Popcorn And Grape Juice Reciprocates

When I was a young devotee, I had a very dear friend who I loved and admired very much. She was older than I was by quite a bit and had been a devotee a little longer.

There were a lot of unusual things about our relationship that made her special to me. Mostly that we could talk about things in a more intimate way, and we shared a lot of the same difficulties and were able to help each other (sometimes) to overcome some of the problems and we kept track of each other about our japa, and some other things that were particularly challenging at that time in the temple we lived in.

Janmastami 1971, New Vrindavan

In honor of Lord Krishna's appearance day, and as an offering to the assembled devotees, I would like to share with you the story of my very first Janmastami celebration. This is just my memory of course, from my perception, about my experience.

It was at New Vrindavan, in 1971. I was 14 that year. I had been living in the temple since the end of the school year (8th grade), which would have been about the end of May, or early June. So, this was about 3 months later.

This Is Personal (Thoughts On Chanting Japa)

Last night I looked at the clock anxiously. I was running late. It was already 9:45 pm, and I still had a few things I had to do. I was agitated by seeing the time because I dislike anything to interfere with my morning japa.

Freedom From Bondage Means Having Krishna

As devotees, we talk a lot about getting free from the material energy, free from the influence of maya, free from our attachments to material sense pleasures and their objects.

Why do we want to do that? What would be the reason?

Sometimes it can be confusing. It may seem like we're taking all this too seriously, when really it's all Krishna's creation and life in this world can have so many pleasures to offer us.

Here is an example that perhaps will illustrate the reasons.

The Desire To Be Inspired

I've been thinking a lot about something that Karnamrita said to me when I commented to his recent blog. I was thanking him, and saying that I thought what he wrote was wonderful, and that I hoped others would read it also, because I found it to be so meaningful (in an essential way) and thought it would be helpful to everyone.

He was mentioning his efforts to write for the particular audience here, and not being certain if what he wrote would be meaningful to them.

Fatalism And Destiny

As devotees we do a lot of accepting of things. We accept the will of Krishna, we accept adversities as opportunities for advancement. We accept a certain amount of chastisement and difficulty from our fellow devotees because we realize that we are always in need of improvement.
There are a lot of other things we accept in our lives in this way.

Sometimes these kinds of acceptances can be carried to an extreme.
We are not fatalists. Fatalism means there is no free will. Fatalism means that nothing can ever be changed.

Open Your Heart (Thoughts on Chanting Japa)

Every one of us has a propensity to love. It is the very nature of the soul. The soul loves Krishna.

In the conditioned state of existence, this loving propensity is misguided, misdirected, misunderstood and misused. The heart has become hardened, do to contact with the material energy, and our own desire to be separate from Krishna.

In this age of Kali Yuga, the process of reawakening this natural dormant love of God, that the soul feels, is chanting the holy names. The holy name cleanses the heart, and opens it. This chanting is the process.

I was just thinking this morning how much we all owe to the devotees who are responsible for us having

It's an incredible project, an amazing website. There is so much work that goes into something like this. All these people have lives, just like ours, they work, they have families, they have commitments.

Still, every day, they spend time and energy and money doing all the things that need to be done to keep this website going, to keep adding to it, to make it a wonderful place for all of us to come to and get all sorts of things we need for Krishna consciousness.

The Adventures of a Traveling Monk: When Adversity becomes Blissful Opportunity

IS bliss in kirtanaThe life of a dedicated monk engaged in outreach may seem very austere to people or even devotees when it is understood that there is often no “personal time” or little opportunity to savior the beauty of Krishna’s creation, or even take proper rest.

Sing Like You Mean It

I saw a movie one time that was the life story of the great American singer, Johnny Cash. Almost everyone knows who Johnny Cash is because he is so famous. Johnny Cash (1932-2003) is considered to be one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century.

This movie about his life told the story of the event that occurred that changed him from being just another mediocre gospel singer, one of thousands, into the legend that he became.

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