I had just arrived in Sri-dhama Mayapur and was walking through our beautiful park when I saw a little girl with books in her hands trying to give them to the people passing by. Then I saw another girl doing the same. Then I saw a man doing harinama on the sidewalk next to the park. I went up to him, attracted by his one-man harinama. He and his children, three of them, are from Brazil. He said they do harinama and book distribution from 10 AM to 2 PM every day. As he was telling me this, his young boy Krsna-kirtana walked up to me and handed me a book, "The Perfection of Yoga." I couldn't resist, so I asked him, "How much do you want for this?"
"Twenty rupies" was his reply, whereupon I reached for my laxmi. He was happy to distribute another book.
It was the first book I ever bought from a sankirtan devotee, Krsna's mercy, for both of us.
your servant, Vijaya dasa
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
In response to the message Devaki Nandana wrote about how in Sydney, some devotees still think its ok to distribute stickers, the actual truth is that in Sydney devotees are given no alternative BUT to distribute stickers, or collect with buckets. Only if you really argue with the TP can you be given the right to distribute. When I joined as a Bhaktine last april I was already studying the movement and was joining the ashram to become a book distributor, which really annoyed the TP who repeatedly took me in his office asking me to "surrender" to him and do collection with stickers. Luckily one senior devotee kept supplying me with books.
The rule for the sankirtan devotees is that they get 15% of the money they made in collection the previous day, to give out as free books the next day. So if earn $100 in stickers today then I get $15 of books for free distribution tomorrow. Only a few soft covers and SSR are available. The temple hardly has any books in stock at all, only small books, even for the visitors. It really is devasting for a book distributor. Due to my book smuggling and my enthusiasm for books I was basically asked to leave Sydney temple. Luckily Krsna sent my Guru Maharaja at this time and I was able to travel overseas with him and distribute there. Now I am back in Australia and luckily also Krsna has married me to a nice book distributor, or I would have a lot of trouble distributing books. We both did the marathon in Melbourne where there is a good distributing spirit.
There would have been a lot of conflict in Sydney, which is a shame as it is such a nice place to distribute, people are really happy to recieve the nectar and they give generously. My husband and I were asked by the TP not to encourage any others to distribute, as it would upset their finances. We can't even ask the bramacaris to go on harinama with us or mention our bookscores, as they all have quotas to reach. This is the mood there.
So reading these wonderful positive stories on the BDS really helps me to keep motivated, it is sometimes tough here to get out the door everyday without the support of a book distributing temple! Actually the TP preaches against book distribution and thus many times I have been so upset and really feel uncomfotable and would like to move elsewhere. My husband feels obliged to push on the Book distribution here, or there will be no hope for Sydney! My experience proves this is the only service which really gives that higher taste!
your servant Bhaktine Katherine
Then I met a Chinese couple that I had given a book to before. The Girl is from a buddhist family and already chants buddhist mantras and is vegetarian. Her name is Li Huabing and the Guy's name is Jin Feng Wang. I gave them a small book in Chinese from the Hong Kong BBT and told them how to chant the Mantra and they really thought it is nice. I spoke to them for a while and gave them another book. They were some of the most receptive people I've ever met, so I'm keeping in touch with them and am trying to cultivate them. With the help from some Chinese devotees here I think they will become devotees. They invited me to their wedding and for a gift I got them the mother Ganga DVD and a chinese chant and be happy. In a week or so I'm inviting them to a devotees house for some chanting and Prasad. Then to Gaura Purnima festivalhere in Perth. Either way, they are getting a lot of benefit. They've invited me to come to see them in China some day when they return so nowthat I have their email's and numbers I plan to try to cultivate them as much as possible.
>From this I'm realizing that anyone anywhere can become a devotee. In a letter I remember reading Srila Prabhupada saying that there is a devotee on every street corner all we have to do is go out and pick them up. THe world is so corrupt and full of suffering it's time now for devotees of the world to unite in a huge sankirtana Yajna. Srila Prabhupada said that distributing books can stop world wars. He also said, "This Krsna consciousness movement will save the world in it's darkest hour." Let's make sure that happens.
Please try to distribute books, distribute books, distribute books.
Your Servant, Devaki Nandana Dasa
Hari bol Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Here in Taiwan we recently took part in the International Book Exhibition. We were selling many of Prabhupada's books, incense, CDs, cards etc. One lady stopped by and a devotee was talking with her when she said that her husband is a Buddhist. She is not practicing Buddhism. She said her husband told her that he is going to become God very soon. She was worried about this and asked, "What will I do when my husband becomes God?" The devotee had a very hard time controlling herself but she managed, and she also sold 4 books to that lady. After the lady left, she told me what had happened and we both burst out laughing!
Your servant, Krishna Bhavna devi dasi.
Wise Guys and Everything Else
by Srila Jiva Goswami dasa
As a resident of Old New Vrindabana, I used to like to make Devotees laugh. I’d think up one liners and rim shots all the time, and when the opportunity arose, I’d go ahead with the humor.
This is a little vignette for your amusement about the time I brought suit against Jai Maurari Prabhu.
One of the most beautiful vehicles on the farm at the time was the 3/4 ton Dodge pick up we called Dodge Rama Dasa. By agreement, she was driven exclusively by yours truly, selected with the expertise of Janalada Prabhu, and purchased brand new with cash.
The arrangement was that the Community laid out the money and I paid it back. I used the truck for personal transportation, and for Devotional Service. It was an extraordinary, dependable simple truck. It had the famous reliable Dodge 318 engine, a four speed manual transmission, the sliding window in the back of the cab, a limited slip differential, and a black cap with roof racks. The cap had side windows for easy loading. There were heavy duty helper springs. The truck ran smoothly and well, and performed terrifically for years.
How it was purchased was an unusual arrangement, but I kept my side of the bargain, and Janalda’s expertise paid off in spades. There was no air conditioning, or power windows. There was no cassette player or even FM radio. It was a work truck, pure and simple. It dovetailed perfectly with the ideals of Devotional Service. I was very proud of the truck, and the trust the New Vrindabana Community showed by sponsoring me in the acquisition of Dodge Rama Dasa.
In the town, it was not unusual to pull into a station or a stop, loaded with sheets of plywood, racks of pipe, stacks of roofing, barrels of nails and sacks of cement and have people wander over and ask me where the work was.
Vahna Prabhu is the author of the somewhat notorious observation that Devotees treat vehicles like paper cups. We did not see many brand new vehicles at the farm. Anyone could drive virtually any vehicle, and with unlimited drivers, the responsibility for maintenance was unavoidably diluted.
Dodge Rama Dasa stood out in stark contrast. She was even under warranty.
When we were building the temple it was my practice to pull up with whatever I’d be delivering to that location. I’d park a little ways out from the big double front doors where Jaya and Vijaya stand today. There was almost always a delivery to be made there. I loved the fact that I was assisting Devotees in their Service. I was Serving the Servers. Dodge Rama Dasa positively glittered in the afternoon light when I made deliveries there. She was new, pristine and beautiful.
Jai Maurari Prabhu sometimes took his plumbing truck right on into the temple in order to carry out his service.
One day, to my initial horror, Jai Maurari backed out of the temple at pretty high speed and rammed straight into the exposed flank of Dodge Rama Dasa with such stunning and sudden force that the side nearest the Temple was lifted off the wheels and into the air. She came down with a slam and a cloud of dust. There was no harm to Jai Maurari’s vehicle, but for Dodge Rama Dasa there was a new tremendous marring stove in dent.
“Sorry!” Jai Maurari gave me a broad grin as he climbed down from his cab. He was wiping his hands on a rag. His body language was as if he’d just completed a job well done. His eyes seemed to be twinkling.
It did not seem to me that he was sorry at all.
With all the examples we hear about not being our bodies, any more than a Karmi supposedly thinks he is his or her car, I understood that the hit did not really matter, and that in ways as yet unperceived, it was a benediction.
I recalled an episode of “Kung Fu”, many many years earlier when the actor David Carradine was walking through a village and experiencing his periodic flashbacks to flute and “Grasshopper” admonition. In this particular episode I was recalling, along the path where Carradine’s Caine character strode, a young handsome boy stood, berating his parents. The mother and father were intimidated by their good looking but ill-mannered son.
Caine, without breaking stride, upon passing, fetched the boy a sudden ruinous blow which broke the lad’s nose.
To the accompaniment of flashback and flute, we learned that to be to pretty (Like Dodge Rama Dasa?) is not productive, and can lead to falldown due to pride.
So, I was taking the blow philosophically. But I felt the seedling of a joke. I could bring suit against Jai Maurari Prabhu … I could sue him to help me become Krsna Conscious.
The next time I saw my Guru, I told him that Jai Maurari had smashed into my truck and I wanted permission to sue him. This was a crazy proposition, but the punch line was: “…to help me to become Krsna Conscious.” At first, Kirtanananda took my request at the level of buffoonery it could only elicit. It was preposterous … sue Jai Maurari who had no material goods whatsoever?
On its face, this was in itself a sin and offense. Then I delivered the punch line: “…to make me Krsna Conscious.”
Kirtanananda waved at me then. The mood I took away was a sort of “…go on, then.”
It wasn’t long before I again had the chance to confront Jai Maurari Prabhu. I opened up with the declaration that Kirtanananda had given me permission to bring suit for the damage he had wrought upon Dodge Rama Dasa.
Jai Maurari was of course, totally unperturbed. “Go ahead …” he returned. He gave me one of his patented wide open contagious smiles.
I could not help smiling back. “To help me become Krsna Conscious,” I finished off. Badda bump bump bump.
To this, Jai Maurari raised an eyebrow. “OK,” he declared solemnly. Like any other joke, this one was fraught with a very serious edge. Jai Maurari was and is one of the rare masters of renunciation.
Even before since then, Jai Maurari has always shown only that total Krsna Conscious example, and it boils down to another return of question by my Guru when I’d asked him one day if he would help me become Krsna Conscious: “Will you give up your material desires?”
Today I found a very interesting article by Mangalananda das (Michael Cassidy), a prominent devotee musician, about the modern Kirtan phenomenon sweeping the world. In it he contrasts the modus operandi of popular kirtan singers such as Dave Stringer and Krishna das with the modus operandi of what I like to call "classical ISKCON".
Here is a quote:
When I step back and look at the Hare Krishna Kirtan movement here in America I see that the heart is missing and the missionary spirit is lost. Sharing the joy of kirtan with Americans involves making a real connection with the public. That connection is made first through recognition of common moral and ethical values and cultural norms. With that foundation in place, building a relationship of mutual respect and trust is possible.
Thi s is very topical for a number of reasons. Recently in Mayapura it was reported from the GBC meetings:
Anuttama dasa Prabhu mentioned that the GBC needs to plan strategically so that it does not continue just “missing trends”: for example, multiple independent musicians are now world famous for chanting Hare Krishna instead of us; yoga is on the cover of TIME, while we are busy reacting to problems.
I find a lot of the suggestions that Mangalananda prabhu makes obvious and necessary. If you want to see what outreach on the edge of the organization looks like, the model is Srila Prabhupada's early efforts to engage with the public. For those who live on the expanding edge of the organization the "early days" of the movement are every day. The movement does not mature, people within it do. At the core of the organization things are more developed in a particular way, but we cannot do away with the initial contact phase and the needed presentation while we do that.
One thing that I'm not so sure about is Mangalananda Prabhu's recommendation / conclusion that "(p)olicies to bring the religion in-line with the conventions of local behavior and culture need to be established." To me it's like - if you've got the realization, then just do it. You can't mandate culture.
At a point in time where I am dealing with having committed last year to doing kirtan at the Brisbane Yoga Expo, and then finding out that it falls on Gaura Purnima, the appearance of this article is encouraging.
As Srila B.R. Sridhara Swami said: "I will not be so bold as to say that I have seen God, but I seen signs along the way and I am encouraged."
Have a look at the article here:
NEW DELHI: Nicholas Stern, whose eponymous report recently stirred the world into debating climate change afresh, reiterated that India and other countries in the sub-continent stood to suffer the most from global warming. He said this in Washington, talking at a two-day legislators’ conference on climate change.
Precipitation comes, and the glaciers hold it, he explained in an interview conveyed to the media by the World Bank.
“That’s how you get water in the rivers. That effect will not be there if the glaciers and snow are not there. Which means you’ll get torrents during the wet season and dry rivers in the dry season. So you’ll get a combination of flood and drought,” he explained.
“We also don’t know what effect that will have on the monsoon, and it could have quite a strong effect. That kind of thing is being studied now,” he added.
Stern pointed out that both Indian agriculture and its urban areas would suffer economically. He pointed out that countries had to adapt, prepare, and work towards mitigation.
“We have to adapt how we handle water extraction and irrigation. Water management is involved in all of this. Work has to be done on what crops would be resilient.”
He made it clear that urban areas in the region were also at risk, as water supplies could be disrupted over time. Urban areas on the coast were especially vulnerable and work had to be done to create resilience against future changes.
In his report, Stern had pointed out that the potential melting of the Himalayan glaciers could affect millions in India along with almost one-quarter of Chinese population.
Any changes in rainfall patterns of the Asian monsoon, would severely affect the lives of millions of people across south Asia. The talk in US, a country which has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, didn’t focus too hard at the international politics that underlies all climate change negotiations.
The following is an excerpt from “Srila Prabhupada Is Coming!,” by Mahamaya Devi Dasi. In keeping with the theme of the podcasts sent from Mayapur, we will post several different Mayapur pastime articles in the coming days…
Mayapur — November, 1975-March, 1976
Living in Mayapur
Mayapur was quiet when I arrived, compared with festival time. So few devotees lived there: a few brahmacaris, about two dozen Westerners and several families, most refugees from Bangladesh. All the men — even grhasthas — occupied rooms along the boundary wall. Homes for the Bengali ladies and their daughters and pre-school sons were in the boundary-wall rooms nearest the Big Kitchen; their older sons lived in the gurukula rooms, also in the boundary wall, near the front gate. The school included a few local nondevotee boys, and classes took place outdoors on the grass.
Living above the Big Kitchen were the Western ladies: Vrindaban Biharini dasi, from South Africa; Krishna-rupa dasi, from Australia; Svati dasi and her three-year-old son Sivajvara, from England; Kamadhuk dasi, from Scotland; Khandabasi dasi, with her eight-year-old daughter Susasita, from Germany; and Australian Rasamandala and her two-year-old son Damodara. A round bathroom building accommodated everyone: men in the outer ring and ladies in the inner circle. Two hand-pumps provided water.
The Deities — Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, Lord Caitanya and a saligram-sila (a stone Deity of Krishna) — were nicely looked after by only three pujaris: Jananivasa dasa brahmacari, from England, the dedicated head pujari since Day One of ISKCON Mayapur; Pankajanghri dasa brahmacari, his identical twin brother; and Anakadundubhi dasa, another Englishman, whose wife was Vrindaban Biharini prabhu. The Bengali men maintained a twenty-four-hour kirtan in the temple room, and many of them sang like Gandharvas (angels).
The Lotus Building rooms were reserved for guests. Huge tulasi bushes, some nearly five feet high, grew at the back of the building, and more distant was a small vegetable garden. The Deities’ flower gardens, all along one side of the path from the front gate, provided many fragrant varieties and even imported American roses.
Muslim guards played sahnai music in a small room above the front gate during every sunrise. No shops or rickshaws, except one or two, were outside the front gate, and guests were rare.
The weather was hot and humid most of the year, with perhaps eight weeks of cold in mid-winter. The storm season was most exciting. The cyclones approached so fast that, if I was in my room, I had only enough time to close the wooden shutters before the high winds blasted. The incredible beauty of the rainy-season skies proved that Krishna is the supreme artist. At every sunrise and sunset there was a twenty-minute light show.
Bhavananda Maharaja told us that once he asked Srila Prabhupada: “Is it wrong to enjoy the beauty of Mayapur?”
“No,” Srila Prabhupada said. “I’ve given you Mayapur to enjoy.”
And we did enjoy Mayapur. Here we could appreciate the wonderful sunrises and sunsets and not be in maya — Srila Prabhupada said! Mayapur only seemed to be in the material world, but actually it was entirely spiritual.
Communication with the outside world practically didn’t exist. Letters delivered through the Muslim-run post office near the Yogapitha — if they did arrive — were already opened. Mayapur had one telephone in the Lotus Building, on the back verandah behind the stairs. If someone phoned, everyone in the vicinity could hear the person on our end yelling into the receiver. Hardly anyone called.
The lack of communication really didn’t matter, because we were in the holy dhama, Lord Caitanya’s home, and He is especially merciful to fallen souls. I could feel His presence often. Even the banana trees reminded me of Him. Our real, important business was chanting Hare Krishna. Although quiet, Mayapur was the world headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The sankirtan movement started here, which made it the center of the universe.
I noted that when large groups of pilgrims came, they invariably consisted of all women, with two or three men chaperones. So I understood that women formed the bulk of the Krishna devotees in India. Even though to stay in India we Western women were more or less forced to accept being treated as lower-class citizens, I understood that having a woman’s body was conducive to spiritual life. Women were naturally in a subservient position, which is necessary for maintaining a proper, humble relationship with guru and Lord Krishna.
The back verandah of the Lotus Building was my outdoor office. To type, I sat cross-legged on the floor and perched my typewriter on its hard case. Jayapataka Maharaja dictated letters on tapes, but I didn’t have a transcriber; so I nearly wore out my tape player transcribing his tapes.
As the temple secretary, I had a few other duties, such as keeping a current list of the foreign devotees’ names and passport numbers, for the Foreign Registration Office (FRO), in nearby Krishnanagar.
I also helped Krishna-rupa dasi sew for the Deities. Navadvipa was the nearest town. I hardly ever went shopping there. However, a few times I traveled by train to Calcutta with Krishna-rupa to shop for cloth, trims and decorations for Radha-Madhava’s outfits.
The Bengali Devotees
The Bengali ladies were Krishna devotees at heart, but they had a problem chanting japa. When given japa beads, they’d just sit around and talk. So Srila Prabhupada told them to do service instead of japa, and thus directly after mangal-arati they went to the Big Kitchen to hull rice or to cut fruits and vegetables.
Srila Prabhupada was merciful in giving first initiation to all the Bengali devotees, forgiving the ladies’ their lack of discipline in chanting japa. However, only the three ladies who did chant sixteen rounds were later offered second initiation.
The mother of Haridasa prabhu from Bombay temple came to live in Mayapur. Being a cultured lady who could read and write, she didn’t live with the Bengali ladies, but shared a room with me above the Big Kitchen.
We called her “Haridasa Ma” (Haridasa’s mother), as was the custom — the ladies were known by their child’s name. She lived in Mayapur for quite some time before we discovered she was a fabulous cook. After that, she cooked for Radha-Madhava. At some point, the devotees started calling her Didi Ma, meaning “older sister.”
The Bengali men made saris on looms. This cottage industry provided income for the temple when the saris were sold during the Gaura Purnima festival. Once or twice a year each female devotee living in Mayapur received one of the colorful handloom saris.
The Bengali ladies wrapped their saris differently than we Western ladies — only city slickers in India wore their saris like us — so we adopted their style, which was faster to wrap and cooler to wear, though harder to keep over the head.
I liked to watch the easily pleased Bengali children. The toddlers were satisfied playing with a small stick or some leaves. They were not suffering for lack of store-bought toys. Kids in America were less peaceful, though perhaps more intelligent because of being brought up on cows’ milk.
Everyone ate in the prasadam pavilion behind the Big Kitchen. The prasadam was austere by Western standards, but it was “either eat there or starve.” Except for a few bites of maha-prasadam each morning, we had no other prasadam, not even for a price — and no means to buy bhoga (unoffered foodstuffs), nor any facilities for cooking. There was one concession for Western devotees: we each received a piece of fruit at four p.m. daily.
I looked forward to the twice-monthly Dvadasi day — the day after Ekadasi, when we fasted from grains and beans — for this was the only time we got a few mouthfuls of sweet prasadam. That small amount of delicious atta (wheat flour) halava, however, was insufficient to satisfy my sweet tooth. I never realized how many naturally sweet things I was accustomed to eating until I was deprived of them — hardly any fruit, no fruit juices, no Sunday feast.
Desperate, during my daily stint at the temple book table, I’d sneak some gur-badam — peanuts and gur — meant for the infrequent guests. I also asked the purchaser, or “kitchen in charge,” to buy me a supply of rock candy, which I kept in a jar in my room.
Instead of a Sunday Love Feast we had two “feasts” per week, on Saturday and Sunday: kittri cooked with mustard oil-distributed to two thousand people besides us. I no longer looked forward to the weekends as I used to in America. However, when a feast day came around, Radha-Madhava ate sumptuously, and so did we. I felt very satisfied. The Bengali ladies really knew the art of cooking!
We drank water from the hand pumps, none of which were deep wells. I suffered from stomach ailments caused by the lack of pure water but bottled water and filters were unknown to us.
“Better Not to Mix”
We did not visit other temples in Mayapur except as a group, once a year, during the Gaura Purnima festival, because Srila Prabhupada didn’t want us to associate with his Godbrothers. He wrote to Rupanuga prabhu, on April 28, 1974, in a letter that circulated all over ISKCON:
. . . Actually amongst my Godbrothers no one is qualified to become acarya. So it is better not to mix with my Godbrothers very intimately because instead of inspiring our students and disciples they may sometimes pollute them. This attempt was made previously by them, especially Madhava Maharaja and Tirtha Maharaja and Bon Maharaja but somehow or other I saved the situation. This is going on. We shall be very careful about them and not mix with them. This is my instruction to you all. They cannot help us in our movement, but they are very competent to harm our natural progress. So we must be very careful about them. . . .
Because we lived so near to Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrothers in Mayapur, our local leaders stressed this point even more: “Don’t go to their temples; don’t buy their books; don’t take prasadam there. Be respectful if you meet them, but don’t mingle.”
Other Vaisnavas were bound to have perspectives different than Srila Prabhupada’s and to say things differently, and the result would be confusion. Besides that, Srila Prabhupada told us many times that some of his Godbrothers envied his success. Therefore Srila Prabhupada wrote, “We shall be very careful about them and not mix with them. This is my instruction to you all.” Not just Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrothers, but many camps and philosophies were represented in India. Our spiritual lives depended on our chastity in following Srila Prabhupada strictly, without deviating — no adding, no subtracting, no interpreting.
And why should we neglect his pure teachings to hear from others? Obviously, Srila Prabhupada was the only one of his Godbrothers to fully understand and fulfill the desires of their guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, to preach Krishna consciousness worldwide. Lord Caitanya’s mercy was flowing through Srila Prabhupada, enabling him to succeed in spreading Krishna consciousness on an unprecedented scale. Our spiritual father was the greatest empowered personality — the jagat-guru, or guru of the universe.
I was glad to live in India, because I clearly understood the urgency of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions regarding his Godbrothers. Practicing spiritual life, we were on the razor’s edge — any inattention and we could be cut. Eventually I saw devotees who paid no heed to his warnings and wandered off the path. Srila Prabhupada rectified some of them, but others he couldn’t retrieve.
Srila Prabhupada’s Arrival
On January 17, 1976, all the Mayapur devotees — Bengalis and Westerners — had a rousing kirtan outside the now completed front gate. We were waiting for Srila Prabhupada to arrive and expecting him to stay through the Gaura Purnima festival in March. Finally, his car came! “Jaya Srila Prabhupada! Haribol!” We paid obeisances to him in the street.
Bhavananda Maharaja handed Srila Prabhupada a pair of scissors to cut a wide, inaugural ribbon hanging on the gate. With kirtan going full blast we all followed him under the arch and through the metal gates. We were so happy to see Srila Prabhupada! We were not identifying with our bodies, but were truly an international family, exuberantly celebrating the arrival of our glorious spiritual master.
Srila Prabhupada walked the main path to the Lotus Building. Just as he approached the templedoor, a flower shower that looked like an offering from the demigods fell on Srila Prabhupada, thanks to Svati and Kamadhuk prabhus, one flight up.
After taking darshan of Radha-Madhava, Srila Prabhupada sat on his vyasasana. In his arrival address, he expressed exactly what I was feeling that day:
It was Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s aspiration that the Europeans, Americans, and Indians all together dance jubilantly and chant “Gaura Hari.” So this temple, Mayapur Candrodaya temple, is meant for a transcendental United Nations. What the United Nations has failed to achieve, that will be achieved here by the process recommended by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: prthivita ache yata nagaradi grama, sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama. So you have come from all parts of the world and are living together in this temple.
So train these small boys. I am very glad, especially, to see that the small children from all other countries, and Indian, Bengalis, all together, forgetting their bodily consciousness. That is the greatest achievement in this movement, that everyone forgets the bodily conception of life. Nobody thinks themselves here as European, American, Indian, Hindu, Muslim, Christian. They forget all these designations, and simply they are ecstatic in chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. So kindly what you have begun, do not break it. Continue it very jubilantly. And Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the master of Mayapur, He will be very much pleased upon you, and ultimately you will go back to home, back to Godhead. Thank you very much.
The Long Building
Whenever I saw Srila Prabhupada, I hardly knew of his activities as the manager of his worldwide organization, even if I was right there in the same temple. But occasionally news trickled down. For instance, the day after his arrival he toured the grounds and suggested that a new building be constructed along the north boundary line, parallel to the Lotus Building. He wanted it finished in time to house the visiting devotees during the Gaura Purnima festival.
“But, Srila Prabhupada, the festival is only six weeks away,” the leaders protested. “How can we get it finished on time?”
The task was impossible, but Srila Prabhupada asked that they try. He often pushed his disciples to increase their service, sometimes quipping that “impossible” was a word found in the fool’s dictionary. The new building did go up — quickly, too.
Srila Prabhupada himself got involved with some details of the construction, and he kept Jayapataka Swami, Pancaratna prabhu and many other devotees busy. Almost a thousand feet long — five times the length of the Lotus Building, and similarly designed — everyone called it “the Long Building” and the nickname stuck.
Since the Ganga flooded Mayapur every eight or nine years, the plans called for two floors of rooms above the hollow space around the plinths on the ground level. Realizing that this was a waste of space, Srila Prabhupada later told the workers to enclose the ground floor to make basement rooms. Srila Prabhupada mentioned it at an evening darshan, “For a few more rupees you get thousands of square feet of useable space, so I told them to finish it off.”
Women were not invited on Srila Prabhupada’s morning walks, but I was always outside chanting japa during that time. Spotting His Divine Grace, I would usually offer obeisances three times: when I first saw him from a distance, when I could see him more clearly, and when he was very close.
The pukkur near the front gate was his favorite destination. It was a man-made pond, crudely dug, more or less square. Srila Prabhupada walked along and around its raised sides, his entourage following in single file. The raised sides were fifteen-foot-high piles of dirt blocking the sight of the pond itself. Patches of wild subjees — okra and portals — grew on these small hills. I relished watching Srila Prabhupada’s stately form, even from a distance. He walked majestically, using his cane to balance himself as he went around the pukkur.
One morning I picked a beautiful, newly opened rose from the flower garden and handed it to Srila Prabhupada as he passed. I felt so good about this — until Bhavananda Maharaja, who hung back, heavily criticized me for picking the rose.
“Roses have to be fully bloomed before you can pick them,” he yelled. He angrily banned me from picking roses.
I was aware of his rule about picking only fully bloomed roses, but what he didn’t consider was that a fully bloomed rose, whose petals are wide open, is on the verge of falling apart, as the garland-makers experienced daily, with great frustration. The pleasure of giving Srila Prabhupada that “contraband” newly opened rose outweighed the aggravation of being scolded for picking it.
One time I was walking on the construction site of the Long Building, so absorbed in my chanting that I didn’t notice Srila Prabhupada and his entourage approaching from behind. I was caught by surprise! For a minute I was part of the morning walk as they encircled me. They continued walking on without me, of course.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam Classes
The Mayapur temple schedule that we followed throughout the year differed, in some details, from the schedule of the annual international festival. Normally, during the year — after mangal-arati, tulasi-puja and some japa — we’d sing “Udilo Aruna” at sunrise. This song celebrates the rising of the sun in Mayapur, a time of day when Lord Caitanya would perform sankirtan through the village. And usually we held the Srimad-Bhagavatam class before we greeted the Deities. So now Srila Prabhupada followed this normal schedule.
Srila Prabhupada gave classes on the Seventh Canto, Chapter Nine. After his first class was over, he turned to Subhaga dasa and said, “Now you translate it into Bengali.” Subhaga prabhu was stunned. Srila Prabhupada had not asked him to translate sentence by sentence. Rather, without warning, Srila Prabhupada expected him to remember the class and summarize it. So difficult! He was on the spot and could say hardly anything. Srila Prabhupada then asked Nitaicand dasa, and he made a passable attempt.
After that, it became a regular feature that one of the bilingual devotees would give a synopsis of the class in Bengali. Now they knew what to expect and listened carefully to the class.
After the Deity curtains opened at seven a.m., we greeted the Deities with the “Govindam” prayers, followed by Srila Prabhupada sitting on his marble vyasasana, with its brightly colored cushions, for guru-puja. Then Srila Prabhupada circumambulated the temple room three times, stopping to ring the bells on either side of the altar. Surrounded by dancing gurukula boys, Srila Prabhupada gestured to encourage them to dance and jump higher. We all had just as much fun dancing for Srila Prabhupada’s pleasure as we did with the festival crowds.
One morning Srila Prabhupada had gotten up after guru-puja and was walking towards the Deities when Jananivasa prabhu stopped him, holding out a plateful of mangal-arati sweets. Srila Prabhupada took a piece and popped it into his mouth. Then he distributed the remainder of the sweets to those lucky devotees nearby.
The next day Jananivasa prabhu brought the plate of mangal-arati sweets earlier, while Srila Prabhupada was still on the vyasasana and the kirtan was still going on. Srila Prabhupada again popped a piece in his mouth and indicated that the gurukula boys should come forward to receive pieces. The area right in front of the vyasasana was very congested, but the boys pushed and shoved to line up, and approached Srila Prabhupada through the small opening in a marble barrier that separated the vyasasana area from the temple room. They looked so happy to receive their sweets from his hand.
This was the start of a daily routine. If Srila Prabhupada broke up the sweets into small enough pieces, there were enough for the men to also receive sweets. Some days there were still some leftover after all the boys and men had received theirs, so the little girls — there were only five or six of them — would get sweets.
Last came the women. Oh, those rare and wonderful days when the ladies got the mercy of receiving pieces of mangal-arati sweets from Srila Prabhupada’s hand! He wouldn’t just drop the sweet into my outstretched palm — he would push it into my hand, touching it.
When the sweets didn’t stretch to include us, however, the little girls were so generous that they would share their tiny pieces with the ladies, so no one missed out.
The blond-haired boys, Sivajvara and Damodara, loved getting sweets from Srila Prabhupada. They stationed themselves in front of his vyasasana and would not budge. They kept their hands out constantly. Srila Prabhupada reciprocated by giving them sweets three or four times. Srila Prabhupada often laughed at their antics. Each time one of them got a piece, he ate it, wiped his hand on his sikha (the tuft of hair left on the shaved head of male Vaisnavas) and held out his hand for more — all in one motion. The boys must have been imitating the guests who received in their right hands a tiny spoonful of carinamrta — the Deities’ bath water mixed with yogurt and sugar — and sipped it, then wiped their hands on the back of their heads.
Srila Prabhupada’s distributing prasadam to all of us was a sweet and intimate affair.
The little nine- and ten-year-old Bengali girls picked flowers from the gardens for the Deities’ garlands every morning after mangal-arati. It was dark at that time of the morning in the winter, but that didn’t deter them. These girls were quite responsible and made all the garlands.
Now they increased the amount of flowers so as to make a garland daily for Srila Prabhupada. They made a huge garland, four inches in diameter, with spirally strung, super-fragrant flowers called rajani-gandha (”the queen of scents”), which resemble small white bugles. The girls included in the garland both sections of red and pink roses and variously colored marigolds. It was a masterpiece every day, often reaching Srila Prabhupada’s knees. Srila Prabhupada looked aristocratic wearing these garlands.
Usually there were extra flowers and petals that the little girls sprinkled on top of Srila Prabhupada shoes, outside the door. Srila Prabhupada put on his shoes with a devotee’s assistance, and when he started walking, the flowers would fall off.
One day they didn’t fall off. I watched Srila Prabhupada take several steps and then look down. Noticing that the flowers were still there, he lifted one foot and gently shook it, then the other, but the flowers didn’t move! He looked puzzled.
The little girls were in stitches watching this, for they had played a joke and tied small garlands of flower petals around the toe of each shoe. They had let the ladies in on their trick, and we were also cracking up. Then Srila Prabhupada figured it out and laughed, too, enjoying the joke very much! He had a great sense of humor and didn’t mind the girls playing a joke.
Bhavananda Maharaja renounced his room on the Lotus Building roof for Srila Prabhupada’s use, particularly for his afternoon nap. Coming down from the roof after four o’clock, Srila Prabhupada started evening darshans at five. Anyone could come. From the day he arrived, I was inspired to go.
I really liked these evening darshans and kicked myself for not going to them when I could in Vrindaban and Bombay. Hearing Srila Prabhupada’s enlightening conversations and watching his facial expressions and gestures was like tasting nectar. So was seeing him deftly pour water from his drinking glass into his mouth without touching the glass to his lips. His every move was majestic, and he was the cynosure of all eyes. Comfortable and relaxed, Srila Prabhupada was at home in Mayapur. Srila Prabhupada’s right hand would often be in his beadbag during a darshan, and I’d notice him chanting quietly during lulls in the conversation.
Being in close proximity to Srila Prabhupada both exhilarated and penetrated my mind. He was so focused on Krishna that his every word and action revealed his addiction to the Lord. Because I felt I couldn’t hide anything from him, not even my mind, I thought, “I must think of Krishna so that my thoughts aren’t a disturbance to Srila Prabhupada’s meditation.”
Bhavananda Maharaja once asked Srila Prabhupada: “Is it wrong to enjoy the beauty of Mayapur?”
“No,” Srila Prabhupada said. “I’ve given you Mayapur to enjoy.”
- “Srila Prabhupada Is Coming”
You are invited to visit http://www.newvrindaban.com/gallery/ and see many wonderful pictures of all the Deities here, Srila Prabhupada here and New Vrindaban thru the years. New pictures are posted regularly. If you have a special request some picture, please contact me by e-mail at JayaMurari@msn.com But first check out the “Gallery”, as I’m sure that you’ll be able to download from there quicker than this really slow dial-up I’m using.
Milk - Religion You Can Drink by Suresvara dasa
“It’s fitness you can drink,” say the billboards, as a sportsman goes diving for a ball. The milk ads these days hit us right where we live — the body. For ages, though, India’s sages and scriptures have offered us a spiritual reason to drink milk. From the spiritual perspective, therefore, a more appropriate billboard ad might be: “Milk. It’s religion you can drink.”
What does milk have to do with religion? Let’s go to God’s country — where cows make milk — and find out.
The sun shines on our hillside pasture, green and serene against the morning sky. Bells tinkle where the cows munch fresh grasses and drop their fertile compliments to the earth. Sometimes the cows team up to lick and nuzzle each other, or to tail-whisk the flies. Now ruminating with half-closed eyes, the cows look a little like sages themselves. Their meditation: making milk.
Cows make milk from their blood. The blood carries the products of digestion and absorption to the udder, which changes the raw materials into milk components. To make fifty pounds of milk in a day, a cow must pump some ten tons of blood through her udder. That’s why all the grazing and cud-chewing. But exactly how that grass turns into milk is as mystical as life itself.
“Within your body, by mystic power, you can transform food into blood and tissue,” writes Srila Prabhupada, the Hare Krsna movement’s founder and spiritual master. “Similarly, by mystic power, the cow eats grass and produces milk.”
Scientists say that the chemicals of life vary in their proportion and distribution from one species to another, and that a specific biochemical condition accounts for the cow’s producing milk.
“But who produced those chemicals and that arrangement?” Prabhupada presses. “You cannot produce milk from grass in your laboratory. But the cow can give you milk by mystic power.”
Twice daily our ruminating mystics enter the barn to let down their milk. Giving milk is a function of motherhood; kindly treatment helps the flow. And so our milkers sing to the cows as they go, handling each mother with care as they draw the sweet liquid from her body. From nature’s lab comes miraculous milk.
The single most important article of food for the maintenance and health of both child and adult,” proclaims The Mother’s Encyclopedia. “The most valuable food we have,” advises the Red Cross. “Contains almost all the food elements that the human being needs,” says Dr. Spock."
"All the elements a milk marketer needs, too. Hence the blizzard of ads. We are reminded that “you never outgrow your need for milk.” We are encouraged by some athlete with milk on his upper lip to “wear a moo-stache.” We are exhorted by trim, glamorous movie stars to drink milk and “be somebody.”
“Hold on!” the sages announce. “You’re not that body; you’re the soul within. If you miss that point, you’ll miss all others — like the spiritual value of cow’s milk.”
Take it from the sages — cow’s milk is God-given nectar. It fortifies the body and develops the brain’s finer tissues as well. By filling us with goodness, milk clears the consciousness so we can consider higher, spiritual life.
In ancient India, early in the morning at milking time, the sages would approach the dairymen for a pound or two of milk. The villagers would welcome these holy men, who would enlighten them with sublime, spiritual knowledge. Their inspiration: Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“As the sun alone illuminates all this universe,” says Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita, “so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness.”
Consciousness is the symptom of the soul. Though we cannot see the soul inside the body, we can perceive its presence by consciousness. During the dawn milking, we can’t see the sun, but we can perceive its presence by the early light.
Similarly, the presence of an individual consciousness illumining all living bodies — whether man or animal — indicates the presence of the soul. Each soul, though divine, displays different powers according to its bodily circumstance. The soul embodied as a cow, for instance, can turn grass into milk. And the soul embodied as a human being can turn his consciousness toward God.
It’s natural to remember God in the country, whose beauty reflects His eternal kingdom. The Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literatures describe the kingdom of God as a spiritual wonderland, where everything is possible in loving service to Krsna.
The “desire trees” there yield any fruit upon request, and the surabhi cows, beyond the constraints of flesh and blood, give a limitless supply of milk. The Lord keeps many such cows, and in His transcendental form as a cowherd boy. He herds them.
“Lord Krsna and His cowherd friends entered the forest to enjoy the new, seasonal atmosphere,” the sage Sukadeva relates in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. “The cows, being fed by new grasses, became very healthy, and their udders were all very full. When Lord Krsna called them by name, they immediately came to Him out of affection, and in their joyful condition the milk flowed from their udders.”
Sadly, though, the cries of the cows in the modern slaughterhouses mock the country’s reflection of Krsna’s peaceable kingdom. We’ve heard that “man is made in the image of God,” and so we hold human life sacred and religiously protect a person’s right to live. But the cow, made in the image of the Lord’s beloved surabhis, also protects us by supplying us nourishing milk. Shouldn’t we protect her, too?
Srila Prabhupada comments, “By God’s grace, the innocent cow is simply eating grass and supplying the finest food, milk. The cow’s blood is very nutritious, but a civilized person uses it in the form of milk. From milk, we can make so many things — yogurt, cheese, butter — and by combining these products with fruits, vegetables, and grains, we can make hundreds of wholesome preparations. That is civilized. Not spilling the cow’s blood in big slaughterhouses and eating her flesh.
“So protect the cow,” Srila Prabhupada continues. “Don’t be ungrateful. That is Krsna’s advice. From infancy, we are drinking the cow’s milk, and if in return we cut her throat, that is barbaric, less than animal. Even an animal respects its mother. But the ‘civilized’ men are doing that — killing mother cow. And they want peace. Just see the fools. They are less than the lowest animal.”
The message is clear. Milk — a product of the cow’s goodness — enriches human consciousness. Meat — a product of man’s ignorance — degrades it. That’s why meat-eaters, even if they drink milk, cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
So draw your nourishment from the cow, say the sages — not by spilling her blood, but by drinking her milk — and listen to the messages of Godhead. There’s a limit to the amount of milk you can drink, but there’s no limit to how much you can hear about Krsna. And the more you hear, the more you grow in spiritual understanding. Such is the milk of Krsna’s kindness. And that’s religion you can drink forever.
“Living in A True Human Context
“Only when we see ourselves in our true human context, as members of a race which is intended to be one organism and “one body,” will we begin to understand the positive importance not only of the successes but of the failures and accidents in our lives. My successes are not my own. The way to them was prepared by others. The fruit of my labors is not my own: for I am preparing the way for the achievements of another. Nor are my failures my own. They may spring from the failure of another, but they are also compensated for by another’s achievement. Therefore the meaning of my life is not to be looked for merely in the sum total of my achievements. It is seen only in the complete integration of my achievements and failures with the achievements and failures of my own generation, and society, and time. It is seen, above all, in my integration in the mystery of Christ.”
Thomas Merton from: No Man Is An Island. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 16
“The living entities are part and parcel of Him, and therefore the senses of the living entities are also part and parcel of His senses.”
I am working on a couple of projects I could use some help on.
One is a feed aggregator for New Vrindaban bloggers. There are several bloggers, and I would like there to be one place where someone could go and see all of them. We are on ISKCONnews.net, but that has so much content that the group identity gets diluted.
For this project, I need someone a little technical who can set it up. I have a domain name and some bandwidth. I have never set up a website myself, and my mind is balking at the learning curve, but if someone could set it up, I could be taught how to maintain it, so it wouldn’t have to be a long term commitment.
The other project is already set up. It is also a feed aggregator, Gopal’s Land and Cows. It needs some tweaking but is functional, thanks to Sitapati. It pulls feeds from sites pertaining to Cow protection and environmental issues from a devotee perspective.
The problem here is the paucity of feeds to draw on. I need to develop the content to feed to it. You don’t need to be that technical to help, just a competent end user.
One aspect is to become familiar with blogging software and to help devotees involved in cow protection to set one up. This will expand the content base.
The other is to manage a blog that cherry picks articles off sites or discussion groups post them. This blog would then feed into the aggregator.
I am asking for anyone who wants to support cow protection through action, or who has an interest in the environment to contact me. This is an opportunity to serve Mother Cow regardless of geographical location.
Email me or leave a comment on this post and I will discuss this with you.
by Sankirtana das
(for my son and daughter)
New Vrindavan quarantined! No one could come or go. All across the country it was on the radio. I don’t know why, but that didn’t stop us. We must have had more faith then, back in ’76, coming up the lonely twisting roads in Bhokta’s van, driving through the dead of night on the eve of Gaura-Purnim.
Our journey started eight years earlier, toward the close of our college days. My wife and I set out to find out about ourselves and about life. Almost imperceptibly, the commitment to a relationship grew, and deepened, as well as the commitment to our goal. We are still on that journey.
It has taken us to dark doorways, watching LSD induced
heavens and hells on New York’s lower east side, where utopia met desolation row, and where we meander up and down St Marks Place, rapping, philosophizing, babbling and dabbling, and occasionally looking out past the edge of the civilized world towards Broadway.
It has taken us on daily excursions on the Staten Island
Ferry, waving to the Statue of Liberty, wondering what happened
to all the humble and tired and poor, and reading to each other
from the Teachings of Don Quan, Krishnamurti, Lawrence
Ferlingetti and Bhagavad- gita, wide eyed, with occasional
utterances of “wow” “farout” and “heavy.”
It has taken us on a freighter to Morrocco and back, through
the streets and cafes of Fez and Tangiers, along with Timothy Leary and the Living Theater, making a pilgrimage to antiquity, to the edge of the desert, where people are perpetually high and who are perpetually waiting for the all powerful American dollar but despising the Americans who bring it.
It has taken us on all night train rides through Spain, Italy,
Germany, sleeping on deserted beaches, and walking forever on
highways and byways with knapsacks on our backs. We find the same
trees, the same ants, the same asphalt, the same fears and passions everywhere.
It has taken us to a little house in Wassereberg, Germany
where I was born, and which, at the age of five, I left for the
New World. As a child, playing in a backyard that stretched to the mountains, the forest animals would come to me and we would speak together. But now, they no longer approach.
It has taken us back to the lower east side where we eat
and chant with, and film the Hare Krishna’s in their childlike
enthusiasm for singing and dancing. Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna
Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
It has taken us to the coast of Nova Scotia, to a cabin
overlooking the North Atlantic where we spend many months, again
reading from our precious Bhagavad Gita As It Is. This time
there are less “wow’s” but we are more serious. There, on the
last LSD trip we are to take, we see how lonely and empty and
precarious this world really is, and even though we may be
sitting or walking or lying with a dear friend or lover, we can
never really help that person, nor can that person really help
It has taken us hitch-hiking across Canada, to four A.M.
services at a Temple of Lord Krsna in Toronto. Incense, flowers,
bells and mantra pervade the atmosphere as devotees sway, dance
and chant in front of the altar of the strange, smiling,
wondrous Jagannatha, with me fingering prayer beads and
wondering why this is all necessary. “Just chant Hare Krsna you
fool, and you’ll understand everything,” an inner voice assures
me. I am jolted. I am being called a fool… but I take it in
stride. I must be on the right path.
It has taken us to the front lawn of the Detroit Temple,
waiting amongst the faithful for His Divine Grace Srila
Prabhupada to arrive from the airport. An elderly, fatherly,
saffron clothed figure steps from the car, his movements slow,
graceful, deliberate. Here is no stranger, but we recognize a
gentle, eternal friend. And when he sits down to speak amidst a
sea of bright faces, I hear the same inner, assuring voice. I am
Prabhupada speaks about the six pushings that we are all
subject to. The pushings of the mind, words, and anger, of the
tongue, belly and genitals. Should we let these six pushings
control our lives… to mercilessly badger us, beat us, hound us,
and push us across the face of the globe in pursuit of
proverbial pleasures?… Be careful! What is nectar in the
beginning becomes poison in the end - and what is poison in the
beginning (like learning how to regulate and yoke -yoga- our
senses) becomes nectar in the end.
It has taken us to Madison, Wisconsin where I join the Broom
Street Theatre. But after some months I make a startling
discovery- my all-important theatre work doesn’t seem so
important any more. It has turned stale. Instead, our early
morning walks, with pray beads in hand, softly uttering the Holy
Name - Hare Krsna - bring us real joy and freedom.
It has taken us also on evening walks past houses which seem to have been arranged for our viewing. Krsna opens up to us the lives
dwelling therein. A flood of images rush out from the windows:
youngsters playing with their dog, a student studying, a girl
brushing her hair, an old man at his rocking chair, someone with
their feet over the couch watching TV, a wife in the kitchen
cooking, a family around the dinner table, people making love,
people arguing, people worrying about the mortgage, people
waiting, people being born, people dying, everyone wrapped up in
their own world. We expect to see ourselves in the next house we
pass. And actually, we do. We see ourselves in every house.
Krsna is showing us, Krsna is giving us a vision, giving us
realization far beyond what we had ever read in Herman Hesse.
O’Krsna, we have traveled and looked everywhere, but we
found You while walking through a Madison neighborhood, chanting Your
Holy Name. Krsna’s timing is perfect, bringing Srila Prabhupada
to the West, at the height of its materialistic culture. Material
pleasures will never satisfy us, Prabhupada bellows, shattering
our fragile realities. This skyscraper culture, this atomic,
computer age culture is like a charging rhino which has already
been shot dead! Due to its momentum it is still rushing
forward… but it can drop at any time.
O’Prabhupada, we have traveled across oceans, stumbled
through cities and over philosophies, tumbled down deadly
highways like weeds in the wind, searched for the third eye,
journeyed into night’s deep recesses, stood at dusk on rocky
beaches, and combed the mind for contrived revelations, while
you, Srila Prabhupada, have waited for us patiently like a parent
for his child. You knew what we were really looking for, whereas
we did not know. You came to us with real culture and real civilization. You knew that unless we served and understood God, no relationship or experience or place in this wide, wide world would ever be satisfying.
O’Prabhupada, we did not deserve your efforts, but you had already given yourself to us before we ever heard of you. You came here with seemingly nothing, an “insignificant beggar,” but you were ready to give us everything, for everything that we were searching for is
contained within the Holy Name. You taught us that Krsna’s names are innumerable and that He is the oldest, the purest, the source, the goal, the master, the witness, the primal God, the cause of all causes, the unborn and all pervading beauty.
O’ Prabhupada you are a wealthy philanthropist, a magnanimous
king, a wise man, a poet, prophet, musician, magician, a thief in
the night, and a mischievous child all rolled into one. You are
an ocean of mercy, a mysterious forest, an abundant valley, and
the radiant sun. You are the supreme giver of gifts, bringer of
good news, performer of Herculean tasks. You are our benefactor,
our ever well-wisher and our dear most friend. O bestower of
causeless mercy, let us not ever forget your loving kindness
under any circumstances.
On behalf of our beloved Founder-Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the GBC Executive Committee, extends its grateful appreciation to His Holiness Bhakti Bhringa Govinda Swami for his outstanding service in dealing with the difficulties facing the Kazakhstan yatra during the year 2006.
Bhanu Swami chaired the Open Forum and began with a letter from Jiva Tattva Prabhu (Spain), who asked why ISKCON does not have a varnasrama social system and whether the GBC's role is spiritual or managerial.
As I write, parrots squawk loudly and animatedly in the gum trees outside.They're very vocal right now because the gums are flowering. Their happiness increases as a result...
The computer is slow,annoying. I pick up Bhagavad Gita to fill a moment. Underlines on the page catch my attention and direct my gaze to a particular paragraph:-
"When one understands that Krishna is the only enjoyer of all ..that He is the proprietor of all...that He is the real friend of all...THEN only one can have peace."
Finally, a gorgeous, sunny day in Mayapur! The blissful sounds of Mayapur in the morning create a beautiful background to Maharaja’s recording:
Please note there are two uploads today: the other is a separate posting, Srimad Bhagavatam class by Devamrita Swami.
Download (00:17:34) 8 MB
Everywhere there were South Indian brahamanas mostly with their distinctive sikhas where they shave about two inches back from the forhead and around the ears and tie all their hair in a bun at the back.
By Advaitachandra das & Kalasudha dd
Photos: Neil Parikh Prabhu
HG Guru Bhakti Mataji
Chanting of the holy names being the very foundational goal of spiritual life inspired the Houston devotees to tap into this vital aspect of spiritual advancement by conducting a workshop on japa to improve and experience the joy in chanting of the holy names.
This japa workshop, held on January 27, 2007, was attended by around 40 devotees from various Bhakti-vriksha groups, filling the attendees with renewed energy and confidence to chant effectively.
Her Grace Guru Bhakti Mataji, a very senior devotee and a disciple of HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaja, presented this wonderful workshop with amazing but simple techniques easily applied by everyone to improve their chanting. The participants were able to apply the techniques immediately and feel the difference.
Do not indulge in useless criticism and finding faults in others. Deep within your heart simply worship the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with unflinching devotion.
- Sri Jagadananda Pandit