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(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 22 December 2014, Cape Town, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 9.19.19)
Vanaprashta is not as scary as it seems. The spirit is that we simply dedicate the rest of our life to preparing for the next! Up to fifty years old, we can work on this life but then after fifty, we start to work on the next and that is the big change actually. Fifty is the warning that your time is running out; your number is up.
“Well, I’m still young!” The mind goes like that. I also think that I am not so old for my age (laughter). But then, this last journey, I was in Johannesburg in transit at the airport, I got into the bus to take us to the plane and these young people stood up for me (to offer me their seat)! And I was thinking, “God, it’s gone really bad now.” First time that has ever happened to me. I must look really old; it is getting pretty obvious. I didn’t realise that. So, it creeps upon you, little-by-little, old age and although you may think that it is not that bad, everybody else does think it! Anyway, I took the seat… what to do! It was comfy, I must say.
So time is running out! One has to get very serious about spiritual life therefore no more expanding the facility in this world. Wind it down and simplify…
From Bhagavad Gita Introduction
by Srila Prabhupada
ISKCON Communications Ministry has issued a media release about the film "Wolfpack" that was screened at Sundance Film Festival in the USA on Sunday. The film has received a significant amount of media attention. Wolfpack portrays a true story of a family in New York City where the father locked his children inside their four-bedroom apartment for years--except for occasional supervised visits outside.
It's an auspicious time of the year, decorated with many festivals. The theme for our first MSF - The Mercy of Lord Nityananda - coincides with this Sunday's festival of Nityananda Trayodasi.
Sankirtan is a Sanskrit term which means the congregational chanting and sharing of the names and glories of Krishna, which is the recommended process for spiritual success. In the Hare Krishna tradition, sankirtan is associated with sharing our spiritual culture with the public via the timeless books, translated by Srila Prabhupada.
We encourage you to come and join us for this very sweet festival, where we will share the mercy of Lord Nityananda by knocking on doors and give people an opportunity to share in our spiritual tradition!
We encourage everyone to come for the morning program that begins at 4:30am and as a treat, there will be a special themed Srimad Bhagavatam Class with a super amazing breakfast!
9:30 am - 10:30 am: Setting the mood and Training
10:30 am - 4: 30 pm: Door to Door Sankirtan
5:00 pm - Vegetarian Feast at the temple
For more information and to RSVP please contact us at email@example.com . We hope to see you this weekend!
From Japa Reform Notebook
by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 23 December 2014, Cape Town, South Africa, Evening Lecture)
It is interesting that Prabhupada was not a temple devotee! Prabhupada was that nice Mr De from the congregation. (Indian accent) He used to give nice donations for Janmastami. Also, he would play mrdanga. That was a nice thing.
This Mr De, he was a nice man, nice congregational member. Next moment, here comes the acharya! He did bigger than all the others. They could not believe it! Some really had a problem with it, “He always was a real business man. That is why he was so successful.” This was too much for them. How could Mr De, some congregational member who took sannyasa, but so much later than they took sannyasa, how could he become the next world acharya? Ah… was not even a temple devotee. So, let us see who will be the next? (laughing)
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 29 November 2008, India, Lecture at Mamgachi)
namo brahmanya-devaya, go brahmana-hitaya ca, jagad-dhitaya krishnaya, govindaya namo namah
As Advaita Acharya continued his worship, he chanted this verse. Advaita Acharya fell prostrate before the Lord, seeking shelter at His lotus feet. Lord Gauranga lifted His lotus feet and placed it on Advaita Acharya’s head. Upon seeing this, the devotees became mad with jubilation, completely forgetting themselves. Some rolled on the ground; others embraced one another or slapped each other boisterously while many others cried out loudly. Advaita Acharya felt as if all of his desires had been fulfilled because the Lord had placed His lotus feet upon his head. Lord Caitanya then instructed, “Let Me see you dance!”
Advaita Acharya was not a young man. It said that when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in this world that Advaita Acharya was already fifty-two years old! So after the Lord revealed Himself which was in His twenty-second year, that means Advaita Acharya was seventy-four years old, and he was supposed to dance! Advaita Acharya lived another twenty-five years after the disappearance of Lord Caitanya and thus we understand that Advaita Acharya actually became a hundred and twenty-five years old.
Advaita Acharya happily began to dance and so the devotees started a very sweet melodious kirtan. As he continued dancing in front of the Lord, Advaita Acharya sometimes moved in a spirited manner and sometimes moved very gracefully. Sometimes, he felt very humbled and kept a bunch of straw in between his teeth. Sometimes, Advaita Acharya would spin around, jump into the air, then fall to the ground and roll back and forth. At other times, he would breathe deeply and quickly, and then fall unconscious.
We know that keeping a bunch of straw between the teeth indicates humility. It is in a mood of humility that one keeps straw between the teeth. Exactly why this custom is there, I cannot say, but it is there. And more important than the custom, is the mood that Advaita Acharya manifested because no one can do anything without the mercy of the Supreme Lord.
Although Advaita Acharya himself was also the Supreme Lord, still he was not govindam adi purusam – the original purusa, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, but rather, he was the avatar of Lord Sri Krsna.
In the Bhagavad-gita (4.8) it is stated, paritranaya sadhunam, vinasaya ca duskrtam, dharma-samsthapanarthaya, sambhavami yuge yuge, that the Lord appears in various millenniums for the sake of establishing the principles of religion and to annihilate the miscreants. That is the work of the incarnations of the Lord. Only the Supreme Lord can give krsna-prema and that is why Advaita Acharya was very eager for Krsna to appear, because Advaita Acharya was not interested just to establish the principles of dharma; Advaita Acharya wanted to drown the entire world in love of God.
Now we can see how it is happening! We can see how gradually, little-by-little, invisibly, the sankirtan movement of Lord Caitanya is infiltrating. Because, as a person becomes touched by this sankirtan movement, as one hears the holy name or as one engages in devotional service, one becomes captured.
By making this effort to be attentive and concentrated, our relationship with the Lord is reciprocal and He blesses us with spiritual energy and eventually love for Krsna.
Excerpt About a Place and a Monk
An excerpt from Satsvarup Goswami’s book, “Srila Prabhupada-Lilamrita” read this morning in the front of the assembly of yogis, spiritual leaders from across the US and Canada. I was impressed by the contents, composition, set in ’58, India and to do with our guru, Srila Prabhupada.
“Alone and poor, Abhay (Prabhupada) returned to Vrindavan. He was sixty-two, but he wasn’t thinking of retiring. More than ever his mood was reflective and renounced. Because few people know him and because he wanted to unite, he kept to himself.
He enjoyed deep peace as a resident of Vrindavan. Outside his window, the sacred Yamuna flowed by in a peaceful panorama for his private audience. The Kesi-ghata neighbourhood was quiet, though in the predawn he could hear a few devotees bathing and chanting. When the moon was full the river seemed like a coolly resplendent jewel. And in the morning the sun would appear, like a red smudge, a fire burning through an opaque wall at last bursting forth and clearing the entire sky, until in the hot blaze of noon, while the room would be in shadows, Abhay could see from his window a shimmering sun high in the sky and glittering across the silver sheet of the gentle river. Without so much as leaving his room, from his doorway he could see hundreds of temples clustered together for miles in the friendly town of Vrindavan. The various punctual kirtans and bell ringings in the temples, the spontaneous songs of Lord Krishna in numerous homes and in the streets rose and filled the air with devotion.”
I love the writing about this monk who poised himself before taking a journey to western soil.
May the Source be with you!
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 29 November 2008, India, Lecture at Mamgachi)
Lord Visvambhara looked at Advaita Acharya and said, “I have descended to this world in response to your vow and repeated worship. I was resting on the ocean of milk but your roaring woke Me up. You are so merciful that you could not bear to see the suffering of the conditioned living entities and so you summoned Me to alleviate their painful condition. All of these demigods, sages, devotees and associates have appeared in response to your call.”
Advaita Acharya had worshiped the Salagram Sila with Ganga-jal and Tulasi because he had read in the scriptures that the Lord said, “When you offer Me Ganga-jal and Tulasi, then there is nothing in My possession to repay such an offering. And thus all I can do is give Myself.” Thus, Advaita Acharya thought, “This is it! I will force the Lord to appear!” but he never knew that the Lord had appeared because for so many years Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu remained hidden.
No one knew that Nimai Pandit, the extraordinary scholar, was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No one had any idea but at this point, where we are reading now, Lord Caitanya has just revealed to Advaita Acharya that He is the Supreme Lord so Advaita Acharya is in ecstasy.
Lifting his arms, Advaita Acharya responded, ‘Today my life has become successful. All of my dreams have been fulfilled. By seeing Your lotus feet, my birth has gained meaning. O Lord, who else but You could liberate all the living entities.” Tears rolled down Advaita Acharya’s cheeks as He spoke. “Now perform My worship,” the Lord said. Having received this instruction, Advaita Acharya began worshiping the Lord’s lotus feet in great ecstasy. First, he washed Visvambhara’s lotus feet, then he smeared scented oil on them. Next, he dipped tulasi-manjari’s into sandalwood paste and placed them on the Lord’s lotus feet. Advaita Acharya performed worship with flowers, frankincense and lamps while everyone glorified the Lord. While Advaita Acharya continued the worship, he chanted the verse, ‘O my Lord, You are well-wisher of the cows and the brahmanas indeed. You are the maintainer of the entire universe.’
Or the famous verse: namo brahmanya-devaya, go brahmana-hitaya ca, jagad-dhitaya krishnaya, govindaya namo namah. Advaita Acharya kept on repeating that mantra again and again while he was worshiping the Lord. So it is very interesting how that mantra is now so much part of our everyday life. At least a few times a day, we are chanting that mantra as if it is just another mantra and not realizing how intimate that mantra is to the Supreme Lord, how dear it is to the Lord and how essential it is to the pastimes of the Lord.
What Do You Think?
In the morning Bhagavatam class, speaker Anuttama, touched on some good topics. Most topical was the subject of religious fanaticism. In every camp you have right wingers to the far extreme and it’s these people who are of the mindset to destroy.
The terroristic tendencies to be oppressive to an innocent public is the current concern worldwide. That type of spirit isn’t religious at all. I still recall Sheila Copps, a dignitary in Canadian politics say, “It has nothing to do with religion.,” in response to an arson act that destroyed Sita Ram deities in a demolished Hindu temple in Hamilton. I was there when she said it at a ceremony to lower the deity parts at the base of the harbor. Some fanatic decided that the peaceful temple was culturally connected to the 9-11 devastation in New York. Were they ever wrong!
I asked Anuttama after his class whether he had an opinion on what was worse – spiritual arrogance or regular mayic or materialistic arrogance (I also ventured to say that spiritual arrogance is like an oxymoron).
“Well, what do you think?” he asked.
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely!” And I expressed that when you put God behind your ego, you are worse off.
After his class I felt like I wanted to start an anti-fanatic walking crusade.
May the Source be with you!
The Fabric Came
Nancy had come to drop off the material – fabric that was flowy, dreamy and meant to be used as a prop in the weekend production of “Blue Mystic”. Nancy I consider to be Miss Fabric herself because she deals with it all the time with her bridal boutique called “Gowns of Grace”.
She was telling me that gorgeous gowns had lost their lace in the sixties. Princess Diana then reintroduced fancy feminine dresses to the world. Her trail blazing the attire of glamour or perhaps grace is like Bruce Lee being credited for popularizing martial arts from the east.
I then though how our own guru, Prabhupada, set a trend for bringing kirtan to the west. He really did trail blaze and made an impact on the world, whether people are aware of it or not. I discussed this with my dear godbrother, Gunagrahi Goswami, and brought to his attention the article by journalist Brennan O’Connor who declared that we are all now Hare Krishnas. He admitted that Hare Krishna may not be mainstream, but all their ideas are.
What an honour it is to be a small component to the arrow head of the pioneering of Krishna Consciousness.
May the Source be with you!
Cowboys? No! I haven’t met any yet. But tough guys, yes. Pitbulls and other ferocious dogs are abundant, at least in the neighbourhood of Kalachandji’s Restaurant and Palace where our continental meetings are held. Meetings of sadhus or sages, both men and women, converge at Texas to discuss Krishna Consciousness.
Back to the pitbulls: young Brajananda, my monk companion and I, venture down this alleyway. It was daring for both of us to trek down this unused trail, uneven in terrain and overgrown with weeds, yet it became our opportunity for adventure.
We started to hear the snarls from the other side of the wooden fence. And then there were these fences that were of steel mesh where teeth and bark are clearly revealed. The look and bark of these boys coming from both sides of the alley way was rather intimidating. One particular canine stuck his aggressive head and paw through a hole in the fence and it was hair-raising because a little more push from him and he could have burst through. Thant would mean open game for us.
As Brajananda and I ambled along through that noisy trail of barkers, some emotional buttons including fear were pushed. Believe me, these were mean dogs who looked eager to tear us asunder. Tough guys made of muscle, hair and teeth, their arousals didn’t let up.
The alley way continued on but our journey had to come to an end. We veered off. We got our thrill for the day. I guess we were a little like stray dogs. All the fellows we met had masters.
Come to think of it, we are all dogs, servants to our Master? You know whom I’m talking about.
May the Source be with you!