Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Travel Journal#10.13: The North of England and Edinburgh

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 10, No. 13
By Krishna-kripa das
(July 2014, part one
The North of England, Edinburgh
(Sent from Bratislava, Slovakia, on August 13, 2014)

I spent the first week of July in Newcastle, except for a couple day trips to Edinburgh and York. Then my friends from Newcastle area assisted me in doing harinama in the nearby localities of South Shields, Chester-le-Street, and Durham before I left for the Manchester area to attend nama-hatta events near there and to promote the Manchester Ratha-yatra. I went to the Sheffield nama-hatta two weeks, and attended the Preston Sacred Sounds Event, another York harinama, and one in Liverpool with my friend, Gaura Prabhu. I did harinama and an evening program in Chester for the first time. I also chanted harinama in Chorlton, just south of our Manchester temple, another new place for me. By the grace of Jagadatma Prabhu, who gave me additional knowledge, I got to give a lecture on Lord Jagannatha prior to the Manchester Ratha-yatra, my last event in the UK for a month.

I share notes on Srila Prabhupada lectures. I have many excerpts from the lectures of Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura compiled in a book called Vaktritavali. I also include material from the books and journal of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami. I share notes on the lectures given by devotees speaking in Manchester, namely Isa Prakasa and Vrajendralal Prabhus.

Newcastle Harinamas and the Sunday Feast

I was very pleased with my July visit to Newcastle as practically every day some devotees would come with me on harinama.

Also the kirtanas at the Sunday feast were lively.

Edinburgh Harinama and Program

At London Ratha-yatra some devotees from Edinburgh invited me to come to their program sometimes. When I thought about it, I realized that although based in Newcastle, I was willing to go two and a half hours away to the south, to Sheffield to do programs, and therefore, I should be willing to go two and a half hours the other direction to Edinburgh, at least once a year. They do programs in Edinburgh the first and third Fridays in the month, so I decided to go the first Friday in July.

I like to do harinama for three hours before the programs, but know most people cannot come out that long, so I told my friend, Raghunatha Bhatta Prabhu, the program organizer, to tell people we would have a two-hour harinama. In that case, I would just chant by myself for an hour before. As it turned out, the weather was very rainy, and only one person came out. That person made all the difference to me because it is so much nicer to have two people on harinama instead of one.

There was a visiting Vaishnava youth girl there who was a real kirtana leader, so I let her lead both the kirtanas. I had already chanted for three hours in the rainy streets, and I am not such a good musician that I like to chant when there are more experienced kirtana musicians around. Again there were a lot of woofers (organic gardeners) there from Karuna Bhavan, and it was beautiful to see them getting into the kirtana. I talked about five benefits of mantra meditation, beginning with the ultimate benefit, love of God.

York Harinamas

The July 5 York harinama was special because of all the extra people coming for Le Tour de France. 

It was also special because every member of the party, whether singing the lead or the response or whether playing harmonium, mridanga, or karatalas, if they noticed an attracted onlooker, would walk over to give the person an invitation to our programs. Such enthusiasm for outreach is rare!

On July 12 I found it awesome how Govardhana Devi Dasi and John drove from Scarborough, and Preitie Sundaragiri, Radhe Shyam, and I took trains from Leeds, Newcastle, and Manchester, respectively, to chant Hare Krishna together in York for three hours. 

Because we had a lot of enthusiastic devotees many people danced with us, took photos, and were curious to read the “On Chanting Hare Krishna” pamphlets. 

These two ladies started by clapping, 

and ultimately purchased a book.

A lady from a hen party danced with us.

Three Indian ladies also took pleasure in dancing with us.

A photographer named Roy Tinkler (above) took some photos of us:

After taking prasadam in a park, Radhe Shyam Prabhu, Preitie, and I did harinama to the train station so we could return to our respective destinations.

I chanted at the train station until Radhe Shyam’s train left.

I look forward to chanting in York with all these friends and more next spring when I return to The North of England.

South Shields Harinama

I was very happy to have the association of Prema Sankirtana (center) and Radhe Shyama Prabhus (left) on harinama in South Shields. 

There we met a girl who played the karatalas and danced with us.

An older man in the market place played harmonica with us.

We also met some appreciative people who gave donations.

Chester-le-Street Harinama

The harinama at Chester-le-Street worked out very well. Atul Prabhu (with the red bead bag), who is from there, and whose health is always a challenge, was able to come.

Jake, who has just been coming to the Newcastle temple for a year, came out, although Chester-le-Street is just the next town from where he lives, and he knows many people there. He even led kirtana at one point.

We came at lunch time, and there were roving bands of students on their lunch break, some of whom were attracted by the chanting. It was the most crowded time and the best time to go.

When we first arrived at Chester-le-Street, we met Jake’s mom, who was there shopping. She had never met the Newcastle devotees, although she recognized many of their names, as her son talked about them. She had a favorable impression of us.

After chanting for an hour in Chester-le-Street, we went on to Durham.

Durham Harinama

One man, very happy to see us chanting in Durham, came up to me and glorified us for praising the Lord, saying that it was the ultimate activity. When speaking of God he originally used the word “Him” but then said since the Lord was unlimited, He could appear in any form, being the source of all the forms. I was amazed since that very morning I heard a Srila Prabhupada lecture where he told how the Lord incarnates in the different species of life, and here in Durham, someone was reminding me of that point. 

The jolly man later gave me a picture of himself dressed as Santa Claus.

Satya Medha Gauranga Prabhu, who is always enthusiastic to support harinama, came out with his son, Bhanu (center).

Vishnu-priya Devi Dasi, the wife of Prema Sankirtana Prabhu, greatly pleased the harinama devotees by inviting us all to lunch on Jagannatha prasadam at their home. It was all delicious, and it was nice to spend some relaxed time with my Newcastle friends who I would not see again for seven weeks.

Harinamas in Manchester

As a young Asian-looking guy walked past me while I was sitting down playing Hare Krishna on my harmonium in Manchester, he said with a little disdain, “What happened in your life to bring you to the point of doing that?” I was a little annoyed at his critical attitude, and I replied, “I just wanted to find something that was better than what everybody else was doing, and I did.” He surprised me by replying, “That is the best answer!”

I was happy to chant in Chorlton, not far from our Manchester temple. Within fifteen minutes of me arriving there, a lady gave £5 for a Chant and Be Happy. I took it as encouragement from the Lord for my willingness to go to a new place. One devotee lady, who had not heard of the upcoming Manchester Ratha-yatra, was happy to learn of the event. She also said she had kirtana programs at her home, and she invited me to come sometime.

Harinama and Evening Program in Chester

I have known of Clive and Agi Holland (next to me, above) and their enthusiasm for the chanting of Hare Krishna ever since meeting them at the Birmingham temple after the twenty-four hour kirtana there a few years back. I have seen them at many kirtana events in the Manchester area, driving to them from their home in Chester. This year for the first time, we did a harinama in Chester, although we talked about it before.

Their son (on the right) also came as well as a devotee from India who lives in Chester and his two children. Thanks to Agi for the picture. Thus on our inaugural Chester harinama we had seven people! We chanted about an hour.

The children distributed invitations to the Manchester Ratha-yatra.

I do not recall anyone especially positive, but I do not remember encountering any negativity. 

I do recall in Crewe, I asked a girl waiting for the train to Chester how to find the Merseyrail trains to Liverpool once I got there. While talking with her I found out she got a degree in law and theology in Liverpool. Thus while we waited for the train I suggested she read a hardbound Bhagavad-gita I brought for distribution on harinama, and she ended up keeping it and giving me a £10 donation. It goes to show one should always travel with a Gita!

I also did an evening program in Chester at Clive and Agi’s place, and we are hoping both harinamas and evening programs will become regular events in Chester. We are planning another for September 4.

Manchester Ratha-yatra

It rained the whole morning, and I was hoping that it would be one of those miraculous days when the rain stopped just before the time of the Ratha-yatra. Well it was not exactly like that. Parasurama Prabhu showed up about an hour and a half late. Until he came, we all chanted under a tent with great enthusiasm as the rain poured down around us. Many of my friends from the North of England were there, and very happy to be chanting together with so many of them. I talked to some people who were watching us for sometime, and invited them for the free food, telling them it would be at 3:00 p.m. After the parade I was pleased to see them eating happily. There were a man and two ladies, and the man and one of the ladies went back and got another full plate.

The Ratha-yatra finally began around 2:00 p.m., two hours after the scheduled time, and it was still sprinkling. Part way into the parade, a little after 3:00 p.m. the sun came out, and the rest of the day was nice.

Many people watched the Ratha-yatra procession.

Lots took photos. 

Some danced with us.

I did not have invitations to the festival, and it would be hard to personally invite everyone while the procession was passing by. Thus I decided to just talk to the few people who appeared the most happy to encounter the devotees and their festival. In particular, one of them expressed great thanks that I took the trouble to speak to her.

We thank those who took videos of Manchester Ratha-yatra, Dhirabhakta Das (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M65kqQs_8ooand Channaveera Swamy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVIbx2aW_xE), thus allowing you to see what it was like:

After the parade, Mahavishnu Swami continued the chanting. Some girls from a hen party joined in the dancing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0SZsbzqDqE):

To see photos taken but not included in this blog, click on the following link:


August 11–12: Bratislava
August 13–14: Prague
August 14–17: Trutnov (Czech Woodstock)
August 18: Czech Farm (Vyasa Puja with Kadamba Kanana Swami)
August 19–22: Paris harinamas
August 23: Rotterdam
August 24: Amsterdam Ratha-yatra
August 25: London
August 26: Nottingham
August 27: Sheffield
August 28: Preston Sacred Sounds
August 29: Liverpool
August 30: Newcastle
August 31: Leeds
September 1: Newcastle
September 2: Newcastle (Radhastami with Bhakti Caitanya Swami)
September 3: Sheffield
September 4: Manchester and Chester
September 5: Dublin (World Holy Name Festival Begins)
September 6: Dublin Ratha-yatra
September 7–11?: Irish Harinamas
September 11?–mid November: New York


Srila Prabhupada:

from a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.28 in Vrndavana, India, on August 9, 1974:

Munis [sages] are silent about this material world and are concerned only with the spiritual world.

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

[Explaining why the enlightened do not endeavor for material gain:] Even if you purchase the whole state of West Virginia, you will still eat four capatis and sleep on a six-foot bed.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:

from Vaktritavali (a compilation of notes on his lectures): [Note: In the month of June, I proofread Vaktritavali, soon to be published by Touchstone Publishing, and I took notes on my favorite parts. I am including my notes in four issues of this journal, and this is the third installment which is longer than the others because I have less other material in this issue.]

The mindset to act against Lord Hari’s service is found among people whose minds are bewildered by and attached to fruitive activities. Serving Hari is never possible for those who disregard Hari’s devotees. We cannot achieve Hari’s mercy by displeasing Hari’s devotees. Moreover, if we follow those who advertise themselves as hari-bhaktas but who follow nondevotees, accepting acts unfavorable to Hari’s service as the proper code of conduct, we will cheat people and misguide neophytes. Then we will not be able to achieve hari-prasada.” (p. 287)

“Whatever the Supreme Lord does is good for us. The moment we forget this fact we fall into danger. Therefore may we cherish the
prasada of those whom the Lord favors. I offer my obeisances at the feet of those great devotees who have received the Supreme Lord’s mercy.” (p. 291)

“On one hand we say the word
govinda is transcendental, and on the other we are determined to measure Him. We want to lop off the branch on which we are sitting.” (p. 294)

“By taking shelter of the holy name with determination, all
anarthas are vanquished. Then Krishna’s form, qualities, characteristics, etc., gradually manifest in the holy name.” (p. 305)

“There is no
sadhana other than chanting the Lord’s holy name. Elsewhere in the Bhakti-sandarbha Sri Jiva writes that although we should perform other limbs of devotional service, in Kali-yuga they should be combined with the chanting of the holy name. By chanting the holy name all anarthas go away. Chanting namaparadha does not free us of anarthas. But as soon as our anarthas are vanquished, the Supreme Lord’s form, qualities, associates, and pastimes will automatically manifest in the pure heart. At that time, hoping to understand the highest transcendental rasas, we become qualified to study books like Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu and Ujjvala-nilamani.” (p. 306)

“After the ten offenses against the holy name are destroyed, we begin to chant at the stage of
namabhasa, and then when the pure holy name is uttered, all anarthas are vanquished and all auspiciousness arrives.” (p. 306)

“To protect ourselves from committing offenses we must hear from the spiritual master about the ten offenses against the holy name. The fierce demon in the form of inattentiveness drowns us in the deep ocean of disregarding the spiritual master. At that time chanting becomes as useless as a flower in the sky.” (p. 307)

“We have no business but to chant Hari’s holy name, but as long as we have
anarthas we cannot chant it. In most cases we are chanting at namaparadha and, occasionally, namabhasa. We should try our best to first get rid of our anarthas. Simply by sincerely calling out the Lord’s name we become free of anarthas. There is no other way. harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha” (p. 307)

“People have a variety of tastes. Some people are emotional, some more discerning, some suspicious, some doubtful, and so on. Our flow of thought and tastes develop according to the kind of society and surroundings in which we grew up. Topics other than those we’re used to seem revolutionary, unheard of, or strange. But if we want real benefit, we should hear with patience. Our duty lies in walking the
sreyas path [the path of ultimate benefit]. We should consider without duplicity whether it is the duty of our human life to follow an apparently pleasing path of instant gratification or something else. If we care for spiritual upliftment, we must hear from the disciplic succession and stop surrendering to the many popular opinions that fill the air.” (pp. 309–310)

One can accept either a Vaishnava or a non-Vaishnava as one’s guru, but we find this in the Narada Pañcaratra: avaisnavopadistena mantrena nirayam vrajet punas ca vidhina samyag grahayed vaishnavad guroh One who is initiated into a mantra by a non-Vaishnava must go to hell. Therefore he should again be initiated properly, according to the prescribed method, by a Vaishnava guru.’ We should take shelter of a spiritual master who is engaged one hundred percent in the Lord’s service . Otherwise, following his example, I myself will not be able to engage one hundred percent in the service of Lord Hari.” (p. 311)

“A platform speaker or professional priest cannot be a guru. If I read in an advertisement that I can make more money as a sweeper than in reciting
Srimad-Bhagavatam, I will immediately give up my recitation of Srimad-Bhagavatam and submit an application for the job of sweeper. If people are not constantly engaged in worshiping Hari, then we can be certain they are becoming involved in inferior activities unrelated to the Supreme Lord. This means they are engaging in sense gratification on the strength of chanting the Lord’s holy name, and this is a grave offense. One should not think that reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam is one of his ordinary duties, no different from his other duties like eating, walking, talking with people, and so on. If serving Srimad-Bhagavatam becomes one’s only duty, then with every step he takes, with every morsel of food he swallows, and with every breath he will be serving Lord Hari. A salaried or contract speaker can never explain Srimad-Bhagavatam.” (p. 311)

“Fearing that if I speak the impartial truth I will become unpopular means giving up the authorized path of truth for the unauthorized path. This leads me toward becoming non-Vedic, or an atheist. It means I have no faith in the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Lord.” (p. 315)

“As soon as we know the truth we should become fixed in it. Of the time we have left in this life, we should not spend even a moment of it on material activities but use it to worship Hari. King Khatvanga used his last forty-eight minutes, and Ajamila spent the moment of his death, worshiping Hari. Both attained perfection. We may say we have many responsibilities, but
visayah khalu sarvatah syat: These four principal necessities of the body are available anywhere.’ Our other duties can be carried out in any lifetime, but the living being’s only duty is to worship Hari, and that cannot be carried out in any life except when one has a human form.” (p. 316)

“The followers of
sreyas [ultimate benefit] want only one thing in life, and that is to hear the truth from the disciplic succession. If we glorify the actual truth and then allow it to enter our ear, only then will we be able to accept the value of aural reception from the disciplic succession. If we remain inattentive while hearing, we will not learn the actual truth or gain experience of it.” (p. 317)

Not everyone is fortunate enough to follow in the footsteps of great souls. Many people mistake imitation for following. We should be aware that imitation and following are two different things. To dress as Narada in a drama is called imitation, but to apply in our own life the devotional path Sri Narada teaches is following. To imitate something artificially is called anukarana, imitation, and to actually traverse the path set out for us by the mahajanas is called anusarana, following.” (p. 321)

“Someone may consider himself the world’s best chemist or logician. Perhaps he has studied all the different philosophies. Yet such persons wonder why they can’t understand Him! “If those who have not been brought up as happily as us – who were never given the opportunity to enter a laboratory or study logic – can understand Vasudeva, why can’t we, who have had these advantages?
 What they don’t know is that Vasudeva is fully transcendental; He is beyond the reach of the mundane senses. He is not some river water or the fruit off some tree that we can take Him into the lab and study Him. Nor is He an ordinary hero or heroine with a body made of flesh and blood. No one can know Him until and unless He reveals Himself. He reserves the right and power to reveal Himself whenever He likes. He is not an object we can perceive with our eyes and ears. If He could be understood through investigation or analysis or deliberation (like using atomic theory) He would just be another material object. That which can be understood through this world’s knowledge, ultimately gathered through sense experience, is not God but simply a mundane object of enjoyment.” (p. 324)

“If we try to turn God into our cashier, we cannot be benefited because the day He will fail to supply our favorite objects we will ban or suspend Him. This mentality leads to atheism.” (p. 324)

“When we try to challenge or argue with our spiritual master, when we try to rectify or even belittle our spiritual master by showing that we have more knowledge than him, and when we try to imitate him rather than follow his instructions, we end up on the unauthorized path of argumentation rather than the authorized path of the disciplic succession. But if we give up this type of evil mentality and surrender at our guru’s lotus feet without reservation, only then are we benefited on the path of aural reception.” (p. 325)

“In the constitution of spirit, it is not that the tiny can never serve the unlimited. A tiny spark from a fire can burn the world to ashes if it is given sufficient support.” (p. 331)

“If we approach the truth, we can see the truth directly. We have to understand the sun with the help of sunlight. Through spirit we can know the supreme spirit. Guessing or hypothesis cannot help us.” (p. 333)

“In reply to a question put forth by the residents of Kulina-grama, Sriman Mahaprabhu said, ‘Service to Krishna, service to the devotees of Krishna, and congregational chanting of the holy name are the living being’s three duties.’” (p. 334)

“Krishna, who is the form of
sankirtana, destroys demons like Agha, Baka, Putana, and so on in the hearts of even the most unworthy persons. We have no duty other than to serve this Krishna. Being Himself Krishna, Gaurasundara, in the dress of a devotee has taught us in various ways and with different moods and words to worship Krishna exclusively.” (p. 335)

“Lord’s devotees mercifully inform us that service to God is our prime duty. The demigods, humans, animals, birds – everyone’s duty is to serve God. We think, ‘I have become a stone, so I have a particular duty,’ or, ‘I have become a tree, and it’s my duty to produce fruits.’ When we come to the human form we think it our duty to become good human beings – get an education, become civilized, create a functional society, help our nation advance, and so on. We should live at home, sail on a boat – the mind fills with countless resolutions. This is called non-Vaisnavism.” (p. 341)

“From a Vaishnava we will hear that simply by serving Lord Vishnu we automatically serve all animate and inanimate atoms. Our main self-interest is Lord Vishnu’s service.” (p. 342)

“One of the roles Sri Gaurasundara performed in this world was spiritual master. In this role He revealed that for us, serving the guru’s lotus feet is more important than serving Krishna Himself. Krishna personally advertised Himself as a devotee. As a result, the devotees came to know, 
I am also a devotee, a servant of Krishna, and Krishna is my worshipable Lord. It is Krishna who taught the living beings how to search for Krishna as a devotee; it is He who taught them that they had no duty other than to cultivate their Krishna consciousness. He also taught that the living beings cannot find permanent happiness in temporary, imperfect objects. By presenting Himself as the servant of the servant of the Vaishnavas, Sri Gaurasundara, although Krishna Himself, bestowed great favor on the logicians. He poured water on the fire of their arguments – He blessed those logicians who appeared after Krishna instructed Arjuna and became mental speculators after reading the Bhagavad-gita. These logicians came to think of the most merciful Lord Krishna as proud and selfish, but after seeing Sri Gaurasundara’s characteristics, they realized the sweetness and meaning of Krishna’s supremely independent nature. Sri Gaurasundara is the guru of all other gurus. He taught that although the guru is nondifferent from God, he is God’s principal devotee.” (p. 344)

“Gaurasundara gave no instruction but this one: Vaishnavas have no duty other than to call out the names of God. Those who call out these names act on the spiritual platform; their calling is not a function of the gross or subtle body.” (p. 345)

“When the master of the mind, the soul, awakens and sees the soul’s activities, it cannot rush toward inferior activities and cheat its master. Rather, it must follow its master’s orders. When the soul is awake, the representative mind works completely under its master’s will. If the mind somehow or other tries to go toward other activities, the awakened soul will stop it, saying, 
You want to consider what is good and what is bad, you want to become a great fruitive worker, but I will not allow you to engage in such useless activities. Instead, you will help me in my service to the Supersoul.” (p. 345)

“When a soul realizes he has no other business than to serve Krishna’s lotus feet, and that service to the Lord’s lotus feet becomes his only religion because it is the only actual religion of all living beings for all time, then his wicked mind no longer dances wildly under the covering of the desire for wealth, women, and fame.” (p. 352)

“The soul is an ingredient meant for the Lord’s pleasure.” (p. 355)

“Moreover, many people want to become Vaishnavas without first becoming servants of Vaishnavas. Many of us think ourselves devotees even though we are nondevotees. We think we are qualified to hear about the
rasa-lila. But where do I stand? I am not a devotee. I am not constantly engaged in serving the Lord. Sometimes I think myself an enjoyer and become attracted to the female body, and sometimes I become attracted to a male body thinking myself a woman. How can an atheist, a sinful, wretched person like me be addressed as a bhakta, or devotee?” (p. 355)

“We have no right to hear the songs about Radha-Krishna that are fit only for liberated persons. As long as we are attracted by the mundane world and the rush of sense gratification, overwhelmed by
maya’s covering and throwing potencies, we will not be able to go to the rasa arena, where the visible world appears before us as full of vasudeva. To imagine such a thing before we are qualified is like a mad dwarf trying to catch the moon. It is not possible to climb on Krishna’s chest with this bag of flesh and bones. One who shows such audacity is certain to become degraded. A person who considers the glories of his education, high birth, beauty, and opulence worth spitting at, only in his ears can krishna-katha enter.” (p. 356)

“No object in this world is fit for my meditation. In His direct form the Supreme Lord is the pure Absolute Truth. That eternal Absolute Truth and His associates is what we should be meditating on. Indirectly, the Supreme Lord is creator, maintainer, and annihilator of this world.” (p. 360)

“Sometimes with a desire to enjoy the fruits of our karma we accept heavenly pleasures, but these are like flowers in the sky – they are completely perishable. And when they fade, we tend to think of becoming renounced. All this is because we have mistaken the mind for the self. The mind is the enjoyer. The mentality to seek enjoyment or practice renunciation destroys the natural propensities of the soul.” (p. 362)

“Out of the flames of a fire fall innumerable tiny sparks. Similarly, from the rays of the transcendental sun, Sri Hari, emanate millions of minute particles of consciousness, the infinitesimal spirit souls, or
jivas. The jiva is nondifferent from Sri Hari and yet simultaneously distinct. The eternal difference between the Supreme Lord Sri Hari and the jiva is that the Lord is always the master and controller of the maya-sakti, whereas the jiva, even in his liberated state is, by his very constitution, vulnerable to the maya-sakti’s lure. [quoted from Jaiva Dharma]” (p. 376)

“ . . . if one assumes the goal of life to be something to create better material facility, one will practice unjustified rules and regulations to attain that goal. Therefore, although the
anartha-nivrtti practiced by those who are trying to clear their way to devotional service will appear fruitive to such ordinary people, sadhana-bhakti will never become just a function to regulate the mundane mind. Rather, it aims at the unalloyed propensity, and, as a result, indirectly serves to control the mind, pulling it away from its contact with matter.” (p. 382)

“All the
acaryas who have appeared in this world have described the relationship with the Supreme Lord as the sambandha, service to Him as the abhidheya, and love for Him as the prayojana.” (p. 385)

“But that magnanimous person, Sri Gaurasundara, arranged for the
Srimad-Bhagavatam, spoken by Sri Vyasadeva, to be recited. Hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam removes those three material miseries, which the Lord placed into this temporary, limited, and perishable world for our benefit. Moreover, to satisfy the needs of His associates and devotees, He personally took on the guise of an acarya and freely distributed the secrets of performing bhajana. Among those secrets we find that out of thousands of limbs of devotional service, Srila Rupa Gosvami considered sixty-four prominent, and out of those, nine limbs have been described as more prominent. Out of those, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu considered five limbs most prominent, and out of those five, chanting the Lord’s holy name is the best.” (p. 387)

“The Supreme Lord’s name, form, qualities, associates, and pastimes are the entire holy name Himself. Present within the personality of the holy name are the name, form, qualities, and pastimes. Although for a chanter, distinction between the name and form, the name and qualities, the name and pastimes, and so on may exist, the fact is, they are not independent. In other words, the form, qualities, pastimes, and associates are nondifferent or separate from the holy name.” (p. 391)

“Sri Krishna and Sri Krishna’s names are not two things but one. Even though they appear and are accepted as different, Krishna’s forms, qualities, associates, characteristics, and pastimes are all part of the holy name.” (p. 392)

“With material objects, there is a difference between the thing and its name. But this is not true of the transcendental name of Krishna. Therefore Sri Gaurasundara instructed us, 
Let sri-krishna-sankirtana alone become our only abhidheya, our only way of achieving the ultimate goal of life.” (p. 392)

“Sri Krishna +
sankirtana = sri-krishna-sankirtana. Sri Krishna = Sri + Krishna, where Sri refers to Laksmidevi or Srimati Gandharva, the fountainhead of all Lakmis. So Sri Krishna means Giridhari Vrajendranandana and Gandharva.” (p. 392)

“When many people chant or glorify Krishna together, we call that
sankirtana. But sankirtana also means proper kirtana or offenseless chanting. sankirtana means the glorification of Sri Krishna’s names, forms, qualities, associates, characteristics, and pastimes. May that sankirtana become glorious above everything else.” (p. 392)

“Among a thousand limbs of devotional service mentioned in the Vaishnava
smriti, or among the sixty-four limbs of devotional service, srinama-sankirtana is topmost. All auspiciousness is obtained simply by performing the nama-sankirtana yajña. Nama-sankirtana includes all nine limbs of devotional service. Sravana, kirtana, smarana, vandana, and so on are included in sri-nama-sankirtana. The internal desire of Jagatguru Sri Gaurasundara, who enacted the pastime of preaching acintya-bhedabheda siddhanta, is that sri-krishna-sankirtana is the only abhidheya.” (p. 395)

“No other limb of devotional service – not
mathura-vasa [living in Mathura] or sadhu-sanga [associating with devotees] is complete without sri-krishna-sankirtana, because simply by engaging in sri-krishna-sankirtana the benefit of living in Mathura, associating with devotees, worshiping the Deity with faith, and hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam is obtained. By chanting, the living beings attain all perfection in life.” (pp. 395–396)

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

All over the world in
ISKCON, devotees go out
on harinama. Some temples
send devotees out once
a week for an hour, and
a few groups go out every
day for many hours.
It should be taken as
a priority service, as it
used to be in the early 1970s.
In many cases the public
thinks the Hare Krishna movement
has ceased to exist when
they don’t see devotees
chanting in the streets.
The harinama chanters
in the City are an
ideal example.
They go every day
and are making a
big impact on the public.
They are first-class followers
of Lord Caitanya
and are carrying out His legacy.”

from The Wild Garden:

Anyone can speak by faithfully selecting passages and interesting points from Prabhupada’s purports and then elaborating on them by applying relevant lessons from ISKCON life.”

Mother Yasoda was beyond Brahman realization. She was beyond Paramatma realization, and even beyond Bhagavan realization. Bhagavan became her son and sat on her lap.”

The sky is clear today. The air carries a pleasant November chill. The sparrows chirp and the parrots screech. Vrndavana is such a nice place. You can feel its specialness. All of this is possible because Srila Prabhupada left Vrndavana to bring Vrndavana to us, and to bring us here.”

from Travel Diaries Europe 1994:

Dear Lord Krishna, You are the controller of everything, so certainly You control the lives of Your devotees and You see to their protection. You act in ways we cannot always understand. You are always trying to get us free of our entanglement in this world and bring us back to You in the spiritual world. Unfortunately, we are sometimes reluctant to join You. That is our foolishness. When You see an aspiring sadhaka who is still attached to material desires, You break his hopes for material success. This leaves him no alternative but to surrender to You fully—and that is actually the servant’s true desire, and his happiness. Happiness is not in material things.”

Isa Prakasa Prabhu:

It is said that Balarama has two of the four special qualities that differentiate Krishna from the Vishnu forms.

During kirtana and class there should be no talking. That standard should be known, although maybe during some special situations it is not perfectly followed.

We are so addicted to machines we cannot live with them. Yet Lord Caitanya lived perfectly well without machines, and before Him, Lord Krishna lived perfectly well without machines. Lord Krishna is the supreme enjoyer, and yet He did not have machines. We should take note of this.

Getting diksa is not just getting the mantra but also getting the shakti (or energy) to chant the mantra properly.

Knowledge is in the mode of goodness, but if we impart it improperly, that is in the mode of ignorance.

To make it perfectly clear, we also say Krishna should not be forgotten to stress that Krishna should be remembered always.

The rules are favorable for remembrance, but the remembrance is more important, and while following the rules we should be wanting and waiting for that to happen.

Krishna and guru want to empower us, but we have to desire to be empowered.

Krishna consciousness is a state of fearlessness, but it is not naïve fearlessness, but an educated fearlessness.

Krishna prema is mentioned in all sastras but just as a side note not the goal.

Krishna is not straight, tribhanga, bent in three places, and the path of bhakti is also not straight.

Prabhupada says “just approach a spiritual master” although “just” is not there
to indicate that is the easy way – by approaching a spiritual master.

Submissive does not mean being a slave but being ready to accept what the teacher gives.

The teacher is just happy if the student learns, and so it is with the guru.

Our problem is we ask Krishna to help us, but then we try to do it ourselves.

Vrajendralal Prabhu:

One definition of freedom includes “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.” What is the problem with that?
comment by me: Krishna says our speech if it is pleasing, truthful, and beneficial is in the mode of goodness and is liberating. Otherwise our free speech will result in bondage.

One person’s freedom is another person’s bondage.

When you are young, you have facility to enjoy but have no money, and when you are old, you have money from a life of work, but less facility to enjoy.

When you are kid, your body has so much potential but your mind is undeveloped and limits you. When you are old, your mind is more developed, but your body limits you.

By understanding the law of karma, we can understand that today’s activities create our future, and that can give us hope.

It is impossible for the bound to release the bound. One can only be released by the unbound.

Either they worship the demigods or a football team, they will not attain liberation but more bondage. They must worship Krishna to attain liberation.

This world is designed to frustrate us so we turn toward God.

Our opportunities to remember the Lord are our real freedom.

One may claim to be God but unless he can personally take care of every living entity in the universe, it is a fallacious claim.

The holy name is a ticket back to the spiritual world. When we are given a free ticket to anything we rejoice. We should always rejoice having gotten this ticket of the holy name. It is an opportunity.


krishna-mantra haite habe samsara-mocana
krishna-nama haite pabe krishnera carana

[While explaining His chanting of Hare Krishna to the Mayavadi sannyasis, Lord Caitanya quoted His spiritual master, who had instructed Him thus:] “Simply by chanting the holy name of Krishna one can obtain freedom from material existence. Indeed, simply by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra one will be able to see the lotus feet of the Lord.(Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 7.73)