Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Travel Journal#10.8: Dublin, Northern Ireland, London, Holland

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 10, No. 8
By Krishna-kripa das
(April 2014, part two
Dublin, Northern Ireland, London, Holland
(Sent from Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on May 7, 2014)

Where I Went and What I Did

After returning to Dublin from India, I did harinama for three days and attended the evening programs at our temple there. The final day we had a nine-hour harinama. Then I went to Govindadvipa, the Krishna island in Northern Ireland, where I got to give the Sunday feast lecture and chant for 3½ hours afterward as part of a extra kirtana program. I did not do harinama in public on Easter Sunday, but because it was three-day holiday weekend in Ireland, many people visited the temple and heard the extra kirtana. On Easter Monday, a bank holiday in Northern Ireland, eleven devotees chanted in Enniskillen, half an hour from Govindadvipa. Then I went to Belfast for three days of harinama and an evening outreach program. Then I took an overnight ferry and bus to London, where I arrived just in time for the monthly Bhagavatam class time harinama. The following night I traveled by ferry and van with Parasurama Prabhu and his party to Amsterdam for the mammoth King’s Day harinama with over a hundred devotees chanting for eight hours or so. Then I joined His Holiness Janananda Goswami’s party and did harinamas and evening programs in the Rotterdam area. The last day of the month I flew with Janananda Goswami and his party from Amsterdam to Manchester, where I did three hours of harinama in the late afternoon. Actually I am becoming tired just recalling all the traveling, but there were many fulfilling devotional experiences.

I share quotes from Srila Prabhupada’s books and Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami’s journal. I share many, many notes on Janananda Goswami’s lectures in Holland. I share notes on a japa seminar by Tulasi Priya Prabhu, a senior devotee in the Irish Yatra. I share notes from the speeches of several devotees at an outreach program in Belfast and comments by some participants.

Thanks to Gopalacarya Prabhu (Govindadvipa), Kevin (Govindadvipa), Premarnava Prabhu (Dublin), Shelina (Govindadvipa), Syamamayi dd (Belfast), and Bhagavati Dasi (Belfast), and Madhava Gauranga Prabhu (Rotterdam) for their kind donations which allow me to continue traveling and promoting the public congregational chanting of the holy name. Thanks to Vicaru Prabhu for the nice pictures of the harinama in London.


May 7–9: Newcastle area
May 10–11: Birmingham 24-hour kirtana
May 12–13: Newcastle
May 14: Sheffield harinama and nama-hatta program
May 15: Preston harinama and nama-hatta program
May 16: Manchester harinama / Leeds evening program
May 17: Manchester
May 18: Sheffield Ratha-yatra
May 19–20: Manchester harinamas
May 21: Sheffield kirtana night
May 22: Preston kirtana night
May 23: Liverpool evening program
May 24: York harinama and program
May 25: Leeds harinama and program
May 26–June 2: Newcastle area (May 31: 8-hour kirtana, June 1: Sunday lecture)
June 3–6: Scotland
June 7–8: Newcastle Green Festival harinama
June 9–10: Newcastle area harinama
June 11: Sheffield?
June 12–21: London (June 15: Ratha-yatra, June 20–21: Stonehenge Solstice Festival)
June 22–29: Manchester area nama-hattas with Sutapa Prabhu’s party
June 30–July 11: Newcastle area
July 12: York?
July 13: Manchester harinama and Sunday program
July 14–18: Manchester
July 19: Manchester Ratha-yatra
July 20: Prague Ratha-yatra
July 21–25: Baltic Summer Festival in Lithuania
July 26–27: Warsaw harinamas?
July 28–August 3: Kostrzyn (Polish Woodstock)
August 4–7: harinamas in Germany or Czech Padayatra
August 8–9: Ancient Trance Festival (near Leipzig)?
August 10: Bratislava?
August 11–12: Bratislava or Prague
August 13: Prague
August 14–17: Trutnov (Czech Woodstock)
August 18–23: France / Holland
August 24: Amsterdam Ratha-yatra
August (last week)–September (first half) – The North of England / Ireland
September (rest) – New York

Harinamas in Dublin

The day I arrived from India, Ananta Nitai Prabhu and I did harinama for about an hour and a half. Then I attended the Thursday evening program and was happy to see they have some enthusiastic regulars who love kirtana there, some I recalled from before.

The next day, Premarnava Prabhu, Bhakta John, and a couple of devotees who work at Govinda’s chanted with us.

That Saturday we had the nine-hour harinama.

We arranged a number of amplifiers for its duration.

At least eleven devotees participated at least some of the time, many visible in these photos.

Premarnava Prabhu, playing the drum above, chanted for over eight hours. Nanda Kumar Prabhu, front and center, who was recovering from a flight from India, must have chanted about five hours, much longer than usual.

Most amazing for me was Eleanora, who has just been coming around for a few weeks. She had never been on harinama before. Judging from her gray hair, she must have been at least fifty years old. She was the only person who was on time. I was five minutes late myself. She stayed out for almost five hours, taking a break once to get something to drink. She had a wonderful time, chanting, clapping, and dancing. I saw it as evidence for how universal harinama is. If anyone is serious to take the trouble to go on harinama, the holy name is willing to reciprocate and bless that person with a wonderful joyful experience.

Many, many, people danced with us.

Even this dog sculptor moved with the music..

Some danced in the distance as we passed.

At Temple Bar, three musicians played with us.

Govindadvipa, the Krishna Island in Northern Ireland

Govindadvipa is special because of the beautiful Radha-Govinda deities.

In descriptions of Krishna’s abode, Goloka Vrndavana, in the spiritual world, animals such as deer and peacocks are found, and these animals can be found at Govindadvipa as well.

There we did extra kirtana on Easter Sunday,

both outside the temple,

and within it.

Harinama in Enniskillen

No more than half an hour from Govindadvipa is Enniskillen, the largest nearby town in Northern Ireland. On Easter Monday, a bank holiday in Northern Ireland, eleven devotees chanted there for two hours near lunch time.

One nice devotee lady, Karunesvari dd, who plays the harmonium, did an excellent job singing much of the time. 

My friends Kevin and Shelina, who I met doing Bhakti-sastri in Mayapur, came out with their son, Tukarama, demonstrating that harinama can be a family affair.

Harinama in Belfast

I did harinama in Belfast for three days.

The first day it was just Bhagavati Dasi and myself, until Damayanti dd, who happened to be in the area, walked by, and joined us, playing the karatalas. We chanted in an area called Victoria Square, in front an abandoned shop, where there was an alcove protecting us from the intermittent rain.

In Belfast, in general, it is the kids who are most attracted by the harinamas.

A teenage girl, walking with a group of friends, smiled as she glanced at our harinama party, moving her hands in time with the music. As she passed in front of us, she said, “I can feel it!”

During the course of the harinama, a boy donated a Pepsi and a girl donated a fruit drink. At the day’s end, we chanted to Poundworld, and I went to the closest cashier, setting the Pepsi on the counter and saying, “Didn’t realize this had caffeine in it. Can I trade it for something else?” Thus I traded the Pepsi for half a liter of sparkling water and 10 pence, both of which we used in the Lord’s service!

After chanting for over two and a half hours, we walked to our evening outreach event, a meeting of a group of Belfast seekers, called Connected Awakening, where we were the guest speakers. As we made our way through the streets, I sang a lively Hare Krishna tune from Lokanath Swami’s Eternal Bliss album. There is a pause in the tune after the phrase “Hare Hare,” each time it occurs, and a group of three kids, who heard us singing, would spontaneously shout “Hare” during that pause and raise their hands in the air with great delight. This continued for several mantras our until our paths diverged.

The Connected Awakening people listened respectfully in the first kirtana and chanted and danced in the second one. It was wonderful to see their participation.

The second day on harinama, for part of the time we had five people, with Syamamayi dd, Caitanya Candrodaya Prabhu, and Bhakta Alex from Slovenia, joining me and Bhagavati Dasi.

The third day it was Nitai Prabhu, Syamamayi dd, and Bhakta Alex.

Syamamayi dd was reminded of her love for harinama and is enthusiastic to come out more often. She and other devotees talked about creating a special kirtana and prasadam event for the Belfast youth at a venue downtown, and she began searching for a venue.

A very pregnant lady on the boat from Ireland to England asked me to say a prayer for her. She said she had to see her relatives in England but had to return to Ireland to have the baby. She did not want to go into labor before returning to Ireland. I said I would say a prayer. I offered a common prayer to Lord Caitanya and asked Him to fulfill her desire and increase her devotion for Him.

Harinama in London

The last Friday of the month at ISKCON London the devotees do harinama, chanting in procession on Oxford Street instead of Bhagavatam class. By Krishna's mercy I arrived at the temple via an overnight ferry and bus from Dublin that was an hour and a half early, just five minutes before the harinama started!!!

I led for the beginning.

Later Murli Manohar Prabhu, the head pujari and a senior brahmacari, led a very lively kirtana.

I was so happy Krishna made that arrangement for me to arrive just in time for the harinama.

Harinamas in Holland

As I have done since 2009, I chanted in the King’s Day (formerly Queen’s Day) harinama in Amsterdam. As usual Kadamba Kanana Swami brought three busloads of devotees from Radhadesh, many from his Vyasa Puja festival, to join the Dutch Hare Krishna devotees in chanting for about eight hours on the streets of Amsterdam for King’s Day, celebrated on April 26.

Kadamba Kanana Swami, originally from Holland, was our leader.

Parasurama Prabhu, traveled from the UK, with eleven devotees, and his wonderful harinama rickshaw, with his Gaura Nitai deities and a powerful sound system, that added a lot to the event. In the above picture, he is coming out of a museum building.

Many, many people danced with us.

Sometimes the dancers formed a bridge of pairs of people holding hands, and then the pairs went under the bridge, coming out, and adding themselves to the end of the bridge. Both the devotees and people from the crowd took part in this.


Sometimes rows of people danced.

Sometimes a chain of dancers snaked through the crowd.

One man danced on a roof.

Some devotees would swing the people around.

One devotee lady taught three happy girls to chant the mantra, which they read from a card.

His Holiness Janananda Goswami was so enthusiastic that after chanting at King’s Day in Amsterdam till 4:00 p.m., he wanted to return to Rotterdam and do harinama there! On that Rotterdam harinama, one girl named Vera danced with us, bought a book and took an invitation to their monthly Sunday program. Vera bought a friend, Dana, to that program and they stayed the whole time and then came on harinama with us afterward for over two hours! It was truly amazing to witness such participation from very new people!

Between a lunch program and evening program we did a harinama for almost an hour and a half in a small suburb on the north side of Rotterdam named Hillegersberg. We encountered two groups of children who participated by dancing with us. Janananda Goswami is very good at interacting with the children.

One group was smaller kids.

The other group was bigger kids.

Thanks to Sivananda Sena Prabhu for the nice pictures of them and to his wife, Moksa Lakshmi Devi Dasi for this Facebook video of our harinama with the bigger kids: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10203548444572636

Vera and Dana came to the evening program at Madhava Gauranga Prabhu’s house, and Dana brought her boyfriend, Anthony.

Janandana Goswami led a lively kirtana.


Dana, Anthony, and Vera (from left to right), on the right side of the above photo, all participated beautifully in the chanting and dancing.

I was happy to attain the association of Janananda Goswami and go on harinamas and to evening programs with him. 

To see the photos which I did not include in this blog, many of which are from the King’s Day harinama in Amsterdam, click on the link below or copy it to your web browser [note that the unused pictures follow the used pictures in the album]:


Srila Prabhupada:

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.47, purport:

Whatever manifestations exist, their cause is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This cannot be understood by so-called silence or by any other hodgepodge method. The supreme cause can be understood only by devotional service, as stated in Bhagavad-gita (bhaktya mam abhijanati [Bg. 18.55]).”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.49:

Neither the three modes of material nature [sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna], nor the predominating deities controlling these three modes, nor the five gross elements, nor the mind, nor the demigods nor the human beings can understand Your Lordship, for they are all subjected to birth and annihilation. Considering this, the spiritually advanced have taken to devotional service. Such wise men hardly bother with Vedic study. Instead, they engage themselves in practical devotional service.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.49, purport:

After understanding the Supreme Lord through devotional service, such devotees are no longer interested in studies of the Vedas. Indeed, this is confirmed in the Vedas also. The Vedas say, kim artha vayam adhyeshyamahe kim artha vayam vakahyamahe. What is the use of studying so many Vedic literatures? What is the use of explaining them in different ways? Vayam vakshyamahe. No one needs to study any more Vedic literatures, nor does anyone need to describe them by philosophical speculation.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.10, purport:

Srila Jiva Gosvami has explained this desirelessness as bhajaniya-parama-purusha-sukha-matrasva-sukhatvam in his Sandarbha. This means that one should feel happy only by experiencing the happiness of the Supreme Lord.”

In the mundane field such an outlook of doing good to others in the form of society, community, family, country or humanity is a partial manifestation of the same original feeling in which a pure living entity feels happiness by the happiness of the Supreme Lord. Such superb feelings were exhibited by the damsels of Vrajabhumi for the happiness of the Lord. The gopis loved the Lord without any return, and this is the perfect exhibition of the akamah [desireless] spirit.”

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.10.13, purport:

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says: evam prahladasyamsena sadhana-siddhatvam nitya-siddhatvam ca naradadivaj jneyam. There are two classes of devotees—the sadhana-siddha and the nitya-siddha. Prahlada Maharaja is a mixed siddha; that is, he is perfect partly because of executing devotional service and partly because of eternal perfection. Thus he is compared to such devotees as Narada. Formerly, Narada Muni was the son of a maidservant, and therefore in his next birth he attained perfection (sadhana-siddhi) because of having executed devotional service. Yet he is also a nitya-siddha because he never forgets the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

from Radio Shows:

Why do we settle for so much less? Dream and try to carry out those dreams. Be humble and patient, but don’t be stingy.”

Today’s drawing shows three
bhaktas dancing and chanting
with upraised arms.
They appear to be
having a lot of fun.

Harinama is actually
a recreation only.
It is profoundly
grave spiritual prayer
more holy than
mystic yoga,
practice of austerity,
or study of the Vedas.
It is so powerful that
it pleases Krishna
very much yet
it is performed
in a lighthearted
way, bringing bliss to the chanters.
This is the practice
harinama. It is
the heaviest
yet the performers do it in joy.”

Today’s drawing shows four
devotees dancing and chanting
with upraised arms.
Although they are only four
they look like a strong attractive
presence as many devotees
as possible should go out
on harinama together.
A large number in harinama
breaks the modes
of nature, and the holy
name becomes dominant
over the local
mundane forms. But
if only four or five
or six go out together, they
can transform the
air space and bring
the spiritual world
by the great chant
for deliverance.
Who knows
the power of harinama,
how it is changing the world for the better
and how it is spreading its influence.
By the will of Krishna anything is possible.”

Janananda Goswami:

That person who feels and loves and who interacts with the mind but is beyond the mind is neither human nor nonhuman.

The human body is suitable for spiritual life while the plant and animal bodies are not so suitable for spiritual life, but unfortunately most people do not use their intelligence for spiritual purposes.

Often people just conceive spiritual to just be something subtle, beyond the body, beyond the intelligence.

When we speaking of loving someone we do not speak of loving people with our brain, but with our heart, not the physical organ of the heart, the region of the heart. [That is said to be the location of the soul, according to the Vedas.]

We do not mind drunkards [who we encounter in our public chanting]; we are drunkards in a different way.

Individual desires may be satisfied but the incessant flow of desires cannot be satisfied.

Although the body and mind are changing, the self, which experiences the changes, is unchanging. To realize that spiritual identity is the goal of spiritual life.

To understand who are we, why we are where we are, and if that is the best place for us, is what we are meant to learn.

Whatever we get, we lose in this world. This experience of termination is not natural for the soul. It is also not natural for us to be ignorant.

People say ignorance is bliss, but if we are ignorance we may suffer in the future because of it.

So much discrimination is there based on the body: nationality, gender, race, etc.

If we enter the room through different doors and we fight over which door we came in through, it is foolish. Similarly it is foolish to fight over bodily differences.

Our modern civilization has no organized program for spiritual life.

In China, you can only believe in reincarnation if you approved by the government.

What have I done to deserve this?” we think. That is what my mother said when I joined the Hare Krishna movement.

Yoga is not just a practice to feel good, but to link up our actual self with the Supreme Self.

Meditation is not meant to focus on a temporary feature of this material world but to eternally fix the mind on Krishna.

When we hear the vibration of Hare Krishna, it enters our consciousness, and not only purifies us from karma, but satisfies our soul.

Krishna consciousness is not so much about giving things up but adopting things.

Yoga is not just to make us more peaceful or to make life more pleasant but to awaken us to self-realization.

When our heart becomes purified of lust, greed, and anger, we can attain eternal spiritual bliss.

Through bhakti we connect to Krishna directly.

In this world of names we live in, the name and named are not the same. This is not true with Krishna whose name, form, and pastimes are Absolute.

Dancing and chanting does not seem like yoga to most people, but it connects us to Krishna. It is conscious connection with the supreme consciousness, Lord Krishna.

Our real problem is internal not external.

If there is no peace within, there is no peace without.

Q: What is the easiest way to attain success in spiritual perfection?
A: The easiest way is find spiritual teacher who is connected to God and to attain spiritual knowledge from him. Though the guidance of a pure devotee, by ultimate revelation from the Lord within, one attains enlightenment.

We are encouraging people to chant Hare Krishna, but we are happy to see other people chanting any name of God.

The more we connect with the sound vibration, the more we experience the presence of Krishna,

With meditation, if the mind wanders there is no benefit, but if one chants, even if the mind wanders, there is still some benefit.

Meditation does not do much to benefit others but the chanting benefits everyone.

You chant, chant, and chant, and you become enchanted.

Kirtana is so wonderful because even if we are mixed in consciousness, we can still experience some spiritual taste.

We have many songs describing Krishna, how to attain Krishna, and the nature of this world.

There is a process of experiencing the fire in wood, or the taste in water, and other things that cannot be perceived with the eyes. Similarly there is a process for experiencing the soul.

We have a desire, and in time, that desire is facilitated.

We are gradually evolving, and we get to the point of inquiring, “What is the purpose of life? Why am I suffering?” The Supersoul gives us the association so we can broaden our prospective.

The sun removes the fog, but it takes some time, similarly spiritual activities take some time to remove our material darkness.

Being in the material world is like being in the dark or in the fog.

As we may live in an apartment but it does not belong to us, similarly we are living in this body but it does not belong to us. We have a lease on this body, but the owner can cancel it at any time.

One by one, things are changed or decayed by the force of time.

People spend billions of euros to avoid suffering and death.

Lust is when we think we are the enjoyer of that which does not belong to us.

If we just use things for their material purpose, that is lust.

The Rolling Stones are still rolling, still stoned, and still cant get no satisfaction.

When one has deep inner happiness, external material happiness is very shallow, and one does not depend on it.

Saint Francis was minimally dressed and was walking in the winter in Italy with another monk who kept asking him where he will find happiness. They got to the monastery too late, and the doorman would not let them in. They were freezing and decided to try again. The doorman yelled at them and struck them. The other monk complained, but Francis smiled, and said, “This is real happiness – to not depend on external situations for happiness.”

As long as we are thinking some material adjustment will bring us happiness, then we will never experience real happiness.

Krishna says, “Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.” Krishna does not say to stop the senses, but to regulate the senses.

In Liverpool I got arrested every day for eight days in row. The policeman knew all my data. He would see me and say, “Mr. Norman, I see you. You better get out of here!”

When I was a kid I remember that it was in the news that the archbishop of Argentina was praying that his country’s team would win the world cup. They did win so he must have had some connections. But that is not the way to pray. We are asking God for peanuts, when God can offer us so much more.

By chanting we do not become zombies. Actually, the chanting opens up our perception, even of this world.

Try to hear the chanting carefully; forget about the world.

There was one police officer who worked in a Oxford Street police station who would have his constables arrest us whenever possible. Then when we were brought in, he would have us sing for him. He liked the singing and was stuck in the police station all day.

If we are absorbed in Krishna consciousness, we will not be disturbed. One should be so busy in devotional service, he does not have to worry about lust.

We cannot fight with Kali-yuga, but we can take shelter of the chanting of the holy name.

Lokanath Swami when he gave me sannyasa, the renounced order of life, said, “Body, mind, and words must be engaged in Krishna. Body, mind, and words, BMW. That is the real BMW.”

You can chant when you are in pain, or in the rain, or on a train, or in Spain or Ukraine, in a drain, or even if you are insane.

When we are preparing for an exam, we usually take help someone who knows. Similarly in preparing for death we should take help from someone who knows.

As we cook for our children because of natural affection, similarly we can cook for God.

If you think about it, you have never seen your face, you have only seen an image of your face in a mirror.

The relationships we have in this world are reflections of the real relationships there in the spiritual world, which are the most beautiful relationships.

If you love your boss and you like your job, you may continue working if they stop paying you, but it is unlikely. Thus service in this world is motivated.

We are all looking taste in relationships. In neutral relationships we are satisfied if the relationship is peaceful.

Service is there in all relationships.

We have to learn to relate to each other in this world in such a way that we attain the spiritual world.

Nature, love, energy, etc., come from a source, and we offer it back to that source.

Anyone can read the Bhagavad-gita, but the actual realization is given by the object of realization and that is in response one’s bhakti, or devotion.

When Krishna says, “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it,” that does not mean that is all that He will accept, but rather it indicates that anyone can find something to offer Him.

In an orchestra if everyone plays as they wish without considering the conductor it is doubtful the result will be harmonious.

People talk about love of God. They institutionalize it. But it is a reality that becomes manifest when our heart becomes pure.

Devotional service is most easily experienced through hearing and chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

Just as if you get in the tram, you will go to the destination of the tram, if you just hear and chant Hare Krishna you will attain the spiritual world.

We think “I do not like the reflection, so let me adjust the mirror,” but it is better to understand the reality beyond the reflection.

This is Bhagavad-gita As It Is not Bhagavad-gita As I See It.

Q: You say when you put Krishna in the center, we will be harmonious, but I am in management and although we are all devotees, it seems that all is not harmonious.
A: You can see the apparent conflict as an opportunity to surrender more to Krishna. See it as a difference of opinion about how to serve Krishna, and not that one is right and one is wrong. Pray to the Lord to guide you in management. Read Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on this matter, and read Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita and learn from Srila Prabhupada’s example. Consult with other devotees.

Once in Vrindavan we had a program and invited all the important people in Vrindavan, but we forgot to invite the mayor. It was a big blunder, and everyone in the town was talking about it. The people involved in organizing the program were discussing what went wrong. Rather than blaming each other, each of them considered how in some way it was his fault, and they all apologized.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said, “One who thinks this world is in need of reform is himself in need of reform. The only reform that is required is a reform of our own perception, and that is possible by hearing the holy name.”

One contemporary follower of Lord Caitanya wrote, “Even the topmost devotees occasionally become perplexed about what to do and what not to do in this age of Kali Age.”

I recommend devotees to read Markine Bhagavata Dharma, a poem Srila Prabhupada wrote upon his arrival in America. Practically everything about Srila Prabhupada’s mood is there.

The cow wants to offer its milk to Krishna. That is its service. What else can it do?

In our offerings to Krishna in this contaminated age, you just have to do the best you can.

Srila Prabhupada never advised us once to be vegan. Many, many times he said that he wanted us to have our own cows and produce our own milk.

People say because of the redirection of her waters and because of pollution, the river Yamuna at present is not really the Yamuna, but Yamuna is not controlled by businessmen, politicians, and engineers. The last two years I had the most ecstatic experiences bathing in the river Yamuna.

When Kirtanananda first went to Vrindavana and asked Srila Prabhupada, “Why is Vrindavana so dirty?” Srila Prabhupada replied, “Because your heart is so dirty.”

I personally purchased vegetarian ice cream for Srila Prabhupada, at his request, in London.

In Hong Kong he said the devotees could offer mushrooms because they so much a part of the diet there.

I worked in a slaughterhouse before I became a devotee. I do not know what planet the people who work in those places come from, but they are not ordinary people. You have to have a certain mentality to work in such places. I could not last there very long.

There was a cow who would come to our Hare Krishna programs. She was always on time, not like some of the devotees. She would always sit down for the class, always with the women, never with the men. She would stand up for the kirtana. When we served prasadam, she got a banana leaf with food on it like everyone else. She would eat the prasadam, the banana leaf plate, and everyone else’s leftovers. She would bring other cows to the program. She would take part in dramas. You would not have to call her for go puja [worship of the cow], she would come up for it and return to her place when it was done. A devotee in the village began having mangala-arati in his house, and the cow found out about it, and would show up at 4:30 in the morning for it. After she stopped giving milk her owner sold her to the devotees, and she stayed with them for the rest of her life.

Tulasi Priya Prabhu (Ireland):

A devotee regrets offenses and makes plans to avoid repeating them.

The chanting itself teaches us how to chant. Lord Caitanya also teaches about many aspects of chanting in His eight verses (“Siksastaka”).

Bhaktivinoda Thakura prays to Krishna, “As much as I attached to material things let me be attached to Your holy feet.”

Prayers with regret and humility inspire Krishna to grant His mercy.

We can pray to Krishna to swap our negative material attachments for positive devotional attachments.

Siksastaka 3 tells how we can come to the point of constant chanting, and constant chanting frees us from all offenses.

The man in ignorance identifies himself with the body and tries to create a situation where he is honored for some attribute of his body. But when he is enlightened and understands he is not the body, he loses interest in pursuing such illusory fame.

A devotee does not think, “I am so humble,” rather he thinks “I am so proud. I wish I could be humble.”

One can have anarthas [unwanted desires] and not be willing to give them up because he has subordinated his desire for pure devotional service to them.

One cannot be going after all these external things [dhanam (wealth), janam (fame), sundarim (women)] and get krishna-prema (love of God).

Siksastaka 5 teaches that we cannot make spiritual advancement on our own strength.

We have to be very aware that the material world is a horrible place in order to pray to Krishna to lift us out of it.

There was once a devotee who left ISKCON and lived with some babajis in Radha Kund and was chanting 64 rounds a day. He told Srila Prabhupada the babajis told him if you chant 64 rounds, Krishna has to bestow his mercy on you. Srila Prabhupada said that this was karma-mimamsa philosophy. So although he was at Radha Kund, associating with babajis and chanting 64 rounds, he was a becoming follower of karma-mimamsa.

Although Srila Prabhupada said to just chant and hear, he also said a lot of other things about chanting.

Is your mind bringing you to the chanting or is it bringing you away from the chanting?

Urmila dd once said in class in Chowpatty, “How is it that devotees say that you can think about Krishna at any other time except when you are chanting the holy name?”

Our attention goes to whatever has more meaning for us than the mantra. Thus we must appreciate the meaning of the mantra. If we just bring the mind back to the mantra, unless the mantra has meaning for us, our mind will not stick to it.

Bhagavati Dasi:

We attain knowledge by becoming a disciple of one who has knowledge.

By serving the spiritual master, we please him and attain knowledge and become qualified to distribute knowledge ourselves.

We are simultaneously one with and different from God. We have the same qualities as God, but He has them to an infinite extent. We have some beauty, some knowledge, and some strength, but He has unlimited beauty, knowledge, and strength.

Tata means bank, like the bank of the river, not Lloyds Bank. [laughter]

Syamamayi Dasi:

Prabhupada came with to the West with two trunks of Srimad-Bhagavatams.

Silent meditation is subject to distractions by material sound, so meditation on spiritual sound is superior.

At a certain point Srila Prabhupada did something he did not originally plan to do, to go back to India and inspire his countrymen to take their own spiritual culture seriously by showing how his western disciples were taking it seriously.

Caitanya Candrodaya Prabhu:

The scriptures such Srimad-Bhagavatam are eternal and are revealed.

The body gives you trouble but it is nothing compared to the mind.

You can check how purified you are. You do not have ask anyone.

The name of the Lord is not part of the material energy.

Patanjali says that after samadhi is the path of bhakti-yoga.


Cooking for someone else is more exciting than cooking for yourself. So you can cook for the Lord.

Alec, president of the Connected Awakening club in Belfast:

When I encountered Hinduism, I came across Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. I found myself attracted to the name of Vishnu. Then I came to understand that there is a relationship between Vishnu and Krishna, and I encountered the Hare Krishna temple. Later I saw a devotee and got Bhagavad-gita As It Is, and I have been reading it every since.

comment from member of Connected Awakening club in Belfast:

I can tell you from my personal experience with Christianity many years ago that what is spoken by the people in tongues is not always completely pure.


This verse is a favorite because it tells how to easily attain Krishna:

ananya-cetah satatam
yo mam smarati nityasah
tasyaham sulabhah partha
nitya-yuktasya yoginah

For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Pritha, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.” (Bhagavad-gita 8.14)