Monday, May 26, 2014

Travel Journal#10.9: North of England & Birmingham 24-hour Kirtan

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 10, No. 9
By Krishna-kripa das
(May 2014, part one
The North of England and the Birmingham Twenty-four Kirtan
(Sent from Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on May 26, 2014)

Where I Went and What I Did

I traveled with Janananda Swami and Bhakta Pasya from Amsterdam to Manchester, where I did harinama for three days. Next I went to the North UK Retreat in Uttoxeter, with special guests Candramauli Swami, Janananda Goswami, and Dayananda Swami. There I saw many friends I had not seen since last year. Then I spent four days in the Newcastle area, chanting in Newcastle three days and once in Sunderland. Next I went to Birmingham Twenty-four Hour Kirtan for a couple days. After Birmingham, I spent two days with Janananda Goswami in Newcastle, culminating in Nrsimha Caturdasi, with three hours of harinama. My friends from America, Toshan Krishna Prabhu (formerly Trevor) and Bhakta Dan joined us then, and the next day we traveled to do harinamas and nama-hattas in Sheffield and Preston.

As usual I have notes on Srila Prabhupada’s books and lectures and Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami’s journal, Viraha Bhavan. Candramauli Swami, Janananda Swami, and Dayananda Swami shared a lot of wisdom with us at the North UK Retreat which was very inspiring, and I share my many notes below. Sacinandana Swami, speaking at the Brimingham Twenty-four Hour Kirtan, shared more inspiration about the holy name. I also have a few notes on a recorded Radhanath Swani lecture.

I would like to thank Janananda Goswami for all his wonderful association and assistance in my service, including providing the illustration on searching for the truth. He takes so much trouble to assist others in their service to Krishna it is most inspiring. Thanks to Gauridas Pandit Prabhu for helping with my travel to York for a future harinama and nama-hatta event.


May 26–June 2: Newcastle area (May 31: 8-hour kirtana, June 1: Sunday lecture)
June 3–6: Scotland harinamas and festivals
June 7: Findhorn 8-hour kirtana
June 8: Newcastle Green Festival harinama
June 9–10: Manchester 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 12: Newcastle and Manchester area (July 5, 12 : York harinama?)
July 13: Manchester harinama and Sunday program
July 14–18: Manchester harinamas
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, Poland (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 Manchester

I chanted harinama in Manchester for the first three days of May, with Janananda Goswami joining me one day and Shiv, a prospective disciple of Candramauli Swami who came from Bhaktivedanta Manor to serve him during the North UK Retreat, joining me another day. I was encouraged that one day in just 34 minutes I received enough donations to cover my day ticket on the bus.

Harinama in Uttoxeter

The North UK Retreat was in a small English town called Uttoxeter in Staffordshire, neither of which I had ever heard of before. We were worried that there would be too few people on the street to do harinama because of the smallness of the place, but it was a beautiful sunny day and the horse races were going on, so there were more people out than usual.

Many people took videos of us, including lots of kids.

Raghunatha Bhatta, although distributing pamphlets, fully engaged in dancing enthusiastically.

Devotee ladies danced.

Devotee men swung each other around.

One man invited us into a bar. Janananda Goswami was leading the kirtana, and he brought us in. 

We chanted and danced a while in the center of the place, and then on a small stage on the far side. 

Many of the guys jumped up and down, danced, and took photos. 

Lots of people from the bar watched the devotees and others on the stage. 

When Janananda Goswami brought the chanting on the stage to an end, the guy who invited us into the bar, who was standing near him on the stage, shouted to the audience, “Hare Krishna is the best religion in the world!” I had never heard such a positive comment in a bar before. It was amazing. 

Later Janananda Goswami explained that generally religious people either ignore the people in the bars or criticize them but rarely do they spend time just being with them in a friendly way.

Our party was rather large for such a small town.

We ended in the lot where our cars were parked.

North UK Retreat

A high point of the North UK Retreat was a 3½-hour standing up kirtana the evening of the last full day.

Kids played instruments on the stage.

Men swung each other around.

The ladies did a chain dance.

Devotees, including the swamis, danced in rows.

Near the end, Janananda Goswami did an impromptu drama, playing the role of Chand Kazi, who broke up Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana parties, himself.

Harinama in Newcastle

Some days in Newcastle I chanted alone, and other days more devotees joined me.

Radhe Shyama Prabhu and Karl joined me one day. A young lady devotee later joined us.

Some curious young ladies danced and played with the drum.

A young boy came by twice on his roller board, smiling and moving with the music as his mom watched with a smile. 

Another time Prema Sankirtana Prabhu (right) joined us.

Two friends of Radhe Shyama Prabhu from his work came by.

The young man proved to be an able percussionist. 

Harinama in Sunderland

I always meet nice people in Sunderland, which Janananda Goswami refers to as Shyamsunderland, and which, of the cities surrounding Newcastle, is largest in size.

After I chanted over two hours by myself, Janananda Goswami and his disciple, Prema Sankirtana Prabhu joined me.

We met a couple outside a bar, and Janananda Goswami and Prema Sankirtana Prabhu swung them around in circles as I continued playing harmonium and singing.

We had a program at and Vrinda Prabhus’ place, which featured a cake for Eyni’s birthday.

Birmingham Twenty-Four-Hour Kirtan

The special guests Sacinandana Swami, Kadamba Kanana Swami, and Madhava Prabhu were an inspiration. 

Sacinandana Swami urged us to chant consciously desiring to connect with Krishna, which does make a difference. 

Kadamba Kanana Swami, dancing to Sacinandana Swami’s kirtana above, sang lively tunes with intensity, getting everyone up dancing. Madhava Prabhu invited people to focus on the holy names in a meditative way, gradually building up the speed of the kirtana. All three are great devotees with realizations to inspire everyone. 

The Hare Krishna festival team, originally lead by Tribhuvana Prabhu, and now by Giridhari Prabhu, led an old-fashioned Hare Krishna kirtana that got everyone dancing.

The guys danced.

The girls danced.

Even the meditative Madhava Prabhu danced!

I was surprised to see many devotees I knew from Ireland there, as they do not come every year. I met one devotee, Vidura Prabhu, originally from Ireland, who I knew from Philadelphia in the middle 1980s. I talked with Irish devotees about chanting in cities in Ireland where we do not usually chant during the World Holy Name Festival (September 5 to 15). In September, I will probably go to Ireland for many reasons: I probably will fly out of Ireland to go to America as it is usually cheaper, the Dublin Ratha-yatra is usually in September, and I like to spend a certain amount of time chanting with my Irish friends.

Syamananda Prabhu, who I recall from his enthusiastic dancing at the German Kirtan Melas also danced a lot in Birmingham.

Many of my Newcastle friends engaged in dancing too.

I try to participate more each year by sleeping less. This time I had two or three ten- or fifteen-minute naps and a long nap of half an hour. This year the event was on Ekadasi, a day where in India especially, some devotees stay up all night chanting. The temple president had me beat, by fasting from water and food, and staying up all night, which is inconceivable to me. He and I, despite our sleep deprivation were the most enthusiastic dancers in the mangala-arati.

One devotee became overwhelmed by sleep during the kirtana, and demonstrated a novel use for a bead bag while resting in the kirtana hall during Sacinandana Swami’s final kirtana.

Harinama in Sheffield

My friends, Toshan Krishna and Dan Prabhus, and I chanted for an hour or so in Sheffield. We were then joined by Kay, who has run their nama-hattta for decades and Jeff, a long time attender. Then we chanted around the town.

Kay danced and distributed invitations.

Jeff led, accompanied by Dan on drum and Toshan Krishna Prabhu on karatalas.

A girl who had a lot of wine danced to the music.

Jeff talked about Krishna philosophy with curious boys we passed. as we made our way to the venue for our evening program.

For more pictures which I did not include in this blog, click on the link below. The unused pictures appear after the used ones in that album:


Srila Prabhupada:

from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.10.40, purport:

In Caitanya-caritamrita, in connection with Lord Caitanya’s instructions to Sanatana Gosvami, it is explained that a devotee should externally execute his routine devotional service in a regular way but should always inwardly think of the particular mellow in which he is attracted to the service of the Lord. This constant thought of the Lord makes the devotee eligible to return home, back to Godhead.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 15.106:

Any devotee who believes that the holy name of the Lord is identical with the Lord is a pure devotee, even though he may be in the neophyte stage. By his association, others may also become Vaishnavas.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 30:

Even if devotees are illusioned by some ghastly scene or by any accidental occurrence, they never forget Krishna. Even in the greatest danger they can remember Krishna. This is the benefit of Krishna consciousness: even at the time of death, when all the functions of the body become dislocated, the devotee can remember Krishna in his innermost consciousness, and this saves him from falling down into material existence. In this way Krishna consciousness immediately takes one from the material platform to the spiritual world.”

It is stated in the Tenth Canto, Thirty-third Chapter, verse 11, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Upon seeing that Krishna’s arm was placed on her shoulder, one of the gopis engaged in the rasa dance became so ecstatically happy that she kissed Krishna on His cheek.’ This is an instance of feeling happiness because of achieving a desired goal.”

from a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.17 given on August 20, 1972, in Los Angeles:

This vibration of Hare Krishna mantra is so strong that it will benefit anyone who hears. Therefore we are sending sankirtana party. They may understand or not understand, they may appreciate or not appreciate, we are forcing them to become pious simply by hearing this Hare Krishna mantra. It is so nice.”

from Isopansad 13:

It is said that one result is obtained by worshiping the supreme cause of all causes and that another result is obtained by worshiping what is not supreme. All this is heard from the undisturbed authorities, who clearly explained it.”

from Message of Godhead, Chapter 1:

The psychological effects of various peoples, places, and times have led us to designate ourselves as Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Congressites, Luddites, Socialists, Bolsheviks, and so forth. Specifically in the field of religion, we have tried to establish many varieties of ephemeral physical and mental arrangements, varieties of denominations, according to various peoples, places, and times. And precisely for this reason, we can envision ourselves ‘changing religions.’ One who is a ‘Hindu’ today may become a ‘Muhammadan’ the next day, or one who is a ‘Muhammadan’ today may become a ‘Christian’ the next day, and so on. But when we attain transcendental knowledge and are established in the actual, eternal religion of the actual living entity—the spirit soul—then and then only can we attain real, undeniable peace, prosperity, and happiness in the world. Until that time, there can be no peace and prosperity for us, because we are not situated on the plane of sanatana-dharma, or the eternal religion of the soul.”

from Bhagavad-gita 2.72, purport:

There is no difference between the kingdom of God and the devotional service of the Lord. Since both of them are on the absolute plane, to be engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord is to have attained the spiritual kingdom. In the material world there are activities of sense gratification, whereas in the spiritual world there are activities of Krishna consciousness. Attainment of Krishna consciousness even during this life is immediate attainment of Brahman, and one who is situated in Krishna consciousness has certainly already entered into the kingdom of God.”

from a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.18 on June 22, 1969, in New Vrndavana:

We have just to surrender to Krishna, ‘From this day on I am yours.’ Krishna will do everything else. We just have to use our free will to accept Krishna’s proposal. Just like if you are in a well and someone lowers a rope to pull you out, you just have to grab the rope.

Krishna consciousness is our only business. We should not try for artificial happiness. Whatever comes by the grace of Krishna is sufficient. We should not divert our attention in any other direction.

You may acquire the whole property of West Virginia, but you will still eat four chapatis and sleep in the same six feet of space.

from a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.17 on October 28, 1972, in Vrndavana:

You can discover something to kill men but you cannot discover something to save men. That [process which will save men] is Krishna consciousness.”

Sex desire increases our attachment for this world.

If we want to get rid of the dirty things in the heart, we must scrutinizingly hear about Krishna. It does not matter if we do not understand.

If you are arrested, why should you be sorry? Give people in the jail a chance to hear Hare Krishna.

Krishna is within. We do not need to go to the Himalayas to find him.

I cannot get rid of these dirty things in my heart by my own endeavor. But if we are serious to hear, Krishna, who is in our heart, helps.

If we take advantage of this human form of life and simply try to hear about Krishna, then our life is successful.

from Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya 15.107, purport:

Out of the nine processes of devotional service, kirtana is very important. Srila Jiva Gosvami therefore instructs that the other processes, such as arcana, vandana, dasya and sakhya, should be executed, but they must be preceded and followed by kirtana, the chanting of the holy name. We have therefore introduced this system in all of our centers. Arcana, arati, bhoga offering, Deity dressing and decoration are all preceded and followed by the chanting of the holy name of the Lord – Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 15.108, purport:

The more one is freed from material identification, the more one can realize that the spirit soul is qualitatively as good as the Supreme Soul. At such a time, when one is situated on the absolute platform, one can understand that the holy name of the Lord and the Lord Himself are identical. At that stage of realization, the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Krishna mantra, cannot be identified with any material sound. If one accepts the Hare Krishna maha-mantra as a material vibration, he falls down. One should worship and chant the holy name of the Lord by accepting it as the Lord Himself.”

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 15.111, purport:

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura comments that serving Vaishnavas is most important for householders. Whether a Vaishnavas is properly initiated or not is not a subject for consideration. One may be initiated and yet contaminated by the Mayavada philosophy, but a person who chants the holy name of the Lord offenselessly will not be so contaminated. A properly initiated Vaishnava may be imperfect, but one who chants the holy name of the Lord offenselessly is all-perfect. Although he may apparently be a neophyte, he still has to be considered a pure, unalloyed Vaishnava. It is the duty of the householder to offer respects to such an unalloyed Vaishnava.”

from The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 30:

There is an authoritative statement in the Garuda Purana about mystic yogis who are under the direct shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead: ‘In all three stages of their consciousness—namely wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep—the devotees are absorbed in thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, in their complete absorption in thought of Krishna, they do not sleep.’”

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

who have left Vrndavana to chant
in the city are making a great
sacrifice. Krishna is pleased
with them and is making
Vrndavana in their hearts.”

The harinama chanters
are empowered. To a superficial
observer they may look
like ordinary street singers
or religious sectarians.
But they are delivering
the completely transcendental,
potent sound vibration,
the Hare Krishna mantra.
This chant, composed
of the names of Radha and Krishna
is confidential even to
the Vedas, but it has
been made easily
accessible by Lord Caitanya.
He requested His followers to always
chant the holy names.
And He predicted the
day would come when the Name would be heard
in every town and village. Those
who are actually assisting in His
mission are very dear to Him,
and they are making the world auspicious.”

Today’s drawing shows four
devotees dancing and chanting
with upraised arms.
They look beautiful
in a spiritual way.
harinama devotees
are a wonderful group.
They sacrifice their
lives in the performance
of congregational chanting. They have no
earning occupation but
Krishna maintains them
and supplies what they need.
The Union Square party
had no place to house
their devotees but Krishna
gave them a four-story
opulent building.
He protects them
every day when they
go out in the streets
of Manhattan and perform
their nonviolent, celebrative
He is always protecting them
and is very pleased with their results.”

Today’s drawing shows three
devotees dancing and chanting
with upraised arms.
They appear blissful
and energetic.
To go out every day
on harinama in
public requires a
great vow and endurance.
It is the austerity
for the Age of Kali.
Devotees who do
it strain their
bodies and minds
in a test of will.
But they are not
relying merely on
their own material
strength. Krishna
gives them spiritual energy.
In fact, the sankirtana
is sheltered by the internal
pleasure-giving potency.
The harinama
devotees are participating
in the pastimes of Lord Caitanya, and
He personally gives them the
courage to carry on.”

Candramauli Swami:

More than a place, the spiritual world is a state of consciousness. You have to attain the consciousness of the spiritual world in order to go there.

It is said that the spiritual world has doors only on the inside, or in other words, you have to be let into it.

Home is where everything is natural. When we are traveling, we are always having to make adjustments, but at home everything is provided.

Bhakti is the only process for entering into the spiritual world.

Bhakti is the heart of Krishna. It is the path He advocates.

The material world is where everyone is trying to be number one and not succeeding. It is like a battle where everyone dies.

Souls have the capacity to enjoy unlimitedly, ananda-buddhi vardhanam, when they are situated in their real position of being the eternal servants of Krishna.

People sometimes change their identity, but they just change their present false identity to another false identity,

Krishna Himself is all aspects of Himself that are nondifferent from Himself.

Krishna wants our bhakti, our devotion.

Now we can enter into the pure consciousness of the kingdom of God.

Our loving potency is not satisfied until we come in contact with the source of our very being.

Bhakti is simple because it is natural, but it is complicated because we are in an unnatural state.

If we get a little taste of this original nature, there is nothing else that compares to it.

The kingdom of God is our birthright. As long as we stay with Krishna, we will inherit the kingdom of God.

We want happiness that has no limit, but unlimited happiness exists only within Krishna.

As when you come closer to a fire, you feel warm, similarly there are symptoms of one’s approaching the consciousness of the kingdom of God.

Matter is moved by a living being. A computer can do so many things, but someone has to turn it on and someone has to operate it.

We may attracted to someone’s body, but when that person dies, we are not attracted to the dead body.

Why do we need God? Because we are eternally related to Him.

The material energy is always changing. The soul is unchanging. Sages consider matter untruth because it is always changing.

We are never affected by matter although we think we are. It is like being so absorbed in a movie you are affected emotionally by what happens to the characters.

Why do we need God? Because we are in illusion.

Through bhakti we can connect the illusion with its source, God, and thus escape from being illusioned by it.

Srila Prabhupada would say either you can be God conscious or you can suffer.

To go from England to India, you can walk, swim, go by car, or buy an airline ticket, but if you choose the options other than flying, it will be difficult and you most likely will not make it.

Love is easy to understand if you are married. You have to serve the other person for their pleasure and if you lose that mood, the relationship becomes strained or broken. Bhakti is love for God.

To say that something “happens by chance” is to say that we do not know why it happens.

To say animals act by instinct is to say that God is giving direction from within.

When I was watch Niagra Falls it was striking to see the tremendous volume of water crashing over the falls. A child nearby asked his mom, “Who created that?” She replied, “Nature.” A devotee I was with said, “God.” And the mother agreed, “Yes, God.”

Theodesy is trying to figure out what God does things.

The book Why Bad Things Happen to Good People was written by a rabbi whose son died of old age at fourteen-years old. There is a disease which he had that causes your body to age prematurely. His conclusion was God was all good but not all powerful.

After the battle of Kuruksetra, Dhrtarastra asked Krishna if he could tell him why he was born blind and why his hundred sons died. Krishna replied, “Yes. Fifty lives ago you shot a flaming arrow at a family of birds. The hundred baby birds died and the mother was blinded. Dhrtarastra asked why it took fifty lives to get the reaction. Krishna explained that it took him fifty lives to get enough good karma to have a hundred sons.

Q: What is the value of getting the reaction fifty lives later if you cannot remember?
A: You can understand from the scripture why you suffering from reactions.

If we are suffering, to solve the problem generally we go an authority, but unfortunately it is usually the wrong authority.

Chanting Hare Krishna in kirtana and japa is the fountainhead of all spiritual practices. Krishna Himself, as Lord Caitanya, came and taught that and demonstrated that in His
own life.

If we put Krishna’s name first, everything else becomes easy.

Krishna’s name is a bright light that dissipates darkness of this Kali-yuga.

Do not worry about people who do not want to change. Spend your time with those people who want to change and work on yourself.

Q: People who have been chanting have done very unexemplary things and have not been aware of this. What to do about that?
A: Understand that chanting with offenses will not purify us very soon.

Krishna does not work. He does not want us to work either. He plays and wants to invite us to the world of play.

There are three acaryas [spiritual teachers] who are very important in our line, Sanatana Goswami, Rupa Goswami, and Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, who are the acaryas for sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana, respectively.

One name for Krishna is adi-guru, the original spiritual master.

Because the spiritual master is the representative of Krishna, he is to be honored as God Himself.

The truth is in the hearts of the unalloyed devotees, and they reveal it through their words and actions.

Whitman said, “Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read’st black where I read white.”

When your faith develops to a certain point, Krishna sends the guru to you.

A devotee asked Srila Prabhupada, “What is your most important instruction?”
Srila Prabhupada replied, “To chant 16 rounds every day on beads without fail.”

A spiritual master holds your hand all the way through.

At every initiation ceremony, Srila Prabhupada would say that initiation means beginning. Before initiation, we are deciding whether we want to begin.

Surrendering to God means to accept His path of surrender.

Doubts lead to questions. Questions lead to clarification.

Srila Prabhupada said that he saw his spiritual master at most ten times, and whenever he saw him he asked how he could serve him.

Nobody is happy in this world. If someone says he is happy that person is intoxicated.

In this material world you try to hold on to things although you cannot. But there is one thing you cannot lose, even if you try to lose it, and that is your relationship with Krishna.

Christ said, “This world is a bridge. Walk across it, but build no house upon it.”

The spiritual master is giving you eternal life. Who else can do that?

The spiritual master plays that role as a service to the Supreme Lord and out of compassion to the conditioned souls.

By accepting the guru, we are accepting Krishna’s compassion.

We claim to be independent, but if we eat a little too much, we get sick. We are so tightly controlled.

When you go back to the spiritual world, they have a festival to greet you, and when you come back there, it is like you never left. Our stay in this world is like a bad dream.

Narahari Sakara writes that if your guru falls down, it is your duty to inquire to what is his actual situation. If he is too fallen to act as guru, you do not need to seek reinitiation, but should not follow him out of sentiment.

If we understand the heart of the pure devotee, we can understand Krishna’s heart.

The mercy of the Lord makes the devotee grateful, which makes the devotee want to serve the Lord more.

Kancipuram was pujari of the deity Varadharaja in Vishnukanci, and had such an intimate relationship with the deity that he could ask Him any question and the deity would answer it. He once asked the deity when he would return to the spiritual world, and the deity replied that it would take many lives. He was curious why it would take so long and inquired from the Lord and was told that it was because he just served the deity and did not serve the devotees. Because he was famous as a pujari of the deity, he disguised himself so he would not be recognized and engaged himself in serving a devotee.

Some devotees perform devotional service for their own pleasure and others for the pleasure of the Lord. By hearing of the glories of the Lord, we become purified and come to the level of serving to please the Lord.

Enthusiasm means to endeavor with intelligence.

Devotional service is easy if we are determined but difficult if we are not.

An intelligent person can understand that obstacles are opportunities to advance.

Do everything as an offering to Krishna, and you can detach yourself from the spirit of enjoying sense gratification.

If we had any success in material life, it was because of determination.

There is a difference between attraction and attachment. We may be attracted to something but not pursue it because it is not conducive to our spiritual life. In that case we are attracted but not attached.

Srila Prabhupada said that there is no happiness in the material world. A devotee responded that according the Bhagavad-gita, the mode of goodness results in happiness. Prabhupada replied that the mode of goodness means advancement of knowledge, and one in knowledge knows there is no happiness in the material world.

One verse in the Padma Purana explains the qualities of good hearing and their results: faith in the speaker, receptivity to the message, and destruction of the faults of the mind, resulting in realizations and inquisitiveness.

Q: What about kind people?
A: Kindness is relative. You may be a kind person, but if someone was killing you, could you be kind to him? Haridas Thakura could because he was spiritually situated.

Q: How to increase taste for chanting the holy name?
A: Go to Kirtan Melas. Chant with good posture, good pronunciation, and with prayer. Do not chant with the desire to get your rounds finished, but rather with a desire to chant nicely to please the Lord. Set aside a large amount of time so you do not have to race. As Radhanath Swami said, “Japa is not a race.” Connect your voice to your heart. If you chant while walking, look at the floor, otherwise you will think about all the things you see while walking and that will distract your mind.

Janananda Goswami:

The beauty of nature reminds us of the beauty of the spiritual world.

Before Columbus, people did not believe that America existed, and even after he went there and returned, probably a few people still did not believe it.

Srila Prabhupada said that the purpose of the Krishna consciousness movement is to teach people how to enter into the kingdom of God through the chanting of the holy name.

Srila Prabhupada said we should not be concerned with these flimsy things. One should only endeavor to go back to Godhead. That should be the mission of life.

Let us focus more on the world within us than the world around us.

Take advantage of the association of devotees.

Take advantage of chanting.

We must accept knowledge from one who knows.

Otherwise finding the truth can be difficult.

Harinama simply means the holy name. Nagara-sankirtana means congregational chanting in the streets of the town.

Srila Prabhupada used the term “kingdom of God” also, but many times he spoke of “going back to Godhead.”

When asked about Vaikuntha, the spiritual world, Srila Prabhupada replied, “This is Vaikuntha, but you cannot see it.”

Often we think of preaching as saving others and saving ourselves, but ultimately it means giving more pleasure to Krishna.

The majority of people on the planet, at least sentimentally, believe in God.

What was your conception of God?
very old
a light
there are many gods
the best friend
caring about everything
has nothing to do
one with many forms

If there is no God, what is the ultimate truth?
there is void
everything is mechanical
I was an atheist until I realized I was God.

I was reading yesterday that someone said that God set everything in motion, but then it got out of control.

Keep calm and seek ye first the kingdom of God.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said that the characteristics of this world are turmoil and annoyance.

You must be no less than 70% pure to enter the kingdom of God.

Srila Prabhupada said at one Ratha-yatra lecture to the audience, most of whom were intoxicated hippies, “All of you who have seen Lord Jagannath on the cart today are going back to Godhead in your next lifetime.”

If we are looking for someone and we do not know what they look like and we do not know anyone who knows them, it will be very difficult to find them.

In India sometimes the cricket players are deified.

In Malaysia one Muslim man was practically ready to kill me when I described God as having a form.

Aisvaryasya samagrasya viryasya yasasah sriyah jnana-vairagyayos caiva sad iti bhagam gana (Vishnu Purana 6.5.47) is the verse listing the six kinds of opulence of the Lord for which He is known as Bhagavan, the possessor of all opulence.

Where and how can we find God?
In the heart of the alloyed devotee.
In the taste of water.
In our own heart.
Through prayer.
Through purification.

It is the mercy of Lord Nityananda that we went into the Beer Garden to share the holy name with people.

Q by little girl: Can you do good things and go to heaven and see God.
A: Yes. You can see God in heaven, and if you do good enough things, you can see God here, and even in hell. You can see God everywhere.

We say chanting the holy name is the only way in this age but not that one sectarian path is the only way.

Eagerness is the way to see God, but that eagerness must be rightly directed.

Seeing the hand of God working, seeing everyone as His part and parcel, seeing everything has meant to be engaged in God’s service are important ways of seeing  God.

Are they just looking at God in the spiritual world? No, it is very active.

One of the nice things about bhakti is the means is the goal.

The main characteristic of person qualified to go back to Godhead is dainya, humility.

Humility is not to talk about yourself but to talk about Krishna.

Krishna says, “In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. And one who has become accomplished in the practice of devotional service enjoys this knowledge within himself in due course of time.” (Bg. 4.38) This means that for one who applies the knowledge, the knowledge is revealed.

Srila Prabhupada would say that people do not realize that the process of seeing God is by hearing God.

We are trying to understand that Krishna is the central point in the spiritual world, so that we can enter into the spiritual world.

Hearing about Krishna in the right association from the right source is pleasing to the heart, and enables us to attain the spiritual world.

Prabhupada explains the Krishna has different forms because of his devotees’ desire to see Him in those ways.

We follow in the mood of the eternal associates of Krishna but we do not become them.

Everyone in the spiritual world feels the others are more qualified to please Krishna.

Sometimes people paint pictures of the spiritual world, but God is nowhere to be seen.

To enter the kingdom of God, we have to evoke the mercy of Krishna by purifying our senses through engagement in His service.

Q: In Bg.18.66, Krishna asks us to surrender completely to Him. I am a grhastha. How can I attain this?
A: A grhastha can be in the process of purification or completely transcendental like Bhaktivinoda Thakura. We become purified by surrendering our body and the talents we have have been given to Krishna by engaging them in His service.

Attachment cannot be given up. It must be directed to Krishna or his pure devotees.

Q: What about pizza in the spiritual world?
A: If there is no pizza in the spiritual world, do you think the Italian devotees will want to go there? Are you attached to the pizza or the pleasure? The pleasure. So if you get pleasure from something else then you can give up the pizza. In the spiritual world, we take pleasure in the taste of the rasa with Krishna. If the internal energy arranges for Krishna’s pleasure, then there can be pizzas in the spiritual world, and they will be far better than those in this world.

In Hong Kong Srila Prabhupada said the devotees could offer mushrooms because they so much apart of the diet there.

People say because Krishna is inconceivable he cannot be seen, but if he is all powerful, then he can make Himself visible to us.

Srila Prabhupada asked one Malaysian man to build a temple for Krishna. The man asked Srila Prabhpada for his mercy. Prabhupada explained that it was his mercy he was asking the man to built a temple for Krishna.

Once Srila Prabhupada said that his instructions were his mercy.

For a grhastha [householder], kirtaniya sada harih [always chant the holy name] means whenever you have free time chant the holy name of the Lord.

If we have difficulty we can take shelter of Srila Prabhupada’s poem, “Markine Bhagavat Dharma.” By feeling gratitude to Srila Prabhupada and the devotees, we can make great progress spiritually.

There is no difference in purpose in the different religions as the idea is to bring people toward the spiritual world.

The parents are very happy with a child’s first few steps, even if he falls down many times, because he is gradually progressing. Similarly we can be happy with the beginning devotees despite their faults.

Prayer to rectify whatever faults are there are very important.

Natural introspection arises in the life of a devotee. It is part of the process of realization.

Srila Prabhupada told us that the Lord is everyone’s heart, and He tells him what he needs to know.

Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is is valuable because Srila Prabhupada presents Krishna’s words as they are and as a result many people have become devotees of Krishna, which is the actual message of the Gita. The hundreds of other Gita commentaries, which present the views of the commentator, have not produced such an effect.

Q: What do we say when people criticize Krishna for having 16,108 wives?
A: There was a court case brought by the Christians in which that was brought up. The defense attorney asked some nuns present if it is true they take a vow to be brides of Christ. They did not deny it, and the defense attorney said that in that case Christ has more wives than Krishna.

These retreats! You need to have another retreat to recover! And after Kirtan Mela, you need a Sleeping Mela!

Srila Prabhupada’s books provide foundation for this Hare Krishna movement and a skeleton for it.

Srila Prabhupada is instructing us even now through his books.

Every form of suffering is born of ignorance.

The solution to a nightmare is to wake up. The solution to the miseries of prison life is to get out of prison. In the same way, the solution to the miseries of life is self-realization.

Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to new devotees are relevant to new devotees now. Sometimes we think that now everyone is advanced but there are still new devotees.

The conclusion of the North UK Retreat is that to attain the spiritual world we have to hear the message from the pure devotee.

In the beginning of Krishna’s pastimes so many demons were killed. Similarly in the beginning of our spiritual life, so many demoniac desires must be removed before we can become spiritually advanced.

We must purify our attachments by connecting them to Krishna.

A real friend helps remind us that Krishna is our real friend, provider, and protector.

Lord Caitanya’s pastimes are so confidential that even Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, his empowered biographer, admits his inability to understand their deep meaning.

If someone calls out your name, even if they are referring to someone else, it still captures your attention. So it is also with Supreme Lord. Thus Lord Narayana was attracted by Ajamila calling out the name of his son, Narayana.

We would distribute mostly Srimad-Bhagavatam volumes Canto 1, Part 1, Canto 2, Part 1, and Canto 6, Part 1 because they have many relevant examples for our lives.

Aghasura literally means “sinful demon.”

Krishna creates extreme situations for us to sever our attachments to this world.

Although Krishna enjoyed fighting with Kamsa, because Kamsa hated Krishna his fighting with Krishna is not counted as devotional service. On the other hand, although Krishna became angry at mother Yasoda when restricted by her, Yasoda’s action is considered devotional service because she loved Krishna.

The devotees bought ghee in Rajasthan until they found it was made from camel’s milk.

We are not interested in finding some way around the regulations, by doing things like offering artificial meat. Ultimately it is best to not to accept things that are not required.

One devotee in Malaysia has one wife and nineteen children.

Community living was easier previously because succeeding generations stayed in the same village so everyone was related.

One time they tried to bomb Heathrow and almost all the airports in England were closed. In Newcastle, the airport was open, but carry on baggage was so limited you could not even take a pen.

Nrsimha Caturdasi is one of the four main festivals for Gaudiya Vaishnavas. The others being Govardhan Puja, Janmastami, and Gaura Purnima.

We are conditioned in very different ways. If we all swap our glasses, we will probably see quite differently.

Even Lord Shiva and Parvati are only 92% compatible.

Unless we are on the platform of Brahman (spirit), diversity causes conflict.

We have to act according our social position, but we do not have to identify with that designation.

In the Vedic society, all four divisions make advancement by acting according to the directions of the brahmanas.

The brahmanas have the vision, although not the executive, productive, or laboring tendencies, and thus they would advise others.

The demons, many of them, know that Krishna is God, but they want to kill Him.

Q: It is said you need humility to surrender to Krishna, but it is also said by engaging devotional service, you acquire humility. How do we understand this?
A: The whole Vedic system is such that one who follows it will automatically become humble. The influence of pure devotee also brings out humility and also the association of the Lord in the sankirtana of the holy name. The Lord provides all these opportunities for good association, and the devotee takes advantage of it.

The fire is in the wood but it is not showing. By association with fire it comes out. Similarly when we associate with advanced souls our divine qualities become manifest.

No one can stop sickness. You are a doctor, you know. And you are also subject to sickness.

comment by Ramarao: In India, if you call someone a “sudra” you can be put in prison.

Just by hearing of the Ramayana regularly, by the association of Sita, Rama, Lakmana, and Hanuman, you can develop all good qualities.

Lord Nityananda’s consorts, Jahnava and Vasudha, are incarnations of Lord Balarama’s consorts Revati and Varuni.

In the Manor the devotees were worried that the sound of an old-fashioned typewriter was disturbing Srila Prabhupada, but he explained that it was the sound of devotional service and quite alright.

We must use modern technology in Krishna’s service or else we will become entangled by it.

Many good people would appreciate Arjuna’s arguments for not fighting, and encourage him, “Do not listen to this warmonger, Krishna.”

Krishna’s instructions in Bhagavad-gita are meant for releasing us from this material world forevermore, not necessarily for living more comfortably in this world.

The Lord at once took the position of the teacher and chastised the student, calling him, indirectly, a fool.” (Bg. 2.11, purport) Nowadays if a guru does that his disciples will protest.

We will not be happy in an unconstitutional position anymore than a fish will be happy out of the water. We do not belong in this material condition.

Our feelings are in our heart not in our brain. On the engagement cards they have a picture of a heart not brain, at least I haven’t seen one with a picture of a brain on it. That is the region where the soul is situated.

In Bhagavad-gita, the soul is described to be immeasurable. It has no material dimension. It is like the width of a line.

There are doctors who have become convinced of the life beyond based on their experiences.

In a rare Aukland traffic jam, I saw this bumper sticker, “If even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat.”

The Lord appears as the fiercesome form of Nrsimhadeva when there is a powerful demoniac influence.

As all heat and light can be traced to the sun, all our potency can be traced back to the Supreme Lord.

It is practically impossible to get free from material attachments without the help of the Supreme Lord.

As the lion represents fearlessness for the lion cub, similarly the ferocious Nrsimhadeva represents fearlessness for the devoted Prahlada.

Protection from being overwhelmed by lust, greed, anger, envy, etc., is the most important protection the Supreme Lord can give us.

The soul is looking through his bodily coverings at the material world. The self-realized soul sees beyond the coverings to the spiritual presence within.

Repeating these prayers is one of the processes for awakening our vision of the qualities of the soul.

Q by Kirtida dd: Prahlada is talking about being equal to everyone, but we know the devotee is especially inclined to other devotees. How can we understand this?
A: The sun is equal to all, but some do not take advantage. Similarly the pure devotee wishes everyone well, although he reciprocates according to the desires of the individual. The devotee is just thinking of connecting everyone with Krishna, and so those who are interested in being connected with Krishna, he naturally has an intimate relationship with.

Radhanath Swami:

from a recorded lecture:

Instead of understanding the real problem, people invent ways of distracting themselves from the real problem by absorbing themselves in material things.

Hiranyakasipu hated God because of envy. He wanted to be the supreme controller himself.

Prahlada had no fear but was happy, always feeling he was in the arms of the Lord. Considering how easily we become fearful, his example should humble us.

Srila Prabhupada explained that the greatness of a person is shown by how he tolerates provoking situations.

Prahlada was happy loving God, being loved by God, and sharing God’s love with others.

We must ask the question, “Are we using technology or is technology using us?”

Jiva Goswami wrote 400,000 verse on palm leaves, and they are benefiting people’s lives even today.

As a result of all this technology, are people’s greed, envy, stress, mental illness, etc., decreasing? Is life improving? No, it is going down.

There is not an environmental problem. There is a crisis of the spirit that is polluting the environment.

If we appreciate what we have and are not disturbed by what we do not have, that is simplicity.

Srila Prabhupada once said, “To be grateful and not waste. That is Krishna consciousness.”

Things alone cannot give quality life. Appreciation for natural gifts, affection, etc., give quality life.

Srila Prabhupada said, “All the devotee needs to be happy is to chant Hare Krishna, and have a little prasadam and a place to stay.”

I used to sleep outdoors in India and beg for rotis. But at New Vrndavana we were eating popcorn every night and sleeping under a roof. I decided to leave. I told a devotee, “I am leaving here because there is too much sensual enjoyment.” He said, “No one has ever said that before.” The devotee said, “Srila Prabhupada said, ‘If we can serve Krishna better under a tree then we should not be attached to living in a palace, and if we can serve Krishna better by living in a palace, we should not be attached to living under a tree.’ Your problem is you are too attached to trees.”

Sacinandana Swami:

I could not restraint myself from dancing as was boarding the plane to England [for the Birmingham 24-hour kirtana]. The flight steward came up to me and asked why I was so happy. I explained that I was going to England. He was surprised as England is known for the bad weather and uncertain politics. I told him am not going to the England of bad weather and shaky politics. I am going to the England of chanting and dancing.

Lord Caitanya’s associate, Mukunda, chanted so nicely the animals would come to his kirtana, and the humans would cry in spiritual ecstasy.

When Lord Caitanya finally called him, Mukunda was not particularly happy. He felt he had no bhakti and so what was the use of seeing the Lord. He recalled people like Hiranyakasipu and Duryodhana, who saw Krishna without bhakti. Then he recalled people like Kubja and the garland seller who did have bhakti. Lord Caitanya said to him, “Mukunda, you are my kirtana leader, whenever I come, you come with Me. When you chant I sing through your mouth because you have bhakti.”

Our life sits down with us, but we park our life outside and focus on Krishna.

Jiva Goswami says that sometimes the devotees have festivals glorifying the Lord and to people who happen to come there, the Lord removes obstacles and gives bhakti.

Do not run away from the kirtana, either physically or mentally.

Kirtana meditation: The past is gone. The future is unknown. Now we are in Birmingham. We are here to glorify Krishna. Chanting means glorifying Krishna. Sing to Krishna.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says to come into the association of devotees and chant, chant, chant, to destroy all offenses and give us a taste.

Chanting in relationship with Krishna makes a big difference.

Turn to Krishna by singing for Him.

Dayananda Swami:

The impersonalists and Buddhists cannot maintain the situation of being free from all desires.

When we have a problem, we think if I just solve this problem everything will be alright. But then there is another problem and another problem.

If we tolerate, we get so much realization. Otherwise we remain on the platform of hankering and lamenting.

Even though we are getting on in years, we still think we have few years more.

We fix ourselves in devotional service to Krishna now and attain the spiritual world.

Because Maharaja Khatvanga understood the urgency of becoming Krishna consciousness, he could become Krishna consciousness in a moment.

Lord Caitanya is so merciful that if you just perform vaidhi-sadhana-bhakti it transforms into prema-bhakti.

Radharani is the most accomplished ragatmika-bhakta.

We may be engaged in the activities of a devotee, but must be aware that we may still have a deep-rooted attraction to activities of the modes of passion and ignorance.

Q: If we experience a higher taste from devotional service, why do we go back to the lower taste?
A: Because we only occasionally experience the higher taste, and we are very, very conditioned to pursue the lower taste. Of course, if we are always experiencing the higher taste, then we would not pursue the lower taste.

Radha Mohan Prabhu:

[After thanking the devotees responsible for the very successful North UK Retreat:] We would like to thank Srila Prabhupada without whom we would not be here but would be spending our time in some bar somewhere. Without him, we would not have a spiritual life.


anushanga-phale kare samsarera kshaya
citta akarshiya karaya krishne premodaya

“By chanting the holy name of the Lord, one dissolves his entanglement in material activities. After this, one becomes very much attracted to Krishna, and thus dormant love for Krishna is awakened.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 15.109)