Saturday, October 01, 2016

Travel Journal#12.17: North UK, Ireland, and New York City

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 12, No. 17
By Krishna-kripa das
(September 2016, part one)
Hull, Sheffield, York, Scarborough, Newcastle
Belfast, Dublin, Kilkenny, New York City Harinam  
(Sent from Manhattan, New York, on October 1, 2016)

Where I Went and What I Did

Govardhan Dasi, a Prabhupada disciple who loves harinama, and her husband John joined me for harinama in Hull, a city none of us had chanted in before. Then I went to Sheffield for the last time this year, and did two evening programs with a harinama in between, which was attended by three other devotees, more than usual in Sheffield. Then I chanted with Govardhan and John in York and Govardhan’s place of residence, Scarborough. In York, we were joined by three devotees from the Preston area, a pleasant surprise. After the Scarborough harinama I returned to Newcastle to give the Sunday feast lecture, I went to Ireland the next day, and did harinama with Bhagavati Dasi and Ananta Nitai Prabhu in Belfast for five days and gave the evening Radhastami lecture. The next day we had six devotees on a six-hour harinama in Dublin. Instead of going to Govindadvipa for Radhastami, Ananta Nitai Prabhu stayed in Dublin and did three hours of harinama and made sure we had a Sunday feast program as usual. The next day, invited by Eleanora, Ananta Nitai Prabhu and I chanted in Kilkenny. The day after that, I flew to New York City, my base for the autumn season, where I joined the New York City Harinama party, doing harinama for the last three days of the first half of September.

I share a great quote from Srila Prabhupada’s Sri Caitanya-caritamrita. I include lots of nice realizations from Janananda Goswami. I have notes on a Radhastami lecture by Bhagavati Dasi, with some descriptions from Ananda Vrindavan Campu in it. I have notes from an amazing lecture on cooperation by Adi Purusha Prabhu, who does Food for Life in Manhattan.

Thanks to Angela for her kind donation to top up my British SIM card and other expenses. Thanks to the Newcastle and Dublin temples for supporting my harinama program. Thanks to Eleanora of Kilkenny for paying our bus fare to chant in her city and for giving us an additional donation. Thanks to Govardhan Dasi for paying for my unexpected harinama in Malton and allowing me to keep our harinama collections in Hull and Scarborough. Thanks to Krishna Katha Prabhu of Belfast for his kind donation. Thanks to Valeri of Latvia for his kind donation. Thanks to Ananta Nitai Prabhu for giving me half of our net harinama collection in Kilkenny and the U.S. currency he collected previously. Thanks to Dennis and the York nama-hatta for their donation toward the cost of my travel to York. Thanks to tall John of Leeds for his donation. Thanks to Madhavi Rani Dasi of Ukraine for her donation. Thanks to Anya, the daughter of two Polish Indradyumna Swami disciples in York, for her kind donation. Thanks also to the old lady who gave me a donation in Malton.

Thanks to Govardhan Dasi for her photos of our harinamas in Hull and Scarborough. Thanks to Joe Kenny for his photos of our Sheffield harinama. Thanks to Narinder Singh for his photo of us chanting in Belfast. Thanks to Stella Montoya for her photos of New York City Harinam in Grand Central Station. 


October 1–November 7: New York City Harinam
November 8: Philadelphia Harinama and Bhakti Garden Tuesday Program
November 9–11: Washington, D.C., Harinama
November 12–27: North Florida
November 28–January 2, 2017: New York City Harinam
January 3, 2017: Atlanta Harinama
January 4, 2017–April 2017: Krishna House (Gainesville) and Florida colleges

Unexpected Harinama in Malton

I took a train from Newcastle to York, which arrived at 8:40 a.m. The train to Scarborough left at 8:40 a.m., so I did not book a ticket for it, but for the 9:40 a.m. train instead. Turns out the 8:40 left at 8:45, so I was able to catch it. I thought if they did not want to honor my ticket, I would just get off at the next stop and wait for the next train, and thus I had nothing to lose. It turned out that they did not honor my ticket because the time was wrong, and they forced me to buy a ticket to Malton, the next stop, which cost £10 (about $13), which is something I never expected and made me really angry. I decided as long as I wasted £10 going to Malton, I might as well chant there, and then I could consider the £10 a preaching expense and feel better about it, and so I chanted for about an hour in Malton.

I walked to the main street, and I set up outside a vacant shop and chanted the Hare Krishna mantra with my harmonium and an amplifier. After perhaps 20 minutes, an older lady threw 47 pence in my basket, saying that would start me off. Then a older man came out of an adjacent eating establishment and complained about my chanting, saying I was following a false religion, and it was cruel to amplify the chanting and force people to listen to it. I said I was just there for 10 more minutes, between trains, and went back to my chanting. Then a lady from the same place complained to me on her way out, and said that no one liked my singing. I pointed to my donation box, and said some people must have liked it, or they would not have given me any money. She said that they probably just felt sorry for me. I continued chanting until it was time to go back to the train station, chanting through the streets of the town, and I continued chanting softly at the train station platform without amplification, waiting for the delayed train to Scarborough. When I told Govardhan Dasi my story, she was happy that I tried to share the holy name in Malton, she told me the poor response simply meant we had not chanted there enough and that we should go back in the future, and she gave me £10 to cover the cost of the train, all of which made me feel a lot better about the whole thing.    

Harinama in Hull

Janananda Goswami once remarked that there are many cities in the UK that have a significant population, but which we never go to for harinama, like Hull, for instance. Thus I suggested to Govardhan Dasi that we might do harinama in Hull sometime. She liked the idea, and she, John, and I drove to Hull on September 1, and chanted for three hours. The whole downtown was under construction for a celebration of Hull as a city of culture the following year, and it was hard to find a quiet place. We encountered people who were curious, people who danced to our music, and people who gave donations. There really was no negativity at all. We decided to return again next year.

As we got back to the car, a young man from a tattoo shop said “Hare Krishna” to us. As we do no regular programs in Hull, I asked him how he knew about Hare Krishna. He said they had one employee who was into Krishna consciousness, and so they were aware of it. They invited us into their shop, and happily participated in our harinama, chanting and dancing in the shop along with us. That was one of the high points of our visit to Hull.

Last Visit to Sheffield for 2016

I took an evening train from Hull to Sheffield, and then traveled to Barnsley, by car with three devotees who had been distributing books in Sheffield. Those devotees try one day each week to distribute books in Sheffield, an increase over past years. At the home of a Latvian couple, Valeri and Alexandria, who are enthusiastic about Krishna consciousness, we had kirtana and wonderful prasadam. I was grateful to Joe for arranging the program and the couple for providing the place and the prasadam.

The next day we did harinama in Sheffield, and Madhavi Rani Devi Dasi, recently initiated by Indradyumna Swami joined us for the first time. Indradyumna Swami is such a supporter of harinama it was beautiful to see his new disciple embracing it. Alex (right) was there most of the time, and Joe came by and tried distributing a few books. Actually I think it was the best-attended harinama I went on in Sheffield this year.

An Indian saxophonist even played with us at one point.

That evening we had a program. Some devotees were at a seminar with Bhakti Vikasa Swami in Manchester and one was sick, so it was just Joe, Alex, and Geoffrey, who came after work, just in time for prasadam as usual.

I made strawberry sweet rice for prasadam.

York Harinama and Program

It was raining lightly for practically the entire three hours on our York harinama. As we looked for an area protected from the rain to chant in, we passed an abandoned shop with an overhang. One apparently homeless man was sitting there with a cup in front of him for donations. Using gestures I asked if we could chant there, and he said he was working there. I had to smile. For me, sitting in front of a bowl and collecting money does not constitute working. You have to be offering a service for the benefit of society. 

We continued and finally found a place where we chanted for two hours, until a nearby vendor complained. 

Then we walked around in the rain again following our usual route. It brought back memories of other rainy harinamas in York. Here is a little video of the part of it before we started walking (

The most striking thing for me was that Rasesvari Dasi, a Prabhupada disciple from Accrington in Lancashire, on the other side of England, came with two others, an older lady, who is a close friend of hers, and Doug, who has been involved in the Preston nama-hatta for years. Even more amazing than their coming so far to do harinama on a rainy day, was that Rasesvari was very happy she had come and found the harinama to be very ecstatic. She must be a very elevated soul!

A nice feature of the evening program was that several devotees came up from Leeds. The monthly Leeds program the previous week was canceled, and I was thinking I would not see my Leeds friends till next year, but Krishna kindly arranged to bring a bunch of them to York.

Also one devotee was visiting from Glasgow. Thus we had a wonderful program attended by devotees from all over the North UK, my base in the summer.

Somehow during the last ten days I was in the UK I saw friends from Chester, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Preston, Leeds, and York, and it was all Krishna’s mercy I was able see them again before returning to America for the winter.

One young lady who called herself Anya, was fascinated by the harinama. Her parents were both disciples of Indradyumna Swami, and she was born in Kolobrzeg, the city nearest our base of the Festival of India in Poland tour. It was coincidental that both Rasesvari Dasi and I had just been in Kolobrzeg a month ago. Anyas mom makes prasadam to sell in York on the weekends, and she is one of the salespersons. She had a friend, also a daughter of a devotee parent, and both the young ladies came to the program, along with one mom and one dog, and they had a good time, especially participating in the kirtana and relishing the prasadam. Anya even gave me a donation, which is rare for devotee kids and rare in general. I told her about our Newcastle eight-hour kirtanas, which are organized by some young and enthusiastic devotees and which she and her friend would definitely like.

Harinama in Scarborough

I had hoped to chant in Scarborough for a full three hours, but it took us longer to recover from the trip to York than planned. Still we chanted over an hour before I had to leave to Newcastle for the Sunday feast. The sky was threatening to rain, and there were a few sprinkles from time to time. One lady felt happier about life from hearing us and expressed her gratitude, and that alone made the harinama feel worth it. In reality, just our going out on harinama gives great pleasure to Srila Prabhupada and Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and thus harinama is always a success, whether we perceive it or not.

Harinamas in Belfast

Thanks to Bhagavati Dasi, who is always ready to go on harinama for three hours every day when I visit Belfast, and thus makes going to Belfast a pleasant experience.

Janananda Goswami came out with us one day in Belfast, and as always, more devotees came out and more people interacted with our party than usual, as you can see in this video (

One little girl danced to our music.

Then forgetting her mom for a moment, she followed our party.

Thursday is one of two weekly harinama days in Belfast, and we had seven devotees in our party that day.

Narinder Singh, a devotee of Krishna who passed by and was happy to see us, took a photo of his son with our party, and sent it to us.

We chanted in Belfast on a rainy Radhastami. Four devotees chanted three hours in a sheltered place, distributing eight books to those who helped donate a total of £9.20 and €2.00.

Harinamas in Dublin

We planned a six-hour harinama in Dublin on Saturday. Bhagavati Dasi, Ananta Nitai Prabhu, Bhakta Alek, and I, who had been doing harinama in Belfast during the week, all took the coach to Dublin, where we were joined by Pat of Wexford, for the entire time, and Dina Dayal Prabhu, who came for the end, after his day of book distribution. Dina Dayal Prabhu greatly pleased me by fixing the straps on my harmonium, increasing its utility.

Dublin is my favorite place to do harinama. I always have one or two core people I can count on to chant with me the whole time, and our venue is on one of the busiest streets, just a block from our temple and restaurant. There are people from all over the world, but they are less rushed than in London or New York. They take pictures, chant, dance, buy books, and give donations.

You can see some of these nice features in these video clips (

At one point an old man danced to our music.

Finishing her ice cream cone, a young lady danced.

One young man played a box drum, a cubical box on which the drummer sits and plays.

People were so generous we covered the cost of our coach to Dublin, paid for the books we distributed, and gave a donation to the temple as well.

Harinama in Kilkenny

Eleanora externally appears to be a retired lady with a heart condition, but she is incredibly enthusiastic to share the Hare Krishna mantra with the residents of the nearest city to her, Kilkenny. She paid the coach tickets for Ananta Nitai Prabhu and I to come down from Dublin and chant for three hours in Kilkenny, and then she cooked a wonderful Ekadasi meal for us to have afterward. Her health permitted her to join us for just an hour, but she was very happy to participate. It was a little awkward to do a day trip from Dublin the day before my transatlantic flight to New York, and Kilkenny pales when compared to Dublin as a harinama spot, but it was worth it to please a devotee and to do outreach in a neglected area. We were happy to see that we were more favorably received than during our first visit to Kilkenny last year, and we distributed more books and collected more donations as well.

New York City Harinam

I was very happy to rejoin Rama Raya Prabhu’s amazing six-hour a day harinama program in New York City.

The very day I arrived from Dublin, I was able to participate for the last three hours of the harinama, and it was wonderful to see Rama Raya Prabhu’s wonderful enthusiasm for chanting Hare Krishna, and the inspirational effect it had the devotees, and on the onlookers. You can get a glimpse of it from this video (

The next day the weather was not so nice, so we had to chant in Grand Central station.

The intelligence, technology and human expertise you need to find trusted answers all comes from chanting Hare Krishna. When the heart is purified by chanting, you can hear the Lord speak from within:

 Stella (right), of Montreal, a regular member of our party, took some pictures there, and engaged a friend in taking others.

One day Binky, who originally became seriously interested in Hare Krishna from encountering the New York City Harinam party, sang my favorite tune, while Yasoda Dulal Prabhu, accompanied her on the harmonium (

While Kaliya Krishna Prabhu was singing and I was dancing off to the side, I saw one blond lady who seemed ever so happy to see the chanting and dancing, so I approached her and gave her a pamphlet. Because of her joyful demeanor, I told her that she should not be shy but should also dance if she felt like it. She did not immediately take me up on that proposal, but that did not surprise me, and I just went back to dancing to the side. Later, however, I noticed she and one guy had begun to dance. I assumed it was the person she was planning to meet at Union Square, but I later learned it was just another guy who had come by, and who wanted to dance. You can see their enthusiasm for dancing to the Hare Krishna chant in this video ( 

I am happy to be back on the New York City Harinam party again.

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


Srila Prabhupada:

From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Antya 20.14:

“The result of chanting is that one awakens his love for Krishna and tastes transcendental bliss. Ultimately, one attains the association of Krishna and engages in His devotional service, as if immersing himself in a great ocean of love.

Janananda Goswami:

The wreath that garlands the world has flowers of Krishna prema intertwined with the holy name.

Lord Caitanya appeared to Narada and declared, “With the chopper of nama-sankirtana I will deliver people from the sinful activities of this age, and for those who flee to distant corners of the world I will send my senapati bhakta [commander-in-chief devotee] to deliver them.” This refers to our Srila Prabhupada.

In 1886, Bhaktivinoda Thakura made this prediction: "Oh for that day when the fortunate English, French, Russian, German, and American people will take up banners, mridangas, and karatalas and raise kirtana through their streets and towns. When will that day come? Oh for the day when the fair skinned men from their side will raise up the chanting of ‘Jaya Sacinandana, Jaya Sacinandana, ki jaya’ and join with the Bengali devotees. When will that day be? On such a day they will say, “Our dear Brothers, we have taken shelter of the ocean of Lord Caitanya’s Love; kindly embrace us" that day will witness the holy transcendental ecstasy of the Vaishnava dharma to be the only dharma, and all sects and religions will flow like rivers into the ocean of Vaishnava dharma. Oh when will that day come?”

Between 1886 and 1896 Bhaktivinoda Thakura predicted very soon someone will appear who will move unrestrictedly throughout the world with Lord Caitanya’s message.

In the history of the Irish yatra about 10% of the people driving the vehicles had licenses. Whenever they got into accident, they would just say that the driver was the one devotee who had a license.

Srila Prabhupada’s song “Krishna Taba Punya Habe Bhai” reveals his mood.

I am sure there is a Jaladuta in the spiritual world going down the river Yamuna.

The mission of Srila Prabhupada was not to tear down physically the Western civilization but to destroy the consciousness that produced it.

Most of the acaryas in our line are followers of Radharani and followers of Lalita Devi because Rupa Goswami is a follower of Lalita Devi.

“Markine Bhagavata-dharma” is very much a mission statement for Srila Prabhupada and us, his followers.

Srila Prabhupada was not a philosophical machine, but rather he had great affection for people.

Srila Prabhupada, when he was in India before coming to America, had plans to send thousands of Back to Godheads to different countries in different continents.
When he was developing the League of Devotees in India, he was planning to have a Sanskrit college as an important part of it.

Old people, who have not lost their youthful desires, suffer greatly.

Old age is created as a warning to all human beings that death is near and to prepare ourselves for it.

When people become old they tend to become fearful and less happy, but Srila Prabhupada said a devotee becomes fearless and happier with age.

Our arguments, our attachments, and our quarrels seem insignificant at the time of death. 

Sincerity of purpose is a key factor in our going back to Godhead. Srila Prabhupada would stress that sincerity is all that is necessary. Sincere means without material motives.

Surrendering to the lotus feet of the Lord means surrendering to His instructions.

Srila Prabhupada that his success was due to his faithful following of his guru’s instructions.

Srila Prabhupada said that no one can follow properly, neither the brahmacaris, nor the grhasthas, the vanaprasthas, or the sannyasis. If I criticize you and you criticize me, we will all go away and no one will go back to Godhead.

Surrender to Krishna is the only way of escaping bondage to sex life and the conception of ourselves as the enjoyer.

By engaging in the service of the Lord one’s consciousness is purified.

St. Francis was traveling with another brother, and they arrived at a monastery too late. The abbot spoke sharply, accused him of being an imposter, hit him with a stick, and knocked him into a ditch. St. Francis took it happily with a smile, seeing it as destroying his material illusions and leaving him to depend on God alone. This was amazing to the brother traveling with him.

People are trying to use Krishna’s property for their own enjoyment, and thus they are subject to punishment, which is meant to rectify their consciousness.

Q (Bhagavati dd) The Bhagavatam speaks even of respectable family life as being a dark well, but in this age people cannot even act properly in their family relationships so I am doubtful about the relevance of those instructions to renounce family life.
A: This age is an ocean of faults. We should give instructions according to peoples’ ability to benefit by them. In the age of Kali, people as described as sudras, and sudras are not allowed to take sannyasa. Those instructions to renounce family life were given to mature people who could understand their purpose. We just encourage people to chant Hare Krishna, which is recommended in this age, to take prasadam, and to do some service and gradually they can understand other things. The program for sudras is to get married and stick with one person. If people can do that in this age, they are doing well.

Bhagavati Dasi:

Srila Prabhupada said that Radharani is the best servant of Krishna.

When you cook in the Deity kitchen, you are acting as the servant of Radharani.

When you become conditioned by the material energy, you forget there is a spiritual energy, and you imagine that you are nicely situated in the material energy.

You can have some realization there is a spiritual energy that is superior to the material energy, but to actual realize Srimati Radharani is more difficult.

To have any potency in convince people to get out of the material energy we must be enthusiastic to do so ourselves.

From Ananta Vrindavana Campu:

The night of the rasa dance surpassed the best of the nights of the spring, summer, and autumn seasons combined, having flowers of all the seasons.

If you chant the gayatri mantra perfectly it is said you can hear Krishna’s flute.

The flute of Krishna had an intoxicating effect on Sri Radha.

Krishna’s flute’s sound is the joy of all joys, the sweetest of all sweet things.

The instrumentalists played according to the rhythm of the dancing of the gopis.

The other gopis could not keep up with Radha’s singing and dancing. And other beings, like the Gandharvas and Apsaras, of course, could not compare in the least.

Adi Purusa Prabhu [who does Food For Life in NYC]:

Before class, let us all pray that we will only speak what we have heard from guru, sadhu, and sastra [the revealed scriptures].

The pastimes of the Lord are decorated with the sweet dealings between the Lord and His devotees.

Our own pride and ambition, our desires for profit, love, and distinction, all distort our ability to have loving dealings with others.

There is a story in the Hassidic tradition about a great doubter named Simon. He attended a festival at which they reserve a seat for Elijah, a great prophet of the past. Simon wondered if Elijah actually could come there. Then he saw a hand reach down from the ceiling. He had doubts about grabbing it, but he decided to. Elijah brought him up to the kingdom of God. He saw how everyone was living in harmony. Then Elijah brought him back. He saw the trivial quarrels and bickering between nations and families due to selfishness.

Srila Prabhupada said to the GBC at their first meeting, “When you all agree, I will be there in the decision.”

The Native Americans have games in which everyone wins or no one wins. Such games teach that you have to work together.

The Quakers make decisions by consensus. If 299 agree, but one doesn’t, the 299 think, “What does he see that we do not see?”

We think democracy is really great, but in reality, with it there is the potential for power politics where people form alliances to exclude others.

Krishna expertly and mercifully gives us situations where we cannot proceed until we consider everyone in our decision.

If the brahmacaris form their own clique and are unconcerned with everyone else that is not good.

The brahmanas must go out and encourage others to take part Lord Caitanya’s mission.

When met with a challenge, some people leave the movement, some people go to another temple, etc., but the actual solution is to turn to Krishna. Until we learn to turn to Krishna, we will meet with the same challenges wherever we go.

If we have attachment and aversion, even if Krishna speaks to us, we cannot hear Him.


This verse is another reminder about the amazing potency of chanting the holy name of Krishna. How auspicious is this chanting!

apannah samsritim ghoram
yan-nama vivaso grinan
tatah sadyo vimucyeta
yad bibheti svayam

“Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Krishna, which is feared by fear personified.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.14)