Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Travel Journal#13.9: The North of England and Paris

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 13, No. 9
By Krishna-kripa das
(May 2017, part one)
The North of England and Paris
(Sent from Paris on May 30, 2017)

Where I Went and What I Did

The first eight days of May were busy for me, chanting Hare Krishna in public in seven cities, namely Manchester, Newcastle, Durham, Leeds, York, Scarborough, and Sunderland. During that time, I attended the Wednesday evening kirtan in Newcastle, the Friday evening program in Leeds, the monthly Saturday evening program in York, the Sunday feast program in Newcastle, and a kirtan and prasadam program in Sunderland. On May 9, I celebrated Nrsimhadeva’s appearance day doing harinama, singing the Nrsimha prayers and talking about Him with friends, and making halava for the Lord. The next day, my final day in Newcastle, I attended an interfaith program during which people shared a variety of interesting realizations. The next day I did harinama in Manchester, having missed my flight from there to Paris. The next day I flew to Paris, and the following three days I did harinama in the greater Paris region, the first day with Janananda Goswami.

I share a nice quote from a Srimad-Bhagavatam purport by Srila Prabhupada. I include excerpts from the books of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami. I share notes on lectures by Srila Prabhupada disciples Janananda Goswami and Gopaswami Prabhu, who were speaking in Paris. I share some fascinating material on Hare Krishna devotees surviving the war in the former Yugoslavia by Vrsabha Prabhu of Croatia, who was visiting Newcastle. I include some nice points by Bhagavata Purana Prabhu of Vrindavan, Yasoda Dulal Prabhu of Paris, and Keshavananda Prabhu and Mark of Newcastle. I include realizations from the lectures and discussions at an interfaith meeting at the Newcastle temple.

Thanks to Krishna Dulal Prabhu of Ottawa for financing my trip to their Vaishnava Sanga festival in August. Thanks to Janananda Goswami, who kindly funded my trip to Paris, so I can do harinama here for seven weeks. Thanks to the Newcastle temple and York nama-hatta for contributing to my travels. Thanks to Shyamananda Pandit Prabhu and Govardhan Dasi for their donations. Thanks to the residents of Manchester and Sheffield, who gave donations on harinama.


May 12–June 2: Paris
June 2–June 4: Antwerp Ratha-yatra
June 4–July 2: Paris
July 3–July 31: 13 days in UK and the rest in Europe
August 1–6: Polish Woodstock
August 7: Dublin
August 8: Boston
August 9–16: Ottawa Vaishnava Sanga Retreat / Janmastami and Vyasa-puja
August 17–27: North UK Ratha-yatra Tour
August 28–September 5: UK and Ireland
September 5–November ?: New York City (ex. Sept. 19–23: Philadelphia)
November ?– November 30: Florida
December: New York City

Chanting Hare Krishna in Manchester

After the Birmingham 24-Hour Kirtan, instead of taking a morning bus the next day to Newcastle for six hours and doing harinama there like I usually do, I decided to return with the Manchester devotees in the evening and chant Hare Krishna in public in Manchester the next morning, and then take a four-hour bus to Newcastle. I realized that is a much better program, being less taxing on the body and mind. I did meet some nice people in Manchester, and I distributed a few books there.

Chanting Hare Krishna in Newcastle

Three guests of our Newcastle temple, who like kirtan, decided to chant for the Pancatattva, the first evening two of us arrived there from the Birmingham 24-Hour Kirtan. Vrsabha Prabhu of Croatia led, Bhagavata Purana Prabhu of Vrindavan played the drum, and I danced and took this video (https://youtu.be/-m6_TtB5WTI):

My first full day back, Bhagavata Purana Prabhu chanted with me in Newcastle in the brisk spring air [52º F (11º C)] for 2½ hours. People liking the singing gave us £34.29 ($44.37) and accepted 10 books, including 2 Bhagavad-gitas. It is so much more powerful to chant with two people rather than one! I do not recall ever distributing more than 8 books just by singing, there, or anywhere for that matter, in that amount of time (https://youtu.be/9kZvbQEJuY0):

Bhagavata Purana Prabhu chanted with me in Newcastle the next day and in Durham the day after, and he proved to be a very competent and reliable harinama partner. I look forward to chanting with him on harinama in Europe in the future, if Krishna wills.

Every Wednesday devotees in Newcastle chant Hare Krishna together for two hours and have a nice prasadam dinner. It is inspiring to see so many young people from different nationalities attracted to regularly come to the program. 

Here Madhuri Devi Dasi, Radhe Shyam Prabhu, and Nitai Kirtan Prabhu, a visiting devotee from Birmingham, lead the chanting one after another (https://youtu.be/iX0iSeBcK7k):

Here Dhananjaya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at the Newcastle Sunday feast and many devotees dance with enthusiasm (https://youtu.be/2mJIdOYOp_U):

Chanting Hare Krishna in Durham

Thursday I joined Bhagavata Purana, Kirtida, and Bhakti Rasa Prabhus, all disciples of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, in chanting Hare Krishna on a sunny but brisk May day in Durham, a college town in the northeast of England (https://youtu.be/QmIhOy9w1BU):

Prior to our chanting, in a park near the city we had a nice picnic lunch which Kirtida arranged for us.

Chanting Hare Krishna in Leeds

Friday I played harmonium and led the chanting of Hare Krishna on Briggate Street in Leeds while Joe Kenny of Sheffield, who chanted with me the next day in York and the following day in Scarborough, played the drum. Two girls from Nottingham, who were passing by, danced to the music, one saying she was vegetarian (https://youtu.be/OJrk5K2AtVg):

Joe is learning the mridanga and is taking advantage of every opportunity to practice. Doing harinama three days in a row is a big increase for him and is very inspiring.

I attended the Friday evening program at Ben Skinner’s place, and I was happy to meet his regular attendees.

Chanting Hare Krishna in York

Saturday I joined devotees from Scarborough, Accrington, and Sheffield to chant Hare Krishna in York. York is great place for harinama. There are lots of people from all over. Two high school girls from London learned the Hare Krishna mantra and danced. Ladies from a hen party moved with the music. Thanks to Govardhan Dasi, disciple of Srila Prabhupada, who sings beautifully and organizes the monthly York harinama. Thanks to Ashis of York for taking the parts of the video with me singing (https://youtu.be/AGXJLdfr8W4):

Rasesvari Dasi, a Prabhupada disciple from Accrington, who is standing next to me in the photo below, impressed me by driving with a friend, who is on her other side in the photo, for two and a half hours to York to attend the harinama and evening program! That is a great example of dedication.

It was humorous that the bank behind the chanting party had a poster with the caption “We are what we do.” That applies to us. We are devotees of the Lord because we glorify Him: “Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.” (Bhagavad-gita 9.14) Indeed Lord Krishna tells the great sage Narada: “I am not in Vaikuntha nor in the hearts of the yogis. I remain where My devotees engage in glorifying My activities.” (Padma Purana)

Alison, who has been regularly attending the York programs for at least a year, led the chanting of Hare Krishna for the last ten minutes of the kirtan at the York monthly program (https://youtu.be/VjNXyVPigTc):

Chanting Hare Krishna in Scarborough

Sunday Govardhan Devi Dasi chanted Hare Krishna in Scarborough, along with John, her husband, who distributes flyers, Joe Kenny of Sheffield, who plays the drum, and Ashis of York, who plays karatalas (https://youtu.be/stqwUjnC2tE):

Chanting in front of Superdrug in there in Scarborough, I recall that Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes, “Lord Gauranga is calling, ‘Wake up, sleeping souls! Wake up, sleeping souls! . . . I have brought the medicine that will wipe out the disease of illusion from which you are suffering. Take this maha-mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama Rama Rama, Hare Hare.’” The Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the Superdrug that will cure our disease of identifying ourselves with the material.

Here is a close-up of our simple book display there.

I was impressed that Joe and Ashis had decided to come home with Govardhan and her husband after the York program so they could chant in Scarborough with us the next day. I had never chanted in Scarborough with so many devotees before!

Although I like to chant for three hours in public every day, it was so windy and cold in Scarborough, I was glad I had to stop the harinama after two hours to catch a train to Newcastle for the Sunday feast.

Chanting Hare Krishna in Sunderland

Monday I chanted for three hours in Sunderland across from Bridges Shopping Centre, and Keshavananda and I went to Ramai and Vrinda’s for prasadam and kirtan. The prasadam was great as usual, and we chanted for an hour, with five different devotees singing (https://youtu.be/MazQWgcmMME):

By Krishna’s grace it worked out so well. Vrinda had the day off so she could cook for us, and Keshavananda Prabhu happened to be working in Sunderland that day, so he could attend and give me a ride home. We decided to do it again the next time Vrinda has the day off when Keshavananda Prabhu works in Sunderland, and I am in town.

Nrsimhadeva’s Appearance Day

The Newcastle devotees decided not to celebrate Nrsimhadeva’s appearance on the actual day but on the following Sunday, so I had to celebrate it myself on the actual day. Bhakti Rasa Prabhu did harinama with me on that day for three hours, and four of us chanted the Nrsimha prayers in the evening and shared realizations about Nrsimhadeva. To celebrate I also made halava for the pleasure of the Lord using some organic dried fruit and nuts I was given while chanting on Briggate Street in Leeds the Friday before.

Chanting Hare Krishna in Paris

I have been coming to Paris since 2008 almost every year, and now that Janananda Goswami is involved in developing our projects in France, he asked me to come to Paris instead of staying in The North of England and Newcastle, where he previously invited me to make my base in the summer. Thus I came to Paris on May 12, determined to do three hours of harinama every day.

Janananda Goswami and his assistant, Gauranga Prema Prabhu, joined Paris devotees on their regular Saturday harinama and chanted Hare Krishna in a busy shopping area of Paris, Printemps on Hausmann Blvd. (https://youtu.be/QWqnIGw2duM):

There was a fire sacrifice at the Paris temple Saturday evening for a marriage and a wedding.

Here Yasoda Dulal Prabhu chants Hare Krishna during the fire sacrifice (https://youtu.be/oczPo93V7LI):

Here Rohininandana Prabhu, Paris harinama organizer, chants Hare Krishna during the fire sacrifice (https://youtu.be/YdcgWrptp0o):

After the noontime program on Sunday at Aksayananda Prabhu’s place, known as Bhakti Loka, we decided to do harinama to where the Indian shops are near Gare du Nord. Gauranga Prema Prabhu, servant of Janananda Goswami, led the chanting of Hare Krishna. On the way a djembe player joined us for a while and some other people moved to our music (https://youtu.be/RwQg0bkp8aM):

Janananda Goswami chanted Hare Krishna outside the Paris temple during the Sunday feast program (https://youtu.be/SeuUwYeTMQI):

On Monday, we chanted Hare Krishna in Sarcelles, the Paris suburb nearest where our temple is situated, and had a nice interaction with a man who danced and bought a book and some children who danced. We also had a not-so-nice interaction with a security guard who told us to stop because we were on private property (https://youtu.be/lbnpzSFWEs0):

Sarcelles is populated by Muslims, Jews, and blacks, who are mostly Christians. There I encountered on the side of an apartment building this sign advocating religious tolerance: 

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


Srila Prabhupada:

. . . those who are interested in advancing in spiritual life must be silent. Silence means talking only of Krishna-katha. . . . We should also take this opportunity in life to become as good as a great saint simply by not talking unnecessarily with unwanted persons. We should either talk of Krishna or chant Hare Krishna undeviatingly. This is called muni-vratah.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.24.71)

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

From Soul Eyes:

Freedom Suite

Freedom suite comes in
Krishna meditation. It’s a
happy concentration and
a playful romp.

He’s serious, but happy to
be playing on His flute.
All the worlds respond.
He’s the world’s best improviser,
making inroads and outroads
on melodies we’ve never heard before.
It’s all new, and He takes a break
to let it sink in with the boys
while one accompanies Him
on a lute.
Then He’s off again with
squeaks and rapid runs,
sonorous tones at a medium
tempo. The music embraces
Vrindavana and the devas
in the sky. They are all
enthralled and breathless
with wonder. Never
have they heard such
freedom suite.”

From Begging for the Nectar of the Holy Name:

The benefit of chanting more each day on beads: you know there will always be another chance. What you did so far this morning may not have been very good, but there will be another opportunity. And even if none of your sessions are particularly good, they will add up. You are bound to have a few good moments out of so much chanting. But if you finish after sixteen, then there is no more chance, and tomorrow you will also probably chant poorly . . . so it goes with no room for improvement.”

Don’t slight the names. You do that when you deliberately think or do other things while you are fingering the beads and chanting. You don’t like being neglected, so don’t neglect the holy names. ‘O Holy Names, please notice at least that I am often attempting to chant You in ecstatic devotion. I cannot accomplish this on my own. I need Your help. One of these days my offenses will clear—please make it so.’”

From Prabhupada Nectar:

When devotees were walking with Srila Prabhupada into a park, there was a gate with a sign “No unauthorized access.” Kirtanananda advised Srila Prabhupada three times not to go through the gate. Srila Prabhupada turned to another devotee and said “Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [one should follow the mahajana, the authorized person].”

One man considered Ramakrishna to be an incarnation of God. Srila Prabhupada asked him why, and the man said that Ramakrishna had delivered a drunkard. Srila Prabhupada said he had delivered many drunkards, and not just any drunkards, but Westerner drunkards, so that made him a bigger incarnation than Ramakrishna.

Comment by Gopaswami Prabhu: A devotee praised Srila Prabhupada’s chanting saying his voice was the best in the universe. Srila Prabhupada replied that was because his voice was from beyond this universe.

Comment by Pitavasa Prabhu: Once a recording engineer expressed surprise that he did not have to make any adjustments to a recording of Srila Prabhupada because it was so perfect.

Comment by Raja Dharma Prabhu: Subhaga Swami told us once that Srila Prabhupada was walking with his disciples and some ice was ahead on the path. Prabhupada warned the devotees about slipping on the ice, but said that he did not have to worry as he was in a different dimension.

Comment by Pitavasa Prabhu: On one occasion after Srila Prabhupada walked over some muddy ground, the devotee in charge of Srila Prabhupada’s shoes noticed they were perfectly clean.

Comments by Janananda Goswami:

Every time Srila Prabhupada came to London he sent from six to ten devotees to other centers.

The night they shaved me up the devotee who did it asked where I was from and suggested that after a month or so I could return to my hometown and start a temple there.

The whole point of our life is to surrender to Krishna not to achieve anything.

On harinama the Muslims are the most favorable, and often the Indians are least favorable.

One leader in Edinburgh said, “Only over my dead body will the Hare Krishna’s get permission to chant on our streets.” A couple days later he died of a heart attack, and the devotees soon after got permission to chant in Edinburgh.

Janananda Goswami:

Once in Vrindavan the priest got the mantras wrong and chanted the sannyasa mantras for a marriage ceremony.

Marriage is actually more renunciation for both the man and woman than sannyasa.

A grhamedhi’s ambition to use everything and everyone to satisfy his senses. He thinks, “Everything is mine.” He tries to accumulate more and more.

The grhastha puts Krishna in the center of the home. Krishna is the proprietor. He thinks that his wife and children belong to Krishna and are for him to serve. Money (Laksmi) belongs to Krishna. The parents’ aspiration is that the kids attain the goal of life, by going back to Godhead.

Initiation is to connect with the eternal disciplic succession coming from Krishna and to free oneself from material bondage. Initiation is important for one to learn to act in devotion to Krishna.

The grhasthas living with Krishna in the center do the greatest service by teaching humanity by their example how it is possible to live with jobs and families but with Krishna in the center.

Srila Prabhupada advised grhasthas to make their home a temple. How? By doing four things.
1. By having an altar.
2. By offering everything to Krishna on the altar.
3. By chanting Hare Krishna with the family.
4. By reading the scriptures.

Purifying the consciousness by hearing the sound vibration of the holy name of the Lord so material tendencies do not remain or develop is most essential.

Gopaswami Prabhu:

Advaita Acarya had this mood of urgency that was demonstrated when he called for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to appear.

Because we have a vast philosophy, we have to be on guard about becoming too entangled in discussing the philosophy and neglecting to promote the chanting of the holy name.

Srila Prabhupada wrote to the devotees in France, saying: “If you can convince people there that God is a person that will be very good.”

Comment by Pitavasa Prabhu: Guru Gauranga told the devotees who were preaching to him that if they could convince him, he would stay. They talked all night till mangala-arati (the early morning service), and they convinced him and he ended up staying. He was temple president in France for some time. He was a lawyer, and you have to be good at arguing to convince a lawyer.

Bhagavata Purana Prabhu:

Aindra Prabhu personally told me that the success of the 24-hour kirtan party is when all the pilgrims who come there dance in the kirtan.

Lord Krishna tells Sadashiva that those who come to the forests of Vrindavan but then leave again are great offenders. Rupa Goswami says one can only free oneself from offenses committed in the holy dhama in the holy dhama. Only by telling people about the glories of Vrindavan we can become free from that offense of leaving the dhama.

“Krishna Consciousness is also a sort of fight; but not with rifles. Our weapon is karatalas. - Srila Prabhupada: Letter to Robert Hendry: 3 August, 1969

A difference between the Nimbarkas and the Gaudiyas is that the Gaudiya Vaishnavas consider the ecstasy of vipralambha (separation) to be greater than the ecstasy of sambhoga (union). In their enthusiasm to keep Radha and Krishna together in an undisturbed state, the Nimbarkas reject the cowherd boyfriends, the cows, and the parents of Krishna.

Why are there so many different religions, even within Vaishnavism? Krishna is very smart, and He knows that we are all different, thus He gives people different practices of religion which they are able to accept.

Vrsabha Prabhu:

Material opulence can never give us satisfaction. There was one beautiful opera singer who was very fat and voluntarily ate a tape worm, hoping that would help her become more shapely. It worked, but unfortunately the worm did not leave enough to nourish her, and she ultimately died. Other people who were rich and famous, not being satisfied, turned to drugs and ruined their lives. So many examples are there, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monoe, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, etc.

Many people received Srila Prabhupada’s books in Yugoslavia, but most did not take them seriously. When the war began, however, people began to take the books off the shelves and read them.

Sarajevo is a city in valley, and Serbian soldiers surrounded it. Only a one-kilometer tunnel the residents had dug could take people out of the city. One man, who read the books and heard there were devotees in Sarajevo, wanted to go inside the city. No one could believe it. He did and found the devotees and became one.

The UN donated two truck loads of ingredients to devotees distributing food in Sarajevo.

The devotees in Sarajevo were so enthusiastic to hear about Krishna, they would walk across the city at the risk of being shot by Serbian snipers, either coming or going to the Sunday feast. One invalid devotee had a friend who would bring him and his wheelchair, one at a time, down 14 flights of stairs and push him 7 kilometers to the Sunday feast.

There is one Croatian devotee Madhavananda who was captured by the Serbians, who put him to work in a death camp. He refused to eat meat, and said, “You can kill me but I will not eat meat.” They needed him to dig ditches, so they gave him vegetarian food. He would preach Bhagavad-gita to people in the camp, whether they were Croatians or Muslims. Serbian army people noticed that the people who heard his preaching were easier to control, so they told him to give classes twice a day and gave him an office to prepare for them. Previously before being captured, he had organized a gurukula in one city because the men were engaged in the war and the city was filled with women and children who were unengaged. He taught them verses and bhajanas and the chanting of Hare Krishna. Even so many years later, he still gets messages on Facebook or by email from kids who were there, thanking him for taking care of them.

One woman who came to Hare Krishna in Sarvejo during the war, considered, “When I was chanting Hare Krishna in a mood of helplessness and praying to God, I was in bliss, I complete forgot about my identification with the material body. That was best time of my life.”

One person who later became a devotee but was an atheist at the time, when he saw a line of Serbian tanks approaching him, addressed the Lord, “Dear God, if you really exist, get me out of this situation.” Dark clouds appeared, lightning struck his machine gun, which exploded and blew off his boots and left him unconscious. He was moved off the battlefield and was saved. Many of his friends were killed.

Sometimes war causes people to take shelter of God. Many people in Bosnia, and also in Croatia, became devotees because of the war. Not a single devotee in Bosnia died or was injured.

Just one virus, so small you cannot see it, can reduce a body builder, who has worked out for years, to a skin-and-bones guy like me.

God does not need money from us. He is the richest person in the world.

God demands us to give up only that which is not good for us anyway, sinful activities.

Comments by Bhakti Rasa Prabhu:

One of the consequences of misusing of our independence is that we come to this world. You can say “if things are so nice in the spiritual world, how could anyone one leave?” but by eliminating the possibility of one leaving, you eliminate their free will.

It is comforting to reflect, “Our karma is temporary, but we are eternal and Krishna is eternal.”

Comment by Caitanya Vallabha Prabhu: Suppose after 45 years of marriage to your wife, you find out the only the reason she married you was someone put a gun to her head, how would you feel? In the same way, Krishna is looking for freely given love.

Yasoda Dulal Prabhu:

When our hearts are all like Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s songs we will have arrived at a very good point.

New York City was the only Western city where Srila Prabhupada walked alone.

Keshavananda Prabhu:

From our Nrsimhadeva discussion in Newcastle:

Although some people see Nrsimhadeva as fierce and are afraid of Him, I have always thought of Him as a kind protector.

Comment by Bhakti Rasa Prabhu: I wonder if that might have to do with your being brought up in a devotee family.


From an after dinner conversation:

The amazing thing is that although a number of people are making a very great effort to share Krishna consciousness with people, it is still very much a secret.

You can come in a wonderful Vaishnava lineage, but if you are a rascal, you are a rascal, and you have to take responsibility for being rascal. It is like liquor in a golden pot.

Interfaith Meeting:

Moderator: We expect that you think your view is better, otherwise you would be a conflicted individual.

Kirtida Dasi:

Can we pray together? Yes, and when we cannot pray together, we can get together and observe each other pray. 9/11 was something that did bring us all together in prayer.

When I look at all of you, I see you as transcendentalists.

The verse “Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.11) helps us understand those without faith and those of another faith.

Those who see the Supreme in nature are like those who see Brahman pervading everything.

People tell you there is a voice in their heart giving advice. That is the paramatma feature of the Lord.

Others understand, “The Supreme is a person who loves me and who I love.”

A yogi is a person who trying is to connect with the Supreme.

The Supreme is the thread that holds us all together. [You do not see the thread in the necklace holding the pearls together, but without it, they would scatter.]

I teach Hinduism to kids, and thus I think, “If we cannot come together and observe each other in prayer, what kind of example are we setting for our children?”

Srila Prabhupada, in talking with Christian priests, advised as far as prayer goes, we should pray that we should love the Lord.

Once I was in Durham Cathedral with an interfaith group, and we sang Christian songs, Jewish people and me, and it was a very powerful experience.

Comment by me: Bhaktivinoda Thakura said, “When we have occasion to be present at the place of worship of other religionists at the time of their worship, we should stay there in a respectful mood, contemplating thus: ‘Here is being worshiped my adorable highest entity God, in a different form than that of mine. Due to a different practice of a different kind, I cannot thoroughly comprehend this system of theirs. But seeing it, I am feeling a greater attachment for my own system. God is one. I bow down before His emblem as I see here and offer my prayer to my Lord as adopted in this different emblem so that He may increase my love toward Him in the form that is acceptable for me.”

Baptist minister:

I pray that our words will be a blessing to each other.

Why is praying together a problem?
1. Personal reasons.
People are insecure. People who do not agree with me probably feel that way because they are insecure.
2. Cultural reasons.
3. Theological reasons.
For me prayer is communication with God.
We can pray with and pray for people.

God is much more interested in us loving each other than agreeing with each other.

My Jewish friends could deal with me praying to the Father, but not in the name of Jesus. My Islamic friends could deal with me praying in the name of Jesus, who they consider a prophet, but not to the Father, who they consider to be transcendent and thus distant.

Because we have different ideas of God, it is difficult to pray together.

Blessed are the concise for they will be shown much grace.

Blessed are the flexible for they will not be broken.

Interfaith minister:

We all share the voice of conscience although we do not always listen to it.

The Interfaith Foundation gave me the opportunity to be a minister without surrendering to any particular creed. It was set up by a rabbi, some Hindus and some Christians for people who wanted to serve God but not in any particular religion.

I made a vow to be authentic and to create an environment for others to be authentic.

I do services as minister in a Methodist church, and I try to create an environment for people to experience a connection with the source of everything within. We hope to create a situation where barriers are broken down.

Lady who does interfaith for one mission:

Since 9/11 and the race riots in Blackburn, interfaith became more of interest to people.

Gentleman familiar with interfaith and involved with a diocese from Scotland to Middlesbrough:

It would be great if we could get a prayer that we could all agree on.

Walk for Peace visits different faiths in Newcastle in November.

Muslims accept Mary as one of three great ladies, and one day both the Christians and Muslims prayed together to her.

These days people are much more comfortable going into other people’s place of worship than decades ago.

Older lady:

I see the faiths as the spokes of a wheel.

Religious studies teacher:

Making people comfortable enough about their own faith to visit other faiths is a challenge.

I found teaching different religions, I had to present them properly no matter my beliefs.

I chose to be a Christian and being aware of the other religions increases my conviction as a Christian.


In India we get holidays from all the different religions.

Another person:

We can all pray to love and serve God.


We tend to look for simple, infallible formulas for success in life. This is one that I recently encountered in my personal reading of Sri Caitanya-caritamrita:

sadhu-sanga, krishna-kripa, bhaktira svabhava
e tine saba chadaya, kare krishne ‘bhava’

[Lord Caitanya instructed Sanatana Goswami:] “Association with a devotee, the mercy of Krishna, and the nature of devotional service help one to give up all undesirable association and gradually attain elevation to the platform of love of Godhead.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 24.104)