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(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 03 April 2015, Durban, South Africa, Ratha Yatra Lecture: Sexuality and Spirituality)
The body is not offering us just enjoyment alone. Sex, how much does it satisfy… does it fully satisfy… and for how long? Then, we get some by-products and are they wanted? Sometimes they are and sometimes not, right? But it is no problem because the other day, I saw in Mangosuthu, Umlazi (in Durban), just outside the university, that abortion was safe, happens on the same day and for only R200. Cheap and best! So, just see, problem solved. But what about the karma… the karma for murder… the charges? Because abortion is murder! Murder in the womb because there is a living being in there. When the baby is out of the womb and if you cut its throat, they will come to pick you up, right? The guys with the blue lights, they will take you in. With abortion, not so much happens now but after this life, the reactions come. Karmic reactions come.
The point is that sexuality always has strings attached. When the boy wants the girl, it is going to cost him a lot of money. That is how it works, is it not guys? You have to spend some money, if you want the girl. That is the way of the world, so what to say. My point is not to highlight these things but my point is that no matter how we turn it, sexuality never exists as an isolated thing. There always are many things connected to it. If you want to do it in an honourable way, then you have to be married. You may want to be married, but sometimes you may not want to be married. That is the nature of being married! Some people really want to be married but then they have moments when they really do not want to be married… so many complexities. It does not come alone, sexuality weaves a web of entanglement.
I am a sannyasi for many years; celibate! Life is so simple since I do not have a family. I do not have a house. What do I need it for? I do not need it. When you have a wife, kids and all that then you need a house. I also do not have a car. It starts… when you are alone, you need a small car and after a while, you change to a four wheel drive, you get the family car then it just grows… it expands. So, sexuality by nature leads to expansion, somehow or other. Even when you try to avoid the responsibility and you are on the hit and run program, then it also costs you money, so there is no way around it. We have to understand that sexuality entangles us with the body and material nature. That is the point!
After being delighted by a breakfast consisting of toasted bread; throat-soothing ginger, lemon and cinnamon teas; and some of the finest pumpkin & basil soup that at least I’ve ever tasted, HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, HG Sakhi Raya das, HG Rasa Vilasa das and his wife Janaki from the Govindia family, and I headed for Brisbane’s equivalent of London’s Oxford Circus; the Brisbane City Centre.
After what felt no longer than a thirty minute drive, we found ourselves in a pleasant square called King George Square, with its perimeter surrounded by devotees preparing various tents for the celebrations later that day. Some of the titles of these tents, which were designed to attract and inform members of the Brisbane public about Krishna consciousness, included Ask a Swami, Hare Krishna Food, Matchless Gifts and Gita Cards.
After a look around, inclusive of the usual meetings and greetings, Sakhi Raya Prabhu lead Maharaja to the spot where we were going to commence with the festival: Queen Park. After turning a few corners and crossing a few semi-busy roads, something on the ground caught my attention. I heard Maharaja say, “There!” and when I looked up I quickly realised that Maharaja, who is as sharp as ever, had spotted in the distance the red, white and yellow decorated cart of magnificence!
In my excitement, I was almost jumping to the prospect of hearing Kadamba Kanana Maharaja’s and other esteemed guests lead kirtan. Kirtan hadn’t even begun yet!
As we closed in toward the cart, we paid our obeisances to Prabhupada who was seated at the front base of the cart, with his ceremonial, regal appearance, and the mighty powerful, mighty-weighted Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra were being heaved onto the cart by the collective cooperation of the devotees present.
HG Hari Sauri das seemingly mystically appeared to Maharaja’s right just underneath a type of bus shelter and they greeted each other with grand smiles. Another person who greeted Maharaja with a grand smile was a representative from AK Media TV & Film. He requested Maharaja to speak a little about the significance of Ratha Yatra. My unedited recording of the video interview will be available soon but here are two photos.
Soon after, everything was set! Jagannatha, Baladeva, Subhadra were in their rightful place; mic checks complete; stereo system situated; ropes strung; eager devotees ready; water bottles distributed; cameras recording; Mayapur.tv live; traffic blocked; police siren lights on; and Maharaja, “nama om vishnu padaya…” We were rolling in both the colloquial and literal sense of the term!
Gradually, we traversed the city centre of Brisbane, with crowds of people gathering constantly – some were watching from their balconies; some were walking alongside us; some were even getting their dancing hats on. The Brisbane Ratha Yatra was graced with esteemed seniors, HH Mukunda Goswami and HH Ramai Swami who undoubtedly gave an extra spiritual punch to the event. The members of the public did not know what they were in for. We had at least four mrdanga specialists playing in great harmony, with accompanying wompas, karatals, accordions and saxophone.
Maharaja led the first kirtan and it was supernaturally lively a.k.a. he ‘rocked it’. The transcendental pied-piper was at it again and he could not be stopped! The sun was beating down on us; I was told this place is in winter season! The deities of London weather need to take note!
After a good period of time, Maharaja handed over to Sri Prahlad, who did a great job reigniting the kirtan after a swift microphone changeover. He took us around some other busy parts of Brisbane and concluded the movements of ‘the rolling chariot of love’ in a funky style, back where the various tents and the Main Stage was.
The afternoon ensued with various performances of singing, dancing and acting. Maharaja was invited three times to the Main Stage: once for an opening ceremony speech; another for his own personal address for Ratha Yatra; and a third for a concluding kirtan. The last two are available here as well as the post harinama Nrshimdev prayers:https://ia800308.us.archive.org/1/items/KKSAUSBrisbaneMay2015/KKS_AUS_Brisbane_09May2015_Ratha_Yatra_Address.mp3 https://ia800308.us.archive.org/1/items/KKSAUSBrisbaneMay2015/KKS_AUS_Brisbane_09May2015_Ratha_Yatra_Concluding_Kirtan.mp3 https://ia800308.us.archive.org/1/items/KKSAUSBrisbaneMay2015/KKS_AUS_Brisbane_09May2015_Ratha_Yatra__Nrsimhadeva_Prayers.mp3
It was such an amazing event, and I am sure the hundreds of devotees share this sentiment when I say I was ready for a round two, there and then!
Michael is from the UK and will be travelling with Kadamba Kanana Swami around Australia. You may follow him on Facebook for his daily updates. Here is the link to his page!
Here are two more recordings from Sunday.https://archive.org/download/KKSAUSBrisbaneMay2015/KKS_AUS_Brisbane_10May2015_Lecture_SB_1.3.41.mp3 https://ia800308.us.archive.org/1/items/KKSAUSBrisbaneMay2015/KKS_AUS_Brisbane_10May2015_Sunday_Feast_Kirtan.mp3
Here are audio recordings taken during Kadamba Kanana Swami’s visit to Cape Town. Apologies for the poor quality of some files. You may listen online by clicking the “play” button. To download, right-click and “save target as“.
Audiohttps://ia801507.us.archive.org/13/items/KKSCPTApril2015_201505/KKS_CPT_15April2015_CC_Evening_Lecture.mp3 https://ia801507.us.archive.org/13/items/KKSCPTApril2015_201505/KKS_CPT_16April2015_SB_1.1.6.mp3 https://ia801507.us.archive.org/13/items/KKSCPTApril2015_201505/KKS_CPT_16April2015_CC_Evening_Lecture.mp3 https://ia601507.us.archive.org/13/items/KKSCPTApril2015_201505/KKS_CPT_17April2015_SB_1.1.7.mp3 https://ia601507.us.archive.org/13/items/KKSCPTApril2015_201505/KKS_CPT_17April2015_LunarAppearanceDay_Lecture.mp3 https://ia801507.us.archive.org/13/items/KKSCPTApril2015_201505/KKS_CPT_17April2015_LunarAppearanceDay_Kirtan.mp3 https://archive.org/download/KKSCPTApril2015_201505/KKS_CPT_18April2015_PringleBay_Kirtan.mp3 https://ia601507.us.archive.org/13/items/KKSCPTApril2015_201505/KKS_CPT_19April2015_JRM_Bhajan.mp3 https://ia601507.us.archive.org/13/items/KKSCPTApril2015_201505/KKS_CPT_19April2015_CC_Adi_17.295.mp3 https://archive.org/download/KKSCPTApril2015_201505/KKS_CPT_19April2015_Initiation_Lecture.mp3 https://ia601507.us.archive.org/13/items/KKSCPTApril2015_201505/KKS_CPT_19April2015_SundayFeast_Bhajan.mp3 https://ia601507.us.archive.org/13/items/KKSCPTApril2015_201505/KKS_CPT_19April2015_SundayFeast_Kirtan.mp3
From Bhajan Kutir #52
by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
“In 1976 Srila Prabahupada came to Detroit. We had just purchased the Fischer Mansion and opened it as a temple. We had put a couple of million dollars into refurbishing it and making it first-class. My parents were freaking out that I had become a Hare Krishna and was spending so much money. Srila Prabhupada was making his only visit to Detroit, and he was talking about building a fantastic temple in Mayapur that would attract the whole world to come and be introduced to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and chanting Hare Krishna. He was describing the whole project, with the planetarium and chandeliers, and then he turned to me and said, ‘So, Ambarisa Maharaja, what do you think?’ Even though I didn’t know where Mayapur was, I said, ‘It sounds like a great idea, Srila Prabhupada.’ Then Srila Prabhupada said, ‘Oh, you also like it? So, you can finance!’ It was at that moment that he planted the seed in me to help with this project.”
By Kadamba Kanana Swami
Getting ready for Brisbane Ratha Yatra. The mercy of the Panca Tattva is there in every town and village of the world and as we travel, it is most wonderful to see that with our own eyes. Last night, we did a Hari Nama and distributed flyers. Today, it promises to be a sunny day and we are about to go for the parade.
We chanted Hare Krsna, did a puja and had nice prasadam; it’s a good life!
The recent travel posts of Kadamba Kanana Swami have not been published according to the sequence in which they happened. It is mostly because our team has not been able to keep up with all the media that needed to be processed and some events, like Kingsday, were prioritized. So to recap, after the Kirtan Mela in Mauritius, Maharaj returned to South Africa on 14 April. The very same day, a disciple program took place in Johannesburg and thereafter, Maharaj spent a week in Cape Town before heading off to Europe. After the Vyasa Puja, Kingsday Harinama and Nrshima Caturdasi Festival, Maharaj travelled to Australia where he is currently. Recordings and photos from all these engagements will follow. We kindly request your patience…
Kadamba Kanana Swami arrived in Cape Town on Wednesday, 15 April, and he stayed until the 21st. For the first few days, Maharaj gave morning and evening classes at the temple. However, the highlight of his visit happened on Friday as it was his appearance day according to the lunar calendar and the “higher powers” of the Cape Town yatra persuaded him to celebrate the significant day!
This year, I was fortunate enough to have attended three of the four birthday celebrations held in honour of Maharaj and somehow, I felt that the Cape Town program was extra special! It could be because I lived in Cape Town for twelve years and it is where my spiritual life started so I have a natural attachment to the place. But also, Cape Town is a city that Maharaj visits two to three times a year, for many years now, and he has long standing relationships with members of the congregation. Heartfelt appreciation of Maharaj was evident in the offerings of the devotees.
HG Medhavi Prabhu (ACBSP) mentioned, “I am two years physically older and five years Iskcon historically older but I consider, and I hope that Maharaj does not feel offended, I consider Maharaj to be my spiritual superior! When he offers his obeisances to me, I must offer them in return or Lord Nityananda-Balarama may come off the altar and find a kusha grass somewhere and dispose of me because Maharaj is such a wonderful devotee. There is no question… Whenever Maharaj speaks, he always brings in a very interesting, often humorous, aspect of the philosophy. I am sure devotees are going to mention his ecstatic kirtans… that goes for without saying. Maharaj really knows how to pump it up… at FULL speed! I just want to thank Maharaj very much for visiting us often – I sure hope that I don’t jinx that because we are VERY, VERY, VERY fortunate that Maharaj comes to visit us.”
At the start of Vasanti’s offering, she presented to Maharaj a big box, wrapped in orange paper. Vasanti was that fortunate soul who met Kadamba Kanana Swami in 2010 on the streets of Cape Town, where he distributed a book to her. Vasanti spoke about the emotions and thoughts she experienced on that fateful day, as well as the power of receiving a book! In the box which she gifted to Maharaj was 108 books for distribution.
Other devotees went on to speak about Maharaj qualities of kindness and generosity, as well as his depth of sastric knowledge and joyful kirtans!
Maharaj accepted the glorification with great humility, “The other day, I was remembering how Srila Prabhupada said that when you see the light of the moon, then you know it is the reflection of the sun therefore if you see any good qualities in me, know them to be the good qualities of my spiritual master. That is very true…”
In his address to the audience, again Maharaj emphasized how he wanted us to be responsible and independently thoughtful. He urged us to care about this sankirtan mission and push it forward. Maharaj spoke about the parenting models of the bird, fish and tortoise; and as times goes by, he is more adopting the example of the fish and tortoise parents – the constant flying in-and-out may decrease but the watchfulness and meditation will always be there.
The wonderful evening culminated with a spirited kirtan by Maharaj and a grand prasadam feast, prepared by the disciples, was served. The Harinama Ruci travelling sankirtan party coincided their tour of Cape Town with Maharaj’s visit and just added to the euphoria of each day.
The good vibes from Friday continued on Saturday as devotees travelled to Pringle Bay, a little sea-side village about 100km away from the city of Cape Town. Devotees, Mukunda and Madhurika, hosted a kirtan mediation program and Kadamba Kanana Swami was invited as a special guest. Students from the nearby Stellenbosch University Bhakti Yoga Society also attended. Three hours of soulful kirtan and some really good prasadam left everyone feeling satisfied. However, for many of us, the best part of the day came after the program as those who stayed behind, mostly disciples, were rewarded with some special time with Maharaj where he fielded questions; those personal kind of questions that one could not really ask in a public forum but could amongst a small circle of close associates! During the scenic drive back to Cape Town, we watched the sun set and upon returning to the temple, devotees enthusiastically started preparing for the initiation ceremony which was scheduled for the next day.
Bhakti Caitanya Swami arrived on Sunday at midday and at 4pm, both him and Kadamba Kanana Swami bestowed first initiation unto two devotees respectively. Bhakta Gilly is now Gopa Kumar das and since his initiation has adorned saffron cloth. Maharaj appreciated Gopa Kumar’s efforts in book distribution. A lively KKS kirtan ended Sunday’s proceedings.
Monday was Maharaj’s designated day for resting but he spent time giving darshans. He also had a meeting with the city councillor of Cape Town regarding the upcoming Ratha Yatra in December. On Tuesday, after an early puja for Giriraja, he left the temple at 7am for his flight to Johannesburg and later that day, he flew to Amsterdam and thereafter travelled to Radhadesh!
I would like to acknowledge Tribhuvanatha Das and Bhaktin Nicole for assisting with recordings and photos. The offerings from the birthday programs held in South Africa will be shared together with the offerings from Radhadesh later next week.
Visit flickr to see all the pictures.
Mukunda Goswami’s new book Spirit Matters has been released by Torchlight Publishing is now available as e-book for free download for 3 days only on dates May 11-13. The book is a compilation of Mukunda Goswami’s articles published in the Hindustan Times discussing topics related to war, peace and love.