Thursday, July 27, 2017

Travel Journal#13.12: Paris

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 13, No. 12
By Krishna-kripa das 
(June 2017, part two) 
(Sent from Blackpool, England, on July 27, 2017)

Where I Went and What I Did

I chanted harinama for three hours daily in Paris for the second half of June. Our focus was inviting people to the Ratha-yatra on July 2. Three devotees from Mexico joined us the last week, and then the Harinama Ruci traveling party joined us as the month came to an end. Hridayananda Goswami did a Krishna West program in Paris consisting of two lectures, and I attended part of each.

Aksayananda Prabhu interviews devotees who have been practicing Krishna consciousness for many years to inspire his congregation, and one day he chose to interview me. If you are curious to hear the interview, click on this link,
https://youtu.be/T0L-0Cu8Evw.

I share an excerpt from a conversation, a letter, and a purport by Srila Prabhupada. I share quotes from Sri Ksetra by Sripada Sundarananda Vidyavinoda, a disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, which is soon to be published by Touchstone Publishing. I include excerpts from Japa Transformations, My Relationship With Lord Krishna and Soul Eyes, a book of poems, all by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, as well as a poem from his online journal. I proofread the Srila Prabhupada Tributes books, and I include excerpts from offerings by Jayadvaita Swami, Bir Krishna Goswami, Giridhari Swami, Janananda Goswami, and Bhurijana Prabhu in this issue. I share notes on lectures in Paris by Hridayananda Dasa Goswami and Janananda Goswami, and other senior Prabhupada disciples, Adikarta and Pitavasa Prabhus. I also share notes on lectures by Titiksu Prabhu, Bhavasindhu Prabhu, Rajadharma Prabhu, Nitai Gaurasundara Prabhu, Nrsimha Kavaca Prabhu, Vicaru Prabhu, Aksayananda Prabhu, Acarya Nistha Prabhu, and Dharmaraja Prabhu from Mexico.

Thanks to Adikarta Prabhu for his generous donation. Thanks to Adi-Guru Prabhu for his gift and the pictures he took of our harinamas in Paris.

Itinerary

July 28: London harinama
July 29: Berlin Ratha-yatra
July 30–July 31: Berlin harinamas
August 1–5: Polish Woodstock
August 6: Kostrzyn train station harinama
August 7: Dublin harinama (4:00 to 7:00 p.m.?)
August 8: Boston harinama (1:45 to 3:15 p.m.)
August 9–16: Ottawa Vaishnava Sanga Retreat / Janmastami and Vyasa-puja
August 17: York harinama (2:30 to 5:30 p.m.)
August 18: York Ratha-yatra
August 19: Newcastle Ratha-yatra
August 20: Glasgow Ratha-yatra
August 21: Edinburgh Ratha-yatra
August 22: Edinburgh Fringe Festival Harinama and Tuesday program
August 23–25: harinamas in Manchester and Liverpool to promote Ratha-yatra
August 26: Manchester Ratha-yatra
August 27: Liverpool Ratha-yatra
August 28–September 5: UK and Ireland [September 2: York]
September 5–November ?: New York City (except Sept. 19–23: Philadelphia)
November ?– November 30: Florida
December: New York City

Harinama in Paris

June 21 is the Festival of Music all over France, and the streets are filled with people doing music. It was a great opportunity to share the holy name, to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books, and to pass out invitations to the Paris Ratha-yatra.


For our Paris harinamas, we would take the train to Gare du Nord, and then a metro.

Here Adikarta Prabhu distributes books.

Here I give out Ratha-yatra invitations, and a brahmacari distributes books.

Many different devotees led the chanting on the Festival of Music day, and I was the last one to do so. I must have been very enthusiastic after listening to the others chant for almost three hours because more people than usual participated in dancing to my singing.

It all began with two girls and a boy who decided to follow my dancing . . .

clapping when I clapped . . .

and raising their arms when I raised my arms.

Here Janananda Goswami, Acarya Nistha Prabhu, Rohininandana Prabhu, and I led the chanting of Hare Krishna on the Festival of Music day in Paris, and onlookers enjoyed dancing with us (https://youtu.be/_Vpbs3Vuryk):


One day, on one of the three days in two months that I chanted alone in Paris, a man took a video of me singing. When he finished, I offered him a Ratha-yatra invitation, and he happily told me, “When I was twenty in the early 1970s, I was a student of journalism, and I interviewed your leader [Srila Prabhupada].” He said he still writes, mostly on art and travel. I said that devotees would like to learn more about his experience with Srila Prabhupada, and I gave him my card. It is always wonderful to meet people who have met Srila Prabhupada!

Balavanta Das Prabhu of Mexico, who plays for Harinama Ruci, chants Hare Krishna in Paris on the streets at Place du Havre, on the trains (RER E), and at the train station (Gare du Nord), the day before the rest of the Harinama Ruci party arrived (https://youtu.be/TsdbecjJDv0):


The Harinama Ruci traveling party chanted Hare Krishna in Paris for two days before the Paris Ratha-yatra, inspiring people on the streets and trains to chant Hare Krishna and dance. Two special incidents happened the first day on the street:

Often Muslims are attracted by Hare Krishna chanting parties, but rarely does a whole family get into dancing with the devotees as here with Harinama Ruci on Rue de la Harpe in Paris (https://youtu.be/DvQA7UYWZNI):


Soon after, a priest joyfully danced with Harinama Ruci, accepted a Ratha-yatra invitation, gave blessings, and disappeared into nearby Saint-Merry Catholic Church and Halles-Beaubourg Pastoral Center (https://youtu.be/PvaZbPLTnrw):


Here are other clips of Harinama Ruci chanting Hare Krishna through the Paris streets (https://youtu.be/xXTirQVDvp0):


Here Harinama Ruci chants Hare Krishna on two trains, continuing on through the train station. On the first, many children participate by chanting, dancing, smiling, and playing instruments. On the second, an adult acquires a taste for dancing with us, which he did on the platform and all the way out of the station. (https://youtu.be/jeogR8U30ZU):


Anton, a student of music in Paris, leads the chanting of Hare Krishna at the fountain in Les Halles (https://youtu.be/IWC5-fipGZM):


Chandrashekhara Prabhu chanted Hare Krishna with a group of attendees at a Krishna West meeting in Paris (https://youtu.be/2dg3ISLkJRo):


Insights

Srila Prabhupada:

From a conversation in Vrindavana on May 27, 1977:

Our only ambition is we live among devotees and execute the mission of our predecessors, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Krishna. This is our ambition.”

From a letter to Devananda on November 23, 1968:

Simply our prayer should be, My dear Krishna, please remind me to always chant Your Holy Name, please do not put me into forgetfulness. You are sitting within me as Supersoul, so you can put me into forgetfulness or into remembering You. So please do not put me into forgetfulness. Please always remind me to chant, even You send me into the hell, it doesn’t matter, just so long as I can always chant Hare Krishna.”

From Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 8.16, purport:

One is understood to be an eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead if he considers himself an eternal servant of the holy name and in this spirit distributes the holy name to the world.”

Sripada Sundarananda Vidyavinoda [disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura]:

From Sri Ksetra:

“In order to teach that without the permission and subordination of the Vaishnavas, one has no right to serve the Supreme Lord, Sriman Mahaprabhu begged from Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya the service of cleansing Gundica temple.”

Anyabhilasa pierces the very soft, unadulterated devotional service. The dust of material desires with the help of the cyclone of fruitive activities covers our clear and pure mirror of the heart. Just as after taking bath nicely an elephant again throws dust over its own body, similarly by the performance of fruitive activities with a desire to enjoy its fruit one ends up in obtaining the result of karma only. Simply by loving devotional service the heart of the living entity becomes easily rectified and cleansed. Then in the throne of that pure heart the Supreme Lord accepts His resting place.”

“In order to transform one’s own heart into Sri Vrindavana or the natural place where the supremely independent Sri Krishna spontaneously enjoys His pastimes, a practitioner should cleanse his own heart while loudly chanting the holy name of Krishna with a desire to please Him. This was taught by Sri Gaurahari, who is the ultimate teacher of all, for the benefit of all living entities.”

“Sri Gaudiya Vaisnavas who are desirous of the service of the gopis of Braja, are eager and interested in bringing Sri Brajendranandana Sri Jagannatha from Sri Kurukshetra or Sri Nilacala to Sri Sundaracala or Sri Vrindavana; they are not interested in Punar Yatra or the return journey.”

“When spontaneous attachment is transformed into imitative duplicity, it is called religious fanaticism.”

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

From Japa Transformations:

He does his daily sadhana and laments he doesn’t go higher. What do you expect, little sailor – to achieve the saksad darsana of the Lord? To converse with Him like Sanatana Gosvami and Madana-mohan? To immerse yourself in His wonderful qualities and His pastimes with the gopis? Well, why not? That’s the goal of the chanting. Ah, but He has to allow you in those sacred precincts, and He doesn’t think you’re worthy just yet. Chant with enthusiasm, confidence, and patience at the lower stage and pray that the day will come.”

How do I get to know You by chanting? You are nondifferent from Your Names; You are present in the sound vibration. So the more I chant with the desire to be with You, the closer I will come into Your association, and You will reveal Yourself to me. It is a little bewildering how just by uttering these brief syllables we can accomplish what even great, austere yogis and meditators cannot attain, but that is the prime benediction for this age as given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He came to deliver the chanting of Hare Krishna imbued with the sentiment of pure love for You, as carried in Her heart by Your chief consort, Srimati Radharani.”

Someone once asked Prabhupada, ‘What do you gain by chanting?’ He replied, ‘Chanting brings chanting.’ That’s like saying chanting brings Radha-Krishna. They will dance on your tongue. Harinama will cleanse the mirror of the mind, and you will see yourself as you are, as spirit soul. The chanting will increase the ocean of transcendental bliss and help us to taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.”

My dear Lord,

If we want to chant with more devotion, we have to rise early and exercise with concentration in japa yajna. The daily japa yajna is a relatively easy thing. It only takes about two hours, and we can surely find that much time out of twenty-four hours. If we can chant more than the minimum of sixteen rounds, that is good. But let’s start with sixteen good ones, offenseless chanting. That means chanting while avoiding the ten offenses, which start with disobeying the spiritual master and include inattention while chanting. Then we will receive the mercy. If we don’t make the effort, it’s like we’re hiding from the sun’s rays. What can the sun do for us if we don’t go out and expose ourselves? If we hide from its rays, we will grow pale and unhealthy. We need a little sunlight. Similarly, we need to bask in Your mercy.

Your mercy is available in sadhu-sanga, guru-sanga, and sastra-sanga. They will rejuvenate us. We need to receive these not just by lip service, but by actual participation and association. Sometimes we need to inquire directly, submissively from sadhu and guru, and we need to regularly read the sastra with faith. Your mercy is available there.”

Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written a book on chanting the holy names, Harinama-cintamani, and he analyzes the causes of the offenses and offers suggestions on how to avoid them. His analysis of inattentive chanting is particularly interesting. He calls it pramada, or madness, and says, ‘One may carefully avoid all the other nama-aparadhas, yet still not experience the ecstasy of the pure name. This is an indication of another type of nama-aparadha known as pramada, which restricts the natural growth of pure devotion.’ He says that inattentiveness is similar to negligence and is of three kinds. One is apathetic devotional service, or a lack of fixed resolve in sadhana. The second is laziness or even inertia. The third is distraction, or misplacing one’s attention in engagements not directly connected with sadhana bhakti. He recommends chanting with a pure devotee and increasing the number of rounds. But he also says it is important to concentrate on the quality of the holy names and not try to artificially increase the number of rounds. He also recommends spending ‘a little time alone in a quiet place and concentrating deeply on the holy name.’”

Japa is a blessing. You bless yourself, as when taking caranamrta. It’s like when you take the flame which is offered by the pujari, or when he sprinkles you with water or offers you the flower to smell. It is like honoring prasadam, only it is better. It is directly Radha and Krishna. You are nourished by your tongue and your ears. Japa is even more merciful than the saksad darsana of the Lord’s form.”

A person chants the name of God that he is attracted to, but Krishna is most powerful. A thousand ‘Vishnus’ equal one ‘Rama,’ and three ‘Ramas’ equal one ‘Krishna.’ The Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the greatest mantra. It’s made up of the names of Radha and Krishna. It is quoted in the Upanisads, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura chanted it and advised their followers to chant it. Srila Prabhupada brought it out of India and spread it all over the world. He recommended it as the great mantra for deliverance. He gave his disciples diksa initiation with the order that they chant at least sixteen rounds on 108 beads daily. He started public sankirtana on Sunday afternoons at Tompkins Square Park. Crowds gathered to watch. Some took part in the singing. He led the singing of kirtana in the storefront temple three nights a week and every morning.”

As late as 1977 Prabhupada recalled that I used to bring him a fresh mango every day. He reminisced about 1966 and said, ‘Those were happy days.’ For me, they were the happiest days of my life. One of the best times to chant was in the morning with Prabhupada. After kirtana he used to say, ‘Chant one round.’ We did it together. He usually finished before we did, and then we all trailed off, even if we hadn’t finished the round.”

From “JAPA POEM”:

Reminiscing ‘chant one round’ with Swamiji
in the morning with about 12 boys
gathered in the
Matchless Gifts storefront.
He said we should chant softly
so as not to disturb
the tenant on the second floor.
When the tenant got angry, he
would pour water from his bathtub
through the cracks in the floor
down into our temple.
When we did japa
with Swamiji, some of the boys
would take their beads
out of the bead bags
and string them around
their necks. Swamiji kept
his beads in his bead bag.
It was ecstasy
chanting under the
lead of the Master.”

From “Keep Your Love” in Soul Eyes:

Keep your love for Krishna and Radha
and you’ll learn the love that’s
everlasting.

Learn of love in chanting and you’ll
taste the nectar for which
we are always anxious.

Love the Lord and the Lord
will love you, and you’ll be happy
forever.

Love is for Krishna, love is
Krishna, Krishna is love, love
for Krishna is true love. Only
that way.”

From “There is Nothing to Say” in Soul Eyes:

There is nothing to say, but I’m happy
to be a devotee of Krishna.
There’s nothing to say, but you shall be
true to the principles.

We shall abide by the laws and chant
the names. We’ll walk down lanes
together, thinking the same thoughts:
Harinama is the best yajna
for this age.

There’s nothing to do except rest
and ride. Watch your behavior,
and don’t tell secrets of your
scandalous behavior.

There’s nothing to do but believe in
the truth of scriptures.

Believe in Narada’s story and Vyasa’s
mistake, which Narada corrected—
praise Krishna in your writings, or they
are useless.

There’s nothing worth doing but
devotional service to Krishna and
Caitanya. There’s no money in it,
there’s no mirth or joke, just
take care of yourself and
perform sadhana.

From “Your Last Thoughts” in Soul Eyes:

Your last thoughts determine the
next body you’ll get. Krishna says
we should remember Him at the end.
The best method is to practice from
the beginning of life, not expect He’ll
suddenly pop into your mind after a life
of neglect.

And the best way to remember is to
chant His holy names, Hare Krishna,
Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare /
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama,
Hare Hare.

There may be many impediments to chanting
Hare Krishna. But one should tolerate
these and continue to chant. If one
constantly chants, he’s in the best
state of mind for successfully changing
his state of being at the end of life.”

Krishna is the God of Gods,
so few people know it
or accept. It’s our job
to inform them. But
although we try, most don’t
accept.

Be glad you know and build
your potency so those you
meet will be encouraged to
believe.

He’s given evidence, and Prabhupada
carries it in his voice so direct
and doubtless he turns your
mind to Krishna consciousness.
On your own, nurture your
relationship with Him
directly and specifically,
the cowherd boy, the
speaker at Kuruksetra,
the lover of the gopis.

At least take care to save yourself
by becoming a Krishna-ized saint
if possible. Let your
mind always think of Him
and never forget.

Pray for constancy and listen always to
the glorious acaryas of the sampradaya.

From My Relationship With Lord Krishna:

I offer the food to
Srila Prabhupada, and he
offers it to Lord Krishna.
Sastra and Srila Prabhupada
guarantee my connection. Yes,
I certainly do have a reliable
connection and true relationship
with Lord Krishna. May He
reveal it to me as He desires,
and may I increase
my appreciation for it.
‘Such knowledge in Krishna
consciousness can be achieved
by a faithful person who believes firmly
in Krishna . . . This faith is attained
by the discharge of devotional service,
and by chanting Hare Krishna . . .’
(Bg. 4.39, purport)”

Hridayananda Dasa Goswami:

From a lecture on the relationship between ISKCON and the Gaudiya Math:

The Isopanisad is the only Upanisad that is part of the four Vedas, the Yajur-veda.

Isopanisad says by knowledge of avidya, ignorance, you cross over material life, and that by spiritual knowledge you experience spiritual pleasure.

There is positive value in unity.

We say Vaishnavism can bring peace to world, but if we do not have peace among ourselves, it is at the least a little embarrassing, if not hypocritical.

I thought we should talk about it.

Contrary to what people think about me, I do not think I can make the situation worse.

I want to speak about this from the historical point of view which will avoid the tendency as a member of ISKCON to be biased toward ISKCON in my presentation. I want to be fair.

There is no evidence in the thirty years since Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura that the Gaudiya Math tried to make a worldwide presence.

Srila Prabhupada’s analysis was that the Gaudiya Math fell apart because of leaders trying to take the position of acarya against the instruction of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. There are other theories, but I feel that Prabhupada’s is the most accurate analysis.

Prabhupada originally wanted to make his New York City center a branch of the Gaudiya Math, and there are several letters demonstrating this. So ISKCON was plan B.

When ISKCON was successful and Prabhupada invited his godbrothers to join him, it was something alien to their existing conception as the Gaudiya Math was not a unified organization, but individual mathas. [As they were not inclined to join their other Godbrothers, they were not inclined to join Prabhupada.]

Originally Srila Prabhupada’s strategy was to try to convince the important people of the world, so they could help establish Krishna consciousness in the world. That did not seem to work, and he ended up convincing the young people of America to assist him. That was plan B of plan B.

While Acyutananda stayed with Prabhupada’s godbrothers, when he took shelter of India to avoid the draft, he was affected by this idea of Prabhupada’s godbrothers that our Prabhupada had usurped the title of Prabhupada that really belonged to their guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and that ISKCON and its properties really belonged to the Gaudiya Math. That idea still exists in some places in the Gaudiya Math.

ISKCON Los Angeles was Prabhupada’s world headquarters, and he had no intention of returning to India. He was going to stay in Los Angeles and write books and just meet with leaders in the morning. But when his leaders in New York City, Los Angeles, and even Europe, were affected by this philosophy Acyutananda heard from Prabhupada’s godbrothers, he gave up that plan and returned to India.

For the 1974 Gaura Purnima festival, we flew on Air India from New York City with the New York City devotees, to London, where we picked up the British devotees, and on to Paris, where we picked up the French devotees, then to Rome, where we picked up the Italian devotees, then to Beirut and to Tehran, and finally India.

Prabhupada was as surprised as much as everyone with the worldwide spreading of Krishna consciousness. He saw that this was Krishna. He often encouraged his godbrothers to join and said they would not have to worry about paying the bills, they could just preach. They never took him up on it. They were quite honest about why not. Basically they preferred to be leaders in a small organization rather than just another preacher in a big organization.

The GBC was invited to Sridhara Maharaj’s matha for a festival. Tamal Krishna Goswami recorded it, and he played the tape for Srila Prabhupada when Prabhupada asked what was said. Someone other than Sridhara Maharaja said something that was offensive to Prabhupada, and Srila Prabhupada told us to never go back.

When I finished my translation of Srimad-Bhagavatam, I sent the volumes to Sridhara Maharaja as a gift, and he appreciated that. Because I had a good relationship with Sridhara Maharaja, I was one of several people who went to see him on his deathbed. We asked forgiveness. With tears in his eyes, he begged us to keep ISKCON strong because all the Gaudiya Math groups depended on ISKCON.

I could not get Narayana Maharaja to talk about making peace, although I tried several times.

When Prabhupada would discuss issues with his godbrothers, he would send all the disciples out because the topics were sensitive. Narayana Maharaja would do just the opposite and invite all the disciples in, and that made it practically impossible to talk about sensitive topics.

I was at a program in Badger. I was chanting and dancing in ecstasy. Narayana Maharaja was chanting and dancing in ecstasy. I thought, “This is pretty good.” Later Narayana Maharaja’s disciples took photos of us together, and told my disciples that their guru has surrendered to Narayana Maharaja, and therefore, they should all take reinitiation from him.

Guru Prasad Swami thought there were so many problems with Narayana Maharaja because he felt he was not properly respected. Guru Prasad Swami decided to invite Narayana Maharaja to his zone and properly respect him. They worshiped him with guru-puja. Guru Prasad Swami washed his feet and invited him to give lectures. Narayana Maharaja was appreciative of the reception, but the result was that he reinitated all of Guru Prasad Swami’s disciples.

Once the GBC was trying to resolve things with Narayana Maharaja. A group was formed to meet with him nicely according to Vaishnava etiquete, but they did not actually go. This may have been because of one ultra-conservative member among them. I think that was a serious blunder on ISKCON’s part, and it made things worse.

In France I think the ISKCON leaders have not always dealt with the Gaudiya Math in the best way. That is my opinion, and as Srila Prabhupada said, “ISKCON exists to make devotees independently thoughtful,” I feel it is alright to state my opinion.

What inspired me about Hare Krishna from the beginning is Srila Prabhupada’s presentation of it as “a spiritual science.” I had a religion. I had some religious experiences growing up. I was not looking for another religion.

I wrote to Srila Prabhupada when I was living in the temple but going to school, and asked if I should stay in school or go out on sankirtana with the devotees.

He replied, “Stay in school. I want you to preach to similarly educated people.” As Srila Prabhupada’s first instruction from his guru was always important to him, so this first instruction from him is important to me.

Having Srila Prabhupada at the center of the Gaudiya Vaishnava world is scientific. Krishna demonstrated that he is the Acarya with a capital “A.”

The older I get the more grateful I am for what my parents did for me.

Anyone who has had his life transformed by association with a guru, naturally has great regard for that person. But to claim that therefore everyone should accept that person as his guru too is not reasonable.

Srila Prabhupada describes the quality of first-class devotee guru:
1. he knows sastra [scripture]
2. follows sastra
3. he wants to help other people
All these three qualities are all observable, and thus it is scientific.

By the magical arrangement of Krishna, spiritual leaders who cheat always get discovered.

Srila Prabhupada told the Beatles the guru is the one who is most addicted to Krishna. That is not so hard to see. Just like in school if you have a crush on someone, people usually find out who it is.

Suppose you say, “My guru is liberated because he is dancing with Krishna. You can see it in his eyes.” You cannot prove it, and you cannot disprove it, and thus it has nothing to do with a spiritual science.

Srila Prabhupada did more to spread Krishna consciousness than everyone else in the Gaudiya Math put together.

Discussion about the relationship of ISKCON and the Gaudiya Math is not so important to me. In the real world no one cares for ISKCON or the Gaudiya Math. The real question is saving France. Only a spiritual science is capable of attracting the people of France. They are not looking to convert to an Asian religion.

I see Krishna has revealed Srila Prabhupada as the teacher of this spiritual science.

From a question and answer session:

In Los Angeles they tried having a kirtana program to attract new people, and some people became attracted, but practically no one was willing to visit the Los Angeles temple, just a few meters away, because it was not appealing to them.

The real purpose of the temple is to give knowledge to people, and the puja is to keep the devotees strong. Too often now the purpose of the temple is puja, and preaching is to finance the puja.

Once the temple president of New Delhi was hard to get along with so that all the devotees left, including the temple president’s wife. The temple president had to do the puja and had no time to make life members and fund his operation, so he felt he had to rent a smaller place that Prabhupada did not like as much. Prabhupada said he had done wrong; he should have simplified the puja and kept the nicer place.

In the 300s AD, the Christian Church split in half. One group accepted Jesus’s statements describing himself as subordinate to God, and the other group accepted the trinity idea where God and Jesus are one. The trinitarians won, and by the end of the 300s you could be killed if you accepted that Jesus’s statements about himself were factual.

We know Jesus really lived because the Roman historians who had no interest in him described a preacher in Galilee whose followers claim he is a miracle worker.

The idea of the holy spirit enabled the Church to invent ideas like “original sin” and “eternal damnation.”

During the life of Jesus, he and his followers were not considered to be a new religion or even a new brand of Judaism.

I think any historian looking at the trajectory of the ISKCON in recent years would conclude the Hare Krishna movement is in danger.

When I took sannyasa and began to preach in the colleges Srila Prabhupada told me to not present Krishna conscious as set of rules and regulations.

France has been important for at least 1,500 years. Julius Caesar became famous because of his work in France. Because of good weather and good land, France was successful in agriculture and thus rich and able to afford culture. It has been a leader in art and philosophy. It is one of the last countries where it is respectable to be a philosopher.

Prabhupada wrote me in Gainesville in 1971 about the difference between philosophical speculation and mental speculation. If you doubt Krishna is the taste of water, that is mental speculation. If you explain how Krishna is the taste of water, that is philosophical speculation.

When I chant in public, I do not just want attention. I want people to see and be attracted and think, “I would like to do that.” People go to circuses and see and take pictures, but no one thinks, “I would like to join the circus.”

You can get people to adopt a new culture:

1. if you demonstrate with reason that it is in their self-interest.

2. if one society is perceived as superior to the other.

Jayadvaita Swami:

From Srila Prabhupada Tributes:

One instruction of his [Srila Prabhupada’s] that I remember came to me from a German godbrother named Uttamasloka Dasa. Sometime in the early days when our New York temple was at 61 Second Avenue, Uttamasloka came from Europe and stayed at the temple for some days. And he repeated an instruction he had heard from His Divine Grace about how to chant Hare Krishna: ‘Just try to hear yourself chant sincerely.’

For all the years since, that instruction has stuck with me.

It is not that while chanting we are meant to focus on some particular picture or pastime. We simply have to chant and hear. As Srila Prabhupada wrote to Jagadisa Dasa (February 27, 1970), ‘When we chant, we must concentrate our mind on the sound vibration and in that way everything will be revealed one after another; the form, qualities, pastimes, etc., of the Lord. And this is the way of cultivating spiritual realization.’

Just concentrate on the sound, and everything else will follow.”

Bir Krishna Goswami:

From Srila Prabhupada Tributes:

Cooperation means acting cooperatively, and simultaneously with one’s heart loving those with whom one is cooperating. This is quite a challenge. Everyone has a different point of view, different needs, and different strategies for carrying out your mission. The devotees who are dedicated to your mission are individuals with sometimes radically different ways of approaching your service. Still, their love for you is unquestionable. These different approaches to serving your mission may sometimes cause confusion and stimulate dissension and faultfinding. In this way Kali tries to enter.”

Giridhari Swami:

From Srila Prabhupada Tributes:

Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Krishna and Balarama, along with Their calves, cows, and cowherd friends, with all kinds of necessities— water for drinking, very soft grass, caves, fruits, flowers, and vegetables. In this way, the hill offers respects to the Lord. Being touched by the lotus feet of Krishna and Balarama, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.21.18)

Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami reveals that this verse was spoken by Srimati Radharani Herself—a very significant fact, considering that She is Krishna’s feminine counterpart, His own pleasure potency (hladini-shakti). Indeed, Her love for Krishna is so great that even Krishna Himself cannot fully comprehend it. Therefore He comes as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu just to understand the depth of Radharani’s love for Him. Still, She says that Govardhana is hari-dasa-varya, the greatest devotee of Lord Hari.”

Janananda Goswami:

Krishna is the reservoir of all good qualities. Just as we get our tap water from the reservoir, we get our good qualities from the Lord.

By the good fortune of association with a pure devotee, one can awaken his good qualities.

When one becomes purified the natural qualities of the soul begin to manifest.

The Bhagavatam says that one who is not connected to God has no good qualities. Sometimes Srila Prabhupada would say, “Even if they have good qualities, what is their value, if they are not used in relationship with Krishna?”

Everyone is looking for some hero. That is a reflection of the pure soul’s worship of the Supreme Lord.

Krishna is always consistent, and He always protects His devotees.

When the leaders sacrifice for Krishna, they can inspire others. Mahavishnu Swami played accordion for 6 hours on New Years Eve and led the kirtan for 3 hours although he is 72 years old.

Are we here to make a nice nest here? No, we are here to give that all up.

To surrender means to try to share this with others.

On harinama sometimes everyone in the crowd is somehow attracted to the kirtan.

If you dress as a devotee, it reminds at least some people of Krishna.

On the harinama, people were coming up to us asking for books.

Every day 300,000 human beings are dying. Every day 150,000 are dying in the womb.

There is a Crown Casino in Melbourne. It is six city blocks in size. There is one room where the minimum bet is 100,000 AUD. There are 120 bars, and the whole place makes 2 million AUD on alcohol. There is an average of one suicide there a day, of someone who lost all his money. The government encourages such an illusory conception of pleasure because it makes money on it.

Eagerness to render service is the price to attain Krishna. Rupa Goswami says laulyam, eagerness.

I was at the Manor years ago. During prasadam time only one devotee lady, holding a kid in her arms, was serving. Although a guest, I tried to recruit more people. So many people gave some excuse, saying they were too busy. I helped and so did one or two others. We served everyone as much as they wanted, and we took prasadam ourselves. When we left, many of the people who said they were too busy to serve were still sitting there, talking with their friends.

From his Vyasa-puja offering in Srila Prabhupada Tributes:

Maybe one day I can offer you something pleasing instead of the annual desperate appeal for your mercy—mercy that is already there. Unfortunately, this rascal needs the mercy to take your mercy.”

Adikarta Prabhu:

In Bhaktivedanta Manor they used to just have Radha-Gokulananda, but the worship of Lord Rama is so popular in India even now, the devotees decided it would be pertinent to install Sita-Rama, Laksmana, and Hanuman there.

The daughters of Varuna were so attracted to the fish incarnation of the Lord, they wanted to have an intimate relationship with Him, but He could not do that, so they became gopis during Krishna’s time to have an intimate relationship with Him.

We can perfect our lives by following the path of the Vedas because the knowledge is perfect, and so we should follow it.

Krishna becomes absorbed in and conquered by the love of His devotees, so much so he forgets His position as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Jatayu knew that because Ravana was more powerful he could not be successful in protecting Sita, but he felt it was his duty to try, and by his attempt he became glorious, although vultures are not generally glorious.

We have to be convinced that nothing but surrendering our lives to Krishna will make us happy.

Krishna always has a plan, but we cannot always see what that plan is. Here in Paris, Krishna has a plan.

If we try as far as possible to execute Krishna’s plan, we will get Krishna’s protection.

During Muslim rule in India, it is estimated that two to four hundred million Hindus were killed.

We are fortunate in the West, in places like France and America, that we can talk to people about Krishna in the streets. In China and the Arab countries it is not possible, and in Russia it is becoming more restricted.

Bhurijana Prabhu:

From Srila Prabhupada Tributes:

Srila Prabhupada, the Western culture reveres as a hero one who has risen from poverty to wealth, but the ancient culture spoken of in the Bhagavatam reveres the opposite: one who renounces kingly wealth for a life of poverty and spiritual pursuits.”

Pitavasa Prabhu:

Our original French translator of Bhagavad-gita used such flowerly language I preferred to read it in English. Srila Prabhupada wrote it in simple English so everyone would understand it. He did not make it unnecessarily flowery.

Srila Prabhupada had a good British education at Scottish Church’s College. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was well educated. So was Bhaktivinoda Thakura. This education greatly helped their preaching. Similarly it is good for the children in this movement to be well educated.

The Protestants are a minority in France. They try to train their children to become preachers, and those who are not inclined to that, they would train in finance so they could support the preaching. Thus many bank executives in France are Protestants. I am not saying our children should necessarily learn finance but some skill so that they can support our preaching.

The disease of ignorant people is that they ignore that they are ignorant.

Titiksu Prabhu:

The Jehovah’s Witnesses will not open a center until they have 700 families to support it.

We can conquer lust through harinama because it purifies the heart and engages us in the mood of the gopis of bringing souls to Krishna.

During the Prabhupada book distribution marathon in December, Mukunda Prabhu, the manager of a Hare Krishna charity shop in Rochester, England, engaged volunteers who did not practice the Hare Krishna principles in selling books at a table outside his shop. They did well. He found they became so happy from selling the books it was difficult to get them to work inside the shop selling the goods again.

Rajadharma Prabhu:

People are always asking for miracles, but the situation of the planets in their orbits and the fact the sun is sending force so much heat and light without being exhaused are themselves miracles.

In the West we speculate about God. DaVinci was speculating about God that he is very old and has a beard, but from the Vedas we learn Krishna is an eternal youth.

Because we have turned away from Krishna, maya is beating on our heads.

The body can give us very little pleasure but a lot of pain.

We can transcend sex desire through attaining love for Krishna.

Srila Prabhupada told my spiritual master, Bhakti Charu Swami, “You have had so many lives. Just give this one life to Krishna.” The idea is that if you regret your decision, you will still have many lives to enjoy sense gratification, so you really have nothing to lose.

I heard one story that Tim Leary was offered a maha-prasadam sweet by a some devotee who as he was eating it told him that he was fortunate as it would guarantee him a human body. Hearing that he spit it out saying, “I want to become a ghost in the next life.”

Comment by Mataji from the Manor: “If we associate with devotees who are serious about developing love of God, who practice not finding fault with others but seeing their good qualities. We will find it very inspiring.”

According to Caitanya-caritamrita, the desire to satisfy one’s own senses is called lust and the desire to satisfy Krishna’s senses is called love.

We use other people to satisfy our senses, and we call it love.

A simple analogy is this. Just as the finger acts for the pleasure of the entire body, because we are part of Krishna, we are meant to act for the pleasure of Krishna.

Nothing can impress God. He has all wealth and power. These things cannot impress Him, but He is impressed with our love.

The three great treasures are Krishna, love of Krishna, and service of Krishna.

All our efforts wherever we are are meant to inquire into God consciousness.

Because this society does not encourage such inquiry, Srila Prabhupada considered our society to be suicidal.

Now we have received this knowledge, it is up to us how much we apply it.

Gaura Govinda Swami used to say that Lord Caitanya is giving His mercy to everyone, but some people have received very little from His mercy. Why? They do not have a suitable receptacle to contain His mercy because they have not practiced humility like the grass and tolerance like the tree.

In Vrindavan my guru Bhakti Charu Swami was reprimanded severely by his godbrother. He was so disturbed he decided to go to Srila Prabhupada and express his mind. Before he had time to explain what had happened to Srila Prabhupada, Prabhupada told him that one is not spiritually advanced by possessing leadership positions in society but by acquiring tolerance and humility.

The beauty of the parampara is that God can empower His servants to act more wonderfully than Himself. Lord Caitanya distributed this love of Godhead throughout India, yet Srila Prabhupada spread it all over the world.

Srutakirti Prabhu said the first quality of Srila Prabhupada that attracted him was that he was laughing all the time, so much so he would slap his thighs.

Bhavasindhu Prabhu:

It is the special mercy of Lord Jagannatha that He allows people from all divisions of society to become His personal servants.

Prabhupada disciple Gadagraja Prabhu personally told me that when Jayananda Prabhu was seriously ill with leukemia he wanted money not spent for his hospitalization but to be used for the service of the Lord.

Nitai Gaurasundara Prabhu:

Because the speakers of these verses are devotees of Lord Rama they put their understanding of His personality into their prayers.

Although so many things in the Ramayana disturb the minds of the conditioned souls the devotees see them in terms of the exchanges of love between Lord Rama and His devotees.

Comment by Hari Rama Prabhu: At the end of Lord Rama’s pastimes, Laksmana leaves Lord Rama, transforms into Ananta Sesa and enters into the Sarayu River.

We may lament about sons taking sannyasa, but we should rejoice in their coming closer to Krishna.

Nrsimha Kavaca Prabhu:

Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.19.1 describes Lord Rama as adi-purusa which indicates He is not different from Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

In this world, according to the form the living entity has, he acts in a certain way. You do not see tigers flying. But when the Lord incarnates in a particular form, He is not limited by the form.

Nowadays there is a trend to modify deities, like painting Lord Ramacandra green or giving them eyes that look sideways, but it is considered offensive to alter the original form in which the Lord has appeared.

We try to please the deities by our service, but a lot of that means attaining the divine qualities.

Although monkeys are outside the rules of varnasrama, not only did Hanuman attain the level of bhagavata, or the level of the Personality of Godhead, but he is referred to as maha-bhagavata.

Rasikananda had a tiger and an elephant who were great devotees.

The greatness of the devotees is seen by what they are willing to give up to serve Krishna.

How we perceive the material nature shows our state of consciousness. Do we think the material nature is for our enjoyment or for Krishna’s service?

As it took great endeavor to wake the demonaic Kumbhakarna, it takes great endeavor to wake up the conditioned souls who are so deeply conditioned by material nature.
Srila Prabhupada makes the point that Krishna is not attracted by the amount of the service a devotee renders but by the love with which he performs it.

When your vocation is a vacation then you are rightly situated.

Seeing yourself as the servant is a key part of varnasrama. How can we advance spiritually without such an attitude of service?

I do not see varnasrama developing in a societywide way but in different places different leaders will manifest their version of it as Radhanath Swami has in Chowpatty and Sivarama Swami has at New Vraja.

We need more brahmanas, but now there are tests for first initiation and tests for second initiation, and it can take years for one become a qualified brahmana.

Why do we need cars and all these material processions? Because we are in the mode of passion. We have to attain the mode of goodness to be satisfied to live simply. Even if the guru orders his disciples to live on a farm, after some time because of being in the mode of passion and desiring so many material things, they will leave.

Comment by Madhavendra Puri Prabhu: We can see varnasrama as a safety net that keeps ourselves from falling down from the path of spiritual advancement.

Comment by Adikarta Prabhu: If the leaders did not fall down and if Prabhupada was emphasized more, we would still thriving and there would not be the scarcity of devotees you see in the temples nowadays.

Vicaru Prabhu:

Srila Prabhupada said many of his disciples will attain heaven because of retaining material desires, so we have to be careful.

Lord Ramacandra told Hanuman to stay in the material world because he was such an advanced devotee and he wanted him to be present for his aprakata-lila [unmanifested pastimes] and to help maintain the world.

Comment by Pitavasa Prabhu: In the Paris Ratha-yatra, often the Muslims dance with us, but the Christians never dance with us.

Aksayananda Prabhu:

Some notice the devotees have something special, and they want to know more.

Acarya Nistha Prabhu:

I heard on one Srila Prabhupada memories tape how a devotee was telling Srila Prabhupada that he was so lusty that he was always looking he and there. Prabhupada said that the result would be that he would become blind. The devotee inquired if it meant he would become blind spiritually, and Srila Prabhupada replied he would become physically. That reminded me of the story of Bilvamangala Thakura, who blinded himself, disgusted with his lusty eyes.

The demoniac Hiranyakasipu and Ravana understood so many Vedic principles, but they did not understand the supreme Vedic principle of surrender to Krishna.

Even if we see people smiling there is something sad about them. There are going to grow old and die, and then take another birth and repeat the process.

The Vedic samskaras are meant to make an impression in one’s mind, and that impression is one of sacrifice to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Dharmaraja Prabhu from Mexico:

The devotee is always thinking about how to attain the Lord’s mercy. This is his qualification.

It is said that by chanting and dancing one can get the mercy of Nityananda, and thorough Nityananda get the mercy of Caitanya, and ultimately get the mercy of Radha-Krishna.

Lord Caitanya cannot live without Lord Jagannatha, and Lord Jagannatha cannot live without Lord Caitanya.

From Rajadharma Prabhu: On the most ecstatic Ratha-yatra it was raining like cats and dogs. I was holding an umbrella over the Srila Prabhupada murti. Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja was beating on a drum, and the kirtana was amazing. Devotees were throwing fruit from the cart, and people on their porches were catching it.

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Lord Krishna describes in four verses [Bg. 14.22–25] the characteristics of one who has transcended the material modes of nature, but in just one verse, he explains how to attain that transcendental stage:

mam ca yo ’vyabhicarena
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa gunan samatityaitan
brahma-bhuyaya kalpate

 “One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.” (Bg. 14.26)