viernes, 14 de octubre de 2011

Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: Travel Journal#7.16: Czech Woodstock, Czech Festival, Polish Tour, and Kirtan Mela



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"Planet ISKCON" - 47 new articles

  1. Japa Group: This Is The Test
  2. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana
  3. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
  4. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Gopa Vrndesa Dasa
  5. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): Poem for October 13
  6. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): Selected Writings
  7. Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: With Deaths of Forests, A Loss of Key Climate Protectors
  9. Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: Hunt for the Rhino
  10. ISKCON ISKCON's Second Generation on Initiation: Part 2
  11. New Vrndavan, USA: Marriage in New Vrindaban
  12. Haricharana das, Indonesia: Ecstatic Harinam at Kuta Carnival Kuta Beach
  13. Haricharana das, Indonesia: Joyful Sri Damodara Puja~Kartik Diary
  14. Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: Travel Journal#7.16: Czech Woodstock, Czech Festival, Polish Tour, and Kirtan Mela
  15. Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: A scientist defines science
  16. Spiritual Scientist: SING your way to happiness
  17. ISKCON Madhava's Band Brings Krishna Rock to India's Got Talent
  18. ISKCON Get Spoiled and Be Quick to Blame
  19. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  20. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  21. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  22. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  23. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  24. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  25. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  26. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  27. End of an Era at New Vrindaban's Palace Rose Garden
  28. A Tribute to HG Purnacandra Prabhu
  29. ISKCON The Ombudsman of Tomsk Urged the Initiators of the "Bhagavad-gita Trial" to Come to Their Senses
  30. ISKCON A Glimpse into Nature`s I.Q the Book
  31. ISKCON Kazakh President Signs Restrictive, Dangerous Religion Laws
  32. ISKCON Malaysia: Padma Purana on Kartika Vrata
  33. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Bhuta-bhavana dasa asks how is Prahlada Maharaja a “mixed siddha”
  34. H.H. Sivarama Swami: India's Dying Goddess – A Report by YALE University on Yamuna River
  35. ISKCON Sri Mayapur Gaura Purnima Festival 2012
  36. Spiritual Scientist: Is God a Crutch?
  37. Spiritual Scientist: Did man make God?
  38. Spiritual Scientist: A Telescope to See God
  39. ISKCON A New Book: Holy Jail, by Candramauli Swami.
  40. ISKCON 1,800 Inmates of Bhondsi Jail Get Home-cooked Food
  41. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: The Yoga of Kirtan: The Mayapuris Visit Melbourne
  42. Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: ISCOWP Update Sept 2011
  43. Japa Group: Bad Chanting?
  44. Toronto Sankirtan Team, CA: Victory is assured
  45. Gouranga TV: Harinam in Milan with Mahavishnu Maharaja!!! (October 2011)
  46. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana
  47. H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Friday 14 October 2011--A Most Auspicious First Day of Kartik--and--A Devotee Gives Up Material Duties?
  48. More Recent Articles
  49. Search Planet ISKCON
  50. Prior Mailing Archive

Japa Group: This Is The Test

" must certainly be eager to render service to the Lord. This is the test. When one engages enthusiastically in the Lord's service, it is to be understood that he is reaping the results of chanting the names of Krsna and Hari."

Śrī Caitanya Caritāmrta Madhya 16.188 purport
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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana

Seeing the whipping stick in His mother's hand, He is crying and rubbing His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands...To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, whose belly is bound not with ropes but with His mother's pure love, I offer my humble obeisances.

(Sri Damodarastakam)

To this Supreme Lord, whose darsana never fails to enchant us, we offer our humble obeisances.

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Be Mean About Being Clean

Toronto, Ontario

Today was someone else's turn at walking the trail. Coming from the same part of India as the previous day's monk, this monastic remarked favourably about how people are always cleaning (someone was blowing the dead leaves off a yard). This was a compliment, of course. We trekked down a ravine and took the same trail as I did yesterday with the other monk.

Today's monk remarked, "Oh, the trees are all golden!" as if he had discovered a new planet. He said nothing about numerous dogs being walked by sitters. After coming from the ravine and reaching the normal ground level, we trekked the wet grass of a park. He looked at the tidy nature of the place and remarked that it makes the mind so peaceful.

I mentioned to him that our guru, Srila Prabhupada, liked everything to be neat and that on one occasion he wondered why the temple front yard was overgrown when all the other neighbours had theirs well maintained? In fact he insisted on cleanliness. When you go to Mayapura, our ISKCON headquarters, you see the grounds are kept looking respectable. One year I went to the Bahai Lotus Temple in Delhi. I lined up with the rest of the many pilgrims there. Inside the sanctuary it was rather cavernous and vacant, yet clean and peaceful. I believe many people go to see the grounds and are amazed by the lack of congestion, the openness, and the smooth laid out lawns. It's pleasing.

This is a mega part of spiritual life – to always endeavour at being suchi, or clean. The atmosphere around bears heavily on a person. If you want to make rapid spiritual progress then work at keeping your interior clean as well as your environment.

I have one more monk to take out on a walking venture for his impressions and this is before I leave for India which I'm looking forward to. There are many places there that are cluttered but I love the people. There is this enchantment about the place you won't find anywhere else.

14 Km

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Gopa Vrndesa Dasa

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.21 - We can connect to the knowledge coming from Srila Vyasadeva by the process of initiation.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): Poem for October 13

4:38  A.M. Poem for October 13 When Lord Caitanya saw Lord Jagannatha He immediately fainted. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya took Him to his home. Gopinatha Acarya established that Lord Caitanya was Krishna Himself but Sarvabhauma and his disciples could not accept it. Hearing these arguments Lord Caitanya said that Sarvabhauma was speaking out of affection. Sarvabhauma then [...]

Poem for October 13 is a post from: EVERY DAY

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): Selected Writings

From The Twenty-six Qualities of a Devotee "8. A Devotee is Clean, suci "In very recent times the wave of sexual promiscuity has covered the sense of wrong in unclean dealings. According to Bhagavad-gita, sexual affairs, like anything else, should only be utilized in the service of the Supreme. Krishna says, 'I am sex life [...]

Selected Writings is a post from: EVERY DAY

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Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: With Deaths of Forests, A Loss of Key Climate Protectors

The Forest for the Trees: In Arizona, trees are cut down to save forests from massive fires and to combat climate change.

WISE RIVER, Mont. — The trees spanning many of the mountainsides of western Montana glow an earthy red, like a broadleaf forest at the beginning of autumn.

Temperature Rising

Trees at Risk
Articles in this series are focusing on the central arguments in the climate debate and examining the evidence for global warming and its consequences.

Forests and Climate Change

Justin Gillis is taking questions on climatic threats to the world's forests and the implications for the earth's future. He will respond next week on the Green blog.
A blog about energy and the environment.

Readers' Comments

But these trees are not supposed to turn red. They are evergreens, falling victim to beetles that used to be controlled in part by bitterly cold winters. As the climate warms, scientists say, that control is no longer happening.
Across millions of acres, the pines of the northern and central Rockies are dying, just one among many types of forests that are showing signs of distress these days.
From the mountainous Southwest deep into Texas, wildfires raced across parched landscapes this summer, burning millions more acres. In Colorado, at least 15 percent of that state's spectacular aspen forests have gone into decline because of a lack of water.
The devastation extends worldwide. The great euphorbia trees of southern Africa are succumbing to heat and water stress. So are the Atlas cedars of northern Algeria. Fires fed by hot, dry weather are killing enormous stretches of Siberian forest. Eucalyptus trees are succumbing on a large scale to a heat blast in Australia, and the Amazon recently suffered two "once a century" droughts just five years apart, killing many large trees.
Experts are scrambling to understand the situation, and to predict how serious it may become.
Scientists say the future habitability of the Earth might well depend on the answer. For, while a majority of the world's people now live in cities, they depend more than ever on forests, in a way that few of them understand.
Scientists have figured out — with the precise numbers deduced only recently — that forests have been absorbing more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide that people are putting into the air by burning fossil fuels and other activities. It is an amount so large that trees are effectively absorbing the emissions from all the world's cars and trucks.
Without that disposal service, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be rising faster. The gas traps heat from the sun, and human emissions are causing the planet to warm.
Yet the forests have only been able to restrain the increase, not halt it. And some scientists are increasingly worried that as the warming accelerates, trees themselves could become climate-change victims on a massive scale.
"At the same time that we're recognizing the potential great value of trees and forests in helping us deal with the excess carbon we're generating, we're starting to lose forests," saidThomas W. Swetnam, an expert on forest history at the University of Arizona.
While some of the forests that died recently are expected to grow back, scientists say others are not, because of climate change.
If forests were to die on a sufficient scale, they would not only stop absorbing carbon dioxide, they might also start to burn up or decay at such a rate that they would spew huge amounts of the gas back into the air — as is already happening in some regions. That, in turn, could speed the warming of the planet, unlocking yet more carbon stored in once-cold places like the Arctic.
Scientists are not sure how likely this feedback loop is, and they are not eager to find out the hard way.
"It would be a very different world than the world we're in," said Christopher B. Field, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science.
It is clear that the point of no return has not been reached yet — and it may never be. Despite the troubles of recent years, forests continue to take up a large amount of carbon, with some regions, including the Eastern United States, being especially important as global carbon absorbers.
"I think we have a situation where both the 'forces of growth' and the 'forces of death' are strengthening, and have been for some time," said Oliver L. Phillips, a prominent tropical forest researcher with the University of Leeds in England. "The latter are more eye-catching, but the former have in fact been more important so far."
Scientists acknowledge that their attempts to use computers to project the future of forests are still crude. Some of those forecasts warn that climate change could cause potentially widespread forest death in places like the Amazon, while others show forests remaining robust carbon sponges throughout the 21st century.
"We're not completely blind, but we're not in good shape," said William R. L. Anderegg, a researcher at Stanford University.
Many scientists say that ensuring the health of the world's forests requires slowing human emissions of greenhouse gases. Most nations committed to doing so in a global environmental treaty in 1992, yet two decades of negotiations have yielded scant progress.
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Betty Hickey, Palace rosarian

On September 28, New Vrindaban held a retirement party for Betty Hickey who, since 1985, has cultivated the Palace Rose Garden.  The garden has over one hundred varieties of roses and over 850 rose plants, and attracts thousands of pilgrims and visitors every year.

Besides cultivating roses, Betty has cultivated hundreds of devotees and visitors with her warm heart, gentle nature, and no-nonsense attitude.  "I have made so many wonderful friendships over the years," said Betty at her retirement party.

Betty was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, and has lived in the local community her entire life.  "My entire family – my parents, my brother Bob, everyone – was always friendly with the devotees in New Vrindaban," recalled Betty.  Many devotees spoke lovingly about Jim, Betty's late husband, who had worked in New Vrindaban's Maintenance Department for many years.

Betty will retire at the end of the 2011 gardening season.  In 2012, she will provide consulting services for the crew of gardeners who will continue to maintain the Palace Rose Garden and other annual flower gardens.   "I will definitely be around next year," Betty assured the crew.  "I will not be doing the hands-on work, but I will definitely be involved."

Please visit the Palace Rose Garden next year and take this final opportunity to meet one of the nation's experts in roses.


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Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: Hunt for the Rhino

“If you are going to hunt,” Prabhupada said, “then you should hunt for a rhinoceros. In that way, if you don’t succeed, everyone will simply say, “Oh, it couldn’t be done anyway.’ But if you do succeed, then everyone will be surprised. Everyone will be amazed.”

Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta 33: A Lot of Ground to Be Covered

“To hope is to risk frustration. Therefore, make up your mind to risk frustration.

“Do not be one of those who, rather than risk failure, never attempts anything.”

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation. (New York: New Directions Books). 104

Filed under: Thomas Merton
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ISKCON ISKCON's Second Generation on Initiation: Part 2

By Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News on 14 Oct 2011

On September 25th, ISKCON Youth Ministry's long-serving Manu and Jaya Radhe—now Manorama Dasa and Jaya Sri Radhe Dasi— were given Harinama initiation by Sacinandana Swami, prompting a discussion on the second generation's approach to this important step in a devotee's life.

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New Vrndavan, USA: Marriage in New Vrindaban

by Gaura Nataraja das

On Oct 1st we had 60 people attending a marriage. The marriage was conducted in the temple hall. The bride’s name was Chelsea (Champakalata Devi dasi) and Michael. Chelsea is a practicing Hare Krishna devotee and Michael is new to Krishna consciousness. He is however a vegetarian. All the relatives were non-devotees and were coming to the Hare Krishna temple for the first time.

Chelsea wore a traditional saree and Michael wore a suit. All the attendees were new to Vedic marriage and hence I explained everything step by step and everyone followed all the rituals.  When the fire sacrifice began I explained that everyone should tell "svaha" every time I say "svaha", everyone did so in one voice throughout. It was very purifying.

Then when the bride and bridegroom took the seven vows and steps together everyone was chanting "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Hare Hare"  making the atmosphere very spiritual and blessing the couple. When the fire sacrifice was over I asked everyone to circumambulate chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra and everyone did so very nicely clapping their hands and tapping their feet.

After that we had arati of the Lord. That was the best part. First myself and my wife brought the couple to the middle of the temple and we started dancing chanting Hare Krishna mahamantra loudly. Soon all sixty guests joined and the circle almost as big as the temple hall. Everyone was dancing with great ecstasy and this went one for the next 30 minutes. It looked like the spiritual world where everyone simply chants and dances in great ecstasy. After the dance everybody was smiling for the rest of the ceremony.

When I was going back to my apartment I met a few couples who were leaving and stopped me and told me " That was one of the best ceremonies I have witnessed. I really thank you. It was special".

A few days later Chelsea called me up and told me she spoke to most people who attended and they mentioned the dancing as incredible and said it took them a  few days to get the Hare Krishna Mahamantra off their heads ! We however know that its etched in their heart forever !

Sri Sri Radha Vrindavan Chandra Bhagavan Ki Jai !




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Haricharana das, Indonesia: Ecstatic Harinam at Kuta Carnival Kuta Beach

Ecstatic Harinam at Kuta Carnival

Kuta Beach

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Haricharana das, Indonesia: Joyful Sri Damodara Puja~Kartik Diary

Joyful Sri Damodara Puja~Kartik Diary

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Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: Travel Journal#7.16: Czech Woodstock, Czech Festival, Polish Tour, and Kirtan Mela

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 7, No. 16
By Krishna-kripa das
(August 2011, part two)
Trutnov (Czech Woodstock), Czech Festivals, Polish Tour, Kirtan Mela
(Sent from New York City on October 14, 2011)

Where I Went and What I Did

The second half of August was particularly intense with four powerful experiences, Trutnov (the Czech Woodstock), Janmastami and Vyasa Puja at the Czech farm, the final four days of Indradyumna Swami's Polish festival tour, and the first annual Kirtan Mela, near Leipzig, Germany. In addition, between the Czech farm and the Polish coast, I had the adventure of walking 12 km across the border of the two countries and sleeping at a Polish train station. On the bright side, I had the rewarding experience of being instrumental in some high school students chanting Hare Krishna and dancing on a train in Poland.

There is an ocean of nectar in terms of lecture notes this time. Lots from the swamis at Kirtan Mela: Indradyumna Swami, Jayadvaita Swami, Lokanath Swami, Sacinandana Swami, and Bhakti Vijnana Swami. Madhava Prabhu also said a few things. Then there are great Prabhupada stories from Caruhasa and Jaya Gurudeva Prabhus from Vyasa Puja in Czech Republic. Nila Madhava Prabhu from Prague tells a bit of the history of the movement there. I put in a link to the nice realizations shared by Gopiparanadhana Prabhu on the Polish festival tour which I previously posted, in case you did not read them yet.

Trutnov Open Air Festival (The Czech Woodstock)

Trutnov Open Air Music Festival, also known as the Czech Woodstock, is a three and a half-day music concert, attended by around 20,000 people who pay about 40 euros to get in. It is in Trutnov, a small city in the mountainous area of Czech, about 20 kilometers south of the Polish border. The organizer, Martin, is friends with the devotees, and thus the Czech Hare Krishnas have their own area and stage, and usually two or three venues where prasadam (spiritual food) is distributed.

Martin has a fascination for Lord Jagannatha, whose smiling face appears on the arm bands of the attendees, the main stage for the whole event, and even on the numerous plastic beer mugs.

I like to talk to the people who seem to really like to sing and dance with the devotees, and tell them of temples and gatherings their area so they develop their attraction to this all-auspicious spiritual activity after the Trutnov festival is over.

Linda, a student from Brno, the first person I talked to, remembered me from last year, although I did not remember her. She was eager to get contact information for the temple in Brno, where she goes to college. She loves to chant Hare Krishna and dance in the kirtana. Later she mentioned she had friends who became vegan and who gave up smoking, and who said they were happier as a result. I mentioned to her that if she continues to chant Hare Krishna, she will find that that the mantra gives one the strength to give up self-destructive habits in a natural way. She came and chanted in the kirtanas many times.

Punya Palaka Prabhu, Krishna camp organizer (left).
Monika, a spiritual seeker who studies in Liberec (right).

I was happy to see Monika, who wrote me eleven months after last year's Trutnov to tell me that she appreciated the Czech version of Coming Back she purchased there and liked the idea of reincarnation. Since coming to our Krishna camp last year, she got a First Canto, Part One of Srimad-Bhagavatam and a volume of Krishna book. Once she met the devotees chanting in Liberec, where she goes to school, and she enjoyed talking to them, but she never saw them again. Concluding her letter she said, "I collect knowledge from lots of things. But Krishna consciousness is my favorite and gives me the most now. So I just wanted you to know, that I've never been so happy. [The] few days at Trutnov completely changed my life and I will be grateful forever. And I'm really looking forward Trutnov festival this year." She knows a lots of spiritually minded people in Liberec who she thinks will be interested in Krishna consciousness, and she knows a venue where Nila Madhava Prabhu, the Czech nama-hatta leader I introduced her to, can do a program. I also introduced her to Madhusudana Prabhu, the brahmacari leader of the party that regularly chants and distributes books in Liberec and other different Czech cities and whose parents live in the Liberec area. This year at Trutnov she enjoyed Trilokatma Prabhu's lecture on the Krishna philosophy, and she spent hours a day in our Krishna camp. I am so happy to see her expanding spiritual good fortune, and glad to play a little role in it.

Gabriela, who lives in Regentsberg, Germany, was interested enough to take from me the beautiful card the Germany devotees have listing all the German temples and regular Krishna gatherings in Germany, and her sister and friend from Prague took the invitation to Govinda's Restaurant and its spiritual program on Wednesday evenings.

Barbora, from near Ostrava, who met the devotees chanting on several occasions in Brno, where she would sometimes talk with them, took down the Brno nama-hatta web page address. Seeing her singing constantly whenever she visited our camp the first two days of the festival, I thought I might investigate her interest. She said, "If I did not want to hear a few bands, I would spend all my time in your camp. This is so nice it seems like something you could do for your whole life!" I smiled and agreed with her, saying that I met the Krishnas when I was twenty and now I am fifty-one. I explained unlike material pleasures, the happiness of devotional service increases with time. I saw her chanting with us several more times. The last day she seemed more subdued, and I figured she was just tired like the rest of us. Turned out she had done something she really regretted and was feeling really bad. A friend then said not to feel bad about it but to go to the Krishna camp because people always feel better after going there. She went and did feel a lot better. Because I knew she liked to chant and dance, I suggested she do that and get her mind off her problems, but she was so wiped out, she said she would chant and dance in her mind. I accepted that as her actual condition but found to my surprise in just five or ten minutes she came up front, and began to dance and then began to chant, which she did for the next two or three hours, just taking a few breaks from the dancing. She even asked the devotees for a tambourine and played it while dancing or sometimes sitting on the edge of the stage facing the devotee singers. It was inspiring for me to see how her consciousness really transformed just by hearing the kirtana. Many, like Barbora, have such appreciation for the spiritual atmosphere the devotees created there at their Trutnov Krishna camp, and in her case, she even felt that the chanting was something she could do for one's whole life, and she lamented having to return to her drab life as a student.

Last year when Dhruva and I left the Trutnov festival, the trains were so crowded, they were delayed, and I could see we would not make our connection. All the conductors spoke only Czech, so I asked one young man to translate for us. This year he introduced himself to me, and I thanked him again for his service. He joined the kirtanas a few times, even late in the final evening.

There were two students from Prague who chanted "Hare Krishna" and danced without interruption in a very amazing way. There only connection with chanting Hare Krishna was Trutnov, and they were glad to get the invitation to the Wednesday program at the restaurant. They came by other times for prasadam and to dance in the final kirtana.

Girl wearing 'Party Till You Puke' T-shirt

One girl had a T-shirt with the message "Party Till You Puke" written on it. That so much seemed to capture the foolishness of unrestricted sense enjoyment it made me smile, and I even took a picture of it. Surprising me, during the kirtana, the girl chanted along, as did her boyfriend. She pointed to the devotees and then her nose, as she talked to her friend, and I figured she was asking him about the devotees' tilaka. After they left the kirtana tent, I talked to the boy, an inquisitive person, about Krishna consciousness, while she was visiting our face painter. I was surprised when her face painting was done. Instead of having patterns of colorful decorations on her forehead as most girls get, she had beautiful Vaishnava tilaka.

Katalina, who lives in Trutnov, a mere two minutes from our camp, was in great anxiety seeing us stop our kirtana at 3 a.m. the final evening. She was worried we would not continue, and her worry was well founded as we had to stop to break down the festival. One friend of the devotees, who played contemporary music, then took over our stage, as his friends were expecting him to sing his songs again and were not satisfied merely hearing him playing Hare Krishna guitar with us. I told Katalina that I would play her a Hare Krishna tune after the other singer finished. He sang six or seven tunes, including "My Sweet Lord," which I requested upon hearing him sing another George Harrison song. Then he played a few more songs from other singers. Katalina told me she felt it was not good that our program end with anything but Hare Krishna, and I smiled in agreement, appreciating her realization. As the other singer finished and our crew dismantled the sound system, I played the portable harmonium and sang for her and five or six others, a popular Village of Peace Hare Krishna tune. They were very enthusiastic and sang both the lead and response for most of the time. Another girl took up the tambourine and played along. One boy enjoyed loudly chanting and danced. I must have at played least twenty minutes. Katalina said that each year she always comes to our camp at the end of the Trutnov festival to chant Hare Krishna with us.

This year was special for us as a couple Prabhupada disciples visited the event, Janananda Goswami, who chanted in the Ratha-yatra, and Caruhasa Prabhu, who chanted on our stage. They appear in the movies I made of the event:

Ratha-yatra Video:

Krishna Camp Video, Part 1:

To learn when Part 2 of my Krishna camp video is complete, subscribe to my YouTube videos:

To see a very beautiful video clip another devotee posted on Facebook, click below:

Krishna is all-attractive, and so is His name. It is inspiring to see at these festivals the people in general becoming more and more attracted. And so I come to the festivals and try to help the people to have more regular experience of Krishna kirtana so they can become more attracted, and more happy in spiritual consciousness.

Thanks to Punya Palaka Prabhu and the very cooperative team of Czech devotees who put on our Krishna camp at Trutnov, and who share a lot of spiritual pleasure with a lot of people. All glories to Srila Prabhupada who is engaging us all in activities of spiritual welfare work.

Czech Janmastami and Vyasa Puja Festivals

I am glad Punya Palaka Prabhu invited me to the Janmastami and Vyasa Puja festivals at the Czech farm. I have been coming to Czech Republic since 2004, when Lokanath Swami told me Prague was the best city for harinama. Over the years, I have done harinamas, Ratha-yatras, and Trutnov festivals with the devotees there, and I have a lot of admiration and affection for many of them.

They had a tent set up as the temple room is too small to hold the devotees. On Janmastami, in addition to kirtana, there was a puppet show of Krishna pastimes, and a couple devotee kids, dressed like Radha Krishna observed the Jhulan Yatra, and the others pushed Them on a swing and offered Them flowers, and other worship. I had some doubts about this, but Caruhasa Prabhu told of a Prabhupada pastime in which Prabhupada encouraged to the devotees to offer full respects to the devotees playing Krishna in a drama on the consideration that Krishna's form is not different from Krishna, and Caruhasa asked me to take pictures of Them. Jaya Gurudeva, a Prabhupada disciple I knew from Trutnov, where he plays folk and other styles of Hare Krishna with a guitar, shared nice realizations and helped accommodate Caruhasa and me, who know only English. The Janmastami feast was very nice, thank God, because I had to leave before the Vyasa Puja feast to catch a train to the Polish coast for the festivals. I lost the chance talk about Prabhupada myself on Vyasa Puja day, looking on the Internet for a better rail connection so I wouldn't miss the feast.

Adventures from Czech Republic to the Baltic Sea

Missing the chance to glorify Prabhupada and missing the feast, were a frustration, but then I also missed one of the trains, as I didn't realize a train station had tracks on both sides of it. Thus I missed the last train to Poland that day and walked 12 km to the first Polish city with a train station, only to find there were no more trains to Wroclaw that day. The train employees, hearing my predicament allowed me to sleep in the train station, amazingly enough, and they locked me inside, with my permission, and thus I was undisturbed and warm. They even offered me tea and coffee, which I declined. I was impressed with their hospitality. I was wondering the whole time what Krishna's plan to protect me was. As it turned out, although missing a harinama, I got to visit the Wroclaw temple, bow down to the deities, hear a Prabhupada lecture, take a shower, see a few friends, give a donation, and grab some prasadam to go and catch a train that was considerable cheaper than the one evening before. Later I found out the harinama I missed was only one hour instead of the usual three because of the rain.

Polish Kids Chant Hare Krishna and Dance on Train

The best part of the rescheduled journey was that a group of high school kids on the train to the coast chanted Hare Krishna and danced with me on the train. I think that was really Krishna's mercy upon me. I am introverted and not a leader by nature. Neither am I a good singer, yet somehow the kids chanted along.

The train in Wroclaw was so crowded, I took shelter of the bicycle car, which was less so. At Poznan everyone left, and this group of kids boarded, and so we were alone together in the bicycle car most of the rest of the journey. In the course of our travel, I told them about the Krishna camp at Woodstock and the festivals of India's spiritual culture on the Baltic coast, including one in the town that was our train's destination that very night and the following one. They had a guitar, and asked if I could play it. I said no, but that if they could place the chord progression "F C G C" I could sing. So they played, and I sang the simple and popular Hare Krishna tune that Prabhupada introduced. Then I gave them Polish mantra cards and got them singing. Then I added the dancing. They had a good time, and I was amazed that we could get away with all that on a Polish train. After some time I decided I needed to take a nap, so I left the kids for a quieter and more comfortable part of the train. I was touched and surprised that to say goodbye to me, they chanted Hare Krishna again, just like the devotees do when a saintly person leaves.

Polish Tour

Five things made an impression on my mind on the Polish tour this year: the happiness of the devotees to see me, the enthusiasm of a Vaisnava youth friend to go on our last three harinamas, two girls liking Hare Krishna so much they followed our harinama party back to our site and took lunch with the devotees and took down the nama-hatta contact for their town, Indradyumna Swami's expert lectures at the festivals, and Gopipiparanadhana Prabhu's wisdom and saintly qualities.

Kirtan Mela

I was the navigator from Kolobrzeg on the Polish coast to the Kirtan Mela, and my party made the journey for just 19 euros per person, 11 euros cheaper than the bus that many devotees took, and which was too full for us.

I did not have enough money for even the minimum accommodation, but I had a friend in the festival organization and other friends who were cooking for themselves, so I got a place to stay and some prasadam. Hearing the urgent heartfelt pleas of GBC Mother Dina Sharana for help in the kitchen, I helped out for 2 hours a day, mostly serving lunch.

I found it hard to chant for twelve hours a day although I like chanting very much. I had to figure out where I was going for the Radhastami and how I was getting to America, as well as my usual service of proofreading Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami's journal. I also got involved in helping people travel by train to their next destinations, so in reality I chanted between six and eight hours a day, if you count my kitchen kirtana as part of it. In the future, I am going to have to plan ahead to avoid having important obligations to do while a Kirtan Mela is going on.

Still it was wonderful having the best kirtana leaders in ISKCON to hear from and to dance to. Especially striking to me were B. B. Govinda Swami, Indradyumna Swami, Lokanath Swami, Niranjana Swami, Sacinandana Swami, Kadamba Kanana Swami, Bada Hari Prabhu, and Madhava Prabhu. Some of my friends impressed me with their ability to dance for hours on end. Occasionally the kirtana was so fired up, several sannyasis danced, running back and forth, and that was truly wonderful to see.

From this video, with its joyous singing and exuberant dancing, you can get a feel for how ecstatic it was:

The amazing Leipzig Ratha-yatra, with hundreds of devotees, after we had chanted twelve hours for the previous four days, I tell about in my next journal.

My siksa guru, Niranjana Swami, was there and we talked about my program. He said that I had proved I can live simply and that I can travel and do harinamas and give lectures, but I have not demonstrated the ability to gradually bring people to a higher level of devotional commitment, and to do that should spend more time in fewer places. So for the fall and winter I will focus on Gainesville and in the spring and summer, the UK outside of London. Janananda Swami wanted me to make The North of England my base, Kadamba Kanana Swami encouraged me to go to the UK outside of London, as London itself gets lots of attention already, Caitanya-candradaya Prabhu encouraged me to Align Centermake Belfast my base, and Jai Nitai Prabhu encouraged me to go to the nama-hattas surrounding London, and so I will spend time in this area. I will still travel to my favorite festivals, Queen's Day harinama, the Polish Woodstock and tour, Trutnov (the Czech Woodstock), the Croatian harinama tour, and the Ukraine festival, which takes about six weeks, August and the first two weeks of September.

I told Niranjana Swami about the beautiful verse by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati on kirtana:

Srinama-sankirtana [congregational chanting of the holy name] is the best sadhana [spiritual practice]. If other sadhanas help us in Krishna-sankirtana, then they deserve to be called sadhana; otherwise they are simply impediments to sadhana. Sri-Krishna-nama-sankirtana is the emperor of sadhanas. It is the only infallible sadhana capable of bringing us to siddhi [perfection].

He liked it and asked me to include it with the other inspirational holy name quotes displayed on the big screen in the kirtana hall, which I did with great pleasure.

Insights from Lectures

Srila Prabhupada:

Fear exists as long as there is identification with material existence, therefore we must purify our existence. Prahlada Maharaja was never afraid despite all the tribulations created by his father because he was pure.

When we understand that we have no connection with material existence, there is no more fearfulness.

In spiritual existence there is only present, no past or future. That you cannot realize now, but you can take the knowledge from the Vedic literature.

By the time factor the existence of the Supreme Lord can be felt, as the presence of the government can be felt by a prisoner when he is arrested. As the prisoner is put under the laws of the prison, the rebellious living entity is put under the control of the material nature.

When we understand we are the servant of Krishna, there is no fear. By engaging in devotional service to the Supreme Lord our existence is purified and we become free from fear.

A little deviation may cause great havoc, and Bharata had to take three births to attain perfection due to attachment to a deer.

Theoretically we know we are not the body, yet we experience fear based on the situation of the body.

The whole political atmosphere is one of fear. The Americans and Russians are afraid of each other. The Indians and the Pakistanis are afraid of each other.

If you kindly hear sri-krishna-sankirtana, so much benefit is there. It is so nice. There is no expenditure.

I am for human beings or I am for America. All are based on a limited conception.

Indradyumna Swami:

God loves all the species of life because He created them.

Birds can fly without an airplane. Butterflies are always beautiful without makeup. The gift God has given humans is intelligence. That intelligence is meant to understand the soul. This knowledge of the soul is not meant just for the people of India. If we do not know who we are, we cannot attain full satisfaction. Not any of us. Bhagavad-gita is meant for everyone.

Intuitively we understand the soul is in the heart. If we point to ourselves, we point to our chest.

The husband and wife do not create life. Only God can create life. They build a little house for the soul to enter.

If we go to the temple, church, synagogue, we learn God creates life, but when we go to school we learn that life comes from matter. If life can be created from matter, then why can't the scientists create life from chemicals by putting them in suitable conditions? Actually they never will, because God creates life.

Vedic culture has never accepted abortion because it is understood the embryo is alive since the soul entered the body at the time of conception.

You know where you are going exactly after you leave the festival tonight. You also know where you will go when your vacation is over. But we do not know exactly where we are going when we leave the body at death. That is a big problem.

As we always have some car, bus, or airplane to travel in, the soul always has a vehicle, a body, to travel in.

One person was telling me that the bad helps him to appreciate the good that much more. I replied that he deserved better than that. The soul wants pure happiness.

Just because there is not perfect happiness here, does not mean there is not a world of happiness somewhere else.

The greatest happiness is love. Even if one has everything but no one to share it with, he will not be happy. And the greatest love is love of God. We cannot allow ourselves to be so absorbed materially that we miss the opportunity for reawakening our love of God.

From a lecture at Kirtan Mela:

Prayer reveals the deep feelings the devotee has in his heart for Krishna.

If we do not yet have love for the Lord or His devotees, we can practice offering the prayers of exalted personalities, and by that practice our devotional sentiments will awaken. Just as a child learns speak by imitating his parents speaking, we can do the same with prayers.

I saw someone with a T-shirt that said on the front "Always remember Lord Krishna..." and on the back "and never forget Him."

The key to always remember the Lord is to love Him. Actually there are two ways to remember someone, if you love them or if you hate them. Kamsa was always remembering Krishna because he hated Him. But real Krishna consciousness means to think of Krishna favorably.

Every day Kamsa sent a different demon to Krishna to kill Krishna. We just hear of the principle ones in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Every day before lunch Kamsa would send a different demon, and Krishna or Balarama would kill him, and His friends would talk about how wonderful Krishna was a lunch.

Kunti's love for Krishna is glorious because it did not waver throughout so many difficulties. There is Canakya verse, "Test a servant in his duty, a relative in times of difficulty, and wife in misfortune [and one more]." The fire of ordeal purifies one's devotion.

Krishna felt closer to the Lord Krishna in the times of ordeal when she reached out to Krishna.

Kunti is so exalted Krishna would leave His dhama to visit Kunti and the Pandavas and see to their welfare.

When Akrura came to visit Kunti according to Krishna's request, as soon as he mentioned Krishna's name, symptoms of ecstatic love of Godhead manifested in her body.

When Prabhupada was greeting the devotees from all over the world who came to Mayapur, according to the prediction of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Prabhupada went into an ecstatic trance and could not speak.

When I am giving a public lecture, I focus on the few who seem to be paying attention, and I try to speak to their hearts.

Srila Prabhupada told us in France, "Never there was a time I forgot the lotus feet of Radha-Krishna."

Srila Prabhupada once said, "The gopis never ask Krishna for anything, they just want to know what will please Krishna."

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says bhakti is imbibed from another devotee. It is a mystical thing.

Krishna demonstrates that association with the devotees is better than His own association by sending Uddhava to Vrndavana. Krishna sent messages to His friends, the gopis, and His parents. Uddhava was surprised by the reactions of Krishna's parents. When Krishna said, "Do not worry, I am the supreme truth, the supreme pure, and the original person, and therefore I am never separated from you." Nanda said, "What is this supreme pure? He is always covered with dust. What is this supreme truth? He is always stealing butter." Yasoda said, "What is this eternal person, He took birth from my womb."

We do not need to go to Vrndavana to get the association of the vrajavasis, for we have the ultimate vrajavasi, Srila Prabhupada. By serving him by sharing the chanting of Hare Krishna with everyone, we gain his association.

Once in Paris Srila Prabhupada asked me how the preaching was going. Because people in Paris had thrown garbage on us during harinama, I said it was difficult. And Srila Prabhupada replied, "When did I ever say it was easy?"

There was one woman who had her fingers in both ears and stuck out her tongue in response to the harinama. I reported that to Srila Prabhupada, and he asked, "What did you do?" "I just kept playing the mrdanga." I said. "No." said Srila Prabhupada, "You should have pulled her fingers out of her ears, and loudly chanted, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna . . ."

Sri Nama is a person, and He is very merciful. If we take Him out to the cities and the towns to benefit others, He becomes very, very merciful to us.

Jayadvaita Swami:

Materialists are fools because they are after that which will cause them suffer, while thinking they will enjoy. And the more they try to increase their enjoyment, the more they increase their suffering. This is illusion, maya.

The bhukti, mukti, siddhi kamis [those desiring sense enjoyment, liberation, and mystic perfections] cannot be happy because they seek a situation other than their constitution position.

In response to an imitator, who set up a kutir and chanted all day, Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharaja said, "One [who is not pregnant] cannot give birth to a child simply by entering the labor room."

When the San Francisco Ratha-yatra was one of the main Ratha-yatras in ISKCON, the press workers had this idea of getting everyone in a van and driving to San Francisco, three days each way, to see Srila Prabhupada and the Ratha-yatra. When Srila Prabhupada heard about the plan, he rejected it saying, "They should stay and do their service."

Other ways of glorifying Krishna are also kirtana, but that does not mean we do everything else in the name of kirtana and neglect the chanting of Hare Krishna.

One should hear the holy name from devotees of the holy name and devotees of Krishna.

At any stage of spiritual development, the chanting of the holy name of the Lord is recommended.

The Lord tolerates offenses to Himself but not to His devotees.

Anyone who is engaged in the service of the Lord is great. Not that we glorify devotees we consider great and vilify devotees we consider small. That is a foolish, even suicidal, policy.

Anyone who chants the holy name of Krishna should be respected within the mind. Those engaged in devotional service, we should offer obeisances to. Those who are pure and free from the propensity to criticize others, we should hear from and render service to. Even to offend a neophyte devotee will get us in trouble with the Supreme Lord.

Q: If a devotee has taste for service, how can he misbehave?

A: By maya's tricks. Maya is very powerful. Although King Bharata gave up everything, he became attached to a dear. See how tricky maya is? Sometimes because of our conditioned life, unless we are completely free from maya, we may do something completely against devotional service principles.

The effect of inattentive chanting is that we can end up doing more inattentive chanting.

Krishna recommends that: "Wherever the mind wanders . . . we should bring it back."

Inattention to the holy name means inattention to Krishna.

Inattentive chanting leads to inattentive service.

Focusing the sunlight you can start a fire otherwise you just get a little warmth and illumination. Similarly, chanting with attention has great power.

The grass never protests, "You are walking on me. Don't you know who I am? The grass also has rights." It allows you to walk on it.

The tree never protests, "I will not give you shade because of what you did to me."

Srila Prabhupada was asked, "What is the position of the disciple?" Prabhupada told a disciple to answer. "Servant, Srila Prabhupada," the servant said. Prabhupada elaborated, "Menial servant."

Lokanath Swami:

On the western calendar, Srila Prabhupada appeared on September 1, 1896.

The famous verse beginning krishna-varnam about Lord Caitanya was spoken in a conversation between Karabhajana Rsi and King Nimi of Mathila, the place of Sita, near Ayodhya, in response to the King's inquiry about the complexions, names, and processes to worship the Lord's avatars in the different ages.

Lord Caitanya's weapon, according to Jiva Goswami, is His great beauty. By His beautiful humility, form, and effulgence, He subdued the demoniac Mayavadi philosophers headed by Prakasananda Swami.

Krishna says in the middle of the battlefield to Arjuna, "yajnanam japa yajno 'smi," of all sacrifices, I am japa, the chanting of the holy names. Here the Bhagavatam confirms the same thing, "yajnaih sankirtana prayair yajanti hi sumedasah," intelligent people worship the Lord chiefly by the chanting of the holy names.

Lord Caitanya is the most magnanimous because he gave sankirtana and radha-krishna-prema.

Lord Caitanya's arms are always upraised. He is always ready for action.

When we chant "Hare," the name of Radha, Krishna is very pleased, and when we chant "Krishna" Radha is very pleased.

Srila Prabhupada said the perfection of human form of life is to join the dancing party of Radha and Krishna.

Lord Caitanya was very tall, the size of Lord Caitanya in the Panca-tattva Deities in Mayapur.

Mahaprabhu is the cause of our chanting and dancing.

Sacinandana Swami:

Make a conscious effort to chant for Krishna's pleasure.

Translating a German newspaper article: "For twelve long hours each day, one thousand members of Hare Krishna, which is not at all a sect but a deeply spiritual movement, are chanting to send positive vibrations all over the world."

May Krishna give you exactly the realizations you need to continue on your journey back to Godhead.

In separation we call out for Krishna and to Krishna, as one who has not attained Krishna, saying, "Please accept me."

The mind always wants to run away from the holy name, and thus we have to practice again and again to bring the mind to the chanting.

There is one Ayurvedic tonic that will bring an almost dead man back to life. To make you have to combine mercury and sulfur. You have to use a mortal and pestle. Because the mercury tends to run away from the sulfur, it takes two weeks of grinding to make it bind. We have to bind our mind to the holy name, and to do that we have to keep bringing the mind back.

People come up to me and say Maharaja, "I feel so dry within." I tell them, "It is good that you realize it. Now you can do something about it."

Locana dasa Thakura likens sankirtana-yajna to a pujari that causes that Lord to appear in a sacrificial fire. The ear is the fire pit, the tongue is the spoon, and the ghee is the holy name, and with the successful sacrifice, Krishna will be appear in the heart of the devotee chanter.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura asks the question, "Whose prayer does Krishna listen to?" It is not the one who chants "Rama" to indicate the German brand of margarine but the one who prays with connectedness to the Lord.

B. B. Govinda Swami [who left the Kirtan Mela this morning] sent me an SMS: "I am chanting and dancing like an intoxicated man in my hotel room in Moscow."

I suggest you take the kirtana home and create kirtana parties, and learn how to play the instruments. There is much instruction online. Kirtan Mela Part II can take place anywhere.

The Gauranga Band once played in Warsaw to a crowd of 7,000. The people learned a new dance step—running back and forth. They did this on the tram on the way home from the concert. The result was the trams became unbalanced, and one of them fell over on its side, and this was reported in the papers, with a picture of the overturned tram.

The influence of Kali, this age of darkness, is present everywhere, just as the air is present everywhere. Only Krishna is powerful enough to conquer over the darkness of Kali. Because the holy name is Krishna Himself, the chanting of the holy name can drive out Kali's influence.

Srila Prabhupada explains that the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is special because it is in "transcendental position beyond material contamination," being nondifferent from Krishna Himself.

By chanting the holy name you become a member of Vaikuntha, the anxiety-free world.

Members of the most prestigious yoga school, training 130,000 people a year, came to our Kirtan Mela and had a wonderful time. They said, "How can we leave this experience? This is the best."

If you chant with offenses, the chanting will turn against you.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura describes that a glimpse of the holy name rising on the horizon of the sky of our hearts destroys the darkness of ignorance and gives divine knowledge.

When the sun of the holy name prevails, all kinds of attachments are vanquished.

Without love Krishna our life is so embarrassingly materialistic.

How long can we do our spiritual practice out of duty (kathavya-buddhi)? There must be some taste.

Spiritual life can be motivated by fear, hope, duty, and attachment.

There is a story about Emerson. He was unable to get a calf to go into the barn by pushing. The one Polish maid came out with a bowl of milk and lured the calf back into the barn, saying to Emerson, "You are a big philosopher, but you do not know these simple things."

Confront the emptiness for the first time in your life. Do not run away and fill the emptiness with materialistic activities. Stay in the kirtana, and you will become sometime able to taste the nectar of the holy name.

Do not stop the Kirtan Mela now, go on singing.

[Sacinandana Swami was inspired by the success of the Kirtan Mela and wants to organize them all over the world.]

Bhakti Vijnana Goswami:

Yamaraja says in effect to his servant, "You fools. You do not know what dharma is. Dharma is directly connected to the Supreme Lord. Very few people know this dharma, but anyone who knows it becomes immortal. He explained the devotional service of the Lord is this dharma, and it begins with the chanting of the holy name of the Lord.

It is a trick of this age that we are always looking for tricks or a methodology by which we can quickly attain success.

One devotee told me I read Govinda Lilamrita. I know I should not have, but I did anyway. And my chanting became so wonderful. It was like the Lord was there with me while I chanted. And it lasted about two days.

Without a loving feeling for the Lord, no trick will work.

Jiva Goswami explains the verse where Krishna is praising the good fortune of the gopis and their special devotion by saying by performing kevala-bhakti, devotion not mixed with anything else or any false motivation, you will attain the spiritual world, but if you perform bhakti with sneha, affection, then Krishna Himself is drawn to you.

To chant sincerely means to chant with an ardent desire to attain the Lord. We do not have this desire because our life does not feel empty without the Supreme Lord. We do not feel empty without the Supreme Lord because we are filling the emptiness with insignificant happiness of the material world. We have not realized the pettiness of material pleasure so we do not look beyond it. Because you are "alright," there is no Krishna in your life.

If you have faith that by bhakti you will attain perfection and indeed anything else that is required. Then you will be able to perform bhakti with a sincere desire to serve Krishna. Faith is the complete conviction that by serving the Lord, one will attain all things.

Devotees who have a desire to serve have no desire for sadhana nor desire for perfection because that service is to satisfying.

One verse by Sanatana Goswami that says that nama-sankirtana will definitely bring prema. There is no doubt about it. You just have to have the genuine seed of faith in the devotional service of the Lord.

The devotee only wants to serve Krishna, and that service can be done in any circumstance.

You can get the pure desire to serve the Lord if you get the seed of pure faith from the heart of a pure devotee.

Gopiparanadhana Prabhu:

[Gopiparanadhana Prabhu gave morning lectures to the devotees on the Polish festival tour and answered questions in the evenings at the festivals. He shared so many nice realizations which I already posted as a tribute in honor of his unexpected disappearance for this world just less than three weeks later. Click here to read them:]

Caruhasa Prabhu [Prabhupada disciple from America visiting Trutnov, Prague, and the Czech farm]:

My first time celebrating Janmastami was like a kid going to Disneyland for the first time.

In Vrindavan on Janmastami it is wonderful because everyone is a devotee of Krishna or trying to be. Everyone is really into it.

[He asked if anyone else had been in Vrindavan and for them to describe it. One person had, and said it was like the spiritual world.]

I am really attracted to Krishna in his form as a baby because He puts Himself in a helpless position so you can care for Him. He is stealing butter and getting into trouble, like the kids around here. But this is to attract His devotee to Him. The villagers just thought he was a normal kid with a few extra powers, like a demigod. We can learn to love Him because He is very sweet, not to serve Him out of fear. He didn't have to come as a baby, but He comes to show His love.

We will never understand God. He is so wonderful His wonder is unlimited.

Q [by me]: How did you come to accept Krishna as God?

A: When I first came to the temple, and I saw the Bhagavad-gita glowing that did it for me. It was a supernatural glow. I had started to hitchhike to San Francisco temple, and as soon as I stuck up my thumb I got a ride. When I got to the temple, a ray of light was shining from the sky right on the door. Jayananda Prabhu answered the door. He turned to the devotees and said, "Jimmy Hendricks wants to join the Hare Krishnas." I looked like Jimmy Hendricks, and people thought I was his younger brother. I would carry an electric guitar and dress like him. Because I was brought up as a Roman Catholic, I wanted to be a Franciscan monk, but when I went to the Franciscan monastery they were playing pool, so I became disillusioned. But Krishna consciousness was real. There was someone at the temple who whenever they would tell stories of Krishna, the room would get brighter and brighter. When I saw Srila Prabhupada the first time, he was glowing a bit too. I felt like a little kid around him. He was like my daddy. He would give me cookies. He had me sit with him sometimes, on his cushion, practically on his lap.

I did a painting of Radha and Krishna meeting once, and I thought Srila Prabhupada would really like it, but he said it was too intimate. It was just Radha coming up to Krishna, and I did not see what was so intimate about it. Later I decided he just said that to humble me.

Once I was working on some scaffolding to paint Lord Caitanya's pastimes on the ceiling, and Srila Prabhupada spoke to me, saying, "This is wonderful." I practically fell off the scaffolding. He continued, "Lord Caitanya will bless you for this." That sort of made up for his rejection of the painting. Prabhupada was like that.

Srila Prabhupada inspired faith, so much so, I was burning up with faith. I had a lot of mystical experiences. Because of these experiences, I thought I was special. But it is not good to see yourself as special so Krishna has to make you humble in some way. When some brahmacari would ask me to clean the floor, I would resent it, but whenever I had any negative thoughts, I would literally see hell. It was not a flashback from a drug experience but a reality. I called to the devotees, and they appeared to be helpless. Then I saw Jayananda. Jayananda started to read a Krishna story to me, and the room got brighter and brighter, and the hell around me dissolved. As a result I developed faith that Krishna was God, and that if I am humble and chant Hare Krishna everything will be alright.

At an airport reception, it had been raining and when Prabhupada arrived, the rain stopped. A light from the heavens came down and was shining on Srila Prabhupada's head and body, and that light followed him down the stairs. Devotees were talking about that for weeks afterwards.

Jaya Gurudeva Prabhu [Prabhupada disciple from Prague who sings at Trutnov]:

from a Vyasa Puja day lecture:

Srila Prabhupada spoke more on Bhagavad-gita 7.1 than any other verse. The five Srimad-Bhagavatam verses quoted in that purport are also in the poem he wrote on the boat, in which he prayed to Krishna for empowerment to do his mission.

Most people at 70 are looking to rest, but Srila Prabhupada launched a prime attack on maya, material illusion. The lady who he asked for a ticket on her cargo ship to America did not permit him to go. Only by seeing his incredible determination, she relented. Only one acquaintance was there when he made his historical voyage. It took over a month to make the journey, and he had two heart attacks.

These five Srimad-Bhagavatam verses (1.2.17–21) describe Srila Prabhupada's whole mission.

In this verse, Bg. 7.1, asamsayam, without doubt is very important. Without being without doubt, one cannot keep the mind attached to Krishna.

One scholar asked Srila Prabhupada about Aurobindu. Prabhupada said because he knew Krishna he did not need to know Aurobindo and his philosophy.

In western philosophical traditions doubts are important. In Christianity, Thomas had doubts about Jesus' resurrection and Jesus asked him to touch his wounds, and he again became faithful. Doubt in the extreme case leads to skepticism and nihilism.

When I came to Krishna consciousness, by hearing from Srila Prabhupada, I came to the stage of having no doubts about Krishna. Prabhupada had no doubts about Krishna. He did not see Krishna as one of the Hindu pantheon but rather that Krishna was in the heart of everyone. Because Prabhupada saw Krishna in everyone's heart he could awaken Krishna consciousness in the hearts of others.

If we met an extraordinary person, we would share knowledge of that person with others. And so it is with Srila Prabhuapda.

By the grace of Srila Prabhupada, we do not have doubts about Krishna.

When we are in a dangerous situation, we see how the devotees take shelter of Krishna. One devotee who was driving 160 mph in the fog and a truck hit him. He cried out Krishna, Krishna. He died, but he remembered Krishna at the end.

We have doubts about the organization or the character of someone in the organization.

I saw someone who, in the 1990s, had an interest in Krishna but forgot about it for twenty years. He is now again interested.

Krishna consciousness makes us peaceful because we have no doubts. Often people take books from the sankirtana devotees because their conviction inspires them.

The pure devotee can give Krishna like one gives a piece of property. We do not get Krishna by knowledge or philosophy, but the pure devotee spiritual master gives Krishna.

Everyone who could see Srila Prabhupada could understand he was very wealthy like that [being someone who could give Krishna] although he was poor.

Some think we have to do the bhajana in such a way as to attract the public, but everyone else is acting in that consciousness of trying to attract others. In reality, when people chant with devotion to Krishna, people can see there is a difference and then they are attracted.

Srila Prabhupada considered he was successful by the grace of his spiritual master, because he endeavored to please him.

from his Vyasa Puja offering:

Srila Prabhupada had a twist on Christians. They always asked what we do for the poor. Prabhupada would often counter with the argument that welfare work was a way of becoming popular. He stressed that animals are also our brothers and sisters, and we should not kill them.

In the conversation between Srila Prabhupada and Cardinal Danilou, the cardinal had a glass of wine in his hand, as he tried to convince Prabhupada that animals have no souls. Prabhupada was concerned to see the ignorance that a cardinal could not understand that he animals have souls. Danilou said, "The cow has no soul [Jaya Gurudeva said it with a perfect French accent, making everyone laugh.]" I saw Prabhupada's expression and felt that Prabhupada would strike him. This point that animals have souls is an important part of our philosophy that Prabhupada would stress. [Caruhasa Prabhu stressed that every living creature has a soul and there are all as dear to Krishna as we are. After the meeting with the cardinal, devotees suggested they arrange a meeting with the pope, and Srila Prabhupada, disgusted by the ignorance of the cardinal, said, "That will not be necessary."]

Some people challenged, "Do you believe in the second coming of Jesus? Srila Prabhupada said, "Of course, we will be very happy if he comes."

One nun Srila Prabhupada talked with said she found so much inspiration for her devotion to Christ in the devotees' association.

Everyone felt satisfied in Srila Prabhupada's presence.

One professor doubted the need for the four regulative principles [no meat eating, no intoxication, no gambling, and no illicit sex], but Srila Prabhupada presented the case so expertly he was convinced. Then he inquired about love of God, and Srila Prabhupada satisfied him by his expert presentation.

Nila Madhava Prabhu [a devotee from 1986, during communist times]:

I was a member of the underground during the communist times, fighting for freedom for the people, and for me, the underground was a means of self-realization, and I became like a warrior in the underground.

But in reality, I saw that freedom led to getting drunk, getting stoned, and having sex with the nearest mate. But after that, still I was looking for a real cause.

I went to a weekend underground meeting in 1987, and everyone was chanting Hare Krishna without taking drugs and alcohol, and people were blissful afterward, not suffering from a hangover. I decided that those people could help me move in a better direction, and I decided to continue in their association, although regular meetings were not possible in those days. People had to get on wait lists to get Srila Prabhupada's books. I was happy when Bhagavad-gita and Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita finally arrived.

One time got the association of senior devotees (B. B. Govinda Swami and Indradyumna Swami, I think it was), and we chanted and took prasadam exclusively for three days straight.

Bhaktivaibhava Swami arrived at our new center purchased in 1988 on Christmas, and for us, it was like for Srila Prabhupada or Krishna arriving. He was a very humble, unpretentious personality, but he lead us to Krishna consciousness. We worked for three days straight to get the house ready, doing kirtana with banging pots to stay awake.

I am convinced that the success of the revolution against communism was meant to facilitate the spreading of Krishna consciousness.

The present Ratha-yatra in Prague gets 6,000 to 7,000 attendees including 200 devotees. This year a total of 260 kilograms of prasadam was distributed during the parade and 211 books, and 750 plates of prasadam afterwards. The public and the city council appreciated it.

Twenty-two devotees Czech devotees went out distributing books for a week before Janmastami distributing 49 maha-big books, 1049 big books, 5 medium, 263 small books, and 288 magazines, and 2,195 pieces of prasadam.

Madhava Prabhu:

Aindra Prabhu always used to tell us to cry out to the Lord for His mercy like a child crying for his mother. And if you cannot cry like that, then cry out to the Lord for the ability to cry like that.

Haridasa Thakura said, "My body may be cut to pieces, but I will not stop chanting the holy names."


satam prasangan mama virya-samvido

bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah

taj-josanad asv apavarga-vartmani

sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati

"In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge a person gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.25)

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Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: A scientist defines science

I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously

- Erwin Schrödinger (Nobel Laureate in Physics - one of the fathers of Quantum Mechanics)

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Spiritual Scientist: SING your way to happiness

Question: Why is spiritual happiness considered superior to material happiness?

Answer: Due to four reasons represented by the acronym SING (Special, Increasing, Non-dependent, Good).

Let's discuss them one-by-one:

S: Special: All living beings – human and subhuman – seek pleasure through the basic bodily activities of food, sleep, sex and show of strength. We humans alone have the special privilege of access to spiritual happiness: only we humans have the developed consciousness to connect our spiritual essence – the soul – with our spiritual source – God.  Sadly, most humans neglect this special privilege and chase after the ordinary pleasures that are available to the animals. Those few courageous humans who have the guts to stand out from the crowd and cash in on their spiritual privilege become truly special.

I: Increasing: The more we relish spiritual happiness, the more our devotional connection with God, who is the source of all happiness, strengthens, and consequently the more our spiritual happiness increases. This increasing nature of spiritual happiness is a joyful contrast to the decreasing nature of all material happiness. The more a person indulges in any form of material happiness, say sex, the more the bodily capacity to enjoy decreases, just as a water-filled sponge losing its water-emitting capacity with every squeeze. Further, as a materialistic person ages, the capacity for bodily enjoyment often becomes zero due to the onset of impotency. Again, in joyful contrast, as a spiritualist ages, the distractions caused by material temptations decline due to the body's decreased capacity for indulgence and so the capacity to absorb the mind in – and thereby relish – spiritual happiness increases.

N: Non-dependent: All material pleasures depend on something external to us – be it a TV set or a bank balance or a good-looking partner. As these external factors are not in our control, the hopes for material happiness make us helplessly and, at times, pathetically dependent on these externals. Spiritual happiness depends only on God, who is always present within our hearts, and on our capacity to connect with him, which does necessarily depend on any externals. Thus material enjoyment makes us slave to our circumstances, whereas spiritual happiness makes us free from our externals.

This article appeared in the Sakaal Times dt. 12 Oct'11

G: Good (for yourself and everyone else): As material resources are scarce, the more we use these resources for our material enjoyment, the more we deprive others of their quota of material enjoyment. But when we seek spiritual happiness by connecting with God, we don't deplete anyone else's quota of happiness, because God, the source of spiritual happiness, is unlimited. Even better, we become examples and instruments for others to similarly connect with God and thus, by our spiritual happiness, we help others increase their happiness too.

Why not SING our way to happiness?

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ISKCON Madhava's Band Brings Krishna Rock to India's Got Talent

By Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News on 14 Oct 2011

This summer, when 35 million people tuned in to India's Got Talent—which features Bollywood star judges and is hailed as Asia's biggest talent show—they probably didn't expect to see a group of devotees in dhotis and saris, chanting Hare Krishna.

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ISKCON Get Spoiled and Be Quick to Blame

By Keshava Krishna Das for ISKCON News on 14 Oct 2011

Frustration and dependence, or anger and attachment are twin qualities that symptomize much of the protests we hear or read about around the world. The profusion of anger is often enhanced with aids like mobile phones, in that they help to coordinate with sophistication and numbers.

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1967 October 14: "I am very sorry he is exploiting his position. He has no right to dictate as he is without my sanction. He has cut all link with me, therefore any instruction given by him is unauthorized & should at once be rejected."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1967 October 14: "Please therefore stop Kirtanananda from making his mental concoctions. Do not be misled by him. This is very much disturbing to me & has caused me much pain. He should not be allowed to indulge in such nonsensical activities."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1968 October 14: "When a devotee is seriously prepared to serve Krishna, the Lord gives him both intelligence and opportunity. Please therefore utilize the opportunity of service diligently and it will be a great spiritual achievement for you and a great service to your country."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 October 14: "I consider Sivananda as one of my foremost disciples. I always remember his smiling face and when I was in Hamburg he was my constant companion and my personal attendant also. So I cannot forget Sivananda's good behavior and gentle nature."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 October 14: "I have noted your several complaints against the devotees but it would be better for you to set the example by your personal behavior and try to reform the others not by criticism but by your friendly behavior."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 October 14: "Young boys and girls sometimes commit mistakes due to age but rejection of illicit sex life is our first motto. So stop immediately all this nonsense and remain fixed up in your good character so that there may not be any more accusations against you."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 October 14: "Regarding children, when you are married you will have children undoubtedly, but you should wait for the opportune moment when Krishna will bestow upon you all good fortune. Our line of action is enthusiasm and patience."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 October 14: "For transcendental writing one must be an authorized Vaisnava and should write to purify oneself, not for credit. It may or may not be published, but one who is actually sincere in writing, all his ambitions will be fulfilled."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

Email to a friend End of an Era at New Vrindaban's Palace Rose Garden

New Vrindaban Communications: On September 28, New Vrindaban held a retirement party for Betty Hickey who, since 1985, has cultivated the Palace Rose Garden. The garden has over one hundred varieties of roses and over 850 rose plants, and attracts thousands of pilgrims and visitors every year

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