25 Fun and puzzling Krishna Trivia Questions - #20 is my fav

Appreciations from guests

Oaklawn/Cedar Springs Halloween Block Party Street Kirtan w/ Giriraj Swami

Every year during this time of the year we have a wonderful kirtan with thousands of folks attending the Oaklawn Halloween Block Party.  The event has more than 100,000 attendees and can be quite PG-13 but everyone loves the chanting.  In fact many costumed partiers chant along with us for several hours throughout the night.

TEXAS FAITH 133: Falling into Sin

Dallas Morning News,

The Negative Undercurrent in Communities—Acknowledging and Dealing with Relationship Conflicts

((this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player is needed; works best with Firefox or Explorer; if you are using Google Chrome it will automatically play, so if you don't want to listen, mute your speakers.) photo 1317543852_sibling_bickering2_xlarg_zps14654503.jpgWhen good communication and regular appreciation aren’t shared there is bound to be an undercurrent of dissatisfaction, or worse, even feelings of anger and resentment. In a particular sanga, or group of devotees, the individuals have strengths and shortcomings, but if we become a harmonious team we help encourage one another in our personal growth and devotional goals; where one person falls short, another can provide that skill or need. An uplifting transcendent atmosphere based on good will, mutual respect, affection, and devotion, creates synergy and forward motion in spiritual progress, helping us deal with interpersonal conflicts which are bound to exist. In a sense the way we deal with difficulties or problems defines our success or failure, as that can really test our resolve to work together, or merely defend ourselves and criticize. By not ignoring challenges—which is often the easiest thing to do—but by working together to turn problems into service opportunities, we become stronger as individuals and as a group.

I have seen how open communication is complicated when one or more devotees have major unresolved life issues or undiagnosed mental health problems. At the same time even those with average mental health can have blind spots and emotional wounds that can be triggered by certain people. This fact brings up of the need, as I have frequently shared before, for trained devotee counselors who are also advanced devotees. We need competent mediators or counselors to help discover hidden or ignored conflicts and to resolve interpersonal problems—some way to assess the spiritual health of the group or community.

Taking Advantage of Sadhu Sanga (Saintly Association)

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To help facilitate a Bhagavad Gita class or to put the Radha-Krishna Deities (Radha-Kanayalal) to rest at our country temple, I have been walking the 8 minutes there from our home, almost every evening for the last 2 years. I walk in all kinds of weather in both the light and warmth of summer, or the darkness and coldness of winter. It is the dark moon now, and except for the stars and ambient light from a few houses, the road is dark, but not unfriendly. In these dark conditions one’s eyes become accustomed to seeing in all but pitch black conditions when the sky is overcast. I look up at the stars and down at my white dhoti to get my bearings. A staff also helps guide me as I sometimes feel my way. Although I carry I flash light, I rarely use it.

As you know, due to the quieter conditions in the evening, sounds are much amplified. So as I walk I clearly hear my footsteps on the gravel road, punctuated by my large staff. The walk to and from the temple is a very simple activity, and yet it seems very primal, and full of meaning, as it is service related, and a time for contemplation on myself as Krishna’s servant. In general, living in a peaceful country environment helps one slow down and be more thoughtful. I often sing as I walk, or think of some point of philosophy. Since over the last two months we have had the opportunity to participate in sadhu-sanga at different locations, this evening, I considered the importance of saintly association, and thought of writing about it.


Hare Krsna, dear devotees!
Below are some excerpts from inmates, as well as some Chaplains' appreciation for the work done by ISKCON Prison Ministry. I hope they bring you pleasure and inspiration.


Realizing Our Personal Life Adventure--Part 1 and 2

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Today has brought beautiful fall weather, with a cold morning, and now a warm—but not hot—day at 12 noon. I sit on the deck under a bright cloudless sky and appreciate the wonder of Krishna’s material energy, and his many blessings to me, pondering what is on my mind to share with you. I have been reading some fantasy and adventure novels to imagine what I might do with a book idea that has been percolating within me for quite a while now. This has been a useful exercise that has given me hope that I can write a novel meant for teaching about life and spirituality. Though I read many acclaimed books in their genre, I haven’t been very satisfied with them. Even when the characters, or the story line, are interesting and can hold my attention—and some don’t—I still feel sorry for want of a spiritual theme. Only occasionally God is mentioned, and usually not as a guiding principle of life.

Sometimes I think: “All that invested time for this ending?” or there is no ending, but just a lead-in to the next volume. To me, other than in devotional literature, I find there is little of specific spiritual merit, or personal benefit other than “entertainment,” or at best some moral message or social commentary. That has value, but is never enough for me, as a person concerned with meaning and purpose in everything. Yes, there are spiritually themed books which can inspire readers, but at this stage of the writing project, I have avoided them for contrast, and this endeavor has borne fruit, albeit, in ways I never imagined.

From my readings I became curious why we feel compelled to seek out entertainment and adventure—while I was reminded of my attraction for adventure stories and the search for treasure, especially of the mystical variety. In a general sense what we have intense attraction to, or interest in, gives us hints as to an important aspect of our life direction. Part of the work of the spiritual aspirant is to make whatever we want or yearn for, part of our spiritual/Krishna conscious /yogic practice. Some spiritual paths shun all attachments and action, but in bhakti, we use our attachments and inclinations in relation to service to Krishna, and in that way purify them. Otherwise we may be diverted from self-realization by our unfulfilled natural propensities or inner conditioned compass.

Choosing our Focus in The World of Duality—Is it Terrible or Wonderful, Horrible or Beautiful?

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As my wife and I were preparing for a couple’s retreat we helped facilitate in Gita-nagari, Pennsylvania, last weekend, events conspired on our street to graphically demonstrate to me the importance of what we were teaching. I find that the power of focus often attracts lessons to demonstrate what we are thinking about, especially if we are teaching it. One important point in this blog is that what we focus on increases in power—like attracts like—whether we’re looking for the good or bad in the world, or in other people. Although I don’t share here exactly what we taught in our workshop, I speak in general about the importance of personal growth work—or the importance of self-examination and seeing our life issues clearly in order to spiritually advance and be the best person we can.

There are problems in the outer world and problems in our inner world. Both are important to deal with, though of the two, improving and purifying our inner landscape is most important, as it will help us in whatever work or service we do externally. The world reflects the consciousness of the people in it. We change the world one person at a time, and it always begins with ourselves. Thus if we improve the world, or our neighborhood, but don’t improve ourselves, our work is incomplete. Many persons and groups understand and teach this. The personal growth people who appear focused on material prosperity have taught me that it isn’t what one accomplishes, or how much money one accumulates, that is most important, but who we become in the process. Another way to say this is that in the pursuit of our life work or favorite cause, are we becoming more loving, kind, compassionate, and wise? What we keep in our heart, is what defines us, who we are, and who we become. Or, as the Bible teaches, “What profiteth a man if he gains the whole world yet suffers the loss of his eternal soul?”

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