ISKCON Derire Tree's Posts (14341)

7973942287?profile=RESIZE_584xBy Madhava Smullen 

As soon as you press play on the title track of Supersoul’s new EP “He Can Dance,” and hear the irresistibly catchy melody, funky rhythms, brass, and smooth harmonies, you’re likely to find that you yourself, and possibly your whole family, can do nothing but dance.

But the head-nodding grooves and immaculate radio-ready production aren’t all there is to discover – the lyrics quickly reveal something different, and deeper, than most.

“Lost in a desert, the world of names / Searching for pleasure, but only finding heat haze / My oasis, an illusion,” the vocalist intones. And listeners may feel a thrill of intrigue when he sings, “I would only believe in a God who could dance.”

Hailing from ISKCON New Govardhana in Murwillumbah, Australia, Supersoul consists of four devotees, all family men – singer and guitarist Deva Gaura Hari Das, bass guitarist Laksmivan Das, rhythm guitarist Svetadvip Das, and drummer Yadunandana Das. Starting out in 2016 as “Transcendance,” the band released a four-song EP in 2017, changing its name to Supersoul later that year. 

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“Tiger or President – Full of Anxiety”


By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

74/06/27 Melbourne, Bhagavad-gita 3.27

(Town Hall)

Srila Prabhupada: (leads chanting of “om namo bhagavate vasudevaya”)

prakrteh kriyamanani
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
[Bg. 3.27]

Krsna says that all these living entities… We are all living entities… Actually, every one of us is spirit soul, living entities. It does not matter whether I am a human being or other than human being, lower animals, birds, beasts, trees or higher celestial beings. There are many varieties of life. 8,400,000. Nine… Jalaja nava-laksani. In the water there are living entities of 900,000 varieties. We simply know that there are some fishes and crocodiles or sharks in the water, but sastra, Vedic sastras, they give definite information, how many forms and varieties of life are there within the water: 900,000. How many we have seen? Our scientists, our botanists, how many they have seen? So actually you cannot have perfect knowledge by the experimental method.

Now, if I say… I don’t say, but the sastra says there are 900,000 forms of aquatics. So you cannot say no because you have no experience. You have no experience. But from the sastra, Vedic literature, we get this information, Padma Purana. We are not speaking unauthorizedly. The sastras are accepted by the acaryas, the great teachers. And we get knowledge from the sastra. I may be imperfect, but I get knowledge from the perfect source. That is perfect knowledge.

Just like a child may ask his father that “What is this?” because he is astonished that the sound is very loud. So the child may not know, so inquires from the father, “Father, what is this? So father says, “My dear child, this is microphone. And when you speak through this machine, your sound becomes louder.” So the child takes the knowledge from the father, and if he repeats or he understands firmly, “My father has said. It is perfectly right,” then his knowledge is perfect. The child may be imperfect.

So our Vedic process is like that. We do not make any research. It is not possible to come to the right knowledge by so-called research, because our senses are imperfect. Just like we see through the telescope and we come under certain conclusion, but the fact is that I am the same person seeing through the telescope, and telescope is also manufactured by me or by you. So machine is imperfect and my seeing power is also imperfect. Then how you can have perfect knowledge? The machine is created by a person who has got imperfect knowledge, and the seer is also a person; he is also imperfect. The imperfect person is seeing through the imperfect machine. Then how we can conclude perfect knowledge? This is not possible.

Therefore the method is, according to the Vedic knowledge, that if you want perfect knowledge, then you should approach the perfect person. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. This is the Vedic injunction. If you want perfect knowledge, then you must approach a perfect person, guru.

Now, at the present moment, there are so many gurus. How we will understand who is perfect? That is also another problem. So that perfection is… That I have already explained, that the child who has heard from his father that “This is microphone” and if he speaks that “This is microphone,” then his knowledge is perfect. The child is not perfect, but because he has heard from the perfect authority, what he is speaking, although he is child, that is perfect. Similarly, this guru means who has heard from the perfect person. Therefore his knowledge is perfect, because he has heard. This is called parampara system or disciplic succession.

In this Bhagavad-gita you will find in the fourth chapter Krsna says, evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh [Bg. 4.2]. Parampara. Krsna is the original person, perfect, and He says,

imam vivasvate yogam
proktavan aham avyayam
vivasvan manave praha
manur iksvakave ‘bravit
[Bg. 4.1]

evam parampara-praptam
imam rajarsayo viduh
sa kaleneha mahata
yogo nastah parantapa
[Bg. 4.2]

Krsna is explaining to Arjuna. You will find these statements in the fourth chapter of Bhagavad-gita. Krsna said that “This perfect knowledge of yoga system as I am explaining in this…”

Now it is known, Bhagavad-gita. Bhagavad-gita means the, generally in this Western world they say, “Song of God.” So Bhagavad-gita is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So He said that “This is not a new literature. Millions of years ago I spoke about this yoga system, imam vivasvate yogam proktavan… [Bg. 4.1]. Proktavan means, “I said.” Whom? Vivasvan. Vivasvan is the name of the sungod or the president of the sun planet.

Just like here in this planet we have got presidents in each country. So now there are so many presidents. Formerly even on this planet there was one president. They are trying to be united. The United Nation organization, they want to unite. For the last twenty years the United Nations are trying to unite, but the result is we are disunited. Instead of making one flag, the flags are increasing every year. “This is Pakistan, this is Hindustan, this is this, this is that, this is…” They are not united. How they can be united? They cannot be united because prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah [Bg. 3.27], everyone is under the control of the material nature, full control. So, so long we are in the material world, controlled by the external material energy, there is no possibility of unity. That is not possible.

Because prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah. In prakrti, material nature, there are three different qualities: goodness, passion and ignorance. So all the varieties of life, they are under the control of the material nature and therefore you see varieties of life, varieties. There are three qualities. You multiply three into three. It becomes nine. And if you multiply nine into nine, you become, you see eighty-one. So therefore all these varieties of life, they are being controlled because… Not controlled. He accepts to be controlled. Prakrti does not want. Nature does not want to control you.

Just like police force. Police force is not meant for controlling you. But when you accept to be controlled by police, when you become a criminal, then police force controls you, not that police force is made by the government unnecessarily to control you. No. He’s to help you. Government has arranged policeman in every crossing. They are wandering in the street. They are meant for helping you. They are not meant for controlling you. But when you agree to be controlled by the police, then it will control you. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah [Bg. 3.27]. Then you become under the police control, if you become criminal. And what is that criminality? The criminality is that krsna-bahirmukha hana bhoga vancha. Krsna is the original enjoyer, God.

When I speak Krsna, it means God. God has got many names according to different religious system. But the real name is Kristo [pronounced “Kreesto”]. And you will be glad to understand that this Kristo, it is a Greek word, and it is a perverted pronunciation of Krsna, this Greek word. The meaning of Kristo in Sanskrit dictionary and the Greek dictionary always the same, about this word. And from this Kristo the word has got Christo or Christ. So even in Christian world the God’s name is there. Jesus the Christ or Jesus the son of Kristo, or Krsna.

So Lord Jesus Christ said, “My Lord, hallowed be Thy name.” He wants to glorify the name of the Lord. And some people says that there is no name of God. How? If Lord Jesus Christ says “Hallowed by Thy name,” there must be name. The name is there, but he did not pronounce it because the people at that time will not be able to understand or maybe some reason, but he says there is name. So we are making this propaganda, Krsna consciousness movement, the “Hallowed by Thy name. My Lord Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, let Your holy name be glorified.” This is our movement. It is not a sectarian…

It is very scientific movement, scientific movement because at the present moment we are all godless, forgotten what is God and what to speak of His name. They do not believe in God and what to speak of His name, fame, His place, His activities, His form, His qualities. How we can know? There is no educational system about the science of God. This movement, Krsna consciousness movement, is teaching the science of God. And if you accept the name of the God, name of God, Krsna — this is also affirmed in other system also — then you will be able to associate with God immediately. Because God is Absolute. Absolute means there is no difference.

Just like in the relative world… This is relative world. Material world means the relative world. Relative world means the son. As soon as I say “the son,” there must be a father. As soon as I say, “friend,” there must be another man, friend. As soon as I say, “water,” there must be something as water. But in the Absolute world, the name water and the water is the same. This is called Absolute, no different separation. So in the kingdom of God, the God is God and His son is also God. There the everything — there is no difference between the name and the substance. Here in this material world the name and the substance different.

Just like if I am thirsty, I want water, so the water must come to me. If I simply chant, “Water, water, water,” that will not be effective, because it is relative world. But in the transcendental world, Krsna is the name of God and it is God also. So by chanting Hare Krsna, you are directly in contact with God. This is the meaning of Hare Krsna, directly in contact.

Now, if we imitate that “These boys and girls are chanting Hare Krsna. It is a name only. So let me chant… Instead of Krsna, let me chant John,” but that chanting will not help you because you cannot chant more than three, four times or ten times, that’s all. But this is the proof. And this Hare Krsna, this chanting, if you ask these boys and girls, they can chant continually for twenty-four hours in ecstasy, continually, without any stoppage. That is spiritual name. You cannot take any other name and chant and enjoy like that. So it is practical experience. I am touring all over the world, three times in a year, and because this chanting is Absolute, everyone is joining, Europe, America, Africa, Canada, Japan, China, everywhere. Nobody says that “This is a word from India. Why shall I chant the Indian name?” No. It is God’s name. God is neither Indian nor American nor otherwise, neither Christian nor Hindu nor Muslim. God is God.

So we are at the present moment rotting in this material world. Purusah prakrti-sthah. That is also mentioned in the thirteenth chapter. It is said that purusah prakrti-sthah. Where is that verse? (aside:) I told you to…

Purusah prakrti-sthah? Purusah prakrti-stho hi. Yes.

purusah prakrti-stho hi
bhunkte prakrti-jan gunan
karanam guna-sango ’sya
[Bg. 13.22]

Purusa. Purusa means the enjoyer. Everyone of us sitting in this hall, we have got different mentality to enjoy differently, different dress, different mentality, different opinion, because everyone of us we are individual. So this individuality is both in spiritual world and the material world. But in the material world our individuality is different on account of associating or infecting different qualities of the material nature. Just like there are different types of patients in the hospital. Why? Because each and every one of them is infected by different types of germs of disease.

Here it is explained, purusa, the living entity, prakrti-stha, being in this material world. Prakrti means this material world. We do not belong to this material world. Just like a person in the prison house, he is a citizen, but when he goes into the prisonhouse, he has got different sense, different, I mean, punishment, different dress. They are also dressed differently. So similarly, we are all criminals. Criminals. What is that criminality? Because we have forgotten God. This is criminality.

Krsna-bahirmukha hana bhoga vancha kare

You will find in this practical experience. Suppose a boy is very rich man’s son. But still, he thinks “Why shall I live under the rules and regulations of my father? Let me go out. I shall enjoy life freely.” Freely, what freedom? You are already rich man’s son. You can enjoy the property of your very, very rich powerful father, and what independence you will enjoy? This is criminality. This is criminality. We are sons of God, part and parcels of God, and God means almighty. So we have got almighty father, and leaving His place, I have come to this material world to enjoy independently. That is criminality. And we are suffering. That is explained here: prakrti-stha, “being placed in this material world,” purusa, bhunkte prakrti-jan gunan, “he is enjoying, but enjoying the quality of the modes of material nature.”

Just like a tiger. He is also enjoying. He is thinking, “I am very strong. I have got so power, so much jaws and nails. I can jump over any animal and immediately kill him.” He is pleased in that position, but, you know, the tiger or the lion, they are so unfortunate that they do not get daily food, in spite of becoming so strong. Because prakrti-jan gunan, he is under the influence of the material nature. He… The tiger may be very powerful, but he remains always hungry. Very powerful. Because the other animals, they know that in that corner of the forest there is tiger, nobody goes there. Where he can get food? Hardly chance, by chance he gets one animal and jumps over it. This is called prakrti-jan gunan. He thought, “By becoming tiger I shall be very much proud of enjoying,” but prakrti says, “No, sir, you cannot get even daily food. That is not possible.” Therefore prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarva… [Bg. 3.27].

Here the so-called tiger, so-called big men… Just like in America the president is a big man. But now he is put into such a condition that he is full of anxiety. At any moment he may be kicked out. This is the position. You cannot be happy either as President Nixon or tiger or cats and dogs or human being or Lord Brahma. That is not possible. That is not possible. You must be full of anxieties because this is unnatural life.

To understand that “I am this body,” this is foolishness. I am not this body. I am the soul within this body. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita in the second chapter: dehino ’smin yatha dehe [Bg. 2.13]. Dehi, the proprietor of the body. Just like you are the proprietor of your shirt and coat. You are not shirt and coat. You are the proprietor of the shirt and coat. You are dressed with shirt and coat in different colors and different shape.

Similarly, the living entity — it does not matter whether he is a man or animal — he is part and parcel of God, but he desired certain dress or certain body, so prakrti, nature, has given him. So this is going on. Purusah prakrti-stho hi [Bg. 13.22]. Purusa means… He is not enjoyer, but he is thinking enjoyer. He is not enjoyer. At any moment his so-called enjoyment will be finished.

Just like in the Western world they are thinking that “We are enjoying life.” Of course, enjoying life in his consideration. But how long, sir, you will enjoy this life? You have got very nice car or very nice building and you are enjoying as Australian, as American. That’s all right. But how long you shall remain American and Australian? That question does not come to the dull brain because he does not know that he is eternal. And this is temporary dress. I… Somehow or other, I wanted this, and prakrti, nature, has given me. But nature has not given me the right to remain as American, Australian, Indian, no. That is not possible. You wanted; you enjoyed this life for a certain time, and then again you create your desire.” Now I am very powerful, very happy. Let me love dog instead of God” — that means you are preparing your next life as dog because it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita that at the time of death the mentality which you have created throughout the whole life, that will carry you to other body process. It is very scientific. Anta-kale tu mam smaran.

So if you train up… You have got this facility of life, comfortable life. Do not misuse it for becoming next life a dog. Utilize it to become next life God. That is success. You have got advanced intelligence, but this intelligence is given to you for understanding God and your position that by forgetting God you are in this material world, and in this material world you are changing one body to another. Sometimes American body, sometimes demigod’s body, sometimes celestial body, sometimes dog’s body, cat’s body, tiger’s body. This science is unknown. But this is the science. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah ahankara [Bg. 3.27]. We have got this body, that body, this body, under the direction of the prakrti, material nature. So therefore intelligence is that “If I am eternal…” Na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. You are not dying. Hanyamane sarire.

That you can experience practically, daily. How is that? When you sleep at night, then you dream, means subtle body. So these activities of this gross body stop. You again work in the subtle body. You dream that you have gone to somewhere or in the forest or somewhere, somewhere, somewhere. But you forget that “My real body is lying in this bed.” You do not remember. This is practical. So I change this, myself. I am soul. I change from this gross body lying on bed in a very nice apartment, skyscraper building, but I have gone to the forest, and I am affronting a big tiger and I’m crying. In this bed I am crying. The friends say, “Why you are crying?” “Tiger, tiger, tiger.” Where is tiger? This is called subtle body. So you are changing daily at night from this gross body to the subtle body. And again the dream is over, from the subtle body, again to the gross body. Every one of us has got this experience.

Therefore I am the enjoyer, purusa. I am changing simply body, this way or that way. This is my position. So one who is intelligent, that “I change body and different bodies. I am eternal, so what is my eternal business?” This is athato brahma jijnasa. This is called inquiry of the spiritual life. This is very simple thing, that “I am simply changing body. Then what is my real position?” This is intelligent. When a man comes to this position or this platform, to inquire, “Actually what I am?” that is beginning of human life. Otherwise, it is animal life. The animal also thinks, “I am dog,” “I am tiger,” “I am that.” You are none of these, sir. These are all designations, for the temporary, for a certain period, ten years, five years, fifty years, utmost hundred years, then finished. But you are eternal.

So here it is said, purusa. “I am purusa. I am enjoying.” So purusa prakrti-sthah. So long he is in this material body, he bhunkte. Bhunkte means enjoys. Not enjoyment. We think we are enjoying, but we are suffering actually. And because we cannot understand what is suffering… Suffering there is. Sometimes we come to understand. But we are accepting this suffering as enjoying. A man is working very hard, very hard, whole day. He is… This is not enjoyment. You have got a car, but you are running at 70 miles speed, going to your business, and there you are earning hundred and thousands of dollars. So you are thinking that you are enjoying. But this labor is suffering — you forget. And in order to forget this suffering, then I take to wine, take to this, take to that, to forget the suffering.

So actually we are suffering, but we are accepting it as enjoying. This is called illusion. So whatever we are doing in certain type of body in this material world, that is suffering. That is not enjoying. Because why you are placed? Because I wanted to enjoy life like that. So purusa prakrti-stho hi bhunkte prakrti-jan gunan [Bg. 13.22]. And this profit is nothing but acceptance of the quality of material nature. And that is very practical. We can understand. Just like we are getting… I get, say, fifty-thousand dollars in a check. So I think that “I have got fifty thousand dollars.” But what is this fifty thousand dollars? It is a piece of paper. You see? This is called illusion. In this way you study your life, you will see. If you are sober, if you are actually thoughtful, you will find that “This is not my life. This is not my life. But I am falsely thinking that I am enjoying life.” Therefore frustration. Next stage is frustration. Everyone, we are frustrated because we are in this material world.

That, Prahlada Maharaja said, a great devotee, that… His father asked him, “My dear boy, what best thing you have learned?” He said, “My dear father…” He did not say, “father.” His father was first-class materialist. So he addressed him, “the best of the demons,” because anyone who is very much sensuous, very much attached to sense gratification, they are called demon. And those persons who do not indulge in sense gratification but utilize this body or this life for God realization, Krsna realization, they are called gods.

There are two classes of men, demon and god. Those who are engaged in God consciousness they are not God but godly. And those who are not… Because this human life is meant for this purpose. Forgetting our father, forgetting our God, we are criminal within this material world. Therefore our only business is how to get out of this prison house and go back to home, back to Godhead.

So this Krsna consciousness movement is trying to liberate these foolish persons who are entangled in this material world and changing one body after another, sometimes very happy and sometimes very distressed. This is going on.

Therefore Prahlada Maharaja said, tat sadhu manye ’sura-varya dehinam: “My dear father, or the best of the demons, you are asking me, so I say, I have learned this. What is that? That these people who are always full of anxiety,” asad-grahat, “because they have accepted this material world,” tat sadhu manye ’sura-varya dehinam sada samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahat [SB 7.5.5], “these persons, either in human being or animal or bird and beasts — full of anxieties.”

If you bring one bird… He is free. You give some grains, he will come to eat, but he will look like this: “Nobody is coming to kill me. Nobody comes to kill me.” Similarly, our position is… Even President Nixon, he is also full of anxieties: “When I shall be dethroned? When I shall be dethroned? Let me take protection. Let me take…” Anyone, beginning from Lord Brahma down to the small ant… You… There is ant is going. You stop it by your finger. He will struggle: “Why you are stopping? Why you are stopping, stopping?” This is the way. You will see the ants. When there is water, they carry their eggs on the head and they go on the wall, up. They have also got the same feeling, affection, and anxiety, everything. And the human being or the best human being is Lord Brahma in the topmost planet, whose life is millions and millions of years, he is also full of anxiety.

So Prahlada Maharaja said rightly that “My dear best of the demons, so far I have learned that these living entities in different grades of life,” sada samudvigna-dhiyam, “always full of anxiety.” Why? Asad-grahat: “Because he has accepted this material body, therefore he must be full of anxiety.” Then what is the remedy? Now, hitvatma-patam grham andha-kupam vanam gato yad dharim asrayeta: [SB 7.5.5] “He should give up this material encagement, material home and material thing. He should approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead in Vrndavana or forest and surrender unto Him.” That is the only way.

So if you want to be free of anxieties… Nobody can say that “I am already free of anxiety” unless he is a madman. A madman will say, “I have no anxiety.” But no sane man will say that “I am free of anxiety.” This is material life. So if you want to become free of anxieties, then you come to the spiritual life. That is the only remedy. Harim asrayeta. Accept the lotus feet of God. That is the mission of God. God comes Himself. God sends His son or devotee or servant. The same thing. That religion may be different. That is not very important.

Anyone who has preached… The religious leaders all over the world… Take Lord Jesus Christ or Krsna or Mohammed or Lord Buddha. Nobody has said that “You will be happy in this material world.” Nobody has said. “You continue this manufacturing of factories, and you will be happy.” Has anybody said? No. “Back to home, back to Godhead. Then you will be happy.” This is Krsna consciousness movement, back to home, back to Godhead.

We have go speak many things. We have got books. So try to understand and prepare yourself next life to go back to home, back to Godhead. This is the business of human life. All other business are simply useless waste of time. Thank you very much. [break]

…but the spirit is there. Just like if anyone, relative, dies, father dies — take for instance — he is crying, “My father is gone. My father is gone.” “But where your father has gone? Your father is here, sleeping.” “No no, he is gone.” “But did you see how he has gone? Have you got the eyes? How he has gone? But you did not see. You always saw this material body, flesh.” So as the spirit soul is not flesh, but you can understand that spirit soul has gone.

So in our present experience we see this flesh or mental concoction. But spiritual understanding is different. That you have to do when you are spiritualized. Therefore it is said, atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih [Cc. Madhya 17.136]. Indriya means senses. You cannot understand God by your present senses, or godly, kingdom of God. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah: “But if you engage your service beginning with the tongue, then God reveals.” “God reveals” means He reveals His kingdom, He Himself. That…

These boys are after God. It is not that I have shown him God, but they are realizing, understanding. Otherwise they are not so fool, they’ll waste time. They are understanding. But it is not a subject matter to be seen like this. Neither you have got the eyes to see, neither God or His kingdom is visible in that way. It is to be realized, revelation. That is called revelation. But if you engage yourself in the service of the Lord, everything will be revealed to you. This is the process. [break]

Madhudvisa: When you become Krsna conscious, can you remember your past or see into the future?

Prabhupada: No, we understand past, future, everything present. That is spiritual consciousness. Yes. Just like Krsna says, “I know past, present and future,” similarly, when you also become pure, purified in Krsna consciousness, you’ll also know past, present and future.

Guest (1): [inaudible]

Madhudvisa: The gentleman is asking about the authenticity of Moses.

Prabhupada: Moses. They are representative of God. That’s nice.

Guest (2): How strong is the power of Krsna?

Madhudvisa: How strong is the power of Krsna?

Prabhupada: (laughter) No, that can be explained. Just like there is Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean and you are a drop of it, that’s all. The quality is the same, a drop of Atlantic or Pacific Ocean and the ocean. If you taste the drop, a small drop it is salty — you can understand that the ocean is also salty. But the containing, the contents of salt, that is very small, and the contents of salt in the ocean, that is very big. That you cannot imagine. It is like that. God is like you and me, a person. But He is Pacific Ocean; we are drop. That’s all.

Yes? What is your question? This gentleman, here.

Guest (3): [inaudible]

Madhudvisa: He wants to know what the doctrine of Krsna consciousness is.

Prabhupada: Krsna consciousness means that you are part and parcel of Krsna, or God, you being separated, I have already explained, you are suffering in this material world. So you back to your father, go back to your father and be happy. That’s all.

Guest (4): [inaudible] [break]

Prabhupada: …if you love God. And because we are missing God, we are loving this thing, that thing, that thing, that thing, that thing, and frustration. That very love which is reserved for God, we are applying it in this material world: “I love my country. I love my society. I love my family. I love my dog. I love my… I love.” But I am missing whom to love. That is the point. I am placing my love in so many things, and I am becoming frustrated. So when we understand the love is meant for God, that is our perfection of life. And if you love God, then you love everyone. That is perfect love. Without loving God…

Just like you are the son of your father. So when you love your father, naturally you love your brothers also because you know, “My father will be pleased.” So this is love. That universal love can be possible when you actually love God. Samah sarvesu bhutesu. In material platform that is not possible. But a devotee, a pure lover of God, he loves everyone. Just like we are. Because we have tried to love God, therefore we are wandering, touring all over the world, and the same message, “Please try to love God.” We have no other message because we have understood to some extent that without love of God, they are suffering. So they will be happy when they begin to love God. This is our mission.

Devotee (1): In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, it says that Krsna did not want us to come to this material world. If Krsna did not want us to come, why are we here?

Prabhupada: Yes. You forced Krsna to allow you to come. Just like sometimes a child forces his father. Father says, “My dear son, do not do this. Do not go there.” But he insists, “Oh, I must go. I must go.” “All right, you go at your risk. That’s all. And you suffer. What can be done?” Because you are son of God — God has got independence, full independence, almighty — therefore you have acquired the quality of your father. You have got little independence. So God does not interfere with your little independence. If you persist that “I must go and enjoy independently,” so God says, “All right, you can go.” This is the position. You have to take sanction. That is a fact. But when you persist, God sanctions. And you come and enjoy. Beginning from Lord Brahma down to the worms in the stool, gradually, according to your work, according to your desire, you manufacture your different types of body and enjoy and suffer. That’s all. That is explained. Prakrti-stho hi bhunkte prakrti-jan gunan. And as soon as you, entangled in different types of punishment, not enjoyment but punishment.

So in this way, being punished in different types of life, when we come to the sense… That sense can come in human form of life. When we understand that “I have traveled through, in, transmigrated from many species of life, but every life I can see, not that I have forgotten. Even if I have forgotten, I can see the suffering of the cats, dogs, tiger, man, bulldog and everyone. So I had all these lives in the past. Evolutionary process, I have come to this human. So I suffered all these things. So when the question comes, “Why shall I suffer?” then the inquiry — this is called, Vedanta-sutra, athato brahma jijnasa — the inquiry of God begins. That is human life. Yes.

Guest (5): Prabhupada, Lord Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita that when there is decline of true religion…

Prabhupada: Yes.

Guest (5): …and when evil increases in the world, that He manifests Himself in a body, a human body, and comes to earth to rescue the human beings from their illusion.

Prabhupada: Yes.

Guest (5): Now these conditions exist today. Is He here in the human form or is He still to come?

Prabhupada: Yes, God has already come.

Guest (5): In what form?

Prabhupada: In the form of name, Hare Krsna.

Guest (5): No, He said He manifests in a human form.

Prabhupada: God has human form, and God is everything. So if He comes in the form of sound, where is your objection? But God is everything. He can come as a human being, or He can come in the form of sound also. Because what is this human being? You are seeing a human being, this flesh. That is combination of matter, combination of matter, earth, water, fire, air, ether. This is combination. What you are seeing? Your eyes are also the combination. But the sound is ether. So if you accept earth as the form, where is your objection to accept ether? Because they are all material.

Guest (5): There are two objections. One is that He said, “I manifest in a human body,” in a human body such as we have here, and also…

Prabhupada: So that requires little intelligence, that anyone who is preaching the holy name of God, he is also God. Anyone who preaches the glories of God, he is also God.

Guest (5): Are you God?

Prabhupada: I am servant of God.

Guest (5): But you’re preaching the holy name of God?

Prabhupada: Yes, that is my business.

Guest (5): But then, by your own words, you are God.

Prabhupada: But that does not mean I am God, but I am equal to God. Or at least you should see like that. That is explained. A guru… That is explained.

saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam **

Guru’s position is like this. What is that? Saksad-dhari. He is God. Saksad-dhari. How he is Hari, God? No, samasta-sastraih: “In all revealed scriptures it is explained that ‘Guru, the servant of God, the son of God, the preacher, he is God.’ ” Saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair uktah: ** “It is said.” Tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih: “Those who are intelligent, they accept like that.” Then next line says, kintu. Why he is God? Kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya: “He is God because He is very, very dear to God.” So as I said, in the absolute word, God and a person very dear to God, he is also God. But he does not think that he is God. He knows that he is servant of God. It requires little intelligence, spiritual intelligence, the Absolute, how the servant of God and God is the same. [break] Yes.

Guest (6): Do you believe in the Holy Bible?

Prabhupada: Why not? (laughter) It is holy, God’s message. Why shall I not believe?

Devotee: (inaudible)

Madhudvisa: He wants to know how in the beginning, when we are starting to engage in Krsna consciousness, devotional service to God, can you develop enthusiasm and sincerity.

Prabhupada: Yes. The thing is if you want to become a drunkard, you mix with the people who drinks. Then you drink little, little, little. Then you become a big drunkard. Similarly, if you have got little sense that “I shall understand what is God,” this very much qualification, if anyone only wants sincerely that “I will understand what is God,” then your drinking business begins immediately. [break]

Then if you continue, then as the drunkard becomes big drunkard, you become a big devotee. The beginning is that you must be little anxious that how I can understand God. This is the qualification, that’s all. And if you are serious, then God is within you, He will give you intelligence. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Tesam nityabhiyuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam buddhi-yogam dadami tam. When God sees that you are sincere, He is within you, He will dictate you do like this, you do like this, and you will make advance.

Devotee: He is commenting about the (indistinct) (laughter)

Prabhupada: The animal did not understand anything. (laughter and applause) Because he is animal he is thinking like that. Everyone thinks others like him. That is the nature. Atmavat manyate jagat.

There is a story. You will hear it. That one gentleman, he was hard of hearing, hard of hearing. So he is calling his wife Mrs. Such-and-such, Mrs. Such. She is replying, “Yes, I am coming.” But he is hard of hearing. He is thinking that my wife is hard of hearing. She is replying, “Yes, I am coming.” But this rascal is hard of hearing, so he is thinking my wife, that is my wife’s fault, she is hard of hearing. He cannot hear and he is thinking that my wife is hard of hearing. This is the example. A man thinks others like himself.

Guest (7): Is Krsna a person God?

Prabhupada: Yes, God is person, like you and me. You can go and talk with Him, he qualified for that pur… Nitya nitya… This is Vedic injunction. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13). God is eternal among all other eternals. We are all eternal, and God is the chief eternal. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. We are also cognizant and God is also cognizant. The difference is that I am cognizant with a limited space and God is cognizant throughout the whole universe. But He is also cognizant. He is also person. I am also person. What is the difference? Eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman. That one maintains all these innumerable living entities. Therefore in the Bible you go and ask God give us our daily bread, He is maintaining. That is the difference between God and ourself. We are maintained and God is the maintainer. We are predominated and God is the predominator. That is the difference. Otherwise He is a person, we are also persons. He is eternal, we are eternal. He is cognizant, we are cognizant.

And all the desires and propensities what God has got, we have also got. God has got this propensity to love Radharani. We have got also the same propensity to love another young girl or young boy. So originally it is there. Therefore in the Vedanta-sutra it is said janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]. God means from whom everything has come. So if there is a question of love, the (indistinct) a man loving a woman and woman loving a man, that is in God. It must be there. Otherwise wherefrom it has come?

But that is pure and here it is impure on account of this material contamination. The thing is there but it is contaminated. Therefore you feel frustration. So intelligence is the why shall I remain in this contaminated position? I shall go to the pure platform. That is Krsna consciousness.

Guest (8): Why didn’t anyone see Krsna’s universal form before Arjuna? Krsna said no one has seen before Arjuna. Why is that?

Prabhupada: You become like Arjuna, you will see. First of all you become like Arjuna, friend of Krsna. Then you will see. Do you think you are as good as Arjuna? Krsna says, Arjuna addressing, that I am instructing to you my dear Arjuna, because you are my dear friend. And you are very great devotee. Bhakto ’si priyo ’si me rahasyam etad uttamam [Bg. 4.3]. I am speaking to you this Bhagavad-gita because you are qualified. What is that qualification? Because you are My devotee and very intimate friend. So you become also intimate friend and devotee, you will understand everything. That is our request. If Arjuna becomes a friend and devotee you can also become. Why you are losing this opportunity? That is our propaganda. You also become a friend, a devotee, and be happy and see Krsna as He is simply symbolic representation. He says everyone. Let us take this opportunity and become like Arjuna. That is perfection of life.

I think now we should chant Hare Krsna. Please join us. (end)

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bhagavad-gita 3.27 — Melbourne, June 27, 1974


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Yoga and Peace by Satyaraja Dasa


As a teenager coming of age in the 1960s, I was preoccupied with spirituality. I had become disinterested in the mainstream religion of my forbears, and I was passionately looking for a path that spoke directly to me as an individual.

I didn’t want some amorphous, otherworldly transcendence, either — this I knew for certain. Nor did I want mere political activism, which many in my day tied to spirituality in a rather tepid, tenuous way. Instead, I wanted something that truly nurtured my inner world while serving a purpose in the outer one. I wanted an “Engaged Spirituality” that would address the concerns of the day as well as my own personal concerns at the same time.

Enter Bhakti-yoga. In this clear, easy-to-access system of knowledge, ancient Indic texts reveal a path that has at its basis the principle of yukta-vairagya. In a nutshell, yukta-vairagya is simply this: As opposed to forms of yoga that emphasize renunciation and otherworldliness, Bhakti-yoga stresses the importance of using the accoutrements of this world in a spiritual way. It is not renunciation of action but rather renunciation in action. Everything in the world has a specific purpose, and, when used in that appropriate way, takes on a spiritual quality, making the world a better place and spiritualizing all involved. This is yukta-vairagya, the main principle in Bhakti-yoga.

This was particularly meaningful in my youth, during the antiwar protests of the late ’60s, for example. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, my spiritual mentor, was keenly aware of this, and he knew, having brought Bhakti-yoga to western shores just several years earlier, that it would have special relevance for the youth of my day. His “Peace Formula” was an entirely new approach to the antiwar question, and for millions, it provided the perfect solution to an escalating problem that continues to affect us all. And it was based squarely on the principles of Bhakti-yoga.

Prabhupada quickly engaged his disciples in mimeographing thousands of pamphlets with his “peace formula” philosophy, and he distributed them worldwide. Here is what he had to say:

“The great mistake of modern civilization is to encroach upon others’ property as though it were one’s own and to thereby create an unnecessary disturbance of the laws of nature. These laws are very strong. No living entity can violate them. Only one who is Krishna conscious can easily overcome the stringency of the laws of nature and thus become happy and peaceful in the world.

“As a state is protected by the department of law and order, so the state of Universe, of which this earth is only an insignificant fragment, is protected by the laws of nature. This material nature is one of the different potencies of God, who is the ultimate proprietor of everything that be. This earth is, therefore, the property of God, but we, the living entities, especially the so-called civilized human beings, are claiming God’s property as our own, under both an individual and collective false conception. If you want peace, you have to remove this false conception from your mind and from the world. This false claim of proprietorship by the human race on earth is partly or wholly the cause of all disturbances of peace on earth.

“Foolish and so-called civilized men are claiming proprietary rights on the property of God because they have now become godless. You cannot be happy and peaceful in a godless society. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says that He is the factual enjoyer of all activities of the living entities, that He is the Supreme Lord of all universes, and that He is the well-wishing friend of all beings. When the people of the world know this as the formula for peace, it is then and there that peace will prevail.

“Therefore, if you want peace at all, you will have to change your consciousness into Krishna consciousness, both individually and collectively, by the simple process of chanting the holy name of God. This is a standard and recognized process for achieving peace in the world. We therefore recommend that everyone become Krishna conscious by chanting:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare

Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

“This is practical, simple, and sublime. Four hundred and eighty years ago this formula was introduced in India by Lord Sri Chaitanya, and now it is available in your country. Take to this simple process of chanting as above mentioned, realize your factual position by reading the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, and reestablish your lost relationship with Krishna, God. Peace and prosperity will be the immediate worldwide result.”

Prabhupada did not mean to be simplistic. He knew that his audience, for the most part, didn’t know about Lord Chaitanya, the father of sacred chanting as a yogic science, who appeared in Bengal, India, 500 years earlier. And he knew that most of them had not read the Bhagavad-gita. But his “Peace Formula,” he hoped, would inspire them to move in that direction -– to learn more about Sri Chaitanya and the deep teachings of the Gita.

He was also aware that the struggle for peace was multidimensional, and that, if peace were to be achieved, it would take determined effort in many areas, involving environmental, economic, and political concerns. Indeed, he wrote about all of these things extensively. But at the heart of all our woes, he taught, is spiritual bankruptcy. And so he chose to emphasize a peace formula that addresses this fundamental problem above all others. As I see it, if we could gather together in kirtan, sacred chanting, as he describes above, fighting on both large and small scale will become a thing of the past and we will then be well on our way to spirituality and peace.


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Letting Go! by Bhaktimarga Swami

7973906878?profile=RESIZE_400xIt always pays off. This walking I do, to a nearby park, in any direction, almost each day, gets attention by some individual and leads to a spontaneously established friendship.

Today I made my way southbound to Queen’s Park to meet a newly made compadre, Saurav, where we would be going over a discussion on chapter 1 of The Gita. He tells me he has accepted me as his teacher and also admitted it’s hard for him to spark an interest in spiritual talk with his buddies. With me it’s 90% all about that.

Our reading over the verses of chapter 1 went well. It is one of the more compelling segments of the Gita. In our reading of the 40 plus verses I suggested he go at it a little more dramatically. I thought it suited his nature. After all, he is a very expressive type of person.

“Saurav, A little more oomph!” I am implied.

We were nearing the end of our verse recitation and discussion when a young Asian woman approached us. We were sitting on a park bench facing in the direction of an impressive statue of King Edward VII on a horse. She identified herself as Audrey and asked if she could join us. Naturally our answer was “Yes.” She pulled out of her bag a book authored by David Hawkins called, “Letting Go” and she admitted it’s helping her overcome some challenges in life.

The term “letting go” is perfect for describing the essential message behind The Gita, so we discussed that with Audrey, who’s such a pleasant person. We were a buzzed-up trio from here on until departing time. It was very fulfilling for all of us.


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Seeing the Prime Cause By Padmapani Das


On July 29, 1971, Srila Prabhupada was interviewed on television at the University of Gainesville in Florida (which His Divine Grace described as “a remote corner of the world, thousands of miles from the birthplace of Lord Caitanya”). At one point, Srila Prabhupada was asked the following question:

Interviewer: How would I recognize a true follower of the Krishna consciousness movement by his behavior? What would his traits be? What would his outward expressions be?

Srila Prabhupada: He’d be a very perfect gentleman, that’s all. You could not find any fault in him.

What’s particularly striking about his reply is that Srila Prabhupada never mentioned any external symptoms such as dress, title, social position, or even what religious or spiritual practices one followed. His evidence was the result — or fruit — of spiritual advancement. As Prabhupada often said, “You can judge a thing by its result.”

Earlier in the conversation, Srila Prabhupada informed the interviewer that “We are not concerned with how one man deals with another man.” Rather surprised, the interviewer inquired, “Isn’t that part of your Krishna consciousness movement?” Srila Prabhupada replied, “No, this is not important because we know that as soon as one understands how to deal with God, he will automatically deal very nicely with others.”

In the early 70’s, I remember hearing a conversation where Srila Prabhupada warned the devotees about the dangers of “party spirit.” He said that it could ruin everything. At the time, who could have imagined the possibility of Prabhupada’s movement splitting into various factions? It was inconceivable, but obviously a lot has transpired over the years since then. Who can deny that we haven’t had our ups and downs and that we haven’t made some mistakes along the way? We’ve all gone through changes, but hopefully we’ve matured and gained some wisdom as well. For many of us, our youthful idealism has given way to a more reserved attitude in our views and dealings. There are probably few among us who haven’t spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out how we can actually get it right for Srila Prabhupada. How many times did he instruct us all to get along? But how in the world are we going to do it?

While leafing through a selection of Prabhupada’s letters recently, I came across the following statement:

“Perhaps you know that there are many political parties in a country, but when the country’s total responsibility has to be executed, they become combined. To have some little disagreements amongst yourselves is not very unnatural because we are all individual beings. But as we are all working on behalf of Krishna we should always forget our personal interests and see to the prime cause.”

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, January 21, 1969)

Here, in a short paragraph, Srila Prabhupada dispels all doubts about how we should interact with one another as aspiring Vaisnavas serving his great mission. It is said that a swan is able to extract the milk (or essence) from a mixture of milk and water. Since Prabhupada is forever the supreme swanlike devotee, his words, books, letters and conversations all contain the very essence of truth. And the truth is always simple, never complicated:

“Although there may be some difficulties within our society, these things are not very important. What is important is that we should simply fix our mind on Krishna’s Lotus Feet. This is His instruction in the Bhagavad-gita. So we associate with one another so that we can assist each other in hearing and chanting about Krishna. That is the purpose of our Society.”

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 22, 1974)

Lord Krishna Himself confirms in the Bhagavad-gita that a wise person (panditah) sees every living being with equal vision (sama-darsinah). He or she makes no distinctions on the basis of bodily identification or designation. Srila Prabhupada said that when making an analogy one should gather together as many similarities as possible to draw a conclusion. Using this logic we can easily understand that we each have so much in common. We’re all eternal spirit souls, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. In the process of transmigrating from one body to another we have reached the human form of life. In this particular lifetime we have come in contact with Srila Prabhupada, a pure unalloyed devotee of Krishna who is described in the scriptures as the “mercy incarnation of the Lord.” We have each adopted (to one degree or another) the process of reviving our true spiritual nature through the practice of Krishna consciousness as revealed to us by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. These similarities alone far eclipse any temporary differences based on the body or mind. As Prabhupada clearly advised: “To have some little disagreements among yourselves is not very unnatural because we are all individual beings. But as we are working on behalf of Krishna, we should always forget our personal interests and see to the prime cause.”

So ultimately it’s this “prime cause” or higher vision of Krishna consciousness that we are after. Differences are there, most certainly, but they pale in comparison to the wonderful spiritual commonalities that we all share. By focusing on these simple but eternal truths so kindly revealed to us by Srila Prabhupada, we can look forward to further progress in Krishna consciousness both individually and collectively.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.


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7971527078?profile=RESIZE_400x7971534487?profile=RESIZE_400xGeorge Harrison placed a Hare Krishna sticker on the headstock of Eric Clapton’s famous guitar—the red Gibson ES-335 that he played throughout his career until auctioning it for charity to benefit his Crossroads Centre in Antigua, a residential-care facility dedicated to the treatment of drug and alcohol dependency and addiction.

“‘I think this is the star of the show,’ Clapton said prior to the 2004 Crossroads Guitar Auction at Christie’s, where it sold for $847,500. Even though the guitar was 40 years old when Clapton sold it, it was in remarkably good shape. Even the Hare Krishna stamp that George Harrison affixed to the back of the headstock was still in good shape. ‘It’s worked really hard,’ Clapton said. ‘It was on a lot of albums, went everywhere, and was played regularly over the years, but it never got old or worn down or lost anything. It’s amazing that it’s survived in this condition. I’d still play it today.”

Gibson produced a reissue of the guitar - an exact replica numbering 250 - complete with the Hare Krishna stamp.


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The Laws of Bhakti by Mukundamala Dasa


From Back to Godhead

Far from being a sentimental activity, devotional service is based on well-defined principles that systematically guide a practitioner to ultimate perfection.

Discussions about the relationship between science and religion usually end in a stalemate: Scientists accuse religionists of relying too much on faith, which they say is experimentally unverifiable, while religionists accuse scientists of relying too much on physical and chemical laws, which they say fail to measure the emotions and sentiments of a conscious living entity. The scientists fail to address or even acknowledge consciousness and its attendant needs; religionists fail to provide a satisfactory scientific and logical explanation for the practices they follow. The refusal of scientists to experiment beyond mechanistic science and the inability of religionists to present religion as a bona fide science have only widened the gap between the two parties.

A study of the Vedic scriptures, however, reveals that the true Vedic religion is not a matter of blind faith but is an actual science, verifiable by experiment. Unlike conventional religions, which force their practitioners to accept dogma on faith, the Vedic religion (also known as sanatana-dharma, bhagavata-dharma, or Krishna consciousness) repeatedly prods its students to inquire and question at every step. Sentimental practice is never encouraged. While other religions teach us to love and serve God, the beauty of the Vedic scriptures lies in their ability to explain the dynamics of this spiritual relationship by revealing the precise, well-defined principles that underlie it. A deeper understanding of this subject will nourish the faith of the faithful and satisfy the intellect of the intellectuals.

1. The Law of Attraction

Newton’s law of gravitation states that every object possessing mass attracts every other object with a certain strength, called the gravitational constant, or G. Furthermore, the effect of G (called force, or F) reduces as the distance between the two objects increases. According to the spiritual law of attraction, every spirit soul is attracted towards the Supreme Soul, Krishna. Being an eternal part of Krishna, we are constitutionally meant to love and serve Him. All we need to do is uncover our loving propensity by practicing devotional principles. Just as iron filings get attracted to a magnet, all of us in our pure state have a natural attraction towards Krishna. Lust and many other unwanted things prevent the full exhibition of these loving feelings, just as rust prevents the full attraction of iron filings towards a magnet.

The spiritual law of attraction differs from Newton’s law in some areas. Whereas the attractive force (G) exerted by each mass on other masses is the same (G is a constant), the attraction (in this case, the affection or love) that Lord Krishna has towards the wayward spirit souls is much greater than what those souls have towards Him. Srila Prabhupada writes, “He [Krishna] is just like an affectionate father, who is more eager to see his son than the son is to see him. There is no contradiction in such a quantitative difference in affection.” (Mukunda-mala-stotra 1, Purport)

The attraction between Krishna and His devotees is unaffected by the physical distance between them, unlike the attraction (F) between two physical masses. Other material barriers, like the language in which a prayer is intoned, one’s social or financial standings, or any other mundane criteria, have no effect on this spiritual relationship.

In sharp contrast to Newton’s law, the attraction between Krishna and His devotees has been known to increase with distance. Love in separation from Krishna is described as the highest form of love, higher even than love in union with Him. The most exalted devotees, the gopis of Vrindavan, experienced this form of love. After first enjoying a decade of Krishna’s association in Vrindavan during His early pastimes, they later had to undergo a century of separation from Krishna while He spent His time in Hastinapura and Dwarka. All the while, their love for Krishna kept increasing despite their being separated by a great distance.

Bhakti, or loving devotional service, is known as shri-krishnakarshini, “that which attracts Krishna.” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes in Jaiva-dharma, “The devotee whose heart is infused with shuddha-bhakti [pure devotion] attracts the attention of Krishna—along with that of all His close associates—by the power of his love. Love is the only way to conquer Sri Krishna; no other means are viable.” By the power of his devotion, Prahlada, although a five-year-old boy, could attract the Supreme Lord Nrisimhadeva, who appeared just to protect His dear devotee. Between a magnet and iron, it is the magnet that has the power to attract, not the iron. But with bhakti, the devotee—an infinitesimal spirit soul—can attract the infinite, all-powerful Krishna.

2. The Law of Reciprocation

Like Newton’s third law of motion, the law of karma states that for every action there is a reaction. However, the karmic law—an aspect of material nature, which is working under Krishna’s direction—is universal; it does not act merely in the realms of physics or chemistry. Pious actions result in pleasurable reactions, while sinful actions lead to hellish sufferings.

In the Bhagavad-gita (4.11), Krishna says, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham: “As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.” To those who consider God impersonal, He reveals Himself as the impersonal Brahman. To yogis who meditate on the form of the Lord within the heart, Krishna reveals Himself as the Paramatma, the Supersoul, who resides in the heart of every living being. But to those who accept Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna is eager to reveal His supreme form of sac-cid-ananda: His eternal personal form of full knowledge and bliss.

When Krishna entered the wrestling match Kamsa had organized in Mathura, He appeared differently to different groups of people: “The various groups of people in the arena regarded Krishna in different ways when He entered it with His elder brother. The wrestlers saw Krishna as a lightning bolt, the men of Mathura as the best of males, the women as Cupid in person, the cowherd men as their relative, the impious rulers as a chastiser, His parents as their child, the king of the Bhojas as death, the unintelligent as the Supreme Lord’s universal form, the yogis as the Absolute Truth, and the Vrishnis as their supreme worshipable Deity.” (Bhagavatam 10.43.17)

Fully surrendered devotees of Krishna receive the greatest reciprocation from the Lord. The Chaitanya-bhagavata relates the story of Vasudeva Datta, a greatly powerful devotee of the Lord. Feeling extreme pain to see the sufferings of conditioned souls, Vasudeva Datta requested Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to let him suffer for the sins of everyone in the universe. The Lord was so pleased by Vasudeva’s compassion that He said, “This body of mine belongs to Vasudeva Datta. . . . [He] may sell Me wherever he likes.” (Chaitanya-bhagavata, Antya-khanda 5.27–28)

Devotees are ready to sacrifice everything for the pleasure of the Lord, and the Lord is ready to give Himself to His devotee. Srila Prabhupada writes, “This transcendental reciprocation exists because both the Lord and the devotee are conscious. When a diamond is set in a golden ring, it looks very nice. The gold is glorified, and at the same time the diamond is glorified. The Lord and the living entity eternally glitter, and when a living entity becomes inclined to the service of the Supreme Lord he looks like gold. The Lord is a diamond, and so this combination is very nice.” (Gita 9.29, Purport)

The principle of reciprocation assumes extreme proportions when we offend great devotees or render service to them. The scriptures repeatedly warn us about the dangerous effects of vaishnava-aparadha, offense at the feet of an advanced soul. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu described this as “the mad elephant offense,” which can uproot and destroy the tender devotional creeper we are struggling to cultivate. The best way to avoid this is to always remain humble, expect no respect from anyone, and offer all respect to others.

On the other hand, service rendered to a pure devotee awards us untold benedictions. For example, mahat-sevam dvaram ahur vimukteh (Bhag. 5.5.2): A little service offered to a devotee opens immediately the doors of eternal liberation.

3. The Law of Subjugation

As the master of the universe, Krishna controls everything and everyone. But one who has bhakti can control Krishna by love. Bhakti-yoga therefore is superior to all other spiritual practices, like karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, or ashtanga-yoga.

The story of King Ambarisha and Durvasa Muni reveals this point clearly. Durvasa Muni had attempted to kill the pious Ambarisha for an insignificant offense. But Ambarisha remained unfazed and took complete shelter of the Lord. To protect His dear devotee, the Lord released His personal weapon, the Sudarshana chakra, and destroyed the demon Durvasa had sent to kill Ambarisha. The chakra then started chasing the Muni to kill him. Durvasa fled the scene and approached various demigods for help. Unable to get shelter from anyone, including Indra, Brahma, and Shiva, the great mystic finally approached Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha, requesting the Lord to withdraw the scorching chakra and thus save his life. To his surprise, the Lord expressed His inability to protect him and ordered him to beg forgiveness directly from Ambarisha. Lord Vishnu said,

aham bhakta-paradhino
hy asvatantra iva dvija
sadhubhir grasta-hridayo
bhaktair bhakta-jana-priyah

“I am completely under the control of My devotees. Indeed, I am not at all independent. Because My devotees are completely devoid of material desires, I sit only within the cores of their hearts. What to speak of My devotee, even those who are devotees of My devotee are very dear to Me.” (Bhag. 9.4.63)

Only after being forgiven by His devotee, the Lord assured, would Durvasa stop being chased by the chakra.

Other examples of Krishna’s subjugation to His devotees: As a small child, Krishna would dance like a puppet when the adult gopis of Vrindavan clapped their hands. During the rasa-lila, sometimes the gopis would sing and Krishna would dance just to please them.

Pure love of God is of the nature of Krishna’s internal potency, or Srimati Radharani, and has the power to bring Krishna, the greatest person, under His devotee’s control. The Pandavas, for example, bound Krishna with pure affection and kept Him always near them. As Narada Muni said, “My dear Maharaja Yudhishthira, all of you [the Pandavas] are extremely fortunate, for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, lives in your palace just like a human being. Great saintly persons know this very well, and therefore they constantly visit this house.” (Bhag. 7.10.48)

4. The Law of Unification

The perfection of bhakti-yoga lies in dovetailing all of our desires for the pleasure of Krishna. In other words, a devotee sets aside all selfish motives and wishes to fulfill the desires of Krishna. In this way, the desires of Krishna and the pure devotee are one. Whenever a pure devotee speaks, he is speaking on Krishna’s behalf, presenting whatever the Lord would Himself say.

Devotional service to Krishna is so sweet that the devotee and the Lord sometimes forget their own identities. They are so much in tune with each other that there is no difference in their purposes. Ye bhajanti tu mam bhaktya mayi te teshu capy aham: “Whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Gita 9.29)

Again, in the story of Ambarisha and Durvasa, the Lord makes this famous statement:

sadhavo hridayam mahyam
sadhunam hridayam tv aham
mad-anyat te na jananti
naham tebhyo manag api

“The pure devotee is always within the core of My heart, and I am always in the heart of the pure devotee. My devotees do not know anything else but Me, and I do not know anyone else but them.” (Bhag. 9.4.68)

It is important to note that the oneness attained by a devotee is different from the oneness impersonalist philosophers imagine they will attain by merging with the Supreme. A devotee rejects such oneness as hellish because it means the end of his individual identity, and thus the end of his chance to serve the Lord. Srila Prabhupada gives the example of a green bird entering a green tree. Deep within the branches and leaves, the bird may not be visible to an observer standing below, but the bird never loses its existence. It enjoys the tree’s fruits and flowers. A devotee who has returned to the spiritual world similarly enjoys service to Krishna with ever-growing freshness and sweetness under the shelter of Krishna’s lotus feet.
Judge Your Progress in Bhakti

Rupa Goswami, a sixteenth-century Vaishnava saint and a direct disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, describes the systematic developments a devotee undergoes while practicing the science of bhakti. In the beginning one has faith (shraddha) in some form of divinity or in saints or scriptures. This faith, which is compared to a seed, helps one seek out the association of saintly devotees (sadhu-sanga), where the seed sprouts and takes root as a creeper. Receiving nourishment in the form of hearing and chanting the holy names and glories of Krishna (bhajana-kriya) under the guidance of devotees, the creeper grows luxuriantly. In the process, all the unwanted things in the heart that block the progress of bhakti go away (anartha-nivritti), clearing the path for the creeper.

Carefully cultivating spiritual practices and steering clear of all obstacles, the devotee achieves steadiness (nishtha) in bhakti. At this stage the waves of love of Godhead first appear. As the spiritual practices continue, the devotee’s steadiness matures into intense taste (ruci) for devotional activities, removing all threats of the recurrence of unwanted habits. Such a person is known as an uttama-adhikari.

Shivarama Swami, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, has written Suddha-bhakti Cintamani, based on past acharyas’ commentaries on Vaishnava literature. Discussing the advanced stages of pure devotion, he writes, “As devotees cultivate that taste, they develop concentrated attachment for Krishna (asakti). That attachment polishes the heart to such an extent that at times devotees think that Krishna has appeared there. At other times they intuitively understand their relationship with the Lord, though such realization is still immature.” (p. 303) “At bhava [the next stage], when they transcend the boundaries of matter, the touch of the pleasure potency immediately awakens pure greed in their hearts.” (p. 610) “Love of God (prema), the full manifestation of pure goodness, is like the sun. When a single but fully potent ray of the Krishna-sun touches a devotee’s heart, ecstatic devotion instantly becomes manifest. Just as a spark falling onto dry leaves quickly grows into a forest fire, one ray of pure goodness entering a devotee’s heart quickly flares into a blaze of love for God.” (p. 307)

Attaining the stage of pure love of God is the perfection of our existence, the goal of the human form of life. If we remain sincere, Krishna’s mercy is assured. Like any other science, if we stick to the principles and carefully avoid the dangers, we are bound to attain success in this life.

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By Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

In his book of essays, entitled Upakhyane Upadesa, “Instructions in Stories” (Gaudiya Mission 1936), Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gives the following commentary on the story of Ekalavya: The translation from the original Bengali is by H.H. Bhakti-caru Svami.

To many people, Ekalavya’s devotion to his guru is ideal, but there is a special consideration…What was Ekalavya’s fault? That should be considered. Wearing the mask of guru-bhakti (devotion to the guru), Ekalavya actually revolted against his guru. Whether his guru was actually considering him to be disqualified by birth in a low-class family, or was simply testing him– for whatever reason–when his gurudeva refused to teach him the art of Dhanur Veda, it was Ekalavya’s duty to accept the instruction of his spiritual master. But Ekalavya did not like that. He wanted to become great. Externally, without a guru his work would not be considered bona fide, or perhaps it was not possible to become great without accepting a guru. It was with these considerations that Ekalavya formed an imaginary or clay material form of the guru.

Actually, his main intention was to learn Dhanur Veda and become great. In this way he wanted to satisfy his own senses. He did not want to sacrifice himself to the will of his guru. That was not his honest desire.

Some may say that ultimately Ekalavya accepted the cruel order of his guru without a protest. But if we consider this issue more carefully, and deeply, we can see that Ekalavya considered mundane morality to be greater than transcendental devotion. It is a moral code that when the guru wants some daksina one must offer it to him, and this sense of morality inspired Ekalavya to cut off his thumb. He did not offer it with spontaneous devotion. (Otherise he would have accepted the guru’s first order.)

Devotion is simple and spontaneous. If Ekalavya had unconditional and natural devotion for Hari (God), guru, and Vaisnava (the devotee of the Lord), then the guru, Dronacarya, and the best of Vaisnavas, Arjuna, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, would not have been dissapointed in Ekalavya’s behavior. Ekalavya’s endeavor to learn Dhanur Veda and his desire to become great were not accepted by his guru. In the core of Ekalavya’s heart, he desired to become better than the best of Vaisnavas, Arjuna. The desire to become greater than the Vaisnavas is not devotion. It is nondevotional, and this is the principle of the Sahajiya sampradaya.

By mundane consideration, this kind of desire to become great is a good desire. But devotion is the effort to remain behind the Vaisnavas and to remain submissive to the Vaisnavas. Ekalavya wanted his skill to be greater than that acquired by learning the Vedic wisdom directly from a bona fide spiritual master. Arjuna showed Ekalavya his wrong approach to learning the Vedic science. If Arjuna had not mercifully pointed that out to him, then the glories of impersonalism would have prevailed. People would have created their imaginary, mundane, unconscious gurus, and learned different sciences and devotions, instead of approaching a bona fide guru.

So Arjuna took care that such an atheistic principle was not established. Therefore Arjuna was not envious of Ekalavya. It was actually a manifestastion of his causeless mercy toward Ekalavya and the whole world. If Ekalavya had been an unalloyed devotee of his guru, then Krsna would not have destroyed such a guru-bhakta, such an earnest disciple of the guru. Krsna always protects his devotees. But Ekalavya was killed by the hand of Krsna. That’s what finally happened to Ekalavya. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that we cannot judge a devotee just by seeing his external austerities. The demons also perform austerities, and the demigods cannot perform austerities as much as the demons.

Ekalavya wanted to become greater than a Vaisnava, against his guru’s desire. That is why he was killed by Krsna and ultimately attained impersonal liberation. Only the demons are killed by Krsna. Devotees are always protected by Krsna. Hiranya-kasipu and Prahlada are the proof. Therefore we should never try to become greater than Vaisnavas and, wearing a mask of guru-bhakti, actually become an impersonalist. That is what we should learn from the example of Ekalavya. Proficiency in performing activities is not a symptom of devotion to the guru, or guru-bhakti. Bhakti means to remain subordinate and submissive to the Lord’s loving servants, the Vaisnavas.

Submitted by Shyamasundara Dasa


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7971298458?profile=RESIZE_584xBy Madhava Smullen 

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ISKCON temples around the world closed their doors, and many found challenges in maintaining themselves without traditional in-person outreach activities.A family enjoys Sunday Brunch at their own socially-distanced table in the Prabhupada's Palace Rose Garden

By June, some had begun to reopen, with locally mandated restrictions. New Vrindaban, ISKCON’s first farm community, in West Virginia, faced particular economic challenges due to the size of the facility and its focus on serving pilgrims and tourists. Despite having to cut back in many areas, the pilgrimage site was able to survive with PPP funding from the government, and by reopening to visitors in May as an essential service with state-mandated restrictions.

While other temples maintain specific set times when visitors can register to come and take darshan (pay their respects to the Deities), New Vrindaban is open from 5am to 9pm every day.

The temple canceled its large festivals such as Festival of Colors, but is able to continue receiving guests in different safe and creative ways. Janmastami, Lord Krishna’s birthday, was celebrated with precautions and a limited number of visitors, while the 24-Hour Kirtan was a mostly online event.

Weekend retreats on yoga, meditation and ecology have been held with five to ten guests each, while a regular Sunday Brunch has been held in Srila Prabhupada’s Palace Rose Garden.

All this is possible partly due to sheer space – the temple room is vast, the community is spread out over 2,200 acres, and the core ISKCON New Vrindaban area over 525 acres, making a visit more like going to a state park. In addition, there has been a relatively low number of COVID-19 cases in Marshall County, where the pilgrimage spot is located.

More recently New Vrindaban devotees welcomed guests on Labor Day Weekend, from September 5th to 7th. As always, masks, sanitization, and social distancing were in place over the weekend – the temple room is divided into a limited number of  six by six feet spaces, and a security guard was engaged to ensure proper following of the precautions both inside and outside.

The number of programs were reduced, and were largely held outside in different parts of the 2,200 acre property.

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7971295257?profile=RESIZE_584xIn observance of the World Holy Name Festival.

Srila Prabhupada came to the Western world to give us the holy name. He did so on the order of his spiritual master, with full faith in the holy name, that if people like us would just chant the holy name, everything else would follow.

Srila Prabhupada had a godbrother named Akinchana Krishnadasa Babaji, whom Prabhupada said was a paramahamsa, a liberated soul. Babaji Maharaja approached another godbrother of Prabhupada’s, who had been sent by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura to England to preach but who didn’t really have much effect and then came back to India, and said to him, “You went to the West, and Swami Maharaja [Srila Prabhupada] went to the West. You presented the teachings of Lord Chaitanya, and Swami Maharaja presented the teachings of Lord Chaitanya. You introduced the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and Swami Maharaja introduced the maha-mantra. But Swami Maharaja was tremendously successful, and you hardly achieved anything. What is the reason?” Then Babaji Maharaja himself gave the answer: “Because Swami Maharaja had full faith in the holy name of Krishna, and you didn’t.”

This is a very powerful statement, a most significant point. Prabhupada had full faith in the holy name, and with that conviction he came to the West, gave us the holy name, and encouraged us to chant.

Earlier, another godbrother, Dr. Oudh Bihari Lal (O. B. L.) Kapoor, initiated as Adi Kesava dasa, had met Prabhupada in Mathura. In grihastha-ashrama Srila Prabhupada had been a chemist, or pharmacist. Dr. Kapoor asked him, “You are a chemist; you know many formulas. Do you know the formula for developing love of God?” Srila Prabhupada answered, “Yes, I do.” Dr. Kapoor replied, “Can you tell me what it is?” And Prabhupada said, “Yes. Trnad api su-nicena, taror iva sahisnuna/ amanina mana-dena, kirtaniyah sada harih.” Srila Prabhupada’s faith in the holy name was there from the beginning. It formed the basis of his journey to the West and his service to his spiritual master and to all of us.

At Srila Prabhupada’s sannyasa initiation ceremony in Mathura, while the priest was conducting the fire sacrifice and reciting various mantras, Akinchana Krishnadasa Babaji was chanting the holy name. He really relished the holy name. (One night, on Ekadasi, His Holiness Bhakti Bhrnga Govinda Swami went to meet him. He was sitting in the courtyard of some ashram. It was very dark—maybe there was a bare light bulb in a corner—and he was just chanting japa and relishing. Clearly, he was tasting, savoring. He was truly drinking the nectar of the holy name.) So, during an interlude in the ceremony, Krishnadasa Babaji led kirtan, and when the time came to resume the ceremony with the recitation of mantras, the priest gestured to him, “You may end the kirtan now.” But when the priest returned to the ceremony, Prabhupada discreetly gestured to Babaji Maharaja, “Keep chanting. Keep chanting.” And Babaji Maharaja, while telling the story, commented, “Then I knew he would be the world leader of the Hare Krishna movement.” Srila Prabhupada had that deep faith in the holy name.

Soon after I joined the Boston temple, the devotees there faced a financial crisis. At that time, the devotees didn’t regularly perform hari-nama-sankirtana or distribute books in the streets. They had only evening programs in the temple on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and the love feast on Sunday afternoons. Prabhupada had said that if the devotees needed to get jobs, they could. Satsvarupa dasa, the temple president, was a social worker, and his paycheck from the welfare department was the only income the temple had. But as the art department grew and more devotees joined, that income became insufficient.

The devotees, who were very surrendered, had a meeting. One devotee, Patita-pavana, said that he had worked for the post office before he joined and so he could get a job with the post office. Another said that he knew the grocer down the street and might be able to get a job in the grocery store. Devotees volunteered to help in whatever ways they could. Then one devotee, Nanda-kisora, raised his hand. He was very humble—all the devotees were, but he was really very humble. He recalled a letter from Srila Prabhupada. All of Prabhupada’s letters were taken as important documents, instructive for everyone. Whenever a letter came, all the devotees would gather round, the addressee would open and read it, and everyone would listen. So, Nanda-kisora quoted a letter from Srila Prabhupada: “If you just go on sankirtana, all of your problems will be solved—spiritually and materially.” And everyone agreed: “Yes, this is what we should do.”

The next day, we went out on the streets. We chanted—we didn’t even have copies of Back to Godhead to distribute—and asked people for donations. Then we came back, counted up the laksmi, and found that we had collected seven dollars. In those days, seven dollars was something. The prospects looked promising, and we decided to try the same process the next day. So, we went out, perhaps with even more enthusiasm and conviction, came back, and counted up: twelve dollars. I thought, “This is getting good. What Prabhupada said is true.” We went out the third day, came back and counted up nineteen dollars. Then we had no doubt, and we would go out every day. What Prabhupada had said was true: “If you chant Hare Krishna, all your problems will be solved—materially and spiritually.” He had that faith.

Eventually we moved from the small storefront at 95 Glenville Avenue to a big mansion at 40 North Beacon Street. It was the first property that ISKCON owned, that the devotees purchased. Srila Prabhupada was very enthusiastic and said that the press should move from New York to Boston. The devotees began to print Prabhupada’s books, one of the first being Easy Journey to Other Planets. He guided every aspect of publication, including the presentation of the books. He gave the titles and at least in this case told us what he wanted on the cover: One part was to be the material universe—outer space with different stars and planets—and the other part was to be the spiritual sky, with some Vaikuntha planets, mainly Goloka Vrindavan with Radha and Krishna. And he wanted a devotee flying through space from the material universe into the spiritual sky, with dhoti, kurta, sikha, and japa-mala. The cover was meant to depict the theme of the book, that by bhakti-yoga, by chanting japa, one can travel beyond the material universe to the spiritual sky, to Goloka Vrindavan. The chanting is our ticket back to Godhead. Later, when the devotees showed Prabhupada the cover, he was pleased and said, “Yes, by the beads.” Chanting the holy name has such potency, and Srila Prabhupada had that faith.

Then Srila Prabhupada and some disciples went to India, and there he surprised us. We began doing hari-nama-sankirtana, as we had done in the West, but eventually Srila Prabhupada stopped us. He said that we should not do street sankirtana too much because in India beggars take to the streets and chant to solicit money, and he didn’t want people to think we were beggars. He introduced the life membership program, which he said was designed to distribute his books. And he encouraged big pandal programs, which he called Hare Krishna Festivals. The first was held in Bombay, and the second was to be in Calcutta. Calcutta then was under the sway of the Communist Party and a group of communist youth called Naxalites, whose program was to terrorize rich people. They would kidnap the sons of rich families and demand large ransoms. Sometimes they would just shoot rich people dead in the street. It was a terrible situation, and at that time many of the wealthier people actually left Calcutta and moved to Delhi and other places.

In this climate Srila Prabhupada wanted us to organize a big pandal, and he sent Tamal Krishna Goswami and me from Bombay. Before the program began, Prabhupada received a letter that said, “Fly or die.” It sounds overdramatic, but whoever sent the note cut the letters out of the newspaper so no one could trace the typewriter, pasted them on paper, and sent it. The day before the program, there was a press conference, and many of the reporters were in an aggressive mood. One reporter challenged Prabhupada, “What is this pandal program going to accomplish? You could spend the money to help poor people.” Prabhupada replied, “What will it accomplish? It will accomplish hearing. People will get a chance to hear.” Then he said, “This whole huge arrangement has come from hearing. I went to the West and spoke, and some young people heard me, and because they heard me, now they have come and arranged this big program.” Srila Prabhupada, always fearless, persisted in his mission.

It was the tradition for pandals that most of the ground was covered with dhurries (Indian carpets), with chairs for special guests on the side. In our pandal the chairs were reserved for invited VIPs, life members, and anyone who paid a rupee. So, on the first night, just as the program was beginning, a group of Naxalites raised a big ruckus: “Why do some people get to sit on chairs and other people have to sit on the ground? Everyone should sit on the ground.” They were looking for an excuse to pick a fight. And while Prabhupada was on the stage with the Deities and disciples, these Naxalites began shouting and hollering, deliberately making a disturbance. Then they took some of the folding chairs we had set up and began to clap them together. The situation was really tense, because these Naxalites could do anything; they could become violent. We didn’t want to provoke them further, but at the same time, unless they stopped, Srila Prabhupada wouldn’t be able to speak, because they were making such a commotion.

We all were looking to Prabhupada—What would he do? Suddenly he bent forward toward the microphone, and . . . he began to sing: “Govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami.” He sang the Govindam prayers, and somehow the whole disturbance subsided. The young men put down the chairs and quietly left. It seemed miraculous.

The next pandal program was in Delhi, and there Srila Prabhupada got an invitation to go to Madras. He was planning to go to Vrindavan, taking his disciples there for the first time, but he wanted someone to go to Madras. No one wanted to go; everyone wanted to go with him to Vrindavan. But I considered that the secret of success in Krishna consciousness was to follow the order of the spiritual master and please him, so I volunteered.

In Madras I was alone for much of the time. I kept asking for help, but it was hard to get devotees. In any case, while I was there a song came out. In Srila Prabhupada’s purports he sometimes mentions cinema songs, which are the most popular in India. The refrain of this song was “Dam maro dam . . . Hare Krishna, Hare Rama. Hare Krishna, Hare Rama. Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.” We didn’t have a center in Madras; I was just staying with different people. Because I kept hearing the song, I finally asked my host what the translation was. I don’t know if he misunderstood the actual meaning or was just being polite, but he said, “With every breath that I take, Hare Krishna, Hare Rama”—which sounded very nice. So, for a while we thought that was what the song meant. Eventually we found out what it really meant: “With every puff that I take, Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.”

From Madras we went to Calcutta, and there the movie that featured this song was playing. We didn’t really know what the movie was, but in those days in America whenever the musical or the movie Hair would show, devotees would do hari-nama-sankirtana in front of the theater and distribute books, because Hair featured a song with the full Hare Krishna maha-mantra. So we thought, “Oh, the movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna will be a great opportunity.” So, we had hari-nama and distributed books outside the theater. But when most of the customers had entered, I thought, “Let me steal a peek. Let me see what this movie is.” So I went inside, just as it was about to begin. It was very impressive on a big screen, with loud amplifiers. The film began with shots of ocean waves on the shore. In a deep, resonant voice, the narrator intoned, “For centuries India’s spiritual culture remained within the shores of India, but one man . . .”—then it showed a picture of Srila Prabhupada—“took India’s spiritual culture across the ocean.” Then it showed the London Ratha-yatra, so dramatic on the big screen, and I thought, “Wow! This is amazing!” And then it showed a bunch of hippies smoking ganja and hashish and chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Rama. They were dressed just like hippies, with boys and girls mixing. It was really bad—the theme of the movie was that Srila Prabhupada was degrading the sacred Indian culture by giving it to hippies who were just misusing it, chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Rama and smoking dope and indulging in free sex and everything else.

That was a blow. Srila Prabhupada said that the government was behind the film, because they were afraid that our movement would become too popular and they wanted to turn people away from it. Communists in the government also started rumors that we were CIA agents. It was the same type of thing. They knew we weren’t, but they spread rumors about us because they didn’t want people to take to Krishna consciousness. They thought that spiritual life would keep the people down. Actually, they wanted to keep the people down.

Anyway, now we come to the point: Srila Prabhupada’s faith in the holy name. Prabhupada said, “In the long run the film will actually help us, because eventually people will forget the dam maro dam and just remember the Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.” And it came true. From Calcutta I went to Bombay, and especially the street urchins there—so many street urchins stand at corners and beg or sell magazines—whenever they saw us they would gather around us and put their hands to their mouths, as if they were smoking chillums with (hashish), and sing, in a mocking way, “Dam maro dam, dam maro dama . . .” Most of the time they wouldn’t even get to the “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama”—just “Dam maro dam.” It was like a plague. Wherever we went, these little kids would surround us and taunt us: “Dam maro dam.”

It went on like that for some time, and it was difficult. Then after maybe a year of the song playing—it was extraordinarily popular—the emphasis shifted. The two parts—the “Dam maro dam” and the “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama”— became equal. And eventually, just as Prabhupada had predicted, the “Dam maro dam” dropped out altogether. It was a mundane sound vibration and had no real attraction. But the Hare Krishna, Hare Rama was transcendental and ever-fresh. After the “Dam maro dam” dropped out, when people saw us they would simply smile and say, “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.” That came to pass.

Soon after, Srila Prabhupada took up the Juhu project. That’s a whole history, but after Srila Prabhupada’s first stay and public program there, while he and the devotees waited in the exclusive VIP lounge at the airport before Prabhupada’s departure, there was an uproarious kirtan, ecstatic chanting and dancing. And Prabhupada said, “If you go on having kirtans like this, our project will be successful.”

Srila Prabhupada named the project Hare Krishna Land. One day, in his room at the back of the property, hearing the kirtan from the small temple at the front, he said, “This is Hare Krishna Land. We should always hear the sounds of Hare Krishna.”

Later, some devotees printed postage-style stamps (without postal value) with a picture of Radha-Krishna and the words Hare Krishna, to be pasted on envelopes, and Srila Prabhupada wrote me, “These two words, ‘Hare Krishna,’ must appear everywhere.”

Another time, Srila Prabhupada was on the terrace of one of the old tenement buildings that came with the land, and a devotee named Haridas was fanning him. At seven o’clock Prabhupada looked at his watch and said, “Haridas, do you hear the sound of kirtan in the temple?” Haridas strained to hear but couldn’t. “No, Srila Prabhupada.” “You don’t hear kirtan coming from the temple?” “No.” “That is the point,” Srila Prabhupada said. “There is no kirtan in the temple, and there should be.” Then he asked Haridas, “Where are all the devotees?” Haridas ventured that they must have gone to the city to collect and had not yet returned. Prabhupada said, “That was not my idea, that the devotees should go and collect all day and night. They may go at nine and return at five, and then chant and dance before the Deities. Otherwise they will become like karmis.”

Then he asked Haridas, “Do you know why we were successful and Mr. Nair wasn’t? Nair was well established in Bombay, whereas we were completely new. He was very wealthy, whereas we had no money or regular income. As the owner of the Free Press Journal, one of three English dailies in Bombay, and the former sheriff, he knew many people and was very influential, whereas we hardly knew anyone and had practically no influence. But we were successful and he was not. Why?” And he gave the answer: “We were acting to please Krishna, and he was acting for his personal gain. And because we tried to please Krishna, Krishna mercifully reciprocated and we were successful—by His grace.

“So, the devotees should come and sing and dance before the Deities, for Their pleasure. By pleasing the Deities, by Their mercy, by Krishna’s mercy, we will be successful—not by our independent strength and endeavor.” Srila Prabhupada really had that faith in Krishna, in the holy name, in the Deities—that if we sincerely chant to please Krishna, Krishna will be satisfied and we will be successful.

The last incident I shall relate came toward the end, when Srila Prabhupada was already quite ill, in 1977. Srila Prabhupada had a staunch devotee, Sri P. L. Sethi—as Hanuman was to Rama, he was to Prabhupada. He was so staunch and had so much faith. From before he met Prabhupada, he was associated with a group called the Radha Madhava Prema Sudha Sankirtana Mandala. Their guru was based in Vrindavan, and they chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. In Bombay they were all householders. Every Sunday they would have a twelve-hour akhanda-hari-nama-sankirtana—unbroken, continuous kirtan—from six in the morning to six in the evening, followed by two hours of Vraja songs.

Mr. Sethi had the idea that instead of having the kirtan in one of their devotees’ homes, as they usually did, they could have it at Hare Krishna Land. So we arranged it, before the Deities in the small temple, beside the new complex that was nearing completion, just beneath Srila Prabhupada’s new quarters. Although the construction wasn’t finished and the lift wasn’t working, Srila Prabhupada insisted on staying there. And ill as he was, he was listening to the kirtan, reclining or lying down. These devotees in the temple really wanted to see him, but they were too many to come up, Prabhupada was not able to come down, and anyway it would have been too taxing for him to meet them all.

At one stage the group was so eager to see Srila Prabhupada that they came out of the temple and were doing kirtan beneath his balcony. Eventually Mr. Sethi helped Prabhupada walk to the balcony, and Prabhupada glanced down upon the group. They were in ecstasy. One highlight came when one of the ladies sang, “Jaya radhe jaya radhe radhe, jaya radhe jaya sri radhe. Jaya krishna . . .” Later, Mr. Sethi told us that when Prabhupada was listening to that song, tears were streaming down his cheeks.

The next day, I went up to see Srila Prabhupada. “That kirtan was wonderful,” he said. “We should invite the whole group to stay at Hare Krishna Land. Tell them that we will maintain them. They won’t have to work. All they have to do is continuous kirtan.” I wasn’t sure what to do about that—I just heard it. But I think Prabhupada knew that his proposal might take some time. He said, “At least our devotees, they should do the twelve-hour kirtan every day, from six a.m. to six p.m.” Now, we had been taught by Prabhupada that we have to serve and spread the mission, and in Juhu we were especially busy, finishing the temple and getting it ready to open. I didn’t see how all the devotees could spend twelve hours a day in the temple chanting. So I said, “Srila Prabhupada, we have so much service to do. How will we be able to do it all?” Then Prabhupada said, “All right, then one day a week, on Sunday.” And when Prabhupada said that, I said, “Yes,” because I felt relieved—only one day, twelve hours. Later, Tamal Krishna Goswami commented that Prabhupada had done some transcendental bargaining. If he had begun with twelve hours every Sunday, we might have said, “Oh, that’s too much. Maybe four hours.” But because he began with twelve hours a day, seven days a week, when he finally said twelve hours, one day a week, we were relieved. “Oh yes, we can do that.”

So, every Sunday we did twelve hours’ continuous kirtan. And it was just as Prabhupada had said—that all problems would be solved, materially and spiritually. I was the temple president and had to deal with many problems. We had to construct the temple complex, deal with the civic authorities, organize the temple programs, deal with the devotees, and just survive in India, with all the disease and other hardships. So, devotees would come to me, and on Monday, Tuesday, maybe Wednesday, I would deal with the problems. But by Thursday we were getting close to the twelve-hour hari-nama, and I knew—it happened every time, without fail—that all the problems would be solved. Either the problem would solve itself or the devotee would realize that the problem wasn’t really a problem after all or we would get some insight into and inspiration about how to deal with it. So, from Thursday I would say, “Well, just give me a few days to think about it,” but I knew, “Let Sunday come—let us do the twelve-hour kirtan—and it will be solved.” And it happened every time. It was really wonderful.

By sincerely chanting Hare Krishna, Krishna is satisfied, and by Krishna’s pleasure and mercy, we are successful in all respects. This was Srila Prabhupada’s mood, his conviction. So we should give ourselves fully to that process, to pleasing Krishna by our chanting. In fact, whatever we do should be in the mood of pleasing guru and Krishna. From the beginning, I would think, “Prabhupada is hearing my chanting, so I should chant nicely, to please him.” On the Radha-Damodara party, Vishnujana had a large photo of Srila Prabhupada’s ear, and he would chant with that idea, that Prabhupada was hearing his japa; he would chant to please Srila Prabhupada.

So, it all goes together: service to guru, service to the holy name, chanting the holy name, pleasing Krishna, pleasing Srila Prabhupada, and being successful—materially and spiritually.

Hare Krishna.

[A talk by Giriraj Swami delivered at a japa retreat in Srila Prabhupada’s Palace, New Vrindaban, West Virginia, on April 9, 2009.]


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Night Tree of Colour by Bhaktimarga Swami

7971284075?profile=RESIZE_400xDespite cooler temperatures most trees in the area remain a rich green. Some, like the maple, are starting to show its true colour. At the end of the street from the temple/ashram you have got a majestic maple that is not just “showing” but it’s “showing off.” And it’s under that tree where, in two days, I’ll meet with my philosophical/spiritual friends for discussion. For now, a lit park lamp-post in the night is all that is necessary for the splendor of this tree to catch my fortunate eye.

With this vision my weekend ended, after Zoom classes and meetings. The day also included a good salad, endorsing papers for furthering spiritual education at one of our centres, speaking to Russians about the power of sweet mantras, watching videos of people who met our guru, Prabhupada, and much more. All culminating in the admiration of a tree.

My walk was deliberately brief—advice from my physio-therapist. I’m not doubting him, like I won’t doubt Mars getting close, and like I did not doubt, in our reading today, that a great avatar by the name Chaitanya, descended to establish this phenomenon of kirtan, under the plea of a concerned saint who sought a world that was slipping into darkness and danger.

I’m glad there are trees of color that offer hope.


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Just as a very good sweet will have something hidden inside of it, or a company will have the inner group of key people, the Gita has a core made up of four verses. These are called the Catur Sloki (catur = four, and sloki = verses), and they summarize the entire Gita.

The eighteen chapters of the Gita are themselves divided into 3 parts. The middle six chapters focus on bhakti and are “protected” on either side by teachings on karma-yoga (the first six chapters) and jnana yoga (the focus of the last six chapters). It’s considered that the Bhakti chapters are the heart of the Gita and the catur-sloki are located in that heart.

In the catur-sloki you find the essence of the teachings of the 700 verses of the Gita. They establish the scope of the Lord’s opulence (verse 8), the result of truly knowing those opulences (verse 8), how pure devotees worship Him (verse 9), and how He reciprocates with their devotion (verses 10 and 11).

Here they are:

  • 10.8 I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their heart.
  • 10.9 The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.
  • 10.10 To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.
  • 10.11 To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.

We see in these verses the loving exchanges between the Lord and us, which is the highest point of self-realization. We are trying to love Him and He is loving us by lighting up our heart in reciprocation. It’s love at the beginning, middle and end – just deeper and deeper feelings and expressions of that love.

These four verses are easy to learn and are a daily spiritual tonic to recite. One person I know has a clever way to learn verses. He sticks the verse on a door he uses a lot, and every time he goes out he recites the verse. He said he learns verses in no time by that method.

You can learn both the Sanskrit and English, or either one. Find the verses here at These are great verses to have in your head. They can lead you to the heart of it all.


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“I feel no fear” by Siddhanta dasa

7968420068?profile=RESIZE_400xMy first contact with the Hare Krishna movement came in the summer of 1969 when I saw its members chanting on the streets of Hollywood. My initial reaction to the shaven heads, saffron-colored robes and seemingly strange activity was one of bewilderment and, to some degree, comic relief. It was not until a year later that I was able to appreciate the sound philosophy which stems from one of the world’s oldest religious traditions, as explained in their Back to Godhead magazine. I soon realized that there was a tremendous wealth of knowledge and logic behind the activities of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and that it was far from being a new “hippie” cult. In fact, the information contained in that first magazine concisely answered all the questions I ever had regarding life, its purpose and more.

The next year in Dallas, Texas, it was my good fortune to actually come in personal contact with the author of that Back to Godhead magazine, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. I greeted him along with the other devotees at the airport and then followed the procession back to the temple where Prabhupada gave a Sunday Feast lecture. What struck me most about that lecture more than anything was one question that was asked of him by a member of the audience. Srila Prabhupada had been stressing the importance of chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare, and the guest asked what Srila Prabhupada personally felt when he chanted this mantra. Without hesitation, Srila Prabhupada answered, “I feel no fear”; Because his response was so immediate and filled with such conviction, I sensed that not only what he said was true, but I felt an urgency to try the same mantra-meditation process myself.

Over time, it became apparent to many who observed him firsthand that Srila Prabhupada was steadily situated in a higher state of consciousness, beyond anything that was part of our common experience. But that was not all. After a further study of the teachings in his books and observing his interactions with others, I realized that here was a person who was not materially motivated. He was not interested in mundane acquisition, exploitation or adoration. He was also in complete control of his senses, the very foundation of all yoga practice. By his own example, he was a perfect teacher of the divine process of devotional service, or bhakti-yoga. And by means of his unconditional love and devotion, he was in touch with and connected to the Supreme Being. His mission appeared to be for all of our best interests by making me and everyone else who cared to listen, spiritually happy by engaging our mind, body and soul in serving God, Krishna. Srila Prabhupada taught that as a fish out of water cannot be happy out of its constitutional element, water, similarly, we as spiritual beings cannot be happy simply engaging in activities meant to satisfy our material senses.

Years later, after accepting Srila Prabhupada as a pure representative of God and having taken spiritual initiation from him in Denver, Colorado, I had the opportunity to be with him again. Previously I had been convinced on an intellectual level that Prabhupada was in direct contact with the Absolute Truth, but not until I offered flowers at his feet and looked at him as I offered my obeisances did I understand on an emotional level the depth of my guru. When Srila Prabhupada looked at me, he looked right through the external me, touching the internal me, the soul. I felt naked in front of him, feeling as though he could not only read my mind, but my heart as well. It was the most humbling experience of my life.

That morning during Srila Prabhupada’s daily walk, he was talking about prasadam, food offered to God before it is personally consumed. Prabhupada said prasadam is so spiritually potent that if a human being simply eats prasadam once, in his next life, he will take birth in a family of devotees. He then stated that if an animal eats prasadam, in its next life it will immediately take birth in the human form of life, jumping over all other species of life that a soul would normally have to pass through before obtaining a human birth.

After this discussion, I was contemplating asking him about something that had been bothering me for some time. I had become affected by so many people I met when distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books who would say that we as devotees should get jobs and not take from society by asking for donations. I said to Srila Prabhupada, “People think we are just trying to escape material life by joining this sankirtan movement.” Srila Prabhupada turned to me, smiled and asked, “A rich man, does he work? We are rich men. We don’t work. Any rich man, he is not working. Is he escaping? He is engaging everyone in the factory but he is not working. So is that escaping? We are rich men. We are Krishna’s sons.” He said the problems we have are eating, sleeping and mating, and we can arrange for these things very easily. Prabhupada taught the philosophy of “Simple Living, High Thinking.” One can till the ground anywhere and get some food. He said, “I keep some cows and I have got land. My whole economic question is solved.” He asked, “Why shall I make big, big arrangements for these things?” He continued, “You may do it, but why should you forget your real business? That is the defect, that you are so foolish that only for maintaining this body, you have forgotten your real business-self-realization.” Prabhupada then said, “In the spiritual world there is no question of working. You get everything. So why not endeavor to go there?”

Prabhupada then looked around the beautiful park that we were walking in, surrounded by trees, lakes and swans. He noted how there was no one else in the park and how we were the only ones who were taking advantage of the park and all its beauty. He said, “They worked so hard, yet they are sleeping. We are taking advantage.” He then told the story of the mouse and the snake. The mouse builds a nice home for himself underground and lives comfortably. Then the snake comes and eats the mouse and lives comfortably in the home the mouse has built. He finished by telling me and the others that accompanied him on his morning walk that we can tell people that actually, “Yes, we are escaping this horrible condition of life, meat-eating, drinking and intoxication. We are escaping these things, but not happiness.”

In his kindness, Prabhupada dispelled my doubt about distributing books rather than living to fulfill the expectations of the public by having a 9-to-5 job. I had been affected by the negative feedback I received from the people I met, but Prabhupada, who was unaffected by them, reminded me that the point of life is self-realization and our role in the varnashram scheme of things was to remind others about that fact.

Later on I realized that if I had this small glimpse of truth from being with Srila Prabhupada for such a brief period of time, there must be many more realizations from other devotees who had as much or more association with His Divine Grace. It was obvious that each devotee’s encounter would be unique and would reveal other aspects of Srila Prabhupada’s personality and boundless wisdom that were not necessarily contained in his books which could help me and others in our daily lives. It is with that belief that I ventured out to acquire the stories contained in this book. These stories are not only informative but also entertaining in the way the devotees express themselves, seemingly going into a regression-type trance as they recall those times spent with Srila Prabhupada. From an historical standpoint, it seemed important to record these personal instructions thinking that if someone had been able to record the recollections of the disciples of Jesus Christ, that these memories would be meaningful today. So starting in 1991, the process of obtaining the oral histories of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples began through videotaped sessions and subsequently transcribed to be presented in this book form.

There are no hard and fast rules in reading this collection of memories as they are not recorded in any chronological order or by subject matter. The memories are simply a stream of consciousness by each devotee, and therefore, can be read in a non-linear fashion. This book is meant to be, as Srila Prabhupada stated once about his books, readable in such a way that one can start in the middle and still derive sweetness, as biting into candy anywhere will result in the same sweet taste. As there were some 5,000 initiated disciples, this process has just begun, and we hope that there will be more volumes to come in the future.

We must thank Nitai das, Kartika, Kishore das, Raghunath das, Vikram das, Jalandhar das, and Kalpalatika dasi for their hard work in the transcription process, Kapila das and Ram Prasad das for their proofreading, Visakha dasi for her tremendous work in refining the transcriptions and Bhojadev das for his assistance with the Introduction. We want to acknowledge Bhakta Jack Stephens, Dr. Desai and Ambarish das for their encouraging words and financial support in bringing Srila Prabhupada’s message to the world. I also want to acknowledge my wife, Ajita devi, and daughters Kartika and Renukah for their emotional and spiritual support in this ongoing project. We of course would be remiss not to give our heartfelt appreciation to all the devotees who shared their memories of Srila Prabhupada, and we pray that we have delivered their stories accurately.

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7968414261?profile=RESIZE_400xBy Héctor Rosario, PhD

As followers of Srila Prabhupada we all know his prescription to chant a minimum daily quota of 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mahamantra. This is the minimum standard that he set for his followers and which all ISKCON devotees accept. This standard is actually based on the traditional Gaudiya Vaisnava minimum standard set by Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Of course, that standard is 100,000 names of Krishna daily, roughly equivalent to 64 rounds of Hare Krishna japa, according to Bhaktivinoda Thakura and other acaryas. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, echoing Lord Caitanya, considered those who could not adhere to this minimum standard to be fallen. ISKCON being a preaching movement and its members largely coming from western backgrounds meant that devotees found it difficult to adopt the traditional minimum standard of 64 rounds when Srila Prabhupada requested his disciples to do so. Therefore out of his causeless mercy Srila Prabhupada reduced the minimum number to a mere 16. The purpose of this essay is not to disparage that decision but instead is meant to enliven those who wish to increase their attachment for the holy names by, on an individual basis, going beyond the minimum standard.

“Purity is the force,” as Srila Prabhupada taught us. The more we chant the more we purify ourselves. The more pure we are the more effective our preaching will be, and the more any material problems and attachments will disappear. We believe that as more and more devotees increase their chanting, without neglecting other devotional duties, the result will be a stronger and purer ISKCON. Especially, if the leaders take this to heart, we may witness tremendous changes in our preaching efforts. We know of at least one sannyasi that is very supportive of increasing our chanting. He regularly holds japa retreats where he encourages his disciples to chant 64 rounds during special periods as a way to deepen their relationship with Krishna. ISKCON will certainly benefit from such initiatives. After all, as Bhaktivinoda Thakura teaches us, “Name is the means, Name is the end.”

Nevertheless, a doubt usually arises in the minds of many devotees: Is fixing the minimum number of rounds one chants beyond 16 going against Srila Prabhupada’s instructions? Let us read and reflect upon Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s and Srila Prabhupada’s words.

Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya Khanda 9.121

prabhu bale jana lakshesvara bali kare
prati-dina laksha-nama ye grahana kare

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said: “Do you know who is a laksesvara? He is someone who chants one laksa or 100,000 holy names everyday.”

Purport by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada:

sri gaurasundera balibena jini pratidina laksha-nama grahana karibena, tanharai grihe bhagavan sevita hana

Sri Gaurasundera spoke as follows, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead accepts service only in the home of those who chant one hundred thousand names daily.”

bhagavan tanharai nikate bhoga-dravyadi grahana karena

The Lord accepts foodstuffs and other ingredients only from such personalities.

jini laksha-nama grahana karena na, tahara nikate haite bhagavan naivedya svikara-dvara seva-saubhagya pradana karena na

Those who don’t chant 100,000 names daily are never awarded the great fortune of rendering service to the Lord by offering Him naivedya (bhoga). This is because the Lord never accepts their offerings.

bhagavad-bhakta matrei pratyaha laksha-nama grahana karibena natuva vividha visaye asakta haiya bhagavad-seva karite asamartha haibena

The Lord continued, “Those who consider themselves devotees of the Lord must compulsorily chant 100,000 names of Krishna everyday otherwise they will gradually but surely become attached to varieties of sense-objects and thus become incapable to rendering any kind of service to the Lord.”

tajjanyai sri caitanyadevera asrita sakalai nyuna kalpe laksha-nama grahana kariya thakena. natuva gaurasunderera udeshya pradatta naivedya tini grahana karibena na.

Therefore all the devotees who have taken shelter of Lord Chaitanyadeva perform the chanting of a minimum of 100,000 names of Krishna daily as their first and primary duty. Because they know that if they don’t do so then Lord Gaurasundera will never accept the very bhoga (naivedya) which they cook for Him daily.

Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya Khanda 9.122

se janera nama ami bali lakshesvara
tatha bhiksha amara na yai anya ghara

Lord Gauranga continued, “I call such a person a laksheshvara. I only accept meals in such a person’s house. I never go anywhere else.”

Purport by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada:

sri caitanya bhaktagana abhaktera sahita sambhashana karena na. jini bhaktivyatita karma, jnana o anyabhilashara kathaya pradatta tahara sahita bandhutva karibe na.

The devotees of Lord Sri Caitanya never talk with such non-devotees. They never do friendship with those who are engaged in the cultivation of karma, jnana or other desires which are devoid of bhakti.

pratyah laksha-nama grahana na karile patita vyaktiganera visaya-bhoga pravritti vriddhi paya, takhana ara tahara sri gaurasunderarera seva karite pare na

Those who don’t accept this vow of chanting 100,000 names daily, fall down even more although they were fallen in the first place. Thus their propensity for enjoying the senses
and sense-objects continually and steadily increases and ultimately they are not able to render any kind of service even to the most merciful Lord Gaurasundera.

lakshesvara vyatita gaura-bhaktira adarsa gaudiyajana kehai svikara karena na

This is the precise reason why the real Gaudiya-bhaktas do not accept any other ideal in Gaura-bhakti except the process of chanting 100,000 names of the mahamantra daily.

adhapatita va adhapete gana eka-matra bhajana-sabda-vacya sri-nama-bhajane vimukhata-vasata laksha-nama grahana karibara parivarte anya bhajanera chalana korena, taddvara tahadera kona mangala haya na.

Those spiritual aspirants who are already fallen or will fall down from spiritual life in the future are averse to this sole means of deliverance called nama-bhajana, which is the worship of the sound incarnation of God in the form of chanting 100,000 names of the Holy Names daily. Coming under the sway of their averseness to chant laksha-nama daily, they duplicitously invent other means of devotional service to justify their not chanting 100,000 names daily but it is to be clearly understood that by this action they will not achieve anything auspicious in their spiritual life.

Instruction of Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya Khanda 23.77

prabhu bole kahilan ei maha-mantra
iha japa giya sabe koriya nirbandha

Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Please hear this Hare Krishna mahamantra.. Everyone please chant this mahamantra daily in nirbandha. Then you will surely achieve all perfection.”

(Note: This is the meaning of ‘nirbandha’ applied to the mahamantra by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Hari-nama-cintamani.)

caribara mala phirile eka grantha haya. eka grantha niyama kariya kramasah vriddhi karite karite 16 granthe eka laksha nama nirbandha haibe

4 malas (rounds) is equal to 1 grantha

16 granthas is equal to 1 nirbandha

1 nirbandha of the mahamantra is equal to 100,000 names of the Lord

(Note: 16 granthas is equal to 64 rounds of the mahamantra.)

Now, you may ask, but Srila Prabhupada instructed us to only chant 16 rounds. Why should we change that standard? Actually, we are not asking to change the institutional standard from 16 to 64 rounds. Our suggestion is simply that, on an individual basis, devotees should consider increasing their minimum daily vow of 16 to a higher number of rounds. At the very least we can avoid criticizing or belittling those who are attached to chanting more than 16 rounds. In fact, it is inspiring and refreshing to know that there are some devotees in ISKCON already chanting at least 64 rounds daily. The following quotes from Srila Prabhupada seem to fully support our position of raising the minimum of rounds from 16 to 64 on a voluntary basis.

Morning Walk, May 14, 1975, Perth:

Devotee (1): Srila Prabhupada, how can the position be reconciled if in Krishna consciousness one of the two, the husband or the wife, wants to enjoy sense gratification, but the other does not? Should there be separation then?

Prabhupada: No… They should be trained up. Sense enjoyment means not advanced in Krishna consciousness. As soon as one is advancing in Krishna consciousness, his sense enjoyment spirit will be reduced. That is the test. Bhaktih pareshanubhavo viraktir anyatra ca [SB 11.2.42]. The test is, how you are advancing in Krishna consciousness is the proportionate diminishing of sense enjoyment. That is the test. Just like cure of the disease means diminishing the fever, temperature. This is the test.

Devotee (1): What if that (material) fever is not being diminished?

Prabhupada: Then he should try to chant Hare Krishna mantra, instead of sixteen rounds, sixty-four rounds. That is the way. Sixteen rounds is the minimum. Otherwise Haridasa Thakura was 300,000. So you have to increase. That is the only remedy. If one has got determination, he will make progress without any trouble. That determination is very difficult, that determination, “I must be Krishna conscious fully.” That determination. Dridha-vratah.

Srila Prabhupada kindly left us the “only remedy” to reduce the spirit of sense enjoyment, which is the cause of falldowns and other problems. He says that we must have determination and increase the number of rounds to 64 daily to be able to lower the fever of lust and cure the material disease, the worst enemies in the development of our devotional service.

Letter to: Indira (Iris Mendoza), Ekayani (Esther Mendoza), San Francisco,
17 December, 1967

I am very glad to learn you are chanting 48 rounds. Actually it is all right that one should chant 64 rounds, even 16 rounds, so if one is able to chant more than 16 rounds up to 64, it is very good. You fix up your rounds. Try to increase it but never decrease it.

Srila Prabhupada is encouraging his disciples to chant more rounds. However, it should be done wisely and seriously. The key is that once you resolve to fix the number of rounds you must never decrease it.

Letter to: Hamsaduta, Hawaii, 23 March, 1969

Yes, it is very good if you can chant 64 rounds; this is very nice if you can do it.

Srila Prabhupada again approves of chanting more rounds provided that the devotee can do it. Notice the conditional statement: If you can chant 64 rounds, then it is very good. If you cannot, then we cannot conclude anything from this statement: it might or might not be good. But the point is that if one can do it, then that would be “very nice” in the eyes of Srila Prabhupada.

Letter to: Bhaktijana, Los Angeles, 12/2/1968:

I shall advise you again to chant always, increasing the counting, namely, 16 rounds is generally prescribed, but for the time being you can stop all other activities and increase the chanting to 64 rounds.

Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.24.70 purport:

That is the instruction given by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His Shikshashtaka 3. Kirtaniyah sada harih: [Cc. Adi 17.31] “The holy name of the Lord should be chanted twenty-four hours daily.” Therefore in this Krishna consciousness movement we request the devotees to chant at least sixteen rounds on their beads daily. Actually one has to chant twenty-four hours daily, just like Thakura Haridasa, who was chanting the Hare Krishna mantra three hundred thousand times daily. Indeed, he had no other business.

Notice that Srila Prabhupada says to chant at least 16 rounds. He has no objection to raising the minimum, as will be further shown by the following quotes.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrita Antya-lila 3.137 purport:

Surrender is the ultimate instruction of the Bhagavad-gita, but for one who cannot surrender to the lotus feet of Krishna, it is better to chant the Hare Krishna mantra constantly, under the instruction of Haridasa Thakura.

In our Krishna consciousness movement we are teaching our followers to chant the Hare Krishna mantra continuously on beads. Even those who are not accustomed to this practice are advised to chant at least sixteen rounds on their beads so that they may be trained.[…] Sada means “always.” Haridasa Thakura says, nirantara nama lao: “Chant the Hare Krishna mantra without stopping.” […] One’s real duty is to surrender to the lotus feet of Krishna, but if one is unable to do so, he should adopt this process, as introduced by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His most confidential servant, Namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura. This is the way to achieve success in Krishna consciousness.

The Nectar of Devotion, Vrindavana, 20/10/1972:

Just like we have asked our students to finish sixteen rounds chanting minimum. Sixteen rounds is nothing. In Vrindavana there are many devotees, they chant 120 rounds. Like that. So sixteen rounds is the minimum. Because I know in the Western countries it is difficult job to finish 64 rounds or 120 rounds, like that. Minimum sixteen rounds. That must be finished.

Letter to Purusottama, Mumbai, 23/10/1973:

Because we have got many duties, [text missing] …ve minimized the amount to 16 rounds, otherwise [text missing] …minimum is 64 rounds, but Western people cannot [text missing] …this. So 16 rounds must be executed.

Nectar of Instruction, Verse 5, purport:

The Krishna consciousness movement prescribes sixteen rounds daily because people in the Western countries cannot concentrate for long periods while chanting on beads. Therefore the minimum number of rounds is prescribed. However, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say that unless one chants at least sixty-four rounds of japa, he is considered fallen. According to his calculation, practically every one of us is fallen, but because we are trying to serve the Supreme Lord with all seriousness and without duplicity, we can expect the mercy of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is famous as patita-pavana, the deliverer of the fallen.

Srila Prabhupada on a Morning Walk, November 10, 1975, Bombay:

Lokanatha: Prabhupada, why we have chosen this sixteen as a number to chant the rounds?

Prabhupada: Yes.

Lokanatha: Why not less or more?

Prabhupada: We have fixed up sixteen?

Lokanatha: We are chanting sixteen.

Prabhupada: No. We say “Minimum sixteen.” Minimum.

Lokanatha: Why that sixteen minimum?

Prabhupada: If you can, sixteen thousand you can go. Sixteen rounds is the minimum. But if you are able to chant sixteen thousand rounds, that is welcome. We have got so much engagement. Still, we say, “We don’t find engagement.” This is our misfortune. Hare Krishna. Jaya. Haridasa Thakura was engaged in chanting and the prostitute came. She offered, “Let us enjoy.” “Yes, let me finish. Let me finish this chanting.” So much engagement, and still, we say, “No engagement.” He refused to have sex with a beautiful young girl because he had engagement. “First of all let me finish my engagement,” and we say we have no engagement. How unfortunate we are. [break] …says, kirtaniyah sada harih [Cc. Adi 17.31]. Twenty-four-hours engagement He has given, and we see there is no engagement.

Lokanatha: Some devotees have fixed different number than sixteen. Some are chanting twenty minimum or twenty-five.

Prabhupada: Yes. It should be increased.

Lokanatha: Is it recommended for our…

Prabhupada: But don’t decrease.. Don’t decrease; increase. Therefore one number is fixed. “At least this much I shall do.” That is sixteen rounds.

Lokanatha: But you are recommending sixteen as a minimum, and some devotees are choosing twenty as a minimum.

Prabhupada: So who forbids? Who says that “Don’t do it”?

Lokanatha: They can chant?

Prabhupada: Yes. That is wanted. But because you cannot do it, therefore we have fixed up this minimum. Sankhyata asankhyata Sankhyata means with vow, numerical strength. And asankhyata means there is no limit. [break]

Yasomatinandana: …are higher than any other activities or they are on the same platform? Any activities in Krishna consciousness… Is chanting the most exalted or…?

Prabhupada: Everything is exalted. Therefore there are nine processes. sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam, arcanam vandanam dasyam [SB 7.5.23], so many. They are all exalted.

Yasomatinandana: So why is it recommended, chanting in this age particularly?

Prabhupada: Suppose if you have no temple, so you cannot perform arcana. So this is common, greatest common. It is not that because you have no temple, therefore your devotional service is stopped. There are other processes. You can do. Hare Krishna. Jaya..

Lokanatha: Prabhupada? If we chant more than sixteen rounds, so how can we know whether we are imitating Haridasa Thakura or following his footsteps?

Prabhupada: Imitation is also good. If you imitate Haridasa Thakura, that is also your great fortune, even if you imitate. [break] imitating, it does not mean you are condemned. Even if you imitate, that is also good. [break] If you have some other business and if you say, “Now I am imitating Haridasa Thakura, I cannot do it,” that is very bad. “I am busy in imitating Haridasa Thakura.” That is not good. That is very bad. [break]

Brahmananda: If the devotees are asked for service they say, “Oh, I have to chant.”

Prabhupada: “I am imitating.” Yes. “I am imitating Haridasa. This is my first business.” That is very bad.

Therefore the attitude is of the essence.

These exchanges suggest that if we are sincere about increasing our chanting then that is our “great fortune,” but if we just want to make an appearance of being a “big” devotee who has to chant rather than do service or preach, then that is “very bad.” The key is to fill our lives with Krishna consciousness and Krishna conscious activities by always remembering Lord Krishna and never forgetting Him. Chanting 32, 48, 64 or more rounds is an ideal way of accomplishing this goal.

We would suggest that devotees who want to increase their attachment to chanting not engage in making a show by broadcasting their increased practice. However, they should seek the association of like-minded devotees to gain strength in following their increased minimum daily vow.. As far as possible, we should not let the false ego get in the way of our sadhana, either by making a show of increased devotion or by having a condescending attitude toward those who are unable, for whatever reason, to increase their own chanting. Strictly following in our own private way and enthusiastically encouraging others to increase their attachment also, will lead to our quick advancement towards the goal of life, Krishna-prema. So, why don’t we chant (at least) one more round?

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

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7968387256?profile=RESIZE_710xBy Jayashree devi dasi 

Gopal’s Glorious Gang (GGG) is a children’s club in Brisbane, Australia with about 80 children, from 4 to 16 years old. Our goal in forming this club is to help each child become a well-rounded human being through intellectual, personal and spiritual growth. 

The children are divided into various classes based on age groups. The kids learn Vedic wisdom, play musical instruments, act in a variety of theatre performances, play Krishna conscious games, engage in kirtana, hari-nama, book distribution and much more.  

Due to Covid-19 restrictions we currently hold classes via Zoom, with most students regularly attending. 

‘Gopal’s Glorious Gang’ usually participate in drama performances during the major festivals, such as Janmastami. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, this was not possible this year. They therefore decided to bring the holy land of Vrindavana, Krishna’s birthplace, into Brisbane! Vrindavana darsana is the group’s offering to Sri Sri Gaura Nitai and Srila Prabhupada on the occasion of Janmastami 2020. 

Read more:,7507/

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The Golden Avatar by Kadamba Kanana Swami

7968340063?profile=RESIZE_584xRadharani is known as the soft-hearted feminine counterpart of the Lord. She is therefore very compassionate. Now, Caitanya Mahaprabhu has taken that mood of Srimati Radharani. One might say that Caitanya Mahaprabhu is golden but Caitanya Mahaprabhu said it Himself that, “I am not golden. I appear golden because I touched Srimati Radharani and therefore I became golden. Actually, I am blackish but I have taken this mood to feel the blissful emotions of Radharani”.


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7968334459?profile=RESIZE_400xOn June 21, 1973, in Mayapur, Srila Prabhupada spoke on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.6:

nadhayo vyadhayah klesa
ajata-satrav abhavan
jantunam rajni karhicit

“Due to the king’s having no enemy, the living beings were not at any time disturbed by mental agonies, diseases, or excessive heat or cold.”

Srila Prabhupada explained, “In Maharaja Yudhisthira’s time, the government was responsible to keep people peaceful, without any anxiety. That is government—without any anxiety. And now the government means full of anxieties. You do not sleep peacefully at night. . . . This is our position, full of anxieties. Even we cannot sleep peacefully at night. This government. And here you see, compare the government—no anxiety. No anxiety. Just compare. So what is the use of this rascal government?

“The rascal government must be there because we are rascals. You cannot complain against the government, because we select. It is the days of democracy. We elect our representative. So why should you blame the government? You have created the government. You have sent your representative, a rascal, another big rascal. You are rascal, and another big rascal you have voted; so how you can expect good government? You send only big rascals. That’s all.

“So there cannot be. That is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, that in the Kali-yuga all the people will be rascals, sudras. Simply by manipulation if one gets vote, he captures the governmental power. Sudra. He’s a sudra. He is not a kshatriya like Maharaja Yudhisthira, trained-up kshatriya. He is a rascal, third-class man, fourth-class man. He gets the vote, and we give vote. So how we can be happy? How we can be carefree or anxiety-free or disease-free? It is not possible.

“Therefore if the people in general become Krishna conscious, become trained up in Krishna consciousness, understand the value of life, how to live, then they can send good representative, Krishna conscious man. Then the government will be nice.”


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Big Small by Bhaktimarga Swami

7968327084?profile=RESIZE_400xA good friend of mine, a former schoolteacher, sent me images of the subject: “The Scale of Things,” featuring a seven-foot long leatherback sea-turtle at 2000 pounds, and a whole bunch of other astounding statistics of what’s big on Earth and in our universe. One picture he forwarded featured an eagle’s talon/claw as enormous. Another one lined up a cut-and-paste Titanic next to a modern cruise liner. Quite the difference in size, showing how modern-day shipbuilding has truly excelled in 100 years. There’s an image of Michelangelo’s David, the size of three men. Terrifying is the scale of a gorilla’s hand in comparison to a human’s. One display showed how 1.3 million Earths fit into the sun.

I got back to my friend after looking at these images and I proposed to him to consider setting up the soul against the ego. The Vedas say that the atma, the soul, is one ten-thousandth the size of a tip of a hair. Compare that tiny spark of life we call a soul against the average human’s ego, and you’d have trouble comparing the difference in scale.

What we might draw as a conclusion, from imagining such, is the need to deflate that crazy entity we call ego. Yes, indeed, it’s the ego that gets us into trouble. Think of it in terms of a hot air balloon. It looks substantial but it’s really so much less than it poses to be.

Another thing that is big is our dreams. Some dreams become reality. It would be nice to get back Home, where we all belong.


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7959343665?profile=RESIZE_584xEnglish rendition of the beautiful song Kevalastakam (madhuram madhurebhyo api… harer namaiva kevalam.)

Sweetest among sweet

Most auspicious pathway

Holy Name Alone

No Other Way (1)

In all fourteen worlds

Only reality mainstay

Holy Name Alone

No Other Way (2)

True relation is one

Which can convey

Holy Name Alone

No Other Way (3)

Call out in shelter

Before death us slay

Holy Name Alone

No Other Way (4)

Lord eternally dwells

Where saints sing & pray

Holy Name Alone

No Other Way (5)

Mistaken this jewel

Alas, great dismay

Holy Name Alone

No Other Way (6)

Hear, utter, sing

Night and day

Holy Name Alone

No Other Way (7)

Splendrously reigns supreme

Eternal blissful display

Holy Name Alone

No Other Way (8)

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Japa Affirmations – World Holy Name Week

7959337666?profile=RESIZE_400xAffirmations for Chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra

by Payal Shah

(Adapted from ‘Japa Affirmations’ by His Grace Mahatma Dasa)

Ancient Vedic texts address the notion that no amount of material accomplishments can deeply satisfy us. Our consciousness has been polluted by the material atmosphere, and as we try to exploit resources, we are in fact getting more and more entangled in complexities. Vedic wisdom attributes this condition to a lack of spiritual awareness. These Vedic wisdom texts share with us that we are all spiritual beings and that we can elevate our consciousness through chanting of the Holy Name. The Holy Name – chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, is a direct process for purifying our consciousness.

The Hare Krishna Maha-mantra is a transcendental sound vibration which enacts directly from a spiritual platform and enables us to recover our original spiritual identity. Sound has the ability to affect our consciousness to a large extent. The quality of sound vibration that goes into our ears determines the quality of our consciousness. Sound has the highest capturing potency; our ideas, conceptions and visions all come to us from sound. We can transform our lives depending on the sound vibration that we hear. We may chant the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra with others (called kirtan) or in solitude (called japa). The words ‘Krishna’ and ‘Rama’ are addressing the Lord; Krishna refers to all attractive; Rama refers to reservoir of pleasure; and ‘Hare’ is the energy with which we can reach the Lord. The Yoga texts recommend the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra as the prime sound vibration for this age, which is full of anxiety and distress. For this age, nothing is as effective as chanting of the Holy Name.

Krishna’s Holy Name is Krishna Himself. Therefore, chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra creates an opportunity for us to revive our awareness of our spiritual identities; revives awareness of our connection with the Supreme; and gives awareness of the reciprocal relationship between the spiritual self and the Supreme spiritual self. The Maha-mantra brings us out of bodily consciousness and attaches our consciousness to the Supreme consciousness.

For this reason, it is important for us to spend time working on our internal attitude and motivation for chanting the Holy Name. In this article, we will meditate on a specific practice to help improve and increase our presence while chanting: the practice of affirmations. An affirmation can be explained as a phrase repeated to oneself to start a task with a favourable attitude. Examples include: “I am brave and can accomplish this task”; “I am grateful for the opportunity to practise Krishna consciousness”. Affirmations help to create a positive mindset in order to achieve a desirable outcome. Saying affirmations out loud and meditating on their core meanings before chanting the Maha-mantra may allow us to further enhance our chanting experience. Select affirmations that may resonate with you and try to meditate on these daily or weekly.

Below are 20 affirmations to help chant the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra more effectively:

1. I happily and enthusiastically welcome the Holy Name every japa session

Create a positive mood to welcome the Holy Name, the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, into your heart, just the way you would welcome a special guest into your home. This can be achieved by reading scriptures, offering prayers, or meditating on what you wish to achieve before chanting the Maha-mantra on the japa beads. In this way, by getting in the right state of mind, chanting becomes an exciting opportunity to connect with the Lord.

2. I easily chant my prescribed number of rounds with focus and attention

Whether you are chanting one round, or sixteen rounds or more of the Maha-mantra, start chanting with a natural inclination to focus your attention on the Holy Name. In other words, before chanting, believe that you will be able to focus on the Holy Name. The mind has many thoughts and wavers here and there, but catch your mind and bring it back to the Holy Name. When you consider chanting of the Holy Name to be very important for your spiritual life, then it will be easier to chant with focus and attention.

3. When I chant, I chant

Create a quiet sacred space where you can chant the Maha-mantra without interruptions or distractions. When you chant, do not do anything else, just chant. Put your internal world on hold also and focus solely on yourself and Krishna.

4. I get to chant, I want to chant, and I love to chant

Remind yourself that you appreciate chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra and that you view chanting as a special blessing. It is a special opportunity to get a human birth and to be able to awaken love for Krishna through chanting. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were prevented from being able to chant the Holy Name. Deep down in our hearts, we appreciate the powerful effects of chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra.

5. I treat the Maha-mantra as Radha and Krishna, fully present in sound

Treat the Holy Name, the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, as Radha and Krishna Deities in the form of sound. When you chant the Maha-mantra, it is the same as taking darshan of the Deities. In this way, bow down to the Holy Name as you would to the Deities, as Krishna is fully present in the Holy Name.

6. I receive and feel Krishna’s presence, mercy and love in His Holy Name

Allow mercy, love and blessings to come to you naturally through the Holy Name, rather than seeking to force nectar out of the Holy Name. In other words, do not struggle to create mercy and love while chanting but instead, allow yourself to bathe in and appreciate the mercy and love that already exists within the Holy Name.

7. I chant in full awareness that the Holy Name is my greatest treasure

Give your heart to the Holy Name. Although Krishna has everything, He does not have your heart and He hankers for it. Krishna wants to have a relationship with you and chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra will revive your relationship with Him. Therefore, chanting the Holy Name is the greatest jewel in the Lord’s treasury as He gets what He desires – your heart.

8. I chant to please Radha and Krishna, not to gain anything material

Imagine that Krishna is with you in His Holy name and that He is happy to hear you chanting. Even though relishing the Holy Name can be difficult sometimes, Krishna is enjoying seeing your determination to chant and to be purified. In this way, chant the Maha-mantra to make Krishna happy and for yourself to feel happiness too.

9. I am out of my mind and in my heart, fully present to the Holy Name when I chant

Chant the Maha-mantra with your tongue and hear with your ear. Feeling the essence of chanting will bring you into the present. Attentive chanting is hearing – if you hear yourself chanting, you will chant attentively. When you chant, Krishna first dances on the tongue, then the ear, then the heart.

10. I fully honour my sacred relationship with the Holy Name during japa

Be conscious that when chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, you are present, Krishna is present and thus, a relationship between you and Krishna is also present. Therefore, do not view chanting as a mechanical process that you have to complete daily but rather as a way to deepen your relationship with Krishna.

11. I chant to be accepted by Krishna, and to repair my broken relationship with Him

Have the desire and the need to reconnect with the Supreme, Lord Krishna, after having been separated from Him for so many lifetimes. Envision yourself as a child who has run away from their parents (Krishna) and after many years of suffering wants to be accepted again. Chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra enables you to rekindle and revive your relationship with the Supreme being.

12. I chant from my heart, feelingly praying to come closer to Krishna

Connect deeply with what the Holy Name, the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra means. Chanting of the Holy Name means “Krishna please engage me in Your service”, “Krishna please accept me”, “Krishna please bring me closer to you”, “Krishna please purify me”, “Krishna please uplift me”. If you had to translate the feeling of the Maha-mantra intro words it would say, “Krishna I want to come closer to you, I want to serve you, I want to be pure”. Krishna is in our hearts and He is a genuine friend to all living beings. No matter what you are going through, He is always there. Just give your heart to the Holy Name and Krishna will reciprocate.

13. I meditate on the meaning of the Holy Name as I chant

Be conscious on an emotional level of what the Maha-mantra means. In order to connect deeply with the Holy Name, we have to cultivate an appropriate mood before and whilst chanting. Ask yourself “Why am I chanting?”, “What is the goal of chanting?”, “What does chanting mean?”. This may help to bring your consciousness and heart in alignment with the meaning of the Holy Name. Nothing is impossible for Krishna and thus, nothing is impossible for the one who takes shelter of the Holy Name.

14. I turn off my world and turn on Krishna’s world when I chant my rounds

Create an internal space free from distractions when you begin chanting japa. Tell your mind that you are turning off from everything, for example, turn off tasks that have to be carried out for the day. This enables you to control your mind better while chanting. We are able to turn off our world when we are reading a book for example or when we are engaged in a particular hobby, so turning off our world while chanting the Maha-mantra should not be so difficult.

Also, it is useful to create a “time free zone” early in the morning by imagining that your day will start only after japa. So, for example, if your day usually begins at 6am, wake up earlier to chant japa and remind yourself before chanting that the day has not yet started. In this way, there is nothing to think about other than Krishna during your japa session.

15. I chant with no other motive than to render pure devotional service

Chant the Maha-mantra in a humble state of mind, with the mood that you are an eternal servant of Krishna. Chanting with this mood helps to awaken a pure service attitude. Krishna descends in His name when we chant the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra with a service attitude. You are Krishna’s eternal servant and He will always remain the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

16. My beads are my connection with Krishna and my ticket back to Godhead

Make chanting the Maha-mantra the most important activity of your day. Srila Prabhupada said that the real purpose of reading his books is to convince you to chant the Holy Name, as chanting the Maha-mantra is the most important process in devotional service. So, fall in love with the Holy Name!

17. I am totally dependent on Guru and Krishna to chant quality japa every day

Remind yourself that your efforts to chant the Maha-mantra more effectively attract the mercy of Guru and Krishna. When you endeavour to improve your japa, Guru and Krishna reciprocate by helping you improve in the ways you are endeavouring to. In other words, mercy comes in proportion to your efforts.

18. I organize my life to make japa the most important activity of my day

Be aware of how your lifestyle, attitude and activities are supporting your chanting. The more you change your lifestyle, around the sound vibration of the Maha-mantra, the more your consciousness will change. The more your consciousness changes, the more your lifestyle will change. Purified consciousness leads to purified lifestyle, and purified lifestyle leads to purified consciousness. Therefore, it is important to consciously organize your lifestyle to support better chanting of the Maha-mantra.

19. I make excellent japa my standard and focus on continually improving

Set a high standard internally for japa. What you give importance to, you do well. If you give more importance to your japa, it will naturally improve. Reading books and/or listening to lectures on how to chant the Maha-mantra may keep you focused on how to chant better.

20. I relish chanting the Holy Name

Be grateful to be blessed with an opportunity to be able to chant the Maha-mantra. When you chant, your consciousness is transformed, and all impurities can be cleansed. Chanting of the Maha-mantra elevates your consciousness to its original state of purity. In this way, remind yourself that, you, the soul, certainly relishes chanting the Holy Name every single day.

The Holy Name is saying, “I am present here, my mercy is here, my love is here; please receive it, please accept it, please feel it”. The Hare Krishna Maha-mantra is a transformative sound vibration. Chanting and hearing of the Maha-mantra not only transforms our consciousness, but it also allows us to become agents for change for society at large. Therefore, prioritize your spiritual life – you are not going to feel emptiness when you experience real spiritual happiness. Make sure to set out your goals on how to improve your chanting and gradually work towards them. If you really want to improve your japa, you can!


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