Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Travel Journal#12.12: London, Stonehenge, Tours, Loche, Chateauroux, Paris

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 12, No. 12
By Krishna-kripa das
(June 2016, part two)
London, Stonehenge, Tours, Loche, Chateauroux, Paris
(Sent from Manchester, England, on July 6, 2016)

Where I Went and What I Did

I continued doing harinama with Harinama Ruci in London into the second half of June, taking a break on the first Saturday to attend the Weekend Warriors program at Shepard’s Bush, part of greater London. Of course, I attended the legendary Saturday night harinama in London, with Harinama Ruci and some devotee friends from other countries adding to the already ecstatic event. The summer solstice was a harinama marathon for me as I chanted at the Stonehenge Solstice festival between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. with some of the Harinama Ruci devotees and devotees from London and Northampton and then from 6:05 p.m. to 11:20 p.m. in Tours, France, with Janananda Goswami, other of the Harinama Ruci devotees, and devotees from our New Mayapur community in Central France. Apparently I was the only devotee to attend both events. The next few days we chanted with some of the Harinama Ruci devotees and New Mayapur devotees in nearby cities like Loche, Chateauroux, and Tours. The day before the Paris Ratha-yatra we did harinama for many hours in Paris with Harinama Ruci, local Paris devotees and devotees visiting for the Ratha-yatra. The Paris Ratha-yatra was wonderful as usual with a four-hour procession, visiting devotees, many enthusiastic Indian congregational devotees, and some Paris residents, who have become Ratha-yatra regulars, and this year’s distinguished guests, Janananda Goswami and Bhakti Prabhava Swami. We also did harinama around Les Halles for half an hour after the Ratha-yatra stage show ended. Then I did harinama for three hours a day for four days in Central Paris at Saint Michel, and had at least three people join me each day, thus ending the very ecstatic month of June.

I share insights from lectures by Srila Prabhupada, the journal of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, a presentation by Satyanarayan Prabhu on distribution of foreign language books, a class by Mahatma Prabhu, recorded lectures of Kadamba Kanana Swami, a class by Bhakti Prabhava Swami, a class by senior brahmacari Gaura Hari Prabhu of Scandinavia, and a class by Ter Kadamba Prabhu.

I would like to thank Janananda Goswami for kindly paying for my travel to France to do harinama and facilitating future travel. Thanks to Jay Krishna of London for his donation. Thanks to Caitanya Candrodaya Prabhu for his donation of Polish currency, Visnu Jana Prabhu for his donation of Czech currency, and Rasika Mangala Prabhu for his donation of American currency. Thanks to Valentin for contributing to my train ticket to the Paris temple and letting me stay at his place and feeding me for three days. Thanks to Cakradhara Prabhu of Paris for letting me stay at his place one night and giving me lunch. Thanks to Harinama Ruci for the many photos of harinama in Tours and one of the Paris Ratha-yatra. Thanks to Caitanya Candrodaya Prabhu for his photo of Stonehenge.


July 6: Newcastle
July 7–9: Polish Padayatra
July 10: Prague Ratha-yatra
July 12–16: Polish Woodstock
July 17–26: Polish Summer Festival Tour
July 27–29: Berlin harinama?
July 30: Berlin Ratha-yatra
July 31–August 4: Czech Padayatra
August 5–11: Baltic Summer Festival
August 12–14: Ancient Trance Festival near Leipzig?
August 15–17: ?
August 17: Prague?
August 18–21: Trutnoff (Czech Woodstock)
August 22: Prague
August 23: London
August 24–27: Newcastle [including Janmastami and Vyasa Puja]
August 28: Leeds
August 29: Newcastle
August 30: Edinburgh
August 31–September 1: Newcastle
September 2: Sheffield
September 3: York
September 4: Newcastle
September 5–12: Ireland
September 13–: New York City Harinam

London Harinamas with Harinama Ruci

For a week, I chanted each day in the streets of London with Harinama Ruci and the London devotees.

Once an older Indian man listened to us sing at the Tottenham Court Road tube station for at least an hour. He said several remarkable things. First he said, “I have been listening just ten minutes, and I feel so refreshed it is like I had an hours rest.” Then he said that most people out here are sleeping. I explained that we were hoping to wake them up by the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. Later he said, “This is one of the best examples of compassion I have seen. Thank you so much for doing this. You are truly great people.”

On their last day visiting London, several Kentucky schoolgirls had a great time singing and dancing with Harinama Ruci and the Soho Street devotees. After they had danced with us for several minutes and were preparing to leave, one of them told her friends, “I think I have found my religion!” (https://youtu.be/UbJmQp3oDF8):

Sometimes people in bars, like The Flying Horse Pub on Oxford Street, are happy to invite our chanting party in, and some of their guests have a great time singing and dancing with us (https://youtu.be/eh9UEKBFKtc):

I talked to an Italian man who lived in Scotland. He was happy to purchase a book from one of our distributors because he had an interest in meditation and yoga. He felt Italians were not as open to such alternative ideas as people in the UK. I asked him where he lived in Scotland, and he said near Glasgow. I told him we had a farm in Lesmahagow, and he heard of that town and knew it was not far from him. He was happy to have me write the address of Karuna Bhavan, our Scottish eco farm, in his book.

An Indian family was also happy to encounter our chanting and to purchase a book. The father said they were from Edinburgh, and I wrote the address of our Edinburgh Gauranga Mantra Center and its hours in the back of his book. I felt happy to connect these people with Hare Krishna programs in their area.

I met several people from France over the several days I was in London, and I had memorized the schedule of next Sunday’s Paris Ratha-yatra and would tell them. At least one guy sounded like he would definitely go.

Many onlookers enjoyed dancing with the devotees. 

Some of them enjoyed swinging with the devotees. 

One delighted in swinging the harinama banner.

Dharmatma Prabhu, who I know from Alachua, always likes to get the association of devotees who are enthusiastic to share Krishna consciousness with others, like Parasurama Prabhu of London and the Harinama Ruci traveling harinama party. In London in June, he could connect with both of them.

I have many video clips of chanting with Harinama Ruci and the London devotees in Central London. Some were extra special, which I present individually, and the others I merged together with those from the same day:

There is a guy, who is appareled in a British flag, who regularly interacts with the London harinama devotees, and in this case, also with Harinama Ruci (https://youtu.be/zOEqm0Tw2JU):

Once Harinama Ruci danced with workers and customers in Kingdom of Sweets shop (https://youtu.be/tKFOwMPHN-4):

Two workers really enjoyed singing and dancing with Harinama Ruci in yet another London shop (https://youtu.be/Xtl6LfsVmk8):

Chanting Hare Krishna with Harinama Ruci in London 2016 - Day 3 (https://youtu.be/PkM7iMDJcK0):

Chanting Hare Krishna with Harinama Ruci in London 2016 - Day 4

Chanting Hare Krishna with Harinama Ruci in London 2016 - Day 5

Chanting Hare Krishna with Harinama Ruci in London 2016 - Days 6 and 7

Shepard’s Bush Weekend Warriors Program

At the Northampton Ratha-yatra the previous Saturday, Jay Krishna, a college-aged Indian youth invited me to attend his Weekend Warrior programs in London some Saturday, so I decided to take him up on it the very next week. The location was Shepard’s Bush, just about twenty minutes from our Soho Street temple on the tube.

I was happy to encounter Veera, a graduate of Newcastle University, who attended our programs there, and on occasion came on harinama with us. She frequently goes out on these Saturday programs with the other devotees, mostly college-aged.

They have a book table.

And next to the table is a chanting party.

While we were chanting Hare Krishna at Shepard’s Bush, some Moslems, who were set up nearby, asked if we could be quiet for two minutes so they could say their midday prayers. I thought it would be good for interfaith relations if we agreed to their request, so I said yes. Then I remembered I also had to say my midday prayer, Gayatri, so it worked out very nicely!

Earlier one Muslim man and a lady with a video camera did an interview with me. I attempted to clear up some of their misconceptions of Hindu ideas of God. In our conversation, we agreed that God periodically sends messengers to enlighten human society. The man was very convinced that Muhammad was the most recent of these representatives of God, and therefore, that everyone should follow him and become a Muslim. I explained that although we accepted Muhammad was representing God, in fact, Lord Caitanya had come much more recently, in A.D. 1486, in Bengal, and therefore, we were following the latest divine messenger. He, however, was not convinced.

It was inspiring seeing all the young devotees coming out to share the chanting, the literature, and the spiritual food, with the many people passing by the Shepard’s Bush railway and underground station.

Ask a Monk

Some devotees have had success in sharing Krishna consciousness by sitting down with an “Ask a Monk” sign and talking to whoever comes by about spiritual topics.

Here are some devotees who have done this, along with their signs. 

If you get married, just make a minor adjustment:

Stonehenge Summer Solstice Harinama

Although previously the Stonehenge Summer Solstice festival was attended by nearly 30,000 people, this year there were 10,000–12,000 people there. This was attributed to the fact they charged £15 per car for parking, when it was free before, and they did not permit carrying of alcohol into the area immediately around the stones. As a result there were fewer of the uncontrolled rowdy sort of people who can make life unnecessarily difficult, and that was a blessing.

As usual there were many people who enjoyed chanting and dancing with us, some for quite a well. Since Mahavishnu Swami was not there, some of the younger devotees had to lead the kirtanas, and they did remarkably well.

As usual, Parasurama Prabhu and his associates made wonderful prasadam and distributed it in the parking lot, just before the path to the stones. Many people were very appreciative.

Sunrise is an important part of festival, and fortunately it was clear enough to see it this year.

I encouraged my friend Caitanya Candrodaya Prabhu to come for the first time. Afterward he wrote me, “I would do it every year. It’s pure bliss.” Not all my friends have such a positive experience. Some have never come because they are afraid it will be a burnout, and some have come once or twice and found it is too much of a burnout for them. Others though, do not want to miss the opportunity to share the chanting of Hare Krishna with many people who are more open to it than your average crowd.

I took some video of the darker parts of the festival with my phone, which although has a lower resolution, has a light on it (https://youtu.be/LJYz4xM3EAY):

The lighter parts of the festival I videoed with my camera (https://youtu.be/E2LnugViVVk):

Tours Festival of Music Harinama
With Janananda Goswami and Harinama Ruci

Fête de la Musique (Festival of Music) is an annual festival in France on June 21 when many musicians play in the streets. On that evening Janananda Goswami, Harinama Ruci, and devotees from our New Mayapur community in Central France chanted Hare Krishna for over 5 hours in Tours. Many people enjoyed chanting Hare Krishna and dancing with the devotees.

I did not catch more than two hours sleep on the van ride from Stonehenge to London, the bus to the airport, and the flight to Tours, France, so I was not in optimum condition for the event, but still it was wonderful to be a part of it and to see all the people happy to interact with the devotees’ chanting party. 

Janananda Goswami encouraged a group of young people to chant the mantra.

They really took it seriously.

They even ended up getting books.

The whole group posed with the devotees afterward. 

At one point, a group of saxophonists played along with us. You can hear them in the video below.

Here are some highlights (https://youtu.be/bC6XPIpSgFI):

Chanting with Harinama Ruci in Central France

Between the Festival of Music in Tours on June 21 and the day before the Paris Ratha-yatra on June 26, Harinama Ruci was based in New Mayapur in Central France, and chanted in Loche, Chateauroux, and Tours. Tours was the most lively of them all.

Here is a little video from Chateauroux (https://youtu.be/lPn6nKwuZJo):

Here a little video from Tours (https://youtu.be/lW7mUq54Dtk):

The most striking part of the Tours harinama is when a violinist joined us, then an accordion player, and finally a saxophonist (https://youtu.be/npejbJ7pRFM):

Chanting in Paris with Harinama Ruci

At Saint Michel, one bride to be, dressed in white as an angel, and her many bridesmaids, dressed in black as devils, delighted in dancing with the devotee ladies.

Afterward I asked Mangala-vati Devi Dasi to give her a garland, and the bride gratefully accepted it and said she would wear it on her wedding day. 

Later a group of young ladies from Michigan danced with the female devotees, and they even chanted the mantra nicely, two words at a time. I gave one of them a garland and offered to send her the video I took of them, and she gave me her email. After I sent her the video, she wrote, “I was very happy when we were dancing and singing. It just made my day a whole lot brighter and happier. . . . Thank you so much for such a lovely experience.” I also told her the details of our Michigan Ratha-yatra, and she said she could not go herself, but one her friends who danced with us would go. At one point a whole busload of young tourists sang the mantra and danced in a circle with our entire party. On the bridge to the side of Notre Dame, several ladies danced with the devotee ladies, and some took great pleasure in singing the mantra. I invited one lady to the Ratha-yatra. From talking with her, I concluded she would like my garland, and she did. I invited her to dance with the devotee ladies, but she said she was too shy.

One of them came and grabbed her hand, and she happily danced with them, and her friend soon joined her. These are some of the moments captured in this video  (https://youtu.be/8Y2M8EuC4z0):

As usual, many people enjoyed dancing with us.

And some liked swinging.

Paris Ratha-yatra

Nice features of the Paris Ratha-yatra include its great length, four hours, long at least for a Western Ratha-yatra.

The route is in the center of the city, and passes Gare du Nord, its largest train station.

There are Paris residents, who though not fulltime devotees, who like to dress up and take part in the procession.

As you can see in the video below, there are many Indian congregational persons who very enthusiastic chanting and dancing in the procession.

Some of them distributed prasadam to onlookers during the procession.

Some of them also cook a sizable feast for the stage show afterwards.

Janananda Goswami hurt his foot on the steps in New Mayapur, and unfortunately could not take part in the dancing as he usually does.

I saw someone playing a Western drum in the procession, an uncommon sight.

Many tourists, such as these girls from Argentina, were attracted by the beauty of the procession and the chanting and dancing.

You can see from these photos that many people really enjoyed watching Lord Jagannath’s Ratha-yatra procession.

Here is some video of the Ratha-yatra procession (https://youtu.be/7Lw6qcH4sio):

Here is some video of the kirtana during the stage show after the procession

Harinamas the Week After the Paris Ratha-yatra

The day after the Ratha-yatra, I chanted at Saint Michel for an hour or so, and was joined by Caroline, who has been living in Paris for three years as a sadhu, with just a small plastic bag of possessions, and depending only on God for food and accommodation. Next Sasha, who I know from the NYC Harinam party and who is studying in Paris for two weeks, joined me. Then came Valentin (wearing a red hat), a Paris student dedicated to harinama, and the four of us chanted for two more hours. Valentin sponsored a Bhagavad-gita for Caroline, so she can perfect the life of a sadhu.

Valentin, who had a small studio apartment in central Paris, kindly allowed me to stay at his place for three days, and he also came out on all the harinamas. Besides Valentin, Caroline also came out every day for at least part of the time, which was very amazing for such a new person. Each of the four days we had at least four devotees, which is better than my experience in a lot of places.

The second day, Rohit (playing the drum below), the harinama organizer in Paris, inspired a good crowd of devotees to chant. I would say we had at least twelve people. Rohit was so enthusiastic with the final kirtana, we actually did three and a quarter hours that day. Chakradhara Prabhu, a disciple of Lokanath Swami, who is dedicated to distributing books on harinama, came out for the last three days.

Toward the end the devotees danced in a circle. They were joined by a Mexican girl, who attends our temple in Mexico City, and was very happy to encounter our harinama, participating for half an hour.

The third day, we had fewer people, but we had some who had not come the previous days, including Gaura Bhakta Prabhu, who I see regularly at the Birmingham 24-Hour Kirtan, and one devotee lady, who had joined us on Saturday, when Harinama Ruci came out. Valentin distributed two books to someone who was seeking spiritual knowledge.

One boy enjoyed dancing with us, but when he saw me take his picture he seemed a little displeased. I was worried I offended him in some way, but later he gave us a donation.

On the final day, we did a walking harinama, when half an hour before we were going to stop, a louder musical group wanted to play. While walking from Saint Michel to Notre Dame, and onward to Les Halles, we encountered one person who wanted to know about joining the ashram and a young lady named Radha Dasi, who likes harinama.

Reflecting on my experience in Paris, I felt very happy that we did three hours of harinama each day with at least four persons, and new people with spiritual aspirations had the chance to encounter the chanting of Hare Krishna and the wisdom in Srila Prabhupada’s books.

To see the photos I did not use in this journal, click on the link below or copy it to your browser:


Srila Prabhupada:

From a letter addressed to Sir sent from New Delhi, on April 15, 1961: 

“Without spiritual culture a human society is another polished edition of the animals. There is no value of education in the animal society as the trained up lion in a circus is never to be trusted. The lion is not trusted because it cannot assimilate spiritual knowledge. But a man is able to take up this knowledge and his formation of the brain is meant for it. It is nothing extraordinary for him because he is prepared for this culture and is awaiting proper administration only.”

From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.31 in Mayapur on October 11, 1974:

Durga is so fearful yet she cannot disobey Krishna’s order. . . . That fearful agent is also fearful of Krishna.

From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.32 in Mayapur on October 12, 1974:

If we please Krishna, all our problems are solved.

To be happy it is not sufficient to know you have money, you actually have to utilize the money. Similarly it is not sufficient to know “I am Brahman” (I am spirit), but you have to engage in Brahman activities, service to the Supreme Brahman (service to the Supreme Spirit, Krishna).

How will the impersonalists take shelter of the lotus feet of Krishna for they think the Supreme Brahman has no legs?

To accept God as the supreme father or mother means to exploit God for your sense gratification. The Vaishnava idea is to accept God as son and to render so much service to Him.

Yashoda is not upset that Krishna distributed her butter to the moneys, but she is upset that the butter meant to feed Krishna was no longer present and He might go hungry.

The monkeys that Krishna gives butter to are not ordinary monkeys. They are devotees playing as monkeys for Krishna’s satisfaction.

Actually the sun does not rise or set; it is always present. In the same way, Krishna does not appear or disappear, although it seems that way; He is always present.

Satsvarupa dasa Goswami:


“Prabhupada gave us the mercy
of the holy names. He
made us brahmanas, sannyasis and gosvamis
despite the fact that we were Western-
born mlecchas.
He was transcendental
to Hindu-Muslim-
Christian religion. He saw us under
our material coverings
as pure spirit-souls.
He brought us our good qualities,
and the best
quality is distributing
Krishna consciousness to others.”

Mahatma Prabhu:

Once a man asked Srila Prabhupada, “Can you see God?”
Srila Prabhupada replied, “Yes, and you can see Him too. He is on the cover of my latest book.” [The book had a picture of the Lord as paramatma on its cover.]

Coming for darsana is presenting ourselves to God in the deity form so He can see us.

One man was telling me that you get to a point where you lose your identity. I questioned him, “How do you know you have lost your identity? If you lose your identity, how can you know anything?”

Humility means to understand that you are completely dependent on Krishna.

Some philosophies, although not outwardly atheistic, imply that it is possible to figure out everything for oneself, which is not a fact.

Sudama saw Srila Prabhupada chanting and crying. He came back later. Prabhupada was still crying. Srila Prabhupada asked why he left when he came before. Sudama said because he was crying. Srila Prabhupada said, “Yes, I was crying because for a moment my spiritual master, by his mercy, let me see Krishna.” Sudama began crying. Prabhupada asked why Sudama was crying, and Sudama explained he was crying because Srila Prabhupada was crying.

When I was a new devotee, we were often warned, “Don’t speculate.”

We should never think, “By my own power, I can become successful.”

If you think you have devotion you don’t, and if you don’t think you have devotion, you do.”

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said that if you think you’re a devotee that you are not a devotee.

A devotee thinks in any condition he is servant.

And what is inconceivable for the conditioned soul is that the pure devotee thinks everyone else is a better devotee than he.

It used to be things were confirmed by the clicking of the lizard; now they are confirmed by the ring of a mobile phone.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said not to give phony speeches that you are the lowest devotee but to actually feel it.

You cannot have a humble atheist in the true sense. Humility is meant to be in relation to God.

Srila Prabhupada said, “A devotee is satisfied with a little service, a little prasadam, and a place lay down.”

We encourage people to engage their nature in devotional service. But if they move into the ashram, they will have to do what they are told, for that is brahmacari training. Later one will have the chance to engage his talents in Krishna’s service. And then at another level, one is satisfied doing whatever needs to be done.

We understand what is humility, but we do not imitate it. Humility can start with appreciation of the service and qualities of the other devotees.

Satyanarayana Prabhu (BBT):

We are producing many books in the Far East, Middle East BBT focusing on making attractive covers, which take into account cultural differences. We find by focusing on the cultures we increase the sales.

Our printer entered some of our book covers into some contests, and they won awards.

We found many people are thrilled to get books in their own language. They are so grateful that we have produced attractive books they can easily read, that also buy more English books from us than they would previously, and thus both foreign and English book distribution increases.

More than a billion devout Muslims worldwide are experiencing an identity crisis, or even an existential crisis, due to what’s going on it the name of their religion. Thus it is great time to share with them the wisdom in Srila Prabhupada’s books.

When the airports in Los Angeles were closed to Hare Krishna book distribution, devotees started doing tables at universities and tourist spots and found they did two or three times more books than before. Tourist spots and universities are unbelievably good places to sell books.

I am responsible for books in fourteen languages, but I am concentrating on the big six, Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese books. Arabic and Chinese are the most popular.

I was in the room in 1976 when Srila Prabhupada made the legendary statement, “Anyone who distributes books or preaches in the Middle East, I take the dust from his feet and put on my head.” He made that comment after we told him that a Muslim university had taken a set of his books.

To see in detail what the Far East, Middle East BBT is doing, to see samples of their book covers, and to help distribute their books, please check out their web sites,
http://www.bbtfeme.com and https://www.facebook.com/bbtfeme.

Kadamba Kanana Swami:

From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.1.24 in Vrindavan on November 6, 2005:

Everywhere Srila Prabhupada saw Krishna.

It is not only that the devotee loves Krishna, but Krishna has a deep love for His devotee.

If we see the kindness and the loving arrangements Krishna has made, that will enhance our love for Him.

What the atheists see as smashing thunderbolts are Krishna’s loving slaps.

No one lost in the battle of Kurukshetra. All who died in the presence of Krishna attained liberation.

An element of love is already there even in the beginning of devotional service.

During an airport arrival reception for Srila Prabhupada, all the devotees were crying such tears of love to be seeing Srila Prabhupada, all except Srutakirti Prabhu. Later while massaging Srila Prabhupada, Srutakirti mentioned this. Prabhupada did not say anything, but the next day during the massage, Prabhupada said, “This is also love.”

We must give mercy, although we may not have so much mercy to give.

The Panca-tattva first drank the nectar from the storehouse of love of God again and again, and then they distributed it.

When we come to ISKCON it is like we get a little cup to get a few drops of nectar and to distribute it, but as time goes on that cup gets bigger, and if we distribute lots of nectar the cup grows faster.

Tamal Krishna Goswami had so many jewels from his personal association with Srila Prabhupada to share. “What do I have to offer the devotees?” I thought. I decided to sing for the pleasure of the Vaishnavas and the Lord.

It is false humility if we think we cannot give mercy, because we have been given mercy.

The kanishta (neophyte) worries, “Suppose I give up my material desires and I do not get the higher taste, what will I do? I will be lost. I will be in nowhere land.”

We must get to the point of deciding to go back to Godhead this life. Then we may become an advanced devotee.

When the sannyasi leaves home, he leaves all his relations in the care of Krishna. Indeed, he realizes that he cannot actually protect them and that Krishna is their only protector.

We tend to preach “you can practice Krishna consciousness at home,” but how glorious are those who can give up everything and live in the temple!

Krishna is inside the universe, and yet the universe is within Krishna. That is our inconceivable Krishna.

We should serve the devotees because we depend on their blessings.

We cannot take much credit for what we have done because Srila Prabhupada created this whole movement, and we more or less just stepped into it. Everything was all set up for us.

We have doubt, “Have I done enough service that Krishna will give me love of God?” It is best we think we have not, and therefore, we need the blessings of the Vaishnavas. If they bless us, then it is as if their service is added to ours.

We pray, we serve, we take all opportunities, we ask for blessings, and thus we hope we will advance toward love of God.

When the devotees kick us, that is also a blessing. They may kick us very hard, but we will not go away.

It is not that it is automatic that living in the temple is better, but there are many opportunities there.

Formerly the sages went to the jungle, not worrying about all the ferocious animals, depending fully on Krishna’s protection.

Comment by a devotee: Actually to go to the West to distribute Krishna consciousness is more dangerous than the yogis going to the jungle.

Comment by another devotee: Different devotees can give mercy to different degrees. The prema bhakta can bring people up to his level. The bhava bhakta can bring one to suddha-nama-ruci. A pure devotee sadhaka can bring people to faith in pure devotional service. Even if we are not at any of these levels, by distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books we give people that association of a prema bhakta.
From a class on Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 8.194 in Radhadesh on September 7, 2003:

When we feel separated from Krishna, that is the time to intensify our practice to attract Krishna.

Better we get serious about our spiritual practice before falling down rather than after.

Bhakti Prabhava Swami:

That we have material attachment is no surprise, but when we are too much attached, that is detrimental to our spiritual life.

Everyone wants to be happy in this world, but do you know anyone in this world who has only happiness?

We must hear from the right person with rapt attention to advance spiritually.

Inquiring means asking the spiritual master how to practically apply the knowledge in one’s life.

When the spiritual master and Krishna are pleased, we get realization. Krishna, with the shining lamp of knowledge, destroys the darkness born of ignorance.

We think we are the enjoyer and that some things are ours, but that is illusion.

In Flanders, where I am from, young couples value building their own homes. Thus they get a bank loan and build a house. They spend 30 years paying off the bank loan. Just a couple years before they get their pension, they can finally say, “It is mine.” And then in just a very few years they are gone. 

We have so many desires from our past lives, and Krishna, who is in the heart, reminds us of them, not all at once, because that would be too much, but one after another.

When desires arise in the mind, we must let them go and not try to catch them.

One-pointed intelligence means being one in interest with Krishna.

Srila Prabhupada said, “I am never separated from my spiritual master.”

Attachment to sadhus is valuable because if we are attached to the sadhus, we will hear from them and become purified.

Gaura Hari Prabhu [from Norway]:

There is a psychological experiment where subjects were shown a movie of a basketball game and told to count the number of times the ball was passed. After seeing the video, they were asked the question, “Did you see the gorilla?” When they said no, the video was replayed, and this time they saw the gorilla, although some could not believe it was the same movie they had previously seen.

On a battlefield, no one says, “Go ahead and kill me. Don’t hesitate,” as Vrtrasura did to Indra.

If we are a failure, it is still good for us. Why? Because we took the trouble to attempt to please the Lord.

The purity of a servant is seen in adverse conditions.

We all know about Srila Prabhupada’s great success, but it is good to remember his struggle.

Some people look forward to death, and even commit suicide, because life is so miserable, but a devotee looks forward to death because he is convinced of his future superior destination.

If someone is able to maintain enthusiasm in devotional service to the Lord for many years that is an indication there is something real there.

The fact that Kripacarya was entrusted with taking care of the young Maharaja Pariksit although he had previously assisted in the death of his father shows that in Vedic times people were not judged as enemies forever because of past inimical dealings.

Ter Kadamba Prabhu:

The Buddhists and Mayavadis consider this material world as unreal but we actually experience it. Where did it come from? They say it comes from the jiva, the individual living entity. Where does the jiva come? They said it comes from the illusion. This has the problem of circular reasoning and the also the problem that you have two, Brahman and illusion, and not the One they promote.

The people who having a great time in the material world are the people we should feel sorry for since life is meant for leaving the material world.

The secondary activities like cleansing our body are not things that can be done unlimitedly like chanting Hare Krishna.

Our duties are given by an authority. They are not self-made.

Jiva Goswami makes the point that if something is mentioned in the beginning it is important, if it is mentioned in the end it is important, and if it is repeated it is important.

The rasa is subservient to the tattva yet the rasa is more important. [The tattva is that Krishna is the whole and we are the parts, thus our position is to serve Krishna. All the rasas [enjoyable devotional relationships with Krishna] are based on this service. The rasa is what is actually relishable, but if we aspire for this without understanding the tattva, we will become like sahajiyas, who take devotional service very cheaply.]

Even in the spiritual world people do their own duties. Mother Yashoda always acts as Krishna’s mother. She does not go out to the fields and play with Krishna as the cowherd boys do, although it might be fun.

Krishna enjoys playing with His energies, and playing with His conscious energies, rather than dull matter, is more fun for Him.

We cannot trust our judgment, and therefore, we have authorities.

Some people think we are too much attached to the rules, and they think they are superior because of that. Sometimes they have some feeling for devotional service and they think because they have some attachment to Krishna, they can do whatever they like. The actual standard is to follow the rules with attachment to Krishna.

Lord Brahma is occasionally covered by lust or anger, and yet he is the leader of our whole sampradaya [spiritual lineage]. This is evidence that you can be a guru even you are not an uttama-adhikara, a devotee on the highest level.

If we do not feel that we are equipped to handle a situation, it may a situation Krishna has created for us to become qualified to handle such situations.

The madhyama [the devotee at the middle level] is 75% free from his conditioning and the 25% remaining is so insignificant it does not keep him from executing his devotional service nicely.

If a yatra [devotional community] is strong, it tends to remain strong because of good association.

If you are worried about not having a taste, then do not focus on the taste but on your duty, for by acting out of duty, you will get a taste.

An advanced devotee thinks how much I can give and how little I can take.

After initiation what happens to you is given by Krishna for your advancement. [It is not your karma.]


This Sri Caitanya-caritamrita verse greatly inspires me in chanting in public in all kinds of different situations as it reveals that to be the mood of Lord Caitanya and His intimate associates:

patra-apatra-vicara nahi, nahi sthana-asthana
yei yanha paya, tanha kare prema-dana

“In distributing love of Godhead, Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates did not consider who was a fit candidate and who was not, nor where such distribution should or should not take place. They made no conditions. Wherever they got the opportunity, the members of the Pañca-tattva distributed love of Godhead.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 7.23)