Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Travel Journal#10.1: New York City and North Florida

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 10, No. 1
By Krishna-kripa das
(January 2014, part one
New York City, Tampa, Gainesville, Alachua
(Sent from Gainesville, Florida, on January 22, 2014)

Where I Went and What I Did

I continued chanting in New York City as part of Rama Raya Prabhu’s harinama party for five or six hours a day and chopping vegetables for Govinda’s Vegetarian Lunch. I also gave another lecture at 26 2nd Avenue at Atmanivedana Prabhu’s program. I planned to go to Tampa on January 6, but my flight was delayed because of the weather, and I got to spend two more days in New York City. I chanted with friends for a couple hours at the University of South Florida in Tampa, before returning to Gainesville, where I chanted at Krishna Lunch on weekdays and with Alachua devotees on Friday evenings.

Jayadavita Swami spoke again at the Monday evening program at 26 2nd Avenue, and I share notes from his lecture. Romapada Swami gave thoughtful lectures at both 26 2nd Avenue and the Brooklyn temple which I also took notes on. My friend Prabhupada Dasa Prabhu has become the sannyasi, Bhakti Prabhupada Vrata Damodar Swami, or Damodar Swami for short, and he spoke Friday in Gainesville and Sunday in Alachua. He has memorized the entire Bhagavad-gita, and is very philosophical, all good qualities for a swami, and it was nice to see him again and take notes on his classes.

Thanks to Namamrita Prabhu, Yogesvara Prabhu’s son, who kindly gave me two one way tickets on either Southwest or Airtran so I could return to Florida from New York, now and in the fall. 


January 22–February 19 - Gainesville, Florida (and a few days in Tally, JAX, & Tampa)
February 20 - Orlando and Philadelphia
February 21–24 - Dublin, Ireland
February 25 - Mumbai
February 26 - on a train between Mumbai and Howrah 

February 27–March 4 - Mayapur
March 6–13 - Rishikesh  
March 14–18 - Delhi, Vrindavan
March 20–April 14 - Mayapur
April 16 - Mumbai
April 17 - Dublin, Ireland
April 27 - Kings Day, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
May–July (first two-thirds) – The North of England, Birmingham 24-hour kirtana, London Ratha-yatra, Stonehenge Solstice Festival
July (last third)–August (first two-thirds) – Baltic Summer Festival, Polish Woodstock, Czech Woodstock
August (last third)–September (first half) – The North of England
September (rest) – New York
Harinamas in New York City

Looking at the pictures I took the first few days in January in New York City, I am simply amazed by the variety of the people attracted by the devotees chanting Hare Krishna in the different subway stations. They represented different ages, different races, and different nationalities, but all shared an attraction to the chanting of the names of the all-attractive Lord Sri Krishna.

Two Muslim ladies danced at Times Square on New Years.

A couple of other people danced there too.

Two Chinese ladies danced at Union Square.

People stopped to take pictures of them.


Two more ladies danced at Union Square.

A young boy delighted in drumming.

An even younger boy shook a rattle.

There was an old man, who played shakers.

A Spanish girl sat with us and played shakers.

An Afro American lady danced with exuberance.

Another lady loved playing the shakers.

Rama Raya Prabhu wants me to write an article about the party. I thought I should interview some of the devotees about their experiences. 

I interviewed Chandra Mohini Devi Dasi (right), our book table person, as she was to return to Latvia on January 3. She told how she was on vacation in New York City with a friend last summer when she found the harinama party, and began spending an hour a day with them. Later she found herself spending six hours a day on the party, and she stayed until her visa expired. She told her guru, Bhaktivaibhava Swami, that she was distributing books on harinama in New York City, and he was very pleased to hear of that engagement and said it was the best thing she could be doing. Thus when her visa expired after three months, she went back to Latvia, and got another three-month visa and returned to joyfully encourage people attracted by our chanting to take some literature.

During the last hour of my last day on harinama in New York City, I saw one well-dressed gentleman smiling as he enjoyed listening to our singing for a few minutes. I approached him and said that we gave out the Krishna—Reservoir of Pleasure for free, if he wanted one. He was grateful that I spoke to him and took the pamphlet. He said he had not seen the Hare Krishnas chanting in New York City before. He asked about the mantra, and I explained Krishna is a name for God meaning the all-attractive person, and that Rama means the source of all pleasure. I said “Hare” is a address to the spiritual energy of the Lord. Some people have a natural inclination for God and spiritual things, because they are affected by this spiritual energy, while others have an aversion to talk about God and think this world is all there is, being affected by the material energy. We are praying to the spiritual energy to move in a spiritual direction. I mentioned the teaching was based on Bhagavad-gita, pointing to the book table. Gandhi used to read the Gita every day, and the American transcendentalists, Thoreau and Emerson, also appreciated it. He said he had heard of the Bhagavad-gita, and walked over to the book table and picked up the book. I said they were five dollars, and he gave ten and said to keep the change. He left in a happy mood, and I joked with Rama Raya Prabhu that Krishna always arranges nice experiences for me on the last day so I feel inspired to come back.

Other New York Experiences

One day on the subway I met a Christian with a CD player playing Christian songs about God’s love. 

He speaks to the people and tries to induce them to buy his CD.

Returning to the temple I saw a devotee, probably on the way home from work, chanting japa with determination, undisturbed by the chaos of a crowded New York subway.

Devotees are very creative in stashing prasadam, spiritual food. 

I imagine this is the stash of Yudhisthira Prabhu, visiting from Slovakia, who was in the processing of painting the Brooklyn temple.

Harinama in Tampa

Leaving New York City, I flew into Tampa. Nama Kirtan Prabhu picked me up at the airport and drove me to the University of South Florida campus where we met Raju, who attends our club meetings there. Then Uma Devi Dasi joined us. I had a great time chanting with my friends there. More students showed interest than I expected, and Raju was very enthusiastic to invite them to look at Srila Prabhupada’s books. One physical plant worker took a break for ten minutes just to hear our kirtana.

Harinama at Krishna Lunch

After New York, it was so nice to be singing Hare Krishna outdoors in weather so warm a short-sleeve shirt was sufficient if you sat in the sun.

Visvambhara Prabhu of the Mayapuris band played with us a couple different days.

The second day he was in an especially happy mood as his professor gave him permission to go to India for a month in the middle of the semester, and thus he can go to kirtana melas in Mumbai and Mayapur and do other kirtana events as well.

Bhakta Mike brought his saxophone out on Wednesday, and did a great job in improvisation, which made it especially lively. We hope he brings it out more often.

Mantra Meditation Class

Whenever I come to Krishna House in Gainesville, if our program to teach mantra meditation has lapsed, I like to start it up again. My realization is that if people come to like to chant the Hare Krishna mantra, they can very easily take up the whole practice of devotional service, with all its amazing spiritual benefits like liberation and love of God. I invited one girl who had come to our yoga class before it started for the semester to come to my mantra meditation class, and she did. Amy invited a guy, and Caitanya invited a girl who brought a friend so we had four people at the first meeting. It was awesome to see the seriousness with which they chanted their first round of japa. Three of the four took beads to chant one round a day for a week as an experiment. One young man, originally from London, said his mother had wanted to become a Hare Krishna devotee, but it never happened. Bhakta Mike, a new devotee, felt very much protected by the chanting and liked the powerful experience of chanting japa in unison with a group of people. He noticed with the addition of the two late comers, the chanting become more powerful. Jaya Sri Vrinda Devi Dasi came to participate to improve her japa and liked the class. She agreed to continue the class when I go to India in six weeks. Even if none of the four new people keep up with the meditation and the classes, still the spiritual benefit they get from chanting one round of japa makes teaching the class well worth it. One girl later wrote, “Thank you so much for having us today! Me and my roommate had a wonderful new and eye-opening experience!” The girl who had taken our yoga class later wrote, “Thank you! It’s been going great. Have a fantastic week friend.”

To see pictures I took but did not include, click on this link:

Note: The pictures I used appear first, before the other pictures.


Srila Prabhupada:

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.2.60, purport:

The living entity within the body is never annihilated; therefore one should surely know that whether one has many friends or many enemies, his friends cannot help him, and his enemies cannot do him any harm. One should know that he is a spirit soul (aham brahmasmi) and that the constitutional position of the soul is unaffected by the changes of the body. In all circumstances, everyone, as a spirit soul, must be a devotee of Lord Vishnu and should not be concerned with bodily relationships, whether with friends or with enemies.”

from Isopanisad 14, purport:

One can be saved only by complete knowledge of the eternal life of bliss and awareness. The whole Vedic scheme is meant to educate men in this art of attaining eternal life. People are often misguided by temporary attractive things based on sense gratification, but service rendered to the sense objects is both misleading and degrading. We must therefore save ourselves and our fellow man in the right way. There is no question of liking or disliking the truth. It is there. If we want to be saved from repeated birth and death, we must take to the devotional service of the Lord. There can be no compromise, for this is a matter of necessity.”

from Isopanisad 15, purport:

In Srimad-Bhagavatam, the author, Srila Vyasadeva, has established that one will describe the Supreme Truth as Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavān according to one’s realization of Him. Srila Vyasadeva never states that the Supreme Truth is a jiva, an ordinary living entity. The living entity should never be considered the all-powerful Supreme Truth. If he were the Supreme, he would not need to pray to the Lord to remove His dazzling cover so that the living entity could see His real face.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 11.189, purport:

The Mayavadi philosophers try to explain the equality of master and servant in terms of quantity, but they fail to explain why, if the master and servant are equal, the servant falls victim to maya. They try to explain that when the servant, the living entity, is out of the clutches of maya, he immediately becomes the so-called master again. Such an explanation is never satisfactory. Being unlimited, the master cannot become a victim of maya, for in such a case His unlimitedness would be crippled or limited. Thus the Mayavada explanation is not correct. The fact is that the master is always master and unlimited, and the servant, being limited, is sometimes curtailed by the influence of maya. Maya is also the master’s energy and is also unlimited; therefore the limited servant or limited living entity is forced to remain under the master or the master’s potency, maya. Being freed from maya’s influence, one can again become a pure servant and equal qualitatively to the Lord. The relationship between master and servant continues due to their being unlimited and limited respectively.”

from SB 7.4.12, purport:

It appears that even in the higher planetary systems, to which people are promoted by pious activities, disturbances are created by asuras [demoniac beings] like Hiranyakasipu. No one in the three worlds can live in peace and prosperity without disturbance.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.4.19, purport:

As far as material sense gratification is concerned, materialists may go on increasing their enjoyment as far as they can imagine, but because people in such a material condition are servants of their senses, they cannot be satisfied.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Preface:

The basic principle of the living condition is that we have a general propensity to love someone. No one can live without loving someone else. This propensity is present in every living being. Even an animal like a tiger has this loving propensity at least in a dormant stage, and it is certainly present in the human beings. The missing point, however, is where to repose our love so that everyone can become happy. At the present moment the human society teaches one to love his country or family or his personal self, but there is no information where to repose the loving propensity so that everyone can become happy. That missing point is Krishna, and The Nectar of Devotion teaches us how to stimulate our original love for Krishna and how to be situated in that position where we can enjoy our blissful life.

In the primary stage a child loves his parents, then his brothers and sisters, and as he daily grows up he begins to love his family, society, community, country, nation, or even the whole human society. But the loving propensity is not satisfied even by loving all human society; that loving propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled until we know who is the supreme beloved. Our love can be fully satisfied only when it is reposed in Krishna. This theme is the sum and substance of The Nectar of Devotion, which teaches us how to love Krishna in five different transcendental mellows.

Our loving propensity expands just as a vibration of light or air expands, but we do not know where it ends. The Nectar of Devotion teaches us the science of loving every one of the living entities perfectly by the easy method of loving Krishna. We have failed to create peace and harmony in human society, even by such great attempts as the United Nations, because we do not know the right method. The method is very simple, but one has to understand it with a cool head. The Nectar of Devotion teaches all men how to perform the simple and natural method of loving Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If we learn how to love Krishna, then it is very easy to immediately and simultaneously love every living being. It is like pouring water on the root of a tree or supplying food to one’s stomach. The method of pouring water on the root of a tree or supplying foodstuffs to the stomach is universally scientific and practical, as every one of us has experienced. Everyone knows well that when we eat something, or in other words, when we put foodstuffs in the stomach, the energy created by such action is immediately distributed throughout the whole body. Similarly, when we pour water on the root, the energy thus created is immediately distributed throughout the entirety of even the largest tree. It is not possible to water the tree part by part, nor is it possible to feed the different parts of the body separately. The Nectar of Devotion will teach us how to turn the one switch that will immediately brighten everything, everywhere. One who does not know this method is missing the point of life.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Introduction:

The author of Bhakti-rasamṛta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami, very humbly submits that he is just trying to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world, although he humbly thinks himself unfit for this work. That should be the attitude of all preachers of the Krishna consciousness movement, following in the footsteps of Srila Rupa Gosvami. We should never think of ourselves as great preachers, but should always consider that we are simply instrumental to the previous acaryas, and simply by following in their footsteps we may be able to do something for the benefit of suffering humanity.”

. . . the execution of Krishna conscious activities with the body should be directed by the spiritual master and then performed with faith. The connection with the spiritual master is called initiation. From the date of initiation by the spiritual master, the connection between Krishna and a person cultivating Krishna consciousness is established. Without initiation by a bona fide spiritual master, the actual connection with Krishna consciousness is never performed.”

As long as one identifies himself as belonging to a certain family, a certain society or a certain person, he is said to be covered with designations. When one is fully aware that he does not belong to any family, society or country, but is eternally related to Krishna, he then realizes that his energy should be employed not in the interests of so-called family, society or country, but in the interests of Krishna. This is purity of purpose and the platform of pure devotional service in Krishna consciousness.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.4.22–23, purport:
During Hiraṇyakasipu’s time, his influence was everywhere, but he could not force his influence into the places where the Supreme Personality of Godhead had His pastimes. For example, on this earth there are such places as Vrindavana and Ayodhya, which are called dhamas. In the dhama, there is no influence from Kali-yuga or any demon. If one takes shelter of such a dhama, worship of the Lord becomes very easy, and resultant spiritual advancement quickly takes place. In fact, in India one may still go to Vrindavana and similar places to achieve the results of spiritual activities quickly.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.4.25–26, purport:

. . . there is no difference between seeing the Lord, offering prayers and hearing the transcendental vibration. Pure devotees, therefore, are fully satisfied by glorifying the Lord. Such glorification is called kirtana. Performing kirtana and hearing the vibration of the sound Hare Krishna is actually seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. One must realize this position, and then one will be able to understand the absolute nature of the Lord’s activities.”

from a lecture:

Even now, many people go to Kurukshetra on the occasion of a solar eclipse.

Krishna accepts everyone’s devotional service equally offered with love and affection.

If your offering is accepted by Krishna, your life is successful.

Because Krishna accepts simply a leaf, flower, fruit, or water, even the poorest man can worship Him.

Our mission is to teach people how to worship the Personality of Godhead, for without worshiping the Lord, we cannot become happy.

As the mother maintains the child by the milk of her breast, Mother Earth supplies food for all living entities. This is all an arrangement by the Supreme Lord.

We do not accept the idea of overpopulation. The Supreme Lord has no difficulty supplying food to any number of living beings. We are simply mismanaging.

Human beings have higher intelligence to understand God. Animals like dogs cannot understand God. If we do not use our intelligence to understand God, we are no better than animals.

Please do not take this Krishna consciousness movement as a sectarian movement. It is the science of God. We have so many books.

from a Vyasa Puja lecture:

I want to explain my position as being worshiped as exalted personality as in this age of democracy we do not accept anyone as being exalted unless he is elected by the general populace, no matter how rascal he may be.

The Vedic knowledge has to be accepted as it is. We cannot accept some portions and reject other portions. You cannot interpret the words of God. You cannot manufacture religion at your home just as you cannot manufacture law at your home.

The worship of the guru is the system of honoring the representative of God and thus honoring God. The scripture enjoins that the guru must be worshiped.

The scripture enjoins that to receive spiritual knowledge one must accept a guru.

Krishna says, “Surrender under Me.” and guru says, “Surrender to Krishna.” Because he does not make any change, he is guru.

Lord Caitanya wanted everyone to become guru.

In this age there are so many rascals. There is need of so many gurus to teach them.

You can become guru of your neighborhood. It is a simple thing. Just repeat Krishna’s message.

My success is because I carried the message of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It is not that I am an extraordinary man coming from an extraordinary place.

The real contraceptive method is that if you unable to deliver your children from the clutches of birth and death, then do not become a father. Not that you have sex like cats and dogs, and kill the baby in the womb. That is a most sinful activity.

If we follow the great souls, we progress toward liberation.

There are two things Krishna and Maya, light and darkness. If you are not serving Krishna, you are serving Maya. And then there are the Mayavadis, who in the name of Krishna, are serving Maya, imagining themselves to liberated.

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 1:

So that was the position of the Pandavas; although Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the greatest among all greats, He remained with those royal brothers, being attracted by their devotion, by their friendship and by their love. That is the proof of how great this process of devotional service is. It can attract even the Supreme Personality of Godhead. God is great, but devotional service is greater than God because it attracts Him. People who are not in devotional service can never understand what great value there is in rendering service to the Lord.”

from Srimad Bhagavatam 7.5.3, purport:

Devotees, especially, do not create friends and enemies. A devotee sees that every living being is part and parcel of Krishna (mamaivamso jiva-bhutah [15.7]). Therefore a devotee treats friends and enemies equally by trying to educate them both in Krishna consciousness. Of course, atheistic men do not follow the instructions of pure devotees, but instead consider a devotee their enemy. A devotee, however, never creates a situation of friendship and enmity.”

from Srimad Bhagavatam 7.5.12, purport:

There is no question of enmity between servants. Everyone should be allowed to render service to the Lord to the best of his ability, and everyone should appreciate the service of others. Such are the activities of Vaikuntha. Since everyone is a servant, everyone is on the same platform and is allowed to serve the Lord according to his ability.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 2:

Narada Muni mentions this sadhana-bhakti in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Seventh Canto, First Chapter, verse 32. He says there to King Yudhisthira, "My dear King, one has to fix his mind on Krishna by any means." That is called Krishna consciousness. It is the duty of the acarya, the spiritual master, to find the ways and means for his disciple to fix his mind on Krishna. That is the beginning of sadhana-bhakti.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given us an authorized program for this purpose, centered around the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. This chanting has so much power that it immediately attaches one to Krishna. That is the beginning of sadhana-bhakti. Somehow or other, one has to fix his mind on Krishna.”
It doesn’t matter whether one is a beginner — a brahmacari — or is very advanced — a sannyasi. The principle of remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead constantly and not forgetting Him at any moment is meant to be followed by everyone without fail.”

For example a brahmaṇa, who is born out of the head of the Lord, has as his business to preach the transcendental Vedic sounds, or śabda-brahma. Because the brahmaṇa is the head, he has to preach the transcendental sound, and he also has to eat on behalf of the Supreme Lord. According to Vedic injunctions, when a brahmaṇa eats it is to be understood that the Personality of Godhead is eating through him. It is not, however, that the brahmaṇa should simply eat on behalf of the Lord and not preach the message of Bhagavad-gita to the world.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 3:

The wise man is he who has thoroughly understood that he is spirit soul and not simply a body. Because he realizes that he is spirit and Krishna is the supreme spirit, he knows that his intimate relationship should be with Krishna, not with this body.”

Romapada Swami:

Spiritual intelligence is given by Krishna, as He states in Bhagavad-gita 10.10. to whose serve Him with love. By following this intelligence we attain the spiritual world.

I spoke to a roomful of people in Jaipur, and decided to ask them a question so I could understand where they were coming from. I said, “Listen to this statement, and then say ‘Yes.’ if it is true.” Then I said, “The purpose of religion is to act in such a way that one lives happily and prosperously in this world, and attains a heavenly realm in the next life.” The answer was overwhelming affirmative. I asked if anyone had another idea. One girl in the back raised her hand, and I asked what is her idea. The purpose of religion to serve Krishna in this life and to go to the spiritual world and serve Him in the next life. She had heard Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

Where there is cultivation of spiritual knowledge sufficient material prosperity follows. Srila Prabhupada was predicted to be fabulously wealthy . . .

Devotee parents have a great responsibility teaching their children spiritually because Krishna sends them children who are advanced spiritually from a previous life so they can finish up and attain perfection in this life.

I first heard the Hare Krishna mantra on the album of the Broadway musical Hair. I checked it out at the library, and I played it again and again because for some reason I was really attracted to it.

When people ask me if I am Buddhist monk, I say, “No, I am a Krishna monk.” Then they inquire, “What is a Krishna monk?” And I can explain what a Krishna monk is.

I remember when I was four or five, a couple of my sisters and I would play around doing some yoga postures, some of the more difficult ones. Where did we get that?

Although it is possible for people in heaven to advance in devotional service it is not so likely. It is like on this planet, you can make spiritual advancement in Hawaii or in Goa, but the atmosphere is not ideal for it.

If you were Krishna, you would design things so people could remember their past lives, but Krishna has not done so, therefore you are wondering why He has not.

When people can remember previous lives, it does convince them of the reality of reincarnation, but does it really help them that much to advance on the path back to Godhead?

Krishna does give us the right remembrance at the right time.

Karma is unequal, but not unfair, because each of us creates our own destiny.

I was distributing books to a wealthy couple, and the man was saying he was a lot happier when he had less.

The Gita says do not consider a better or a worse situation in this world, but act for the benefit of the soul.

Our situation is the result of our karma. More importantly, we should consider, “Where is the consciousness being directed?”

Srila Prabhupada said that success is certain for a strict follower. A strict follower does not mean rigid, ultraconservative, or hard, but it means making attaining spiritual perfection our top priority.

from an initiation lecture, January 5, 2014:

Real happiness is in relationship to Krishna.

The tendency for enjoying without regard for Krishna is very deep rooted. We seek a happy position in this unhappy world.

Still the holy name is so powerful it can dissolve our false ego and its false desires by awakening our real ego of rendering service to Krishna.

Srila Prabhupada would often review the ten offenses at initiation lectures, and he advised the initiates to avoid them to advance to the ultimate goal.

I will mention three, (1) to offend the devotee, (2) to neglect the guru’s order, and (3) maintaining materialistic desires despite chanting.

Each of the ten offenses involves seeing something that is divine as ordinary.

Because devotees are humble they may not become disturbed if offended but still there will be a decrease in the offender’s devotional service.

The guru is a well wisher like a parent and by neglecting his instruction one will get into trouble.

Be eager to achieve life’s purpose.

Initiation is submission to the disciplic succession, formal acceptance by the succession, and responsibility to act according to the direction of the succession. You can no longer do as you wish, but should act so that your guru will smile. It is a weight of responsibility but also a privilege.

The Vedic literature is filled with the idea of acting for the pleasure of one’s predecessors.

We must act nicely so that Srila Prabhupada will be well thought of.

If we are thinking that we are representing a great personality, Srila Prabhupada, then we will act nicely.

Acting in a way that is pleasing to our founder acarya and the line of previous teachers is real pleasure for the soul.

The more we know about Krishna, the more we are inclined to love Krishna, because He is so qualified.

It is imperative to accept a guru to understand Krishna. Submission and humble service, along with eagerness to know, are the qualifications of the disciple. The guru’s qualification is he has heard the truth and that he is fixed in it, and he can explain it and remove doubts about it.

from a Sunday feast lecture in Brooklyn:

According to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the first forest fire Krishna swallowed is compared to arguments between Vaishnava groups or between different religions or attacks on another’s deity. The second is compared to the attacks of atheists on Krishna consciousness.

The residents of Vrindavan would always cry to Krishna for protection, but when Krishna Himself was in danger, being attacked by the serpent Kaliya, who could they go to for shelter? Thus overcome with anxiety for Krishna they fainted.

When we become dry or weak in our bhajana or sadhana [spiritual practice], fire may arise in the form of useless quarrel with others.

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that the residents of Vrindavan were not afraid for their lives on the occasion of the forest fire but rather they worried that if they died they might be separated from Krishna.

Krishna had His cowherd boyfriends close their eyes when He swallowed the forest fire. Some acaryas [spiritual masters] say He did not want His friends to see Him because they would tell His mother, and she would be unnecessarily worried about Him. Others say He did not want His friends to worry about Him.

Although swanlike personalities may accept a particular practice from birth or childhood according to instructions they have received, they nevertheless remain indifferent and nonsectarian.”

Harmony is possible only where one has obtained a firm footing in the dharma, the function, of the soul.”

Two quotes above are from the inaugurual English edition of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Harmonist 25.1, June 1927.

Srila Prabhupada writes, “Krishna consciousness is not a sectarian religious movement. Rather, it is meant for all-embracing welfare activities for the world. One can enter this movement without discrimination in terms of caste, creed, religion or nationality. If one is trained to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, who is the origin of Vishnu-tattva, one can become fully satisfied and perfect in all respects.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.5.49)

China is a place that I really like to preach. China has such a different culture. There is not even a word for God or a concept of God there. Still the devotion of the Chinese Hare Krishna devotees is wonderful and is evidence that devotion for Krishna is a natural quality of the soul and is not dependent on one’s background.

Satsvarupa dasa Goswami:

from My Dear Lord Krishna:

I am a very small devotee, and I’m aware of my lack of qualifications. I’ve been told that an advanced devotee feels he has no good qualifications at all. If that’s true, then I’ve got something working in my favor. But the advanced devotees are fully engaged in Your service, fearlessly, compassionately, and in full renunciation. So I should not make a claim for advancement based on my poor qualities. That would be too cheap and cheating. I only ask You and Radharani to take pity on me and bless me with actual qualifications and true humility. I say ‘Bless me,’ but what do I mean by that? The burden of improvement is on me. You are giving all opportunities according to my capacity. It is I who have to enter the circle of blessing by taking up the mood of my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, and becoming a preacher and sadhaka of good habits. Still, I ask You both to please stand before me and give me Your grace. Let me behold You and go on hearing Your radiant pastimes.”

Today’s drawing shows four
bhaktas dancing and chanting
with upraised arms.
They are in a good mood
and displaying active movements.
They are performing harinama
for the benefit of the people.
People don’t realize it,
but they are giving out
the greatest treasure without
asking any payment.
They are distributing the
holy names of Krishna
which are the panacea
to all ills.
These men
do not expect any
praise or fame.
They are singing
God’s names
because it is their constitutional
position as part and parcel
of the Lord.
These men
are self-satisfied and just
want the privilege to go on chanting.

Jayadvaita Swami:

There are reasons Arjuna gives for accepting as the supreme soul and worthy of all homage.

Even great persons in human society make so many mistakes. They do not compare to Krishna.

When Brahma appears, all was dark as the sun was not created yet.

As the sky accommodates everything but is beyond it, everything is within Krishna.

By remembering the glorious features of Krishna, one advances and makes progress on the path back to Godhead.

Bhakti Prabhupada Vrata Damodara Swami:

Real knowledge must be transcendental knowledge because knowledge of a mirage has no meaning.

In Spanish they differentiate between something that temporarily is something (estar) and something that permanently is something (ser).

Epistemology means what is knowledge. Ontology means what is real.

This world is real in the sense it is coming from the Absolute Truth.

Everything in this material world is just a dream. That is the secret conclusion of the Vedic literature. This world is described to be a world of names only.

How can you expect metaphysical knowledge without qualification? When Srila Prabhupada was asked, “Can you show me God?” he would reply, “What is your qualification to see God?”

If it were not for the chanting of Hare Krishna we would not be here now. There are so many dangers from natural calamities, financial collapse, nuclear war, etc., but because of the chanting of Hare Krishna on the planet we have been protected from devastation.

We may not think “I am God” but we do think we are independent enjoyers and the lord of all we survey.

It is not just that we will go to hell for engaging in sense gratification but that our spiritual vision will be covered by lust.

The whole religion is in the mode of passion when they think that animals do not have souls.

Many philosophers consider we can never know reality but only our perception of it, but that is because they do not know about sabda, spiritual knowledge that is heard from authority.

Mahabharata shows how the culture of how human beings should live to elevate their consciousness. Both good examples and bad examples are there. The essential message of the Mahabharata is Bhagavad-gita.

We have to take Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Because he is a pure devotee of Krishna and because Bhagavad-gita is spoken by Krishna, he has inside knowledge of it.

The word spiritual is often used to mean some subtle emotion or mystical experience but we understand spiritual means transcendental to matter.

A big problem requires big solution. Death is such a problem.

The real problem is we are in the wrong world. We ignore the fact that we are creatures of spirit and not matter.

We cannot shed light on the effulgent spiritual world with our imperfect speculation.

In one sense, our chanting and dancing is like a rehearsal, and yet it is also the real thing.

The atheists either say there is no solution to the problem of death, or that the scientists will find and alter the aging gene and thus solve the problem.

I was visiting Vaikuntha Prabhu, who is 84 years old, in an old age home, and he was very happy, preaching to his roommate. He knows he does not have long to live, but he is Krishna conscious.

Srila Prabhupada said you could eat your way back to the spiritual world.

In Isopanisad, Srila Prabhupada says the Lord has millions of kinds of energy.

One devotee asked Srila Prabhupada, “How do I become more determined?”
Srila Prabhupada explained that determination comes from yourself and it is up to you.

One thing Srila Prabhupada said that always struck me from very beginning was that eating, sleeping, mating, and defending are activities also done by the animals, and if they are our only focus, then we are no better than animals.

I was in a hospital in Texas, and I saw a very rich man come in. His clothes alone could have been worth five thousand dollars. He came with an entourage of people. He was sitting in a wheelchair and looked utterly miserable. He might as well have been someone who did not have a dime ($0.10).

Nanda Devi Dasi:

Even one of the calamities the Queen Kunti experienced would be enough to agitate our minds for the rest of our lives, and yet she wanted more of these calamities as impetus to remember Krishna.

Kunti’s consciousness contrasts with that of conditional life in which we are agitated by the least disturbance and try to adjust the situation.

The world is manufactured to be a place of calamities, and if we do not understand that, we will be disappointed. Kunti understood this and took shelter of the Lord in the calamities.

Without piety, calamities will not drive one to the Lord for shelter.

We try to take shelter of Krishna at every moment to be ready for the inevitable calamities.

Every now and then I have a thought of Prabhupada and Krishna among the numerous other thoughts.

My neighbor is a cattle farmer. One day he sent the young calves away, presumably for slaughter, and for the next two days the cows were mooing in lamentation.

comment by Gopala: If we really understand something we act on it.

comment by Laura: In talking with devotees, I over and over again hear stories in which something apparently bad happened to them, but later on they discovered that “bad” thing had created advantageous situation.

In extreme situations, it is easier to think of Krishna because it is just so painful not to.

Our problem in condition life is like Ekendra Prabhu expresses in his song, “When it lets up a little, I think I like it here.”

Krishna wants our intense undivided affection, because that is our actual identity.

Vipralambha bhava is like ice. If you put ice on your skin, sometimes you experience it as burning, but its real effect is cooling. Similarly vipralambha bhava, although appearing to be suffering, is a cause of intensified happiness.

comment by Jaya Sri Vrinda: It seems to me you have to really like your drama queen side to appreciate the feelings of separation of the spiritual world.

comment by myself: I have heard one philosophical explanation of why the ecstasy of separation is greater than that of meeting. Krishna is supreme bliss, and when He is absent, the devotees are more absorbed in meditation Him, through strong feelings of separation, and thus they experience greater pleasure through the increased meditation on Him.

comment by Kalakantha Prabhu: If we think we are innocent and this world is wonderful, we are in double illusion. Actually we have committed misdeeds, and we will experience suffering as a result which this world is set up to deliver.

comment by Damodara Prasada: To emphasize the importance of practice in spiritual life, Vasesika Prabhu quotes a violinist who said, “If I do not practice one day I notice the difference, if I do not practice two days my teacher notices the difference, and if I do not practice three days, the audience notices the difference.”

comment by Laura: I experience that I am in more anxiety if for some days I do not go to the morning program or if I do not chant my rounds.

Madhava Prabhu [from Alachua]

Everyone experiences misery in this material world. Even Lord Brahma, the creator, is not exempt from suffering.

Brahma was surprised by the simplicity of Lord Krishna playing as a cowherd boy. Was He really his Lord, the almighty Vishnu? Thus Brahma decided to make a test.

The cowherd boys did not want Krishna to go hungry while they ate lunch so He grabbed a little of yogurt and rice as He went in search of the cows.

Susamiksamanah meaning “earnestly hoping for” has the prefix “su” which stresses the intensity of the hope.

Kunti never thought, “I am a devotee of Krishna. Why is He letting so much trouble come upon me.”

Krishna came to establish the importance of being virtuous in all circumstances, and the thus the Pandavas were seen to undergo so much suffering and yet retain their righteousness.

Caitanya dd [from Krishna House]:

There are so many jewels in the Bhagavatam, and when we are asked to give a class, we have to dive deeper and gather more.

When we encounter a reversal, usually our first reaction is not to think, “Oh, this must be the mercy of the Lord.” We think things like, “Why did this guy do that?” But the great devotees immediately understand reversals to be the Lord’s mercy.

One Mayavadi lady was completely disgusted with her visit to Vrndavana. She complained how she was gored by cow, her camera was stolen, her computer bag fell off a cart due to the bumpy roads, and her body was sick for many days. She also protested how everyone was saying everything was Krishna’s arrangement. I explained to her that in Vrindavana, Krishna acts to take away our material possessions so we can focus completely on our spiritual life. Unfortunately she said she was not ready for that.

During King Pariksit’s reign, this evil age of Kali had no influence, but now Kali’s influence is everywhere.

How could Pariksit Maharaja, who was saved from the attack of the brahmastra weapon by the Lord in the womb, be killed by a curse, if it was not the Lord’s arrangement?

If you have a scam to make money, many people will come, but if you talk about self-realization no one will be interested.
In this age, people want to be seen as spiritual, but they do not want to be spiritual.

My blind mother-in-law took most of the money I saved up that was stored in her house, and rather than get into with her and get it back, I took it as an opportunity to leave home and travel and preach. As a result I was able come to Krishna House and do so much service, and I can see it is Krishna’s mercy.

from a introductory lecture at Krishna House:

We never see order without intelligence.

I graduated from the University of Hawaii, and they did not have a class Soul 101.

Because we are not taught about the soul, we are so absorbed in our body. When our body came into this world, our birthday, we celebrate.

Everyone has heard about karma. We talk about good karma, or say, “I hope he gets his karma.”

Because our senses are imperfect, we cannot get perfect knowledge.

Beliefs are always changeable, but there are spiritual laws which are not a matter of belief.

You can take this knowledge your are getting tonight and apply it in your life. Knowledge we acquire that we cannot apply in our life is simply a burden.

One has to rise above the sensual and mental platform through encountering a self-realized person.

The spiritual energy is ever fresh unlike the material energy.

We never want to come down from the blissful state, but if we take shelter of something temporary we are destined to be frustrated.

There is something that has watched all those changes of body we have experienced in our life and that is the soul.

It is not the body that we are attracted to but the soul. Even our attraction to our pet dog is because the dog is consciousness. When the dog dies, we no longer have the same attraction to its dead body.

In spiritual life, we check with the scripture, the spiritual teacher, and the community of saints, and if there is disagreement, then we have to consider why one is not lining up, before we proceed.

Gopal Prabhu:

Lord Caitanya set the example that we should be wary of wealth by refusing to see King Prataparuda.

One reason too much material wealth can impede spiritual progress is that it enables people to afford to perform sinful activities.

comment by Alex: We were discussing why devotees of Lord Shiva are rich and devotees of Lord Krishna are pure. This is because Krishna specifically arranges what happens to a devotee so that he comes to attain the highest level of devotion, while Lord Shiva gives benedictions to his worshiper regardless of the results.

two comments by Jaya Sri Vrinda Devi Dasi:

I was trying very hard to absorb myself in family life and make my family life very devotional, but I failed and my family remained uninterested, and then everything fell apart. I was very frustrated. I was thinking Krishna is so cruel. But now I am initiated and living happily in Krishna House, and I have so many supportive friends.

I had some siksa gurus who were very fallen, and I would have never met them if they hadn’t been fallen because I was in a very fallen place. I concluded we do not know who these people are and what Lord Caitanya’s plan is for them.

Vaishnava Dasa Prabhu:

Someone who was following another religion told Srila Prabhupada that God cannot incarnate. Srila Prabhupada replied by asking, “Who will stop Him?”

Krishna says He rewards one who surrenders to Him. How? By giving knowledge within the heart.

Evan Prabhu:

comment after a class:

Krishna has all the time in the world for us, but the question is do we have time for Him?

Krishna-kripa dasa:

from a conversation at an introductory program:

Q: What about people you hate?
A: You hate people because of their demoniac qualities. But if you can engage them in acts of devotion, they will develop divine qualities, and you will no longer hate them. For example, one student eating the Krishna Lunch told me that whenever he eats Krishna Lunch, he does not become angry the whole afternoon. So let us say you hate some person because he is angry, you could encourage him to eat Krishna Lunch and in this way free him from anger. Thus you would become free from hatred of him and benefit him at the same time.


sa hanis tan mahac chidram
sa mohah sa ca vibhramah
yan-muhurtam ksanam vapi
vasudevam na cintayet

If even for a moment remembrance of Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is missed, that is the greatest loss, that is the greatest illusion, and that is the greatest anomaly.” (Vishnu Purana, quoted in purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.9.36)