Saturday, October 29, 2016

Travel Journal#12.19: New York City Harinam, Janananda Goswami Visit, Albany Trip

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 12, No. 19
By Krishna-kripa das
(October 2016, part one)
New York City Harinam, Tompkins Square Park, Times Square, Albany  
(Sent from Manhattan, New York, on October 29, 2016)

Where I Went and What I Did

The beginning of October was special for me, as my authority in England in summer, Janananda Goswami, who loves harinama, came to visit us in New York City. In addition to touring some pastimes places of Srila Prabhupada in New York City, he chanted with our New York City Harinam party in Grand Central subway station and with some followers in Times Square. With him, his followers and local devotees, we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the first regular Hare Krishna public chanting program in the West that happened in Tompkins Square Park on October 9, 1966. After that date, Srila Prabhupada’s early followers would chant in that park for three hours each Sunday.

Besides my daily chanting with the New York City Harinam party, which I have many videos of,  I went upstate and met with, read to, and had lunch with my initiating guru, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, in Stuyvesant Falls, and celebrated my mother’s birthday with relatives in Albany. I went to a meeting on racial justice with my activist mother, and a performance of Playback Theatre with some more relatives, and I share realizations about the human condition from them.

I share many powerful insights from Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and his books. I include excerpts from Satsvarupa dasa Goswami’s Begging for the Nectar of the Holy Name. I transmit some nice realizations from Janananda Goswami, speaking at 26 Second Avenue in New York City on the fiftieth anniversary of the first Tompkins Square Park harinama, October 9, 2016, and also some cool insights from his godbrother, Mahavirya Prabhu, also speaking at that occasion. I share a nice point from a lecture by Candrasekhara Swami. I share several profound quotes from Sadaputa Prabhu’s collection of articles, published as God and Science. I share notes on a lecture by Shyamananda Prabhu, a senior Radhanath Swami brahmacari from Pune and Chowpatty. I share notes on lectures by young devotees who attend The Bhakti Center morning program, Virabhadra Rama Prabhu and Bhakta Cesar Prabhu, along with many comments on their lectures by Adi Purusha Prabhu, who has been a devotee since the 70s.

Many thanks to my mother and my sister, Karen, who gave me a birthday present of high quality long underwear, a wool hat, and wool socks, so I can stay warm in New York City in the early winter. Thanks to Atmanivedana Prabhu, who runs a Saturday night Bhagavad-gita class at 26 Second Avenue, for his kind donation. Thanks to Mahagopi Devi Dasi of Queens for her donation for my birthday. Thanks to Kaliya Krishna Prabhu for sponsoring my subway travel in New York City.

Thanks to Francesco Cesari of Italy for his photos of our Union Square harinama. 

He does a lot with black and white photos and has a web site on the internet ( Thanks to Terri Cook of New York City for her photos of our Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Tompkins Square Park Harinama. Thanks to Stella of our New York City Harinam party for her photos of me on harinama with our party in Union Square Park and Jackson Heights – Roosevelt Ave. subway station. Thanks to Jayananda Prabhu, disciple of Janananda Goswami, for his photos of harinama in New York City.


October 8–November 10: New York City Harinam
November 11: Washington, D.C.
November 12–13: Gainesville, Florida
November 14–December 2: New York City Harinam
December 3: Vyasa-puja of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami in Stuyvesant
December 4–January 2, 2017: New York City Harinam
January 3: Gainesville, Florida

New York City Harinam at Union Square

When the weather permitted the New York City Harinam party continued chanting in our usual spot in the southwest corner of Union Square Park.

As usual whole families would play the shakers to our chanting.

New people would also join us from time to time.

One artist did a drawing of us, which he said he would turn into a water color painting. I invited him to show us the final version.

We started offering candles to Damodara for the month of Karttika. 

Here a young lady, whose friends have a table next to our party and who has danced with us, offers a lamp.

To assist the ISKCON Desire Tree devotees in collecting HD videos of kirtanas, I am now taking more videos of our New York City Harinam party. I present them in chronological order beginning with October 1:

Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna and Govind plays the trumpet in Union Square Park (

Several times a month, usually after work, Murali Krishna Prabhu joins the New York City Harinam party in Union Square Park. Here he leads the chanting of Hare Krishna (

Kaliya Krishna Prabhu led the Hare Krishna chanting at Union Square, and several kids were inspired to play the shakers (

Kishore Prabhu, who spent a long time as a regular on the New York City Harinam party, came back to visit for a week or so before leaving with Rama Raya Prabhu for Vrindavan, and he led some nice kirtanas while he was here (

This year in the summer and early fall, Bhakta Dan, who I would sometimes do harinama in New York City with, even before Rama Raya Prabhu’s party began four years ago, would join us for at least a couple of hours each day. Here he leads the chanting of Hare Krishna and a onlooker dances (

On October 5, Mitra, Ananda-Murari, and Madhuri Pura Prabhus, who were in the area doing kirtana programs at yoga centers, joined our party at Union Square for some hours. Mitra Prabhu, of North Carolina, although a Prabhupada disciple and older than the others, humbly played the banjo in accompaniment while other devotees led.

Here Ananda-Muraru Prabhu sings (

 Here Madhuri Pura Prabhu, who was a full time member of our party in the past, sings (

Steve spent several weeks with the New York City Harinam party before going to India. One day he sang a nice Hare Krishna tune, accompanied by Mitra Prabhu of North Carolina on the banjo, and many kids played the shakers to the music (

Mukunda Prestha Prabhu of the Bhakti Center joins the New York City Harinam party in Union Square Park a few times a week. Here he leads the chanting of Hare Krishna (

Rama Raya Prabhu chanted with awesome enthusiasm at the end of the day. Here are clips from four of his evening kirtanas (

Later in the month, Kaliya Krishna Prabhu led another nice kirtana (

Stella led a nice kirtana, accompanied by Kaliya Krishna Prabhu on the harmonium (

Chanting with Janananda Goswami in New York City

I chanted with Janananda Goswami and his followers to some of the places where Srila Prabhupada lived in New York City in 1965 and 1966.

We stopped by the West End Superette where Srila Prabhupada would purchase produce.

We also went to the 33 Riverside address where Dr. Mishra had his yoga studio and where Srila Prabhupada would chant.

We passed a building Srila Prabhupada thought might make a nice temple and which is now a Bikram Yoga center.

Later we went downtown and chanted across from 94 Bowery, where Srila Prabhupada lived in an A.I.R. loft with a young man who went crazy on LSD.

After taking a group of disciples to places of Srila Prabhupada’s pastimes in New York City, Janananda Goswami joined our New York City Harinam party, which was playing in Grand Central subway station because of the intermittent rain.

When you have two devotees together who love chanting Hare Krishna and who love sharing the chanting of Hare Krishna as much as Janananda Goswami and Rama Raya Prabhu it has to be especially ecstatic! Just see all the dancing! (

Janandana Goswami could not visit New York City without doing harinama at Times Square, it is such a great venue. As usual, especially in the presence of Janananda Goswami, onlookers enjoyed interacting with the devotees (

I got to lead part of the time.

A Statue of Liberty man posed with a Krishna book.

Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Public Chanting of Hare Krishna At Tompkins Square Park

Janananda Goswami spoke at 26 Second Avenue for an hour or so, and then led a chanting party from there to Tompkins Square Park and around the celebrated Hare Krishna tree to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first public chanting of Hare Krishna there by Srila Prabhupada and his first followers on October 9, 1966. 

Each Sunday after that original harinama, the early devotees would chant at that park for 3 hours, thus it was the first regular harinama spot in the Western world.

Sprinkles of rain did not dampen our celebrative mood. While at Tompkins Square Park I always think of Srila Prabhupada’s amazing vision of the chanting speading all over the world as he chanted there with his early followers, none of whom could understand the scope of his worldwide mission.


Here Janananda Goswami leads the chanting around the Hare Krishna tree (

Terri Cook, a local tour guide and author, took some photos of our party at the park. She wrote two books that tell the history of Manhattan and Brooklyn through the eyes of churches, synagogues, temples and public gardens, Sacred Havens: A Guide to Manhattan’s Spiritual Places and Sacred Havens of Brooklyn: Spiritual Places & Peaceful Grounds. She explained, “I have known about Hare Krishna since the early 70s when I moved to the East Village. An early-morning Krishna group would walk across 14th Street joyfully chanting as I was preparing to go to work. It was a good way to start the day.”

One young lady joined our chanting party, already familiar with the words of the song. I spoke to her and learned she regularly saw the devotees chanting in Los Angeles, where she lives. Just for the weekend she was visiting a friend who lives across from the park, and hearing the chanting she came to join us. I explained we were celebrating the beginning of the public chanting of Hare Krishna in the West which started under this tree, 50 years ago today. She was grateful and amazed that unknowingly she had come to right place at the right time to participate in our auspicious festival.

Jayananda Goswami’s follower, Jayananda Prabhu, takes some dust from base of the fortunate tree.
Esa came from Philly for the program.

After the ceremony at the Hare Krishna Tree in Tompkins Square Park, we chanted through the streets to Union Square, and entered the subway station to join the New York City Harinam, which was situated there because of the rain.

Janananda Goswami sang there as well (

Rama Raya Prabhu also sang in Union Square subway station on that auspicious anniversary day (

Chanting in Jackson Heights

Jackson Heights is one of our favorite place to chant in the subway system. There are many Indians and many Hispanics who often like the chanting.

Sometimes I sang.

Sometimes I danced. Here Mahotsaha Prabhu joined me.

 So did others.

One young man sat with our party and read the book he bought.

We had lots of dynamic singers there on that day, and you can see clips from six of them in this video (

Anna from Kharkov, Ukraine, who loves the chanting, was our final singer. She credits the twice daily harinamas they did in Kharkov with its protection from Russian takeover. Two other Ukrainian cities the Russians were able to claim as planned, but they failed to win Kharkov. It was my favorite Ukrainian city because the devotees there do harinama more there than any other in Ukraine.

Visiting Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami

Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, my diksa guru, lives half an hour from my mother, in Stuyvesant Falls, forty-five minutes southeast of Albany. After my mother picked me up at the Chinese bus station and drove home, I borrowed her car for four hours to visit Satsvarupa dasa Goswami and read to him during lunch.

I recall praising his daily japa journal for giving me hope in my chanting. Most days he reports that he experienced “no outside thoughts” during his morning chanting session. It is nice to know that that state is possible and attainable by serious practice.

He wanted to tell me about the reprinting of several of his most popular books and that he needed proofreaders for them, and he hoped he could count on me as usual. I affirmed that I would be interested and enthusiastic to do the work, and he was happy about that.

He has a devotee read Srimad-Bhagavatam to him during lunch, and I got to do that service which I love. One of the verses I read was one of my favorite verses: “Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the all-pervading Supreme Personality of Godhead, who possesses unlimited transcendental qualities. Acting from within the cores of the hearts of all philosophers, who propagate various views, He causes them to forget their own souls while sometimes agreeing and sometimes disagreeing among themselves. Thus He creates within this material world a situation in which they are unable to come to a conclusion. I offer my obeisances unto Him.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.4.31)

Stoka Krishna Prabhu, a disciple of his from Italy, made eggplant parmigiana for lunch and it was really good.

After lunch, I helped Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu by frying curd and thus assisting in preparing spinach and panir for my mom’s birthday party the next day.    

Ma’s 92nd Birthday Party

I returned to New York on September 13, in case my family wanted to celebrate my mother’s birthday on the actual day, September 14, but they chose October 7, as more of us could gather then.

I brought everyone’s favorite doughnuts from the original Doughnut Plant shop on Grand Avenue, which is conveniently close to the Chinese bus station, and my niece, Fern, arranged them on a plate to form “92” and placed candles in them to make a novel birthday cake.

Later we had spinach and panir that my guru’s servant, Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu, prepared. Everyone remarked how he gets it perfect every time.

Notes on a Friends for Racial Justice Meeting

[My mother is a social activist, even at age 92, and I went to a Friends for Racial Justice meeting at the Albany Quaker Meeting House with her.]

Jim Ketcham (an ordained American [not Southern] Baptist minister), Executive Director of FOCUS, a group of churches working together to do practical welfare work for those in the Albany area:

There are 63 kinds of Baptists in America alone. I have a saying, “Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered, there will be a church split.”

In a group of blacks as opposed to whites of the same age they are more likely to be accused of a crime, more likely to experience police brutality, more likely to be convicted, more likely to get stiffer sentences, etc.

It it striking when I remember from time to time that we have the first black president living in a White House built by slave labor.

Some people propose free college education to blacks to make up for the decades of discrimination against them. Others protest that. Some northerners claim the southerners should pay for it.

In grade school, the people of color get punished more severely than whites.

I consider myself a work in process.

God loves you just the way you are, and God loves you so much He wants you to change.


In the 1960s I went to Charleston, South Carolina. There were two circuses, one white and one black. Even the water fountains were labeled white and black.

The Bahai faith teaches that all religions come from one God and the prophets of each are teaching humanity more and more about God as time goes on.

They make the point that all people come from the same source and should thus be respected.

Israeli lady:

As a kid I lived in different places, including Leeds, England, before we moved to Israel. In school in Leeds there was a case of a black and white couple who had fraternal twins, one who looked like the mother and one who looked like the father. The teachers favored the lighter skinned one. My mother favored them both, as they were both good, and she could not tolerate the discrimination she saw.


If something is wrong, we should protest it.

One lady eating at the Burger King saw Trump on TV, and she said, “That is my man.” Then she started blasting a Hispanic family next to me for having unruly children and told them, “Go back to your own country.” I told the manager, who was Afro-American, but said he could not do anything. The lady kept talking in an insulting way. Then I spoke to the family, praising their children and thanking them for being there. And then that insulting lady stopped speaking and went away.

Hafiz [Sufi poetry]:

“The small man builds cages for everyone he knows. While the sage, who has to duck his head when the moon is low, keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful rowdy prisoners.”

Playback Theatre

[I went to a performance of a group called Playback Theatre with my relatives. The theatre group hears stories from the audience and then enacts them in impromptu skits. I note down some realizations of the frustrations of conditioned life from the stories. Before leaving I threw an “On Chanting Hare Krishna” in their donation box. If any one of the four in the group reads it and chants, they can benefit far more than by getting a small donation.]

We make your stories come alive through theatre.

I recovered from the emotional flu [of ups and downs], and I feel so good.

I was humbled by my body twice. I dropped a marker while teaching and realized I could not pick it up. I went to an aerobics class, and my body hurt all over from stretching in ways I have never stretched before.

My aging dog sometimes acts like a puppy and sometimes like an invalid, and it is so confusing and a little sad.

Let Ed be an uncast actor, which means he can play anything, the weather, the cities, etc.

In the artwork of the cities, the striking thing for me is there is no trash in them.

I used to pick up the trash, but I do not anymore, I guess there is more now, so much it is overwhelming. Perhaps I think I am not making a difference.

Striking Photos

In this age of Kali, people are said to be lazy, especially about self-realization. Thus it perhaps no surprise that the Gary Snyder poem entitled “Here?” which was displayed on the subway ended with these words:

“It’s been years since I thought,
Why are we here?”

We try to avoid pain, but pain is not always bad:

In this age of Kali, the mode of ignorance is prominent, and with it activity that those on the spiritual path avoid, like intoxication:

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


Srila Prabhupada:

From a lecture on Bhagavad-gita on December 25, 1975 in Sanand:

When we speak of knowledge, jnana, it must be learned from a person.

Vyasadeva does not say “Krishna uvaca [Krishna said],” but “Bhagavan uvaca [the Supreme Personality of Godhead said].” This is because sometimes people have differences of opinion about Krishna.

“If we approach some speculator, we cannot get real knowledge. So those who are speculators, they cannot understand what is God. Therefore they commit mistake that ‘God is like this,’ ‘God like that,’ ‘There is no God,’ ‘There is no form.’ All these nonsense things are proposed, because they are imperfect.”

“We don’t manufacture any concocted things. We simply distribute the message given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And this is becoming effective practically. You can see practically these Europeans and Americans, Australians, all over the world, they did not know four or five years ago, or say ten years ago, since I have begun this movement, they did not know what is Krishna. Although Bhagavad-gita was being presented by so many swamis and yogis, not a single man became a devotee of Krishna. So our, this presentation, because it is pure, without any adulteration, it is acting very nicely.”

“Even the Christian priests, they become surprised when they see that these boys, their boys – they were Christians or Jews – they became surprised that ‘These boys were never coming to the church. They were never interested in understanding what is God. Now, since this Krishna consciousness movement is there, how these boys have become so mad after God?’ The only reason is that we are presenting Bhagavad-gita as it is. We preach that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krishna says also in the Bhagavad-gita, mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya [Bg. 7.7]. So this is being effective, that if we really want to understand Bhagavad-gita, we must understand as it is presented by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”

If I am eternal, why am I accepting death? That is the real question.

We should be anxious to understand what I am. Aham brahmasmi [I am spirit.] That is the real solution to all problems.

The real business is to increase your attachment for Krishna.

“We request all Indians to take part in this Krishna consciousness movement and be yourself happy, be yourself guru, and deliver all other persons who are in ignorance. And to become guru is not very difficult. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa yare dekha tare kaha ‘krishna’-upadesa [Cc. Madhya 7.128] You become guru. It is not very difficult. How? Now, because you have to simply repeat what Krishna has said. That’s all. So Krishna says everything in the Bhagavad-gita. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. These four things if you accept – to think of Krishna always, to become devotee of Krishna, to offer obeisances to Krishna and to worship Krishna ­– these four things if you do, you become Krishna conscious, a devotee of Krishna, and you can preach all over the world. It is not at all difficult.”

Bhagavad-gita is the essence of all Vedic knowledge.”

From a lecture on Bhagavad-gita 9.27–29:

You are doing something. Just change your consciousness so you are doing it for Krishna.

If you act for Krishna, there will be no reaction.

Either good reaction or bad reaction, you have to accept this body.

Do not think because you are getting a birth in rich family you will enjoy. Because you have a material body, you will still get the material miseries of birth, death, old age, and disease.

In Krishna consciousness, you become free from all reactions and attain the spiritual world.

If I am involved in sinful activity and if you take my money, you get involved in the sinful reactions.

Sannyasa means becoming free from the actions and reactions. This is possible by acting for Krishna.

“God is neutral. Samo ’haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu. . . . If He is samasama means neutral – then how we find different grades of people or different grades of species of life? . . . Now, I will give you a crude example. Suppose I am a shopkeeper. I have got different varieties of goods. Now, if you pay me less, then I can supply you inferior quality of goods. Another customer is paying me a good amount; then I will supply you superior quality of goods. Now, I supply to some customer inferior quality of goods; to another customer I supply superior quality of goods. Is there any partiality? No. That is not partiality. So God gives you result of your actions. Samo ’ham. He is impartial. If you do good acts, then you get good result. If you do bad acts, then you get bad result.”

Those advanced in Krishna consciousness always see Krishna, and Krishna always sees His devotee.

God is very cheap if we adopt the means, if we become a pure devotee, therefore we should adopt the practice by which we can become a pure devotee.

From a lecture on Bhagavad-gita 9.11–14 in New York City on November 27, 1966:

You may not believe in God, but who is giving you this speaking power to say, “I do not believe” in God? If that speaking power is withdrawn, you are no better than stone.

When Krishna was present, 99% of the people did not recognize that He was God.

Krishna performed superhuman activities when He was present, the authorities say that Krishna is God, and Vedas say that Krishna is God. With all this evidence, if you still you will not accept that Krishna is God, you are asuram bhavam asrita [possessed of a demoniac mentality].

You cannot see the sun at night by your own endeavor, but at 5 a.m. the sun reveals itself. If you cannot even see the sun at night, how to you expect to see God by your own endeavor? Like the sun, God can be seen when he reveals Himself. 

Although the materialists are always increasing their wealth, they do not attain ultimate happiness. If one wants real happiness, which has no end, one must endeavor to be Krishna conscious.

Formerly, people would dedicate their whole lives to attaining self-realization and even then sometimes not meet with success. Lord Caitanya has made self-realization easily. You just have to spare some time to hear. You do not have to even pay a fee.

‘I have so long served my senses. Now I shall serve Krishna.’ That is [the thinking of a] mahatma [a great soul].

This service of Krishna begins with chanting. Come here, chant, and become a mahatma.

From a lecture on Bhagavad-gita 5.7–13 in New York on August 27, 1966:

It is not possible to renounce without Krishna consciousness. If I am in one room, if I have no other room to go to, I cannot leave.

Krishna says if one renounces without Krishna consciousness the result will be misery. (Bg. 5.6)

Everything has a relationship with Krishna. That is what is to be realized.

Because the material world is a manifestation of the energy of the Supreme Lord it has an intimate relationship with the Lord, and thus we should utilize it properly.

If I think that ‘Every thing, every eatable things, they are sent by Krishna or God for everyone, let me take whatever I want,’ then there is peace in the world. Of course, that is not possible because it is such a world that we are always anxious to stock, or you'll ask always to take more, then more, then more. Nobody is satisfied.”

“A Krishna conscious person, he never thinks that ‘I am doing something.’ Even if you ask him that ‘Are you going to such and such place?’ Suppose it is settled that he’s going to such and such place. If you ask him, ‘When you are going?’ He'll say that ‘I do not know when I shall go, but when Krishna will ask me or allow me to go, I shall go.’ I am saying this from my practical experience from my Guru Maharaja, from my spiritual master. He would never say that ‘I am going,’ ‘I am doing.’ No, ‘If Krishna desires, then I shall do it.’ ‘If Krishna desires, then I shall go.’ Like that. Always depending on Krishna. This is called visuddhatma.

From a letter to Upendra, written in Los Angeles on February 1, 1969:

“Simply engage yourself in Krishna’s service. That will protect you from any attack of maya.  Maya can take Krishna’s place in our heart as soon as there is a slackness on our part. Otherwise, if Krishna’s seated always, maya has no opportunity to occupy the seat.”

From Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.6.6, purport:

“One must understand his constitutional position and the constitutional position of the Supreme Lord as well. Both have the same spiritual identity. Maintaining oneself as a servant of the Supreme Lord, one should avoid rebirth in this material world. If one keeps himself spiritually fit and thinks of himself as an eternal servant of the Supreme Lord, he will be successful at the time he has to give up the material body.”

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

From Begging for the Nectar of the Holy Name:

“Finished sixteen rounds.  The first seven were ‘good,’ but then I suffered from plan-making.  Letters I wanted to write came to mind.  I tried to make a few notes, brief notes, as the thoughts occurred – ‘Write editor on production of reprints’, ‘Tell M. to give me a haircut’ – then stopped.” 

“Someone once asked me, ‘Isn’t japa actually an ideal time to access deeper creative thinking?’  Harer nama should not be used like that.  There are plenty of other occasions when the creative muse can visit and fill our minds with Great Plans and Great Worries.  Anyway, this morning I made a few token notes on the mind’s demands and tried to return my attention to the holy name.  The world won’t end if I don’t remember to look for my lost sock or if my hair doesn’t get cut for another day.  Just chant.”

Harer nama is cintamani (touchstone), but I’m not touching it with attention.  So that which I can’t do, I pray for. ‘Please bring me love of God.  Please let me serve You and be pleasing to You.’  These prayers are included in the prayer to be faithful.”

Candrasekhara Swami:

Although Krishna easily defeats so many demons, sometimes when playing with His intimate friends, He is defeated.

Janananda Goswami:

People spend their whole lives to adjust their happiness and distress but they actually becoming more distressed by their attempts.

As long as we are pursuing what we like, we will definitely stay in the material world.

“Markine Bhagavata Dharma” is like a mission statement for Srila Prabhupada. Everything is there about becoming Krishna consciousness, depending on mercy of the holy name and his guru’s instructions.

No one in New York City, even those attending his programs at 26 2nd Avenue, knew what Srila Prabhupada doing in starting his International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Srila Prabhupada wanted to leave his body preaching Krishna consciousness. 

When I joined, an average day was 8 hours of harinama sankirtana, six and a half days a week. Sunday was a half day because of the Sunday Feast. We would spend the whole week inviting people to the Sunday Feast.  

We should not become attached to facility. The facility is meant for our service.

We should be preaching and not depending on the results, not depending on facilities.

The whole idea is to become free from our dependence on material sense gratification and to become dependent on the mercy of Krishna.

On Prabhupada’s disappearance day one year in Vrindavan, one of Prabhupada’s godbrothers said, “Bhaktivedanta Swami is the only one who understood our guru’s mission. While others were discussing this or that, he attacked sense gratification and science. He actually did the work.”

Preaching is to get people chanting Hare Krishna, somehow or other.

The early devotees were shocked when Srila Prabhupada proposed that they chant in a public park. They thought it was just for inside.

Prabhupada had Hayagriva Prabhu read from his Srimad-Bhagavatam at the first Washington Square Park harinama.

The “Peace Formula” was derived from what Srila Prabhupada spoke at a United Nations peace vigil.

The incorporation document that was sent to the lawyer included promoting a healthy vegetarian diet, establishing varnasrama, and removing the conception of dividing society by birth.

Alan Ginsberg suggested the devotees go to and chant in Tompkins Square Park.

No one knew anything about Hare Krishna, when they saw the first harinama.

It was about four months I was coming to the temple before people explained the philosophy to me. We emphasized harinama and engagement in service.

Prabhupada brought everyone in.

In London every week, there was one guy who would dump a bucket of urine on the Saturday night harinama from four floors above. I do not know why we went the same way each week.

Sometimes people say they are too busy solving different problems to go on harinama, but sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the holy name, is the solution to all problems.

In Vondelpark in Amsterdam, Srila Prabhupada said it was worthless to give a lecture to the drugged out hippies. He told the devotees to just do kirtana and prasadam. When he chanted there, Prabhupada chanted “Haribol” because it was easier for them to follow than “Hare Krishna.” That is the only time on record that Srila Prabhupada chanted “Haribol.”

Srila Prabhupada chanted with his pure heart, calling out to Krishna, in a tune everybody could follow.

Do not stop until you drop.

I calculated that in the 1970s every devotee did harinama an average 20% of the time. Now it is more like 0.002%.

Mahavirya Prabhu, disciple of Srila Prabhupada:

You had to bring at least one person back to the Sunday Feast, otherwise you weren’t preaching.

You could not sit with another devotee during the Sunday Feast. You had to talk with the new people.

In the beginning, we could not really understand the philosophy. We could understand harinama and book distribution.

One of the reasons I stayed with the Hare Krishnas was that every day was an adventure. You never knew what would happen.

Don’t offend the karmis, the devotees, the matajis, the dogs. That will cover your love for Krishna, who is present everywhere.

I have turned down colleges and jobs, but I could not turn down Krishna.

Sadaputa Prabhu:

From “Rational ‘Mythology’” in God and Science:

But in pure monism, what becomes of love of God, or indeed, love of anyone? If the ultimate reality is pure oneness, and personal existence is illusory, then love is also illusory. Love requires two, and not just two of anything. Two persons are needed for a relationship of love. If such relationships do have spiritual reality, then at least two spiritual persons must eternally exist.”

From “High Technology and the Ground of Being” in God and Science:

“One might object that the human mind acting on its own could not possibly demonstrate the truth of the personal conception of the supreme whole. Therefore, one should adopt a more cautious conception that is abstract and impersonal. The point can be made, however, that any conception of the Absolute generated by the finite mind is as mundane as any other, including both personal and impersonal conceptions. One then may as well forego all metaphysical speculation and restrict one’s attention entirely to the manifest world of interacting material energies.

“But if one does want to introduce ideas about the Absolute derived from revealed knowledge, then the Vedic literatures give concrete indication of how direct realization of this knowledge can be attained. Although the Supreme Lord is inaccessible to the mundane mind, the Lord will reveal Himself to persons who surrender to Him and serve Him with love. This, of course, is also a perennial philosophical conclusion.”

“The theory of creation by sound vibration involves transcendental levels of reality not accessible to the mundane senses, and thus in one way it is more unverifiable than the purely physical Darwinian theory. However, if a purely physical theory turns out to be empirically unverifiable, then there is nothing further one can do to be sure about it. In contrast, a theory that posits a supreme intelligent being opens up the possibility that further knowledge may be gained by internal and external revelation brought about by the will of that being. Of course, the dynamics of obtaining such knowledge are different from those of empirical, experimental science and mathematical analysis. Instead of forcing nature to disclose its secrets, one surrenders to the Supreme Lord in a humble spirit and pursues a path of spiritual discipline and divine service.

“This approach to knowledge and to life also constitutes one of the great perennial philosophies of mankind, but it has tended to be eclipsed in this age of scientific empiricism. To obtain the fruits of this path to knowledge, one must be willing to follow it, and one will be inclined to do this only if one thinks the worldview on which it is based might possibly be true. Establishing this possibility constitutes the ultimate justification for constructing theories, such as the one considered here, linking physics and metaphysics.”

From “Primordial Alphabet Soup” in God and Science:

“Darwinian evolution calls for a self-reproducing system of molecules. Indeed, one of the main tasks of origin-of-life theories is to explain how the first self-reproducing system arose. In living organisms, self-reproduction is a dauntingly complex process involving proteins, deoxyribonucleic-acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). If Darwinian evolution can’t take place until such a complex system is operating, scientists are at a loss to explain how that complex system has come about.”

From “The Universe of the Vedas” in God and Science:

“In the Bhavagatam, the context-sensitive approach was rendered particularly appropriate by the conviction that reality, in the ultimate issue, is avak-manasam, or beyond the reach of the mundane mind or words. This implies that a literal, one-to-one model of reality is unattainable, and so one may as well pack as much meaning as possible into a necessarily incomplete description of the universe. The cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana is a sophisticated system of thought, with multiple layers of meaning, both physical and metaphysical. It combines practical understanding of astronomy with spiritual conceptions to produce a meaningful picture of the universe and reality.”

Shyamananda Prabhu:

The final analysis in Vraja is “Lord Narayana must have saved Krishna or we must have done some pious activities so Krishna is saved.”

Radhanath Swami tells of a yogi who could bend an iron rod against his chest, but after that impressive feat, he was begging for a few paisa for food.

People trained in Vedic culture do not say “in my opinion” because they consider “who am I?”

The Sanskrit “cancalam” (flickering) comes from the word “cala” which means “to move.”

Krishna disagrees with Arjuna’s different proposals until Arjuna says the mind is very restless, and then Krishna agrees.

It is said the five verses comprising Rukmini’s letter to Krishna are verbatim.

When Giriraj Swami joined ISKCON he thought every devotee was a pure devotee. But now after 30 years in ISKCON, I think there are no pure devotees in ISKCON. What is wrong?

Virabhadra Rama Prabhu:

So many very heavy examples are given in the Bhagavatam itself and in Srila Prabhupada’s purports such as the wild animal and paramour who kills the husband to stress that the uncontrolled mind can completely destroy our spiritual life.

Comment by Adi Purusha Prabhu:

To realize that the mind is something other than oneself is the beginning of conquering over it.

Some of the derelicts in the park express some amazing realizations, “I read in the books that the holy name is so powerful it can purify the whole block, maybe even two blocks.”

Bhakta Cesar:

Srila Prabhupada explains in a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavtam 5.6.4 that the varnasrama system is to help us control the mind. He concludes human civilization is meant to develop love of God.

Devotional service is so powerful that it can benefit any class of men to the extent of attaining the highest perfection of love of God.

There is a pastime of Rasikananda, who lived just after the time of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. When he was attacked by a mad elephant, he threw a few drops of water on the elephant, and then the elephant began to chant Hare Krishna.

Because Murari Gupta played the role Garuda, the carrier of Lord Vishnu in his previous existence, he presented himself to Lord Caitanya in that way, and Lord Caitanya sportingly climbed on his back and rode him around the courtyard.

Comment by Adi Purusha Prabhu: If someone has offended us, that is their ignorance, but if we take it as an offense, that is our ignorance.

Q (by Brajananda Prabhu): You have been distributing books for a year in New York City. My experience is it is the heaviest place, what is your experience.

A: I was distributing prasadam to one of the chess players at Union Square, and he became really agitated, and said, “What do you think I am? Your dog?” then he uttered so much profanity. Finally he spit in my face. I was thinking how Jagai and Madhai caused Nityananda so much pain yet he tolerated it and was merciful to them. And I actually felt good about my experience.

“Get a job” bothers you for the first month or so.

We are like people panning for gold. They look through so much mud to find a few golden flakes, and we talk to so many people on book distribution, hoping to find a few sincere souls.

Comment by Adi Purusha Prabhu: When we are treated negatively, we should not think it is the person, but rather we should think Krishna is doing something to teach us.


Although as souls, we can experience an ocean of transcendental bliss by reconnecting with our source, Lord Krishna, we are so attached to the insignificant pleasures of this world, we will never experience it. Verses like the one below are meant to wake us up. We have to be careful what we value:

natah parataro loke pumsah
yad-adhy anyasya preyastvam
atmanah sva-vyatikramat

“There is no stronger obstruction to one’s self-interest than thinking other subject matters to be more pleasing than one’s self-realization.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.22.32)