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On Friday, January 23, 2015, Mother Malati blessed the TKG Academy students with her stories of Srila Prabhupada with her daugher Sarasvati. Take a look below to hear about gulabjamuns, airplane rides, and Srila Prabhupada’s immense love. The students were spellbound! Having Srila Prabhupada’s devout disciples bring the magic of Krishna consciousness directly to the students is certainly a great privilege that we treasure at the TKG Academy.
Here is a video of her magical memories that day.
On Friday, January 23rd, 2015, TKG Academy students had the privilege of hearing from His Holiness Bir Krishna Goswami. Srila Bir Krishna Maharaj, a pre-eminent disciple of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada travels all around the world, giving seminars on Health and Education and preaching Krishna consciousness. He is also known worldwide for his fun, ecstatic presentation of the philosophy, which even little children can understand. We were very forunate to have his visit.
Here is a video clip of his kirtan and talks with the students.
The GBC College for Leadership Development started its first day of its first year of operations today, 8 March 2015, at the Govardhana Ecovillag on the outskirts of Mumbai. The College’s primary focus shall be on contributing to prepare devotees to serve in crucial leadership roles within ISKCON. The hand-picked selection of about 25 devotees traveled from different parts of the world to attend the course.
ISKCON has been active in Finland for more than 30 years but there has never been a fixed location to serve as a temple. In 2012 the devotees had to vacate the previous temple due to the termination of the lease. Devotees have been working since then to find a temple for Srila Prabhupada and a suitable base for the Vaishnava community in Finland.
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, August 2010, Lecture)
We cannot say that the four regulative principles in themselves constitute bhakti or devotional service. These are preliminary activities of renunciation and austerity. When we rise above and become attracted to Krsna and absorbed in devotional service, naturally the regulative principles will be followed!
A pure devotee naturally will not engage in sinful activities. He is not consciously thinking, “I should not engage in these things because they are sinful.” Sinful activities have nothing to do with pleasing Krsna and a pure devotee’s entire life is absorbed in pleasing Krsna.
The Lower Elementary Class made Snow Acrostic Poems, as the snow piled high outside their windows.
Fifth and sixth graders needed a hands-on way to remember the many historical figures they came across in their study of Ancient Rome. When I suggested “Romanmon Cards” – modeled after Pokemon cards, but containing information specific to our Ancient Roman personalities – students were immediately excited. They got to work right away, researching what the different Romans were known for and applying that to the cards. Upon completing the project, students got to re-enact different struggles and battles by using the cards.
Moon Phases by the Upper Elementary Students
As a part of our Earth Science unit, students learned all about the moon – how it orbits the Earth, how it affects the tides, and how the lunar phases are caused. Vraja Kishor and Conor Jennings demonstrate the phases of the moon with their motor-operated model. Students also read what Srila Prabhupada had to say about the moon landing:
“First of all, whether they are going to the Moon planet, that is doubtful. At least, I am doubtful. Because we get information from the sastra, that there is a planet which is called Rahu. That is very near to Moon. […] So they might be going to this Rahu planet, not to the Moon planet. […] Moon planet is heavenly planet. Heavenly planet. […] Or just like if somebody comes to the, this earthly planet and drops in the Arabian desert, he may conclude that this, is desert. But there is Europe, America and nice cities, and nice bungalows. […] Maybe they are also diverting them to the deserted portion of the Moon.”
Here is a short video of the motorized Moon Phases project done by Vraja and Conor.
In Literature, students are writing persuasive essays. We discussed how a strong persuasive paper addresses the opposition – that is, it accounts for opposing arguments and subsequently defeats them. In reading “Bhakti Bhava” by Devamrta Swami, one student, Arjuna Penate, made note of how the author tends to play the devil’s advocate – bringing up many points of Krsna consciousness that people may doubt and then showing how our philosophy allays those doubts. “Mother Vrnda Priya,” Arjuna said, “Devamrta Swami addresses the opposition a lot!” Making connections like this demonstrates learning retention and integrates Krsna consciousness and academics.
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 19 January 2015, Bhaktivedanta Manor, England, Srimad Bhagavatam 9.10.23)
Misers hold on to whatever wealth they have and do not want to share, and the result is they are being deprived. So here we are in Europe, we brought wealth from all over the world. We got it by hook or Captain Cook, somehow or other, we brought it in. Here it is and now we are sitting on it. But gradually, it is running out. London is still going strong but if you go a bit North, people are poor! It is like, England is sinking in poverty. I am sorry to bring it up so early in the morning but it is happening. Why is it so? Because of this miserliness, because of just bringing it all in for us, instead of giving it out. The more we give out, the more everything will happen. That is our movement. Our movement is based on the principle of namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah (CC Madhya 19.53).
It is a movement of extraordinary generosity. We see that when Srila Prabhupada was present, it was like that. Even when I joined, at that time, the Sunday feast was still fifteen incredible preparations. I mean absolutely incredible. Every single one of them was like, “Whew!” You know, I mean the rice was loaded up with cashews and paneer balls and what not. Oh! What to speak of the other preparations. Everything was ecstasy. There was abundance and nobody paid. It was all for free. The guests would just come and would eat to the max. Then they would get packages to take home. That is how it was. No wonder people were joining like anything! (laughter) It was just inconceivable – such generosity!
That purchases people. This movement will only spread through generosity. It is generosity that makes people feel indebted, “It is amazing, they give you all these things! What kind of people are these? I cannot believe it.” That is what it will do it. That is what will actually bring people. Incredible generosity!
Do not worry, because generosity breeds generosity. That is the principle of this movement. When we are just generous then people will say, “Wow, that is amazing. You are giving all these things away. I want to help.” Then they start to give money and just give… This whole spirit of giving, that is the spirit of this Hare Krsna movement. Then people will join and everyone is welcome.
In this way, this movement is a wonderful movement based on this maha-vadanyaya. This principle of just being incredibly generous. Vaisnava generosity is something amazing. It is about giving, not only what you have, more than that, it is about giving yourself.
Have you ever heard of a Public Library located in a Mall? Bookmarks is a Dallas Public Library for Children at Northpark Mall. It hosts many programs for young children, one of which we took part of earlier this month.
We arrived early, allowing time for snack and exploring the library’s “treasures”. Indeed, we found quite a few. From puzzles, to computers equipped with learning materials, to a very inviting little “reading-nook”. The program began with an introduction of the continents of Africa and America, using a large air-filled globe, which the children got to bounce and toss around. Then the history of slavery was narrated, accompanied with songs, ending with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Our 1st grade students just earlier that week, on Presidents’ Day, learned about the presidents and got the chance to share their knowledge and name the president who signed the document.
The excitement wasn’t saturated until we took a detour and climbed up and down the nearby escalators. Just for fun!
Most of the senior monastic people, what we call sannyasis, have left Mayapur for other pilgrimage sites in India or have left for their areas of responsibility in their respective places on the globe. The numbers of pilgrims to Mayapur, however, have not diminished - but only increased.
The various places of devotion, worship, and sanga (classes or chanting) are crammed situations at times. What do you expect with an additional 8,500 pilgrims coming as an influx on top of the thousands already here? The other areas of "clogging" are where the food is served. And with today being ekadasi, a day of abstaining from grain, the congestion at serve-out zones is no less.
Meals are sponsored every day. Some people opt for a more hopeful efficiency at numerous food stalls and restaurants.
I was taken by the fully capacitated pandal, a rather elegant bamboo-framed colourful tent, which drew a Russian audience to hear the day's Bhagavatam class, presented by "yours truly" (translation provided). Hours later our final performance of "Blue Mystic" was executed at the same location - a packed house again.
That was satisfying enough! However, in my brief walk to our accommodation, the fire in me changed directions. A motorcycle came tearing through the crowd. One driver and two passengers (three young men) occupied the machine and I truly "chewed them out" for their inconsiderate, careless nature. My final words were, "Sell your monster! Learn how to walk!"
May the Source be with you!
It's the last day of the month but dates as we (humans) have established according to the movements of heavenly bodies like the sun and moon, mean as little to certain creatures in the dhama (sacred ground) here in Mayapur.
Just outside our room in the Gada Building is a hornet's nest. Affixed to the ceiling, these brown-winged fellows buzz around not bothering anyone very much. They have their purpose, to multiply and survive. You just have to watch yourself when hanging your wet clothes out to dry over the balcony wall.
An just around the corner by the stairwell leading to the ground level, you find, a dove set to roost within a light fixture. The fixture is shaped like a sea shell, so it appears cupped, perfect for laying twigs in and leaves for nesting. The construction of this nest is a team effort. I assume it's the female that's sitting upon the bulb. It must be warm for her. The second dove goes out, presumably the male, gathering the goods for the nest. I see him regularly. He's busy. And I'm sure Feb 28th means nothing to the love couple. Only their love and instinctive plans means everything.
Now, to one of my room-mates, today has become significant to him. Jon and I got our accommodation almost a month ago. With his initiation he's now Jnanagamya. Jnanagamya pointed out to me on one of my breaks in the room that actor Leonard Nimoy passed away on this day.
"How do you know?" I asked.
"Facebook. I liked his character, Mr Spock. I was an extra in one of his movies, Holy Matrimony."
"Congratulations! I guess it's a great day." I thought somewhere along the line Krishna blesses everyone in some way, shape, or form.
May the Source be with you!