Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 12, No. 2
By Krishna-kripa das
(January 2016, part two)
By Krishna-kripa das
(January 2016, part two)
North and Central Florida
(Sent from Mumbai, India, on March 2, 2016)
(Sent from Mumbai, India, on March 2, 2016)
The second half of January I spent four days in Orlando, four days in Tallahassee, and five days in Gainesville chanting at Krishna Lunch and the Farmers Market, except Sunday when I attended the Alachua Sunday Feast. I also spent two days in Tampa, one chanting at University of South Florida and the other with Gainesville and Alachua devotees chanting at the Gasparilla Pirate parade. While I was in Orlando, I came to Gainesville just for the day, to chant Hare Krishna with my friends from Gainesville and Alachua in the Martin Luther King Day March, a yearly event we have been attending for several years.
I share insights from Srila Prabhupada’s books and lectures, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami’s books and journal, lectures by Amala Bhakta Swami and Giriraja Swami, a seminar on cow protection by Balabhadra Prabhu, Prabhupada memories by Govinda Dasi, lectures by Prabhupada disciples, Kalakantha Prabhu, Krishnasravana Prabhu, Sesa Prabhu, and Sukhada Devi, and lectures by newer devotees.
Thanks to Megan Sauer for her pictures of Nama Kirtana Prabhu and I chanting at Lake Ella in Tallahassee. Thanks to Jeremiah for his recording of the kirtana at our Tallhassee temple. Thanks to Audrey for her picture of the Gainesville Farmers Market harinama. Thanks to Carol Cole for her video of me playing harmonium and chanting in front of the University of South Florida library. Thanks to Sudevi Dasi for her pictures of the program with Amala Bhakti Swami at University of South Florida in Tampa.
March 1–3: Mumbai
March 5–10: Mayapur Kirtan Mela
March 12–21: Rishikesh Harinama
March 22–April 11: Vrindavan
April 13: Mumbai
April 14–21: Dublin, Ireland
April 22–24: Newcastle, England
April 27: King’s Day, Amsterdam
April 28–29: Holland
April 30–May 1: Birmingham 24-hour kirtana
May 2–: The North of England and Scotland
July 10: Prague Ratha-yatra
July 12–16: Polish Woodstock
August 5–11: Baltic Summer Festival
August 18–21: Trutnoff (Czech Woodstock)
September 13–: New York City Harinam
Chanting Hare Krishna in the Martin Luther King Day March
Hare Krishna devotees from Alachua and Gainesville chanted in the annual Martin Luther King Day March this year as they have for several years. As usual we were the only group with music, and because we had a nice loud sound system, it was easy for people to hear us. Despite our dominating presence, many people were favorable, and no one complained about us.
Christiana danced with some of the people from other groups in the parade, including this lady, who also played the shakers.
This gentleman played his own drum along with us.
Kalki, our fired-up brahmacari book distributor, danced blissfully in the march.
The young ladies at Krishna House danced very joyfully as well.
This lady dances with us every year.
Here is some video showing what it was like (https://youtu.be/b4VeY4WzVDE):
Chanting at University of South Florida
Having taken a bus from Orlando, and a city bus to the campus, I was late getting to University of South Florida so I decided to chant as walked to the library because I like to chant a full three hours. One Asian-looking girl looked toward me and moved her head to the music as I approached. I asked her where she was from and she said India. I asked which part, and she said South India, Karnataka. Recalling the most significant place I had been in that state, I told her had been to Udupi. She said, “I am from Udupi.” She talked about how they had their big biannual festival there recently for the changing of the swami who manages that famous Krishna temple. I mentioned I had been to a program a Hare Krishna swami did in a nearby town at a university with a large medical school. She said, “Oh, you must mean Manipal.”
“Yes,” I said, “Manipal.”
She replied, “Actually I am an exchange student from Manipal University.”
I met a librarian who taught yoga and was very interested and said she would come next week.
One girl who was senior, was just starting to learn about yoga. She said she would definitely come, and she did and brought three friends.
One Christian lady, Cathy Cole, who loves to chant in her church choir, was intrigued with my portable harmonium and the chanting, and she took this little video (https://youtu.be/CYjnc6V9O8s):
When she sent me the link to the video she said, “It was a pleasure listening to your music and sharing thoughts.”
As the time of the program approached, I left the library to set up in front of the Marshall Student Center, the program venue. On the way there, I met a Bhakta Carlos, who was distributing books. I told him the details about the program and asked him to tell the people he meets. As I approached the Marshall center, I saw Sudevi Dasi, who was wondering where I was chanting, and we went to sing together in front of the center with books on display for ten or fifteen minutes before program. One young guy skateboarded up to us, and said, “Hare Krishna.” Earlier in the week he had been playing recordings of George Harrison chanting Hare Krishna, and was happy to see us, and learn of the program. He also came to it.
Altogether I was very pleased that five people came to the program because I took the trouble to come from Orlando to Tampa to chant at the campus.
Amala Bhakta Swami gave an interesting, entertaining, and informative lecture, and I think there is a good chance that all the new people who came to the program will come back.
Chanting Hare Krishna in Tallahassee
I chanted at Lake Ella in Tallahassee on the weekend and at Florida State University, behind the library, on Monday and Tuesday.
Saturday it was so cold, I wanted to quit after just an hour and a half. I ended up staying out two hours, as I had to wait for a ride.
Still we met some nice people, like two girlfriends who were FSU students, and one of whom, Megan Sauer, took this picture of us.
Ramiya Prabhu and his wife, Ananta Devi, joined me in chanting at the campus, and it was so wonderful to have their contribution to the kirtana, an increase in our outreach this year.
A seriously inquisitive young man named Jeremiah came to a couple programs, even recording a kirtana because he liked it. You can hear it too at:
Krishna Lunch Kirtana
Different devotees sing at Krishna Lunch each day. Usually Adi Karta Prabhu just distributes books and talks with students. This time he led kirtana (https://youtu.be/HRZmrWCB754):
Palika, visiting from Bhaktivedanta Manor, also a wonderful singer, played karatalas.
Krishna House Devotees Chant at the Gainesville Farmers Market
A kid enjoyed playing the tambourine and shakers and a visiting musician enjoyed playing the flute as Krishna House devotees chanted at the Gainesville Farmers Market (https://youtu.be/i5xuMxsQpQs):
Interfaith Progressive Dinner
The progressive dinner is a yearly event put on by the University of Florida chaplains, with the intent of creating a forum for students of different religious faiths to get to know each other. This time it was not the last week of classes, and more people could attend, a suggestion from Amy of Krishna House, who is involved with interfaith at University of Florida. The idea is that people take snacks at the Hillel House, then the main course, which is Hare Krishna spaghetti, at the St. Augustine Catholic Church, hot drinks served at the Episcopal Church, and the desserts served at Gator Wesley, where there is entertainment.
I had an interesting conversation with a Mormon preacher. I asked him about the Mormon references to restricting the eating of meat, and he showed me the reference from a book associated with the Book of Mormon on his smartphone.
He elaborately explained to me and a young lady from the Episcopal Church the whole history of the Book of Mormon. As the discussion continued, he made a reference to how peaceful the Hare Krishna people were. That reminded me of a story, which I asked if I could tell briefly. I asked one student eating our Krishna Lunch how he liked it, and he said it was great but the most amazing thing was that whenever he eats the Krishna Lunch, the whole afternoon he never becomes angry, and he advised us to market this. I then explained how by cooking food in the spirit of devotion to God, the food becomes transformed and has spiritual qualities, which is something that the student experienced although he did not know the philosophy behind it. The young Episcopal lady smiled and appreciated the point that the consciousness the food is prepared in has an effect on the food itself.
The Gator Wesley people were really conscientious this year to make sure that there were plenty of desserts did not violate the lactovegetarian diet of the Hare Krishnas.
Michael Collins and his wife Madhava Devi Dasi sang and played instruments, and Madhava danced as well, which was something not there in the other performances. They sang devotional tunes with a lot of feeling and expertise. Because I tend to like more mellow music than the genre they played, I could not completely appreciate it, but I am sure it reached many of the students who regularly hear more intense music. In particular, Audrey of Krishna House really loved it.
One of the interfaith leaders read an inspiration quote I thought had some value, and I asked him about it afterward. I decided to take a picture of it to share with others.
Hare Krishnas Chant and Dance at Tampa’s Gasparilla Pirate Festival
The Gasparilla event had two Hare Krishna chanting groups because instead of waiting at our meeting place, the first Alachua devotees to arrive went in one direction along the crowded roadway while the Gainesville devotees and the Alachua devotees who came later, not finding them, decided to go in the opposite direction. We did not meet for an hour and twenty minutes. Then we chanted together for an hour or so.
Vanna was very enthusiastic and successful in distributing some vegan oatmeal cookies I had leftover from my college outreach in Tallahassee. Many people liked them. I asked two girls who seemed especially enthusiastic to see us if they had encountered Hare Krishna before.
They smiled and said they ate Krishna Lunch at University of Florida all the time. We told them we were the people who serve the Krishna Lunch. And that made them more happy.
Many people enjoyed dancing with us.
Some took photos of themselves and their friends dancing with us.
One lady came by two or three times and played the karatalas. I asked her how she knew about Hare Krishna. She said she has seen the devotees in different places and always likes to participate with them.
One young lady took pleasure in striking Abhi’s drum.
I was happy to see the enthusiasm of all the devotees who came from Krishna House to participate in the event. They included Abhi, who played the drum, Carlos, who played harmonium, Vaishnava, who helped drive, Audrey, who danced, and Vanna, who danced and distributed cookies.
Here is a collection of video clips from the event (https://youtu.be/EKVyiqIbw2o):
The atheist wishes there may be no God so he can do what he likes.
Dharma is to obey the laws of God. Adharma is to disobey them.
Our real dharma is to serve God and if we neglect this, we are liable to be punished.
Preaching means whatever Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita you simply repeat. Both speaker and hearer become liberated.
From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.18 in Mayapur on September 28, 1974:
It is the desire of Krishna that someone as pious as Maharaja Yudhisthira is in control of the government.
From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.18 in New York on April 10, 1973:
Unless you deal with God, you cannot experience His greatness.
Meditation is to concentrate the mind to see how the Lord is in the heart. This is real yoga.
The more you purify, the more you can see God within and without.
It is not so cheap thing that you can see God, especially when affected by lust and greed, the lower qualities of material nature. But by the process of Krishna consciousness, we can change our qualities.
God is giving our daily bread. Why should we bother him by asking? Do the animals go to the church and ask for bread? God consciousness does not mean you go to God and ask for something, rather you give everything to God.
Mother Yasoda is always anxious to give Krishna protection. This is Krishna consciousness.
The Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy is very sublime, to see God as subordinate, and in that mood serve Him with affection.
If we apply the ointment of love of God, we can see Him.
If you can see God, talk with God, and go back to Godhead, why should you lose this opportunity? That is Krishna consciousness.
From Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.5.24, purport:
“Lord Krishna is very much pleased with His devotees, even if they are not on the topmost stage of devotional service. Even on the lower stages of devotional service one is transcendental, and if one continues with devotional life, he continues to be a deva or sura [a godly person]. If one continues in this way, Krishna will always be pleased with him and will give him all instructions so that he may very easily return home, back to Godhead.”
Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:
From Japa Walks, Japa Talks:
The Bhagavatam is our daily newspaper, our in-depth study of current events. As we read the news, we’ll stay in touch with our needs and our predicament as entangled, permanently bound jivas. And we will also be reminded of the remedy.
“The harinama devotees
have a strong bond.
They may express some
differences and have
personalities, but they
are an elite corps
with firm allegiance
to a common, highest cause.
Their main feature
is cooperation in
steadily, staunchly, going out together
every day. They exchange
a non-sentimental love
have a strong bond.
They may express some
differences and have
personalities, but they
are an elite corps
with firm allegiance
to a common, highest cause.
Their main feature
is cooperation in
steadily, staunchly, going out together
every day. They exchange
a non-sentimental love
and a high degree of efficiency in
They serve Lord Caitanya
and endure petty differences.”
They serve Lord Caitanya
and endure petty differences.”
Amala Bhakta Swami:
Srila Prabhupada said that ISKCON is here forever.
We go from this Vaikuntha to that Vaikuntha.
Speaking during the occasion of the solar eclipse at Kurukshetra, Krishna indicates the amazing power of the great sages is such that ordinary people become interested in inquiry about the Absolute Truth simply by being in their proximity.
After greeting the sages and washing their feet, those who are intelligent take that water on their heads and bodies to facilitate and expedite their spiritual advancement.
The sages are greeted so nicely they are made to feel what they are, truly venerable persons.
The sages came to glorify the Lord, but the Lord surprised them by glorifying them before they had a chance to glorify him.
The Lord accepts the cowherd girls with romance in their eyes, cowherd boys with friendship in their eyes, and the elderly ladies with maternal affection in their eyes, because He does not want to disturb their pure emotions for Him.
Although Krishna is always happy, that happiness can be increased. Like an ocean always has waves, yet a sudden wind can create a much bigger wave.
Mike Phelps, famous as all-American hero, won eight gold medals for swimming. He was harassed by all kinds of businessmen wanting him to endorse their products. He became an alcoholic, got in a car accident, and had to go through rehab. Thus success without Krishna consciousness is failure. The Pandavas were successful, but because they were conscious of Krishna, they were happy.
The more you think “me, me, me, mine, mine, mine,” the more you distance yourself from Krishna and you feel an emptiness within, and thus you are unhappy.
If you endeavor for wealth, strength, and beauty, and you have no knowledge of Krishna, you will be miserable.
The devotee wants to serve the Lord with joy and with love, knowing that there is nothing better.
Although originally callous to the many great sufferings of the animals he half killed, by the purity of the association of Narada, Mrgari, the hunter, became willing to change his life. By chanting the mantra and following the lifestyle that Narada suggested he become so nonviolent he did not want to kill an ant.
After Dhruva performed austerities and saw the Lord, he no longer desired to have a kingdom greater than Lord Brahma, but the Lord, impressed by his saintly qualities, wanted him to rule the world for 36,000 years to set an example.
We can pray, “O Lord, you are nondifferent from this book,” and beg for His revelation.
If there is one thing that bothers Krishna it is the misery of His children, and Srila Prabhupada knew his books could eliminate that misery.
From a class at the University of South Florida in Tampa:
I always make sure that everyone understands each point before we move forward.
We offer respect to our spiritual teacher to get the maximum blessing before we even begin.
Reality is much more than we see. If we look at our hands with a microscope, we see so many things we do not see with our eyes. Similarly if we look at the sky with a telescope, we see so much more.
Spiritually elevated beings see themselves as one with you as they are all also connected to the same source.
Krishna was so beautiful that anyone who saw him, male or female, would practically pass out. That is because Krishna is the reservoir of all beauty.
In yoga we begin to look into ourselves more carefully, and then we can look into others more carefully.
Yoga helped me retain vigor.
Yogis traditionally meditate on the tip of the nose or on a place on the forehead between the eyes.
In yoga you become the captain or master of your mind.
The five senses are all pulling on the mind, and thus the mind is agitated, and you cannot make clear decisions.
As we cannot see the bottom of the stream when the water is agitated and it becomes muddy, we cannot think clearly unless our mind is peaceful.
The peacefulness of yoga samadhi is very deep, but it does not reach the bliss of bhakti-yoga.
God reciprocates with the love in your heart so nicely it satisfies the soul.
When our team wins, we rejoice because we identify with our team. One man became so frustrated with his team losing, that he moved to the city of the team predicted to win the next year. Unfortunately, the next year that team lost and he remained frustrated. When we identify ourselves materially, we will always be frustrated.
Real love is experienced between the soul and the Supersoul in the heart.
As we become more aware that we are souls, we try to serve God more. We associate with people who inspire us and give us their blessings so we feel peace.
Yoga gives us a happiness that is above and beyond our little physical form.
When our consciousness is cleansed we can experience the peace we are looking for without external endeavor.
By yoga we can become impervious to all kinds of material tribulations.
The best meditative state is to develop pure love of God and that will bring us to the greatest ecstasy.
We come to the temple because of the association of devotees. If everything was here, but there were no devotees, no one would come. What brings us to Krishna is the association of devotees.
We develop good or bad practices by association. Babies do not smoke, but by association with people who smoke, one develops that habit.
Association is the most critical factor in peoples’ lives to bring them up or down.
With a damaged car, you can replace the parts and eventually get it to work, but you cannot do that with the body when it is dead.
The car needs the help of a driver or it cannot move, and similarly the body needs the presence of the soul to function.
Most people identify with the body and act for the body but only achieve some stimulation, not lasting happiness.
As if we make a mistake in the beginning of solving a mathematical equation, we will be assured of an erroneous result despite doing all subsequent calculations perfectly, we mistake the body for soul, our calculation of how to be happy will be incorrect.
There was a generation of people who did everything their society taught them would make them happy, but never obtained happiness. This led people to investigate the cause of actual happiness. One professor wrote a book called Stumbling on Happiness. He discovered that we are very poor at predicting what will make us happy.
Most people identify with the body, and those who don’t identify with the mind. The mind simply accepts and rejects things but is never satisfied. Sometimes it rejects something it accepted just a moment before.
Anything material that gives us happiness will not continue to give us happiness for long.
As a youth, I would be so excited to get a new phonograph record, but I realized I could not listen to it too much, or I would lose my taste for it.
At a campus program, I had just seen Srila Prabhupada dismantle the arguments of many challenging students, and I knew he could have easily torn me apart for getting lost while driving him home from the program, but he smiled compassionately and dismissed it. I was so impressed with his kindness.
One Muslim student who heard Srila Prabhupada speak at Harvard went on to become a Muslim professor. He told the devotees that whenever he is in some difficulty or crisis, he always remembers the swami who gave that talk, what he said, and Krishna Himself. When he hears the devotees speak of Srila Prabhupada, tears well up in his eyes.
Ordinary association reinforces the illusion that you are the body and by getting things for the body you will be happy.
Association with devotees helps us as individual souls connect with the Supreme Soul, and that will give us ultimate happiness.
Q (by Kalakantha Prabhu): What about inappropriate feelings that arise in the course of pursuing our spiritual goals?”
A: Krishna recommends in Bhagavad-gita to tolerate. Others say control your breath, count to ten. Do not react and damage relationships. If you know something is going to bring a bad result then do not indulge in it. Try to see the good in others. If we are seeing bad in others, perhaps we should look to see if that fault is in ourselves and try to correct ourselves. If we find a place is full of the atmosphere of criticizing devotees, we can try to change the atmosphere, but easier and more practical is to just do the right thing ourselves because it is the right thing.
The principle with chanting and everything else is to do the best we possibly can at the moment. It may not be the best we have ever done.
We cannot always predict what situation will be favorable. Sometimes we get the most mercy when we least expect it.
Q (by me after class): What did you gain especially from Srila Prabhupada’s personal association?
A: I was impressed most by his humility, his faith in Krishna, especially in His holy name, his enthusiasm to preach, even when no one was present, and his kindness to all living entities. I could tell many examples of each.
You bathe every day don’t you? The problem is we think eating and sleeping are necessary but not chanting. This is because we do not read enough.
[To an Indian student:] Work is worship is not in Bhagavad-gita. Whatever anyone says has to be supported by Bhagavad-gita.
Arjuna accepts Krishna as param brahma, and we must also accept Him as such. Arjuna also accepted that whatever Krishna says is true, and therefore we must accept Bhagavad-gita in total as well.
To develop his theory of psychology, Maslow studied healthy people as opposed to studying mentally ill people or rats. He was the chairman of the department of psychology at Brandeis University where I studied. He found healthy people had peak experiences that transformed them. He was very open to have all sorts of yogis and swamis speaking. I had an idea of perfection and finding a perfect master, so I was excited by this.
I rejected the swamis and yogis for different reasons, one for too tightly embracing his female followers, one for getting angry, one Zen master, who when asked about Vedanta replied, “Why are you asking me about Vedanta? I can hardly keep up with Zen,” and one professor, whose Zen was playing golf.
When Srila Prabhupada said in the first lecture I ever attended that only one in thousands of people is looking for perfection, I thought, “That is me.”
I asked Srila Prabhupada, “Every swami advocates his own method as best? Which is the best method?”
Prabhupada replied, “What is your goal? Do you want to become God or do you want to serve Him? If you want to become God, that means you are not God now. How can someone who is not God become God? If you want to serve God, if you hear and chant about Him, He will give you guidance. If you want to become God, why should God help the competition?”
I was reminded of the sign I had put in my bathroom “You are God.” I learned that I could not become God and that Srila Prabhupada could understand what was going on within me. I understood he was my master and bowed down before him.
Once while chanting Hare Krishna in Boston, I felt love for everyone in the classroom and beyond the classroom, like all the way to California. I praised the chanting to Srila Prabhupada and he chuckled and replied, “Thank you very much.”
At the age of eight, I got some inkling I was meant for a higher purpose, that I have a mission.
I wanted to help people so I thought of being a doctor, but then I realized that those in mental agony suffered more, so I thought of going into psychology. But studying anxiety at college I saw that the psychology professors had quarrels about the budget.
From a seminar on ox protection at the Orlando Sunday feast:
While training the oxen, when we stop, I always talk to them, and say they are doing a good job.
At Bhaktivedanta Manor, practically all the farming is done using the oxen. When tour groups of children visit, they love to go for ox cart rides.
At a program solely about cows near Udupi, in nine days the organizers got the 500,000 attendees they were hoping for.
One cow at the Czech farm, Rasalila, gave milk for the pleasure of Krishna for many years without giving birth to a calf. I tasted her milk, and it was the most incredible nectar. She had a friend, Tungi, and just two weeks before Rasalila left her body, Tungi also started giving milk without a calf, as if taking over Rasalila’s service.
Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.17.3, both verse and purport, are very important statements on cow protection. Verse 8.24.5 is also important.
If we show how to protect cows, it does not matter where we are, it will be very beneficial.
The question we are asked most often is how many cows are giving milk, but cows and milk are just part of cow protection. Religious principles are derived from cow protection. In Vedic times, cows were bred to produce bulls to assist in agriculture, transportation, and religious principles. The second reason was dung, and the third, urine, for medicine. Milk was the last reason, and it considered to come as a natural byproduct.
I always had a problem with anger, even when I began working the oxen at Gitanagari. In Small Farm Journal I read, “You cannot have any anger when you are working the bulls. If you become angry, stop working them. Feed them, and come back when your mind is peaceful.” I took note of that and applied it. One devotee, with a degree in psychology, who observed me working the oxen for some time, told me, “The more you work with the oxen, the more you improve at controlling your anger.”
It is not that Krishna was a cowherd boy, but Krishna is a cowherd boy.
A lot of devotees who follow vegan diets, do so out of compassion for the cows.
It would be so helpful if more and more temples got involved in cow protection so the deities could be offered ahimsa milk.
The cows and bulls are more valuable alive than dead.
Rajsthan Goseva Sangh, one goshala in Rajasthan, was completely self-sufficient from selling cow products when we visited them about 1998. They had a cancer clinic which used medicine derived from cow urine and had a success rate of 85%.
Bhakti Raghava Swami never touched a cow before once he came to visit me. Now he is a great advocate of cow protection and has done valuable service.
When people would accuse of us exploiting the oxen by forcing them to work, I would point how because their great size, 2,500 pounds each, I could not force them to do anything. They work because we have a relationship with them. Actually they love to work, especially when they are being treated properly.
Usually vegans would be the ones who complain about us exploiting the oxen. I would point out they were eating vegetables produced with tractors. And I would explain in detail, all the exploitation of the environment needed make the tractors. Then I explain about the tires necessary for the tractors and the exploitation to obtain the rubber. Then I tell how because of the tractors, the oxen were not worked but slaughtered, and how the farm workers replaced by them were jobless. The real fact is not using the oxen for farming has resulted in mass exploitation.
Srila Prabhupada captured our hearts with his gratitude. Whatever service we did for him, he would always say, “Thank you very much.” And it melted our hearts.
Organic milk is really just a smokescreen. It still has the problems of calves sold for slaughter, cows slaughtered after they stop giving milk, etc.
We created a minimum standard for cow protection in ISKCON. It included the idea that before breeding, there must a program for training and working the bulls.
Still too few farms live up to this standard.
When I was minister of cow protection, I tried to incite a competition between farms, getting them to report how many oxen were working and how many hours of work they performed.
Srila Prabhupada said on December 4, 1968 in a lecture in Los Angeles:
“So the example is set by the Supreme Personality of Godhead that human civilization will advance only on the basis of brahminical culture and cow protection. As soon as there is falldown from brahminical culture, and as soon as there is discrepancy in the protection of cows, there will be no more peace in the world. Therefore He specifically said, go-brahmaṇa-hitaya ca. This Krishna consciousness movement is for the protection of brahminical culture and cows.”
More information on cow protection, see the ISCOWP website at http://www.iscowp.org or write to email@example.com.
I was a senior at University of Texas in Austin. There was the first shooting from the university tower. We were so disillusioned that we left school in the middle of the year and went to San Francisco seeking enlightenment.
I did yoga and read in a yoga book when the chela is ready, the guru will appear. Thus I practiced celibacy and meditated for eight hours a day. I must have got this inspiration from a previous life. I found a Back to Godhead in a head shop.
In the second BTG I read the description of Srila Prabhupada walking down the street, and it was like the doors of perception opened and I had a darsana (vision) of Srila Prabhupada. I realized without doubt he was my guru. I looked up the address of the temple, and it was just five blocks away, and we went there and asked for an interview with the swami.
Srila Prabhupada would ask many questions to familiarize himself with America. He was surprised that I had traveled so much, and when I said in all my travels nothing had made me happy, he smiled broadly, and said, “That is required.” He understood that although I could get whatever I wanted, I was not happy.
He listened to our problems attentively, and he told us, “If you come to my classes morning and evening, all your problems will be solved.” Of course, there are always problems, but the devotee becomes detached from them.
In college you have philosophies like existentialism which elaborately describe the problem but have no solution.
From the beginning Srila Prabhupada engaged us according to our propensities, and do this he inquired what we were studying. He immediately engaged us in painting Radha Krishna because we had an art background.
We had no desire to be anywhere except with him, so when he went to New York, we went to New York, driving in there four days with some hippies.
The charm, the personal wit, and the caring in Srila Prabhupada is more than I can describe.
Srila Prabhupada wanted all his lectures recorded. On the bhajans he recorded himself playing both the drum and the harmonium. These recordings are his gifts.
“A pure devotee always engages in the service of the Lord, taking shelter of His lotus feet, and therefore he has a direct connection with the saffron mercy-particles that are strewn over the lotus feet of the Lord. Although when a pure devotee speaks the articulation of his voice may resemble the sound of this material sky, the voice is spiritually very powerful because it touches the particles of saffron dust on the lotus feet of the Lord. As soon as a sleeping living entity hears the powerful voice emanating from the mouth of a pure devotee, he immediately remembers his eternal relationship with the Lord, although up until that moment he had forgotten everything.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.20.25, purport)
Once I tried correcting his pronunciation for the word “analogously” in his reading of the preface of Brahma-samhita, and he replied, “You pronounce it your way, and I will pronounce it my way.” I never tried to correct him again.
Gaurasundara was learning the Sanskrit and Bengali. He learned about the suffix “ji” and asked Prabhupada if he could call me Govindaji. Prabhupada indicated “ji” was low class. I asked, “Why do we call you “Swamiji” if it is a low class ending?” He said it was not important, but I thought it was important so I pressed him several times. That was out of character for me, so I think Supersoul was pushing me.
Prabhupada said, “You can call me Gurudeva, Guru Maharaja, or Srila Prabhupada.”
“That is three,” I said, “what about one?”
He replied, “You can call me Srila Prabhupada. That would be very nice.”
Then he explained what Prabhupada meant and said, “I am the Prabhupada and you are the Prabhus are taking shelter.”
Prabhupada means he whose lotus feet the masters take shelter of.
He was the most gentlemanly and fatherly person you could ever hope to meet.
Srila Prabhupada started us studying Sanskrit and Bengali.
When the lotus blooms, the bees come. Although there were no devotees, sankirtana parties or books, but somehow so many people came.
I prayed to be able to understand his accent, and almost immediately I was able to understand.
If you ask Srila Prabhupada for some service, he will guide you from in the heart.
Our first service was putting up posters for the mantra rock dance.
Krishna speaks through his devotees, and therefore their association is so important.
The whole year I was cooking for Srila Prabhupada he had the same five things on Ekadasi: pan fried peanuts, sweet potatoes mashed with yogurt, a wet vegetable preparation with cauliflower and potato slightly fried, and fruit salad with sour cream.
Srila Prabhupada said, “Ghee is for cooking for Krishna, oil is for cooking for Shiva.” He also said, “Ghee is for the inside of the body, and oil is for the outside of the body.”
People take lots of prasadam in the beginning because it their first contact with Krishna in many lives and they cannot get enough.
I dealt with a contractor in Gainesville who lived on Krishna Lunch when he was a student.
There is a problem in ISKCON that some tulasis have crossbred with other varieties of basil, so we have to be careful.
Srila Prabhupada said that personal ambition cannot be dovetailed in devotional service.
Srila Prabhupada said regarding our children, “Demigods are waiting in line to take birth in this movement.” And you can see that in their spirit of enjoyment. But
Prabhupada also said that the children of our children would be pure devotees.
It is an art to not be too liberal or too conservative, to retain the essence of the tradition, while attracting new people.
Comment by Caitanya: Now there are more people who work in the department of agriculture than there are farmers.
We can go up or down or remain in this realm. Krishna does not force anyone, but He advises how we can return to Him.
Other names like Allah and Jehovah have the same power as they are all names of God, but I am a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, so I chant Hare Krishna as he advised and the Vedic literature recommends.
Q (by me): In Bhagavad-gita 18.65 Srila Prabhupada stresses worship of Krishna alone, yet in Bhagavad-gita 8.14 he accepts worship of the other Vishnu-tattva avatars. Why is this?
A: When you love someone you want His name and fame glorified all over the world, and because Srila Prabhupada is a pure devotee of Krishna, so he is glorifying Krishna. Even in Dvaraka, Vasudeva Krishna is attracted by the beauty of the youthful Vrindavan Krishna. Even Maha-Vishnu wanted to see Krishna so He kidnapped the brahmana’s sons. Even Laksmi was attracted by the sweetness of Krishna and tried to attain the position of the gopis.
A (by another SP disciple): Srila Prabhupada is trying to bring us to the topmost platform in Bhagavad-gita 18.65 and so he promotes Krishna as superior to the other incarnations. He also says the knowledge is the most confidential.
In a war, if you surrender, you lose, but if you surrender to Krishna, you win.
Q (by Jorge): How to we think of Krishna while talking to someone at our job?
A: If a woman has a lover, she will do her household duties nicely so her husband does not suspect, but she is always thinking of her lover because of her intense attraction. Similarly we are all lovers of Krishna by constitution, so we should perform our duties in this world very nicely, and at the same time always think of Him.
We are eternal individuals, and we have each have a history by which we have become here today, to Srimad-Bhagavatam class.
Fiji is the island where Kaliya came from and eventually returned. During a brief transit through a Fiji airport, one Indian man with governmental influence, who was amazed at hearing of Srila Prabhupada’s great preaching work in the West, visited him at the airport, and Srila Prabhupada convinced him to build a Krishna temple within that brief time. There was installed a deity of Kaliya-Krishna.
The Kaustuba gem was given by Kaliya to Krishna.
Within in the last couple of years, in Fiji, workers in an excavation reported seeing a multi-headed snake in the mountains.
Comment by Dhameshvar Mahaprabhu Prabhu: It is explained in a former life, Kaliya was a king who washed a devotee’s feet but did not respect the water considering the devotee’s social position. Thus he got a mixed result.
One of the key lessons of Kaliya pastime is that Krishna’s mercy follows the mercy of the devotees. Because Kaliya’s wives offered prayers on his behalf he attained Krishna’s mercy. When they saw in their husband exalted qualities of humility, remorse, regret and doubt in response to Krishna’s chastisement, they prayed to Krishna for His mercy upon their husband.
The cowherd boys offer the challenge to Krishna and Balarama of liberating the Talavana Forest from influence of the Dhenuka demon, and the two are up for the challenge.
Radha-Damodara temple is said to be the hub of the universe. Srila Prabhupada was inspired to serve Rupa Goswami and thus he stayed there. He desired to be blessed by the mercy of sages there.
Srila Prabhupada prayed to Rupa Goswami for his mercy, and he attained it. He literally cried for the mercy as he swept the Rupa Goswami’s samadhi.
The Yamuna River is described as a necklace of sapphires or blue lotuses.
The children I take on sankirtana look forward to it every year. One girl suggested we bring lunch next time so we could stay out all day.
Once a devotee was saying how Vrindavana is becoming degraded. Srila Prabhupada said no, that those who are responsible for taking care of Vrindavana will take birth as hogs and dogs there, but even the hogs and dogs in Vrindavana are liberated.
Comments by me:
I always go to Radha-Damodara temple.
Srila Prabhupada described Vrindavana as a place where people are inclined to love Krishna and where Krishna is inclined to love them.
Vrindavana is a special place. Even a young Afro-American lady who was not a Hare Krishna concluded that sacred places do in fact exist and Vrindavana is such a place, after she stayed there for a month as some devotees friends had encouraged her to.
Madhava Prabhu [from New Raman Reti]:
Part of Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s daily bhajana, in addition to glorifying Radha-Krishna, is to take shelter of the Lord to overcome material tendencies. We can learn from this.
Q: When are the exams [for your series of seminars on Saranagati]?
A: Every day, at every moment. [laughter]
Visvambhara Prabhu of Bhaktivedanta Academy:
We find that the students who went out distributing prasadam cakes and Srila Prabhupada’s books enjoyed that experience. That was our goal. In fact, some of them did not want to come back.
By Srila Prabhupada’s mercy, through his books, we can understand who is actually a sadhu, a saintly person.
By giving classes morning and evening, by speaking with people, and encouraging disciples, in so many ways, Srila Prabhupada expressed his compassion by enlightening people in Krishna consciousness.
This chanting of Hare Krishna is so nice that plants, animals, and insects, all advance spiritually by hearing the chanting.
Devotees asked Srila Prabhupada what happens to the grass that hears the chanting of a pure devotee. Srila Prabhupada explained that it gets a human body in the next life, which would normally take ten million births.
People do not understand how on the material platform, there is no steady happiness, but if we explain this carefully, they can come to get an appreciation of it.
Like Krishna wants to glorify His devotees, the advanced devotees want to glorify the other devotees.
Srila Prabhupada’s minimization of sleep was just a symptom of being fully engaged in devotion.
Srila Prabhupada was doing the same thing as the Goswamis, using the Vedic literature to support the conclusion of pure devotion service to Krishna.
Humility and tolerance are very important. If we are humble and tolerant, we will not commit offenses, and thus we will be able chant the holy name constantly.
We should always be looking within ourselves to see how we can improve our devotional service.
Krishna consciousness is already spreading all over the world, but if we assist we will get the credit for helping. Otherwise, it will happen anyway and we will miss out.
Comment by Abhimanyu Prabhu: Locan Das Thakura wrote in one of his books that Lord Caitanya said some people would try to escape by going to Western countries but that he would send his senapati bhakti [commander-in-chief devotee] to rescue them.
Comments by me:
If we are not tolerant, we will be absorbed in the dualities of material life, and will not have time to mercifully benefit people.
Sometime we have the idea that we want everyone to love us, but that is not realistic. Even the greatest saints and the Lord Himself, although they are goodness personified, still have enemies.
If you do not read in the morning, you may find that you do not have time to read later, and the reading does not happen.
This verse inspires me when I chant Hare Krishna in public in different cities around the world. I am an instrument, although tiny, in fulfilling Lord Caitanya’s prediction. Although not everyone will appreciate the chanting, Lord Caitanya will be pleased, and He is the bestower of all benedictions:
prithivite ache yata nagaradi grama
sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama
[Lord Caitanya said:] “In every town and village of the world, in every place, My name will be propagated.” (Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya-kandha 4.126)