Friday, April 25, 2014

Travel Journal#10.7: Mayapur, Mumbai, and Istanbul

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 10, No. 7
By Krishna-kripa das
(April 2014, part one
Mayapur, Mumbai, and Istanbul
(Sent from Dover, England, on April 25, 2014)

Where I Went and What I Did

I was very happy to attain Sri Mayapur Dham again after a week in Kolkata. There I did harinama, the congregational chanting of the holy name, for nearly three hours every day for ten days. One day I also chanted in Krishnanagar with a group of devotees from Mayapur. In Mayapur I celebrated Rama Navami and attended part of Jayapataka Swami’s Vyasa Puja ceremony. I took a train to Mumbai, chanting at Bilaspur, Raipur, and Nagpur along the way. In Mumbai I did harinama one day with Juhu devotees and next day with Mira Road devotees. I also spoke at a program glorifying Aindra Prabhu near Mira Road. On my way back to Dublin, I chanted both with a violinist and by myself in the Istanbul airport.

I share very inspiring quotes from Srila Prabhupada’s books and notes on his lectures. I share excerpts from the journal of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami. I include notes on lectures by Jayapataka Swami, Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami, Bhakti Purushottama Swami, Bhaktisiddhanta Swami, Murari Krishna Swami, and Janmastami Prabhu.

I want to thank my friend Tara Prabhu for very kindly giving me a liberal donation in Mayapur as well as a couple great lunches featuring vegetables grown in his own garden. I want to thank Gaura Dasa Prabhu from South Africa for kindly letting me stay with him for eleven days in Mayapur and feeding me many healthy and tasty meals. I want to thank Janmastami Prabhu, Jnanagamya Prabhu, Vaikuntha Prabhu, and Dina Bandhu Prabhu for inviting me for meals while in Mayapur. 

Thanks to Dina Bandhu Prabhu for the pictures of me on harinama in Mayapur. Thanks to Prema Ras Prabhu for the pictures of me on harinama in Mumbai. Thanks to and the original photographers for the pictures of the Mayapur deities. Thanks to Saci Gaurasundara Prabhu for the picture of Gaura Das Prabhu.


April 26: King’s Day, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
April 27–30: The Netherlands
May 1–2: Manchester, England
May 3–5: North UK Retreat
May 6–9: Newcastle
May 10–11: Birmingham 24-hour kirtana
May 12–13: Newcastle
May 14: Sheffield
May 15: Preston
May 16–17: Manchester
May 18: Sheffield Ratha-yatra
rest of May–July (first two-thirds): The North of England, 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, Ireland
September (rest): New York

Reflections on Mayapur

Mayapur, in the Nadia District of West Bengal, is the place where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in this world. Bhagavad-gita reveals its speaker, Sri Krishna, to be the original form of the Supreme Lord, and confidential parts of the Vedic literature tell how He appears again in the role of His own devotee, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in the beginning of this age of degradation known as Kali, to show how to practice devotional service to the Lord by His own example. He is glorified for giving the highest spiritual perfection krishna-prema, love of Godhead, to people without any spiritual qualifications. Mayapur is similarly merciful. Sleeping in Mayapur is considered as bowing down before the Lord. Eating food grown in Mayapur is described to bless one with love of God. Offenses in Mayapur are not counted against one. Even great saints who gave up everything to reside in Krishna’s land of Vrindavan, end up renouncing Vrindavan to live in Mayapur.

I found it very easy to execute the vow of chanting 16 times around the strings of 108 beads in Mayapur. Even if I made no real endeavor to chant in the morning, if I just chanted as I walked from here to there or while waiting in lines I would easily complete my vow by the end of the day.

In Mayapur I see people I knew when I lived in San Diego, when I lived in Alachua, who I met on the Polish festival tour, who I met in the UK, who I met in other parts of Europe, who I met in other parts of India, and who I met in Mayapur, when I would spent the winter studying there. Some of my friends live there now. I had meals with friends on several occasions.

I stayed with Gaura Dasa Prabhu, from South Africa, who I met and visited in the Manchester area the last two summers and who was very hospitable.

Some Radhanatha Swami disciples involved with the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai have created a similar, but small facility in Mayapur, in what used to be called the polyclinic in Gaur Nagar, just before you get to our ISKCON temple.

You can see the Vedic Temple of the Planetarium construction progressing as you walk around our Mayapur property. Leaders are asking everyone to sponsor a square foot of the temple for $150 or 7000 rupees.

It is a little unusual that on Lord Rama’s appearance day in Mayapur, they do not have a big feast for all the devotees. I was invited for lunch that day, so I was not very disturbed. I learned for future reference that at the Prabhupada Puspa Samadhi there is a feast for some senior devotees and at Murari Gupta’s Sita-Rama temple there is a feast at 2:00 p.m. for who ever shows up.

The Mayapur devotees were very inspired to decorate the campus for the arrival of Jayapataka Swami with all kinds of artwork made with chalk and flower petals

Amazingly, even the monkeys congregated above the medical dispensary near the gate, as if preparing to greet Jayapataka Swami.

Later they moved above the main gate.

I love looking at the altar of Radha, Madhava, and their eight female associates. It is the Gaudiya Vaishnava understanding that service to the divine couple, Krishna and His beloved consort Radha, is the highest spiritual ecstasy. Krishna and Radha share the joy of Their transcendental love with those who assist Them in Their pastimes. This is depicted on the altar where the eight girlfriends of Radha-Madhava all appear very joyfully engaged in the service of the divine couple. This time I finally memorized all eight of their names. On Krishna’s side of the altar, from left to right, are Tungavidya, Citra, Campakalata, and Lalita, and on Radha’s side of the altar, from left to right, are Visakha, Indulekha, Rangadevi and Sudevi.

Chanting the evening arati prayers in front of the Panca-tattva, Lord Caitanya and His four associates, is also an unforgettable experience – so many people chanting and dancing in front of the personality who inaugurated this practice of chanting and dancing and who we hope to please by that activity.

I look forward to my next visit to Mayapur, planned for February 2016.

Harinamas in Mayapur

Kusha Prabhu, from Africa, playing drum, is in charge of the Mayapur Harinama Party, while Gitanagari Prabhu, playing the harmonium, is there every day to sing and arrange for others to sing.

After leaving Kolkata, I arrived in Mayapur at 3:00 p.m., just in time for harinama, which was from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. Later they shifted from to 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., desiring to avoid some of the heat of the sun, but that proved to be too late, and so they settled on 3:30 to 6:00 p.m.

I was leading the singing near Hulor Ghat, when my friend Dina Bandhu Prabhu from Gainesville, along with Darlina, his wife, came by, returning from shopping in Navadvipa with Tulasirani dd. I was given 45 minutes to sing, but I gave half my time to him to encourage him since I know he plays some lively tunes on the harmonium. The brahmacari drummer from Malayasia liked Dina Bandhu’s singing so much, he encouraged him to sing for the rest of the harinama.

Darlina did a great job of singing the response as Dina Bandhu led. Dina Bandhu fell in love with doing harinama in Mayapur in procession with the Gaura-Nitai deities on our cart and came out every day for the rest of his stay, arriving punctually by 3:00 p.m. each day. I am always encouraging people to go on harinama, at the expense of having to endure the pain of hearing their excuses, so it was a great joy to see Dina Bandhu Prabhu’s spontaneous enthusiasm, which judging from his timeliness, may exceed my own.

Some girls in the playground moved to the music of our chanting party.

The next day we went to the Sita Rama temple at the home of Murari Gupta, the incarnation of Hanuman in Lord Caitanya’s pastimes. We sang for the deities there for a little over an hour.

One the way back, Svarupa Damodar Prabhu, from Ukraine, who I have seen in previous years on Mayapur Harinama Party, led the singing with great delight. He stayed a few more weeks before returning to Ukraine.

The day after that we went to the Jagannatha temple across the Jalangi River from Hulor Ghat. I had to leave early as I promised some devotees I would go on harinama with them in Krishnanagar. 

One devotee there was doing a program at his house and wanted to precede it with a harinama around that area of Krishnanagar. 

Deities accompanied us on the procession.

The ladies danced.

Mangalavati Citra dd was especially enthusiastic.

The guys danced.

A bunch of Western devotees from Mayapur came, many from Brazil, some from Russia, Czech Republic, Croatia, and a few other places. It took so much time waiting to go and getting there that we were only able to do harinama for an hour and fifteen minutes or so. 

Still it was good to go, and many people received the party nicely, like the smiling and clapping motorcycle rider above. We also did kirtana at the home of our host, and honored prasadam there as well.

On Saturdays and Sundays and near the time of Jayapataka Swami’s Vyasa Puja we chanted around our Mayapur campus because it was so crowded there. Often the people are milling around in an unfocused way, and harinama increases their devotional concentration. 

Sometimes the people are willing to sing and dance. 

The devotee ladies often danced with the pilgrims.

Sometimes we go and chant down by the goshala, the cow barn. They have very nice lassi there for just 20 rupees which is very refreshing, and a tasty way of supporting the cow program.

Sometimes we chanted where the devotees were distributing free prasadam, spiritual food.

After the feast for Jayapataka Swami’s Vyasa Puja, a mother and daughter from Bangalore joined our harinama party. Our amplifier was so loud it woke them up, and they saw our party from the window of their room, and they came down to join us, staying the rest of the afternoon. They considered this harinama was just the ideal activity to be doing during their vacation in Mayapur and were so happy to be a part of it. A shorter girl from Jaipur also joined us the same day, also happy to be on the party. [In Jaipur chanting parties in the streets are not unusual, and once on harinama there I encountered another harinama party.] 

The three ladies all sang the response, often into the microphone. They all fell in love with the Mayapur Harinama Party and came every day for the rest of their stay. On my last day, I explained to the mother that every two years, I come to join the party for two months, all the way from America, and that in the same way, she could make it a point to come regularly to Mayapur and do harinama, perhaps a week every year. She liked the idea but said, like a typical Indian wife, that it depended on if her husband let her.

In the evening at our Mayapur campus they had a four-day program under the title “Tribal Care”. Apparently one concern is that people in rural Bengal are becoming converted to Christianity by being given free rice. They asked different devotees to speak. When I spoke I told the story of how a zealous Indian Christian was really pressuring me to accept a Bible on a train in South India. I was trying to think of a way to respond to him, and it occurred to me to say, “I come from America which is a predominantly Christian country and the Christians had twenty years of my life to convince me to give up sinful acts and take shelter of God, but they failed. The Hare Krishnas, however, were successful, so I am going to stick with them.” After telling that story, I glorified the Hare Krishna mantra and how it gives you a higher spiritual experience and gives you the strength to give up self-destructive activities. Some devotees liked what I said. Before the speaking, both the locals and the Westerners chanted. One day Tulasirani dd, who I know from Florida, got to sing once but only for five or ten minutes. She sang a tune which she sang in December at the University of North Florida green and did a good job with it. I got to sing on the stage each day I was there, but never to lead. I felt I got to sing on harinama for forty-five minutes or an hour every day, so I did not really mind. The day when the organizer planned to ask me to lead, I did not come since the Krishnanagar program she also organized went so late it messed up my schedule, and I was not eager to add another event to my life. I am happy just going on the regular Mayapur Harinama Party, keeping up on my reading and blog, and catching up on my promises to devotees.

Chanting on the Train to Mumbai

As usual, I downloaded the list of the stops with their duration for the Jnaneswari Express I took to Mumbai so I could chant on the platform at the longer stops. We arrived at Bilaspur about ten minutes early, a surprise, especially considering we left Howrah eight minutes late. Thus we stayed there at least twenty-five minutes instead of the scheduled fifteen. I sang a three-part Hare Krishna tune on the platform with my harmonium, which sounds a lot better because of the two repairs I had done on it by Master Pankaj in Mayapur. A group of varying size listened. 

One man (on the right in front) sang along. I decided to reciprocate with him by giving him a book about Krishna as a gift, but he passed in to some young uniformed men (left), who had been cleaning the train while it was stopped. After their cleaning, they had listened to me sing, and took some video of it. They were happy to get the book. I had them take a photo of my last business card, so they would have my email address to send me the video. You never know if the people will, but the last one who took a picture did.

As I got on the train, someone in my compartment continued singing Hare Krishna to the same tune, and I offered him a book. I asked him, “Hindi or Bangla?” He said, “Bangla,” and I gave him my last Bengali book.

I saw him reading it on two occasions, once aloud to himself as he lay in his side upper berth. I chanted again at Raipur. When I chant and feel awkward about it, I think of how Lord Caitanya predicted and desired that the holy name of Krishna be chanted in every town and village, and my attempt must be pleasing to Him. It is also glorification of the foresight and potency of Caitanya Mahaprabhu that a Westerner is even singing the holy names at all. And it is a reminder that the chanting of the holy name is the dharma of this age, as I told the people at Bilaspura just before my train left.

Just before reaching Nagpur, I met Rohit, a young Indian salesman who works in the area of software. Because he worked sometime in San Francisco, he spoke English beautifully. He was originally from Uttarakhand, literally “the north country” of India, near Haridwar, and appreciated that area where the Ganges flows as a spiritual place. He told me of another place in the north called Nanital, which has many temples which give you a profound spiritual feeling. He was from Pune, and I showed him the recent Back to Godhead with the article on our new temple there, and I promised to send him a copy. He was leaving the train at Nagpur, and I told him I was going to sing for the ten minutes we were scheduled to stop there and I invited him to listen. His train was not for two hours so he agreed. He listened for most of the time, and advised me to learn Hindi to explain to people what I was doing, so they would appreciate it more.

Chanting in Mumbai

My friend Prema Ras Prabhu who started the Friday night program in Gainesville, especially for his friends, Indian IT and engineering students, ended up moving back to Mumbai after graduating and working briefly in America. He kindly asked his harinama friends to arrange some extra harinamas for me in Mumbai. When I arrived in Mumbai, just as when I arrived in Delhi, I got to do some extra harinama as I ended up at a different exit from the train station than the devotee who came to get me anticipated. I always assume the exit near platform one is the best place to meet people, but in India that is not always true. Thus I chanted outside Dadar for 40 minutes, surrounded by leaf sellers, garland sellers, and taxis. The leaf sellers provided a table for my harmonium and seat to sit on. One also let me use his phone, as I had no credit on mine. 

Later as the afternoon ended, we chanted twenty minutes in a motor rickshaw to a garden ISKCON Juhu owns by the beach.

We chanted briefly at the entrance to the garden.

Inside the garden we chanted for over an hour.

We had 36 people listening to us in the garden at one point! Five chanted and about ten clapped. Later some young kids chanted and danced with us.

Prema Ras Prabhu proved himself expert at inspiring the kids.

We had five devotees for the end of harinama.

Then after returning to ISKCON Juhu, we chanted near the prasadam distribution and book distribution booths.

There Adbhuta Hari Prabhu, from Croatia, who used to act as personal service of his guru, Sridhara Swami, joined us, sometimes playing mrdanga and sometimes singing and playing the harmonium.

Some people happily danced.

Even some kids danced.

Thus I completed my quota of three hours of public chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra at four different venues in Mumbai, (1) outside the Dadar train station, (2) on the rickshaws to and from the ISKCON garden, (3) at the ISKCON garden, and (4) outside the Juhu temple to the many pilgrims. I felt happy to connect with Prema Ras Prabhu, who I remember from his enthusiasm on our late night Friday harinamas in Gainesville, and thankful to Abhinav Prabhu, who organized harinamas and participated in them in Mumbai.

The second day was not as successful as the first, perhaps because of the absence of Prema Ras. Abhinav thought it would be easier to get the devotees in ISKCON Mira Road to participate, so we caught a ride over there in the milk truck that delivers milk from the devotee farm to both Juhu and Mira Road. That meant missing the second half of the morning program. We planned to do harinama from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., before a home program glorifying Aindra Prabhu, whose appearance day was recently, but it was not such a good plan to start at 5:00 p.m. because that is when lunch prasadam is served, and thus we changed it to 5:30 p.m. I was a little late from a dentist appointment at Bhaktivedanta Hospital, and Abhinav was even later, coming from working in another part of Mumbai. I took lunch at the hospital to save time, but Abhinav had not had lunch, so it was 6:30 p.m. before we were ready, and then we had to round up some more people. We started around 6:45 p.m. and had five or six people. We started from the temple ashram, to the temple itself, and then to the nearby apartment where the home program was to happen.

There we stopped at another devotee apartment on the way. We had someone playing the whompers and someone dancing, and that was an increase over the previous day. I was amazed we could chant so vigorously outside, and even inside, the apartment building where our evening home program was to be without anyone complaining.

I was to speak to glorify Aindra Prabhu, who is famous for establishing the 24-hour kirtana program in Vrindavan and for having a lot of devotion for Krishna. I like to read something from Srila Prabhupada’s books, and decided to read the symptoms of bhava, ecstatic love of God, from The Nectar of Devotion, as many of them were prominent in the character of Aindra Prabhu. When the devotee returned from the temple with an English copy of The Nectar of Devotion to speak from, I opened it and was surprised and delighted to find that although the book has 51 chapters, it opened to the chapter called “The Character of One in Ecstatic Love”! I decided to talk about the last four of the nine qualities bhava which were described on the very page the book opened to, and to tell how Aindra Prabhu manifested them:
(6) He is always very eager to serve the Lord faithfully. (7) He is very much attached to the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. (8) He is always eager to describe the transcendental qualities of the Lord. (9) He is very pleased to live in a place where the Lord's pastimes are performed, e.g., Mathura, Vrindavana or Dvaraka. I told my usual stories of Aindra Prabhu (see, and other people told some as well. We sang some of his popular tunes. People were satisfied with the program. My only lamentation is that it went so long I only slept four hours before my over ten hours of flights to Ireland!

Devotional Experiences from Mumbai to Dublin

As I went through airport security in Mumbai, the Indian man who scanned me asked if I had visited Gujarat. I said no and explained I went to Mayapur, a sacred place of the Hare Krishnas in West Bengal. Later as I gathered up my X-rayed belongings, I asked the man if he was from Gujarat himself, and he said no and asked if I had heard of Haridwar and Rishikesh. I smiled thinking of my pleasant visits to Rishikesh the last two times to India, and told him I had been there and how the Ganges flowing through the mountainous region was so beautiful and how Rishikesh was a sacred place and he was fortunate to have come from there. He asked if I liked the Hindu religion. That is a tricky question to answer for me because there are all kinds of issues involved, so I groped for something simple and truthful to say. “Krishna is a very loving God,” I said with a smile. He replied, also smiling, “Yes, Krishna is a loving God.” Seeing the beat up condition of my harmonium as it emerged from the X-ray machine, a security lady asked if it was broken. I took the opportunity to play a couple of mantras on it to show her it was in fact in working condition. She was pleased, although some of the others guards were a little apprehensive to have me playing it at security.

I placed my harmonium in an empty overhead bin on my Turkish Airlines flight, but mid flight I noticed someone had placed a violin next to it. When we arrived in Istanbul, I opened the bin, and the girl in back of me recognized my instrument as a harmonium. She said likes to jam with her violin and has been getting into more spiritual music recently, even playing violin at bhajans. She expressed it would be wonderful if it were possible to play together at the airport before her next flight. I told her how my friend had played his one-headed drum and chanted in Istanbul on his way to India, so it was a realistic possibility. When we went through security in Istanbul, the lady checking the bags wondered about my harmonium, having never seen one, so I got to play and sing a mantra at security for her, while the violinist waited. The violinist was named Lisa, and she lived in Leipzig. She started playing violin at age 7. She also did meditation and kriya-yoga. She had attended the Ancient Trance festival near Leipzig which I had gone to last year for the first time. I explained that the Hare Krishnas did music and catered vegetarian food there. She had been to a Hare Krishna Diwali festival in Leipzig and remembered how wonderful Krishna food is. I told her how for several years we have had Kirtan Mela, with six days of chanting twelve hours a day, both times in a area near Leipzig. Her flight was an hour before mine so we found her gate and walked most of the way there. It was the time for boarding to begin, but she was adventurous enough to sit down along the airport corridor and get out her violin.

With the scarf around her neck, she removed the dust from her violin’s adventures in India and tuned it up to the “A” key on my harmonium. I played harmonium and sang for ten or fifteen minutes, and she accompanied me on her violin. A few people took pictures.

You could see she was really good with her violin, both in replicating the original tune and in improvising upon it. After we finished she commented on how the chanting had reduced the anxiety of traveling. I thanked her, saying playing music with her was the best part of my day so far, and I gave her my last business card, saying I had videos of the German Kirtan Mela on my blog, and perhaps we could meet and play again in Germany in the summer.

After finding my own gate, which turned out to be the same as hers, I returned to that spot we had chanted before, undisturbed by the authorities, and thinking it a safe place, played and sang by myself for another 45 or 50 minutes. Some more people took pictures, smiled, and gave the old thumbs up. Even the airport employees appreciated. There was no negatively.

To see pictures I took but did not include in this journal, please click on the link below, or copy it to your web browser:

Notes on Vyasa Puja Homages for Jayapataka Swami

Bhakti Caru Swami from a letter:

You went to remote Bengal to reach people. You started nama-hatta programs now acclaimed throughout the world. You started Bhakti Vriksa. You are one of the most compassionate leaders in ISKCON, willing to find those who left and bring them back.

Radha Jivan Prabhu:

The saints are more merciful than Hari as they make His teachings nectarean and accessible.

Srila Prabhupada mentioned to the father of Sri Nathaji in Mumbai, who had done a lot of service for him, “Do you see this disciple Jayapataka? I want you to adopt him so he can remain in India. He is a direct associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”

Developing Mayapur is his greatest service.

Once Srila Prabhupada said, “Every acarya did something to develop Mayapur. Bhaktivinoda Thakura found Lord Caitanya’s birthplace and built a temple there. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura made the largest of his 63 temples in Mayapur. I want to thank you all for helping me establishing a temple in Mayapur.” As he said that, he was overcome with heartfelt emotions and could longer speak.

[Radha Jivan offered Jaypataka Swami a gigantic Gita, a gift of Ambarisa Prabhu. He urged Jayapakata Swami to encourage his followers to support the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium on this Vyasa Puja Day, and Jayapakata Swami did.]

Rajendrananda Prabhu:

Jayapataka Swami had to have a stroke for some people to realize his glories.

He is a desire tree, praying for anyone’s advancement who comes to him.

Bhismadeva said, “Eternal time is irreversible otherwise how could there be reverses in the presence of King Yudhisthira, the son of the demigod controlling religion; Bhima, the great fighter with a club; the great bowman Arjuna with his mighty weapon Gandiva; and above all, the Lord, the direct well-wisher of the Pandavas?”

Jayapataka Swami’s stroke was to reveal that his devotional service is truly unmotivated and uninterrupted.

His only wish is we just tell everybody about the maha-mantra.

A Srila Prabhupada disciple who has helped in Mayapur since the 1970s:

Jayapataka Swami is always dynamic, unparalleled and original.

Though traveling around the world, he never stopped looking at Mayapur.

I was an early Mayapur treasurer, and I was the only one who could get him to sign a check. I would just barge in. He would change the topic a few times but then sign it. Recently when I asked when I could meet him, he said, “Just barge in like you used to do.”


Srila Prabhupada:

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.10, purport:

Prahlada Maharaja says that one who has been born in a brahmana family but is falsely proud of his prestigious position cannot even purify himself, not to speak of his family, whereas if a candala, a lowborn person, is a devotee and has fully surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Lord, he can purify his entire family. We have had actual experience of how Americans and Europeans, because of their full Krishna consciousness, have purified their whole families, so much so that a mother of a devotee, at the time of her death, inquired about Krishna with her last breath. Therefore it is theoretically true and has been practically proven that a devotee can give the best service to his family, his community, his society and his nation. The foolish accuse a devotee of following the principle of escapism, but actually the fact is that a devotee is the right person to elevate his family. A devotee engages everything in the service of the Lord, and therefore he is always exalted.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.11, purport:

By glorifying the Lord constantly, the living entity becomes purified in the core of his heart, and thus he can understand that he does not belong to the material world but is a spirit soul whose actual activity is to advance in Krishna consciousness so that he may become free from the material clutches. . . . In conclusion, the more we engage in Krishna consciousness and render service unto the Lord, the more we benefit. Krishna does not need service from any of us.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.12, purport:

It is clearly understood that a devotee does not need to be born in a very high family, to be rich, to be aristocratic or to be very beautiful. None of these qualifications will engage one in devotional service. With devotion one should feel, ‘God is great, and I am very small. Therefore my duty is to offer my prayers to the Lord.’ Only on this basis can one understand and render service to the Lord.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.17, purport:

The entire world is under the illusion that people will be happy by advancing in materialistic measures to counteract the miseries of conditional life, but this attempt will never be successful. Humanity must be trained to engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. That is the purpose of the Krishna consciousness movement. There can be no happiness in changing one’s material conditions, for everywhere there is trouble and misery.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.18, purport:

Attempts to mitigate the miseries of material existence by material methods will never be successful. One must take to Krishna consciousness to become really happy; otherwise happiness is impossible. One might say that becoming advanced in spiritual life also involves tapasya, voluntary acceptance of some inconvenience. However, such inconvenience is not as dangerous as material attempts to mitigate all miseries.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.22, purport:

A criminal is put in prison and punished by the government, but the same government, if it likes, can release the criminal from imprisoned life. Similarly, we must know conclusively that our material condition of suffering has been allotted to us by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and if we want to be saved from this suffering, we must appeal to the same controller. Thus one can be saved from this material condition.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.25, purport:

Our desires cannot be satisfied by illusory thoughts and plans; rather, we have to follow the instructions of Lord Krishna: sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. Then we shall be happy. Otherwise, in the name of happiness, we shall continue to suffer miserable conditions.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.11.16, purport:

Aspiring to possess more and more for personal sense gratification is simply ignorance, and this ignorance is conspicuous by its absence from the heart of a brahmana or Vaishnava.”

from a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.18 given on September 26, 1974 in Calcutta:

By worshiping Krishna, all perfection will be achieved. That is sraddha [faith].

If a woman says any man is OK that is not very good. She should think only my husband is good. That is chastity. Similarly we must be chaste in our relationship with Krishna.

We must associate with sadhus (saints) with unflinching faith in Krishna.

Where is this bhagavata-saptaha [seven-day recitation of Srimad-Bhagavatam by professional men] described? I have not seen it in any scripture. . . . Rather it said nityam-bhagavata-sevaya [daily hear the Srimad-Bhagavatam].

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 24:

Any person who is reliable in all circumstances is called dependable. In this connection Rupa Gosvami says that even the demons were relying upon the dependability of Krishna, because they were confident that Krishna would never attack them without due cause. Therefore, with faith and confidence, they used to live with their doors wide open. And the demigods, although afraid of the demons, were confident of the protection of Krishna. Therefore,even in the midst of danger they were engaged in sportive activities. Persons who had never undergone the reformatory ritualistic ceremonies of the Vedas were confident that Krishna would acceptonly faith and devotion, and so they were engaged in Krishna consciousness and were freed from all anxieties. In other words, all kinds of men, from the demigods down to the uncultured, can rely on the causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord.”

Persons who can give themselves to anyone are called magnanimous. No one could be more magnanimous than Krishna, because He is always prepared to give Himself completely to His devotee. Even to one who is not a devotee, Krishna in His form of Lord Caitanya is prepared to give Himself and to grant deliverance.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.29, purport:

The Lord acts only to satisfy the desires of His devotees; otherwise He has nothing to do. As confirmed in the Vedic language, na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate: the Lord has nothing to do personally, for everything is done through His different potencies [parasya shaktir vividhaiva sruyate] [Cc. Madhya 13.65, purport]. The Lord has multifarious energies, through which everything is done. Thus when He personally does something, it is only to satisfy His devotee.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.30, purport:

The energy in which the Lord’s all-pervasiveness is not realized is called material. Otherwise, everything is spiritual.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.31, purport:

When the devotee is fully Krishna conscious, undisturbed by dualities, he is sure that he will return home, back to Godhead.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.34, purport:

Modern scientists have tried to explain the origin of creation by a chunk theory [Big Bang], but no one can explain how such a chunk might have burst. The Vedic literature, however, explains clearly that the total material energy was agitated by the three modes of material nature because of the glance of the Supreme Lord. In other words, in terms of the chunk theory, the bursting of the chunk was caused by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus one must accept the supreme cause, Lord Vishnu, as the cause of all causes.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 25:

When a devotee is never tired of executing devotional service and is always engaged in Krishna conscious activities, constantly relishing the transcendental mellows in relationship with Krishna, he is called perfect. This perfectional stage can be achieved in two ways: one may achieve this stage of perfection by gradual progress in devotional service, or one may become perfect by the causeless mercy of Krishna, even though he has not executed all the details of devotional service.”

Anyone who becomes exhilarated by hearing of the pastimes of Lord Krishna when He was present on this earth with His associates is to be understood as nitya-siddha, eternally perfect.”

from a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.18 given on October 29, 1972 in Vrndavana:

If you engage yourself in devotional service of the Lord, then immediately, directly, the anarthas [which are not required, unnecessary] will be diminished.

If you actually want to diminish anarthas [unwanted desires] in the heart, you must hear about Krishna as He is speaking without interpretation. . . . Why don’t you take this opportunity. . . . Simple process, but the rascals will not take it.

Bhagavatam is something you can understand in seven days? The real process is to always or daily hear from Srimad-Bhagavatam: nityam bhagavata sevaya.

If one unconsciously commits some sin that is forgiven, but not if one intentionally commits sins.

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 26:

To be attracted by the qualities of Krishna means to be attracted by Krishna Himself, because there is no real distinction between Krishna and His qualities. Krishna’s name is also Krishna. Krishna’s fame is also Krishna. Krishna’s entourage is also Krishna. Krishna and everything related with Krishna which gives stimulation to love of Krishna are all Krishna, but for our understanding these items may be considered separately.”

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

Today’s drawing shows three
devotees dancing and chanting
with upraised arms.
Harinama devotees
bring relief to people
with disturbed minds.
They have appeared at
scenes of recent disasters
or riots and spread
a calming influence.
The positive-mindedness
of the chanters offsets
the gloom and depression
present in intense situations.
God’s holy names have
the power to calm
agitated minds. Even in intense scenes
of material enjoyment,
at gatherings before
rock concerts or
sporting events, it
is good to share
harinama to bring
a level of sanity
and spiritual presence.”

Jayapataka Swami:

from a lecture on his Vyasa Puja Day:

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura makes the point that to be guru you have to accept to be worshiped on the same level as the Supreme Lord. But it is Lord Caitanya’s order to become guru, and so it must be done.

One householder devotee felt that he did not accomplish much in preaching. I asked him, “How many devotees did you make last year?” He replied, “Only 76.”

Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura said even if we can convince one person to become a devotee, we are successful.

Sometimes we make very high goals. Just try to make your parents become devotees.

We should be very encouraging, and people will do more and more.

We are fortunate. By Lord Caitanya’s mercy in one life we can go back to Krishna.

Here Lord Caitanya worshiped Lord Nityananda in a Vyasa Puja ceremony. The spiritual master teaches the Vedas of Vyasadeva. He tells the truth because he hands down what he has obtained in parampara [the spiritual lineage].

The guru takes care of all the devotees to please the guru parampara [his spiritual predecessors].

I told Srila Prabhupada I wanted to serve him life after life. Srila Prabhupada said, “'Why do you want me to come back?”

We want everyone to go back in one life. I am helping you to do that.

Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami:

For the prajapatis sex life is performed out of duty to populate the universe.

Because sex life is the most intense enjoyment for the senses, it is highlighted as the greatest bondage to the material world where fear and death will remain our constant companions.

The couples in Vaikuntha exist because in that capacity they have all kinds of facilities to serve the Lord. What facilities would a bunch of babaji [mendicants] have to serve the Lord?

Couples in the spiritual world do not exist just for sex.

Romance disappears long ago, but what remains is companionship. If you do not have companionship, you will not have a lasting marriage. People who are extremely dutiful will make the marriage last at least until the kids are grown.

In Vaikuntha couples as there so you have someone to fly around in your airplane talking about Vishnu with.

Q by a devotee lady: How can one be celibate for any length of time since we have such a strong need companionship?
A: You always have Supersoul [the Lord in the heart] to hang out with.

For a couple to have a lasting relationship, they must go from the physical to the emotional and from the emotional to the spiritual.

In Vraja, who is not married? In the spiritual world you have a few unmarried devotees like Hanuman and Narada, but most everyone is married.

Brahmacari [renounced student] and grhastha [married household] stages of life are both meant for ultimate detachment, although one appears to involve attachment and the other detachment.

Comment by one young grhastha: I asked one Indian lady who had never seen her husband before her wedding how her marriage had been so successful. She laughed and said in the West in your relationships you start at 100% and work your way down to zero and get divorced, but in India we start at zero and build it up to 100%.

Once must attain the level of sannyasa. One may formally take sannyasa, or live with his wife but with the renounced spirit of a sannyasi, but complete renunciation of sense gratification and complete absorption in devotional service to Krishna must be attained.

There must be training in celibacy, even if people have difficulty with it, because then there will be the possibility of ultimate liberation for them.

Who is free? The guy who is smoking or the guy who used to smoke and chose to give it up? The ignorant will see the guy who is smoking is free as he is using his freedom to smoke but actually he is conditioned.

In the spiritual world everything is seen to connected with the Supreme Lord. In the material world some things are seen in connection with the Supreme Lord and other things we consider to be ours.

Both materialists and spiritualists are looking for the same thing, unending happiness. But the material world is temporary, so how can a materialist seek unending happiness? Because he is an eternal soul.

The plants in the field are nothing but a transformation of the field itself. In the same way, everything we see is a transformation of Brahman.

We are accustomed to business deals, thinking “what result will I get from the activity.” Krishna wants us to give that up and do things just to please Him.

The world where people see Krishna’s energy as their own is the material world.

Which world you are in does not depend on location but on consciousness.

Devotional service is pure, but because we are practicing devotional service, sometimes it manifests as pure and impure.

Bhakti is attitude not technique. If we have a good technique, but a bad attitude, we will be frustrated, because Krishna is not satisfied.

Anubhava is the emotional response, and sattvika-bhava is the physical response.

Nistha is the beginning of pure devotional service because at that point there is steadiness. It is also the beginning of the madhyama, the intermediate platform. Then you are able to maintain the execution of devotional service despite material attachments.

Environment is not sufficient, because it is up to us what we do with the environment. You can bring a materialist to Mayapur, but he will not automatically chant Hare Krishna.

Q: How to maintain our Krishna consciousness during work?
A: Understand we are working to attain the facility to serve Krishna.

Q: Is it an offensive to chant japa while doing other things, like cooking.
A: No, but it is not ideal. Only if there is no other opportunity to chant is it acceptable.

The soul is happy being engaged in devotional service, so do not worry about the gyrations of your mind.

Through logic you cannot see Krishna, so if you have a glimpse of Krishna, you have done some bhakti.

Insecurity is thinking “I am the doer, and I am not doing a good job.” Humility is thinking “I am not the doer. I am just an instrument.” Confidence is knowing what you are doing and doing it well. Pride is thinking “I am the doer, and I am doing great.” In humility, whether you do well or not, you continue trying to be the best instrument you can be.

The danger of household life is that one’s mind is so absorbed in the material world that the tendency will be to worry about some material thing at the time of death and that will keep you in the material world. It is a risk in household life to engage one’s material tendencies in the Lord’s service because one could become more materially absorbed, but it is a recommended risk for those who are attached. It is not that it is necessarily bad to be a householder, but it is bad to be too absorbed in the material world.

Comment by a devotee: When Gaura Govinda Maharaja was talking with Srila Prabhupada about sannyasa, Srila Prabhupada instructed him, “You are not even going to think about women in dreams.”

The Upanisads consider dharma, artha [economic development] and kama [sense enjoyment] to be avidya [ignorance], and moksha [liberation] to be vidya [knowledge] while the Bhagavatam considers dharma, artha, kama, and moksha to be avidya, and bhakti [devotional service to the Supreme Lord] to be to vidya.

As Yamaraj, he has to administrate dharma, but as Vidura he just discusses dharma.

Q: Why did Yamuna want to marry Yamaraja?
A: Yamuna mentioned to Yamaraja that being dharma personified, he would be a suitable match for her. Yamaraj replied that was true, but because she was his sister it was not proper. Thus that aspect of dharma was taught through that conversation. Otherwise, it would have to be taught in another way.

Pradyumna and Sankarsana are sambandha, Vasudeva is abhidheya, and Aniruddha is prayojana.

The state of your mind is your character, but through intelligence you can improve it.

Although we are most limited, Krishna, the unlimited, takes pleasure in dealing with us.

The masculine is independent and the feminine is dependent, but when they come together the masculine is dependent and feminine is independent.

Beyond the subtle body (linga-sarira) is the causal body (karana-sarira), which is the conception of being the controller and enjoyer. Without giving up the causal body, we cannot attain the spiritual world. By identifying ourselves as eternal servants of the Lord, we give up this causal body.

If we do not accept the internal energy of the Lord, then we must accept the external energy of the Lord.

Krishna is happy playing His flute and interacting with the residents of Vraja, but we have other ideas, so Krishna has to make so many other arrangements.

The scientists are interested in playing with the energy, but not in inquiring about whose energy it is, for then they will have to abide by His rules for utilizing it.

The Vedic Sanskrit has a musical note associated with each character which must be understood to translate it.

The sadhyas are the heads of the different species.

The great personalities managing the universes are aware of their relationship with the Lord.

All Brahma’s sons but Narada have a role in the universal management. Narada is just teaching krishna-bhakti.

The Supersoul reminds us of our desires from the previous life, but we have the option of improving our relationship with Him.

Anything we find meaningful or valuable is this world is nothing but Krishna, but most people do not realize that.

We have the desire, but the material energy moves by the direction of Krishna, so we are not the doer.

Because the soul is eternal he does not like the fact that the material world is always changing. He likes the variety but not the fact that things come to an end.

Lord Shiva is a transformation of an expansion of Maha-Vishnu.

By convention we generally think Brahman means the brahmajyoti, but in reality Bhagavan, paramatma, and the brahmajyoti are all Brahman, and Bhagavan, the original form, is the ultimate Brahman.

Bhakti is the razor’s edge with the Mayavadis on one side and the sahajiyas on the other.

You can do bhava-sadhana for many hundreds of births and not attain prema, if you think you are doing alright.

When Prabhupada was asked if God could make a mountain that He could not lift, and Prabhupada replied, “Yes, and then He could lift it.” This is possible because Krishna is ever expanding in potency.

We are looking for bliss, and so we think everything that is not annoying is blissful.

We can get bhakti from our activities in this world, because the bhakti is already there.

Everything is already connected with Krishna, and when we do not notice this we are in maya [illusion].

Devotional service attracts the Lord’s attention. Spontaneous devotional service Him even more.

Q: Of tattva and rasa, many people are attracted to Krishna consciousness because of rasa.
A: That is alright. Rasa is experience.
Q: But if that is not always there, then they go away.
A: That is not always there because they are not always doing the activities of devotional service or they are doing them with the wrong attitude. If there are no Vaishnava interactions, then there will be no taste. It is the individual’s commitment to self-realization that is essential. Then he associates with those who inspire him, and he endeavors with enthusiasm and attains success.

If you are situated in the culture of the mode of goodness, a little endeavor will produce happiness. But if your culture is in the mode of passion, so much endeavor is there and then a distressful result. Goodness is the platform of stability. There is a brief thrill from passion and then it is over.

If you do not like goodness, you probably will not like pure goodness.

Devotional service even done not so nicely is still beneficial.

Truth which is not connected to the Absolute Truth is untruth.

A grain of devotion is worth more than tons of faithlessness.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.6.34, purport).

The Second and Eleventh Canto deal with technical issues. Everything else is in between.

Persons who say there is no Absolute Truth are stating what they experience because they do not have the devotional relationship with the Lord necessary to realize the Absolute Truth.

Brahma argues that since he is the giver of the Vedas and yet he does not know the Lord perfectly, how can those who speculate on the Vedas know the Lord?

Vedanta is the support for bhakti. Krishna is the sastra [scripture], but He reveals who He is through the sastra.

We cannot know everything about Krishna because He is unlimited.

We need knowledge of the Lord as far as we need to act in our relationship with Him.

Mother Yasoda does not know that Krishna is dancing with the gopis, nor does she want to know.

Even in the spiritual world, we associate with the those devotees who see the Lord in the same way we do.

There has never been a stable non-Vedic society since time immemorial.

Comment by a devotee: Srila Prabhupada wanted independently thoughtful men and autonomous centers.

We must surrender heart and soul, in other words, we must have a devotional attitude and self-surrender. We may chant nicely and focus on Krishna in the temple, and that is very good and the most powerful part of our practice, but we also have to engage the other aspects life, like our family and occupation, in the Lord’s service.

Krishna has to reveal Himself through some medium. The medium of our study of the sastra is that medium for His revelation.

Sankirtana is when everyone cooperates to perform devotional service.

We need to know about the material energy because we are affected by it. We need to know about the spiritual energy, because we hope to take shelter of it. We need to know the marginal energy as it is our self. And we need to know Krishna, who is beyond all these.

When you hear from the right source, you benefit, but when you take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master by initiation, the Lord takes you seriously because you are committing yourself to applying what you hear.

That Krishna is unlimited keeps our relationship with Him fresh.

We can only know or feel Krishna partially, but because we are small, that experience fills us up.

Srila Prabhupada did not like bureaucracy but leadership.

The joy of personal realization is compared to a unlimited ocean of pleasure compared to impersonal joy which is compared to a fragment of a drop.

His form reveals Himself.

The actual yoga practice is difficult. First you have to stop doing things. Then you have to do other things, like assume a sitting posture for a minimum of 2¾ hours. Then you have to do pranayama, which is not just controlling the breathing, but stopping the breathing. But you have to stop the breathing in such a way that you remain alive. Then you have to withdraw your senses from their objects, but the senses are inclined forever to their objects. The actual solution is to engage the mind and senses in relationship with Krishna.

When we approach Krishna according to the proper method, He reveals Himself, otherwise He disappears from our view.

Q: I think groups begin in the spiritual world for one name of Radharani is Yutesvari, the leader of her own group.
A: Yes. That is true. The feminine nature is to work with a group. The better the group, better it is. The masculine nature is fine being independent.

Aboriginals and nuclear physicists are on the same level, because they are both impressed with the energies of the Lord, and so can be considered shaktas, or worshipers of the energy.

The ignorant accept ordinary people as God by worshiping them, but when God comes Himself, they consider Him an ordinary person and say the Absolute Truth is impersonal.

Brahman is the potential basis of the virat, the universal form of the Lord.

When the devotee thinks about the connection of the virat with the Lord it is contemplation not speculation.

The incarnations of the Lord always present the personal form of the Lord as superior to the impersonal.

Srila Prabhupada always makes the point that no one can be accepted as an incarnation of God unless His name, His parents, and His birthplace are mentioned in the revealed literature.

You want to save the earth, you want a new world order, whatever you want, the best program of action is to chant Hare Krishna and spread the mission. By acting according to God’s laws we automatically will not create disturbance to the earth, and if we teach people to act according to God’s laws neither will they.

You want to save the earth, but even Lord Brahma could not save the earth. He had to go to Lord Vishnu for help.

Campaigns like “Save the Yamuna” are good to the extent that they inspire people to render service to the dhama, the holy place, otherwise they can be mundane.

Only if we are on the platform of prema is everything we do devotional service. But if we are not yet on that level, we should not think “because I am a devotee, everything I do is devotional service.”

Both the atheistic and theistic Sankhya philosophies are the same up to the level pradhana. Theistic Sankhya reveals the cause of the pradhana being agitated, namely the glance of the Lord.

Comment by a devotee: My family was reticent to take prasadam because they thought that was how I got “snowed under.”
Response by Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami: That is a lack of piety.

We are offering that in one lifetime you can be purified and attain perfection. That is special.

Krishna is giving Himself, and thus He is expecting us to give ourselves. That is why we speak in terms of heart and soul.

Nirvisesa-vada, impersonal philosophy, considers that forms and relationships are causes of suffering and do not exist in spiritual perfection while the personalists consider perfect forms and perfect relationships to exist in spiritual perfection.

Our disease is that we are trying to control and enjoy. Association of the opposite sex aggravates that desire and so it must be regulated.

For a man, attraction to the form of women is a sign that material attachment is still present in his consciousness.

You can go from brahmacarya to sannyasa, as grhastha life is not required. Grhastha life is dealing with the problem firsthand. You have heard and seen it, but you have no realization, so you choose to experience it, but that ashram is also meant for ultimate detachment.

Within Krishna all kinds of opposing elements are adjusted, and without Krishna is not possible to adjust all kinds of opposing elements. You just have the clash of false egos.

You can purify your conditioned nature but not change it.

The problem is the man wants the woman to change, but he is unwilling to change himself. If he would be willing to change, she would be willing to change.

The world has unlimited facets, and how you see it can be adjusted.

The idea of grhastha life is to take the problem of attachment to women and bring it down to attachment to a single woman and then down to attachment to no women, but not attachment to another woman.

The different stages of life are fun. Krishna goes through them Himself.

The Vedic culture focuses on training the man because if the man is trained everything will go nicely. The women generally act like women by nature, but men do not always act like men unless they are trained.

The woman wants the impossible, but how can the impossible be attained? Only by the grace of Krishna. So try for the impossible to please Krishna, and both husband and wife will be satisfied.

There is nothing that you will be satisfied with which is not connected to the Lord.

Srila Prabhupada made the point that one can practice a service before becoming fully qualified because by Krishna’s mercy one will develop the qualification where as in the material realm you are expected to be very well qualified before you begin your service.

Q: Could you say that you do not need to change your position as long as you can engage your present position in relation to Krishna?
A: You will keep the same position but do it in a purified way. Like you may act as a sudra but be cleaner and more peaceful than the other sudras.

Bhakti Purusottama Swami:

Lord Ramacandra was present for thousands of years but mostly we focus on just the fourteen years He was in the forest and a little before and after.

As fire pervades wood and can appear from any part of the wood, the Lord as paramatma, the Supersoul, pervades the entire cosmic manifestation and can appear in any part of it.

Lord Nrsimha considered, “How much Prahlada is enjoying by sitting on My lap, but because I have no father, I cannot taste that pleasure.” Thus in the Lord’s future incarnations He had a father, so He could experience that relationship.

King Dasaratha performed a sacrifice to get a son, and the sweet rice from the sacrifice was given to his three wives, half to Kausalya, a quarter to Kaikeyi, and an eighth to Sumitra. Kausalya gave birth to Rama, Kaikeyi to Bharata, and Sumitra to Laksman.

In Shiva Purana it is described that by meditation in the Himalayas, Narada Muni conquered over lust. He was so happy he told everyone how he became free from lust. Lord Shiva did not think it good that Narada, a great devotee of Vishnu, was so proud. Previously when Shiva burned Kamadeva to ashes, his wife, Rati, complained. Thus Shiva brought him back to life but said that Kamadeva’s influence would not stand within as far as Shiva could see from his place of meditation. The reason Narada became free from lust was he was meditating in that place. To teach Narada a lesson, Shiva created an illusory kingdom which Narada entered. A king approached him asking for blessing that his daughter might find a suitable husband. Narada was so attracted to the girl he offered to marry the girl himself. The king said that would be fine, but he had already announced a svayamvara, a ceremony in which the girl selects a husband. Narada went to Lord Vishnu desiring to have an attractive body so the girl would choose him. Vishnu tricked him by giving him a beautiful body but the face of the monkey, so the girl was repulsed. When Narada understood what Lord Vishnu had done, he was so angry, he cursed Vishnu to lose His wife and have to take help from monkeys to get her back. When his anger dissipated, he apologized to Vishnu. Vishnu said not to worry, that Narada had spoken in that way to facilitate one of His pastimes. Thus Lord Ramacandra’s wife, Sita, was kidnapped by Ravana, and He had to take help from monkeys to get her back.

We have to understand three things:
  1. We have two kinds of bodies: male (purusa) and female (prakrti).
  2. In actually the soul in both the male and female bodies is prakrti (to be enjoyed).
  3. But in conditional life, both the male and females are acting as purusas (enjoyers).

Krishna is the receiver of service (purusa), and the living entities render service (prakrti). The purpose of the living entity is give pleasure to Krishna, and when he does so, both the living entity and Lord enjoy.

When the pleasure-giving potency (hladini-shakti) resides in the heart of the living entity, he has the desire to please Krishna.

In our conditioned state we are seeking pleasure, but in our liberated state we are giving pleasure.

We say that the materialists (karmis) are simply interested in enjoying, but we are also interested in enjoying, just in a different way.

The materialists are enjoying a perverted reflection of the original sensual experience (adi-rasa).

Krishna says that intelligent people do not enjoy pleasure based on the touch of the senses with their objects for such pleasure has a beginning and end.

In Krishna-prema, we give love to Krishna, and we enjoy the sweetness of Krishna. But higher than that is the love of the gopis who enjoy making and seeing Krishna’s happiness increase.

People say you will get comfort and peace serving Krishna, but that is not actually the fact. Even in Lord Caitanya’s family, so many distresses were there. His father, Jagannatha Misra, died. Lord Caitanya took sannyasa, leaving His mother and wife to lament. What we do get, however, is the bliss of prema-bhakti.

Don’t try to get things from God (bhakti), try to give to God (prema-bhakti).

Our appreciation of maha-prasadam, singing and dancing in kirtana, and the dressing of the deities are just hints of the bliss of Krishna-prema.

Bhaktisiddhanta Swami:

Even during Krishna’s time, in the previous age of Dvarapa, there were still imitations of God.

You are all in the Mayapur Dham and chanting Hare Krishna, and are thus so fortunate. If you can keep this up for the rest of your life, you can attain spiritual perfection.

Even our sampradaya or spiritual lineage we can see in the materialist spirit of “I” and “mine.”

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that politics disturbs bhakti.

I like to go to the Vyasa Pujas. You see people of different abilities offering what they have to their guru. By seeing their devotion you have a barometer by which to judge your own, and you can become inspired to improve.

One devotee proudly told Srila Prabhupada how he/she dressed Rukmini-Dvarakadhisa. Srila Prabhupada said, “That’s nothing. Deities have dressed themselves.”

In 1760 the British began plotting to take over India. They considered that to defeat India, they would have do two things:
(1) to destroy the
gurukula educational system based on the guru-disciple relationship and developing a high moral character.
(2) to destroy their agriculture by killing cows. At that time, there were more cows than people in Bengal. One year the British killed 30,000 cows and the next year, 250,000 cows.

Hanuman proudly declared to Sita if she got on his back that he could take her to Rama. Because of that pride, later he was flying in the sky, and Bharata shot him down with a straw arrow.

When Hanuman was brought into the presence of Ravana, Ravana asked him how he had obtained the power to defeat his soldiers. Hanuman said that the source of his own power was also the source of Ravana’s power, and indeed the source of all the power in the universe, and that the person who is the source of that power is the husband of the lady you kidnapped, and so you are in trouble.

There is a pastime where some people doubted the divinity of Ananta Sesa. A devotee asked the Lord to reveal Himself to them. The Lord said that they could not see His form, but He could remain hidden and if a thousand people asked him questions He could answer them all at once. He did that and the people were impressed, and then He showed Himself, with his thousand heads, and the people asked for forgiveness for doubting His divinity.

The yogis make a mistake in calculating that they can advance by their own efforts without considering the mercy of the Lord.

They say that in Vraja, if you see children playing, one boy might be Krishna and one girl might be Radha.

Comment by one devotee lady: It is sad we are approaching Krishna for this or that thing or this or that person, when actually Krishna Himself will make us happy.
Response by Bhaktisiddhanta Swami: The deity is smiling and when we are advanced, we are smiling with Him, and when we are not surrendered, He smiling at us, wondering when we will get it together.

One friend of mine, Devaki Pran, would often walk around Govardhan Hill every day. He would beg from door to door. For two months he was very busy, and did not go begging. When he began again, the people mentioned how he had been coming the last two months, although he had not done so because of being busy. The explanation was that the residents of Govardhan Hill were so eager to feed the devotee, that Krishna manifested Himself as Devaki Pran, so they would have the pleasure of feeding him during his two-month break.

Murari Krishna Swami:

The Srimad-Bhagavatam is merciful in that it reveals the truth about the materialistic life.

Srila Prabhupada explains that to become restless in the association of money or women (or men) is not a surprise because since time immemorial we have been pursuing such things.

One who is in human consciousness can appreciate the statements of the Bhagavatam are true. Others, due to ignorance, cannot understand how they are suffering in this world.

Imagine someone who is caught in a forest fire. His hair catches fire, but he escapes from the fire. If someone inquires from that man how he is and he replies that he is doing very good, although his hair is burning, he is crazy. That is our material life.

Material life is compared to an ocean. The grhasta life is like being in the ocean with a basket on one’s head.

My guru said to me that grhastha life will make you cry. I thought, “I am a grown man, how will I cry?” Once when my wife and all my children were sick, and after a hard day of work, I was trying to pacify the screaming kids, I was crying out to Krishna, “How did I get myself into this?” Do not get mad at me. I am just telling my experience.

Envy means that our godbrother appears to be advancing, and we are disturbed by that and decide to put some impediments in his path.

To advance we must beg for mercy, and to do that we must become humble.

We cannot purify ourselves, but if we surrender to guru and Krishna, they will purify us.

Bhakivinoda Thakura, in his songs, admits defeat in his attempts to elevate himself and thus surrenders to Krishna. Similarly Arjuna, after presenting many arguments, finally admitted defeat in solving his problem and surrendered to Krishna.

The impurities in our heart are compared to a layer of dust on a mirror. Gaura Govinda Maharaja explained that the layer of dust is not of ordinary thickness but is like the Himalayan Mountains.

Hearing about Krishna nicely enables us to chant about Him nicely and remember Him nicely.

Q: Prabhupada encouraged competition, but isn’t that based on envy?
A: Prabhupada encouraged transcendental competition but not that based on envy.

Q: Sometimes people mispronounce the names like “Ramo” [instead of Rama], but if we do not chant properly we do not get the result.
A: Yes, but even if we pronounce nicely but lack faith, we also will not get the result.

Q: If we hear from someone who later falls away, can we get Krishna prema from that hearing.
A: If the person was speaking according to guru, sastra [scripture] and sadhu, and tried to speak with devotion to please the Lord, it will have a good effect. You can see from yourself if you are becoming purified by your hearing.

If guru and Gauranga are pleased with our sincerity to hear, then we can experience how we are purified.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said the only shortage in the material world is sadhu sanga [association of the those devoted to the Lord] and hari-katha [talks of the Lord].

Our souls are skinny and are starving.

If we are eager to please our guru, in a moment our consciousness can change.

Jananivasa Prabhu:

Lust is compared to a gang of plunderers who attack you in the forest.

There was such a gang in Vrindavan which Bhaktivinoda Thakura eradicated.

Our uncontrolled senses and mind grab our intelligence so we have no time for the spiritual.

People are not promoting sense and mind control today but rather unrestricted enjoyment.

A son was discussing with his father all the costly details of his wedding arrangement. In the course of the discussion the son asked his father how much his own wedding had cost. His father said that he did not know. The son asked him why not. His father said, “Because I am still paying it off.”

Samkaras [purificatory ceremonies or rites marking major events in ones life] should be performed, otherwise, we become like cats and dog.

Even in Mayapur I know a man who is living with a girl but they are not married. They talk like it is quite natural, but marriage is the natural program in society for people in that situation. Why not follow the standard program in society?

The idea is to make our life simple.

They understand there is some problem, but they do not know the solution. If governments arrange society so everyone is engaged in Krishna’s service the problems will diminish.

In your first day in ISKCON, you learn you are a spiritual soul and you are meant to serve the Supreme Soul, and you are practically engaged in devotional service. Thus you get sambandha and abhidheya.

By situating ourselves in Krishna consciousness, we solve all our problems.

Srila Prabhupada would find out what talents the people had and try to engage them practically. Not that he would give his blessings, and the people would leave.

Prahlada Maharaja was only five-years-old, but he detected that everyone is making a gigantic program for happiness but they are not becoming happy. Actually when there endeavor for happiness, then their distress begins.

Mahaprabhu’s happiness is jiva daya, giving mercy to unfortunate souls.

Srila Prabupada explained that just like on the stage someone may be playing the part of the king, but he is not a king. Similarly a Vaishnava may play the part of a sudra, but he is not a sudra.

Q: How do you know you are so advanced that you do not have to follow all the rules and regulations?
A: If you are asking that question, you are not that advanced.

comment by Rajendrananda Prabhu: Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said he was criticized for not telling more advanced topics, but he explained it was not required as the holy name reveals everything.

Q: Do we consider ourselves Vaishnavas or not, as one on the highest level does not consider himself a Vaishnava?
A: Prabhupada considered himself a Vaishnava, but also considered himself and acted as the servant of the Vaishnavas.

Q by me after class: You have been brahmacari for many years. Do you have any secrets?
A: I just wanted to keep things simple.

Janmastami Prabhu:

We can practice uttama-bhakti although experiencing the attraction to sense objects as long as we do not contemplate the objects of the senses.

Prabhupada’s disciple Sridhara Swami would often quote the Buddha as saying, “Distress is compulsory. Suffering is optional.”

Srila Prabhupada’s body was in such a condition at the end of his life that the doctors were amazed that he was not asking for an injection of morphine to relieve the pain. When asked why, he quoted Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.1.4, “Descriptions of the Lord are the right medicine for the conditioned soul undergoing repeated birth and death.”

According to The Nectar of Devotion, three things cause suffering avidya, kama, and papam [ignorance, material desire, and sinful activities].

Srila Rupa Goswami says that knowledge and faith in sastra [revealed spiritual literature] is the qualification to advance in Krishna consciousness.

To advance spiritually means to increase one’s love and attachment for Krishna.

Book distribution mantra:
Where are you coming in from?
No wonder you look so blissful!
We are giving these out to the 500 most intelligent businessmen we are meeting today.
Now let me ask you a personal question, which do you like better pleasure or pain?
Great. This book will tell you how to attain the highest pleasure that is possible for a human being. Sound good?
We do not sell them, we just give them to people and ask for a donation.

Sartre writes, “Hell is other people,” but if we engage in the six kinds of loving exchanges with devotees we will experience that “heaven is other people.”

If you chant super attentive rounds and see with eyes of wisdom you can change distressful situations into transcendental bliss.

Srila Prabhupada wrote in a postscript to a letter to Abhirama Prabhu, “There is no question of spiritual life if one does not get up early, go to mangala-arati, and follow the regulative principles. If one does not do these things he will fall down.”

Krishna does not need to give us distress nor like to give us distress. But if we will not learn in any other way, He must.

Vaiyasaki Prabhu interviewed 500 devotees who had left the association of devotees. He found they all had faith in Srila Prabhupada but had difficulty applying the following verse in their lives: “My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.” (Srimad-Bhagvatam 10.14.8)

Comment by me: One verse comes to mind that is relevant to this discussion: Engaged constantly in chanting and hearing about Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the sadhus do not suffer from material miseries because they are always filled with thoughts of My pastimes and activities.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.23)


sadhu-sanga, sadhu-sanga’ – sarva-sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya

The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 22.54)