Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 11, No. 5
By Krishna-kripa das
(March 2015, part one)
By Krishna-kripa das
(March 2015, part one)
Tallahassee, Gainesville, Alachua, and Jacksonville
(Sent from Potomac, Maryland, on April 10, 2015)
(Sent from Potomac, Maryland, on April 10, 2015)
Where I Went and What I Did
The first week in March was the spring break for University of Florida in Gainesville, so I spent the first weekend chanting at Lake Ella and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, chanting at Florida State University, both in Tallahassee, and I spent Thursday and Friday chanting at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. In the middle of the week, I returned to Alachua County for our Gaura Purnima festivals in Gainesville and Alachua. Then Saturday I chanted with friends from Gainesville and Jacksonville at the annual Jacksonville Veg Fest. The second week of March I chanted at Krishna Lunch at UF and spent one day trying to promote our weekly evening program at Santa Fe Community College. That week culminated in harinama in Gainesville with the Alachua devotees, the Krishna House Holi Festival and the Krishna House Eight-Hour Kirtan.
I share notes on Srila Prabhupada's books, lectures, and letters, quotes by Prahlada Maharaja and Bhaktivinoda Thakura, notes on lectures from many Prabhupada disciples and other senior devotees in Alachua County, as well as realizations from the students at Krishna House.
I would like to thank Nanda Kumar Prabhu of Gainesville for his kind donation. Thanks to Mother Caitanya for the money belt and mirror. Thanks to Cayman and Michael for picking me up and dropping me at the bus station, and to Dr. Dina Bandhu for medical advice, accommodation and transportation between Gainesville and Jacksonville. Special thanks to Jaya Sri Vrinda Devi Dasi, who volunteered to proofread this blog and who catches lots of mistakes I miss.
April 8–11: Washington, D.C.
April 12: Albany
April 13–15: New York City
April 16: Toronto
April 17–23: Ireland (Dublin and Cork)
April 24–26: Rotterdam
April 27: Amsterdam (King’s Day)
April 28: Radhadesh, Belgium
April 29: Germany
April 30–May 3: Simhachalam, Bavaria, Germany (Nrisimha Festival)
May 4–July 16: United Kingdom
Chanting at Lake Ella in Tallahassee
A young guy of American Indian descent approached me with a broad smile as I was singing at Lake Ella, asking what I was doing. I briefly explained. He was a drummer and asked to play my drum, and he played in time. After I while I stuck my business card, which has the Hare Krishna mantra on its back, under the rubber strip that bisects the drum so he could see it, and he sang along as he played the drum. He kept the card when he left. Now that does not happen every day!
Chanting at University of North Florida
On Gaura Purnima day, Dina Bandhu Prabhu of Gainesville kindly gave me a ride to Jacksonville after the abhiseka for Lord Caitanya in Alachua. We chanted on the green at University of North Florida for four and a half hours. Amrita Keli Devi Dasi brought us invitations, books, granola bars for distribution, and a blanket to sit on. She chanted with us for part of the time.
Later Ekendra Prabhu joined us for several hours, adding a lot of musical talent and devotion to the party.
As far as the fasting was concerned, I think it was easier for me than ever before. I did not eat anything, and just had a cup of caranamrita and a couple of cups of water, but I did not feel fatigued nor did I get a headache, as often happens. As we finished our final Hare Krishna tune, just after the break fast time of 6:37 p.m., a guitar player that Ekendra Prabhu had spoken to much earlier stopped by and glanced at our books. He was attracted by Bhagavad-gita and gave a five dollar donation.
The Gaura Purnima festival at the Krishna Club was very special.
Twenty-six people came.
The guy playing sitar is a music major who ultimately wants to study music in India.
The girl playing tambourine and happily singing in the center of this picture came to the club three years ago as a freshman but did not come again until this year as a senior. She said, as a music major, with all the rehearsals, she was too busy.
We had two kirtanas, one led by Dina Bandhu Prabhu and the other led by Tulasi-priya Dasi. During the second kirtana, people offered flowers to the Gaura-Nitai deities. I show excerpts in this video [https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGerEnGdI0xL8P5w0H7lY7f8mY8T-570Q]:
Dina Bandhu, Ekendra, Tulasi-priya, and I have been involved in assisting with the Krishna Club from its very beginning three years ago, and it was wonderful to be celebrating Gaura Purnima with them.
The day after Gaura Purnima I chanted three and a half hours at the University of North Florida. It was cold and very misty. After an hour and a half, Amrita had to leave to do other things and Dina Bandhu had to go because he was not dressed for the cold. I kept chanting. I could only display hard bound books because the mist would ruin the paperbacks, and even those I had to wipe off every few minutes. A couple of passersby felt sorry for me, seeing me struggling with the cold and mist, and helped me relocate my display. Amrita later told me that couple came to the next Krishna Club meeting. They chanted sincerely, and the guy took some chanting beads home.
That night I attended Dina Bandhu Prabhu's program at his home in Gainesville to celebrate the Jagannath Misra festival with lots of kirtana and prasadam, and with many Krishna House friends. Many people said the final kirtana there, by Purushartha Prabhu, was a highlight.
The next day we chanted for about 3 hours at the Veg Fest with Amrita Keli, Lovelesh, and Lovelesh's mother. Lovelesh distributed all of Laura's wonderful prasadam cookies fairly early on, and there was a lot of talk about doing more with prasadam at the festival next year.
Prabhupada disciple, Dhira Prabhu (center), resident of Jacksonville, was happy to join us, as was Mallory (right), a regular at Krishna Club.
We encountered many people happy to see and hear the Hare Krishnas.
On the Gainesville harinama, a couple of people danced with us.
from Mother Nitai.
First Annual Krishna House Holi Festival
Caru Prabhu at Spanish Fork, Utah, made Holi a popular event for Hare Krishnas, and in recent years, it is seen by many temples as an event that can attract new guests. Holi has been celebrated in our Alachua temple for three years, and now at Krishna House in Gainesville. The venue was our Friday night program, which was started by Prema Rasa Das (then known as Pratik Desai), an Indian engineering student years ago, and attracts primarily those of Indian backgrounds. Thus it was striking to see that more Americans came to the Holi than the usual Friday programs.
Arjuna Prabhu had the people do some different activities before throwing the dyes, the main Holi activity.
One of these included an Indian art of decorating the ground with colored dyes.
We had a little chanting going on during the throwing of colors.
All kinds of people participated.
The best part was lots of people who had never been to Krishna House before came for Holi, heard the chanting, took some Krishna food, and had a great time!
Krishna House Eight-Hour Kirtan
At my insistence, the devotees scheduled the eight-hour kirtana after the spring break, as I thought that way some students could attend. Just a couple did, but even that made it worth the change. One of them ended up coming to the Alachua temple afterwards with devotees for the first time. Originally we were going to have a twelve-hour kirtana, but the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium promoters were doing a special event with Jananivasa Prabhu from Mayapur in the evening, so we had to cut our event short. That day I had a meeting with Sadaputa Prabhu's associates, the first one since he departed from this world six years ago, so the kirtana was even shorter for me.
Ekendra was sitting in a chair in the corner playing the guitar, and when I returned five hours later, after the Sadaputa meeting, he was sitting in the same chair playing the same guitar. It was striking. Here Purushartha Prabhu is leading. Everyone sang nicely.
Syamala Kishori Devi Dasi took a picture while I was dancing.
I think it is great to have a big kirtana event every semester, and I am glad we are doing it at Krishna House.
To see other photos I shot but did not include in this journal, please click on this link:
From a lecture on Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi 7.1, on March 1, 1974, in Mayapur:
“. . . we do not know what is the destination of the movement in this age. The trees are not moving, but we are moving. But that movement has not very much improved our condition. Real movement means to go forward to reach the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Through the teachings of Lord Caitanya, we can reform our habits.
Because people do not try to understand Krishna through Lord Caitanya, they fail to understand Krishna.
The present importance of Vrindavan exists because of Lord Caitanya and the Six Goswamis.
Because he is personally teaching everyone about the love of Radha Krishna, Lord Caitanya is the most magnanimous avatar.
There are many incarnations, but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He is the most magnanimous incarnation, because in other incarnations, just as Lord Ramacandra, He killed the culprit Ravana. Krishna also, when He appeared, He killed so many demons. But Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not kill demons like Jagai and Madhai but delivered them to become the best type of Vaisnava [devotee of the Supreme Lord].
From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.14, in Mayapur on June 27, 1973:
“That is the highest perfection of life – to shed tears for Krishna.”
“So here is the example. Tears by force are coming out: “Oh, Krishna is going away.” At the same time they want to check: “There must not be any inauspiciousness for Krishna.” They’re thinking about Krishna’s welfare, not their own. Not “Oh, I am now crying. I have become very fortunate. I am crying for Krishna.” No. “My crying will create inauspiciousness for Krishna; I must check it.” This is Krishna consciousness.”
From a letter dated May 17, 1968:
“My advice to you . . . is that at least for one hour you must all go to have Sankirtan outside on the streets or in the park. That is your life and soul, first business. . . . If need be, the whole temple can be locked, but the outdoor kirtan cannot be stopped.”
From a letter dated May 14, 1969:
“Regarding your questions about Sankirtana . . . , I think you should try to always have Sankirtana going on. All other things are subsidiary. This chanting is our life and soul, so we must arrange our program now so that there will be as much chanting on the streets and at college engagements as possible . . . .”
From Beyond Beyond and Death, Chapter 2:
“The word yoga means 'to link up,' and the yoga systems are meant to enable us to link with the transcendental world. . . . originally we are all connected to the Supreme Lord, but now we have been affected by material contamination. The process is that we have to return to the spiritual world, and that process of linking up is called yoga.”
“Just as a student studies a subject for four or five years and then takes his examination and receives a degree, similarly, with the subject of life, if we practice during our lives for the examination at the time of death, and if we pass the examination, we are transferred to the spiritual world. Our whole life is examined at the time of death.”
From Sri Naradiya Purana:
“One who loudly chants the holy names of the Lord is a hundred times greater than one who silently chants, because those who chant silently purify only themselves, while those who chant loudly purify themselves as well as those who hear them.”
“Upon fully blossoming, the Name takes me to Vrindavan and shows me His divine pastimes. He gives me an eternal body, keeps me by Krishna’s side, and completely vanquishes this material body, granting me supreme perfection.”
From Navadvipa Mahatmya:
“Seeing the Yamuna's good fortune of taking part in Krishna's pastimes, the Ganges performed penances for the same purpose. Krishna bestowed His mercy by appearing before Gangadevi and saying, 'ln the form of Gauranga I will perform pastimes in your waters.'”
A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge.
If one tries to attain Krishna without taking shelter of Lord Caitanya, he will be successful only after a long time. But if he takes shelter of Lord Caitanya, he will successful very soon because all his offenses will cease.
The Lord as Lord Caitanya fills the world with transcendental bliss by chanting His own holy name.
For His own pleasure, He came as a hidden incarnation [Lord Caitanya], to set the standard by acting as a pure devotee.
In his youth when He had a grammar school, Lord Caitanya kept His divinity hidden for the sake His pastimes.
Scholars avoided him because they could not defeat Him.
Although Nimai Pandit was well off, he would beg in charity from merchants as a pleasure pastime.
One fragrant oil vendor told him to take whatever he wanted. For Him there was no set price. He sat down and poured all kinds of oil over His body. The shop keeper was very pleased.
He went through the town, interacting with all the vendors who were His eternal associates.
One time he came upon a fortune teller whom He bewildered by showing Him all the incarnations of Krishna one after another. When He pressed him for his conclusion, he told Him to come back later in the afternoon.
Sridhara, who was apparently very impoverished, but still spending half of his meager income on the worship of Mother Gangas, was nonetheless very satisfied with life. Nimai Pandita accused him of having hidden wealth that was the cause of his satisfaction and demanded that he share it with Him. Of course, he did have hidden wealth, the great wealth of devotional service. He protested saying he just had a few bananas, a few radishes, and a drink with milk and gur, unprocessed sugar, which He gave to Nimai Pandit.
When Keshava Kasmiri, the champion scholar, was defeated by Nimai Pandit, Nimai Pandit's students made fun of him, but Nimai Pandit forbade them to. We can learn from this that we should not take pleasure in the suffering of others or in making jokes at the expense of others.
Nimai Pandit was very charitable and hospitable. One time twenty sannyasis came to His house. His mother said they had nothing in the kitchen. Nimai told her to look again. She was astounded to find all kinds foods had suddenly appeared. Laksmi then cooked a feast for the sannyasis.
Many demigods disguised themselves as brahmanas and mendicants to get food cooked by Laksmi in the house of Lord Caitanya.
The main duty of a householder is to take care of guests. By doing this they conquer the tendencies for untruthfulness and deceitful behavior.
Srila Prabhupada said that if you can get the President of the United States and the Queen of England to come to the opening of the Mayapur temple, Bhaktivinoda Thakura will personally take you back to the spiritual world.
Commet by Radha Jivan Prabhu: The niece of the Queen of England has a relationship with the Hare Krishnas and told the devotees if they give her 15 to 18 months notice, she said that she could bring the Queen to the opening of the Mayapur Vedic Temple of the Planetarium.
As we grow older, things that were very important become less important, and things that were less important become more important.
Gaura Purnima is like the New Year for us. Choose just one thing you would like to improve in your spiritual life and pray to Lord Caitanya on Gaura Purnima for it.
There are about 10 meters for chanting the verses of the Tenth Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and they are used to create different effects compatible with the story.
Fear is a stimulus for approaching God.
Some people in Islam say that Allah will respond to prayer in one of three ways:
(1) by fulfilling your desire, (2) by protecting you from misfortune, or (3) by fulfilling your desires in the afterlife.
(1) by fulfilling your desire, (2) by protecting you from misfortune, or (3) by fulfilling your desires in the afterlife.
One person said that of the things we fear, 90% never happen and 10% we cannot change anyway.
The fear of losing things is the main reason we are afraid of death.
Most of our fears are based on the false ego.
The verse in the Putana pastimes glorifying Krishna's mercy upon her despite her demonic attitude is the one that inspired Pundarika Vidyanidhi with ecstasy.
Krishna had to take into account His own promise to protect His devotee and Bhimsa's promise to kill Arjuna or else force Krishna to fight.
One lesson taught by the Battle of Kuruksetra is that the Lord wants to see His devotees glorified more than Himself.
Bhisma was completely satisfied when Krishna came rushing toward Him with the chariot wheel, for whatever Krishna did would be alright with him.
Brahma is usually the liaison between the demigods and Vishnu, but when Lord Vishnu as Nrsimha was in such an angry mood, He pushed Prahlada Maharaja forward to pacify Him.
Even though Lord Nrsimha was so angry he had just ripped Hiranyakasipu apart because He was so cruel to his son, Prahlada, a pure devotee, He was immediately willing to grant Hiranyakasipu liberation to please Prahlada.
Lord Caitanya wanted to kill the constables who whipped His devotee Haridasa Thakura, but He could not because Haridasa Thakura was praying for their welfare.
At the stage of prema, the devotee controls Krishna by his love.
The devotee is so confident that Krishna is going to take care of Him he is not the least bit worried in any condition of life, no matter how bad it looks.
Equality does not mean that Krishna takes care of everyone in the same way but that he is concerned with everyone.
The Bhimsa Parva, in which Bhimsa instructs King Yudhisthira, is the longest section of the whole Mahabharata.
Q: What is the different between having confidence in Krishna and the blind faith people accuse us of having?
A: We start by having a little faith, and we see how Krishna takes care of us. Also we see how Krishna takes care of His devotees in the present and in the past.
I had a stroke and when I got to the hospital I was beginning to feel better because of the medication they were giving. An Indian man greeted me and asked if there was any prasadam. He then said, “You have a very nice nurse. Her name is Glani.” Turned out she was an initiated disciple of Hridayananda Goswami. When I went into the operating room I had the Hare Krishna mantra written on a paper, I wanted to give to the doctor to say if anything went wrong. He was reluctant as he thought it was superstition, so I gave it to someone else. That person was just reading Sri Isopanisad on the plane and had a daughter who eats Krishna Lunch. As I was getting the anesthesia, someone noticed my neck beads and asked if I was a Hare Krishna, and wanted me to tell them about Krishna. That was last thing I remembered before I went out. I could see that Krishna was taking care of me in so many ways.
The rules and regulations are meant to ultimately expand our consciousness. By following them our minds become peaceful and happy because we are not driven by our senses. Then we can taste transcendental pleasure.
In the beginning we are pushed by the rules and regulations and later we are pushed to act by our desire to please the Lord.
Once Srila Prabhupada even said, “If you followed all the rules and regulations, you would not even get out of the bathroom in the morning.”
In my conditioned state I do not like restrictions and therefore I may be attracted to the spontaneous love of the residents of Vrndavana simply because there are fewer restrictions, but my consciousness is like iron compared to theirs which is like gold.
Comment by Gopala Prabhu: When Krishna says, “What will repression accomplish?” he is not saying we should not repress the desire to perform sinful activities but that if Arjuna left the battlefield and went to the forest he would ultimately recall the offenses of Duryodhana and fight him anyway.
From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.2.31 [https://youtu.be/qCQGq-O4fsM]:
The present scholarly understanding is still based on the work of Max Muller. Due to the many flaws of Muller's methodology, Muller himself has fallen out of favor, but his dating of the Vedas is still the predominant theory. As an interesting aside, Max Muller himself said that the Vedas could not be dated.
You can put a spark out with your hand, but you cannot put the entire fire out with your hand.
Our problem is that we are living an unnatural life, experiencing unhappiness, and ultimate death.
None of our material conditions are the same.
We should not settle for such an unnatural condition of life, especially as human beings, because we can do something about it. The animals cannot do anything about it. They must simply suffer. The horses are just standing there, feeling the heat, the cold, and the rain.
We need a new paradigm of life, what they call on Krishna.com, a bhakti world view. This begins accepting knowledge from the Vedas.
We cannot lose our eternal relationship with Krishna.
Because we do know what we are doing, we keep bumping into things, namely our karma.
Krishna describes that this world is temporary and full of misery. Even if we are so expert that we can avoid all the miseries, our situation is temporary.
There is more to loving God than saying “I love God.” There is a process. The more we practice serving God, the more we become purified.
It is so simple, it is practically unbelievable, and yet it is true.
The stubbornness to rebel against Krishna is rooted in the mind.
I pray that you all make great spiritual advancement.
“Just give one life to Krishna. You have had many lives, and if you do not perfect it, you will have many more. So just give this one life to Krishna.” This is how the devotees convinced me to join them, and I have not regretted it.
Before we lose this form of life, we must take this opportunity seriously.
Anubhava is an action that results from heightened affection for Krishna, which serves to further enhance that affection.
Vyabhicari-bhava is an emotional experience that results from intensified affection for Krishna, which serves to embellish and further stimulate that affection.
Subuddhi Krishna Prabhu:
Krishna will not direct us from within until we want Him to.
Krishna demonstrated that he was beyond all caste designations as He was born as a ksatriya, grew up as a vaisya, drove Arjuna's chariot as a sudra, and enlightened Arjuna as a brahmana.
From a talk on deity worship:
I started my deity service by doing garlands. Then I got to iron the deity's gamshas [undergarments] every day.
My parents tried to deprogram me. I escaped, but it was not safe for me to stay in Boston, so I went to Puerto Rico for a few years. Only three temple leaders knew where I was and no one else.
We offered 120 or 130 sweets a day to the deities in Boston.
Deity worship can sometimes seem mechanical, chanting the same mantras every day. By reading Jagannath Priya Nataka I came to experience deity worship in a deeper way.
I was both cook and pujari in Boston for many years.
When dressing Gaura Nitai, it is preferred to do Nityananda first, as indicated in the pastime of the chipped rice festival.
Comment by Guru Seva Devi Dasi: I saw how my husband Madhava was benefiting from doing Deity worship, and I felt I was really missing out. I find that I am appreciating different aspects of the worship from him, but that is natural because we are different persons.
The first worship is to the spiritual master.
There are different numbers of items you can offer. Mostly we offer 16 items, but in other cases 64 may be offered, or just two.
There are different mudras with different meanings, greeting the deities, etc.
Our nima deities we decided to name appropriately Nimai Nitai.
The sila is a direct manifestation of Krishna and does not require to be installed as carved and sculpted deity forms.
In Vrindavan, the inhabitants see Govardhan as a loving father, not the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
To begin the worship of Govardhan, you must first be given a Govardhan sila, and then secondly, you have to ask a resident of Vrindavan for permission to take him out of Vrindavan.
All the incarnations of Vishnu have forms as salagramas.
We begin deity worship by worshiping Gaura Nitai. If someone offers you Gaura Nitai deities, you should accept them.
We wanted the nima deities because we felt as a married couple, we would not have the time to properly take of brass deities.
From a lecture:
Lord Caitanya came to bring a very high level of love of God that was not brought before.
I have dealt with many coconuts in my life but very few have had the pulp separated from the shell. Similarly the self-realized souls are very rare.
I tried to separate the coconut from the shell by heating, and it ended up cracking. Similarly we cannot artificially attain the advanced stage of spiritual life.
According to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the bodily symptoms of ecstasy occur because the reciprocation of Krishna with the devotee is so intense the material body cannot handle it.
Skanda Purana says that Lord Jagannath appeared to King Indradyumna on the day of snana-yatra.
Because it is hot in that season in India, they bathe Lord Jagannath then.
During the Lord's sickness, Laksmi takes care of Him.
The paints used to paint Lord Jagannath are made with fruits.
Laksmi does not allow Jagannath back into the temple after the return Ratha-yatra, although she lets Balaram and Subhadra in.
King Indradyumna asked for two boons: (1) He did not want a son. (2) He wanted Jagannath to accept another meal as soon as His hands dried from washing them after the previous meal.
If the pujari is doing the arati in Puri and the king comes, the pujari lets the king perform the arati.
[The following two stories Bhadra Prabhu recalled are from a book on Lord Jagannath by Bhakti Purusottama Swami. They were so elaborate I could only write down the beginning of them. If you want to know the end, you'll have to read the book.]
(1) King Purusottamadeva of Puri visited South India, and the princess of Kancipuram became attracted to him. Her father was favorable but sent his minister to Puri to investigate his character. The minister was favorably impressed until he saw Purusottamadeva sweeping the road before the Ratha-yatra. The minister recommended against the marriage because the king was a road sweeper. King Purusottamadeva was upset and said he would fight and defeat the King of Kancipuram and take his daughter. Another condition was the Ganesh deity worshiped by the King of Kancipuram would come to Puri and be worshiped behind Lord Jagannath. Purusottamadeva lost the battle and went back to Puri and cried to Jagannath in the temple, as it was unthinkable to him that Lord Jagannath would go to Kancipuram and be worshiped behind Ganesh. The Lord appeared in a dream and said He would help. Ahead of the king's army were two soldiers on horses, one of light complexion and one who was dark. They were offered drinks by a vendor, which they accepted, but when asked about payment they replied they had no money and that the king, who was just behind, would pay for them, and thus they went on. When the vendor questioned the king who soon came, and hearing of the incident the king concluded the two soldiers were in fact Balarama and Krishna, and he became encouraged and was victorious in the battle . . .
Laksmi was visiting her devotees, some of whom came from low class backgrounds. Jagannath protested. Laksmi appreciated the worship of her devotees and wanted to reciprocate with them, so she did not take Jagannath's protest very seriously and left to see her devotees . . .
At the end of 1966 Srila Prabhupada drew some pictures of Jagannatha and asked the Brahmananda to go to the tombstone shop on Second Avenue and ask them to carve them. He did, but they did not do it.
Srila Prabhupada said in 1976 in a lecture that if we will accept Lord Jagannath, He will unite us. We are doing Ratha-yatras all over Florida to unite our community.
Srila Prabhupada said that anyone who participates in the Ratha-yatra attains the spiritual world in the next life.
At my meeting with the Saint Augustine officials, one policeman said, “I have never before seen uch happy persons as you guys coming to this town. You guys have good food.” Turning to the officials, the policeman continued, “You all should go to their festival.”
Nama Kirtan Prabhu:
If everyone tries to act as a brahmana, all the other work will not get done.
Even if one has an insignificant service, if he works to please God, he is better situated than one who performs a more important service without an attitude of service to God.
Dina Bandhu Prabhu:
The symbols which appear on both the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani and Lord Krishna appear on the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya, who is an incarnation of Them both.
If someone offers us something we should accept it. It is not like we are trying to get people to give us things, but if someone offers us something we should learn the art of accepting it gratefully.
A: Associate with enthusiastic devotees.
Introduction by Mikey: I used to be in a male fraternity based on degrading ourselves. Now I am in a coed fraternity based on elevating ourselves.
Introduction by Syamala Kishori Devi Dasi: I was praying to Govardhan to be in a situation where I was living more with devotees and two days later Mother Caitanya came up to me and said they had a free room in Krishna House.
The followers of Lord Caitanya had split into the intellectual Goswamis of Vrndavana and the spirited kirtaniyas of Bengal. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami united these groups by writing Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, explaining the intellectual philosophy of the Goswamis in the Bengali language.
Radha Jivan Prabhu:
One poet writes “I would rather die than beg funds for the maintenance of my own body, but for the glorification of the Lord I will beg without shame.”
Lord Nityananda told Jiva Goswami that a wonderful temple establishing the eternal service of Lord Caitanya will appear in Mayapur.
Srila Prabhupada told Jananivasa Prabhu, “Take care of Radha Madhava and make other people pujaris.”
Jananivasa Prabhu told me that there were two things he desired never to do after becoming a devotee, (1) to go to America, and (2) to ask for money, and on this tour he is doing both of them.
Srila Prabhupada explained that all the Gaudiya acaryas have made some gift to Lord Caitanya in Mayapur. Bhaktivinoda Thakura begged a rupee from many people to build a temple in Mayapur at Lord Caitanya's birthsite. Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura established 65 temples throughout India, but his biggest temple was in Mayapur.
Six million visit Mayapur each year. That is an average of 15,000 a day. It is the glory of Srila Prabhupada, so many people are coming.
Once Srila Prabhupada said, “My idea is to bring the whole world to Mayapur.”
There are two things (1) mana (respect) and (2) dana (charity). The Supreme Lord does not need our charity, but we should give him our respect.
There is a saying that aptitude does not matter as much as attitude.
Before I became a devotee I could not say I loved God because I did not really know enough about God to love Him. I was thrilled to encounter Srimad-Bhagavatam and to learn so many details about Him.
We are always dealing with death, and how we deal with it determines how we live our life and how we approach our spiritual practice.
The main problem with Kamsa was his association. He explained transcendental knowledge to Vasudeva and Devaki, but later returned to his demoniac ways because of bad association, while Narada, because of good association, went from being in ignorance to becoming a great saint.
Whatever happens to the body does not matter. All the bliss we are getting in life comes from our devotional service, and that will continue in our next life.
Comment by Dhameshvar Mahaprabhu: We have more faith in those who have already left their bodies, as their life of virtue is complete, while the living virtuous could always fall down from their positions before the end of life.
Comment by Nicholas: There is no situation that is so bad that you can no longer make spiritual advancement.
Comment by Dhameshvar Mahaprabhu: The demons in Krishna's pastimes embody the extremes of human evil.
Comment by Syamala Kishori Devi Dasi: Kamsa was using the philosophy to his own advantage. We must also consider whether we are using what knowledge and facilities we are given for Krishna's pleasure.
Notes from Gauranga Prasada Prabhu's program:
Tell how you become a devotee:
Gauranga Prasada Prabhu:
I had become vegetarian. I was thinking of attending church and seeking the association of higher vibrational people. Then I met the devotees at Krishna Lunch. I found vegetarian, meditation, music, and everything I was looking for.
During the time we are absorbed in the kirtana we are free from material contamination. We thus can get a glimpse of Vrindavana as the song “Gauranga Bolite Habe” states. It is so practical. We just have to follow the previous spiritual teachers.
Cayman: The books really moved me. I just never read anything like them before.
Chelsea: My high school teacher was a devotee and had a little murti of Krishna on his desk. He invited me to the temple for the Sunday Feast and I and a friend came. We did not fit in, but I kept coming. Then one week we did japa, and it was a very powerful experience.
Varangi Radha Dasi: Six years ago I met a guy on the campus who knew more important things than anything I learned in school. I asked him where he got all this amazing knowledge from. He would not tell me. I kept hearing from him for several weeks. Then he told me and brought me to a Friday Gita class at the Laguna Beach temple.
I felt my hurts healing and superficial issues resolved so I can appreciate what Lord Caitanya is giving us.
My mother would always talk about the devotees, when I was living in another place.
I tried being vegetarian before, but I was not successful, until just a week before I moved into Krishna, when I tried it to see if I really could, and I found it was possible.
From the Gaura Purnima festival, I got a sense that Gauranga is a real person.
I went to Janmastami and later to a Prabhupada disappearance festival, and it felt really like home. I got comfortable with the chanting. I was given the book, Bhakti: The Art of Eternal Love. Prabhupada was saying things very similar to what I had written in an aesthetics paper, and I was very attracted to his philosophy. Once while chanting Krishna's name, I got a sense that this is just what I want to do.
Once you meet the devotees, you are moved in the correct direction.
I also felt that Gauranga is a real personality.
As a Krishna kid at New Vrindavana we did puja to little Gaura Nitai deities and learned 50 or 60 Bhagavad-gita verses. My devotee friends helped me through the years I had to go to nondevotee schools. It is best if you have some devotional activities you really love to do, some by yourself and some with others.
Having the week with the devotees was such a blessing, as I have been busy with my work.
One girl came to the Alachua temple for the first time on Gaura Purnima and was practically crying in happiness.
This girl from New Vrindavan had a crush on me. I did not want to date her, but she would bring me to meet her parents. Her parents would preach to me. I kept coming to New Vrindavan. My friend ended up marrying a guy in Alachua, and they invited me to Gainesville.
This was a special week. It was the first time I really felt Lord Caitanya on his appearance day.
Service is really the key.
This summer I read Bhagavad-gita, and was impressed with the philosophy. Then in December I met the devotees and was happy to see the principles of the Gita being followed by so many people, especially when I visited Alachua and saw so many devotees following.
I met the devotees in Bangalore and was very happy to encounter devotees in the USA. Originally I was thinking of not staying in North Carolina. I advertised for an ISKCON connected roommate on the Facebook page for Indian students at NC State. The president of the Bhakti Yoga club replied. I was so happy.
I have learned that is not just us and Krishna, but our relationships with the devotees are more important.
Vikas, the president of the club invited me for food. Indian food is rare in North Carolina so I would come. I then became attracted by the kirtana and the philosophy. I have been in and out. I hope to experience the love that some of you have mentioned.
I liked coming to the Festival of the Holy Name, so I wanted to come again.
My mother was involved with Krishna consciousness when I was in high school. I did not take it too seriously. Then my younger sister started chanting two rounds and would ask me if I chanted my rounds. I thought if she could do it, then I could do it. I kept gradually increasing. I have been chanting 16 rounds for three years now.
Syamala Kishori Devi Dasi:
I can see that each devotee has some good quality that I would like to imbibe. That was my meditation for the spring break Gaura Purnima week.
kathancana smrte yasmin
duskaram sukaram bhavet
vismrte viparitam syat
sri-caitanyam namami tam
“Things that are very difficult to do become easy to execute if one somehow or other simply remembers Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But if one does not remember Him, even easy things become very difficult. To this Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu I offer my respectful obeisances.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 14.1)