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Krishna-kripa das, Mayapura: Travel Journal#6.14: Prague Ratha-yatra, Croatian Harinama Tour, and the Polish Woodstock
Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 6, No.14
By Krishna-kripa das
(July 2010, part two)
Prague Ratha-yatra, Croatian Harinamas, Polish Woodstock
(Sent from London on September 8, 2010)
The Prague Ratha-yatra was a great experience for me because Prague is such a tourist city that an event held there reaches people all over the world. I talked to four or five people from Norway and Turkey, at least three from Spain, a couple of people from Brazil, some from America, and many more mostly from Europe.
I distributed descriptions of the Ratha-yatra in English on one side and Czech on the other, and a few small books. Several people took books because of the natural curiosity created by the festival.
Many people were very attracted to the distribution of fruit, flowers, and garlands from the Ratha-yatra after the parade, as if they knew intuitively of the transcendental significance.
As last year, some devotees did a harinama around the town during the less exciting parts of stage show. We invited interested people we saw to our festival at Old Town Square.
The height of the festival for many of us was the final kirtana led by Kadamba Kanana Swami. Many guests danced along with the devotees in the kirtana, and it was great to see.
The first evening we went to Crikvenica, where for two and a half hours from fifteen to thirty-five people watched our chanting party of about fifteen devotees.
Mohan Prabhu, the leader of the party, plays the big karatalas.
For two days we did Novi Vinodolski.
And the day in between them, we did Opatija, a famous elite town, that has a walkway of fame, glorifying national movie heros, where even more people watched our chanting party.
There two teenage girls were curious about we were doing, and I explained it briefly, and invited them to take part. To my surprise they sat down on the back row of the mat with the other devotees and chanted for twenty minutes or so.
Also later, a couple of older men had a great time dancing with the devotees in front of our chanting party. There also a couple who was very friendly and curious talked to me afterwards. They were from Antwerp, Belgium and I give them an invitation to our Antwerp temple. Thus for me, Opatija was the liveliest place for our evening kirtanas.
For more pictures from the Croatian Harinama Tours, visit the gallery on the web site of the Karlovac devotees:
I like the Croatian harinama party of the Karlovac devotees so much it was hard to leave after just three and a half days, but I am so addicted to going to the Poland Woodstock festival, this year for the tenth time. We took the bus with the devotees from Zagreb and Ljubljana, which somehow or other took 18 hours to reach Kostrzyn going through Slovenia, Austria, and Germany. Some of the devotees at my instigation chanting congregationally for two and a half hours while waiting for the bus in Zagreb.
On the first Woodstock harinama several kids joined our chanting party, smiling and dancing, some entering the middle of our party and others tagging along at the end. One man smiled broadly as we chanted past and approached to greet me. "Pamientasz?", he said. [Do you remember?] As usual I couldn't, and he said something about short hair, and I smiled. Often people remember us from previous years. It is striking to go to a festival attended by 300,000 people in a foreign country and have people remember you. That man was the first of several who remembered me from previous years.
The Polish tour and the Woodstock are so famous always new devotees are coming. Laksmi-Nrsimha Prabhu, Kapilasva Prabhu, and Satyanarayana Prabhu came this year, I think all for the first time.
Even a couple of Narayana Maharaja sannyasis showed up unexpectedly, and a Gaudiya alternative, Radha's Village of Love appeared, apparently a small group of about seven people with a tent, who participated in our kirtana when we went by.
It is exciting seeing old friends here. Govinda Prabhu, from Scotland, and I go over verses during meal and breaks, and I was happy that I could remember 90% of the one he taught me last year, and he remembered the one we learned together perfectly. At the Woodstock and on the tour, so many devotees are fixed in their respective services it is inspiring.
Izabela, who lives near Kostrzyn I met a couple times at our site. She is going to college now in Wroclaw and said she could come to our Ratha-yatra there.
Ewa, one nice Polish young lady, was very much attracted to hearing the chanting and staying in our camp. Her friends would always take her other places, but she would always come back, and she expressed frustration that her friends wanted to go elsewhere. She felt she was on the verge of a change in her life. She took a Krishna—Reservoir of Pleasure, and her friend, Miroslav, from Berlin did too. She goes to school in Wroclaw and promised to meet me at the Ratha-yatra there, and he lives in Berlin and promised to go to the Ratha-yatra there.
Two girls just graduated from high school expressed great happiness with the prasadam and the chanting and dancing. They had been coming for four years. I gave them the nama-hatta web page address so they could see if there is a nama-hatta program in there area and told them about the Ratha-yatra.
Sometimes to try to make an impression on their people's minds, I would explain to them that I have come to this Polish Woodstock all the way from America for last 10 years because it is so enjoyable to share this spiritual knowledge and culture with them.
One regular attender, Wojtek, remembered me as far back as the festival in Zary in 2002. He took some pictures and speculated the stylized figure of a dancer on the mantra yoga tent was based on me.
The girl with the gold-glittering dress and dredlocks danced for Jagannatha, as she has done the last two years, and she came to our final kirtana. I could tell from her use of "Haribol!" and other devotee lingo, she has been spending time with the devotees. Last year she told me she was from Wroclaw, so I gave her invitation to the Wroclaw Ratha-yatra. She was happy and promised to be there. One devotee said he saw her then.
I was impressed to see some mothers with their kids at kirtana tent, both watching and participating in the dancing. Apparently the reputation of the devotees is improved in Poland to the extent that mothers think that Hare Krishna is a positive thing for their children to experience.
Some of the devotee girls were very enthusiastic about inviting onlookers to dance, and who ever did had a great time. You can see from the video how happy the people were to dance with us.
Madhava Prabhu, from Zurich, was an especially nice addition to the kirtana tent lineup, and his very absorbing kirtanas attracted devotees and onlookers as well. Many danced to his tunes.
I passed out mantra cards to almost everyone who came in the kirtana tent or who watched the kirtana for any length of time. You could tell from the smiles, exclamations of "Text!" and other expressions of joy that the people were happy to get them.
The day after the Woodstock, returning from library where I used the internet, I met one Katowice girl who identified herself as a Hare Krishna and to whom I gave the number of our local nama-hatta contact. I also met a Berlin man I told about our Ratha-yatra there the next Saturday. In addition, one Wroclaw girl came up to me and said, "Hare Krishna, I love you guys." I gave her an invitation to the Wroclaw Ratha-yatra. I was pleased to have so many pleasant interactions during the-ten minute walk back to the school that was our base.
Jayatam Prabhu engaged me in serving lunch even through I had not had breakfast. It was a little challenging for my false ego, but I wanted to help because except for kirtana I did not do so many practical services. It was nice to serve the devotees who had done so much service at the Woodstock.
Our chanting at the train station the day after the Woodstock was the best ever. More devotees came out than before. Govinda Prabhu from Scotland played the accordion the whole time. Four devotees in the chanting party, myself included, were enroute to Berlin.
Other people waiting on the platform, including rail officials, looked at us with curiosity and smiles, but no one restricted us. One man standing at the door of another train raised his arms as our train pulled out. It was a nice way to end the Woodstock festival for me.
Insights from Lectures
Spiritual advancement is never checked by any material condition.
God is in your heart, and when your heart is purified by the process of hearing and chanting, you will be able to see God.
Quoted by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami's journal Viraha Bhavan, #18, Commenting on a guru-puja in Paris: "The guru-puja singing is important and should be attended."
If we think, "I have served so nicely," we neutralize the effect of our service, but if we are humble and think ourselves unworthy of the opportunity to serve but are deeply thankful for that opportunity, our love for Krishna will grow.
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says there is nothing in the world that needs be changed but our own vision. No one can change this world by the breadth of a hair.
False ego means we are seeing things in relationship to me—seeing ourselves in the center.
When we chant but our mind is elsewhere, we do not get the full effect of the chanting. The holy name is here, but due to the false ego, we are seeking light elsewhere.
I cannot think of a single country that I have been to where there are not Russian devotees in the temple doing service.
True ego is to see everything in relationship to Krishna. Because we are so absorbed in the bodily conception of life, we have to engage the senses, the mind, and intelligence all in Krishna. The idle mind is the devil's workshop. Therefore we must think of Krishna and service to Krishna, and our consciousness will be cleansed of material contamination.
Identification with this world is very deep: attachment to the land of our birth, our level of education, etc. To give these up immediately is more difficult than engaging them in Krishna consciousness.
When the Lord is present in the heart in the form of Krishna katha, He cleans our heart.
Imagining oneself to be the doer of the activities is a common and prominent difficulty.
You may be considered beautiful by a few people, a very few, but you can lose it in a moment.
If you attain the body of a dog, it is very difficult to engage in devotional service. Practically speaking only if a human being engages you in Krishna consciousness, can you do it as an animal.
We do not know when we will lose our facilities, so we should use them while we can.
There was a poster the devotees had in the early days of the movement with a picture of a cemetery and skeletons with the words "Chant while you can."
Harinama sankirtana reminds so many people of Krishna, and Srila Prabhupada's books give the people the knowledge they need to make more progress.
Chanting of the holy name is more important and should accompany our other activities of devotional service.
Q: If am becoming tired while chanting, what should I do?
A: If you have to understand whether you are genuinely tired or if you are just lazy. If you have had enough sleep, it would be better to stand up, go for a walk, or squirt water on your face to stay awake and keep going. You might have to change your diet to eat lighter food.
One time a devotee was standing up during class in order to stay awake. He was situated behind the speaker. That devotee was so tired he fell asleep while standing, and he fell on top of the speaker.
Karma-kanda sacrifices provide all kinds of material gain. Jnana-marga, the path of looking for liberation, is considered higher. The karma-kanda mentality is that the material is a nice place. There are just a few problems, and these can be counteracted by sacrifice. However, the jnanis realize that no matter however we adjust it, the material world is not a place of happiness.
Badrinarayana Prabhu was telling that he met his father who is his eighties, and how he wished that his father might live another twenty years, and his father expressed reluctance. "Why?" Badrinarayana Prabhu asked. His father listed all the things wrong with his body. He had to take a pill to digest, a pill to go to the bathroom, a pill to stop going to the bathroom, a pill to slow down the heart, a pill to speed up the heart, etc. This is the miserable nature of inevitable old age.
Green Peace says there are more chemicals in one meal than in twenty aspirins.
Still liberation is minimized compared to the unlimited ocean of happiness of Krishna consciousness.
The karmi loves the material world, the jnani hates the material world, and the devotee loves the spiritual world and its Lord.
No position in the material world is a good position, and so the material world does not interest us except for the devotional service going on here and except for engaging the items of the material world in the Lord's service.
Mother Theresa of Calcutta said, "If you try to do something, someone will criticize you. Do it anyway. If you are building something up, you can be sure, someone will try to break it. But in the end, who cares what all these people say anyway, because we did not do it for them anyway. We did it for God." I thought that is a nice mood—the mood of the devotee.
There is no neutral situation. Every situation is meant to be engaged in Krishna's service. If we have nothing to do, we can always chant Hare Krishna. It takes time to build this up mentality. It is called avyartha-kalatvam. It is a symptom of bhava—to not waste time, but to use it for Krishna.
Srila Prabhupada suggest they call the O Hare Airport, the O Hare Krishna Airport. One devotee was sent to the director of the O Hare Airport to suggest that since we have distributed so many books at your airport, that it should be called O Hare Krishna Airport. The director became so angry he practically foamed at the mouth.
I had been to the Ganges. I had drunk the water of the Ganges. I had chanted mantras like "Jaya Rama, Sri Rama, Jaya Jaya Rama." But encountering Srila Prabhupada's books was different, because Srila Prabhupada was always challenging us to surrender to Krishna. He presented it in such a way that one will conclude that unless he surrenders he is not actually sincere, and therefore, if one wants to consider himself sincere, he must surrender.
Imagine, if each devotee gave it the best he could, how wonderful it would be.
We must do something wonderful. We must do something very extraordinary. We have this conception that "I am an ordinary person, but I am trying to be Krishna consciousness." But to be Krishna consciousness is not an ordinary thing.
In Bhagavad-gita Arjuna is not so much fighting with arrows as much as he fighting with his self. And when we fight with others, we are more enthusiastic than when we fight with ourselves.
We must have a positive attitude to Krishna, His paraphernalia, and His devotees, and a positive attitude for connecting things with Krishna. Srila Prabhupada was very appreciative of how nicely Krishna has arranged everything.
When we come in touch with Krishna, we learn how to properly utilize things.
Bhismadeva says if you want to save money, give up the association of women, because they are always buying clothes. Of course, this can be engaged in devotional service. They can buy so many saris. [Although their husbands may not agree.]
Suppose you have a four-year-old brother, and your mom tells you have look after him. That is like the situation with our mind.
The fight with the mind is difficult for those who struggle on their own, but easy for those who take shelter of Krishna. Those reluctant to take shelter of Krishna get trained in the school of hard knocks.
By being busy in Krishna's service, we have no time for the service of the mind and senses.
Sometimes we lament that we have too much service, but that service is our saving grace.
Cultural Program in Prague the day before Ratha-yatra:
Krishna wanted to return to Vrindavana, but he always had to kill a few more demons. Vasudeva arranged a huge sacrifice at Kurukshetra to counteract the inauspiciousness of the solar eclipse. Some details of this are described in Gopal Campu of Jiva Goswami. Others came from Sacinandana Swami, who did not specify his source. Vasudeva had invited people from all over the universe. Narada was asked to go to Vrindavana to invite the residents of Vrindavana and to not invite the residents of Vrindavana. He explained that there going to be this sacrifice of Vasudeva that everyone in the universe was invited to except for the residents of Vrindavana. Nanda said, "If Krishna, is going to be there, then we are coming." And so they did. There were several gates at the venue. The cows arrived at the western gate. The cowherd boys arrived at the eastern gate. When asked by the guards for their invitations, they replied that they were Krishna's friends. The gopis arrived from the north and were perhaps the most difficult for the guards to restrain. Nanda and Yasoda came from the south. When they told the guards, they were Krishna's parents. The guards did not believe them, saying, "Everyone knows that Vasudeva and Devaki are Krishna's parents." Then Yasoda saw Krishna from behind, and spontaneously cried out, "Gopal!!!" Krishna ran toward her, assuming his cowherd boy form in the process, and she grasped Him, and set Him on her lap. Then all the others came there from their different gates. They had one question, "When are you returning to Vrindavana?" Krishna resumed His princely form, and replied, "As soon he killed a few more demons." That more than they could bear. They put Balarama, Subhadra, and Krishna on chariots and the gopis were pulling the chariots toward Vrindavana. We are not like the gopis for they never forget Krishna, but we sometimes do. But by pulling the cart, by pulling Krishna toward Vrindavana, we are pulling ourselves to Vrindavana.
Sivananda Sena was apparently jailed for not paying some fee, along with the other members of his pilgrimage party, and he was later brought before the minister who wished to ask him some questions. The minister said, "Who is more powerful? Lord Jagannatha or your Lord Caitanya?" Sivananda Sena said, "That is easy. Lord Caitanya." The minister replied, "I thought so. After you were jailed, Lord Caitanya appeared to me in a dream, and He ordered me to release you and all your men or he would destroy me, saying, 'Let see if your Lord Jagannatha can protect you.'"
The queens of King Prataparuda viewed the snana-yatra of Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra from a special platform. One year the king arranged to let Lord Caitanya's associates watch from that spot, and the queens had to stand in back on their tiptoes. That year the water bathing the Lord was minimized by the water emanating from the body of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
"Nilacala" literally means "blue hill," but there is no such hill to be found in Puri. Bhaktivinoda Thakura comments that 800 years old the previous Jagannatha temple was made of blue stone, and from a distance in the sea, it appeared as a blue mountain, thus the name, Nilacala [nila—blue, acala—mountain].
We tend to collect knowledge from different places and come up with our own personalized process of self-realization. The instructions given by Krishna Himself about self-realization, however, are superior to our concocted process for serving Him. This is received from a spiritual master.
Once we understand that Krishna is everything, we can adjust our lifestyle to make it favorable for realizing Krishna.
Srila Prabhupada liked the sentence, "It's not required." Devotees would ask, "But is it forbidden?" Srila Prabhupada would smile, and then repeat, "It's not required." But if everyone tells us not to do something, and we do it anyway, then we must make that situation as Krishna conscious as we can.
Not by wearing saffron clothes, not by restricting food or fasting or other kinds of sense control, not by discussing philosophy, and not by observing a vow of silence, but only by the beginning of devotion to the lotus feet of Govinda, who performs pastimes on the banks on the Yamuna's shore can one conquer cupid (lust).
Devotional service would be easy, if it would not be for lust. Although Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura says even if one has lust still he can engage on the devotional path, still people on the devotional path are sometimes seriously affected by lust.
We must be under the shelter of the Vaishnava at every step of the way.
We can give up the activities of lust by the guru's order, but can we completely give it up? Yes. But we have to be completely dedicated to the guru's mission. We cannot have a conception of "my life" with all kinds of activities in it that have no connection to our guru and his mission. If we start thinking "my life" soon we will be thinking "my wife."
Dhruva was extraordinary devotee for his great maturity at such a young age. Gajendra was amazing in that he had transcendental knowledge as an animal. Still they could not attract Krishna by service. The service attitude is essential.
If we find we experience lust increasing, we may notice that our service attitude is decreasing, and we must rectify this.
We should find a service that we can absorb our mind in. That will protect us.
We can make arrangement our own spiritual life or we can make arrangements for the spiritual lives of many. Just like there are maha-rathis, ati-rathis, eka-rathis, and ardha-rathis. The maha-rathis can fight with many thousands of men. The ati-rathi can fight with a thousand people. The eka-rathis can fight with one man, and the ardha-rathi can fight with half a man.
If we just do a little bit extra, we can reach more people. Just like the last kirtana at the Prague Ratha-yatra stage show. I had enough kirtana for myself. I didn't need that extra kirtana. But I knew if I led a really rocking kirtana, I knew everyone would dance, and they did.
If we just had to make the neighbors Krishna conscious, that would be a lifetime mission. But when we move, they will never forget us. You may even find they will visit you at the new place.
There is so much to do. And if we meditate on that, then we have no time for lust.
If we do not become agents of mercy, we will come to the state where we will come to a crossroads where there are four roads, all saying "No entry"—the roads to gambling, illicit sex, meat eating, and intoxication, and we will be feel frustrated.
Q: We hear that if the family engages in deity worship they can forget all kinds of sense gratification. But many new devotees are not so qualified. Is it good for them to do deity worship anyway?
A: Yes. But we should have a serious standard. Tarun Kanti Ghosh started a political party, and his platform was kirtana. He did kirtana all over Bengal and got elected to office. Srila Prabhupada said he was the highest placed Vaishnava in India. We knew him. We heard he joined the Raj Dhani train one night, so we decided to find him. We located him and greeted him, "Hare Krishna!" He said, "Shhh! I am doing my puja." He had a box with puja paraphernalia and pictures of his deities. Then he asked us why we were not chanting our rounds! So like that, we should not put the deities in a box, but always worship Them, even if we travel.
Even the deity in the shop should not be treated as a statue. It is not good we buy deities and keep them in storage for years, or if we just worship Lord Jagannatha for Ratha-yatra and return Him to the closet.
Q: What is the fate of the disciple who does not inquire from his guru?
A: Srila Prabhupada says in the Bg. 10.10 purport, the Lord will help such a people. Inquiry from the guru, does not mean just inquiring about all the aspects of the philosophy, but also about what lives in our heart. We must be honest when we approach the guru.
Q (by me): I can do some of the sadhana Srila Prabhupada recommended, so in theory, I should be able to encourage others, but I do not feel that people will accept me as an authority.
A: Maybe you do not make a good authority, but perhaps you make a good friend. Because you know the siddhanta, in that sense, you are an authority. But you may not be the kind of person, who says, "Let's go!" and everyone follows. That is a matter of karma. You may say, "Let's go!" and no one moves. [I interjected, "or they may move in the opposite way."] But you can be a friend. You can be friendly with those much junior to you. I cannot do that. I have to boss them around. So as a friend, you can encourage them.
Gita is sometimes called Gitopanishad, but the Gita goes beyond the Upanishads. It is not strictly a Upanishad, but it has the same format as the Upanishads. The Upanishads establish that everything is spiritual. It is said that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's acintya-bheda-abheda philosophy is based on Lord Kapila's sankhya philosophy. That everything is spiritual or Brahman is important for us as it can keep us detached (nirapeksa). Everything emanates from Krishna. Krishna appears within the universe and yet the universes are within Krishna. If we cannot understand it philosophically, Krishna demonstrates it in His pastime of showing His Mother many universes in His mouth.
In Australia there have forest fires there and big fireballs are thrown out of the fire as far as 25 kilometers away. I was in Canberra and a fireball landed 500 meters from the temple. On one nearby street, all the houses were burnt down but one. That house even had its garden intact! Somehow the owner had attracted some mercy from the Lord, and his house was saved. We can see Krishna behind everything.
I have a cartoon of two monks walking on the road. And one sees a sign that says, "Sign from God," and he says to the other, "Look, a sign from God!"
A neophyte sees this movement as being lead by different personalities, but one who is more advanced sees the movement is going on by the grace of Lord Caitanya and is not dependent on any of us. If we start thinking it depends on us, then we get carried away by pride, which Krishna does not like, and so he has to make a situation to teach us. Because the movement depends on Krishna, we can be hopeful of its success. Otherwise, if it is dependent us, we may wonder.
As a parent can sympathize with feelings of the child, the devotees can sympathize with the sufferings of the unenlightened materialists.
The devotees develop their own individuality in the course of engaging in the service of the Lord, where as the impersonalists gradually lose their individuality.
Q: According to the Gita, the impersonalists can become devotees.
A: Yes, but not those Mayavadis who begin to blaspheme the Lord saying His form is material and His service is illusory.
Q: How to understand the whole street of houses except one burning is the will of God?
A: Bhakti Tirtha Swami answered this in his book The Begger. One-third of world's people died of the bubonic plague. In Rwanda, in a few days millions of people were killed. In one paper, there was a headline 27 people killed in LA. On page four, there was an article about 500,000 killed in a Bangladesh flood. Only those who are convinced of the eternality of the soul can understand it is the will of God, and even they are temporarily bewildered.
There will be no survivors.
"The characteristics of Krishna are understood to be a storehouse of transcendental love. Although that storehouse of love certainly came with Krishna when He was present, it was sealed. But when Sri Caitanyaa Mahaprabhu came with His associates of the Panca-tattva, they broke the seal and plundered the storehouse to taste transcendental love of Krishna. The more they tasted it, the more their thirst for it grew. Sri Panca-tattva themselves danced again and again and thus made it easier to drink nectarean love of Godhead. They danced, cried, laughed and chanted like madmen, and in this way they distributed love of Godhead. In distributing love of Godhead, Sri Caitanyaa Mahaprabhu and His associates did not consider who was a fit candidate and who was not, nor where such distribution should or should not take place. They made no conditions. Wherever they got the opportunity, the members of the Panca-tattva distributed love of Godhead." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 7.20–23)
By Antony Brennan
Krishna by His practical example taught us to give protection to the cows, and Srila Prabhupada spoke often with great force and feeling on the need to protect cows. As time progresses and as more and more of us live in urban environments, cow protection seems as if it could slip through our fingers and disappear.
ISKCON has played a pioneering role in advocating and practising cow protection by establishing farm communities and goshalas, all over the world. In these difficult economic times we should try and not forget the request of Krishna, the Vedic literature, and the Srila Prabhupada, that we protect cows.
It can seem that there is little those devotees living in urban areas can do, but there is something. Quite a few cow protection organisations have web sites which allow you to adopt a cow.
Cow protection is not usually a profit making business, so donations to programs such as adopting a cow can be very important. Donations help provide for the general feed and care of cows, this is a very useful and helpful contribution to carrying on the business of protecting cows.
Click on: www.krishnafarm.com for the New Govardhana farm in NSW and scroll down to see photo’s of the resident cows and find ways you can help with the protection effort underway there.
At New Govardhana their mission is to show the spiritual and material benefits that result from protecting and caring for the cows. To do this they want to make New Govardhana a place in the world where everyone can see this demonstrated practically. A place where anyone, regardless of religious persuasion, can experience the peace and satisfaction that comes from personally caring for cows. Practically demonstrating our gratitude to her, not only will we receive her blessings, but God himself will smile upon us in appreciation. Of this there is no doubt.
Click on: www.newgokula.com for the New Gokula farm in the Hunter Valley in NSW. Click on COWS on the menu to see photo’s of the resident herd and click on CONTACT then DONATE on the menu to donaste funds for assisting with the protection of cows.
Winter is a hard time to survive if you’re one of our cows or bullocks hit especially hard by the intense frosts the likes of which have not been seen in this region in a very long time. New Gokula Farm spent over $350 per week on lucerne feed for cows and bullocks to help see them through the harsh winter months. They are requesting everyone to try and contribute any donation big or small to gain Krishna’s blessings by performing this extremely important Go-seva. You may contribute directly to the cause via the paypal link on the web site or in person if you are visiting the farm. “Thank you for your support of New Gokula Farm and our cow protection program which Srila Prabhupada stressed was the essence of human civilzation.”
Click on: www.careforcows.org and choose 'How Can I Help' on the menu bar. Here you will find a variety of ways you can help the Care for Cows care for the cows of Vrindavan.
Care for Cows in Vrindavan (India) maintains abandoned cows, bulls, retired oxen, and orphaned calves. Iinternational volunteers offer talents and resources to tend to the neglected cows living in Krishna’s holy land. Care for Cows provide stray cows with hay, flour, fresh grass, medical attention and a place where they can recuperate from injuries. At present they host a herd of three hundred.
There are approximately three to four hundred abandoned cows in Vrindavan requiring accommodation. Unless they are protected they are destined to subsist on refuse and become plagued by various debilitating and often terminal diseases or suffer injury from careless motorists. However, the most immediate danger is that they become abducted for slaughter by cattle rustlers who are active in this area today. The present facility is full and there is an urgent need to acquire more land for their protection.
Click on: www.iscowp.org and choose the 'How to Adopt a Cow' link. Here you will find photos of some cows who can be adopted and details on how you can make a payment.
The ISCOWP web site says: "5000 years ago, Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared on earth to protect His devotees and to demonstrate His pastimes. Among those pastimes was his childhood role as a cowherd boy. The cows were very dear to Him because of their affectionate and gentle nature as well as their contributions to human society, and He was kind to them in return and protected them. We should follow His example."
Click on: www.gitanagari.org and choose the 'Adopt A Cow' link. Then choose the adoption program link. There are a variety programs and payment options you can choose from.
The Gita Nagari website says: "If You Drink Milk, You Have a Responsibility: This responsibility cannot be assumed by someone else. If milk from protected cows is not available, then compensatory donations should be made on a regular basis to support cows and cowherds on a devotee farm. Large-scale commercial milk production is likely to result in over-breeding and future neglect of retired animals; therefore it should be strongly discouraged."
Click on: www.newtalavana.org and choose the 'Adopt-a-Cow' link. Choose from the donation options that suit you.
The New Talavan website says: "New Talavan has been protecting cows for over 30 years. We cannot do it without you. Please contribute and be one of Bhagavan Sri Krsna's eternal cowherd boys and girls."
Click on: www.savethecow.wordpress.com and click on 'Adoption Options. Here you will find the options available and the cows who need your help.
The Save the Cow website says: "Every cow and ox protected by Save the Cow's dedicated staff and donors lives a happy, natural life. Feeling secure, each one expresses a unique personality. Some are shy and some playful. Some are explorers and others pranksters. When Krishna tended cows in Vrindavan He knew each of them by name and treated them as individuals. Through cow protection, Save the Cow creates a Vrindavan atmosphere in North Central Florida at New Raman Reti farm."
It may be that due to the current economic climate adopting a cow may be beyond your means. The web sites mentioned above also allow one off donations to the amount that you can afford
Click on: www.firstgiving.com/mgosh, another site where even a small amount will be put to good use.Share this story your way:
My son Nitai in La Paz, Bolivia, circa 2002
F from Miami wrote:
"Hare Krishna Kurma. I was in Amsterdam for Ratha Yatra and had some delicious pumpkin subji. Although I did have the pleasure of meeting the devotee in charge of cooking for the temple, I didn't put two & two together so sadly I forgot to ask her for the recipe. Do you have any suggestions? Your help & recipes are so much appreciated."
My reply: Thanks for your kind words. Well, I cannot say whether this is what you tasted, as recipes vary so much across the world, especially when they are cooked in large quantities. Nevertheless, here's a delcious pumpkin recipe.
Succulent Gujarati Pumpkin
This dish proves just how delicious pumpkin can be if teamed up with the correct flavour partners. Succulent Gujarati Pumpkin is excellent served with hot chapatis. Makes enough for 6 persons.
2 tablespoons oil or ghee, 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, ½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder, 1 kg pumpkin, cut 1.75cm cubes, 1 cup water, 1½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon red chili powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1½ teaspoons jaggery or brown sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped.
Heat a wok or deep saute pan over moderate heat. Add the oil or ghee, and when slightly hot, add the fenugreek seeds. Fry them until they turn one or two shades darker. Be careful not to darken them too much, or they will turn bitter.
Add the yellow asafetida powder, saute momentarily, splash in a little water to cool the pan, then add the pumpkin, water, salt, turmeric, chili, and coriander powder.
Stir, then cover, raise the heat, bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 or 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender, preferably with a little liquid left in the pan.
Add the sweetener and lemon juice, fold through, then remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.
I want one soul saved, that is more than millions of dollars.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Morning Walk -- December 14, 1975, New Delhi
By Kesava Krsna Dasa
Within such a huge organisation like Iskcon, it is not surprising to sometimes experience less of the affection we expected. There are several reasons for this. But if a disciple feels this way about his or her guru in good standing, does it indicate a neglect of some sort?
By Acintya Caitanya Dasa
Jananivas Prabhu's service was to bring frankincense to Srila Prabhupada's room in the evening. He mentioned that usually after you fill a room with frankincense, you open the doors and windows so that the mosquitos go out with the smoke
By Kuli Mela Association
Just a reminder that the Kulimela week will be from the 3rd to the 9th of Jan 2011 while the week before that (27th of Dec to 2nd of Jan) will be packed with tours and adventures and give everyone a chance to get to know each other while exploring this beautiful country
Dandavats.com: It is not that we first have to be contacted by the modes of material nature to fall down from Goloka or Vaikuntha
Gauragopala Dasa: To say we DID NOT come from Vaikuntha is to say we came from the impersonal Brahmajyoti and Srila Prabhupada rejected that idea
nvcommunications: Last Tuesday, Damodara dasa from New Vrindaban was interviewed for one hour on Whispers Paranormal Radio. The show is broadcast live as well as recorded. It is syndicated worldwide on the UFO Paranormal Radio Network.
Ramacharan Dasa: The Parade of Chariots will begin at 12 noon near Love Park in Center City Philadelphia at 16th and Ben Franklin Parkway. It will proceed from there down the Ben Franklin Parkway to Eakin's Oval in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Arts where the Festival of India will be held
In the 3rd part of this Japa Retreat, Sacinandana Swami asks the question - Where Is Your Mind?
You either fear or love.
Namamrta by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada:
'One should control the mind by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, which engages the mind at the lotus feet of Krishna:
"One should not trust his mind, which is so fickle that it can give way to enemies at any moment. The mind is always accompanied by six enemies, namely kama, krodha, madha, moha, matsarya and bhaya—that is, lust, anger, intoxication, illusion, envy and fear. Although the mind may be merged in spiritual consciousness, one should always be careful in dealing with it, just as one is careful in dealing with a snake. One should never think that his mind is trained and that he can do whatever he likes. One interested in spiritual life should always engage his mind in the service of the Lord so that the enemies of the mind, who always accompany the mind, will be subdued. If the mind is not engaged in Krishna consciousness at every moment, there is a chance that it will give way to its enemies. In this way we become victims of the mind.
Chanting the Hare Krishna mantra engages the mind at the lotus feet of Krishna constantly; thus the mind's enemies do not have a chance to strike." (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila 11.10)
If one is paying attention only to the accumulation of numbers, the mind is neutralized and one is not overcome by enemies like illusion, envy or fear. But neither is it engaged in positive Krishna consciousness, reciprocating with Radha and Krishna. For that we have to directly concentrate the mind and be attentive to the chanting. It can not go on simply mechanically or else it is not positive japa. Chanting is an endeavor and does not run on by automatic pilot.
This morning I was up from bed at 12:30, but I could not move my chanting to a quick pace. I don't know why that was. I was not at all sleepy, and I was chanting the mantras with care. But nevertheless they moved slowly, probably about ten minutes per round. I wanted to finish sixteen rounds before 3:30 and felt it was like a bomb that would go off if I didn't make it on time, before Baladeva came up the stairs. Actually he came up the stairs just before I finished my sixteenth round. But while he was present fixing the Deities I finished my sixteenth round. The chanting however was on the side of accumulation of numerical strength too much and not enough on the quality of meditation.
The enemies of the mind are
One Hundred Prabhupada Poems #21
Last night they asked me
Now this morning, I cannot bring to me
Personal history of Henry the VIII.
He's a member for life unless he
The operation is to pray Hare
How asinine I am,
But he is a member of the
He should pray Hare
Yet he is smarter than you,
I turned at random to Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.13.11: "The demigods said: Let Maharaja Nimi live without a material body. Let him live in a spiritual body as a personal associate of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and according to his desire, let him be manifest or unmanifest to common materially embodied people." Maharaja Nimi died but at the request of the demigods he was given a spiritual body. This is the desire of every pure devotee. He doesn't want to come back in another material body to suffer birth, death, disease and old age. He does not want to be bodyless and merge his identity into the brahmajyoti, as the mayavadis desire. He is willing to take any body in which he can render devotional service to the supreme Lord. A devotee is not afraid to take a material body if he can render service to the Lord. He wants to remember the lotus feet of the Lord. This is real liberation.
But Maharaja Nimi was allowed to take a spiritual body. The Lord's body can be seen or unseen according to His own transcendental desire. "The same privilege of being seen or unseen according to one’s own desire was given to Maharaja Nimi. Thus he lived in his original, spiritual body as an associate of the Lord." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.13.11, purport) I desire to attain my spiritual body. I'm afraid of the material body and its exposure to the material environment. But I saw in Srila Prabhupada, that he was always serving in the liberated condition. At the end of his life he said if he went to the spiritual world he would do the same thing he was doing on earth: serve Krishna in unalloyed service. He compared himself to a threshing machine. He said if a threshing machine goes to heaven, what will it do? It would do the same thing in heaven, it would thresh. I should have confidence that I am performing spiritual activities here. I should not be afraid of the next body. I should desire devotional service and be assured that Krishna will allow me to take it up. Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings, "My Lord, if you want me to take birth and accept a material body again, kindly do me this service: allow me to take birth in the home of Your servants, Your devotee. I don't mind being born there even as an insignificant creature like an insect." "If one has a strong desire to serve the Lord, even if he accepts a material body there is no cause for anxiety, since a devotee, even in the material body, is a liberated soul." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.13.9, purport) This should be your prayer. To serve the Lord in any condition.
I am having trouble doing free writing aside from a response to a random reading of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. I asked Baladeva for suggestions. Saci-suta, Ragunatha, and six children came to our pancake lunch yesterday. It was quite a scene. Baladeva suggested I write about that. But by the time I came down for lunch the children had already almost finished eating. They were sitting on a cloth in the front room. Baji stood up, rubbed her belly and said, "I gained five pounds." The other children soon said thank you and ran out the front door. So it was only Saci and Ragunatha eating with me. Trivikrama and Baladeva were making more pancakes and serving them. Saci's seven-year old son Laksmana stayed for a few minutes and told me about some of the rides he went on at the carnival. One ride turned him around three times in the air. He had pictures of a ride where they coasted down a slide of water and then hit a big splash at the bottom. It got them wet. Then Laksmana left with his friend, Ben. The men talked about the big event taking place at the Omega Institute that day "The Ecstatic Kirtan," which costs (I think) 395 dollars to enter plus payment for eating separate. All he big stars of the kirtana world were performing, like Krishnadas and others. Gauravani and his Kindred Spirits would be there and Radhanatha Swami also. Dhanurdara Swami said he was thinking of going without paying. "I'm a sannyasi. I can enter anywhere free," he said. Saci was planning to take his children to the state fair. I'm not sure what Raghunatha and his wife and children were planning on doing. He lives in an artist's loft in the West Village in New York City and has many engagements as a yoga instructor. I congratulated him on his success. He said I was doing well. I spent part of the afternoon watching the Yankees play the Toronto Blue Jays until the Yankees fell behind 4-0 and then I turned it off.
We are gaining another devotee at Stuyvesant Falls. Premabhakti-marga Dasi is going to live with Kaulini Mataji. It's nice to have devotees in the neighborhood. As I write this, T.J. and Brian have just arrived to do some more construction work right below my room, finishing the "mud room" on the front of the house. Baladeva has baked butter cookies and banana bread to give to the neighbors next door. When their two cars are in he plans to knock on their door and tell them about the problem of their dog barking in the backyard near our house. He's going to ask them if they could tie him up on the other side of the yard. The cookies are for a peace offering. I'll definitely report in the free writing about what happens in that encounter.
I want one soul saved, that is more than millions of dollars.
- Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk -- December 14, 1975, New Delhi
SRS: We should not forget the true face of this material world, or think that this could not happen again, and worse. Read more…
Devotees at Melbourne temple have posted three slideshows displaying the beautiful deities who live in the temple there all from Janmastami this year. If you follow the links below you will find a stunning display of photographs.
There is a slideshow of photos from the Morning, evening and midnight Darsan periods. These are truly windows to the transcendental world.
By Rasanandini. Morning Darsan: Devotees queued outside and then packed the temple room to see the Lord on His Appearance Day, so there was standing room only.
Evening Darsan: Just to get Their glance, devotees queued throughout the temple campus, down Danks St.and along Boyd St.
Midnight Darsan: Here is a slide show of the Deities’ candlelit darshan at midnight, the time of Lord Krishna’s transcendental appearance. Thank you everyone, whether you were guest, sponsor, volunteer, or all three. May you relish the truth of Sri Krishna’s words, “Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form”. (Bhagavad-gita 4.6.)
See the Melbourne temple website at the following link
Talk with Nrsma-krsna.
“Come along, now that you have arrived we can begin congregational chanting of the Lord’s names….”Share this story your way:
The Human Touch
Time Measured By Soap
Vyasa-puja - birthday of the guru
Some Extraordinary Way
Kurma dasa, AU: Yamuna Devi Recipe #2 - Sweet Saffron Rice with Currants and Pistachios (Meetha Kesari Bhat)
picking saffron crocus in Kashmir
Sweet Saffron Rice with Currants and Pistachios (Meetha Kesari Bhat)
This relatively simple sweet rice is made regal by the color and flavour of saffron. The success of the dish depends on the delicate balance of flavours contributed by the rice, saffron and sweetener. Jaggery, light brown sugar, or maple sugar is the best sweetener for this dish. If you use maple syrup or honey, omit 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of water. Basmati rice is highly recommended.*
Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 5 minutes Cooking time: 25-30 minutes Serves: 4 or 5
1 cup (95 g) basmati or other long-grain white rice, 1¾-2 cups (400-480 ml) water, 1/3 teaspoon (1.5 ml) high-quality saffron threads, 1½-inch (4 cm) piece of cinnamon stick, 6 whole cloves, ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) salt, ½ cup (75 g) crumbled Jaggery, maple sugar or equivalent raw sugar, lightly packed, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) cardamom seeds, coarsely crushed, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) ghee or vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons (45 ml) silvered or sliced raw pistachios or almonds, 3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins or currants, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) blanched raw pistachios, sliced into thin curls for garnishing,
Bring the water to a boil in a heavy 1 ½ -quart/liter nonstick saucepan. Place the saffron threads in a small bowl and add 2 ½ table spoons (37 ml) of the boiling water. Allow the threads to soak for 10-15 minutes while cooking the rice.
Stir the rice into the boiling water and add the cinnamon stick, cloves and salt. When the water resumes boiling, reduce the heat to very low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and gently simmer with out stirring for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender and fluffy and all of the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for 5 minutes to allow the fragile grains to firm up.
In the meantime, combine the saffron water, sweetener and cardamom seeds in a small saucepan. Place over moderate heat and stir until the sweetener is dissolved. Lower the heat slightly and simmer for about 1 minute. Pour the syrup into the rice and quickly re-cover.
Heat the ghee or oil in a small pan over moderately low heat until it is hot but not smoking. Fry the nuts and raisins until the nuts turn golden brown and the raisins swell. Pour the nuts, raisins and ghee or oil into the piping-hot rice and gently fluff with a fork to mix. Spoon onto a serving platter and sprinkle with the sliced pistachio nuts.
*Note that since Yamuna wrote her recipes using US measurements, the weights are in US with metric in brackets.
More importantly, her tablespoons are US (15ml) whereas Australian/metric tablespoons are 20ml. So if you follow these recipes using metric measures, your tablespoons should be scant.
Similarly, the US cup is 240ml as distinct from the Australian/metric 250ml cup. The same scant measuring should thus apply to Australian/metric cup users.
The teaspoon is a universal 5ml.
Our daughter Rasarani-priya is a disciple of HH Indradyumna Swami. She was initiated on Gopastami in 2007, and this year on Lord Balarama’s appearance day, right at the end of the Polish summer festival and just after her 18th birthday, she received second initiation.
She has always been a keen pujari. She has had her own set of Sri Sri Radha Madhava since she was nine. Radharani was given to her when she was four, as a Diwali gift from Puspendra Pandey, famous deitywala from Jaipur.
In preparation for her brahmin initiation Rasarani has taken the three month Deity worship course run by the Mayapur Academy, and also passed her Bhakti Shastri exam last year, held by the Mayapur Institute.
She is very happy because now she can worship the temple Deities.
Because we have always lived in the near vicinity of an ISKCON temple we don’t do a full puja of our home Deities. We always attend the program for the temple and most of our attention is focussed on the main temple Deities. I do an hour long puja for Srila Prabhupada every day–massage, bathing, dressing, arati and a fruit offering–and that’s usually it. But Rasarani does bathe and dress her Deities on special occasions and Janmastami was no exception.
Here’s a photo of Their Lordships, beautifully dressed and resplendent on our home altar on Janmastami day.
To have some little disagreements amongst yourselves is not very unnatural because we are all individual beings. But as we are all working on behalf of Krishna we should always forget our personal interests and see to the prime cause.
- Srila Prabhupada
1968 September 7: "Please try to establish a center there at any cost. Somehow or other if you can simply maintain an apartment and sit down there and chant Hare Krishna. I do not want immediately a very large storefront. I simply want that a center may immediately be started. Perform kirtana there and that will be our success."
1969 September 7: "On Vyasa Puja day we had a very nice ceremony in the temple and two German brahmacaris, one English brahmacari and one German householder couple were initiated into this Krishna Consciousness Movement. Tomorrow we shall be going to London where we will be staying at the estate of John Lennon."
1972 September 7: "Krishna is within everyone and He becomes revealed in proportion to our sincere service. Let us work very diligently for Krishna all over the world, and our advancement will depend on our sincerity."
1972 September 7: "These yogis, swamis, mayavadis, scientists, philosophers, political leaders - all are glowworms in the darkness of cloudy night. Our movement is Krishna. It is non-different from Krishna. Take this movement very seriously and certainly we will come out victorious all over the world."
1974 September 7: "Now you publish all my books and distribute. Krishna will help you in every respect. Not a single farthing should be invested in any business enterprise. Formally it was so done without my sanction. So be careful."
1974 September 7: "When I was there I was very, very hopeful. The people are very intelligent. Get them to take this movement seriously. They are prepared to accept the real truth. Print more and more of my books and profusely distribute."
1974 September 7: "You say you will be tactful and respectful in your dealings. That should be the motto of all GBC secretaries. Be tolerant. All our men have volunteered good service, so the background is good will. So everything should be done on the basis of good will."
1975 September 7: "As I am traveling all over the world, I see the dissatisfaction of the human race manifesting in different ways as a disease is manifest by different symptoms. This dissatisfaction can only be mitigated only by the acceptance of Krishna consciousness."
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