Thursday, October 10, 2013

Travel Journal#9.18: North Florida and Ohio

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 9, No. 18
By Krishna-kripa das
(September 2013, part two
North Florida and Ohio
(Sent from New York City on October 10, 2013)

Where I Went and What I Did

During the second half of September, I spent a week and a half at Krishna House in Gainesville, chanting at the Krishna Lunch, a football game, the corner of University Avenue and 13th Street, and the farmers market and giving a few classes in Gainesville and one in Alachua. The class in Alachua was on Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s appearance day (click here to hear it), and some devotees liked a selection of his teachings which I shared (click here to see them). Brahmatirtha Prabhu and I spoke a few words [click here to see mine] at the Alachua Sunday Feast about Sadaputa Prabhu, known to the academic world as Richard L. Thompson, who wrote several books on science and spiritual knowledge, and who passed away five years before. Sthita-dhi Muni Prabhu, his secretary, who went on to get a Ph.D. in History of Science, kindly helped sponsor the feast in Sadaputa’s honor. Prema Sindhu Prabhu, who I knew from Tampa and Jacksonville, moved to Columbus a while back, and he invited me to come there and do a four-day seminar on “How to Increase our Taste for Chanting the Holy Name” for the final four days of the month, which will ultimately be put on ISKCONDesire Tree. That was a challenge for me as I prefer to give single classes rather than a series, and also I do not feel myself to be such a great authority. One good feature was I was able to recite some beautiful verses glorifying the holy name, and at least that was undoubtedly beneficial for all to hear. Some of these appear at the end of the “Insights” section of this journal. I felt victorious in Columbus because I went on harinama for two to three hours each day I stayed there, once traveling to Athens to further spread the mercy of the holy name.

For insights I have excellent quotes from Srila Prabhupada’s books, a quote from a poem by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, some beautiful and practical devotional wisdom from Mahatma Prabhu, wonderful insights from Radha Jivan Prabhu from his life of devotional service, and notes by the senior and junior devotees giving classes in Gainesville, Alachua, and Jackonsville.

Chanting at University of North Florida

Dakota, who just met the devotees a few days before, spent five days at Krishna House following the Jacksonville Ratha-yatra. Afterward I drove him back to Jacksonville and introduced him to the devotees there. Amrita Keli dd engaged him in distributing flyers for our Jacksonville programs, and a couple of his friends, both singing majors, came by and chanted with us on the blanket before the Krishna Club meeting.

The three University of North Florida ladies in the foreground had never chanted the Hare Krishna mantra before. The one playing harmonium had never played before, but since she was studying singing and piano I taught her how to play the chords for the Prabhupada melody. Dakota, the young man, is pumping the harmonium for her and holding two mantra cards back-to-back so she and the lady on the right, also a singing major who took turns leading, could read the words. When Mit came by to play the drum, the kirtana ascended to a higher level.

Later Dakota got up and danced.

It was awesome to have such a wonderful kirtana with so many brand new people!

Thanks to Sonya, the girl sitting between Mit and the harmonium player in the first photo in the series above, for kindly taking the photos with me in them in addition to singing the response.

The girl who played the harmonium on the green came to our Krishna Club meeting, and enjoyed meditating on the sound of the kirtana there.

Tulasirani dd led the kirtana. 

Although there were not as many people as on Radhastami, the previous week, it was still well attended.

Dorian, Jonah, Dakota, and I were the men who danced.

In the beginning, Mallory was the only girl dancing.

As before, Dorian was enthusiastic to do a kirtana after the prasadam, and at least ten people took part, almost all of them dancing, and it was truly beautiful to see.

We chanted Friday on the green.

You can see the devotees were really absorbed in it.

Here Rae Jeana, Krishna Club president, played the drum, and Dorian led with the karatalas

A new girl, who was passing by and was on a spiritual quest, was happy to chant and read the Bhagavad-gita with us on the blanket.

We chanted 4½ hours on Friday, and Dorian was with us practically the whole time.

Chanting in Gainesville

I would chant daily for 2½ hours during Krishna Lunch. Days when Purusartha Prabhu would come out were always especially ecstatic. Among them Haridasa Thakura’s Disappearance Day was especially memorable as twelve people were chanting together on the blanket at one point.

We chanted at two farmers markets the second half of September, and Haridasa Thakura’s Disappearance Day again was the bigger day with at least sixteen people participating in some of it. Dakota was visiting us during that one, and he enjoyed dancing along with the kirtana.

One devotee girl, who was there with her family, enjoyed playing the shakers to the kirtana beat, even while playing with the hula hoop.

One young man played his own percussion instrument along with the kirtana.

The next week the stage band started early, so we had sing on the corner opposite the market.

Often while in Gainesville, I chant on Friday evening with the Alachua devotees at the corner of University Avenue and 13th Street.

There are six University of Florida home football games each year, and devotees have been chanting in front of Gate 7 of the stadium for two hours before the games even before I moved to Alachua County nineteen years ago. I remember on one Radhastami, 36 devotees chanted at the football stadium! On September 21 there were fewer, but quite a mix of newer devotees and senior devotees, and children and adults.

Here a very little girl successfully distributes a devotional pamphlet.

Some of the fans, often drunk, dance with the devotees.

Here a devotee encourages the fans to chant the mantra.

Here two fans take turns holding the Hare Krishna maha-mantra sign.

Encounters with Visvambhara Prabhu of the Mayapuris

Visvambhara Prabhu of the Mayapuris happened to be in the temple room at Krishna House in Gainesville when I came down for our evening kirtana, so I invited him to sing. He was waiting for a ride, but said he would sing until his ride came, which happened to be after the half-hour kirtana was over. The Gauri Arati kirtana is always lively in Gainesville with usually between seven and fifteen devotees, and it was extra lively with Visvambhara singing.

It just got better and better, and the Nrsimha prayers at the end were really dynamic.

The next morning about 5 a.m. as I was in the line for security at the airport, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter Visvambhara again. He was enroute to San Francisco where he was doing two programs each day, beginning with a kirtana at Google that very day. He explained his awesome schedule of traveling Friday through Monday to different cities to do kirtana, attending classes in religion at University of Florida Tuesday and Thursday and teaching mrdanga on Wednesday. He said his university classes are from 3 to 6 p.m., ending just before the Gaura Arati, and I encouraged him to chant at least once a week when he is in Gainesville, and he was agreeable.

Although he does kirtana with many amazing personalities all over the world, he surprised me by saying his favorite kirtana was one he did with me alone at Krishna Lunch at the University of Florida. He sang, and I played the only beat I know on the drum, and we sang the same tune for the whole time. He said, “It did not go anywhere, nor did it have to go anywhere.” He says people ask him to teach them how to play many tunes on the harmonium and many beats on the drum, but actually one does not need such variety. The holy name is sufficient!

I told him I was invited to give a seminar on a getting a taste for chanting the holy name, and I asked him what he would say if he were to give such a seminar. He smiled broadly and thought for awhile and he told how at one gathering of devotees, he saw many senior devotees seriously chanting on beads with concentration, and how Radhanath Swami had a tear in his eye, and just being in that presence increased his conviction about the holy name. When I spoke in the evening, I discussed how by association with great devotees we can gain taste for the holy name, and used this example from Visvambhara.

Chanting in Columbus

While we were chanting at Ohio State, a young man asked if we were Hare Krishnas and what we believed. I said, “Yes. We understand there is one God. All living creatures are part of Him. Human life is special because we can develop our relationship with Him by chanting His names, especially the Hare Krishna mantra.” Then I gave him a mantra card. He said last Saturday he was in Gainesville and heard some Hare Krishnas chanting at the football game. I smiled and said, “I was one of them and that card I just gave you is for our Hare Krishna center there!” Perhaps by making him meet the devotees in two cities in the same week, Krishna is trying to give him some special mercy.

Prema Sindhu Prabhu, who invited me to Columbus, Prema Vilasa Prabhu, Nitai Gauranga Prabhu, Jagannath Prabhu, and I went on harinama before the Ohio State football game for over two hours. I think the Ohio football fans are even more wild than the Florida ones. Prema Vilasa Prabhu, although he likes harinama, had never been to a football game harinama, considering the event with all the drunken revelers to be scary, but he had a great time and is thinking of inviting other devotees to the game harinamas in the future. At least three fans took extensive video of us, one who was an acquaintance of Jagannath Dasa Prabhu, being a regular attender at the temple programs.

I do not always go on harinama on Sundays. I do in Newcastle but do not in Gainesville, but I think it is best to go out every day, and so before the Columbus Sunday feast, we chanted from the temple, through the university, to the front of Ohio State Student Union, where we sat down on the sidewalk, facing High Street. Different people were attracted, many taking pictures. One girl named Kristen, who often attends the temple Sunday program, took a little video (

Three young Afro-American boys on their bicycles looked suspiciously at the oatmeal cookies we offered them, and one of them cautiously took one but did not eat it, and they rode off. Later they came back, each grabbing two or three cookies! I guess the cookies passed their taste test.

The last ten minutes we were in front of the Union, a young man sat on the wall separating the lawn from the sidewalk and listened intently. When we packed up to go, we gave him a cookie. He told us his name was Alex, and he was very familiar with Hare Krishna from his childhood in Sochi, Russia. He recalled the friendliness of the devotees, the joy of the chanting, and the taste of the prasadam, and he was happy to encounter them again. We invited him to the Sunday and Thursday programs at our Columbus center, and I hope he comes. Jagannath told him of a regular attender from Ukraine, also named Alex, to encourage him to come.

When Tulasirani dd heard I was going to Columbus, she encouraged me to do harinama at Ohio University in Athens, an hour and a half away, saying that the students are nicer there. The devotees have done college programs there for years, although not at present, and that is how she met the devotees. I asked Jagannath and Nitai Gauranga Prabhus, the two devotees living in the Columbus temple, about going to do harinama in Athens, and they also thought the students are nicer there, and Nitai Gauranga Prabhu kindly agreed to drive us. We settled on Monday, which turned out to be both Ekadasi and my fifty-fourth birthday. I made coconut burfi flavored with fresh mint for distribution to both the devotees and the students. In Vedic culture, traditionally people give gifts on their birthdays to purify their births rather than receive gifts, and when I have an opportunity, I make sweets to give away, as I was able to do this year.

We did find the students to be more friendly in Athens, and we ended up distributing four books by chanting for 2½ hours with books and sweets on display. About fifty sweets were also distributed. Many people took pictures of us.

One girl named Mary was especially happy to see us, and she asked the boy she was with to take pictures of us, some with her in them. I asked Nitai Gauranga Prabhu to give her the garland he was wearing as she seemed the most enthusiastic person we were likely to encounter that day. She told me that she would keep the garland her whole life. 

It seemed very rare indeed that someone would say that. I told her that because the garland was spiritual, if she did keep it her whole life, it would retain a pleasant fragrance. She also asked when we would be coming back to visit her school, but the devotees had no idea. After the harinama as we were walking back to the car, we met Mary again, and she was still wearing the garland. She said she had been smelling it from time to time all afternoon. When we first met Mary, she had passed up the coconut sweet having just eaten, but now she was willing to take one and liked it.

Turns out Mary was also interested in yoga, like many people who are on the way to Krishna.

We met a middle-aged man toward the end who was very happy to see Hare Krishna devotees and asked if we were from New Vrindavan. He knew the names of many devotees who had lived there years before including Bhaktipada, who was formerly in charge, and the man had visited there himself and been impressed with Prabhupada’s Palace.

All in all, we felt good that we went to Athens, despite traveling 3 hours to stay for 2½, and I think that now the Columbus devotees will go there more often.

I enjoyed my visit to Columbus, having daily harinama partners to chant with and the association of people interested in increasing their taste for chanting the holy name. Thanks to Prema Sindhu Prabhu, Prema Vilasa Prabhu, Naveen Krishna Prabhu, Jagannatha Prabhu, and Nitai Gauranga Prabhu, and all the others who facilitated me there.

To see the 94 pictures I took, but did not include in this blog, click on this link:

The first 32 pictures are included in this blog and may look familiar but not those that follow.


Srila Prabhupada:

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.16.18–19, purport:

Whenever we see Krishna, He is always full of ananda [spiritual bliss] in all circumstances. No one can make Him morose. Atmaramaya: He does not need to search for external enjoyment, because He is self-sufficient. Santaya: He has no anxiety. One who has to seek pleasure from other sources is always full of anxiety. Karmis, jnanis and yogis are full of anxiety because they want something, but a devotee does not want anything; he is simply satisfied in the service of the Lord, who is fully blissful.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.16.41, purport:

If one advocates the Hindu religion, the Muslim religion, the Christian religion, this religion or that religion, there will be conflicts. History shows that the followers of religious systems without a clear conception of God have fought with one another. There are many instances of this in human history, but systems of religion that do not concentrate upon service to the Supreme are temporary and cannot last for long because they are full of envy. There are many activities directed against such religious systems, and therefore one must give up the idea of ‘my belief’ and ‘your belief.’ Everyone should believe in God and surrender unto Him. That is bhagavata-dharma.

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.16.43, purport:

The members of human society who strictly follow the principles of bhagavata-dharma and live according to the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are called Aryans or arya. A civilization of Aryans who strictly follow the instructions of the Lord and never deviate from those instructions is perfect. Such civilized men do not discriminate between trees, animals, human beings and other living entities. Panditah sama-darsinah: [Bg. 5.18] because they are completely educated in Krishna consciousness, they see all living beings equally. Aryans do not kill even a small plant unnecessarily, not to speak of cutting trees for sense gratification. At the present moment, throughout the world, killing is prominent. Men are killing trees, they are killing animals, and they are killing other human beings also, all for sense gratification. This is not an Aryan civilization.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.16.44, purport:

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced this chanting of the holy name five hundred years ago, and now through the Krishna consciousness movement, the Hare Krishna movement, we are actually seeing that men who are considered to belong to the lowest class are being delivered from all sinful activities simply by hearing the holy name of the Lord.”

From our present position, the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be personally seen as the Deity in the temple. The Deity of the Lord is not different from the Supreme Lord. Because we cannot see the Supreme Lord with our present blunt eyes, the Lord has kindly consented to come before us in a form we can see. Therefore the Deity in the temple should not be considered material. By offering food to the Deity and by decorating and serving the Deity, one gets the same result that one derives from serving the Lord personally in Vaikuntha.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 8.300, purport:

Being the eternal servant of Lord Ramacandra, Hanumanji has been respectfully worshiped for many hundreds and thousands of years. Here even Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu set the example in showing how one should offer respects to Hanumanji.”

from Sri Isopanisad, Verse 1, purport:

The human race should take the Vedic wisdom of Sri Isopanisad and not quarrel over material possessions. One must be satisfied with whatever privileges are given to him by the mercy of the Lord. There can be no peace if the communists or capitalists or any other party claims proprietorship over the resources of nature, which are entirely the property of the Lord. The capitalists cannot curb the communists simply by political maneuvering, nor can the communists defeat the capitalists simply by fighting for stolen bread. If they do not recognize the proprietorship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all the property they claim to be their own is stolen. Consequently they will be liable to punishment by the laws of nature. Nuclear bombs are in the hands of both communists and capitalists, and if both do not recognize the proprietorship of the Supreme Lord, it is certain that these bombs will ultimately ruin both parties. Thus in order to save themselves and bring peace to the world, both parties must follow the instructions of Sri Isopanisad.

from Sri Isopanisad, Verse 2, purport:

Factually, no one has to do anything more than render devotional service to the Lord. However, in the lower stages of life one cannot immediately adopt the activities of devotional service, nor can one completely stop fruitive work. A conditioned soul is accustomed to working for sense gratification — for his own selfish interest, immediate or extended. An ordinary man works for his own sense enjoyment, and when this principle of sense enjoyment is extended to include his society, nation or humanity in general, it assumes various attractive names such as altruism, socialism, communism, nationalism and humanitarianism. These "isms" are certainly very attractive forms of karma-bandhana (karmic bondage), but the Vedic instruction of Sri Isopanisad is that if one actually wants to live for any of the above ‘isms,’ he should make them God-centered. There is no harm in becoming a family man, or an altruist, a socialist, a communist, a nationalist or a humanitarian, provided that one executes his activities in relation with isavasya, the God-centered conception.

from Sri Isopanisad, Verse 3, purport:

We are given this human form of life not to work hard like asses, swine and dogs but to attain the highest perfection of life. If we do not care for self-realization, the laws of nature force us to work very hard, even though we may not want to do so. Human beings in this age have been forced to work hard like the asses and bullocks that pull carts.

Hridayananda Goswami:

from a letter to Bhaktin Amy:

Prabhupada once wrote to me that we do not engage in mental speculation but we can engage in philosophical speculation. He gave this example. In the Gita, Krishna says, ‘I am the taste in water.’ To speculate WHETHER this statement is true or not is mental speculation. If I accept Krishna’s words, and try to grasp HOW it is true, that is philosophical speculation, and I won't get busted!”

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

poem for September 17:

Today’s drawing shows four
bhaktas dancing and
chanting with upraised arms.
Two are facing forward,
and two move to the side.
Mundane dancers can't
feel the happiness
these men experience. They
are beyond the modes
of nature. It's a liberated
dance done in love of Krishna.

Kalakantha Prabhu:

There are many “gurus” who will take your material opulence, but not so many that will take your sinful reactions.

Two of the mahajanas, the great Vedic authorities on religious principles, namely Prahlada Maharaja and Bali Maharaja, were descendents of the great atheist, Hiranyakasipu, which shows that a person from any background can become a great devotee.

Pururava was wise in that he took responsibility for his own uncontrolled senses and did not blame his wife, Urvasi.

comment: by Tulasirani dd: It is good for men to make a plan how they will maintain their family if they choose to get married in the future, even if they are satisfied as brahmacaris now.

comment by Radhika Nagara Prabhu:

Kalakantha Prabhu has created a wonderful program with his forty year’s experience whereby people can take up Krishna consciousness at their own rate. I hope you can take full advantage of it and become inspired to spread Krishna House to all the cities of your country.

Mahatma Prabhu:

Saintly qualities are always interesting to discuss because they are so rarely seen.

Narada wanted Daksa to ask him to be forgiven for the offensive words Daksa had spoken to Narada so Daksa would be open to hear about bhakti.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura said that one who has love for God loves others. A humble person is compassionate because he does not want to cause others harm on his own account. He develops forgiveness.

Cleanliness helps develop God consciousness.

It foolish not to practice humility thinking because you do not feel humble it would be artificial and that you will become humble by your spiritual practice. It is like thinking that you do not want to take a shower artificially until by your spiritual practice you develop the quality of cleanliness.

We blame others for causing us to feel in a certain way, when in fact if we did not have certain needs, the others would not caused us to feel that way.

If you have many needs, you will definitely suffer.

In spiritual life, we have to monitor our qualities and see if we are developing the divine qualities of saint.

In an Amish community a man killed two daughters not his own and then killed himself. The parents of the girls who were killed came to the man’s wife saying they forgave her husband, and that if she was inconvenienced by not having her husband, she could live with them.

You have to realize that you are holding on to resentment, resentment is not holding on to you.

Q: How can we forgive?
A: I have a seventeen-hour seminar on forgiveness but here are some ideas:
If you think that what the person did to you is unforgivable, then you will never be able to forgive them.
If you do not forgive the person, it will harm you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
If you did the same thing the person did to you, you would want to be forgiven.

One writer said if you understand the secret history of the suffering of any individual person, you would not be bear any enmity to anyone.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that when we receive the fruits of our karma, we then blame our karma.

Patanjali advises to counteract envy by acting in the opposite way, as the well-wisher of the person you envy.

Q: Why do we have to practice these saintly qualities?
A: For millions of lives we have practiced just acting just the opposite. We can engage our nature in Krishna’s service but not our demonic qualities.

You may take the medicine for six months and see no result and stop. When you see the doctor in a year, he asks how you are. You say you are still sick and you stopped taking the medicine after six months because you saw no result, and he says that if you had taken it for a year you would be cured.

You are attracted to hearing about Krishna because you a spirit soul. You are attracted to chanting Hare Krishna because you are a spirit soul. You find that material happiness does not completely satisfy you because you a spirit soul.

We cannot be Krishna conscious without the association of devotees, even those we do not like. It is helpful to see how each devotee is engaged in devotional service.

Do not criticize people. Everyone has many faults, but it does not help you to criticize them.

One writer says that when you criticize someone it says more about your need to criticize than it does about the qualities of the person.

If I see something bad in someone, that discourages me, but if I see good qualities, it inspires me. So even just considering your own state of consciousness it is better to praise than criticize.

In my forgiveness workshop we have people praise those people they have difficulty forgiving. Sometimes it is difficult, but it does improve our opinion of the person and improve our relationship with the person also.

Where there is love, there is surrender. If we love Krishna, we will automatically surrender to Him.

If you were God, would you change your life? Is everything about your life perfect the way it is? You would change a few things, wouldn’t you? That is the difference between us and God. God does what He likes.

Everything is connected to Krishna. Only we are not because of our consciousness.

Q: What about the material activities we have to do in addition to our devotional activities?
A: You should link all your activities to Krishna, then you will have no material activities.

Q: Some devotees say I should just chant and do my service and my mind will clear up. Others say I have to work on it.
A: I learned from going to japa conferences, from the Buddhists, and other sources, when you are in your mind, you are not in your heart, and when you are in the heart, you are not in your mind. So try to be in your heart when you chant japa. Try to feel Krishna. Srila Prabhupada said you can feel Krishna in the holy name.

You can talk to your conditioned side.

It is always better to focus on what you want than to focus on what you don’t want.

One teacher says you should always aspire for something beyond what you think you can achieve. Then you can come to a higher level.

Instead we think, I am not Radhanath Swami. I am just a fallen Alachua devotee. What can I achieve? Thus we limit ourselves.

I have some bad news. What ever challenges you have in this life, if you do not resolve them, you will still them in your next life.

If you realize your mind was programmed by you in the last life, you can start reprogramming your mind now.

Once a devotee, maybe twenty-four years old, who had a wife with a one-year-old son wanted to take sannyasa. Srila Prabhupada asked the man to consider what effect that would have on his wife and son, and said that a devotee does not like to do anything that harms anyone.

Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami teaches his brahmacaris to become grhasthas. That accomplishes two purposes: the men who want to get married learn the nature of women and how to deal with them and thus become better husbands, and the men who think that is all too much can stay brahmacaris.

We do not have to act on the crazy ideas that appear in our mind. In the mode of goodness, those negative thoughts have no energy.

The macho husbands who tell their wives who are emotional, “Just get a hold of yourself,” are actually not self-controlled. Rather the husbands who patiently listen to their wives are actually self-controlled.

According Maha-samhita, a brahmana never berates himself.

A person who is self-pitying is like a person who falls in the mud, and just lies there, and says, “I fell in the mud, I am so unfortunate; it is so muddy; the mud even smells,” instead of getting out of the mud, and taking a shower, and going on with life.

A devotee told Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami, “I cannot forgive this devotee. What should I do?” His reply was “Forgive him because it is pleasing to Krishna.”

One person who trains counselors said, “The most effective counseling is a supportive spiritual community.”

Vallabha Sena Prabhu:

Narada realized that he could not instruct King Pracinbarhi directly so he told him a story about a king just like himself so he could realize his mistaken program of life. This is one strategy we can also use in our outreach.

Narada taught the king it is not sufficient just to aspire to heavenly enjoyment in the next life, rather one should endeavor for an eternal situation in the spiritual world.

Before I met the devotees, I hitchhiked all over America looking for the ideal situation for ultimate happiness, but no place was perfect.

from different Prabhupada disciples on a Following Prabhupada video:

Five boys from brahmana families in Vrindavan took initiation from Srila Prabhupada at the time of Krishna-Balarama installation ceremony. That was a great victory of Vaishnavism over Brahmanism.

I visited my parents before going to Vrindavan to see Srila Prabhupada. My mother asked if there was anything she could give me for Srila Prabhupada. I asked her if there was anything she would like to give him. She suggested she could make some guava jam as we had many fruit trees on our property. I agreed and so she did. I gave the jam to Prabhupada’s servant. For two days he was looking for me as Prabhupada wanted the name and address of my mother she he could write her a thank you letter. In the letter, he said that it was the best jam he received and it was like his mother used to make for him. He said not worry for your daughter and that he was making sure she was nicely engaged in the Lord’s service. I was amazed that despite all the things happenings regarding the Krishna Balarama temple installation ceremony, Prabhupada had time to reciprocate with my mother.

One devotee was told to start a gosala [a place where cows are kept], and he did not have any money so he sold his Seiko watch and bought two cows, and that was the beginning.

Once after playing a Hare Krishna tune on the harmonium, Prabhupada said, “This is the way to please Krishna, to chant Hare Krishna in different melodies.”

Prabhupada honored prasadam alone 99% of the time, and you could see he was really doing it as an act of worship, meditating on the prasadam being nondifferent from Krishna.

Prabhupada would tell us many times that we could learn from nature. He would know the Latin names of the trees in the botanical gardens and know their medicinal uses.

Once I decided to collect the dust from Srila Prabhupada’s feet, but I noticed that when Srila Prabhupada walked his feet did not make an impression in the grass like his disciples did.

My son spent more time with Srila Prabhupada than I did. He would sneak in Prabhupada’s window, and take prasadam with him, or sleep under his bed.

Srila Prabhupada said, “Nothing happens accidentally. . . . You do not see the cause. . . . Why do they go to the college? Why not accidentally get a Ph.D.?”

Srila Prabhupada liked us to keep the doors and windows closed during the initiation ceremony. He did not think that the smoke was very harmful.

Srila Prabhupada preached to one newspaper reporter for forty-minutes how you are not the body, but a servant of Krishna, despite the general inquiries of the reporter. The reporter wrote an article half a page long on page two of the Melbourne newspaper The Age. Prabhupada liked it so much he asked for ten or twelve copies to show to his life members in India.

Radha Jivan Prabhu:

Householder life is not just for fun but is a life of responsibility. That is why it is given when one is mature. It is meant for sacrifice.

Household life is not easy. There is a joke. A mouse was found dancing at a tiger’s wedding. One of the tigers inquired from the mouse why he was present there. The mouse replied that the tiger was his brother, and he wanted to attend his brother’s wedding. The tiger replied, “No, that cannot be. You are a mouse, and he is a tiger.” The mouse replied, “No, it is a fact. Before I was married, I was a tiger.”

A devotee begins to understand that because the Lord has parental affection for him, He will make of kinds of arrangements to take care of him.

Whatever strength we have is given 100% by one person, and that person is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. As we advance we get glimpses of this. When we chant Hare Krishna in this consciousness it is very pure.

About 70 or 80 years ago, there was a young sadhu who was chanting at Kusuma sarovara. One beautiful young lady bathed naked in the river before him, and he was attracted to stare at her breasts. He soon got an eye disease. He went to several doctors but none could cure him. He became introspective and decided that because he was dressed as a sadhu but he acting out of lust that Krishna was punishing me. He asked the most prominent sadhu in Vrndavana at that time, Priya saranji Maharaja, for some atonement. He gave him a couplet that said, “Cut my neck, or put a sword in my heart, O Lord, I will only say, ‘Thank you, very much.’” When the young sadhu embraced that understanding, his eye began to heal.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura says, “Patience, humility, and respect for others, are our real friends for Hari-bhajana [the glorification of the Lord].”

The most challenging in household life is attachment.

Give your activities to the world, and give your heart to the Lord.

The situation created by the leaders at Krishna House where you do not have to worry about your material needs is meant so you can focus completely on your spiritual life and get some realization that can benefit you the rest of your life.

The greatest loss in life is the loss of faith.

One sadhu was sitting with some devotees. One bold girl asked the sadhu whether his beard was better or the beard of her goat was better. The sadhu told her he would answer her question later. At the time of his death he sent for the girl who since become a woman. He said, “Remember the question you asked me years ago? The answer is my beard is better than your goat’s beard.” The woman asked, “Why did you wait so long to answer?” The sadhu replied, “I could have fallen away from my spiritual practice at any time. In that case, the beard of your goat would have been better.”

Even to make a little endeavor for spiritual life is a rare benediction.

Usually when we come to Krishna consciousness, we feel some relief from material existence, but then we end up performing our devotional activities in a ritualistic way.

Although Vasudeva Maharaja, Krishna’s father, was a powerful warrior, he acted like a brahmana when pacifying his cruel brother-in-law, Kamsa.

Krishna is very shy to show us what He is doing for us, but behind the scenes He is always making arrangements for His devotee.

The materialists may not be able to appreciate the how our spiritual practice is benefiting us, but we should appreciate it and maintain ourselves on the spiritual plane.

Pure Krishna consciousness will attract people whether we like it or not. Srila Prabhupada was a single person, but because of his pure consciousness, so many people were attracted by his chanting.

There is a pastime of Tukarama. He was returning from bathing in the river when he passed beneath the window of a Muslim man who spit water from his mouth on Tukarama’s head. Without frowning or looking up, Tukarama returned to the river to bathe again in order to be clean to worship his deity. The same thing happened 100 times. On the final time, the Muslim man came down from his apartment and offered prostrated obeisances before Tukarama, and admitted to trying to test him, and he asked Tukarama how he was able not to be become angry. Tukarama said, “Today I took 100 baths before worshiping my deity, by your mercy alone. Otherwise, I would have not.”

If you do not follow strictly, you will not experience any result, and then you may give up your practice, and thus lose your opportunity.

Due to our past activities, we are not so inclined to Krishna, but if we continue our practice, our attachment to Krishna will definitely manifest.

Rohini Kumara Prabhu:

I know a lady who chanted 108 rounds a day at Radha-kunda for many years, but she does not do that anymore.

Bhima’s plate is 18 feet across. Madhavacarya is said to have found Bhima’s club.

God can come up and slap your face, and if you are an atheist, you will still say there is no God.

Amrita Keli dd:

The great thing about the practice of Krishna consciousness is that you can experience it now.

Namamrita Prabhu:

You can turn your back on the sun, but that does not mean it is not there. In the same way, we can turn our back on God, but He remains.

Research show that persons who are addicted to pornography have their brains overstimulated and have to completely restrain from it to normalize their brain function.

Lust must be curbed as soon as possible before it blocks our self-realization.

It is said that 70 drops of blood are required to produce a drop of semen.

Celibates generally are more joyful and have greater strength, vitality, and intellect than those who have sex regularly.

The right way to have sex is within a relationship centered on dharma.

Q (by Sankalpa dd): Sometimes marriages break up over differences in how strictly one limits sex in marriage.
A (by Kalakantha Prabhu): The most important thing is to understand that is not something to break up over. The couple has to come to a mutual agreement and gradually increase one’s strictness. It is a matter for the husband and wife to figure out. The whole point is to minimize and gradually reduce sex life.

Comment by Tulasirani dd: I went to the gynecologist for a checkup for the first time in years, and had to fill out an extensive form, asking questions like how many abortions have you had, how many sexually transmitted diseases have you had, etc. Some questions did not even had a choice for celibate people to answer. I felt so thankful to Srila Prabhupada that I was saved from so many calamities. I shared some of my thoughts with my gynocologist, and she ended up taking one of Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Omkara Prabhu:

Vaisesika Prabhu marvels that The Nectar of Instruction brings us from controlling the tongue to living on the shores of Radha Kunda. He also describes that the tongue is like a rudder that directs where we go.


Once I worked with an insurance company in Israel, and some thieves stole a lot of money from the company, but they were discovered and chose to make a deal with the company to return the money and not involve the police. Thus as an employee I found myself carrying thousands of dollars from the bank to the office. I found when I was carrying the suitcase full of money, I was thinking of myself as a special person. No one else was carrying so much money. I dreamed of taking the money and going back to India with it. But when I delivered the money, I was again an ordinary person. That is our situation in this world. Whatever we have, we have only temporarily, and our thrill of possessing it is a temporary pleasure.

A scientific study was done where they asked people their favorite kind of ice cream and paid them to come and eat their favorite ice cream. People very happily came for a few days, but after awhile they stopped coming. They had had enough. Thus they demonstrated the truth that sense enjoyment does not satisfy the soul.

Dhrtarastra was blinded by envy of the Pandavas, so he discriminated between the Pandavas and his own sons. Duryodhana was blinded with greed to enjoy the Pandavas property.

I knew intellectually that Krishna would take care of me, but still I was always afraid. Then Krishna made an arrangement to convince me that He really would take care of me. I was in Mayapur, and a Bengali friend and I went to visit Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharaja’s bhajana kutira. We heard there was a sadhu over a hundred years old there, and we wanted to see him. We found him resting on his bed, and very peaceful. We asked him for his blessings, and he said, “May you be able to chant like Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharaja.” A pujari came with a plate of prasadam for him. I saw after a life of devotional service, the old sadhu was peaceful and happy, and that his needs were being taken care of. From this experience, I gained faith that if I dedicated my life to serve Krishna that in the end Krishna would take care of me, and so I increased my service.

On the singles records they had in the past, they would put a popular song on one side which you would buy the record for, but then there would be a not so popular tune on the back that you would not be eager to hear. The material world is like that.

Giving fully to Krishna is more important than what we actually give him.

Bhaktin Amy:

from a comment during a class I took no other notes on:

When I’m having difficulty accepting or understanding a point, Hridayananda Goswami said that rather then wondering if the point is true, accept it as truth and commit to understanding how it is true.”

Krishna-kripa das:

selections on the holy name quoted during seminar on increasing taste for chanting:

One has to learn about the beauty and transcendental position of the holy name of the Lord by hearing the revealed scriptures from the mouths of devotees. Nowhere else can we hear of the sweetness of the Lord’s holy name.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Antya 1.101)

The answer to your second question is that when one becomes accustomed to inoffensive chanting, then his fruit is that he is promoted to the stage of pure Love of Godhead, or prema. This prema is the perfectional stage of consciousness and the most blissful by very far.” (Srila Prabhupada in a letter to Sivananda, Los Angeles, December 4, 1968)

[Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, reciting Rupa Goswami’s verse:] “I do not know how much nectar the two syllables ‘Krish-na’ have produced. When the holy name of Krishna is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. And when the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Antya 1.99)

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted this verse, Haridasa Thakura, upon hearing the vibration, became jubilant and began to dance while praising its meaning.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Antya 1.100)

The mystics derive unlimited transcendental pleasures from the Absolute Truth, and therefore the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is also known as Rāma.” (Padma Purana, quoted in Bhagavad-gita As It Is, verse 5.22, purport)

The name of Krishna is purely spiritual. There is no knowledge as great as that of the name, and no practice of austerity or meditation, no result of spiritual activity, no form of renunciation, no act of sense control, no pious act, and no goal that can match it. The name is the supreme liberation, the supreme destination, and the supreme peace. The name is eternal life itself. The name is the supreme devotion and the supreme intelligence. The name is the supreme love and the supreme remembrance. The name is the soul’s reason for existence. The name is the lord of the soul, the most worshipful object, and the supreme guru.

“These high praises are verified by the realizations awakening devotees gain as they practice chanting, and so they come to have deep conviction in the holy name.” (
Agni Purana)

Those who are actually advanced in knowledge are able to appreciate the essential value of this age of Kali. Such enlightened persons worship Kali-yuga because in this fallen age all perfection of life can easily be achieved by the performance of sankirtana. [the congregational chanting of the holy name.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.5.36)


jivana anitya janaha sar,
tahe nana-vidha vipada-bhar,
namasraya kori’ jatane tumi,
thakaha apana kaje

This temporary life is full of various miseries. Take shelter of the holy name as your only business.” (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, “Udilo Aruna,” verse 6)