lunes, 12 de julio de 2010

Raivata das, Christchurch, NZ: Devamrita Swami 2002



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"Planet ISKCON" - 39 new articles

  1. Japa Group: Please Join The Japa Group
  2. Bhakti Vikasa Swami: a mystical, esoteric answer
  3. David Haslam, UK: World Cup Football, a lesson in determination
  4. ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Sunday Feast Live!!!
  5. Caitanya Mangala, CA, USA: Miniskirts… Skirting the Issue
  6. Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: Humble Beginnings in Dzwirzyno
  7. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  8. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
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Japa Group: Please Join The Japa Group

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Rasa Rasika dasa

Email to a friendRelated Bhakti Vikasa Swami: a mystical, esoteric answer

Dipak had a couple of other, more personal, questions. "Srila Prabhupada," he asked nervously, "could you give me the secret to spiritual advancement?" Dipak was hoping for a mystical, esoteric answer. "Yes," replied Prabhupada gravely. "chant the holy name, 16 rounds every day. Never stop chanting, and you are guaranteed spiritual advancement." Dipak had one more question. "Srila Prabhupada, what can I do for you?" Prabhupada's answer was completely satisfying. "Your service attitude," he said, "is enough."

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Saturday, 8 April 1972

>From The Great Transcendental Adventure by Kurma Prabhu

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David Haslam, UK: World Cup Football, a lesson in determination

This morning I was listening to the news there was a notation to the lengths people were going to in order to be in South Africa to see the world cup final. Many had spent there life savings, or run up a huge credit bill, taking many flights and road-trips just to be a part of [...]

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ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Sunday Feast Live!!!

Free TV : Ustream

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Caitanya Mangala, CA, USA: Miniskirts… Skirting the Issue

Miniskirts… Skirting the Issue

Written by Kapila Monet and originally posted at the Sampradaya Sun website on July 9th, 2010.

This is an excellent article about Kuli Mela. In it Kapila, one of the lead organizers of the Kuli Mela Association, eloquently and succinctly elaborates on some of the moods, mindsets and intentions behind the events. He also offers more details about the Gala Evening at the Ford Theater from KulimeLA 2009. Recently we released the video on the internet and it seems an elaboration is needed to explain some of the deeper contexts of the Melas, and the 2009 Gala Evening in particular. There’s a lot of history contained in that video and it might be a challenge for some to understand and appreciate it without more information.

Sometimes a little controversy can be a good thing. It increases the focus on a particular issue, even if we don’t want it to. Seen in the right light, it can be opportunity for us to create a space for meaningful dialog, where people feel welcome and comfortable so they’ll be more inclined to share and be more open to receiving what others have to offer in return. It allows us to continue to build a community based on love and trust, with all the dynamic and diverse layers that entails. Of course, at the center is finding ways for us to connect on deeper levels, which ultimately lead us back to the Source…

Miniskirts… Skirting the Issue

By Kapila Monet

I appreciate the articles written by Madhavananda Prabhu [Don't Allow this Miniskirt or Minishirt] and Radhika Mataji [Miniskirts... and Proper Saris!] in regards to the recommended attire of a brahminical devotee. It is always good to be reminded of the most correct form, and to recognize standards which apply to temple environments.

I would like, however, to clarify the position that I take when approaching both the kulimela’s and the youth, as it will better inform these devotees and others why some things are the way they are.

It is pertinent to note first and foremost that although Kulis (youth born into the Hare Krsna movement), are members of the community, and often great devotees too, the majority are not initiated devotees.

So we see that there are initiated devotee youth, youth who are active members of the community, and others who are not active but still attend to their friends, and still others who are inimical.

The kulimela is actually a space where all such are invited to attend, and to come together and rejoice in friendship, family, community, and spirituality.

So for the kulimela event we set aside our particular conditions and standards and set a more comfortable space.

This space, of course, still has some rules we ask all attendees to respect, on temple property, such as no alcohol or drugs.

Although a number of kuli’s do partake of such substances in the outside world, the vast majority, even amongst these, are happy to set aside these activities during the mela, and we have had no issues with drugs or alcohol at our events (ironically we did have one old Prabhupada disciple who was smoking weed in the woods and he was politely asked to stop.) If there are other issues, they have been minor and incomparable to the wonderful benefits that the kulimela’s bring.

I would note that Radhika Mataji has also mentioned the sunday feast, which again was set up to be the Sunday love feast, a place where the public are invited to join and come for the feast etc.

The fundamental issue here is that the majority of kuli’s have not made any vows or taken initiation, and are attending as members of the wider community. They therefore have no obligation to attend the lectures, to dress according to brahminical standards, or to do anything other than enjoy the feast and socialise, although almost all will be found in the kirtan, singing, dancing, and playing instruments, surely something wonderful and to be encouraged.

Their attitude can create a disturbance to some who evaluate them as initiated by default, which is not a fact or the process at all.

Of course, there are still certain expectations even of the wider public in the temple environment (such as not wearing shoes inside), and dressing to some degree of modesty, but it is hardly the same as the standards we would expect of initiated disciples, or temple pujaris.

So the question can be asked, what is the value of the Sunday feast being open to all, and of the Kulimela’s being a more open environment?

The benefit is that we can reawaken the taste of bhakti in such circumstances.

So we don’t say that only people who follow the four regulative principles can attend a Sunday feast. Why not? Because then how can we preach. Yet we would say they cannot eat meat on the property, which is appropriate. As an example of how people and place can change our approach, when we go out on Rathayatra, the space is even more open, because people can come and view the tents in their bikini’s and even be eating meat while talking to a devotee.

My point is that standards should be known, understood, and explained, but that they are personal and place dependent.

Let me give those who have not attended and experienced the magic of the Kulimela’s a few important things which happen at the melas.

Firstly, nearly everyone participates in service. At the Radhadesh mela we had more than 75% of all delegates participate in service, from cooking, to cleaning, to presenting, etc. How do I know? We gave a gift t-shirt to everyone we could identify who had done some service and that was the figure, it was probably higher.

This is service done with genuine happiness and love, and the smiles on the face of the servers was very real. When service becomes a burden and expectation, this smile disappears, and can lead to burnout. The mela’s are an attempt to overcome some of the damage done by burnout from the past (not an issue with the new generation of youth, but the older generation 25+ certainly experienced such burnout), so we ask and make no demands.

If you want to come, play sports, talk to friends, that’s fine. And it works. I have had many experiences where youth who came just to play sports, and attended no seminars or lectures, were so inspired by the event that they organized lectures and seminars a year later! And these seminars were on preaching….

If we had put pressure on this young man not to play sports, if we had told them to wear a dhoti and proper kurta (most of these young men had no shirts on at given times), and if we had insisted on the morning program and lecture, they would not have attended, not been inspired, and we would not have their energy for the future.

Secondly, the most popular activity at a mela is not the entertainment, it’s not the seminars, it’s not even the prasadam, it’s the Bhajan Kutir. The nama yajna for the mela’s.

We place this at the centre of the event, and it runs all day. It’s so appreciated that the attendees won’t leave even for prasadam and the evenings entertainment.

Thirdly, we schedule spiritually infused entertainment so that youth who will go out and enjoy night clubs and all that the material world has to offer, will always remember that the best time they ever had was dancing with their friends, without any drugs or alcohol, and with reminders of Krishna.

But that is not where it ends, we escalate the evenings dance, so that first there is a more neutral space, with dance music etc, but then we transition the next day to a rocking kirtan, where the mood, of course, only goes higher and becomes the most powerful and appreciated.

The power of a rocking kirtan is such that the taste can remain even after 20 years of material life. And so with our neutral space we entice kuli’s back to experience it.

But again, this is all by the process of invitation, by welcoming, by putting aside judgment, and by embracing our wider community.

I would add one final note for those who may not understand the Gala Evening at the Ford Theatre. There were very specific reasons why we hosted such an event off the temple property. (We hosted a Rukmini and Krishna play on temple property). This was because the evening was one that was reaching out to the most abused and mistreated of our second generation, young men and women who would not feel comfortable or safe in any temple environment.

And inside of that space we had to widen the boundaries of our neutral space, where inside the temple we would narrow those same boundaries.

It is a reminder that we are not devotees “because” of our dress, but that we may dress in certain ways because we are a devotee. So to me it is an inspiration when George Harrison sings Hare Krsna, or when a model says she chants Hare Krsna to the Daily Mail newspaper in the UK, these are events which say, you never know where you will find a devotee, and in what guise or factor of life.

I won’t go into a full analysis of all of these circumstances, except to say that I greatly appreciate seeing a devotee in full garb, because it creates contrast as well as comparison.

So when I organize events in the UK for professionals, we have many devotees in suits, interacting with bankers, lawyers, and the like, and they don’t know if they are speaking to a devotee or a non devotee, they can appreciate Hare Krsna’s are also professional. But I also invite the brahmachari’s and temple president to attend in their professional garb, a dhoti, and this contrast and comparison in a neutral space is very effective.

I can state with absolute certainty that if we only had devotees in dhoti’s at the professional events I host, or if we established a traditional temple garb on all mela attendees, we would have very few people there. And those few people are well served by many other events.

So my argument is not against standards, and I respect and appreciate being reminded of them, I just wanted to perhaps explain a few things to those who might misunderstand what the value and purpose of the mela’s are.

One final point about what is probably the most disturbing “garb” issue from the evening at the Ford Theatre, that is the dance in which the dancer rips off certain elements of her clothing.

This dance is supposed to be awkward and uncomfortable at that moment. It is a statement against hypocrisy as experienced in our youth, where we were judged by the “appropriateness” of our clothes, rather than the spirituality in our hearts, and where we were instructed not to dress like whores, while a number of youth were sexually abused, assaulted, and molested, or given away in marriage at the ages of 11 and 12.

These are issues that we can forget, but they are not forgotten by those who lived them and were there.

This dance addressed those issues, daring the viewer to treat the dancer as a sex object, while demanding at the same time that she dress appropriately. At least that is how I interpreted it. As a work of art, there are other experiences possible.

This resonance will not be understood by all, but I for one defend it, and appreciate it, in the context in which it was presented.

That same dancer organized all the young children (and a number of older youth), to dress up in fantastic garb to add to the glory of the parade for Lord Jagannath, she also gave up huge amounts of her time and energy to make the mela happen, and is a very dedicated participant in this spiritual path, raising her children wonderfully. How do I know this? She’s my sister.


your servant,


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Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across to Poland: Humble Beginnings in Dzwirzyno

Saturday 3rd, July 2010. I woke up early to catch some solid rounds. I was humoured by the sliding sounds of countless sandals, as the troopers marched their ways to the bathrooms. My seva had been postponed from 6AM to 7AM. I think this would later prove a blessing because the tour was sure to heat up and exhaustion was due to kick in any day now. I took this spare time this morning to read Caitanya Caritamrta. The context was exactly the same as Sitala Mataji's class the day before. The whole concept had me more excited, thinking that HH Indradyumna Swami would soon be arriving and we would also be chanting and dancing in ecstatic kirtana.

The dough kneading seva was relatively easy but there was some expertise in measuring the water to dough ratios, which proved to be a constant meditation and anxiety for this rusty beginner. Whilst rolling my sixth massive ball of dough (enough dough for one hundred and fifty samosas), Dominik Prabhu came in. He made a plea to me that he needed my assistance on the sound crew. I was reluctant but as I was kneading ball after ball of samosa dough, I was listening to Bhakti Sastri lectures by Bhurijana Prabhu and it was emphasising that one's duty was to perform the needful. I could speculate on the matter further but the matter seemed relatively clear. I compromised some reasonable schedule terms with Dominik Prabhu so that I could maintain some sanity over the period of the next two months. I had to renounce late night shifts with the break down crew and pushed towards relinquishing myself of the responsibility of setting up the festivals. I was simply submitting to the responsibility of DJ for the stage show music.

The devotees were off to harinam again in the afternoon but I stayed back yet again; the devotees were going to be back late and I needed one more night of regulation before the tour's motion took the privilege away altogether. I had to struggle with the boys who were enthusiastic to drag me out on the streets and I barely resisted their enthusiastic encouragement.

I found myself in the reception, catching up on emails and publishing old diaries. Sitala Mataji sat close by, accessing the internet. She informed me of HH Indradyumna Swami's secret arrival! Maharaja seemed to have misinformed everyone so that he could ease his way into the base while everyone was out on harinam. Maharaja had done a similar thing when he was leaving Australia last. We were going to wake up early and see him off but Gaura Hari had warned us not to. It was a show of his character to avoid the lime light, which was shone upon him by default due to his saintly qualities.

Sitala Mataji also informed me that it was HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami's disappearance day. I had lost contact with the world and I had also lost track of the Vaisnava calendar. I took some time to reflect and be grateful for what HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami had done for me. I proof read an old homage and posted it, thinking that it was rather suiting for the day. When I left Radhadesh I was asked to transport only one thing: a book - Spiritual Warrior One. I had only ever had physical association of Bhakti Tirtha Swami once, in New Govardhana. He gave a class and some aspects from it had been burned into my memory. My father purchased some of his books and had him sign them. The signed copy of Spiritual Warrior One was my first read and was the start of an epic spiritual journey, which had led me to where I was now. It had reignited the spark of Bhakti within my heart and had shed layers of gathered ignorance. This disappearance day was sad for me also because HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami left before I could even realize his amazing spiritual impact, in my life and the life of others. The feelings of gratitude and helplessness made a strange mix in my consciousness.

I spent some time with Braja, in our room, revealing my mind in confidence about this year's tour. Each year had it's own flavour and unpredictable outcome. It was a great surrender and a great adventure. You could simply admit that Krsna was in control and merely take your post in the whole arrangement. It was great, in the end, to have a group of amazing Vaisnavas to accompany you on the ordeal and help strengthen the amazing realizations that were to come. As I left the room, I passed Gurudeva's room, peeking in as he casually organized himself. The spiritual general had arrived and the troopers were waiting for him at the first festival in the town of Dzwirzyno.

I moved to the front of the school. The bus was waiting to be loaded with eager festival goers. I marched to the front of the line and Ganga Mataji motioned me through. Those who have crucial services have to be on the bus and whatever room is left can be occupied by the eager devotees who line up for the ride. We had a brand new set of buses this year, which took away a lot of the previous austerity. I sat in the back slanted seat of the coach liner and found myself dosing off in no time.

We arrived in the small township of Dzwirzyno. This coast town had been the same place that we kicked off Festiwal Indii each year, since I had been on tour. We sorted out the majority of the glitches here and learnt our limitations for the many festivals to come. This year they had located us on the other side of town, in a long stretching car park. I made my way to the sound tent; I was surprised with the new arrangements. Dominik had purchased a new desk, smaller than the last and had scoped out our effects unit into a new power packed mini console. It seemed to be a lot more convenient but I could tell that, at least for the first few festivals, some bugs would come up.

I had Prasadam with the boys, spending some time to familiarize with one another. I was certain from the start that this young group of delinquents were going to make good tour buddies but this initial meeting reassured me of my conviction nonetheless. It wasn't long into the piece that HH Indradyumna Swami arrived on scene. Vanamali beckoned us to the front gate, feeling the presence of his gurudeva, even before he had arrived. Everyone anxiously gathered around Maharaja's car but he remained hidden within for some time. Mahavana (our good friend from the previous Polish and Australian tours) sat within, tending to Gurudeva's wants and needs.

The show kicked its way off for the first time. Tribuvanesvara Prabhu gave a short introduction before Sankya group stole the stage. Dominik took the wheel for the first festival and I was free to roam about. I was even a little uncertain, thinking maybe Dominik would be able to handle the sound this year on his own after all. I was stolen away by another mission; Sitala Mataji needed some stationary for her workshop and sent the boys on her little quest. We roamed through the township looking in various shops. Radheya, who was still shaking off his time in India, tried to barter but to no avail. It was hard enough to tell if the merchants understood what we were saying what to speak of trying to have a financial debate with them. Eventually we had our small success and returned to the camp to catch the rest of the show.

We had a new puppet show this year; the Govardhana Lila was going to manifest on the stage of Festiwal Indii, in the distant land of Poland. It was an unusual but amazing presentation. The story was filled out with music, song and dance; it even featured a rap. Maharaja scrutinizing watched from his usual place in the sound tent. There were a few hiccups but I could see that this was going to be a dynamic presentation in the end.

Dina Dayal soon filled the stage with his new mini drama. A black curtain on rollers crossed the stage and all of a sudden there was a mysterious sage sitting in yogic posture. The curtain moved back and the sage was gone. All of a sudden Dina Dayal was manifest, throwing his stick wildly around the stage. The curtain engulfed him yet again and Devaprastha Prabhu, the original tour martial artist, manifested. Soon again it was just the sage, sitting in meditation. Devaprastha Prabhu then appeared from the side, seeming a little fatigued. He approached the sage for water but was not granted his desire. In anger he was ready to severe the sage's head with his sword but then Dina Dayal came to save the day. At the climax of the martial encounter, the sage halted the two Ninja-Brahmanas and led them off set. The black curtain made its path across the stage yet again and the three were seen sitting in yogic asanas, only the sage was levitating a meter or so off the ground!

Vanamali's redirected Gita drama was next. It stayed true to Bhaktimarga Swami's classiness but had a few little trinkets thought up by our own Sri Nama Vanamali Krsna Dasa Prabhu. The players were a little rusty but I could see that we had another impressive performance to amaze the people of Poland.

I found Pulkit in the back of the restaurant tent, deep frying vegetarian kabobs. When he was done on his shift he finally had an opportunity to greet Maharaja. While Pulkit was distracted with his transcendental meeting, I talked to Jayatam Prabhu. We talked about the situation of this year's tour compared to others and my services also. He was aware this year that I was writing a diary and was encouraging me on it and querying. Jayatam Prabhu and Nandini Mataji are the main organizers of the festival and work all year around to put it on. (Those who read HH Indradyumna Swami's transcendental diaries would know who I am talking about because Maharaja constantly notes their struggles to keep the tour afloat.)

Pulkit and I began to speak about Bhakti Tirtha Swami. Every time I though of him I could remember the great journey I undertook whilst reading his books. It was my foundations that were to hold up my growing ambition in the spiritual revolution of Krsna consciousness. I looked up to the stage and HH Indradyumna Swami stepped on to give his class. I had recently been writing diary entries from my first tour with Indradyumna Swami and this also brought me back to some of my spiritual roots. As an eager young bhakta my parents had arranged for me to meet up with the Le Carnaval Spirituel troupe in Australia and I had wisped away on my first great journey. This had a domino effect and from there I ended up on my first Polish tour. Maharaja's class on stage really brought my mind back to the whole reasoning behind this great festival. His philosophy shone through the gloom and brought great insight to the soul.

I found myself dancing with the Prabhus in the final kirtana, a rare privilege for me. It was impossible not to feel the bliss, as Maharaja blasted out mantra after mantra of pure sound vibration. It was both musically appealing and spiritually sound. Maharaja had been chanting Hare Krsna for longer than I had lived and vhis taste for the holy name was eminent when he shared it with the crowds of Festiwal Indii.

We all loaded into the bus after a long solid day. Katyani mataji conducted an interesting Nrsimha prayer, which had us all taking turns at the lead. Such were the bus kirtanas, all original in their own right, and spontaneous due to the mood and inspiration of the devotees. No kirtana was quite the same as the other and no one could predict what the next would entail. We soon arrived safely back at the base so we could rest up for another day of festival.

Sunday 4th, July 2010. I awoke, feeling exhausted. I trusted that this feeling was temporary so I fought against it. I reminded myself that it would take a few days to fully appreciate the routine of the tour and until then you could simply tolerate the minor difficulties that became of it. I did some reading, and then made my way down to the kitchen for some my seva. I finished up and made my way to class, which was given by HG Adi Karta Prabhu. I had met Adi Karta Prabhu at Polish Woodstock in 2008. Now he was back and was staying for most of the tour.

HH Indradyumna Swami led a prayer to the Deities at the greeting and then he gave his first announcements for tour. Mostly he was giving out the sauce, telling everyone that they should attempt to make the morning program, unless their services didn't permit it. I was normally restricted by heavy duties from the setup crew but this year I was restricted by the time clash of my service in the kitchen. It seemed I just couldn't win and merely had to chant my prayers in my own time. Maharaja was teasing that almost no one came to that morning's program. "I can understand it if it was five weeks into tour" he said, "but it's only been two days?!" In the end he suggested that if anyone else was still in bed at this time it was simply due to tama guna.

After Maharaja gave out the sauce I managed to take his darsana. I approached him and he greeted me warmly. "Maddy, I didn't know you were coming to Poland?" he said. I purposely didn't tell him I was coming on tour, partially because I wasn't sure if I could attain my residency on time and mostly because I wanted to surprise him. He asked me what my services were this year and I gave him a rather confused reply; I still wasn't sure myself. I was either going make a dough mix, mix sound or mix both services together. Nonetheless I was happy that I was finally physically recognisable by this great devotee; this reassured me of my hope against hope of one day escaping this world. Maharaja also asked me if I was coming to Brazil with him. I regretted to inform him that I would be caught up studying in Radhadesh.

I was back in the kitchen for the next leg of samosa production. I was handed a rolling pin and left to create obscure shapes. Dominik came in and made a final confirmation that I was going to be DJ for the festival. I was now officially DJ, unofficially Dough Boy and more than superficially confused.

I rushed out to catch the bus in the afternoon. I was a priority for seating yet again, although on this tour there was enough space so it wasn't as crucially encouraged as last year. I sat with Dina Dayal Prabhu, knowing I would have a serious japa session in his association. I felt like I was slowly gathering a taste for the holy name in his presence and was grateful that Krsna had arranged such an opportunity. Sleeping and japa standards are something you have to monitor on tour; neglecting one usually leans towards neglecting the other and you need whatever material and spiritual shakti you can obtain on tour.

We sat for lunch Prasadam with our usual crowd and HG Adi Karta Prabhu, a Prabhupada disciple from Alachua. Adi Karta Prabhu was very much interested in farming communities and we found ourselves talking about New Govardhana, in Australia. We also talked a little about the continuation of ISKCON - what needed to be done to secure the longevity of our society in the rampant age of quarrel.

After all was said and done, it was time to take the post of DJ again, for the third year running. I was given a short introduction to the new setup and was on my way. The first track was a success and I was hoping for many more to come. There were still a lot of glitches though and I almost played a wrong track rather early in the piece. It came to one Sanatani and Sivanjali, and I didn't have their tracks at all. Braja called Dominik on the mobile phone. I was anxious and upset. I couldn't handle this kind of thing so early in the piece. I had lived with these two matas for a while in Australia so I didn't want to upset them now that I was familiar with them. Dominik ran to the scene and managed to fix the player, where the tracks were located. For the rest of the day I simply played tracks off Domonik's laptop and it was a lot more convenient.

I was with Pulkit in the sound tent. I finally set some time aside to begin writing the epic diary. It is always an unpredictable effort to write a diary on tour. It's simply a daily effort to sleep and chant, what to speak of reading Srila Prabhupada's books, and adding the task of writing and proofreading to the already super busy, exhausting schedule can be rather consuming. The reason why I pursue this ambition is simply because I know I have not amassed the spiritual credits to participate in such preaching activities and I know that without the blessings of the Vaisnavas, who read this humble offering, I will not have the fortune of continuing to adventure in such a spiritual environment. In essence, it simply isn't tour for me unless I can write about it and share it with others.


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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1966 July 11 : "To the surprise of the people gathered Mr Goldsmith stood up and made a short announcement asking for signers on an incorporation document for the Svami's new religious movement."
Prabhupada Journal :: 1966

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1967 July 11 : "On the plane I had no inconvenience and I got down safely and was received by the anxious devotees. Jayananda in a nice car brought me to the house, which is situated in an exceptionally nice spot."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 July 11 : "You have asked, is it true that the Spiritual Master remains in the material universe until all of His disciples are transferred to the Spiritual Sky? The answer is yes, this is the rule."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1970 July 11 : "Each and every one of our books should have pictures as many as possible. That is my desire. People become attracted and even without reading they become inclined to purchase. It is simply to the pictures."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 July 11 : "I have not heard from you and I am anxious to know what is your program; how construction is going on, what plans are being made there, etc. So please let me know all the details as soon as possible."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 July 11 : "Yes, Bhagavat Dasha, or ten day festival of reading from Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam will be nice. If I am in India at that time, I shall be pleased to attend."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 July 11 : "We can use everything in Krsna's service. When Krsna gives us a nice big house that does not mean we use it for our eating and sleeping - but we work harder in His service."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1973 July 11 : "People are fed up with materialistic propaganda so you will find good response simply by chanting, speaking from Bhagavad gita, and distributing prasadam to everyone."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973

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Hari Sauri das, Mayapura, IN: 2010 Tour – Zagreb's dead bodies

May 1-3 2010: Next stop on the tour was the capital of Croatia, Zagreb.

The devotees have constructed a beautiful three storey temple and asrama, up in the hills in the south of the city.

They gave me a third floor room with a great view of the valley:

The temple room is attractive and spacious and the Deities of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai are very beautiful:

I have been to Zagreb before and I was happy to be back. The Sunday feast was well attended, and the audience attentive as I delivered my SPLB seminar, this time on the topic of  Deities.

I was told the temple has another set of Deities hidden away behind curtains at the back of the temple hall. I took a peek and saw some of the most beautiful Radha Krsna Deities anywhere in ISKCON.

They are six feet tall and have been waiting to be worshipped for several years. Wisely though the managers are waiting until they can be certain that they can maintain the demanding schedule that Their Lordships require.

One of the highlights of my visit was a trip to a local museum on May 4, to see an exhibition called “Body Revealed“.

Its an amazing display of real human bodies, sliced, diced, bisected and exposed in every possible way. It shows all the different structures and organs of the body including bones, cartilage, muscles, brain, heart, various senses, lungs, liver, reproductive, veins etc. using once-real human bodies.
Quite bizarre and very striking. Different chemicals are used to preserve specific parts of the body while other parts are stripped away. Its pretty amazing to see a body split down the middle (reminds me of the story of the killing of Jarasandha!) with the bisection exposing all the bones and organs etc.
Impressive work and I am sure Da Vinci would have  been most impressed
He was known to have had dead bodies plucked from the grave yards so that he could study their structures. His drawings were of actual bodies that his men dug up fresh from burial:
The one thing that I realized is that although these cadavers were once ‘people‘, now they are just displays and the real people are not there. The bodies remain, with every aspect preserved and inspected, but where is the principle that made them “people”? That of course, was only on display in the observers.
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Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Rathayatra 2010 - Advaita Acharya das - Hare Krishna - 3/14

Advaita Acharya das singing a Hare Krishna bhajan at Rathayatra.

Dallas, TX

Download: 2010-05-22 - Dallas Rathayatra - 03 - Bhajan - Advaita Acharya.mp3
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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 6 SDGonline Daily updates

3:55 A.M.

My sleep was interrupted during the night, but I was asleep when the alarm clock rang at 2:30. I woke with a headache but completely subdued it with medicine. My first japa period was good. I chanted with some feeling, not just mechanically. I came close to the holy names and whispered them and said them quickly. I never grow tired of chanting but approach it each day with fresh enthusiasm. There is always a frustration that I don't do it better, but I have to live with that and not berate myself.  I do the best I can, and this morning my mind was clear from other subject matters other than hearing the names slip through my mind smoothly. I chanted nine rounds, and I'll make up the rest later in peaceful time. The Viraha Bhavan is a good place to chant early in the morning, equal to the Yellow Submarine.

Chanting smoothly,
you hear harinama
as clear as a silver bell,
as pleasing as the call
of the wood thrush in
the forest.
I am up chanting
with all the birds
in this rural town.
It is as if we are all
calling the glories of the Names .
Unlike the birds, I have
been specifically given
harinama initiation
from my spiritual master,
and I fulfill my vow
given on that day many years
ago. Prabhupada is with
me as I utter the names
in a sacred space,
aspiring for the day of
my deliverance.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Health SDGonline Daily updates

Prabhupada Smaranam

I am writing this with a headache, and it reminds me of the time I was sick when I was in Prabhupada's presence as his traveling servant and secretary. I contracted hepatitis in Bombay, and by the time we reached Rome I was completely yellow and had to give up my duties and stay distant from Srila Prabhupada. There was no bed or room for me, and I lay on the floor in a room near the kitchen. Prabhupada would pass me on his way to and from lectures, and I would bow down but then lay back on the floor, I was so weak. Then Bhagavan dasa told me that Prabhupada said  if I did not recover he would leave me behind in Rome and not take me with him to Geneva. I became so frightened of being left behind that I forced myself to get better, and he took me with him. But in Germany I contacted a high fever and couldn't massage him, and then in Australia, I grew a big boil on my knee.

As for Srila Prabhupada, he was frequently ill. Ever since his two major heart attacks on the Jaladuta and his stroke in New York City in 1967, he had a series of colds, stomach disorders, and other bodily ailments. He did not complain or announce his illnesses, and sometimes only his intimate physical servants were aware. Once during a lecture in 1966 he was coughing so much that he gave himself as a philosophical example. "Just see," he said, "this body is always giving trouble." Once in Los Angeles he had such a bad cough that he was constantly spitting up phlegm into a cup while he gave his lecture. Sometimes he seemed to bounce back and have periods of good health, but then again he would have a relapse. Once in Mayapur in 1973 he called me into his room and asked if I knew a cure for stomach disorder. Did I know a place that had curative waters? I was dumbfounded that he asked me, and felt like a complete ignoramus because I did not know of any curative waters. During this same stay in Mayapur he developed a sore red eye. Once when he was rubbing it, his disciple Devananda Maharaja said, "Don't rub your eye, Prabhupada, it will get infected." Srila Prabhupada replied curtly, "The spiritual master is never infected." Prabhupada was a pure devotee and above karmic reactions, and his appearance of diseases was not a case of material conditioning.

But as long as he was in this world, he underwent suffering just to deliver fallen souls. He disregarded his health and was not a dutiful patient to the doctors he consulted. He used to periodically make miraculous recoveries from his illnesses. I was with him in Calcutta in 1973 when he got stomach cramps from eating his sister's rich food. He was moaning in bed and asked us to put a picture of Lord Nrsimha on the altar. But then he received a flamboyant telegram from Syamasundara Dasa inviting him to a gala Ratha Yatra festival in London. The next day Srila Prabhupada got up from his sickbed, flew to London, and walked the whole way with the procession. Who can understand the activities of the pure devotee? The French philosopher Voltaire was called "a fabulous invalid" because he was mostly sick but always prolific and active. Srila Prabhupada may often have appeared to be sick, but he never stopped his active life of traveling, writing, preaching and worshiping Krishna. You cannot say he was a sickly person but a great soldier and transcendentalist in Lord Caitanya's army.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Chanting SDGonline Daily updates

Krishna is aprakrta, beyond the
material vision, so I cannot see
Him. Even Raghunatha dasa Goswami
prays that one day he may gain
the vision of the Lord.
Saksad-darsana is very rare,
but we can hear Krishna in His
holy names and that is as good
as seeing. They say the name
is more merciful than the form.

Let us sing loudly and
mutter softly the Hare Krishna
mantra. The benefit is great
even if you don't understand
it at first.

Lord Caitanya distributed it
and said it is like a mango
fruit, and I have so many
I cannot distribute them
all by Myself. Please join
Me and give them out
to everyone you meet.

His mango-mantra brings
love of God, ecstatic
symptoms to the chanter.
It costs nothing, just
your desire to take it.
But it must be handled
carefully as it is passed down
the tree from person to
person to you standing
at the bottom.

There are different ways to
chant and even variations of
the mantra, but you should
take it exactly as given by the
sat-guru, the spiritual master
in disciplic succession. Milk
from the tongue of a
serpent causes poisonous effects.

Hare Krishna is for everyone
around the world. The people
in the foreign countries can
learn it and embrace it
in their hearts because
it belongs to all.

The best chanters are humble
and think themselves unworthy.
They can chant constantly,
and Krishna gives them the one thing
even the proud scholars lack,
the taste for which we are
always anxious.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Panca-tattva SDGonline Daily updates

Free Write

This looks like the early painting done by a first initiate, Haridasa (Harvey Cohen), which was placed in the picture window of the Matchless Gifts storefront. Haridasa gave Prabhupada permission to stay in his artist's loft in the Bowery with a roommate, and then Harvey went to California. But he gave this painting which he had done to Prabhupada, who used it in a new storefront at 26 Second Avenue. Some passersby took the young persons with long hair as women or transvestites. But they were naturally critical and thought the long-haired young dancers were strange. (They didn't stop to think that if Lord Jesus raised his arms and danced he would look much like the men in this sankirtana party.) Some passersby were intrigued, couldn't figure it out, but liked the occult aura. After a few weeks of operation, Prabhupada had people inside the storefront up on their feet and dancing like the figures in the painting. Then the painting made more sense and became an invitation to come on in and join the sankirtana song and dance.

The picture shows Lord Caitanya in a yellow dhoti, Lord Nityananda in a bluish dhoti, Advaita Acarya in a full white beard and white dhoti, Gadadhara, with arms upraised, in reddish dhoti, and Srivasa Acarya with shaved head and hands in pranams. Perhaps Haridasa Thakura is playing the mrdanga. There are other dancers and players in the background. While a little strange for the Lower East Side hippies, it is certainly perceivable as a group of mind-expanding, ecstatic nonconformists, Lord Caitanya's sankirtana party, first appearing on Second Avenue in an otherwise bare window front under a big sign, "Matchless Gifts."

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ISKCON CBS News: Bhagavad-gitas In US Motel Rooms

By ISKCON News on 11 Jul 2010

Recently, volunteers of The Pancajanya Project (, a branch of ISKCON established a project dedicated to place at least 1 million Bhagavad-gitas in guest rooms across the U.S. A few days ago, Vaisesika Das from San Francisco was interviewed about this initiative by CBS Television.

Email to a friendRelated Ratha Yatra Youth Wave in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

By Jai Sita Rani Devi Dasi

For the first time, a Ratha Yatra or Chariot Festival was held in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Situated 6000 feet above sea level, the hour long windy road is quite a feat to drive

Email to a friendRelated ISKCON's 2nd Generation Go Green at French Kuli Mela

By Chaitanya Mangala dasa

This August, 350 "Kulis," or members of ISKCON's second generation, from France, England, Italy, Spain, Germany and Belgium will converge on the rural community of New Mayapur two hours south of Paris, France

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Dibis Nguembock asks

“How to have negative spirits that are sent to me get chased away?” (Video)

Email to a friendRelated The Antiquity of Deity Worship in the Vedic Tradition

By Sri Nandanandana dasa

There have been some people who have declared that the worship of Deities or images or the murti in the temples is but a recent invention of Vedic culture. However, that is not an accurate point

Email to a friendRelated Inconvenient Foods: The Happy Facts

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

We love to picnic, barbecue, celebrate birthdays and entertain guests. We may hesitate on what fast-foods are on offer. Here is some "Party-pooping" information, which should enhance our parties even more. So "let's party," as they say

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: “I have been in ISKCON for 3 years.

The initial years were joyful and exuberant but now the tendency to watch porn has comeback to haunt. Earlier I used to watch these unmentionable things for hours on the internet. Coincidently I have some work related to internet and I end up getting side tracked on the net due to my flickering mind. This is my disease. Please cure it.” (Video)


Email to a friendRelated The Kitchen of Lord Jagannath, Biggest in the World

By Saroj Kumar Panda

Sri Jagannath is the Lord of the Universe. His Kitchen is considered as the largest and the biggest Kitchen in the world. It is situated south-east direction of the outer compound of Srimandir.

Email to a friendRelated Deputy Commissioner of Bellary favours Cow Protection!

Bharat Chandra (das) BRS (NC VAD Ministry - IN): It was afternoon when a distress call came from a devotee, Shankar Prabhu. He had spotted two vehicles pathetically loaded with cows and rushing at high speed. The cows were obviously being taken for slaughtering to a nearby slaughterhouse

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Gangesvara Prabhu

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.22.11 - There is no qualitative difference between the living entity and the supreme controller.

Email to a friendRelated Saranagati Harvest Festival in August

Bala Krsna das: Please accept this as my personal invitation to our Saranagati Harvest Festival in August. For more info visit the website

Email to a friendRelated One Great Reason To Become Vegetarian

Louise Infante: A study team from Arizona State University conducted a cross-sectional study to match the mood of vegetarians who never eat fish with the mood of healthy omnivorous adults

Email to a friendRelated New Training Center for Women

By Vinode Vani Devi Dasi

New devotees are the life of our ISKCON movement! Their youth, enthusiasm, thirst for knowledge, and fresh energy rejuvenate us all and support our services and preaching activities

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Yoga of Ecology, Bhakta Chris, USA: What Scientists Think About Religion

From Dr. Elaine Howard Ecklund, as part of the Religion And Science: A Contemporary Discussion series at the Huffington Post

Almost a quarter of Americans think scientists are hostile to religion. But what do we really know about how scientists think about morality, spirituality and faith?

From 2005 to 2008, I surveyed nearly 1,700 natural and social scientists on their views about religion, spirituality and ethics and spoke with 275 of them in depth in their offices and laboratories. It turns out that nearly 50 percent of scientists identify with a religious label, and nearly one in five is actively involved in a house of worship, attending services more than once a month. While many scientists are completely secular, my survey results show that elite scientists are also sitting in the pews of our nation's churches, temples and mosques.

Of the atheist and agnostic scientists I had in-depth conversations with, more than 30 percent considered themselves atheists; however, less than six percent of these were actively working against religion. Many atheist and agnostic scientists even think key mysteries about the world can be best understood spiritually, and some attend houses of worship, completely comfortable with religion as moral training for their children and an alternative form of community. If religious people better understood the full range of atheistic practice -- and the way that it interfaces with religion for some -- they might be less likely to hold negative attitudes toward nonreligious scientists. The truth is that many atheist scientists have no desire to denigrate religion or religious people.

In fact, about one-fifth of the atheist scientists I spoke with say they consider themselves "spiritual atheists." Perhaps their stories are the most interesting. One chemist I talked with does not believe in God, yet she says she craves a sense of something beyond herself that provides a feeling of purpose and meaning and a moral compass. She sees herself as having an engaged spirituality, one that motivates her to live differently. For example, spiritual reasons keep her from accepting money from the Department of Defense, she says; for her, it's too linked to the military.

Given the presence of religion in the scientific community, why do Americans still think scientists are hostile to religion? Within their scientific communities, religious scientists tend to practice what I call a "secret spirituality." They are reluctant to talk about religious or spiritual ideas with their colleagues. I spoke with one physicist who said that he thinks universities are not always very accepting environments for scientists of faith. He believes that if he openly said he is religious, others would question the validity of his scientific work; it is his sense of things that at his elite school, he can be a scientist or be religious, but not both.

And within their faith communities, religious scientists often practice a "secret science." Sitting in the pews, they are often hesitant to discuss scientific ideas because they are afraid of offending those next to them. The result of this reticence is that people of faith are not aware of the religious scientists in their midst. More than that, these scientists fail to serve as role models for religious youth who might want to study science but fear science might lead them away from faith. As a result, these children lose out.

Research shows that the experiences students have with science in elementary and secondary school, and how well their science abilities evolve from there, help predict both whether they'll attend college and whether they'll enter into high-status professional fields. Other research has shown that those with stronger science skills and a better scientific understanding tend to have greater socioeconomic stability and overall success. So if religious folks want their children to succeed (as a scholar of American religion, I have every reason to believe they do) and if scientists want more children to consider a career in the field (as a scholar of the American scientific community, I know they do), there needs to be a better dialogue between people of faith and the scientists among them.

We need real, radical dialogue -- not just friendly co-existence between religion and science, but the kind of discussion where each side genuinely tries to understand why the other thinks the way it does and where common ground is sought. This dialogue should reach the rank-and-file in religious communities with the message of how to maintain faith while fully pursuing science. And it needs to reach the rank-and-file in the scientific community as well, providing them with better ways to connect with religious people.

Religious people need to remember that not all atheist scientists are hostile to religion. They need to know that even the most secular scientists struggle with the moral and ethical implications of their work. And scientists need to do a better job of communicating the importance of science to religious people -- especially in those areas in which religion might actually motivate them to care about science (like environmentalism, or "creation care"). Because if people of faith believe they have to become antireligious or completely secular to be a successful scientist -- when this is not a full reflection of the scientific community -- it would be a disaster.

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Japa Group: My Chanting Was Relaxed

My chanting was relaxed and wide awake. I settled into the rou tine with regular attention to the names, and my mind did not wander to other things. The bhajana-kutir is a suitable place, as good as the Yellow Subma­rine, for soli tary chanting. I have completed 12 rounds.

From Bhajan Kutir #4
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H.H. Sivarama Swami

When Krsna is with His brother and sister, He is Jagannatha, and when He is with His village girlfriends, that is Radha-Krsna with gopis. So whomever you worship, it is the same. But if you like to worship Jagannatha, you can continue and it is as good as worshiping Radha-Krsna.

- Srila Prabhupada

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David Haslam, UK: HH Mahavishnu Swami web address change

HH Mahavishnu Swami has recently changed his web-address and is also asking devotees if they can compose/write articles for it. The web-address is as follows: Here is a small though I had but the stream or thought applies to how we view all our spiritual masters: Pondering and thinking of the importance of our ever well [...]

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Gouranga TV: Lecture – Braja Bihari das – What is Happiness? Sunday Feast

Lecture – Braja Bihari das – What is Happiness? Sunday Feast

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Raivata das, Christchurch, NZ: Devamrita Swami 2002

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