Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Travel Journal#13.1: Hartford, NYC Harinama, North & Central Florida

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 13, No. 1
By Krishna-kripa das
(January 2017, part one)
Hartford, New York City Harinama, North and Central Florida
(Sent from Tallahassee, Florida, on February 7, 2017)

Where I Went and What I Did

After spending New Year’s Day in Hartford attending a three-hour kirtana and hearing from Niranjana Swami, I returned to New York City for my two last days with the Yuga Dharma New York City harinama party. Then I did two days of harinama in Jacksonville while staying at our new Bhakti House there. After that I did two days of harinama in Gainesville, Friday at Krishna Lunch and later with the Alachua devotees at the corner of the university and Saturday with a group of enthusiastic followers of Dhira Govinda Prabhu. Then I went to Tallahassee for four days, chanting at Lake Ella on Sunday and the next three days at Florida State University. Next I attended a meeting of Bhaktivedanta Institute in Gainesville. Then I chanted at University of South Florida in Tampa and attended our first program of the semester there. Friday, as the previous week, I chanted in Gainesville at Krishna Lunch and later in the afternoon with the Alachua devotees. That weekend I returned to Tallahassee and chanted at Lake Ella on Saturday and Sunday, and Monday at a new event for me, the Tallahassee Martin Luther King Day March.

When I first lived in a Hare Krishna temple, at 55th Street in New York City in 1979, I met Jayadvaita Swami and Niranjana Prabhu (now Niranjana Swami). In January of 2017, I happened to meet them both again, and I share notes on their lectures. I share comments by Brahmatirtha Prabhu from a meeting of Bhaktivedanta Institute in Gainesville. I share notes on classes by Prabhupada disciple, Mother Nanda, in Gainesville, Janmastami Prabhu of Mayapur Institute in Alachua, Garuda Prabhu of Tallahassee, and Tulasirani Devi Dasi in Gainesville. I also share notes on a karatala seminar given by Bhagavata Purana Prabhu of Vrindavan in Alachua.

Many, many thanks to Niranjana Swami for his wonderful kirtanas, enlightening lectures, private darsana, and assistance in reaching my next destination. Thanks to Nama Kirtan Prabhu, president of ISKCON Tallahassee, for contributing to my travel there. Thanks to Pyari Mohan Prabhu, temple president of Hartford, for his kind donation. I also thank Naman, who chanted with me at University of Central Florida last year while doing his graduate work there in optics, and who is now working in Hartford, for his kind donation. Thanks to Niset Kamer for his picture of Dorian and me chanting at the Jacksonville Art Walk.


January 31–February 7: Tallahassee
February 8: Gainesville and Alachua
February 9: USF, Tampa
February 10–11: Gainesville
February 12: Ocala Regional Rainbow Gathering
February 13–15: UNF and Jacksonville Beach Art Walk
February 16: USF, Tampa
February 17–April 8: North and Central Florida campuses
April 9–11: Washington, D.C.
April 12: Albany
April 13: New York City
April 14–September 5: Europe

Expenses and Income for 2016 in U.S. Dollars

Festival Fees
Lost or Stolen
Total Expenses


Cash Rewards
Total Income

Note: The values for books are misleading in that some book expenses are for books I am personally reading, some income from books is included under donations, and mostly I distribute books belonging to the temples I am residing at, which I do not account for here.

I am not a book distributor. I do harinama, and if people give me donations, I offer them a book. Therefore, I distribute the most books when I do harinama in one place, which I did a lot in the month of May. On the walking harinamas organized by others, I chant and dance and distribute invitations and free pamphlets, unless no one is distributing books at all, and then I will approach people who seem to have some genuine attraction to the harinama, and mention that these books explain about what we are doing here, and in this way I sell a few books, which I do not keep account of.

Book Sales on Harinama
In the North UK in 2016
By Krishna-kripa Das
New Year’s Day in Hartford

Because Niranjana Swami was recovering from jet lag and because I was also a guest, Hartford temple president, Pyari Mohan Prabhu, engaged me in giving the Srimad-Bhagavatam class in Hartford. Because it was cold and there were not likely to be many people on the streets of Hartford, instead of doing three hours of harinama as I usually do, I proposed to the congregation that we have a three-hour kirtana in the temple. There were many extra devotees who had attended Niranjana Swami’s Vyasa-puja the day before and who would be staying for his afternoon Sunday feast lecture, and I thought that would be a nice engagement for them. Thus it was settled to have a kirtana from noon to 3:00 p.m., before the Sunday feast program, which starts with a kirtana at 3:30.

I started the program with a fifteen-minute kirtana myself, but as I am not such a great singer and I wanted to encourage others, I then let others lead. I was happily surprised with the enthusiasm for the program and with the number of very nice kirtana singers who were present. Actually I should not have been surprised. Considering Niranjana Swami has great love for kirtana, it only makes sense that his disciples and followers also would. I took videos of some of the devotees singing, which I present in the order in which they sang:

Prema Bhakti, daughter of Ranjit Prabhu (https://youtu.be/IQkTU6gpFKk):

Niranjana Swami, GBC and guru (https://youtu.be/OaErTOUkFqY):

Trisakti Devi Dasi, who lives in Boston (https://youtu.be/uKUvjdpXlOQ):


Both Niranjana Swami and Pyari Mohan Prabhu were happy I organized the three-hour kirtana (which actually went almost four hours) and positively engaged the visiting devotees in devotional service, and I was very happy about that.

Niranjana Swami also led a Hare Krishna kirtana before his lecture (https://youtu.be/14sGfDluudU):

He led the Sunday Feast kirtana as well (https://youtu.be/DJejEGO7TSk):

My Last Two Days with the Yuga Dharma New York City Party

Before telling about my last two days on harinama in New York City, I want to share with you some videos I found on my phone from Christmas in the Times Square subway station:

Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna with joy and intensity on Christmas and several dance at Times Square subway station (https://youtu.be/y2aI4zOH_LM):

Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna to the tune of “Jingle Bells” (https://youtu.be/pjo9KiQVCXY):

Govind Prabhu sang a sweet Hare Krishna melody that attracted a nice Christmas crowd (https://youtu.be/5OFs0QXLdyU):

The day after New Years, we also had a nice crowd of devotees chanting in Times Square subway station.

Here Kaliya Krishna Prabhu leads the chanting of Hare Krishna there (https://youtu.be/hpyaJBPcGAc):

The following day we chanted in Union Square subway station. After returning from the airport because the Atlanta flight I hoped to fly standby was full, I was extremely happy to encounter one more kirtana led by Rama Raya Prabhu (https://youtu.be/Rl3ahK7lI3Q):

His chanting was so fired up, one passerby stopped to play the shakers, to learn the mantra, and to sing along (https://youtu.be/juV1tcLiD2M):

Thank you to Rama Raya Prabhu and all the members of and the supporters of his Yuga Dharma New York City sankirtana party, who are keeping the yuga-dharma alive in that very important city. It was most inspiring to be on their team for three months, and I hope that by Krishna’s grace, I can come again and be more of an asset in September.

Harinamas in Jacksonville

An event that the Krishna House Gainesville devotees started regularly doing harinama and book distribution at is the Jacksonville Art Walk on the first Wednesday of each month. Thus after I failed in my attempt to fly standby to Atlanta on Tuesday, I decided to fly to Jacksonville on Wednesday. Although the Krishna House devotees did not come this time, as it was difficult to organize the trip on the first day of the semester, I was determined to go out and chant anyway. 

I was happy that Dorian, who I chanted with in Orlando last January, had returned to the Jacksonville area and was pleased to chant with me at the Art Walk for over two hours. Kira came and chanted an hour and twenty minutes, and Laura for an hour. Both Kira and Laura danced very nicely, and Kira sang the response loudly and steadily, making for a nice kirtana. I never encountered such a high percentage of people who danced to our music, although we were a very small band. One girl talked to me as I was setting up, saying she danced with us at the Art Walk two years ago. I told her about our local programs, and she sounded excited to attend them. I met an older man who I talked to last year at the Art Walk and who had first seen Hare Krishnas in 1967 in San Francisco and remembered the first Ratha-yatra. He gave a donation and took a Higher Taste cookbook for his vegan nephew. One onlooker took this photo of me and Dorian:

I chanted for three hours at Five Points the next day. I met lots of nice people, including two Buddhists and one Christian, who gave donations but did not take books. Kira came out and chanted for 40 minutes. One young man who likes kirtana was happy to hear of our programs. 

One guy gave a donation and told how Krishna Lunch got him through his time at University of Florida, where he got his degree in 1992. He recalled playing Frisbee with Daru Prabhu, who ran the lunch program then. I offered him a book. I explained Perfection of Yoga was about yoga and meditation. I pointed to the illustrated cover of Beyond Birth and Death and mentioned how reincarnation is not so strange as in this one life we have already transmigrated through different bodies. He took the Beyond Birth and Death and gave another donation. A talkative sixty-five-year-old lady, who remembered the Hare Krishnas from Los Angeles in the late 1960s, bought a Higher Taste cookbook to help her move toward a more healthy diet. My nose got sunburn from sitting in the sun for three hours, but I did not care, happy to be outside in the sunshine after the cold times in New York City underground.

Harinama in Gainesville

chanting at Krishna Lunch

It was nice to chant with the Krishna House devotees during the Krishna Lunch in Gainesville, said to be the longest continuously running mass prasadam program in ISKCON (46 years), where they daily distribute a thousand plates of sanctified vegetarian food and chant Hare Krishna for two hours.

I took some videos of the devotees singing at Krishna Lunch two Fridays, January 6 and 13. Unfortunately the volume is very low the first day I recorded them as I am accustomed to record amplified kirtanas.

Here Bhagavata Purana Prabhu, who has chanted with the Krishna-Balarama 24-Hour Kirtana program for years and who was in the USA teaching a karatala workshop, leads the chanting of Hare Krishna at Krishna Lunch (https://youtu.be/SF6VaPm1LWM):

Here Hari Priya, youngest daughter of Yadubara and Visakha Prabhus, chants Hare Krishna at Krishna Lunch (https://youtu.be/9LFkACef3Lo):

Here Kishor Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Krishna Lunch (https://youtu.be/b2bwy6unPgo):

The next week Krishna Nama Prabhu chanted Hare Krishna at Krishna Lunch (https://youtu.be/6NGmp0HZDhY):

Here Prabhupada disciple, Adikarta Prabhu, who distributes books to students at the university, led the chanting of Hare Krishna (https://youtu.be/gECTIxD3pK4):

chanting with Alachua devotees at the University of Florida entrance

The two Fridays I sang at Krishna Lunch at noontime, I chanted with the Alachua devotees in the late afternoon at the entrance to the University of Florida. I took videos of different devotees singing.

Krishna Keshava Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at the University of Florida entrance (https://youtu.be/KIFACM9w6l0):

Here Krishna Keshava Prabhu chants the following week and a group of passersby dances with us (https://youtu.be/vY_L8mFrZ1c):

Bhaktin Christiana chants Hare Krishna at the University of Florida entrance (https://youtu.be/IYq9TA00evs):

Nagaraja Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at the University of Florida entrance (https://youtu.be/FoJG25RwEgk):

Nagaraja Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at the University of Florida entrance the following week (https://youtu.be/y03CUd9qtp4):

Some of those who take the Satvatove Institute life coaching workshops run by Dhira Govinda Prabhu become interested in the practice of bhakti-yoga, and several times a year, he arranges harinamas for them in Gainesville. I have not been doing harinama in Gainesville on weekends, although I usually do it on weekends everywhere else, so I was happy to attend Dhira Govinda Prabhu’s Saturday evening harinama, along with some friends from Krishna House. I was surprised to see the number of people by the bars and restaurants on University Avenue around 17th Street, and I may do harinama there with Krishna House devotees in the future. At one point a group of students from Venezuela took great pleasure in dancing with the devotees. Because I was too busy playing the instruments, I was unable to take any video of it. 

Harinama at Lake Ella in Tallahassee

I chanted at Tallahassee’s Lake Ella, two Sundays, one Saturday, and on Martin Luther King Day, after the march. Sometimes I was joined by both Nama Kirtan Prabhu and Melanie, and other times by either one of them. Still other times I chanted alone. I would try to chant for three hours. One day it was so cold, we had to stop after an hour and a half.

One retired philosophy professor inquired about the devotees who ran the Higher Taste restaurants we formerly had in Tallahassee and which he regularly attended. I told him he could come for the Krishna Lunch on the campus to get Krishna food, but he said parking was a problem. I suggested he come to our place after the campus lunch, and we could serve him lunch there, where parking would not be a problem, but I do not know if he will come.

We met people who remembered Daru Brahma Prabhu, who previously ran the Krishna Lunch program, and Nama Kirtan Prabhu met present Krishna Lunch goers he knew. We met Indian people who did not know ISKCON was present in Tallahassee, and they were happy to learn of our temple. We met people who loved our music and our free vegan cookies, and we encountered no negativity.

Chanting Hare Krishna at Florida State University

I was happy to chant Hare Krishna behind the main library at FSU on a grassy area called Landis Green for three hours each weekday. I have a table with books, invitations to Krishna Lunch and the Sunday Feast, and vegan oatmeal cookies.

Practically everyone who attended the Krishna Lunch would say very nice things about it. Still many people, perhaps half the students stopping by my table, had not heard of it. I would even encounter juniors, who had been attending the school for 2½ years and who were vegetarian, who still had not heard of Krishna Lunch before. Every day I would have some friendly conversations and average about two new names for our mailing list.

One friendly guy named Chris with the Wesley group on campus took a cookie and invitation and told me a couple days later that he had his friend pick him up a Krishna Lunch, and he really liked it. He thought that perhaps one day a week, he and some of his friends could go to Krishna Lunch as a group. I told him other groups of friends do that, like a group from the circus. He apparently knew Garuda Prabhu from his former Peace on Earth Center, and he spoke of visiting the Sunday Feast with a few friends some time, and I told him that Garuda comes there each Sunday.

Chanting Hare Krishna in the Tallahassee Martin Luther King March

Gainesville and Alachua devotees have been chanting in the Martin Luther King March in Gainesville for years. During my Florida winters I have usually just spent five days a month in Tallahassee, and most of my time at Krishna House in Gainesville, but this year, Ramiya Prabhu encouraged me to spend more time in Tallahassee, and Kalakantha Prabhu said he had too many people in Krishna House. Thus I am spending more time in Tallahassee, and because that is where I was on Martin Luther King Day, I decided to chant in the march there.

Unfortunately, I could find only one devotee to chant with me, Melanie, so we did not have a very large party. Still a few people appreciated, and we encountered no negativity. We chanted for about half an hour in the march and another fifteen minutes at Cascades Park, before the rest of the program honoring Dr. King got under way.

I encouraged my friends at Krishna House to chant in the march in Gainesville, and I was very happy to learn seventeen of them attended, definitely a new record for them. One family of onlookers apparently liked the chanting and dancing so much they participated the whole length of the march, 1.6 miles. The Tallahassee march was quite a bit shorter, just 0.9 miles.

Chanting at University of South Florida in Tampa

As in previous years, I am assisting Ramiya Prabhu in running our weekly programs at University of South Florida. Because I am in Tallahassee more, I just come every second week this year.

Because we had difficulty finding a club president to book rooms for our programs at USF, we had practically no programs during the fall of 2016.

To advertise our first program of the spring semester of 2017, I chanted for two hours and Ananta Devi Dasi, Ramiya Prabhu’s wife, distributed invitations. One girl, who had come to the club several years ago, came by our table outside the student center and chanted and played karatalas for ten minutes. 

Amazingly enough we got twelve people to come to the program. One girl liked it so much she came the next two weeks also, and several others also became regulars including a guy from Lakeland, whose father was really into George Harrison and who took a Chant and Be Happy.

There were some Indians and a young Hispanic lady who had some connection with Hare Krishna temples before and who were happy to encounter this program at their university.

It was very inspiring to see so much initial interest in the club. 


In the room I stayed in in the Hartford temple, there was a poster entitled “Chant Anyway” which may inspire you in chanting:

Chant Anyway!

Your mind is wandering all over the universe when you chant.

Chant anyway!

Your mind is wandering to the past and future when you chant.

Chant anyway!

You are not able to concentrate on Krishna’s names while you chant.

Chant anyway!

You have no taste for chanting.

Chant anyway!

You have lusty desires.

Chant anyway!

You are making offenses in chanting.

Chant anyway!

You are not praying to Krishna to help you chant better.

Chant anyway!

You often chant late at night.

Chant anyway!

So WHY? Why should you chant despite all the above obstacles?

This is why:

There is no vow like chanting the holy name, no knowledge superior to it, no meditation which comes anywhere near it, and it gives the highest result.

No penance is equal to it, and nothing is as potent or powerful as the holy name.

Chanting is the greatest act of piety and the supreme refuge.

Even the words of the Vedas do not possess sufficient power to describe its magnitude.

Chanting is the highest path to liberation, peace and eternal life.

It’s the pinnacle of devotion, the heart’s joyous proclivity and attraction and the best form of remembrance of the Supreme Lord.

The holy name has appeared solely for the benefit of the living entities as their lord and master, their supreme worshipful object and their spiritual guide and mentor.

Whoever continuously chants Lord Krishna’s holy name, even in his sleep, can easily realize that the name is a direct manifestation of Krishna Himself, in spite of the influences of Kali-yuga.

—Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Saranagati (quoted from Adi Purana)

Our Material Disease: Desiring to be the Master

Although by our very constitution, we are eternal servants of Krishna, in our conditioned life everyone is trying to be the master. Indeed our society encourages us to maintain this misconception. I was reminded of this coming through the Delancey Street / Essex Street subway station after my last day of harinama in New York City:

Although we imagine ourselves as being the master [German meister], we are becoming slaves of intoxication. [Jägermeister is a liqueur that is 35% alcohol.]
Better we become intoxicated by harinama, and become masters of our senses!


Jayadvaita Swami:

When Sanatana Goswami asked Lord Caitanya what are the characteristics of the Kali avatara, Lord Caitanya replied, “We can understand the avataras from the description in the sastras.

I asked the follower of some guru who claimed to be an incarnation, “Where is your guru predicted in the sastra [scripture]?”
He replied, “Yada yada hi dharmasya . . . ” [The Bhagavad-gita verse, where Krishna says, “Whenever there is a decline in religion, I descend.”]
That does not really cut it. In that way you could accept Donald Trump as an incarnation. [laughter]

It has to be an easy process for the Kali age, for there are so many difficulties.

Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis were great scholars and government ministers not sentimentalists. They must have seen so much cheating going on, but they accepted Lord Caitanya as genuine.

Where does one get the intelligence to do the sankirtana? Tesam satata yuktanam . . . dadami buddhi yogam tam [To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding] (Bhagavad-gita 10.10).

Sanatana Goswami accepted Lord Caitanya, and we are following the Goswamis.

Q (by Kaliyaphani Prabhu): How could the Mayavadis who say one has to accept sannyasa to enter into spiritual life accept Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, who was a householder, as a guru.
A: He was an expert scholar, so as sometimes we accept knowledge from one who an expert in a certain field, so did they.

Q: Why did Lord Caitanya not identify Himself as God?
A: If Lord Caitanya identified Himself as God then it would encourage others to also claim to be God. Also the sastra says the Kali-yuga avatara is covered. 

Q: Why doesn’t it say humble instead of intelligent?
A: To be humble is intelligent. Krishna in Bhagavad-gita, Chapter 13, in his list of items of knowledge [verses 8–12], begins with amanitvan, humility.

Krishna is the guru of the entire universe, even though He is not authorized by the GBC. [laughter]

It is Krishna, but He is appearing in the form of the vartmapradarsaka guru, the diksa guru, the siksa guru, the Deity, the Bhagavatam, as the taste of water, etc. It is like a campaign to deliver the fallen souls, and the intelligent person will see it.

The person who just sees himself and the deity also does not see the nondevotees. He does not know the most pleasing way to serve the deity is to get out of the deity room and give Krishna consciousness to others.

Q: What is the difference between humility and pridelessness?
A: Amanitvam [humility] means without desiring respect, and adambhitvam [pridelessness] means without arrogance or pride.

Q: Where do we get the energy to respect others in the community?
A: We take it out of our account of respect for ourselves. The fool becomes joyful reviewing his glories. Respect is practical. We must render service to those we respect. Even if we do not feel it, if we render service, it will still benefit us.

Prajalpa’s [nonsense talk’s] worst form is sadhu-ninda [criticism of the devotee].

Although one aspires to be a big man, the fate of the big man is that he becomes intoxicated by his material acquisitions, and he suffers like a dog.

The king thinks, “I have got my soldiers. I have got my chariots. I am a god among men.” In this way, he forgets Krishna.

Krishna comes as death and separates the man from his possessions.

Mucukunda says, “Now you are calling me king, but soon you will call me feces, worms, or ashes.”

Although he appears to be a leader of man, he must become subordinate to his wife to attain sense gratification.

The association of devotees awakens one to Krishna consciousness, and one loses attachment for material enjoyment.

People are fools, working hard for things that will make them miserable. Why would a learned person approach Krishna for such material things?

I am leaving behind the products of material nature and am approaching the Absolute Truth.

For so long I have faithfully served my senses and they are not satisfied and I am not satisfied, and they do not release me from their service. Therefore I am approaching Krishna to serve Him and become free.

Q: What is the best way to escape this material existence?
A: Surrender to Krishna (Bhagavad-gita 7.14). Everyone is making a program for happiness and attaining distress, but because it is a divine arrangement, he cannot get out. A prisoner cannot get out by his own efforts, but the authorities can release him. Similarly, when a person surrenders to the spiritual master and the spiritual master’s instructions, he gets out.

Engaging the senses in Krishna’s service is the only way to control the senses.

Q (by Tulasirani Devi Dasi): Because I am a grihastha, I find myself planning to have nice kids to engage in Deity worship and read Srimad-Bhagavatam to and have a nice garden for Krishna. I see I want Krishna in the center, but I also want to enjoy. How do I purify that? Just do it?
A: We should understand philosophically that what we actually get is a mixture of happiness and distress. If you are imagining Krishna will fulfill all your happy dreams, you may be disappointed. Smith magazine asked their readers to describe their lives in six words. The winner became a title of a book, Not Exactly What I Was Expecting. Krishna suggests “yaddriccha labha santushtah [to be satisfied with gain that comes of its own accord].” (Bhagavad-gita 4.22) And better than that, learn to take pleasure in serving Krishna. What happens sometimes in household life is one partner becomes more attached sense gratification, and because of that, the other partner becomes more attached to sense gratification, and they both suffer.

If I am thinking of “how I will be happy” instead of “how Krishna will be happy,” I may attain some happiness, but I will not be as happy as if I just surrendered to Krishna and concerned myself only with Krishna’s happiness.

Niranjana Swami:

From a Sunday feast lecture in Hartford on Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.9.11:

Dhruva Maharaja originally wanted the association of the Lord to ask Him for something else.

If the pastime of Dhruva being refused the chance to sit on the lap of his father, the king, happened now, someone would record it on their phone and put it on Facebook and drum up support for Dhruva Maharaja.

The first instruction his mother gave Dhruva was to not seek revenge.

Once I felt like seeking revenge, but this verse spoken by Samika Rsi kept me from doing it: “The devotees of the Lord are so forbearing that even though they are defamed, cheated, cursed, disturbed, neglected or even killed, they are never inclined to avenge themselves.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.18.48)

Narada Muni appears wherever there is a good candidate for spiritual instruction.

After Dhruva Maharaja performed so many severe austerities to see the Lord, all he asked the Lord was “kindly bless me so that I may associate with great devotees who engage in Your transcendental loving service constantly, as the waves of a river constantly flow. Such transcendental devotees are completely situated in an uncontaminated state of life. By the process of devotional service I shall surely be able to cross the nescient ocean of material existence, which is filled with the waves of blazing, firelike dangers. It will be very easy for me, for I am becoming mad to hear about Your transcendental qualities and pastimes, which are eternally existent.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.9.11)

Dhruva Maharaja was sad that all that the Lord talked about with him was his past material desires and not his present request for the association of the Lord’s devotees. He lamented because he was purified. Had he not been purified, he would have been jumping in ecstasy [that the Lord fulfilled his material desires].

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura makes the point that even when the devotee gets the association of the Lord, he asks the Lord for the association of devotees.

Haridasa Thakura asked for the benediction of eating the remnants of the devotees birth after birth because in his humility he felt he could never remember the Lord, and he knew the devotees would not let him forget the Lord.

We should associate with the devotees who help us to remember Krishna.

We do not always know exactly why the Lord does what He does, but we do know that whatever the Lord does is for the benefit of the devotee. The Lord knows best. He knows what it takes to make the devotee qualified to see Him and to come to Him.

From a recorded lecture:

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, “The bhaktas want to awaken Krishna’s pleasure by their service.”

Patience for the bhakta means thinking, “Someday I will get Krishna’s mercy, whether now or in millions of births.”

Brahmatirtha Prabhu:

From a Bhaktivedanta Institute of Gainesville meeting:

Mechanistic and Nonmechanistic Science was Sadaputa Prabhu’s best book.

Sadaputa’s article “God and the Laws of Physics” is his best article. In it he shows using chaos theory that God is perfectly compatible with the laws of physics.

Mother Nanda:

Ambarisa Maharaja was such a sincere devotee he did not even have to pray for protection.

Comment by Tulasirani Devi Dasi: It was so striking to me that even if we are not pure devotees but are the servants of the pure devotee we become dear to Krishna.

Srila Prabhupada would always say Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura is our grandfather spiritual master and the grandfather is more affectionate than the father.

Brahmatirtha Prabhu: If had known how nice grandchildren were, I would have skipped children.

It is an amazing statement that the Lord cannot enjoy His spiritual opulence without the help of His devotee. Thus we are insignificantly significant to Him.

By offending devotees, we are giving pain to Krishna who is in their hearts.

Q (by Brahmatirtha Prabhu): You were president of one of the largest ISKCON communities and sometimes in a leadership position you have to correct someone, so how to adjust this.
A: In addition to chanting Hare Krishna, the most common mantra I chanted was, “I am really sorry Prabhu, I did not mean to offend you. I am really sorry.”

Comment by Brahmatirtha Prabhu: When we are in the position where we have to correct people, we should think, “It is just a role I am assuming.” Radhanath Swami begs Krishna, “Do not let me take my role so seriously.” Also those being corrected might think, “This person correcting me has assumed a great responsibility in taking on this leadership position which is very difficult. If he has treated me in a way I think is too extreme, I should not take it too seriously.”

Janmastami Prabhu:

The acaryas focus on that fact that the miseries of Kali-yuga drive one to take shelter of the Lord’s sankirtana movement.

Srila Prabhupada speaks in his Hare Krishna maha-mantra address of crying out to Krishna. How do we attain this state of crying?

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says the qualification to cry is to realize that no material situation can actually give satisfaction to the soul.

Vrindavana dasa Thakura writes, “Bhakti means to cry by remembering the holy name of Krishna.” (Caitanya Bhagavat, Madhya-khanda 24.72)

He continues, “The pure name manifests when one cries as he is chanting the holy name of Krishna.” (Caitanya Bhagavat, Madhya-khanda 24.73)

[The complete verses are “Devotional service, devotional service, devotional service is the greatest treasure. Devotional service means crying while remembering Krishna’s names. The pure name of Krishna manifests when one cries while chanting the name of Krishna. Wealth and high birth are useless if one does not worship Krishna.” (Caitanya Bhagavat, Madhya-khanda 24.72–73)]

What does becoming a particle of dust at His lotus feet mean? To only desire to be engaged in devotional service.

Crying out of suffering is not the pure crying.

Humility is anyabhilasita sunyam (being devoid of desires other than the desire for pure devotional service).

The whole Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu is more or less based on the verse anyabhilasita-sunyam jñana-karmady-anavritam anukulyena krishnanu-silanam bhaktir uttama – “When first-class devotional service develops, one must be devoid of all material desires, knowledge obtained by monistic philosophy, and fruitive action. The devotee must constantly serve Krishna favorably, as Krishna desires.” (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.11).

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, “One who does not make the endeavor to rid himself of anarthas attains only misfortune.”
He continues, “Without receiving the holy name, one will not be able to rid himself of anarthas despite repeated attempts.” 
“By crying out the holy name,” he says, “in a few days one will become free from anarthas.

Comment by Hariparayana Prabhu: Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says humility means to consider, “if someone praises me they are wrong and if someone criticizes me they are right.” My experience is if you apply these, you become indifferent to both praise and criticism.

A devotee interviewed 500 devotees who had stopped practicing Krishna consciousness. They all had respect and reverence for Srila Prabhupada, but they could not apply “tat te ’nukampam” in their distressful situation. [That tat te ’nukampam verse reads, “My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.8)]

Comments by Prana Govinda Prabhu:

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says offenses can be rectified by acknowledging the offense and then:
(1)  approaching the devotee and apologizing
(2)  if he will not respond, then serving him
(3)  if he still does not forgive us, taking complete shelter of the holy name, and by the mercy of the holy name, the person will forgive us

Some symptoms of reaction to offense include:
1. Negligence of devotional service
2. Attachment to things that take us away from devotional service.

Comment by Madana-mohana Prabhu: The interest of the devotee in liberation is to be free to engage in devotional service.

Bhagavata Purana Prabhu:

From his seminar on karatalas:

Six important things are to understand about karatalas.
1.    Direction
2.    Pitch
3.    Volume
4.    Speed
5.    Open and closed beats
6.    Upbeat and downbeat

In the Prabhupada beat the final beat is half open and half closed.

The thumb is supposed to be fixed on the strap so you do not lose control of your instrument. Use your fingers not the thumb to dampen the sound.

The singer and the mrdanga player work as a team, and everyone else follows the mrdanga player.

The mrdanga is half as loud as the voice, and the other instruments should be half as loud as the mrdanga.

Srila Prabhupada would complain about karatalas clanging [playing all open beats].

Never put a microphone to record a kirtana next to the karatalas. The best place is near the large end of the drum because it is important to hear the bass.

Srila Prabhupada said that karatala and mrdanga is sufficient. The harmonium is not a Vedic instrument, but Srila Prabhupada said there is a small harmonium in the spiritual world. Lord Caitanya said if you do not have karatalas and mrdangas you can just clap your hands.

The whompers should be played open and sweetly. They are not a crash instrument.

Aindra Prabhu once sang for nine hours straight, from after Bhagavatam class to six in the evening. People did not even leave to use the bathroom.

Aindra Prabhu had a dream of Prabhupada in which Srila Prabhupada said, “Why is no one cleaning my toilets?” Thus Aindra Prabhu took up the service of cleaning the toilets.

Aindra Prabhu’s room was 50% mud and 50% cow dung.

Garuda Prabhu of Tallahassee:

Chanting the name of God is the sweet thing that we are all looking for.

Wherever tulasi [the sacred plant used in Krishna worship] resides is Vaikuntha [the spiritual world].

The Vedas are the oldest and largest scripture in the world.

In Dvarupa-yuga people were more advanced than we are now. For example, no one knows how the pyramids were built.

I invite people to come to the temple at least once to support it. “They are giving free food, their music opens up your heart, etc. Just come once to support it.”

Hippies in a group called “Janitors of the Planet” in Haight Ashbury said, “Of all the traditions we studied, this swami [Srila Prabhupada] had the most lasting effect on us because he was always serving others.”

After this krishna-katha [discourse about the Lord] we have been hearing, if we were to die now, we would go back to Godhead. There is no doubt.

One lady called the Peace Pilgrim walked across the USA 24 times. She had some interesting realizations:

“Sometimes difficulties of the body show that the body is just a transient garment and the reality is the indestructible essence.”

“Those who feel hate and fear are out of harmony with God’s will and are likely to have difficulties.”

“Difficulties push us to do God’s will.”

“By living up to the highest light I have, I find I get the chance to come to a higher level.”

“Judging others will not help them and will injure you. Inspiring others to judge themselves will be more fruitful.”

Dialog between two Sunday Feast program guests during the questions and answers:
Guest 1: I am not part of this culture.
Guest 2: You are part of it because you are seeking enlightenment.

Tulasirani Devi Dasi:

My qualification for speaking on the power of positive thinking is that my mind has a tendency to think negatively, so I have spent a lot of time reprograming my mind so it does think positively.

We worry because we see practically that we cannot always realize our goals.

Material positive thinking that causes attachment to meeting material goals ultimately causes negative effects because material things are ultimately taken away from us.

Positive thinking in the mode of goodness makes obstacles into opportunities.

Those who are pure in heart see difficulties as opportunities to learn lessons from and thus are grateful for them.

You are allowed to not believe in karma, but I am going to talk about it anyway.

It is very easy to blame others or to blame situations for our suffering.

Sometimes people who do bad appear to be enjoying, and so people have doubts about the law of karma. You can use the analogy of a farmer’s silo to explain how the law of karma works. The farmers put grain into the top of the silo and take grain out from the bottom of the silo. They could put poor grain in the silo for many years, yet still be taking out good grain from the bottom. After some time though, the grain they take out will be the poor grain they have been putting in more recently. So it is with karma.

If we act in service to the divine, then whether we are successful in a particular endeavor does not matter, as the pleasure actually comes from the divine service, but unless you actually experience it, you will not understand it.

If all our desires were fulfilled, we could become illusioned by thinking we were the supreme enjoyer.

Positive thinking does not mean blindly thinking that everything is good when it is not, but to grow from negative experiences and to connect with the source.

Q: Why do we forget our previous lives?
A: Because we would be overwhelmed by remembering the details of them and could not continue to enjoy the material happiness that we came here to pursue so God allows us to forget.

One friend of mine who is sincere about attaining perfect spiritual consciousness in one life had a really traumatic experience and was wondering the cause of it. She was given a very horrific vision of something she did in a previous life, and she become very shocked, and it made her even more serious about her spiritual practice.

From a comment during a class of mine on the power of devotee association:

I was attending programs in Athens where I went to college, and I liked the chanting, the devotees, and the prasadam, but I still had many doubts. I wrote down all my doubts on a piece of paper, and I went to hear Radhanath Swami give a lecture at the Columbus temple, and in his lecture he answered all my doubts without me even expressing them. I was amazed!

Hari Priya:

From a comment during a class of mine on the power of devotee association:

When I was growing up at Saranagati farm, I was fortunate to have the association of Yamuna Devi for many years. She made devotional service to Krishna fun for us kids by engaging us in different positive ways.


Recently I have been reminded a lot about this following definition of pure devotional service given by Srila Rupa Goswami in his Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. Since our lineage follows Rupa Goswami, and we are trying to attain pure devotional service to Lord Krishna, this verse is very important. It is quoted in the chapter of Sri Caitanya-caritamrita containing the teachings of Lord Caitanya to Rupa Goswami.

anukulyena krishnanu-
silanam bhaktir uttama

“When first-class devotional service develops, one must be devoid of all material desires, knowledge obtained by monistic philosophy, and fruitive action. The devotee must constantly serve Krishna favorably, as Krishna desires.” (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.11, translation by Srila Prabhupada from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 19.167).