A friend sent me a link to an intriguing article, “How Religions Change Their Mind,” (click here for the full article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22250412). On reading it, I mulled over the concept of remaining true to the essence of a teaching, while making it relevant for the current audience. The original inaugurator of the Hare Krishna movement was Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who upset the caste brahmanas of His time by going straight to the essence of the Vedic teachings and giving love of God as the prime goal of life.
In the course of a day here at BTG/Krishna.com, I was asked by my manager to go through some old BTGs. Doing so brought back a flood of memories. Here’s one: in 1976, in July, there was a special issue focused on the theme that America was celebrating its bicentennial, having declared its independence from England on July 4, 1776. The cover showed a festive arrangement with the original American flag in the background, and a bright-faced young devotee in the foreground, singing.
There is a saying, “A friend is one who hears you sing your song, then sings it back to you when memory fails.” There are times when we become lost to ourselves, and at such times we’re so glad if a dear friend reminds us who we really are, what our natural qualities are, and so on. They do this by their love.
I have to say that, in spite of their ability to confront us with opportunities to waste unlimited time, computers & the Internet also have made wonderful things possible. I was just looking up one thing, which led to another, and somehow I found links that, with a single click, took me to articles I've read and enjoyed in the past, and to this, which I don't recall, but just read, and found fascinating. If you have the time, I highly recommend: http://backtogodhead.in/the-adam-bomb-by-ravindra-svarupa-dasa/
Some years ago in the old temple room at Gita-nagari, I was chanting japa in the back of the room, where hung individual portraits of the previous gurus in our line. One is Jagannatha dasa babaji, who’s credited with rediscovering the place of Lord Caitanya’s appearance in Mayapura, West Bengal. On a pilgrimage to that holy place, I had heard a few details of his life. He’d lived to be over a hundred years old, and his eyelids had drooped down over his eyes, rendering him virtually blind.
Do you ever shop at thrift stores? I confess I sometimes do. You never know what you’re going to find—sometimes brand-new items, at a fraction of their department store prices. When you’re on a budget (as I generally am), you get more bang for your buck if you frequent these places. So it happened not long ago, as I was in the neighborhood of such a store, I stopped in to see whether anything jumped out at me. There was an apron which looked perfectly clean, as if it had never been used. Like many people, when I’m cooking, I like to wear an apron to protect whatever it is I’m wearing.
Over the last weekend I attended two festivals in honor of Siva-ratri. One was held outdoors and included a small fire yajna as part of the ceremonies for installing* the head of Lord Siva, just like the one worshiped in Vrindavana, India as Gopisvara Mahadeva, whose main function there is understood to be to guard the arena of Lord Krishna’s rasa-lila to ensure that no unqualified people can enter there. Only those whose love for the Lord is untainted by selfish desires can take part in the Lord’s spiritual circle dance.
Any kind of management really requires being willing to ‘do the needful,’ as Srila Prabhupada would say; being the office manager at the beautiful Krishna.com is no exception. Sometimes that means being willing to jump in and actually help with the cleaning, sometimes it involves various accounting or HR tasks, and today it included helping by typing up a recipe out of one of the cookbooks we have in the Krishna.com store for the online food section (http://food.krishna.com/).
“Crows are very intelligent,” the narrator was saying, on the PBS broadcast I’d accidentally turned on. The trouble with being in a place where there is a TV, and a satellite connection, is that there is always the chance that you will turn it on, and don’t you know that’s just exactly what I did the other day.
When party people toast one another, drink in hand, they often say “Bottoms up!” in their enthusiasm, indicating to lift the glass all the way, draining every drop from their glass. All the better to enjoy, I suppose, if you allow the intoxicant to enter your bloodstream in a hurry, blurring the rough edges of the inevitable miseries accompanying material life. But the devotees of Lord Krishna have another way of seeing from the bottom up.