Sunday, July 13, 2014

Travel Journal#10.11: Scotland, The North of England, Nottingham, London

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 10, No. 11
By Krishna-kripa das
(June 2014, part one
Scotland, The North of England, Nottingham, London
(Sent from Manchester, England, on July 13, 2014)

I started the month of June spending a couple days in the Newcastle area on some very successful harinamas. Then I went to Karuna Bhavan, our eco-farm in Scotland, where I joined Sutapa Prabhu and some new devotees from Bhaktivedanta Manor in doing harinamas and evening programs in Glasgow and Edinburgh. I also went to Sacred Sounds programs at Karuna Bhavan and Findhorn. Then I chanted with friends from the Newcastle area, Scarborough, and Leeds at one of Newcastle’s biggest festivals, an environmental festival, called the Green Festival. Then I spent a couple of days chanting with my friends Toshan Krishna Prabhu and Bhakta Dan in Manchester, one day in Sheffield, and a day in Nottingham, all en route to London for the Ratha-yatra. The World Harinama Party was already in London, and we had some amazing harinamas before and after the Ratha-yatra. London Ratha-yatra was wonderful as always, bringing devotees together from all over the UK, and creating an interest in people from all over the world in Krishna consciousness.

I share insights from Srila Prabhupada’s lectures, excerpts from Vaktrtvali, compilation of notes on Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura’s lectures, by one of his disciples, excerpts from Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami’s journal, and notes from lectures by Mahavishnu Swami, Dayananda Swami, and a new devotee from Bhaktivedanta Manor.


July 13: Manchester harinama
July 14: Manchester
July 15: Chester
July 16: Sheffield
July 17–18: Manchester harinamas
July 19: Manchester Ratha-yatra
July 20: Prague Ratha-yatra
July 21–27: Baltic Summer Festival in Lithuania
July 28–August 3: Kostrzyn (Polish Woodstock)
August 4: Bratislava
August 5–7: Czech Padayatra
August 8: Ancient Trance Festival (near Leipzig)
August 9: Leipzig Ratha-yatra
August 10: Ancient Trance Festival
August 11–13: Prague
August 14–17: Trutnov (Czech Woodstock)
August 18: Czech Farm / Vyasa Puja
August 19–23: France / Holland
August 24: Amsterdam Ratha-yatra
August 25: London
August 26: Nottingham
August 27: Sheffield
August 28: Preston
August 29: Liverpool
August 30: Newcastle
August 31: Leeds
September 6: Dublin Ratha-yatra
September 11–mid November: New York

Harinama in Newcastle

Sunday, the very next day after the eight-hour kirtana, as I was chanting and walking down the hill from the temple to the Newcastle city center, one guy smiled broadly as I passed him, so I gave him a invitation for ISKCON Newcastle’s public programs. I can’t always tell if people are smiling in approval or in disbelief. From his reaction to getting the invitation, I was sorry to see he was smiling in disbelief. Still, it turned out that he gave that invitation to a friend who came and brought two others to our Sunday feast, and all of them enjoyed dancing in kirtana and taking prasadam, and they said they’d return for our Wednesday kirtana night!

Sunderland Harinama

Six of my Hare Krishna Newcastle friends greatly pleased me by coming on harinama in Sunderland. It makes such a difference to have a larger party! 

Altogether there were seven devotees from seven countries: Ukraine, England, Hungary, Finland, China, India, and the U.S.A.! It reminded me of Srila Prabhupada saying that ISKCON is the real United Nations!

In particular, Kirtida Dasi led a lively kirtana.

Afterward we had kirtana, talked about the holy name, and had dinner at Ramai and Vrinda Prabhus home in Sunderland, making for very wonderful day.

Kishori reminded us that kids consider all objects exist for oral enjoyment.

Harinamas in Glasgow

When I arrived in Scotland, I found the devotees decided to start their daily harinamas the following day, so before going to Karuna Bhavan, which is forty minutes from Glasgow, I chanted downtown outside a mall under a overhang where I was protected from the rain. On my first day in Glasgow it seemed one of the worst places where I chanted in terms of response, but things picked up the next two days.

One day in Glasgow, one man, who attended programs in Glasgow when the devotees had them regularly, talked with me and bought a Chant and Be Happy from me.

Karuna Bhavan

Tbe devotees had a Sacred Sounds event at Karuna Bhavan itself. At these events, the devotees generally wear contemporary clothes, play contemporary instruments, and sing a variety of mantras and songs glorifying Krishna and His incarnations rather than just chanting Hare Krishna, so people not attached to chanting Hare Krishna yet do not feel so uncomfortable. They invited the woofers (the organic farm workers who live there) as well as their congregation.

Another day Raghunatha Bhatta Prabhu gave me the opportunity to do a question and answer session for the woofers. They were from different places, some as close as Preston in Lancashire, England, and some further away like Florida, South Africa or Australia, and in general, they were open-minded and curious about the philosophy. The girl from Florida, a philosophy major named Alexis, spent a year at Florida State University before transferring to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I told her how we chant at First Friday in Tallahassee, and she remembered waiting in the lines for the Krishna food there and the devotees singing. She also remembered talking to a monk who said he went to Brown University, which was probably me, since I think I am the only one who matches that description there.

I impressed upon her that Bhagavad-gita is such an important book on philosophy that no philosophy student’s bookshelf would be complete without it.

She liked the kirtana in Edinburgh, and talked about visiting Bhaktivedanta Manor during her summer vacation and checking out the Hare Krishna programs in Chapel Hill when she returns to America.

Sometimes the dress of the deities reflects like local culture such as these plaid outfits for Sri Sri Gaura Nitai.

Javat-vasi Prabhu, a humble Vaishnava who likes to chant, cooked many wonderful meals for the devotees, guests, and woofers. Here he chants on his plaid bead bag, another Scottish innovation.

Karuna Bhavan implements different strategies like heating with wood to make the project more environmentally sound. This poster describes them.

I found the devotees friendly, and I enjoyed my stay in Karuna Bhavan and hope to return each year.

Glasgow Sacred Sounds

The Karuna Bhavan devotees, headed by Prabhupada Pran and Mother Vrinda Prabhus, did a sacred sounds event at the University of Glasgow. Both regulars and new people came, and a couple of the Karuna Bhavan woofers. People stayed for quite a well afterward talking with the devotees.

Edinburgh Harinama and Program

One striking thing about our Edinburgh harinama for me was chanting through a large park where three or four girls, perhaps ten or twelve years old, were sipping their sodas on a bench. They were so attracted by the chanting party, they abandoned their drinks and joined our procession, dancing through the rest of the park for ten or fifteen minutes. I would have a taken a picture of them, but I was leading and playing the harmonium at the time. 

Another special thing was that two people who met us on harinama came to the evening program that night. Because I like to do three hours of harinama, and we had only done an hour and a half, I decided to do another hour and a half by myself. One person came from my harinama to the program as well. He was someone who had visited Bhaktivedanta Manor but did not know about our regular programs in Edinburgh. It is not every day that three people come to an evening program from harinamas!

At the program, Sutapa Prabhu’s party led some very lively chanting.

One regular took pleasure in playing a big drum.

Several of the woofers from Karuna Bhavan came, and it made me happy to see their enthusiastic participation.

Findhorn Eight-Hour Kirtana

Findhorn is a community in Northern Scotland which I remember reading about in the 1970s, before I became a Hare Krishna devotee. By working with the nature spirits, the residents were able to get unusually high yields of produce. Raghunatha Bhatta Prabhu told me they did a kirtana program there last year, and of all the programs they did it was the most well received, with many people very quickly responding to the chanting by rising to dance spontaneously. Because of my knowledge of the community and Raghunatha’s positive experience, I was eager to attend our eight-hour Sacred Sounds event there.

We drove up to Findhorn in the northwest of Scotland, passing by mountains bearing snow even in June.

One yoga teacher who came with us, got into dancing almost as much as I did. The devotees chanted lots of mantras other than Hare Krishna, saving that best of mantras for last. Unfortunately, I had to leave half way through the program because I wanted to return to Newcastle for the second and final day of the Green Festival, one of our best outreach opportunities each year in Newcastle. Raghunatha Bhatta Prabhu said the final Hare Krishna kirtana was most loved, and some people even cried in ecstasy. I learned to never go to a Sacred Sounds program if I have to leave early and miss the Hare Krishna chanting and the chance to talk with the most favorable people at the end, because those are the best parts for me.

Newcastle Green Festival

I missed chanting at the Green Festival in Newcastle last year as I was visiting my sister in London that weekend, so I really wanted to go this year. I advised my friends in the Newcastle temple to go last year, and they went both days and were very positive about it. This year, my friend, Raghunatha Bhatta Prabhu invited me to an eight-hour kirtana program at Findhorn in Northern Scotland on the Saturday, but I wanted to make sure I could go and chant at the Newcastle Green Festival on Sunday. Turns out Saturday was pouring rain in Newcastle, so I did not miss out. Sunday was also predicted to be a day of rain, but it did not rain until 9:00 p.m., well after the festival was over, by the mercy of the Lord.

Govardhan Dasi and her husband, John, came all way from the Scarborough, two hours away, and joined myself and Bhakti Rasa Prabhu in what turned out to be a six-hour harinama!.

Later a flute player came, and played with us on two different occasions throughout the afternoon.

Preitie and three friends came from Leeds, also two hours away, and other devotees from Newcastle joined us, and we had a good-sized party.

Sometimes people would dance with us.

A very high percentage of people took invitations to our temple programs.

Elina of Latvia, the blond-haired devotee lady in the picture below, really surprised me. She came on harinama for the first time ever in her life in Leeds two weeks ago and liked it so much that she was willing to ride two hours each way in a car to do it again in Newcastle.

We chanted all the way back to the temple.

Thanks to all the devotees who came together to make the Green Festival harinama a success!

One Chinese lady devotee, who does book distribution, visited Newcastle. She would distribute twenty hard bound Srila Prabhupada-lilamritas in a day, as well as other books. It goes to show that if you surrender, you become empowered.

Chanting in Manchester

I chanted in Manchester with my friends, Toshan Krishna and Bhakta Dan Prabhus, who have a set up similar to Rama Raya Prabhu in New York City.

They also sit down, do kirtana, and distribute books, incense, and invitations to the temple.

Govinda Gopal Prabhu, a great mridanga player, who works nearby, would sometimes come and play with them.

Some new people, like the well-dressed man young man on the left, would also come periodically. That man started reading Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, and chanting japa as a result of their program.

Chanting in Nottingham

Enroute from Sheffield to London, I decided to visit my brahmacari friend, Shyamanandana Prabhu, who is running the Govinda’s restaurant in Nottingham, and to do harinama in that city and advertise the restaurant at the same time. 

Five devotees in that congregation, all but one of their usual harinama crew, were able to come out with me, which is amazing because at midday Thursday most congregational devotees are working. While we chanted together downtown, an Indian man familiar with Bhaktivedanta Manor was happy to learn of our weekly programs in Nottingham.

One little boy was fascinated with the karatalas and did an amazing good job of playing them. 

After we chanted an hour together I chanted another half an hour alone. One young man, who had eaten at our restaurant, but preferred other mantras than Hare Krishna, gave me a donation and ate a sandwich with a friend nearby. One middle-aged man came by and stood in front of me yelling nasty things about Hare Krishna at me for a minute or two without letting up. I just kept chanting as I did not want to hear what he was saying. I was at an advantage because I had an amplifier. After he passed me, he called someone on his cell phone and then returned, going in the other direction. Again he yelled at me, and I just kept singing. After he left, a young man who had been passing out invitations to a business just across from me the whole time, and who watched the whole incident, came up and gave me a donation, as if to show he approved of my ignoring the angry rascal, and the young man who had previously given me a donation, smiled as he left and indicated he was happy I did not let the angry man disturb my transcendental vibrations. I would like to spend more time in Nottingham elevating the consciousness of the place and helping promote our restaurant there.

London Harinamas

The World Harinama Party was in London before, during, and after the London Ratha-yatra, and we had lots of wonderful harinamas. Once a month on a Saturday, many devotees from around the UK join to do four hours of harinama in London, and in June that was the Saturday before the Ratha-yatra.

Many, many people danced with the devotees. 

Many expressed joy meeting the kirtana party.

Some watched from above.

Some watched from buses.

At Piccadilly Circus, a parade [or carnival, as they say in the UK] called “Jesus Army” passed our harinama. I quickly took a picture. 

Apparently one of them stuck out his tongue at us as he passed. I was not intentionally trying to catch that on camera, but it is my only picture of scene, so I share it.

Kings Cross Program

There is a program each Friday at Matchless Gifts in Kings Cross. On the Friday before the Ratha-yatra, Mahavishnu Swami did that program, and there was lively kirtana with lively dancing.

London Ratha-yatra

Lord Jagannatha was not well before the Ratha-yatra, and His altar was decorated with “get well soon” cards.

The enthusiastic London book distributors celebrate the Ratha-yatra season with a mini-marathon called the Ratha-yatra Sprint, where they do increased book distribution for four days.

Here Srila Prabhupada’s altar is decorated with books to remind people of Srila Prabhupada’s desire they be distributed.

London Ratha-yatra is always wonderful, with Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva, and Lady Subhadra atop three large carts on a two-hour procession to Trafalgar Square.

The Holland family, consisting of Agi’s Hungarian mom, her husband, Clive, and her son, Mark, came from Chester, all decked out for the festival, as did many others from the Manchester area. Many devotees also came from Newcastle and many other parts of England.

For me these days, dancing for Lord Jagannatha is the focus of the Ratha-yatra procession. 

I also carry invitations to the temple, or sometimes to the stage show, to pass out to interested persons I see in the procession.

Thanks to Vishnujana Prabhu for the picture of Lord Jagannatha and Maha Raw for the pictures of me.

Mahavishnu Swami briefly described the philosophy and ended with a sales pitch for the hard cover, abridged Srila Prabhupaada-lilamrita, which they were trying to distribute 1,008 of. He asked people to buy the books right then and there. Unfortunately, there were no books right there at the stage, and so he asked that books be brought. I did not see anyone doing anything to help him, so I went to the book stall and grabbed five books, and he asked the people to raise their hands if they wanted one, and I sold all five just like that. It was nice to be spontaneously engaged in book distribution in that way.

I met a girl who seemed attracted by our program, and I asked her where she was from. I was so surprised when she said, “Newcastle,” which is my spring/summer base and is six hours by bus or three hours by train to the north. I gave her an invitation to our programs there and briefly described them.

As usual, I met other people from around the world, and told them about our programs in their locations. I introduced one Dutch lady to a Dutch lady devotee who was visiting for the festival.

After the Ratha-yatra festival, the World Harinama Party did a very lively hour and a half long harinama back to the temple as you can see in this video (

It was an amazing day with harinama to the beginning of the Ratha-yatra parade, the chanting in the Ratha-yatra procession itself, chanting at the stage show, and then a harinama back to the temple at the end of the day.

To see the pictures I took but did not include in this blog, click on the link below:


Srila Prabhupada:

from a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6 on February 26, 1974, in Calcutta, India:

Unmotivated, uninterrupted devotional service greatly satisfies the body, mind, soul, and Supersoul.

Varnasrama dharma is not spiritual but material, but it marks the beginning of spiritual life. Worship of the Supreme Lord Vishnu is actual spiritual life.

Instead of being satisfied with the fruits and vegetables God has provided, you open slaughterhouses and kill innocent animals. Your life is full of sinful activities, and you want to be happy. That is not possible.

Our Krishna consciousness society is simply teaching people how to love Krishna for then one’s life will be successful.

When you actually become a devotee, whatever is needed will be provided.

from a Ratha-yatra lecture given in San Francisco on June 27, 1971:

But as spirit soul, our main business is to understand what I am, where from I have come, where I shall go, why I am under the tribulation of threefold miseries of material condition. These questions must be answered. If we do not question, just live like animal. The animal cannot question, neither they can understand the answer, but [in] the human form of life they can question and understand the answer also. In the Vedanta-sutra it is called brahma-jij├▒asa, inquiring about the Supreme. So that is our prerogative. Please take chance of this human body and try to understand yourself and cleanse your heart from the dirty things by chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:

from Vaktrtavali (a compilation of notes on his lectures):

[Note: I proofread Vaktrtavali, soon to be published by Touchstone Publishing, in the month of June and took notes on my favorite parts. I will include one quarter of these notes in this issue of this journal, and include another quarter in each of the next three issues.]

“Real, pure Vaishnavas never nourish or encourage narrow, sectarian mentalities. Without understanding a Vaishnava’s most magnanimous and ideal character, if one considers that Vaishnava to be narrow-minded or sectarian, then it does nothing but expose one’s own narrow-minded, mean mentality.” (p. 15)

“Since the minute conscious living beings’ existence in the material world as demigods or human beings causes them excessive distress, that existence is simply punishment for them. Enjoying in heaven and suffering in hell because of one’s aversion to Hari are both impediments to the happiness they would derive from performing eternal service. For the living beings, both the desire for temporary happiness and the desire to free themselves of distress are simply obstacles on the path to attaining the unlimited and pleasant service to the Supreme Lord.” (p. 18)

“We have been coming here for the last three years. Some of us have come forward to speak the truth after sacrificing everything we had. Still, people are in the same darkness they were in before. They are completely disinterested in their actual advancement. They have time for everything else. They have a taste for everything else, but they have no time to hear the truth. This is because when serving the Absolute Truth there is no opportunity to gratify one’s own senses. In discussions about the Absolute Truth there is no discussion of material enjoyment or liberation. There is only the desire to please that One without a second, that nondual substance; there is only a desire to please Krishna’s senses.” (p. 34)

“It is not that sinful, business-minded people are not disregarding these teachings, but anyone who is inquisitive about the actual truth realizes there is no validity to what those envious, business-minded people have to say.” (p. 35)

“Offenses to the spiritual master and the Vaishnavas is the root of the
kirtana famine: Because people nowadays disrespect the spiritual masters, there is a kirtana famine. These days, kirtana refers to kirtana about matter, kirtana about business, kirtana to accumulate money, women, and fame – in other words, kirtana for sense gratification. Kirtana is not being performed to please Krishna’s senses or to please Lord Hari. Mahaprabhu called dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments intoxicating, and if these are done to serve Lord Hari, they are the best form of bhajana. Kirtana today has fallen into the category of mundane intoxication.” (p. 39)

“There are three kinds of aversion to the Supreme Lord, namely, the endeavor to accumulate wealth, the endeavor to enjoy women, and the endeavor to accumulate name and fame. One should engage his entire body, mind, and senses in the service of the Supreme Lord, and then only will this enjoying mentality go away. Then only will he realize that Krishna is the sole enjoyer and we and everything else in this world are meant for His pleasure.” (pp. 40–41)

“Chanting about Hari is the only way to display mercy toward other beings. There is not – nor can there ever be – a better way to show compassion toward others than by performing
krishna-sankirtana.” (p. 41)

“When someone sees a person entering a hillside forest filled with different kinds of trees, he may imagine that person merging with the forest rather than understanding what has actually happened – the person remaining an individual and enjoying the beauty of the individual trees. The actual truth is invisible to the observer: the seer, the process of seeing, and the object being seen have remained intact. Similarly, because people who follow the path of dry argument and see only from the world below Brahmaloka don’t understand the varieties present in Vaikuntha, they imagine the nondual substance as formless.” (p. 44)

“The object of
aisvarya-rasa is Lord Narayana, husband of Laksmidevi, and the supreme object of madhurya-rasa is Lord Krishna. In the thin love of aisvarya Krishna feels no satisfaction. The followers of aisvarya-rasa think that if they have a mood of love and affection toward the Lord, their service will slacken. This is not a fact. Service with love and affection is more intense and brings one closer to the object of one’s love.” (p. 45)

“Because the Supreme Lord, who is fully
sac-cid-ananda, always resides in Nanda’s body, he is also full of bliss, and that is why his name is Nanda.” (p. 47)

If Sri Gaurasundara’s teachings are preached in Europe, and if the inhabitants of that place ever become fortunate enough to accept them,.they will certainly become astonished.” (Vaktrtavali, pp. 88–89, from an address at Srila Isvara Puri’s birthplace Kumarahatta (Halisahara) on February 2, 1925)

“We can never repay in our unlimited millions of lifetimes even one-hundredth of a portion of the amount of debt we have incurred at Sri Rupa’s lotus feet. Sri Rupa Gosvami Prabhu’s 
Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu [The Nectar of Devotion] is the sole compass for pure devotional service.” (Vaktrtavali, p. 102, from a lecture in Malda, West Bengal, on February 14, 1925) 

“Simplicity and truthfulness are the only identifiers of a brahmana. Only simple-hearted and sincere persons can take shelter of devotional service without duplicity.” (p. 112)

“Those who think there is sense gratification in prema-dharma should understand they are harboring a desire for sense gratification in their hearts.” (p. 117) 

“All human beings, who are like co-wives, are servants of Krishna alone. When we understand this, we don’t feel any difficulty and we realize our eternal constitutional form – that is, we realize ourselves as Vaishnavas. Then the natural affection between one Vaishnava and another develops.” (p. 117) 

“If we are duplicitous, we can worship for millions of lifetimes, play mridanga for millions of lifetimes, perform kirtana for millions of lifetimes, and try to demonstrate deceit as religion, but while worshiping or playing the mridanga or performing kirtana we will end up as travelers on the path of fruitive activities. We will not develop bhakti.” (p. 119) 

“If a person gets a boil and the doctor advises him to slit his throat so he can forever be relieved of the pain, even if the ignorant praise such an act, it is still foolish. To bewilder the demonic, Lord Vishnu incarnated as Buddhadeva and Shiva incarnated as Sankaracarya to teach people to alleviate their distress by destroying themselves. But the most magnanimous Lord Gaurasundara [Caitanya], who shows the kind of compassion that causes no inauspiciousness, did not preach in such an unreasonable way.” (p. 132) 

“Sri Vallabhacaryaji Maharaja offered a great service to the world of Vaishnavas, and so the Vaishnavas of the whole world are indebted to him. He properly refuted the arguments of Mayavada philosophy. His Anubhasya commentary on Brahma-sutra is evidence of that.” (p. 142) 

“One who has full faith in the Supreme Personality, Krishna, does not separately worship any demigods or goddesses. Rather, he is aware of the Srimad-Bhagavatam verse (4.31.14) that begins yatha taror mula nisecanena tripyanti tat skandha bhujopasakhah: ‘As pouring water on the root of a tree energizes the trunk, branches, twigs, and everything else, and as supplying food to the stomach enlivens the senses and limbs of the body, simply worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead through devotional service automatically satisfies the demigods, who are parts of that Supreme Personality.’ If we worship incomplete objects, other incomplete objects become envious.” (p. 152) 

“The Supreme Lord never bewilders living beings. It is maya who covers them with her covering and throwing potencies. Maya is always ready to bestow the Supreme Lord’s mercy on any being; she only bewilders those who are hesitant to sincerely accept that favor.” (p. 153) 

“Other than serving Krishna the Vaishnavas, who are eternal servants of Krishna, have no duties. But because of forgetfulness of Krishna, living beings accept the body as the self and, along with that acceptance, forget they are Krishna’s eternal servants. At that point they rush off to serve maya with their gross and subtle bodies. Although the living beings are by nature Vaishnava, they have the freedom to consider themselves non-Vaishnava.” (p. 153) 

“When a living being has been given love of God by Sri Gaurasundara and has therefore become the Lord’s associate, he no longer has any duty other than to distribute love of God. He will remember Sri Gaurasundara’s order, prithivite ache yata nagaradi grama sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama and, as an order carrier, become a transcendental postman like Sri Nityananda and Sri Haridasa. At that time, he will go door to door and beg: bhaja krishna kaha krishna laha krishna nama krishna pita krishna mata krishna dhana prana ‘Say “Krishna,” worship Krishna, and chant Krishna’s names. Krishna is your mother, Krishna is your father, and Krishna is your life and wealth.’” (p. 158)

“ . . . to try to see the superior object with the help of worldly experience, knowledge, and sensual expertise, is called the ascending path. But you cannot touch reality this way. When we use our imagination, the Absolute Truth often appears imaginary – and it awards imaginary knowledge.” (p. 163) 

“When sunshine emanates from the sun globe and enters our eyes, there is nothing blocking the sun globe from our eyes. So by looking, we gain direct knowledge of the sun. The sun is far from the earth, and from its own position the sunshine emanates. Therefore there is no distortion or change as the sunshine comes to earth. In the same way, knowledge of the Absolute Truth descends and helps us understand it. This is called the descending path. Only when the Absolute Truth, who is self-manifest and independent, displays His own characteristics in this world without flaw or distortion can we gain actual knowledge. This is the descending path – the path of service to the transcendental Lord.” (p. 163) 

“Our mental state also changes at every moment. The mind we have in the morning is different from the mind we have at noon, which is different again from the mind we have in the evening, at night, and by dawn.” (p. 163)

“If the mind is really ‘me,’ then why does the mind remind me what I am not? The mind doesn’t contemplate spirit; it keeps itself engaged in perceiving dead matter. This means the mind is not made up solely of spirit. Since the mind is mixed with matter it is unable to see spirit.” (p. 165)

“The soul’s nature is simply to cultivate a relationship with the Supersoul. The soul has no other propensity. When we misuse the soul’s propensity by becoming attached to objects other than the Complete Whole, the soul’s nature becomes dormant. The soul’s propensity is not lost – it can never be lost and is always active in one way or another – but the soul can only act properly when it cultivates its relationship with the Supersoul.” (p. 166)

“The idea that the spirit’s natural propensity is to live without spiritual variety is nothing but atheism. In the conception of the soul merging with the Supersoul, the soul has no function. The soul is fully spiritual; if the soul’s natural function is denied, then the soul will be destroyed as a result – it will be indistinguishable from a dead stone. We get pleasure by seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, and hearing. If the soul is not functioning, and if nothing enjoyable exists, and if there is no enjoyer or act of enjoyment, how can there be any happiness? We are not functioning properly under the three modes of material nature, but when we become transcendental to the modes, we are eternal and fit to enjoy and be enjoyed. If this state is rejected for an inactive state, we will be no better than dead stones.” (p. 167)

“Impersonalism, which is something learned by taking to the ascending path, is simply atheism and cannot be called religion. Rather, it is a way to suppress religion. . . . The soul always searches for the Supersoul.” (p. 168)

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

Today’s drawing shows four
devotees dancing and chanting
with upraised arms.
They are a mixed group
but in union by kirtana.
Today harinama parties
are made up of devotees
of different races, sexes
nationalities, ages, and even attitudes.
But when they go
out in public and
perform congregational chanting
they form a tight
and cooperative team
to present harinama
to the conditioned souls.
Putting disagreements aside
they rise to the occasion
of preaching Lord Caitanya’s
mission. The bliss
they feel and the seriousness of their
purpose creates
a sublime harmony. This is not
insignificant cooperation but a deep
linking of like-minded souls.”

Srila Prabhupada said, ‘If you chant
Coca-cola” or “Mr. John,”
you’ll get disgusted
in ten minutes and want
to stop, but you can
chant Hare Krishna twenty-four hours
and you won’t feel tired.’
That is because it
is a sublime transcendental
sound vibration that
comes straight from
Krishnaloka. Although
one chants it with
one’s tongue and
lungs, it is not
a material sound. The kirtana
singer experiences a
kind of samadhi
and is able to
chant for hours. He
experiences new emotions and
discovers new lights
in the congregational chanting.
The chanters find that all
their desires are fulfilled.”

Sri Vrindavanastakam, verse 7, glorifies Lord Krishna’s abode of Vrindavan as being ‘witness to the gracefully dancing feet of Lord Krishna, the teacher of fine arts to the three worlds.’”

Please chant
Hare Krishna. You don’t
have to change anything
in your life, but just
add the chanting.”
This is the practical policy
the harinama chanters
are carrying out for many
hours every day. They are
not telling people how
to lead their lives.
But they are forcibly,
melodiously injecting
them with the names of Krishna.
They have faith that repeated exposure
to the holy names
will gradually purify
the hearers’ hearts and change
their way of life.”

Mahavishnu Swami:

The soul is the driver of the chariot of the body, and he can leave it, just as one leaves a car. Right now we are surrendered to this material world. By surrendering to God we can become free, but who can surrender to God?

We are singing and dancing with smiles on our faces, but actually what we are doing is a very profound thing.

When someone dies that we say he is gone indicates that the soul is different from the body.

This Hare Krishna movement is teaching us how to surrender to Krishna, God.

We are a family of devotees that are making spiritual perfection the goal of our lives.

When O. B. L. Kapoor, Srila Prabhupada’s godbrother, heard the whole story of how somehow Srila Prabhupada had translated books, gone to America, found some followers, and now had many branches in different cities, Dr. Kapoor said that he must have love of God to be able to do all that. Prabhupada denied that, but said he had the formula for love of God and quoted the third of Lord Caitanya’s eight verses:

trnad api sunicena
taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniyah sada harih

One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” [Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi 17.31]

We are dreaming at night, and when the alarm clock goes off, we awaken into a bigger dream, that of our work, our house, our family, etc.

We are constantly forgetting our real identity and thus we must bring our minds back to the holy name.

If we can focus our minds on the holy name, by this simple yoga process, we can make progress. First we appreciate the name and then the form of the Lord.

Dayananda Swami:

When things get out of hand, the Lord sends His representative or comes Himself to put things in order. It is like a mad classroom where everybody is running around. Then the teacher appears and puts everyone in order. In the material world everyone is a naughty boy.

The human body is the deluxe model in this material world.

In the material world “I,” “me,” and “mine” are the center while in the spiritual world God is the center.

In the spiritual world everyone wants to benefit each other, and thus everyone is benefiting more and more. But when we all try to benefit ourselves [as in the material world] there is just shortage for everyone.

Human life is to practice to develop devotion to the Supreme Lord. Developing devotion is natural. We find some boy or some girl and develop devotion to him or her, and everything is beautiful for about six months, then all hell breaks loose.

Vaishnavas are so dear to Krishna because they deal with people so nicely the people are inspired to develop devotion to Him.

Krishna likes the Vaishnavas and brahmanas because they give spiritual understanding to the society.

We require a little humility in order to hear. From hearing we develop some gratitude. As we become engaged in devotional service lust, anger, and greed reduce.

By practicing Krishna consciousness we come to understand how Krishna is personally making arrangements to benefit us spiritually, and we feel so protected in every situation.

When we are able to serve someone no matter how they treat us, that is the ultimate love. When we develop that kind of love for God, we begin to develop that kind of love for others.

The important thing in spiritual life is to give everyone space, our superiors, our equals, and our juniors. If we do not respect but criticize, we will not progress.

Because this world is a reflection of the spiritual world, what we think will make us happy will not make us happy and what we think will make us unhappy will make us happy.

Material education is dangerous because it distracts us from our spiritual life. Only when it is engaged in relationship with God, will it be beneficial.

Q: What about people who do not like to hear about God?
A: Start talking about something they are interested in as Srila Prabhupada did, talking with a famed English race car driver about cars for an hour before he talked about spiritual things.

The most important thing is to hear about Krishna, not that we change our situation.

If someone is interested in Krishna, then Krishna is interested in him.

When people realize that their material arrangements are not bringing them happiness, they become interested in inquiring spiritually.

Bhakta Simon from the Manor:

The mind is more difficult to control than the wind. How then can we control the mind? We cannot control the mind. Only Krishna can control our mind. Thus we control our mind by taking shelter of Krishna, by chanting His holy name and listening attentively.

Srila Prabhupada said life is meant for austerity, and our austerity is to avoid the four sinful acts and to chant Hare Krishna.

We sometimes think Krishna is being unfair, but that is our limited perspective.

We should not think that we are doing good, but rather that Krishna is doing good through us. It is not enough to just say that, but we actually have to feel that way.

Haridas Thakura, while he was being beaten by the soldiers of the king, was praying to the Lord that He would forgive them. On the other hand, we are so disturbed by the slightest thing. Thus we should consider the greatness of Haridas Thakura.


om asya jananto nama cid vivaktan mahas
te vishno sumatim bhajamahe om tat sat

O Vishnu, Your name is completely transcendental. Thus it is self-manifest. Indeed, even without properly understanding the glories of chanting Your holy name, if we vibrate Your name with at least a small understanding of its glories—that is, if we simply repeat the syllables of Your holy name—gradually we shall understand it.” (Rig Veda 1.156.3, quoted in Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.49, purport)