ISKCON Derire Tree's Posts (12961)

Perhaps one of the more endearing images in the Bhagavad-gita is Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, driving the chariot of His friend, the warrior Arjuna. When we accept the notion of God as a person then we can begin to ask, What does he do? How does he interact with us, and especially how does he interact with his pure devotees, such as Arjuna? Krishna chooses to be the chariot driver of Arjuna in the Battle of Kurukshetra where the Bhagavad-gita was spoken.

This role of charioteer gives us much insight into Krishna as a person. He enjoys serving those he loves, loves to sometimes lead from behind, loves to help his devotees succeed, loves to interact and be a part of making the world a better place.

For some, understanding God in such a personal way can be a bit unnerving. He acts too much like us, we might think, too ordinary. While there is a hint of truth and caution in that, we also understand that beyond the awe and reverence we have for the magnificence of the creator and the creation, there is a very sweet and personal relationship. This close and personal relationship with Krishna is the promise of bhakti – the love between God and us, and us and God.

Srila Prabhupada explains it well in his commentary on the Gita: “Although Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, out of His causeless mercy He was engaged in the service of His friend. He never fails in His affection for His devotees, and thus He is addressed herein as infallible. As charioteer, He had to carry out the orders of Arjuna, and since He did not hesitate to do so, He is addressed as infallible. Although He had accepted the position of a charioteer for His devotee, His supreme position was not challenged. In all circumstances, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hrishikesh, the Lord of the total senses. The relationship between the Lord and His servitor is very sweet and transcendental. The servitor is always ready to render service to the Lord, and, similarly, the Lord is always seeking an opportunity to render some service to the devotee. He takes greater pleasure in His pure devotee’s assuming the advantageous position of ordering Him than He does in being the giver of orders. Since He is master, everyone is under His orders, and no one is above Him to order Him. But when He finds that a pure devotee is ordering Him, He obtains transcendental pleasure, although He is the infallible master in all circumstances.” Bg 1.21-22

Throughout the Gita, Krishna deals with Arjuna with much affection – first as a friend and then as a teacher. Besides that, as chariot driver, Arjuna naturally trusts and depends on Him. A good chariot driver sees things others may not, can prompt the right moves, and be there to encourage and support as the warrior makes difficult fighting decisions.

The Gita lets us observe the relationship between Krishna and Arjuna and hear their conversation. It’s a beautiful thing and at the end when Krishna tells Arjuna ‘deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do’ we feel He is telling us that too. And we feel ready to take on our own life – more informed, more awake, more detached, and filled with more love.


Read more…

Glories of Yamuna by Giriraj dasa

Let us hear the glories of Yamuna, how dear she is to the devotees of Krishna and what amazing role she plays in Krishna’s Vraja pastimes. Simply hearing her glories can ignite the spark of love for Krishna in our barren hearts.

Yamuna’s Beauty

The Yamuna river passes through that forest and flows near Nandisvara Hill. It winds through Vraja in a very crooked course, searching for Sri Krsna, the moon of Vraja.

The Yamuna river is like a blue lotus flower garland, a sapphire necklace, or a blue sash worn by the goddess of Vrndavana.

(Sri Vrjaja Riti Cintamani, chapter 2, verse 33 & 40 )

Yamuna’s journey

Passing the seven seas and seven planetary systems, and breaking through the sevenfold covering of the universe, the Yamuna enters the spiritual Goloka planet and wanders here and there to serve Vrndavana by carrying water.

Many greedy men will wait at a rich man’s doorstep, hoping to meet him and benefit hundreds of thousands of times over. In the same way the Yamuna flows in a very winding course, greedy to get some of the wealth of Vrindavan forest.

(Sri Vrjaja Riti Cintamani, chapter 2, verse 41-42 )

Her pastimes with Krishna

The dark nectar current of the Yamuna picks up Lord Krsna and plunges Him and His gopi friends in the dark nectar current of transcendental amorous pastimes.

The dark nectar current of the Yamuna picks up Lord Krsna and plunges Him and His gopi friends in the dark nectar current of transcendental amorous pastimes.

Many charming aquatic creatures, plunged in the nectar of love for Krsna, again and again push their heads above the Yamuna’s waters, hoping for a glimpse of Lord Syama.

On the Yamuna s beautiful shores are jewel staircases, which are like the teeth of the goddess of beauty, and which remind one of Sri Krsna.

When they drink the sound of Krsna’s flute, these two jewel staircases melt with love, and the river flowing between them becomes solid and stunned with ecstasy.

In the moonlight the Yamuna’s beaches appear to be made of camphor-sand. Lord Krsna enjoyed His rasa-lila on these beaches, with each place bearing the name of a particular pastime.

(Sri Vrjaja Riti Cintamani, chapter 2, verse 43-47 )

The benediction

They who offer respectful obeisances to her or bathe in her waters, the Yamuna, which is like a moat of black mascara encircling Vrndavana, transforms into pure devotees carrying Lord Krsna in their hearts.

(Sri Vrjaja Riti Cintamani, chapter 2, verse 39 )

There are many ways we can offer our respectful obeisances to Yamuna, a good way is to pray to her. One prayer I can share is Yamunastakam, written by Srila Rupa Goswami. Coming from the heart of Srila Rupa Goswami we can understand its potency. And he requests her to flood that person with pure devotional service who recites these eight prayers with a cheerful heart.

Sri Sri Yamunastakam

bhratur antakasya pattane ’bhipatti-harini
preksayati-papino ’pi papa-sindhu-tarini
nira-madhuribhir apy asesa-citta-bandhini
mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“May Yamunadevi, the daughter of Suryadeva, always purify me. She saves all, who touch her, from going to the realm of her brother Yamaraja, and enables even greatly wicked persons, who see her, to cross the ocean of their sinful deeds. Her attractive water charms the hearts of everyone.”

mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Yamunadevi adorns Indra’s great Khandava forest with her enchanting current, and upon her blooming lotus flowers, various birds are always dancing. Simply desiring to bath in her pleasant, crystalline waters frees one from even the greatest of sins. May Yamunadevi, the daughter of Suryadeva, always purify me.”

mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Sprinkling a single drop of her water upon oneself destroys the reaction of most heinous crimes. She increases the flow of confidential devotional service (raganuga-bhakti) for Nandanandana within one’s heart and blesses everyone who simply desires to reside on her banks. May Yamunadevi, the daughter of Suryadeva, always purify me.”

kanti-kandalibhir indranila-vrinda-nindini
mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Yamunadevi is so powerful, that although she flows through the seven oceans which surround the earth’s seven islands, she never merges with them. Being witness to many of Sri Mukunda’s wonderful pastimes, she manifests these pastimes in the hearts of those who take shelter of her. Her dark, shimmering beauty defeats the splendour of precious blue sapphires. May Yamunadevi, the daughter of Suryadeva, always purify me.”

mathurena mandalena carunabhimandita
prema-naddha-vaisnavadhva-vardhanaya pandita
mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Ornamented with the supremely enchanting land of Mathura-mandala, Yamunadevi skillfully inspires love of Godhead (prema) in the hearts of the Vaisnavas who bath in her. With playful waves, which are like her moving arms, she worships Padmanabha Sri Krishna’s lotus feet. May Yamunadevi, the daughter of Suryadeva, always purify me.”

mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Yamunadevi’s charming banks are further beautified by the fragrance from the flowers of kadamba trees and by loving cows. She is especially delighted when Nandalala’s devotees assemble on her banks. May Yamunadevi, the daughter of Suryadeva, always purify me.”

mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Filled with the warbling of thousands of joyful swans, Yamunadevi is worshipable to demigods, Siddhas, Kinnaras and humans whose hearts are dedicated to the service of Sri Hari. Anyone who is touched by her gentle breezes is freed from the cycle of birth and death. May Yamunadevi, the daughter of Suryadeva, always purify me.”

kirtitapi durmadoru-papa-marma-tapini
mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Yamunadevi flows through the three worlds known as Bhuh, Bhuvah and Svah and distributes her loving emotions. Singing her glories burns even the greatest sins to ashes. She has become fragrant by the scented ointments from the body of King Nanda’s son Sri Krishna, who enjoys to play in her waters. May Yamunadevi, the daughter of Suryadeva, always purify me.”

tusta-buddhir astakena nirmalormi-cestitam
tvam anena bhanu-putri sarva-deva-vestitam
yah staviti vardhayasva sarva-papa-mocane
bhakti-puram asya devi pundarika-locane

“O Suryaputri! Devi! O Yamuna, whose waves are very purifying and who is surrounded by all the demigods! For those who recite with cheerful heart this prayers, please increase their bhakti for lotus-eyed Sri Krishna, who liberates all persons from their sins.”

( Srila Rupa Goswami, Stava-mala)


Yamunastakam Sung by HG Jai Sachinanadana Prabhu  


All glories to Yamuna devi.

All glories to Sri Vrindavan dhama

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.


Read more…

The History of Krishna Lunch



Gargamuni Swami, a young man in his early twenties was alone, a traveling mendicant. He had recently arrived in Gainesville from Miami where he had been teaching with three other sannyasis. They had decided to go separate ways, he making his way up to Gainesville.

Far from being cosmopolitan like his hometown of New York, Gainesville was a small college town, with only two main streets and a paltry excuse for a downtown. However, in the last couple of years it had become a bastion of progressive thought centered around the university, its hub being the Plaza of the Americas. People would gather there to convey their ideas and as of late, many political rallies were being held protesting America’s participation in the Vietnam War and the recent Kent State shootings.

One of the local leaders of the anti-war movement, David Liberman, was becoming frustrated with its efforts. He had long ago become disillusioned with the establishment but now could see the hypocrisy of those aiming to bring it down. He, along with a few friends, had begun gravitating towards another direction, reading Eastern philosophy and discussing amongst themselves. Then one day a friend told him that there was a swami in the Plaza. “What do you mean a swami in the Plaza?,” he asked incredulously. He proceeded to go there and to his amazement saw a bald-headed man in orange robes chanting, eyes closed intently with a crowd gathered around.

Gradually, the swami brought the chanting to a close and then reached for his bag, reverentially lifting out a large brick-colored book. Pointing to the research library just to his left he called out, “There are so many books in that building. But not one of them gives the Absolute Truth. It’s all just mental speculation and relative knowledge. But in this book,” he said as he displayed it for all to see, “the Absolute Truth is its sole content.”


David was impressed and that night told his girlfriend Adrienne the news, who astonishingly replied that she had seen him that very day as well. He told other friends including Paul, a seeker in his own right who had been reading an impersonal version of Bhagavad-gita. Paul went with them the next day, bringing along his edition of the Gita, and argued with the swami “in a very gentle way.” He was happily defeated and thus joined the group of students who were now coming.

During the day Gargamuni Swami would chant, talk for some time, and distribute whatever prasadam he had, be it fruit, sweets, or on a special day a little subji with chapatis. At night he would stay with whoever offered him a place in exchange for a feast he’d cook for them.

David: Paul and I would go around and try to find Gargamuni every night. We didn’t know where he was staying. We’d see him in the Plaza everyday and then go try to track him down at night. Sometimes we’d find him in an attic somewhere and sometimes he’d be in a utility room next to the hot water heater. Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore. I said, “Okay, why don’t you just come stay with me.” I felt sorry for him…and he agreed.

Now Gargamuni Swami had a fixed residence in David and Adrienne’s small duplex, located in the “student ghetto”, just a few blocks away from campus and could regularly invite people over for morning and evening programs. The first thing he did was move all of the furniture from the living room out into the backyard (to make room for guests). Then, after cleaning thoroughly, he decorated the place with Indian madrases reserving one in particular to use as an altar, placing pictures of Srila Prabhupada and Sri Pancatattva on an overturned trunk. It was all very simple yet very devotional and soon became known as the Krishna House.

They first began holding Bhagavad-gita classes at the Catholic Student Center down the street but it wasn’t until they started the daily prasadam program that things really exploded.

David: It was Gargamuni’s idea [to do the prasadam program]. He felt that the best way to attract students was to have a program every day. It was some chanting and then a brief lecture and then prasadam. [Gargamuni] learned how to cook from Prabhupada and he taught all of us how to cook… When he would chaunce the dahl the aroma would go through the entire neighborhood and I remember coming back from class and I’d just see people running, coming out of their houses just running to the Krishna House.


People were packed into the living room, spilling out into the front lawn and even into the street just to taste this magnificent prasadam. As they would come, Gargamuni and crew would be making hot buttered chapatis and serving them to the many guests along with rice, subji and the famous dahl. In this way, some fifty people a day would come for lunch, another fifty for dinner, and even twenty for breakfast!

Gradually a group of regulars started forming, mostly consisting of David and Adrienne’s friends but also many newcomers. They would come for the programs and then some would spend the night—in sleeping bags in the living room or tents in the backyard, rising early the next morning to chant some more. It was a familial atmosphere with everyone being allowed to participate in everything. Gargamuni Swami used to say, “If you only knew what it was like in a real temple.” But they didn’t know, nor did they care as they took great pleasure in helping shop for the bhoga, cooking or making the offerings.

Maintaining the program was not easy. Doing all of these tasks required immense amounts of time and energy, not to speak of money. But somehow the money and help came and by Krishna’s mercy the program continued and many sincere souls came in contact with the Lord.

Then one day that spring Gargamuni Swami received a letter from Srila Prabhupada requesting him to go preach in East Pakistan (Bangladesh). He would have to leave his fledgling group but knew they were sincere and Krishna would take care of them.

While making preparations to leave, Paul showed up at Gargamuni’s door and asked if he could go with him. He had had enough of college (although he only had a few weeks left before graduating) and took this as his opportunity to make his break.

Joe: A friend of mine, Paul, used to come over to my apartment and show me these magazines he’d gotten from the devotees and try to get me to read them. Another friend, Allen, was going [to the Krishna House] every night for dinner and he used to try to get me to go over. I was a little distracted at the time but one day Paul came and unloaded all of his worldly possessions onto my front lawn. He had his head shaved and he said he was leaving for Bangladesh with a swami. I was shocked and began to think there must be something to this chanting of Hare Krishna so I began to go over to the apartment myself.

With Gargamuni Swami gone, David was put in charge. Although Gargamuni’s newly arrived assistant, Bill, had stayed to help, it was still a difficult adjustment. First, they were evicted from the house. David and Adrienne had recently gotten married so with their wedding money they rented a house near downtown. But this made things worse as it was farther from campus and less students were coming. David ventured into the incense business to support the temple and had to go on week-long trips to cities around Florida. Adrienne, feeling lonely and sick, decided to go back to her parents in Miami. At this point David decided to call Satsvarupa das, his GBC representative, requesting help. Satsvarupa assured him he would send someone immediately.

Adrienne: David eventually came down to get me but I was apprehensive about returning to a lonely situation. He promised me it would be different, that a new couple was coming from Boston and I would feel different about everything. So I was convinced. When I returned I was introduced to Hridayananda das and his wife, Ananga Manjari dasi. She was so sweet, she took me into her room and sang songs by Bhaktivinode Thakur for me. She was so personal and kind. I felt happy to be there with the devotees again.

There was something very magical when I first went to Gainesville,” recalls Hridayananda Goswami, looking back 46 years later. “Something very magical about it, effulgent and blissful; it was just enchanted.” It was May of 1971. He, and his then wife Ananga Manjari devi dasi, had been called by their GBC, Satsvarupa das, to take charge of the newly formed center, after its founder Gargamuni Swami had left for Pakistan.

They arrived at the two-story house near downtown and were greeted by the devotees living there, who numbered four at the time—Bhakta Dave (Amarendra) and his wife Adrienne (Gayatri), Bill (Radhavallabha), and Richard (Sridhara)—all very young and inexperienced, but sincere nonetheless.

Hridayananda and his wife had to fix a few things up beginning with the altar, which “consisted of a little picture of Krishna posted on an old radiator heater.” They then began a “maha-cleanup” of the kitchen, with the idea that “this is Prabhupada’s temple so it has to be clean.” Hridayananda remembers his feelings at the time:

It was all just amazing. Here we were; we had this preaching center to take care of. I remember looking at a picture of Krishna …[and it] was definitely a window to the spiritual world. It was all just glowing and [we were] feeling very enthusiastic.


From the very beginning, the center’s focus was on prasadam distribution. Homeless Gargamuni Swami had passed out whatever sweets, fruits or vegetables he could beg the night before. Then it had become a full-blown program at David and Adrienne’s house as 50—100 students would come to lunch or dinner daily. Now (since Gargamuni’s departure), it was practically the sole program. Recalls Hridayananda Goswami:

It was a real hangout for people because the food was great and the emphasis was on prasadam. It was a very informal atmosphere. One of the first things the devotees cautioned me was, “Don’t give long lectures.”

In fact, the students felt so comfortable there that sometimes men would “pick-up” women or even people would sell drugs to each other. In response, Hridayananda began giving strong lectures. “Not hogs, dogs, camels, and asses [type lectures],” he explains, referring to a famous Srimad-Bhagavatam verse, “but they were serious lectures.”

Besides the lunch and dinner programs, Hridayananda instituted morning classes on every one of Srila Prabhupada’s books. Whenever a new book would come out, he would add a new class. Remembers Gadi das:

Hridayananda was wonderful, and he was such a philosophical genius. He was so centered on Prabhupada’s books and learning the books and preaching that we just all got infected with it. We all became infected with this desire to learn and become educated in Krishna consciousness.

In addition, they began doing daily harinama sankirtana processions through downtown, and weekend trips to cities like Jacksonville and Orlando. But prasadam was still the main attraction. Many people would come for the standard fare of rice, dahl, and chapatis at lunch or Adrienne’s alluring banana bread with “simply wonderful” topping in the evening. One particular boy named Gary would come every day and eat, and eat, and eat. When devotees would preach to him he would nod affirmatively, mouth full, all the while concentrating on his next bite. Somehow, the power of prasadam took its course and he soon moved into the temple and was later initiated as Dharma das.

This emphasis on prasadam distribution and the overall preaching in Gainesville was confirmed and encouraged when the devotees received their first letter from Srila Prabhupada since Hridayananda’s arrival, dated June 29, 1971, wherein he said:

I am so glad to learn that Hridayananda Prabhu has joined you in Gainesville and that you have got a nice place also. Now my desire will be fulfilled. I have wanted a center in Florida for a very long time. Two years ago I tried to open a center there with the help of one local gentleman but it was not very successful … So do something wonderful there in Gainesville. Wonderful means simply you chant loudly and distribute prasadam. That is not very difficult. It is very easy. Simply if you do it enthusiastically and sincerely, then success will be there.

Three other boys, Allen Attias, Joe Magyer and Bruce Jacobs, were all regularly coming as well. They were part of the group of friends in which David, Adrienne and Paul (Pusta Krishna das) had come. Although very interested, no matter how hard they tried, they could not surrender. For them, Gainesville was too familiar; they knew too many people and “were just too attached to sense gratification.” So they came up with a plan to pile in Joe’s Volkswagen van and head north. Perhaps there they could find a temple in which they could surrender, they thought. They traveled to temples in Baltimore, New York and eventually Boston and although they met many nice devotees along the way, they still could not surrender. Finally, they decided that Krishna consciousness just wasn’t for them so they cut loose completely. When they returned to Gainesville they were so embarrassed that they avoided the devotees all together, going so far as to cross to the other side of the street if they saw one coming. That is until that fateful day when they were trapped …

Towards the end of June some very interesting news came out from Prabhupada’s secretary. Prabhupada had some time to spare in between his trip from New York to London and if any temple could arrange a nice lecture program and pay his travel expenses plus one thousand dollars he would go there. Hearing the news, the Gainesville devotees made all efforts to arrange a program at the university. But how to get the money? Being a former student leader and fraternity member, David had some connections with many of the students in high positions. After going through much bureaucracy and red tape, he went before the final committee meeting. He pleaded his case calmly but when he saw that they would not do it he exclaimed, “You’re paying all of these meat-eating, karmi demons to come to campus and here’s a pure devotee of God who’s come to save the world, and you don’t have any money for him?!!” Disgusted and angry, he stormed out of the building, slamming the door as he left.

Back at the temple the other devotees tried to comfort him. Hridayananda quoted a verse on how not to be attached, but young David could not be assuaged. He concluded finally that it was not meant to be. Then, about a couple of weeks later while in the middle of a kirtana the phone rang. David went to pick it up and on the other end was the person in charge of the committee. She said that they had changed their minds and had decided to give them the money. Amarendra remembers:

I went into the temple room and stopped the kirtan and said [to Hridayananda], “They’re going to give Prabhupada the money!” I remember the expression on his face. His eyes got real big and his jaw dropped open. And everything became a mad scramble for the next two weeks.

Mad scramble indeed as the temple needed to be cleaned, painted and decorated. Adrienne was asked to paint a picture of the Panca-tattva for the altar. They didn’t even have a vyasasana for Prabhupada to sit on. But Prabhupada was coming! The little town of Gainesville, Florida would be blessed with the lotus feet of the pure devotee! The date was set for Thursday, July 29th. That gave the devotees exactly two weeks to prepare. And for that time everyone was surcharged with Prabhupada’s impending presence.

Hridayananda made the flyers and was going around town putting them up when he noticed the three boys Joe, Bruce and Allen coming his way. They tried to look the other way, as if they didn’t see him, but it was too late. After a brief moment of awkwardness and their feeble attempt of explaining themselves, Hridayananda told them that Prabhupada was coming in one week. And it hit like a bombshell. Gadi das (Joe) remembers:

When we heard that, it was like D-Day; it was like this is the day to make-it-or-break-it, this is the day of reckoning. Because if we can’t do it when Prabhupada is here, we’ll never be able to do it.

Bruce was the first. He left for the temple that next day leaving Allen and Joe wondering what to do now. “We’re not ready,” they reasoned. “We’re just not ready.”

“I gotta take one more trip!” Allen exclaimed. “Are you with me?” “I’m not doin’ nothin’. Nothin’!” Joe replied. “I gotta think this out.”

That evening, at their rented house in the country, Joe and Allen were sitting on the porch when all of a sudden Allen, in the midst of his psychedelic hallucination, ran inside and returned with all of the Krishna conscious books they owned. He proceeded to place them on the hood of their car and began staring intently. Gadi:

So he’s staring at them and then he says, “Look! They’re glowing, they’re glowing! Look at the sky!” And it was. Colors were starting to appear. It was like a sign … And he says, “I’m surrendering! That’s it!” He throws all the books in the car and drives off, leaving me standing there. He goes flying into Gainesville, drives to the temple, runs and thrusts himself into the temple room paying dandavats. He’s crying, “I surrender, I surrender!” And Amarendra was there. “What’s wrong with you?”… So he kind of moved in and then I said, “I might as well move in too, I guess.” I was the only one left.

Now with the three new bhaktas and devotees from surrounding temples like Miami and Tallahassee converging on Gainesville, the temple was alive with activity. Joe (who had some carpentry skills) offered to help David build the vyasasana which turned out to be “as strong as a tank.” The devotees made midnight rendezvous on places such as the Fire Department and City Hall for flower “donations”. There was a special feeling in the air. Gadi explains:

So we all got engaged in this wonderful activity of preparing for Prabhupada to come. We had one week left. Aja (Allen) shaved up. I cut my hair, then shaved up two days before Prabhupada came. It was just so overwhelming; it was wonderful. And I never felt such peace. I remember the feeling of tranquility and rest. Like you’re home … It was very emotional realizing that just that little act of surrender creates such peace and such a harmony in your heart.

While eagerly mopping the temple room floor, David Liberman had hardly pondered the implications of what was soon to happen. His spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, founder of a worldwide religious movement, pure devotee and emissary from the spiritual world was coming to visit Gainesville. Gainesville of all places! But David was too busy to think about this. He had floors to wash, programs to arrange, a vyasasana to build. After all, it had been only two weeks since the university had called agreeing to pay the thousand dollars for Prabhupada to speak on campus. Since then it had been a mad rush to arrange everything so Prabhupada’s one day stay would be a grand success. Just then the kirtana outside began to grow louder. Devotees, who had gathered from such places as Miami, Tallahassee and New Orleans, began running about excitedly. “He must be here!” David thought as he frantically tried to clean the last few feet of floor. As he went to put the bucket and mop away, the door drew open and in walked His Divine Grace.

Srila Prabhupada entered the house covered in flower petals, which the devotees had sprinkled from the top floor, and made his way to the small altar of Sri Panca-tattva. He offered full dandavats as if he were in the most sacred of holy places charming all of the devotees and guests present and then retired to the room that had been prepared for him. It had been a long trip. From New York he flew to Atlanta where he did a lively program at the airport. From there he flew to Jacksonville (since Gainesville at that time did not have access to commercial flights) where he was received by Gainesville temple president Hridayananda das, and a few other devotees. The first thing he said to them was, “Which way?” just like a “transcendental fighter, asking to be pointed toward the battle.” On the hour and a half drive to Gainesville, Prabhupada didn’t say much. Mostly he stared out the window, studying the landscape and local farming. After a short rest he returned to the temple sitting on the large blue velvet vyasasana which, under David’s direction, Joe and Ananga Manjari had labored so hard to make. (In fact, it was only finished some fifteen minutes before he arrived!) At that point he proceeded to give his arrival address beginning with this now most famous quote:


“We see you chanting the maha-mantra. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu predicted that in every village, town and country on the surface of the globe this sankirtana movement will be spreading. So we are very much obliged to you that in this remote place, which is thousands and thousands of miles away from Lord Chaitanya’s birthplace, Navadvipa; you are carrying out, to fulfill His desire, chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.”

Prabhupada’s calling Gainesville “this remote place” can be interpreted in different ways. First of all, from his vantage point it was remote. After all, usually he would just fly directly to the city he wanted to go to. But in this case he had to fly from New York to Jacksonville, with a two-hour layover in Atlanta, and then the long drive from Jacksonville to Gainesville along a country road with not much in sight. But from another view point, when one has Navadvipa, the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya and the sankirtana movement, as the center, all of these Western cities be they Gainesville, New York or L.A. were far, far remote.

He continued by explaining how in giving Krishna “as He is” people are responding. “For thousands of years Bhagavad-gita was being read in foreign countries by big, big scholars, philosophers, but there was not even a single devotee of Krishna. But we have started this movement, not even five years old, we have got sixty branches, and there are thousands and thousands of devotees.” The secret, he said, was “we have not cheated people; we have not adulterated.” He went on to extol the glories of the Krishna consciousness movement and gave everyone the instruction: “Try to understand this philosophy. Don’t be misled. It is not a sectarian religion. It is a fact.”

When the time for questions arrived, a lady reporter from the local newspaper raised her hand.
Reporter: “It seems that most of the devotees are young people, persons under thirty, under twenty-five. Why is this so? Why hasn’t the movement spread? Is this a deliberate thing, or why do you feel it hasn’t spread to parents or to older people?”
Prabhupada: “Why the young people go to university?” he shot back.
Reporter: “I’m sorry?”
Prabhupada: “Why in the university you’ll find all the students are young boys and girls? Why?” (At this point, remembers Hridayananda Goswami, she was so startled by Prabhupada’s response that she literally dropped her pencil.)
Reporter: “That’s the age of education.”
Prabhupada: “That’s the age of Krishna consciousness (laughter). Old fools, they cannot change their opinion (laughter).”
Everyone present was awed by how deftly Prabhupada was able to answer these questions. Amarendra remembers his feelings at the time:

Prabhupada was so bold in his preaching. He never minced words. I was completely shocked, and ecstatic. I didn’t think it was inappropriate. It was just ecstatic because all these old people had been kicking us out from one temple after another; we’d been bounced around from one end of the city to the other. And that’s the first thing Prabhupada said was, “It’s too late for these old fools,” and everybody laughed.

After the address, Prabhupada spoke in his room with some guests, took lunch, and then prepared for the lecture for which he had come. This was to be given at the University of Florida’s Plaza of the Americas, a broad expanse of grasses and Magnolia trees, known as a great “hang-out” place to students and the center for speech and protest on the campus. The devotees had arranged for a platform to be set up where they had placed Prabhupada’s vyasasana, a microphone and loud speakers. It was the afternoon and summer rain clouds loomed ominously overhead. Seeing this, Ananga Manjari alerted Hridayananda to find an umbrella for Prabhupada. He asked a number of people present and was able to obtain one, and when a slight drizzle began he went on the stage with Prabhupada. “So I stood right next to Prabhupada,” Hridayananda Goswami recalls, “and held the umbrella. And even though it stopped raining, I just stayed there. I thought it was such an incredible opportunity to be near Prabhupada. So I just stood near him for the whole lecture.”

By this time, a nice sized crowd of more than five hundred students, professors and guests had gathered, all waiting to hear the pure devotee’s message. The devotees were amazed that so many people had come. After all, it was the summer semester when most students were gone. But by the influence of the pure devotee, Krishna had sent them.

Before Prabhupada began he noticed that someone was smoking and commented on it. Then a dog began to bark and when the devotees tried to stop it, it only began to bark louder. Prabhupada then looked in the dog’s direction and it mysteriously shut up.

The lecture was on the first verse of the seventh chapter of Bhagavad-gita wherein Lord Krishna begins to explain how to apply the teachings of the sixth chapter (astanga yoga) to one’s life. It was a technical lecture and the devotees present wondered how the students would be able to understand it, for they themselves could hardly do so. But afterwards, many students came up to them congratulating them on how wonderful the class was, some saying it was the best they ever heard. “Everyone who was there will never forget it,” remembers Amarendra. “Somehow it just went right straight into their heart and they were able to understand everything that Prabhupada had said.”

Next was an evening television interview on the campus station. The interviewer, Mark Damon, had been begging David to have Srila Prabhupada on his show. He was so determined, in fact, that he had been calling the temple daily during the week leading up to Prabhupada’s visit. Prabhupada, accompanied by all of the devotees, entered the studio; Prabhupada sitting on a chair next to Mr. Damon while the devotees gathered at his feet, just off camera.

Mr. Damon began by giving a brief introduction of Prabhupada, including a short history of the Krishna consciousness movement. It was obvious that he had done his research but it seemed he was looking for controversy. After a few background questions he cut straight to the point, “If there is already religion in the West, why did you come?” But Prabhupada was un-phased. He explained how the Krishna consciousness movement is not sectarian but is simply interested in teaching people how to love God. The interviewer then asked what is the Krishna conscious understanding of “the ethics of religion” or how one man deals with another.

“We are not concerned how one man deals with another man,” Prabhupada frankly replied.
“Isn’t that part of your Krishna consciousness movement?” Mr. Damon asked in surprise.
“No, this is not important. Because we know as soon as one knows how to deal with God, he will automatically deal very nicely with others.” Every question that came his way was dealt with perfectly by Prabhupada. Amarendra remembers:

We were right there next to Prabhupada… He would give these answers and he would smile and look at the devotees out of the corner of his eyes. And everybody knew that Prabhupada was ripping this guy to pieces [but]… the guy didn’t even know he was being dismantled…

Prabhupada was then asked what are the symptoms of a Krishna conscious person. He replied by saying he’d be “a perfect gentleman. That’s all. You cannot find any fault with him. That is perfect Krishna consciousness.”

By the time Prabhupada returned to the temple it was already quite late-almost midnight. Prabhupada had engaged in a full day’s worth of preaching and seemed very satisfied. But one thing remained to be done. Five devotees were expecting to be initiated. David and Adrienne, Gary, and Joseph and Sam (who had come all the way from New Orleans), had given their beads earlier in the day for Prabhupada to chant on. They waited throughout the day as the initiation was pushed back later and later. Now the day was almost over and Prabhupada would be leaving first thing the next morning. They were all congregating outside Prabhupada’s room when Aravinda, (Prabhupada’s servant at the time), asked Prabhupada when he would like to do it. “Now!” he said and they all came in feeling happy relief.

Prabhupada was sitting back comfortably on his cot, shirt off and dhoti hiked up nearly to his thighs. He was in a very relaxed mood and commented that the weather reminded him of India. The devotees were struck with wonder by his mystical presence and to them he seemed to be emanating a golden effulgence that “lit up the entire room.” They sat down on the floor and waited on him to call on them to receive their beads and new name. Gary was the first and after making his vows he was given the name Dharma das. Dharma remembers:

I was actually very nervous, and I was practically shaking because I was afraid I would do something wrong in front of Srila Prabhupada. I was so nervous practically I couldn’t even hear properly. But I was very happy to have been accepted by Srila Prabhupada. I knew, of course, there was no question of ever leaving the movement now. I never wanted to leave anyway, but now this was official. Even if I had considered it before, now there was no question of it. (Quote from the Srila Prahbupada Lilamrta by Satsvarupa Das Goswami)

Next was Joseph and when Prabhupada heard his name from Aravinda, who read from the sheet, he laughed and said, “Oh, Bhagavat das. There are two things-the book Bhagavat: Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita, and there is the person Bhagavat: that is the pure devotees who live by the principles of Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. And you are Bhagavat das: you shall serve them both.”

Then Sam came up and was given the name Suvrata das. But just as Prabhupada was giving him the beads he noticed that Suvrata did not have neckbeads on and took them back. “Where are your neckbeads?” Prabhupada asked. He saw that none of the initiates were wearing neckbeads and when he turned towards Bhagavat, out of fear that Prabhupada would take his beads back as well, he hid them under his shirt. But Prabhupada did not direct his anger at these new devotees. Rather he chastised the senior leaders present who promised that they would have them for the fire sacrifice that was to be held the next day.

After David and Adrienne were initiated as Amarendra das and Gayatri dasi, respectively, Prabhupada asked if there were any questions. Bhagavat, who had been studying the Bhagavad-gita very carefully for the past year and a half, reading it some eight or nine times, asked how someone who is practicing devotional service could be considered to be on the transcendental platform if it appears he is still affected by the modes of material nature. Prabhupada explained that it could be compared to a man riding on a boat. You cannot say that he is not in the boat. But if he is not an expert boatman then the waves that come may rock him, and at times even knock him over. But as he becomes expert, he will not be disturbed by them.
Amarendra then asked the question, “How can we make the people take to Krishna consciousness?” He was hoping for the secret formula to get everyone to become devotees. Prabhupada said, “You just ask them to chant Hare Krishna. Then your business is finished.” Amarendra recalls:

I was struck with the simplicity of the process. There’s no complicated ritual or mysterious secret, or anything like that. That is our mission. We request people to chant Hare Krishna and try to engage them in devotional service.

Finally, the darsana had come to a close. None of the devotees wanted to leave. They never wanted this day to end. But Prabhupada had to take rest. For the return flight everyone accompanied Prabhupada to the airport. An additional van was brought to carry the vyasasana. Hridayananda explains: We were getting ready to take Prabhupada back to the airport and suddenly I had what I thought was a realization. I suddenly thought,

“Oh my God. Prabhupada is a pure devotee of Krishna from the spiritual world. How can a pure devotee sit in a seat which karmis have sat in?” So I thought the only solution was to take the vyasasana to the airport.

When Prabhupada arrived at the airport the vyasasana was not there yet. Hridayananda started getting nervous. Just then a group of husky, tough-looking Miami brahmacaris came rumbling down the main corridor carrying the vyasasana, half of them shirtless, the other half without shoes. By the way, this vyasasana was built huge and sturdy, strong enough, jokes Hridayananda, “to withstand a nuclear war.” So every ten yards, the brahmacaris had to put it down to regain their strength. This became an absurd spectacle as everyone in the airport was watching the scene. Finally, they made it to where Prabhupada was to be seated and let it down before him with a thundering crash. Prabhupada just looked at it in disbelief, walked passed it and sat in a regular airport seat. “At that point,” says Hridayananda Goswami, “I realized I had made an error in judgment.”
The devotees then gathered at Prabhupada’s feet and Bhagavat was asked to lead a kirtana. Many devotees crowded around jockeying for position to be close to Prabhupada. Hridayananda, feeling embarrassed about the vyasasana incident and seeing that a large crowd of people had congregated, decided, along with his wife, to rectify the situation by distributing books. Amarendra remembers:

“I was looking at Prabhupada and I was thinking, “Oh, I’m right next to Prabhupada, I’m really getting the mercy now. But Prabhupada wasn’t looking at anybody that was sitting there chanting. Prabhupada started watching [Hridayananda and Ananga Manjari] and he didn’t take his eyes off of them the entire time until his plane left. And I watched him watch them and I said, “That is the secret. That is what Prabhupada wants us to do. That is what’s most pleasing to him.”

After Prabhupada left, the devotees returned to the temple with mixed feelings of elation and sadness. But when Amarendra saw the vyasasana he could still see Prabhupada’s form imprinted on it. He then had the realization that Prabhupada was still present. Everything he had said was in his books. As mentioned before, the book Bhagavat and the person Bhagavat were one and the same. So he always had access to Srila Prabhupada, through his books. Not only then, but for all time to come.

46 years later it is more amazing than ever that Srila Prabhupada actually came to Gainesville. Looking back Ananga Manjari explains: “We were so untogether. And so young. But our enthusiasm overflowed and somehow or other he came and he was kind.” It was only twenty-four hours. But in that one day he planted the seed that thousands have flocked to and grown from. We will remember that day for generations to come.”

The end…of the beginning…



Read more…

Good Intentions By Sarvatma Dasa


From Back to Godhead

Though he sought enlightenment on an isolated beach through music, meditation, and marijuana, it came to him in a way he’d never expected.

Having had some mystical experiences as a teenager that convinced me of the existence of God, I left my native country, Argentina, for Salvador, capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia, famous for its mysticism and magic. I arrived in the area without plans, money, or acquaintances and moved into a straw hut by the beach a couple of miles from the nearest fishing village and fifty miles from civilization. It was an ideal setting of palm trees, a small lake, a river of crystalline water, and the turquoise Atlantic Ocean, in year-round eighty-degree weather.

I made a new friend there. He was reading the Bible and other books about God, playing music for God, and smoking marijuana to keep in touch with “the subtle world of God consciousness.” While I played saxophone and recorder, he would play guitar. We intended to satisfy God with our musical spontaneity.

I read a book by a Japanese doctor who claimed that everyone had inherent healing powers that could be awakened just by practicing austerities like fasting and chanting mantras. Since our eating depended on what God would send, fasting wasn’t unknown to us, although God would almost daily send someone with something to eat, or drop some green coconuts to the ground. To try to attain enlightenment, I was already planning to undergo a forty-day fast. So I followed the Japanese doctor’s program and, by the grace of God. I developed some healing powers. I could close wounds and heal minor afflictions.

My friend and hut-mate, David (as he wanted people to call him after the biblical character), made bamboo flutes, which we decided to try selling at the artisans’ market in Salvador. For the first time in months, I put on a shirt and sandals. I walked along the beach to the next village (there was no road) and caught a bus into the city.

Although the contrast between the city and the beach was shocking, my mind was peaceful because I was always thinking of finding the way to God. I walked around the market playing a flute. I sold a few and then went to the telephone company to make a long-distance call.

A young woman in a wheelchair waiting for her turn to use the phones attracted my attention. Here was a serious case I might be able to cure. Without hesitation. I went up to her and revealed my intentions.

“By the grace of God,” I said, “I have some healing powers that might enable you to walk. I’m not going to touch you or charge you anything, nor is it going to hurt you to try.” I waited for her answer,whichcame in a way I’d never expected.

“You are very kind in trying to help me,” she replied, “but you should also consider that I suffer no more pain than what your body gives you. I’ve been in a wheelchair since birth. I have never walked; nevertheless, I’ve always gotten where I wanted to go. This is the body God gave me after many past lives of sinful activities; therefore I deserve it. And more important than all this,” she added, “is that I, the person, live in this machine we call the body. I need spiritual, not material, help, and in spite of your good intentions, I don’t think you are ready to give that yet.” After saying this, she smiled and waited for my reaction.

I was dumbfounded. It took me a while to recuperate. Then I said, “What you just said sounds like the absolute truth, which I had not expected to hear from someone in your circumstances.”

My experience was that many persons confined to wheelchairs were easily irritated and seemingly resentful of their condition. I asked her not to go away. I wanted to make a call and return to talk at length. She promised to wait. When I returned I pushed the wheelchair outside and asked her where we should go.

“Let’s take a taxi to a restaurant,” she said.

“OK.” I said, thinking, Taxi? I never thought I’d ever ride in one again. I had the same feeling about going to a restaurant.

Once in the taxi she asked me if I was a vegetarian. I replied that where I lived there was no meat, so circumstantially I was. But why?

She explained that killing animals or eating them is sinful and should be avoided by all means. This made sense to me, and I promised her that I would become a total vegetarian. I could see that she was serious about spiritual life, so I asked. “Is there any other prohibition?”

“Yes. No gambling.”

“Fine with me.” I said. “What else?”

“No illicit sex.”

I had given up sex entirely some time before, understanding that it doesn’t help in the pursuit of spiritual life. So I had no problems with that either.

“What else?” I asked.

“No intoxication.” she replied shyly, knowing from my long hair and beard that I was probably rather involved in this particular area.

“What do you mean by ‘No intoxication’?” I asked her quickly.

“No alcohol, drugs,tobacco, coffee, tea …”

I then admitted to smoking marijuana to keep in constant touch with God, but at the same time I began to doubt this method of God realization.

“Where did you get the philosophy you were speaking back at the phone company?” I asked.

She calmly replied. “From the Hare Krsnas.”

I searched my mind for some information about the Hare Krsnas. I told her I’d read long ago in a popular magazine that their diet consisted of lettuce and walnuts and that George Harrison of the Beatles paid all the bills. I also saw them once selling books, incense, and oils at the Buenos Aires subway. She laughed at my poor description.

I then asked. “How do they get in touch with God if they don’t smoke marijuana?”

“They chant Hare Krsna. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna , Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”she said.

Since I was already chanting some words to help with my healing powers, this made sense to me. I thought. These Hare Krsna people don’t look like anyone else, so they easily could have something that no one else has, and why not exactly what I am looking for: the Absolute Truth? What wouldn’t I give for that priceless gift!

I asked, “What should I do?”

“Go live with them,” she said.

I felt far too ignorant of their philosophy to just walk in and say, “Well, I’m one of you now.” So I proposed that we spend a few days together so I could learn the basics of Krsna consciousness. She agreed.

We took a boat across the bay from Salvador to an island where she lived with some friends. For the next few days she taught me the basic philosophy, answered my questions, and gave me a Krsna book and a volume of Srimad-Bhagavatam. She showed me japa (chanting) beads and explained many things about the devotees’ life. I was fascinated. I bid her farewell and took a boat back across the bay and a bus to the temple.

I met the temple president Hankara dasa, who asked, “How did you get to know about us?” I briefly related my story, and he started explaining different aspects of the philosophy in a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish. I told him I wanted to become a pure devotee. Seated beside him was a young man with long hair (not as long as mine, but long enough to distinguish him from the shaven-headed devotees) who seemed absorbed in chanting on his beads, quite loudly, but also in listening to our conversation. I tried to appear unaffected by this strange sight.

Then came the prasadam (food that’s been offered to Krsna). To the girl, prasadam was a magic word. Yet despite her descriptions of celestial, divine, delicious prasadam. I thought it was terrible. But I silently ate every thing on my plate. Later I learned that the cook was new and that the food I’d eaten, except for the bread Hankara had made, was well below standard. Still, the philosophy was so satisfying that nothing was going to discourage me from living with devotees. They let me stay overnight not in the asrama but in the reception room. with no blanket or mat or pillow. My spontaneous attraction to the philosophy made them suspicious, and they were afraid I was just there to steal something or do something crazy.

They woke me for mangala-arati, the ceremony of worshiping the Deities that begins the day. That afternoon a devotee accompanied me to my hut. I wanted to pick up my belongings and tell my hut-mate the good news: finally I’d found the process of awakening the soul from the slumber of material illusion and the torture of mental speculation. But my friend had left

The next day, I rode the night bus to Recife, a city twelve hours north of Salvador, with the president of the Recife temple and a younger devotee. I was going there to join the program for newcomers. At about 9:15 P.M. the younger devotee asked me if I was chanting Hare Krsna. “Well, nobody told me to,” I said, “so I guess I’m not ready yet.” He laughed, gave me his own beads as a gift and taught me how to chant. By 10:00 P.M., after chanting three rounds, I fell asleep.


Read more…

Gaura Purnima 2020 Festival Schedule


Welcome to Mayapur Gaura Purnima Festival 2020. For guest house bookings, please write to To take part in festival sponsorships, please write to

To take part in Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama, please visit

Gaura Purnima Festival Schedule – 2020

17.02.2020  –  Devotees Arrival

18.02.2020 to 21.02.2020  –  Sravana Utsav Mela

22.02.2020  –  Flag Hoisting Festival and Kirtan Mela Adhivas

23.02.2020 to 26.02.2020  –  Kirtan Mela

26.02.2020  –  Parikrama Adhivas

27.02.2020 to 04.03.2020  –  Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama

5.03.2020 –  Parikrama return and Boat festival

06.03.2020  –   (Ekadasi)  Ganga puja

07.03.2020   ( Sat) –  Shantipur Festival and Elephant procession

08.03.2020  –  Immersion of ashes  and Jagannath Rath Yatra

09.03.2020  –  Sri Gaura Purnima

10.03.2020  –  Festival of Jagannath Misra

11.03.2020  –  Festival Ends


Read more…

Going West with Others by Bhaktimarga Swami

 I traveled with four other spiritual leaders by plane. We were enroute to our Canadian leaders’ meeting, to be held in Venables Valley, British Columbia. It was a prolonged travel, which included missing a connecting flight. It was too bad. However, we had each other, sparing the five of us from stress. I did take the time for a few minutes to read an article from the West Jet Flight magazine, about the topic of ‘loneliness’. I’ll share some of the info.

Dr. Ami Pokach, a clinical psychologist at York University in Toronto, shares his advice and tips on the factors behind the rise of loneliness.

“One is our culture. In Western culture, independence is the most important thing. And actually, as humans, we are wired to need other people. Two is technology. Facebook helps some people deal with loneliness, [but for] many, it intensifies loneliness because they see the beautiful pictures people post and they say, ‘Look at my life. I fall short.’”
“Loneliness is known to cause people to view themselves negatively. It affects our spirit and our health. Stress—and loneliness causes stress—is known to cause sleep disturbances and to elevate heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels creating a state of emergency in the body.”

“People who are lonely may look at [travelling] as an opportunity to change their behaviours. They may try things they [wouldn’t] try [at home], like seeking places where people congregate, smiling at people, engaging in a conversation with the people they meet and making new friends.”

The excerpts are good. Pokach said something further on in the article that I liked, about aloneness or being able to be alone without experiencing loneliness.
Read more…


By Amogh Lila Das 

Family that prays together, stays together! Such was the spiritually invigorated atmosphere in Dwarka, Gujrat recently when more than 7500 devotees in the association of HH Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj and HH Bhakti Ashray Vaishnava Swami Maharaj, congregated together on a spiritual pilgrimage. From 4th November till 8th November, devotees were visible everywhere and were giving joy to the resident Dwarkaites. There was a special train booked which had 1400 devotees in it. Two huge separate pandals were installed, one for Prasadam and another for the discourses and kirtan. The day would start with mangal arati, guru puja and Shrimad Bhagavatam class by HH Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj followed by a drama based on the pastimes of Lord Krishna in Dwarka. Dramas on Syamantaka mani, Krishna Sudama Lila and Kidnapping of Rukmini were being performed by the devotees from various temples. One of the days all the 7500+ devotees went for Harinaam in the main market of Dwarka with three kirtan parties and view of the caravan was enlivening. For the transcendental pleasure of the local Deity, Lord Dwarkadhish, devotees contributed 225 thousand rupees for the chhappan bhoga.

Devotees visited Bhenta Dwarka which is an island with various pastime places, a cave where Lord Krishna had wrestled with Jambvaan for 28 days, also a cave where Muchkunda was blessed and Kalayavan was delivered by Lord Krishna and along with that Rukmini temple, Nageshvar Jyotirlinga temple, Somnath temple etc were visited by devotees.

Two books were also inaugurated by HH Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj compiled by HG SarvaSakshi Prabhu namely Prashnotari, which had compilation of answers which HH Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj gave in previous yatras of Maharaj and Second one, Dwarka, which contained pastimes, philosophical and theological significance and details of important places to visit in Dwarka dhama.

The yatra was hosted and managed by ISKCON Delhi, East of Kailash




Read more…

Service Life Balance by Praghosa Dasa

There are few if any greater benedictions one can receive than devotional service, for devotees their service is their life and soul and they are eager to protect at all costs. Indeed the Bhagavad-gita essentially deals with no other subject, than the subject of bhakti-yoga;

“It is understood here that Bhagavad-gita is simply expounding the science of devotional service. Devotional service is the main and sole objective. Unintelligent commentators on the Bhagavad-gita try to divert the mind of the reader to other subjects, but there is no other subject in Bhagavad-gita than devotional service” Bg 13 8-12 purport

So the natural inclination for a devotee tends to be the more service that is available, the more service they can engage in, the better. It is hardly surprising that devotees are so eager to serve as they understand that one of Srila Prabhupada’s main purposes for establishing ISKCON was to give the opportunity for society at large to understand and hopefully engage in devotional service. So naturally they want to take full advantage of every service opportunity that Srila Prabhupada has created for them;

“To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world”

And those opportunities are unlimited because just as Krishna is unlimited so is the service we can render Him;

‘Serving Krishna is unlimited and he can accept our unlimited service’ SPL
20th February 1968

When you also add into the equation Srila Prabhupada’s eagerness and desire to push on the Hare Krishna movement, his devotees naturally feel a loving obligation to satisfy and fulfil his vision. This is of course a glorious character trait of Srila Prabhupada’s devotees but it is also an onerous one;

“And within this dangerous condition of the human society we have to push on Krsna consciousness. How difficult it is! Just imagine. But still, it is going on. But so many obstacles. So many obstacles. But we do not care for these obstacles. We must push on. This is our determination. Therefore it is called tivrena bhakti-yogena. Tivrena. There may be so many obstacles, but you must push on your movement. Tivrena bhakti-yogena. That is our duty” SBL 12th December 1974

Given all of the above is it any wonder that devotees sometimes push themselves more than they should? Of course the question can be raised, how can you do too much devotional service? Surely the more service you do the better it is for you? The answer to that question can be both yes and no.

I remember many years ago when devotees appeared on a popular TV chat show in front of a live audience, they started with some sweet bhajan and then 4 or 5 of them were interviewed. During the interview the TV host cottoned on that the devotees were seriously dedicated to their cause. As a result he asked one of the devotees the following; “What about holidays, do you take an annual vacation?” The devotee in question responded both with confidence and humour “When you are having so much fun doing what you are doing, where is the question of needing a holiday as everyday is the perfect holiday”

It was a good answer but it would have been an ever better answer if it were completely true. I say completely true because from many angles the answer he gave is true. However it is not quite as simple and straightforward as that. Incidentally, the devotee who gave that answer has long since gone on an extended holiday of maybe 20 years or more, we wish him well and look forward to welcoming him back to devotional service whenever he so desires. From another perspective though, his answer could be seen as overly idealistic as far as what we are able to manage vis a vis service load but this idealistic tendency is certainly not a rarity among devotees. And this mood has resulted in many devotees struggling with ill-health due to the stress and exhaustion that comes from pushing themselves too hard. The following words of Srila Prabhupada are interesting and surely help us to understand that we need to engage in devotional service in a measured, realistic and sustainable way;

“To surrender to Krishna all at once is not generally possible, but as we serve Krishna more and more, we gradually become more and more surrendered at His Lotus Feet” SPL 25th February 1968

The above words of Srila Prabhupada are reflected in the words of Lord Krishna Himself as He instructs us in His Bhagavad-gita;

“There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough” Bg 6.16

Srila Prabhupada’s purport to this verse exclusively focuses on the problems associated with over eating and over sleeping. This is not surprising as generally when we discuss regulation we do so from the angle of eating too much or sleeping too much or spacing out and not doing enough service etc. I guess the main reason for this is because over eating and over sleeping are more common in the material world and certainly more detrimental to devotional service. Still it is also important, as far as the overall principle of regulation is concerned, to take into account the problems associated with sleeping too little, eating too little or pushing oneself too hard by taking on too much service.

I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that we have tended to neglect to properly consider the latter; therefore it is hardly surprising that some devotees get to a point where they either have to take an extended holiday from Krishna consciousness altogether, or they find themselves struggling on in poor health. Another aspect of pushing oneself too hard can be a breakdown of relationships, naturally for relationships to flourish they need to be given sufficient time and attention. If relationships are sidelined due to a lack of time, as a result of having too much to do, they are also going to suffer. This can be the case even if the service rendered is physically with the person we have the relationship with, it is even further exacerbated if the service we do is not performed in the association of the person we have the relationship with.

In short the service we perform should not be used as an excuse to neglect our relationships and our responsibility to those relationships. Historically one of the key relationships that has suffered in ISKCON is the relationship between husband and wife. While there have been many reasons for this, a key one is the time devoted to make sure that this relationship does not suffer;

“Just as one saves his money and places it under his own personal protection, one should similarly protect his wife by his own personal supervision. Just as intelligence is always within the heart, so a beloved chaste wife should always have her place on the chest of a good husband. This is the proper relationship between husband and wife. A wife is therefore called ardhangani, or half of the body. One cannot remain with only one leg, one hand or only one side of the body. He must have two sides. Similarly, according to nature’s way, husband and wife should live together. In the lower species of life, among birds and animals, it is seen that by nature’s arrangement the husband and wife live together. It is similarly ideal in human life for the husband and wife to live together” SB 4.26.17 purport

If either the husband or the wife find that the service they are doing compromises their ability to serve each other as indicated above, they should adjust things accordingly.

If a little bit of regulation in this area can protect devotees from leaving on extended vacations, or from having poor health, or from the pain and damage of broken relationships then surely we should enthusiastically adopt such regulation?


Read more…

Enthusiasm by Kadamba Kanana Swami


Transcendental sound is echoing around the world. The world which is egg-shaped and hollow inside, consists of several layers. All these universes clustering together are flowing from the pores of Mahavishnu. Srila Prabhupada explains creation. Krsna expands himself in the form of Mahavishnu from whose breathing an innumerable number of universes emanate. In each of these universes, Mahavishnu enters as Garbodhakasayi Vishnu who lies on Sesa Naga on the Garbha Ocean. From his navel, Bramha is born and he creates all living entities. Krsna further expands himself as Ksirodakasayi Vishnu and enters everything – even into the minute atom.

We have nothing to be so proud of. Our mind is occupied, “I am the centre of the Universe.” Krsna is there but in the background. When will Krsna be the centre of our lives?

Kirtan carries us. Everyone is making noises on their various tools. Sound carries us. The Mahamantra carries everyone. During the early days of ISKCON, in 1966, everything was there. Krsna Consciousness was in the heart. The essence of Srimad Bahgavatam and spiritual life, even without the details, was in the heart. Now we have all the details – how to fast on ekadasi and how to break our fast on the next day. So many technical details. How to pay obeisances – 5/7 parts of the body touching the ground. Everything is mentioned in the Hari Bhakti Vilas.

During Srila Prabhupada’s time, no one knew anything. They only knew Swamiji. Srila Prabhupada brought the deities of Lord Jagannatha, Baladev and Subhadra to San Francisco. Shyamasundar Prabhu carved the deities and Srila Prabhupada told them to offer a candle in a clockwise direction and they thought is was fun.

ISKCON today has developed a lot. In 1966, there was an incredible focus on the essence, that is pure devotional service. I used to study the early editions of the Back to Godhead Magazine and it was all about Srila Prabhupada. Once, the devotees were waiting for Srila Prabhupada and Srila Prabhupada was in his quarters. They did a long kirtan and it was getting late but Srila Prabhupada did not come at all. Then Kirtananda Swami gave the lecture and he said, “Where were we one year or six months ago? And now we are here with our shining faces, in contact with a pure devotee where the essence is pure devotional service. Devotional service is what we are meant to practice.”

Srila Prabhupada was once translating at 11 pm. He was speaking into the dictaphone and then a devotee came. Srila Prabhupada said to him, “Come sit next to me.” He said to Srila Prabhupada, “It is 11 pm, please go to bed!” But Srila Prabhupada did not go to bed. Then the devotee told Srila Prabhupada, “You are a pure devotee but I am not,” and Srila Prabhupada asked him, “Why do you say you are not a pure devotee?”

There are so many reasons to justify this statement. What we will do tomorrow. Surrender tomorrow. No, not tomorrow. NOW! The choice is ours. We have to choose again and again. We have to choose moments of pure devotional service. We have to think of what to do and then do it – not just lip service.

We have different species of living entities – plants, animals, human. Very few are civilized and have a connection with the Vedas. Most practice only lip service. Rupa Goswami said that 500 years ago, India was different. There was no Bollywood, no chai – nothing. Now we think that because of these things, we are very Indian. But 500 years ago nothing existed.

This movement offers the opportunity, the eagerness required to become a pure devotee. We have the opportunity of beginning the day with an offering to the Lord. No day is ordinary, everyday is special. Different days are linked to different planets. All that matters is what we really want to do. Come to that stage of pure devotional service. Create an inventory of what we have tried today. Have we read enough sastra or it could have been more, have we finished our rounds and how nice they were? Through all these things, we can see what have we offered to Krsna and like this, we go to sleep. We should try again and again, each day to have the opportunity to do something. In this way, we should take advantage of all the opportunities. Not wait, “Oh, when? When will Krsna Prema come?” In the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, it is mentioned that when the cowherd boys wake up in the morning, their hairs stand on end in ecstasy. Our mornings in spiritual life should not be like an old car where a push is needed, it should be able to start with enthusiasm.


Read more…


How could your life change if you choose to think this way?

1. My human life is sacred and I am responsible to honor it in that way.

“The human body, which can award all benefit in life, is automatically obtained by the laws of nature, although it is a very rare achievement. This human body can be compared to a perfectly constructed boat having the spiritual master as the captain and the instructions of the Personality of Godhead as favorable winds impelling it on its course. Considering all these advantages, a human being who does not utilize his human life to cross the ocean of material existence must be considered the killer of his own soul.” -SB 11.20.17

2. Lust can never be satisfied, but my heart is meant to be satisfied.

“‘O my Lord, there is no limit to the unwanted orders of lusty desires. Although I have rendered these desires so much service, they have not shown any mercy to me. I have not been ashamed to serve them, nor have I even desired to give them up. O my Lord, O head of the Yadu dynasty, recently, however, my intelligence has been awakened, and now I am giving them up. Due to transcendental intelligence, I now refuse to obey the unwanted orders of these desires, and I now come to You to surrender myself at Your fearless lotus feet. Kindly engage me in Your personal service and save me.’ -Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 22.16

3. Although temporarily covered, I am eternally a pure devotee of Krishna.

“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind. -Bg 15.7

4. I can become pure in mind and body because I am already pure in spirit.

“Those with the vision of eternity can see that the soul is transcendental, eternal, and beyond the modes of nature. Despite contact with the material body, O Arjuna, the soul neither does anything nor is entangled.” -Bg 13.32, 1972

My senses are engaged with the world, but I am aloof.

“One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results.” -Bg 3.28, 1972

In this verse, Krishna says quotes what a knower of the truth thinks, saying, “guna gunesu vartanta iti”, which means that he thinks, “My senses are engaged with the sense objects.” -Bg 3.28, 1972

5. Temptations come, temptations go.

“O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” -Bg 2.14, 1972

6. There’s nothing new in maya, and there’s nothing old in Krishna.

“O Brahma, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness.” -SB 2.9.34

7. Krishna is my best friend forever and unconditionally.

“Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you the most confidential part of knowledge. Hear this from Me, for it is for your benefit. Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” -Bg 18.65-66, 1972

8. Krishna is my everything.

“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” -Bg 7.19, 1972

9. Krishna is in my heart, so my heart is a place of pilgrimage.

Shrila Prabhupada: “Therefore every one of you should become pure devotee, first-class devotee. First-class devotee is that… In this age it has been made very easy. Simply keep yourself cleansed, not to indulge in the four principles, prohibition, and chant Hare Krsna, then you will be all first-class devotees. And wherever you will go, you will be able to purify there. Wherever you go. Wherever you speak, wherever you’ll sit. So keep this spiritual strength intact. Tirthi-bhutah. Tirthi-kurvanti tirthani sva antah-sthena. The Hare Krsna mantra chanting means keeping Krsna always within your heart. This is not… It is not expensive at all. You haven’t got to make a very exalted throne for Krsna. You can imagine that “In my heart I have placed now a very diamond throne, and Krsna is sitting.” That is accepted. It is… Actually it becomes. Even within the mind you think that “I have kept one diamond throne, very costly throne, because Krsna is coming. He will sit down here,” that is not false. That is a fact. So you create such situation within your heart. “Now Krsna has seated. Let me wash His feet with the Ganges water, Yamuna water. Now I change His dress to a first-class costly garments. Then I decorate with ornaments. Then I give Him for eating.” You can simply think of this. This is meditation. Svantah-sthena gadabhrta. It is so nice thing. Anywhere you can sit down and think that Krsna is sitting in your heart and you are receiving in so nice way. They are not false. They are also fact. It is so easy.

So here is the… If you simply carry Krsna within your heart always in a very devotional service, exalted devotional service, and chant Hare Krsna and think of Krsna, wherever you will go, you will purify the whole place. Svantah-sthena gadabhrta. It is fact. It is confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Try to remain in your position as devotee, and as far as possible teach these rascals who are simply attracted by the glaring material stones and woods, and let them have some knowledge and do benefit to your countrymen, to your society, to your family.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: All glories to Srila Prabhupada. [end]”

-Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.13.10 – June 1, 1974, Geneva

10. My strength is Krishna and belongs to Him. My desire is Krishna and belongs to Him.

“I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O Lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna].” -Bg 7.11, 1972

11. Krishna says that I am eternal, indestructible, inexhaustible, immeasurable, perpetual, unborn, unmoving, amazing, immutable, inconceivable, ancient, unharmable, and all-reaching.

Evidence available in Bhagavad-Gita, chapter 2.

12. I can achieve anything in Krishna’s service because His service is unlimited and His servants are unlimited, too.

“Krishna is unlimited, His service is unlimited, and the energy of His servants is unlimited.”-Shrila Prabhupada, Letter to: Tamala Krsna – Hawaii 18 March, 1969

Nothing is unobtainable for devotees who have satisfied the Supreme Personality of Godhead.“ -Prahlada Maharaja, SB 7.6.25

13. It is possible for me to become fully Krishna conscious in one second.

“The saintly King Khatvanga, after being informed that the duration of his life would be only a moment more, at once freed himself from all material activities and took shelter of the supreme safety, the Personality of Godhead.” -SB 2.1.13

14. The holy name is the reciprocal form of unconditional eternal love.

“O my Lord! Transcendental poets and experts in spiritual science could not fully express their indebtedness to You, even if they were endowed with the prolonged lifetime of Brahma, for You appear in two features – externally as the acarya and internally as the Supersoul – to deliver the embodied living being by directing him how to come to You.” -SB 11.29.6

The Supersoul is present in everyone’s heart, but when one accepts a reciprocal relationship with the Lord, then the Lord sends His representative, the spiritual master, who initiated the disciple with the Holy Name. The Holy Name is therefore the reciprocal form of unconditional eternal love.


Read more…


The following conversation between His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and some of his disciples took place in July 1975 on an early-morning walk in Chicago.

Srila Prabhupada: Where does Darwin begin?

Disciple: He begins in the ocean. He says that some fishlike animal climbed out of the ocean and began to breathe the air.

Srila Prabhupada: Then where did the ocean come from?

Disciple: He doesn’t say.

Srila Prabhupada: Then his theory is not perfect.

Disciple: Scientists say there was great turbulence on this planet in the beginning. The oceans were stirring, and then some lightning charges occurred.

Srila Prabhupada: From where did the lightning come? And from where did the ocean come? Where is his philosophy? It is a speculation.

Disciple: They say it all began from a primeval explosion.

Srila Prabhupada: Then I ask the same question: Wherefrom did the explosion come?

Disciple: They say that the explosion took place at time zero.

Srila Prabhupada: Time zero?

Disciple: Time began then, at time zero. And they say that the question “What was before that?” is not a logical, sensible question.

Srila Prabhupada: Why?

Disciple: They say it’s a question that should not even be asked.

Srila Prabhupada: No, then they are rascals. They are beginning from zero. How can you begin from zero?

Disciple: Everything comes from nothing then.

Srila Prabhupada: That is not philosophy.

Disciple: They say it all originates from a giant mass of primordial matter.

Srila Prabhupada: Then the same question arises: From where did the matter come?

Disciple: They say it’s an accident.

Srila Prabhupada: So that is rascaldom. Where is the accident? Nothing is accidental. Everything happens by cause and effect. The Bible says that in the beginning there was God, or the word of God. So God was there. That is the beginning. In our philosophy, too, that is the beginning. The Srimad- Bhagavatam gives evidence: janmady asya yatah [1.1.1] . . . aham evasam evagre [2.9.33]. And the Bhagavad-gita: aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate [10.8]. This is our philosophy. Everything begins from God. Now you can ask, “From where did God come?” But that is God. God is existing. He is not caused by any other cause. He is the original cause. Anadir adir: He has no beginning, but He is the beginning of everything. This is the conception of God given in the statements of Brahma: anadir adir govindah [Brahma-samhita 5.1]. That adi is the original person, Govinda, Krishna. We find this in the Vedic history. Brahma is there in the beginning. He is a deva, one of the demigods the first demigod. Now Krishna says, aham adir hi devanam [Gita 10.2]: He is the cause of the demigods. He is the cause of Brahma also. So this is our philosophy. We don’t begin from zero or from an accident.

Disciple: Darwin never tried to understand the Vedic philosophy.

Srila Prabhupada: No, no, he admitted that he speculated. He is not a philosopher; he is a speculator. He has admitted: “It is my speculation. I think like this.”

Disciple: He started his speculation from the creation of life.

Srila Prabhupada: Anywhere, speculation is neither science nor philosophy.

Disciple: They call the Vedas speculation. They say the Upanishads are speculation.

Srila Prabhupada: No, no, no, not speculation. Sri Isopanishad [Mantra 1] says, isavasyam idam sarvam: everything is beginning from the isa, the supreme controller. Where is the speculation in the Vedas?

Disciple: They say the Vedas are written by man. Therefore they are imperfect.

Srila Prabhupada: What is your philosophy? It is written by man. What is the value of your philosophy? It is speculation. We don’t say that the Vedas are written by man. They come from a transcendental source. The words spoken by the Lord are called apauruseya, which indicates that they are not delivered by any mundane person. They may say whatever they like, but we don’t accept it. Suppose somebody says, “Your father’s name is so-and-so.” What is his authority to say what my father’s name is? I know very well, So their suggestion is like that: “Your father’s name is this.” Is that a very good suggestion? We can challenge: “You don’t know anything about my family. How can you say, ‘Your father’s name is this?’” Is it not rascaldom? You do not know anything about my family, and you say, “Your father’s name is this.” What is this logic?

Disciple: Darwin’s whole theory rests on the fact that he showed bones and archeological evidence.

Srila Prabhupada: Anyway, it is not possible that he has seen all the bones. So taking it that he has studied by seeing the bones, I can say very easily that it is not possible for a person like him to see all the bones. That is my challenge. He says, “Millions and millions of years ago . . .” But he lived for fifty years. How has he seen all the bones? He is a limited person.

Disciple: They admit they haven’t found all the bones, but they say that what they have found is conclusive evidence.

Srila Prabhupada: But they cannot say that. If you have seen all the bones, then you can conclude. But they say some of the bones are missing. Therefore their theory is always imperfect.

Disciple: Just this year they found a skull that was millions of years older than any human skull they found before.

Srila Prabhupada: That’s all right. But still they cannot say they have found all the skulls. They simply guess: “There is some gap of millions of years.”

Disciple: They even say that the missing link is the most important part.

Srila Prabhupada: So that is not science. Therefore we say they are rascals. And other rascals will believe them.


Read more…


A long time ago in China a girl named Li-Li got married & went to live with her husband and mother-in-law. In a very short time, Li-Li found that she couldn’t get along with her mother-in-law at all.

Their personalities were very different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her mother-in-law’s habits. In addition, she criticized Li-Li constantly.

Days passed, and weeks passed. Li-Li and her mother-in-law never stopped arguing and fighting.

But what made the situation even worse was that, according to ancient Chinese tradition, Li-Li had to bow to her mother-in-law and obey her every wish. All the anger and unhappiness in the house was causing Li-Li’s poor husband great distress.

Finally, Li-Li could not stand her mother-in-law’s bad temper and dictatorship any longer, and she decided to do something about it! Li-Li went to see her father’s good friend, Mr. Huang, who sold herbs.

She told him the situation and asked if he would give her some poison so that she could solve the problem once and for all.

Mr. Huang thought for awhile, and finally said, “Li-Li, I will help you solve your problem, but you must listen to me and obey what I tell you.”

Li-Li said, “Yes, Mr. Huang, I will do whatever you tell me to do.” Mr. Huang went into the back room, and returned in a few minutes with a package of herbs. He told Li-Li, “You can’t use a quick-acting poison to get rid of your mother-in-law, because that would cause people to become suspicious. Therefore, I have given you a number of herbs that will slowly build up poison in her body. Every other day prepare some delicious meal and put a little of these herbs in her serving.

Now, in order to make sure that nobody suspects you, when she dies, you must be very careful to act very friendly towards her. Don’t argue with her, obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen.” Li-Li was so happy.

She thanked Mr. Huang and hurried home to start her plot of murdering her mother-in-law.

Weeks went by, and months went by, and every other day, Li-Li served the specially treated food to her mother-in-law. She remembered what Mr. Huang had said about avoiding suspicion, so she controlled her temper, obeyed her mother-in-law, and treated her like her own mother.

After six months had passed, the whole household had changed. Li-Li had practiced controlling her temper so much that she found that she almost never got mad or upset. She hadn’t had an argument with her mother-in-law in six months because she now seemed much kinder and easier to get along with.

The mother-in-law’s attitude toward Li-Li changed, and she began to love Li-Li like her own daughter. She kept telling friends and relatives that Li-Li was the best daughter-in-law one could ever find. Li-Li and her mother-in-law were now treating each other like a real mother and daughter.

Li-Li’s husband was very happy to see what was happening. One day, Li-Li came to see Mr. Huang and asked for his help again. She said, “Dear Mr. Huang, please help me to stop the poison from killing my mother-in-law. She’s changed into such a nice woman, and I love her like my own mother. I do not want her to die because of the poison I have given her.”

Mr. Huang smiled and nodded his head. “Li-Li, there’s nothing to worry about. I never gave you any poison. The herbs I gave you were vitamins to improve her health. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude towards her, but that has been all washed away by the love which you gave to her.”

Have you realized that how you treat others is exactly how they will treat you?

There is a wise Chinese saying: “The person who loves others will also be loved in return.” Krishna might be trying to work in another person’s life through you. View all conflicts as your own fault first. Realize that people in your present environment might very well be the people with whom you will live out your life, and who are likely to be with you at the time of death.


Read more…

The vision of Srila Prabhupada!


March 13, 1972 : Vrindavan

After Prabhupada signed the deed for the Raman Reti land, future site of the Krishna-Balarama temple on March 12, then he immediately prepared to lay a cornerstone.

Kshirodaksayi Vishnu Maharaja : That night, until eleven, we discussed laying the cornerstone. Srila Prabhupada apparently did not sleep. Around one-thirty he woke me up and called me to his room. The electricity was off, and Prabhupada was using his flashlight. He asked if I had made all the arrangements for the ceremony according to his instructions.

On the new property, at three in the afternoon on March 13, a local brahmana under the guidance of Prabhupada started the ceremony by chanting Vedic mantras, and devotees chanted Hare Krishna. A sixteen-foot-deep hole had been dug. Kshirodaksayi went down the hole on a ladder and put the auspicious ingredients in place. In the end everyone threw in the dust of Vrindavana to fill the sanctified pit.

The area was undeveloped and considered unsafe. Local people and even disciples used to tell Prabhupada that although he was planning to spend so much money, no one would go there, because it was so isolated. Undeterred, Prabhupada would say that it was a good location. He had a vision. When land is donated, he said, it is auspicious. He asked his disciple, Surabhi Dasa, a Dutch architect, to design the temple.

Reference: The Mayapur-Vrindavana Festivals with Srila Prabhupada (1972–77) – Lokanath Swami


Read more…

Giving Thanks to Whom? by Mahesvara Das


At the end of this month the people of America celebrate the event called “Thanksgiving”. As the title implies, the whole purpose of this event is to stop and become consciously grateful for the things we have each been given. Traditionally people take this time to give thanks to God for the gifts of the bountiful harvest and the blessings of family, friends, and good health etc.
Of course, the holiday assumes an acceptance that there is a God to give thanks to. But for all those who reject the Vedic conclusion that the three stages of God realization culminate in the Personality of Godhead referred to there as Lord Sri Krishna, the whole concept of Thanksgiving becomes an absurd event.
There is absolutely no rational reason to go through the motions of giving thanks to God if one truly believes that the one who is apparently doing the “thanking” and the one who is apparently doing the “giving” are the same individual or just sardonic cosmic illusions!
Old Man God ?
When Michelangelo first painted “Creation: The Touch Of God” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, in the early 1500’s, it was immediately problematic. The high priests of that time were very upset about having a larger than life full frontal nudity portrait of Adam painted on the most prominent part of the most important church in the Catholic empire. But what was even more controversial was that, according to the Bible, God had specifically told Moses it was impossible for humans to see his face! (Ex 33:18-33) Yet Michelangelo was not only painting his face but his whole aged body in full Technicolor on the same ceiling with the naked Adam! How did Michelangelo know what God looked like?
When the priests converged on him, Michelangelo convinced them to allow the paintings to stay by pointing out that God also said he made man in his own image. Therefore, he reasoned, that if God created the universe and our galaxy was very old, then God himself must also be a very, very old man! It all apparently made sense at that time, but still nobody can say that just because Michelangelo painted what he thought God looked like, his spectacular rendition of how the Supreme Lord looked, it was still limited to his own fanciful guess. The Vedas warn about the pitfalls of this type of faulty reasoning particularly because it seems so reasonable, and yet it is very misleading.
Contrary to Michelangelo’s speculation about what God looks like, the Vedas make it very clear that even though Krishna appeared on this planet for approximately 125 years, he never aged past the blooming youth of 16 years! This of course makes a lot more sense then what Michelangelo concluded for the obvious reason that old age is not a pleasant experience and God is not subjected to the laws of nature like we are!
One Universal God Addressed by Many Names
It’s not so important what name you use to call out to God, all He would like to know is that you haven’t forgotten Him or take Him for granted! That is the real meaning behind “Thanksgiving”. The world is sustained and totally dependent on a brilliant sun that burns several hundred million tons of hydrogen every second in an atmosphere that has no oxygen. Just how magically inconceivable is that? Where does all that hydrogen come from and how can it burn in the vacuum of outer space?
Let’s not take all of this for granted or reduce it down to a game of chance like a Vegas Roulette wheel.

Read more…


By Srila Prabhupada

There is nothing in the world with which the Lord is disconnected. The only thing we must learn is to excavate the source of connection and thus be linked with Him by offenseless service. We can be connected with Him by the transcendental sound representation of the Lord. The Holy Name of the Lord and the Lord Himself are identical, and one who chants the Holy Name of the Lord in an offenseless manner can at once realize that the Lord is present before him. Even by the vibration of radio sound, we can partially realize sound relativity, and by resounding the sound of transcendence we can verily feel the presence of the Lord. In this age, when everything is polluted by the contamination of Kali, it is instructed in the scriptures and preached by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that by chanting the Holy Name of the Lord we can at once be free from contamination and gradually rise to the status of transcendence and go back to Godhead. The offenseless chanter of the Holy Name of the Lord is as auspicious as the Lord Himself, and the movement of pure devotees of the Lord all over the world can at once change the troublesome face of the world. Only by the propagation of the chanting of the Holy Name of the Lord can we be immune from all effects of the Age of Kali.
From Srila Prabhupada’s purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.16.32-33

Read more…


From “On the Holy Name” at Kirtan-mela in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Oct 5, 2019:

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains that if we are humble will seek the help of another. Otherwise, we will not be inclined.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said that “trnad api” is the siddha-pranali, the mantra to attain perfection.

Lord Caitanya said to string that verse on the garland of the holy name and wear it around your neck.

Lord Caitanya says that even if a tree is drying up, it does not ask for water.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says if someone comes to cut the tree down, the tree will still give shade to that person.

“The devotees of the Lord are so forbearing that even though they are defamed, cheated, cursed, disturbed, neglected or even killed, they are never inclined to avenge themselves.” (SB 1.18.48)

Although because of spiritual understanding the devotees do not take insults very seriously that does not reduce the offense of the person committing the insult.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura compares to initiating people without faith in bhakti to casting pearls before swine or dressing a monkey in fancy clothes.

Hearing the glories of devotional service nourishes our faith in bhakti.

Even hearing of the existence of pure devotion, even though we do not have it, is purifying.
To chant the Lord’s names means to take the Lord’s help, but if we use the Lord for our own ends, we cannot never attain the state of humility.

If we hear what purity is, then we become purified. In fact, it is the best way to become purified.

To chant the Lord’s names for any other reason other than to develop our pure devotion is an offense.

From a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavaam 10.9.19 in Hartford on October 25, 2019:

Srila Prabhupada makes the point in the purport, “This bhrtya-vasyata does not mean that He [Krishna] is under the control of the servant; rather, He is under the control of the servant’s pure love.”

Yashoda considered because that the milk she was boiling was ultimately for Krishna’s pleasure, it was something important for her to tend to so she stopped breastfeeding Krishna and set him down.

Krishna does not come to this world to collect some offerings or servants but to reciprocate the spontaneous love of His devotees here.

Krishna does not have to wonder what is the motive of the person because he is omniscient.

Because He is does not have to do anything, He does what he wants to do, and what he wants to do is exchange with the devotees who have spontaneous love.

In Vrindavana-campu, it is described that Krishna broke so many pots of butter and yogurt that there were rivers of those substances pouring out of the house.

Kunti was perplexed that Krishna was genuinely afraid of His mother.

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura lists other contradictions within Krishna:
Although personified goodness, He becomes angry.
Although self-satisfied, He becomes hungry.
Although condensed bliss, He experiences sorrow.

Love is so powerful that it makes Krishna forget that He is God.

The acaryas point that usually we wait for the judgment of God but in this pastime Krishna awaits the judgment of Yashoda.

The cowherd women, seeing that all the additional rope Yashoda added was not making the rope long enough to tie up Krishna, advised her to stop.She told them she wanted to see the extent of Her son’s waist, and told the women to bring all the rope they had in their homes.

Krishna’s heart melted when Krishna saw Yashoda’s determination to bind him, a manifestation of her bhakta-nistha.

From “On the Holy Name at Almaty Kirtan” in Kazakhstan on 21 Sep 2019:

Anarthas obstruct us from appreciating Krishna’s presence in His holy name.

Anarthas are things we are attached to but which have no real value.

Hrdayam daurbalyam (weakness of heart)

1. attachment to things that have no connection with Krishna.
2. envy of other living beings
3. pride in material things
4. duplicity and fault-finding

Persons who wonder how they can find time to chant have this weakness of heart. I ask them if they have time to eat. Generally they are very regulated, and they find time to eat very day. Why? Because they realize if they do not eat, there are consequences very soon. They get weak, etc. Similarly we need spiritual nourishment, and if we do not get it, there are consequences. The trouble is that we do not perceive these immediately. Thus maya lures us into thinking things are not so bad.

The more we associate with the holy name, the more we become purified.

The purpose of this life is that at the time of giving up our body we have to remember Krishna.

We may think that “attachment to things that have no connection with Krishna” is not a problem for us because we understand everything has a connection with Krishna, however, if we are seeing something is for our sense gratification, then we are not seeing its connection with Krishna.

If we chant the holy name while maintaining faith in the glories of the holy name we conquer over offenses.

Tattva-vibhrama means to not be aware of the obstacles in devotional service.

The acaryas give us so much knowledge of the anarthas so we can get beyond them and taste the presence of Krishna in his holy name.

Even though I do not experience the presence of Krishna in His holy name I have faith that if I continue chanting and I try to give up the anarthas someday I will experience Krishna’s presence in His name. This much faith we have to have.

If we do not hear we forget. That is the nature of this world. And forgetfulness is the most dangerous place to be in the material world.

Every day chant Hare Krishna, even if you cannot chant 16 rounds.

From a lecture on Govardhan Puja in Hartford:

This is a festival that Krishna Himself started to worship the cows, the brahmanas, and Govardhan Hill.

Krishna Himself gave a description of how it should be performed. He was the inaugurater of that festival and wanted it performed.

Krishna also wanted to promote complete devotion to Himself as the Supreme Lord and not worship of the various demigods.

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura said that Krishna spoke to reduce the pride of Indra, to begin a blissful annual festival, and to spend seven days in the association of His intimate friends.

The sweetness is Krishna subordinating Himself to those with spontaneous affection.

In kevala-bhakti, yogamaya acts so those with an intimate relationship with Krishna are not distracted by His opulence and His divinity.

Yashoda actually feels responsible for Krishna’s naughty behavior. If she were always conscious of His opulence and divinity she could not correct Him.

If someone tries to correct Him without unalloyed love, they are not going to be able get away with it.

Not only does reveal His spontaneous love and thus attract people during His manifest pastimes, He leaves descriptions of His pastimes so people in the future will also become attracted.

Krishna has nothing He has to do because everything is done by His energies. Thus what He does is what He likes to do the most, experience these pastimes with His eternal associates.

Krishna is self-sufficient because all the ingredients for creation are within Himself. First Krishna creates time, for without time there cannot be a beginning of anything.

Sukadeva Goswami speaks to Maharaja Pariksit Krishna’s pastimes to bring Him to the point of complete resolute faith and absorption in Krishna.

Some places it is amazing how Govardhan Puja is celebrated. At New Vraja in Hungary they would fill 40% of the temple room with hundreds of preparations as the altar was already full.

Read more…

Mother Cow Dairy!


By Krishnarupa devi dasi

A group of devotees in Melbourne have arrived at an amazing initiative, under the guidance of His Holiness Bhakti Rasamrita Swami, to supply ahimsa milk in commercial quantities.

The devotees teamed together in 2016 and located a dairy farmer willing to meet their strict requirements in caring for the cows. Every cow or bullock on the Mother Cow Dairy will always be cared for during their entire life cycle, whether they are producing milk or not.

Mother Cow Dairy is unique not only for how they care for their animals but also in how they process the milk. The cows are secured on a free-range farm where they are always away from force-feeding or other nasty practices of factory farming, including hormone or antibiotic treatments.

The cows at Mother Cow Dairy pasture feed in a park-like setting, and they get to keep and feed their calves freely, just as at New Govardhana.

Long-awaited Organic Certification is on its way and soon it will be certified organic, just to add to the benefits.

With the support of Melbourne Mahaprabhu Temple Management, Mother Cow Dairy milk is now being sold in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

For more information, please visit


Read more…

Chastened and Humbled by Giriraj Swami


Listening to Srila Prabhupada’s talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.35, given in Bombay on December 4, 1974, I felt chastened and humbled by his description of surrender and pure devotion, as exemplified by Sri Prahlada:

“Krishna says (Gita 18.66),

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

[Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.] The qualification is: unless one is sinless, he cannot understand Krishna. He cannot understand what is krsna-bhajana. But if one is eager actually very eager he can do it immediately. What is that? Surrender to Krishna. Sarva-dharman parityajya: give up all these nonsense so-called religious principles. Simply surrender to Krishna: ‘Krishna, I had forgotten about You. Now I surrender unto You fully. If You like, You can kill me; if You like, You can give me protection.’ This is surrender not business: ‘Krishna, if You give me this nice thing, then I will surrender.’ That is not surrender. That is business.

“When Prahlada Maharaja was offered the benediction that ‘My dear Prahlada, you have suffered so much for Me, even from your father. Now your enemies are all off. You can ask any benediction you like,’ Prahlada Maharaja said, ‘What is this, my dear Lord? Am I a baniya, vanik, that because I have suffered for You, I shall ask some benediction? No, no, don’t offer me like that. Because You are the supreme powerful, whatever I want, I can get from You. I am born in an asura family; I am inclined to material enjoyment. So don’t delude me, my dear Sir. And why shall I ask You? I have seen my father, so powerful that even the demigods were afraid of him, and You finished all his power within a second. So why shall I ask for these things? Kindly engage me in the service of Your servant. This much I want. I don’t want anything else.’

“Therefore a devotee never asks anything material from the Supreme Personality. As Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taught us, na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye (Siksastaka 4). [O Lord of the universe, I do not desire material wealth, materialistic followers, a beautiful wife or fruitive activities described in flowery language. All I want, life after life, is unmotivated devotional service to You.] They are simply satisfied by glorifying the Lord. That is their only satisfaction. If they get the opportunity of glorifying the Lord, as it is said in the previous verse, sabhajayante mama paurusani. Mama paurusani the glorious activities of the Lord. This is the way of bhajana. Satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah (Gita 9.14). [Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.]

“This is the way of bhakti-yoga. Simply glorify . . . Krishna therefore comes to give advantage to the devotees for glorifying Him because He acts. Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam (Gita 4.8). [In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.] To kill the demons and to give protection to the sadhus, He has to work.”

Srila Prabhupada has kindly taught us the standard of surrender, of pure devotional service. I simply pray to come to that standard, by his grace, as he wanted unqualified as I am.


Read more…

By Chetan Kumar & Neeta Maheshwary
As a member of ISKCON Prahla desh, lastly I received a formal invitation to attend an annual offering of special honor pooja known as 75th Diamond Jubilee Vyasa Pooja at the Library Hall, Swami Narayan Temple on 15th September 2019 (Sunday). I made up my mind to attend the event with my family.
I never had a clear understanding what it was or could be, in fact the “Vyasa Pooja” title itself being self explanatory gave me a clear awareness that it might be related to Maharishi Ved Vyasa. While arriving at the event I witnessed a purified spiritual environment where the Devotees were chanting the Mahamantra “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”. Listening to these mind and soul purifier chants my conscious mind went into deep spiritual chanting itself and I found myself also chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra from the depth of my heart with complete surrender and devotion to Lord Krishna. I experienced an inexpressible joy while chanting with the devotees. As the main event was about to begin, I came to know about few things which were completely new for me. Pictorial Reading i.e. the environment was print rich and very well decorated with fresh flowers. All glories to Srila Prabhupada, I paid my obeisance to Lord Krishna and the Founder Acharya of ISKCON Srila Prabhupada. My mind was still questioning me about the title Vyasa Pooja, as I couldn’t find anything related to Maharishi Ved Vyasaji. However, slowly and gradually, with my limited intellect I was able to conclude that the “Vyasa Pooja” is celebrated as an special honor to the spiritual teacher, who actually represents Krishna Himself as well as Krishna’s incarnation Maharishi Vyasadevji. Further, it was elaborated that Krishna recommends everyone seeking God to first seek out God’s representative and respectfully accept his guidance. I became more eager to know about the Vyasa Pooja celebrations therefore I got access of technology and came across some of very significant information.
“Actually there is no difference between hearing directly from Krishna and hearing directly from Krishna via a bona fide spiritual master like Vyasa. The spiritual master is the representative of Vyasadeva also. Therefore, according to the Vedic system, on the birthday of the spiritual master the disciple conduct the ceremony called Vyasa-puja”
“Since Vyasdeva is the original guru (spiritual master) of all who follow the Vedic principles, worship of the spiritual master is called Vyasa-Puja”.
As of now I was very much aware about the celebration and its ideology. It was an intuition of my mind that the celebrations are for the Founder Acharya of ISKCON Srila Prabupadaji as he is the spiritual Teacher, however after the introduction speech, it became much known to me that the pooja celebration was for H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj.
Few hours later, the lectures segments were initiated in which I was blessed to hear the philosophy and ideologies of ISKCON by the spiritual leader for the very first time. It had an amazing positive energy which made that YouTube lecture interactive as if Guru Maharaj was communicating to us all directly; the crowd was found to be deeply engrossed into the lecture of H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj. The claps and laughs among the devotees made me feel as if we were in person to Guru Maharaj.
Glorifications segments to the spiritual teacher (Guru Maharaj) started with the lectures of Venu Madhav Prabhu Ji, HG Gauranga Prabhu and HG Radhe Shyam Prabhu, which were telecast via multimedia. The lectures of these great personalities had so much of learning into it as I could call it as an ocean of knowledge. I felt like listening to each and every word of them with complete sincerity. It had glorifications and their personal encounters and experiences with H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj. I believe these souls are very fortunate to have direct guidance from the great Spiritual Master.
The Glorifications were further continued by the devotees and I experienced that each one of them were deeply connected to their Spiritual Guru with their thoughts, words and deeds.
The ISKCON talent talk team had also arranged a theatre/play “Bounce back with the beads”, written and narrated by Dr. Neeta Maheshwari and Malati Devi Dasi ji which expressed the importance of Hare Krsna Mahamantra japa regularly and how it transforms the behavior of an individual, be it a working class, housewife, or a student. The characters were portrayed so well and the body languages along with the mannerism of each character were perfectly carried by the participants. I thoroughly enjoyed the play and the most vital part of this segment was the dedication of the devotees (the members of ITT) who did not move a second carrying their cell phones to make the entire video of the play until approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Devotees also shared that the participants were practicing for the play since 3 months; honestly their hard work and effort were clearly visible.
The ceremony was later lead by HG Ram Sakha Das and Jagannath Das who delivered glorifications to Guru Maharaj and shared the transcendental knowledge of Bhagavat Gita. Lastly Maha Prasadam with Abhishekh Charna Amrit were offered to the Devotees, enjoying the Aarti and kirtan, we were about to come to an end of this Mahautsav Pooja.
I would also like to appreciate the team of ISKCON Prahala Desh for organizing such a wonderful event with perfection and high standards in terms of management. Lastly, may I express this year Vyasa Pooja in two words i.e. SOUL PURIFIER, the powerful chants and the vibrations of the Maha Mantra captured my subconscious mind entirely, and I am still consciously or subconsciously reciting the Maha Mantra since then.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Read more…

Prayers request for HG Virabahu Das


Hare Krishna,

We are requesting your prayers and well-wishes for a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada, His Grace Virabahu Das, an initiating ISKCON Guru and member of the Governing Body of Commissioners (GBC). Virabahu Prabhu recently had an elective surgery at the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai, India. Kindly keep him in your prayers to the Lord so he can have a speedy recovery and can return to his devotional service very soon. Thank you very much.
Yours in service, Sangita Devi Dasi


Read more…