Monday, March 10, 2014

Travel Journal#10.4: Florida, Dublin, Istanbul, Mayapur

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 10, No. 4
By Krishna-kripa das
(February 2014, part two)
Gainesville, Alachua, Orlando, Dublin, Istanbul, Mumbai, Mayapur
(Sent from Rishikesh, India, on March 10, 2014)

Where I Went and What I Did

I continued chanting at Krishna Lunch, chanting at the Farmers Market, teaching my weekly class on mantra meditation, and giving lectures at Gainesville’s Krishna House until February 20, when I took the Megabus to Orlando, where I chanted with Kishor Krishna Prabhu. I flew later that day from Orlando to Dublin by way of Philadelphia. There I chanted each day on the streets of that city, always with at least one friend, and one day we did a special nine-hour harinama. I flew to Mumbai on Turkish Airlines by way of Istanbul, where I had a nice conversation with a devotee in the airport. I spent the day in Mumbai at Chowpatty, hearing a couple kirtanas and lectures, and having three meals. At the end of the day, I took a 33-hour train to Mayapur, on which I had two kirtanas, the second attended by nine devotees. At Mayapur, the Kirtan Mela, which I will describe in the next issue, was just beginning, and my world harinama friends did harinama there. 

I share quotes from the books and lectures of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, excerpts from the journal of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, and lectures from Rtadhvaja Swami in Gainesville and Alachua, Bhakti Purushottama Swami in Mayapur, senior devotees like Kalakantha Prabhu and Nanda Devi in Gainesville and a couple senior brahmacaris in Chowpatty.  

Many thanks to Srikar Prabhu (Gainesville), Premarnava Prabhu (Dublin), Sundari Gopi dd (Gainesville), Uma dd (Tampa), and Bhakta Mike (West Virginia) for their kind donations, and to the devotees from Juhu for paying my way from Howrah to Mayapur.


March 6–13 - Rishikesh with Navina Nirada and Ekalavya Prabhus
March 14–20 - Delhi and Vrindavan
March 23–24 - Kolkata with Hari Sauri Prabhu
March 25 - Mayapur
March 26–April 1 – Indian Padayatra
April 2–13 - Mayapur
April 15–16 - Mumbai
April 17–24 - Ireland
April 25 - London
April 26 - King's Day, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
April 27–30 - 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

Mantra Meditation Class

I taught my mantra meditation class for five weeks. Twice no one showed up. One person came who had come to our Thursday introductory program at Krishna House, and one person who came to mantra meditation later came to our Wednesday introductory program on campus. Although no one came to the mantra meditation class twice, I saw two students the week after they came, and they said they were chanting 108 mantras every day or almost every day, and they both liked it. I hope they are able to continue with their interest in chanting Hare Krishna. It is the assurance of the Vedic scriptures and the saints in our tradition that simply by chanting names of the Lord, especially the Hare Krishna mantra, anyone can awaken one’s dormant love of God in this very life. Jaya Sri Vrinda dd, who came to my classes and is serious about perfecting her own chanting, will continue the class in my absence.  She once taught four of her fellow law school students mantra meditation, feeling sorry seeing them so stressed out.

Chanting at Krishna Lunch

At the beginning of Krishna Lunch each day, before it got busy, many devotees would be able to chant with us.

Here Ambika leads, playing the harmonium, Tony plays the drum, and Damodar Prasad plays the karatalas. They all are the children of devotee parents, and they love kirtana. Ambika used to sing in a band and has a powerful voice. Prabhupada disciple, Satyahit Prabhu, plays djembe in back, and Mother Saci Kripa, visiting from Michigan plays tambourine.     

Chanting at the Farmers Market

The last day before leaving Gainesville, eleven devotees came with me to chant at the Gainesville Farmers Market. A couple more devotees joined us there. 

Sometimes we only get three or four devotees to come. 

A girl about five years old played a maraca that Hladini gave her, initially playing nicely but later, smashing it into a rock wall in time with the music, thus breaking it. 

An Afro-American guy asked to play the clay mridanga, but doubtful that he would handle it gently I gave him some shakers which he played smilingly. 

A University of Florida girl was moving her hands in time with the music, so I gave her some shakers which she enjoyed playing. 

A young man named Gopala from Alachua whose parents were devotees and who I knew years ago came by and chanted for some time. It is a nice feature of that harinama that devotees who visit the Farmers Market end up being drawn into the chanting. 

At the end, we moved to the corner of the market when a band played on the stage, and we continued chanting. Some devotees talked of increasing their commitment to the Farmers Market harinama, which has resulted in at least one person becoming attracted to take up Krishna consciousness to the extent of attending programs and chanting Hare Krishna on beads.

Chanting in Orlando

Kishor Krishna Prabhu, who has assisted in college outreach over the years by chanting at campuses and doing vegetarian cooking classes for students, agreed to pick me up at the Megabus, drop me at the Orlando airport, and chant for a couple of hours in between. Originally we planned to chant at Valenica College, but Kishor had some paperwork to do for his car business as long as he was downtown, so we chanted for twenty minutes while Kishor was waiting for the paperwork to be complete. As we had little time, we decided to try other places downtown and on the way to the airport. Lake Eola seemed like a pleasant place, but there were too few people. Downtown was also pretty dead, We settled on chanting in front of the entrance to The Florida Mall Food Court, where there was an increasing number of people as lunch time was approaching and which is near the airport. We chanted there practically a whole hour, and no security personnel stopped us. One girl with her boyfriend took a video of us, and I gave her my business card so she could send it to us. Another young lady stood at the opened door of her shop watching us for ten minutes, and I also gave her a card. All together we distributed about ten cards which have the web site, the maha mantra, and my email, along with pictures of Lord Caitanya, Lord Nityananda, and Lord Krishna. We felt victorious as many people heard the holy name, we encountered no negativity, and we found a new venue to do harinama at.

Harinamas in Dublin

I chanted on harinama each day I was in Dublin, but could not do three hours the first day as my flight from Philadelphia was delayed by three hours, thus throwing off my schedule. 

Premarnava Prabhu, wearing an orange dhoti in the pictures, really supported me in our nine-hour harinama on Saturday, also staying out about 8½ hours. Krishna blessed us in that it did not rain very much, and for that time of year, it was not too cold, with a high of 50º F (10º C). The wind was a little annoying sometimes, blowing at 24 mph (39 kph) continuously, with gusts much higher, but fortunately it was from the south. A bunch of young people danced with us, and many people took pictures and videos, and there were the usual smiles of approval and thumbs up gestures. The devotees had rented a hall for a nine-hour kirtana for the following Saturday, and thus we able to use our marathon harinama to pass out invitations to the next week’s marathon kirtana! 

During the nine hours, seven men and four ladies participated for part of the time.

A new Indian girl, Puspa, also came out on harinama before the Sunday feast and stayed into the extra kirtana we had after the feast. On that harinama, a lady, perhaps in her 30s, tried singing along with us. I gave her a mantra card, and she happily sang for five minutes or so. She had been smoking a cigarette when she met us, and to facilitate her singing she threw it away. Then she mentioned to me that she always smokes them down till the end, but in this case, she threw it away when there was still a quarter of it left just to sing with us! She said she was homeless and that she once had eaten with us and the food was really good. We invited her to come for the Sunday feast which was just twenty minutes away, and she said she would, but unfortunately she got distracted. While she was singing with us, one atheistic man demanded to see God, and we tried to explain, as Srila Prabhupada often would, that one must be qualified to see God. The homeless lady joined the conversation, and continued our side of the argument with the man, as we moved over and kept on singing! Meeting that lady was one of those special encounters that makes harinama always an adventure.
Encounter in Istanbul

As I was having a dinner break in the Istanbul airport, I prayed to Krishna that if He wanted me to talk to anyone about His philosophy that He would have to send someone because I was inverted by nature and it was not likely to happen. Once when I was flying from Kiev to Delhi, I offered a similar prayer, and I had some good conversations, so I decided to do it again. As I was looking for my gate, a guy with gray hair smiled and said to me, “I remember you from Rishikesh last year.” I said, “Actually it was two years ago, and the devotees I was with are planning to go again this year, from March 4 to March 14.” He was from Coventry, England, and praised our temple there. He said his name was Gaura Hari, and he was in Vrindavana when Srila Prabhupada was there in the 1970s. He pointed to his luggage and said he had his younger brother’s ashes to places in the Ganges River, and how that was a very emotional experience for him. He told how his younger brother drank 3 or 4 bottles of wine a day, was a womanizer, and was into heavy metal music. Although only 49 years old, he felt some pain, went to the hospital for a check up, and never came out. He was yellow in color, his liver was beyond repair, and had only three days to live. Gaura Hari decided to make his younger brother’s passing as devotional as possible with a tape playing Prabhupada singing underneath his bed, and another one of Aindra Prabhu singing near his ear. He placed on his body an old garland from Shyamasundara in Vrindavan. Those were just some of the many arrangements that also included Ganges water from Gomukh, the very beginning of the river. After two days, his brother’s yellow color temporarily went away, and his brother sat up and embraced him, saying, “Hare Krishna, brother!” Those were his last words. Gaura Hari Prabhu had the Vaishnava song book and sang all the devotional songs from it that he knew. When his brother left his body on the third day, the room glowed a purple and orange color. At the funeral, all kinds of people we there, his heavy metal friends, the Salvation Army people, his drinking buddies, and some devotees. People played all kinds of music. Gaura Hari included George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” from the Bangladesh concert when he sings Hare Krishna at the end, and concluded the funeral with the Govinda prayers. Reflecting on the auspicious devotional elements present during his brother’s passing away and funeral, I told Gaura Hari Prabhu that such fortune was there because he had a devotee brother. It reminds me that Srila Prabhupada once said that the parents of the devotees will realize at the time of their deaths what great fortune it is to have a devotee child. We went on our separate ways, he to a flight to Delhi and me to a flight to Mumbai, but we may meet up again in Rishikesh when he arrives there on March 10, to put his brother’s ashes in the sacred Ganges. I got a sense that Gaura Hari Prabhu needed someone to share his struggle with and so Krishna arranged that I meet him at the Istanbul airport during our two-hour layover there.

Chanting on the Train

I had a couple nice experiences chanting on the Mumbai to Howrah mail train, while going to Mayapur for the Kirtan Mela, As it was Ekadasi and the entire day would be spent on the train, I decided to take advantage of my freedom from other engagements and chant sixty-four rounds. As I was recovering from several days of little sleep, two being overnight flights, I decided I would chant sixteen rounds and then take a nap, and continue in that way until I reached sixty-four. When I awoke after thirty-two rounds and two naps, it was 11:10 a.m., and the train was stopped. The noise of the vendors hawking, the people talking, and the kids crying was overwhelming. Although not half my trip was over, the cacaphony of mundane sound was intolerable, and so pulled out my harmonium, and started chanting Hare Krishna, still sitting in the upper berth where I had taken rest. Several people stared at me, but I did not care. I had tolerated hearing their sound for over half a day, now they would have to tolerate hearing mine. I was thinking of only chanting for ten minutes, but I felt refreshed hearing the transcendental sound, and it appeared that the objectionable noise around me had significantly diminished, so I had not the least inclination to stop chanting. I chanted until the train  began moving, decreasing the number of vendors, and drowning out the other noise with its own. In the midst of my kirtana, an Indian man wearing neck beads and also going to Mayapur for the Kirtan Mela and Maha Abhiseka (the great bathing ceremony for Pancatattva deities installed 10 years ago) gave me a bag with four tangerines. Later a woman in his party offered me chapatis and a potato preparation, but I declined as it was Ekadasi, the day when we fast from grains. Had I not chanted, I would never have met these two people of a similar spiritual inclination.

During the long afternoon when I was working on chanting the remaining mantras on my beads, I spent much time near the open doors at the end of the carriage as fewer people were talking, it was cooler, and seeing the grassy landscape with sparse trees and the sky pacified my mind. A couple devotees from another carriage came through and invited me to visit them where they sat. I decided to come by just after the sun set, bring my harmonium, and propose that we sing our evening song called “Gaura Arati” together. When we were at one of the longer stops, at the city of Bilaspur, I decided to take a break from chanting on beads, and get my computer (so it did not get stolen) and harmonium, and sing outside my carriage until the train began to move. As evening was approaching I sang the evening tune. I met one of the devotees who invited me to visit them. He was chanting on his beads alongside the train, and said I would come by later and we could sing the “Gaura Arati.” Near my carriage, the vendors made such a racket I decided to stand outside the carriage of the other devotees and sing until the train moved. Then when I went inside to sing with the other devotees, I found that devotees sitting in three different parts of the train had gathered, and there were nine of us altogether! They said to sing Hare Krishna for ten minutes, and then sing the “Gaura Arati” song. I complied, although we usually do them in the opposite order. I was just happy that we were singing together somehow. 

After I sang, four of the other eight devotees also sang, three of them also playing my idiosyncratic harmonium, and I sang once more at the end. 

The kirtana lasted for an hour and twenty minutes with times of great intensity and spiritual emotion. I danced to the next-to-last song. 

The uniformed Maharashtrian policeman sitting next to me began to sing along with the chanting, and he exchanged phone numbers with one of the devotees afterward. 

One devotee sang a song about Lord Caitanya with the refrain “Pranami saci suta gaura varam.” I tried to follow it in their song book, but there were too few copies, and I could not read the Devanagari script upside down in the book across from me fast enough to sing along, so I just sang the words I could recognize. 

It was powerful to be singing about Lord Caitanya with eight other devotees who were performing the austerity of taking a 33-hour train ride from Mumbai to Howrah, enroute to His glorious birthplace. I was happy that the Lord had brought us all together to sing for Him, and also to benefit everyone else in the carriage with the transcendental sound.

When we continued our journey on the local train to Nabadwip Dham, the Juhu brahmacari, Radhika Kanai Prabhu, sang along with me.

It is striking to me that even the Indian Railways acknowledges in their naming of the station Nabdwip Dham that it is a sacred place associated with the descent of the Lord in this world, by including the word dhama, or as pronounced in Bengali, dham, in its name. .

Harinama in Mayapur

Vishnujana Prabhu from Slovakia, Gaura Karuna Prabhu and Nrsimha Caitanya Prabhu from Czech Republic, Syama Ras Prabhu from Croatia, and Harinamananda Prabhu from Australia travel all over the world doing harinama. I had see them in London in June 2013 and Czech Republic in August 2013, and the end of February 2014 they came to Mayapur to do harinama in the holy dhama. Every day, usually about 4:30 p.m. they would gather near the end of Chakra Bhavan (the long building) where three paths interact and do harinama around our Mayapur campus for a couple of hours.

Vishnujana Prabhu appealed to the crowd to participate.

Then when the devotees would dance in a circle, Indian pilgrims would join in.

The ladies also got into dancing.

Gopinath Prabhu from Finland would play his bass guitar along with the party.

Other people came by and played their own percussion instruments.

Once two elephants passed our party, something that does not happen every day.

Lots of the Indian visitors would be happy to see and hear our party, and even to dance with us.

Odd Sights from the Train

In India, you see things you do not see other places. The spiritual world in the Vedic literature is called Vaikuntha in Sanskrit, which means a place of no anxieties, unlike any place in this world. In modern Indian languages this is transformed to Baikunth, and so it was humorous for me to see this sign from the train. It does not look like the spiritual world to me!!!

In the West you see people with different colors of hair, but I never saw anyone with a beard dyed orange before.

This time I saw a family of five riding on a motorcycle. Too bad the train was moving too fast to snap a picture. I believe I also saw four people on a bicycle. That is one more on either conveyance than I had seen previously.

To see the pictures I did not include in this blog, go to the link below (the pictures I did use appear first in the album):


Srila Prabhupada:

from a lecture given in Los Angeles on February 7, 1969 on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Appearance Day:

People are becoming Krishna conscious by the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Anyone can take to this movement. It is not as hopeless as I originally thought.

If we struggle hard to spread this movement, even if we do not get any followers, Krishna will be satisfied, and our aim is to satisfy Krishna.

Nothing is stopped, it is just purified.

from a lecture given in Gorakhpur, India, on February 15, 1971, on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Appearance Day:

Except the devotee of Krishna, everyone is simply giving trouble to Krishna.

For the purpose of inducing people to become Krishna conscious, you can make your plan, for that is Krishna’s plan.

It is the appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and we should honor the tithi [lunar day] very respectfully. We can pray to him, “We are engaged in your service, give us strength, give us intelligence, we are being guided by your servant.”

It is my duty to honor his appearance, but I am doing it with my entire spiritual family.

The feast should have at least four items, puri, halava, vegetable, and chutney.

[Srila Prabhupada approved the feast being in the evening, but the puspajali (offering of flower petals) should be at noon.]

from a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.1–3 on March 28, 1968, given San Francisco:

“Suppose a foolish boy is trying to touch fire. Father says, ‘Don’t do it.’ In spite of that, if the foolish boy does it, his hand is burned. So father is not responsible. He says, ‘Don’t do it.’ But the child does it out of ignorance and suffers. Similarly the sanction of God is there as we persist on it. ‘I want this. I want this.’ As a child sometimes cries and the mother is obliged to sanction, similarly, God is very kind. If we persist on doing something, He gives us sanction. But the result you have to suffer or enjoy.”

So they have no sufficient reason [to say] that there is no creator. In everything, we find there is a creator. Anything you take. Take for example this table. There is a creator. Somebody has manufactured it. Or this microphone, somebody has created it. Anything you take, you have to find out some creator. And such a vast, gigantic thing [as this universe], going on so nicely and punctually... The sun is rising punctually, the moon is rising punctually, the fortnight is going on, the season is coming punctually – everything. Why there should be no creator or no superintendent?”

“Just like in the Bible it is said ‘God said, “Let there be creation.”’ That means before the creation, before this material creation, God was there. . . . There was nothing material. Therefore, Gods body cannot be material, because He existed before the creation of matter. So before creation of matter, there was nothing like matter, though God was there. Therefore conclusion is that God has no material body. He spoke, ‘Let there be creation.’ ‘He spoke’ means He’s a person; otherwise how He can speak? But His personality is not material, because when He spoke there was no material creation.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.19, purport:

“The Supreme Lord, Narayana, is the seed-giving father of all living entities because the living entities are parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord. . . . As there is no difficulty in establishing the intimate relationship between a father and son, there is no difficulty in reestablishing the natural, intimate relationship between Narayana and the living entities.”

“ . . . if one performs even very slight devotional service, Narayana is always ready to save one from the greatest danger. The definite example is Ajamila. Ajamila separated himself from the Supreme Personality of Godhead by performing many sinful activities and was condemned by Yamaraja to be very severely punished, but because at the time of death he chanted the name of Narayana, although he was calling not for the Supreme Lord Narayana but for his son named Narayana, he was saved from the hands of Yamaraja. Therefore, pleasing Narayana does not require as much endeavor as pleasing one’s family, community and nation. We have seen important political leaders killed for a slight discrepancy in their behavior. Therefore pleasing one’s society, family, community and nation is extremely difficult. Pleasing Narayana, however, is not at all difficult; it is very easy.”

“If one wants to derive the actual benefit from this human form, he must take to the chanting of the holy name of the Lord.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.24, purport:

“If one sincerely tries his best to spread Krishna consciousness by preaching the glories of the Lord and His supremacy, even if he is imperfectly educated, he becomes the dearmost servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is bhakti. As one performs this service for humanity, without discrimination between friends and enemies, the Lord becomes satisfied, and the mission of one’s life is fulfilled. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore advised everyone to become a guru-devotee and preach Krishna consciousness (yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krishna’-upadesa [Sri Caitanya-caitamrita, Madhya 7.128]). That is the easiest way to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By such preaching, the preacher becomes satisfied, and those to whom he preaches are also satisfied. This is the process of bringing peace and tranquility to the entire world.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 11:

“A similar statement is there in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Second Chapter, verse 53, where Havi, the son of King Rsabha, addresses Maharaja Nimi: My dear King, a person who never deviates even for a moment from engagement in service at the lotus feet of the Supreme Person (engagement which is sought even by great demigods like Indra), with firm conviction that there is nothing more worshipable or desirable than this, is called the first-class devotee.’”

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

from a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.22 given in Los Angeles on August 25, 1972:

We must have no doubts about Krishna, and that state can be achieved by bhakti, devotional service.

Krishna is always ready to help us, and if Krishna is helping us, it is very easy to understand Him.

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 12:

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

“It is said in the Adi Purana, A person who is constantly engaged in chanting the holy name and who feels transcendental pleasure, being engaged in devotional service, is certainly awarded the facilities of devotional service and is never given just mukti [liberation].

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

“In the beginning at 26 Second Avenue
no one danced during the
kirtanas. Then one night a young man
named Bob Lefkowitz stood
up to dance. His pants were low
on his hips, and I thought
he danced in an egotistical
and erotic way. I didn’t like it,
but Swamiji looked at him
approvingly and smiled.
Soon after that, Swamiji
taught us the “swami step,”
a sedate movement where
you held your arms in the
air and took small steps.
We all began doing it in the
temple. Over the years, the
dancing grew more vigorous
and even rowdy. Almost
without exception, Prabhupada approved.
He just wanted to see the devotees’ enthusiasm.”

Rtadhvaja Swami:

When I was dealing with the AT&T customer service representative, after answering my initial question my phone, she asked if I had any more questions. I said, I do have a question that is troubling me. Now I have a 61 year old body, but I remember when I had a 6 year  old body. I guess that means I am the consciousness that has experienced different bodies. There must be a supreme consciousness beyond this, and I am wondering how to connect with that. She replied that is the most amazing thing that she had ever heard, but she agreed about the point of changing bodies, saying that it was also her experience.  

Time is unique because although always goes the same speed, sometimes it seems to be going faster and sometimes it seems to be going slower.

On a recorded lecture Srila Prabhupada says preliminary old age occurs at forty, and old age sets in at fifty.

The materialist thinks, “how can I take the fruits of my activities and enjoy sense gratification?” while a devotee thinks, “how can I engage the fruits of my work in Krishna’s service?”

The knower of the Absolute Truth is convinced about his awkward position in this world. By awkward I mean unstable. Thus he does everything as an offering to Krishna to become disentangled.

By positively engaging in devotional service, we become detached. Slowly but surely the higher taste comes, but it takes effort, it takes practice.

The devotee is not disturbed by the actions and reaction of material nature as they are under the control of Krishna.

When asked the vision of the pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada explained, “The devotee sees everything and controlled by Krishna.”

Once on our trip, one of the boys stole a candy bar. The next time we stopped at Sam’s Club, we got three cartloads of food for the boys, and I told them to bypass the cash register, and go straight to the car. They said, “Maharaja, you cannot go out with three cartloads of food and not pay.” I replied, “Well, that is your philosophy.” They responded, “Maharaja, there is a difference between a candy bar and three cartloads of food!”

If you go to the movies it is maya [illusion], and if you like it, it is more maya.

Krishna says of fish I am the shark, but that does meant Jaws is a bona fide movie.  

Answer to a question: If you want to make a movie about Bhakti Tirtha Swami, that is a good thing, but better you exhaust other methods of learning movie skills before watching materialistic movies.

To be not disturbed in any circumstances is a very elevated position. This means the mind is never deviated from Krishna even in midst of the greatest difficulties.

If a devotees cuts his finger in the kitchen while chopping vegetables, he thinks that he should have cut his head but instead he just cut his finger.

To overendeavor is not recommended by Rupa Goswami, and someone once asked me, “How I know if I am overendeavoring?”
I replied, “If you are not getting your sixteen rounds done, then you are overendeavoring.”

Envy means you have something I don’t have, and I think I should have it.

At the end of my involvement with the hippie movement, I realized we were attached to our hippie attire and our hippie lifestyle as much as the businessmen were attached to their formal dress and their businessman lifestyle.

We fast till dusk on Nrsimha Caturdasi, but actually Nrsimhadeva appeared at noon.

I was teaching verses to my thirteen boys in Mayapur. One [Bg. 2.14] was about the need to tolerate happiness and distress. I asked the boys to give an example when they tolerated happiness or distress. They all gave examples of tolerating distress. I said, “Something is wrong here. Can anyone understand what it is?” After ten minutes of guessing, one boy realized no one gave an example of tolerating happiness.

Srila Prabhupada advised the devotees, “No matter how intolerable it becomes, just tolerate it.”

Our senses may be attracted to something, but we do not make any endeavor to go for it.

A devotee may take a risk for Krishna, but he is not attached to the result.

Srila Prabhupada said that each day in Vrindavan there was a demon killing ceremony by Krishna.

We make a plan, but we are not dependent on our plan. We roll with the punches.

One must be an honest practitioner of Krishna consciousness, both materially and spiritually.

Prahladananda Swami:

from a conversation in Mayapur:

Me: I am still ecstatic that you came out to join our harinama [public chanting] party in New York City.
Prahladananda Swami: I am ecstatic that I came out to join your harinama party in New York City!

Bhakti Purusottama Swami:

The Srimad-Bhagavatam stresses the nine items of devotional service to the Supreme Lord. The best of these is the congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord.

Although the Bhagavatam comes from the Vedas, it gives what the Vedas cannot give.

Greater even than this bhagavata-dharma is the yuga dharma preached by Lord Caitanya which is the congregational chanting of the holy name and which results in Krishna-prema.

96% of the Vedas is karma kanda, 4% is jnana kanda. Bhakti is rarely mentioned.

Krishna could have said, “Abandon all varieties of irreligion (adharma) and surrender to Me,” but He did not. He said, “Abandon all varieties of religion (dharma) and surrender to Me,” What dharma did Krishna speak of abandoning? Dharma [mundane religiosity], artha [economic development], kama [sense gratification], and moksa [liberation]. [These are the four traditional goals of life.] This is also what the Bhagavatam speaks of rejecting.

Bhagavatam teaches prema-bhakti which enables one to understand God as God. Lord Caitanya taught a prema-bhakti in which one does not understand God as God but rather as one’s intimate friend, lover, etc.

The name of the Lord gives liberation but the Hare Krishna maha-mantra as taught Lord Caitanya gives this supreme prema-bhakti. The holy name is not just meant to eliminate sinful reactions.

When we chant Hare Krishna, we are not just giving up our sinful reactions but giving up our pious reactions as well. We cannot attain Krishna-prema until we are free from all reactions. 
Kali-yuga is so bad that Lord thinks the people are too fallen for Him to deliver. Who is more merciful than the Lord Himself? His holy name. Thus it is said that the Lord appears in Kali-yuga in the form of His holy name.

Businessman means busy – too busy to have time for spiritual activities. Narada asked one businessman to engage in spiritual activities, but he said he had no time. Narada advised him, “When you are going to the toilet, chant “Rama, Rama, Rama.” The businessman was happy he could do something spiritual and not take time out of his life, so everyday he happily chanted “Rama” in the toilet room. Hanuman heard the chanting of “Rama, Rama, Rama” coming from the house and became attracted. He looked all over, and found the man was chanting in the toilet. He became angry that this man was chanting of his glorious Lord in the toilet of all places, and when the man came out, he criticized him and slapped him. When Hanuman next saw Lord Rama, His face was swollen, and Hanuman was outraged to see that. “I will kill the offender,” he told Lord Rama. “You are the offender!” Rama replied. “How is that?” Hanuman asked in surprised. Rama replied, “You slapped the face of the man who was chanting My name, and Me and My name are not different!”

We are always saying that chanting the holy name is so glorious, but alas, we are often absorbed in so many other activities we do not chant the holy name.

Lord Caitanya is running after us saying, “Take this Krishna-prema.” 

We say that we do not need anything but the holy name, and these Kirtan Melas are an opportunity for us to realize this.

Kalakantha Prabhu:

Once the devotee scientists in Bhaktivedanta Institute engaged a scholar in studying the cosmology given in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrita. The scholar seriously studied it and found that he was not able to disprove it, but because he could not prove it, he did not personally accept it.

There is one question which the scientists’ explanation of the universe and the Biblical creation story do not answer, but which the Vedic cosmology can answer, and that question is “Why?”

There are departments of knowledge that deal with the different elements:
Earth – geology
Water – hydrology
Fire – chemistry
Air – meteorology
Ether – physics
Mind – psychology
Intelligence – philosophy
False ego – the spiritual science

comment by Damodar Prasad: Srila Prabhupada would say that we accept the scientific knowledge that we cannot personally verify so why can we not accept spiritual truth that we cannot yet verify.

When you think about it, the theory that monkeys morphed into human beings is also a fantastic theory which cannot be demonstrated.

Both in Vedic knowledge and modern science we accept fantastic ideas as facts because there are many truths in both systems of knowledge that we can verify by experience or experiment.

My friends were asking themselves the question, “What would you like to change in your life over the next ten years?” I considered it and thought that I hope that nothing in my life changes in the next ten years. This is because of your association [the enthusiastic devotees at Gainesville’s Krishna House].

comment by Clayton: As time goes on, being engaged devotional service  you come to realize that serving the devotees that you are with everyday is the way you are going to serve Srila Prabhupada.

comment by Damodar: It is said that in the churning of the milk ocean pastime the demigods and the demons were all in the same place and endeavoring for the same end, but because the demigods took shelter of the Supreme Lord they came out successful.

Nanda Devi:

Srila Prabhupada is both logical and faithful. Sukadeva, as a learned scholar, would not insert mythology into his presentation of spiritual knowledge.

There is such variety in the Vedas so whoever you are, there is something to elevate you to a higher level.

The essence of the Vedic knowledge is to understand the body is a temporary vehicle and the soul must contact the Supersoul.

The Lord is always protecting us, and the more we see this, the more we can appreciate ourselves as being tiny dependent parts of the Lord.

Everything was originally unclear in the darkness, but after Brahma’s penance, although his environment remained the same, by Krishna’s grace he could then actually see how things were situated.

In other religions and other philosophies we do not find such a vast description of the Lord’s glories.

Tara Prabhu:

from a conversation at Mayapur Kirtan Mela:

Ramanujacarya has said that even if one cannot do any other good deeds, if one can simply sit in the association of the devotees of the Lord, he will become eligible for all auspiciousness.   

Syamananda Prabhu (Chowpatty):

Krishna and Balarama reveal their forms as the Lord of Vaikuntha and Ananta Sesa to show that it is possible for people to see God.

Srila Prabhupada would make the point, “Why are you so concerned about seeing God? You can taste God.”

Srila Prabhupada’s morning program has something to capture all the senses. One devotee said when he first heard the conch shell it effected his mind. Another said it was being sprinkled by the water offered to the Deity.

The mind is like a parachute. It works only when it is open.

One senior devotee was asked how should we respond when the deity curtain opens, and we see the Lord. He replied that ideally we should faint.

Upavasa, or fasting, is so called because it is meant to bring us closer to God.

Upanishadic texts are meant to bring us closer to God.

I am happy that Krishna left Gokula Vrindavan because without His leaving there would be no Bhagavad-gita.

Krishna likes to be called Gopinatha because it reminds Him of the gopis’ devotion. Calling him the master of the modes of material, although certainly true, does not give Him so much pleasure.

Liberation means giving up all other designations.

Syamananda Prabhu (Dublin):

from a conversation in Dublin temple:

Our philosophy is that our relationships in this world are temporary, but our culture is to love as though they were not.

Gauranga Priya Prabhu (Chowpatty):

In the mode of ignorance, one is so absorbed in his work, he cannot see the reality.

If after working, we suffer, we were working in the mode of passion. If after working we are peaceful and happy, we were working in the mode of goodness.

Srila Prabhupada’s instructions disinfect us from material infection.

We may be very enthusiastic to serve the guru, but if the results of our endeavor are full of suffering then our action was contaminated by the mode of passion.

To not be agitated either by not achieving happiness or by achieving unhappiness, is a great idea, and it is possible by linking our actions with Krishna.

Hladini dd:

from a comment during my class:

Tulasirani dd always tries to engage the people in service. Once time at the University of North Florida she talked to a girl for sometime, but the girl showed no interest in attending our Krishna Club there. The girl then helped Tulasirani by holding the door open while she carried supplies into the building for our club meeting. Later Tulasirani and I were distributing books door-to-door, and we met that same girl again. This time she showed surprising interest in both the books and our club, purchasing a book and then coming to our Krishna Club meetings. We both felt it was because the girl voluntarily helped Tulasirani that Krishna inspired her with greater interest in spiritual life.


Seeing the Panca-tattva in both Dublin and Mayapur, I was remembering the verses below and related verses in that section of  Sri Caitanya-caritamrita which describe their merciful mood and mission:

sei panca-tattva mili’ prithivi asiya
purva-premabhandarera mudra ughadiya
pance mili’ lute prema, kare asvadana
yata yata piye, trishna badhe anukshana
punah punah piyaiya haya mahamatta nace,
kande, hase, gaya, yaiche mada-matta
patrapatra-vicara nahi, nahi sthanasthana
yei yanha paya, tanha kare prema-dana

“The characteristics of Krishna are understood to be a storehouse of transcendental love. Although that storehouse of love certainly came with Krishna when He was present, it was sealed. But when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came with His associates of the Panca-tattva, they broke the seal and plundered the storehouse to taste transcendental love of Krishna. The more they tasted it, the more their thirst for it grew. Sri Panca-tattva themselves danced again and again and thus made it easier to drink nectarean love of Godhead. They danced, cried, laughed and chanted like madmen, and in this way they distributed love of Godhead. In distributing love of Godhead, Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates did not consider who was a fit candidate and who was not, nor where such distribution should or should not take place. They made no conditions. Wherever they got the opportunity, the members of the Panca-tattva distributed love of Godhead.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi 7.21–23)