Sunday, April 26, 2015

Travel Journal#11.7: North Florida and the Northeast U.S.A.

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 11, No. 7
By Krishna-kripa das
(April 2015, part one)
Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Washington, Albany, New York, New Brunswick
(Sent from Rotterdam, Holland, on April 26, 2015)

Where I Went and What I Did

April started off with two great harinama adventures, chanting at the Jacksonville Art Walk on April 1, and chanting at First Friday in Tallahassee on April 3. In between these, I chanted on the campus at University of North Florida in Jacksonville, and I attended their Krishna Club, along with twenty-four others. On April 4 was a meeting of Sadaputa Prabhu's associates, the Alachua Holi Festival, and an evening program with Jayadvaita Swami. After a couple of days of chanting at Krishna Lunch, I flew to Washington, D.C., to chant with my friend and godbrother, Sankarsan Prabhu, on the mall by the Air and Space Museum there. Then I spent a day with my family in Albany. I ended the first half of April by singing with Rama Raya Prabhu and his party at Union Square for three days, and attending the Sacred Sounds event at Rutgers University in New Jersey where the Mayapuris, Gaura Vani and Purushartha Prabhu played.

I share insights from Srila Prabhupada's lectures, a beautiful quote by Lord Krishna from Brihad-bhagavatamrita, notes on the journal of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, notes on a lecture by Jayadvaita Swami to mostly Indian students in Gainesville, notes on lectures by Prabhupada disciples, Akuti Dasi, Brahmatirtha Prabhu, Garuda Prabhu, and Urmila Dasi, and notes on lectures and conversations of many more.

Thanks to Shivam for his very liberal donation and for coming on two harinamas in Washington, D.C. Thanks to Sankarsana Prabhu of Washington, D.C., for his hospitality, donation, and gift of karatalas. Thanks to my friend Victor for his donation, especially the Canadian currency for my trip there.

Thanks to Amrita Keli Devi Dasi for her picture of me at UNF, Vaisnava Prabhu for his picture of us at the Jacksonville Art Walk, Fahim Rahman for his picture of us at First Friday, and Alexis Jones for her picture of us in Washington, D.C.

April Fools' Day Test from Krishna

The first day of April I decided to chant on the campus of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, my favorite school to chant at. The devotee who usually drives me to the bus had misplaced his key to his car, and I decided to take the city bus to the Greyhound station to catch the bus to Jacksonville, rather than inconvenience another devotee. Unfortunately, I was so tired, when I got off the city bus near the Greyhound station, I left my computer bag on the bus. I had to wait for the bus to go to the end of its route and come back, if I was going to retrieve my bag, but by then the only bus to Jacksonville that day would have left. All I could do was wait and hope for the best. Over half an hour later, I intercepted the same bus going in the opposite direction, and was overjoyed to be reunited with my computer bag. I then went to the Greyhound station ten minutes late and found to my great happiness the Jacksonville bus was fifteen minutes late, and I had not missed it. I chanted Hare Krishna throughout the whole time as I was in the process of completing my daily quota of chanting, and I realized that it would only be by Krishna's mercy that I would regain my bag and make it to Jacksonville to chant at UNF for the last time this spring. On writing this up it occurred to me this was April Fool's Day, and I wonder if that was Krishna's April Fools trick on me.

Chanting at the Jacksonville Art Walk

The Jacksonville Art Walk, which occurs the first Wednesday of each month, is a great venue for chanting the Hare Krishna mantra in public and for distributing Srila Prabhupada's books. Somehow we had missed every one this semester, but we were not going to miss this last one. Mother Caitanya of Krishna House brought a van load of about fifteen devotees from Krishna House, and we chanted and distributed books for over three hours.

 Mikey added to the kirtana by playing his saxophone.

The devotees joyfully danced in a circle.

You can get a feel for it from this video (

 Many, many people of all sorts joined us in the course of the evening.

 One guy (on the right) danced with us for quite awhile.

You can see in this video how these guys were happy to dance with us (

 Amrita engaged some little girls in dancing in a circle.

One mother with three children under her care was happily watching the devotees sing and dance. She told me we were her favorite part of the Jacksonville Art Walk.

Many devotees distributed many books. 
This guy started reading his on the spot.
Laddus and lollipops were also distributed.

 I met one older man who happily remembered the Hare Krishnas from seeing the first Ratha-yatra in 1967 in San Francisco. I told him about our Ratha-yatra in Jacksonville Beach, scheduled for August 15, and gave him a contact number for more details.

Chanting at the University of North Florida

The University of North Florida is always my favorite school to chant at because so many students who attend the Krishna Club are willing to chant with us on the green, at least for a few minutes when they have free time.

Here Amrita Keli Devi Dasi plays the drum and sings, with Gudu (on left) and Jeseka and Braden (on the right).

Later Dorian (left) and RaeJeana (middle) joined us. Jeseka (right) wanted to learn a beat on the drum, and I taught her the only one I knew. She picked it up really fast.

Jeseka amazed me by staying with us for four hours as we chanted on the green, and then coming to the Krishna Club meeting for three hours. On the green she lent us her bicycle so we could get the drum we left in the car and she got her allergy tablets from her dorm for the devotees who had issues with the pollen.

Later Kaki came by. She became so absorbed in reading Bhagavad-gita, she set the cookie we gave her on her knee until she finished reading.
She smiled when she realized we were taking her picture.

Sometimes students would stop and talk. We offered everyone one of Laura's amazing cookies and invited them to our Krishna Club meetings. It was beautiful to spend the afternoon with my friends from University of North Florida for the last time before my trip.

The evening meeting of the Krishna Club was awesome with many regulars and a few new people who had a great time, twenty-five people altogether.

First Friday in Tallahassee

After returning to Gainesville from Jacksonville on Friday, in the afternoon I drove nine devotees to Tallahassee for First Friday. Babhru and Dhameshvar Mahaprabhu reviewed Bhagavad-gita chapters 11 and 14, the second chapter of the Bhagavatam, and all of Queen Kunti's prayers with me, so I would not fall asleep while driving.

Most of the devotees were interested in doing book distribution, with just three of us spending the 2½ hours singing kirtana.  

I felt very indebted to Autumn and Kristina, who were very committed to the nama-sankirtana. One young man, Rahman, kindly sent me photos he took of us.

Mikey said he distributed more books in Jacksonville but had nicer conversations with more interested people in Tallahassee.

The Holi Festival in Alachua

I went to the Holi festival in Alachua to see my friends from Alachua and my friends involved in the college outreach in Jacksonville and Tampa, who had traveled about two hours to take part. I was hoping I could avoid getting entangled in paying the fee and in getting covered with dye, but it was not to be. Fortunately I brought some useless clothes, just in case, and it is always auspicious to donate to the temple, so that was not a problem.

I was amazed the Holi event attracted several college students in Jacksonville and Tampa to come so far. Indeed a student who had come to Krishna Club for the first time in Jacksonville just two days before ended up coming to Holi and also some very new participants in the USF Bhakti Yoga Society also came. I hope they increased in attachment for the association of devotees and the kirtana, and the sacred temple in Alachua as a result, and that they are motivated to come to some of the more devotional festivals in Alachua in the future.

Dhameshvar Mahaprabhu invited some friends from his work at the Alachua County Crisis Center to come, and he chanted a round of japa with them and showed them the temple room.

Harinama in Washington, D.C.

After Sankarsan Prabhu, the disciple of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, from Potomac, had invited me several times to sing with him, for the first time I decided to stop by. I was on my way from Florida to New York City to fly to Europe for the summer.

Sankarsan Prabhu, in addition to chanting in Washington, D.C., at the mall near the Air and Space Museum regularly, does pujari work and cooking for the Potomac temple.

He makes the mangala-arati sweets with the ahimsa milk they get from Gitanagari Farm, and they were really good.

The first day, Jahnava Devi Dasi, Sankarsana Prabhu's wife, took this video. In it one boy is attracted to film our chanting, but his friends object. He does not let them push him around (

You can see Sankarsana's harinama set up.

He is in a great location, with lots of tourists visiting the national museums passing by.

The next day I chanted with Shivam, who I knew from when he lived in Tallahassee. He would sing with me at First Friday there. Guru Das, the disciple of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami,who posts his blog every day on the internet, joined us.

Several people, mostly school children, danced to our kirtana, 

These included a group from Ohio.

Besides dancing, some would read the mantra from the pamphlet and try to sing along.

 Alexis, a girl from Indiana who got into the dancing, sent me the above pictures of us singing.
She smiles, seeing us photographing them.

Sankarsan Prabhu has a great location between the Washington Monument and the Capitol on the Mall, near the Air and Space Museum. He has a powerful sound system with a generator, a mixer, three microphones, and three speakers. He is short of people to help him. Only his wife, and a couple devotees who distribute pamphlets and talk to people, regularly assist him.

A Day in Albany

Shivam's wife made some cookies for me to distribute at my mother's Quaker meeting, and Sankarsana Prabhu's wife made lunch the previous day which I ate for breakfast, so I had less cooking to worry about on the way to Albany. I also picked up some doughnuts for my relatives at the Doughnut Plant in New York City, which fortunately was just a few blocks from where the Megabus from Washington dropped me off the night before.

At the Quaker meeting I spoke about how we are so conditioned, both individually and collectively, that only by the power of God's mercy can we progress and thus it is essential that we perform devotional activities to advance in life. I mentioned the bus driver who realized that only by a higher power could he give up smoking. At least a couple of people liked it.

I offered the fruit my mother brought to Krishna and distributed the cookies after the meeting.

Later I cooked dal, spinach and panir, and capatis for dinner, with the help of my mother, my sister, and Victor. I played Madhava kirtanas the whole time. They were mellow enough that no one complained. Victor had a friend visiting named Eric, who at age seventy was retiring from teaching Buddhist seminars. Eric is very respectful of other traditions, having been involved in them and having friends involved in them. He liked the prasadam very much. It was nice to distribute prasadam to others in addition to my family members.

Chanting at Union Square

It was striking to see how well Rama Raya Prabhu's harinama party is established with a solid team of devotees, especially in contrast to the small party I had just experienced in Washington, D.C. Rama Raya is very happy to have Ananta Gauranga Prabhu and his brother Kishor Prabhu, who are great musicians, and who are very steady and devotional. There were some new people since I was last there who were also contributing.
One day a whole group of people danced with us.
You can see they were really into it.
And they were very happy about it.

You can see in this video their enthusiasm (

Typically there is a lot of participation at Union Square. In this short video, one guy dances, a young lady plays the shakers, and another guy smiles and claps (

Here two ladies play the shakers. Jiji, in front, who works in marketing, took some time off work to relax with the devotees. She started coming back in the fall during my last visit. 
As usual, kids are fascinated with the kirtana.

A guy dances with a devotee.

Two devotees dance.

The Harinam Ashram has a business to help support themselves, Krishna's Bakery, and John let me sample one of their new products.

It was great to connect with that vibrant harinama team dedicated to six hours of chanting in Union Square every day, and I look forward to rejoining them in September.

Sacred Sounds

I like kirtana programs and also sharing Krishna with college-aged people, and so I was attracted to attend the Sacred Sounds event at Rutgers, the University of New Jersey, at New Brunswick, an event the student bhakti-yoga club puts on once each semester.

The Mayapuris were there with Gaura Vani and Purusharta Prabhu as well. They played a nice reggae Hare Krishna tune, and a creative love song to Krishna based on the idea that He is the “1” before our string of 0s that gives our life value.

I made encouraging comments to some of the students, appreciating their participation, and I danced to all the music. You could see that there were some students there who were having a positive experience with Krishna kirtana for the very first time. There were a few hundred students attending.

Unfortunately, I could not stay to the end as I had a flight out of LaGuardia at 7:30 a.m. the next morning, and it took me almost three hours to get back to Brooklyn.

To see photos I took but did not include in this journal, please click on the link below:

Srila Prabhupada:

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.2829 in Vrndavana on September 25, 1976:

Nothing is bad when it is utilized for Krishna. Nothing is good if it is used for your sense gratification.

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.54 in Vrindavan on April 9, 1976:

If you do not understand what is spirit, then where is the question of spiritual life or advancement?

There are those who are sreyas-kama [desirous of ultimate benefit] and those who are preyasa-kama [desirous of immediate sense gratification]. This Krishna consciousness movement is meant for those who are sreyas-kama.

The yogis control the breathing. In this way they extend their life. Just like if you can control your spending, you can extend your vacation.

Without becoming dhira [sense controlled] one cannot make advancement in spiritual life.

Lord Krishna:

From Brihad-Bhagavatamrita:

". . . a person who can remind one of a beloved not present is considered the most sincere and helpful friend. Please understand: When somehow made mindful of those one loves, one is given back one’s life. Forgetting those more dear than one’s own breath is more painful than dying. Those dear as life one can never forget but when reminded of them in a special way one feels happy like one who has lived a life of good fortune."

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

In the beginning at 26 Second Avenue
no one danced during the
Then one night a young man
named Bob Lefkowitz stood
up to dance. His pants were low
on his hips, and I thought
he danced in an egotistical
and erotic way. I didn’t like it,
but Swamiji looked at him
approvingly and smiled. Soon after that, Swamiji
taught us the 'swami step,'
a sedate movement where
you held your arms in the
air and took small steps.
We all began doing it in the
temple. Over the years, the
dancing grew more vigorous and even rowdy. Almost
without exception, Prabhupada approved.
He just wanted to see the devotees’ enthusiasm.”

Prabhupada gave great emphasis
on chanting the
In the
Bhagavad-gita, in the beginning
of the eighth chapter where
Arjuna asks Krishna how
to think of Him at the time
of death, Prabhupada repeatedly writes
out all the words of the Hare Krishna mantra.
Prabhupada writes that of all
the instructions of the spiritual master,
the chanting of sixteen rounds is essential.
But ultimately he says that
congregational chanting is more important
because the conditioned souls
get a chance to hear. That
is why the
harinama party is so vital.”

I finished reading the first volume
of Yamuna-devi’s biography/memoir.
It was a wonderful, inspired read.
Compared to her, I feel unsurrendered
and insignificant. She was definitely
a pure devotee, one hundred percent
dedicated to pleasing Prabhupada and
very beloved and intimate to
him. Because of her generous, humble
qualities I feel no envy in
reading of her greatness as a Vaisnava.”

I’m grateful to say
the problem of inattention
while chanting is mainly a
thing of the past. In my
bhajana from midnight
to 3:00 A.M. I am able to hear
the Names clearly and attentively. Some minor distractions and
digressions come and go but
nothing serious. I have not
been able to sustain prayer from
the heart, but at least I
follow Prabhupada’s order to
“Just hear;” I listen to
the transcendental sound vibration
with awareness that this
is a significant achievement.
I am at the
namabhasa stage
of chanting where the first
ray of dawn penetrates the night.
I have a far distance to go
to reach
suddha-nama, where
the Lord’s form, qualities, and pastimes
are revealed to the chanter
and bodily transformations take
place. I may not attain that stage
in this lifetime.
I take shelter in the holy names.”

They are
like ordinary folks,
but they are chanting
Hare Krishna, and this makes them
extraordinary. Just as
Krishna could not be
appreciated by the
mudhas when He
descended to this world
in His humanlike
form, His devotees
are ignored and met
with indifference when
they sing in the streets.
But the potency of
the mantra still works
and the
mudhas are
blessed by the
sankirtana yajna.

Jayadvaita Swami:

We become enlightened by hearing, even in ordinary knowledge.

Srinvatam means those who are eager to hear.

In order to hear, someone has to be chanting, so hearing and chanting go together.

This body is temporary yet I am thinking that through the senses of the body, I will get some fulfillment. That is illusion.

We have so many illusions about ourselves, and we are thinking through these illusions we will become happy.

Krishna is the friend of everyone, but if we approach Him, He will approach us.

When we hear about Krishna, Krishna from within purifies the heart.

The name of Krishna and the message of Krishna is not different from Him.

The man be the CEO of Apple, but if you like his dog, he will be pleased with you. Similarly God is pleased if you appreciate His servant.

We can read Bhagavad-gita every day, one or two pages.

The result of passion is suffering, but the result of goodness is knowledge, happiness and satisfaction.

You can read how to do heart surgery from a book. This is jnana, knowledge. Vijnana is realized knowledge. This is like if you are trained by an experienced surgeon, and you have assimilated it so you can become a licensed heart surgeon yourself.

One of my godsisters was receiving some solicitation. There was a older woman in a bathing suit, enjoying life, and saying, “My goal is to live forever, and so far I am doing very well.” That is like someone who has fallen 25 stories from a 50-story building saying, “So far, so good.”

Even the animals meet Mr. Right, have lots of kids, and die.

Q: You renounced everything at the age of 29. How were you convinced you could do it for life at such a young age?
A: Well, renunciation does not mean giving up everything. It means dedicating everything to Krishna, and I had been doing that for 10 years. So I was just continuing what I was doing before. After all, you decide to go to graduate school after only four years of experience with college, and I had ten years of experience of renunciation.

Goodness is compatible with bhakti, while ignorance is incompatible with bhakti.

By performing bhakti, you advance to goodness without having a separate program.

We say there is no difference between Krishna and His name, so we can understand that theoretically, and we can even tell others. By chanting Hare Krishna, one can experience Krishna's presence in His name, and then it becomes vijnana or realized knowledge.

The vibration comes from the spiritual platform and when we hear the chanting we come to the spiritual platform.

In the 1970, we were publishing Back to Godhead, with a company representative, Paul Blair, from a local printing company. Because of working on our account, he associated with the devotees, who gave him some chanting beads. One day he said, “When things get really rough at the office, I just close the door, get out my beads, and chant Hare Krishna.” So he had gotten some realization about the chanting.

When you think in terms of eternity, the things that are disturbing your mind are truly insignificant. Because the chanting of Hare Krishna brings us to the plane of eternality, we become free from anxiety.

We are eternal, full of bliss and knowledge, yet we are suffering in this world. Why? Because we are subjected to maya. But Krishna is not suffering under the control of maya. He is the controller of maya. Therefore we and Krishna are not one.

If there is only one consciousness, then why is Arjuna in ignorance and Krishna in knowledge?

The smoke is part of the fire, but it is the part of the fire that obscures the fire. Similarly maya is the manifestation of Krishna that obscures Krishna.

If you are saying you are one with God, but that you do not realize you are one with God, then how are you one with God? God is never lacking realization.

Joke: Arjuna merges with Krishna in the 19th chapter of Bhagavad-gita.

If everything were one there would not be the different interpretations of theoretical physicists.

Some people, when asked when they will become Krishna conscious, say, “when God desires.” They do not know that God already desired that in Bhagavad-gita. When asked when you are going to get your degree, you do not say, “when God desires.”

Akuti Dasi:

When we go away, we tell our best friends to keep in touch. But when we left Krishna, we did not want to keep in touch. We thought, “I am out of here.” But Krishna wants to keep us in touch, thus He sends His representative and expands Himself into everyone's heart. He is waiting for many, many births for us to turn to Him. We must take advantage and keep in touch through the holy name.

Because we think we know how to do everything ourselves, it is hard to take shelter of the Lord. That is our false ego.

After acting as if independent for years, in the beginning, it is hard to act according to Krishna's direction.

Srila Prabhupada said, “I came here to teach you what you forgot. Everyone is a devotee of Krishna.” He pointed to everyone. “But these people,” he pointed to his disciples, “admit it.”

The holy name works for everyone. I see this in my travels.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says if you give the holy name you get a commission.

When you have not seen people for a long time, it takes time to revive the relationship. And so it is with our relationship with Krishna.

Each person has a different task Krishna wants him to perform.

We may feel bad we missed the pioneer days of this movement, but the pioneer days are still here.

There is a saying: “You can go fast by yourself, but you can go far together.”

Brahmatirtha Prabhu:

Three keynote speakers at a conference attended by 3600 psychotherapists agreed, “We are mental health professionals, but we do not know what the mind actually is. We do understand, however, that the mind is not limited to just the brain.”

Garuda Prabhu:

I was the first devotee that went to back college to get a degree in the religion field.

What is Krishna consciousness?
Ideas from the audience:
Selfless service to God.
Pure enjoyment.
Learning how to love to God.
A process by which we can act as our true selves.
A loving dynamic relationship with God.
Awakening our natural relationship with God.

[Comment by Syamala Kishori Devi Dasi: Niranjana Swami said, “We have a Krishna-shaped hole in our heart that only Krishna can fill.”]

We seek self-realization because Krishna is calling us because He loves us. We tend to neglect this important point. That Krishna desires us is the greatest secret of yoga.

Bhagavad-gita 18.64 is most emphatic, saying “you are desired by me.” This is the essence of Krishna consciousness.

The maha-mantra is a unique mantra as (1) it is composed of proper names and (2) it is all in the vocative. “In the vocative” means that we are desiring to get Krishna's attention. Krishna is responding to our calling.

We have a vision of divinity calling us and waiting for eternity for us to respond.

Krishna does not manipulate. There is no manipulation in love.

God is the source of unconditional love. We cannot love people unconditionally unless we participate in His unconditional love.

The virat-rupa (the universal form) and the paramatma (God within the heart) are ways in which Krishna is already embracing us.

Krishna is gradually elevating Arjuna to the highest form of yoga.

To aid other persons in bhakti you must understand their present situation and be sensitive to their needs.

Vishnu-smaranam (remembrance of Vishnu) is our definition of samadhi.

Aparadha means literally “opposing devotion.” If I discourage someone in their devotion or I move someone away from Krishna that is aparadha.

It is better to ask, “how can I make it up to you?” than to ask, “will you forgive me?” “Will you forgive me” means it is still about me.

There can be no love if there is no knowledge of or awareness of the feelings of others.

Meditation means nothing exists except you and the divinity.

We are in effect having Krishna and the gopikas [His cowherd girlfriends] dancing around our heart in the mala [the garland of chanting beads].

Urmila Devi:

For us to be happy with Krishna and with the gifts He has given us is very pleasing to Krishna.
Hari Parayana Prabhu:

I was impressed with the similarities between Srila Prabhupada's commentary and that of Sridhara Swami, the original commentator on the Bhagavatam, and I began noting them down. I stopped when I realized they were too numerous to enumerate.

Sankarsana Prabhu [from Potomac]:

Remembrances of Yamuna Devi:

I assisted Yamuna Devi cooking for an occasion of guests once in D.C. She was very meticulous and seemed situated in transcendence while she cooked. She played the same Prabhupada lecture over and over in the kitchen. She said she assimilated the lectures best that way. I slightly burned some walnuts baked for a prep, and she said overcooked nuts could seriously alter the flavor, and I should make more. She made very dainty light baked samosas. The serve out and plate arrangements for the guests was done to a science with the cold preps out first for guests to start on. That 10-course meal she prepared was the best prasadam I ever tasted by far. 

Later she asked me to tell her about myself. She said that it was important to get to know the devotees you serve with.

On a few other occasions I visited where she stayed in D.C. for morning programs. The altar and temple room she and Dina Tarine kept seemed straight from Vaikuntha. The atmosphere was extra special and perceivable. It must have been the pleasure of their deities Radha-Banabihari that made it such. Materially speaking everything was pristine and top notch from the deity cups to the flower arrangements. The class discussions were open. Yamuna appreciated my karatala playing was sweet and not overbearing.

Giri Govardhan Prabhu [from Potomac]:

Krishna is always enjoying with his internal energy while Shiva, whose consort is the material nature personified, is completely renounced.

We engage in material activities because we are not self-satisfied.

The senses become used to certain stimuli, so you have to do something different to keep feeling that things are new and exciting.

In material life if someone else enjoys we do not benefit.

That Krishna is the enjoyer and everyone else contributes to his enjoyment does not seem a good deal for us according to material calculation.

The Krishna is the Supreme Enjoyer does not mean He is the only enjoyer or the biggest enjoyer, but He is the best enjoyer because He enjoys wonderfully and shares His enjoyment with others.

Lord Shiva's best devotees become devotees of Lord Vishnu according to Brihad-bhagavatamrita.

It is not that Krishna is stingy as the Supreme Enjoyer, not giving material opulence, but rather he wants give spiritual opulences.

In the form of Lord Caitanya, He is chasing after us and sending His devotees to chase after us, while as Krishna, He is asking us to surrender.

Those people that Krishna says remain in demoniac species birth after birth are saved by Him as Lord Caitanya and by His devotees.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus Christ says one cannot leave hell until he has paid the last farthing, not that there is eternal damnation, but rather the law of karma.

Tulasirani Devi Dasi:

from a Facebook post to my timeline:

So my mom was just in town, and all of a sudden I heard her in the kitchen saying 'Gauranga' over and over again. So I came and asked her what she was doing, and she said, 'Your magnet says, “call out Gauranga be happy.”' So I asked if she was happy and she said YES...... Thanks for the magnet! Just see the potency of your desire to spread the holy names; you may have left Gainesville, but still you are getting people to engage in chanting the holy names here. :) GAAAUUUUUUURAAANGAAAAAAAAAAAAA”

Bhimakarma Prabhu [in Brooklyn]:

The words of a pure devotee come from the spiritual platform and therefore have a powerful spiritual effect on our consciousness.

Amrita Keli Devi Dasi:

Spiritual life is not about believing but experiencing. If you have an experience of something, no one can convince you that you have not.

At age fourteen I had Krishna Lunch at University of Florida for the first time on Spaghetti Wednesday. After I ate it, I thought, “What is the food? Who are those people?” I kept trying to find something that tasted that good, in my high school cafeteria, in Indian restaurants, in Thai restaurants. Nothing was quite as good as prasadam.

Krishna is so wonderful. He says you can just offer Him a leaf. There are leaves everywhere.

I would offer food to Krishna on an altar in my room at college. Sometimes my roommates would knock on my door. I would say, “Just a minute.” And I would hide all my paraphernalia for worship. I felt like was kid trying to not to get caught smoking pot.

Ice breaker: How old do you feel?

Youssef: I feel old at times and young at times.
Matt: I never feel older or young just the same.
Laura: I have a childlike perspective but a lot of wisdom I have accumulated.
Alice: I am very young and very old, and that never leaves you.
Mallory: I feel old like one hundred. I feel I was around in the sixties and the seventies, and it didn't work out so I am back.
Amrita: When I am thinking about my future, I feel my age, but when I do our Krishna Club activities I feel young.
Michaelangelo: I felt ten years younger or twenty years older, never my age.
Dorian: I feel old in the morning, then 8 years old, and then old at night.
Laura: I am 29 and feel that way because I graduated from college and have a job and act like an adult, but I lack the wisdom that comes from experience.
Kara: I felt old signing a lot of paperwork . . .
Rebecca: I feel the age of the people I am around.
Lovelesh: I feel a little older, but I would like to be kid and play all day.
Brandon: I am the middle child of nine, and I feel I deserved that.

Sri Rama [in Gainesville]:

One lady in the Alachua area was dying in a hospice with few friends and relatives who were concerned with her. She had three acquaintances who were devotees, and when there were informed of her plight, they came every day to give her prasadam, to give her transcendental knowledge, to give her friendship, and to give her Krishna's blessings in different ways. Thus by just a little contact with devotees, she got such benefit at the end of life!

Ryan [the youngest regular attender at Krishna House]:

Technically nothing is impossible because Krishna is able to do anything.

I do not think I have time to be famous because it would get in the way of my devotional service to Krishna.

Eric [who does Buddhist workshops]:

My friends and I, who protested the Vietnam War, because we were motivated by anger, eventually gave up activism, but the Quakers, who were motivated by compassion, continue protesting senseless wars until this day.


sri-bhagavan uvaca
prakasam ca pravrittim ca
moham eva ca pandava
na dveshti sampravrittani
na nivrittani kankshati

udasina-vad asino
gunair yo na vicalyate
guna vartanta ity evam
yo 'vatishthati nengate

sama-duhkha-sukhah sva-sthah
tulya-priyapriyo dhiras

manapamanayos tulyas
tulyo mitrari-pakshayoh
gunatitah sa ucyate

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O son of Pandu, he who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present or long for them when they disappear; who is unwavering and undisturbed through all these reactions of the material qualities, remaining neutral and transcendental, knowing that the modes alone are active; who is situated in the self and regards alike happiness and distress; who looks upon a lump of earth, a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye; who is equal toward the desirable and the undesirable; who is steady, situated equally well in praise and blame, honor and dishonor; who treats alike both friend and enemy; and who has renounced all material activities – such a person is said to have transcended the modes of nature.” (Bhagavad-gita 14.22–25)