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Planet ISKCON - 44 new articles

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"Planet ISKCON" - 44 new articles

  1. ISKCON News.com: The Last Conversation Between Srila Prabhupada and H.H. Narayana Maharaja
  2. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Pancanga Bhakti Seminar Part One - Japa
  3. Sita-pati dasa, AU: Tell me; Show me; Involve me
  4. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Narayani Mataji
  5. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
  6. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Monday, April 12th, 2010
  7. Kurma dasa, AU: Satisfied Reader
  8. Sita-pati dasa, AU: No Indispensable Man
  9. David Haslam, UK: Social outcast or part of a devotee community?
  10. Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: instructions for renunciants from NoI verse 1 ppt.
  11. Dandavats.com: A Dog in the Bushes
  12. Dandavats.com: New GBC Paper Clarifies Relationship Between Srila Prabhupada and Narayana Maharaja
  13. ISKCON News.com: Florida Senate Moves to End Separation of Church and State
  14. ISKCON News.com: Vatican Forgives The Beatles For 'Bigger Than Jesus' Comment
  15. HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: '406' from The Yellow Submarine
  16. HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'Matchless Gifts storefront' from The Yellow Submarine
  17. ISKCON News.com: Yoga Guru Ramdev Eyes New Political Posture
  18. ISKCON News.com: By 2050, Will Turkey Be the New Leader of the Muslim World?
  19. HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'It's Worth Your Time' from The Yellow Submarine
  20. HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'Real Yoga' from The Yellow Submarine
  21. ISKCON News.com: US Supreme Court Hears Pivotal Religious Discrimination Case
  22. ISKCON News.com: Meatless Mondays Comes to Hopkins' Cafeteria
  23. ISKCON News.com: Obama Shifts Tactics on Muslim Outreach
  24. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Someone recently asked my mother, "What was the happiest day of your life?" Part 1.
  25. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  26. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  27. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  28. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  29. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  30. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  31. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  32. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  33. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Purushottama month starts tomorrow
  34. Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: The Truth Within
  35. H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Thursday 15 April 2010--Backlogged on Emails--Why Chant Only 16 Rounds of Japa?
  36. Nityananda Chandra Das, Dallas TX: my latest twitter updates
  37. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Someone recently asked my mother, "What was the happiest day of your life?" Part 2.
  38. Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: Real Food-The Next Big Thing?
  39. David Haslam, UK: opera mini for iPhone
  40. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Sunday, April 11th, 2010
  41. Kaunteya das, Mayapura: "Killed by the mercy of the king"
  42. Gouranga TV: Mantra session 20.03.2010 4/7
  43. Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: Travel Journal#6.5: Chanting In North Florida Cities
  44. Gaura Sakti das & Adi Radhika dd, New Vraja Dham, Hungary: Radha Gopinath Temple
  45. More Recent Articles
  46. Search Planet ISKCON

ISKCON News.com: The Last Conversation Between Srila Prabhupada and H.H. Narayana Maharaja

15 Apr 2010

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Pancanga Bhakti Seminar Part One - Japa

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Sita-pati dasa, AU: Tell me; Show me; Involve me

Something interesting from an email at work, including the Kanji script:


Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me
and I'll understand.

- Mencius

Something interesting from the wikipedia article on Mencius:

Mencius emphasized the significance of the common citizens in the state. While Confucianism generally regards rulers highly, he argued that it is acceptable for the subjects to overthrow or even kill a ruler who ignores the people's needs and rules harshly. This is because a ruler who does not rule justly is no longer a true ruler. Speaking of the overthrow of the wicked King Zhou of Shang, Mencius said, "I have merely heard of killing a villain Zhou, but I have not heard of murdering [him as] the ruler."[10].

This saying should not be taken as an instigation to violence against authorities but as an application of Confucian philosophy to society. Confucianism requires a clarification of what may be reasonably expected in any given relationship. All relationships should be beneficial, but each has its own principle or inner logic. A Ruler must justify his position by acting benevolently before he can expect reciprocation from the people. In this view, a King is like a steward. Although Confucius admired Kings of great accomplishment, Mencius is clarifying the proper hierarchy of human society. Although a King has presumably higher status than a commoner, he is actually subordinate to the masses of people and the resources of society. Otherwise, there would be an implied disregard of the potential of human society heading into the future. One is significant only for what one gives, not for what one takes.

The history of King Vena, in the 14th chapter of the Fourth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, is an example of this principle in action in Vedic civilisation.

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Narayani Mataji

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.19.15 - Different aspects of vijnana (self-realisation).

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

The Beauty of Guilt

Port Royal, Pennsylvania

I felt a little guilty about being a half hour late for morning program beginning at 4:30 AM. My trek to the temple is only fifteen minutes away from the home of hosts Pariksit and Anasuya. The previous night I took to some foot care, Epsom water soaking, etc. The feet loved the attention and pushed for extra rest.

A Bhagavatam discussion amongst a small group of us was in reference to the story of Ajamila, a Brahmin who had become criminal in his dealings. At the tail end of his life he expressed regret and began to communicate with Vishnu. He definitely felt guilty.

After the discussion I looked out the window and caught a glance of something inspirational. Some Amish men were at work constructing a retreat home for pilgrim guests. This is a project undertaken by our devotees who have contracted the work out to them. I asked the few of the morning's attendees to look out the window and suggested that this is how we all need to work together. "Look at that. They are expert. They know what they are doing. They are all busy and are totally cohesive in their efforts. They even all wear the same traditional clothes and hats."

The principle is important. Not all people will become builders but we can take from example the spirit of cooperation.

I guess it's good to feel a little guilt sometimes.

6 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Monday, April 12th, 2010

Read and Experience

Port Royal, Pennsylvania

It's the older trees that show gauges; perfect holes created by the woodpeckers. You can hear them too. They are tapping away at a high frequency level. I prefer the true route for walking, a short cut to the Gita Nagari temple, over the regular road. You see more. The turkey vulture soars above. A second one commonly glides with his mate. Critters of many sorts rustle over the previous fall's dried leaves to make hissing sounds. You are not alone ever in the forest. You've always got company.

The Gita Nagari's youth were invited to take part in a gathering for a drama workshop. I agreed to conduct a more or less improvised session with these young teens. The participants that came, twenty-five or so, got quite excited after seeing the previous night's performance of our devotional drama, a slick and economical piece (only three actors required). Our little workshop get-together maintained a Krishna based exercise of fun training. It began with each youth demonstrating their own rendition of mime by taking the ego and commanding it to exit out of the room. It's surprising how original everyone was with their own individual method.

The Creator gave us their individuality to spare us from monotony. We read in the Vedas that the world of Vaikuntha, where the soul retires from mundane life, there is a complete array of variegated beauty – gorgeous forests and zesty youthfulness in every dimension. What you read about in this final destination creates a kind of wholesome craving. You read and you end up wanting to go there.

In the life of a monk or anyone for that matter, who is on the spiritual path it is imperative that one reads or hears about the world of liberation. And it always helps to experience a little portion of nature which so well reflects that perfect world.

6 KM

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Kurma dasa, AU: Satisfied Reader


I received this letter, and thought to share it with you:

Hello Kurma,

I have just finished cooking my first recipe from your book, More Great Vegetarian Dishes, and I am just so happy with the flavour ... a revelation!!! It is Savoury Chickpeas in Tomato Glaze.

I have moved over to a vegetarian way of eating two years ago. Now I think I have come home, it is the best thing I have done.

My cooking skills are erratic. I love the Krishna food at the Fairbridge Music Festival every year, so after last year I bought a whole lot of Indian spices and just threw in this or that when I cooked.

It kind of worked, but never could i get close to the subtlety and the little kapow! of pungent spicey things that make it so addictive, until TONIGHT!!

Roasting the whole cumin and mustard makes an unbelievable difference to the flavour; I have heard you say this on many occasions in your lessons but until you do it yourself it remains a theory. I am going to enjoy working my way through this book, and really embracing this cooking.

I have greatly admired your ethics and style from the first time I saw your show on TV years ago, never did I know I would become veg' myself. You're a beacon to people such as myself.

OK, bye for now. with loving kindness David Whitehead, Perth.

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Sita-pati dasa, AU: No Indispensable Man

Back at work after two weeks away. Somehow things seem to have gone on without me... which brings to mind this poem:

There Is No Indispensable Man
by Saxon N. White Kessinger, Copyright 1959

Sometime when you're feeling important;
Sometime when your ego's in bloom
Sometime when you take it for granted
You're the best qualified in the room,

Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul;

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that's remaining
Is a measure of how you will be missed.

You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop and you'll find that in no time
It looks quite the same as before.

The moral of this quaint example
Is do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There's no indispensable man.

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David Haslam, UK: Social outcast or part of a devotee community?

It is interesting that to feel a part of ISKCON there is pressure to become initiated, it is not that you can come, do some service and enjoy being a part of the community. There is an attitude amongst some that unless a person is initiated that they are of no importance, or a failure, [...]

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Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: instructions for renunciants from NoI verse 1 ppt.

In his book Prema-vivarta, Chapter Seven, Sri Jagadananda Pandita says: vairagi bhai gramya-katha na sunibe kane gramya-varta na kahibe yabe milibe ane svapane o na kara bhai stri-sambhasana grhe stri chadiya bhai asiyacha vana yadi caha pranaya rakhite gaurangera sane chota haridasera katha thake yena mane bhala na khaibe ara bhala na paribe hrdayete radha-krsna sarvada sevibe "My dear brother, you are in the renounced order of life and should not listen to talk about ordinary worldly things, nor should you talk about worldly things when you meet with others. Do not think of women even in dreams. You have accepted the renounced order of life with a vow that forbids you to associate with women. If you wish to associate with Caitanya Mahaprabhu, you must always remember the incident of Chota Haridasa and how he was rejected by the Lord. Do not eat luxurious dishes or dress in fine garments, but always remain humble and serve Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in your heart of hearts."

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Dandavats.com: A Dog in the Bushes

Giriraj Swami: On my walk yesterday I had to heed the call of nature in the bushes, and I quickly hung my bead bag on a branch. Somehow, the picture of Lord Jagannatha on the bag ended up looking at me, and I thought of Srila Prabhupada's words

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Dandavats.com: New GBC Paper Clarifies Relationship Between Srila Prabhupada and Narayana Maharaja

By the GBC Executive Committee

You will find attached a two-part document presented by the Governing Body Commission (GBC) of ISKCON. We write this letter to provide you a brief account of the events leading to the writing and publication of this document. The first part, "Conversation Between Srila Prabhupada and H. H. Narayana Maharaja: Vrindavan-October 8, 1977,"consists of a transcription of the audio recording of that conversation preserved in the BBT Archives. The second part, titled "The Last Conversation," offers a careful analysis of the meaning and significance of this conversation.

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ISKCON News.com: Florida Senate Moves to End Separation of Church and State

By Dara Kam for The Palm Beach Post (Florida, USA) on 13 Apr 2010
The "Religious Freedom" amendment would delete the 125-year-old provision in the constitution prohibiting state money from being spent directly or indirectly to aid any church, sect or religious denomination.
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ISKCON News.com: Vatican Forgives The Beatles For 'Bigger Than Jesus' Comment

By Nick Pisa and Martin Evans for THe Telegraph (UK) on 11 Apr 2010
The Catholic Church has offered the Fab Four its official seal of approval, forgiving them their various excesses and even lauding them as a "precious jewel."
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HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: '406' from The Yellow Submarine

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

4:03 A.M.

Last night I had insomnia and only slept a few hours. I anticipated I would be very sleepy in japa. But I have struggled through twelve rounds, keeping my eyes open. It has been little bit like shuffling through sand in the desert in combat boots. But I kept my mind focused on the job to be done, attention to the holy names. I was at a great disadvantage with loss of sleep, but my will was strong, and now I have four more rounds to chant. I'm eager to do my writing and to get back to more chanting. After I bathe my chanting will be better.

A devotee wrote to me and told me he is very frustrated in trying to chant the syllables of the Hare Krishna mantra in Sanskrit. He has devised an English prayer to his Deities which he repeats throughout the day, asking for Their mercy and protection and desiring to serve Them. I told him his prayer was nice but the Sanskrit word formula is very special, is extraordinary. It may seem like gibberish to us, because we do not know the translation but we have to keep faith that Lord Caitanya has made an exquisite arrangement and the only arrangement for reaching God in this age, by repeating the syllables Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. This morning I ploughed through them and tried to put my meaning in my mind.

A tired soldier marches
through the mud chanting
his mantras with sheer
determination. He has been
trained in the school
of green beret to keep
on chanting and do
not drop. Krishna gives
him willpower and
his eyelids stick open,
but it's not bhakti bhava
he's reached. Still,
he is staunch and
awarded the citation
for not falling on his knees.
He is a fighter for the maha-mantra
and will make it through
his quota with energy
to spare.

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HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'Matchless Gifts storefront' from The Yellow Submarine

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

Prabhupada Smaranam

In the spring of 1966 Prabhupada had to move out of the Bowery loft because his roommate, Mr. David, was having LSD trips and had insulted Prabhupada and threatened him. Prabhupada asked Michael Grant if he could find him another place "in a respectable neighborhood." Twenty-six Second Avenue was hardly a respectable neighborhood, but it was better than the world famous skid row, the Bowery. This is 26 Second Avenue in an early stage, but when it was already operating as a three nights a week kirtana and lecture program. The tiny white piece of paper in the window has been replaced by restaurant type sign. And one can see the name of the establishment and the classes. Later Srila Prabhupada would post the title of the lecture for the night, and it was one of my first services to change them according to the title of the lecture. It took a long time for "Matchless Gifts" to be replaced by "Radha Krishna Temple."  In fact, I am not sure if it was ever done. The painting of the sankirtana group of Panca-tattva was done by Harvey Cohen, later initiated as Haridasa. On the other side of the painting, near the announcement sign, was the low level shelf put there by the previous proprietor. When the room functioned as the temple the shelf became a space to put the smelly shoes of the congregation. To the left of the storefront was a launderette. It says, "Open 24 hours," but the metal shutter is closed shut. The red door in-between is the entrance to the apartment building in the back courtyard where Swamiji rented an apartment on the second floor. The courtyard was picturesque for the Lower East Side with a few weedy trees, plants and cement benches.

Prabhupada very much liked his setup of storefront and private rear apartment although he could barely raise the rent each month. To have the phone installed one had to make a large down payment to Con Edison.  But by his personal charm he went to Con Edison and convinced them to install the phone free of charge because he was a religious mendicant and was conducting an important mission. But he soon became so disturbed by people calling him on the phone in the night time that he had it removed. He used to look out the window of his apartment at the view on First Street. He would repeatedly say about his stay at 26 Second Avenue (ISKCON kept it until 1968.), "those were happy days." On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the hall would be half filled with guests, and once he started Sunday Feasts it was filled to capacity, even overflowing into the courtyard. Sometimes Bowery bums and disheveled young hippies would wander into the storefront without a purpose of spirituality. Swamiji would allow them to sit if they did not make a disturbance. If they disturbed he would ask one of his boys, like Brahmananda or Hayagriva, to remove them.

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ISKCON News.com: Yoga Guru Ramdev Eyes New Political Posture

The News Center on 12 Apr 2010
From the Himalayan foothills he runs a USD 40 million-a-year health empire, owns a Scottish island and claims to cure cancer. Now, India's star yoga guru plans to enter politics to help the poor and punish the corrupt.
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ISKCON News.com: By 2050, Will Turkey Be the New Leader of the Muslim World?

By Neil Reynolds for The Globe and Mail on 12 Apr 2010
Political science scholar predicts a major role for the nation in the next world war.
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HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'It's Worth Your Time' from The Yellow Submarine

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

The names of Krishna are Krishna

read more from SDGonline - daily updates from The Yellow Submarine: My Bhajana Kutir journal 
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HH. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 'Real Yoga' from The Yellow Submarine

www.sdgonline.org. SDGonline Daily updates

Free Write

During Prabhupada's presence hatha-yoga was a forbidden practice. His books are filled with references to the "uselessness of gymnastics" for losing weight. He said the yogis who came to America to teach merely asanas or impersonal philosophy were bogus. But times have changed. Now many ISKCON devotees are yoga teachers, and devotees practice asanas. Why the change? Yoga in America has become a popular practice, and as part of the New Age movement, it introduces spiritual philosophy. With an attitude of "if you can't beat them, join them," ISKCON members gradually began to teach yoga and to spice it with genuine Krishna conscious elements, like teaching vegetarian cooking and offering of prasadam and adding Hare Krishna kirtana to the practice of the asanas. The yoga people took favorably to the Hare Krishna additions to yoga sessions, and the devotees began to more openly introduce the kirtanas and even straight lessons on Bhagavad-gita. Yoga has now become one of the most influential means of spreading Krishna consciousness and attracting people to the sadhana of bhakti-yoga.

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ISKCON News.com: US Supreme Court Hears Pivotal Religious Discrimination Case

By The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life on 14 Apr 2010
On April 19, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a case that will determine whether a public institution can refuse to officially recognize a religiously based organization that prevents those who do not share its religious and moral values from becoming voting members.
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ISKCON News.com: Meatless Mondays Comes to Hopkins' Cafeteria

By Kelly Brewington for The Baltimore Sun on 12 Apr 2010
Starting today, Johns Hopkins Hospital's Wellness Corner in its main cafeteria will go meatless on Mondays, encouraging, staff, patients and visitors to load up on healthy fruits, grains and veggies.
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ISKCON News.com: Obama Shifts Tactics on Muslim Outreach

By Omar Sacirbey for Religion News Service on 12 Apr 2010
Nearly a year after President Obama told an audience in Cairo that America wanted a "new beginning" with the Muslim world, evidence of that policy shift has, in recent weeks, become hard to ignore.
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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Someone recently asked my mother, "What was the happiest day of your life?" Part 1.

I read a letter that she wrote answering that and giving an idea of what she and others went through in WWII.

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1967 April 14: "Krishna consciousness means to increase the number of persons in Krishna consciousness. Like Y.M.C.A., supply nice Prasadam at cheap rate and give shelter and opportunity to hear Srimad Bhagavatam etc. Make an experiment like this during the Expo World Fair."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1970 April 14: "That is a fact, if people actually want peace and tranquility, they must support this movement wholeheartedly. And if we execute our prescribed duties very seriously and sincerely, we will enact a new chapter in the history of the Western world."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1970 April 14: "Any suitable position in life is good if it is utilized for Krishna's service. You thought that with a wife you will be more enthusiastic, so Krishna has given you a nice wife. Now your first business is to see the center organized very nicely and see the BTG published in French and German languages."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 April 14: "If a personality like you will join this institution, it will be a great asset. I have one invitation to speak at the university in Moscow. If I see you are understanding our philosophy, then I shall be glad to take you with me to Russia for preaching work."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 April 14: "Now a school must be started in English medium and for this Krishna Consciousness education many families will send their children. Actually the Bhaktivinoda Institute was started for this purpose - but they have turned it into an ordinary school."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 April 14: "At Mayapur we are already on the top of all my godbrothers and that should be maintained. But I have received one complaint so we should avoid any quarrel with my godbrothers. You should go and beg his forgiveness, and bow and touch his feet."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 April 14: "As soon as you send me, jointly signed, a statement of how the money I gave you was spent, along with vouchers, then I can arrange more in future. So do it very nicely, quickly, and sagaciously."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 April 14: "Now among yourselves you are all senior members, please try to rectify this rift. You must push on cooperatively and spare me from management intervention; that will be your success. P.S. I want to organize a women's kirtana party singing the Gitar Gan. Can you help me?"
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Purushottama month starts tomorrow

According to Padma Purana one Purushottama vrata equals a thousand Kartika vratas.

The Glories of Purusottama-masa

Once upon a time, thousands of sages came together in the holy place called Naimisaranya to perform sacrifice. To their very good fortune the great sage Suta Goswami, who had been traveling to different pilgrimage sites, arrived there along with his disciples. The sages present were very enlivened to see him. They all stood up immediately to pay their respects to the great sage, offered him a very nice Vyasasana, and requested him with folded hands to sit down on it.'

The sages of Naimisaranya said to Suta Goswami with folded hands, "0 Sutaji! All of us are humbly requesting you to please tell us something about the wonderful activities and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are many thousands of such narrations but we want to listen to the most perfect one, by following which we can all be delivered from this material ocean and return back to Godhead.

Hearing the request made by these sages, headed by Saunaka Rsi, Suta Goswami began to speak, "0 sages, please to listen me. I first went to Puskara Tirtha, then after visiting thousands of other holy places, I reached Hastinapura. There, on the bank of the Ganges, I saw thousands of sages sitting together with Pariksit Maharaja. Just then the great sage Sukadeva Goswami appeared, and all the sages present paid him proper respect by rising from their seats with folded hands. All the sages unanimously offered the lotus Vyasasana to Sukadeva Goswami, which was meant for the speaker who would speak Krishna katha to Pariksit Maharaja.

Suta Goswami said, "0 sages, I have just come from Hastinapura where I heard the whole Srimad Bhagavatam from the lotus mouth of Sukadeva Goswami. So now I will tell you about the all-attractive activities and pastimes of the Lord.

"Once, long ago, Sri Narada Muni reached Badrika Ashram, the residence of Lord Narayana Rsi. The river Alakananda was flowing down from His lotus feet Narada paid his obeisances to Narayana and prayed, 'O Lord of the demigods. O ocean of mercy! O master of creation. You are all truthful, the essence of all truths. And so I am paying my obeisances unto You.

"'O Lord! In this material world all living entities are busily engaged in sense gratification. They have all forgotten the ultimate goal of life. Therefore please explain something which will be helpful both for householders and sages in the renounced order like me, something that will help us attain self realization and return back to Godhead.'"

"Hearing the sweet words of Narada, Lord Narayana smiled. He said, '0 Narada, please listen to narrations about the supremely pious pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, for they will diminish all sinful reaction. 0 Narada, you already know of all the activities of the Supreme Lord, but for the benefit of others, you are asking Me again. So now I will tell you about the glories of the sacred Purusottama month, which is fully potent to grant not only all material happiness but also qualify one to return back to Godhead at the end of life.'

"Naradji enquired, '0 Lord, I have heard the glories of all months including Kartika, Chaitra etc, but which month is this Purusottama month? 0 ocean of mercy, please tell me all about this sacred month. What is the way to glorify this month, what should I do in this month, how should I take bath, give in charity, etc. What should I chant. Who should I worship, should I observe fasting in this month? Please tell me everything in detail.'"

Suta Goswami said, "0 sages, after hearing all these questions from Narada, Lord Narayana began to speak from His moon-like lotus mouth. '0 Narada, I am going to tell you something which was previously explained by Lord Sri Krishna to Maharaja Yudhisthira. Once Dharmaraja Yudhisthira lost everything – his empire, his palace and even his chaste wife Draupadi – to Duryodhana in a gambling match. At that time Draupadi was insulted by Dusasana in front of the whole royal assembly. But when Dusasana had tried to strip Draupadi naked, she was saved from such a dangerous situation by Lord Sri Krishna. After this incident, Yudhisthira Maharaja along with his brothers and wife left his kingdom and lived in Kamayaka forest.

"Once Sri Krishna, son of Devaki, visited the Pandavas in that forest. All the Pandavas, including Draupadi, were very happy to see their Lord, and they forgot their painful forest life immediately. They felt enriched with a new life just by taking Krnsa's darshan. They paid their obeisances at their Lord's lotus feet Seeing the miserable living condition of the Pandavas, Lord Sri Krishna became very upset. and at the same time He became very angry towards Dhuryodhana. It appeared as if the Lord was going to destroy the whole universe, and so the Pandavas became fearful and all began to pray to the Lord in a humble mood. Listening to the humble prayers of Arjuna, the Lord composed Himself and said, 'O Arjuna, being very pleased with all of you, and being controlled by your devotion and friendship towards Me, I will now tell you about the wonderful history of Purusottama month.

"'O Arjuna! Once upon a time, by the arrangement of providence an extra month came to this world. Everyone took this month to be most inauspicious, and even saw it as a stool-like month. Just as one should not touch stool, so this month was also seen as untouchable. It was constantly unprotected and blasphemed, and rejected by everyone as an improper time for any religious and auspicious activities.

"'Being so rejected by all human beings, and constantly hearing only bad words and blasphemy, this extra month became very sad. She came to Vaikuntha to explain her sorrowful situation to the Lord. Seeing Lord Visnu on His simhasana, she fell down at His lotus feet in a mood of sorrow and grief. Tears were falling profusely from her eyes. She started praying to the Lord, "O ocean of mercy! I have come to You helpless. I have been rejected and blasphemed by all peoples of the world. Please protect me, please show me Your mercy. Please don't be indifferent towards me." Saying these words, the extra month continued crying in front of Lord Visnu and sat down before Him in a dejected mood.

Seeing the humble and pitiable position of the extra month. Lord Visnu became very merciful towards her. He told her, "Do not lament, I shall give you protection from all of your miseries Please stop crying. It is not proper to lament after taking shelter at My lotus feet."

'Being so consoled by the Lord, the extra month began speaking in openhearted language. "O Lord, You know all my painful condition No one is in a more miserable situation in these three worlds than I First of all, all other months, years, days, nights, directions etc. are being protected by You, and so they are always moving fearlessly in their unique charming moods. But I, an extra month, don't have any name, nor any protector, nor a husband to give me shelter. All the demigods and human beings have rejected me for any auspicious activities. For this reason, O Lord, I want to die immediately."

"'O Narada, this extra month repeatedly said, "I want to die! I want to die! I want to die!" Then she fainted at the feet of the Lord. Being requested by Lord Visnu, Garuda started fanning the extra month, and after some time she got up and began to speak again, "O Lord of the universe I am in need of Your shelter, so please protect me."

Lord Visnu told the extra month, "O child, please don't lament, all of your miserable conditions will be finished very soon. Get up and come with Me to Goloka Vrndavana, which is even unattainable to great yogis. Goloka is the abode of Lord Sri Krishna. Here Lord Sri Krishna is in His two-handed form, surrounded by gopis and enjoying His eternal pastimes.

"The Supreme Sri Krishna of Goloka will deliver you from all your miseries, please come with Me." Speaking in this way. Lord Visnu took Malamasa (the extra month) to Goloka by catching her by the hand.

From a distant place Lord Visnu and the extra month observed the effulgence of Goloka. This dazzling effulgence automatically forced Malamasa to close her eyes. Therefore, keeping the extra month behind Him, Lord Visnu proceeded farther until He reached the main gate. There the doorkeeper paid his respects to Him. Having reached the Supreme Abode, Lord Visnu met Lord Sri Krishna who was surrounded by many devoted gopis. Lord Visnu, who is the husband of Ramadevi, paid His obeisances to Lord Sri Krishna. Then He made the extra month also offer her obeisances at the lotus feet of Lord Sri
Krishna, even though she was crying loudly. Immediately Sri Krishna asked, "Why is she crying? She is in Goloka Vrndavana, why is she crying?" Hearing these words from Lord Sri Krishna, Lord Visnu got up from His seat and started explaining the whole miserable condition of the extra month. He begged Him to please protect this unprotected month. "There is no one except You, Lord Krishna, who can save this extra month from her hellish condition and give her full protection." Having said these words. Lord Visnu remained standing in front of Lord Krishna with folded hands.

Then Suta Goswami continued to speak, "O sages! Lord Visnu took his seat, and Lord Krishna spoke very confidential words to him. Listen carefully, for I am now going to share those words with all of you…

"Then Lord Purusottama Sri Krishna said, 'O Visnu, you have done a very great deed by bringing this extra month to Me. You will become even more famous for performing this act. Because You have accepted this Malamasa, I will also accept her. I shall make this poor extra month just like Me in quality, fame, opulence, realization, success, and in giving benediction to devotees. This month will become equally potent to Me. I am bestowing all of My divine qualities in this abused month. Named after Me, this month will be famous as Purusottama month in this world.

"'O Janardana, now that she has imbued My qualities, I Myself will become the husband and protector of this Purusottama month. And being equal to Me, this month will be the master of all other months. Now this month will become worshipable by one and all. Everyone should pay their obeisances to her, everyone should worship her. This month is equally as powerful as Me to give any type of benediction to its observer. I am making this month desire-free, unlike other months, which are full of some desire or another. The worshipper of this month will be able to burn all his past sinful reactions to ashes, and after enjoying a blissful life in the material realm he will return back to Godhead.

"'Oh Garudadhwaja," Lord Sri Krishna continued, "My Goloka is unattainable to the performers of austerities, mahatmas engaged in pious activities, to people who maintain celibacy, or to those who fast their whole life's duration. But just by observing Purusottama month and becoming a devotee one can easily cross over this material ocean and return back to Godhead. Observance of this Purusottama month is the best of all austerities. Just as a farmer produces a rich harvest by planting seeds in nicely cultivated land, so an intelligent man who practices devotional service towards the Supreme Lord in this Purusottama month will enjoy a blissful life while in this world and after leaving his body he will return back to Godhead.

"'An unfortunate ignorant man who does not perform any japa, does not give any charity, does not pay respect to Lord Sri Krishna and His devotees, does not behave properly to brahmanas, makes enmity with others and who blasphemes the Purusottama month will go to hell for an unlimited period." Lord Sri Krishna continued, "How can a person make his life successful unless he performs devotional service in this Purusottama month? A person who is fully engaged in sense gratification and does not give any special importance to this sacred month becomes the best candidate for hell. All human beings should perform some devotional service in this Purusottama month by:

1. Taking a bath in a holy river
2. Worshiping Me, Sri Krishna, by chanting My holy name
3 Giving in charity

"'A fortunate person who follows My instructions and observes this Purusottama month properly, and in a faithful way worships Me will attain fame, opulence and a good son in this very life, and after enjoying a happy life, he will return back to Goloka Dhama. By following My instructions, everyone should worship this sacred month. I have made it the best among all other months. O husband of Rama devi (Visnu), give up all kinds of mental speculation about this extra month. Just take this Purusottama month with you to your Vaikuntha abode."

After narrating this brief history of the Purusottama month, Lord Sri Krishna glanced very mercifully upon Yudhisthira and Draupadi, and then began speaking to Arjuna. "O lion among men, can you now understand the reason why you Pandavas are suffering? You did not acknowledge or honor the presence of Purusottama month, which has just recently finished. That month which is most dear to Vrndavana Chandra has passed, but you Pandavas were in the forest and did not worship Purusottama month. So now you are suffering. You have been following the ritualistic principles given to you by Vyasadeva, but unless you worship Purusottama month you cannot perform pure devotional service to Me."

Lord Sri Krishna continued, "Now I am going to narrate a famous historical event concerning the previous birth of Draupadi. In her previous birth Draupadi was the daughter of a great brahmana sage called Medhavi. Her mother died when she was a small child, and so she was under the care of her father. Day by day, she grew to full bloom youth. She was very beautiful, but her father was not interested in arranging her marriage. Seeing her other girlfriends with their husbands and young children, she passed her days in a very miserable way. In the meantime, her father passed away from this material world while uttering the sacred name of Hari.

"This made his daughter even more miserable. Fortunately, the great sage Durvasa Muni appeared in her asrama shortly after her father's death. Seeing the great sage, the girl paid her obeisances to him and respectfully worshipped him. She offered flowers and fruits to the great sage. When he expressed his pleasure with her reception, she began lamenting and crying before him. Concerned, the sage inquired about her lamentation. The brahmana girl began to speak, "O great saint Durvasa, you know everything – past, present and future. I have no shelter in this world. I have lost all of my relatives. My parents have passed away, and I have no elder brother. I am also unmarried, and therefore there is no husband to protect me. O great sage, please do something, please help me! Please give me some advice to relieve me from this miserable condition." After listening to her prayer, Durvasa began to consider the unfortunate condition of the girl, and he decided to show mercy towards her.

Durvasa Rsi began to speak, "O beautiful one, three months from now the most auspicious Purusottama month will begin. This sacred month is most dear to Lord Sri Krishna. Just by taking a holy bath in this month a man or woman can become completely sinless. This Purusottama month is more glorious than all other months, including Kartik month. The glories of all other months is not even equal to one sixteenth of the glories of Purusottama month. The merit of a person who takes a holy bath even once in this month is equal to the merit of taking bath in the Ganges for twelve thousand years, or the merit achieved by a person who takes a bath in holy water of Ganges or Godavari when Brihaspati [Jupiter] enters to Leo [lion]. If you will take a holy bath, give in charity, and chant the holy name of Krsna during this month all your miseries will go away, you will attain all kinds of perfection, and all of your desires will be fulfilled. Please follow my advice – please do not forget to worship the forthcoming Purusottama month very sincerely ."

After speaking these words, sage Durvasa remained silent. Unfortunately, the young brahmani did not believe in his words; rather she became angry and started blaspheming, "O great sage, you are lying. How could this extra month, which is also called Mala-masa [stool month], be superior to other great months like Magha, Kartika and Vaisakha. I cannot believe your words. You are trying to cheat me. This extra month is known to be most abominable for any kind of pious activity " Hearing these words of the brahmana girl, Durvasa became very angry, his whole body started burning, and his eyes became red. But remembering the helpless condition of the girl, he consciously controlled himself.

Sage Durvasa told the girl, "O unfortunate one, I am not going to curse you, because your father was a good friend of mine. You are in such a helpless condition. Being an ignorant child, you cannot understand the sastric conclusion. I am not going to take your offenses towards me seriously. But at the same time, I cannot and should not tolerate your offences towards Purusottama month. In your next life you will certainly reap the results of your offensive words" The great sage Durvasa then hurriedly left that place to perform his service for Lord Narayana.

Lord Sri Krishna told Arjuna, "O sinless one, when Durvasa Muni left that place the brahmin girl lost all of her opulences in a moment. Being an offender to Purusottama month, her body began to look very ugly, and she lost all of her bodily effulgence. She then decided to worship Lord Siva who is known as Asutosa, one who is very easily pleased.

She continued her austerities for nine thousand years. In the summer season, she would sit for meditation surrounded by fire and under the hot sun. In the winter season, she meditated under freezing cold water. Observing her great austerities, even the demigods became fearful. Lord Sankara then appeared before the brahmin girl because he was pleased by her worship and austerities. When Lord Siva appeared before the girl in his spiritual form, the girl immediately stood up rejuvenated. In the presence of Lord Siva all of her bodily weakness disappeared and she again started to look beautiful. Seeing Lord Siva in front of her, she started to worship him in her mind, and then began to recite nice prayers to please Him.

Being very pleased with the girl. Lord Siva said, "O performer of austerity, all good fortune to you! Now please ask some boon from me. I am pleased with you; I shall grant whatever you want."

Hearing these words from the mouth of Lord Siva, the girl said, "O friend of the poor, if you are pleased with me then please give me a husband." Repeatedly speaking the same words – "give me a husband" – five times, the girl then fell silent Then Lord Siva replied, "Let it be. You have asked for a husband five times, and so you will get five husbands." Hearing Lord Siva's words, the girl became very ashamed. She said, "O Lord! It is most abominable for a girl to have five husbands. Please retract your words " Lord Shiva then spoke to her very gravely, "That is impossible for me. What you have asked from me will be granted. You will get five husbands in your next life. Previously you offended Purusottama month by not following the kind advice of sage Durvasa. O brahmana girl, there is no difference between the body of Durvasa and mine. All we demigods, including Lord Brahma and all the great saints like Narada, worship this Purusottama month in accord with the order of Lord Sri Krishna. A devotee of Purusottama month achieves all good fortune in this life and at the end of his life he goes back to Goloka Dhama, the abode of Lord Sri Krishna. Being an offender to this sacred Purusottama .month, you will get five husbands in your next life." The girl became very remorseful, but Lord Siva immediately disappeared from the place.

After Lord Siva's departure, the young brahmani became very morose and fearful about her future life. In this way, after few days, the girl left her body by the arrangement of providence.

Lord Sri Krishna then said, "O Arjuna, in the meantime the great king Draupada had been performing an elaborate sacrifice. From this sacrificial fire, the young brahmani took her birth. She appeared as the daughter of Maharaja Draupada. O Arjuna, the same daughter of Medhavi Rsi has now became famous in the world as Draupadi – she is none other than your present wife. Because she blasphemed Purusottama month in her previous life, she was insulted by Dushasana in front of the whole Kuru assembly in the presence of all her Pandava husbands. Fortunately she remembered Me and took My shelter. Forgiving her offenses, I protected her from that most abominable condition and saved her from the hand of Dushasana. O dear Pandava brothers, please don't forget to worship the forthcoming Purusottama month. A person who blasphemes Purusottama month and doesn't worship her, and doesn't worship Me, will never attain good fortune. This Purusottama month is fully potent to fulfill all your desires and remove all miseries. Now your fourteen years of forest life is coming to an end. Please worship this Purusottama month sincerely, for it will bestow all good fortune upon you."

Giving full consolation to the Pandavas in this way, Lord Sri Krishna then left that place for Dwaraka.

After a few days, when Purusottama month appeared, Maharaja Yudhisthira reminded his younger brothers and wife Draupadi of the words of Lord Sri Krishna. All of them followed the instructions He had given them. They worshipped Purusottama Sri Krishna in various ways during this sacred month. The merit they achieved by performing Purusottama vrata meant they regained their lost kingdom, and after enjoying a happy life they all returned back to Godhead by the grace of Lord Sri Krishna.

Suta Goswami then told the sages of Naimisaranya, "O sages, now I am going to tell you another famous history in glorification of Purusottama month. It involves Maharaja Hadadhanwa of the famous sun dynasty. Long, long ago, there was a religious king named Citradhanwa, who was the ruler of Haihaya State. He had a very qualified son named Hadadhanwa. Hadadhanwa was famous and loved all over the world because of his good qualities like faithfulness and strict adherence to religious principles. At an early age Hadadhanwa became a learned scholar by pleasing his Guru. He studied all the Vedas, including all the Angas and Upanisads. After pleasing his Guru and paying him daksina, Hadadhanwa returned back to his father's palace. His father Citradhanwa was very old, and so he decided to go to the forest and live a renounced life to please Sri Hari. Then Hadadhanwa became the king of Haihaya State. In due time Hadadhanwa achieved a beautiful daughter named Guna Sundari, and also had four other famous sons named Chitrabaka, Chitrabha, Maniman and Chitra-Kundala.

Once this Hadadhanwa began to think of all his material opulences. He could understand that by the influence of previous pious activities he had achieved an undisturbed kingdom, a chaste and beautiful queen, dutiful sons etc. Thinking in this way, the next day the king went to on horse back along with his army to hunt. In this forest, a deer which was being attacked by the arrows of the king ran for shelter in another neighboring forest, and the king followed her.

After following the deer for a long way, the king became very tired and thirsty. He began to look for water, and, a little in the distance, he saw a beautiful pond full of clean sweet water. He rode there, got down from the horse's back and tied it to a nearby banyan tree. After quenching his thirst he took rest under the banyan tree. While the king was relaxing in this way, a beautiful parrot which was sitting on the tree started to speak to him. The parrot recited a verse again and again:

"O king, deluded by your material opulences you are not even considering the real goal and achievement of human life. How then can you cross the material ocean, the cycle of birth and death?"

After hearing these words from the mouth of the parrot again and again, King Hadadhanwa considered the advice very seriously. He started thinking that this parrot may be the great sage Sukadeva Goswami himself showing compassion towards him. In the meantime his army reached that place, and the parrot disappeared. However, the king continued to ponder upon the words of the parrot.

When King Hadadhanwa was thinking seriously about these words, the great sage Valmiki came to his palace. The king immediately got up from his seat and paid his obeisances to him. Valmiki asked, "Oh king, why do you look so morose. Please tell me every thing about your dilemma, 1 shall try my best to solve your problems." Feeling some consolation from the sage's words, King Hadadhanwa explained the verse spoken to him by the parrot in the forest. After listening to the king, the great sage Valmiki said, "O king, in your previous life you were born in a brahmin family, on the bank of the River Tambraparna in the state ofDravida. Your good name was Sudeva. You were a religious, truthful and self-satisfied brahmana. Your wife was Gautami, the daughter of Gautam Rsi. When you were in grhasta asrama you followed all the religious principles, but despite all these merits you had no child. One day you expressed you unhappiness to your wife. You told her, 'O beloved one, our human birth is fruitless because we don't have a son who will deliver us from hell. Therefore I have decided to die immediately. Hearing your words, your wife advised you to worship Lord Jagannatha.

She said to you, "O dear husband, please don't speak like this. You are a Vaisnava, so you should be more patient in dealing with such situations. If you desire a son, then just worship Lord Jagannatha and ask Him for a son as a benediction." Following her advice, you performed great austerities on the bank of the River Tambrapani for four thousand years. The demigods became fearful seeing your austerities, but seing your strong faith and devotion. Lord Hari appeared before you riding His carrier Garuda. Seeing the Lord in His four-handed form, you became very happy and paid your full obeisances at His lotus feet.

The great sage Valmiki continued, "O king, after offering his prayers Sudeva brahmana sat down on the floor in front of Lord Hari. Hearing his prayers. Lord Hari said, "Oh Sudeva, you have done great austerities to satisfy Me. And I am satisfied. Please ask some boons of Me – what ever you want. Sudeva brahmana said, "Oh Lord, if You are pleased upon me then please give me a qualified son." Hearing His brahmana's words, Lord Hari told him "Oh Sudeva, by reading your forehead I can understand that because of your prarabdha karma you are not supposed to have a son for the next seven births. Therefore please ask for some other boon. Hearing these words from Lord Hari the brahmana immediately fell unconscious. He fell down on the ground like a dry old tree. Seeing the condition of her husband, Gautami, the wife of Sudeva also started crying loudly Observing the most pathetic condition of this brahmana couple, Garuda, the carrier of Lord Visnu, became sympathetic. He also requested Lord Hari to grant them a son. Hearing Garuda's request. Lord Hari empowered him to give such a boon to the brahmin couple. So Garuda started fanning the unconscious Sudeva. Then he told the brahmin couple, "O fortunate ones, following the order of my master Lord Hari, I am giving a boon to you, that you will get a son very soon, and he will be as qualified as myself."

In this way, after giving the boon. Lord Hari disappeared from that place on His carrier Garuda. After some time had passed Gautami gave birth to a son named Sukadeva. From his very childhood, Sukadeva exhibited wonderful godly qualities and always satisfied his guru, and all of his superiors, and friends. Once the great sage Devala, who was shining like the sun, came to their asrama. Sudeva and his wife prayed to him and gave him a nice asana on which to comfortably sit. Their son Sukadeva also paid his obeisances to the great sage.

Seeing the face of Sukadeva, Devala Rsi became very happy. But then suddenly he became grave. He spoke to the brahmin couple, "This child Sukadeva has all the good qualities of a great person, but there is one serious disqualification. This boy will drown at the age of twelve." The sage then left the place, and the brahmin couple became very unhappy. However, remembering the all-merciful Lord Visnu, they continued on in their day to day life.

One day their son Sukadeva was taking bath in a nearby tank with his other friends. Following the dictates of unavoidable providence, the boy went into the deep water and drowned. The friends of Sukadeva informed his parents about death of their beloved son. They started crying very loudly, and coming to the tank, they repeatedly kissed their dead son and lamented. Sudeva took the dead body of his son on his lap and started crying, "Oh son, get up! We are waiting for you. Unless you get up and talk to us, we are both going to give up our lives." Speaking in this way, the brahmana started chanting the Holy Name of Lord Hari.

When the brahmin couple were lamenting and constantly chanting the Holy Name of the Lord, an untimely rain came along with a heavy wind. The whole world became filled with water, but the brahmin couple were oblivious to externals because of their lamentation for their son. They were constantly chanting the Holy name of the Lord. In this way, a whole month passed away. And that month was Purusottama month. Unknowingly the brahmin couple had worshipped that most sacred month, the month most beloved to Lord Sri Krishna. Being pleased by their austerities. Lord Sri Krishna appeared before them and then the rain immediately stopped. Seeing their Lord, the brahmin couple immediately paid their full obeisances keeping their son side. Lord Sri Krishna was very, very pleased because they had worshipped Purusottama month [unknowingly]. The Lord said, "O fortunate Sudeva, your son Sukadeva will live with you for twelve thousand years in this material world to give you all pleasure and at the end of that time both of you will return back to Me in Goloka Dhama."

As soon as Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, had finished his words their son got up. It was just like he had been sleeping for a long time. Seeing their son alive again, the brahmin couple became extremely happy. In the mean time the demigods started showering flowers from heaven. Then Sukadeva paid his obeisances to his parents and Lord Sri Hari. Garuda, the carrier of the Lord, also became very happy seeing the brahmin couple with their son All these incidents seemed extraordinary to Sudeva brahmana, and so he asked Lord Sri Krishna why He gave them back their son.

Lord Sri Krishna, who is controlled by His devotees, then spoke to Sudeva, "Oh fortunate one, don't you know the reason why I am so pleased with you? Both you and your wife observed fasting and worship during the whole of Purusottama month – and that month is most dear to Me. When both of you were lamenting for your son by observing full fast and chanting my Holy Name is was the Holy Purusottama month. You worshipped me throughout the entire Purusottama month, and that pleased Me very much. Once Lord Brahma was measuring the value of Purusottama month against all the other pious austerities and religious activities mentioned in Vedas. However, the value of Purusottama month is far more valuable than all types of Vedic religious activities.

Lord Sri Krishna continued, "Any human being who observes My Purusottama month is ever the most fortunate one in all three worlds. At the end of his life, he will return to My abode Goloka." Saying these words, the Supreme Lord left that place riding His carrier Garuda.

Then Sage Valmiki told King Hadadhanwa, "O king, your question has now been answered. The parrot who advised you in the forest was Sukadeva, your beloved son in your previous life. Sukadeva achieved his perfection by the mercy of the Lord, but he was feeling some sympathy for you, his father in his previous life. Seeing you engaged in a materialistic way of life, he reminded you of your duty to worship Lord Hari in forthcoming Purusottama month. By such merit you will return back to Godhead."

King Hadadhanwa asked, "O great sage, what are the benefits one achieves by offering a lamp to Lord Purusottama in this month?" The great sage Valmiki then began speaking enthusiastically, "There was king named Citrabahu who ruled over the kingdom of Bhagyanagar. He was a great devotee of Krishna, and possessed all good qualities like truth fulness, nonviolence, forgiveness, cultured behavior. kindness, respect towards saintly people and brahmanas, and knowledge of all the religious principles mentioned in the sastra.

Once the great sage Agastya came to his palace. Seeing the great Rsi, the king paid his obeisances even though at a distance. When the sage came closer, he gave him a nice place to sit. He then worshipped him with great respect and very pleasingly said, 'Today my life has become successful because a great devotee of Sri Krishna has entered my palace.' He sincerely tried his best to please the sage. The king then began to question Agastya Muni about his past life. He said, "O great sage, in my present life I am enjoying such an undisturbed kingdom, and 1 have a beautiful and chaste wife, and nice sons and daughters. What pious activities did I perform in my past life to give such an enjoyable result in my present life " Agastya Muni replied, "O fortunate one, please listen carefully to me I will now explain your previous life to you.

"In your previous life your name was Manigriva. You were a most cruel non-believer of God and a person of very bad character. But your wife [who is also your present wife] was a very pious and religious lady. She was very chaste and beautiful, and always engaged to please you. Your bad character and cruel behavior meant no one in society liked you. Everyone broke their relationship with you. Even the king of your country took away everything from you – including your wealth and property. In this way, being rejected by society, you began to live in the forest with your chaste wife. Once when you were going to hunt for some food, you came across a man who had fallen down unconscious on the forest road. His name was Sage Ugradeva.

"Seeing the brahmin sage Ugradeva in such an unconscious and helpless condition, some mercy arose in your heart. Sage Ugradeva was on his way to Prayag tirtha, but because of lasting and the influence of an unbearably hot sun he fell down unconscious in the forest. You brought him to your small cottage, and both you and your wife began to serve him by fanning him, giving him some water to drink and cooling his forehead.

After a little time the sage came back to consciousness. He looked around in wonder. Then you described everything to him – how he had fainted, and you had brought him to your cottage. You then offered some fresh water to the sage. He was very pleased with you and asked about your impoverished living condition. The great sage Ugradeva inquired, 'Oh Manigriva, why are you are suffering so much here in the forest? Please tell me everything about your past situation, so that I can find some way to bring you good fortune in the future.' You then humbly explained your wretched life and asked him to find some solution to your miseries.

"Ugradeva listened attentively and then said, 'Oh great soul, you will definitely become famous in this world because you have served me so well as your guest. So to eradicate your previous sinful reactions, I am now going to explain to you the simplest and easiest way for you to attain all good fortune. In three month's time the sacred Purusottama month will begin. In order to please the Supreme Lord Purusottama, you should daily offer a lamp to the Lord By doing this all your misfortune will vanish. The best lamp to offer is a ghee lamp, but because you are living in the forest you can offer a lamp made from sesame oil. When you attain some wealth, you must then offer a ghee lamp.' Having spoken in this way, Ugradeva left that place for Prayag, constantly chanting the Holy Name of Sri Krishna.

"Following the order of Sage Ugradeva, Manigriva and his wife offered an oil lamp to Purusottama regularly though out that sacred month. After some time, the couple left their bodies and attained Swargaloka due to the merit they attained from offering a lamp to Lord Purusottama. After enjoying many years in the heavenly planets, the same couple came back again to this material world and achieved a very glorious position in society as King Citrabahu and his queen. Agastya Muni then said to King Citrabahu, 'O king, such was your previous life, and such is the glory of simply offering an oil lamp to Lord Purusottama in the sacred month of Purusottama. A person who offers a ghee lamp to the Lord daily in this month receives unlimited merit. O king, please do not doubt that such great merits are achieved simply by offering a lamp to the Lord.'"

Then the great sage Valmiki continued, "In this way, after explaining the previous life of King Citrabahu, and being worshipped by him, Agastya Muni became very pleased and blessed him. He then left the palace."

0 Supreme Lord! 0 Sanatana, 0 Purusottama, 0 Hari, I am paying my obeisances unto You. Please, along with Your beloved Radha, accept my offerings in this month of Purusottama! I am paying my obeisances unto You, Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara, whose bodily color is like a beautiful dark blue cloud.

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Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: The Truth Within

One cannot identify an advanced soul by merely studying the scriptures. Yes, the scriptures give us an indication on the external behavior or characteristics of a person who is on the advanced platform of bhakti. Still…merely studying them and trying to match them to a potential candidate will not help us fully in identifying an advanced soul.

For example, Jada Bharath purposefully behaved in ways that defy any sort of external scrutiny. Yet he is a Mahabhagavat. On the other end, even during the time of Krishna, there were charlatans posing as yogis and Gods cheating the public. Surely to convince someone by cheating requires some intelligence and surely the characteristics can be imitated externally at least when the person is in public.

Therefore, to identify a true devotee is not possible merely trying to match with the descriptions of the scriptures. It is said that it takes one to know one. In other words, only one who is on the pure platform can identify the other who is on the equally pure platform. One who is humble and is free from all envy and who is engaged constantly in glorifying the names and pastimes of the Lord will be in direct connection with the Supersoul. For such an advanced soul, the Supersoul will help identify who is pure and who is not.

Today, within ISKCON, we see so many difficulties and many still engaging in criticism of devotees. I have seen devotees quoting scriptures as their fool proof method to sift the good from the bad. This method is maya's trap. Our only business as aspiring students of unalloyed devotion is to re-route our experiences of the external world to the inner sanctums of our heart and meditate on how to purify our own existence. This world is created for just this one purpose. All actions that happen around is clinically orchestrated by the Supersoul so we can use our free-will to turn our consciousness inwards and work on doing the most difficult task – that is to clean our own false understandings of doership and ownership.

As long as we are busy trying to fix the world…we cannot make spiritual progress. For practical affairs, God has given us intelligence and in the mood of sincere surrender to guru and Krishna, we use our intelligence to get past them. In doing so, we should not take them too seriously to the point where we become fixated. Of course…modern methods of problem solving was born due to this fixation.

Hare Krishna

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H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Thursday 15 April 2010--Backlogged on Emails--Why Chant Only 16 Rounds of Japa?

Due to my intense travelling/lecturing schedule I have fallen very far behind on answering my emails. To give you some idea how far behind I am, as I am writing this I still have unanswered emails from March sitting in my inbox. And we are now half way through April. This means that I am now half a month behind. My desire is to respond to every email...

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Nityananda Chandra Das, Dallas TX: my latest twitter updates

My brain is spinning with amazement after watching the video of Citra Kavitvani from ISKCON's Sanskrit School. Simply mind blowing. [18:51:39]

Watching "Lost Village" by Lokanath Swami in temple room http://bit.ly/afh8to hosted by Gunagrahi Goswami http://bit.ly/cqMeuZ [00:22:40

Another great program with Gunagrahi Goswami [04:17:44]

Deeply inspiring heart winning program with Gunagrahi Goswami [02:50:35]

At Srimad Bhagavatam program w/ Gunagrahi Goswami in Plano [01:36:05]

Formerly, people used to eat on golden plate, at least, the royal family, and after..throw away..as here..paper plate, http://bit.ly/9gKYAC [22:25:00]

modern civilization means large-scale arrangement for killing animals and large-scale arrangement for distilling liquor http://bit.ly/ciYtag [22:11:17]

W/o scientific..if somebody says in some religion.."Animal has no soul..kill as many as you like,"so thatis not dharma. http://bit.ly/c28j0p [22:08:22]

Blue People of Kentucky http://bit.ly/cE5o5V blue but not divine [19:21:08]

I was dreaming that I was being hugged by the King of Puri who was about2 tell me some secrets of Jagannath when I was woken up 2do daipers [08:32:15]

just like one is condemned..somebody by cutting his head..Krsna's grace he may be saved[only]accident by knife[on]hand. http://bit.ly/aKzVfr [01:31:13]

So he'll strike the mirror, that "There is another bird." ..."I shall defeat the other sparrow."http://bit.ly/cV1EUt [16:20:15]

"Krsna,kindlyStay aFewDaysMore." So Krsna, not few days more, Krsna will remain perpetually with you if you love Krsna. http://bit.ly/9Kabkw [15:17:44]

http://bit.ly/bRxyOF Not that"My dear God,You have no eyes.You have no leg…"?!…indirect way of insult…If…no eyes,?called?blind…no leg,lame… [04:50:26]

http://bit.ly/bEVFHs He loves everyone…He loves the cowsHe loves the trees… because everything is…Just like you love any part of your body [04:15:45]

Going to give class, live from the Dallas Temple http://bit.ly/dr2XwS Bhagavad Gita 13.15-19http://bit.ly/9WAHiS "Object of Knowledge" [23:57:50]

@sequinstockings iPhone most definitely.I have all the Vedas in my pocketPocket Vedabase app.With Krishna's is all about what is the purpose [15:39:49]

RT @Rosherrrs: The Hare Krishna people on Oxford street were so jokes today, singing really loudly, they wanted everyone to join in! Twa ... [15:37:27]

@AnasLand13 www.Krishna.com all about Hare Krishna [15:29:18]

RT @sambmackay: Ah. I just got waved and smiled at mid dance by a hare krishna-it really made me laugh for half the length of regents st ... [15:28:29]

#dailyquestion if I could be of any other nationality? hmm Brijbasi, a citizen of Vrindavan [15:26:29]

Someone donated an avocado to Kalachandji on the altar however the cook did not pick it up because he thought it was a donated Shaligram lol [15:20:40]

"The devotees of the Lord are always in the heart of the Lord, and the Lord is always in the hearts of the devotees." http://bit.ly/cPcsrB [04:24:02]

living beings who are in the material world are all disintegrated parts and parcels of the supreme whole http://bit.ly/aceOv3 [04:57:34]

The astounding feature of such dealings is that a devotee can please the Lord by playing the part of an enemy. http://bit.ly/d316Dp [05:03:10]

http://twitpic.com/1d0rtm http://twitpic.com/1d0rx7 http://twitpic.com/1d0s8t went to meeting SAT @DFW Hindu temple. Artist painted Gaura [04:41:32]

http://bit.ly/9IB4qP Uncultured man wants to see a woman naked. But that has become a fashion nowadays. Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.24 LA 1973 [19:11:48]

I liked a YouTube video -- Harinam @ Deep Ellum Arts Fair - Dallas 4/3/10http://youtu.be/54eEqo2DDyw?a [19:04:23]

Learned from @rupaschomaker how to make a #iTunes smart playlist so that lectures that I listen to will be removed from the list after playd [16:51:47]

All my my apps on Iphone stopped working except the ones that it came with. Seems like it had something to do with the ipad release & up ... [06:04:58]

Going on Maha Harinam @ the #DeepEllumArtsfair [00:34:41]

Hare Krishna Tattoos for Amanda @ http://bit.ly/9XIBM1 my only tattoo, the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra in Sanskrit http://twitpic.com/1cn5ri [16:13:35]

wrote a new blog Hare Krishna Miniature Goat Farm Opening day: Mother Sarasvati after years of research studied v... http://bit.ly/crDVRY [01:03:13]

ISKCON Vows to Fight LA Airport Ban on Soliciting Donations | ISKCON Newshttp://bit.ly/c22WSE [22:04:02]

http://twitpic.com/1cgers Rāmānanda Das now weighes 6lbs 7oz! [19:56:16]

http://bit.ly/dr2XwS Getting ready for the 7pm class/interview [23:24:50]

http://twitpic.com/1c8wmm temple donations for Gopi's next playhttp://twitpic.com/1c8wsp [21:28:51]

Sanskrit lesson #1 "change in meter generally means a change in the direction of the conversation." - Mukunda Datta Prabhu [03:45:55]

I hate the way they scream when you boil them.... http://twitgoo.com/mhfv4 [23:20:02]

wrote a new blog Ramayana – the drama - performed at Kalachandji's: Mother Gopi Gita and Gopi Krishna got to fe... http://bit.ly/c5EcLn [19:03:00]

wrote a new blog Rāmānanda Das, Born March 19th 2010: read more http://bit.ly/9vfCIj[17:28:02]

http://bit.ly/cfH3bm posted Post-Modern Vedanta S2-E4-Love & Animals on Krishna.com [16:38:25]

http://bit.ly/bFXm5K Check out Rupa's photos of the Ramayana play on Flickr!! There great [16:33:40]

Rāmānanda Dās http://twitpic.com/1byyj3 http://twitpic.com/1byz9phttp://twitpic.com/1byzce http://twitpic.com/1byzf8 [14:46:56]

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Someone recently asked my mother, "What was the happiest day of your life?" Part 2.

I read a letter that she wrote answering that and giving an idea of what she and others went through in WWII.

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Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: Real Food-The Next Big Thing?

From Communities in the Washington Times

Omkara World by Adam Helfer

On the eve of Obama's big health care overhaul plan, less than an hour away in Annapolis, Maryland, there was another momentous event taking place amongst members of a brewing movement that is gathering momentum fast and reaching the horizon of the cutting edge.

Supporters of the sustainable and "real food" movement held a viewing of "Fresh, the Movie" at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis on Sun March 21st.

Joel Salatin addressing the crowd.

Joel Salatin addressing the crowd.

While the movie "Food Inc" has so far seemed to have gained the most widespread popularity in exposing the current industrial food system, it seems that "Fresh, the Movie" could be at the forefront of furthering the alternative to the current paradigm. "Fresh" summarizes the glaring downsides of the current system, but its main focus is on the visionaries and farmers that have practical and superior alternatives to make a shift and change in the organic, sustainable direction.

What makes the film unique, is its current distribution method- Director Ana Sophia Joanes and Co. didn't want anyone to get the DVD, watch the documentary, and then struggle with "ok, I get it- now what!?"- Ana emphasizes purchasing the "Fresh Kit" and holding a community, or at least a family viewing, enables you to support each other once the movie is over and its "change time"

This model came to perfect fruition on Sunday- Farmer Joel Salatin (PolyFace Farm, Fresh, and academy award nominated Food Inc.) and Ana Sophia Joanes spoke to 2 sold out viewings of the documentary. 400-600 people came through the doors that day: Vegans, Omnivores, Yoga practitioners, business owners, young and old- so many were turned away, a 3rd sold out show was easily plausible. 30 vendors were also on hand distributing and showcasing local sustainable food and services- answering questions and offering services to those looking to kick the current system make a "Fresh" start with local, sustainable, organic whole foods.

Salatin has become somewhat of a farmer "celebrity" since the conception of Omnivores Dilemma, Food Inc. and now Fresh. His Polyface Farm may need security soon to keep fans at bay! Well, it's all not quite there yet, but trends are showing GM (Genetically Modified) food is down this coming year, while sustainable farming and organics are on the rise. While the popularity of organics and sustainability leads to its own set of issues within its own realm (saved for another story) it is getting close to poising itself for "cutting edge" and the next step being mainstream.

Salatin addressed the full capacity crowd by stating how this current food paradigm has run its course. Besides the issue with this system and our fledgling health and wellbeing, it has also led us to be so disconnected from our food in general- 25% of people eat in their cars, 60% haven't even planned what is going to be for dinner that night, and 90% of our food dollars are spent on processed and fast food.

Andy of Woodberry Kitchen

Andy of Woodberry Kitchen

The fact is, we've become so disconnected in general! Our current sad state of affairs in regard to our food habits also parallel how fragmented we have become with ourselves and each other. It's no surprise that anxiety, depression, and other mental illness are on the rise also. Processed, homogenized food leads to a processed, stripped down connection with our own selves, other beings, and a general disconnect from the pulse of life in general.

This sustainable food movement is also equal part a spiritual revolution. Ana Joanes states that "Fresh" isn't really about food, it's about the sacredness of re-establishing our connection with ourselves, nature, the planet, and all its inhabitants. Food is just used as a reference point to start the re-connection.

There is a certain sense of sacredness that can come from our connection with our food: Having a relationship with our farmers, seeing and knowing where our food comes from, being present while preparing it, giving thanks or making an offering, and most importantly being present while eating. Generally, we would be lucky to have part of this equation going just some of the time. The ideal is having the full chain of events working in our lives on a regular sustained basis-This is what the new paradigm of food is striving for…

Adam Helfer (Omkara World), Ana Sophia Joanes (Director- Fresh,  the Movie), Baby Maayan, Farmer Joel Salatin (Fresh, Food Inc.)

Adam Helfer (Omkara World), Ana Sophia Joanes (Director- Fresh, the Movie), Baby Maayan, Farmer Joel Salatin (Fresh, Food Inc.)

I was reminded of the sacred aspect of food while attending a Weston A. Price meeting a couple of months ago, at which W.A.P. president Sally Fallon was speaking. She was describing a culture which Dr. Price studied when he travelled the world in the 1930's analyzing native culture's diets and dental and physical health. Most cultures seemed to have a "special" food they revered and honored in connection to their well-being. A specific European culture brought a candle in a bowl once a year of their special "butter oil," which they revered for their robust health, into their church as an offering for their good health and fortune. This spontaneous gesture is eerily similar to the ancient sacred Vedic/Hindu "Puja" ceremony where a ghee (clarified butter) wick lamp is offered to the Deities/Divine. This stunning example of this European culture greatly states the clarity of mind and realization that can occur when a culture is connected into the entire process that goes into the organic, real food they eat.

Although this new paradigm of food sounds appealing to all, we can have our own excuses and reasons for not being able to apply it to our daily lives: "We won't have enough time to do all that is necessary, it will cost too much," etc... Salatin exclaimed that we all make decisions with our time, money, and energy: we follow all our sports, listen to our music, follow our celebrities, and spend money in all these various areas and then some. He gave an example of a woman who spoke at a conference he attended. She had a successful career, but found herself trapped in these thoughts of "no time, no energy, money was tight, and not enough motivation." One day she exclaimed enough was enough and she started the process of the "re-connect." For one year she stopped all frivolous spending on travel, entertainment, and various activities. She then invested that time, energy and money into discovering the magic and vastness of her local sustainable food culture- her life was changed.

We all have our choices to make with this precious life- Let's aim to connect again. If you need some direction, please check out the past article on "Fresh" for more information- also please join their mailing list to get updated on their theatrical release that is coming soon!- Take some time to look into the sustainable food movement in your own area also- Let's all do our part to push this movement to the cutting edge.

Adam is a Reiki Master, certified Health and Lifestyle counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, 20 year practicing bramana initiated Bhakti Yogi, Spiritual advisor, visionary, jock and veteran of the "hardcore punk scene" all rolled into one. Adam is the founder of Omkara World and produced the mind/body fitness DVD "Intelligent Fitness."

Click here for Adam's past article archive.

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David Haslam, UK: opera mini for iPhone

Finally there is an alternative to Safari Mobile on the IPhone; Opera mini a cut down version of this web brouser. My initial impression is quiet good although it has a few strange quirks. If I try to listen to a podcast from HH Sivarama Swami in Safari it just won't work, use Opera you can [...]

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Hope in the Fields

Port Royal, Pennsylvania

I admit to being as sucker for vintage stuff. Whenever spending time at the Gita Nagari farm, I make a deliberate effort to stroll along the Juniata River via the Covered Bridge Rd. and then through the covered bridge itself. The walks on the property itself are idyllic. Peacocks abound. It's peaceful. You are away from traffic. And now comfrey, wild mustard, dandelion and other vegetation have exploded their way through the earth to become full blown products of natural value.

In reality this extremely fertile property had fallen into neglect. Barn maintenance is down and the asset that lies in the soil has been underused. Lo and behold new management is sinking much energy into great organic veggie planting. Some repair is underway in the primary residential building and two new cabins are being constructed for those who wish to experience a retreat in the countryside.

Just a week ago I was in South Africa at Gandhi's original settlement called Satyagraha. His motive was to establish self sustenance on the one hundred acre property. Time wore those dreams away with the socio-political climate being what it was.

Gita Nagari, a similar attempt does have the facility and favourable cultural advantages around. The Amish are everywhere, and apart from the cattle-raising they have that agro-guru blood that has made them successful at working the land. Gita Nagari stands a chance to succeed. It is a sleeping giant just about to wake provided the integrity of initial intent is applied and social discord is kept at bay.

Our loving Guru, Srila Prabhupada, really wanted this community to be naturally dependant providing organic dairy products and edibles from the ground. All the power and blessings to Dhruva, the coordinator of the project and crew.

Oh! And another crew, our little drama troupe, staged "Lonely People". They were phenomenally good.

6 KM

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Kaunteya das, Mayapura: "Killed by the mercy of the king"

I read this passage in Srila Prabhupada's purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam

"Ordinarily a murderer is hanged, and in the Manu-samhita it is said that a
king bestows mercy upon a murderer by killing him, thus saving him from
various kinds of suffering. Because of his sinful activities, such a
murderer is killed by the mercy of the king."

It reminded me of an article I had written on the death penalty, a couple of
years ago: "Death Penalty: A Potential PR Nightmare?" which you can find
here: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=4885

At that time I was surprised how a good number of comments were based on
sentiment, on current humanistic views, or on plain ignorance; and not - how
one would expect from Vaisnavas - on solid sastric reasoning.

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Gouranga TV: Mantra session 20.03.2010 4/7

Mantra session, kirtan 20.03.2010 4/7

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Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: Travel Journal#6.5: Chanting In North Florida Cities

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 6, No. 5
By Krishna-kripa das
(March 2010, part one)
Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Gainesville, and Saint Augustine

(Sent from Lewes, Delaware, USA, on April 13, 2010)


Chanting at Florida State University (Tallahassee)

Chanting at University of North Florida (Jacksonville)

Chanting in Saint Augustine

A Prabhupada Story

Insights from Hridayananda Goswami, Niranjana Swami,
and Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu

Where I Am and What I'm Doing

I promised Kalakantha Prabhu that I would assist in his center in Gainesville for the month of February, and on the last day of that month, I realized I should continue my traveling program. I promised the GBC of Tallahassee I would spend some time there, and the best time would be when my friend Frank would be there, which in March was just its first week. Thus at 5:00 a.m. on March 1, I went with Frank to Tallahassee. There I daily did morning and evening programs and three hours of chanting on the campus, and I chanted at a street festival called First Friday, and read devotional poetry at an open mic night at Amen Ra.

The state universities in North Florida all have their spring breaks at the same time, except for University of North Florida which is the next week, so as I did last year, I decided to chant there during the Gainesville and Tallahassee spring breaks. I met a lot of positive students and a friendly professor on the campus, and I describe that wonderful experience below.

We planned to go to the Tallahassee Rainbow Gathering to distribute prasadam and sing, but on the night before we checked the directions and found that because it is on the other side of Apalachicola Park that it would take four hours to get there! We decided instead to go chanting at Saint Augustine, and some of us sang there for four and a half hours.

Chanting at Florida State University (Tallahassee)

Sarah, who interviewed me at our Gaura Purnima festival in Alachua the day before for her documentary on kirtana, told me she got a couple nice additional interviews and enjoyed the festival.

Codey saw us at the Rainbow Gathering in Tallahassee and was hoping we were coming again.

Manda became vegetarian for thirteen years. As a young girl in the summers she would take care of a calf at a relative's farm in Wisconsin. One day her relatives' feed her meat from the calf, which they had butchered without telling her. When she found out she became vegetarian.

Basil, a Quaker girl, tells me they sing spiritual songs for half an hour before the Tallahassee Quaker meeting, which is not very common. I had her sing some songs as I was brought up as a Quaker and knew some. She is vegetarian and did not know about our Hare Krishna lunch program on campus, so I told her. She was excited about it as vegetarian options on the campus are slim.

Cittesh, a Nepali boy said he would come to the Sunday program when he heard we worship Krishna and study Bhagavad-gita.

Pat, who works in the administration, came by to get another carob coconut sweet, liking the first one from a previous day. I got her email to send her the recipe.

Grace remembered us from the Ocala Rainbow Gathering last month. She is majoring in psychology, and explained to her that Bhagavad-gita has a lot to say about psychology. She ultimately bought aPerfection of Yoga.

Stan who attends our programs in Tallahassee suggested I read my poetry at an Afro-American book store, which has open mike night on Thursday. He even gave me $7 for the cover charge. I rewrote one of the poems to make it appreciated by a more general theistic audience. Some others performing there were experienced poets and musicians, but others had never read in public. Some girls, also from Gainesville, later said they liked my reading. The person who drove me home saw my harmonium and asked me to play next time, so perhaps I will. I did lots of my personal writing while waiting to do my reading, but I also heard some of the poems. Here are some lines with spiritual messages.

"Eternal things didn't reach me much. I was too selfish."

"Success is not measured by how many material possessions you have . . . , but whether your words are being heard."

"God and fear cannot reside in the same place."

"The choices you make determine whether you live in heaven or hell."

Chanting at the First Friday, while Daru Brahma Prabhu distributes dinner, was especially inspiring because of a new instrumentalist. It was the Friday before spring break, and fewer students were around. One older man, who had brought his djembe to play in the drum circle, decided since there was no drum circle, that he would play with us. He played for an hour and a half. He explained that he had known about the Krishnas from when he had attended the Mantra Rock Dance in the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco back in 1967. This was a rock concert arranged by the devotees to raise money for the new Radha Krishna temple there, and Srila Prabhupada appeared at it.

Chanting at University of North Florida (Jacksonville)

I lived in Bhakta Frank's condominium, a short walk and 25 minutes by bus from the campus at University of North Florida in Jacksonville. For four weekdays I chanted about three hours on the campus. In Tallahassee, I found some people were allergic to coconut and would not take my sweets, so in Jacksonville I made peanut butter sweets. When I found people were allergic to those also, I made some more coconut sweets to give them a choice.

The most amazing experience I had was one young man watched me playing for about half an hour, sometimes on a nearby bench, and then to get even closer, sitting on the sidewalk. Then he came up to me and asked if he could bring his class to listen to me play. I said it was quite alright, although I was surprised because he appeared to be the age of a student and not a teacher. He introduced himself as Nick, and said he was professor of music and philosophy. I explained briefly about the harmonium and played an attractive tune of Bada Hari Prabhu's. One student knew how to play the keyboards, and I showed him a simple Hare Krishna tune that he picked up immediately. I sang and danced as the student played. The professor asked me some questions and had his kids ask me some questions. I lamented that I did not have some expert mrdanga and kalatala players to give a more complete and exciting presentation. I had a couple of friends who said they would come on Wednesday and who knew the drum, so I invited the class to come again which they did, although neither of my mrdanga friends were able to come. The second time, I explained about mantras as linking sound and philosophy. By chanting the mantras, which were sung, one could get realization of spiritual philosophy, so in ancient Vedic understanding there was a connection between music and philosophy. I told Professor Nick as much as I knew about ragas, the Vedic science of sound, but he wanted more. Tim told me there is a interview with Aindra Prabhu talking about them, and I found it posted on Danish Krishna web site krishna-online.dk. To download it, click here: Aindra Prabhu Interview. So I passed it on to Professor Nick.

I met some nice students as well. Samson played guitar along with me as I sang. Briana, who had been to programs where devotees sang and distributed spiritual food, filled up my water bottle on three occasions. On the fourth day, despite the pouring rain, Tim, Matt, and Vrindavan came all the way from Gainesville to chant with me. Krishna really reciprocated with us for chanting despite the conditions. Tipped off to the bad weather on the previous day, I got permission to chant in a protected area near the Student Union, in case we needed it, and we ended up playing there, ten feet from the campus bookstore for three and a half hours, without being harassed. I emailed all the people whose addresses I had collected so far that week about our new location on the last day. One girl, receiving an email via cell phone during a class with the subject heading "Krishna Band Plays at Student Union," rushed to the Union after her class, hoping we would still be playing. When she was a kid in Colombia, her mom, who was into yoga and meditation, would take her to a Krishna temple to play on the weekends, and she had promised she would chant with me earlier in the week. She listened to our kirtana for a whole hour. I could see two hippy-like girls, moving in time to our beat even as they approached our blanket. They sat down and sang, clapped, smiled, and moved their bodies in time with the music for half an hour. They only left because it was time for their next class. They suggested we chant at a rural venue in Georgia that Tim and Vrindavan knew about. One guy who had a cynical attitude about life and human nature, took the peanut butter sweets three days in a row, and put his email on my list the final day to my surprise. Of the four schools whose campuses I have chanted at, Orlando (UCF), Gainesville (UF), Tallahassee (FSU), and Jacksonville (JAX), I always meet the nicest people at Jacksonville. Of course, in Gainesville, there are many favorable people, but that is largely because the devotees have been feeding them prasadam for years. In Jacksonville, however, even without feeding them, the students have some attraction to the chanting and curiosity about our ideas. Last year during the University of Florida spring break, we chanted two days in Jacksonville at University of North Florida, but this year we did four.

Chanting in Saint Augustine

Bhakta Tim and I, and about ten friends decided to chant at Saint Augustine the final Sunday of spring break. I was surprised that Vrindavan, usually a mild mannered, shy girl, was so enthusiastic she invited two of her friends to come. We chanted at the Castillo De San Marcos National Monument for two and a half hours. When the police saw me handing out a flyer, they gave me a warning. One can hand out only approved items, and the office granting approval was closed on Sunday. One Columbian man smiled as he watched our chanting for ten minutes. He went to our Krishna Lunch at the University of Florida in Gainesville in the 1980s when getting his undergraduate degree in biology. Later he received a medical degree in his country, and he now practices medicine in Tennessee. He has some devotee friends in Spain. Another couple from Columbia, also enjoyed the chanting for some time. The man was familiar enough with the devotees that he knew the food we have offered is called prasadam.

Some of us wanted to find something to eat, but Marco, Sophia, and I continued chanting, this time in the park at the end of St. George's Street, for another two hours. Some high school aged kids sat down and listened for fifteen minutes. I know a five-part harmonium Hare Krishna tune with chords, and I taught Marco how to play it on his guitar, while I played harmonium, and Sophia played thekaratalas. It was a little dynamic and some people stopped to take pictures of us. We invited everyone we talked with to the Ratha-yatra in St. Augustine which was scheduled for the next weekend. It was inspiring to be chanting in another place with a very spontaneously formed kirtana party. I feel thankful to all the devotees who played a role in it.

A Prabhupada Story

I like to hear about Srila Prabhupada guiding people in their lives in different ways, because it makes us appreciate that he is still presently looking after us. At the Ukraine festival, Candramauli Swami, gave me a lead on this interesting story by Nidra Dasi, a longtime book distributor in Denver.

Nidra Dasi writes, "I met my husband at the airport in Denver while distributing books. He approached me because he had been collecting Srila Prabhupada's books for a number of years. I was trying to distribute a ninth canto Srimad-Bhagavatam to him; he told me that he already had that book. He was dressed like a businessman, so I assumed that he must have already received a Bhagavad-gitaand was thinking that this was the same book (because most people do that, they insist that they already have the book, but it is the Gita that they have, not the Bhagavatam). Much to my amazement, he reached for his wallet, took out a piece of paper, unfolded it and showed me a list of all of the Bhagavatams and CCs that he already had and those that he was missing and pointed to the eighth canto, part two and said that this was one of the missing volumes that he was looking for.? I just happened to have my own personal copy of 8.2 with me (because I was reading that during break time), so I gave him my own copy as a gift, but he insisted that I take a donation for the book. The funny thing was that he thought that the Hare Krishnas were no longer active and this led to a nice conversation about Srila Prabhupada. At this point we talked about which volunes he still needed to complete his set and decided to write and arrange for the volumes to be sent in the mail. Over the course of the next year, I was able to help him complete his set of books as well as send gifts to him and his family. Due to the nature of his business, he was sent to Colorado a few times that year, and we would meet at Govinda's buffet and discuss Krishna conscious philosophy and topics. At this point, neither of us were interested in marriage. Our relationship was simply based on exchanging Krishna consciousness and discussions about Srila Prabhupada.

"During the next year on one of his two visits, he proposed that we should consider getting married, but I totally rejected it. I explained to him my situation as a renunciate and let it go at that. Then he said before he left that I would change my mind, and that he would ask me again next year. I thought that this was crazy that he insisted in such a way as if he knew the future! The third year, he proposed marriage again, and again I refused. But I went through a transformation in my heart because I had a dream or "visit" of Srila Prabhupada telling me to get married! That was a shock because he was asking me to renounce being renounced! It was amazing that my husband at that time was so confident that we were going to get married (when I was a determined renunciate). It was not until after we were married that he told me that Srila Prabhupada had also "visited" him and told him to marry me at which time he also thought that it was crazy, but he felt he should follow the order of Srila Prabhupada. Now twenty years later we are still going on as a team to help spread Krsna consciousness, based on the special transcendental way that Srila Prabhupada communicated to both of us at different times to marry and serve together.

"Sometimes I hesitate to explain this because some take it in a wrong way about how Srila Prabhupada communicated this to us. Some may see it as speculation, just the mind alone dictating, or some cheap bogus sentiments like an hallucination or something. But, as some Vaishnavas say, "on the pretext of a dream" the guru appeared and gave instructions. So we do not feel that we are special and concocted this mystical arrangement. Rather we know that Srila Prabhupada is special and can communicate as he likes since Krishna empowers him to talk with anyone that Krishna wants him to, including the Christian lady at Srila Prahupada's Palace of Gold in New Vrndavana who was told by Srila Prahupada to take his shoes! We are just insignificant aspiring servants of his servants, and we had this unusual experience because of the desire of the Lord and His representative, in order to help us get purified and to serve in a way that Srila Prabhupada felt would be favorable. Many times he had his daughters and sons (disciples) marry to help them to progress in Krishna consciousness. Sometimes he would have a daughter (disciple) marry if she were having difficulty with health or whatever. Srila Prabhupada always has our welfare in mind and takes care of us accordingly. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!"

Insight from Lectures

Hridayananda Dasa Goswami (from a tape):

We cultivate good qualities for Krishna's satisfaction not for the sake of being virtuous. Enjoying being virtuous is a refined way of enjoying separately from Krishna.

Ignoring the principles and following principles externally are both causes of fall down.

If you want to feel good about yourself, try being a good person. Too often people just want to feel about themselves regardless.

Krishna gives us enough enjoyment but not so much it ruins our spiritual life.

We should be frugal. Wasting is sinful. Whatever I waste could have helped someone. Once I heard Srila Prabhupada chastise a disciple for wasting some Indian postage stamps although he was spending millions of dollars to spread Krishna consciousness.

Q: If our motives are mixed, what is the best way to purify them?

A: You should not stop your service. Chanting Hare Krishna and serving Krishna is the purifying process. But still externally people do both of these but some advance more than others, so there must be an invisible third thing. Recognizing you are mixed helps you to move in the right direction. Keep the sincerity to improve and move in the right direction.

The difference between neurosis and psychosis is that a person with psychosis thinks he is fine.

This world is a gym. Srila Prabhupada is our personal trainer. There is a tolerance machine and a vanity machine. Every experience is just another test in the gym.

Srila Prabhupada told me that when he got off the boat in New York City he did not know whether to go left or right, but he had 200 sets of his three volume Srimad-Bhagavatam, and those books were his confidence.

Niranjana Swami [from a tape]:

Srila Prabhupada told a disciple the best way we could help him is to chant Hare Krishna, to embrace the whole process of Krishna consciousness, and to tell other people about Krishna, for that is what Lord Caitanya wanted.

Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu [from his weekly conference call lecture]:

If we say the material world is spiritual so that we can enjoy it, then we have turned it back into material.

There is the spiritual energy, the material energy, and the spiritualized material energy. The spiritualized material energy is as good as the spiritual energy.


darśane 'vaishnava haila, bale 'krishna' 'hari'
premāveśe nāce loka ūrdhva bāhu kari'

"Just by seeing Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, everyone became a devotee. They began to chant "Krishna" and "Hari" and all the holy names. They all were merged in a great ecstasy of love, and they began to dance, raising their arms." (Caitanya-caritāmrita, Madhya 7.116)

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