Friday, February 12, 2016

Travel Journal#11.24: New York City Harinam and Albany

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 11, No. 24
By Krishna-kripa das
(December 2015, part two)
New York City Harinam, Albany
(Sent from Gainesville, Florida, on February 12, 2016)

I rejoined the New York City Harinam party for the second half of December, except for a one-day excursion to see my family in Albany for Christmas Eve. Because of the cold, our NYC Harinam party sang in the subway stations except for a couple days in Union Square and one night in Times Square. New Years Eve was special in that I did harinama with the NYC Harinam party at the subway stations at Times Square and Grand Central, and outside at Bryant Park, and with the Bhakti Center devotees all the way from the Bhakti Center, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, over the Manhattan Bridge, to Radha-Govinda Mandir in Brooklyn.

I share notes on Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and books. I share a quote of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. I share excerpts from the online journal of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami. I share notes on a Prabhupada remembrance video wherein devotees talk about Prabhupada coming to the London Ratha-yatra. I also share notes from devotees speaking at the Harinam Ashram, including full-time residents like Abhiram Prabhu and Rama Raya Prabhu, and visitors such Bhagavat Purana from the 24-hour kirtana in Vrindavan, Yashoda-dulal Prabhu, a brahmacari doing outreach in Montreal, Deva Madhava Prabhu, who does harinama in Michigan, Isvari Jahnava Devi who does harinama in Vancouver, and Bhima-Karma Prabhu, who teaches mrdanga. I also have notes on a recorded lecture by Kadamba Kanana Swami.

As it is the end of the year I provide my accounting report so people who give me money know how I spend it.

Income and Expenses for 2015 
Category              Amount
Book Sales             67.31
Donations           3,796.15
Loans                   8.16
Total Income       $3,871.62 
Category              Amount
Book Purchases         13.60
Festival Fees          54.21
Gifts                 377.09
Health                 74.22
Electronics             3.64
Maintenance            49.07
Prasadam (Food)        53.67
Travel              3,347.22
Total Expenses     $3,972.72   

Balance             -$101.10

I would like to thank all the people who kindly contributed in 2015 to make my extensive travel possible. These include, in descending order by amount: Sivam of Maryland, Kaliya Krishna Prabhu of New York City, Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu of Gitanagari Press, Vishnu-priya Devi Dasi of Jacksonville, Nanda Kumar Prabhu (IDS), Sivananda Sena Prabhu of Rotterdam, Janananda Goswami, who covered my trip to Paris for Ratha-yatra and harinama, the Newcastle-upon-Tyne temple, Atmanivedana Prabhu, who runs the Saturday evening program at 26 Second Ave., Sankarsan Lila Prabhu of Gainesville, Sankarsana Prabhu of Potomac, Mother Sukhada of Alachua, Prahladananda Swami, for my doing proofreading for him, Alan Miles and the Liverpool Nama-hatta, Janardana Prabhu and the Leeds Nama-hatta, Anthony Bate and the Preston Nama-hatta, my sister Karen, the Bhakti Yoga Club of UNF, Nama Kirtan Prabhu of Tallahassee, Todd of Tampa, Dhruva Prabhu of Kansas City, my sister’s partner Victor, Gaura Karuna Prabhu of the Harinama Ruci traveling party, Janardana Prabhu & Amy, Lukas of Edinburgh, Kishor of Orlando and Tampa, my mother, Kalki Prabhu of Newcastle, Lovelesh of Jacksonville, Sthita-dhi Muni Prabhu (SDG), Jagannath Kirtan Prabhu (Havi Prabhu’s son), Ali Krishna Devi Dasi, Malini Devi Dasi of Edinburgh, Bhakta Larry of Brooklyn, Martin from Leipzig, Clive of Chester, Eleanora of Ireland, Punya Palaka Prabhu from Czech Republic, Ananta Nitai Prabhu of Dublin, Govinda Prabhu from Scotland, Doug Rowling of Preston, ISKCON South London, Haladhara Baladeva Prabhu of Leeds, Joe of Sheffield, John of Leeds, Locan Das Thakura Prabhu of Brighton, Rima of Edinburgh, other devotees from the Leeds congregation, my niece Fern and her friend Oliver, Kanwar of Sheffield, Vishnujana Prabhu also of Harinama Ruci, Mariana of Sheffield, Caitanya Candrodaya Prabhu from Ukraine, a lady on Dublin harinama, Govardhan Dasi, the Munich public, a Warsaw devotee, Srinivas Prabhu of France, a man in Ybor City, an Oriental man at Lake Ella, a student at FSU, and Krishna Kirtana Prabhu of Warsaw.

Thanks also to my many drivers and those who gave me a place stay for the night. Thanks again to Jagannath Kirtan Prabhu for the Macbook he gave me so I can work on this blog.

Thanks to the many people who were willing to chant Hare Krishna with me in public and those who allowed me to chant with them. Striking among them was Rama Raya Prabhu and his amazing New York City Harinam party with dedicated souls doing harinama in New York City six hours a day.


February 10–24: Gainesville area (and UNF and USF campuses)
February 25: New York City
February 26–28: Dublin, Ireland
March 1–3: Mumbai
March 5–10: Mayapur Kirtan Mela
March 12–21: Rishikesh Harinama
March 22–April 11: Vrindavan?
April 13: Mumbai
April 14–: Dublin, Ireland
April 27: King’s Day, Amsterdam
April 30–May 1: Birmingham 24-hour kirtana
May 2–: The North of England and Scotland
July 12–16: Polish Woodstock
September 13–: New York City Harinam

New York City Harinam

We chanted Hare Krishna in the Times Square subway station the first Saturday I was there, and people interacted with us in different ways (

Once as we were chanting Hare Krishna in the Times Square subway station, a friendly Afro-American guy eagerly asked me, “What do you guys believe?” I explained we come in the Hindu tradition, but we worship “the one God,” as many religions do. According to the ancient Vedas of India, the most powerfully transformational spiritual practice is to sing the names and glories of God with others.” He replied, “That is the best thing I have ever heard!” I think he found it refreshing that we were not just another group claiming we were better than the others, but that we gave him universal knowledge.

I offered one young man who glanced favorably at our Times Square subway station chanting party a Bhagavad-gita. He said he already had it and that it was the best book ever written! I encouraged him to take a Science of Self-Realization, but he declined saying he already had the Gita. I offered to give him an invitation to our weekly Bhagavad-gita classes, but he said he would not come, because he was “a free thinker.” Such a mixture of fortune and misfortune!

One Sunday we had an especially lively harinama in the Union Square subway station. Nikunja Bihari, Rama Raya, and Kishor Prabhus all led some lively chanting of Hare Krishna, inspiring people to dance and take photographs and videos. Devotees distributed books and sweets. Here are some highlights (

One smiling Muslim lady watched our chanting party briefly in the subway station at Union Square, and I offered her an “On Chanting Hare Krishna.” She asked what this was about, and I explained it was a practice of worship of the Supreme Being, Allah, Jehovah, etc. She asked what we were singing, and I said, “As you have one hundred names of Allah in your tradition, in India they have a thousand names of Krishna, and we are singing some of these names.” She danced to the music, and swung around, smiling the whole while. The devotee ladies offered her shakers, and she happily played them with the music.

Here Rama Raya Prabhu sings at the Union Square subway station (

Sometimes Rama Raya Prabhu sings Hare Krishna to seasonal melodies, such as the tune of “Auld Lang Syne” (

Some kids delighted in playing with the shakers on NYC Harinam at Union Square subway station later in the week (

Once Rama Raya Prabhu sang at Union Square, inspiring Murali Gopal Prabhu to dance, who in turn inspired others to dance (

Another place we chanted each week was Atlantic Avenue / Barclays Center subway station. On December 22, several devotees chanted very nicely and people were attracted to participate in different ways (

Even though the month of Karttika had ended, we still gave people a chance to offer lamps to a picture of Krishna for an hour in the evening, and some people participated, sometimes along with their kids.

Christmas Eve

I brought one of the Doughnut Plant’s seasonal doughnuts, the Christmas Tree doughnut, to show to and share with my family. Unfortunately, it lost some of its decoration in transit.

A week earlier, I had met by sister Karen and niece Fern at Penn Station, and shared with them a cocout crème doughnut and a Christmas Tree doughnut, but I wanted the others to see the Christmas Tree doughnut so I brought one home at Christmastime.

I went to the Quaker Christmas Eve program with my family. As usual there was a nice spiritual feeling when singing the songs about the appearance of Jesus in this world.

There was a little nativity drama depicting the story of the appearance of Jesus Christ. I volunteered to be a “wise man from the East” as there were too few volunteers.

While at the Quaker meeting, I read an interesting quote by E. B. White expressing difficulty in trying to improve the world without being seduced by the world. Ideally by working to enlighten people about their spiritual potential and how to achieve it, we can be so much engaged we will not have a chance to be seduced by the material world, and we will purify ourselves and others so much so that the world will benefit both spiritually and materially from our actions.

I made carrot coconut rice and coconut burfi for the Quaker potluck, but I did not stay as my family likes to eat at Indian restaurants on Christmas Eve. My Quaker friends encouraged me to stay, and I promised next year I would come in another vehicle so I could spend half an hour with them before going off with my family.

Christmas Eve was special as my family went to new Indian restaurant this year, and it turned out that the proprietor had visited Gitanagari, the Hare Krishna farm in Pennsylanvia that my mother had also visited at the time of my initiation. He had attended the Chicago Ratha-yatra as well. Because I was a devotee, he gave us all free galubjamuns, and he gave my friend Victor, a free mango lassi, as I let him try mine and he liked it.


Christmas was warm enough for us to chant outside in the fresh air at Union Square during the day, a pleasant change from the subway station.

We were also able to sing at Times Square, which was Abhiram Prabhu’s inspiration, in the evening (

A Hispanic mother and daughter delighted in watching and listening to the chanting at Times Square, taking pictures, and trying to sing along, reading the mantra from a card.

Some people took great pleasure dancing with the devotees, as did these girls. One of them told me she was from Wisconsin and seeing the Hare Krishnas chanting was a new experience for her.

After Christmas and Before New Years Eve

A young lady who learned of the 26 2nd Avenue program from our harinama came to visit it the day after Christmas. She joined us again on NYC Harinam, this time in the Times Square subway station soon after that.

December 27 was warm enough to chant outside at Union Square.

Some passersby played our instruments.

They also took pictures of each other with us.

Some kids also participated with us.

The next day at Grand Central subway station Rama Raya Prabhu ended Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s disappearance day with a fired-up kirtana getting the devotees dancing. Stella, visiting from Montreal, was delighted to record and share it (

I also took some video of it (

New Years Eve

We began chanting at the Times Square Subway Station on New Years Eve at our usual spot just above the 7 train on the long corridor to Port Authority.

It was great chanting with Bhagavat Purana Prabhu as he is so enthusiastic and interactive, and he helped me sing the lead. Deva Madhava Prabhu was also a great asset, playing the drum and loudly singing the response. It was sufficiently fired up passersby took photos and movies. Stella took a video of me chanting, which you can see if you are my friend on Facebook (

Then a large group of Christians came. One would pace back and forth and evangelize into an amplifier directly in front of our party. He was so rude. The police solved the problem by telling both of us that the corridor was not wide enough for either of us and we would have to move. Although the police said we could go the subway station at Eighth Avenue, Rama Raya Prabhu thought it would be too chaotic there, and relocated us to Grand Center Subway Station. Around 5 p.m. Abhiram Prabhu took half of our party on a walking harinama from Grand Central up to Bryant Park. People from different parts of the world appreciated the devotees singing on the sidewalks there. Because I like walking harinamas, I went with Abhiram Prabhu and distributed Krishna: Reservoir of Pleasure. After what seemed to be a couple of hours I was so cold that when we passed the Bryant Park subway station I left the party to return to Grand Central only to find that rather than staying out extra late for New Years, our harinama party had finished at 7:30 p.m. as usual. At first we were told that Abhiram Prabhu’s party would be continuing, and so I grabbed another stack of Krishna: Reservoir of Pleasures and planned to rejoin them. Then we learned that party had also finished for the evening. Hladini, of the Bhakti Center, who I knew from doing harinamas in Florida, invited me to their Thursday evening kirtana which was to be followed by a harinama across the Manhattan bridge to Brooklyn, and then kirtana at Radha-Govinda Mandir till midnight. I was not enthusiastic enough to chant till midnight for Radha-Govinda, as I would still be woken up between 3:30 and 4:00 a.m. for our morning service, but I was up for the Bhakti Center kirtana and the harinama. I told my friend Deva Madhava Prabhu about the opportunity, and I was happy that he was eager to come along. He was a great asset on the harinama across the Manhattan Bridge as he has a loud melodious voice and a lot of enthusiasm.

Little Italy was the liveliest spot we passed through.

I found that in each group of people that liked our chanting party at least one was willing to take the Krishna: Reservoir of Pleasure.

My camera does not take videos nicely in dim light, so I waited till we reached a well lit area of Brooklyn to take a little video (

To see photos I took but did not include above, please click on this link:


Srila Prabhupada:

From a class on Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 1.5, in Mayapur, on March 29, 1975:

Bhagavan means full of six kinds of opulence. Not as nowadays there are so many Bhagavans, they have no aisvarya [opulence].

“We should know this, that in the spiritual world, to remain as girlfriend and boyfriend, that is the topmost pleasure, and in the material world, the same thing is the most abominable thing.”

“So when Krishna wants to enjoy—the enjoyment means these loving affairs between man and woman—that is a fact. That is not an artificial thing. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has explained Vedanta-sutra, janmady asya yatah [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.1]. He has said, adi rasasya janma yatra. Adi-rasa. There are twelve kinds of rasas, mellow. Of all of them, the adi-rasa... Adi-rasa means the loving affair between man and woman. This is called adi-rasa. So, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains, janmady asya means the adi-rasa, loving affairs between man and woman, that is from the Supreme Person. That's a fact. Unless the loving propensity is there in the Supreme, how it can be reflected? Because this is perverted reflection only, so there must be the origin.”

“Our Kaviraja Gosvami says that this Radha-Krishna prema, loving affairs between Radha Krishna, it is a fact. It is not imagination. It is a fact. But this fact is different from the fact we have got experience in this world. That is to be understood. Don’t take... Just like sahajiyas. They take the Radha-Krishna prema just like ordinary lusty affairs in this material world. But that is not the fact. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam there is a verse that the loving affairs of gopis and Krishna, Vishnu, it is not ordinary thing. If one can hear from the proper source, and if he understands the real fact of rasa-lila, then the result will be that his heart, which is full with lusty desire, that will vanish. There will be no more lusty desires.”

Sannyasa means giving up everything for the Supreme. So for simply to relish a little bit of brahma-sukha [spiritual pleasure], these saintly persons, great, great saintly persons, they are giving up everything. . . . This is very important point. If for understanding little bit of brahma-sukha we are giving up all material enjoyment, how Krishna can enjoy materially? He is Param Brahman. Therefore those sahajiyas, those who are taking that Krishna is enjoying with ordinary girls, they are very, very, much misled. That is not the fact. Therefore it is said, hladini shakti. This is different. This is in the spiritual world the topmost mellow, hladini shakti.

Comments by Abhirama Prabhu:

Srila Prabhupada is always reminding us that the loving affairs of Radha and Krishna are completely different from the loving affairs of the material world.

It is like there are two parties going on. One, with Krishna in the spiritual world, where everyone is loving Him and He is perfectly reciprocating everyone’s love, and everyone is feeling spiritual ecstasy. Another one in the material world, where Krishna is not present and everyone is trying to take His position. There everyone is pretending to have a good time, but no one really is.

Prabhupada once explained that the devotee is always looking at Krishna’s feet, and then after some time, when Krishna is satisfied, He bends down to the level of His feet, and smiles at the devotee, and says, “Here I am!”

Our materialistic society, through the media, creates all kinds of illusory stereotypes that people become frustrated trying to live up to because they have no basis in reality.

In America, we are living on land that we obtained by murdering the previous residents, and which we stole. We cannot expect positive cultural stereotypes to come from such a background.

If one has a bias to the truth, he will be the best scientist, because he will lean in the right direction.

From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 7.171, purport:

“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to preach the sankirtana movement of love of Krishna throughout the entire world, and therefore during His presence He inspired the sankirtana movement. Specifically, He sent Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami to Vrindavan and Nityananda to Bengal and personally went to South India. In this way He kindly left the task of preaching His cult in the rest of the world to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The members of this Society must always remember that if they stick to the regulative principles and preach sincerely according to the instructions of the acaryas, surely they will have the profound blessings of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and their preaching work will be successful everywhere throughout the world.”

From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 19.159, purport:

Kutinati, or diplomatic behavior, cannot satisfy the atma, the soul. It cannot even satisfy the body or the mind. The culprit mind is always suspicious; therefore our dealings should always be straightforward and approved by Vedic authorities. If we treat people diplomatically or duplicitously, our spiritual advancement is obstructed.”

From a room conversation with Allen Ginsberg, May 12, 1969, in Columbus, Ohio:

“If one loves Krishna, he must love Lord Jesus also. And if one perfectly loves Jesus he must love Krishna too. If he says, ‘Why shall I love Krishna? I shall love Jesus,’ then he has no knowledge. And if one says, ‘Why shall I love Jesus? I shall love Krishna,’ then he has no knowledge either. If one understands Krishna, then he will understand Jesus. If one understands Jesus, you’ll understand Krishna too.”

From Path of Perfection, Chapter 3: Learning How to See God:

“As Lord Jesus Christ said, we should hate the sin, not the sinner. That is a very nice statement, because the sinner is under illusion. He is mad. If we hate him, how can we deliver him? Therefore, those who are advanced devotees, who are really servants of God, do not hate anyone. When Lord Jesus Christ was being crucified, he said, ‘My God, forgive them. They know not what they do.’ This is the proper attitude of an advanced devotee. He understands that the conditioned souls cannot be hated, because they have become mad due to their materialistic way of thinking. In this Krishna consciousness movement, there is no question of hating anyone. Everyone is welcomed to come and chant Hare Krishna, take krishna-prasada, listen to the philosophy of Bhagavad-gita, and try to rectify material, conditioned life. This is the essential program of Krishna consciousness.”

From Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.18.11, purport:

“Simply by hearing of the powerful activities of the Lord, the devotee’s heart becomes almost completely cleansed of material contamination, and thus his original position as an eternal servant who is part and parcel of the Lord becomes manifest. While the devotee engages in devotional service, the passionate and ignorant modes of material nature are gradually vanquished, and then he acts only in the mode of goodness. At that time he becomes happy and gradually advances in Krishna consciousness. All the great acaryas strongly recommend that people be given a chance to hear about the Supreme Lord. Then success is assured. The more we cleanse the dirt of material attachment from our hearts, the more we will be attracted by Krishna’s name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and activities. This is the sum and substance of the Krishna consciousness movement.”

From The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 30:

“It is stated in the Tenth Canto, Thirty-third Chapter, verse 11, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, ‘Upon seeing that Krishna’s arm was placed on her shoulder, one of the gopis engaged in the rasa dance became so ecstatically happy that she kissed Krishna on His cheek.’ This is an instance of feeling happiness because of achieving a desired goal.”

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:

From his commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.17.53:

“Unless a householder worships child Krishna, his attachment for his children will remain strong. As long as the Lord’s pastimes in madhurya rasa do not become the subject of one’s meditation, one will continue to think of his wife as the reservoir of all pleasure. Unless one becomes a pure devotee of the Lord, accepting Lord Krishna as one’s only friend, just like Sridama, one will not be able to give up the hankering for temporary and superficial material relationships. Until one’s propensity for rendering devotional service to Lord Krishna is awakened, one will continue to foolishly demand service from others. One who is actually intelligent should understand that there can be no satisfaction for the self on any planet within the material world. Therefore, like a traveler who has become very tired while traveling, one should go back home, back to Godhead. Eternal peace is the condition of the faithful servant of Sri Krishna.”

Satsvarupa dasa Goswami:

From My Search Through Books:

One time, some of us told Srila Prabhupada that Camus and Sartre saw life as absurd. Srila Prabhupada replied, “It is absurd for him.”

From “Poem for December 19” in Viraha Bhavan:

“Today’s drawing shows three
bhaktas dancing and chanting
with upraised arms.
They are dressed very
colorfully and are dancing
with abandon. The
harinama movement brings
out the spontaneous spirit
of a person. It
is the original nature
and is evoked by
chanting. It breaks
up the material modes
of nature and brings
one to the transcendental platform.
While these men are
chanting Hare Krishna
they forget their material problems
and come directly
in touch with Krishna consciousness.
They even forget
their material bodies
and live as spirit souls.”

From a Prabhupada Remembrance Video about Prabhupada at London Ratha-yatra:


Shyamasundara Prabhu:

I picked up Srila Prabhupada up in a helicopter when he came for the London Ratha-yatra.

Prabhupada did not sit on his vyasasana [seat of honor] on the Ratha-yatra cart, but danced and walked the whole parade. We were all surprised because Prabhupada was sick.

Devotee lady:

After the helicopter ride, I heard Srila Prabhupada say, “I never want to travel this way again.”

Mahavishnu Swami:

I inherited £10,000 from my aunt. I was made in charge of London Ratha-yatra, and I spent the money for the festival.

Devotee lady:

The hairs of my body stood on end. Then I turned around and saw Prabhupada dancing. I felt Prabhupada before I saw him.

Srutakirti Prabhu:

The police wanted Prabhupada to stop dancing because it made the devotees go wild. I ignored their request the first time. The next time I tapped Srila Prabhupada’s shoulder, and said, “They want you to stop.” He turned and looked at me, and then swung around and went back to dancing. I told the police, “If you want him to stop, you will have to tell him yourself because he will not listen to me.” They didn’t, and Prabhupada kept dancing.

Devotee lady:

The way Prabhupada looked at Jagannath was the face of a man in love.


Abhiram Prabhu:

From a lecture on the disappearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:

Srila Prabhupada is an emissary from Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, empowered to expand his mission.

Srila Prabhupada spoke on this day in the last year he was present (1977) and made some important points:

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s appearance and disappearance was like that of Krishna in that he came to this world from the spiritual world to execute a certain mission.

This human form of life is a rare chance to attain spiritual perfection.

We are called vimudhan (foolish) because although Krishna has come to invite us back to the spiritual world, in this rarely attained life, we are not interested.

To convert us from vimudhan to intelligent, Krishna sends His representative into this world. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is such a representative.

The Vaishnava is unconcerned with mundane profit, adoration, and distinction. He is busy doing good to others by enlightening the people with spiritual knowledge.

Mundane people do not know how to do good for humanity because they do not how to elevate them out of this cycle of birth and death.

The human being can take instruction from the scripture that he is a spiritual being and should endeavor for spiritual perfection.

If we do not think of Krishna, we remain in this cycle of birth and death.

The Vaishnava has the great responsibility to share this great knowledge.

The real business of the Vaishnava is not for himself but to help others.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s spiritual gift is that he wanted every one of his disciples to go out and spread this knowledge.

Lord Caitanya advised everyone to become guru. How to become guru? Just repeat what Krishna has said.

This Mayapur is meant for this purpose to preach Krishna consciousness all over this world.

Take Western money and Indian culture and make the whole world happy.

Notes from a summary of the life of Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura’s life:

Acyutananda, brother of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, became deathly sick, and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati took karatalas and chanted Hare Krishna for six days without eating. After that time his brother said that in a previous life he was a Sri Vaishnava and he committed an offense against a Gaudiya Vaishnava. By the pure chanting of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura the offense was destroyed, and Acyutananda left this world.

At age seven, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati saw Bipin Bihari, the guru of his father, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, placed his foot on Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s head. When his father left the room, he questioned that action. He said, “Do you know that my father is a nitya-siddha [eternally perfect] devotee of the Lord. Are you really qualified to place your foot on his head?”

Because of the degraded Vaishnava sampradayas, the shaktas and the followers of Vivekananda and Ramakrishna became prominent.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura would take on and defeat anyone and everyone to establish unalloyed Krishna consciousness.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura knew the philosophies of all the Vaishnavas.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura considered that to awaken the dormant attitude of service to the Supreme Lord is more important than any other activity.

Whatever Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura asked others to do, he followed himself.

He cited Mundaka Upanisad verse 1.2.12: “Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistam – To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth”] as describing the qualities of a guru.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s presence was so impressive that people were humbled by it.

Of Hari-katha, he especially liked to glorify Govardhan Hill.

Kadamba Kanana Swami:

From a recorded lecture:

Keshava Bharati Maharaja, the guru who initiated Lord Caitanya into the renounced order of life, sannyasa, told him at that time: “I am calling you Krishna because You will make the whole world chant Hare Krishna. I am calling you Caitanya because You will bring life to the hearts of all people.”

Yashoda Dulal Prabhu [brahmacari preaching in Montreal, Canada]:

Even an insignificant living entity can speak nicely by the mercy of the Vaishnavas.

Unfortunately we have been raised in such away as to develop our attachment to our bodies.

You can say Krishna arranged the shop be named Matchless Gifts to remind the devotees of the value of what Krishna is giving. His first gift is the association of his confidential devotee Srila Prabhupada. Then Srila Prabhupada gave us the holy names of Radha and Krishna.

Pure chanting is for the pleasure of the Lord.

The material world is controlled by the Lord, but everyone in the spiritual world is controlled by love [prema], including Krishna Himself.

Even as devotees, our experience of the unlimited is limited.

If we make the holy name the center of our life we can come to experience the matchless gift.

Sincerity has no limit. If we think we are sincere, we are not sincere.

The inner experience of great souls like Srila Prabhupada and the Six Goswamis is only love.

Rupa Goswami’s definition of raganuga-bhakti is to follow an associate of Radha Krishna.

Comment by Bhakta Avatar Prabhu: The Radharani and Lalita deities at the Tota-Gopinath temple are black instead of their usual golden color, and their pujari says the reason for this is that they are absorbed in thinking of Krishna.

Like the fans of Brad Pitt, while watching his different movies, see only Brad Pitt acting, although he is playing different roles, the Gaudiya Vaishnavas see the incarnations of God as Krishna appearing as Nrsimha or as Krishna appearing as Lord Rama, etc.

We are already in Gaura-lila. If we are going on harinama every day or distributing books every day, or if we are worshiping the deity every day under Srila Prabhupada’s direction, we are already in Gaura-lila. It is just a question of realizing it.

Gopala Bhatta, as a nine-year-old boy, for four months massaged the feet of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, cooked for Him, and ate His remnants. As a result Gopala Bhatta’s eyes were always filled with tears of love of God, and he was victorious in all scholarly debates because Lord Caitanya was present in his heart.

The Gaudiya Vaishnavas prefer to see Lord Caitanya standing by the side of the Garuda stambha rather than to see Lord Vishnu riding on Garuda, His carrier.

Prabodhananda Sarasvati Goswami says that worshiping the feet of Lord Caitanya leads to the supreme realization.

In Krishna book Srila Prabhupada describes in one chapter about the gopis feelings of separation. There Srila Prabhupada indicates that we are advanced to the extent that we feel separation for Krishna.

As the gopis felt separation from Krishna, Krishna felt separation from the gopis. However the gopis, because they were many, could console each other, while Krishna had to suffer separation alone in Dvaraka.

Sivaram Swami says that the holy name of Krishna is more reliable than Krishna Himself, because you can count on Krishna being present in His holy name, while otherwise Krishna is sometimes here and sometimes not. 

Prabhupada disciple Mandakini said when Prabhupada was present they would feel that love of God was even emanating from the walls. 

Verses that came to my mind during the class: 

“O Brahma, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.9.34) 

“Whatever you desire to describe that is separate in vision from the Lord simply reacts, with different forms, names and results, to agitate the mind, as the wind agitates a boat, which has no resting place.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.1) 

“One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.” (Bhagavad-gita 14.26)

Rama Raya Prabhu:

Srila Prabhupada wanted 24-hour kirtana in all our temples.

When Lord Caitanya went on harinama everyone went—the scholar Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, the king Prataparudra. Also during Srila Prabhupada’s time, everyone wanted to go on the Saturday night harinama in Times Square. Some two or three people had to stay back to take care of the deities. They would take turns so they all could go on harinama sometimes.

Offering all respects to others in the ultimate issue means to respect them as spiritual souls by engaging them in Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement.

Either we are going to give our life to maya or we are going to give our life to Krishna.

Comment by Nihal: I met one person while distributing books who remembered the Saturday night harinamas. There were 60 to 80 persons chanting with such enthusiasm that the traffic would stop. The man telling me the story still felt the wonder of it after so many years.

There are people out there who are suffering and praying for God to help them. Srila Prabhupada said that we have many customers out there.

Seeing prema-bhaktas chanting the holy name is the ultimate coolness.

Lord Caitanya is the supreme revolutionary.

Srila Prabhupada’s prayer in “Markine Bhagavata Dharma” to Krishna “I wish that you may deliver them” was backed up by forty years of service.

“I just tried to blindly follow the order of my spiritual master” – look at how far it got Srila Prabhupada.

Jhansi was a failure, but he got the whole world.

Abhiram Prabhu tells that Stanley Kubrick said in an interview, just before his death from terminal cancer, that he was approached by NASA to make a moon-landing film.

Bhagavat Purana Prabhu:

From an after dinner conversation:

Q (from new devotee): What are salagram-silas?
A: You could describe them as anti-material pet rocks.

From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.5.32:

Scientists, by doing things like cloning, try to imitate the original creator while at the same time they deny the existence of that original creator. They are not humble enough to understand the existence of the original creator.

Although the scientists have advanced intelligence from their past pious activities, they still are subjected to the four material defects of imperfect senses, the tendency toward illusion, the tendency to make mistakes, and the propensity to cheat.

Although people try to insure their friends will be happy by giving them gift cards so they can purchase their own gifts, their friends still purchase items which are temporary sources of satisfaction and incapable of giving them the ultimate happiness they desire, and so they are ultimately frustrated.

As I recall, Srila Prabhupada advised to make harinama banners having gold letters on a light blue background.

Comment by Isvari Jahnava Devi: When I was young in Russia, America seemed to us like a heavenly planet. We somehow got a Sears catalog, advertising things we never had in Russia, and it was like a Bible to us. Krishna arranged that now I came to Times Square, when I had no more material desires. Times Square was hell for me, and I vowed to never come there again, unless I am on a harinama party.

Isvari Jahnava Devi:

One reason Krishna consciousness has become popular in Russia is that the Russian people in Soviet times were brought up with ideals and people who lived for ideals, and they understood value of community.

The communist goal was that people would work and would receive whatever they needed. That is not possible in materialistic consciousness, but it is possible in Krishna consciousness.

Deva Madhava Prabhu:

The demigods teach by their example to first glorify the Lord before asking Him for a benediction, even when they are experiencing supreme distress and want relief.

Arjuna also, before asking Krishna to counteract the weapon fired by Asvatthama, offered prayers to the Lord.

If we understand that Krishna is present everywhere, then we should not feel anything is lacking anywhere at anytime. If we feel such a lack, our realization of Krishna is not complete.

We should not think that seeing Krishna and hearing from Krishna is different.

If we are not thoughtful, we will miss out on the fruit of the experience.

Saying the prasadam prayers helps us to take the prasadam in a devotional consciousness and to get the full benefit of it.

After Christmas and New Years people are down because their expectations are never met by their material enjoyments.

In the beginning of our devotional service, we are more running away from maya, and at the stage of ruci, we are more running toward Krishna.

Bhima-Karma Prabhu:

From a class on kirtana:

The mrdanga is a primary instrument in the sankirtana.

Whenever the question of instruments in kirtana came up, Srila Prabhupada was firm in insisting that mrdanga and karatalas were essential for kirtana. For some temporary preaching purposes, other instruments can be used, but whenever we present kirtana, mrdanga and karatalas should be the main instruments.

In India, among classical musicians, the mrdanga is considered a simple folk instrument.

The natya-sastra covers the art of performance and is a commentary by Bharata Muni on the section of the Sama Veda dealing with that topic.

Kirtana has musical aspects, but primarily it is a spiritual activity.

Srila Prabhupada defines rasa in two ways. One is relationship, such as the mother-child relationship Yasoda has with Krishna.

The ratio of the distance between the big head and the widest part of the drum and the distance between the small end and the widest part of the drum is the golden ratio (0.618).

The difference between a classical musician and a kirtaniya is the classical musician tries to please the audience and the kirtaniya tries to please the Krishna.
Rasa is expressed in terms of kriya or activities.

Before we even touch the mrdanga, we offer respect:

mrdanga-brahma – rupaya lavanya – rasa-madhuri
sahasra-guna samyuktam mrdangaya namo namah

[Unto the mrdanga, that supreme Brahman formed as a clay drum which is infused with the sweet mellows of graceful enchantment, and endowed with thousands of transcendental qualities, I bow down again and again.]

Just as Krishna is the ocean among bodies of water and Krishna is the sun among the luminaries, Krishna is mrdanga among the drums.

The mrdanga mantra te, re, ke, ta is used to help develop rhythm.

Visakha [the intimate associate of Radha and Krishna] plays the mrdanga.

The example that we can learn from Srila Prabhupada’s mrdanga practice is that he went to a mrdanga guru in the tradition and he remained chaste to his guru, not inventing beats of his own.


This verse reminds us of the fact that if the holy name of the Lord is chanted, despite many different discrepancies, the function is a complete success:

mantratas tantratas chidram
sarvam karoti nishchidram
anusankirtanam tava

[Sukracarya, the spiritual master of the demons, said to Lord Vamana, the incarnation of Krishna, regarding sacrifice:] “There may be discrepancies in pronouncing the mantras and observing the regulative principles, and, moreover, there may be discrepancies in regard to time, place, person and paraphernalia. But when Your Lordship’s holy name is chanted, everything becomes faultless.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.23.16)