----- Original Message -----From: FeedBlitzTo:Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 8:59 AMSubject: Planet ISKCON - 49 new articles
"Planet ISKCON" - 49 new articles
- H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Tuesday 8 March 2011--Don't Be a Slave of the Box--and--Mayavadi and Krishna Consciousness
- ISKCON Brampton, Canada: *Gaura Purnima Festival - March 19, 2011*
- Australian News: You are invited to celebrate Gaura Purnima at an ISKCON Temple or Centre near you
- ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Daily Class - Kesava Prabhu
- ISKCON Melbourne, AU: Today's Darsana
- Akrura das, Gita Coaching: HARIDASA AND MAYADEVI
- Bharatavarsa.net: Bhakti Vikasa Swami: eager for the day
- Rupa Madhurya das, TX, USA: Bhajan - 24hr Kirtan - Sunita - 6/26
- H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Sunday, March 6th, 2011
- H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Saturday, March 5th, 2011
- H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Friday, March 4th, 2011
- H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
- H.H. Bhaktimarg Swami: Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
- H.H. Sivarama Swami
- Madhava Ghosh dasa, New Vrndavan, USA: Solar Ivy
- Mukunda Charan das, SA: Pure Vegetarian Cuisine And Prashadam
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): 242
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): Prabhupada Meditations
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): Obstacles on the Path of Devotional Service
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): Life With the Perfect Master
- H.H. Satsvarupa das Goswami (Ret.): Talking Freely to My Lords
- Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: The Disappearance day of a dear Godbrother, Tamal Krishna Goswami. Loving Exchanges...
- ISKCON Toronto, Canada: Sunday Feast Siva Ratri Class by HH Bhakti Brhat Bhagavat Swami
- Jaya Kesava das, Denton, Texas: The Trip So Far
- Srila Prabhupada's Letters
- Srila Prabhupada's Letters
- Srila Prabhupada's Letters
- Srila Prabhupada's Letters
- Jahnavi, UK: Good Morning Sunshine
- Ananda Subramanian, Iowa, USA: No one can understand Krishna's plan
- Srila Prabhupada's Letters
- Srila Prabhupada's Letters
- Srila Prabhupada's Letters
- Srila Prabhupada's Letters
- Dandavats.com: GBC AGM Report- Oath of Loyalty
- Dandavats.com: Live From Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir! HG Badrinarayan Prabhu
- Mayapur Online: Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama
- Kripamoya dasa, UK: ISKCON 2011 #3 A Preacher’s Checklist for Growth
- H.H. Sivarama Swami: Conversation with leaders of South London preaching centre
- Akrura das, Gita Coaching: UNLIMITED POSSIBILITIES
- Matsyavatara das (ACBSP), Italy: My first meeting with my Guru Maharaja: His Holiness A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Shrila Prabhupada -PART 2/2- Di Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)
- Mayapur Online: Gaura Purnima Festival 2011-Announcements for the day!
- Australian News: Sri Prahlada at Govindas Lotus Room – Sydney
- H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Monday 7 March 2011--Warning: Do Not Look at Govinda--and--Survival Without Making Money?
- Australian News: BYRON BAY Kirtan with Madhava
- Akrura das, Gita Coaching: THERE MUST BE SOME PLAN
- H.H. Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Sivaratri class
- Gouranga TV: The Mayapuris
- Japa Group: Japa Retreat - Sharing Our Obstacles
- More Recent Articles
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H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Tuesday 8 March 2011--Don't Be a Slave of the Box--and--Mayavadi and Krishna Consciousness
A daily broadcast of the Ultimate Self Realization Course(TM) Tuesday 8 March 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 a Slave of the Box Uploaded from Bhaktivedanta Ashram--Austin, Texas USA Even in material life we see that thinking outside of the box, in other words thinking beyond the mental stereotypes imposed upon us by the material society, has its distinct advantages. For example, normally it is considered that the road to material success is to get a college degree. But two of the most successful paradigm-shifting innovators in today's society, Bill Gates-the founder of Microsoft and Steven Jobs-the co-founder of Apple Computers, were both college dropouts. The point is that that we should not be blind followers of the material civilization. We should use our own intelligence to see that because every machine has an operator the gigantic cosmic machine must therefore also have an operator. We should not be blindly swept away by Darwinian atheism, even though it is being taught in the universities and regularly promoted in the mass media as gospel. Don't be a slave of the box. Use your intelligence, see things as they are, and act in full accordance and harmony with the sublime reality of which you are a part. Sankarshan Das Adhikari Don't Think Inside the Box http://www.backtohome.com/images/corporate_slave.jpg Think Outside of the Box Srila Prabhupada Launches the Hare Krishna Movement in 1966 in New York City's Tompkins Square Park http://www.backtohome.com/images/Prabhupada/sp-tompkins-square.jpg Answers According to the Vedic Version: Question: Mayavadi and Krishna Consciousness My question is: What is the major difference between Mayavadi philosophy and Krishna conscious philosophy? Why did Srila Prabhupada always advise us not to hear Mayavadi philosophy? Your Servant Mittal K. Answer: God is Person, Not an Imperson Mayavadis consider that all persons including Krishna are actually illusions and the only reality is God, the unmanifested, impersonal oneness. In other words they consider the form of Krishna to be maya or an illusion. This is why they are called Mayavadis, because they consider the form of Krishna to be maya. If a devotee becomes attracted to hearing Mayavadi philosophy, he will give naturally give up devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because he will think that ultimately there is no person named Krishna. Mayavadism is especially dangerous because it is derived from a twisted misinterpretation of the Vedic scriptures, especially the Vedanta Sutra. Mayavadi philosophy attracts the foolish class of men because it teaches them that they are God, that all they have to do is wake up and realize that they are God. But we are not fooled by it. If I am actually God, how could I have ever forgotten it? This would mean that forgetfulness is greater than God and that therefore forgetfulness is actually God, not me. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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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The Pancha-Tattva Maha Mantra
(Jaya) shri-krishna-caitanyaprabhu nityanandashri-advaita gadadharashrivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrinda
namo maha -vadanyayakrishna- prema- pradaya tekrishnaya krishna- caitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah
O most munificentincarnation! You are Krishna Himself appearing as Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Srimate Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krishna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You.
Sunday 20th March
The Divine Appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu
(Fast till moonrise)
On Sunday March 20th we are celebrating Gaura Purnima at Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha Temple in Sydney. Gaura Purnima is another very auspicious day celebrating the appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu 525 years ago, who is Sri Krishna’s avatar for this age who descended in the guise of a devotee to teach by example how to practice and spread the ‘yuga dharma’ or principal method of realisation in this age of Harinama-Sankirtana – the congregational chanting of the Holy Names.
As kirtan spreads more and more throughout the world His prediction that every town and village would hear the mantra becomes increasingly prophetic, so don’t forget to mark this day in your calendar as an event not to be missed!
Gaura Purnima is the annual celebration of the Appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. “Gaura” refers to Caitanya Mahaprahu’s golden complexion and “Purnima” refers to the full-moon night on which He appeared. On this special day, Krishna personally appeared over 500 years ago, in the year 1486 AD in Sridhama Mayapur, West Bengal, India. He was known as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and acted as His own devotee. He came to this world to spread love of God through the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord.
Sri Caitanya’s teachings cover three main topics:
1. Knowledge of the soul’s relationship with Krishna,
2. The method of awakening that relationship, and
3. The awakened state of that relationship (pure love of God.)
Most of all he taught us that we gain full enlightenment simply by chanting the holy names of the Lord:
Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.4 - Devotional service is experiential (...pratyaksavagamam dharmyam su-sukham kartum avyayam).
Their Lordships sport Their "Omkara" set today and Bhakta Prabhu strikes again with his phenomenal turbans on Sri Sri Gaura Nitai.
In the meantime, Sri Sri Radha Ballabha look resplendent, especially with those blue orchids that enhance the exquisiteness of Their features.
As for Sri Sri Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra Mayi, They are increasingly happy with Swarupa Sakti's dressing it seems!
Here's the darsana that will make your day.
"I have been initiated into a vow to perform a great sacrifice by chanting the holy name a certain number of times every day. As long as the vow to chant is unfulfilled, I do not desire anything else. When I finish my chanting, then I have an opportunity to do anything."
One day Haridasa Thakura was sitting in his cave, reciting the holy name of the Lord very loudly.
The night was full of moonlight, which made the waves of the Ganges look dazzling. All directions were clear and bright.
Thus everyone who saw the beauty of the cave, with the tulasi plant on a clean altar, was astonished and satisfied at heart.
At that time, in that beautiful scene, a woman appeared in the courtyard. The beauty of her body was so bright that it tinged the entire place with a yellow hue.
The scent of her body perfumed all directions, and the tinkling of her ornaments startled the ear.
After coming there, the woman offered obeisances to the tulasi plant, and after circumambulating the tulasi plant she came to the door of the cave where Haridasa Thakura was sitting.
With folded hands she offered obeisances at the lotus feet of Haridasa Thakura. Sitting at the door, she then spoke in a very sweet voice.
"My dear friend," she said, "you are the friend of the entire world. You are so beautiful and qualified. I have come here only for union with you.
"My dear sir, kindly accept me and be merciful toward me, for it is a characteristic of all saintly persons to be kind toward the poor and fallen."
After saying this, she began to manifest various postures, which even the greatest philosopher would lose his patience upon seeing.
Haridasa Thakura was immovable, for he was deeply determined. He began to speak to her, being very merciful toward her.
"I have been initiated into a vow to perform a great sacrifice by chanting the holy name a certain number of times every day.
"As long as the vow to chant is unfulfilled, I do not desire anything else. When I finish my chanting, then I have an opportunity to do anything.
"Sit down at the door and hear the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. As soon as the chanting is finished, I shall satisfy you as you desire."
After saying this, Haridasa Thakura continued to chant the holy name of the Lord. Thus the woman sitting before him began to hear the chanting of the holy name.
In this way, as he chanted and chanted, the morning approached, and when the woman saw that it was morning, she got up and left.
For three days she approached Haridasa Thakura in this way, exhibiting various feminine postures that would bewilder the mind of even Lord Brahma.
Haridasa Thakura was always absorbed in thoughts of Krishna and the holy name of Krishna. Therefore the feminine poses the woman exhibited were just like crying in the forest.
At the end of the night of the third day, the woman spoke to Haridasa Thakura as follows.
"My dear sir, for three days you have cheated me by giving me false assurances, for I see that throughout the entire day and night your chanting of the holy name is never finished."
Haridasa Thakura said, "My dear friend, what can I do? I have made a vow. How, then, can I give it up?"
After offering obeisances to Haridasa Thakura, the woman said, "I am the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I came here to test you.
"I have previously captivated the mind of even Brahma, what to speak of others. Your mind alone have I failed to attract.
"My dear sir, you are the foremost devotee. Simply seeing you and hearing you chant the holy name of Krishna has purified my consciousness. Now I want to chant the holy name of the Lord. Please be kind to me by instructing me about the ecstasy of chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
"There is now a flood of the eternal nectar of love of Godhead due to the incarnation of Lord Caitanya. All living entities are floating in that flood. The entire world is now thankful to the Lord.
"Anyone who does not float in this inundation is most condemned. Such a person cannot be delivered for millions of kalpas.
"Formerly I received the holy name of Lord Rama from Lord Siva, but now, due to your association, I am greatly eager to chant the holy name of Lord Krishna.
"The holy name of Lord Rama certainly gives liberation, but the holy name of Krishna transports one to the other side of the ocean of nescience and at last gives one ecstatic love of Krishna.
"Please give me the holy name of Krishna and thus make me fortunate, so that I also may float in the flood of love of Godhead inaugurated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu."
After speaking in this way, Maya worshiped the lotus feet of Haridasa Thakura, who initiated her by saying, "Just perform chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra."
After thus being instructed by Haridasa Thakura, Maya left with great pleasure.
- Caitanya Caritamrita
You have written: "We are all eager for the day when your books are recognized as the greatest masterpieces of all. We are all eager for the day when your books are the most demanded works in the library. We are sure that day is not far away.'' Yes, Krsna will fulfill your desire. Actually it is so. But because they are fools and rascals it will take some time.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Ranadhira — Bombay 18 April, 1977
Sunita singing a Hare Krishna bhajan for Dallas' New Year's 24hr Kirtan.
Happiness on the Ganga
You couldn't see more excited kids. The big attraction for them was us. Mayapura Tourism Department so much liked our drama performance of "The Three Lives of Bharat" that they wanted to treat our troupe to a boat ride on the Ganga River. It was our option to chant, speak or just enjoy the ride. We opted for chanting "kirtan". That is what riled up the children.
The motorized boat, a rather deluxe one for standards around here, took our 25 passenger crew along the river bank up to the confluence of the Jalangi and Ganges Rivers. As we coasted along the youngsters ran along the banks to keep up with our speed until a fence restricted further mobility. On the west side of the Ganges our gondolier, if you will, coasted there as well, drawing the same kind of attention with youthful arms flailing in the air in ecstatic motion and with voices making prime amplification.
This is India, the place of spiritual appreciation. Kirtan is so conducive in the land formerly known as Bharat Varsh. Where in the world do you find such a large convergence of people at such a time like Kumbha Mela which draws millions.
Our boat passengers exuded a joy through singing and that joy bounced off the spirits of those kids. You are sure not to gain such response from urban kids.
I actually had lunch with Bhakti Raghava Swami, a Canadian monk who hails from my province, Ontario. He has taken the bold step to promote rural life and a dependency on the land and animals. I admire the direction he's taking and giving. Country living encourages happiness. It was evident in the smiles of the children.
A Walking proposal
Bamboo trees grow plentifully along the Taranpura road. It is an extremely useful commodity. The pandal (tent) in which our crew performed in was erected practically overnight. It appears like a solid structure yet is merely a bamboo framed building with colorful cloth stretched around it. When you live in a place like mayapura you appreciate the valuable usage of this tree.
I asked my walking partner, Suta Goswami das, about the cut branches piled high where we trekked.
"This is eucalyptus. The wood is for fuel and the leaves are pressed for oil," He informed me. "The oil is used for cleaning."
Two or three drops of it is what I used to add to a bucket of hot water to clean the temple room floor, an activity I was so routined to doing as a novice monk in the early 70's. Those were the days!
Moving further on with our leg power, you can see in the fields the growth of coriander, sugar cane, peas, dal and more. Mint bushes line the path. This is a herb I could identify and point out to Suta. We were educating each other in what we know.
Leaving plants be, what they are as we pass by them, Suta revealed something on his mind about a future project.
"Maharaja, I was thinking about traveling all over India with two or thee brahmacaris (monks) just selling our guru, Srila Prabhupada's books. This we would do on foot and just depend on the kindness of others for food, a place to stay, etc. What do you think?" He asked.
I told him that this proposal struck a sensitive nerve. "If you do that you would be a perfect swami. You'll find in it adventure, growth and surrender. Do it!"
If Suta proceeds then we would have another monk on the loose. Let's spread the culture. Let's educate. Let people know that legs are better then wheels and that reading books on spirituality are better than watching the cricket game.
The Best Search
One swami early in the morning asked me, "How's Jim from Canada?"
"To be frank he's undergoing some depression these days."
The swami then offered, "Tell him to stop looking for happiness and
start looking for Krishna."
I appreciated the advice. "I'll gladly tell him."
Indeed we are in a troubled world, devoid of happiness. It reminded me
of something said in our meetings. To quote one of our American
devotees Braja Bihari, who heads up our society's Ministry for
Conflict Resolution, "In Kali-yuga (current age of darkness) conflict
is a growing industry."
Whether it's depression, which is generally a conflict state within,
or encountering objection and challenge from others, the world in
which we live presents disturbances. Birth, death, disease and old age
are generally listed as the miseries of life. It behooves us to be
forewarned about these difficulties. It is a part of education; to be
informed and to not see this world through rose-tinted glasses. In
other words, lets be realistic.
I had been invited to speak to students from ages 6+ at the Sri
Mayapura International School. With me Radhanatha Swami whose book
"Journey Home" has become a popular read in mainstream America. We
both relayed events of our travels to the young students. He had said
at one point, "This is the best school in the world and you have the
best teachers in the world."
To justify such a statement one has to consider if you have euphoric
children or not. Are they happy, lustrous, clean, well-behaved? On all
counts these kids passed the test. They are blessed with both
conventional training with the spiritual component added on top.
One family from Canada enrolled their two girls in the school just last
year. I had hoped that these girls would be able to adjust to a new
continent and a very different environment.
I asked them, "Do you like it here?"
It was a resounding "Yes. We love it here."
I thought "How lucky they are! I sure didn't have that opportunity
when I was young."
In any event the formula stands, "Stop looking for happiness. Start
looking for God."
Bharat Now Better Known
Somewhere in Trinidad a group of young people were watching the live
feed of our performance, "The Three Lives of Bharat." It was a coffee
shop where a lap-top screen was broadcasting the marvelous "acrobats"
as someone called them. Indeed the performers did fling themselves in
the air as much as vocalize the story of King Bharat.
As the screen exposed itself to on-lookers around, the viewership
increased to a bigger than normal huddle. They looked on with interest
as the viewers of the live drama in the Samadhi Auditorium had done.
Applause came from Mayapura and the thousands-of-miles-away Trinidad
As the director, feedback came to me from the Wednesday and Thursday
night performances. "I understand Bharat better now." Bharat is
mentioned in the sacred text : Bhagavad-gita" numerous times. Now in
the form of a play, the story which is a powerful endorsement on the
reincarnation concept, comes to light about a Vedic king who had a
strong bond to a wild animal, a deer. India which was formerly named
as Bharatvarsa and whose history is detailed in the epical poem "The
Mahabharat" derives its nomenclature from this personality.
Bharat was the son of Rsabhadev, the ascetic who inspired the
well-established Jain movement in India. Like his father, Bharat
became a monk, but too reclusive to the point where he isolated
himself from human interaction. It left himself vulnerable you can
say, and hence he became open prey for becoming overly affectionate
for a little fawn.
The setting of this touching story is the Pulaha Ashram, the foothills
of the Himalayas where monks have been known to converge for
When you study Puranic stories and not least the books of our guru,
Srila Prabhupada, it becomes an exploration of the lives of kings and
monks. How are these archetypical career models relevant to today? A
person is less likely to meet a king than a monk. I was talking to a
devotee stationed in Bali who gave me the official figure of 500,000
monks residing in that country.
Monks are few but kings are less. I am pacified that the work of "The
Three Lives of Bharat" has come together as it has. Whoever may see
it, whether live or in a coffee shop will have a chance to know more
clearly what life is like as a monk in the not-so-fast lane.
Dust Under Us
In the easterly sky a rich saffron glowed. Palm leaves were set in the foreground and as my head brushed against one, even though I tried to dodge it, small dew drops delivered themselves onto the skull until I wiped off the wetness. With even gentle steps dust gets stirred up on the not-yet-paved path towards the Tarampura Road.
God forbid that all walking trails here will meet asphalt in the future. The massive temple under construction, once completed, will draw pilgrims in the multitudes. They will come from all over the world. When that happens the demand for accommodating inexperienced feet and motorized vehicles will be strong. Could it be that a time will come when "dust from the lotus feet" of the holy travelers will have no meaning? Will the phrase denoting the quality of humility be obsolete? Will future words read "the concrete from the lotus feet?"
I am enjoying the dust while I can. Perhaps it sounds somewhat like I'm singing the blues lamenting over a foreseeable unpleasant future. I'm hit by feelings of ambivalence - joyful at the prospect of uncreased numbers of pilgrims immersed in a higher consciousness but sad at the thought of simple rural charm being sacrificed. There is not a day that goes by especially during walking times that I'm torn inside with the rural versus modernity arm wrestle.
The sweet sentiments of the boyhood "greenness" of Krishna envelops me. The images of vegetation and animals and the cowherd children moving between these two should remain as permanent fixtures of this area.
It will be a challenge to preserve natural beauty and keep "development" from chewing it up. That is my prayer : while a gorgeous temple springs from the ground may dust continue to give comfort to our feet.
To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.
- Bernadette Devlin McAliskey
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(Gosh’s note: I deleted out a bunch of stuff but left this next part in because she went to the same high school I did)
Teresita Brigitte Cochran
Chief Marketing OfficerTeresita Cochran was born and reared in St. Louis, MO until she attended Phillips Exeter Academy, graduating in 1993. She then attended the Rhode Island School of Design and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1999.
Filed under: Cows and Environment
The ancient Laws Of Manu describes the diet of the brahmanas or priestly order of society as a diet that would exclude the eating of meat, fish, eggs, onions and garlic. Indian Natural Medicine is called Ayurveda - Ayu means ‘life’ and Veda means ‘science’ ie. ‘Science of Life’. The Ayurveda explains how onions and garlic arouse passion within the heart. Such foods are rajasic (ie. in the mode of passion) and should, therefore, be avoided by aspiring spiritualists or yogis. These prescriptions are corroborated by a story from the Puranas which describes how a pregnant brahmana’s wife, overcome by hunger at a fire sacrifice, ate cow’s flesh. She shamefully buried the bones in the ground and the bones sprouted as onion and garlic. Food without garlic, onions or eggs is called “pure vegetarian” in India.
The preparation of foodstuffs and worship was part of daily life in the ancient Vedic or Aryan culture. The fact that many Indians frequent temples to take darshan (ie. have audience) of the Deity, associate with sadhus (saintly people) and honour foodstuffs offered to the Deity is an indication of the impact of Aryan culture on India today. Temple offerings of food or bhoga – meant for the pleasure of Lord Vishnu (the Supreme Personality of Godhead) – exclude breads, pizza, soya products, mushrooms, certain cakes and intoxicants like alcohol and coffee. Offerings to Lord Vishnu or Krishna are made by pure-hearted brahmanas. When bhoga is prepared and offered to the Lord with devotion, such offerings are accepted by the Lord, and are called prashadam. Prashadam also means the ‘mercy’ of the Lord. Prashadam is considered to be pure and is beyond even the goodness of sattvic foodstuffs.
Traditional Indian Vegetarian Cuisine and Ayurveda are interchangeable. The Charak Samhita, one of the definitive Ayurvedic texts, explains that food can be both the source of health and disease – depending on what and how we eat. Sattvic foods, therefore, are good for the health. Prashadam is not only sattvic; it is good for the soul. Devotees believe that prashadam is food that has come in direct contact with Krishna or God. Prashadam cannot be contaminated. The faithful believe that prashadam can be eaten even if it has fallen on the ground or come in contact with something dirty. Prashadam, therefore, is pure vegetarian cuisine in the strictest sense.
A Writer of Pieces
New format–I will begin with a poem written on the day of its printing. Then I will print random excerpts of books I have printed over the last 30 years. I hope this variety will be pleasing.
Poem for March 7
The rain has turned into
snow. We may have another
snow fall. Hankering for spring…
Today a local baby eats her
first solid food in a brahminical
ceremony, but we won’t be able
to attend with our conflicting schedule.
We can drop in and see the baby
I’m writing my new book
and printing “old friends”
on a daily basis.
Today I go way back to
Guru Reform and the written
poems at Gita Nagari,
Talking to My Lords.
One poem in there says
living in Gita Nagari and
walking through the leaves
is as good as visiting
Vrndavana. There’s a
segment on controlling the
mind from Obstacles on the
Path of Devotional Service.
A page or two from Canakya
slokas as quoted by Prabhupada. I
hope to keep these
books in print,
available on the internet,
never to disappear.
I spent my life laboring
to shape books as
my prime offering to
and to his devotees and
new friends. They don’t
go out of date. I am
grateful for the chance
to do that service for
Each book is an offering
to Krishna, made in
parampara, not from
the highest platform
but sincere and
always aiming at plain truth.
I have a good supply
and hope to keep on
coming out with them
daily in a variety of
Yes, it’s snowing heavily
now, you’d get
covered if you tried to walk
outdoors. March snow
storms are just as fierce as midwinter.
I’ll continue writing
indoors and maybe
on the porch if it
warms up a bit.
I’m happy with
my assignment and
the snow and ice
are pretty although
Volume II, Remembering the Fool
In my memoirs of Prabhupada, I usually describe myself as a fool, and I rub it in. But some readers may doubt that this is really how I feel. They may think that I’m just presenting the image of a fool without thinking it out carefully. They may think I’m working like this: in order to present my spiritual master as superior, I make myself the dupe, just like in the Punch and Judy puppet shows where one puppet is held up and the other puppet hits him on the head—and everyone laughs. The fact is, I’m not running a puppet show. The descriptions of myself are accurate, and according to sastra, the disciple is always a fool before the spiritual master.
A critical reader might find an even more insidious motive at work in my memoirs. My playing the fool may be an attempt to ingratiate myself with the readers and to upstage Srila Prabhupada. Thus I try to become the more popular person on the page by my honesty and confession. Prabhupada is always right and superior, but I am more human and likable. But honestly, I was always foolish, and Srila Prabhupada was consistently a seer of the truth. He was a genuine spiritual master and my well-wisher. That’s why I look up to him—as a truly superior and lovable person.
If unconsciously I have been trying to attract the readers to myself as lovable in contrast to a heavy guru, then let me expose it here once and for all—as foolishness.
Readers familiar with the Vedic conclusions will not doubt that I have presented the proper relationship between a disciple and spiritual master. I do not claim the humility of a Rupa Gosvami, but at least it is correct for me to follow in his footsteps and present myself as lowborn and subject to many mistakes when I try to serve the pure devotee. I fit the bill in every way of the fallen disciple. And Srila Prabhupada fits the bill of the spiritual master. So no one should think I’m creating a mock show for literary or personal effects.
My memories are a way to express my love for Prabhupada and to take my natural position as his disciple. The difference between Prabhupada and me is so vast that it’s not surprising all my stories come out with myself in error. When I tell the memories, it gives me a chance to see more deeply and to admit to more failings then I was able to admit previously. The “new lights” that occur to me when I remember Prabhupada make me more aware how I did not grasp what he was saying at the time. And thus I see better how foolish I was, how defensive and unsurrendered. I have every right to come to these conclusions. I like being a fool before the spiritual master. It’s parampara, accurate and good for the heart.
If at the time I was with Prabhupada I did not feel foolish, and in fact felt rebellious, I should admit that also. I may also admit to any doubts I had at the time. One doesn’t have to be afraid that in order to present Prabhupada in a favorable way you have to tell dogmatic stories or falsify. In my case it comes out naturally that I did many foolish things.
Obstacles caused by the mind. Lord Krishna says, “For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain his greatest enemy.” (Bhagavad-gita 6.6) The mind is part of the subtle body, consisting of mind, intelligence and false ego. Mind is the center of sensory activities. Srila Prabhupada writes, “Mind is the center of all the activities of the senses, and thus when we hear about sense objects the mind generally becomes a reservoir of all ideas of sense gratification; as a result the mind and the senses become the repository of lust.” (Bhagavad-gita 3.40, purport)
All transcendentalists seek to control the mind, rather than being controlled by the mind. In many cases it is the mind alone which makes the obstacles on the path seem insurmountable. Therefore, by controlling the mind we can solve many of the problems we have been discussing: doubts of Krishna consciousness, illicit sex, inability to chant and so on.
There is valuable information about the mind in the 11th Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam in the chapter called “The Song of the Avanti Brahmana.” The Avanti brahmana was a rich business man who was prone to anger and cruelty. By the will of providence and by karma he lost all his money. Then he took to renunciation, but when he sat to meditate people would tease him and abuse him. Enduring all insults he sang a song about detachment.
“These people are not the cause of my unhappiness or distress. Neither are the demigods, my own body, the planet, my past work, or time. Rather it is the mind alone that causes happiness and distress and perpetuates the rotation of material life.
All the senses have been under to control of the mind since time immemorial and the mind himself never comes under the sway of any other. He is stronger than the strongest and his godlike power is fearsome. Therefore anyone who can bring the mind under control becomes the master of all the senses.
Failing to conquer this irrepressible enemy, the mind, whose urges are intolerable and who torments the heart, many people are completely and creates useless quarrel with others. Thus they conclude that other people are either their friends, enemies or indifferent to them.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.23.46–48)
The Avanti brahmana concluded that he should take shelter of the lotus feet of Krishna and solve all his problems. Seen from the viewpoint of the Absolute our problems are imaginary. That is, they are mostly in the mind. Take, for example, physical illness. When you are sick you may become depressed and even lose your faith in God, who “made this happen to me.” But when you control your mind you accept your illness and deepen your relationship with Krishna. Physical disease is not imaginary, but whether we see it favorably or unfavorably depends upon the position of the mind.
Real mental control is achieved by fixing the mind in service to Krishna. A person who is situated in self-realization meets obstacles on the path by dealing with them in a practical philosophical way and remains fixed in Krishna consciousness. But persons whose minds are weak find even small-sized problems troublesome. Therefore, we say that the real problem is the mind itself.
An important breakthrough for those who are dominated by their minds comes when they are able to see themselves as different from their minds. If I am entirely dominated by my own mind, then I cannot detach myself from its “reality.” I described this experience in a stanza of a poem:
This subtle mind-stuff!
You cannot see it jump,
it does not have a color,
it’s not reflected in the water,
but it seems more real
than the five great elements.
When I go out to walk
it goes with me, struggling
through the mud.
A Personal Servant’s Account, Chapter 2
When Prabhupada rested, I tried quietly chanting my japa in the dining room. After half an hour I grew drowsy and lay down on the floor. Thoughts of all the duties yet undone crowded into my mind—typing, editing, letters, cleaning the kitchen, arranging for laundry…fragments of Srila Prabhupada’s speaking entered my mind…the solidity of his philosophical realizations…my fortune on being able to soon see him again…
Suddenly I was awakened by the ringing phone. I ran to pick it up so it wouldn’t wake Srila Prabhupada. Rupanuga was calling from Tennessee. I was happy to hear him, but he had a very unhappy report to make. Someone had thrown a fire bomb into the house in Knoxville where he was in with three brahmacaris. One of the brahmacaris had caught on fire and had subsequently died in the hospital. Rupanuga thought Prabhupada should know and asked what ceremony they should perform for the boys passing away. He told me some of the details—how the boy had impressed the hospital staff by his composure and his constant chanting of Hare Krishna while in a state of extreme pain from the burns all over his body. The attacker was unknown, and the Knoxville police did not seem to be hot on the trail. I dutifully listened to the account and told Rupanuga I would tell Prabhupada.
When Prabhupada rose he asked for a dob—the fresh water from a coconut. We had a collection of coconuts in the kitchen, and Sudama opened one, holding it on the rug in front of Prabhupada and chopping it open with a machete. Prabhupada said the drink was very nice, and he extolled the coconut, saying that if necessary one could live on coconuts by drinking their water and eating their fleshy insides.
Eventually, I told Prabhupada about Rupanuga’s call.
Prabhupada asked, “Was he chanting at the time he passed away?”
“Yes,” I said, “According to the report he was.”
“Then it is alright,” said Prabhupada. “He will go to Krishna.”
“Rupanuga said that the people of Knoxville, Tennessee are very upset by the incident.”
“Of course they are upset,” said Prabhupada sharply, “But what can they do about it, they are jumping like monkeys in the water all day.” Prabhupada was referring to the tourists’ wasting of precious time down on the beach in Hawaii. People of Knoxville and all karmis would always be upset—in illusion and always helpless before the material nature as long as they did not take up genuine spiritual life. Prabhupada advised the devotees in Tennessee to wait two days and on the third day to hold a feast in honor of the departed Vaisnava soul who had given up his life for Krishna consciousness.
“We have to die sooner or later in this body,” Prabhupada reasoned. “This is a nice opportunity that he was chanting Hare Krishna. We should not lament. It will not go in vain that devotees are risking their lives. Lord Jesus were crucified and what are we in comparison to him? Krishna was always fighting demons.
Don’t become annoyed if you suddenly remember
that you can’t live forever
and the vandals have torn down
the “ISKCON Farm” sign once again,
and karmis are buying up houses
formerly owned by devotees.
Do what you can,
talking freely to your Lords.
The curtains opened and I saw Them again,
with Lalita and Visakha.
Kalacandji is right there.
And this is just the beginning.
I have been hearing from devotees in Vrndavana
that unless I go there I can’t feel anything.
”You have to get the mercy directly.
The dirt in any room in Vrndavana
is conscious, not like dirt in the West.
One grain can fulfill all your desires.”
But aren’t Lalita and Visakha
Their most intimate friends? Isn’t
Radha’s smile right here? Can’t I come
to Vraja with Damodara?
If it’s easier for people like me
to walk through autumn leaves in boots,
if we like to eat prasadam with Brown
Swiss ghee and if we feel comfortable
here, is that to be held against us?
I’ll go to India, but I’m just saying
Krishna is here.
On the last day of Kartika
there’s a brilliant moon
high over the temple.
I think of Iraq. Will there
be a war? I also thought of the
mouse who came out early in my room.
The pujari blocked my view
as she held the mirror, wiped the floor,
did everything with care.
Why should I be upset
if Damodara is enjoying.
Right now the way I feel
and the way it is,
is fine and
there’s nothing I have to seek.
Praying to Vrnda-devi
”Please allow me to become
of Radha and Krishna in Vrndavana.
the young deer crackling the leaves.
If only they knew,
they would never leave Gita Nagari.
Subhavilasa das ACBSP, Toronto, CA: The Disappearance day of a dear Godbrother, Tamal Krishna Goswami. Loving Exchanges...
This past weekend marked the disappearance anniversary of Tamal Krishna Goswami in March of 2002. Tamal Krishna Goswami was a dear Godbrother and over the years we had much association, especially in the late 70's and early 80's after the departure of our spirtual master, Srila Prabhupada. When I was Temple President in Chicago he was the GBC and much time and effort was spent together around the grand opening of the temple. Later on in numerous meetings and conferences in America, Mayapur, etc. we would have association but the relationship went beyond this "official" capacity...
In the Nectar of Instruction, Srila Rupa Goswami talks about Loving Exchanges.
Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one's mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting prasāda and offering prasāda are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another. (NoI 4)
So to honour him, I am going to recount 3 personal stories of "love shared by one devotee and another" which all occured outside our "official" roles. (if you don't mind I am going to refer to him as Tamal as I did in the old days)In the 80's I had returned to Toronto. When I left Chicago, Tamal was already off on other assignments and we never said our goodbyes. I get a call from Tamal that he wants to see me and the family and is flying in to Toronto. I asked him if he wanted to go to the Toronto temple but he insisted that he is coming in to see us and wanted to stay with us. I figured he had something to "discuss". I take my son with me and pick him up at the airport. During his stay he told me how he missed us! We shared memories, prasadam and off-loaded on each other but not a single request or desire during his stay. It was time to leave and I insisted he see Radha Gopinatha before he flies out. We walk into a "surprised" morning program at the Toronto temple and then he was off...what would be his last loving visit to our home.
The Loving Exchange of revealing one's mind in confidence, inquring confidentially, accepting prasada and offering prasada are displayed.At Tamal's insistence I visit Dallas. In my rush I forgot my towel. A few minutes later Tamal is standing there with a burgundy towel which I still have today. It is not the towel that stands out but that Loving Exchange of offering gifts in charity and accepting gifts in charity which is revealed.
During this same stay Tamal is supposed to give class but he insists that I must give the class to the point of refusing to give class. That was the class....showing class!The final story I am going to share today is a Loving Exchange that extended beyond just the personal relationship that Tamal and I shared. My son started travelling on business at a fairly young age and his habbit was to drop in to the local ISKCON temples as he travelled. He was in Dallas and after darshan and prasadam he casually asked if Maharaj was in town. He was at the temple but in a management meeting but his secretary inquired who was there. Once Tamal heard it was my son Indresh he not only interuppted the meeting but had Indresh join them, introduced him and chastised Indresh for not staying with them. He insisted they had a room as good as any hotel room and had the temple president vouch for it. This Loving Exchange truly touched my heart.Tamal Krishna Goswami, a Godbrother, friend and exemplary advocate of Srila Rupa Goswami's Instructions on Loving Exchanges. Your association and contributions are greatly missed but not forgotten. Your service to Srila Prabhupada continues...
Part 1 (62:07)
Part Two (first 1:10):
From mountains to hot springs, Kirtans, talks, reconnecting, making new acquintances, etc etc, our little tour has been quite an adventure. A few key mind stickers: City of Rocks, New Mexico. I was on my way to see some devotees … Continue reading
1967 March 7: "You are taking a great responsibility in the matter of purchasing the house for the Society. It is very good to take all risks for Krishna but for our personal satisfaction we should not take the least risk."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1967
1970 March 7: "After 50 years old, everyone should separate from wife. And at mature old age, say 65-70 years, everyone must accept the renounced order of Sannyas; if not in dress, then in action positively."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970
1972 March 7: "They can learn our method of Krishna Consciousness. We haven't got to take any help from the government by getting accreditation. If they send their children it will not be for accreditation, but because they will get the best education for relieving all anxieties of material life."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972
1972 March 7: "If they simply learn to rise early, cleanse, their study will be greater than any government program. The teachers themselves should be fixed up initiated devotees, otherwise how the children can get the right information and example?"
Prabhupada Letters :: 1972
I went for a long walk this morning in the unexpected dazzle of spring sunshine. It makes all the difference when every other day dawns under a thick, grey sky. Whenever I walk, I pass lots of different people – the blonde mums walking their kids to school (three steps in front while the nanny juggles two kids and all their schoolbags); men with briefcases; teenage girls deftly texting as they sidestep lampposts and ditches, all without looking up.
I’ve started forcing myself to say good morning to everyone I pass. A friend from Belgium walked with me once and marvelled that English people were so unfriendly. He said that everyone, young and old greets each other in Belgium, even if they cross paths all the time. A little ashamed, I realised that I didn’t often make the effort to acknowledge anyone. Maybe I’m shy, or just lazy, or maybe we’ve all fallen out of the habit.
The gentle art of saying hello seems tied to slower times, or perhaps just more rural settings. One of the opening scenes of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast sees the heroine, Belle, sing a wistful song about how she wants to leave her provincial country life where nothing ever happens, and everyone is in her business. It may not sound much fun, but the entire song is based around her greeting everyone in the village, and I always remember wishing I lived in a town where every morning was full of so many exuberant greetings. There’s something so basically human about wishing a fellow soul ‘good day’ – something that Ebenezer Scrooge also realised after his night of realisations. The scene where he throws open his window and shouts, ‘Good morning!’ at a little boy down below always stuck with me.
Last November I spent the month in the village of Vrindavan, India, where almost no one passes without greeting ‘Radhe Radhe!’ It was a refreshing nudge out of my usual habit – avoiding eye contact, and minding my own business. Though sometimes in the West we guard our personal space, putting in ear phones and practising staring into middle distance, in India, and many other countries, this barrier doesn’t exist. I hope that more and more of us will remember what a wonderful difference it makes to simply look someone in the eye and say ‘good morning’. For now, I’m practising, even if it meant scaring the local teenage postman this morning. He looked back at me, quite bewildered as I continued walking past. Ah well.
Once there was a sweeper in a well known temple and he was very sincere and devoted.
Every time he saw thousands of devotees coming to take darshan of the Lord, he thought that the Lord is standing all the time and giving darshan and He must be feeling very tired.
So one day very innocently he asked the Lord whether he can take the place of the Lord for a day so that the Lord can have some relief and rest. The Deity of Temple replied, "I do not mind taking a break. I will transform you like Myself, but you must do one thing. you must just stand here like Me, smile at everyone and just give benedictions. Do not interfere with anything and do not say anything. Remember you are the deity and you just have faith that I have a master plan for everything. " The sweeper agreed to this.
The next day the sweeper took the position of the deity and a rich man came and prayed to the Lord.
He offered a nice donation and prayed that his business should be prosperous. While going, the rich man inadvertently left his wallet full of money right there. Now the sweeper in the form of deity could not call him and so he decided to control himself and keep quiet.
Just then a poor man came and he put one coin in the Hundi and said that it was all he could afford and he prayed to the Lord that he should continue to be engaged in the Lord's service. He also said that his family was in dire need of some basic needs but he left it to the good hands of the Lord to give some solution. When he opened his eyes, he saw the wallet left by the rich man. The poor man thanked the Lord for His kindness and took the wallet very innocently. The sweeper in the form of the Deity could not say anything and he had to just keep smiling.
At that point a sailor walked in. He prayed for his safe journey as he was going on a long trip. Just then the rich man came with the police and said that somebody has stolen his wallet and seeing the sailor there, he asked the police to arrest him thinking that he might have taken it. Now the sweeper in the form of Deity wanted to say that the sailor is not the thief but he could not say so and he became greatly frustrated. The sailor looked at the Lord and asked why he, an innocent person, is being punished. The rich man looked at the Lord and thanked Him for finding the thief. The sweeper in the deity form could no more tolerate and he thought that even if the real Lord had been here, he would have definitely interfered and hence he started speaking and said that the sailor is not the thief but it was the poor man who took away the wallet. The rich man was very thankful as also the sailor.
In the night, the real Lord came and He asked the sweeper how the day was. The sweeper said, "I thought it would be easy, but now I know that Your days are not easy, but I did one good thing." Then he explained the whole episode to the Lord. The Lord became very upset on hearing this whereas the sweeper thought the Lord would appreciate him for the good deed done.
The Lord asked, "Why did you not just stick to the plan? You had no faith in Me. Do you think that I do not understand the hearts of all those who come here? All the donation which the rich man gave was all stolen money and it is only a fraction of what he really has and he wants Me to reciprocate unlimitedly.
The single coin offered by the poor man was the last coin he was having and he gave it to Me out of faith. The sailor might not have done anything wrong, but if the sailor were to go in the ship that night he was about to die because of bad weather and instead if he is arrested he would be in the jail and he would have been saved form a greater calamity. The wallet should go to the poor man because he will use it in My service. I was going to reduce the rich man's karma also by doing this and save the sailor also.
But you cancelled everything because you thought you know My plan and you made your own plans.
1966 March 7:
"Lord Chaitanya's Birthday. Seven ladies and gentlemen attended today's meeting. There was topics on Gita and Kirtan. The collection made out of contribution & books -- $28.00"
Prabhupada Journal :: 1966
1970 March 7: "So in accordance with your recommendation, I have accepted him as my bona fide disciple. Please keep him nicely advancing in Krsna Consciousness under your guidance."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970
1973 March 7: "Meanwhile he can be encouraged to continue his literary contribution of articles, editing of the smaller books, etc. We shall see what he can do, and if at all possible he should be brought back to the standard."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1973
By Sraddhadevi dasi
Every year during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC), GBC members reaffirm their Oath of Loyalty. This year GBC members gathered in Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi in Sridham Mayapur for the event, and Bhakti Marga Swami led the recitation of the Oath. The following is the Oath of Loyalty and photos of the occasion
By Badrinarayan dasa
I was reading the prayers of Bhismadev, instructions of Bhismadev. This is way of track but it is kind of funny. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said that if all the books (we are not into book burning) but if all the books of the world were lost and only the Bhagavatam remained nothing will be lost
Adhivas is the day before Parikrama, where devotees go to Yogapith or birthplace of Lord Caitanya and make a vow (sankalpa) to perform the most auspicious Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama for the next seven days. HH Jayapataka Swami, HH Bhakti Purusottama Swami, HH Lokanth Swami, HH Navayogendra Swami,HH Ramgovinda Swami, HH Bhakti Dhira Damodara Swami, HH Radharaman Swami, HG Rajendranandan prabhu spoke on the glories of Sri Navadvipa dhama and significance of performing Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama.
From time to time I hear accusations that ISKCON is not growing; or worse still, that it may be shrinking; and that proof of this is that some temples are closing, empty during the week, or only attracting Indian families.
Personally I don’t believe that this is the case. I consider these accusations to be largely the propaganda strategies of embittered former members. Unfortunately I can’t prove it; we don’t seem to have international statistics on membership – at least stats that are easily available. Unlike other church groups we don’t seem to keep them. Srila Prabhupada wanted a GBC ‘Ministry of Records’ but as yet we don’t have one. Therefore each of us has to be content with impressions.
I will agree that some temples are closing, or empty during the week; and that some don’t seem to be attracting the national demographic of their particular country. But I know for a fact that growth is happening in other areas, and I would respectfully suggest to any ISKCON critic that he take certain factors into consideration.
Firstly that new devotees are not necessarily ‘joining’ in the manner they did in our earlier years. If you still want to consider ISKCON as being a ‘confederation of temples’ and ‘devotees’ being temple or ashram residents then you might be disappointed in the drop in numbers. But the fact of the matter is that the majority of new initiates neither live in our centres nor are they likely to do so.
If temples are empty of visitors during the week, but bustling with Hindu families at the weekend, it can only be said that this will not be sustainable. Like every other human being, devotees get older by the day, and if the senior members in a particular ashram are not gradually replaced by exactly the same number of junior members (or more) then that ashram is looking towards extinction in a few short years.
If the majority of devotees do not currently live in ashrams, it would seem this is a trend that is likely to continue on into the future. As much as possible we must now collectively work in ways to support our local ashrams and help them to attract new ashram members. At the same time, new strategies are required to spiritually care for the majority Vaishnava community that dwell everywhere else. And the entire enterprise must be based on sharing the life and teachings of Krishna consciousness with others.
However, it’s my impression that, in some places at least; the preaching attempts are not ‘joined up.’ Like a dot-to-dot puzzle in a children’s book, some numbers have lines between them and many others don’t. And it’s not the complete picture.
In places where some of the vital preaching elements are missing, it may be that a vital link in the chain of events bringing a new person to Krishna is missing. Sad to say, but in spite of all our best efforts with one form of preaching, we lose many people due to absences of other forms.
Sometimes, all the elements were in place a decade ago, but since then, devotees left and their vital services never replaced. When devotees leave a particular centre, often the skill, enthusiasm and determination for a particular preaching activity go with them. The sankirtan leader goes to another temple and book distribution dies. Or the devotee who did the university speaking gets married, and the university society is allowed to close. Solution? Every leader in a particular activity must simultaneously be training someone else for the service. That devotees will leave is likely, and centres have to prepare for the inevitable.
But what are those outreach activities that form all our preaching ‘dots’ which, if all joined up, form the complete preaching picture for any devotee community? Srila Prabhupada suggested at least these (but there many more):
- Gorgeous temple worship and regular festivals for the Deities.
- Book and magazine distribution
- ‘Sumptuous’ Prasadam Distribution
- ‘Street chanting party’ – harinam sankirtan in the city and surroundings
- Public festivals with drama, kirtan, lecture and feast.
- Grand Rathayatra processions
- Programmes in a hall, home, office, factory or school
- Answering people’s questions
- University engagements
- Senior devotees teaching and guiding the junior devotees; setting the example for guests residing in the temple for a while to learn how to render pure devotional service.
- Giving out free information in addition to selling books.
- Inviting guests to the Sunday Feast (or whatever day of the week is good)
As I wrote in the previous post, all of the above – even if expertly and successfully done – are merely prerequisites for growth, in contrast to actual growth indicators, and the actual growth of the community can only be measured in the number of souls taking up the teachings or the practices seriously. If ashram residents are required to continue ISKCON traditions in a particular city, then only when they reside in the ashram can you count growth. So if your temple (or community) is suffering from no-growth or slow growth syndrome you might like to ask the following questions:-
Prerequisites for Growth
- Is our temple worship gorgeous? Do we have festivals for the Deities?
- Has book distribution diminished and if so, why? How can it be developed again?
- Is the prasadam ‘sumptuous’? Do we actually give it out? To whom?
- When is the last time we went out on Harinam sankirtan?
- How often do we hold public festivals (other than the Sunday feast)?
- What about home programmes? What about the local university?
- How many of us talk with people on a daily basis, and for how long?
- Do people only come to the temple for kirtan and class or are they inspired to do it for themselves in their own home? Do we actively encourage people to do that?
- Does anyone stay here to learn? For a morning programme? A weekend? A week?
- Do we give out free information? What is the quality of that? The message?
- Are senior devotees: a) setting the example? b) training and guiding the junior devotees? Could any congregation members help us with that?
As a result of our preaching:
1. Are more people gathering together with devotees?
2. Are they joining local devotee groups/ sangas/ nama hatta’s?
3. Are more people reading, discussing, understanding and practically applying what’s in Srila Prabhupada’s books?
4. How many people are chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra on a daily basis – 1, 4, 8 or 16 rounds?
5. Who is looking after them in a structured, systematic manner?
6. How many have made the choice to go vegetarian because of our preaching?
7. How many vegetarians are now offering their food to Krishna?
8. How many persons were persons were initiated last year? If not, why not?
9. How many of those newly initiated devotees are engaged in preaching? (Hint: If you answer ‘none’ to this one, something is wrong)
The first set of questions will reveal your growth potential, the second your factual growth.
And of course, after so much effort to bring new members to Krishna – make sure you don’t lose them through avoidable behaviours.
Click on the title to read Srila Prabhupada's words that will expand your thinking about what is possible in your life. On this painting Krsna is doing the impossible - holding the whole Govardhana Hill on his left pinky. Similarly, Krsna can make impossible possible in our lives, if we take His shelter.
Matsyavatara das (ACBSP), Italy: My first meeting with my Guru Maharaja: His Holiness A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Shrila Prabhupada -PART 2/2- Di Matsyavatara dasa (Marco Ferrini)It was ten o'clock a.m. and an italo-australian devotee (Sajanashraya dasa), eager for an opportunity to be in Prabhupada's company, agreed to act as translator and accompanied me to Srila Prabhupada's room; I came up a flight of stairs and turned to my right. I went in. The room was bright with sunshine and Shrila Prabhupada was sitting between two windows on a big cushion, surrounded by some of his disciples (one of them was Gopal Krishna dasa, at that time a grihastha). The floor was covered with a white sheet. I came close to Prabhupada's desk and bowed down in front of him. I had seen this gesture of respect performed many times before in the ashrams I had visited, but personally had not yet performed it. This time, to bow in respect felt very spontaneous. Shrila Prabhupada looked grave and luminous, and we looked each other straight in the eyes for a while. Then he smiled and asked me: "Have we already met?".I answered: "No, never, but during these days I have intensely and repeatedly thought of you."Prabhupada: " Do you believe in God?", I answered: "Yes, I do". I thought that this was the first time that I actually meant it. Then he became grave again and told me:" Well, unfortunately modern society is not on God's side, for this reason it can't win, it's already defeated! The false progress that characterizes our society, renders it disgusting: It is a society of ignorant people, with artificial needs. Mankind's greatest victory is to realise that we are not this body, we are spirit souls, part and parcel of Krishna, His eternal servants. Therefore, without God consciousness there can be neither progress nor happiness. To have a material body means to suffer, but people are so ignorant they think that the miseries of life are natural and even enjoyable. To attain the human form is very rare.We are very fortunate to have this body, because the human form is unique among the innumerable other forms of life, in that it can allow us to re-establish our eternal relationship with God. We can attain knowledge of Krishna by leading a simple life based on cultivating the land and protecting, not abusing, cows. Krishna consciousness actually means simple living and high thinking, in harmony with nature. Many people believe themselves independent from nature, they try to take advantage of her as if she were their slave, but inevitably, they are defeated by her laws. The tendency to dominate nature and other living beings can only create a cats and dogs society."Shrila Prabhupada asked me what I thought about this and I agreed with him. As he spoke to me I realized that meeting him was the opportunity of a lifetime and if I did not take advantage of this experience, it would be useless to continue circling the world looking for God. I felt sure that Prabhupada was totally reliable and for the first time in my life I felt I could abandon myself. All the problems that had previously disturbed me were swept away by his words.Smiling he asked me: "So, what is the problem?"I answered: "If I could live here with you and the devotees, dressed like this, there would be no problem. I'm worried about going back home, where I have many responsibilities. I am engaged and will soon be married, I manage various companies and collaborate with many partners. How can I conduct a spiritual life with all of these social responsibilities.Prabhupada said to me: "Don't worry, just become a devotee, chant Hare Krishna, read the Bhagavad-gita and Krishna will reveal Himself to you. In the Gita you can find the solution to any material problem. In order to put an end once and for all to samsara, the transmigration of the soul from body to body, species to species; animal, plant, human, we have to know Krishna. Don't waste time. You are a gifted man. Do you know where talent comes from? What is it's source, to whom it belongs? It is the property of God, just like everything else that exists, including the fruits of your labor. Therefore you have only one responsibility: put all of your talent to the service of Krishna because the goal of life is to know Krishna and He can be attained only if we serve Him with love and devotion. Go home, chant Hare Krishna, talk about Krishna to the people you meet, Krishna will take care of you, don't worry. Hare Krishna!A few hours after my encounter with Prabhupada, I left New Delhi to return to Italy. I was determined to follow Prabhupada's instructions and I planned, after some time, to go back to India to inform him how things were going in my life. During the return trip I was worried about the impact I would have on my surroundings, on my family. How would my girlfriend, friends, parents and partners react to my conversion? But Prabhupada's words rang in my ears, giving me hope: "Don't worry. Simply study the Bhagavad-gita, chant Hare Krishna, and Krishna will take care of you". In this state of mind, on the return trip, I started reading "The Bhagavad-gita As It Is", printed by the Macmillan Company, the first edition of the B.G. printed by Prabhupada in America. Something extraordinary happened. Even though my knowledge of written english was very scarse and I had no pretense of understanding the profundity of a philosophic discourse, I had, instead, the clear sensation of understanding it's significance!After landing in Rome I took a train to Livorno where my falmily was waiting to pick me up. On the train I began to think about planning a concise and delicate explanation for my family about how I was going to organize my life, but Krishna and Prabhupada had another plan! The ticket controller, curious about the strange Indian clothes that I was still wearing, started to ask me questions and I spoke to him about Krishna, Prabhupada and existential topics for the whole trip. I was so happy to have glorified the Supreme Lord and His pure devotee, that I realized I was in Livorno only as the train pulled into the station. I hadn't given even a moments thought to what I would say to my family and friends!At the station, my father and my girlfriend, Marisa were waiting for me. My father drove us back to our home in Perignano di Lari, province of Pisa. My father was driving, I was by Marisa in the back seat. Right away, I started talking to her about Krishna consciousness, about my encounter with Prabhupada and my intention to accept him as my spiritual guide. After listening to me attentively, Marisa told me that everything that I had just explained to her were the values that she had always admired most in life and that she was determined to follow me on the path of Krishna consciousness. My father listened to my whole story without saying one word. In the meantime, we arrived home, where my mother had prepared a sumptuos meal in honor of my return. Unfortunately, as is common in most of Italy, the table was laid with foods not acceptable to a spiritual life. I spoke to my mother alone and explained to her that it was my firm conviction to change my lifestyle and become a devotee of the Lord, Shri Krishna. She had always been profoundly religious and to hear the message of Krishna was like rediscovering something which for some reason had been forgotten. Almost desparate, with her hands in her hair she cried:"What have we been doing all these years? We've wasted time, we've wasted our lives. We have to put ourselves back on the right path and serve the Lord with love and devotion, like Prabhupada says."My father did not accept all this right away. He was a person with a strong character, solid and concrete and he could not consider changing his life from one day to the next. After some days of observation, reflection and exchanges of points of view between us on various practical and philosophic aspects, more precisely after a few weeks, even he started on the path indicated by Shrila Prabhupada, gradually becoming an excellent devotee, generous, loyal and dynamic. From then on, for the rest of his life, he was dedicated to Prabhupada's mission. Among his various services, the last was the realization of the marvelous policrome marble temple for the worship of Shri Shri Radha Vrajasundara at Villa Vrindavana near Florence, Italy.Srila Prabhupada was right. By his causeless mercy my family was now a family of devotees, and my home was a temple. In the spring of '77 Marisa and I were accepted as disciples of Prabhupada, married and initiated, with the spiritual names of Manupatni devi dasi and Matsyavatara dasa. The following summer I returned to Vrindavana to thank His Divine Grace for the priceless gift he gave to me and to my family.Srila Prabhupada Ki-jaya!
We are happy to announce that we will be posting daily reports and pictures on the happenings at Mayapur Gaura Purnima Festival for the pleasure of online viewers. We endevour to give a ‘virtual parikrama tour’ of Gaura Purnima Festival. Today is the 3rd day of the festival and activities for the day are as follows:
Gaura Purnima Festival Announcements: 7 March
Today is the Parikrama Adhivas.
Govindas Lotus Room Kirtan concert with Sri Prahlada
This Saturday 12th March in Govindas Lotus Room
6:30-8:00pm kirtan – dinner is served at 8:00pm
A ten dollar cover charge includes dinner
Kirtan (yoga chants) is a participatory music experience of sacred mantras and devotional chants performed in a call and response style which involves the audience in the performance.The leader sings one line or verse and the guests chant in response
H.G. Sankarshan das Adhikari, USA: Monday 7 March 2011--Warning: Do Not Look at Govinda--and--Survival Without Making Money?
A daily broadcast of the Ultimate Self Realization Course(TM) Monday 7 March 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: Warning: Do Not Look at Govinda Uploaded from Bhaktivedanta Ashram--Austin, Texas USA As quoted by Srila Rupa Goswami, one gopi warned her gopi girlfriend: My dear friend, if you still have any inclination to enjoy material society, friendship, and love, then please do not look at the smiling face of Govinda as He stands on the bank of the Yamuna at Kesighat. Casting sidelong glances, He places His flute to His lips, which seem like newly blossomed twigs. His transcendental body, bending in three places, appears very bright in the moonlight. This is reverse psychology. This gopi is giving the greatest encouragement to her gopi friend to go and behold the most beautiful smiling face of Govinda by advising her not to go. It is a fact that once we get a taste of Krishna's sublime beauty we will never again be attracted to or satisfied by the so-called attractive things of this world. Sankarshan Das Adhikari Govinda on the Bank of the Yamuna River http://www.backtohome.com/images/Krishna_on_Yamuna.jpg Answers According to the Vedic Version: Question: Survival Without Making Money? I totally agree that this material world is a place of bad association and that our consciousness is affected by our many hours of daily association at our jobs with the materialists. You said, Your life should not be centered around earning your livelihood. It must be centered instead on awakening the dormant Krishna consciousness, which is currently sound asleep within your heart. This will give you a life of unbelievably stimulating happiness. I am earning my livelihood by working, but my mornings and evenings are spent at least in doing some devotional services like chanting, taking care of the altar, cooking prasadam and offering it to the Supreme Lord etc. My question is: If we give up the aspect of earning money for our livelihood, how can we survive? Your servant, Lakshmi Answer: Survival Depends on God, Not Money I do not say that you should give up making money. Money is a necessary medium of exchange in today's society. I simply say that making money should not be the center or purpose of your life. Rather, your life should be centered on life's ultimate goal, namely to go back to home, back to Godhead. It is only by seriously adopting this purpose that you will attain genuine happiness. This is the only lifestyle that makes sense, because God is the actual provider of all your necessities, not your job. If there were no food, air, and water supplied by God, do you think that you could survive even for one moment by the money you earn at your job? We cannot breathe money, drink money, or eat money. Therefore money is always of secondary importance, while serving God is of primary importance. 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. Searchable archives of all of course material: http://www.sda-archives.com Receive Thought for the Day as an RSS feed:http://www.backtohome.com/rss.htm Unsubscribe or change your email address Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Daily_Thought Copyright 2005-2011 by Ultimate Self Realization.Com Distribution of this material is encouraged. Simply we request you to acknowledge where it is coming from with a link to our sign up page: http://www.backtohome.com Our records indicate that at requested to be enrolled to receive e-mails from the Ultimate Self Realization Course at: This request was made on: From the following IP address:
Date: 14 March
Time: 19:00 – 21:30
Location: Temple Byron, 46 Melalueca Drive, Byron Bay
With a tuft of matted dread-locks erupting from his otherwise shaven head and a host of piercings and tattoos, you might expect Madhava to be a death metal muso – that is until the moment he closes his eyes, breathes deeply, and begins to sing. His sweet chanting is powerfully uplifting and meditative. Madhava doesn’t chant to entertain, but to inspire the journey inward.
This year Madhava’s visit to Byron Bay has been sponsored by Kirtan Byron. The kirtan will be held at Temple Byron at 46 Melalueca Drive. The program starts at 7pm on Monday the 14th of March. Entry is $20 at the door or $15 pre-purchase here:
" One who continues to serve the Lord even in reverse conditions is assured that he will go back to Godhead, back to the Vaikuntha planets."
When something is arranged by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one should not be disturbed by it, even if it appears to be a reverse according to one's calculations.
For example, sometimes we see that a powerful preacher is killed, or sometimes he is put into difficulty, just as Haridasa Thakura was.
He was a great devotee who came into this material world to execute the will of the Lord by preaching the Lord's glories.
But Haridasa was punished at the hands of the Kazi by being beaten in twenty-two marketplaces.
Similarly, Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, and Prahlada Maharaja was put through so many tribulations.
The Pandavas, who were direct friends of Krsna, lost their kingdom, their wife was insulted, and they had to undergo many severe tribulations.
Seeing all these reverses affect devotees, one should not be disturbed; one should simply understand that in these matters there must be some plan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Bhagavatam's conclusion is that a devotee is never disturbed by such reverses.
He accepts even reverse conditions as the grace of the Lord.
One who continues to serve the Lord even in reverse conditions is assured that he will go back to Godhead, back to the Vaikuntha planets.
Lord Brahma assured the demigods that there was no use in talking about how the disturbing situation of darkness was taking place, since the actual fact was that it was ordered by the Supreme Lord.
Brahma knew this because he was a great devotee; it was possible for him to understand the plan of the Lord.
- Srila Prabhupada, SB 3.16.37 Purport
A class I gave on Sivaratri about the glories of Lord Siva asnbsp;a devotee, In Radha Radhanatha temple, Durban, South Africa.
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