Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 10, No. 21
By Krishna-kripa das
(November 2014, part one)
New York City
(Sent from Brooklyn, New York, on December 16, 2014)
Where I Went and What I Did
By Krishna-kripa das
(November 2014, part one)
New York City
(Sent from Brooklyn, New York, on December 16, 2014)
Where I Went and What I Did
I continued chanting with the New York Harinam party organized by Rama Raya Prabhu in Union Square Park, from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. every day. In the evenings, we continued engaging passersby in offering candles to a picture of Krishna in His childhood feature of Damodar, until the month of Karttika ended. On rainy and cold days we chanted in subway stations at Union Square and Times Square in Manhattan and Jackson Heights in Queens.
I include quotes and notes on Srila Prabhupada's books and lectures, some notes on Tamal Krishna Goswami's memoirs, and notes on the classes at the Harinam Ashram by Abhiram Prabhu, Laksmi Nrsimha Prabhu, Rama Raya Prabhu, and Jayadeva Prabhu, who was visiting from South Africa. I was especially impressed this issue by great number of useful realizations of Laksmi Nrsimha Prabhu. I also have a great quote from Back to Godhead by Nagaraja Prabhu.
December 16 to 20: New York City Harinam
December 21: Albany, New York, with family
December 22 to 30: San Juan, Puerto Rico
December 31 to April 2015: Florida (Gainesville, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and Tampa)
Harinama in New York City
I share stories, photos, and videos from harinamas in New York City, at Union Square Park, and the subway stations at Union Square, Times Square, and Jackson Heights / Roosevelt Avenue.
Sometimes encouraging passersby to offer candles to the picture of Lord Krishna as the child Damodara, along with His mother, was a challenge.
One Afro American guy, when I inquired, “Would you like to offer a candle?” said, “Are you crazy?” I did not think of anything to say other than “No.”
One lady did not want to offer a candle to a pagan God saying it was against her religion. I mentioned that the Catholics consider the forms of the saints to be worth of respect, but she replied she was Jewish and did not believe in that. I explained that God had his personal and impersonal features and both were worthy of worship, and I wished her a pleasant day, thanking her for her time.
On the bright side, one young lady was happy to offer the candle and to get a card for the Bhagavad-gita classes, saying she would definitely go.
Here is another guy happy to offer a candle.
Sometimes quite a crowd would watch.
I offered someone a Krishna: Reservoir of Pleasure, and he declined saying, “I am alright.” I replied, “I can see you are alright, but you could be better!” As he continued walking, he said thoughtfully, “That is true.” A partial victory.
One girl seemed happy to see the devotees, and I gave her some shakers to shake. Then I motioned for her to sit down and she did so and listened to the chanting with great absorption.
Then she started to chant as well. She explained that she was in a jolly mood and decided to celebrate by chanting with Hare Krishnas. She must have stayed a whole hour playing the shakers and even chanting a lot of the time. When she got up to leave I suggested that she get a CD but she said she was spending her last money on a therapy session. I said if you listen to the CD, you will not need a therapy session. I explained that when my last girlfriend broke up with me, I took shelter of the chanting and surpassed my lamentation and that my guru approved of my program of chanting therapy. She said she would definitely be back to chant with us.
One lady with a blissful smile on her face took a picture of our party in the Times Square subway station. She told me she knew Hare Krishnas from Amsterdam. I told her how Hare Krishna founder, Srila Prabhupada, spoke in Vondelpark there in the 1970s. She said that she remembered that because her parents were hippies living there at that time. I gave her an invitation to our temple in Amsterdam, and she said she would give it to her father.
One kid loved playing shakers and dancing to our kirtana in the Union Square subway station.
He was really into it as you can see from this video (http://youtu.be/jJgub2nvd8o?list=UUyX3GeJnezBLxReGX0S6BTw):
A lady also danced in the subway station there.
A couple danced to our kirtana at Union Square.
One man played his djembe, and Lee, aged 70, a regular, played his flute.
Two young ladies sat down with us and loved hearing the chanting and playing the shakers.
Another couple took pleasure in dancing with Bhagavatananda Prabhu and an onlooker took a picture of the scene.
Two young ladies really delighted in playing the shakers and dancing.
More students from New York Film Academy came to Union Square and filmed the devotees. I talked to them afterward and mentioned how Mijal, also a student there, had made a documentary on one of our devotees. Eliana, Mijal's instructor, said she was just telling the students about Mijal and her Hare Krishna documentary when I came up to talk to them.
I gave Eliana a Krishna: Reservoir of Pleasure, and she and another lady on the film crew looked at it with interest.
She smiled when she noticed that I was photographing her. Usually she is on the other end of the camera!
When Natabara Gauranga Prabhu was singing, a small girl began dancing, perhaps inspired by Isaiah, who enjoys dancing with us regularly.
You can see them both dancing in this video (http://youtu.be/mYu6SNk6xDs?list=UUyX3GeJnezBLxReGX0S6BTw):
Once the police stopped us from playing the drum as people had complained to them about drumming in the Square, probably because of some of the other park drummers.
We did a standing up kirtana, just playing the karatalas.
It became pretty lively with lots of dancing.
Once while Ananta Prabhu was leading a lively kirtana, one guy took pleasure in dancing (http://youtu.be/nAZrtpi7TMY?list=UUyX3GeJnezBLxReGX0S6BTw).
New York City has quite a variety of people, some quite eccentric in attire and behavior. Some attract quite a crowd, and this is sometimes a curse and sometimes a blessing. Sometimes the eccentrics draw the attention of the onlookers, and even sometimes the devotees themselves, away from the chanting of the holy name. But they also get people who have no interest in our chanting to stay within earshot for a lot longer than they otherwise would and thus become elevated by the spiritual vibrations, even without their knowledge.
On Halloween, the guy I refer to as the bird man came by.
He has a bird perched on his head, and he wears quite a costume. Although it was Halloween, I have seen him dressed that way on other occasions.
In the beginning of November, the cat man come by. He has trained his cat to feel completely satisfied to sit on the man's head.
The man even did a few dance steps, while cat remained in his fixed position.
One of my favorite subway venues is the Jackson Heights / Roosevelt Ave. subway station.
Ananta Prabhu sang at Jackson Heights and people liked to listen and a few even danced (http://youtu.be/GCJx59o1zE0?list=UUyX3GeJnezBLxReGX0S6BTw):
One older man takes pleasure in dancing with us almost every time we go there.
Rachel would distribute books there.
Once in Jackson Heights, a young Afro-American lady with a bright smile, obviously happy to hear our singing, ascended the stairway across the hallway from us, glancing in our direction. I came over and offered her a Krishna: Reservoir of Pleasure, saying it described our spiritual practice from India, involving meditation and yoga. She declined to accept it, saying she was a Christian. I explained that it was universal knowledge, but she remained doubtful. I decided to try to give her a cookie, saying enthusiastically, “We have free cookies today. Do Christians eat cookies?” She said, “Yes.” and I got her a cookie from the table. She ate the cookie, continuing to listen to the chanting, and before she left she came up to me and said, “Christian or no Christian, you are one of the friendliest people I have met in quite a while.” To see photos I took but did not include in this journal, click on this link:
On the Disappearance of Urjasvat Prabhu
Laksmi Nrsimha Prabhu:
Urjasvat Prabhu was always jolly, relishing every aspect of Krishna consciousness, playing the mrdanga, chanting “Hari Haribol,” taking prasadam, associating with devotees, and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. He was put in change of the program for new devotees in New York, and you could see why. Everyone loved to be with him. In 1975 we had 30 or 40 devotees, and in 1980 when we sold the building we had 200 devotees.
Every Saturday night we would go on harinama a 100 or 200 devotees strong.
He later took over as temple president in the Dominican Republic for many years.
He was found lying on the floor, clutching a favorite book of Lord Caitanya’s glories. The day before he had said, “I am just looking in the sky for the Vaikuntha Express to come and get me.”
Rama Raya Prabhu:
He visited New York not too long ago and with great difficulty came on harinama. He classes after his stroke were extremely powerful realizations of Krishna consciousness.
He told me in the 1970s to chant Hare Krishna and there will be no problems. Now looking back on everything, I can see he was right.
from a conversation with disciples in Rome, Italy, in May 1974:
“Many a rascal thinks that now that he has gotten a human body, he can never again be degraded to the animal species. . . . But nature will force him to accept the body of a cat or dog. The decision is not yours but that of the superior authorities – just as in the office, when you get promoted or demoted, the decision is not yours but that of the directors. You cannot say, ‘No, no. I am not going to accept this new post.’ No. You have to accept.”
from an initiation lecture in Toronto, Canada, on June 17, 1976:
“If you purify your existence by tapasya [austerity], then you will be happy eternally. There will be no end. Here in the material world any happiness is temporary – either for five minutes or five days or five years or five hundred years or five millions of years. It will end. But if you purify your existence, then the happiness will never end.”
from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.15.24, purport:
“People do not know that because of killing innocent animals they themselves will have to suffer severe reactions from material nature. Any country where people indulge in unnecessary killing of animals will have to suffer from wars and pestilence imposed by material nature. Comparing one’s own suffering to the suffering of others, therefore, one should be kind to all living entities.”
from Srimad Bhagavtam 10.9.19, purport:
“A devotee can understand how powerful is unalloyed devotional service to Krishna; it is so powerful that Krishna can be controlled by an unalloyed devotee. This bhrtya-vasyata does not mean that He is under the control of the servant; rather, He is under the control of the servant’s pure love.”
from Srimad Bhagavtam 10.6.27–29, purport:
The Ayurveda-sastra [the medical division of the Vedas] recommends, aushadhi cintayet vishnum: even while taking medicine, one should remember Vishnu, because the medicine is not all and all and Lord Vishnu is the real protector. The material world is full of danger (padam padam yad vipadam).
a letter to Mr. King in February 1975:
“We practice bhakti-yoga strictly and since bhakti includes all other results obtained from practicing other yogas, as it is declared in the Bhagavad-gita to be the culmination of all yogas it becomes unnecessary for us to apply any other techniques besides simply chanting and hearing about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, who is called Yogesvara or the master of all yoga. Of course, it is certain that if one sits with straight spine it may be of some help in his ability to concentrate, but it cannot be considered as essential by any means. That thing which is really essential in bhakti is to develop one’s eternal dormant love for Krishna.”
from Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.30.37:
“Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted His followers to move all over the world to preach in every town and village. In the Caitanya sampradaya, those who strictly follow the principles of Lord Caitanya must travel all over the world to preach the message of Lord Caitanya, which is the same as preaching the words of Krishna — Bhagavad-gita — and Srimad-Bhagavatam. The more the devotees preach the principles of krishna-katha, the more people throughout the world will benefit.”
from a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.54 given in Vrindavan:
Dhira means intelligence. The opposite is crazy or rascal.
Without understanding what is spirit what is the question of spiritual advancement of life?
Our Krishna consciousness movement is to educate the rascals. That is all.
Those who are dhira [sober] know “what I am.”
The first question is “what am I?”
Foolish people are after preyas, immediate benefit, while intelligent people are after sreyas, ultimate benefit.
If one wants to enjoy this material world in sense gratification, he cannot become Krishna consciousness. That is not possible.
If you are serious about the ultimate goal of life, you must approach a spiritual master.
If you want to enjoy sense gratification go to the club, if you are inquisitive about the ultimate goal of life join the Krishna consciousness movement.
Rascals think they are independent. Factually no one can extend their life one moment.
By yoga system one can become dhira. It is a mechanical system, but it is valuable because without become dhira one cannot advance in spiritual.
If by great fortune one encounters a guru, one can progress.
Dhruva’s mother was Krishna consciousness so he became so nice.
Dhruva went to the forest to seek Krishna out of sentiment, but Krishna within his heart could see he was serious, and sent Narada to be his guru.
If one sees Krishna, there is no more benediction that is needed.
If one becomes a devotee, he asks for nothing material as Lord Caitanya teaches, “Na dhanam na janam na sundarim . . . [No wealth, no fame, no women . . . ]”
You may have a very beautiful wife, but how long can you enjoy.
At the time of death, if you have doggish mentality, you will have to take the body of a dog.
This is going on. You may believe or not believe. But if you do not believe you are a rascal.
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.”
Tamal Krishna Goswami:
No one had greater managerial duties than Srila Prabhupada yet he never missed an opportunity for direct preaching.
Without gaining the higher taste from preaching, what is the motivation for maintaining our strict vows of renunciation?
Karandhar Prabhu, by his organization skill, made ISKCON Los Angeles transition from a group of well-intentioned ex-hippies to an organized effective society.
At this point we have no actual love and thus the love of the residents of Vrindavan is not conceivable.
Is there a love song, where the singer says, “I will love you like anything for two years, and then I will find someone else, and then I will love them and forget all about you.”? No, there is no such song, but there is such love in this world.
90% of Indians do not know anything about property taxes because they do not have to pay them. They just build a hut some place, and no one says anything about it.
Because the rope meant to tie Lord Damodar was a pure devotee of Krishna, it could not think of tying up Krishna because it knew Krishna as a rascal kid did not want to be tied up. But as Krishna realized His mother was becoming frustrated and felt compassion for her, when He agreed to let her bind Him, the rope assisted.
We start participating in the pastime by hearing about it, repeating it, etc.
We follow Srila Prabhupada because he came to the West to save us.
It is not advisable to think that you can absorb yourself in Krishna’s pastimes while neglecting the dharma for the age of harinama sankirtana.
We must be chaste to our particular guru although there may be many qualified gurus just as a wife must be chaste to her husband although there are many qualified men.
When our relationship with the divine is intact, all our other relationships become complete.
Although Krishna is most unforgettable, by the strength of his illusory energy, people can forget Him and lose themselves in all kinds of other relationships.
In this world, we are attracted by other people’s opulence and consider those people to be then worthy of our love.
Even the goddess of fortune cannot imagine how Mother Yasoda can breast feed Krishna and reprimand Him.
Krishna always has the pleasure of being the supreme controller, so He becomes eager experience being controlled.
Because Krishna trusts Yasoda He is willing to subordinate Himself to her will.
Krishna book was one of the first books Srila Prabhupada printed for mass distribution.
Janmastami is celebrated in a big way in India, more so in North India than South India.
Messiah was a commonly used term like guru. Not that there was only one messiah but that there was one great messiah.
As no one can attain Krishna without the mercy of the guru, no one can attain Lord Caitanya, who is Radha-Krishna Themselves, without the mercy of Lord Nityananda.
The Lord invests His potency in one who is submissive to the previous spiritual teachers.
Like a man who has a son who has rebelled and gone away may get another son to go find his brother, so the Lord sends the pure devotee to invite the conditioned souls to return to Him. Because of their brotherly relationship he may likely be successful, more so than if the father went himself.
As the movement is growing, it is becoming like India, and there are many devotees but not all disciples.
You are not going to get out of this material world by being a Hindu, but by strictly following the guru.
Srila Prabhupada advised, “Do not associate with the babaji in Radha Kund. Do not associate with the residents of Vrindavan. You will not understand them, and they will not understand you. Krishna-Balaram is your Vrindavan.”
Krishna has invited you via this parampara (spiritual lineage), and through it is how you will go back to Godhead. It is as if you get an invitation from the White House to lunch on November 14, you cannot think, “Oh I am pretty busy on the 14th, I will go on the 12th.”
The babajis preserved the purity of our succession. They would rather chant alone at a latrine than to be in the association of neophyte devotees.
We call others Prabhu. When we do that, it helps us cultivate humility ,and it cultivates in the others the attitude of giving spiritual shelter.
If we are not different from others, we will not go to a different place; we will end up in the same place.
The dean of the liberal arts college of New York University said in speech, “Liberal arts means to understand cosmology. By that I mean knowing where am I, where God is, and what is in-between.”
Everything is there in Mahabharata.
Srila Prabhupada remembered everything I said or did.
He would continue a conversation that he had begun many days before without thinking anything of it.
Laksmi Nrsimha Prabhu:
If we say something we have heard from scriptural authority, it will have the spiritual potency to liberate people. We may say other things that sound intelligent and make sense, but they will lack potency.
Why do you want to be another face in the crowd when Srila Prabhupada gave you enough information from the scriptures and the previous teachers to glow?
Tamal Krishna Swami and Vishnujana Swami were called the spider and the spider web. Vishnujana Swami would attract people, and Tamal Krishna Swami would convince them to stay.
We must also accept the mood of the guru in addition to accepting his order.
The Vedic paradigm is that the siksa-guru must have the same mood as one’s diksa-guru.
The esaraj was used before the harmonium for Vaishnava bhajana.
Vishnujana Swami said to me, “Just travel with me for a year and see what you can get out of it, and if you do not like it, you can leave.” So I joined him 42 years ago.
Yoga is for people who are suffering to become free.
The Bhagavad-gita first gives general knowledge, then the confidential knowledge of the self as beyond the body, then knowledge of the relationship between the self and the Superself, and ultimately pure devotion to Krishna.
There is no trace of a separate conception from the Supreme Godhead in the personalities of the Lord’s eternal associates.
According to Kavi Karnapura’s Ananta Vrindavan Campu, Krishna’s pastimes of killing the demons and His pastimes as a baby only occur in His pastimes in the material world.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that inattentiveness causes distraction, laziness, and apathy. Attentive chanting can overcome all the other offenses.
There are three kinds of sukriti [meritorious activities] karma, jnana, and bhakti.
The genius of Srila Prabhupada is that he planted many seeds of bhakti by giving people the opportunity to hear the glories of Krishna.
Srila Prabhupada told one disciple that she had no previous piety and her attraction to Krishna was simply mercy.
Sridhara Maharaja said that Srila Prabhupada was specifically empowered by Lord Caitanya to spread Krishna consciousness in the West.
You are in the best field, New York City. I can tell you that by experience. [Laksmi Nrsimha Prabhu was temple president in New York City for many years.]
There is one prayer by Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya that glorifies Lord Nityananda in relationship with His devotees, as the life force of His two wives, Jahnava and Vasudha, the son of Mother Padmavati, and the spiritual brother of Lord Caitanya.
Why does Krishna give four yoga systems and not just bhakti? Because people have different natures. He knows everyone is looking for Him, but because of their different natures, they are looking in different places. Because they do not know Krishna, they seek pleasure in His external energy, and because it is His energy, there is a little pleasure there.
God is complete, but how could He be complete without a form?
Bhakti is not a stepping stone leading you somewhere. It is the means and the ends.
In the beginning of Caitanya Bhagavata the holding of festivals on the appearance and disappearance days of the incarnations of the Lord and His pure devotees is stated to be of great importance.
Janmastami for me was always simply fasting, kirtana (chanting), and Krishna-katha.
It was always earth shattering news when Srila Prabhupada had serious health problems. We could not imagine how we could continue the mission without Srila Prabhupada’s personal guidance. We would hold twenty-four-hour kirtana for his recovery, begging Krishna not to take Srila Prabhupada.
The force of Srila Prabhupada’s purity generated enthusiasm and determination to spread Krishna consciousness.
We have to become Krishna conscious, and we have to convince others.
I was in charge of the money belt on Radha Damodara. Tamal Krishna told me to never take it off. I took it off to take a shower. I was late for mangala arati, so I ran to the temple room with it hanging on a hook in the bathroom. Tamal Krishna called me into his office, and he said he needed some money. I reached for the money belt, but it was not there. I went to look for it, and I could not find it. Tamal Krishna chastised me for a while, and then handed me the money belt back. That was just to impress upon me the importance of being responsible. Srila Prabhupada had done the same with him, and he was doing it to me.
Srila Prabhupada’s vision was so broad that it included seemingly contradictory ideas of preaching. He encouraged both the sannyasis and brahmacaris in their bus program and the grhasthas in their businesses to support the preaching.
Both management and preaching must both go on, and those involved in each must appreciate those involved in the other.
We cannot understand the greatness of a devotee without service to him.
The Radha Damodara party picked up many people who would never would have made it a temple. My friend, Radha Ramana, who joined with me, and I were included among them. I had tried to live in our Henry Street temple before, but it was too claustrophobic for me.
Srila Prabhupada was a man of total practicality.
On the Radha Damodara party we would occasionally run into the library party, headed by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, which was placing Srila Prabhupada’s books in university libraries.
My wife’s uncle worked hard his whole life without taking a vacation until age 72 when he retired. He then bought round trip plane tickets for he and his wife to enjoy their first vacation. Unfortunately, while standing in the check-in line, he died of a heart attack.
Srila Prabhupada, the Six Goswamis, and Lord Caitanya have given the world pure devotional service, unmotivated and uninterrupted service to Krishna.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura said that bhakti can be cultivated through five venues, the mind, the body, the senses, the natural inclinations of the soul, and through society. Family life is under the heading of society.
One of the greatest joys of the householder is that his children become devotees, and one of his greatest heartbreaks is that they are not so inclined.
If you worship Krishna regardless of your desires, you become purified, and you do not want anything.
If one is progressing spiritually, if Krishna fulfills his material desires, the devotee is not very much concerned about it.
Destiny is the language of God. What happens to me is for my benefit. Krishna sees what lessons we need, and they unfold.
Forget what we have done for others, remember what others have done for us, and remember death.
We have four voices to contend with that of the body and senses, that of the mind, that of the intelligence, that of the ego, and beyond them the voice of the soul.
What you allow yourself to contemplate you will become attached to. It does not matter if you have been in the movement for five years or five minutes.
It is the nature of devotional service that if we live it, we will want to give it, and if we give it, we will want to live it more.
My father was very strongly built and was not intimidated by anyone. The only time I saw fear in my father’s eyes was at the time of death. Without relationship with Krishna, we cannot be fearless at the time of death, for death is nothing for a devotee.
Many brahmacaris did join the Radha Damodar party. Hemanga Prabhu wanted to join. The temple presidents did not want all their men to join our party, so we told him he could not come. He said, “Suppose I bloop [leave the temple] and you find me hitchhiking on the street, will you pick me up?” We said we would and so it happened that way, and he came on the party.
The neophyte devotee starts out being enthusiastic about everything, and later sometimes is unenthusiastic about those things he does not like to do.
We do not see things as they are but as we are.
Bhakti is taking ourselves out of the center of the universe and putting Krishna there.
On the Radha Damodara party when the Christians chanted slogans to disturb us at Berkeley, the students shouted them down. We did not have to do a thing. We kept on chanting.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura cites six types of materialists:
those with no faith in God and no morals
those with morals but no faith in God
those with morals and faith in God but morals are more important
pretenders and their followers
Pradyumna who was knowledgeable in Sanskrit defined bhakti as “to make oneself available.”
I tell people that I do not watch the news because it is the same things, just different names and places.
from “The Alarm is Ringing,” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 49, No. 2, March / April 2015:
“We’re all eternal spiritual beings, but we’re asleep in our material bodies, our present short life of no more eternal significance than the dream we had last night. The Vedas are the alarm to wake us up to reality. If we ignore that transcendental sound calling to us from our eternal home, we’re like the dreamer who thinks his ringing alarm clock to be a sound within his dream. He just snoozes on, sunk in deep illusion while life passes by.”
Rama Raya Prabhu:
The greatest fight in our life is to conquer our own mind and senses.
Srila Prabhupada asked Toshan Krishna Prabhu how he got the permit for the Ratha-yatra in New York City. Toshan replied, “I just asked for permission for a parade with three hand pulled carts, and they gave me a permit.”
Expanding the discussion of the Lord pastimes with the devotees and others gives joy to the devotees.
We are trying to get the mercy of the pure devotee by showing our sincerity by doing the sadhana nicely.
In addition to performing sankirtana and engaging others in it, we have to convince others of its paramount importance.
In 1907 Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote his last writing that he cares not for piety but only that which will assist him in his pure devotional service.
To preach Krishna consciousness is the only valid reason to leave the holy dhama.
Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura said Radha Kund [Lord Krishna's favorite body of water] would be very nice if it was rescued from 100 immoral men. Actually these men are not living at Radha Kund they are living at Naraka Kund [hell].
Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that family members who are nondevotees are no better than strangers.
We should be expert in not creating problems in a situation where there are no problems.
Prabhupada called the 26 Second Avenue, ‘A kindergarten of spiritual life.’
Jayadeva Prabhu [from South Africa]:
Prahlada Maharaja considered that material benedictions are a potential obstacle in pure devotional service and so he did not want any such benediction from Lord Nrsimha.
By Prahlada Maharaja’s association we can come up to a higher standard of devotional service.
If people ask you if Krishna consciousness is a religion, and you say “yes,” they will not want to hear about it. If you say it is a spiritual culture, you can continue the conversation.
If they say “I am God, you are God, she is God,” if you explain that we are both one with God and different from God, thus partially accepting what they say, they may be inclined to continue the conversation or buy a book about Krishna consciousness and gain higher knowledge.
The intelligence is next to the soul and meant to protect the soul, but if it is contaminated by lust we will be mislead. We should neglect our materially contaminated intelligence, and take direction from our spiritual master, the revealed books of knowledge, and the community of saints.
Association with preachers is valuable since one must be empowered by Krishna to preach, and thus you are associating with people empowered by Krishna.
You can melt the hearts of the devotees even more by doing service for them.
An advanced disciple immediately understands what the guru wants.
tattva-vastu—krishna, krishna-bhakti, prema-rupa
“The Absolute Truth is Sri Krishna, and loving devotion to Sri Krishna exhibited in pure love is achieved through congregational chanting of the holy name, which is the essence of all bliss.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 1.96)