Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 12, No. 22
By Krishna-kripa das
(November 2016, part two)
(November 2016, part two)
Yuga Dharma New York City Harinama Party
(Sent from Manhattan, New York, on December 19, 2016)
Where I Went and What I Did
I continued doing daily harinama with Rama Raya Prabhu’s Yuga Dharma New York City party, six hours each day. One day, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, we did a special Sankirtan Festival where we chanted inside the Times Square subway station for six hours and then on the streets of Times Square itself afterward for two hours. For this event, devotees attending The Bhakti Center in Manhattan and the Krishna Balaram temple in Queens joined with us. Another day we had a party to honor Mathura Prana Krishna Das Prabhu, who did a lot of service for the harinama and who will be part time now, because of getting married.
I share inspiring quotes from Srila Prabhupada’s books, conversations, and letters. I add a quote by Krishna Himself from Srimad-Bhagavatam. I include quotes from the books of previous acaryas, namely Rupa Goswami and Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Ramesvara Prabhu, who did great service for the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, gave a class after breakfast on Thanksgiving at The Bhakti Center on the philosophy behind book distribution. The class was very inspiring and filled with a lot of realizations, and I share my notes on that. I also share notes on the morning classes at The Bhakti Center given by Adi Purusha, Rama Raya, Karuna Gauranga, Paramananda Gopal, Murali Gopal and Mahotsaha Prabhus, and by Bhaktas Josh and Cesar. I also include quotes from articles in Back to Godhead, Vol. 51, No. 2, by Krishna Dharma Prabhu, Nagaraja Prabhu, Caitanya Candra Prabhu, Nikunja Vilasini Devi Dasi, and Madhava Smullen. I also share one note from an internet lecture by Vaisesika Prabhu, which I overheard.
I would like to thank Atmanivedana Prabhu and Yugala Piriti Devi Dasi of the Saturday night Bhagavad-gita class at 26 Second Avenue for their kind donations. Many, many thanks to Stella for all her photos of the Yuga Dharma New York City harinama party. Thanks to Kate for her videos of harinama in Times Square and on the subway afterward. Thanks to Kaliya Krishna Prabhu for his photo of me on harinama in Times Square. Thanks to Cinmaya Radha Devi Dasi for her photo of the party for Mathura Prana Krishna Das Prabhu.
December 4–23: New York City Harinam
December 24: Albany, seeing the folks for Christmas Eve
December 25–January 2, 2017: New York City Harinam
January 3: Atlanta Harinama
January 4–April: Gainesville and north and central Florida campuses
Yuga Dharma New York City Harinama Party
Chanting Hare Krishna daily in New York City for the second half of November was full of adventure. Read some of the details in the Yuga Dharma New York City newsletter: http://www.ydnyc.org/november16
Here are some more stories, photos, and videos from myself and others:
One day I was feeling that we were not distributing many books. I recalled Prahladananda Swami’s recent suggestion to pray. I prayed, “Dear Lord Krishna, please empower us to distribute these books and pamphlets for the pleasure of your pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada. We have no concern for ourselves.” Within half an hour, one young man came up to the book table and asked the prices of the books. I explained that the small books were $1 or $2, the Bhagavad-gita and the Science of Self-Realization were $5, and the hardbound books were $10. He said he had $10 to spend, so I gave him Science of Self-Realization, Chant and Be Happy, and two small books. He kept looking at the books, asking about the price of the hardbound Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Journey of Self-Discovery, which I said were $10, and the soft Gita which was $5. He gave me $25 more and took those books also. It was the first time in 37 years that someone gave $35 and took 7 books. Such is the power of prayer.
On one Sunday three different individuals joined our party for some time. The most striking was one young woman who chanted with us for 2½ hours. She was very grateful to encounter the joyful chanting of the holy name. Later another lady chanted with us for half an hour.
This young Iranian lady, who bought a book from Mahotsaha Prabhu, stayed and talked with a devotee lady for half an hour.
Another day a guy sat down on the floor nearby and listened for over half an hour with a smile of contentment on his face.
Seeing some kids with the tendency to move to our music, I went beyond my usual shyness and encouraged them to dance to the chanting of Hare Krishna (https://youtu.be/xWuwxLoSAcA):
[If you cannot easily rotate your device and want to see the lower resolution, rotated version here it is (https://youtu.be/KS3EbPTj_A4):]
The kids are friends who like to hang out together in Union Square Park and had seen the devotees chanting before. The girl with the shirt with “LOVE” written on it was most enthusiastic, and she accepted an “On Chanting Hare Krishna” pamphlet. Thanks to Mahotsaha Prabhu for the video.
Our New York harinama party has few regular dancers these days. Still some dancing does go on. Mahotsaha Prabhu is the best of the dancers there every day. Here he dances with a guy he distributed a book to as Kaliya Krishna Prabhu leads the chanting of Hare Krishna at the Grand Central subway station (https://youtu.be/hsMkWpujL_M):
One of the last warm days of the year, Kaliya Krishna Prabhu chanted Hare Krishna in Union Square Park, and Mahotsaha Prabhu danced with onlookers (https://youtu.be/hVY9vGnttrs):
You meet all kinds of people in New York City, and all kinds of people are willing to dance to the chanting of Hare Krishna. Natabara Gauranga Prabhu leads the chanting of Hare Krishna and an anonymous Indian lady dances at the Jackson Heights / Roosevelt Avenue subway station (https://youtu.be/lO3S-PNSbO4):
Later Murali Gopal Prabhu chanted Hare Krishna and a kid who likes to join us whenever he passes by us at Jackson Heights / Roosevelt Avenue subway station played the shakers (https://youtu.be/Kq692j79NXg):
Afterward Mahotsaha Prabhu took a rare break from book distribution to chant Hare Krishna, Kaliya Krishna Prabhu played harmonium for him, and Murali Gopal Prabhu danced (https://youtu.be/1Rk8bcmMbow):
Later Murali Gopal danced with that kid who likes to join us (https://youtu.be/TNLfVIcu3vs):
Here Kaliya Krishna Prabhu chants and devotees dance in the Jackson Heights / Roosevelt Avenue subway station (https://youtu.be/349oIfWjeog):
When Sanya returned from India, and she distributed a few books as before.
Our regular book distributors, Mahotsaha Prabhu and Bhakta Cesar, continued steadily with great enthusiasm in that service.
As usual, sometimes I would sing.
Sometimes I would play the drum.
Sometimes I would watch the book table.
Sometimes I would dance with the other brahmacaris.
Sometimes I would dance alone.
Often I would distribute pamphlets.
I would also offer donated sweets to our picture of Krishna.
Dipika, from Bangladesh, who attends local Hare Krishna programs in Queens, chanted a lively Hare Krishna tune with the Yuga Dharma New York City devotees at Jackson Heights / Roosevelt Avenue subway station (https://youtu.be/J8-NhUTQV8E):
One time Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chanted Hare Krishna at Times Square subway station, I danced, and Mahotsaha and Cesar Prabhus distributed books. Caitanya Ananda Prabhu of The Bhakti Center took this video (https://youtu.be/yE37djmJvEY):
Here Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Grand Central subway station (https://youtu.be/NlgngxTkLr0):
Here Kaliya Krishna Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Times Square subway station (https://youtu.be/-wJ0N9l38Uo):
Here Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Times Square subway station (https://youtu.be/fDp7XlP4R8A):
Here Binky chants Hare Krishna at Times Square subway station (https://youtu.be/Z0tU9HHMW-A):
One day three devotee ladies who come on harinama from once to several times a week danced together. At that time Natabara Gauranga Prabhu was leading the chanting of Hare Krishna at Union Square subway station (https://youtu.be/KiRWqMfWP78):
Usually Mahotsaha Prabhu distributes books on harinama, but occasionally he leads the kirtana as he often does in the temple. Here at Union Square subway station Kaliya Krishna Prabhu plays harmonium for him (https://youtu.be/IBS7uw1XXdM):
Bhakta Josh led a lively Hare Krishna chant, getting devotees dancing at Union Square subway station. Natabara Gauranga Prabhu plays the harmonium for him (https://youtu.be/1CzS7ByjDIo):
On Thanksgiving Day we sang at the Jackson Heights / Roosevelt Avenue subway station. Here Natabara Gauranga Prabhu leads the chanting of Hare Krishna (https://youtu.be/LXy3U0ue5YE):
Later a couple danced, along with Mahotsaha Prabhu (https://youtu.be/uCh1zHPzK_g):
On the last Sunday in November, Kaliya Krishna Prabhu led the chanting of Hare Krishna at Union Square subway station and devotees and onlookers danced (https://youtu.be/FBBxvepHc3U):
Stella also lead the chanting that day (https://youtu.be/zrcSGaOJRfQ):
On the last day of November, Bhagavata Purana Prabhu, godbrother of Rama Raya Prabhu, who has also spent many years assisting Aindra Prabhu and the 24-Hour Kirtan at Krishna-Balaram Mandir in Vrindavan, led the chanting Hare Krishna at Union Square subway station after a transatlantic flight (https://youtu.be/rMIgIa_7A14):
Natabara Gauranga Prabhu also led the chanting of Hare Krishna in the Union Square subway station that day (https://youtu.be/pCwh9kogg6Q):
Times Square Sankirtan Festival
We planned the Sankirtan Festival for Black Friday, a time when many people are out shopping to take advantage of deals. The plan was to chant in the Times Square subway station from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and then outside at Times Square itself from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. We invited devotees from 26 Second Avenue, The Bhakti Center, and two Hare Krishna groups in Queens to attend.
Here Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in the Times Square subway station on Black Friday afternoon (https://youtu.be/gG_asigCZUo):
Later about thirty Hare Krishna devotees from the Yuga Dharma Ashram, The Bhakti Center, and the Krishna-Balaram temple in Queens chanted Hare Krishna for two hours outside in Times Square as part of this new Sankirtan Festival event. It was wonderful to see how happy the people were to dance with the devotees! (https://youtu.be/Agzvsz-zNV4):
Kate also took a couple of videos, one of our party moving through the crowd (https://youtu.be/rGehWDwPKYQ
And another with mostly just the devotees dancing
I led the kirtana for fifteen minutes or so at the end, before we marched toward the subway. I prayed to the acaryas for mercy. My friends said it was a very lively kirtana.
Many of the devotees had an ecstatic kirtana on the subway home, but to save money, I went separately and missed out.
Kate took a video of that which I share with you, if you are a Facebook user:
Party for Mathura Prana Krishna Prabhu
Mathura Prana Krishna Das Prabhu (reclining above) did a lot of service to the harinama party, especially by taking the cart of equipment to the harinama site, setting up for the party and manning the book table much of the time. He has gotten married and started a job to maintain himself and his wife, and so now he will serve the Yuga Dharma New York City harinama party just part time. The devotees decided to have a program to honor his service, and different devotees spoke in appreciation of him.
Mathura Prana Krishna Das Prabhu:
I was in Denver, and I did not know what to do as a new devotee, so I was washing pots and doing this and that. Then Phalguni who was visiting Mother Nidra to learn book distribution told me about harinama and gave me Aindra Prabhu’s book, and I realized that is what I should be doing. We only had two harinamas of two hours each there. Phalguni told me about Michigan where they did more, and I went there. I prayed to Aindra Prabhu, asking how I could assist the harinama sankirtana. We visited New York with the Michigan devotees. At one point, the other devotees returned to Michigan, but I stayed.
The cart of harinama equipment was scientifically designed by Rama Raya Prabhu.
Binky, wife of Mathura Prana:
I knew ISKCON from India, but when I saw the devotees chanting in Union Square Park, I thought, “What are these foreigners doing? These people are doing it more fiercely than I would have done being an Indian.”
Prabhupada has made Krishna consciousness more accessible.
I was so happy to see Rama Raya so happy that Mathura Prana Krishna Das was coming. Whenever anyone makes Rama Raya Prabhu happy, it makes me so happy.
Ananda Bihari Prabhu:
When you came, the caliber of people joining the harinama increased. Rama Raya Prabhu, like Srila Prabhupada, was able to engage all kinds of people in doing whatever they could for Krishna.
I remember several times Rama Raya Prabhu would say, “Mathura Prana is a damn good guy.”
Once as we were walking back to the ashram on Macdougal Street, Rama Raya Prabhu said he was very happy about three things. (1) Ananta Gauranga came to play the drum, and that he is pure devotee. (2) We finally have an ashram. (3) Mathura Prana is here.
Ananda Sankirtana Prabhu:
You have fierce determination, like Rama Raya Prabhu, and that is very rare for anybody.
You are one of the first people who has gone through the whole program at the harinama ashram.
Rama Raya Prabhu would say, “The devotion is in the details.” Mathura Prana Prabhu explains things he wants you to do in such detail it is possible to actually do them.
Through chanting we absorb ourselves in Krishna, who is the source of all warmth (Bg. 9.19). and who is in the core of our hearts (Bg. 15.15 and 18.61). We also aspire to share the warmth of Krishna with others.
Of this setting at Grand Central subway station, Yasoda Dulal Das Prabhu writes, “This is the best background ever up to now!”
Sometimes, even in this materialistic age, people use slogans on shirts to remind us to take shelter of God:
To see photos I did not include in this journal, click on the link below:
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.8.29, purport:
“If we misuse our position and think that we are fully engaged in devotional service and can do whatever we like, we have to suffer like Bharata Maharaja and be condemned to accept the type of body that impairs our devotional service. Only the human form is able to execute devotional service, but if we voluntarily give this up for sense gratification, we certainly have to be punished.”
From a letter dated November 27, 1968:
“We should concern ourselves only with giving everything to Krishna. When we keep our association with Krishna only every activity is proper and liberating, and should we dissociate ourselves from the Lord’s Mercy then like a hand severed from the body, we become ugly and useless.”
From a conversation with disciples in New Vrindaban, West Virginia, on June 24, 1976:
“Whether or not one of my students has a propensity for preaching, let him preach by the way he lives. Let his personal life be perfect. Let him teach by his life.”
“The secret is to make the Lord the center of all that you do. Become preoccupied with Krishna. Then naturally you’ll not be preoccupied with your material body. Lavish your affection upon Krishna. Then you’ll not lavish excessive affection upon the material body, which is, after all, temporary and not your real self. Because people today are caught up in this misconception that the material body is the self, they’re misspending so much time and effort and money. Isn’t that so? All on something that cannot last. Why not transfer your love to your real, spiritual self and to the Supreme Self – make Him your beloved and enjoy life with Him forever. That is our system of civilization.”
“Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, I thought you’d once said love is impossible between humans and animals, because they belong to different species.
Srila Prabhupada: Being in the same species is very conducive to love. But love is possible between any living entity and any other – because every living entity is a spirit, part and parcel of God, the Supreme Spirit. So genuine love requires that we center our love on God, on Krishna. That love can make this world as blissful as Vrindavan, as blissful as the spiritual world, where the human beings love Krishna, the animals love Krishna, the trees love Krishna, everyone loves Krishna – where everyone loves everyone, because Krishna is the central point. That is the perfection of civilization, the perfection of love.”
Lord Sri Krishna:
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.21.18:
“By refraining from a particular sinful or materialistic activity, one becomes freed from its bondage. Such renunciation is the basis of religious and auspicious life for human beings and drives away all suffering, illusion, and fear.”
From Padyavali, Anthology of Devotional Poetry:
The Beginning of Radha’s Love
“My husband is angry?
Let him be angry.
My friends rebuke Me?
Let there fall upon Me
whatever other catastrophe
there may be in this world.
I do not care.
I simply wish that My eyes
may eternally drink the nectar
of Krishna’s handsome form.”
— Shri Pushkaraksha
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:
From Vaishnava-siddhanta-mala, Chapter 6:
“When the spirit soul (jiva) gives up the illusory relationship with matter and cultivates its eternal relationship with Krishna, a boundless joy that is characteristic of its own pure consciousness arises in its being. That is the natural happiness of the jiva.”
From Harinama-cintamani, pp. 91–92:
“Offenses to the holy name of the Lord are dissolved solely through constant chanting. When they are thus destroyed, they can never reappear. Constant chanting means, apart from a minimal time for rest and other bare physical necessities, one should chant throughout all hours of the day with intense contrition. No other penance or ritual is as effective as this. When the offenses are destroyed, the pure holy name blossoms within the heart. The pure holy name of Krishna delivers bhava and finally prema.”
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami:
From Begging for the Nectar of the Holy Name:
“Nine rounds done averaging seven and a half minutes. Notice (when you can) that your mind is dwelling in foolish spaces, consorting with demons and chimeras, going to places not fit for a devotee-sannyasi. Notice and bring the mind back to hearing the Hare Krishna mantra. Then bring it back again. And again.
“Can I ask for more than this? That would be asking for Krishna’s mercy. To be able to feel myself His fallen servant filled with anarthas; to be able to feel the mercy of harer nama; realizing everything in the maha-mantra, tears of remorse, tears of joy, the unfolding of Krishna’s pastimes . . . the resolution for service . . . the unending attachment to chanting His names and qualities and pastimes.”
“Chanting the holy name is the foundation of spiritual life. Such a nice simple act for the people of Kali-yuga. Unfortunately, devotees neglect their rounds.
‘When you adopt a submissive attitude and chant, realization begins from the tongue.’
I am the common man, the one who needs to control his mind and senses, the fallen one, the atheist, the agnostic, the one with no spiritual education. I am the one who should take to the chanting of Hare Krishna. I am one who should be the object of mercy for the preachers of the Krishna consciousness movement: ‘Become a devotee of the Lord by continuously chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. You don’t need to change your position, but give up all endeavors to understand the Absolute Truth by speculative reason.’ It is I who should learn to become a servant of those who are in knowledge of the Supreme Lord.”
“Bhaktivinoda Thakura tells us that the only way to rectify ourselves is to completely surrender to the holy name. The tenth offense is the sum total of all namaparadhas. If we are committing it, it means we need a total overhaul. Chanting is not a light activity. It is not meant to be a relaxing meditation. It is not something to be dispensed with quickly so we can get on with our lives. This offense is the final statement on the aparadhas; total surrender to the holy name is the final remedy.”
“The ten offenses are severe handicaps, so we have to be serious to overcome them. The prescription is surrender. Bhaktivinode Thakura writes, ‘If one is sufficiently greedy for attaining pure devotion, he will chant free from the ten offenses. He must diligently avoid each of the offenses with feelings of deep repentance for having ever committed them. He should pray sincerely at the lotus feet of the holy name and chant with determination.’ Only then will he be blessed with the mercy of the holy name, which will destroy all of his offenses. No other activity or penance can possibly exculpate his offenses.”
Adi Purusha Prabhu:
Spiritual life is something that has to be practiced very carefully or we do not get the same result.
We have a natural tendency to give and accept love, and in the case of Bharata Maharaja, it was misused.
Pure love is not just a possibility; it is a fact.
Whatever Krishna is sending is an expression of His love. It may not be what we expect or what we want.
Constantly hearing the truth is the cure for our misconceptions.
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami said, “If we do not hear sufficiently, we will begin to imagine injustices.”
We can be grateful to Krishna for our present situation.
A person in maya does not rejoice.
If we are looking for comfort, prestige, or sense gratification then we will not always be able to appreciate the situations Krishna puts us it.
“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1.21) This mood is like that of “Siksastakam,” verse 8.
We should see whatever happens as the Lord’s mercy.
Comment by me: There was one pastime where a disciple made a mistake and told Srila Prabhupada that it was Krishna’s mercy. Srila Prabhupada replied, “It is Krishna’s mercy and your stupidity.”
The light of sastra gives the vision and enthusiasm to continue.
Satan revealed in a conversation with a famous French priest, Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney (also known as Curé d’Ars), that thanking the Lord for everything and glorifying the Lord under all circumstances is the only thing that destroys the seed of complaining, which is Satan’s most successful weapon.
Comment by Paramananda Gopal Prabhu: If we engage in the six kinds of loving exchanges mentioned by Rupa Goswami in the Nectar of Instruction then we will not feel unloved.
Krishna Dharma Prabhu:
From “Loss of a Loved One” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 51, No. 2:
“Of the many pieces of wisdom that struck me when I read the ancient epic the Mahabharata, one that particularly stuck out was the statement of a sage who said, ‘All happiness must end in distress, all union in separation, and all life in death. Seek then the eternal.’”
“Many spiritual teachings say that we are undying souls, parts of God. This being the case, death means only the death of the body – like a change of clothing, as the Mahabharata puts it. In fact the people I’ve known and loved have not died. They have simply moved on but are still safely in God’s hands. And that, says the Mahabharata, is where we truly belong, and where I can enjoy my loving relationships forever.”
From “Loving a Loving God” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 51, No. 2:
“I find it interesting that people who champion love as the solution to all the world’s problems often hold philosophical views that preclude the reality of love. For the philosophical materialist, only matter and laws controlling matter exist. In that view, love does not really exist, and neither do we. It’s all illusion.
“The perspective of those who hold that the Truth is ultimately impersonal is similar to that of the materialists. They speak lovingly about love, but they aspire to dissolve into the one all-pervading spiritual reality, leaving no chance for exchanges of love.
“Materialism and impersonalism are both monistic philosophies, in which reality is either only matter or only spirit, both ultimately without variety. The more nuanced philosophy of Krishna consciousness, on the other hand, allows for love. Against the philosophy of materialism, it argues that consciousness is irreducible and outside of matter; we and our love actually exist – eternally. Against the philosophy of impersonalism, Krishna consciousness argues that to conclude that spirit must lack variety is shortsighted. The Vedic literature consistently teaches that the individuality of both God, the supreme spiritual person, and the innumerable minute jiva souls is eternal. Not only do Krishna and the jivas always exist, but their loving relationships are the essence of reality.”
“Our spiritual process, bhakti-yoga, is all about love. We Hare Krishna people know more about love than anyone else in the world. Or at least we have access to more information about it than anyone else, received most notably from Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, which Srila Prabhupada presented as The Nectar of Devotion. That book – in fact all of Prabhupada’s books – teaches us pretty much all there is to know about love.”
“We devotees of Krishna may feel uncomfortable with the phrase ‘God is love,’ because love is a thing and God is a person: Krishna. But we can soften our objection to the phrase by remembering that Krishna is identical to His qualities, love arguably being the most important and the most defining of His personality.”
From a internet lecture:
Sampradaya [spiritual lineage] literally means ‘giving the greatest gift.’
From a sankirtana seminar at The Bhakti Center on Thanksgiving Day:
In some confidential conversations with his disciples, Srila Prabhupada indicated that he was sent from the spiritual world to write his books and distribute them worldwide, much in the same way as the Six Goswamis were.
It was Srila Prabhupada’s genius to illustrate his books with fantastic, colorful, and glorious artwork to attract the conditioned souls to read them.
London was considered the capital of the world because of the British Empire, but after World War II, New York City became more prominent.
Srila Prabhupada envisioned presenting the Srimad-Bhagavatam in 60 volumes of 400 pages each. Most religions have one book about God, and they think that is amazing. In the introduction to the first printing of the second volume of the First Canto, Srila Prabhupada recalls a conversation with someone who found it hard to believe he was producing so many volumes about God. He replied that he was only producing 60 volumes because the puny brains of the residents of Kali-yuga can only take so much. In the higher planets, they have millions of volumes.
Of all of our activities, this activity of book distribution is our most important activity.
Srila Prabhupada gave up everything to write these books, and if we give up everything to distribute them, that will be proper reciprocation, and we will experience a deep satisfaction.
Every embodied soul in every body has a deep-rooted desire to enjoy sense objects. If we had that desire in the spiritual world, it would create a lot of disturbance, and thus Krishna created this world for us. This material sense enjoyment is not this world’s only purpose. Krishna has not forgotten us, and enters into the heart of each body as Paramatma. To come to the human form takes millions of births.
A rich person dies, a poor person dies, a famous person dies, and an unknown person dies. Why should I endeavor for wealth and fame if my end is the same. A human being can question this.
If you are not focused on this philosophy, when you walk out of the door, you will look after one sense object after another, because it is a deep-rooted habit.
No love in the material world could motivate someone to follow his friend in every abominable birth he takes, and thus no one has love like Krishna, who is willing to do that.
Although the souls have attained the human form, they are victimized by Kali-yuga and encouraged to desire like animals, and thus lose their opportunity for perfecting their human lives. When you see with that vision when you go out, that is seeing spiritually. Everyone is part of Krishna like we are and is a family member.
Approaching them, knowing they are our brothers and sisters, although they do not recognize that we are their brothers and sisters, is an art.
The secret on sankirtana is to really care about the people, and Krishna will give the person the ability to see that you really care.
If they get a book, even if they do not read it, they will get a human birth.
If you perform the austerity of trying to distribute the books, although it is not your nature, you will become very dear to Krishna. Krishna sees that you are trying to come up to a soul He has been watching for so many births and get him to turn away from sense enjoyment.
In the beginning it is very hard, but at the end it is nonstop spiritual ecstasy, and that is because Krishna is so pleased that someone is finally trying to turn each soul away from sense enjoyment and toward Him.
We should always think, “These are my brothers and sisters. They are living in a culture that causes them to waste their human lives. I have to give them the opportunity to be delivered.”
Japa is a prayer. It is a call for help. If you pray to Krishna to always give you that sankirtana consciousness, he will do that.
Those ecstasies of sankirtana are waiting for you, like an ocean to swim in.
I cannot describe how dear you become to Krishna if you dedicate your life to connect others with Him.
Q (by Cesar’s father): What did Srila Prabhupada think of when he came to America all alone?
A: This is recorded in his poem “Markine Bhagavata-dharma.” First he thought, “Krishna, why did You bring me here?” For thousands of years in India, the mood was to not associate with such degraded souls. Then he considered that Krishna brought him there for a purpose. And he prayed for Krishna to give him words to say to the people and to make him a success, if He desired.
It has nothing to do with us, but some impossible things occur because Krishna is working through us.
You may think “that person will never take a book,” but Krishna can give you the words to say so he will take a book.
Srila Prabhupada wrote in a letter to Satsvarupa Maharaja one paragraph for me to tell the book distributors. In essence it was, “Because I have sacrificed so much to write these books and you are sacrificing so much to distribute them, we have an intimate and intense relationship, like actors on a stage, and I am the director, and through this the people of the world will be saved.”
Srila Prabhupada said that he liked to work at night because he had to have it very quiet so Krishna could speak to him the translation and purport from within the heart and he could hear it.
Caitanya Candra Prabhu:
From “Fatalism or Pragmatism?” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 51, No. 2:
“If Rama responded to Sita’s abduction so resourcefully, then why did He accept His own exile so passively? If He didn’t ascribe Sita’s abduction to destiny, why did He ascribe His own banishment to destiny? Because the defining decider of His responses was the consideration of not destiny, but duty. For Rama as a husband, protecting His wife was His prime duty, and He didn’t even consider abandoning that duty in the name of destiny, no matter how difficult it was. For Rama as a son, obedience to His father was His prime duty, one He did even when it required renouncing His right to the kingdom.”
“So the Ramayana’s message is not that we passively give in to destiny, but that we gallantly stick to duty. And if in the course of duty some inconceivable calamity strikes, we can attribute it to destiny and continue to do our duty.”
“Known in Sanskrit as daiva, destiny is understood to be the determiner of our circumstances, but not our actions. By choosing to act dutifully with scriptural guidance, we can grow through adverse destiny and create for ourselves an auspicious future destiny.”
Nikunja Vilasini Devi Dasi:
From “A Life of Dharma” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 51, No. 2:
“‘Your stomach is a graveyard and your fridge is a mortuary,’ he [Krishna dasa Swami] would remind those who were nonvegetarians. His description of meat-eating would inspire many in his audiences to become vegetarians overnight. He did not make people feel guilty or deride their behavior, but he made them understand that to grasp the intricacies of spiritual knowledge and the spiritual way of life, one has to come to the human platform of goodness, compassion, and concern for other living beings. He understood that human society would have to suffer the consequences of cruel actions, and he feared for its welfare.”
Karuna Gauranga Prabhu:
Bharata Maharaja is glorified not for ruling but renouncing the rule, and yet quite unexpectedly he became attached to a deer.
In his next life, after realizing why he attained a deer body, his first thought was to avoid bad association and attain good association. Thus he went the same ashram where he previously practiced.
Transformation of speech, thought, behavior, and action, is the proof of association.
Krishna wanted to show with the example of Bhisma that if you side with adharma [irreligion], no matter how great you are, you will be destroyed.
Bhisma, although having so much bad association with ambitious politicians, kept whatever good association he had within his heart, and then at the end he spoke eloquently about bhakti.
Seventeen times Krishna advised Duryodhana to make peace with the Pandavas, but Duryodhana was not able to take advantage of His perfect instructions.
Good association causes one to feel enlivened.
My friends in my youth in India used to use so much profanity in their speech, but when they became devotees they found to their surprise they could not utter such bad words.
Paramananda Gopal Prabhu:
Bharata Maharaja’s conditioning as king caused him to feel responsible to take care of the baby deer, whereas another person would not have felt the responsibility.
Radharani also had a pet deer, but her deer did not steal her mind away from Krishna, even when Krishna left Vrindavana.
A study shows an average American couple spends 2½ hours in argument each day. One’s pet dog does not argue and is always faithful and licks your feet, so people looking for happiness through relationships find this in their dogs.
Comment by Arjuna Prabhu: They have an organic dog shop. [Actually if you search “organic dog shop” on Google, you get over 2 million results!]
If you give people facility to have deep relationships, they will not fall into substance addiction.
If our compassion is misplaced, the symptom is that we lose our attraction for Krishna.
Comment by Arjuna Prabhu: We can mock people for their foolish attachments, but unless we compassionately try to help them, we will find ourselves becoming entangled in the same kinds of things they are.
Comment by Cesar: I know a man who was an atheist who became more God consciousness because of his dog. The dog died, and the man was so distraught, he prayed to God that the dog come back to life. The dog actually revived and lived a couple more months.
Comment by Adi Purusha Prabhu: I noticed that those who worked in the psychiatric ward divided mostly into two categories, those who became callous and those who became sentimentally affected. There was, however, another person, who when she entered the room full of crazy people, created an atmosphere of peace. I wondered, “How did she do that?” Later she told me that she was praying for me and for everyone there.
Comment by Adi Purusha Prabhu: The Amish, once the children become sixteen, tell the children to decide to be strict followers in the community or to go out and lead their own lives. Most of those who go out of the community end up coming back.
Although situated in an auspicious place, Bharata was so attached to his pet deer that when it was not present he felt inauspiciousness.
Murali Gopal Prabhu:
It is significant that Bharata Maharaja is repentant. Srila Prabhupada stressed that is important to be repentant about our previous degraded activities. If one is not repentant for his past activities of sense gratification one will return to them.
Identification with one’s nation can have extreme consequences. In the country of Columbia, one soccer player made a wrong play in a World Cup match causing his team to lose, and when he returned his country he was shot dead by the Mafia.
Association is the cause of the development of nationalism.
Reading Srila Prabhupada’s books is necessary to be inspired to follow the other devotional practices.
There was devotee who had very good sadhana but who had difficulty living in the association of devotees so he lived outside and did his own practice at home. Bhakti Tirtha Swami visited him from time to time to check up on him. After a month, after two months, and even after a year he was still going strong, but after two years he showed signs of weakening and after two more months he stopped his practice.
Comment by Bhakta Josh: Divyanga Prabhu told us when he was a new devotee, he was on Tripurari Maharaja’s book distribution party, and they were required to read two hours a day. If a man on the party did not show up for the reading time, Maharaja would look through the whole temple and find him.
Someone said to Aindra Prabhu, “I thought we were supposed to desire to come back life after life to deliver the fallen souls.”
Aindra Prabhu replied, “Why should I keep Krishna from enjoying that specific taste He enjoys in His relationship with me?”
Jai Giridhari Prabhu:
When people hear that Bharata Maharaja was sacrificing so much to take care of a deer, the tendency is to think he is a really nice guy, but when we read Srila Prabhupada’s purport, we understand what is happening on a deeper level.
There are some Christians preachers called “The Skit Guys” who distill the essence of Christianity and present it in skits. They did one on idol worship with a relevant message as you can see (https://youtu.be/QPil9Br-5lE):
When Radhanath Swami began preaching in Mumbai in the 1980s, he did a program every single night.
Srila Prabhupada, in writing to India to enlist support, described how he wanted to make a cultural center to teach the Americans a higher standard of devotion.
Comment by Mother Rukmini:
When the devotees told Srila Prabhupada about their new place at 61 Second Avenue, they described it as a palace, when in reality, it was another storefront, just a bit larger and nicer. I was worried what he would think when he actually came. When he did come, after he looked around, he sat on his vyasasana and said, “I just wanted one moon, but now I see I have so many moonlike devotees.” Srila Prabhupada was so appreciative!
Comment by Adi Purusha Prabhu:
I played security guard for Srila Prabhupada at New Vrindaban. It started raining one night. I waited in a garage nearby, doing my service. Suddenly Srila Prabhupada appeared. I offered obeisances and asked how I could serve him. Srila Prabhupada replied, “You can go where I won’t go.” I inquired what he meant, and he said, “To the future. How you treat the people there will show how Krishna loves them.” I closed my eyes, meditating on this, and when I opened them Srila Prabhupada had disappeared up the stairs.
If we follow the instructions of the guru we are never alone.
Natabara Gauranga Prabhu: I have heard that when the demigods realize their time in heaven is up, that pain counteracts all the many years of heavenly enjoyment they experienced.
From Vaishnava Compassion:
Section on aniha:
“Swami,” explained Srila Prabhupada, meant one who could be in the association of beautiful women and not be affected by them.
Section on sthira:
As the pure devotee is fixed on Krishna, Krishna is fixed on His pure devotee.
An advanced devotee is fixed in the chanting as a bee is fixed in tasting the nectar from a flower.
Karuna Gauranga Prabhu: In the beginning of our devotional service, everything is new. After some time, Sacinandana Swami says one comes to a stage of “nothing new anymore.”
Cesar: In Harinama Cintamani, Haridasa Thakura prays, “Be merciful, Mahaprabhu, so the ten offenses do not enter my heart. Then I will be able to taste the nectar of the Name.”
It is described that Bharata Maharaja was so renounced that he gave up his kingdom, wife, and family, just as one gives up stool after passing it. When we pass stool we do not really feel separation from it. Thus it was amazing to me that he later became attached to a deer.
Krishna explains to the gopis that although some devotees become so advanced they attain bhava, He does not reveal Himself to them because He is not satisfied until they achieve prema, and He wants them inspired to endeavor for that.
Rama Raya Prabhu always says, “Maya will give you unending excuses to not surrender to Krishna.”
B. R. Sridhara Maharaja said that Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati wanted to spend ten years preaching in New York City, and it can be understood that he did that through Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
No one tells you that the soul never dies and the body never lives, but that is the truth.
One guy told me that he was God. I started talking to him in Telugu. He was bewildered and asked what I was doing. I said that I thought if you were God, you would know Telugu. Several months later I saw him on the street. He was grateful that I shook him up. Now he chants 32 rounds and frequently comes on harinama.
The sahajiyas want to take the lila [pastimes] but they do not take the tattva [understanding of Krishna in truth].
We should make ourselves available because we have the greatest thing and we want to share it.
Srila Prabhupada explains in his purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.25 that talks of Krishna, krishna-katha, are the remedy for all problems.
By the grace of Krishna, although he had to accept the body of the deer, Bharata Maharaja did not have to go through all the other species of life to regain the human form.
Gaura Govinda Swami says that we have to pray for good association. Actually he said we have to cry for good association.
B. R. Sridhara Maharaja says that our very deep-rooted desire for fame can be transformed into the desire that our guru be pleased with us.
Sometimes you can think your problems are so small that you do not want to bring them up to a sadhu, and in this way you are tricked by maya. But you are not bothering the sadhus by mentioning them. They take pleasuring in helping you, and they know they also benefit by doing so.
Comments by Adi Purusha Prabhu:
Because Bharata Maharaja was all alone he got into difficulty. The sadhu has no private life. He does not have a separate program when no else is around.
We get the quality of association we desire.
Tamal Krishna Goswami did not go to China for four years after Srila Prabhupada asked him to, but he realized he had to, and so ultimately he did.
Ramesvara Prabhu was saying that Srila Prabhupada considered he was the director and his followers were the actors. One can add to that the understanding that Krishna is the scriptwriter, and He gives His pure devotees different scripts to direct.
Lord Caitanya asked Saranga Thakura what he was going to do about a dying bakula tree. Saranga said, “Aside from Your mercy, I see no hope for this tree.” Lord Caitanya embraced the tree, and it improved in health and is still healthy till this very day.
When Adikarta Prabhu visited around Ratha-yatra time, we asked him how he has been able to be a devotee for forty years. He replied: “There is no special secret. Just keep the transcendental vibration going.”
From “Kulimela: The Next Generation” in Back to Godhead, Vol. 51, No. 2:
“As the blistering set reaches its conclusion, and everyone is left grinning, panting, and sweating, Balarama Tirtha Dasa leaves us with a heartwarming thought: ‘We may all be such varied people spread across all corners of the world,’ he calls out. ‘But we all have one thing in common: we love Krishna, and we love Srila Prabhupada!’
“This intrinsic unity in kulis, and the stunning cultural talent on display, recalls a letter Prabhupada sent to Syamasundara Dasa when his daughter Sarasvati was two: ‘I am very glad to learn about the activities of your nice daughter,’ he wrote. ‘I am sure she will be a great devotee and great preacher also in future. I want that on this Krishna culture the whole world can be united.’”
tvam apy adabhra-sruta visrutam vibhoh
samapyate yena vidam bubhutsitam
prakhyahi duhkhair muhur arditatmanam
sanklesa-nirvanam usanti nanyatha
“Please, therefore, describe the Almighty Lord’s activities which you have learned by your vast knowledge of the Vedas, for that will satisfy the hankerings of great learned men and at the same time mitigate the miseries of the masses of common people who are always suffering from material pangs. Indeed, there is no other way to get out of such miseries.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.40)