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Blogs From Around the Web

A Voyage Down the Yamuna River

A spiritually rewarding boat ride down the sacred Yamuna river to the sacred asrama of Durvasa Muni, during the auspicious month of Kartika. A video by Ananta Vrindavan.

Recordings – Australia, October 2017

Please find below audio recordings of lectures and kirtans by Kadamba Kanana Swami during his visit to Australia in October 2017. Video recordings may be found on our Facebook page.

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Categories: Personal Blogs

Prabhupada Marathon Message

Giriraja Swami - Sun, 2017-11-26 22:46

 I am pleased to encourage you to participate in the Prabhupada book-distribution marathon. Srila Prabhupada explains, “Srila Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami had no fixed residence. They stayed beneath a tree for one day only and wrote huge volumes of transcendental literature. . . . It is certainly not good to write literature for money or reputation, but to write books and publish them for the enlightenment of the general populace is real service to the Lord. That was Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s opinion, and he specifically told his disciples to write books.” (Cc Madhya 19.132 purport)

This is parampara. Srila Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami and all the Gosvamis wrote books for the enlightenment of the general populace, and that instruction and practice came down through parampara to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who wrote many books and instructed his disciples to write books. And Srila Prabhupada faithfully followed those instructions and also wrote many books. In fact, it is inconceivable that anyone could write so many books in such a short time.

Srila Prabhupada came to America in 1965, and from the very beginning in New York City he was selling his books. Years later, when devotees were doing research about Prabhupada’s life, they went to some bookstores where he had sold his books, and the shopkeepers remembered, “Oh yes, a very nice Indian gentleman came, and he would always give us samosas.” He would give them samosas when he went to sell them his books.

Prabhupada said that from the very beginning the basis of his movement was book distribution—the publication and distribution of books—and he showed that example.

In the same purport, Prabhupada explains further, “[T]he business of advanced and empowered devotees is to write books, publish them, and distribute them widely.”

Prabhupada wrote books, the BBT has published them, and now it is for us to distribute them. This is “the business of advanced and empowered devotees.” We are all already connected to Srila Prabhupada, and we all will benefit when we distribute his books. And if you persevere with sincerity and intelligence, you will also be advanced and empowered devotees.

Prabhupada states further, “According to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, distributing literature is like playing on a great mrdanga.” He called the printing press the brhat-mrdanga, the great mrdanga, because an ordinary mrdanga can be heard for a few blocks whereas the brhat-mrdanga, the printing press, the books, can be heard all over the world.

I was the first ISKCON devotee to go to West Africa, Nigeria. I did hari-nama on the streets, and large crowds of people would gather round. Some well-dressed Africans started speaking about the Bhagavad-gita and the philosophy of Krishna consciousness, and I asked, “How do you know all these things? Did you ever meet devotees?” They replied, “No. But we have a friend who met devotees on the street in London, bought some books from them, and then shared them with us.” Even before any devotees had gone to West Africa, Prabhupada’s books had reached there and people were learning about Krishna consciousness.

Sometimes a whole yatra can begin just from books. Once, a tourist from Venezuela visited Israel, met devotees, and got some books from them. Back in Venezuela, he shared the books with his friends. They all started reading, became convinced of the philosophy, began to chant, and started practicing Krishna consciousness without having met any devotees. Eventually they developed a community of devotees and invited Srila Prabhupada, and he went—and it all began with the books.

The brhat-mrdanga can be heard all over the world.

Srila Prabhupada concludes his purport with a request to all of us: “Consequently we always request members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to publish as many books as possible and distribute them widely throughout the world. By thus following in the footsteps of Srila Rupa Gosvami, one can become a rupanuga devotee.”

Rupa Gosvami is described as sri-caitanya-mano-’bhistam, sthapitam yena bhu-tale: he established on earth the mission to fulfill the desire of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And that is done primarily through writing, publishing, and distributing books.

Srila Prabhupada said, “It’s like a train.” In a train, one car pushes—or pulls—the other, the other pushes another, and the other pushes still another. He said, “My guru maharaja is pushing me, and I am pushing all of you.”

Hare Krishna.

Your servant,
Giriraj Swami

Categories: Personal Blogs

Travel Journal#13.19: New York City and Upstate New York

Krishna Kripa Prabhu's Blog - Sun, 2017-11-26 20:10
Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 13, No. 19By Krishna-kripa das
(October 2017, part one)New York City(Sent from New York City on November 26, 2017)
Where I Went and What I Did
Besides chanting Hare Krishna with the Yuga Dharma New York City harinama party every day, except the two days when I visited my family, I participated in a couple special eventsin the beginning of October:

Sri Gauracandra, a deity of Lord Caitanya was installed on the altar next to Radha-Muralidhara in The Bhakti Center, with Radhanath Swami coming to assist, and Janananda Goswami visited our morning program at The Bhakti Center and attended our harinama in Union Square.
Our October harinamas were special because when Karttika began, we invited passersby to offer candles to Krishna in His Damodara form.
I went to Upstate New York for twodays, distributing prasadam at an international peace dance in New Paltz, at the Grafton Peace Pagoda, at the Friends Meeting in Albany, and at my sister’s house. I also hadlunch with my diksa-guru, Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, and didsome service for him in Stuyvesant Falls.
I share notes on threeSrila Prabhupada lectures and excerpts from Sri Ksetra: Vaikuntha on Earth, a soon-to-be-published book about Puri by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s disciple, Sundarananda Vidyavinoda Prabhu, from Touchstone Media. I share notes on lectures by visiting sannyasis, Janananda Goswami and Radhanath Swami, and by Prabhupada disciple, Rukmini Devi Dasi. I also share notes on classes at The Bhakti Center by Brahma Muhurta Prabhu, thepujari for the deity installation, and Karuna Nimai, Ananda Bihari, Virabhadra Rama, and Mahotsaha Prabhus. I also share notes on a recorded discussion between Radhanath Swami and Cornel West which I listened to in Albany with some of my relatives, and some interesting points from the Grafon Peace Pagoda anniversary festival and the Friends Meeting.
Thanks to Janananda Goswami for his inspiring kirtans and lecture, and in addition, for reimbursing my travel expenses to and within Paris and changing my euros to dollars. Thanks to Bhakta Larry of Brooklyn for his kind donation. Thanks to Diana and Kate for photos of me on harinama in New York City.
November 11, 2017–January ?, 2018: Yuga Dharma New York City harinama partyexcept:December 2, 2017: Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami Vyasa-puja in Stuyvesant FallsDecember ?, 2017: possible visit to Hartford to see Niranjana SwamiDecember 24, 2017: Christmas Eve with my relatives in Albany
Chanting Hare Krishna in New York City
Early October was very warm this year, so mostly the Yuga Dharma New York City harinama partychanted outside at Union Square Park, only chanting in the subway stations on two or three especially wet or cold days.
I would spend most of my time at the book table during harinama.
For half and hour I would also lead the singing.

During the month of Karttika, the Yuga Dharma New York City harinamaparty gave subway riders an unlimited spiritual boost by encouraging them to offer lamps to Damodara [Krishna as a child]. “O Narada, no sin exists anywhere in the three worlds that will not be purified by offering a lamp to Lord Krishna during Karttika. A person who offers a lamp to Lord Krishna during Karttika attains the eternal spiritual world where there is no suffering.” (Karttika Mahatmya in Hari-bhakti-vilasa, verses 113–114). Thanks to Mahotsaha Prabhu for enthusiastically engaging people in this way (

Here Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, and devotee ladies and a couple of guys who were passing by dance (

Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Union Square before his trip to India for Karttika (

Rama Raya Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Union Square and many play the shakers (

Damodara Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, while at the back of our party a group of friends plays the shakers and chants, and in front of our party Rama Raya Prabhu and a father and daughter play the shakers and dance, a small boy tries to play the shakers, and a young man dances, making it a very lively kirtan and a great way to begin October (

Jaya Jagannatha Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in a very lively way at Union Square on three different occasions in the beginning of October 2017. The first time Janananda Goswami from England is joining us (

Rob, who regularly gives donations to our party and who appears in the previous kirtan video and the next one, wore a shirt with the Oscar Wilde quote, “Every saint had a past, and every sinner has a future” as he would smoke a cigarette and listen to the kirtan.
Krishna Prasad Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, and a lady dances (

Damodara Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Jackson Heights, and Mahotsaha and Krishna Prasad Prabhus dance (

Michael Collins formerly lived in New York City and would regularly chant with the Yuga Dharma New York Cityharinamaparty. We were happy he and his wife, Madhava, joined us during a recent one-day visit to New York City(

Bhakta Josh chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, and Premananda Kirtan Prabhu, who plays trumpet on Indradyumna Swami’s festivals, accompanies him (

They also played together the next day (

Kaliya Krishna Prabhu also chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, with Premananda Kirtan Prabhu accompaning him (

Premananda Kirtan Prabhu also leads the Hare Krishna chant at Union Square (

Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Times Square subway station and guy dances with a devotee (

Damodara Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, and a guy who comes by from time to time dances (

Krishna Prasad Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, and a couple plays shakers (

Krishna Prasad Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Times Square subway station, and Kate dances (

Natabara Gauranga Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, and two guys play shakers (

Pavana Nitai Chandra chants Hare Krishna at Union Square, and a guy plays violin (

Kanai Krishna Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Union Square and a man delights in dancing (

Kanai Krishna Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Union Square and a kid plays shakers and dances (

Kanai Krishna Prabhu chants Hare Krishna in Union Square and a lady dances (

Kanai Krishna Prabhu chants Hare Krishna at Penn Station subway station (

Chanting Hare Krishna at The Bhakti Center
Janananda Goswami chanted Hare Krishna at The Bhakti Center morning program and got almost everyone to dance (

Visiting Upstate New York
My sister said she was going to be in New Paltz, half away between Albany and New York City, the evening before my proposed visit, with her partner, Victor, and they could give me a ride to Albany. In this way, I ended up attending the international peace dance in New Paltz with them on the way back to Albany. I found all but one of the songs they danced to, which were from different cultures, had God conscious lyrics. Afterward I distributed the organic hard candies we pass out on the New York City harinama to those attending, and I found at least a couple people asked if it was prasadam. I was surprised. I did not know that so many people involved in the international peace dances would be aware of what Krishna prasadam was.
It turned out the first day of my visit home was the anniversary of Grafton Peace Pagoda, which my mother was involved in since the beginning. 
It was started bythe Japanese Buddhist group which chants “Na-Mu-Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo”and prays for peace, and some monks performed a ceremony there. They had an interfaith section of the program, and many different people spoke. The organizer told my family, if they know ahead of time I wouldbe attending, I could be one of the interfaith speakers, so perhaps I will do that next year. The luncheon was potluck, and I made a quinoa-vegetable dish to share with the people there.
The next day I went to the Albany Friends Meeting with my mother to encourage her in her spiritual practice. I chanted several rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra in my mind during the silent meeting. I shared about my experience visiting the Quaker pilgrimage site, Pendle Hill, this summer with my Hare Krishna chanting party. I mentioned that is said that Quaker founder, George Fox, felt reluctance to climb the steep hill, though prompted by the Lord from within, but he persevered and got some revelation at the top about where he could preach and people would hear his message, and that we can learn from that to follow inner promptings in the face of external difficulties. I distributed prasadam after the meeting.
After meeting, I borrowed my mother’s car to visit my diksa-guru, Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, in Stuyvesant Falls, 45 minutes away. I read to him during lunch, accompanied him on his walk, and helped his servant, Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu, by downloading word processing software for his computer and typing in some documents to assist in taking care of our guru’s health.
That evening my mother and Victor, my sister’s partner, watched the YouTube video of Radhanath Swami talking with Cornel West at Princeton.
The next day for breakfast I made pancakes with blueberry sauce for my sister Karen, Victor, my Mom, and Gwen, Matt, and their daughter, Vianne, who were also visiting from New York City, and I returned to New York City in time for our harinama.
So all-in-all there were many opportunities to share Krishna’s mercy in the form of prasadam during my weekend in Upstate New York.
Funny Photo
Besides the photo of Rob I mentioned earlier, I had another photo with a humorous aspect. At Union Square, there are people who spend all day playing chess. Generally, playing chess is not something recommended for those in the renounced order of life, so I was surprised to see this saffron-clad swami, non-ISKCON thank God, so engaged at Union Square:

Srila Prabhupada:
From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.4 on June 20, 1976 in Detroit:
This is the essential instruction of all Vedic instructions: Endeavor for economic gain is a waste of time. One should endeavor to go back home back to Godhead, to attain the abode of Lord Vishnu.
So many empires in the West existedfor endeavoring for economic gain, like the British Empire.
Although everyone endeavors for economic gain, some people live in palatial buildings and others in slums.
Before I came to the USA I imagined there would be no poor man, but I see there are so many poor people here.
Everyone is under the three modes of material nature, and thus everywhere all over the world you see different divisions of society. You cannot change this.
If you endeavor economically but forget the endeavor to go back to Godhead, you are simply wasting your time.
Even the big, big scientists do not know the difference between the spiritual and material body.
If one does not know about the soul, he is no better than an animal, and so we are living in an animal civilization.
The atom bomb we are proud of is just a manifestation of the defending propensity which we share with the animals.
We think our wives, our children, our government, etc., will give us protection from death, but that is not possible.
We get a body in our next life according to our mentality, and if we act as an animal, we will get an animal body in the next life.
Only if we act for Vishnu can we become free from our karmic bondage.
We are flattering so many people to get some benefit, but Lord Shiva says why don’t you flatter Lord Vishnu.
This human form of life is the only chance to awaken our dormant love for God.
Although in other Puranas there are material activities, in the Bhagavatam there are strictly spiritual activities.
The Krishna consciousness movement is to spread this knowledge of the Vedas and Puranasto benefit society spiritually.
Now there are no first class men (brahmanas) in this world with all good qualities. We are trying to create such a class. I request you to all act nicely so the people will appreciate and begin to follow.
In the West, even students in class are smoking cigarettes.
Try to become a devotee of Mukunda and make your life successful.
From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam1.10.4 in London on November 25, 1973:
Dharma is to be situated in one’s position. It is not a kind of faith.
Devotees also have kama or lust, but their desires are different. They desire the necessities of life.
Because of his piety, during the reign of Maharaja Yudhisthira, nature supplied all necessities in abundance.
Meat is not eaten by the human beings. It is eaten by the tigers and the dog.
From a class on Srimad-Bhagavatam1.10.4 in Mayapur on June 19, 1973:
Krishna is so kind. We have to remember Krishna at the time of death, and on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, everyone was dying seeing Krishna. What is the question of their liberation? They were all liberated.
Pariksit Maharaja tried to restrict the activities of the mischievous Kali to places where sinful activities were going on, but there were no such places because of the King’s good government, thus Kali being inconvenienced, in order to restrict the King, influenced a brahmana boy to curse him to die.
Sundarananda Vidyavinoda Prabhu:
From Sri Ksetra:Vaikuntha on Earth:
“Srimad Bhaktivinoda discussed various scriptures and literatures, visited different places of pastimes within SriNavadvipa Dhama and discovered the birthplace of SriGaura by the mercy, extraordinary sight, feelings and inspiration of Jagannathadasa BabajiMaharaja, and established the Deities of SriGaura-Vishnupriyain SriMayapura on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna in 1300 Bengali Era (21 March 1894). Just like the appearance day of Sriman Mahaprabhu, on that Purnimaday in the month of Phalguna, a lunar eclipse occurred and all the auspicious stars and planets met together.”

“It was Thakura Bhaktivinoda’s intense desire to preach all over the world the unique contribution of Sri Caitanyadeva, who is the deliverer of Kali-yuga. He has written, ‘It is not that Sriman Mahaprabhu incarnated with His associates just to deliver a few human beings of India. But His main purpose was to deliver all living entities of all countries of the world by preaching the eternal religion.’

“He has said, ‘Prithivi paryanta yata ache desa—grama / sarvatra sañcara haiveka mora nama—whatever religious systems are there in the world, in the matured stage they will all turn into one nama—sankirtana-dharma; this seems a definite fact. Alas! When will that day come when the fortunate people of England, France, Russia, Prussia, and America will inundate their respective countries with the waves of harinama kirtana while chanting the holy name of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and taking flags, mridangas, kartalas, etc., in their hands! When will that day come when the pure spiritual love of God will be the only religion for all living entities and as rivers flow and merge in the ocean, all insignificant dharmas of the world will merge into the limitless Vaishnava dharma.’ (Sajjana Tosani, Part IV, page 41)”

“The Ratha-yatra festival took place that year six months after the appearance of the child [Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura]. That year, Sri Jagannathadeva seated on the chariot out of His own will and remained stationary for three days in front of Thakura Bhaktivinoda’s residence. During that time, under the leadership of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, harinama sankirtana was performed for three days in front of Sri Jagannathadeva. During one of these days, the six-month-old child, in his mother’s arms, went in front of Sri Jagannathadeva and touched the Lord’s lotus feet by spreading his hands and was blessed by a flower garland from Sri Jagannatha’s neck. Srimad Bhaktivinoda Thakura performed the child’s grain eating ceremony with mahaprasada.

“Thereafter, he [Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura] set out to visit the holy places of South India marked by the footprints of Sri Gaura on 23 February 1905. After returning, he lived at Sri Gaura’s birthplace at Sridhama Mayapura and, following in the footsteps of Haridasa Thakura, he observed a vow of chanting one billion holy names of the Lord by unfailingly chanting three lakhs of the holy name daily. He built a bhajana house at Candrasekhara’s house in Sri Mayapura and, considering it the bank of Radhakunda, he continuously performed bhajana there.”

“He [Srila Gaura Kisora Babaji Maharaja] said, ‘By chanting the holy name of one’s worshipable Lord constantly by the mercy and service to the great souls, one attains the platform of raga and when one relishes the chanting of the holy name with attachment and a favorable mood, then the holy name will Himself reveal as forms, qualities, associates, and pastimes. One cannot remember the Lord’s pastimes artificially; one cannot obtain a siddha deha or spiritual body simply by imagination or reading books.’”
“Hearing of the name, form, qualities, and pastimes of the Lord and His devotees is called sravana. The practice of sadhana-bhakti depends on hearing the holy name. It begins with sravana, which purifies the heart of the devotee. This hearing process purifies the heart and gives liberation from the filthiness of sense gratification. In this way, by hearing transcendental sound about the form of Krishna, gradually the complete form of the Lord awakens within the heart. Then gradually the qualities of the Lord arise within the heart. As His qualities fully manifest themselves, the different specific aspects of His service and pastimes gradually awaken. In this way, the holy name gradually reveals the Lord’s form, qualities, and pastimes in all their splendor and beauty and in all their different branches.”

“Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes, ‘The holy name is the bud of the flower of divine love, the abode of devotion’s wonderful mellows. Such is the power that He manifests, that although He displays His power only slightly, He reveals His own divine form and qualities, steals my heart and takes it to Krishna. Being fully manifest, the holy name of Krishna takes me to Vraja and reveals to me His own love dalliance. He gives to me my own divine, eternal body, keeps me near Krishna and completely destroys this mortal frame of mine.’”

“One day, as Advaita Acarya came to Mahaprabhu after taking darsana of Jagannathadeva, Mahaprabhu inquired from Advaita Acarya and understood that after seeing the lotus face of Sri Jagannathadeva, the Acarya had circumambulated the Lord five or six times.
“To this, Mahaprabhu said in a joking way, ‘Acarya, you are defeated, because as long as you were at the backside of the Deity while circumambulating, You were bereft of seeing the Lord’s lotus face. However, as long as I take darsana of Jagannatha, My eyes remain fixed on His lotuslike face all the time.’

“SriAdvaita Acarya accepted defeat from Sriman Mahaprabhu and said that only SriGaurahari knows the confidential meaning of this topic.”
Janananda Goswami:
People are so degraded they think degradation to be normal, and if you try to live or promote a pure life you may be condemned.
As long as we think ourselves to be enjoyers, we will be attracted to illicit sex.
When I got married in 1980, the registrar said, “Have a nice day.” As I left the office, I saw the divorce office across the corridor. Marriage is not taken too seriously these days.
Arjuna expresses concern in the beginning of the Bhagavad-gitathat the women would be degraded due to illicit sex as a result of being unprotected if their husbands diedin the battle.
The Bhagavatam reminds us that life is meant for self-realization and not sense enjoyment.
It is not just sex, but any type of action motivated by sense enjoyment causes degradation.
Srila Prabhupada noted that in Paris even old men in their eighties still go to strip clubs. As a result of their life, they have not learned anything.
There is a process by which we can become free of our material tendencies.
As childrendo not like to be regulated, although it is better for them, the people in general do not like to be restricted from sense enjoyment.
The Vedic culture was meant to regulate people so they could give up their addiction to sense gratification.
Lord Caitanya appeared at the request of Advaita Acarya and Haridas Thakura who wereupset by the degradation of society, and He appeared and gave the medicine of the holy name, which is meant for everyone.
Other things are like blowing on a boil whereas the holy name purifies our consciousness.
The holy name of the Lord can give us shelter from the temptation for sense enjoyment.
Comment by Adi Purusa: One of the Hells Angels admitted he stole a book. I asked him which one, and he said, “The Joy of No Sex.
One teacher refused to teach the course on “Safe Sex” and took the Board of Education to court. She won. She felt the students should also be given the option of no sex.
You do not feel like having illicit sex after a fired-up kirtan. You might after a rock concert, but kirtan is so purifying.
When I joined the Hare Krishnas in 1969, my parents wanted to send me to a psychologist for becoming vegetarian, it was so unheard of.
George Harrison chanted Hare Krishna, John Lennon chanted Hare Krishna, and Ringo Starr chanted Hare Krishna. One girl who was a model came to our temple in London wanting a new Bhagavad-gita because her old one wore out. A devotee asked her how she became connected to Hare Krishna, and she said Ringo Starr was her boyfriend at one point, and he would answer the phone “Hare Krishna.” She inquired from him about Hare Krishna, and he gave her some contact information and she followed up on it.
In England, for some time theywould play the Hare Krishna mantra during intervals in the middle of the football (soccer) matches. That was the first time I heard it. Next was in the musical Hair.
I had read all the popular spiritual books of the time, Autobiography of a Yogi, Be Here Now, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Vedanta-sutra, and other versions of Bhagavad-gita, but none seemed to give a practical direction that I could follow.
As soon as I read Back to Godhead, I began chanting Hare Krishna. My friend jokingly suggested I chant fish and chips instead.
Srila Prabhupada said, “This chanting comes from the depths of the soul.”
From chanting we can see beyond duality and see the unity.
Seeing we are all the same spiritual quality, we feel a sense of unity.
This mantra is practically enhanced by the crazy atmosphere of New York City. Other things might improve us slightly materially, but this mantra can provide a complete solution.
This is not another thing to bring us a little peace but rather to help us transcend the whole material world.
Q: Were you searching for the good or for the truth?A: Both. The truth and the good are the same thing. The more we appreciate Krishna, the Supreme Truth, we can appreciate everything.
Radhanath Swami:
One Gaura Krishna Prabhu of Chowpatty arranged for the fund raising, carving, and shipping of the deity of Gauracandra we are installing today. Soon after that he died in plane crash in the Himalayas in the sacred place of Muktinatha. The deity sat here for years. I am satisfied today that Gaura Krishna’s endeavor is complete.
To awaken the natural love we have in the heart for the one Supreme Being is the goal of all religion.
Krishna is the supreme object of love, and Radha is the supreme lover. The Supreme Absolute Truth is manifest as the supreme lover and the supreme beloved.
Krishna is embodiment of all love and exchanges of love.
As Lord Caitanya, Krishna comes to taste the sweetness of the love of His supreme devotee. He also taught people how to awaken their love of God.
Lord Caitanya’s gift is available to anyone who will sincerely accept it.
The only true value of humanity is integrity and compassion.
Advaita Acarya could see all the exploitation and the terrorism to come in the future, and thus prayed for Lord Caitanya’s advent.
Everyone loved Lord Caitanya as a child. They did not know He was Krishna. They just loved Him. When He would cry, they tried to pacify Him in many ways, but He would just cry louder. Finally in desperation they would chant the name of the Lord, and then He would stop and look at them with the most beautiful smile.
Lord Caitanya as a child found a puppy which he loved to play with. When he was busy, His mother told the puppy to leave and go to his home. Because that puppy had Lord Caitanya’s association, in the town the puppy stood on his hind legs and chanted the holy name and manifested symptoms of love of God. Seeingthe puppy chant the holy name and dance, others also began to chant and dance. Then the puppylay down and left its body and attained the spiritual world.
Jagai and Madhai were so evil that for sport they would lock people’s doors and set theirhouses on fire and watch them burn.
When we realize our love of God, we come to love others who are also part of God.
The soul has the power to experience limitless and endless love in relationship with God and to recognize that potency in souls other than himself.
Through association with lovers of God, chanting the holy names of God, and hearing about the glories of God, this love develops.
To access the mercy of the holy name, we have to strive to live in harmony with our nature, which is to serve.
It is the unselfish service attitude that inspires the all-attractive Lord to reveal Himself.
If we desire to be an instrument of the Lord’s compassion and chant the holy name in that spirit, we will be successful.
Prabhupada came from East to the West, but he also came from West Bengal to the East Village and he circled the world many times to spread love of God.
Krishna steps aside from his position of God to love us and to be loved by us. Lord Caitanya reveals this truth about Him.
We must simply try to appreciate Lord Caitanya’s message, no matter what our background is.
Lord Caitanya, who has come to reveal the love of Radha-Murlidhara to the world, has come to appear in our temple.
Let us pray to put bhaktiin the center, to move toward the light, no matter how much darkness may be present. Let us celebrate by having kirtan.
Lord Caitanya would bow down at the feet of even sinful people who chant the holy name.
From a conversation with Cornel West:
Brooker T. Washington, an emancipated slave, said: “I will not give anyone the chance to cause me to degrade himself by hating him.”

Care is the symptom of love.

We act not to gain anything material but to express the love of God within us through every thought, word, and deed.

Just as we realize we must eat and sleep to achieve success in life. Similarly we have to understand we must have a regular spiritual practice.
Rukmini Devi Dasi:
We pray today to Lord Caitanya, “Appear today and bless New York City with Your moonlike face.”
In the yoga community many people know the “Hanuman Chalisa,” but we should make Lord Caitanya famous.
Lord Caitanya wanted to make Radharani’s love famous all over the world. Lord Caitanya left His family for the call of Krishna just as Radha left Her family in pursuit of Krishna.
I accept Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.The supreme abode is Vrndavana.The greatest worshipers of Krishna are the gopis.The Srimad-Bhagavatam is the spotless Purana.These truths were all given by Lord Caitanya.This creed is givenin Caitanya-manjusa.
Real recitation of the Bhagavatam is like that of Gadadhara Pandit, to smudge the ink with your tears.
Because of the deep samskaras from his youth, Ajamila appreciated the name Narayana and gave his son that name.
I have a relative in Florida who does not know what to do with her time so she has face lifts.
Srila Prabhupada cried seeing the old men wasting the endsof their lives playing golf.
Srila Prabhupada initiated many young men into sannyasa. Many were unqualified, and they fell down. Now some devotees who have difficulty with brahmacarya choose to get married before taking sannyasa.
Radhanath Swami once said, “Real varnasrama means that everyone’s contribution must be honored.”
The deity is saksat [directly] Krishna Himself. So we can pray to the deity for His mercy.
Comment by Adi Purusha Prabhu: The Goswamis were dear to both the sober and ruffians. So we should be like that. It is easy to the preach to the gentle people, but we have to reach out to everyone.
At the stock exchange, someone asked Radhanath Swami, “What does it feel like to talk in the presence so many millionaires?”Radhanath Swami replied,“I guess they consider me harmless.”
Time flies whether you are having fun or not.
Young people are enthusiastic but sometimes fanatical, while older people are wise but tend to be cynical. Thus it is best to use the positive qualities of both. I see we do that at The Bhakti Center.
We can become moonlike by basking in the moonlight of the great devotees.
Brahma Muhurta Prabhu [pujari for installation of The Bhakti Center Gauracandra]:
The deity is fully installed at the first darsanawhen you see the deity and the deity sees you.
Before the installation, you handed the deity to us to perform the installation and now we hand Him back to you for you to serve.
Now the deity is your responsibility to take care of the rest of your lives.
Karuna Nimai Prabhu:

Ajamila was saved simply because he began the practice of bhakti.

If by interacting with the devotees we feel inspired in devotional service to Krishna that is what is meant by association.

Like Narada served the bhaktivedantas,Tapan Misra’s son, Raghunatha, served Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and thus attained perfection.
Ananda Bihari Prabhu:
We do not have to worry about how to give up sinful activities. We just need to become enthusiastic about performing devotional service to Krishna.
Ajamila was eighty-eight years old and still had a small child. This is amazing to me. I am thirty-two, and I find over ninety percent of my energy is used in raising a single child.
Because of his past devotional service, Ajamila was able call out the name of the Lord at the end of life.
If we like to judge people for their sinful activities we can get bodies like the disfigured Yamadutas who assist Yamaraja. But if welike to appreciate whatever acts of devotion people are doing, wecan become like the messengers of Lord Vishnu.
Comments by Doyal Gauranga Prabhu:
There are two or three cases of KGB agents in Russia who originally were spying on the Hare Krishna movement but because of living with the devotees and following the devotee lifestyle they ended up becoming devotees.
There is a case in Chowpatty of one murderer who joined the temple to kill a devotee who was a lawyer. He had to follow him for seven days and in the course of doing that he become so purified he became a devotee.
Comments by Adi Purusa Prabhu:
Over the years, all kinds of people who could not fit in anywhere else came to New Vrindaban, and because they were engaged in devotional service, despite their backgrounds,which were in some cases criminal, many of them became very nice devotees.
There is Hells Angel guy who lives near me who would smash bottles on the sidewalk next to me and throw half-eaten turkey sandwiches at me, but who now helps me load furniture and says, “I do not know why I like you, Adi. I don’t like anyone.”
Virabhadra Rama Prabhu:
The opulence of the deity worship is not just the nice clothes but the extent that the congregation is involved in the worship.
The response of the Yamadutas is full of logic and reason based on the revealed scriptures and analysis of Ajamila’s sinful life, and their arguments are convincing, but they forgot one important point, and when we hear the Vishnuduta’s superior arguments we are convinced of their point of view.
We have to analyze where maya is entering into our life and close those doors.
My brother and I went to visit our father just a few weeks before he left his body. He felt guilty about leaving our mother, and he distanced himself for years. He gave up practicing Krishna consciousness and was practicing Christianity. When we left to visit him so many devotees gave us so much devotional paraphernalia, including a garland offered to his guru, Tamal Krishna Goswami. When we saw him, we saw he had got beyond his guilt and resumed his devotional practices like chanting japa. It was amazing to see how Krishna consciousness he became in the three days we were there.
If we see someone with bad qualities, we should think, “I had bad qualities, and I got the mercy.”
Mahotsaha Prabhu:
The material nature is seems nice in the beginning, but it always degrades.
Krishna gives people the faith to maintain material attachments because they want to so much, and he fulfills everyone’s desire.
One speaker said, “Most people in Kali-yuga are going to hell, but some are going to heaven. Unfortunately they are devotees.”
When people tell me they are OK, I say, “You will not be for long. Take this book.”
On book distribution often people tell me, “I never usually walk this way, but for some reason I came this way today.” Krishna directs the wandering of all living entities.
Akincana Krishna Das Babaji told B. B. Govinda Swami, “No other acarya in history has distributed love of Krishna so widely as your gurudeva.
The theme of the Damodara pastime is that God is conquered by love.
Cornel West:

From a conversation with Radhanath Swami:

Tenderness is what love feels like in private.

I do try to take quite seriously the endless quest for unarmed truth, understanding that the condition of truth is allow sufferingto speak. . . . I do not think of being true unless I embody a sensitivity to the pains and hurts of others.

The conclusion of an Aristoteliansyllogism is action.

There is no Christ or Christianity without our Judaic heritage.

Secular people take their deeper values from those with a spiritual foundation.

It was against the law for blacks to worship God without white supervision.

It does not make sense to love your enemy if you have no connection to a higher power.

People mistakenly think that success is to become well adjusted to injustice.
Quoted at the Grafton Peace Pagoda:
Justice is what love looks like in public.
Hindu lady at the Grafton Peace Pagoda:

Maheshis the god of destruction but not the destroyer. He is like the environmental God, cleaning up. No one wanted to deal with the poison churned up from the ocean, but Mahesh cleaned it up.

Dot Richards from the Albany Quaker Meeting:

The Quaker movie, Friendly Persuasion,has one line when a Quaker asked about whether he should join the guard to oppose Confederate forces that may attack his home, and a non-Quaker friend replied, “I do hope that someday a better way is found to solve conflict.”
How important is it to always remember the Supreme Lord? This favorite verse of mine gives an indication:
hanis tan mahac chidramsa mohah sa ca vibhramahyan-muhurtam ksanam vapivasudevam na cintayet
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“If even for a moment remembrance of Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is missed, that is the greatest loss, that is the greatest illusion, and that is the greatest anomaly.” (Vishnu Purana, quoted in purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.9.36)
Categories: Personal Blogs

Early rising for quality chanting

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 2005, Durban, South Africa, Lecture)

We must chant our sixteen rounds early in the morning and not spread it throughout the day. This is the spirit! There is a big difference when we chant in the morning because throughout the day when we try to chant then we are distracted and interrupted, “Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna… (the phone rings) Yes, I see. Okay, I will call back later! Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna…” And like that, throughout the day we can get caught up in 101 things while chanting our rounds and it can get very difficult!

When chanting, we need to get into a mood of meditation where it is just Krsna and everything else we forget about. For once, let us focus on our eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord. Early mornings are very valuable, very important for that and in the science of devotional service, we know that if we do not rise early in the morning then it will be difficult – our spiritual life may suffer and the real quality will not be there…

Categories: Personal Blogs

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk - Fri, 2017-11-24 11:14
Newark, New Jersey
“Life is a daring adventure or not at all.”  Helen Keller
The above is a quote by an amazing woman—a quote I picked up from the screen on the United Airlines on my journey back to Canada.  That journey involved a seven hour stopover at La Guardia Airport.  It was difficult trying to see an adventure coming out of hanging around a busy airport.  If you can’t extract excitement out of a day, then some dynamic is likely to make a little fun out of it.
For starters, as I went through security, I lost my phone.  It was with me five minutes earlier on the skytrain.  The folks at the security check sent me all over the place.  “Check with the people in the red suits.”  So I did.  I went here and there.  Finally we found it was with security.  The phone had slipped out of my bead bag before entering the screening machine and it had just literally fallen through the cracks.
Okay, my vital device was found.  I had no panic attack.  A swami must keep his cool.
While waiting that long wait, a fellow came up to me and asked, “So what kinda monk are you?”  I’m sure he wasn’t implying whether a ‘controlled’ one or not.  It was an inquiry more along the lines of, “What order do you belong to?”
“I’m a Hare Krishna.”
“Oh yeah?  I used to visit you guys in Boulder, Colorado.  I’d sing and dance.  The food was great….”
Anyway, those two incidents were the bright lights in my day.
May the Source be with you!
0 km
Categories: Personal Blogs

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk - Fri, 2017-11-24 11:12
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Last Day in BA
Antonio, one of the novice monks, took me around to the quieter streets before class.  Antonio, like many members, is of Italian origin.  The city, Buenos Aires, seems to be smartly laid-out.  I say that as a walker, and not a driver.  There are plenty of parks and trees lining the streets.  That is always good.
The class, delivered by myself once again, focused on Narada Muni’s words to his students, the Pracetas.  Narada is one of those all-time favorites of monks. He was expert at disseminating wisdom.  There is this incredible waterfall in the state of Washington, high on a mountain, and it is named after him.  I was stunned to see that and the plaque which identifies his name as a Hindu saint, or mystic.
In today’s verse, from Canto 4 of the book, Bhagavatam, we learn of him saying that the source of self-realization is God Himself.  In other words the Supreme is motivated to assist souls in their effort to free themselves from this worldly entanglement.
Of course, not all souls in this world are interacted in such a liberation, being somewhat conditioned in their cozy situations.  People tend, too often, to be lost in their subjectivity, forgetting that a human has a mandate beyond just being in the survival mode.  It appears that many folks trolley their way to a more zombie-like approach to life, through various intoxicating methods.  I’m afraid it dulls the brain.
We don’t need that do we?
May the Source be with you!
7 km

Categories: Personal Blogs

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk - Fri, 2017-11-24 11:10
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Before and At the Park
After a chilled-out theatre workshop with those inclined, as well as the less inclined to such an exercise, all participants felt more apt to go at it during a future opportunity.  Theatre can be therapy.  You thrust your soul out into an irregular scenario.  You imagine yourself to be someone else and hang your own identity onto a hook for a while.  You explore new motives and fresh agendas.  You may not have liked the new territory but it was a good exploration nevertheless.  It’s a form of soul transmigration.
As you probably realize, I see the wonders of drama.  It is an equal to my walking, which today measured out to be just over 5 km.  It was in Holland Park that a few of us ventured for a loosening up of limbs and an apparent clearing of the mind.
We sat at a park bench, by the white geese, some afloat and some grass-bound.  They do leave their mercy droppings which are substantial in size.  One of our co-walkers mistook them for dog dung.  “No, my friend, Seva Kunj, I know from Canada the size of geese poop.”
It was on that park bench that I shared with the group the topic of the importance of japa.  “Japa is therefore a wholesome thing.  It becomes that special time to communicate with the Absolute.  There might not always be such an encouraging endeavor or atmosphere around you for picking up those japa beads, but if you feel that call of duty and act on it, you will, in time, see the results.”
May the Source be with you!
5 km

Categories: Personal Blogs

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk - Fri, 2017-11-24 11:05
Buenos Aires, Argentina
I missed the procession of Jagannatha.  Too busy.  To the very last minute, our crew was preparing our drama for the stage.  We did perform.  There were some glitches, but overall, the audience, which usually patiently awaits what theatrically is in store for them, was very focused.  That’s not always an easy thing to achieve in an outdoor setting.  The people liked the story.  “Thumbs up,” said they, but it’s a work in progress for sure.
Every year that the Chariot Fest is pulled off in any city, that is an accomplishment.  The work and sacrifice, especially the lack of sleep, cannot be underestimated.  In this regard, I have my heroes list in Buenos Aires that I mentally and by the heart do check.
There’s Mahahari, the president of the local community.  Left with a son to raise after his terrific wife, Gandarvika, recently passed, he does everything in the light-hearted spirit.  Without him the show does not go on.
Then we have Merudevi, who with the coolest head and permanently etched “yes” on her face, looks after the stage agenda, administration and assembly.  There may be more that she does which I’m unaware of.  As a monk, I don’t search deeply into the female affairs, even if devotional.  All I know is she’s a steady pillar in that department.
When I visit yearly, I share a room with Gauravani Swami, German-born, and we have the most meaningful chats.
Finally, I do not forget Gunagrahi Swami, who’s like a big bro to me and who introduced me, along with Murari from Miami, to the community.  He is absent, being in Vrindavan, India, stricken with cancer.  He has had so much to do with building up this community.  Bless him!
May the Source be with you!
0 km

Categories: Personal Blogs

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk - Fri, 2017-11-24 11:03
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Marathon Practice
Seva Kunj, our sound man, held up a pecan and said, “This looks like my brain.”  Then he snapped the pecan in half to indicate that his lack of sleep had numbed his brain.  It was done without resentment.  We were all, our whole crew, on a marathon to assemble a new drama for tomorrow’s fest.
Playing one of the principle roles is Lucas who had saved his former dreadlocks and, as a prop, is sewing those precious hair pieces to a toque.
We went beyond 2:00 a.m. with practice, and with the script still not completed, before hitting head to pillow, our minds lingering in uncertainty.
It was discipline, but we saw the exercise as fun, as well as a challenge.  Patience is what comes as a glorious result.  To keep our weary selves excited we would, in unison, shout out cheerleading cries like, “We gotta go, go, go, go!  We gotta fight, fight, fight, fight!  We gotta win, win, win, win!  We gotta go, fight, win!”
In addition to that, each member carries their japa beads with them for the divine reminder of our connection with Krishna.  Snacks also make their way to the tight yoga room to enliven our senses.
The story in our drama, “Walk the U.S.A.” is nicely layered with the philosophy of what we believe in.
The production is an offering.
May the Source be with you!7 km
Categories: Personal Blogs

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk - Fri, 2017-11-24 11:02
Buenos Aires, Argentina
One of the brahmacharis—monks—led a group of us to a lake, twenty blocks away.  “Very nice,” he said, before we embarked on foot.
Many of the sidewalks are uneven with tiles wide or narrow, and some cracked, but that’s all okay for a walker.  An uneven terrain is always advantageous for foot contact, and I like the fact that streets are hosed down with the abundant water available early in the morning.  It is routine that condo owners have their portion of the walkways cleaned.
Eventually we made it to the lake, a haven in a bustling city.  Trees are happy here, yet trees are plentiful also in most residential areas.  There are some brains used in city planning.
The brahmachari who led our group, to and fro from the ashram,is a humble soul.  The ashram here is a storehouse of renounced young men.  It reminds me of the old days when I joined and many young Canadians took up monastic life.  Argentina is perhaps a less perfect place.  Money, political stability and comfort are in less quantity.  Perhaps it becomes an easier fit for young folks for these reasons.
I did have to correct the brahmachari’s walking technique since I found he was shuffling his feet, leaving his feet to not lift high enough.  I told him, instructively, that he needed to use his knees just a little more.  “Walk in a sattvic way.”  This means ‘thoughtfully’.  “And be nice to your shoes.”
In the class I gave, based on Canto 4, I emphasized the point of doing and being sattvic.  To act in goodness is the launching pad for establishing real love, bhakti.
May the Source be with you!
7 km
Categories: Personal Blogs

Fulfilling Srila Prabhupada’s desires

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, May 2011, Radhadesh, Belgium, Lecture)

Srila Prabhupada emphasised book distribution and that emphasis will never go away no matter what we do! There was a time when book distribution was THE EMPHASIS of the Hare Krsna movement and there was only a small percentage of devotees who were not part of it. But as time went on, book distribution at one point become a peripheral program – a side program and it lessened as a mainstream focus.

Now in recent years, we see a resurgence of book distribution worldwide, as statistics shows. So as they say, the pendulum swings – it swings from one side to the other BUT Srila Prabhupada’s desires remain valid. Whether our community takes different forms at different historical points in time, Prabhupada’s desires remain as an exceptional source of blessings! We can get such blessings by simply trying to fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s desires!

Therefore, again and again, that will come to the forefront, even if at times the focus shifts a little, still it remains within the boundaries of authorised vaisnava behaviour. If we miss the emphasis which Srila Prabhupada gave or the points that he stressed then we will dry up a little bit. So, therefore, our connection with Srila Prabhupada is extremely important and it must remain a focal point of our movement then our movement will flourish!

Categories: Personal Blogs
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