Thursday, March 10, 2016

Travel Journal#12.3: North Florida

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 12, No. 3
By Krishna-kripa das
(February 2016, part one)
North Florida
(Sent from Mayapur on March 10, 2016)

Where I Went and What I Did

The first half of February I was based mostly in Gainesville, singing at Krishna Lunch, but I made one final trip to Tallahassee to chant at Lake Ella and behind the Florida State University library and to talk to students. With youthful, enthusiastic devotees from Krishna House who pleased me by their cooperation, I sang at three special events in North Florida: the Jacksonville Art Walk, First Friday in Tallahassee, and the Ocala Regional Rainbow Gathering in Ocala National Forest. While at Krishna House, I attended their Tuesday night program for new people, and I tell briefly about that.

I share insights from Srila Prabhupada’s conversations and from his books. I share a quote from Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Jaiva Dharma. I share excerpts from Viraha Bhavan, the online journal of Satsvarupa dasa  Goswami. I had the good fortune to hear more from Giriraja Swami, and I share useful realizations from that. I share notes on lectures by Prabhupada disciples Akuti Devi, Adi Karta Prabhu, Brahmatirtha Prabhu, Kalakantha Prabhu, Mother Nanda, Ramiya Prabhu, and Sesa Prabhu. I also share insights from Madhava Prabhu from New Raman Reti, Pran Govinda Prabhu, Kalki, and Audrey.

I would like to thank Krishna Keshava Prabhu from Alachua, Nama Kirtan Prabhu from Tallahassee, Adi Karta Prabhu from Alachua, and Sravan Ananda Prabhu from Orlando for their kind donations toward my traveling expenses. I would like to thank Dhruva Prabhu from Kansas City for kindly loaning me the entire cost of my ticket from Dublin to Mumbai, almost $500, so I could go to India this year. I would like to thank Prishni Devi Dasi for paying my expenses so I could attend the Bhaktivedanta Institute meeting in Gainesville when I was in Orlando doing college outreach. Thanks to Vanna for her picture of the Ocala Rainbow Gathering and to Ekayani for her picture of First Friday.

Itinerary

March 5–10: Mayapur Kirtan Mela
March 12–21: Rishikesh Harinama
March 22–April 9: Vrindavan
April 10–13: Mumbai
April 14–21: Ireland
April 22–24: Newcastle, England
April 26: Radhadesh (Kadamba Kanana Swami’s Vyasa Puja)
April 27–29: Holland (including King’s Day in Amsterdam on April 27)
April 30–May 1: Birmingham 24-hour kirtana
May 2–July 9: The North of England and Scotland
July 10: Prague Ratha-yatra
July 12–16: Polish Woodstock
July 30: Berlin Ratha-yatra
August 5–11: Baltic Summer Festival
August 18–21: Trutnoff (Czech Woodstock)
September 13–: New York City Harinam

Krishna House Tuesday Night Program

There is a program every Tuesday to introduce students to the Hare Krishna philosophy and practice at the Bhakti House, one of the Krishna House buildings. Different devotees give the lecture each week. Recently the programs have become quite lively with people who are inquisitive and people who like kirtana participating. Here is some video of Adi Karta Prabhu and his wife, Rucira Devi, doing kirtana the first Tuesday in February (https://youtu.be/sIrk334EuH8):


Jacksonville Art Walk

The first Wednesday of the month, devotees from Krishna House do harinama and book distribution at the Jacksonville Art Walk. This month it was just me, Bali, Ekayani, Christiana, Audrey, and Vanna. Bali later said he came so I would not be the only guy. Although we were a small party, the devotees were very cooperative and participatory. We did not have a single book distributor but encouraged everyone to distribute books at least part of the time, and four out of the six of us did. I just talked to people who were obviously attracted by our small but enthusiastic chanting party, and relatively easily distributed a Bhagavad-gita, a Science of Self-Realization, and four small books. We met interesting people. One young lady knew Christiana from Gainesville and Vanna from Ann Arbor.


Several people danced with us.

One older man danced for a while, his arms raised in the air. I asked his wife, while he was dancing, if he had some connection with Hare Krishna earlier in his life, but she was not sure of the extent of it. They lived in West Virginia and had been to New Vrindavan. She had read the abridged biography of our founder, Srila Prabhupada, and told me, “I love that Prabhupada.”

Another older man wearing a National Park ranger’s uniform, expressed some interest, bought a small book, and offered to give us a tour of the National Park, with its Fort Caroline, which is near the beach in Jacksonville, and which includes the highest point in Florida, with a ten-mile view. 

One young lady, who delighted in dancing with us, told me she had danced with us at a previous Art Walk.

Vanna got one guy to chant. 

I wrote down the details of our University of North Florida Krishna Club for at least five people who were attracted by the chanting and the literature. I was happy how everything worked out well and everyone had a great time, although I was the leader and our party was smaller than usual. We were blessed with excellent weather. Although the first week in February, even at 9 p.m. when we ended, I was warm enough wearing a short-sleeved kurta.

In this video you will see how Christiana’s singing attracted lots of people to take part by dancing with us in Jacksonville and how Audrey was so enthusiastic she kept the chanting going at the van for a while before we left. (https://youtu.be/WaF_tpRCtYE):


Chanting Hare Krishna at First Friday in Tallahassee

I was happy we had a party of eight devotees to chant at Tallahassee’s First Friday this month, including Gauranga Prasad Prabhu, who is full of positive energy. At first I was annoyed that the people across from us were playing recorded music at too loud a volume, but I recalled I had my amplifier with me, and that helped to combat it a lot. I was impressed that we had more people listen to us for a longer time than before. 


One guy listened to us for half an hour. He told me he first became interested in Hare Krishna in New York City, hearing and getting a book from the devotees who chant in Union Square, but he had recently moved to Tallahassee. He remembered some of the names of the devotees on that Union Square harinama party. He said he was planning to look up our temple in Tallahassee but was too busy getting settled to do that. He came to First Friday and some people told him that the Hare Krishnas were serving food and explained where, and so he joined us. I invited him to the Tallahassee temple and he came for two Gita classes and developed friendly relationships with Nama Kirtan Prabhu and Elias. I found out he worked for a company that collected food that was past the expiration date and arranged to give it to charities, and I invited him bring some of the food to the temple. He brought 15 avocadoes on his next visit. 


Audrey (on right) and Nickole talked to some of the young people who enjoyed listening to us. In conversation, Nickole discovered that one of them had gone to the same high school as she did in Miami. 

At the end, Gauranga Prasad Prabhu led harinama not just once, but twice, around the Railroad Square. The organizers of an art and music festival to be held at the Square later in the month, upon hearing us sing, invited us to perform at it. Again I was so happy my friends at Krishna House came and shared their enthusiasm for devotion to Krishna with others.

Here is a rather fuzzy video clip with Gauranga Prasad Prabhu singing and showing Audrey dancing with one girl (https://youtu.be/5tdqwBnmmOQ):


Chanting Hare Krishna Elsewhere in Tallahassee

Because a wedding was going on near where I usually chant at Lake Ella in Tallahassee, I chanted by the playground. 



At least seven kids were excited to play my instruments as I sang for three hours on a sunny but brisk North Florida winter day. I would show the kids the standard one-two-three karatala beat and the four different sounds you can make with the drum, open and closed on the big and small ends. Then I would let them play as best they could, without additional instruction, as my mission was to allow people to hear the chanting of Hare Krishna and not teach the playing of musical instruments. 



They were happy playing with me and stayed longer than I would have expected. The parents did not object much to the kids associating with me.

I was happy that Ramiya Prabhu and his wife joined me for the final day of chanting at the Florida State University campus. Kirtana is so much more powerful with even one or two more people.

Chanting at the Rainbow Gathering in Ocala National Forest


We had a small but enthusiastic party of three guys and three girls chanting and distributing prasadam and literature one Saturday afternoon to those attending the Rainbow Gathering at the Ocala National Forest. I was happy Vanna chanted her mind and decided to go the last minute. As the previous year, we put our prasadam buckets in a cart which we pulled from one group of people to the next. 




People were very happy to get the prasadam.



Bali and Abhi were great in chanting and playing the instruments.
Audrey helped out in different ways.

Vanna pulled the cart and served out.

Amrita encouraged people to take mantra cards and books. 

Here Amrita teaches a guy the Hare Krishna mantra.

We met one guy who very, very happy to get Bhagavad-gita. One young mother told us that she read Bhagavad-gita every night to her child as the kid was taking rest. While serving prasadam and while people were eating it, we would chant. Then we would move on to the next group of people. Usually we go into the forest looking for people, but this year we found enough people parked and camped along the road that we were fully engaged. We had brought five buckets of halava, each a different flavor, from the five days of Krishna Lunch that week. The mint carob was especially tasty. The peach was pretty good too. At the end, I went to each of the different Rainbow kitchens to donation the rest of the halava. The lady, who was in charge of the first kitchen where we played earlier in the day, was very happy to take a bucket of halava. She said that for the moment she is living in the Gainesville area, and I invited her to come visit us sometime. The Jesus Kitchen took the last two buckets of halava. Some people sang with us or played their instruments. One young guy who sang with us a while helped pull our cart of prasadam. Thanks to all the devotees who came and made it possible to share Krishna music, food, and books at that event.

Here is some video showing the first kitchen we stopped at to give you a feel for what it was like (https://youtu.be/CxRzzKr38HI):


Funny Pictures


This sign on the Krishna House men’s ashram box of communal health and body care products reminds me of this Sri Isopanisad verse (1): “Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.”


Giriraja Swami’s servant carried the Swami’s books for sale in a bag from All Souls Chapel and Crematory at St. Michael’s Cemetery. One of the books was entitled Life’s Final Exam. I thought that was so funny I had to take a picture of it!

For photos I took but did not include, click on the link below:

Insights

Srila Prabhupada:

From a conversation New Vrindaban, West Virginia, on June 24, 1976:

“People see, with their own eyes, how the soul is transmigrating from one body to another body to still another body. Nevertheless, with their dull brains they cannot understand that at death, when the aged body is finished, the soul goes on to yet another body, material or spiritual. But people cannot understand this. They are so dull-brained. They cannot make the simple distinction between the body and the soul. It will take five hundred years to teach them this simple truth – their education is so advanced.”

From Srimad-Bhagatavam 8.5.48, purport:

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead is actually the only object of our love. As long as we are in this material world we have so many desires to fulfill, but when we come in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we immediately become perfect and fully satisfied, just as a child is fully satisfied when he comes to the lap of his mother. Dhruva Maharaja went to the forest to achieve some material result by austerity and penance, but when he actually saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead he said, ‘I do not want any material benediction. I am completely satisfied.’”

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:

From Jaiva Dharma:

“A natural human sentiment, compassion finds its highest expression in the works of devotees of the Lord. The tenderness of the heart experienced toward Krishna is known as bhakti. All other jivas are servants of Krishna. When one experiences tenderness of heart toward them, it is known as daya, compassion. Therefore, compassion is included within bhakti.”

Satsvarupa dasa Goswami:


“All creative work
comes from Krishna in the heart.
A devotee shouldn’t
chant hoping to
get personal, creative
ideas. He should pray to serve
Krishna nicely. We are
not egoistic creators
but ‘subordinate lovers of the Supreme.’”


“Today’s drawing shows four
devotees dancing and chanting
with upraised arms.
They are happy and jumping.
Even if harinama devotees
are chanting sitting down,
they are dancing
in their hearts. The
more enthusiastic and
physically nimble among
them will actually get
up and dance. This
adds to the ecstasy.
Lord Caitanya and His associates
used to chant and dance.
The people were so amazed
at Mahaprabhu’s
physical manifestations.
He used to leap high, and
Lord Nityananda would run beside
Him to catch Him if He fell. We
may not be so empowered and
we may be growing old and
not inclined to dance, but
on occasion, we may rise to our feet
and fill our spirit
and the spirit of the group
and what to speak of the onlookers!”


 “The Hare Krishna chanters in
the City go out every day
and situate themselves
in public in a sacred spot.
They sing kirtana for long
hours and purify the
atmosphere. They do
congregational chanting
of the Hare Krishna mantra, which is
the only sacrifice recommended
for the Age of Kali.
They are doing the
most important
welfare work for
humanity because
the chanting removes
sinful reactions and
awakens love of Godhead
in the hearts of those who hear.
No other philanthropic or altruistic
work is as important
because all other endeavors cannot
break the cycle of repeated birth and death.
Harinama can do that, and that is why
its servants are the best friends and rescuers.”

From a letter to a disciple:

“The simple explanation of the fight between the Kauravas and the Pandavas was that Dhrtarastra was favoring his own sons over the Pandavas, but in a way which was contrary to dharma. And since Krishna’s mission is to reestablish dharma for humanity at large, and since the Kauravas were not willing to act according to dharma in a peaceful way, Krishna used such a major fight to catch the attention of the whole world to His personal teachings about the ultimate dharma: surrender unto Him in loving devotion. This is the heart of the Mahabharata, as can be read in the Bhagavad-gita.

Bhakti Tirtha Swami:

From a recorded lecture:

My mother said, “Give me my flowers while I can see them.” As a kid I could not understand, but as an adult I appreciate her love for life.

Giriraja Swami:

The cowherd boys asking Krishna for food are under the influence of the spiritual energy (yogamaya), while ordinary people asking God for food are under the influence of the material energy.

The yogamaya energy causes the devotees to forget that Krishna is God and also causes Krishna to forget that He is God, so they can act in an intimate relationship.

Krishna did not want to his friends to tell the wives of the brahmanas performing sacrifice that He and Balarama were hungry because that would cause them too much pain. Rather they should say Krishna and Balarama are nearby.

Krishna is atma-priya, the most beloved of the soul.

We are naturally attracted to Krishna, as iron is attracted to a magnet, but as rusty iron is not attracted to magnet, when we are covered by material contamination that attraction is not manifest.

Krishna gave the wives of the brahmanas’ suggestions how they could advance in devotion to Him while remaining at home: “It is by hearing about Me, seeing My Deity form, meditating upon Me and chanting My names and glories that love for Me develops, not by physical proximity. Therefore please go back to your homes.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.23.33)

We also have not met Krishna this life, but we are attracted to Him by hearing about Him.

Anu means both “continuously” and “following.”

These pastimes of Krishna’s kindness to His devotees should awaken in our hearts a desire to have such a relationship with Krishna.

When the brahmanas’ wives returned home and their husbands saw their advanced devotion to Krishna, they accepted them as gurus who knew how to transcend the path of birth and death whereas they were actually ignorant of it.

Adi Karta Prabhu:

Our civilization is not very advanced because people are simply trying to benefit their own bodies and those of others without considering the soul within the body and its needs.

The body ages, but the person within the body remains the same.

According to the Vedas there are multiple universes. Now even the scientists have decided there is more than one universe.

Practically everyone in India has a name that has some relationship with Krishna.

Just outside of London we have a temple and 70,000 people come each year to celebrate Krishna’s birthday. You will not find such attendance at Anglican Churches to celebrate Christmas.

Krishna never likes to be worshiped as God because it takes the intimacy out of the relationship.

Akuti Devi:

The cure for our egoistic protest about hearing extensive glorification of Krishna is to continue to hear such glorification.

Krishna is for everyone, those who like the sweetness of His childhood pastimes and those who like to see his amazing opulence.

Srila Prabhupada could glorify both the opulence and the sweetness of Krishna.

We can feel we are reeled into Krishna’s shelter, away from the craziness of materialistic life.

A lot of us are on a marathon, as we do not have so much time left, we who are more than 50 years old.

Prabhupada’s essay on the ideal varnasrama community includes morning and evening kirtana.

It costs no money to realize the soul, but it takes a lot of time and energy.

We cannot imagine we will have a great spiritual life if we cheat on our sadhana [daily spiritual practice].

Comments by Pran Govinda Prabhu: Giriraja Swami was telling us if we can eliminate the offenses to Vaishnavas and inattention that the other offenses will be reduced. Giriraja Swami also said if someone is going to criticize someone to him, he asks the person why he thinks he needs to hear the criticism, to make the devotee consider what he is doing. Radhanath Swami said if we focus on the good qualities of the devotees, we will not be disturbed by things we may not like about them.

Brahmatirtha Prabhu:

As a cat playing with a rat and a cat playing with its kitten may seem from a distance to be the same thing, the love between the gopis and Krishna may seem like the relationship between girls and boys of the material world, although they are completely different.

To achieve higher consciousness, we must be willing to give up those things that keep us in lower consciousness.

Sacinandana Swami decided to pervade all his regular spiritual practices with gratitude to improve his devotional consciousness.

Sacinandana Swami expresses realization that there is a lover of God within his heart, and through prayers to the Lord, he found hope that he could be uncovered.

Comment by Shyamala Kishori Devi Dasi: Prabhupada was once asked about how one who could not hear or see or even touch could become Krishna conscious. Prabhupada replied, “Well, he can bow down.”

Once Srila Prabhupada said, “When my disciples are hungry, they will eat any damn thing.”

If we really believe that as part of Krishna that we have something lovable about us, that belief will help us conquer lust. That will help us develop humility and confidence.

Comment by Bali: You cannot lie to Krishna. Why lie to everyone else?

Comment by Naomi: As far as bumps on the road, you can go around them. If you hit them, you may have to change a tire, which is something we could use help with. You can use them to humble yourself.

When I had a conversation with Srila Prabhupada about advancing in spiritual life, he began and ended the conversation with the very same verse, which was the only verse I knew: “Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.” (Bhagavad-gita 9.30)

Srila Prabhupada explained that if accidentally one makes some mistake due to conditioning it is forgiven but not if one intentionally does something wrong.

We have trouble accepting that the real self we are hearing about is really us.

Kalakantha Prabhu:

Srila Prabhupada asked the devotees, “Who is stronger Krishna or Balarama?” Seeing their bewilderment, he explained that all the planetary systems rest on Lord Balarama, but as in our deities in Vrindavan, Balarama rests on Krishna.

Pralambasura is the first demon who was killed without having first attacked and the first killed outside the immediate precincts of Vrindavana.

Balarama is the original spiritual master. He takes care of those who have rejected Krishna and tries to elevate them. Thus He is very important to us.

Laksmana was upset that as the younger brother of Lord Rama He could not prevent Him from suffering exile in the forest, thus He came as the elder brother, Balarama, of Krishna, in Their next appearance. He found even as the elder brother, Krishna would not listen to Him, thus in frustration He appeared as the avadhuta Nityananda, and He did as He pleased.

A friend had this exchange with his college professor:
Student: “I am not sure that what you are teaching us is true.”
Professor of Psychology: “Where in the contract does it say it has to be true? We are just teaching you what you need to get ahead in this field.”
Thus disillusioned, my student friend dropped out of school.

The distress of the householders is they work hard for success, but after attaining what society taught them would satisfy them, they find they are still dissatisfied.

Comment by Dhrstadyumna Prabhu: When there was a terrible blizzard in Denver, it was one of my most memorable and ecstatic experiences as we read Srila Prabhupada’s books ten hours a day. Previously, before I was a devotee, when we were shut in it was just suffering.

Almost all medicines are toxic, and therefore they have to be taken in very regulated doses. Krishna consciousness is not like that. With Krishna consciousness, it is the more the better.

Because we have no taste for devotional service in the beginning, our regulated devotional service is our greatest investment. If we can take it seriously, the rest of our life will be an experience of deep fulfillment.

Although driving Krishna and Balarama to Mathura, as a pacca [first-class] brahmana, Akrura stopped part way to take his midday bath.

Some parents see Krishna House as the termination of their kids’ lives. Other people find it to be an oasis from the madness of society. Others think, “Why are these people wasting their time? They could be earning money.” Similarly people misunderstand the pastimes of Krishna and their value.

Mother Nanda:

Even with the cows, Krishna has a personal relationship with each. It is not just a few great personalities in the Bhagavatam, but actually every living entity, including ourselves, has a intimate relationship with Him.

The blazing fire that Krishna swallowed can be compared to the blazing fire of material existence.

Our saga in the material world did not just start 18 or 23 years ago [with the beginning of this life], it has been going on for thousands of years.

The cowherd boys did not call out, “Father”, “Mother”, “Indra”; they only took shelter of Krishna.

We may not solely take shelter of Krishna. We may find we are taking shelter of our credit or debit card. But we can pray to able to full take shelter of Krishna soon.

Kunti prayed for calamities because calamities force you to take shelter of Krishna.

Comment by Bali: Sometimes when things are going well with our devotional service, we think that we are perfect, and then we start accepting things that are unfavorable, and then we get into trouble, and that is not a good thing.

Chanting your rounds with concentration, associating with devotees, and having a friend in devotional service are all helpful if we get distracted and can help us get back to normal.

One acarya said that Krishna advised His friends to close their eyes before He swallowed the forest fire because He got into so much trouble when His friends saw Him eating dirt He was worried what would happen if they saw Him swallowing fire.

Comment by Naomi: We can see from this pastime that surrendering to Krishna makes one fearless because the cowherd boys were in such anxiety, but they became completely fearless by taking shelter of Krishna.

Ramiya Prabhu:

If your professor told you that you are speaking like a learned person, but actually you are a fool, you might walk out of the class, but when Krishna spoke that way to Arjuna, Arjuna stayed to hear Krishna’s wise words.

Regarding being in his seventies, my father there is nothing “golden” about it.

Like a car gets old, breaks down, and needs to be repaired, so it is true with the body.

Yoga is to get your body and mind in a peaceful state, so you can consider what is beyond the body. After you practice yoga, when you walk out of this room, if you get caught up in the external world, you will lose your peace.

A proper teacher does not just speak. You can see in his life examples of what he is teaching.

Do you know anyone who is sometimes a friend and sometimes an enemy? One moment they are friends, and then next moment they are enemies. It is very scary. The mind is like that.

As far as enjoyment, it is beyond our control. Sometimes it is there and sometimes it is absent, but we cannot let ourselves be disturbed in either case.

We struggle internally, I want it, I don’t want it, but when we give it to Krishna, we are freed of the struggle.

Radha makes a special manohara-laddu that is most attractive to Krishna. Once when Krishna received one and put it in his mouth, he made a terrible face as it if it was disgusting, and then He distributed them to His friends, including Radha to please them, because they all love His remnants. She understood this and was not disturbed by his behavior.

Comment by Zoë: The Latin word humus means soil, and this word humble is related, as soil is lowly.

Sesa Prabhu:

Q: One may ask, “Why did Krishna create an arrangement to punish Indra which involved His devotees getting so much distress in terms of the heavy rainfall?”
A: One answer is that it is arrangement not of Krishna but of His pastime potency (lila-shakti). Because this pastime potency can act independently from Krishna, it can be said that it is not the doing of Krishna.

na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate
na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca dṛsyate
parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate
svabhaviki jñana-bala-kriya ca

“The Supreme Lord has nothing to do, and no one is found to be equal to or greater than Him, for everything is done naturally and systematically by His multifarious energies.” (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.8)

The real glory of the Govardhan-lila is that Krishna very wonderfully reciprocated with all of His different devotees simultaneously. His lila-shakti made this amazing arrangement.

If we see meaning in everything that happens to us, then we can get an understanding of how Krishna is acting for us.

There are activities and relationships both in this world and in the spiritual world.

The name Vaikuntha, which means without anxiety, contrasts with our experience of this world, which is full of anxiety.

Comte de Mirabeau said, “Short absence quickens love, long absence kills it.”

Bhaktimarga Swami said in a class, “In the material world, love is accompanied by fear, according to Srimad-Bhagavatam.”

Because of the [absolute] nature of Krishna, love of Krishna is different than the love of the material world. Being with Krishna, desiring to be with Krishna, and lamenting the absence of Krishna, are all ways of associating with Krishna and experiencing His presence.

Understanding the difference between love in the spiritual and the material world can help us move toward spiritual love.

Comment by Kalakantha:  The gopis address Krishna as Govinda because He has stolen their senses, Damodara because his absence will kill Mother Yashoda who addresses him by that name, and Madhava, indicating that He is the husband of the goddess of fortune and not them, and thus He is guilty of harming other men’s wives.

When ordinary people criticize God, it brings condemnation upon themselves, but those in love with Krishna can criticize Him like anything without being degraded, and still Krishna does as He wishes.

Madhava Prabhu [from New Raman Reti]:

Srila Prabhupada explains that because this world is a reflection of the spiritual world the highest thing, the relationship between the gopis and Krishna, when reflected in the material world in the relationships of unmarried girls and boys, becomes the lowest thing.

If we cannot see the pastimes between Krishna and the gopis in a pure way, it is better to leave them aside and focus on other pastimes.

We may be hiding things, but when we come to Krishna to surrender, we cannot, for He knows all.

From a talk on “Building Strong Relationships”:

There are three features of relationship:
1.             Understanding our relationship.
2.             Acting according to that relationship.
3.             Reaching the ultimate goal of that relationship – love.

When the soul looks toward Krishna, the material influence slackens.

Pran Govinda Prabhu:

Advaita Acarya Prabhu asked Lord Caitanya to see the same universal form that He had shown Arjuna. And so Lord Caitanya showed him Arjuna, his chariot, and the same universal form that Krishna had shown. Advaita did this not for Himself, but to establish that Lord Caitanya was Krishna Himself.

The spiritual world is centralized [in the sense that it has a center, Krishna] while the material is decentralized.

Advaita Acarya was so attractive as a child, when he came with His father to a Durga Puja festival, which His father, as a minister, was invited to, people looked at Him instead of Durga. He did not bow to Durga, which bewildered the brahmanas. He said that he did not have to as Durga was His maidservant. He further said if He bowed to the deity, she would shatter. They pushed him to bow to her anyway, and the deity shattered.

Kalki Prabhu:

Srila Prabhupada makes the point that an acarya must propagate devotional service to Krishna and that Lord Caitanya is the original acarya.

In a caption to a picture of his guru in Bhagavad-gita, Srila Prabhupada glorifies his guru for spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world. He does not use that glorification as the caption for his own picture.

Serving the guru is the means of pleasing the Krishna.

Comment by Abhimanyu Prabhu: The determination of Advaita Acarya was, “Either I will bring Lord Krishna to this world, or I will destroy it by My Sudarshan cakra.

Audrey:

From a dinner conversation:

I prayed that I did not want to have to worry about school or a job but that I would have hours to read Srila Prabhupada’s books every day. I find here at Krishna House, that Krishna gave me exactly what I wanted. I did not even know this place existed before!

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We may be frustrated by all the bad qualities of this age, but the situation is not hopeless. If we chant Hare Krishna it can be the best age, because we can awaken our love for God and attain the spiritual kingdom. We can also offer this solution to others. This verse explains that:

kaler dosa-nidhe rajan
asti hy eko mahan gunah
kirtanad eva krishnasya
mukta sangah param vrajet

“My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.3.51)