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A Living Gita By Indradyumna Swami



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A Living Gita

A Living Gita

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A Living Gita

Diary of a Traveling Monk - Volume 11, Chapter 7 - July 1 - 25, 2010

By Indradyumna Swami

When I flew from the United States to Warsaw at the beginning of July, Poland was still grieving the loss of President Lech Kaczynski, who had died in a plane crash in Russia in early April. His wife and scores of other senior Polish figures died with him. The run-off to the election to replace him was to be held on July 5, the day of our first summer festival on the Baltic Sea coast.

The next day I boarded a small plane for the town of Szczecin, near our base on the coast. It would be an eight-hour journey by plane and car, and I was suffering from jet lag, so I had put on non-devotional clothes, hoping to avoid discussions on the plane. As I sat down, I could feel a somber mood among the passengers.

About fifteen minutes into the flight, the man seated next to me spoke. “Are you aware that people are staring at you?” he said.

I looked around and made eye contact with several passengers, who were indeed staring at me. They quickly looked away.

“I wasn’t aware of it,” I said.

“Just who are you?” he asked.

“My name is Tibbitts, sir,” I said. “I’m on my way to the coast for a little vacation.”

“You’re not on vacation,” he said. “I’ve been watching you too. You’re a man with a purpose. What are you really up to?”

I couldn’t help smiling at his intuition. “Actually,” I said, “I’m a Hare Krsna devotee and a participant in the annual Festival of India along the coast.”

“Oh, the Festival of India,” he said. I know it well. I went to three of your festivals in the 1990s. They were very nice.”

“Thank you,” I said. “We’ve come a long way since then. You should visit us again.”

“I will,” he said.

“But tell me,” I said, “how did you know I have a purpose in life, as you put it?”

He smiled. “I’ve been a lawyer for forty years,” he said. “It’s my job to know people’s real intentions.”

In Szczecin I was picked up by Amrtananda dasa and driven to our base, which was a beehive of activity. I immediately searched out Nandini dasi, whom I hadn’t seen in ten months.

We exchanged greetings and then got down to work. “I haven’t received any urgent emails from you,” I said, “so I assume everything is going smoothly.”

“I didn’t want to bother you,” she said. “You have enough on your mind with so many other responsibilities. But we have had some very close calls in organizing several of this year’s events. It was only this morning that we were given a venue in Dzwirzyno for our first festival of the season.

“What?” I said. “The festival in Dzwirzyno is this evening.”

“There were a lot of politics in the towns along the coast this year,” Nandini said. “Many of the people who used to help us lost their jobs or moved on.”

“Last month,” she continued, “when I visited the town hall in Dzwirzyno, no one knew me and they showed little interest in hosting this summer’s festival. I kept trying, but to no avail. This morning I tried one last time. I sat among a throng of people waiting for the receptionist. Two hours had passed when a man walked out of his office and recognized me.

“‘Oh hello,’ he said. ‘What are you doing here?’

“I said, ‘I’m trying to get permission to put on the Festival of India.’

“He turned to the receptionist and said, ‘This lady and her associates have been staging events in our town for many years. You should immediately help her.’

“Suddenly I was at the front of the line. The receptionist said, ‘How can I help you?’

“I said, ‘We need a venue for our program. It’s quite large. We average five thousand people a show.’

“She stared at me in amazement. Then she checked her computer and said, ‘I’m sorry. All the venues are taken.’

“It seemed I’d hit another brick wall, but I decided to make one last try. I said, ‘Could you ask the director of cultural affairs in the town?.’

“Just to appease me she picked up the phone and called the director. She said, ‘I’m sorry for disturbing you, sir, but there’s a lady here who wants to hold a show for five thousand people.’

“She looked at me and said, ‘He wants to know what show.’

“I said, ‘The Festival of India,’ and she told the director, ‘It’s the Festival of India.’

“Her face went white. She told the director, ‘Yes, immediately. I’m so sorry. Here she is.’ And she handed me the phone.

“The director knew me from a previous visit, and he started apologizing. He said, ‘I’m so sorry for the inconvenience, so sorry. Your event is one of the highlights of the summer in my town. I was wondering why we hadn’t heard from you this year.’

“I said, ‘I’ve been trying to arrange a venue for a month, but no one in the administration seems to know us anymore. The receptionist here says there are no venues available.’

“He paused for a moment, and then he said, ‘We’ll give you the small park right in the center of town. You won’t even need to publicize the event. Everyone will walk right into it.’”

Nandini smiled. “So that’s how it went, Srila Gurudeva,” she said.

“That’s an amazing story, Nandini,” I said. “At least the director remembered us.”

That evening it seemed the entire town came to our festival, well above our normal crowd of five thousand.

“Just see, Srila Gurudeva,” Nandini said as we walked around the site. “Look how Lord Caitanya is helping us.”

“I’ve often witnessed His mercy on this tour,” I said, “but it never ceases to amaze me.”

Nandini laughed. “Something else happened this morning,” she said. “I’ve been battling for a venue in Ustronie Morskie for a long time. We’re supposed to have a festival there next week. The site we use every year was purchased by a disco bar. They plan to put tables there so people can sit outside the disco and drink beer. I approached them many times asking if we could rent the place, but they just laughed at me.”

“Last night I made my final attempt,” she continued. “I spoke to the man who had bought the site. He laughed and said, ‘A cultural event? You’ve got to be kidding. Our culture is drinking beer and dancing with sexy women.’

“This morning I got a call from him at six a. m. He said, ‘You can have the venue.’

“I was stunned. I said, ‘Thank you so much. What made you change your mind?’

“He said, ‘I had a dream last night, an amazing dream. When I woke up I told my wife I wanted to have that spiritual festival in our town. She said we’d lose money, but as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter.’”

Nandini shrugged her shoulders and looked upward. “So you see, Srila Gurudeva,” she said, “it’s only by inconceivable mercy that it’s all going on.”

Ten days later we presented the festival in Ustronie Morskie. I relished it more than the others, knowing that it was only by higher decree that it went ahead. Thousands of people poured in throughout the evening enjoying our stage show, the tents, and the vegetarian restaurant.

As I walked around the grounds a man came up to me and started telling me a remarkable tale.

“Thirty years ago,” he began, “I was traveling through India. I was on my way from Delhi to the Taj Mahal in Agra when my taxi driver turned off the road to a small country town. As we drove around I was attracted to the many temples and holy people and asked him to drop me off.

“I wandered about and came to a temple with three large altars. There were lots of people, Indians and Westerners, singing and dancing in front of the statues on the altars. The mood was very nice. I just couldn’t pull myself away. I returned to that temple every day for a week. The whole atmosphere was heavenly. I even considered living there for a while, but family and business took me back to the West. I’ve thought of that temple and the atmosphere there ever since.

“Then the strangest thing happened today. I saw you people singing on the beach, handing out invitations to your festival. Somehow, your singing reminded me of that temple in India. I decided to come to your event, and now I’m overwhelmed. I’m feeling the same happiness and joy here that I experienced at that temple in India. I can’t understand it.”

“Do you remember anything specific about the altars in that temple?” I asked.

“Yes, sir,” he said. “On the altar furthest to the left were statues of two young men dancing with their arms upraised. On the middle altar were two boys standing in a relaxed pose, one black and one white, and one had a flute. On the altar to the right was a beautiful couple. The man also had a flute.”

“That temple is called the Krsna-Balarama Temple,” I said. “It’s one of our most important centers. This festival is an expansion of that center. Ours is like a traveling temple.”

He put his hands to his head. “Amazing!” he said.

I smiled. “Maybe you shouldn’t leave this time,” I said.

A moment later a devotee came along and introduced me to another man.

The man shook my hand. “I still can’t believe it,” he said.

“Believe what?” I said.

“I’m a professor of philosophy,” he said. “Several months ago I became interested in Eastern religion. I came across the Bhagavad-gita online and ordered a copy. I brought it with me on my vacation and was reading it on the beach, when suddenly you people appeared chanting along the sand. When I first saw you I just laughed. I thought you were a cult. I said to myself, ‘These people should read the Bhagavad-gita and learn what Indian culture is really all about.’

“As you passed by I was given an invitation to your festival in Dzwirzyno last week. Just for laughs I decided to go. But I got the shock of my life when you came onstage to give your lecture. You started by saying that your movement is authorized because it’s based on an ancient scripture, the Bhagavad-gita. I almost fell over when you held up the very same book I had purchased online: Bhagavad-gita As It Is by Swami Prabhupada. I came to Ustronie Morskie just to tell you that your festival is like a living Gita.”

“Thank you very much,” I said. “I can’t think of a higher compliment.”

Just then Braja Kishor dasa, our stage manager, came running up to me. “Maharaja,” he said, “you’re late for your lecture and the final kirtana.”

I rushed to the stage with the professor in tow, and as I began my twenty-minute talk, he made himself comfortable in the front row. When I finished, the large audience applauded, and I sat down to lead the final kirtana.

“Thank You, Lord,” I thought. “These people almost missed their chance to hear the holy names. Thank You for intervening.”

I started off slowly but picked up the rhythm as devotees and guests began dancing on the field with abandon, young and old swaying in a circle in front of the stage. It was nothing new - it happens every night - but somehow it always gets better.

I was unaware of how long we’d been chanting when Jayatam dasa came in front of the stage and motioned to his watch. “It’s past ten p. m.,” he mouthed. “We have to stop.”

I brought the kirtana to a close and watched sadly while the crowd left the grounds. As I came down from the stage, a man came up to me.

“I have to speak with you,” he said. He paused for a moment, and then pressed fifty zlotys into my hand.

“Can you give blessings?” he said. “Please, I beg you, take this money and bless me that I will never forget the words to that song you were singing. I want to remember it and sing it every day of my life so I can be happy like you people. I’ve never experienced such joy as when I sang along with you tonight.”

A small crowd started to gather.

“Bless him!” said a man.

“You can’t refuse him!” said a woman.

I smiled. “OK, sir,” I said. “I bless you to always chant the holy names of Krsna and be happy forever.”

The onlookers applauded.

As I drove back to our base with several devotees, we were silent. Everyone was absorbed in remembering the mercy that had flowed that evening. Finally, Amrtananda spoke. “Srila Gurudeva,” he said, “were you satisfied with the festival?”

“These are Mahaprabhu’s modern-day pastimes,” I said. “There’s no other way to explain the incredible transformation that is taking place in the hearts of so many people. It’s only by special grace that we are assisting Srila Prabhupada in this way.”

I went to bed that night feeling deep satisfaction in my heart.

Srila Prabodhananda Saraswati writes: “The splendid path of pure devotional service, which bewildered the great sages in the past, which material intelligence has no power to enter, which Sukadeva Goswami was not able to understand, and which merciful Lord Krsna never revealed even to His closest friend, is the place where the dear devotees of Lord Gaura happily enjoy pastimes.”

[Sri Caitanya-candramrta, Chapter 4, Text 1] www. travelingmonk. com Audio lectures: www. narottam. com Facebook: Indradyumna Swami

By Indradyumna Swami

The splendid path of pure devotional service, which bewildered the great sages in the past, which material intelligence has no power to enter, which Sukadeva Goswami was not able to understand, and which merciful Lord Krsna never revealed even to His closest friend, is the place where the dear devotees of Lord Gaura happily enjoy pastimes

[pensamiento-del-dia:817] Usa tus talentos para Krishna







Jueves, 05 de agosto del 2010

PENSAMIENTO DEL DÍA: Usa tus talentos para Krishna
Enviado desde el Ashram Bhativedanta, Austin, Texas, EE.UU.

Cualquier talento o habilidad que tengamos es un regalo de Krishna. De hecho Krishna directamente declara en el Bhagavad-gita que Él es la habilidad en el hombre. Esto significa que deberíamos usar estos talentos y habilidades en Su servicio. Cuanto más así glorifiquemos a Krishna, más llegaremos a ser gloriosos. Srila Prabhupada alentó a los Beatles a usar su talento musical para difundir la conciencia de Krishna y especialmente George Harrison siguió esta instrucción. Su canción "Mi dulce Señor", una canción en separación de Krishna, llegó a ser un millón de veces vendida y ayudo a las personas en todo el mundo a ser consciente de Krishna.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

George Harrison actuando con cuentas en el cuello
y una imagen de Krishna en su camisa


Desafío: Su enfoque no está ilustrado


¿Cómo evaluaría usted la mayoría de sus respuestas a las preguntas? ¿Son ellas sáttvicas— no obligadas a apegos y opiniones; rajásicas—obligadas por los apegos a opiniones; o tamásicas—obligadas por las opiniones de otros? 

Gracias. Este enfoque no ilustrado a través de sus respuestas me ha ayudado en el proceso de iluminación por guiarme a trascender y liberarme de los apegos a mis propias opiniones y fallos. Estoy profundamente conmovido. 

Dr. Craig

Respuesta: Estás mordiendo la mano del que te alimenta

Estás haciendo una suposición de lo que estamos respondiendo a las preguntas de una manera tamásica/rajásica no ilustrada. Pero amablemente nota en este sentido que no estamos dando nuestras opiniones. Estamos completamente desapegados de nuestras opiniones y fallos y estamos humildemente presentando las enseñanzas puras de Srila Vyasadeva, el compilador de la sabiduría Védica exactamente como Él originalmente las dio. El deber del mensajero es simplemente entregar el mensaje tal como es sin adición o sustracción. Este es nuestro humilde servicio, tal como un trabajador de la oficina de correos. 

Por lo tanto si, como tú clamas, nuestras respuestas no son ilustres, entonces la sabiduría Védica no es ilustre. Pero estás usando términos tales como sattvic, rajasic, y tamasic, que vienen de la sabiduría Védica, para criticar nuestras respuestas. Esto es equivalente a morder la mano del que te alimenta. 

En conclusión, aunque estamos desapegados de nuestros fallos y opiniones, no parece que estás libre de ellos. Por lo tanto verdaderamente espero que puedas llegar a estar conmovido a ir más allá de tus prejuicios y conectarte totalmente con la fuente de tu existencia. Y ciertamente tienes nuestros mejores deseos en este respecto.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



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ISKCON Julia Roberts: I`m A Practicing Hindu



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  1. Kurma dasa, AU: We All Scream
  2. ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Swarupa-sakti Mataji
  3. Akrura das, Gita Coaching: TOP 12 QUESTIONS FOR SUCCESS
  4. Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across Poland: [P13] Rolling Off to Woodstock (2010)
  5. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 31
  6. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: For His Pleasure
  7. Giridhari das, Brasilia, Brazil: Devotee Training Retreat (JIVA) in Pandavas Paradise
  8. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Aindra Prabhu's Absence
  9. H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Dan's Troubles
  10. New Vrndavan, USA: Sankirtan das Gives Teleconference Class
  11. ISKCON Taking a Break From the Lord's Work
  12. ISKCON Julia Roberts: I`m A Practicing Hindu
  13. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Sadhana means striving to become a pure devotee and tasting the ecstasies of love of God
  14. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Saturday, July 31st, 2010
  15. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Friday, July 30th, 2010
  16. H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Thursday, July 29th, 2010
  17. H.H. Sivarama Swami: Today in answer to a question by Szentgyörgyi Sándor I am privileged to be able to sing some of the glories of Srimad Bhagavatam
  18. H.H. Sivarama Swami
  19. Gouranga TV: Aindra Prabhu – Hare Krishna kirtan – ISKCON Vrindavan kartik – October 28, 2009 – 3/3
  20. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  21. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  22. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  23. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  24. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  25. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  26. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  27. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  28. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  29. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  30. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  31. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  32. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  33. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  34. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  35. Srila Prabhupada's Letters
  36. A Living Gita
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Kurma dasa, AU: We All Scream

we all scream for....:

S from London writes:

"Is it possible to make eggless ice cream at home? If yes, can I have a recipe for vanilla ice cream?

My reply: "It is possible, yes. Here's my recipe:

Quick and Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

The vanilla plant is an orchid which grows as a massive vine needing a frame or trellis to support it. The fruit takes the form of a long thin pod, containing a pulp in which is found a mass of minute black seeds. Each of the pods must be handpicked just before they are ripe enough to split open naturally. Then they are fermented to enable the pods to develop their concentration of vanillin crystals which are chiefly responsible for the unique, haunting perfumed flavour of vanilla.

The subtlety and delicacy of vanilla makes it a perpetual favourite. The vanilla required for this most popular ice cream is in the form of pure vanilla extract, available at gourmet food suppliers. Avoid imitation, or alcohol-based essences, usually found on supermarket shelves.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes, CHILLING TIME: 2 hours, FREEZING TIME: 6-10 hours, YIELD: about 4 cups (1 litre).

3 cups (750ml) whipping cream (up to 40 per cent milk fat), 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract, 1 cup plus 1½ tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, 400g

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Remove the mixture from the refrigerator. Beat the mixture until it holds firm peaks. Spoon into a metal freezer container and freeze for 6-10 hours, or until firm. Return the ice cream to the refrigerator to soften slightly before serving.

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ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Swarupa-sakti Mataji

Thursday 5th August, 2010.

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.22.47-48
- Conditioned living entities are covered by five kinds of ignorance.

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Akrura das, Gita Coaching: TOP 12 QUESTIONS FOR SUCCESS

The questions on the Top 12 List evolved out of Marilee Adams' work with coaching clients and workshop participants over many years. The list can be used in at least three ways:

First, it is a logical sequence of questions to help you work through any situation you might want to change or improve.

Second, you might just want to scan the list for questions you've been missing.

Third, you can turn to it when you're looking for just the right question to emphasize in a particular situation.

Within this list are questions that are applicable to a variety of life's challenges. The goal is to integrate these questions into your everyday thinking. Then, when a challenge arises, you'll be able to easily recall some of them. Not every question applies to every situation. That's why you'll want to develop a collection of your favorites and work with them on a regular basis. These questions can open and change your mind. They allow you to unveil new choices, options, and possibilities you might otherwise have missed.

Here's the list:

1. What do I want?

2. What are my choices?

3. What assumptions am I making?

4. What am I responsible for?

5. How else can I think about this?

6. What is the other person thinking, feeling, needing, and wanting?

7. What am I missing or avoiding?

8. What can I learn?

...from this person or situation?

...from this mistake or failure?

...from this success?

9. What questions should I ask (myself or others?)

10. What action steps make the most sense?

11. How can I turn this into a win-win?

12. What is possible?

Keep this list in a handy place where you can refer to it whenever you feel stuck, want new alternatives, or a change.

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Maddy Jean-claude Durr, New Govardhana, AU: A Journey Across Poland: [P13] Rolling Off to Woodstock (2010)

Sunday 25th, July 2010. Today we were making our way to the Woodstock base. All the devotees were packing and moving around. I sat at my computer to finish off some business. Jayatam Prabhu was passing by. He called my name and I was startled. "What service would you like to do for Woodstock?" he asked. I was sure, after all the doctors checks, that I was going to help with Prasadam but now I was doubtful. It was a strange question for him to ask, because I was expecting Jayatam to tell me what my service would be, not me telling him. I was a little confused about the whole ordeal but he proposed a solution; "I need someone to help with the VIPs." This service meant that I would be a menial servant to HH Indradyumna Swami and all the other exalted Vaisnavas. I was naturally a little nervous with the proposition but very much enthusiastic. I thanked Jayatam for such an opportunity and he simply walked on, carrying on with his business.

I checked my emails and heard news from Australia. In New Govardhana, Amala Kirtan had just performed. They held a twelve hour kirtana over the weekend, with a massive attendance. My good friend from high school, Eugene, was one of the many who went. I heard all the news through him, this being his first big kirtana experience. It was inspiring to see Krsna dishing out the mercy to all my friends and relatives in Australia. I finished off all my diary business also, just in case there was no internet access at Woodstock, and called it a day.

We packed our bags and stacked them outside, on the pavement. It was like a forest of luggage and devotees were weaving around like busy bees. Soon enough the rain began to pour and all the devotees retreated to the hive. Some of us had hard cases so we left them in the rain, entering at the end of the congested line of devotees. Now there was a luggage jungle inside and the devotees impatiently waited as, one by one, the buses came to pick us up.

As we drove off, someone started Nrsimha prayers. The bus stopped, only a little drive down the road, and we were already facing our first complications. The bus seemed to have some problem with the pneumatic system (gas lines) but the bus driver worked it out after a little time. We drove a short distance and the same thing happened again. If it happened once more I was going to have someone call Jayatam (I was already suspicious that this year's bus drivers were only in it for the money and I was hoping to catch them out so we could boot them out). Finally, by Krsna's arrangement, we were off and didn't stop for an hour or so. We finally popped into a petrol station for a junk food stock up. The line at the counter stretched like the Himalayan mountain range, covering the whole store.

I looked at my watch - I had been timing the trip. It had been a few hours so I asked the classic line, "are we there yet?" All of a sudden people were paying attention to their surroundings. "I think we are" came a surprised reply. We stopped by the Red school, the base for most of the devotees. It looked as spooky as ever (reputed for being haunted over the years that we had used it). I was happy to be free from this ghostly mayhem, moving to the Green school (aka VIP school), somewhere across town. We took some time to organise the bus and then we were off. The trip was a little longer than I realized it would be but it was a nice location.

I found my spot in the "VIP + Prabhus" room, which the sign read on the door. Bhakta Bruno, a veteran from 2008, was already settled in the room, along with HG Kaliyapani Prabhu. Cidananda Gaura and Radheya popped in also, on their way to site. They were going to do a bit of seva, just as the sun was going down. I heard Mahavana out in the hallway and I directed him into our room. I wasn't sure how long the VIP luxuries were going to last for me but I presumed maybe I would be staying in their room for the whole time so I could be on standby for their every need.

I popped into Gurudeva's room while he was out. I found Sri Prahlada in there and we had a great little catch up. He showed me some photos of his recent trip to China. I let him rest up and returned to my room. I finished the night reading Caitanya Caritamrta. Lord Caitanya was travelling from one country to the next (India being divided into different countries at the time), distributing the holy name. Sri Prahlada had also been travelling from country to country, on a similar mission, and we were all travelling from one base in Poland to another, ready to distribute the holy name wherever it was needed. The Woodstock Yajna was soon to come on it's way and the Nama Rupa was going to dance again.


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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: 31 SDGonline Daily updates

1:53 A.M.

I went to bed at 7:15 P.M. as usual, but I was wide awake at 11:00 P.M. I took some sleep medicine, but I remained sleepless. I got up from bed at midnight and began chanting. I didn't feel sleepy but dazed at being up so early. I felt no pain. My chanting went quickly with concentration on the numerical strength. I wanted to get as many rounds done as possible. I guessed that perhaps I couldn't sleep because I was anxious and anticipating seeing Nara for the first time in two months. He was supposed to have arrived last night and was scheduled to come to my room at 3:30 A.M. I kept my attention on the syllables of the names and thrived in the absolute stillness of the house and outdoors. Before 2:00 A.M. I had finished 14 rounds. I stopped to write this little japa report and poem, but decided I would finish the 16 rounds before 3:30 A.M. Since I haven't seen Nara in two months, he will probably want to talk more than usual while waking the Deities, and I'll be late in getting back to writing the Prabhupada Smaranam. Anyway, I will be glad to see him again.

Chanting so early like
Nanda Maharaja bathing in the Yamuna
at a too-early hour and
getting arrested by the
Yamadutas. I couldn't help
it because I woke so early.
The japa went smoothly
in the extra-early hours
as I whispered almost
in secret to the holy
names. The clock moved quickly
but I was attentive to my rounds.
I don't like to do this as
normal. I'll have to nap
later. But the vow
will be complete
and it was done
in good fashion.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: For His Pleasure SDGonline Daily updates

Prabhupada Smaranam

Here Prabhupada is looking very pleased holding a bouquet of a few roses. When he walked among devotees, they would often hand him flowers, and he would sometimes hold them for a long time. A soft look would come on his face, and he would sometimes smell the aroma of the flower. It was wonderful how he could be charmed and absorbed in the simple act of someone handing him a flower or two. Sometimes he would talk about the flowers, say what kind they were, and the devotee who handed it to him would be thrilled that he had done something to please Prabhupada. At an airport a young daughter of a devotee gave Prabhupada a flower, and he said she was doing as much service as anyone else by this simple exchange. In his lectures he said, "There are many flowers, but the rose is the best." Similarly, there are many gods and incarnations, but Krishna in Vraja is the best. Of course, in Vedic literature and poetry the lotus flower is most often mentioned in metaphors to compare the beauty of the eyes and feet, etc., of Radha and Krishna. But lotus flowers were rarely available to hand to Prabhupada.

Here he appears so relaxed and peaceful in his room. He was always in an ecstatic mood thinking of Krishna within and pleased to be with his disciples. He had many managerial worries in conducting his movement, but he could always step back from them and enjoy simple, sublime moments. He had the great satisfaction of seeing his movement grow worldwide and be able to stop in innumerable cities and receive honor and worship from his disciples. Most important, he was always with Krishna, and pleasing Him, and this gave Prabhupada his lovely, restful demeanor.

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Giridhari das, Brasilia, Brazil: Devotee Training Retreat (JIVA) in Pandavas Paradise

For the third year in a row, we organized a bhakta training program in Pandavas Paradise, called JIVA (Jornada Intensiva de Vaishnavismo). It’s probably our favorite retreat, because it’s such a pleasure helping sincere devotees in their Krishna Consciousness. It’s also our longest retreat, a full seven nights.

We had participants from far away places, such as Aracajú, in the far northeast and Erechim, a city in the far south (the young man endured a 36 hour bus ride, a sleep over in a roadside motel and a further 3 hour bus ride to get to us!). We also had two college professors, a physiotherapist, a lawyer, a fligh attendant and an office worker (and a six-year old little devotee girl).

We teach them about our Vaisnava philosophy, literature, sadhana, etiquette, cleanliness, our principal songs, basic sanskrit pronunciation, even how to apply tilak.

We also teach them everything about prasadam (what it is, how to prepare it, how to offer it, how to serve it) and the basics of home Deity worship (a major topic of interest). And finally, we teach them about Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON, BBT and the importance of preaching.

One of the major threads that run through the retreat’s classes is the importance of japa and studying Prabhupada’s books. We especially emphasize the Srimad Bhagavatam and every year we sell many sets. This year we sold 5 full Bhagavatam sets (the sixth participant already had her set).

The participants feel deeply moved and inspired by the retreat. Here are some things they wrote to us later:

“JIVA was decisive for the progress of my spiritual life”

“Spending a week at the farm (Pandavas Paradise) was an intense watering of our plant of devotional service…”

“I can’t find words to properly express my gratitude for all the wonderful moments I experienced in JIVA 2010″

We are now thinking of organizing an additional week-long bhakti retreat, focusing on the four bhakti-shatri scriptures.

Click here to see more pictures of the JIVA retreat.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Aindra Prabhu's Absence SDGonline Daily updates

Sripad Aindra Prabhu
is gone, and in place of
his leadership there is a hole.
His followers are devastated.
But the 24-hour kirtana continues.
They stepped right over his
dead body to go attend the
schedule and sing Hare Krishna
in the empty hall.

The morning is black here,
and an occasional car goes by.
What is Krishna doing? Is He
still in Radharani's embrace,
The two of Them sleeping on
the bed of flowers? Soon
the parrot will call out and They
will wake up reluctantly
and go to Their separate homes.

Aindra Prabhu spoke in
interview on what
kirtana meant to him.
He said japa is
never mentioned as the yuga-dharma,
but congregational sankirtana.
Japa is like Radha and
Krishna alone,
sankirtana is the rasa dance.
He saw it deeply as the
Lord's lila.

My eyes grow heavy as I
try to write my poem.
Monk's music helps me to keep
awake and in the early
morning quiet I read
the poems of Frederico Garcia Lorca.
It will be harder for
them to make the sacrifice
of living in Vrndavana without
Aindra Prabhu to inspire them,
but they have his legacy,
the Akhanda kirtana.
He said if you go into a
temple where kirtan has
been held it is purified, but
if you enter a temple where it is
always going on you can enter the
Goloka Vrndavana mood.

Yadunandana Swami and Baladeva
have left and I'm mostly
alone. Nara will return soon,
the Healing House runs on in its
quiet schedule of bhajana and
solitude. The sun will soon
brighten the trees.

They will have to take his
place and sing as he taught
them. There is no question
of quitting. But his charismatic
voice and harmonium will be absent.
Now others will have to
humbly take his place.

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H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami: Dan's Troubles SDGonline Daily updates

Healing House

Dan had a relapse in his spiritual practices. He had taken to them out of urgency as a result of his traumatic experiences, and under the influence of Swami Rupa. But now he returned to his former ways, and stopped chanting, reading, and attending the kirtanas. He still felt a bond of friendship, and so he went and told the Swami about his changes. Swami Rupa was sympathetic and did not attempt to preach to Dan to take up Krishna consciousness. The Swami was older than Dan, but Dan reminded him of his father with his military and police background and his rough exterior. The Swami's father had been in World War II and stayed on as an officer in the Naval Reserve. He became a firefighter and rose in the ranks to become a captain. When the Swami first took to the Hare Krishna movement as a young man, his mother and father had disowned him. The break had already begun when the Swami became a budding intellectual in college, whereas his father was an anti-intellectual. Young Rupa had taken a somewhat fanatical stance in preaching to them, and they broke off all relations with him—which lasted for their entire lives. The Swami didn't want to make the same mistake with Dan. He asked Dan to express how he felt, and he tried to listen with compassion.

Like many other Vietnam veterans, Dan felt that he had been cheated by his participation in the war. He had entered with an idealism that he was defending his country against communism, but gradually he learned the war was provoked by corrupt political and economic considerations. He saw combat and was traumatized by the brutal killing on both sides. He lost his faith in God and stopped participating in the Catholic religion in which he had been raised. When he was discharged from Vietnam, he felt misunderstood back in the United States, where the war was so unpopular. He joined the police force as a natural continuation of his "ksatriya" military spirit. He experienced more violence as a cop, and saw corruption within the police force itself. His marriage was at first a solace, but it had reached a point of diminishing returns. He felt his relationship with his wife had become stagnant and cold, and he was anxious about his teenage children. His son was scholarly and wanted to attend the university and become a professor, which Dan didn't appreciate as a manly profession or something that would make a lot of money. His daughter was becoming independent-minded as a typical teenager, and he was worried about her interests and choice of boyfriends. He was feeling somewhat alienated from his family and his job, without much promotions, and felt it was becoming a grind. His buddies and authorities on the force were all conservative and not conducive to a spiritual rejuvenation. In the course of hearing Dan out, Swami Rupa told his own story. He told how he served two years active in the Navy and four in the Naval Reserve. His attitude was that of a short-timer, and he couldn't wait to get out. Before going into the Navy, he had gone four years for a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature, and that was incompatible with life in the Navy. After the Navy, he went to live on the Lower East Side of New York City, where many young people had migrated to live a hip life. Rupa practiced writing as his religion, but he took LSD for mind-expansion and part of his spiritual search. He regularly smoked marijuana. But he wasn't satisfied. He felt his friendships weren't deep. Then by chance he met his guru, a 70-year-old sadhu from India who had just opened a storefront in the neighborhood. Rupa surrendered to him and dedicated his life to his service. He had worked hard and opened temples in Boston and Dallas and had entered the renounced order of life. But as the Hare Krishna movement grew over the years, it changed. It became more of an institution than a family. Especially after his guru passed away, the appointed leaders competed for power, and many of them fell down from spiritual principles. Rupa grew disillusioned. He also had a health crisis and started getting migraine headaches. The pain of the headaches made him unable to participate in the meetings of the Governing Body Commission, which he had long been a member of, and so he had resigned. He told Dan more, but not everything.

He gently suggested to Dan that time and fate were putting him in an ideal position for renunciation. It would not be long before he resigned and his family grew up, and that was a natural period of life for spiritual considerations. He urged him not to take his recent interest in Hare Krishna as just a response to the spate of violence in his life. The Swami went no further in trying to pressure Dan. He wanted to be there as a friend and possibly a counselor. He suggested that Dan keep a journal and even said that they could express themselves to each other in letters. Rupa Swami gave Dan his three volumes of Journal and Poems, which he had written during his migraine crisis and the crisis in the Movement. The Swami tried to impress Dan that he understood his feelings about corruptions in institutions and disillusion with family life and that he had shared some of his experiences.

They parted from their meeting as friends. Dan was relieved that the Swami didn't judge him or put pressure on him to start chanting again. He felt open to future expressions. They were neighbors and friends.

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New Vrndavan, USA: Sankirtan das Gives Teleconference Class

FOI: I’ve been invited to speak this Saturday morning at a TeleConference organized by Rasala Krishna dasa. It’s been on-going since 2006. Details below if you would like to join us.

ys, Sankirtana das

Class Topic: In It For The Long Run

Sankirtana Dasa is a long time resident of New Vrindavan. For many years he was involved in performing Krishna Conscious themed dramas, including presenting Mahabharata to Off Broadway audiences in NYC. Now he offers dramatic Krishna Katha programs at New Vrindavan as well as at colleges and temples. He is also a multicultural storyteller, offering programs in schools, libraries, and special events. He is a recipient of a WV Artist Fellowship Award. For more info see and He has also authored a site on New Vrindavan sponsored by Hanover College at

Date: Saturday August 7th, 2010

Time: 08:00am – 09:00am EDT

Conference Number: 1-218-862-1300

Code: 527071

To Self Mute: Press 4* on your handset

To receive weekly class information please write to

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ISKCON Taking a Break From the Lord's Work

By Paul Vitello for The New York Times on 1 Aug 2010

The findings have surfaced: members of the clergy now suffer from obesity and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen.

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ISKCON Julia Roberts: I`m A Practicing Hindu

5 Aug 2010

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Sadhana means striving to become a pure devotee and tasting the ecstasies of love of God

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Saturday, July 31st, 2010

A step Into Heaven

Toronto, Ontario

Yonge St. was pouring with people. It was the evening of the previous day and after a plentiful hours of devotional services I decided to walk to the street that dosesn't sleep. Accompanying me was Keshava Jr, who is 29. He ended his full day at the temple ashram with a walk to his apartment which happens to be off of Yonge.
Both Keshava and I were not aware that the street would fill as it did with pedestrians because of the annual Carabana, which attracts over 1 million people, the city is crawling with people (not like India though) and with police.

One officer on foot upon seeing us said, " How are you this evening?"

"Fine", I responded in passing.

I then halted, walked back to him and asked, "Why so many police?"

" It's because there's extra people which means extra drinking", he said.

A few more words of exchange concluded our dialogue and I carried on with Keshava walking. I thought about the drinking culture. It's sad. And as I thought I saw extra cabs zipping by. Extra people, extra booze, extra cabs. What a culture? Drinking is a rite of passage for many youth. "That's sad", I thought. And here's what comes out of all the fun- entrails rot, bad to foul breath, slurred speech, inability to walk, loss of hard earned funds, increased accidents, increased risk of violence etc.

After passing the evening having caught a glimpse of what's to come I entered the temple room at the usual 4:30 am service called Mangal Aarti. There I witnessed a room rather full of people in devotional attire. They were chanting peacefully on their meditational beads. There were some young teenage boys who, had they not been here, could likely be pressurized to the modern version of the rite of passage. They are spared. I felt like I stepped into heaven.

12 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Friday, July 30th, 2010

Traveler's Help

Toronto, Ontario

Regarding decisions, I am in a management spot where I can decide who I would like to invite to Canada to help in the re-spiritualization of the place. We play host to a variety of traveling monks who give that real boost and leave behind a group of happy people as they sojourn to other territory.

One monk who is a swami from India but who learned of the essence of his own cultural background in Canada is Gopal Krishna Goswmai. He just departed for Montreal today by train. By car another monk from South Africa had arrived three days before to come and inject in our community an appreciation for the essential practice of chanting. His name is B.B. Bhagavat Swami. Twice a year we are also graced by the presence of an African American, Devamrita Swami. At my request he came to add his itinerary Vancouver and Ashcroft in British Columbia. His Charisma and pure power does excite those sincere seekers of the truth.

More over, we have a married person who is in spirit is renounced and dedicated to the mission of disseminating of devotional literature. He is an euphoric-type of person who sets a great tone wherever he travels. It is Vaisesika Prabhu and he makes routine trips to parts of the country.

We have others who travel to do the same as above mentioned. It was the genius of our guru, Srila Prabhupada, to arrange for this system of traveling mendicants and spiritualists to inspire in addition to having the local "grounded" servant-leaders to keep motivated by their pure stalwart devotion. Such a system is like rich blood circulating. Without such association you have a blood clot.

And that ain't nice!

7 KM

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H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Through It All

Toronto, Ontario

I struggle sometimes while moving on my feet. It's not necessarily physical pain that I go through but a more subtle strain – the mind. I'm not unique in this. It is emphasized by Krishna Himself, speaker of the Gita. We are all "struggling with the six senses including the mind," He states.

I do find walking most helpful when under the influence of anguish, something fuelled today by a decision made by an administrative committee. I couldn't agree with the final vote made by my own peers. Such is life. You have to live with a decision made and hope for the best.

It is relieving to ponder a thing that may be of a taxing nature when you can get out of your living space, look at the sky, take in new air and receive new hope. It's a real way to release the valve of the pressure within. You go out for that break, you walk and chant. You chant, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare."

The anxiety may not dissolve completely but you come out as a stronger person and more able to cope.

It was comedian Milton Berle who said, "A committee is a group of people who take minutes but lose hours." Bureaucracy appears to be that necessary evil that we much often persevere. Decisions need to be made after due deliberation. There is always a chance that decision can be reversed. And then again that new decision can't please all parties. You learn to smile through it all.

8 KM

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H.H. Sivarama Swami: Today in answer to a question by Szentgyörgyi Sándor I am privileged to be able to sing some of the glories of Srimad Bhagavatam

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H.H. Sivarama Swami

I hope that you are trying to follow the regulative principles and that both you and your husband are chanting your beads regularly daily. These two duties are essential for advancement in Krsna Consciousness, and if they are made the center of our activities, then Krsna will begin to answer all questions from within how to become further advanced in His loving devotional service.

- Srila Prabhupada

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Gouranga TV: Aindra Prabhu – Hare Krishna kirtan – ISKCON Vrindavan kartik – October 28, 2009 – 3/3

Aindra Prabhu – Hare Krishna kirtan – ISKCON Vrindavan kartik – October 28, 2009 – 3/3

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1958 August 5: "I am in recept of your invitation. What sort of Bhagavata week can be observed by Mayavadins for misleading the innocent public and therefore I not only restrained myself from attending but also I advised many others not to attend."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1947-64

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1969 August 5: "You have asked me about my plans: My plan is for preaching with your help. You arrange for everything, and I shall talk about Krishna Consciousness for any length of time, anywhere. That is my mission."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1969

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1970 August 5: "I am getting ready to to lead a Sankirtana Party to Japan and then to India. Everyone has a mother and father but only a very few are fortunate enough to have a bonafide Spiritual Master."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 August 5: "I am very happy to hear of your daily walk through that Brooklyn neighborhood with the Deities. Let all the neighbors come out and offer incense, garlands and other gifts for Radha and Krsna. Their lives will be very much improved."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1972 August 5: "It is not necessary for you to return to University. Your education is to be found in our books. This material education is finished. Our system of scholarly learning comes from the Spiritual Master."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1974 August 5: "I am very pleased how the Christian community are appreciating our movement. If we stick to our principles they will come to respect us and our philosophy. Therefore I stress so much the devotional rules and regulations."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1974

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 August 5: "If one does not follow the regulative principles, then he will leave. That is a fact. This is the function of the GBC - to see that one may not be taken away by maya."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 August 5: "I am in the initiator guru, and you should all be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title - you must actually come to this platform."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1958 August 4: "My dear Pandit Ji Jawaharlal Nehru: My humble advice to you, as I am your old friend from Allahabad, is that you should now take leave from your present responsibility as Prime Minister and by pushing on this authorized spiritual movement you can make a real contribution."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1947-64

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1958 August 4: "Do you think that horseless carriage or telephone or radio can bring in material prosperity? No they cannot. Do you think your different plans have brought in the ideal standard of material prosperity? The unrest will continue."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1947-64

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1967 August 4: "Whenever you meet someone important you should strictly speak the Truth without any consideration of future material gains. If we are sincere servants of Krishna, our material necessities will never be hampered."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1967 August 4: "My declaration of war against maya is certainly a great battle. Maya saw me very successful so it was a great reverse. Therefore she took advantage of my old age weakness and gave me a death dash. But Krishna saved me."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1970 August 4: "We can understand the Absolute Truth by hearing, that is how we become perfect. Simply by hearing and chanting the Glories of the Supreme Lord from the Srimad-Bhagavatam one can become perfect, this example is shown by Sukadeva Goswami and Maharaja Pariksit."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970:

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1971 August 4: "We cannot be dictated by others. That is not possible. So if she is making so many demands there then it is not advisable to stay on. Yes, the touring program, preaching and distributing our literatures, is more important."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1971

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 August 4: "All over the world we are training men to produce their own grains, milk, and cloth. The attraction is Krishna consciousness, spiritual enlightenment. The foreigners in Europe and America is where we have already started such centers."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975:

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Srila Prabhupada's Letters

1975 August 4: "Regarding the retired persons, vanaprastha, one room should be for two or three retired men. So there will be no accommodation together with the wife. And, husband and wife must follow all the rules and regulations."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1975

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By Indradyumna Swami

The splendid path of pure devotional service, which bewildered the great sages in the past, which material intelligence has no power to enter, which Sukadeva Goswami was not able to understand, and which merciful Lord Krsna never revealed even to His closest friend, is the place where the dear devotees of Lord Gaura happily enjoy pastimes

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