Free Write Journal #198


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Free Write Journal #198

Satsvarupa das Goswami Maharaja

Summer Meeting

Saturday, July 2, 2022

What:

Meeting of Disciples and friends of SDG

Where:

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall
845 Hudson Avenue
Stuyvesant Falls, New York 12173

There is plenty of parking near the Hall. The facility is just a few minutes’ walk from SDG’s home at 909 Albany Ave.

Schedule:

10:00 – 10:30 A.M.  Opening Kirtana
10:30 – 11:00 A.M.  Lecture by SDG
11:00 – 11:30 P.M. Presentation of New Books
11:30 – 12:00 P.M.  Opportunity to Purchase New Books
12:00 – 1:00 P.M. Arati and Kirtana
1:00 — 2:00 P.M. Prasadam Feast

Contact:

Baladeva Vidyabhusana bvdsdg@gmail.com

SDG: “I request as many devotees as possible to attend so we can feel the family spirit strongly. I become very satisfied when we are all gathered together.”


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Srila Prabhupāda: “Therefore, our Society is association. If we keep good association, then we don’t touch the darkness. What is the association? There is a song, sat-saga chāḍi’ kainu asate vilāsa, te-kāraṇe lāgila mora karma-bandha-phāṅsa (Gaurā Pahū, verse 3). Sat-saga. Sat-saṅga means association with the devotees. So the one poet, Vaiṣṇava poet, is regretting that, “I did not keep association with the devotees, and I wanted to enjoy life with the nondevotees. Therefore I’m being entangled in the fruitive activities.” Karma bandha phāsa. Entanglement.” [Conversation with David Wynne, July 9, 1973, London]

June 3, 2022

Free Writes

Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta

I listened to a second lecture on the Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta by Daivisakti devi dasi. She read from the introduction of Volume 1, A Lifetime in Preparation. This was my own writing, but she added commentary from her own research. She said that Prabhupada was married and had one son, but he was becoming increasingly inspired to be a preacher. At one in the morning he banged on the door of his Godbrother B.R. Sridhara Maharaja and begged him to give him sannyasa. Sridhara Maharaja was very close to Abhay’s family and said he couldn’t give Abhay sannyasa; they would be too disturbed with him. A second time Abhay went to his Godbrother and asked the same thing, but Sridhara Maharaja said he couldn’t do it. But a third inspiration came. Abhay didn’t ask anyone’s permission, but he left home and went to live temporarily at a Gaudiya Math outside Calcutta. There he chanted many rounds of japa. His family was alarmed that he had disappeared. He was finished with family life. Although he now had more than one child, he left behind his wife and children and went to live at his Godbrother Kesava Maharaja’s ashram. Abhay finally took to the call for accepting sannyasa. At the age of 63, he accepted sannyasa from Kesava Maharaja. He began writing his newspaper Back to Godhead and printing it and distributing it. And at the advice of some well-wishers, he changed from writing a magazine to beginning the herculean task of translating and writing purports to the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Over a period of years he completed the First Canto of the Bhagavatam in three volumes. He saw this as preparation for preaching in the West, and when he finally got free passage on the steamship Jaladuta, he brought two hundred Bhagavatam sets with him.

Srila Prabhupada Lecture

I heard Srila Prabhupada lecture from the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, from the prayers of Queen Kunti. Kunti devi was perturbed thinking how Mother Yasoda was running after Krsna with ropes to bind Him and punish Him. Kunti knew that Krsna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who makes fear personified afraid of Him. But He is afraid of His mother when she runs after Him to punish Him. Prabhupada said that this could be considered Krsna’s opulence of beauty. Kunti devi did not have the privilege of seeing Krsna as her son. (Although Queen Kunti was Krsna’s aunt in family relationships, Kunti also knew Him as the Supreme Lord. But Mother Yasoda didn’t know that Krsna was God. She simply related to Him with pure love as her son. So her position is greater than those devotees who worship Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.) When Krsna plays the part of the child of Yasoda and Nanda Maharaja, He is the perfect child; when He plays the part of a cowherd boy to His friends in Vrndavana, He plays the perfect, equal friend; and when He plays the part of the lover of the gopis, He is the perfect lover. These devotees are more advanced than the pure devotees who worship Krsna with awe and reverence in Vaikuntha.

Rose Garlands

With the temperature rising yesterday, many roses in our garden blossomed. Today the pujari was able to harvest enough for two big fresh garlands for Gaura-Nitai. These are varieties that have been bred for beauty, plus they retain their traditional tea-rose aroma. This is one of the natural opulences that we can offer the Deities. Muktavandya sometimes brings us flowers from the market. They are beautiful, but they don’t have aroma like these roses we grow in our garden. One of the varieties we have is like the rich red roses growing in Vrndavana. They’re so aromatic that just by leaving their petals in the water for a few days, we have fresh, homemade rosewater for bathing Radha-Govinda. Krsna dasi gets so excited when she sees the roses blooming that she cuts many of them for garlands on the altar. But we also want to keep roses blooming in the garden to beautify the ashram, so we have to restrain her.

Another Marathon Dream Come True

After twenty years out of print, we received by FedEx nine cartons of the new reprint of Prabhupada Meditations, Volumes 1-4. The new editions have been cleaned up by proofreading, and they have brilliant new covers. They will be ready for distribution for the July 2nd meeting in Stuyvesant Falls. The main devotees on our production team who are responsible for this new edition are Krsna Bhajana, Satyasara dasi and Lal Krishna, plus numerous volunteer typists.

Sanatorium

I want to print a new edition of Sanatorium. The book has been used by responsible, respectable persons in a seminar for healing and in pastoral counseling. I put my heart into that book, and I feel it has a very important place in our preaching. It tells of troubled souls living in a Hare Krsna hospital getting strength in the association of likeminded devotees. I want to clean up the manuscript to GBC standards and give it to selected GBC members to actually read the book and reconsider its value.

Memorial Day

On Memorial Day in the USA, we honor those who died fighting their country’s battles. Some people think it’s a glorious sacrifice to give up their lives in war. But the Vedic literature doesn’t sanction political motivation as a valid cause for war. What’s actually going on is karmic reaction to sinful deeds, such as the widespread slaughtering of animals in slaughterhouses and many other sins. War is not glorious. War committed to “free” people so they can commit more sinful activities is not sanctioned by the Vedas. The wars that were actually sanctioned were the war against the demon Ravana and the war at Kuruksetra, which was under Krsna’s sanction. The wars committed against the demon Ravana and his empire in Lanka, and the war of Kuruksetra, were both sanctioned by the will of the Supreme Lord. Warriors who die in battles for the right cause get elevated to the heavenly planets. Those who fight and die for some mundane political purpose are pushed down to lower births in the cycle of birth and death.

Out-Loud Reading

Today our out-loud reading group of fifteen readers finished reading Bhagavad-gita As It Is, and we began the first chapter of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. The world is so crazy, but reading Srila Prabhupada’s books together in a group brings great solace. We’re so grateful to Prabhupada for giving us his transcendental books, which lift us above the modes of material nature and give us pure Krsna consciousness. Every day, for two and a half hours, we swim in the nectar of the out-loud readings.

Arriving Guests

This Saturday Jayadvaita Swami and Kadamba Kanana Swami are coming to stay at Stuyvesant Falls at the “swami room” across the street from my house. I heard they intend to spend their time “getting out of the City,” associating with one another and spending time with both Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu and myself. I look forward to the association of these friendly sannyasis, but their extended stay will break my solitude.

Visitors

Summer is here, with its inevitable parade of warm-weather friends. We are hearing about visitors coming to Viraha Bhavan. I will post here what I’ve written on the back cover of my book Visitors:

“Visitors are welcome to my door—they enlighten my space. They make my dinner table talk more tasty.

But on the other hand, I don’t look forward to visitors. They crash my party of solitude. They break my holy silence. They come one after another. Some of them almost seem like spies from the ‘outer world.’ So it’s a dilemma—you don’t want to live without them, but it’s a burden living with them.

“You almost want to put a sign up outdoors: ‘No Visitors.’

“But even Thoreau in his stay at Walden left an extra chair at his front door for visitors.

“This book explores the pains and pleasures of being with others.”

Prabhupada Smaranam

I’ve decided to give my honorable visitors a copy of Srila Prabhupada Smaranam. It’s a special book—all about Srila Prabhupada, and with many colored photographs of him. It’s one of the sixteen books about Prabhupada that we’re reprinting this year, both at the July meeting and the meeting on my Vyasa-puja in December. When I meet with my visitors who are active preachers, I don’t have much to converse about on my side. I’m not doing seminars or regular lectures. I can tell people about our two-and-a-half-hour out-loud readings that we do each day, but I can’t speak much about my own active preaching. So to give someone a gift of Prabhupada Smaranam seems appropriate and potent.

“Little Life”

We’re experiencing a heat wave. Yesterday when the heat went down in the evening, Baladeva went out and tied up the roses so that they wouldn’t be run over by the lawn mower, and then sprayed them with some organic oil because they were under attack by white flies, who chew little holes in their leaves.

Baladeva also stayed up to make a new batch of laddus for our Laddu Gopala, who we serve two laddus to three times a day. We have to make a large number of laddus on a regular basis. (Although Laddu Gopala is not generally worshiped by the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, He is worshiped in the Vallabhacarya sampradaya. Amit gave Him to me as a gift which he bought from the ISKCON table at the Kumbha-mela. We were so captivated by His beauty that we put Him on the altar, along with toys for His play.)

The women discovered a “private” sandy beach on the bank of the Hudson, and they went swimming there to get relief from the heat wave. Then they watered the newly-planted marigolds to keep them fresh against the heat wave.

Dysfunctional Dictaphones

As usual I sent two Dictaphones to Guru dasa for typing. I thought they contained two days’ worth of Journal dictation. But he phoned me and said there was no Journal dictation on the Dictaphones, just some “documents.” A technician at our house, Amit, worked on the Dictaphones and recovered the missing material. He found it was one Dictaphone of letters to be typed by Jaya Govinda and one Dictaphone of Journal dictation. We were glad to recover the missing material, but Guru dasa said still there was one missing Journal Dictaphone. So that’s a big loss.

Book Excerpts

From One Hundred Prabhupada Poems

pp.85-86

“#52

Funny the ways of your disciples, Prabhupada,
spinning around without you yet always with you.
Funny the ways we argue,
the ways we cooperate but pursue our own ends.
You remain the center of the Hare Krsna movement
in each of its schisms. One says, ‘They
are not keeping Prabhupada in the center.’
The other side says,
‘No it’s we who are keeping him in the
center. You are doing nothing but
causing disruption.’
Odd how I forget you and come back to you.
Strange, we do things we wouldn’t dare
if you were here.
But you wanted us to be on our own:
Go ahead, see
how you can manage without me.
Krsna wanted you back.
Maybe we wanted to be controllers of your movement,
to be ‘supreme’ or at least top gurus.
So many mistakes and still
you engage us and we are able to serve.
‘Don’t try to see Krsna. That is not such a
great thing. You can see Him twenty-four hours a day.
More important is to do something
so that Krsna will see you and be pleased.’
Prabhupada is leading us with strong statements
and policies
into his presence.”

***

pp.87-88

“#53

Wherever I turn, Prabhupada’s wisdom.
I find it mostly in a lack of wisdom
the nondevotees speak and act.
They don’t even know the first lesson,
‘You are not this body.’
Prabhupada called them for that—
they don’t know who they are yet
they claim, I am scientist,
I am poet, philosopher,
I am president.
He charged them all with rascaldom.
We have to admit he’s right.
Most people don’t know you, Prabhupada.
They’re occupied with leaders
who don’t know Krsna.
‘Men who are like hogs, dogs, camels and asses,
praise those men who never listen
to the glories of Lord Krsna.’
It was Sukadeva Gosvami who called them hogs
and Lord Krsna’s word is ‘mudha.’
Prabhupada said,
‘My way is easy, I just repeat
like a parrot. I don’t have to research
like Dr. Frog. I can’t compromise.’
That’s my master. He’s headlong
further and further into Krsna consciousness,
daring anyone to stop him
but no one can. No one can check
Lord Caitanya’s movement.
We are sad we couldn’t keep up
the expansion of the Hare Krsna movement.
If he were here he’d make us understand and
feel full of hope.
Take it he is here,
and we can see it his way.”

***

pp.89-90

“#55

Sometimes I look at poems by nondevotees.
‘What do you expect to find there?’ I
guess it’s the humanness
of Sharon Olds with her dying-of-cancer father.
The hard times and striving for native music
of Jimmy Santiago Baca who believes in a
god of Chicanos. And the formal pieces of
ancient China.
But you’re right. They leave me
and I’m alone to praise you.
Best just to think of you as
unique in a line of gurus
in Brahma-Gaudiya sampradaya.
You receive the sakti from Lord Caitanya.
But generic descriptions of guru
and even the statements of the singular greatness—
are not enough for me.
I look for something from the heart.
A bit of experience will suffice.
It’s up to me to hear very submissively,
then any recounting will be good,
and they can accumulate.
You’ve said that you are giving us
ecstatic attraction to Krsna.
‘Or else why would you all come each day
to hear Bhagavatam? You are
being purified.’
To recall any of your words
in the right mood
is all that I require.
And to obey. You once said
I was good at that.
You also said people leave their wealth to their pet dog
and at death they will think of the dog:
‘They will become infected with his germs and
become a dog in next life.’ Then, Prabhupada, you made
a wonderful connection—‘Think of Krsna
and at the time of death
you will go to Krsna.’
I hear with faith and a spark,
as if for the first time.”

***

pp.95-96

#58

We say those born in India are more fortunate because
by birth they honor the guru.
But we ex-mlecchas are also fortunate.
We are completely dependent on Prabhupada.
We can’t claim to go on our own
straight to the sastra and say
Raghunatha Gosvami is now my guru.
We know it’s Prabhupada
who picked us up and keeps us
in spiritual life.
I didn’t love you enough and all that.
In your last days I didn’t come close enough,
you know all that. I did hold your
foot and pat it with the white powder
your mother used on you when you were a boy.
I treasure and recite your
words all my life.
Nowadays I’m aware I’m failing in bolder acts.
I take solace that
I’m close to you in inward acts
like reading your books.
I am one of many many. What father
has so many sons and daughters? How can he
keep track of them?
I have a claim.
I am mentioned in his daybook
for January—June, 1966.
I gave a donation.
I typed for him.
Say my name to him and I bet
he remembers me.
He’ll call me to him and laugh a little.
Then he’ll get serious.
I’ll feel bad about the writing I’ve done
just as I did that night he called me
to him in Detroit at 10 P.M. and
said, ‘Write another book.’”

***

pp.99-100

#59

Every day you have to come to Prabhupada anew,
the sound of his voice . . . you have to overcome
thoughts that you’ve heard it all before
and the ways you find fault with him.
Every day you manage.
He comes through to you
by the force of his intelligent sayings,
by the authority of Sri Krsna.
It comes through in his conviction.
He’s condemning all the mudhas . . .
They don’t know the soul in the body.
And what else did he say?
You find something he said,
you read something he wrote,
you agree to follow.
He orders and you obey.
Every day this happens.
He is in his pictures, yet not in them.
In his lectures, for sure.
Hari Sauri’s diary gives us an accurate
picture of living with him
when he got onto the airplane
and in answering the mail.
He was annoyed, happy, looked tired,
said something private and his servant noted it.
And now in this room,
his picture over the desk, his joined palms,
eyes closed and serene,
saffron cotton kurta,
tulasi neck beads. That’s our uniform too.
Every day every hour, Srila Prabhupada,
when I most seem to be alone
when writing the Writing Session,
you are with me then.
I offer it to you.
I’ll be a good writer and
knock down the nondevotees.
I’ll do it for you.”

***

pp.102-3

“#61

I didn’t like to be with
so many of his disciples.
It was like a roller derby bumping up against
them for a space beside him.
I was jostling along with them,
a little skinnier than most but
I had my own weapons,
somehow got a place beside him
and did my work.
But after his disappearance many
couldn’t take it anymore.
Why eat that crap?
Some felt wounded
or didn’t have taste anymore for spiritual life.
We were big disappointments
and were ourselves disappointed.
There is a lot of talk about bringing all his
disciples back together for his Centennial.
That would be nice. But what does it mean?
Can you bring him back
for his Centennial?
Will we go on a morning walk
and cluster around him?
I don’t think that’s possible.
I like to be here in Wicklow
writing this and hearing him speak.
It may be that I have fallen behind the pack
and they are still walking with him. Maybe.
But I think I’m doing as well as the rest.
I think we are each bereft of our spiritual guide.
In the beginning he had to
personally bring me to him.
I’m going my own way, it’s service to him
in separation. If he wants me to
be physically part of the pack
he’ll have to come back and put me in line.
Otherwise I think I’m doing
as well as they are.
We are each bereft.
And we have each found him
in our own favorite way.
At least that’s how I feel.
Prabhupada is mine.”

***

pp.107-8

“#63

I’ve got the photos ready to travel,
3 x 5 color prints.
The one on top shows me holding
a red, tassled umbrella over you
in the blue sky of Mayapur morning.
It looks like the rain has stopped.
Ravindra-svarupa is carrying a small video camera
Jayapataka Swami is looking out to lands
you might want him to buy.
I can tell this picture is 1974
because of your bamboo walking cane.
I’m concentrating to hold the umbrella
steady and just right over your head.
I’m wearing a Prabhupada T-shirt
which I usually don’t wear.
You are striding, quickly,
your mouth turned down,
not speaking to us.
We all gather around you
because you are a pure devotee of Krsna.
You have brought us to Lord Caitanya’s land.
Another photo I picked even though
I’m not much visible in it.
I like the look on your face.
Handsome profile, you looking up
at an old castle in France,
I can guess by the surroundings.
You traveled there by car,
your chadar is wrinkled and dhoti too.
You hold a small bouquet of roses.
You look up appreciating some architecture
with an innocent gaze, studying it,
eyes shining, refined look.
Even in such a candid, small moment
I see you are a pure devotee of the Lord,
engaged in His service. Maybe this castle
could be used as a place of worship
by your children
and Radha and Krsna installed here.”

From The Story of My Life, Volume 3

pp.118-19

“(From Chota’s Way)

“‘Krsna wants our voluntary service. I also realize that aside from what others might say or debate, I have my own relationship with my spiritual master. That way my faith became stronger. Do you understand?’

“‘Yes, I understand,’ said Chota.

“‘But I don’t think you should abandon your prabhu-datta-desa,’ said Nimai. ‘Do you know the meaning of prabhu-datta-desa?’

“‘Not really,’ said Chota.

“‘Prabhu means master,’ said Nimai, ‘and desa means land, so prabhu-datta-desa is the land, country, or place that has been given to you by the guru or the Lord where you should perform your service. You have a wonderful field in Guyana which you have developed yourself, and now you also have followers there. I think it is your responsibility to continue there. If not forever, at least it should not be left prematurely. I don’t think you should come with me to India. I believe that what I am saying is what my Gurudeva would also say in your case. You don’t have to run all over the world looking for places to hold retreats. You can chant and hear in your prabhu-datta desa, and the other devotees will learn to accept you. They may not be able to do it themselves, and they may not even approve of what you are doing, but they will see, ‘That’s Chota’s way. That’s the way he’s serving Krsna.’

“‘I think it is my way,’ said Chota, ‘but how can I be sure it’s Krsna’s way for me?’

“‘One way to know is by the symptom of satisfaction. When you serve Krsna without motivation and without interruption, the symptom is yenatma suprasidati, you feel satisfied. As you feel deep satisfaction by this chanting and hearing, so you enter Krsna’s presence. Besides that, you are asking me and other devotees for confirmation. So, you should go out and do it, Chota. Chant and hear to your heart’s content and, at the same time, help others. Help them to find their own best way to serve Krsna. Just as you have particular tendencies and a kind of calling within Krsna consciousness, so others may have a different one, and you have to help them find the strength to follow their own path. You said you wanted to do Krsna’s will, so Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita that the best servant is he who preaches to His devotees. That should be part of your plan, because it’s Krsna’s plan.’

“‘I want to do that, Nimai Prabhu,’ said Chota. ‘Recently, I’ve been giving classes in the evening to the mice at 26 Second Avenue. But unless I get regular sadhana, I feel like a hypocrite. How can I preach chanting and hearing if I don’t do it myself?’

“‘So do both,’ said Nimai. ‘Just as Lord Caitanya said of Haridasa, be well-behaved and preach.’”

From The Story of My Life, Volume 2

pp.117-18

“One Hundred Ways I Fake It:

  1. I take on a persona when writing, even when I try to be honest (spiritual journalist, beat poet for Krsna, etc.)
  2. I do what people want me to do.
  3. I imitate my spiritual master.
  4. I imitate a pure devotee. (I act humble.)
  5. I bluff on the vyasasana in all sorts of ways (giving right answers), but a basic or subtle pose is always at work.
  6. I don’t eat much, but I desire to eat more.
  7. I don’t let on that I am attracted to women.
  8. I may exaggerate my illness . . . . No, I don’t think I do. (I fake myself.)
  9. I appear to be a good student, always faithful to Srila Prabhupada.
  10. I pretend to be interested in improving my japa. (I give that impression.)
  11. I pretend to be exclusively interested in Krsna consciousness, but I read other books.
  12. I don’t know slokas accurately but fudge my way through Sanskrit when lecturing.
  13. Sometimes I allude to an interest in or a taste for madhurya-lila beyond what I actually have.
  14. I pretend that I don’t have, or have never had, interest in gopi-bhava literature or pursuits.
  15. I pretend to be an honest guy.
  16. I tell people I don’t write much.
  17. I don’t let on that I draw pictures every day.
  18. I fake it, I fake it. . . (I am not a pure devotee.)
  19. I don’t tell how I stop after 16 rounds.
  20. I don’t let on how weak I feel when my head starts to ache while I’m lecturing. (I fake it.)
  21. I fake composure when I’m sometimes afraid.
  22. I fake compassion.
  23. I have fake teeth.
  24. I fake my prayers.
  25. I fake devotion to my Srila Prabhupada murti. (By that, I don’t mean I completely lack devotion, but I pretend to have more than I actually do.)
  26. I bow down with body but not mind and heart. (I offer fake obeisances.)
  27. Sometimes I fake that I’m a refined, quiet gentlemen when actually I’m a coarse New Yorker.
  28. Sometimes I fake aesthetic pleasures and aesthetic appreciation.
  29. I also fake it in poems (in writing them and in appreciating poems that I’ve read.) I’m in on the big fake—modern art.
  30. Sometimes I fake it when I talk about death. I don’t really think about it deeply, but I sometimes give the impression that I do.”

From From Imperfection, Purity Will Come About: Writing Sessions While Reading Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Saranagati

pp.43-44

“I’m not camped in a war zone. My place is more behind the scenes. It is conducive to finding freedom and surrender. It’s a good place to get work done without being disturbed. A few friends are waiting for my written report.

“Who am I? That is my question. What is this experience of being a devotee? I am trying to be receptive here.

“Bhaktivinoda Thakura prays that the urgency of his self-surrender not be a temporary mood. He doesn’t want it to be like the ‘momentary cleanliness of an elephant after his bath.’ (Saranagati 2.6.7).

“‘Of whom will I take shelter except for You? O son of the King of Vraja, You are the Lord of all lords. . . . You alone are the shelter of those who have gone astray. Apart from You, what else exists, O merciful Lord? Those like me who have offended You will know no peace until achieving Your shelter.’ (Saranagati , 2.7.4, 6, 7)

“ That’s me, the straying soul, the one seeking Krsna’s shelter, seeking substance for constant bhajana, looking for where I can enter. Quality means we cannot stop.

“I am the straying soul, but I am sitting under this tree contending with my body, trying to keep it clean, running, maintained. My Sheaffer pen can’t invent new concerns. My brain also goes in its loops. It’s time to admit I am exhausted and penniless. I don’t want to sin or waste time. I want to worship Krsna.

So I look to the Panca-tattva, led by Lord Caitanya with His hands free and blissful above His head. Dance! Chant!

“Do You see me? Dear Lord, I did not know You before I met Srila Prabhupada. Sad and foolish as I may look now, I’m peaceful, safe, and grateful. I am trying to dance for You out of my own desire.”

From Prabhupada Meditations, Volume 2

pp.324-27

“We may admit that some of the scenes Prabhupada participated in are gone. But whatever he did was glorious and was done against great odds in Kali-yuga. We can’t expect everyone and everything to remain exactly in place as it was when Prabhupada was here, but the evolution that has occurred still carries the impression of his presence. Prabhupada’s association is imprinted on the lives of those who served him, although some treasure it more than others.

“Those who were not present for Prabhupada’s personal pastimes are able to hear about them, and they can connect with him even many years later. This is another good reason to remember things as they were, even though they may be vanished now. In the future, sincere seekers will read Prabhupada’s books and hear about Prabhupada, and will want to bring him into their lives. They will say, ‘When Prabhupada was here, he said he wanted this. Here is a lecture that he gave at that time, and he said that we should do this.’

“‘Some will say, ‘No, it is no longer possible. We tried that, but it did not work.’

“But others will reply, ‘All right, we can change some of the externals from those days. But let us do it as Prabhupada wanted when he was here.’

“We should not think that because things have changed we were deceived by believing in the order of Prabhupada. Obviously Prabhupada was not deceiving anyone. But neither were we mistaken when we thought Prabhupada’s activities were permanent. The fact that Prabhupada came and spoke is not lost in time. This point is also stated in the Bible: ‘All things will pass away, but my words will not.’

“ . . . Even in terms of perceivable objects, Prabhupada’s most important legacies are still flourishing. His books continue to be printed in new editions, and the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra goes on just as it was during his time. His vani, and therefore his spirit, his presence, is alive as long as there are sincere devotees.

“ . . .The time of the universe is beyond our calculation, and yet even the universe is created again and again. We say, ‘We want Prabhupada in the period of 1966-’77, and we do not want it taken away.’ In reply, Time laughs, ‘The period of 1966-’77 is just a speck, it is almost nothing at all!’ On that material level we may seem foolish. But we know that Srila Prabhuapada’s appearance had an eternal reality we can preserve. ‘True Vaisnavas never die but live in sound . . .’”

From The Story of My Life, Volume 2

p.92

“I remember hearing Srila Prabhupada speak in Paris. I was in the other room. One guy, very aggressive, not at all submissive, was speaking of ‘the light.’ He was probably a follower of Guru Maharaja-ji. Prabhupada said to him, ‘Go away! You’re wasting my time. You know everything!’ The devotees asked him to leave. He readily agreed, but I know if he hadn’t, the devotees would’ve thrown him out—Bhagavan, Pusta Krsna, and the others.

“Prabhupada was always making himself vulnerable to guests like that. The night before that incident he spoke at la Salle Pleyel and a riot had almost broken out. Someone had even come with spray paint. While Prabhupada was speaking, the students began shouting, ‘Get down! Get down!’ wanting him to get down from his vyasasana, which was large and elevated. They became unruly. A man even went on stage and began speaking to the audience. Prabhupada shortened the program and had a kirtana to calm things down and then left. In the car on the way back he made a comment that he would not use big vyasasanas in public anymore, as it seemed to agitate the radicals.”

From Songs from Stuyvesant Falls

pp.20-21

“4:30 A.M.

Raghunatha dasa went to see Nityananda Prabhu
and paid Him obeisances from a distance.
‘You are a thief,’ said Nityananda. ‘Come here!’
And He put His feet on Raghunatha’s head. He
ordered Raghunatha to arrange a festival for His
devotees. Raghunatha was delighted and obtained
all the ingredients. He made two pots of chipped
rice, one with condensed milk and one with yogurt
and both with bananas. Innumerable persons heard
of the festival and gathered to be fed. Lord Nityananda
summoned Lord Caitanya
who appeared there, although only a few
could see Him. When the festival
was over, Raghunatha approached Nityananda the next morning
and asked for His blessing to join Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu. Lord Nityananda said that Raghunatha would
be able to leave home and go to Lord Caitanya.
This made Raghunatha exceedingly happy.
While I chanted early in the morning
I thought of the chipped rice
festival and felt pleasure. I recited my
mantras like a cowherd boy and
contemplated on the funny nature
of Nityananda Prabhu and the
mercy He bestowed on Raghunatha dasa.”

From Prabhupada Appreciation

pp.174-75

“As for Vedanta, that is the essence of Vedic knowledge. It is the end of knowledge. It is the logical presentation of the Absolute Truth. Therefore, the union of philosophy and religion is in Krsna consciousness; ‘One must know very well that Vaisnava philosophers are not sentimentalists or cheap devotees like the sahajiyas . . . . To be accepted as an acarya among Indian transcendentalists, who follow the Vedic principles, one must become a vastly learned scholar in Vedanta philosophy, either by studying it or hearing it. Bhakti develops in pursuance of Vedanta philosophy.’ (Cc. Adi 7.102) Therefore, both religion and philosophy are needed for the development of Krsna consciousness.

“One may ask, ‘If Prabhupada did not count on the logical proofs for God’s existence as much as sastra, and if his proofs were presented in a simple manner, and if these theistic proofs are subject to so much logical criticism, how shall we regard them and use them?’ We may use the proofs as Srila Prabhupada used them. Most people will accept them, and if we meet a sophisticated, skeptical challenge, we can be aware of the shortcomings in the logical proofs. Srila Prabhupada did not use these arguments as absolute proof, but as tools in preaching. As the opponents of the classical proofs have pointed out, lovers of God will not need these arguments.

“Another question may be asked: ‘Do we have to read books by other acaryas to become Vedic theologians?’ No, Prabhupada’s books contain everything we need to know. But we should read Prabhupada’s books very carefully in order to understand the subtleties of Vedic theology. If we want to specialize in the field of Vedic theology, it may be useful to read other books, but Prabhupada’s books are actually sufficient.”

From Passing Places, Eternal Truths: Travel Writings 1988-1996

pp.196-97

“5:53 P.M.

“I said that last night’s meeting fulfilled the purpose of our travel to Italy, but tonight’s meeting was even better. I spoke my old memories of coming to Srila Prabhupada in 1966. I worried beforehand that it would be too much the same old thing and that I wouldn’t be able to speak from my heart. But I did. Having to pause for the translator helped. The audience laughed at the humor of the stories. As I told each story—the time I gave 300 dollars and then Prabhupada looked at me as if to say, ‘You haven’t surrendered yet,’ the time I didn’t get initiated and Swamiji said, ‘If you love me, then I’ll love you’—I recreated them and lived in them as I spoke them. Although the devotees may have had fun tonight, I was the one who benefited the most because I was able to feel those happy days again and my simple love for and surrender to Prabhupada. And to be able to joke about my own foolish self and to tell how he dragged me to his lotus feet was relishable.

“Afterwards, someone asked, ‘What is it that brings out the love of the disciple for the spiritual master?’ It is the loving force of the guru pulling the disciple forward.

“I had a bit of a headache at the beginning of the meeting, but I sailed through and the headache left during the ecstasy of talking. Now I’m back on the ground with less than an hour before I have to take rest. We leave in the morning. This is the reason to travel: to find new audiences and to tell the same old stories of Prabhupada’s saving me and my coming to love him in 1966.”

From The Twenty-Six Qualities of a Devotee

pp.104-5

Vadanya: A Devotee Is Magnanimous

“Lord Caitanya did not introduce this science of love of God as a new thing; it exists eternally as the original relationship of all living beings with the Supreme, and it is described in Vedic literatures. Lord Caitanya’s unique contribution was to distribute the mellows of pure love of God in a very simple method.

“Lord Caitanya appeared in Kali-yuga, the age that began five thousand years ago and that will continue for another 432,000 years. As there are material seasons, some harsh, like winter, and some mild, like spring, so Kali-yuga is the harshest, most godless of all the millennia. Srimad-Bhagavatam describes the people in this age as very unfortunate, very slow in the matter of self-realization, and usually cheated.

“Why did Lord Caitanya do this? It is His inconceivable mercy. He is the most magnanimous person, and this is His gift. Others—prophets, sons, and servants of God—gave mostly moral instructions for religious behavior. Even Krsna Himself did not reveal the secret of loving surrender to Him. Only when appearing in the form of Lord Caitanya did He give the most magnanimous gift. Therefore, when we want to speak of the quality of magnanimity, we must put forward the example of Lord Caitanya. He showed all the qualities of a devotee and especially the quality of magnanimity.

“Lord Caitanya’s method of loving surrender to God was the chanting of Hare Krsna. Lord Caitanya taught that in the holy name of Krsna, Krsna Himself appears. One can, therefore, attain full love of God simply by chanting His holy name. Lord Caitanya also taught that for full effect the chanter of the holy name should lead a holy life and chant without offense. Lord Caitanya saved two great sinners of His time, Jagai and Madhai, demonstrating that even the greatest rogues could be saved. But after forgiving and blessing them, He instructed them to lead a saintly life.

“Lord Caitanya stressed five methods of devotional service: (1) to chant Hare Krsna, (2) to live in a holy place, (3) to read Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, (4) to worship the Deity of Krsna, and (5) to associate with devotees.”

Writing Sessions

From Karttika Moon

“PART THREE

Every Day, Just Write
Volume 49: Karttika in Exile
(Ireland, October 23 – November 22, 1999)
(Continued)

“***

1

O Krsna, please let
us be sports with You
little Krsna
we see You expand some-
times, it’s amazing
then You cry for your
parents’ attention
we see You kill a giant
demon and then desire to
be cuddled. We see
You tease the gopis
and then hear about
the Baka . . .

2

Oh, the wind is
tugging at this shed
and the lights blinked out
I knew it could take me
on a tumble ride.
Please Krsna, if it pleases You,
let’s go riding down
a slope, a fair weather
as in Your Govardhana Hill
pastimes
when You said, I know
it looks very bad and you are
all crying, but if you come
under this hill I’m
holding like an umbrella
it will be all right.

3

Krsna calls and cats come too
change the words for better
ones and put me to bed
they think sleep is a game
I’ll be exercising in the yard
instead. Krsna pushing
me through a day.

***

Monks, travelers of long-gone China
India, sadhus of today
the competing parikramas
I’m out from all that in my
little shed on a rainy day.
I’ve collected pretty
leaves in reds and greens,
both at the gate shut,
rain runs down the lane,
no one will come, I think
you can take a quick
nap and dream
a painting with a free hand
my words kept saying what I
didn’t mean – paint, dream,
of never wine
chant Hare Krsna and be free.

***

Alone is all right.
I have no wife poems
to tell. No failure of
service. I worked
that out earlier today
at least for a while I
accept for myself and tell myself
He accepts me.
I’m a writer, people say
that my book of Christian
saints with Vaisnava saints
helped the high school boy,
Obstacles helps the devotees
in China . . .
So, I’m compassionate too,
‘Just like’ the devotees going on mass harinama
tonight.
It’s all right, this kind of
writing and assuring some
others you can do it—
fish within yourself,
give lectures on his books.
Rise early and chant the minimum.

***

He passed away
while still young –
‘I remember Clifford’—
‘I remember Rupa’
I remember the saintly persons
who passed away old
or young, who lived on the
banks of Radha-kunda
or the Brooklyn
or Boston temple
who passed away in a
moving van, oh cruel,
no . . . Don’t think like
that, Time has its
job to do
the soul doesn’t die
no matter.
And the
artistry doesn’t fade
or get destroyed if it
was well done.
We may go visit the
places of the departed ones
to perform a bhajana or
life’s work there,
in their shadow.
Not maudlin about it.
Opening their follower,
crying our tears of
separation, we wish could
flow.
And not deviating from their vani.
“I remember him” in that
way is best.
Sadness will be defeated
eternal joy with Krsna
and rejoined all sadhakas
who get taken apart
only a while.

 

 

<< Free Write Journal #197

Free Write Journal #199 >>


Forgetting the Audience

Writing Sessions at Castlegregory, Ireland, 1993Start slowly, start fastly, offer your obeisances to your spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. You just drew his picture with your pencils. He appears carved out of wood…

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Last Days of the Year

I found I had hit a stride in my search for theme in writing, then began to feel the structure limiting me. After all, I had given myself precious time to write full-time; I wanted to enter the experience as fully as possible. For me, this means free-writing—writing sessions with no predetermined shape, theme, or topic…

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Daily Compositions

This volume is comprised of three parts: prose meditations, free-writes, and poems each of which will be discussed in turn. As an introduction, a brief essay by the author, On Genre, has also been included to provide contextual coordinates for the writing which follows…

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Meditations & Poems

A comprehensive retrospective of poetic achievement and prose meditations, using a new trajectory described as “free-writing”. This volume will offer to readers an experience of the creativity versatility which is a hallmark of this author’s writing.

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Kaleidoscope

Stream of consciousness poetry that moves with the shifting shapes and colors characteristic of a kaleidoscope itself around the themes of authenticity. This is a book will transport you to the far reaches of the author’s heart and soul in daring ways and will move you to experience your own inner kaleidoscope.
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Seeking New Land

A narrative poem. challenging and profound, about the journey of an itinerant monk who pursues new means of self-expression.The reader is invited to discover his or her own spiritual pilgrimage within these pages as the author pushes every literary boundary to boldly create something wholly new and inspiring.

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