Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Travel Journal#12.4: North Florida, New York City Harinam, Dublin

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 12, No. 4
By Krishna-kripa das
(February 2016, part two)
North Florida, New York City Harinam, Dublin
(Sent from Rishikesh on March 15, 2016)

Where I Went and What I Did

The beginning of the second half of February I spent based at Krishna House, chanting at Krishna Lunch each weekday and at the Farmers Market in Gainesville on Wednesday afternoons. I made a couple trips to Jacksonville, one to chant on the campus of the University of North Florida and at their Krishna Club meeting, where I talked about Lord Nityananda Prabhu, whose appearance day was the day after, and the next day to chant with the Alachua devotees at a special event, the Jacksonville Monster Truck Jam. On the way to Dublin I stopped in New York City for about three hours to sing with the New York City Harinam party in the Times Square Subway Station. I spent three days in Dublin during which we chanted harinama for thirteen hours, much of it with Premarnava Prabhu, who sings wonderfully and is a great friend. As we sang people donated almost 100 euros and accepted 33 of Srila Prabhupada’s books, which is big for a small timer like myself. The last day of February, this year the 29th, I flew to Mumbai via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. Unfortunately, my bag spent an extra day in Istanbul as our flight arrived ten minutes before the subsequent one was scheduled to leave.

I share an excerpt from Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita 5.29, purport, and excerpts from the books and journal of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami. I have notes on a wonderful class by His Holiness Varshana Swami on Lord Nityananda’s Appearance Day in Alachua. I also share notes on classes by Srila Prabhupada disciples, Kalakantha Prabhu and Mother Nanda in Gainesville, Kurma Prabhu in Dublin, and Narayani Devi from a recording. Also I share notes on classes by younger devotees at Krishna House and a list of recent realizations of the devotees there from an istagosthi.

I would like to thank very much Sankarsan Lila Prabhu and his wife, who kindly gave me a nice donation so I can survive on my India trip and also a great meal of dosas, idlis, and that awesome coconut chutney. I would like to thank the Dublin devotees for kindly letting me keep the profit from the harinama collection, so I can come back to Dublin and do more harinamas. Thanks to Sasha and Kaliya Krishna Prabhu of the New York City Harinam party for their donations. Thanks also to my friend, Michael, from New Vrindavan, for supporting my traveling and sharing harinama by his donation. Thanks to the Holly Bolly Cafe in Rishikesh for letting me use their internet without buying anything and for accepting the maha-prasadam and literature I gave them in reciprocation.


March 12–20: Rishikesh Harinama
March 21–April 9: Vrindavan
April 10–13: Mumbai
April 14–21: Ireland
April 21–24: 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 Devotees Chant at the Gainesville Farmers Market

We chanted at the Gainesville Farmers Market a couple of Wednesdays in the second half of February. We have been chanting at that event for several years and at least two people have began practicing devotional service to Krishna having encountered us there, Anna and Christiana. Every year I leave, and the program becomes intermittent or nonexistence. This time I am hoping that Bali, Audrey, and Ekayani, who are the most enthusiastic attenders of it, can keep it going.

One young girl, Natalie, joined us both weeks, playing around with the instruments the first time and letting Audrey swing her around the second time.

She has been coming for three or four weeks and is very regular, despite being so young. 

The first week one guy also joined us, listening for over an hour and sometimes playing the tamborine (https://youtu.be/QkdYtlatGpY):

Later another little girl joined us for a while, while her mother watched (https://youtu.be/lydgC0ha6IM):

The second week, Kalki and Carlos, the biggest of the Krishna House book distributors, got into dancing, and so did Nickole (https://youtu.be/j8dXuAIyj8w):

At the end, three of the Krishna House ladies danced like anything, including Madhava Devi Dasi, who met us while shopping (https://youtu.be/2e-m57DXZzA):

Because of the harinama, all who hear advance spiritually by the influence of the holy name. Those who see us notice that there is another way of enjoying life, by acting in relationship with Krishna, and perhaps they will learn more about it in the future, when their materialistic sources of happiness inevitably fail them.

Krishna House Evening Kirtanas

The Krishna House devotees are so enthusiastic during the evening kirtana, I can’t help taking videos of them.

Here Dhameshvar Mahaprabhu das Prabhu leads (https://youtu.be/SdfGfFNaZM8):

Here Audrey leads (https://youtu.be/Of352vm-rOs):

University of North Florida Krishna Club

The Krishna Lunch devotees let me take one person from their staff to chant with me in Jacksonville at University of North Florida. 

That was Bali, who may just be the most enthusiastic in kirtana in Krishna House. We chanted for two and a half hours or so on the campus of the University of North Florida, and then attended the Krishna Club program. Bali liked Krishna Club very much. I described some of the glories of Lord Nityananda as the next day was His appearance day. Youssef led a lively final kirtana that got a few of the students dancing, and that was beautiful to see (https://youtu.be/w8IU1gEgFik):

Kyra, a new attendee who teaches yoga at the beginning of the meetings, seemed very much into the kirtana which was notable.

From a Krishna Club Ice Breaker:

What would you tell your five-year old self?

Bali: Study harmonium.

Youssef: Never stop questioning.

Nityananda Tryodasi Harinama at the Monster Truck Jam

Lord Nityananda Prabhu is famous for saving the most fallen persons, and so I am sure he was appreciative of the attempt of the twenty-five devotees from Alachua, Gainesville, and Jacksonville to share the holy name of Krishna with the thousands of fans entering the Jacksonville stadium for the Monster Truck Jam.

I was very impressed that we had twelve devotees from Krishna House who skipped the Alachua temple program for Lord Nityananda, along with its kirtana and feast, to travel one and a half hours each way to chant in Jacksonville.

Godruma and his wife, Mother Vishnupriya, arranged packages of prasadam for us to take on the way home.

During the harinama, more people danced with us than they usually do at that event or at that stadium, and it was wonderful to see.

This family was attracted to the chanting, and one kid holds a Krishna pamphlet.

Here are some highlights I recorded on video (https://youtu.be/xWJ9Teeua3g):

Realizations Shared at a Krishna House Istagosthi

Ekayani: Whatever we desire, we will do.

Badahari Prabhu: How small I am.

Gopal Prabhu: There must be something in this chanting or I could not do it for so many [almost forty] years. The books are right!

Krishna-kripa das: Because we are Krishna’s marginal energy, if we do not take shelter of His spiritual energy by engaging in devotional service to Him, we will be forced to serve His material energy. If our devotional service is materially motivated or interrupted, we will not be completely satisfied.

Madhava Prabhu: Although I had an intense week at work, because I had a lot of association with devotees, it was one of the best weeks in my recent memory.

Hari Priya: Everything I am looking for is within the heart. I am not this body, and it is useless to seek happiness externally. Through the holy name and the association of the devotees, everything can be revealed in the heart.

Dhameshvar Mahaprabhu das Prabhu: I do not know anyone happier or more lovable than my spiritual master [Vaisesika Prabhu].

Vanna: When we are chastised by the devotees, it is most purifying because it is done out of love. I was always very independent, but Krishna broke me down, and I am now very dependent on the devotees.

Rasaraja Prabhu: It is important to have one or two devotees you can reveal your mind to. Chanting my 16 rounds every day, no matter what was going on, has kept me in Krishna consciousness.

Nickole: I am inspired by the realizations of the Vaisnavas. My grandmother used to say, “All I know is that I know nothing.”

Michael: Understanding that my mind and soul are different helps me in accepting what is happening that I cannot change.

Nick: The more I read and chant, the more I feel the presence of God around me and inside me.

Jonathon: I saw a ghost at age 15, and I realized life was eternal.

Amrita: The only thing I truly have is the maha-mantra.

Dhrstadyumna Prabhu:

We cannot do anything without the sanction of the Supersoul, which is pretty profound when you think about it.

It is special in the innumerable universes that we are connected with Srila Prabhupada and through him to Lord Caitanya. We cannot glorify Srila Prabhupada enough.

Rangi: Krishna is always looking after me and everyone else on this planet. I see with my friends, sometimes they do not get what they want, but it turns out for their betterment.

Bali: It is important to appreciate devotees and take guidance and shelter. This world is not our home, and everything is so temporary. It is hard in spiritual life because we are so attached to this world. It takes great humility. The mind makes it difficult.

Cayman: Devotees association is very important. I cannot conjure up enthusiasm to serve Krishna alone. We must stay positive, although not able to immediately realize our devotional goals.

Sri Nama: It is difficult going to this devotional program and then going to school. Then I heard Sacinandana Swami say before every endeavor to say to Krishna “I am doing this for you,” and after you have done it, “Thank you for allowing me to do this.”

Mother Caitanya: Recently I have been rendering service to advanced devotees, and I am getting a lot of mercy from their realizations, and I am seeing how it is very valuable to serve the advanced devotees.

Audrey: We are always connected to Krishna, as if through spiritual umbilical cords, but He lets us go out on our own, so far we do not even see Him, and we see others and think they are our shelter.

Kalakantha Prabhu: If husband and wife both put Krishna in the center of their lives, they can have a fulfilling marriage, otherwise they tend to exploit each other for sense gratification.

Nickole: Mother Caitanya was reminding us that the devotees are more merciful than Krishna because Krishna will let us get into maya but the devotees will not.

Chanting with New York City Harinam

It was just wonderful not to miss a day of harinama while traveling from Florida to Ireland because I could arrange a seven and a half hour stop in New York City where I could count on having friends to sing with. That New York City Harinam party led by Rama Raya Prabhu, and inspired by Aindra Prabhu, sings six hours each day in Union Square, in good weather, and in one of several subway stations in cold or wet weather. I sang with them for two and a half hours at Times Square Subway Station, and it was just wonderful to have their association again.

Chanting Hare Krishna in Dublin

I have wonderful experiences doing harinama in Dublin because of two friends who have great taste for chanting the holy names in public and who are willing to sing with me for hours. They are Ananta Nitai and Premarnava Prabhus. This time Ananta Nitai Prabhu was in Vrindavan, but Premarnava Prabhu increased his participation on our Dublin harinamas to make up for it.

We chanted three hours on Friday. All three days the temperatures must have been in the mid 40s to low 50s (7–12° C) and it was often windy, but fortunately it did not rain.

We did a seven and a half hour harinama on Saturday, February 27, the appearance day of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and both Premarnava Prabhu and I chanted seven hours, taking a half hour break or two fifteen-minute ones. When I saw people glance at our party, I would pray to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura that they might become attracted to Krishna by hearing the chanting of His holy names. More people gave us donations than I ever recall in Dublin. Several people danced with us and took photos and videos of us as usual. I told a few Indian people who lived in Dublin, about our temple and its Sunday program. Mayesvara Prabhu joined us for an hour and a half that day, and Dina Daya Prabhu for an hour, but all the rest of the time it was me and Premarnava. Because of the increasing coldness, the last hour I had to restrain myself from watching the clock. It was wonderful seeing more appeciation than usual, and I took it that was some special mercy from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura upon us.

On Sunday, before our midday feast program, I chanted with Kurma Prabhu and his wife for an hour and half. Dina Dayal Prabhu and an Indian congregational member joined us for some of the time. Then I chanted alone for almost half and hour. One lady said she had not seen Hare Krishnas chanting in Dublin since the 1980s, so I can see we really have to increase.

I felt victorious in that three devotees joined me after the Sunday feast program to chant more kirtana in the temple, and they all chanted with so much devotion it was inspiring. I encouraged all of them to have a post–Sunday feast kirtana every week, as they all seemed to have a taste for it, and it has sometimes been a regular part of the program in the past.

I like do three hours of harinama each day, and even liberally including our post-feast kirtana in the temple room, I was shy of three hours by just over half an hour. I encouraged Premarnava Prabhu to join me in the streets, and he was so fired-up we stayed out for an hour. Almost half an hour into it, a devotee named Silavati Devi Dasi came by on her way home from work and chanted with us until we finished just over half an hour later. I was completely amazed to see her enthusiasm. Many people appreciated and contributed over 15 euros, taking several Chant and Be Happys and Beyond Birth and Deaths. It was a beautiful way to end my stay in Dublin.

In the three days in Dublin, we chanted thirteen hours of harinama, with eight devotees participating at least part of the time. People donated almost one hundred euros, and took one maha-big, eight medium, and twenty-four small books. All glories to Sri Krishna Sankirtana!

Special Pictures

Devotees of the Supreme Lord have an understanding that He creates difficult situations to help us advance spiritually. The most surrendered devotees even pray for them. Here is a poster commenting on such challenges from a bulletin board at the University of North Florida:

Sometimes you see something in life that you have never seen before, like a dishwasher with a lock on it.

We are starting a restaurant in Gainesville, and Badahari Prabhu, Krishna House maintenance specialist, was determined that the plates he was washing for it would not disappear.

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


Srila Prabhupada:

From Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 5.29, purport:

Krishna consciousness means to work in full knowledge of one’s relationship with the Supreme Absolute, and the perfection of this consciousness is full knowledge of Krishna, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A pure soul is the eternal servant of God as His fragmental part and parcel. He comes into contact with maya (illusion) due to the desire to lord it over maya, and that is the cause of his many sufferings. As long as he is in contact with matter, he has to execute work in terms of material necessities. Krishna consciousness, however, brings one into spiritual life even while one is within the jurisdiction of matter, for it is an arousing of spiritual existence by practice in the material world. The more one is advanced, the more he is freed from the clutches of matter. The Lord is not partial toward anyone. Everything depends on one’s practical performance of duties in Krishna consciousness, which helps one control the senses in every respect and conquer the influence of desire and anger. And one who stands fast in Krishna consciousness, controlling the abovementioned passions, remains factually in the transcendental stage, or brahma-nirvana.

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

From Entering a Life of Prayer:

There are many things I will have to sacrifice when I leave this solitary base for preaching tours. However, the one thing I hope I can keep with me is turning to Krishna as much as possible. It doesn’t take extra time, it takes quality. This is something I can learn to do here and do wherever I go, because Krishna is everywhere. He is always in our heart. In fact, there may be even more impetus for talking to Krishna and praying to Him in stressful situations. My dear Lord Krishna, please have mercy on this sinner. Dear Srila Prabhupada, please help me to be a devotee of Krishna by your grace. My dear Lord Krishna, please help me to be a sincere and faithful disciple of Prabhupada.

“I want to beseech You as in the
prayer, Jagannatha Swami nayana-
patha-gami bhavatu me:

“O Lord of the universe, kindly
be visible unto me.” You
see the statue, but if you
want to see the Lord, He has to reveal
Himself to your eyes.
Lord Krishna says, ‘I am
not manifest to the nondevotees.
I cover Myself with My curtain of maya.
You want me to see You
with Radha beside You,
I just have to become submissive.
The praying is what will work.
Please help me to be pure.”

From Japa Walks, Japa Talks:

“Very, very few of us can spend our full time chanting. Prabhupada says that constant chanting is the activity of a very mature – in fact, liberated – devotee. But we may feel that we’re not doing enough with only sixteen or twenty-five rounds. One way to feel better about this is to realize that all our activities can contribute to good japa. Be conscious of it, be deliberate. Understand that if you are cruel to someone, or if you find fault, or overeat, or are a nonsense in one way or another, it’s going to affect your japa. Everything you do either contributes to or works against your chanting. It makes me think of the athletes who train for years to perform in the Olympics. Their actual performance is over in a few hours, but they train for it and protect themselves from injury twenty-four hours a day. They make sure they get sufficient rest, eat the best foods, and don’t do anything that could damage their chances of success. And they think positively.”

“The Hare Krishna chanters in the
City are not of this
material world. They
are followers of Lord Caitanya
and Srila Prabhupada who had
spiritual forms. The sound vibration
made by the chanters
is transcendental, and they are
also transcendental. Srila Prabhupada used
to say the ISKCON temples
were not situated in
Los Angeles or London, but
they were part of the
spiritual world. The
City chanters are not
in a temple, but they
have transformed their
sacred spot into the
consciousness of Vrndavana. The passersby
are aware the chanters have created
a peaceful oasis amidst the urban
world of passion and ignorance. As
they appreciate the singing, their lives
are transformed.”

Varshana Maharaja:

What is an avadhuta? Someone so intoxicated with vraja-prema [the love of God found in Krishna’s supreme abode, Vrindavan] that he loses the discrimination about where to distribute it. Nityananda, as an avadhuta, simply wanted to fulfill the inner desire of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and thus They acted as a team to benefit the fallen souls.

We glorify Srila Prabhupada as uprooting impersonalism yet we do not realize there is so much impersonalism within us.

As Paramatma, the Lord of the heart, the Lord is impartial, but as Bhagavan [the Supreme Person] He is very partial.

The Lord shows his partiality by taking the side of His devotees.

Without Gauranga [Lord Caitanya] we cannot progress beyond reverential worship and enter the groves of Vraja.

Lord Gauranga does not give the reverential prema given by perfect worship of the other Kali-yuga avatars.

Until we surpass anartha-nivritta and attain nistha we cannot even contemplate vraja-prema.

We are dependent on the mercy of Nityananda, who gives His vraja-prema to anyone who is willing to accept His gift.

Lord Caitanya came for his own internal purpose. Lord Nityananda and Advaita Acarya were mostly the saviors of the fallen souls of Kali.

Previously in Kali-yuga one had to be highly qualified and perform the yuga-dharma for many births to merely attain reverential devotion, which does not satisfy the soul’s desire for sweetness.

Vraja can be a verb meaning to go, and also the destination, Vraja [Vrindavan].

By worshiping Lord Gaura by vaidhi-bhakti [the rules and regulations meant to awaken devotional service] we are, in fact, following in the footsteps of Radharani, and at some point in our advancement, Lord Caitanya reveals His form as Radha-Krishna.

In Canto 11, this age of Kali is glorified because by chanting the holy name one attains everything, but Canto 12 says Kali is worst because practically no one chants the holy name. This contradiction is an invitation for one to go deeper, and no one goes deeper than the Gaudiya Vaishnavas [the followers of Lord Caitanya]. In Canto 11, this particular Kali-yuga is being described, which is special by the mercy of Gaura and Nityananda, who give the holy name to everyone.

Since in every age one can attain success through chanting the holy name, then one might ask, “Why are more difficult processes recommended?” The answer is that because people are so qualified to do the other things, they cannot place their faith in the holy name.

Krishna describes to Mother Ganga in 5,000 years, His mantra-upasaka [the representative who will teach the Lord’s own mantra] will travel all over the world, creating devotees, and bringing them to the Ganges to bathe in the river, thus purifying it. This will go on for 10,000 years. After that the Ganges will disappear.

This time is fearful as Kali is making plans for the degradation to come after the golden age, and the golden age is not fully manifest yet.

Lord Rama was always sober and tolerant, not playful like Krishna and Balarama.

Sita was happy to go to Valmiki’s ashram because she wanted to celebrate her pregnancy by distributing charity to those who had benefitted her in the past.

Lord Nityananda altered Lord Caitanya’s instruction for the purpose of fulfilling Lord Caitanya’s internal desire. Lord Caitanya wanted Nityananda to tell people to chant Krishna, to worship Krishna, and to carry out the orders of Krishna. Lord Nityananda told people to chant Gauranga, worship Gauranga, and to carry out the orders of Gauranga.

After the Khetari festival, which even mesmerized snakes, and in which Lord Caitanya and His associates reappeared to take part, Jahnava Devi took her party to Ekacakra on pilgrimage, and they found it in ruins.

When the Pandavas resided in Ekacakra, Lord Nityananda appeared to Yudhisthira in a dream and told him, “This is not the supreme abode. Go to Navadvipa.” And so Yudhisthira and the Pandavas did.

Hadai Pandit wanted take birth after birth in Ekacakra waiting for his son Nitai, who had gone off with a sannyasi, to return.

The devotees despite great endeavor could not find Lord Nityananda because Lord Caitanya wanted to teach that Nitai was very confidential personality.

Nitai, despite His external appearance, did not want to do anything independently of Lord Caitanya.

After much travel to different pilgrimage places, Lord Nityananda came to Navadvipa and considered He attained the ultimate destination.

When Lord Caitanya told Narayani, future mother of Vrindavan das Thakura, to chant “Krishna, Krishna,” she immediately attained the supreme devotional ecstasy.

All we know about Lord Caitanya is the mercy of Lord Nityananda, whose devotees Vrindavan das Thakura and Krishnadasa Kaviraja are His principal biographers.

In his nineties, Krishnadasa Kaviraja, ordered by Lord Nityananda, began walking to Vrindavan from Bengal.

Kalakantha Prabhu:

What did Krishna fight Jambavan for twenty-eight days?

Comment by Cayman: To fulfill Jambavan’s desire to have a combatant.

Srila Prabhupada said once that Krishna fights to keep the body fit.

The Syamantaka jewel story shows how money can ruin good people. When there is an accumulation of wealth, it is difficult to resist the temptation to control it.

Comment by Dhrstadyumna Prabhu: Isn’t gold one of the places Kali is allowed to reside.
Response: Yes. Very good.

You can have bad habits or character flaws, but in Kali-yuga, you will be respected if you have money.

Q (by Amy): Money is such a part of life. Anything we can do if we have money to not be degraded by it?
A: Use it for sacrifice.

From an istagosthi:

If you are flirting, you’ll be hurting.

Kurma Prabhu:

It is good to learn verses. I first learned the Siksastakam.” The rule is to always to remember Krishna, and learning verses can help this.

When he was being killed by a crocodile, Gajendra, the king of the elephants, chanted a prayer he learned in his previous life as King Indradyumna. Pleased by hearing the prayer, the Lord appear and protected him by killing the crocodile.

Srila Prabhupada tells the story of a person who had never tasted sugar cane. His friend was saying it looks like a rod, and you break it and chew on it, and it tastes very sweet. The man looked for something that fit that description and ended up chewing different types of bamboo and found only frustration.

The chanting of Hare Krishna was spread throughout South India because anyone who saw Lord Caitanya began chanting Hare Krishna, and those who saw those persons also began chanting Hare Krishna. And so on, and so on.

One devotee said to Srila Prabhupada, “I am the most fallen.” Srila Prabhupada replied, “You are not the most anything.” He said this because he detected that the disciple was artificially presenting himself as if he was an advanced soul, who actually feels himself to be the most fallen.

There are a thousand names of Radharani and Lord Balarama.

You cannot go a hot sticky yoga studio and sit on a hot sticky mat in your leotards and expect to attain God realization.

Your first thoughts when you wake up set the whole course for your day.

There is a mantra you can chant before you even step out of bed, asking Mother Bhumi (the earth goddess) for forgiveness for stepping on her.

It takes great practice to become more tolerant than a tree and more humble than a blade of grass.

Wealth is not a source of pleasure but a source of entanglement and anxiety.

One of the King Louis’s of France was so completely disgusted with the falsity of palace life, he and some of his intimate friends would sometimes leave the palace and dress themselves as cowherds, and milk the cows and sport in the fields.

There is one song where Bhaktivinoda Thakura prays he would rather take birth as an insect in the house of a devotee than Lord Brahma. Why? If you take birth as an insect in the home of a devotee, that devotee will give you protection. He will not call the exterminator.

Lord Caitanya describes the world of birth and death to be like an ocean because if you are drowning in a ocean, you have to be pulled out by someone. Similarly, we need Krishna to pull us out of samsara [the ocean of birth and death].

Srila Prabhupada said the love of a mother for her child is the closest thing to the unconditional love of the pure soul for God.

Srila Prabhupada said we should call out when we chant like a baby calling out for its mother.

Comments by Kurma Prabhu’s wife:

Although there is no phala-sruti [benediction for its recitation] given by Lord Caitanya for the “Siksastakam,” Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami offers this blessing after describing the “Siksastakam”: “If anyone recites or hears these eight verses of instruction by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, his ecstatic love and devotion for Krishna increase day by day.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Antya 10.65)

Mother Nanda:

Krishna does not like mediocrity. He likes intensity.

Mother Yasoda has so much affection that her breasts would fill milk for her beloved Krishna, even when He was an adult.

Krishna sent Uddhava to Vrindavan because he was advanced in devotion, and he would be able to appreciate the great devotion of its residents.

The Absolute Truth is described as Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan, but the realization of the residents of Vrndavana is beyond that because they just see Krishna is everything.

Advancement in devotional service happens automatically, but it does not happen mechanically.

Comment by Dhameshvar Prabhu: Take a chance on the dance of Krishna.

Comment by Kalakantha Prabhu: Uddhava means “festival.”

You can never be satisfied with a mundane life once you have had your eyes opened by the torchlight of transcendental knowledge. How can I repay the debt to my spiritual master, who has delivered me from ignorance that I did not even realize I was in.

We would have this experience that in Srila Prabhupada’s presence all our problems would disappear. They would be revealed to be truly insignificant.

Bhurijana Prabhu made the point that our determination to go back to Godhead must be so great that if we do not succeed this life, we will continue our endeavor in the next life.

The more we reciprocate with the voice of the Lord within our heart, the more advice He will give us in that way.

The acaryas explain that the Lord promised Bhumi that he would not kill her son, Bhauma, despite his demonic qualities, without her permission. Satyabhauma, Krishna’s wife, is a partial expansion of Bhumi, and she came with Krishna, to the battle with Bhauma, and at the end of the vicious fight, she gave her blessings to kill him.

The more you look for God in your life, the more you will see Him, and so practice looking. We can pray to the Lord to be able to see His loving hand in our life.

Narayani Devi:

From a recorded lecture:

Lord Caitanya explained that satyam param” [the Supreme Truth] is sambandha [that with which we have a relationship] and “dhimahi” [meditation] is abhidheya [the path] and prayojana [the goal].

An honest person knows he must change. A dishonest person thinks everything is OK, and he does not have to change.

Srusrusubhih means intensely eager to hear. We have to be so eager to hear about Krishna.

Madhumati Devi:

Our purpose in the Krishna consciousness movement is to fall in love with Krishna as Rukmini did.

Can you imagine writing a letter to someone telling them that you fell in love with them but your parents arranged a marriage to someone else and asking them if they could please come and take you away. Rukmini was very bold.

We are attracted to people because of their qualities, and Krishna has all qualities in full.

This story shows an attractive quality I appreciate in my husband, Sesa Prabhu:

Once I tried to put a flyer advertising my vegetarian cooking class in the Potomac library. I saw there were all kinds of other ads there, but they would not accept mine. I was upset and explained what happened to my husband, Sesa Prabhu. He asked if I wanted him to do something about it. I said yes. He went to the manager of the library with me by his side and put his lawyer card on the table. The librarian knew what it was about and was very nervous. I cannot tell you all the details, but the end result was that I was allowed to advertise our program, and the library had an exhibition of Lord Jagannath for a whole month. We did did a program in the library and when the librarian bit into a samosa, she said, “This is really good.” I wish I had a picture of it.

What are some qualities we like in others and which find their perfection in Krishna?

Being a good speaker.
Being reciprocal in love.
Willingness to fight for the right reason.

Dina Bandhu Prabhu:

In school you have to know what your teacher wants you to know and be able to communicate that.

My initial religious experience was a fundamentalist background, but my blind faith was not sufficient to get me through different challenges in life, and I became an agnostic.

Later I read different spiritual books and created my own philosophy based on these.

People are willing to accept so many educational authorities, but at the same time, they are unwilling to accept any spiritual authority.

I feel my generation was the last one to offer their teachers apples out of gratitude.

To be purely good we have know what is purity.

Even the phrase “passing away” hints that the soul continues.

No one refers to the body as the person after death.

Comment by Robert Wilson: Cemeteries are more for the living than the dead.

The body without the soul is not desirable. By the influence of soul the body can even appear beautiful.

Shymala Kishori Devi Dasi:

When Jarasandha attacked Krishna in Mathura, Krishna had about 100 soldiers in his army, and Jarasandha had 4,000 soldiers for each one of Krishna’s.

The scene of the gruesome battle had a beautiful element to it because Krishna was present. 

The Dvaraka fort was 96,000 square miles.

By the time people see Krishna, they do not need see anything else, for seeing Krishna satisfies the soul.

After seeing Krishna, although Mucukunda had been awakened untimely, he did not pray to Krishna to continue his sleep because he was transcendentally satisfied by Krishna’s presence.

Prahlada prays, “I have no material desires, but if you really want to bless me, then bless me that I do not get any material desires.”

One hope animates my soul: To spend day and night singing Your holy name while living in Your divine abode.

Three important things about prayers:
They involve glorification of the Lord.
They are personal.
They are specific.
Just remember “GPS”, glorification, personal, specific.

As a kid we had a Christian prayer book, and as an experiment, we decided to pray to Jesus to help us find our coloring book. We found the book, and thus I concluded that Jesus was for real.

Comment by me:

Commenting on this pastime, speakers often say because Kalayavana was untouchable [because of his degraded habits], Krishna did not want to touch him in the processing of killing him, thus he arranged Mucukunda to incinerate him.

Sometimes I pray for uninterrupted sleep because I find my sadhana is so much better when I am well rested. Is that a bona fide prayer?

In The Nectar of Devotion, Rupa Goswami advises we pray to the deity for His mercy.

It is more pleasing to pray to Krishna about our actual situation than just robotically offer prayers we know.

Comment by Kalakantha Prabhu: One reason Mucukunda prayed for uninterrupted sleep and the ability to burn anyone who woke him, is that he was tired of fighting for the demigods and did not want them to ask him to fight for them again.

Comments after class by me:

In case you want to know my prayers for sleep, I have two:

My dear Lord Krishna, I desire to awaken my love for You by practicing the yoga You describe in Bhagavad-gita. You mention that one cannot be a yogi if he sleeps too much or too little. I am having great difficulty following that instruction to not sleep too little. Please help me.

May dear Krishna, if You think that additional rest will increase the quality of my service to You, then please allow it to happen.

Dhameshvar Mahaprabhu das Prabhu:

If I give my complete attention to you, I cannot give my complete attention to someone else. But Krishna can give his complete attention to all of us at once.

Spiritual life is not about conversion but about connection.

The universe is within Krishna, yet Krishna appears to be in the universe.

Comment by Abhimanyu Prabhu: Krishna “stole” butter from the older gopis  because they were all his confidential devotees and He wanted to fulfill their desires to personally serve Him.

Abhimanyu Prabhu:

I witnessed how Krishna provides remembrance of Himself for those who spread His message this morning accompanying my friend Dhameshvar Prabhu at the hospital. Although he was not in control of his body, he was able to remember all the prayers of Queen Kunti he was teaching us last semester. The others at the emergency room were left to listen to whatever was on the TV there.

Srila Prabhupada said that if a disciple desires from something material from the spiritual master, he may get that thing, but he will not get the empowerment to spread Lord Caitanya’s message.

Birth is one misery of the body. No baby comes out of the womb laughing.

Comment by Dhrstadyumna: The word “sincere” is derived from a Latin word that means “without cracks”.

Kalki Prabhu:

Maybe three times I would feel in the morning that I was empowered by Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas [spiritual teachers] and that I would do really big on book distribution that day, and I did do really big on sankirtana that day.


To understand that by chanting this transcendental sound vibration one can attain the spiritual world is the greatest gift.

Anyone I stop on book distribution, I try to get to chant the entire maha-mantra, and I find that it changes the whole atmosphere. If they were not originally inclined to get a book, sometimes they change their mind.

A thirteen- or fourteen-year-old boy who got a book from me came running up to me an hour later profusely thanking me for the book, saying, “You cannot get this knowledge in these books any place else. It is sacred knowledge.”

One girl I distributed a book to came up to me a few days later and said, “I had the best experience in my life chanting this maha-mantra. Just reading the Science of Self-Realization I am thinking of redirecting my life.”

If people get the books and come to the temple, and there is not harinama sankirtana performed there, they will not get the full benefit, because harinama sankirtana [congregational chanting of the holy name] is the yuga-dharma [spiritual practice for this age].

Srila Prabhupada said the secret of success in book distribution is to desire to please the previous spiritual masters.


Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda are more on our minds than usual as Their appearance days are this time of year. Thus I share a verse about Them:

vande sri-kirshna-caitanya-
nityanandau sahoditau
gaudodaye pushpavantau
citrau san-dau tamo-nudau

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto Sri Krishna Caitanya and Lord Nityananda, who are like the sun and moon. They have arisen simultaneously on the horizon of Gauda [Bengal] to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and thus wonderfully bestow benediction upon all.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi 1.2)