"Planet ISKCON" - 34 new articles
Class given on Saturday 24-07-2010
The other day I was repairing the roof of the old tulasi house at the Manor and heard my phone go being unable to answer it I left it to go onto answer phone; however when I was able to see who it was there was a pleasant surprise it was HH Mahavishnu Swami so [...]
The Gaudiya Vaisnava, generally, following the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, they aspire to become one of the assistants of the gopis. There are others also who like to be the assistants of the cowherd boys. So our Gosvamis, Rupa Gosvami, sri rupa sanatana bhatta raghunatha, they were all the assistants of the gopis. Gopi-bhava-rasamrtabdhi-lahari-kallola-magnau muhur vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau. These six Gosvamis, rupa sanatana bhatta raghunatha sri jiva gopala bhatta dasa raghunatha, they were all very, very big men, not ordinary men -- ministers, zamindars, learned scholars. They were not ordinary men. And they gave up everything. Tyaktva turnam asesa-mandala-pati-srenim sada tucchavat. Just like Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, he was, they were ministers in the government of Hussain Shah. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was the only son of his father and uncle, very, very big zamindar, landholder. Twelve lakhs of rupees' income. Five hundred years twelve lakhs -- twelve crores now. He was so rich man. Similarly, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami, they were very, very learned. Jiva Gosvami was the nephew of Rupa Gosvami, very learned scholar. So either scholar, rich men, big politician -- all of them gave up their occupational, material occupational duty and joined Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His sankirtana movement. So they were always absorbed in the gopis' activities, always thinking. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was always thinking of Srimati Radharani's activities, and the Gosvamis, they were also thinking of the gopis' activities. Gopis' activities means to assist Srimad-Radharani how to serve Krsna.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.16 -- Mayapur, April 9, 1975
(Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami's Disappearance anniversary is upcoming)
My selection from the 1000 Inspire Me Tweets:
Travel Journal#6.12a: Brahmacari Convention
Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 6, No.12a
(Sent from Opatija, Croatia, on July 27, 2010)
At one point, I realized that the purpose of life was to come to higher stage of awareness.
I would go three times a week to argue with the devotees because I was convinced that hatha-yoga was the way to attain perfection.
Some of my friends joined Srila Prabhupada in 1966 when they heard about it in the Village Voice, but I never took it seriously.
The Buffalo temple was in an abandoned railway shack. In the beginning they did not have Bhagavad-gita but just a copy of the translation of Radhakrishnan's verse 2.13. So three times a week I heard Bhurijana Prabhu explain about how we are not the body. I wondered if this was all there was to the philosophy. Then one day, I heard I was not the body, and I thought, "How profound! I am not this body!"
Once a friend and I were chanting on a bus, and we noticed everyone on the bus became friendly. We saw my friend's family and they were arguing when we arrived, but when we chanted they became friendly. I thought, "This chanting is very powerful." Worrying about what would happen if I stopped chanting, I decided to join the temple.
We just have to listen with perfect attention to attain perfection. That is the essence. Nothing else is required.
To chant with attention, we have to be absorbed in the holy name. Our conviction should carry our intelligence.
I asked Srila Prabhupada if it was alright when I am chanting to remember Krishna book. He replied, "No, you should just chant and hear the holy name. If remembrance of Krishna comes that is nice, but we should not try to artificially remember Krishna while we are chanting."
Our problem is we think we are great, and the holy name is just some sound vibration.
Krishna may be there, but whether our heart is open to receive Him is another thing.
I can say from my experience that if you chant and hear the holy names, considering they are identical with the Lord, everything will gradually develop.
We cannot break into the spiritual world by our meditation: "Krishna may want me or not, but I am coming."
Krishna is there. We are just trying to adjust our consciousness so we perceive Him. Just as radio waves are everywhere, but with a radio we can perceive them.
Kamsa was so much absorbed in thinking of the Lord that once when his wives approached him. He raised his sword, and angrily shouted, "Krishna and Balarama, You are dead!" They said, "We are not Krishna and Balarama, we are your wives!"
Our first business is to cry out to Krishna, but not in a complaining mood. We chant in a happy mood, but it is not possible to be completely happy in the material world. Try to get a sense of Krishna's presence as you chant, and the more Krishna reveals Himself, the more you become happy feeling His presence.
Q: When you chant Hare Krishna, where does the sound come?
A: It comes from Krishna. Krishna is descending.
As long as we desire according to the modes, our consciousness is materially affected, but when we constantly desire according to Krishna, the spiritual master, and the succession of spiritual teachers, we become more conscious of Krishna.
Once I went with Srila Prabhupada to a monastery of monks who meditated on the holy name. Srila Prabhupada gave a lecture on the importance of hearing and chanting the holy name. He did not stress meditation.
At nistha, Krishna's form spontaneously appears while we chant and is not seen as different from the holy name.
Having a little reverence for the holy name is nice. It is not that reverence is only for those Vaikuntha-vasis, the rejects from Goloka Vrndavana.
When the inspiration for sadhana comes from anything other than a natural attraction to service, it is vaidhi-bhakti.
Causes of deviation [numbered entries in the outline below] and what we can do about them [lettered entries below the numbers]:
1. Seeing women as sense objects.
a. being respectful
b. seeing them as matajis [mothers]
c. understanding we are not enjoyers, Krishna is the enjoyer
d. seeing their beauty as part of Krishna
2. Not making time for sadhana.
a. write down a daily schedule
b. have a devotee check in with you weekly.
3. Not having the desire for spiritual life.
a. associating with those who have a desire.
b. praying for the desire
c. reflection and introspection.
4. Not serious about spiritual life.
5. Lacking knowledge.
a. reading books
c. congregational chanting
d. take bhakti-sastri course
e. engaging in the nine items of bhakti
6. No conducive environment.
7. Commit offenses.
a. serving devotees
c. care and attention
d. get feedback from seniors
e. ask for feedback.
f . cultivate friendship with other devotees
8. Previous attachments.
a. chant more and more attentively
9. Thinking that you are doing things perfectly.
10. Bad association.
11. Over eating.
I joined the movement in 1968, and the first thing we called that ladies was gopis. Later we addressed them as mataji as Srila Prabhupada recommended and did himself.
In one sampradaya they consult the horoscopes at the age of five and determine whether or not the brahmacari will take sannyasa in that life. Often they take sannyasa at the age of eight, and thus theirsannyasa rods are very short. Interestingly enough they have had only one or two cases of fall down in 800 years.
Q: (by Prahladananda Swami): You are a brahmacari guru and sometimes young women want initiation, with less than uttama-bhaktiaspirations. What do you do?
A: (by Krishna Ksetra Prabhu:)This is certainly true. There are even those disciples who announce their intention to marry me, which makes it difficult for them to understand it will not happen and for them to accept me as a guru instead of a husband. If I were a marriage arranger, I could do that service for them, but it is not my nature, so I advise them to find agrhastha to help them find a suitable husband.
We have tendencies toward brahmacarya or grhastha life, but beyond that, there is the power of the holy name. If we take shelter of the holy name, whatever asrama one is in, one will be a brahmacari,and if one does not take shelter of the holy name, whatever asramaone is in, one will not be a brahmacari.
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.12.1
ācaran dāsavan nīco
śrī-nāradaḥ uvāca — Śrī Nārada Muni said; brahmacārī — a brahmacārī, a student living at the residence of the guru; guru-kule — at the residence of the guru; vasan — by living; dāntaḥ — continuously practicing control of the senses; guroḥ hitam — only for the benefit of the guru (not for one's personal benefit); ācaran — practicing; dāsa-vat — very humbly, like a slave; nīcaḥ — submissive, obedient; gurau — unto the spiritual master; su-dṛḍha — firmly; sauhṛdaḥ — in friendship or good will.
Nārada Muni said: A student should practice completely controlling his senses. He should be submissive and should have an attitude of firm friendship for the spiritual master. With a great vow, the brahmacārī should live at the guru-kula, only for the benefit of the guru.(Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.12.1)
the above excerpts from Krishna-kripa das journal can be read in its entirety on Krishnamonk.blogspot.com
with excerpts from
Bhakti Rasamrita Swami (on devotee relationships)
Bhakti Vijnana Swami (on the subtle body)
Krishna Ksetra Prabhu (on peace of mind)
Bhakti Caru Swami (on just offering this life to Krishna)
Prahladananda Swami (realizations)
Candramauli Swami (on association with women)
Jayadvaita Swami (questions and answers)
(With Prahladananda Swami, Yadunandana Swami, Bhakti Rasamrita Swami, Krishna Ksetra Prabhu, and Kripa Moya Prabhu)
Also posted on Brahmacarya.info
Everyone of you should be thoroughly convinced of the power of the Hare Krsna mantra to protect you in all circumstances and chant accordingly at all times without offense. Then advancement will be swift and you will gradually come to see everything clearly so that you may act for the pleasure of the Lord without uncertainty. When one is spontaneously engaged in this way, always in the service of the Lord and anxious to avoid all mundane activities, he is actually experiencing the taste of bliss in Krsna consciousness.
From a letter to Damodara - January 10, 1971
Mukunda Datta das singing the bhajan "Gurudev, Kripa Bindu Diya".
Download: 2010-01-04 - 4 - Saha Home Program - Mukunda Datta das - Gurudev Kripa Bindu Diya.mp3
I am in Chicago staying at my Aunt Ruth’s on the way to the 2010 National Kidney Foundation Transplant Games in Madison Wisconsin that start this weekend.
I was really busy tying up loose ends before I left and doing conditioning work ergo no posting.
One of my events will be a 20k (12 mile) bike race. I have done several 10 mile practice runs so I feel confident I will be able to do the 12 miles though a collapse may follow it. The first time I managed 10 miles the next day I spent the whole day languishing on a couch unable to perform even clerical tasks, but earlier this week I did 10 miles on back to back days and still was able to do some packing on the second day so I have improved quite a bit.
I am counting on race day adrenalin to push me the extra 2 miles and am allowing for a large chunk of time for recovery.
This is a long ways from when I bicycled 2000 miles (3300 k) from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Daytona Beach, Florida. Then I would cover 15 miles in an hour, take a short break , then do it again many times a day, then get up and do it all over again the next day, day after day.
Just see the effects of old age and disease. :-)
I also signed up for a 5k which is Saturday, the 20k bike race is Sunday, then Monday an 800 meter run (1/2 mile) and softball throw.
Yesterday Tulasi and I went to a nearby park, him on a borrowed bike, with two of my aunt’s gandsons, ages 11 and 12. We did an estimated 9 miles but broken up into two chunks with a rest in between.
During the rest, I got a tutorial on how to throw a softball. Even though I played baseball as a youth and could make a reasonable attempt at throwing, I got some good pointers from these currently active ball players and added 15 meters to my throw by the end of the session.
Today we are going to watch the boys play a water polo game then hit the road to Madison so I can get registered. My aunt is also going to come to Madison and do the 5K. My sister Laura is coming down from North Dakota and doing the 5K as well and they are both staying on for a couple of days so we will get a chance for a nice visit.
Tulasi brought his laptop so hopefully I will get some internet access in Madison and be able to do some posting from there.
Filed under: Liver Transplant, Sports
I slept all right and woke at 1:30 A.M. My chanting has not been fully alert or deeply meditative. But I have accumulated the rounds at a decent pace and completed 14 before Yadunandana Maharaja came up at 3:30 A.M. If I visioned my mantras as drawings, they were more like stick figures rather than fully-drawn portraits of people, devotees. They did not have full life in them. But they were all present and walking. They were all existing without my missing any of them. When I described to Yadunandana Maharaja how my morning went this morning he said, "Average," and I guess you could say it was like that. But I wish to be more than average and to be superlative. I wish to have full-bodied mantras full of devotion and consciousness of what I am doing. I don't want them to be uttered without concentration and devotion. At least my numerical strength was good, and I did not experience pain. I pray for better than average days in the remaining days left to me. Chanting should be done with all care and attention.
An average day's session,
Prabhupada in a peaceful, meditative moment, reading his own book in what appears to be his Los Angeles headquarters. He felt at home in his second-floor suite of several rooms and liked to spend weeks at a time there. In the early '70s many devotees lived there, and many devotees visited him from all over America. He even invited the temple presidents of the U.S. centers to visit him in L.A. and see how things were conducted because he felt it was a standard to be followed by the other centers. It was his western-world headquarters.
Who knows the pleasure and absorption Prabhupada is deriving from reading his own published volume of Srimad Bhagavatam? This was his main life's contribution, and he liked to see how it came out. As I have mentioned, Prabhupada remarked that he did not write the books but they were written by Krishna. He read them not exactly like an author, with self satisfaction, but as a worshiper of Krishna, appreciating His presence in the book.
Prabhupada had great confidence in his books' power to convince an objective reader to accept Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and to take up the life of devotional service. Only by devotional service could the misguided civilizations of the world find the right path to peace and prosperity. That is why Prabhupada emphasized in his lectures in Los Angeles, "Distribute books, distribute books, distribute books." He was very much in touch with the book distribution movement and encouraged his disciples to go out in public places and approach people to give them books and take a donation for further printing. He insisted that his disciples not only distribute the books but study them, and here he is setting the example. "Yes, whenever you find time, read my books. Unless you read, how will you preach?"
By Giriraj Swami
Speaking in Los Angeles about the qualities of a devotee, Srila Prabhupada said, "Sympathetic. We should be very much sympathetic. If any of our fellow men fall sick, we must take care of him, give him help. Because, after all, we have got this body, sometimes we may fall sick. So we should be sympathetic. And friendly...
Chauhan, Asha: I am writing about our soon to release a CD Krishna Of Vrindavana for the pleasure of Their Lordships Sri Sri Sacinandana & Nitaicand in our temple
Mukunda Datta das singing the bhajan Jaya Radha Madhava. (audio only)
Download: 2010-01-04 - 3 - Saha Home Program - Mukunda Datta das - Jaya Radha Madhava.mp3
Ekendra Dasa: This past weekend here at ISKCON New Govardhana in Australia we had a 12-hour kirtana in honour of His Grace Aindra Prabhu. There were many wonderful kirtans, but here is one that I felt would be especially nice to share with the devotional community
Mukunda Datta das singing the bhajan Govinda Jaya Jaya. (audio only)
Download: 2010-01-04 - 2 - Saha Home Program - Mukunda Datta das - Govinda Jaya Jaya.mp3
Kuli Mela Association: This year, the reunion will be held at a new park called Blair Hills Park, with a back trail entrance into a hilltop area with a spectacular view known as the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
Mukunda Datta das singing a Hare Krishna bhajan. (audio only)
Download: 2010-01-04 - 1 - Saha Home Program - Mukunda Datta das - Hare Krishna.mp3
Interviews conducted by Gopal Das: The reason for this report is to have clarity and proper representation of what happened. Panca Gauda Das, Adi Kesava Das and Martanda Das wrote there own account of events as they happened
Caitanya Mahaprabhu finishes
And we are also reading Narottama
Our reading diet is rich.
In the afternoon I walked
There is a wedding over
After writing this poem,
Krishna is compared by Sanatana
They were hampered by the pain and by a little inattention, but I kept mainly in the groove and did my sacred duty. Chanting early in the morning is a blessed state, and I don't like to sacrifice it for anything.
From Bhajan Kutir #24
One evening in Mayapur in 2009 I remember Aindra made a statement that made an impression on me. He said that this sankirtan movement was a grassroots movement. He said that it is through the grassroots methods that the absolutely auspicious activity of sankirtan will spread. Below I have shown from the Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita what the desire of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is in regards to the spreading of sankirtan. Also I have copied wikipedia's description of a "grassroots" movement. This description could certainly be translated to fit the sankirtan grassroots movement. Perhaps we could even change the name to the mangoe tree movement!
Sri Chaitanya Prabhu said:
"It would certainly be a very laborious task to pick the fruits and distribute them alone, and still I suspect that some would receive them and others would not.Therefore I order every man within this universe to accept this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and distribute it everywhere...Distribute this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all over the world. Let people eat these fruits and ultimately become free from old age and death. If the fruits are distributed all over the world... all people will glorify My name (Hare Krishna...a name of God) with great pleasure...It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words. By his work, thoughts and words, an intelligent man must perform actions which will be beneficial for all living entities in this life and the next. I am merely a gardener. I have neither a kingdom nor very great riches. I simply have some fruits and flowers that I wish to utilize to achieve piety in My life. Although I am acting as a gardener, I also want to be the tree, for thus I can bestow benefit upon all. Just see how these trees are maintaining every living entity! Their birth is successful. Their behavior is just like that of great personalities, for anyone who asks anything from a tree never goes away disappointed.'"
(a note...this is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is the Supreme Lord taking the role of a devotee of the Lord...this role as a devotee is one reason why he expresses his inability to spread everywhere His name. Another reason He states this is so that we can gain an opportunity to take part. That is called mercy)
The descendants of the tree [the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu] were very glad to receive this order directly from the Lord. The fruit of love of God is so delicious that wherever a devotee distributes it, those who relish the fruit, anywhere in the world, immediately become intoxicated.
So Aindra's encourages us to push forward this mission in the mood in the format of a grassroots mission:
A grassroots movement is one driven by the politics of a community. The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it are natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures. Grassroots movements are often at the local level, as many volunteers in the community give their time to support the local party, which can lead to helping the national party. For instance, a grassroots movement can lead to significant voter registration for a political party, which in turn helps the state and national parties.
Grassroots movements organize and lobby through procedures including:
Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: [P12] Raining in Rewal and Radheya's Rewards
Thursday 22nd, July 2010. This morning was a strange one for the seva departments. I was waiting for a quarter of an hour before anyone even arrived in the kitchen. I thought it had been called off and I was the only one hadn't been informed. Despite the late start, we still made three hundred samosas. Cidananda Gaura was sick so he wasn't going to be able to put in his all for his setup seva. At the same time, Gopal (from Berlin) was despatched to site crew, to get his hands dirty, which lessened the blow a little of Cid being out of action.
The harinam bus left early, which hindered my options of attending the street parade. For those of us who stayed back, the internet was down, so we were also in a funny position. Naturally I hopped on the bus in the afternoon to the festival, having all other options depleted by the will of the Lord. When we arrived, I woke up Govinda (from Mayapur). He had fallen asleep in a solitary patch of woods, just next to site, and now he was surrounded by about two hundred devotees.
There was a new tent on site. We now had a puppet tent, doing a small Krsna lila on the side of our main stage. Subuddhi Raya and his team had whipped up another puppet sequence, on the side, and it was soon becoming a masterpiece for the young spectators. Between this new puppet show, the main stage and the Magic tent, the kids had no lack of engagement.
A couple hours into the festival, we found out that it had been Radheya's birthday, the day before in Niechorze (by his solar calendar). He had found Jagannatha the day ahead of his birthday, carried him to site on the actual birthday and now had a belated celebration, thanks to all the devotees who found out about the momentous occasion. Radheya's whole day was to be filled with gifts of sweets, prayers and good wishes.
We caught some darsana of Dina Dayal Prabhu. This Ninja-Brahmana had to go through all types of austerities to keep his body in shape to do his performances, as well as keeping it looking good for the stage lights. In Australia he had to implement ridiculous amounts of tan cream, turning everything he touched into an orange mess (special Brahmacari potency). Now he had a new tactic; using his Hollywood makeup, which he used daily on his face for the show, he toned up his body and added some dimensions to his already sculpted abs. For the people in the audience, it would add a nice subtle effect, but for us backstage, it was a great bit of comedy. The means by which Dina Dayal would go to please his Guru was phenomenal.
I went for a walk down to the beach with Radheya and Vanamali. We spoke confidentially on the shore, enjoying friendly talks. Vana took a quick dip, chanting his Gayatri in the Ocean waves. When we returned, the extra buff, Dina Dayal had a present for me - earplugs! He purchased me some super sensitive earplugs to help me reach Samadhi on tour, whilst practicing my japa yoga and nidra yoga…Dina Dayal was truly a holy soul, his abs almost giving visual justice to the size of his heart.
Radheya had forgotten to bring his dhoti to the festival. This was ok, because he was not in harinam today (having to set up), but later he realized that he was playing kartalas for Maharaja onstage. We had an hour or so to find him a dhoti before he was onstage but he was pretty adamant; "Maddy" he said, "I want to wear your dhoti onstage." I had loaned Radheya my saffron chada in Mielno, for harinam and HH Indradyumna Swami had taken a photo of him, captioning it on facebook as "Brahmacari", and now Radheya wanted to go for a garment down, a dhoti. I wasn't about to prematurely put a boy in saffron (as if I had the authority) so I told him to ask the Swami.
We looked around the site for HH Indradyumna Swami. We found him in front of the Sound Tent. I sent in Radheya, who was obviously a little nervous. Radheya had some business to do with Visas that he had to ask Indradyumna Swami about anyway so it worked as a good cover story. Radheya popped the question, if he could use the saffron onstage or not. Maharaja agreed, saying "you're heading in that direction, aren't you? You don't want to head in the OTHER direction, do you?" Radheya was a little young to be starting a Krsna conscious family so what I suppose the purport was (if I may speculate) that Radheya wasn't going to freely associate with girls and do all that teenage hodgepodge. Maharaja gave Radheya's a hearty nudge, just to reassure him, and his full blessings.
I watched as Radheya stepped onstage, taking a few snaps of him, on my camera, for the memory. While Radheya was onstage, busting out in my dhoti, I was stuck offstage, in a lungi (ie my chada). Although it was a great sentiment, pretending to be a sannyasi, I knew I didn't have the purity to pose off such a thing. I humbly stepped into the shadows, waiting for Radheya's bright face to walk back offstage.
In the end, we didn't even have enough time to change. We were too busy looking for which bus we would fit on. The two of us, saffronites, hopped in a bus, at the last moment and were off, back to base. Back at base, Radheya had accrued a whole lot of junk food, as gifts for his birthday, and now we were left with the responsibility of honouring it all. Radheya repeated what he had already said, many times before in the day; "this is the best birthday ever."
While I washed up the dishes to our little feast, I bumped into Adikarta Prabhu. We all knew Adikarta Prabhu was leaving any day now and he revealed to me that he was going that very night. I was sad and didn't know what to say but then he told me that he would be back for Woodstock, which brought joy back to my heart. We hadn't lost the veteran's association just yet and he was returning to head the troops up in the major battle. It was a happy notion to end another ecstatic night.
Friday 23rd, July 2010. I found out today that they were occasionally freezing my samosa dough. We made enough for three hundred samosas this morning, ten percent of which I had made the day before and was preserved until now. After merging dough for a few hours, I merged down to the reception with the splurge spree of devotees, as we found out the internet had been fixed. The harinam was put off until twelve, due to rain, so I had enough time to publish a diary and dabble at a few other things, before the festival.
It was still uncertain if there was a harinam, due to rain, but soon enough the school bell rung. I hopped on the bus, with a few other elites. Most of our crew was stuck behind, practicing the Gita drama. We arrived to a soggy situation. There were no immediate attempts to take the harinam party out. I found a dry place, on the stage, and waited it out. After an hour or so, I heard something begin. We rumbled up a kirtana in front of the stage, before finally heading out to dish out the mercy. The fishy town of Rewal really looked like they needed it that day. There were all sorts of reactions from the crowds. I realized that many of these people were experiencing this mercy for the first time, yet many others were associating with it through the course of many lifetimes. I saw one child who exclaimed so enthusiastically at the harinam that I could have sworn he had seen it before, in a previous life, while other children were blocking their ears, as if the mercy had to be forced down their throats like a child taking medicine by the forceful hand of a loving parent. We were distributing the holy name like an indiscriminate rain cloud.
We had a big group at lunch, for a big katha session. We talked on all sorts of scriptural points, some relating to the Caitanya Caritamrta's many descriptions of Prasadam. Radheya told us about the time he spent with Maharaja that morning, his birthday blessings still rolling on. He had talked with Indradyumna Swami about Aindra Prabhu and all the nectar they had both experienced with this great soul. We relished the conversation as much as the Prasadam, both being totally transcendental.
The show started late, due to generator problems. Rasikendra Prabhu had to break into the machine, because someone had lost the key, and he fixed it from the inside, with his mechanical know-how. The festival went along smoothly like any other and it finally came again to the end kirtana. I was pushed into a circle of dancers and obliged to dance. I am never really enthusiastic about this type of thing, putting too much public attention on myself, allowing Krsna to humiliate me as he always does. Tonight was no exception; I had recently been rolling my dhoti, as apposed to tying (technical dhoti stuff here) and I hadn't had a chance to tighten the whole operation up. Needless to say, as I lost my chada in a spin, on one side, I lost my front pleat on the other side. Only a few trained eyes caught what was going on, as I carefully clasped the whole disarrangement of cloths together. I carefully snuck out the back, ending my kirtana experience. I told Dina Dayal what had happened and he happily reminded me of HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami taking Sannyasa, who lost his lungi in the celebratory kirtana. This pastime, was always on my mind when such dhoti misfortunes happened.
Saturday 24th, July 2010. In the morning, Radheya related a dream he had about Maharaja. HH Indradyumna Swami, in the dream, had given Radheya some coins. Radheya took the coins rather gratefully. Then Indradyumna Swami tried to give Sri Nama Vanamali Krsna Dasa some coins, who gleefully ran off, refusing the gift. Radheya realized, within the dream, that he was not here to exploit the material results of Maharaja's grace but was here to serve Maharaja and Lord Caitanya. Indradyumna Swami held his hand out again, with a couple more coins for Radheya. Radheya instantly put the first two coins back in Maharaja's hands, pretending Maharaja was asking for donations, and ran off just as Vanamali had done.
There was some serious rain and all the devotees were cooped up inside. To make matters worse, the internet was on the brink so the devotees had nothing to do but sweet surrender to the Supreme. I was sitting in the reception, working on diaries. Vanamali came in, telling me that he had just read my latest diary series. I felt bad, because Vana had been on such a mission of his own, being a super sankirtana solo ranger, that he might not have had the privilege of reading his name frequently throughout my messages. I joked that he hadn't done anything substantial enough to be worth mentioning. He went along with this joke by trying to do absurd things worth being added to the diary. He started to hit his head on the door. When this didn't work, he began to hit his head on the table. I put him on paper, only to stop myself from laughing and to stop him from any further brain damage.
It was midday and the harinam had already been called off. Now there were rumours going around that the final festival might be called off. The rain would not let out and it seemed that Rewal was not exempt of this bad weather. We were trying to shake the rumours, hoping to deal out some mercy on our final festival, before Woodstock. Almost instantly, another rumour came out that, either way, we were going to take lunch in the shelter of the school (as apposed to the festival site). I looked outside, seeing Nila unloading the Prasadam truck, and knew there was weight to the rumour. At least this much was true, we were eating in.
I was contemplating whether or not to go to the soggy festival. I was wondering if it was only sentiment that I wanted to go, being the LAST festival before Woodstock, or if it was spiritual sentiment that I should consider attending. While pondering the different options, I received the official confirmation that the festival was indeed cancelled! My mind was made up by the will of Krsna and I had no other option but to stay.
I helped move the Prasadam to the Gymnasium. Indeed, I hit the school bell, because no one seemed to know what was going on in all the chaos. Due to the festival being cancelled, all the samosas we had made were now going to be served to the devotees in an unscheduled feast! When we all clambered into the Gym, Vraja Sakha led the prayers, which trailed off into a wild kirtana, with much percussion from the plates and stomps of devotees.
Recently, we had the philosophical discussion about which seva would bring more blessings - making Prasadam that was distributed to the non-devotees, for their liberation, or making Prasadam for the devotees who were preaching, earning their eternal blessings. Either way, I was making for the non-devotees (or covered devotees) and I had the desire to make something for the actual devotees as well. Krsna had nicely arranged that my desires were fulfilled and I gleefully saw the devotees gobble down the samosas that we had so many times worked away at. The devotees disappointment in not putting on a festival was compensated a little by this joyous feast.
Although I was told that the sweets would also be served, it seemed they had new plans. Luckily I had stolen some myself, beforehand, only to educate Radheya in the art. There were now a couple Radhe Shyams, stashed in my room, which was full of devotees! I carefully rescued the sweets and Radheya and I parted for a secret hiding place (which was en ever more difficult thing to find due to the incessant rain). We finished the little operation just in time for Radheya's bus off to site, so the boys could break down the festival. It was lucky for them, because the last breakdown is always the biggest and they had the light of day (although it was partial due to clouds) to shine them on in their endeavours.
The boys returned in the evening, after some solid hours of service. I sat and talked with them for a moment. Dominik came by, in a rush. "Govinda" said Dominik, "we are leaving in forty five minutes to the Woodstock base." HH Indradyumna Swami was prancing around the school, interacting with devotees and seeing what the mood was. He passed, just as Dominik was shouting the order. "Now that's Brahmacari" added Maharaja. Dominik returned, giving the same order to Radheya. "Pack your bags boys" added Maharaja, getting a real kick about the whole thing.
The boys quickly packed and we waited in the reception. The bus lists for Woodstock were up and we soon inspected which buses we were going to be in. HH Indradyumna Swami had a look at the lists also. "Where's Maddy?" he asked, in a joking mood. I found my name and pointed it out to him, wondering if he had forgotten it (Madhavendra Puri Dasa). "You're on bus three. Write it down…" he ordered. "Put it in your blog" he added. I became a little embarrassed - this was the first time he had suggested he had ever heard of my writings. "He puts everything else in there…when he brushes his teeth…what's left on his plate after Prasadam…" continued Maharaja, rubbing in the tease. I was feeling my face flush, as he took me apart in front of everyone. He changed his tone from the sarcastic jokes and became more serious and concerned. "Where'd you learn to write?" he asked. I gave an uncertain answer; I had a little bit of essay training from my stint in University and a handy Effective Writing manual from yet another university but otherwise it was simply from writing a whole lot. I informed him that I used to write in Gurukula, as young as I could remember, and that I was writing mundane fantasy novels at some time. "You're a good writer." he added, "keep it up." I felt sufficiently blessed by Maharaja's teases, his compliments and his final encouragement. My service was now deemed fit by the great devotee and worthy to be continued for years to come.
In the same spirit, Radheya decided to ask blessings for his newly found Jagannatha. (Maharaja had, after all, told him to leave Jagannatha before it had all begun.) I warned Radheya not to ask, because HH Indradyumna Swami would probably just think it was silly (which was exactly what happened). Maharaja suggested "why not go to Jagannatha Puri and simply buy a set? Your log is too small anyway" said Maharaja with a grin. When Radheya tried to explain it away, Maharaja chuckled and said "you're a real sentimentalist aren't you." It wasn't as romantic as Radheya had pictured it but it was still mercy nonetheless. I congratulated him for entertaining Gurudeva and putting such a smile on his face.
Maharaja disappeared back up to his room. The boys were about to head off to Woodstock base but couldn't find their ride. They decided that they would spend their last bit of time in town stealing Radhe Shyams. They were not well planned nor well equipped. Their method included: running, giggling and sheer silliness. It seemed in the end, that they simply resorted to begging and made their mends, although it was all very mysterious. The boys were off to the Woodstock base and I was off to bed. Our work on the coast was done, for now, and our adventure inland was soon to begin. Tomorrow we were off for the next leg of this journey, Woodstock 2010.
Bn Agi about free will, B Shailesh about who can worship Tulasi Devi and Ananda Caitanya about understandinmg the ye yatha mam prapadyante sloka.
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