maharaja told me how he became a devotee. The devotees came by his hotel with their Gita distribution program. He took one and read a few pages and fell asleep with the Gita on his chest. Some thieves came and stabbed him, but the knife went into the book on his chest instead of his body. Parjanya Maharaja awoke, and the thieves ran away. He decided that Krishna was protecting him, and so he became a devotee.

Batu Gopal Prabhu:

The living entity is designed from the bottom up for relationship with Krishna and is stimulated more and more by Krishna’s attractive qualities to serve Him. Therefore activities without Krishna in the center are superfluous, they don’t touch the self, and the soul derives no real benefit from them.

We do not have to worry about creating a relationship with Krishna. The relationship is already there.

We are insignificant in relationship with Krishna and thus what can we do to insult Him? Even if He was easily angered by nature, which He is not, we are too insignificant to disturb Him.

Krishna knows how to deal with anyone and everyone. Take Duryodhana, for example, how does Krishna deal with him? He expands as Lord Balarama and teaches him how to fight with a club.

We are here in this world not so much because of dealing with the Lord improperly as much as because of dealing with the Lord’s devotees improperly. Just as a teacher separates a student that is a troublemaker from the other students, so the Lord keeps the souls that cause trouble to others in the material world.

Sometimes we are discouraged because of our bad conditioning and may wonder how we can possibly go back to Godhead. But on the other hand, considering the unlimited mercy of Lord Caitanya and His representatives, we might think “How can we not go back to Godhead?”

We are not about to understand God anymore than an ant will understand a human being. It is not like two ants will say about a human being, “if we can just get him in the lab we will be able to understand him.”

We should be hesitant to criticize the actions of God because they are beyond our understanding.

Srila Prabhupada said that if we have a problem with another devotee, we should consider it is our fault. We might consider that “this devotee will be back in the spiritual world in a moment, who am I to criticize him?”

All those people who have taken prasadam at University of Florida for so many years, they are devotees. Lord Caitanya has their names.

Whatever your capacity, spread Krishna consciousness. You may not be able to spread it throughout a whole country, but you may be able to spread it throughout a household.

from a conversation at the end of class:

The female devotees told Batu Gopala Prabhu, “Thank you for lending us your daughter, Syamala Kishori.”
He replied, “It looks like you are returning her in an improved form. That is the nature of devotee association. Just like a brahmana leaves a place cleaner than he found it.”

Sesa Prabhu:

We may acknowledge our mistakes, feel bad about our mistakes, and ask for forgiveness for our mistakes, but are we serious enough to embrace the process that will free us from our conditioned nature which is characterized by four defects including the tendency to commit mistakes?

Although we commit mistakes, we are subject to illusion, and we have imperfect senses, we have built a whole civilization based on our imperfect knowledge. This is cheating.

The illusion is neither good or bad, it depends on how we react to it.

comment by Baladeva Prabhu: Illusion plays an important role in this material world because we could not enjoy in this world unless we were illusioned.

An illusion can used as an educational tool.

comment by Samkalpa: It is best in our outreach work that we present the alternative to illusion in addition to exposing the illusion.

Another illusion is to think that others may suffer but not I will not.

We cannot benefit a sleeping man by entering into his nightmare but by waking him up.

Although some people claim to be God, one who acknowledges his inevitable defects will not make such a claim.

from a Radhastami lecture:

I found some valuable material from “Srila Prabhpada’s Presentation of Radhastami,” by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami.

Still after forty years it is still an austerity to fast all day on Janmastami. Srila Prabhupada described that Krishna is strong and hard and while Radhatani soft and kind and thus on Her appearance day we only have to half the day.

She is interested in the welfare of all, and therefore, we pray to Her for Her mercy.

The easiest way is to glorify Radharani is to chant Hare Krishna.

Prabhupada was reserved in speaking about Her relationship with Krishna. Why?

Because we are neophyte. When we see the Radha embracing Krishna we assume it like an ordinary girl embracing a boy.

Because we might become sahajiyas who think they can understand Radha and Krishna affairs easily although materially attached.

Prabhupada described that Krishna is so great everyone wants to love Him, but Radha is so great that this very Krishna wants to love Her.

That Srila Prabhupada chanted “Jaya Radha Madhava” before every single class is an indication of his great love and affection for Srimate Radharani.

comments by Radha Jivan Prabhu:

I spent the last ten years in Varsana on Radhastami, but seeing the elaborate decoration of the altar and devotion for the Radha Shyamasundara deities present here in Alacha at New Raman Reti, I do not feel the slightest separation from Varsana.

Although Krishna is famed for lifting Govardhan Hill, the girl friends of Radharani say the reason he had the strength to do to so was that Radharani was standing before Him the whole time, and by gazing at Her, He got the strength to lift the hill.

Another opinion is the the Absolute Truth is one, but Radha and Krishna have separated themselves to enjoy pastimes. When together, the left half is Radha and the right half is Krishna, and thus because Krishna was lifting the hill with His left hand, that it was actually Radharani lifting the hill.

comment by Sesa Prabhu:

I heard in a lecture by Radhanatha Swami another explanation. That because Krishna was eating the food cooked by Srimati Radharani He acquired the necessary strength to lift the Govardhan Hill.

Radhika Nagara Prabhu:

Bharata’s problem was not that he rescued the deer or had affection for the deer, but that he had such “inordinate affection” for the deer that he would interrupt his worship to look after the deer.

There are many lessons to learn from this pastime. One is that we should not do our devotional service alone, with no one to help us if we get distracted. No matter what, we have to keep in the association of the devotees.

comment by Sundara Gopi dd: Maya is our friend because she helps us come closer to Krishna in her own way.

comment by Kalakantha Prabhu: Srila Prabhupada said regarding uncleanliness, “If the devotees can not clean up after themselves, they should go home to their mothers.”

In his purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.11 you can see how accurately Srila Prabhupada judged the world situation, although he was living in Radha Damodar temple and had not come to the west yet.

If someone is saying good things about ourselves, we hear with rapt attention. With such attention we should about Krishna from the Bhagavatam.

Srila Prabhupada said that simply by reading the Bhagavatam you will be happy.

Rohini Kumar Prabhu:

The Nectar of Instruction, verse 3, is the most powerful, important, and practical verse you will encounter. By remembering and following it, you will be assured of success in spiritual life: “There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles (such as hearing, chanting and remembering Krishna, etc.), (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas (spiritual authorities who teach by example). These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.”

In chanting, choosing a favorable situation. Then offer the vibration to Krishna with attention and love.

Bhurijana Prabhu advises, “Just accept the fact that you have nothing else to do but to chant the holy name of the Lord.”

The mind is like a middle school cafeteria.

If we are not always enthusiastic in Krishna’s service, we should talk to somebody about it.

We have tried living as if we were the body or as if we were the mind. Now let’s try to live as souls.

Krishna is so portable!

Syamala Kisori dd:

There are many cartoons about ego because it is humorous to see the extent that we are absorbed in our conception of our greatness:

By Frank Cotham, cartoonist for The New Yorker since 1993.

Sign at bookstore: ‘The author and his ego will be here at 2 p.m.’”

We are small and vulnerable and can be easily swayed by the false ego unless we are in the association of devotees, like one stick can easy be snapped by itself but not so in a bundle of them.

It is amazing to me that although the false ego is subtle and the soul is so powerful, the false ego has such a great influence on it.

Srila Prabhupada told Sacinandana Swami when he asked why Krishna created maya, “Krishna did not create maya, you created maya.” Hearing such a strong response, he knew he had met his spiritual master.

The false ego is like tinted glasses that make the dark and cold material world seem attractive.

When I was ten or eleven and learning the mrdanga, sometimes I would be in the kirtana and be thinking I was playing really well, and then I would mess up, and that made me realize the false ego interrupts your service to Krishna.

The false ego makes us think that the material world is our home and that we are comfortable here, and thus it blocks our spiritual inquiry.

Our true ego is that we are servants of Krishna.

Balarama is very efficient at killing the demons. He does it usually in just one blow. Thus we should pray to Lord Balarama to smash our false ego.

comment by Jaya Dhjava Prabhu [After experiencing the morning program at Krishna House]: I feel like joining ISKCON again.

Tulasi Priya dd:

from a car conversation:

To me thinking oneself lower than the straw on the street means to not even be concerned if someone steps on you or if they don’t. It is insignificant.

Krishna-kripa das:

reflection on the devotional dress discussion:

Lord Krishna does not emphasize external things like dress in Bhagavad-gita. When Arjuna asks about the external features of the liberated soul, ‘How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk?’ (Bg. 2.54) Krishna replies by disregarding these external considerations and instead describing the internal meditation of the transcendentalist, ‘O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification, which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness.’ (Bg 2.55)” Thus as far as I can understand, a liberated soul can dress as he likes.


ya nisa sarva-bhutanam
tasyam jagarti samyami
yasyam jagrati bhutani
sa nisa pasyato muneh

What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.” (Bg. 2.69)

The sage feels transcendental pleasure in the gradual advancement of spiritual culture, whereas the man in materialistic activities, being asleep to self-realization, dreams of varieties of sense pleasure, feeling sometimes happy and sometimes distressed in his sleeping condition.” (excerpt from Bg. 2.69, purport)