Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Travel Journal#11.16: Trutnov (Czech Woodstock), Prague, and The North of England

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 11, No. 16
By Krishna-kripa das
(August 2015, part two)
Trutnov (Czech Woodstock), Prague & The North of England
(Sent from Penn Station, New York City, on September 22, 2015)

Where I Went and What I Did

After almost ten days with the Festival of India on Poland’s Baltic coast, I traveled to Wroclaw in the south of Poland, and the next day across the Czech border to Trutnov, for the Trutnoff Open Air Festival, also known as the Czech Woodstock. The Czech devotees are friends with Martin, the organizer, and we have a Krishna camp with Krishna music and Krishna food there. After the Trutnov festival, I chanted for a day with Harinama Ruci in Prague. Then I chanted in Newcastle a couple of days, and then Blackpool, Preston, Southport, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, and back to Newcastle, doing evening programs in Preston, Liverpool, and Leeds and a kirtana program in Manchester, thus ending the very busy month of August.
I share quotes from Srila Prabhupada lectures and notes on the books and journal of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami. I share notes on lectures by two Manchester devotees, Jagadatma Prabhu, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, and Radha Mohan Prabhu, a disciple of Radhanath Swami, on Lord Balarama's appearance day.

Thanks to Harinama Ruci for their pictures of the Trutnov festival and Prague harinama. Thanks to Ananga Sevika Devi Dasi for her video of our final kirtana at Trutnov. Thanks to Aharada Devi Dasi for the picture of our bhajana team in Manchester.

Thanks to the Newcastle temple for their kind contribution. Thanks to Tony and the Preston nama-hatta for their kind donation toward my travels. Thanks to Alan and the Liverpool nama-hatta for their kind donation toward my travels. Thanks to Janardana Prabhu and the Leeds nama-hatta for their kind donation, as well as to one of their congregation who also contributed. Thanks to Punya Palaka Prabhu, who also contributed to my travel fund. Thanks to Gaura Karuna Prabhu for always being willing to convert currencies for me.


September 22–25: New York City Harinama
September 26–27: Albany
September 28–November 13: New York City Harinama
November 14–17: Washington, D.C., Harinama
November 18–19: Jacksonville
November 20–December 16: Krishna House (except 5 days in Tallahassee)
December 16–January 3: New York City Harinama

Adventures on the Way to Trutnov

On the train from Wroclaw to the southern border of Poland, two boys in my compartment asked to hear me play my harmonium. Since the conductor was in the next compartment we closed the door and window, so as not to get in trouble. One of the boys had studied the piano for four years. They were really impressed, although it was not really impressive. I was impressed with them, for when they made a video of me chanting, they recorded at least five mantras. Usually people get bored after two or three. I gave them my card, and invited them to send it to me, if they were inspired.

I tried a new border crossing from Poland to Czech Republic this year, one that supposedly had a bus across it, because I was tired of walking across the border between Lubawka, PL, and Kralovac, CZ, but as it turned out I missed the first bus and the second bus did not come. I decided to walk and hitchhike at the same time. I ripped the side off a cardboard box I found in a dumpster and wrote “CZ” on it in big letters, and set out on my journey. After no more than 15 minutes a couple of young men who were going to a weekend hip-hop festival in Hradlec Kralove stopped and offered to take me there, rather than just across the border. It was a big enough city I knew I could easily catch a train to Trutnov from there, though much further from the border than I needed to be, so I accepted the ride. The guy who was not driving decided he wanted to take a video of me playing harmonium and chanting Hare Krishna. I was in the middle of the front seat of the van, and as I sang, the driver sang along with me in a very animated way. We must have chanted four mantras together. I also invited the young guy who took the video to send it me. I noticed we would pass through Jaromer, a town I had traveled through by train on the way to Trutnov one year, so I suggested they drop me there. I saw a sign with a picture of the train and the word BUS, and I assumed it was both the train and bus station, but it was actually a place to get buses, including one to the train station. All the Trutnov buses were finished for the night, and so the bus driver going to the train station offered to take me there. When I got to the train station no one was at the ticket counter, but looking at the schedule of departures, I was delighted to see there was a train to Trutnov in five minutes. That was Krishna’s kindness on me.

Trutnoff Open Air Music Festival (Czech Woodstock)

For many years devotees have been sharing Krishna music and food with attendees at the Trutnoff Open Air Music Festival in Trutnov, Czech Republic, just 16 km south of the Polish border. About 20,000 or 30,000 people attend the event, paying the equivalent of about 40 euros for admission. 

Our Krishna Camp and the schedule of events at it are included in the publication given to all the attendees of the festival when they register.

I have been coming for seven years, every year beginning with 2009. Some people remembered me from 2009, and I remembered some of them from 2009.

On Thursday night quite a number of people enthusiastically chanted with us (https://youtu.be/sX8T1xeKGuc):

Some of them, I am sure, judging from their happiness, were waiting all year for this chance to chant with the devotees again.

Vaiyasaki Prabhu and his wife Kishori Devi Dasi came for the first time. Vaiyasaki liked Trutnov better than the Polish Woodstock, a much larger event, which he felt was too overwhelming. He inspired many people to chant and dance, and I was happy to see and be part of it. Here you can see some video from the three evenings when he played (https://youtu.be/3cCSeFCMaDA):

I also took a video with my Andriod, which has a light which illuminated the joyous dancers (https://youtu.be/XfrAmda_lc8):

 Sometimes people would dance in circles.
Sometimes they would raise their hands.

Occasionally, people would even dance on our stage.

On Friday we did our first harinama, beginning at the school where we stayed, through the town, and to the site of the festival, ending at our camp. The school lets festival goers use its showers for a small fee, and three people who had come to shower at the school joined our harinama and amazing came the entire way with us! 
Here you can see them dancing with us at the end of the harinama at our camp.

One of them, the girl in shorts, chanted much of the time and often put her arms in the air like Lord Caitanya. Based on her enthusiasm, I figured she had some previous connection with the devotees, but she had never encountered them before. Her name was Elishka, and she was from a remote part of Czech near the German border. She was amazed that the harinama was two hours as the time had just flown by. She described it was nothing like she had every experienced before. During our harinama one devotee gave her an abridged version of the Prabhupada biography. She came by each day and chanted and danced in our tent. She also chanted and danced in the crowd when we performed kirtana on the second stage. Now that she has finished her education, she is thinking of getting a job in Prague. Then it will be easy for her to have the association of the devotees and more opportunities for Krishna kirtana.

Here are some clips from all the harinamas I attended at Trutnov (https://youtu.be/9o5spmJ2IRA):

During the harinamas, sometimes devotees would encourage people to dance.
Tulasi did this with the ladies.

And Harinamananda Prabhu did this with the guys.

Sometimes onlookers would dance with each other.

At the site, as we walked through paths with vendors on each side, both the vendors and their customers would participate.

Once Vishnujana and Harinamananda Prabhus encountered some vendors of outlandish wigs.
On Friday night at our Krishna Camp, for about an hour or so, I was the sole dancer on the stage while Vaiyasaki Prabhu was singing.

When he ended one tune, I left to use the toilet, but four people wanted to take my picture before I made to the bathroom. It was an odd experience for me to adored as an entertainment personality.

There are always special people, some old friends and some new friends. 
One girl, Sharka (who formerly called herself Shari) [with the red hair], I recall from 2009, the first year I went to Trutnov. She and her high school friends loved singing and dancing to Jaya Gurudeva Prabhu’s guitar playing and his reggae Hare Krishna chant. They were all from Trutnov. Now they have grown up and live in different parts of the world, but she still lives in Trutnov and comes by to chant and dance with us a few times every year.

The afternoons were slower in terms of participation.

On Friday a devotee lady sang and four ladies danced in the audience (https://youtu.be/4SAtshv-G5E):

Vidya Vacaspati Prabhu, who leads the Prague harinamas every Wednesday and Friday, sang on Saturday afternoon (https://youtu.be/PWwaRoppf5o):

Other devotee musicians also sang at different times.

Once on a typically slow afternoon maybe twenty people were in our tent. The only person singing the response was a girl who was sitting with her friends toward the back. I spoke to her later and found she and three friends had driven all the way from Brittany, in western France, and that was their second year at Trutnov. They had come to our camp the previous year and liked it. She even remembered that I sang at one point. I explained that is usually at the end when everyone else’s voice is shot and I do not sound any worse than anyone else. I told her about our Paris Ratha-yatra and offered to give her details about next year’s event.

We got to sing on the second stage as we did last year. This year the timing was better, and we got the best response we ever had from the audience there. Nrsimha Caitanya Prabhu led the kirtana and many people delighted in dancing (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGerEnGdI0xKFTiNKaS7DWPl01rMCB681):

You can see the joy of the dancers.

At one point, a group of school kids joined the dancing, during our kirtana on the second stage, and everyone danced in a circle.

On Sunday afternoon for a while, a quartet of senior Czech underground musicians was also chanting the maha-mantra, with a few devotees accompanying them. They sang Hare Krishna to the tune that George Harrison made famous in his song “My Sweet Lord.” In the early days of the Hare Krishna movement, Prabhupada would encourage popular personalities of the time such as Alan Ginsberg to chant Hare Krishna whenever they got a chance. Because of the popularity of those Czech musicians, our tent was filled to the brim with people, and it was great seeing so many people hearing “Hare Krishna”. Here is a video clip (https://youtu.be/gj3-qKhIEL0):

My little moment of glory came at the end of the final evening. There was a very famous band called Prodigy playing, and the organizer, Martin, said it was the most expensive band he ever had come there. Many people went because of curiosity, and in our tent the crowd dwindled to two or three people and our kirtana leaders stopped playing. I was thinking it had never happened in the last seven years that some band was so popular that there was no one in our camp, and that we stopped playing.

But then gradually people began to return. Some asked about the kirtana. I told Punya Palaka Prabhu and said I would be glad to sing if people wanted to listen and he said, “They are here, and they are asking for kirtana. So I went up on the stage and repositioned the harmonium in front of its microphones. Punya Palaka played the drum and another accomplished devotee musician played the kartatalas, and a couple more devotees joined us. I played a three-part tune four or five times at a fast enough tempo that people could dance to it (https://youtu.be/l29kSG9XKaQ):

We had about twelve people, with half of them dancing, and several singing, some with beautiful smiles on their faces.

Punya Palaka wrote about it, “It was nice, I was glad to accompany you with my simple mrdanga and no voice, at the time of the main performance of the Prodigy band. The little group of our guests came with the hopes that we didn’t stop our production due to Prodigy, as all the other stages did. I appreciate these moments of simple sincerity very much.”

Vishnujana Prabhu had gone to the main stage to see this Prodigy group, and he saw that it did not hold people’s interest. Although they were famous, they had nothing special to offer.

I was so happy to extend our kirtana another 45 minutes or so and give those who appreciate our Krishna kirtana one last chance to sing and dance with us. We get to do harinama sankirtana every day, but for many of them, it is just these four days in a whole year that they get a taste of transcendental bliss.

Afterwards several people wanted to take my photo or have their photo taken with me. I found several people already knew about Hare Krishna in Prague. I told one boy from Ostrava, far to the east, I would let him know of our programs there if he emailed me.

Beside sharing Krishna music, we also had a variety of prasadam (Krishna food). 
All of the sabjis were excellent including this one.
Špíz (pronounced shpeez), fried vegetables on a stick, and koftas that were large flat paddies instead of the tradition small balls, were popular items.
They also sold a variety of fruit nut bars 

and tasty chips or as they say in Czech chipsy. 

On top of that, there was excellent maha-prasadam.

Mother Ananga Sevika did face painting as she did on the Czech Padayatra.

Punya Palaka Prabhu is always looking for dependable devotee musicians to play on our stage. If you would like to come some year and help out let me know, and I will get you in touch with him.

I suggested that next year we take advantage of the existence of our presence there to teach the chanting of Hare Krishna on beads as a meditation. Our stage is officially described as the alternative and meditative stage, and I am sure we could find some people who would be willing to learn how to chant Hare Krishna on beads as a daily spiritual practice and thus come to a higher level of spiritual consciousness.

I look forward to assisting my Czech devotee friends in sharing Krishna music with the people at Trutnov again next year.

Prague Harinama with Harinama Ruci

Last year the Harinama Ruci party went to a festival in Slovakia after Trutnov, but this year they stayed in Prague, and I was very happy to be able to go on harinama with them there, the day after Trutnov, before my evening flight.

We encountered a parade of international performers, and many of them were willing to interact with us.
Most amazing was a group of young ladies from Israel, who both chanted and danced with us (https://youtu.be/T-qmUS3zhdE):

Here are other musicians who played with us.
Some people danced with us. 

 Others tried chanting the mantra.

Some posed with our instruments.

You can see different passersby and performers interacting with our party in this video (https://youtu.be/V9Irlot3ivA):

Chanting with Harinama Ruci was a beautiful way to end my month-long trip to Eastern Europe.

Harinama in Newcastle

The last couple of times I have returned to Newcastle, Bhakti Rasa Prabhu has picked me up at the Megabus armed with a mrdanga to go on harinama. This time we chanted together for an hour and a half, and surprisingly our listeners took 6 books and gave almost £11 ($17).

A group of theater students who just graduated high school and who attend Newcastle College in the fall, moved to the music as they walked by. We encouraged them and they stuck around. We chanted the mantra one word at a time to a lively tune, and they sang along. We even spoke philosophy with some of them. We also told them about our Wednesday program of singing and vegetarian food.

Three ladies, perhaps in the thirties, also chanted the mantra one word at a time with us, and they definitely looked very blissful afterward, which they themselves noticed and mentioned.

Bhakti Rasa Prabhu likes this relationship of picking me up and doing harinama with me, and I find it a great welcome home. I hope we can continue it.
The following day we again we had seven people on a harinama before our Wednesday evening kirtana program. Prema Sankirtana’s family of four came and Radhe Shyama and Madhuri. Later Maha-mantra Prabhu of Derby joined us, making eight altogether.

One little girl was fascinated by the kirtana and danced with her hands raised, imitating me, for at least fifteen minutes. Then she came closer and danced with Vishnu-priya Devi Dasi and her daughters. You can see this in these video clips (https://youtu.be/vU3NiWflBso):

Because we had two kids on the party, we were more accessible to parents and their kids and more of them paid attention to us.
This father and daughter were another example.

Another guy also got into dancing with us.

It was great to be chanting with such enthusiastic devotees.

At the Wednesday evening kirtana, I was surprised and delighted to see how nicely little Giya, not more than five years old, led such a nice kirtana: (https://youtu.be/fXz_w-3L8Io):

Chanting Hare Krishna in Blackpool

Tony, who helps out with Preston programs, came to chant with Govardhan dd, her husband, John, and I in Blackpool.

One young lady, who was carrying a placard advertising a business and passing out information, followed us for half a block, and stayed nearby for a while. She said Govardhan had a beautiful voice and that she would like to join us, but she had to work.

One older lady named Pauler came up to us, and told an amazing story of being introduced to Hare Krishna by her daughter twenty years ago. Her daughter was seven years old at the time, and getting kicked out the church, she started investigating other religions. When the girl was invited to a Hare Krishna program, she went and decided she liked Hare Krishna. Thus her mother being exposed to it, also came to like it. Recently, she was talking about going to the Preston programs and getting more involved with Hare Krishna again, but it had not happened. Then she met us Hare Krishnas on harinama. Her daughter drove her to Preston that night for our program, and she was so happy to take part.

Chanting Hare Krishna in Preston

After having lunch in Blackpool, we came to Preston. I was happy that two devotees from Scotland joined us there, and we chanted over two more hours, with everyone taking turns leading the chanting.

Chanting in Southport

Govardhana Devi Dasi's husband John drove me to Southport, and the two of us chanted there. There are many older people in Southport, which was fine, as John and I are older. At least a couple people said “Hare Krishna” to us, although we only once chanted there before, and no one remembers anyone doing harinama there before that.

Chanting in Liverpool

After having lunch in Southport, I took the bus to Liverpool. I was happy that two of the most active people in the Liverpool nama-hatta, Alan and Barbara, joined me to chant for two hours before our program there. They passed out many invitations.

Chanting on Lord Balarama's Appearance Day in Manchester

A party of several devotees chanted together in downtown Manchester from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Lord Balarama's appearance day. I was so happy my friends decided to celebrate that event by doing harinama.

In the evening, we chanted a temple where local Bengali's had arranged an all-evening kirtana, on that auspicious full moon day ending the Jhulan Yatra, or swing cememony of Radha Krishna. 
There I was happy to see the Hare Krishna maha-mantra written in Bengali script and reminding me of Mayapur as did pranami on the donation box.

Different Hare Krishna devotees took turns chanting, and the organizers were excited to invite them to come back next year for a more extensive festival.

Chanting in Leeds

I was pleased that several members of our congregation in Leeds came out for harinama before their monthly program on the last Sunday of the month.

I chose to speak on Lord Balarama and His role as a peacemaker in the quarrels between Krishna and Rukmi, Bhima and Duryodhana, and Samba and Kuru warriors. I also read some of the spiritual instructions He gave to Rukmini on the day of her marriage. There was one new person who was the friend of a regular, and I think those pastimes of Lord Balarama are easier to appreciate for new people than some of His others.

Although the Dublin Ratha-yatra and the Newcastle retreat also happened the last weekend in August, I chose to go to the nama-hattas around the Manchester area which I have been visiting for several years. I felt I had spend too little time in The North of England, so I eliminated Dublin. I asked Janananda Goswami about the other choices, and he recommended I choose the nama-hattas over the retreat, and so I did.

Back to Newcastle

Most of the Newcastle devotees were exhausted from the retreat, but Maha-mantra Prabhu, who likes to attend festivals in Newcastle, came out on harinama wth me on the last day of August. Chanting with me for three hours, he conquered over his reluctance to go on harinama and developed a greater appreciation for it. It was kind of Krishna to grant me some success in encouraging people in devotional service, as I wound up my stay in The North of England.

The Newcastle devotees had a birthday dinner for Anjali, who just became twenty-one. 
We were all excited about the veggie burgers that Kalki Prabhu had made, especially Prema Sankirtana Prabhu.

The mango drink, which I was too eager to drink to take a picture of, was made with cream and the best mango drink I have had in recent memory.
Of course, the cake made by Yamuna Jivana dd was also a winner.

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


Srila Prabhupada:

From a lecture on Bhagavad-gita 4.22 on April 11, 1974, in Bombay:

“Don’t think that because you are Krishna conscious you will be always successful. It doesn’t matter. Even if you are unsuccessful, you must know firmly that without Krishna’s desire, nothing can happen. If you are unsuccessful, then you should know it is Krishna’s desire. There is no question of being depressed because you are unsuccessful. A devotee is never depressed in any horrible condition of life.”

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.18 on September 26, 1974, in Calcutta:

The beginning is faith. That is why we are establishing all these centers, so people can acquire faith.

Our only business is to see that we are satisfying Krishna.

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

From Japa Transformations:

Sometimes when you begin your japa, you feel reluctant. It just doesn’t have a taste. The only solution for that is to keep going resolutely. The taste eventually comes, always. The lack of taste may be due to many things, often physical. You may be tired from lack of sleep or some physical malady. Mental lack of taste is due to your poor Krishna consciousness. It may be prominent on a particular day, just because of the whims of the cancala mind. It is a sad reflection to reveal to you that you’re just not a good chanter. There is no excuse for it, you just must keep chanting and overcome the bad state of the mind. It’s sad that we are not instantly excellent chanters in the morning, and that some mornings find us with the blues. During the chanting we can pray to Krishna to help us out of this slump and bring us to our rightful position. Chanting is a kind of mechanism. With a little effort we will find ourselves back on track. Those are the days to push with extra effort to find our rightful place. Determination is required, and the strength to not become overwhelmed with depression at our poor state. Don’t take it as such a terrible thing, just work through it and come to the right position.”

From “Poem for August 18” in Viraha Bhavan:

this lack of
taste can always
be overcome if
one persists with
determination. Nama
Prabhu will not
refuse to grant His
mercy to the
surrendered soul.”

In summer at Stuyvesant Falls, New York,
a wonderful event takes place:
evening campfire
Sacisuta starts a fire
on the edge of his large lawn
and keeps adding logs, so
it’s always a substantial fire. As
dusk turns to night
the children stop
running around and gather
close to the adults for
no-nonsense chanting. If
the moon is out it’s nice,
but if not, there are plenty
of distant stars and the event takes on the aura of
a native American ritual.
But it’s transcendental, with
Lord Caitanya’s
mridanga and karatalas
and the main thing, the
Hare Krishna mantra.
Snacks are prepared
to attract the children
(and the grown-ups too).
They are nick-named “S’more”
(some more – I want more).
They consist of a piece of banana
pierced by a stick and placed
into the fire.
When it melts
it’s taken out and a sandwich
is made with a graham cracker and
a piece of Hershey chocolate.
They are offered to Gaura-Nitai,
and they taste so good that
many are taken.
Neighbors who don’t
usually chant are allured
by the communal scene,
enjoying in purifying themselves
in the holy chant.
The singing goes on
for hours – the children
are allowed to stay up late
and no one gets bored.
It’s an excellent dovetailing
of communing with nature,
family solidarity and the
thing that makes it magic
– the Hare Krishna chant.”

From “Poem for August 17” in Viraha Bhavan:

From Japa Transformations:

When I have pain, I face an alternative: to chant through the pain or to stop and wait until later in the day, after the pain has cleared up. I prefer to chant through the pain, because I never know how long the pain may last. I don’t want to go late into the day with my quota not reached. I can chant with pain by chanting silently and going to a small place in my heart where the pain doesn’t affect me. I call out to Krishna from there, and I’m not affected. I sit back in a comfortable position and try to relax and say the rounds at a moderate pace. I pray to Krishna to allow me to do it nicely and to forgive me for the inevitable lack of perfection. Krishna stays with me, and we chant together. I used to get migraines that would last twenty-four hours. So there’s no question but that I have to persist in chanting during those times. I can’t hold up the white flag of surrender to no chanting, but I chant as best I can and count on Krishna’s leniency and compassion. I can still pay attention to the syllables and chant silently in my mind.

Chanting under duress
is a bit of a mess.
You can’t concentrate clearly
because the pain blocks you nearly.
Rather than stop, you push on,
and you’re happy to get them done.
japa is better than none,
and you feel you have actually won.

A poor beginning will not
last for the gutsy chanter of
the Names. Soon the
soothing balm of Nama
Prabhu covers the rough
patch with its nectar.
Like a bad dream, the
faulty start evaporates, and a
cheerful sunrise appears
through the beads.

All that was required is that
I show Krishna I’m sincere and
not a fair-weather chanter—I
can endure a bad first inning.”

From “Poem for August 19” in Viraha Bhavan:

A fine kind of kirtana
is when a great, dynamic
singer like B. B. Govinda Maharaja
is in a crowded temple and does his leading
with a microphone
in his hand. You
follow his melodies in bliss.
But a variety is when he
takes the mike and goes up
to each devotee and ‘forces’
him or her to lead the mantra
one time. He is
and approaches even the
shy devotees, the old people,
the children and the newcomers
who may not sing so well. It produces a
riotous, communal, happy
feeling with everyone taking part.
When all have taken their turn
Maharaja brings the microphone
back to himself and
leads in his strong, commanding voice.”

From Japa Transformations:

This morning I found this tastelessness when I began, but it did not last long. Within a couple of rounds, I was feeling better and cheerful, and I was chanting at a good speed. I didn’t give in to the poor start, which could have lasted longer. Maya is always waiting to catch us and tell us that the chanting is not working and that we are worthless and might as well give up. But actually we are just having a little bump in the road that we can overcome with persistence. It is just a temporary mood that can easily be overcome by chanting several rounds of japa without quitting. Krishna does not want to withhold the sweetness of the holy names, and He is just testing us. He is just showing us our low state. He will allow us to overcome it in short order.”

Try to please Radharani by chanting Her names clearly and with devotion. Krishna is never alone. He’s always with Radharani, and this is true also in the Hare Krishna mantra.”

Jagatama Prabhu (Manchester):

Lecture on Balarama’s appearance:

Nothing could be more pleasing to Krishna than to glorify His brother [Balarama]. Of course, Krishna has a brother, because brotherhood is one kind of relationship. In the spiritual world, there are brothers and sisters, and fathers and mothers.

Every devotee should feel friendship for Krishna.

Krishna is not formless but “formmore”. [He has a superior spiritual form.]

We desire eternal friendship in this world, but we are frustrated because it does not exist here.

Our relationships are a copy or imitation, where brotherhood is based on birth, but there in the spiritual world, it is eternal.

We have to understand this eternal brotherhood, although it is inconceivable to us.

People doubt how God can have arms and legs. You have arms and legs. Where did you get them from?

Krishna’s form is attractive to all species.

Understanding these transcendental relationships is our ticket for going back to Godhead.

Our mission in life is to leave this place and go back to Godhead and take as many people with us as we can.

Krishna refers to Balarama as the original Personality of Godhead, so what does original mean? Actually everything in the spiritual world is original, and everything here is a copy.

Krishna is not so eager to be served. He wants a big brother so He can render service.

Balarama is guru-tattva, and one can see Krishna’s massaging Balarama’s legs as indicating that the disciple should massage the legs of the guru.

In the pastime of Dhenukasura, the ass demon, Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains the fruits are the pastimes of Radha and Krishna and the sweet taste of the fruits is the pleasure derived from hearing the pastimes. The ass demon represents the dull logicians who advise their followers not to hear the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. When you become eager to hear about Krishna, you will find logicians who advise you not to. Their chanting will destroy them by giving them sayujya (impersonal) liberation instead of devotion.

The love of Vrindavana residents would overwhelm their knowledge of Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

When Balarama returned to Vrindavana, He did the rasa dance with gopis who were younger and did not participate in Krishna’s rasa dance previously, thus it is said Krishna has His gopis and Balarama has His gopis.

Radha Mohan Prabhu (Manchester):

The big difference between Krishna and Balarama is that Balarama only desires to serve Krishna.

Krishna only wants to exchange love with His devotees.

Balarama expands as the shoes of Krishna, His bed, etc.

Our real mood comes out in difficulty.

Laksmana did everything possible to make the stay of Rama in the forest completely peaceful. He did not sleep even a moment. How was that possible? Because of his love for Lord Rama.

Srila Prabhupada was successful in spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world because of his love for his guru and for Krishna.

The most difficult service for Laksmana was to build a fire to test the chastity of Sita. Then even more difficult than that was to leave Sita, who was pregnant, in the forest. Thus when Laksmana appeared as Balarama, He decided to become the elder brother, so He would not be obliged to do things He did not agree with.

It is said that Dvivida had the power of 10,000 elephants in each arm. Dvivida was proud of his own service to Rama, and thus he offended Laksmana, thinking him to be insignificant. As soon as you offend a devotee, you lose Krishna’s grace, and you become attracted to bad association, and that is what happened to Dvivida.

We can avoid bad association by staying in good association.


This verse tells some of the names of Lord Balarama, whose appearance day was celebrated on August 29 this year:

garbha-sankarsanat tam vai
prahuh sankarsanam bhuvi
rameti loka-ramanad
balabhadram balocchrayat

The son of Rohini [Balarama] will also be celebrated as Sankarsana because of being sent from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini. He will be called Rama because of His ability to please all the inhabitants of Gokula,and He will be known as Balabhadra because of His extensive physical strength.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.2.13)