"Planet ISKCON" - 70 new articles
H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Wednesday 9 February 2011--Don't Be Carried Away by Maya--and--How to Choose My Guru?
A daily broadcast of the Ultimate Self Realization Course(tm) Wednesday 9 February 2011 The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, and His eternal consort, Srimati Radharani are enjoying transcendental pastimes in the topmost planet of the spiritual world, Sri Goloka Vrindavan. They are beckoning us to rejoin them. Our Mission: To help everyone awaken their original Krishna consciousness, which is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. Such a global awakening will, in one stroke, solve all the problems of the world society bringing in a new era of unprecedented peace and prosperity for all. May that day, which the world so desperately needs, come very soon. We request you to participate in this mission by reviving your dormant Krishna consciousness and assisting us in spreading this science all over the world. Dedicated with love to ISKCON Founder-Acharya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, our beloved spiritual master, and to you, our dear readers. Today's Thought: Don't Be Carried Away by Maya Uploaded from Bhaktivedanta Ashram--Austin, Texas USA The illusory energy is always there testing our determination to be Krishna conscious. Just as a boat on the water can be swept away by a strong wind, if our mind becomes attracted by a material sense object, our intelligence can become completely carried away. Therefore, just like a soldier on the battlefield, we must always be vigilant not to fall under the sway of Maya's charms. In this world of many dangers we must beg Krishna to keep us always in the shelter of His divine lotus feet. In this way we will be safely situated on the transcendental platform, and Maya will not be able to allure us. Sankarshan Das Adhikari Answers According to the Vedic Version: Question: How to Choose My Guru? How to choose one's spiritual master from amongst a large number of ISKCON sannyasis who being staunch disciples of Srila Prabhupada are more or less equally qualified. Does one's inclination have any role to play in this regard? Look forward to receiving your blessings in the shape of valuable guidance. Thanking You. Your Servant Sumit Answer: Who Best Facilitates Your Krishna Consciousness? You mention choosing an ISKCON guru from ISKCON's sannyasis. What makes you think that only a sannyasi can be a guru? Krishna's guru, Sandipani Muni, was a married man. Being a sannyasi is not the qualification to be a spiritual master. The qualification for being a bona fide spiritual master is given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that one must know the science of Krishna. In ISKCON there are many spiritual masters who are not sannyasis, who are married men. For example, I am initiating disciples all over the world, even though I am a married man. So kindly do not think that it is required for the spiritual master to a be sannyasi. Regarding your dilemma, I understand that it may not be easy nowadays in ISKCON to select a spiritual master because ISKCON has so many spiritual masters. In the early days of ISKCON when one wanted to become initiated it was very simple. One would get initiated by Srila Prabhupada because he was the only initiating guru. But since he instructed us that after his disappearance the new devotees should take initiation from one of his disciples, now there are so many gurus from whom one can take initiation. So what to do? How to decide which one? In my traveling and preaching all over the world, this is a question that I am often asked. Therefore the answer to this question should be widely propagated throughout ISKCON so that the devotees are not confused. The simple answer is to accept whichever guru will best facilitate your Krishna consciousness. By associating with different gurus, hearing their lectures, and reading their writings you can see which one inspires you the most to be Krishna conscious. He is the one from whom you should take initiation. Simply be sincere to become a pure devotee of Krishna and Krishna from within will clearly guide you, Here is your guru. In this regard Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita: tesm satata-yuktnm bhajatm prti-prvakam dadmi buddhi-yogam tam yena mm upaynti te To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me. --Bhagavad-gita 10.10 So in this way, if you will deeply absorb yourself in devotion to Krishna 24 hours daily, Krishna from within will clearly reveal to you who is your guru. I wish you well in your search. Sankarshan Das Adhikari Transcendental Resources: Receive the Special Blessings of Krishna Now you too can render the greatest service to the suffering humanity and attract the all-auspicious blessings of Lord Sri Krishna upon yourself and your family by assisting our mission. Lectures and Kirtans in Audio and Video: Link to High Definition Videos Link to Over 1,000 Lecture Audios Lecture-Travel Schedule for 2011 http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/schedule Have Questions or Need Further Guidance? Check out the resources at: http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com or write Sankarshan Das Adhikari at: email@example.com Get your copy today of the world's greatest self-realization guide book, Bhagavad-gita As It Is available at: http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/store Know someone who could benefit from this? Forward it to them. 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Last night Gaura Vani sang a version of James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend".
Introducing it, he explained that Sri Caitanya, the 15th century inaugurator of the bhakti kirtan movement, had brought sacred music into the street and public life. In this way he spiritualised the world by bringing the sacred into the mundane. With merging this song of James Taylor with the maha-mantra, Gaura explained that he was doing the same thing, in reverse: spiritualising the mundane by bringing it in touch with the sacred.
Actually, there is precedent for this in the life of Sri Caitanya.
During the Ratha Yatra festival, a once-a-year public procession of the Deities who are otherwise kept in an exclusive temple, Sri Caitanya recited a verse in ecstasy:
- Caitanya-caritamrita Madhya-lila 1.58
Rupa Goswami understood the meaning of this in the context of Sri Caitanya's inner mood, and he composed a further verse to explain it within the context of Sri Caitanya's transcendental ecstasy.
So this is a precedent, or parallel, in the life of Sri Caitanya for seeing Vrindavan everywhere, even in contemporary secular arts, and for bridging the gap between the two.
Of course, the traditional Sanskrit arts are never far away from transcendental topics to begin with. And some contemporary Western arts are easy to harmonise than others. This song by James Taylor seems like an especially low-hanging fruit for such an endeavour.
As Srila Prabhupada liked to say: "Just add Krishna".
Last year the Ratha Yatra wove its way, like a garland of spiritual devotion, through the heart of Sydney.
This year, on 19 March, 2011, we aim to do the same with HH Kadamba Kanana Swami to lead the way.
Come and meet us at the Maquarie St end of Hyde Park, in Sydney, on March 19th and from 12:30pm – to approximately 3:30pm we will sing and dance our way to Darling Harbour. Come along and join the Festival of The Chariot and celebrate the annual Ratha Yatra parade.
last year the weather participated in the festival by providing a great day and the people of Sydney joined in as usual with their enthusiasm and appreciation. The Ratha Yatra is a great opportunity for the wider community to come into contact with the deities of Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra and Baladeva and with the devotees of Lord Krishna.
During the parade in 2010 books about Krishna consciousness and sanctified food, or prasadam, were distributed to people who are attracted by the sights and sounds of a Ratha Yatra.
Parked at the entrance to Sydney’s Hyde Park the Rath cart was profusely decorated with flowers and balloons. Srila Prabhupada’s murti and the deities arrived and great care was taken to make sure their dress and jewellery was just right so everyone looked their very best for the festival. Much care was also taken to help Srila Prabhupada and the deities aboard the cart.
Last year HH Kadamba Kannana Swami and Sri Prahlada started the kirtan and the crowd began to build. Many people who were passing began to participate in the worship of the deities who have pride of place on the cart with Srila Prabhupada. HH Bhakti Charu Swami also joined the parade singing and dancing along the entire route.
Singing the Mahamantra, and dancing to the transcendental sound of the music, devotees and friends pulled the cart through the streets of Sydney, immediately attracting the attention of people everywhere.
Members of the public had cameras, phones and video cameras out and all the way along the parade route people line the street taking photos. Before the sun has set on the day Facebook joins into the Ratha Yatra festival as onlookers and devotees alike upload what they’ve captured of the days proceedings to share with their friends and family.
Bystanders cheered and waved as hundreds of devotees showered the city streets with sound and colour. Many people joined in singing and dancing along. Everyone is encouraged to take a turn pulling the cart by the ropes, and quite a few people have a go.
Some people get really happy when they see the cart carrying deities and devotees singing and dancing joyfully. On the way a construction worker caught up in the transcendental moment danced in front of his co-workers, jumping up and down. All the people on the street began to take photos of him.
Each year devotees are involved in many ways to ensure the Sydney Ratha Yatra is a success. For the last few years Prananatha Dasa has organised the security team. To obtain a permit for the parade the authorities require the organisers to assist with directing the participants and ensuring things go as safely as possible.
“People respond to the security team very well,” Prananatha says. “They listened to us and carried out any instructions we gave. It’s really exciting to be able to do this service and ensure that the Ratha Yatra goes smoothly and without incident.”
The police are always very happy with the Ratha Yatra. “The head policeman even shook my hand,” Prananatha says. “It seemed to me everyone was very happy. Srila Prabhupada seemed happy, the devotees were happy, the general public were happy and I think Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subahdra were also happy, I am looking forward to next year and the chance to organise security again.”
Each year as the parade reaches its destination at Sydney’s Darling harbour it signals the beginning of the annual two day Holi festival, organised by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Last year Bhakti Charu Swami led a kirtan and gave a talk on Krishna consciousness to Holi festival audience. A very long line formed as soon as the prasadam distribution began.
Ratha Yatra is celebrated at various locations in the Sydney region. Srila Prabhupada attended the first Ratha Yatra festival in Australia, held in Melbourne, in June, 1974.
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.30.5 - How to reciprocate with devotees according to their levels of advancement.
To begin explaining what is really Vedic we can understand that the word Veda has its root in the Sanskrit vid, which means “to know”, or simply “knowledge”. The word Veda also has three root meanings, representing its connection with the power of God, namely 1) that Vedic knowledge is eternal; 2) Veda is the essential knowledge itself, which means that it provides knowledge of God, or that we can know the Supreme through the Veda; and 3) Veda gives the most desirable thing to the souls, which is the Divine Bliss that comes from our connection with God.
According to Vedic tradition, when the Supreme Lord created this material world, His transcendental energy pervaded every corner of it. This spiritual energy was the pure vibration, shabda-brahma, in which the Supreme Himself can be found. It is explained that first there was the subtle vibration of spiritual sound, the eternal and spiritual vibration called the shabda-brahman. It is explained that through the worship of this subtle form of the Vedas, mystics can cleanse their hearts of all faults and impurities caused by the association of various material substances and actions. Thus they can attain liberation from further cycles of birth and death. From this spiritual sound vibration, Srila Vyasadeva compiled the Vedic literature. (Bhag.12.6.37-38)
As most scholars on Vedic philosophy know, when you say Vedas you refer to the original four Vedas: the Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas. From the four main Vedas are branches or appendices called Brahmanas, which relate to rituals and ceremonies. From these are derived the Aranyakas. The Upanishads are the appendices (the secret and esoteric knowledge” secret and esoteric knowledge) of the Aranyakas. When you say Veda (without the s) you not only refer to the four Vedas, but also to the Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads, or all the texts that are considered Shruti. Shruti is considered the original revealed knowledge which was unveiled to self-realized sages. Shruti also means that which is heard as an oral tradition. It was first heard from God and then was heard in the association of other sages. In this way, it was protected from being misunderstood or misused. It is this sound vibration that will awaken mankind’s higher awareness and inclination to attain the spiritual dimension, thus providing the means for mankind’s liberation from material existence.
The remaining parts of Vedic literature, besides the Tantras and Agamas, consist of the Mahabharata and Bhagavad-gita, the Ramayana, and the Puranas. These are the Itihasas or histories and supplemental portions of the Vedic literature, which is called Smriti, or that which is remembered. The Puranas are especially an elaboration of the original Vedic concepts and philosophy of the four Vedas and Upanishads. So when we say “Vedic literature,” it refers to both Shruti and Smriti in a general way. However, some scholars think that the Shruti is more important than the Smriti. So some may object to the way I alternately use the words “Vedas” and “Vedic literature” to refer to the same thing, which includes all of the Vedic texts, both the early Shruti and later Smriti.
The reason I do this is that I present Vedic evidence from any portion of the Vedic literature, and I often use quotes from the Puranas. To leave out the supplemental portions of the Vedic literature would deprive the reader of an enormous amount of Vedic knowledge and elaborated explanations. Furthermore, some of the greatest of spiritual authorities, like Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, and others, have presented Smriti as valid evidence of spiritual truths and wrote commentaries on Bhagavad-gita. In fact, Madhvacharya, in his commentary on the Vedanta-sutras (2.1.6), quotes the Bhavishya Purana, which states: “The Rig-veda, Yajur-veda, Sama-veda, Atharva-veda, Mahabharata, Pancharatra, and the original Ramayana are all considered Vedic literature. The Vaishnava supplements, the Puranas, are also Vedic literature.” Even the Chandogya Upanishad (7.1.4) mentions the Puranas as the fifth Veda. The Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.4.20) also clearly agrees with this, saying, “The four divisions of the original sources of knowledge (the Vedas) were made separately. But the historical facts and authentic stories mentioned in the Puranas are called the fifth Veda.” Thus, they are all a part of the authorized Vedic literature meant to elaborate on and more fully explain the essential spiritual truths.
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (4.5.11) also relates: “The Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas, the Itihasas, Puranas, Upanishads, verses and mantras, sutras, and the spiritual knowledge and explanations within, all emanate from the Supreme Being.” It not only says it once, but the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says it again (2.4.10), “As from a fire kindled with wet fuel, clouds of smoke issue forth, so, my dear, verily, from this glorious great God has been breathed forth the Rig-veda, the Yajur-veda, the Sama-veda, Atharvanagirasa, Itihasas, Puranas, science of knowledge, mystic doctrines or Upanishads, pithy verses, aphorisms, elucidations, and commentaries. From Him, indeed, are all these breathed forth.” Thus, they all have importance in presenting Vedic information, and one should not be biased toward one set of shastra or scripture to exclude the other.
The Mahabharata (Adi Parva 1.267) explains the necessity of understanding Vedic knowledge with the help of the Puranas: “One should expand and accept the meaning of the Vedas with the help of the Itihasas and Puranas. The Vedas are afraid of being mistreated by one who is ignorant of the Itihasas and Puranas.” This is quite similar to what is related in the Prabhasa-khanda (2.93) section of the Skanda Purana, where it is said, “I consider the Puranas equal to the Vedas. . . The Vedas feared that their purport would be distorted by inattentive listening, but their purport was established long ago by the Itihasas and Puranas. What is not found in the Vedas is found in the smritis. And what is not found in either is described in the Puranas. A person who knows the four Vedas along with the Upanishads but who does not know the Puranas is not very learned.” In this way, we should understand that one’s education in Vedic culture and science is not complete if one excludes the understanding and knowledge given in the Puranas.
To further verify this point, in the Naradiya Purana Lord Shiva is quoted as saying to his wife Parvati that, “I consider the message of the Puranas to be more important than that of the Vedas. All that is in the Vedas is in the Puranas without a doubt.” So I relate this simply for those who feel that there should be some further distinction between Shruti and Smriti and may object to the way I use the terms “Vedas” and “Vedic literature” to mean the same thing, although many parts of the Vedic literature point to the need for using the Puranas and other portions of the Smritis to more fully understand the depths of Vedic knowledge.
Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: Joining devotees in Prayers for Her Grace Bhadra Priya Devi Dasi
Another of Srila Prabhupada's spirtual daughters has left this material world. We join the Toronto, Canadian, North American and worldwide brotherhood and sisterhood of devotees in praying for her. She returned back home to her ISKCON family in recent years and now we pray that she takes darshan of her spirtual master Srila Prabhupada and goes Back Home Back to Godhead.
Hare Krishna Bhadra Priya Devi Dasi.
How do you survive in Krishna Consciousness when there is little or no association? Firstly I will start by saying that this is not ideal, this is borne out by the words of Srila Prabhupada that reminds us that to be in a solitary place the mind turns to sex life and money; it’s easy [...]
TRANSLATION Who could list the unlimited transcendental attributes of Raghunatha dasa? His strict regulative principles were exactly like lines on a stone. PURPORT The words pasanera rekha are very significant. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami followed the regulative principles so strictly and rigidly that they were compared to the lines on a stone. As such lines cannot be erased at any time, so the regulative principles observed by Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami could not be changed under any circumstances.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Antya 6.309
One of the three goals of the Toronto Sankirtan Team in 2011 is to encourage "Strict and Sincere Sadhana" amongst the team members. Towards this goal, our first initiative is CHAD! CHAD is a worldwide alliance of devotees who chant at least one chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is every day.
“And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation of ours worships Me by his intelligence.” (B.G. 18.70)
Please join us!
Here’s how to join CHAD:
1. Make a vow to *chant at least one chapter of Bhagavad-Gita As It Is every day.
2. Register your name at the CHAD googlegroup for support and inspiration CHAD_toronto@googlegroups.com (Optional).
*Chanting at least one chapter means chanting all the Sanskrit slokas within one chapter; or chanting all the English in an entire chapter; or chanting both the Sanskrit and English in within one chapter.
Inspired by our Sankirtan guide and Mentor Vaisesika Prabhu, we launched this initiative on Sat-tila Ekadasi. In Vaisesika Prabhu's words, the benefits of joining CHAD:
1. You’ll feel impetus to chant Gita everyday knowing that others are doing it with you.
2. You’ll gain superior strength and knowledge in devotional service by reciting and hearing the divine conversation between Krsna and Arjuna.
3. You’ll be cleared of offences you’ve committed in worshiping the Deity.
4. You’ll automatically learn multiple Bhagavad-Gita verses through repetition. (“Repetition is the mother of learning.”)
5. You’ll develop skill in citing important slokas as evidence from Bhagavad-Gita.
6. You’ll awaken a sweet relationship with Krsna Who reveals Himself to those who daily chant the Bhagavad-Gita.
For more information - firstname.lastname@example.org
As a writer I tend to write a lot of words. As a talker I tend to talk even more. As a listener I tend to hear so many things. And as a reader I am constantly skimming pages. This is the Information Age, the Iron Age and it has so many other titles. There is so much going on but it’s not really going anywhere. We’re all looking for someone to trust, we’re all looking for real relationships and we’re mostly all being sold short. The tastes and experiences in this world culminate in ups and downs but there is nothing ever constant. We jump from platform to platform but they all fall from underneath us.
I often wonder what drives people but we know, from philosophy that people want and strive for happiness. This is the nature of the very soul. It’s just so sad to see how the world translates this awesome pursuit. People exploit one another and turn to awkward violence. Surely there is an ethical, moral and sound way to achieve ultimate satisfaction and not simply be caught on the hamster wheel? Why is it that, even when we find it, we reject it? Why can’t we throw away the touchstone of temporary wealth?
There comes a time in our lives, in our spiritual lives, in our Krsna conscious lives, where we start to wonder: what drives me? Krsna is there, Krsna is reciprocating and we have so much mercy flowing towards us. How do you take advantage of that mercy? Where do we go from here? Do we ask Krsna “give me some more distractions” or do we ask Him for surrender? It only takes a moment, why does it take us lifetimes? It’s there for us to reach but do we want it? Do we like the struggle? Does it make us feel like we’re worthy of something? These are now my questions. “Krsna, do I want to surrender to You?” This is now my question.
Read original post: [http://maddmonk.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/what-is-your-motivation]
Loudly or silently, everything is all right. There is no such restriction. Only thing is that we should chant very attentively, hearing the vibration very distinctly.
Letter to Satsvarupa - March 8th, 1969
1969 February 8: "Material entanglement is no problem; if Krishna was not so powerful that He can easily undo our material entanglement then there would be no need to follow the path of Krishna Consciousness. If you are sincere of purpose, there is no problem."
1970 February 8: "First one should dedicate his life for Krishna's service; that is very nice. If he cannot dedicate his whole life, then let him devote his money; if he cannot devote his money, then let him devote his intelligence; and if he cannot devote his intelligence, then let him devote his voice by uttering Hare Krishna. Hare Krishna Mantra is the greatest common factor for self-realization. Preach this philosophy whole heartedly and Krishna will be very much pleased upon you."
1970 February 8: "You say that no one can deal with the devotees except Visnujana; that is not a good proposal. There are so many old and experienced devotees; if there is no one to look after the other devotees , that does not sound very good."
1970 February 8: "Just now it is not possible to give you the two missing points. So without waiting further for these minor discrepancies, you can finish the subject adding "etc." Use your best discretion as Krsna will dictate from within you. You are a good and scrutinizing editor. I can rely on you."
1972 February 8: "Your big brother has assured me he will come here and take full charge to make this the first ISKCON City and immediately we shall raise up a grand Temple and form a cooperative housing society for devotees of Krishna. We shall plan everything out nicely when we meet later this month."
1974 February 8: "So they have accused you as bad because you are Indian, yet they have accepted a bad Indian as guru. Why be affected by these bodily relationships? Come back and if you feel inconvenience, it doesn't matter whether from Indians or Americans, you can live with me."
1974 February 8: "I am glad you are now concentrating on improving the regulative life of the temple rather than so much advertising. This is what I want. A good example is better than precept. The pamphlet is precept - but if we don't follow the precepts ourselves then such advertisement is not good."
1974 February 8: "He said personally to me that under dictation of Srimati Radharani he has given the land to us in charity, now if he uses the front portion for other purposes there will be great damage to the view. Kindly treat this as very urgent and reply."
Anasuya devi dasi: Radhadesh now offers many items in its new E-shop to assist you in your spiritual quest. It was designed for those who do not get to visit us as often as they would like, and for first timers in the world of *bhakti*-yoga. Radhadesh’s E-shop is a non-profit online shop, all its proceeds go directly to Radhadesh’s maintenance and development
Dandavats.com: Opening for the position of Course Director for the new degree in Business Administration at Bhaktivedanta College Radhadesh
Bhaktivedanta College: Bhaktivedanta College Radhadesh has an opening for the position of Course Director for the new degree in Business Administration (BBA). If you want to be part of an enthusiastic team offering a vibrant service to Srila Prabhupada, in a well-established spiritual community, then please announce your interest
A friend sent this photo of me at the Knebworth Rock Festival of 1975. That’s 35 years ago folks, when men had hair – except the Vaishnavas who had very little. I am 19 and trying to spread the good news of the Bhagavad-gita, or rather, the Back to Godhead magazines I had for distribution that day.
Pink Floyd topped the bill that night and I remember that I was so exhilerated after twelve hours of talking to people about Krishna that I couldn’t even listen to the music – and that would have been practically unthinkable before taking to the path of bhakti.
The still is taken from a short film, and I remember the cameraman behind me filming for two minutes or so. I was speaking somewhat enthusiastically and the man in front of me was expressing his own opinion – equally enthusiastically. The story of my life. I always wondered where this film would end up or if it had just been scrapped by the cameraman.
In the final film, just discovered on an obscure website, it’s just a two seconds flash, but it brought back memories of a time when Srila Prabhupada himself took an active interest in how many magazines we sold, and so we threw ourselves into the task, knowing that he would be asking about our results.
Every Day, Just Write, Volume I: Welcome Home to the One Big Book of Your Life
November 19, 1996
You have bookshelves, and it’ more tempting to look up verses in SB but also to take down the volume of Jack Kerouac and others. Restraint and study and research. When is it service and when is it sense gratification?
“But anyone who is specifically favored by the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, due to unalloyed surrender unto the service of the Lord, can overcome the insurmountable ocean of illusion and can understand the Lord. But those who are attached to this body, which is meant to be eaten at the end by dogs and jackals, cannot do so.” (Bhāg. 2.7.42)
From the purport: “ . . . and unless there is knowledge of God, all advancement of material civilization, however dazzling, should be considered a failure.”
Keep busy around the room dividing things into boxes, compartments, shelf space, things to go to India, things to stay here for next year’s van travel, things to use for art work, notepads, medicines, clerical quartermaster so he doesn’t have to sit down and write. I have a book, Rooms: American Writers Recall Rooms They Have Lived In. This could be a spark for me for “ISKCON rooms” memories of places in ISKCON I’ve lived in over the last thirty years. A sequel to Memories. Start with the room and talk about it on the Dictaphone. See where it leads to. First I’ll read this Rooms and see how they do it.
A writer has to keep writing. Ease and relax in your everyday shoes. I have a pair of cream colored canvas shoes (Bhakti-rasa dasa has a pair just like it) and they are stretching wide, quite lived in. Then there are the wellies which date back to the year 1989 (?) when we spent a month in the Pyrenees. And more recent hiking boots and the grey slippers that are so lived in they are soon going to give out. Every day… the writing of the moment.
When you can’t talk deeply you move boxes around, stay awake. I’ve had problems with rounds ten, eleven and especially twelve, you get sleepy. Use these precious early morning hours while the winds blow heavily and audibly outside the house. Today Madhu is going to put the van into a shed completely empty it and set it up on blocks, detach the battery. Winter storage. It will cold but okay, I suppose, out of the rain and snow. Year coming soon to December.
Haribol haribol, which rooms have you lived in? I won’t tell of that room I lived in for fourteen years from 1948 until I went into the Navy in 1962. I don’t expect to live in any room in my whole life as much as that attic boy’s room, but it’s a place of shameful acts in lonely passion, a place of blindness too, when I didn’t know self or spirit and gradually passed through innocent, dumb childhood to adolescence, “rebel-without-a-cause” stinking kid following whatever the trends were and cowering in my dreams, hoping to become more popular or at least not found out for what I was—which I didn’t know anyway except that I was scared. Lived there for my P.S. 8 days and then Tottenville High School days, 57-1, and even college days. So maybe tell a little of that through the others. It’s an introduction you can say that room will seep through. You can’t pretend that 26 Second Avenue is your all and all room, and that the room at 125 Katan Avenue counts for nothing. And yet when I went back there I was dispossessed. Some Staten Islanders live there, and it’s their home. The stranger who would come in is not welcome, old Guarino, son of previous owners doesn’t count. You don’t count even if your little hand is imprinted in the cement walk from 1952. It doesn’t count. You are not the owner now. Move on.
Besides, you are a most strange creature now—a Hare Krishna—so we can’t let you go back to even go upstairs and look at your old bedroom. It is completely different now so forget it. Your memories are over. You won’t even find them stuffed into a closet. And neither do you want them.
Then why the memories after 1966? I will have to think about that. One reason is simply because we must write and that is a likely topic.
Leaves of Zimmer. I don’t seem to be able to write much, can’t concentrate. Waiting for later when it may seem more possible, a topic, something to talk about as sun rises and you are in the shed. But then it will be the same. Nothing. Just a few words and then you stop. You look at a book, think of something else. Assure yourself, “This little bit was good. It doesn’t have to be so much.”
Is this the running down of the battery clock? Is it? Or just that you want to write of the best thing but cannot? So you go back to picking out things to go to India: earplugs, Kleenex, note pads (will you be able to write more there?), write another Post-it to Madhu about communications and travel. I don’t know what. It is the mixture, too much or the hankering for a better form. Anyway here is the morning black: outside wind rushing against the house like a football tackle and we are all right.
I flared up this morning with a plan to immediately do memories of places where I’ve lived in my ISKCON years “The whole world is home” but after lying on my back for half an hour after breakfast the idea seemed to go down. And so I accepted it that way. If it wants to come up and direct me it will. Otherwise, I can wait until the end of December when Baladeva comes and talk about memories then. So now back to the diffuse diary where sometimes I just bang up against the wall and ask, “What’s the use?” But when I read what I’ve written yesterday I feel good about it. I’m not making some structured book so don’t expect that. That was part of the “thrill” of the new “Everywhere is Home” project. It would be a book, publishable, not the “old diary”. Rainy, windy day. I see white caps breaking like rolling waves in the strait between Geaglum and Inis Rath. But still the rowboats come when the devotees wants to go back and forth. I thought I wouldn’t come out here because the weather was too rough, but if I start that habit, I’ll never get out here. You can expect frequent weather like this.
Little red spider, get off my page. Go walk on the desk. When will Mailpack reach here. What literary tricks or outpouring. What is it you want?
I don’t just write down anything, any damn thing. Moksarupa dasi wants second initiation. I will give it to her. Gayatri mantras. May she say them nicer than I do.
Write along. Oh, pain. Oh, don’t stop. I’d like to be serious and keep reading sastra and praying. Don’t splay out. That may be another reason I’m not doing the Memories project. I don’t feel it for direct prayerful KC. Can’t say the FW diary is more so but at least it is what it is. It doesn’t lead the way, it follows. The nest of the quail. The big one and the little one fly up at my approach.
Krishna, I lay down in a hotel bed in New Delhi. I put my head under the faucet and relieved a headache. I saw a rat in the lobby late at night. I t went under chairs and sofas. I rode in taxi. I rode in devotee’s van, heard what they were doing in Delhi. I asked, “What Swami is in town?” And we planned to go to Vrndavana the next morning after giving an SB lecture, provided I felt well enough to do it.
Those are memories and places. Kites and bombs in Delhi tenements. That rooftop room the TP lets us use. The old lady who has the key but doesn’t like to be wakened early. Yellow teeth people have (some have none). Busy congested streets, you get lost in a minute. Get to Delhi temple.
The two swans manage to stay afloat on the rocky waters. The island trees are all a dark greenish grey now. The island trees give you a skyline that’s like a low lying hill. It rises up on both sides and comes to the peak at the top. Like a Govardhana Hill. Sticking out on top of the tree tops of about four or five tallest trees some kind of evergreens. They say there are redwoods on the island too. And big deer, big hares, ingrown breeding. Keep the wild creatures out of the building.
Brown weeds blowing on Geaglum shore and mats of pushed down green grass by the rain fluttering in the wind, rain, cold…but not like cold we know in northeast USA.
He writes of his years in
Boat. Matter. Perception of senses—is all? Dig with pen. Come up with—? Listen, what did you read? About buddhi-yoga. It’s definitely true. Bhagavad-gîtā 10.10–11 says the poor, less advanced devotee can get the direct mercy of the Supreme Lord (even if he fails to comprehend knowledge given by guru and sastra). That’s what it says. He must be pure and work for Krishna in love.
My wrist strains too much with skinny sized Pilot pen. Got to bring my big pens out here, except they leak. Oh well. You can figure it out. Carry them someway they don’t leak.
Lock on shed door.
Pleeze sir, give us the time of day.
Oh, Sarva got happy and Lord too. He’s already happy but increased in bliss, dancing and touching the converted Sarva. “I was like an iron bar from reading too many books on logic, but You have melted me.” Eat the prasada with full faith in Jagannatha. Devotees laugh to see him so changed. The laugh is on him, but he doesn’t mind.
Sorry there is nowhere to write. You were in Kansas? Yes, and Detroit. Govardhana dasa, stained pillow, Deities in attic, rock song, “Where Radha-Krishna Kiss.” What happened to all those devotees? Rudra-sampradaya, magician, black arts. I know I’m not making sense. Mahabuddhi and me, the-sannyāsi-in-charge baby-sitter, Atreya called me. Memories of rain streaking down windows. Go back to the house
Don’t be ashamed. You say you want to break through. Maybe I can break through. M said, “If you keep practicing at computer you can learn things.” Is it not also true of the searching of the little life what to say. Kesava dhrta-narahari-rupa, mina-sarira, jaya jagaisa hare. You are playing the typewriter while Srila Prabhupada is singing “Dasavatara,” and the waters are lapping, rippling, and the twigs and leaves shaking on the trees and the stormy wind, the sky blue-gray. Now the singing has stopped but the sounds go on, other sounds. Halava, you ate a lot—a bowl full while the storm buffeted outside. Syamananda rowed over and when I said, “How did you manage it?” he laughed and said, “This is nothing. This is not really a bad storm. They are yet to come.” Then while I ate he paced outside the house chanting japa.
The true, the naive artist, the dejected. He doesn’t want to be comfortable for a month and a half but should produce something. Well, what? You produce but your head, I mean your head on the platter. No I mean peaceful. Some artist worked feverishly for many years and produced many brilliant paintings, but now they are somewhere else. Do I want to be a better devotee? I walked to the shed and that’s all, simple life. They can see me when I’m walking back.
“What does he do all day?”
Oh, he’s a writer.
Then what is he writing? Some novel? At least a collection of his memories in ISKCON?
No, he just goes out there and writes what he sees and feels. He knows that isn’t much, isn’t enough, but he feels that this is what he should do and there is no other.
The rat is the carrier of Ganesa, Siva on bull, Krishna on Garuda, the swan carries Brahma. Kali-ghat artist is reviewed by the sophisticated Indian who thinks it’s all mythology. What the hell does he believe in? He thinks he is hot-shot of some kind. The British are gone. He wants that the art world should appreciate Kali-ghat artists, that’s about all. He doesn’t know the true summit. Krishna consciousness. Well, let me be a Krishna conscious artist , Kesi-ghat, let me depict Krishna in some way. One poor shepherd.
He don’t feel sorry for yourself. But you are to tell us. Krishna, Krishna.
You talk of breaking through, and here it actually is. You don’t bite fingernails or do anything wrong. You just move through the day. He will soon take your passport down to Dublin to the Indian embassy, and there it will be stamped to allow me to enter the country where Rama walked and Krishna appeared. But now it is the dregs, mundane, and not so good to look at either. You sit around and look at a book on art, of pictures of Kali-ghat and outsider art, and you are an outsider or half-insider to ISKCON.
Once I sat in Great Kills station. Smoked a cigarette for the first time (thirteen, fourteen years old). L&M and Marlboros were just coming out. Winston, Chesterfields, and Kools were popular. Now years later you sat, and you were a devotee identified with the group. I don’t know what to tell you. You worked entirely on the things that had to be done and never on inner life. Everything had to have an immediate purpose for the sankirtana movement, for the temple preaching, or you would not write it. It was either editing for the Swami or typing and writing for Back to Godhead. Never catch you writing a diary extensively or even a single word. Someone like you wife might find it and say, “What is this? This is maya! We don’t do this. What would Prabhupada say? What would you GBC Godbrothers say? This is maya. You are idle. You are speculating. You should do more active preaching. This is the mind. We are meant to do preaching like pure devotees. What if I told Prabhupada you were doing this?” She would chastise you.
“Oh, don’t do that,” I would say, “Don’t tell Prabhupada” but now I give into it, the urge to tell what I am, what I am doing. I have broken free from the mooring. I am lost in the wet blowy air today. Get my bearings, tie the boat to the dock. Tell us what you are meant to do.
Crying shame. He got his dhoti wet and dirty from walking in the air. Saffron sweat pants got smudged also. He was walking down the path, but then there was a construction machine there at work, and a devotee, so I backed away. Busy little doings at Geaglum. I wanted my own world so I walked in the other direction and came here to say this. Cat got your tongue? No, it is here, Krishna, Krishna chanted loud and clear—and the rain beating against my eyeglasses. When it hurts, cold, you chanted loud and clear at that time. Dear Lord, now here is the master, and I will massage him. He will be kind to you.
The homeless man has been
Here is a big techno breakthrough for … book distribution, working prasadam booths at fairs, accepting donations at off campus fund raising events?
Jack Dorsey revolutionized online socializing by co-founding Twitter in 2006. Now he wants to transform the way people exchange money.
Dorsey is leading a new startup called Square. Its first product resembles a cube: a tiny credit card terminal that plugs into the headphone jack of an iPhone.
The goal is to make it easier to complete a credit card transaction, whether you’re a street vendor selling T-shirts or an individual settling a lunch tab with a friend.
Dorsey, who was Twitter’s CEO until October 2008 and remains the social network’s chairman, said he came up with the idea for Square nearly a year ago with Jim McKelvey, a glass artist who was frustrated after losing out on a $2,000 sale because he was unable to accept a credit card.
The two started brainstorming about how businesses and individuals could quickly start accepting credit, debit and prepaid cards over the iPhone and other small electronics and had the idea for a credit card reader that connects to a cell phone.
Eventually, McKelvey and a group of engineers decided they should build a gizmo that hooks up to a standard audio jack, which is common on all sorts of consumer electronics from iPhones to BlackBerrys to laptops.
In January, electronic payment services company VeriFone Holdings Inc. plans to release a service similar to Square’s.
That service, PayWare Mobile, is aimed at small businesses and fits a credit card terminal and small stylus (for signatures) into an iPhone case.
A business often needs to have its own merchant account with a credit card company to use one of these methods, though. Square Inc. takes a different tack: It has its own merchant account, so it takes on the responsibility for minimizing risk and fraud, Dorsey said.
Filed under: News, Ramblings or Whatever
As soon as we entered the apartment we understood we were in for some excitement. We'd heard different stories of how this young woman had been terrorized by a ghost for the last nine years, of how just the other week she had been hospitalized due to a flying chair striking her in the head, and how she was now at the limit of her sanity. We'd been told of knives flying across the room, pictures leaping from the walls and levitating coffee machines. Chairs and other objects independently shaking and smashing into walls was a daily occurrence in this home.
The cows and bulls in Jagannath Puri are not the scrawny kind you see some places. These are wild, well-fed resort town cows. They’ve got hotel after hotel after restaurant after restaurant to choose from. Remnants of lunches end up in piles on the street, and that’s where the well-fed cows come in—the originators of the concept of biodiesel.
Here, cows and bulls wander all over—on the beach, meandering through the streets. Bulls will nose up to a tea stall and smilingly wait for biscuits, as the nervous clientele edge away down the bench. At night, a large segment of the urban seaside cow population gathers at the Swargadwar Cremation Grounds, where chances are good of finding a nice warm spot in the dust, which is made up of countless former residents of Jagannath Puri.
As far as I can see, the cows don’t “belong” to anybody. They’re free agents. Twice a day, when the vegetable markets close for lunch and for the night, shopkeepers deposit their un-sellable stock in an alley, and that’s where the cows go. Cows are vegetarians, so you rarely see dogs and cows working the same pile. Remnants of fish dinners go to the Dogster.
Soon after we landed here, we noticed a particularly well-fed but apparently grumpy bull. His frequent snorts sounded like rocks being thrown into a large plastic bucket in someone’s garage. This ominous sound made us nervous. It reminded us of cartoon bulls snorting and pawing the dirt ready to charge. The same bull would often plunge his huge, horned head into a pile of construction sand and throw it over the rest of his body, causing a big cloud of dust. It was a fearsome sight.
We did not want to get on the bad side of this snorting, grumpy monster, whom we regularly met in the alley. We always gave him a wide berth, careful not to get too close to his massive head, massive neck muscles, and massive horns. We’d seen and heard of people getting too close to cows’ heads in India and ending up on the ground when said bovine decided to toss his or her head to the side unexpectedly.
But one time, standing downwind of him, I heard him snorting, and simultaneously figured out the source of his foul mood and foul breath: gas. So I gave him a name: Indigesta Bull. My theory was that he was unable to restrain himself from freely indulging in the yummy castoffs of every restaurant and subji walla in this neighborhood.
Once I saw a man come out of his house holding a rolled-up chapatti for Indigesta Bull to eat. I.B. Snortin’ calmly approached the man, lifted his head, and peacefully ate the whole thing out of his hand. As he was eating, I noticed a shower of white powder or crystals falling from his mouth. I wondered if our neighbor was administering some kind of bull antacid. After Mr. Belch had passed, and I was safely out of range of his horns, I went over to investigate the fallen granules more closely. It was sugar.
I took the plate of rice to leave in the side yard. And who was already waiting right there in the dark? You guessed it. He was already coming towards me as I exited the swinging metal garage doors, bolstering my theory that residents of holy places can read minds.
I went over and emptied the rice into the grass. Indigesta Bull was right on it, licking it up, licking the plate, snorting softly and happily. I petted his massive neck and hump. “Hari bol, Indigesta Bull. Hari bol.”
New Vrndavan, USA: Bad Karma Is Not Sustainable… or The Day Farmer Joel Met an 800lb Gorilla Named Karma
by Tapapunjah das
So, you wanna be a farmer, huh? You love nature, don’t mind hard work and consider yourself pretty “spiritual.” You even know a young couple, Jimmy and Jeanette, who invited you up to their New Hampshire farm where they’re making a living raising pigs for the expanding organic pork market in New York City. You won’t be directly involved in the slaughter of the pigs, which they perform as humanely as possible. You’ll help feed the little oinkers, and eventually drive the refrigerated pork to market. You’ll also get some experience in their organic vegetable garden and help out with their expanding CSA. It services the needs of 64 families with a choice selection of organic poultry, eggs, homegrown pork cuts and the usual array of pesticide free veggies. Sounds doable, huh? They pay isn’t much but it’s the experience that counts. You’ll commit for six months and walk away with some cash and enough working knowledge to strike out on your own homestead someday. Go for it!
Before jumping into your Subaru and zooming off, you might want to reconsider. Could your decision, you know, your expression of free will in the here and now, come back to negatively shape your destiny later? What about the slaughter thing? It’s OK, so long as you’re not the one actually killing the animal……..right?
You stand at the ethical crossroads. Your gut instinct is that killing is bad. Another voice in your head says, “Yah, but everyone’s gotta make a living…. and besides, the way Jimmy and Jeanette raise and slaughter the pigs is way better than the brutality animals undergo at large scale confined animal feedlot operations.“
Where do you turn for guidance? At one end of the food revolution are the die-hard animal rights activists. They come-off as kind of urban and really snooty. At the other end of the spectrum are salt-of-the-earth farmer/spokespersons like Joel Salatin. You remember seeing Farmer Joel in the blockbuster documentary, Food Inc.
During his on-camera interview, Salatin was enunciating the glories of the local foods movement while stuffing live chickens down a metal funnel and casually severing their heads with a knife. Joel was smooth and obviously emotionally removed from the act of decapitating live birds. He could have just as easily been shelling peanuts with the same poise and swagger.
Hey, there’s your role model, Farmer Joel Salatin. Or is there more to the picture? One of the peculiarities of the modern sustainable food movement in the West is how little attention is paid to the law of consequence, especially when it involves the taking of life to feed or financially support ourselves. You might say there’s a major disconnect—a Grand Canyon gap—separating the rationale for slaughter from the liability for slaughter.
Is there a universal law that protects innocent animals from harm?
If you live in a barren place where vegetation is scarce, e.g. an arctic or desert wasteland, taking animal life to maintain human life is permissible and non-reactive. If, however, you’re surrounded by fertile fields capable of producing ample cereal grains, fruits, and vegetables, slaughter is strictly forbidden.
According to the ancient Indian ethical codes—codes that were operative in rural India before the British began building slaughterhouses and before the current Monsanto invasion—slaughter is never an option. Not only are cows off limits, but all life is to be respected and treated as sacred.
And there’s more. Vedic injunctions warn that even the slightest act of complicity with slaughter infers culpability. Included in the list of “co-conspirators” are those who give permission to slaughter, those who finance the slaughter, those who conduct the slaughter, those who transport the carrion, those who sell it, those who buy it, those who cook it, those who serve it to others—and finally, those who eat it.
The choice you make—to kill or not to kill—is your free will. The reaction is not. When you knock over a piece of fine china in an expensive boutique shop, you must pay for it. The rule is clear. You break it, you own it. Whether you’re capriciously taking life to slake your tongues urging for flesh or whether you’re dutifully satisfying your CSA shareholder’s investment by packing their weekly pick-up boxes with a succulent chunk of pasture fed beef, you are responsible for that broken life. You own the reaction.
Maybe we need two definitions of sustainability: one definition that applies to Joel Salatin and his customer base, and another definition for vegetarians and others hung-up on the ethics of slaughter.
The problem with this strategy is that it flies in the face of physics and morality. Gravity has one definition. What goes up must come down. Death has one definition also, the end of a sentient being’s life. You can’t paint a happy face on involuntary death. Death is final. Death caused by kinder people, who raise and kill animals humanely and death administered mechanically by a corporate stun gun is death by another name.
Likewise, you can’t pretend that “the karma thing” is optional. Either we have to grant the Farmer Joel Salatin a kind of “diplomatic immunity” or admit that nature protects its innocent from mankind’s greed with an axiomatic law called karma. You can’t have it both ways. The notion that sustainability is an exclusive dialogue about the physical world of forests and compost piles and that the farmer is magically and morally separate from the fray is plain wrong.
Here’s the bottom line: sustainability is genuinely sustainable, if, and only if, it protects the farmer from karmic vulnerability just as it protects the land for erosion, and the watershed from pollution.. Universal codes of conduct—karmic laws—are universal because they function in all times, places and circumstances. You can’t vote on them. Karmic influence may be subtle and not immediately apparent but it looms timelessly over all relationships be they human to human, human to plant or human to animal.
In case your wondering how Judeo-Christian doctrine deals with this issue, it barely does. Western theologians send very mixed messages when it comes to precisely defining mankind’s purported “dominion” over God’s creation. What’s emphasized are biblical passages which exhort gratuitous, self-serving compliance with God’s edict to “prosper and multiply.” How convenient. What does it mean to “prosper and multiply?’ At whose expense? By what means? At what cost to the environment?
Meanwhile, lurking in the bushes, poised and ready to pounce upon the wary sinner, is an 800lb gorilla named Karma. Karma is clutching a stone tablet on which a biblical passage reads,” As you sow…so shall your reap.” Wow! What’s up with that? God’s throwing a temper tantrum, or what? Don’t fret, that’s Old Testament stuff. Jesus spared us from all that hoopla about karmic justice. And besides we all know Jesus ate fish, right? If you ever wondered why sober Western minds seek shelter in Eastern traditions, wonder no more.
By contrast, the Sanskrit literatures of ancient India’s Vedic culture are explicit about what it means to be involved, but not bound by the world of action and reaction. They guide us past the perils of being needy—we do have to eat after all!—without being greedy beyond keeping body and soul together.
The sobering results of choosing diets and occupations which unnecessarily encroach on the intrinsic rights of other beings—be they embodied as plants or animals—are not to be ignored.
That’s why the patriarchs of our modern organic farming movement, Sir Alfred Howard, Rudolph Steiner etc, as well as early American Transcendentalists, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, all turned to Indian thought and practice before writing their treatises.
Humans are collectively and individually responsible for their environmental footprint. Plants and animals do have souls. Compassion for animals can’t be turned “on” and “off” like a water faucet because kindness gets-in-the-way of income. There is an ethical blueprint for sorting out these issues and finding refuge from the storm.
Jimmy and Jeanette are good people. Like thousands of other earth bound entrepreneurs across America, their struggle to make it on the land is meritorious. Consumer demand for organic meat is real but so are the consequences of choosing that path of economic development. Their good intentions, you might say, are natural. The sand in the sweet rice, to use a Vedic analogy, is their assumption that good intentions override universal law. They don’t. Good intentions are the maidservants of universal law.
What Jimmy and Jeanette need—nay, what the whole sustainable agriculture crowd needs—is a crash course called Cosmology 101, with a minor in Ahimsa, non-violence to other life forms. When you ignore the spiritual underpinning of true sustainability, you set yourself up for a stampede by the wild horses of destiny.
And then there’s Farmer Joel Salatin. Yes, he’s expert, articulate and entertaining. His charm and cavalier approach to sustainability sells books and shoots him out the farmhouse door, keynoting his way to fame and possibly fortune before hundreds of admirers. He’s spreading the gospel as he sees it…….. but, as predictably as the cock crows at dawn, he will come face-to-face with an 800lb gorilla named Karma. Get ready Joel….by the way, gorillas are vegetarians, ole’ buddy.
Although the mind may be merged in spiritual consciousness, one should always be very 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.
- Sríla Prabhupáda
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu practiced devotional service and preached. If a preacher behaves properly in devotional service, he will be able to convert others. Otherwise, his preaching will have no effect.
- Srila Prabhupada
We recently came across these photographs of Badra Priya devi dasi from the early days at the Hare Krishna Temple in Toronto.
“In my experience,” says Sri Prahlada, “the kirtan lifestyle is the most profound teaching there is. This is a big claim, especially considering that I have travelled all over the world and shared with people of many diverse cultures. Further, I have earned several university degrees in communication and psychology, contributed to peer reviewed academic journals, taught university lectures and self-development workshops, and am currently completing a PhD.
When I started university I believed that the science of human behaviour or psychology would give me stronger more satisfying answers to the human conditions of suffering and happiness, dissatisfaction and fulfilment, failure and success. After years of study, lecturing, and writing, however, my realisation is that these understandings are weak in comparison to the spiritual principles relating to kirtan that I learned from my dad. What he taught me over the span of a year, I have been realising ever since, gaining deeper realisation and appreciation with each passing year.
“I think of you more than I think of Radha-Syama”
I just came back from a wonderful weekend in São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest, busiest city.
The main purpose of my trip was the “12h Gita” course, held on Saturday and Sunday (5 and 6th of February).
But, to make the most of my trip, the devotees kindly invited me to a nama-hatta program on friday, at the house of a very active devotee couple, Ananda-Maya dd and Dasananda Das. Because São Paulo is so huge, and because ISKCON only has one temple in the city, invariably the temple is hours away from home for many devotees there. The regular nama-hatta programs, being held in different homes, in different parts of the city, therefore, have brought Krishna consciousness closer to the congregation.
In this program, there were some 25 people. I took the opportunity to present Rupa Goswami’s “Citra Kavitvani”, his brilliant and intriguing poems.
On Saturday all day and Sunday morning we had the 12h Gita course. In this course I go through the entire content of the Gita (not reading all the verses, but presenting all the knowledge they contain). This is the 4th time I’ve given this course and people really love it. A chance to get the whole Gita explained in one deep overview. We had a really good crowd of 17 people present.
On Sunday evening I was invited to give the Gita class at the local ISKCON temple. I spoke on the theme of conscious vs. unconscious desires and their impact on our self-realization. After the class, many devotees came forward to thank me and show their appreciation. There were some 60 devotees present.
*** UPDATE - Feb 8, 2011 - We have learned that Bhadra Priya devi dasi passed away last night at around 11:00pm EST under very auspicious circumstances. She was surrounded by devotees doing kirtan, led by HG Bada Hari das. Devotees will still be gathering this evening (Feb 8, 2011) to have kirtan and japa to pray for Bhadra Priya devi dasi. We hope you can join us. ***
With heavy hearts, we would like to call for all devotees in our community to pray for Bhadra Priya devi dasi who is in an active state of leaving her body. Bhadra Priya devi dasi joined the Hare Krishna movement in Montreal in the early 1970's and was then part of our Toronto community for many years.
Bhadra Priya prabhu has been dealing with life-threatening cancer for a few years now. It prompted her return to Krsna consciousness after many years of living away from a temple and she is currently in Alachua, Florida, surrounded by devotees. In recent years, she joined us here in Toronto for many festivals, programs and events in our community.
We ask for all devotees of our Toronto Hare Krishna community to pray for her during these final stages of her life. Hare Krishna.
Today is Vasanta Pancami.Vasanta Pancami marks the beginning of spring. Traditionally in Bengal, new projects are started today. Srimati Radharani & Astasakhis were radiating a divine yellow glow in their new yellow and green outfits, with Their transcendental form being smeared with turmeric paste. Altar was decorated with yellow marigolds, roses, orchids, sunflowers and bright vases. Everywhere it’s vibrant with yellow flowers - all the deities had flower bracelets, armlets, necklaces and crown decorations.
Last Saturday a small group of us went on harinam and book distribution in Johannesburg.
These onlookers could not resist dancing with the devotees.
The busy shoppers could not escape the market place of the holy name. All we have to do is simply vibrate this transcendental sound.
Distributors of the holy name danced a lot in the streets attracting much attention.
Damodara Prasad Prabhu distributed books too. Distributing books in English to the native Africans is blissful experience. I took along a bag filled with "Chant and be Happy". On my way from the elevator to the car two musicians greeted me with a loud Hare Krishna and asked for a copy of 'Science of Self Realization'. My bag was empty but we exchanged phone numbers and arranged to meet up next time we go on harinam.
Anna, in brown T-shirt got to play kartalas for the first time. She managed the beat quiet well.
Srila Prabhupada's books in English were well received.
Many people were videoing and taking photographs of the devotees. We pray that whoever watches these clips get to hear the holy names too!
“Think of it in military terms,” he told the young recruits, some just back from Iraq or Afghanistan. “It’s a matter of survival, an uphill battle. You have to think everything is against you and hope to stay alive.”
The battle in question was not the typical ground assault, but organic farming — how to identify beneficial insects, for instance, or to prevent stray frogs from clogging an irrigation system. It was Day 2 of a novel boot camp for veterans and active-duty military personnel, including Marines from nearby Camp Pendleton, who might be interested in new careers as farmers.
“In the military, grunts are the guys who get dirty, do the work and are generally underappreciated,” said Colin Archipley, a decorated Marine Corps infantry sergeant turned organic farmer, who developed the program with his wife, Karen, after his three tours in Iraq. “I think farmers are the same.”
At their farm, called Archi’s Acres, the sound of crickets and croaking frogs communes with the drone of choppers. The syllabus, approved by Camp Pendleton’s transition assistance program, includes hands-on planting and irrigating, lectures about “high-value niche markets” and production of a business plan that is assessed by food professionals and business professors.
Along with Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots, a new program for veterans at the University of Nebraska’s College of Technical Agriculture, and farming fellowships for wounded soldiers, the six-week course offered here is part of a nascent “veteran-centric” farming movement. Its goal is to bring the energy of young soldiers re-entering civilian life to the aging farm population of rural America. Half of all farmers are likely to retire in the next decade, according to the Agriculture Department.
“The military is not for the faint of heart, and farming isn’t either,” said Michael O’Gorman, an organic farmer who founded the nonprofit Farmer-Veteran Coalition, which supports sustainable-agriculture training. “There are eight times as many farmers over age 65 as under. There is a tremendous need for young farmers, and a big wave of young people inspired to go into the service who are coming home.”
About 45 percent of the military comes from rural communities, compared with one-sixth of the total population, according to the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. In 2009, the Agriculture Department began offering low-interest loans in its campaign to add 100,000 farmers to the nation’s ranks each year.
Among them will probably be Sgt. Matt Holzmann, 33, a Marine at Camp Pendleton who spent seven months in Afghanistan. He did counterinsurgency work and tried to introduce aquaponics, a self-replenishing agricultural system, to rural villages.
His zeal for aquaponics led him to the farming class. “It’s a national security issue,” he said the other day outside a garage-turned-classroom filled with boxes of Dr. Earth Kelp Meal. “The more responsibly we use water and energy, the greater it is for our country.”
February 7, 2011
An important day on our BRC calendar. Today we started our manuscript search and record program. With generous donations from Srutadeva prabhu in San Diego, Nrsimhadeva prabhu from Murwillumbah Australia, and Bhakta Vinoda Kumar from Dubai we purchased this week a Canon Powershot G12 semi-professional camera with various accessories such as a tripod, extra flashes etc. for making good quality digital images of the works.
The movable viewfinder is especially useful when working with a tripod.
Along with that we took delivery of a hired vehicle donated for the use of the BRC for the next three months specifically for this program by the generosity of Mayapur CEO Naru-gopala prabhu and the Mayapur Administrative Council.
Our first visit was to Kumara Hatta, nowadays generally known as Halisahar. It was a natural place to begin because our chief researcher Smt. Bharati Roy (above center) and her assistant Ashish (above right) both live in here.
This is the birth place of Srila Isvara Puri, the spiritual master of Lord Caitanya.
Srila Prabhupada mentions it in Caitanya Caritamrta Adi 9.11:
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in his Anubhasya, “Sri Isvara Puri was a resident of Kumara-hatta, where there is now a railroad station known as Kamarhatta. Nearby there is another station, named Halisahara, which belongs to the Eastern Railway. This railway runs from the eastern section of Calcutta.”
Isvara Puri pleased his spiritual master by service, and by the blessings of his spiritual master he became such a great personality that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted him as His spiritual master.
A temple was constructed here in 1935
and is currently run by Sri Kishori dasa Babaji, the son of the first pujari.
There are beautiful Deities of Sri Sri Radha Vinoda, Gaura Nitai and a large murti of Srila Isvara Puripada.
Following Lord Caitanya’s example, the place became so popular and so many devotees took earth from it that it was later transformed into a large pond called Caitanya Doha (doha means ‘pond’).
Kishori Baba is a friend of Bharati Roy, and he kindly agreed to give us access to their manuscript collection. Unlike many other places, this one is kept very conscientiously, with the manuscripts kept clean and protected with cloth wrappings.
Here’s the first one we viewed, a book about the glories of Srimati Radharani. According to the notation, it was written in 1708 Sakabda, or 1790 AD-over 300 years old! The paper is cotton based hand made parchment. Very durable and flexible.
Bharati is photographing 15 manuscripts here before moving on to the next place on a list of about 15 libraries, mathas and sripats this month, where we hope to discover more valuable texts and record them.
Assistant to Kishori Babaji is Sri Ajay.
By his enthusiastic endeavor they have established the Baishnab Research Institute
He has gained official government recognition for Caitanya Doha as a national heritage site and with limited funds and help is establishing a library of old books to preserve them before they rot or pass through the digestive tracts of the numerous insects and worms that abound in a tropical climate
As you can see, there is an urgent need to locate and preserve what Srila Prabhupada referred to in 1972 as a “treasure house of Vaisnava lore.” Any help our readers can provide is more than welcome.
If you are interested in supporting this important program please contact me about our BRC membership program:
by Rasanandini dasi and Member Services Committee
Now Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra have recovered from Their colds and returned quietly to Their altar. So when is Ratha Yatra? Mark Sunday February 13th. in your diary: “attend Melbourne’s first large scale Ratha Yatra Festival since 1976.”
This year Their Lordships will make Their way to the St. Kilda Festival, the second biggest free event in the southern hemisphere! There They will give Their darshana to 380,000 people. This is unprecedented in Melbourne! How fortunate can we be?
Each year we have taken Chota Jagannatha out on Ratha Yatra early in the New Year. That has always been a small intimate event where devotees carried Their palanquin and sang and danced for Them to their hearts’ content. But this year Their Lordships will be transported in style! A great festively painted chariot overflowing with floral arrangements will make its way at 11 am. from the corner of Jackson and Fitzroy Streets to Jacka Boulevard via Luna Park and on to its destination at Catani Gardens at 12:30pm.
Jagannatha Ratha Yatra offers us some truly special services: besides being able to pull the Lords in their Ratha, you may be Sweeper of the Road before Their cart.
Ratha Yatra will be a significant part of the St. Kilda Festival. We will establish a Vedic Village in Catani Gardens from 10am. till 8:30pm. to share Krishna conscious culture. It will include a small temple with a beautiful altar for Their Lordships and Srila Prabhupada.
Then there will be a stage for bhajans, kirtanas, drama, and a yoga meltdown; a prasadam tent; face painting for the kids. World-renowned chef Kurma Dasa also will give vegetarian master classes.
If you loved Gaura Vani & as Kindred Spirits last year, they will return for the festival to enthral us with their music! We are negotiating with outstanding performers and international guests including Gitanjali, and Holland’s Parividha Dasa to guarantee you a festival to remember.
Srila Prabhupada himself flew across the globe to attend Melbourne’s grand Ratha Yatra procession of 1974, and it was his strong desire that devotees here should continue this sacred tradition.
We look forward to seeing you there: make history, and bring your family and friends to join you. It promises to be a fun-filled day that will also make Srila Prabhupada very happy.
Mumbai, February 2001
Vrajabihari prabhu asked me to accompany him to the airport to fetch Prahaladhananda Maharaja and Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja. I was looking forward to seeing Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja and meeting His Holiness Prahladananda Maharaja. Vrajabihari prabhu garlanded Praladhananda Maharaja and I garlanded Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja.
Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja asked, ‘Where are they taking us?’ I wasn’t sure. I asked a rhetorical question, ‘The Temple?’ Maharaja said, ‘Aren’t they taking us to the hospital?’ It was distressing to see Maharaja looking so weak. He didn’t speak much, just chanted. When we arrived at the Bhaktivedanta Hospital, we took the sannyasis suitcases to their rooms. They spoke to one of the main doctor’s at the Bhaktivedanta Hospital, Sri Krsna Caitanya prabhu. I offered obeisances to Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja. He thanked me for coming and gave me his garland. He said, ‘Sorry for being such a nuisance.’ I replied, ‘No, Maharaja. We were looking forward to receiving you.’ I then asked, ‘Is it an emergency?’ Maharaja said, ‘Yes…it’s serious. We had to leave Mayapur directly.’ Maharaja had a severe case of asthma. I asked Maharaja if he required any service. I would cancel my Mayapur trip if necessary. He said, ‘If you like. But you can go ahead.’
As it turned out, several other sannyasis and senior devotees checked into the hospital. I soon met Niranjana Swami and Vaidhinath prabhu. The hospital was also offering relief for the victims of the Gujarat earthquake. I shared a room with Niranjana Maharaja’s personal servant for 20 rupees a night. I developed the habit of taking breakfast at the Mira Road Temple and dosas and sambar in the canteen for lunch. My main service, in the beginning, was cleaning Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja’s room with the help of Savya-saci, Niranjana Maharaja’s servant. I ended up, however, cleaning the room every morning and washing cloth for Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja, Niranjana Swami, Prahladananda Swami and Vaidhinatha prabhu. Other services included serving prashadam for these devotees and performing various menial services in the hospital, such as accompanying His Grace Vijay prabhu into the operating-theatre and assisting the servants of the various Maharajas. It was a great opportunity to serve, but very intense. On one of the nights, we sang in Niranjana Maharaja’s room. On another night, we visited Sridhar Maharaja (who had severe hepatitis) and chanted in ‘Nrsimha Kutir’. The apartment was across the road from the Hospital.
I accompanied a young Indian bhakta, Manoja, to Sridhar Maharaja’s apartment on one of the mornings. We presented Maharaja with a garland of marigolds from Sri Sri Radha-Giridhari. Maharaja was very happy with the garland. He asked what I had done before I took up Krishna consciousness. I informed Maharaja that I had been a student of History and had written a thesis on the slave trade to the Cape. Maharaja told me that his brother had been a Rhodes scholar. He then asked, ‘Why History?’ He asked as if it was incomprehensible to him that anyone would be interested in mundane history. His brother had studied South American history. I asked Maharaja if it was practical to take first initiation from Radhanath Maharaja, considering that Maharaja never visited South Africa. ’Maybe I am being idealistic’, I said. Sridhar Maharaja was encouraging. He said, quite matter-of-factly, that the person you receive initiation from has to inspire you your whole life. You have to have faith in that person. I offered obeisances to Maharaja and bade him leave.
Something extraordinary happened in the afternoon when I returned to the Temple to get maha sweets from the pujari (priest of the Deity). The altar was closed and there were no devotees around. As I was leaving the Temple compound, a devotee called Premavatara offered me a garland. It was the same garland which I had presented to Sridhar Maharaja in the morning!
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Dravida Prabhu, who may be an incarnation of one of Krishna's praying bumblebees, teaches me slokas and swears by their potency. Recently I was in Miami Beach meditating on a nectar verse by Srila Rupa Gosvami he had given me the prior evening. I looked up from my meditation in the middle of the verse and handed a set of books to a teenage girl. I briefly introduced the books and asked for a donation. She thought for a minute, reached in her purse handed me a hundred-dollar bill and said, "I'm a generous person." I was blown away!
Despite my milky-clouded consciousness, she walked away with a set of serious nectar! Behold the mystic potency of these slokas.
Your servant, Bhakta Tim
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Dravida Prabhu, who may be an incarnation of one of Krishna's praying bumblebees, teaches me slokas and swears by their potency. Recently I was in Miami Beach meditating on a nectar verse by Srila Rupa Gosvami he had given me the prior evening. I looked up from my meditation in the middle of the verse and handed a set of books to a teenage girl. I briefly introduced the books and asked for a donation. She thought for a minute, reached in her purse handed me a hundred-dollar bill and said, "I'm a generous person." I was blown away!
Despite my milky-clouded consciousness, she walked away with a set of serious nectar! Behold the mystic potency of these slokas.
Your servant, Bhakta Tim
Every Day, Just Write, Volume I: Welcome Home to the One Big Book of Your Life
The Pied Piper. Peter Pan color. Mary Martin singing in this world, swinging back and forth on cable, “I’m flying!” And I am looking to the other world, fighting for faith.
Listen, when they gather tonight tell them I have a new temple participation schedule. I’ll give Sunday A.M. Cc. reading at the temple and one day a week a disciples meeting here at house, plus I’ll go down on my own once a week in the afternoon for darsana of Radha-Govinda. They will accept it. Plus I can answer your questions in letters, if it doesn’t get too much.
And this schedule leaves me much free time to track end of year in diary. And poems in and out of divided lines.
Reading little in SP’s books. Gradually you can increase it. Little at a time. I’m leaving my Bhagavad-gita here in shed to read each time I come here. Read it aloud even if you are reluctant or if you have read it so many times…or it arouses doubts. Go through those impasses and gain shelter. Please Lord, accept me and grant me sraddha.
Foggy, frosty A.M. with brilliant pink clouds. Then it cleared suddenly, lake calm, everything visible. Then it closed in again with fog. I wore two pairs of gloves and a pair of heavy socks over my two pairs of pink socks. So I’ll keep this standard for going to shed and add more warmth as necessary. It’s good to come out here. Pour out slowly whilst you can, what is.
M in the world of computers. “Computer addiction is incurable.”
Yeah, well I don’t know anything about it. She was not afraid to die, woman in chronic illness book.
Row boat makes its way across
Time about up. White paper, blue gloves. Noise outside near like a machine loading or pushing something in this place where you expect it all quiet. Good day it has been so far despite the low, depression a little about my purpose in hearing SP, say the devotee-preacher is best as I poured warm clear water on his bare body. My Prabhupada.
Little concerns of my life here. Oh write with abandon here, he suggested. On wood desk feet on floor, write,
As I walked back from the shed I saw the Ireland sankirtana van. It was parked right on the path where I walk. The doors were open and music was pouring out of it, samsara-dava…with an electric bass and nice voices. Some men were inside the van, cleaning it out, and they were singing along with the tape. All the doors were open, but I walked by at such an angle that they didn’t see me. I hesitated, thinking maybe I should play the friendly old senior devotee and go over and chat with them, ask them what party they where. Were where they doing sankirtana? And so on and so forth. But somehow I kept walking, and I saw one of the bhakta coming out from the warehouse with a big stack of books in his hands, and we made eye contact in a friendly way. I kept walking, a little bit wishing I had stopped to talk so that a little of their energy could rub off on me and show that I was friendly, get a little out of the hermit mood and somehow be able to say to myself, “I talked to some sankirtana men. I’m not so bad.” But as I kept on walking towards Manu’s house wherein I have my own room it seemed I’d done the right thing not to be so dissatisfied with my own lot. They have their sankirtana life as brahmacaris distributing books, and I have my own life and they’re both okay.
I find it wholesame to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found a companion that were so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers (H.D. Thoreau)
November 19, 1996
“By the mercy of the Lord, all truths were revealed to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and he could understand the importance of chanting the holy name and distributing love of God everywhere.” (Cc. Madhya 6.205)
You might think a bhakta could write a more ecstatic diary than this one. Discoveries would take place in his inner life. He becomes a changed man, he cries for Krishna, realizes Krishna and His name are nondifferent—and it’s recorded in his diary or his is a record of outward preaching adventures. But this one is quieter, “static,” tells of me asking Aniruddha to make me bookshelves for my room in the house and please put a lock on the door of the shed. Let me show virtue of patiently accepting this life given to me generously by the Supreme Lord (kala) or just show what you are and sorry I couldn’t be better, folks.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Today I have conquered the three worlds very easily. Today I have ascended to the spiritual world.” (Cc. Madhya 6.230)
Please write here. The emptiness in my heart. The fact is…
A good many people don’t
Bhajan – Amala Purana das – Hare Krishna
Even if one distributes ten million cows in charity during an eclipse of the sun, lives at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna for millions of years, or gives a mountain of gold in sacrifice to the brahmanas, he does not earn even one hundredth part of the merit derived from chanting Hare Krishna.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami - Laghu Bhagavatamrta
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