We’re in a summer marathon preparing for the July 2nd festival. Anuradha has picked out fifty paintings to display. The last shipment of newly printed books arrived on Monday. Silavati is packing them up in groups of eight, with a ribbon tied around them so they don’t slide, and placing them in sturdy, waterproof shopping bags so devotees can safely and conveniently take them away. John Endler came here and picked out 200 books to display on the book table, and Baladeva has to go back this afternoon and choose the rest. Krsna dasi is constantly on the phone making sure devotees are doing their duties, ordering cups and plates, seeing that the stainless steel chafing utensils are washed and clean. On Friday the whole place has to be powerwashed, and Krishna Kumari and friends will start building the flower backdrop for our big Gaura-Nitai Deities. The kitchen area and refrigerator has to be scrubbed. Marigolds are growing profusely, so they can be used in flower garlands. There is so much organization and helpers needed to put on a major festival!
It’s Friday, and the VFW has allowed us to enter their hall and work on getting ready for tomorrow’s festival. We are power-washing the hall and getting it ready in all respects. They’re moving all the tables, turning them over and power-washing them top and bottom. And all the ceiling beams are being cleaned and clearing out all the birds. Once it’s clean then they can move in all the paraphernalia, various equipment for serving out the feast. Four devotees are making garlands while waiting for the men to come and turn the water on for the power-washing. The big garlands are for the large Gaura-Nitai Deities and for Prabhupada. The smaller garlands and flowers are required for the backdrop. A few devotees have arrived today, Friday, to do this work, and more are expected to be here by the evening. They expect to have everything ready by 8:00 or 9:00 tonight in order to move in tomorrow morning for the festival, which begins at 10:00 A.M. The helpers took prasadam at the ashram and then went down to the hall with a cooler full of cold water to keep from getting dehydrated in the mid-90s (F) temperatures. Everyone is working hard, and there is a nice feeling of camaraderie.
I’ve picked out the excerpts I’m going to read on the festival day. The whole festival is about the reprinting achievement our book production staff has accomplished with the new technology available. For this summer meeting we have eight new reprints. The books are considerable improvements over the first editions, which were done thirty years ago and are now completely out of print. Still, I’m nervous about making my presentation to the devotees. I know they’re not natural readers, yet I’m imposing on them with so many books to read. But this set is special! I want to go out as a Prabhupada man. These books are all one hundred percent about Prabhupada. Why shouldn’t they read them? And I don’t demand they have to read them in a week or a month (or a year). They have their whole lifetime to read them in.
This festival is an invitation for the devotees to come closer to Prabhupada. I have been waiting to do this for thirty years, bring all the books back into print in an excellent presentation. We’ve been able to do it with the new technology and a dedicated staff of congenial workers. Now it’s up to my disciples and friends to take the invitation, and take it to heart. Just as long ago they accepted the Prabhupada-lilamrta. These books are a follow-up to the Prabhupada-lilamrta written when I was on high energy for writing about His Divine Grace. Please accept the invitation and enrich your life. Become closer to Prabhupada, Krsna and me.
My disciple Narayana Jvara told me that Daivisakti was taking back the giving the Sunday classes on Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta. For two weeks she let other devotees give the class, but now she has taken it back. She is the best one to do it. She has so much knowledge of India, and Vraja, and Srila Prabhupada. She reads from the Prabhupada-lilamrta and explains sympathetically how it was a team effort and was accurate. I watched her lead the class yesterday and it was very good. It was about Abhay’s childhood and contained inside information about how young Abhay used to daily visit the Radha-Govinda temple in his pram, and later walked there with a servant. Prabhupada said he used to watch the Deity for hours at a time and was fascinated by Their slanty eyes.
Daivisakti doesn’t merely confine herself to reading from SPL. In addition, she speaks from her deep knowledge of Srila Prabhupada and her knowledge of Vedic culture and philosophy. She is speaking on Prabhupada’s early childhood. I heard stories that I never knew before. Daivisakti writes that she’s trying to glorify Prabhupada as much as possible. And her growing audience is eager to hear her talks as much as possible.
I am reading My Letters from Srila Prabhupada, Volume 2: “You Cannot Leave Boston.” It tells of the Press moving to Boston and Prabhupada sending many devotees there with skills to operate ISKCON Press. For a while Boston became the biggest center in the movement. Shortly after we moved into our new temple, we were attacked by a local gang of fifteen hoodlums who smashed the windows of our house and broke in. They began beating the devotees with car antennas, and we fought back. Uddhava took a penknife and cut the gang leader in the side. The police arrested all the intruders and put them in jail. But they were sympathetic to the Vietnam veteran who had been cut by a knife. The gang’s lawyer told lies about how we had dragged the gangleader into our house and beat him up and called him a “Vietnam pig.” This was entirely a lie, and I was aghast that it happened in a court of justice. The judge ruled at the hearing, all the participants told their stories. The judge ruled that he would close the case, but if any further attacks were made on the temple, he would open it again. Prabhupada thought the judge’s decision was intelligent. We received no further attacks on our building or men.
Lord Caitanya asked the questions, and Ramananda Raya, by Krsna’s grace, gave the answers. The Lord asked him to recite a verse from the scriptures concerning the ultimate goal of life.
Ramananda Raya replied, “Executing one’s duties in the varnasrama system awakens one’s original consciousness. There is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Lord replied, “Eho bahya—This is external. You had better tell Me of some other means.” Ramananda Raya then tried to improve and said, “Offering the results of one’s activities to Krsna is the ultimate perfection.” In support of this Ramananda Raya quoted the Bhagavad-gita verse, “Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice . . .” (Bg. 9.27) Lord Caitanya said, “This is also external. Please proceed and speak further on this matter.” Ramananda Raya replied, “To give up one’s duties in the varnasrama system is the essence of perfection.” And Ramananda Raya, to support his proposal, quoted Bg. 18.66, “After giving up all kinds of religious duties, one should come to Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and take shelter. I will give you protection from all of life’s sinful reactions. Do not worry.” After hearing Ramananda Raya’s latest proposal, Lord Caitanya again rejected his statement. Ramananda Raya then stated that devotional service mixed with empirical knowledge is the perfection. After hearing this, the Lord as usual rejected it, considering it to be external. Lord Caitanya asked him to speak further, and Ramananda Raya said, “Pure devotional service without any touch of speculative knowledge is the essence of perfection.” He continued, “Pure devotional service in Krsna consciousness cannot be had even by pious activities in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be obtained only by paying one price—that is, intense greed to attain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay.”
Hearing up to the point of spontaneous love, the Lord accepted it and said, “This is all right, but if you know more, tell Me.” In reply Ramananda Raya said, “Devotional service rendered in servitude as exchanged by master and servant, is the highest perfection.” Lord Caitanya accepted this statement about the servant and the master. Again He requested him to go a step further. In reply, Ramananda Raya said, “Loving service rendered in fraternity is the highest perfection.” Lord Caitanya said, “Your statements are getting better, but surpassing all of them is another transcendental mellow, and you can speak of that as the most sublime.” Ramananda Raya then replied, “Conjugal rasa is the topmost position of love of Godhead.” Ramananda Raya went further and said, “As the qualities increase, so the taste also increases in each and every mellow. Therefore the qualities found in santa rasa, dasya rasa, sakhya rasa and vatsalya rasa are all manifest in madhurya rasa, conjugal love.” The talks proceeded from this point onward.
In our out-loud reading, we are nearing the end of Lord Caitanya’s talks with Ramananda Raya. Lord Caitanya has already ordered Ramananda Raya to come live with Him in Puri so they can constantly talk of topics of Krsna in great ecstasy. The Lord continues their talks in the question and answer format. Lord Caitanya asks, “Of all types of education, which is the most important?” Ramananda Raya replied, “No other education is as important as the transcendental devotional service of Krsna.” Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu then asked, “Out of all glorious activities, which is the most glorious?” Ramananda Raya replied, “That person who is reputed to be a devotee of Krsna enjoys the utmost fame and glory.” Lord Caitanya asked, “Out of all the many capitalists who possess great riches, who is the topmost?” Ramananda Raya replied, “He who is richest in love of Radha and Krsna is the greatest capitalist.” Lord Caitanya asked, “Of all different kinds of distress, which is the most painful?” Sri Ramananda Raya replied, “Apart from separation from the devotee of Krsna, I know of no unbearable unhappiness.” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then asked, “Of all liberated persons, who should be accepted as the greatest?” Ramananda Raya replied, “He who has attained love of Krsna has attained the topmost liberation.” The questions and answers proceeded that way.
Radha-Govinda’s pujari is back! I am happy to say that Krsna dasi, Radha-Govinda’s pujari, has recovered from COVID with prolonged symptoms, and is cleaning and dressing Radha-Govinda today. It has been eleven days since she came down with flu-like symptoms and was out of action as a pujari. She is pleased to return to her service, and we apologize to Radha-Govinda for the interruption. They have already been bathed, and They are now wearing a change of dress: a black-and-gold outfit, black is the predominant color, but there is much space covered with gold embroidery, almost like jari. Govinda is donned with a typical cowherd boy’s yellow turban, and Radharani wears a small gold candrika. With all the gold embroidery, They look a little more formal and opulent than in more rural Vrndavana clothes. But then, the Divine Couple sometimes dress up regally, especially on festival days. Actually Prabhupada says we worship our Radha-Krsna Deities as Laksmi-Narayana because we are not on the raganuga platform of spontaneous love. Krsna’s flute is especially ornate with golden ornamentation, and long. As usual, we dress Radharani with thin waist and prominent breasts. She holds a small white flower in Her left hand and a betel nut offered to Govinda in Her right hand. In Krsna dasi’s absence, we could have had a backup person clean and dress Them, but we didn’t want to risk it. We’re much relieved now that They have Their main pujari back, and They are cleaned and dressed in a world-class standard.
John Endler is going to call me at noon. He wants to know when he should come here to work at preparing the books I wrote about Prabhupada. There are eight books, and we’re going to put them in a bag and distribute them as a set. We have ninety sets. John also want to know if he can be a co-editor with me on the manuscript of California Search for Gold. That book is precious to John because he is the one who typed four hundred pages of the manuscript (which is eleven hundred pages long) before we discovered that it was already typed. He also wants to know if he can read the book While Waiting, which was also discovered after being misplaced for fifteen years. I’ll tell him we have enough work to do as it is, and that manuscript may even wind up going into a “grantha samadhi.
Anuradha dasi left today for Ireland and Oxford. We’re waiting to hear from our lawyer about what options she should take for returning. She can come back soon on a non-visa permit and stay for ninety days and then go back. Or she can stay at Oxford and apply for an interview to get a six-month visa is that she can stay here while her permanent R-1 visa is being processed. The advantage of her coming back soon, even for a short stay, is to give support to Krsna dasi, who after July 18 when Silavati leaves, will be left alone in her apartment. Krsna dasi, however, has a good friend, Hemamukhi, who lives in Queens and is willing to come and spend substantial time with her while she’s out of school this summer. The disadvantage of getting the short-term nonpermanent entry too often is that the officers may suspect you’re living in America. These stringent laws were put in place by Trump to discourage people from applying for long-term visas that can be renewed without leaving the country.
Our present situation still puts Baladeva in a bind, leaving him outvoted by women. The hope is that we can get more men scheduled to come to be trained and depended on upon a yearly basis, ideally for a month or more. It’s more comfortable for me to have long-term service relationships with men assistants than having men come for only a week or so.
Atindra arrived in time to help with the morning bathing duties. He then set up his office/bedroom, and immediately had a meeting before breakfast. Then he came out and was able to set up a new phone system. So right away he’s back on track and cheerful. He said he will stay until a new man comes, which will be Manohara. Manohara will stay from mid-July to the end of August.
In this 1971 photo, Prabhupada is right at
the departure gate, American Airlines,
Boston to New York.
He’s sitting on a pillow on the floor and we are all
sitting close. I’m singing and playing karatalas.
His secretary, Syamasundara, is poised by the door with
briefcase. Rupanuga is carrying a three-tiered tiffin,
tensed, waiting for the boarding announcement.
The Boston brahmacarinis all wear one-colored saris,
the top-piece over their heads.
Patita-uddharana is facing Prabhupada
eccentrically, with his eyes closed.
I stayed behind, would not go to New York.
It was so rare to see Prabhupada. We had waited years.
He had been to India, Moscow, Paris . . .
why not go with the others to New York
and get as much of his association as possible?
Because I thought I ought to stay with the
newly initiated shaved-up bhaktas in Boston.
They couldn’t go to New York so why shouldn’t
I stay with them? That was my duty.
I’m not sure it was right but
as I look at this photo
I’m sure glad Prabhupada
did come to Boston
and that we stayed with him
right up to the departure gate and
that the inspiration came—I think it began with Suhotra
and we started chanting and Prabhupada smiled . . .
I’m sure glad they photoed it
so that I will not forget I chanted
with my spiritual father, sitting on
There’s so much bliss
I don’t want to let it go . . .
‘Flight 388 is now departing.’”
“Prayer to our master:
Who can make so many bhaktas and bhaktins
but one sent personally by Lord Caitanya?
I read in your purport, master,
that the enmity between the acarya and the parents
of young devotees has been going on for
a long, long time. It happened to Narada when
he stole the Haryasvas from their materialistic dad.
You wrote of this
and told us not to be afraid of
those who come as enemies. Krsna
will protect us.
Prabhupada, yesterday they asked me again
about following the eternal resident of Vrndavana.
How will we know who he is?
Is it Prabhupada? Yes, sure, I said.
Either you consider him as
a very elderly sannyasi coming from Vrndavana
as Swamiji in New York
or you consider his eternal rasa
in which he’s a Vrajavasi
if you fix yourself in service to him,
you are following the eternal resident of Vrndavana
and that’s the quickest way to qualify to go there.
After your death you join Krsna
in His road show and get introduced
to your service and Prabhupada
is involved in this. Srila Prabhupada,
is that explanation all right?
I know there are plenty of details that I left out
but the most basic thing is that
Prabhupada will lead us.”
We live here until we die and
we can always remember those eleven years.
Think of you sitting in a rocking chair
in the Dallas backyard, one of many places
eighty years old, Mississippi farm
walking through the grass.
You pause on the walk, you turn to
me, I smile. You put me on the spot.
You are certainly a powerful spiritual father.
Now you turn away from me
and gaze fondly at my Godbrother.
No one of us owned you,
you gave to each of us, even though
you saw how devious
and quarrelsome we could be.
And you bravely lectured
in the rowdy Paris theater.
We can always remember
from those eleven years,
especially what you said. It stays with us.”
You can be sure he won’t reject you.
That’s an important thing.
At worst he may hold up my books—
say they are stacked on his desk
and say, ‘This is a waste of time.’
But he wouldn’t say that.
Some of them are good.
But say he said it, and then he says,
‘Now go and work with Brahmananda,’
or something impossible like that
and I say, ‘Yes Prabhupada’ and I go out of the room
and at least try it.
Then later in the day he sees me
and revises something. ‘The books are
not all so bad.’ He might name one he liked.
And he says, ‘What about you and Brahmananda?’
I say, ‘It doesn’t look like it will work.’
So he says, ‘All right try this.
This is also something I want.
Since you like to write, why not
write a book . . .’
He tells me something I can get into,
a direct order.
These are fantasies but I think
I am all right with him.
If I take a walk without him,
it’s not without him.
The book Japa Walks, Japa Talks is also for him
and the crazy free-write is written
with worry that he may not approve.
Daring means you take a chance
he may not like something you do.
But it’s always in relation to him,
your bad thoughts and good thoughts.
Steve Kowit said, ‘Can’t you ever do
a single thing that Prabhupada doesn’t approve?’
I say to myself, ‘Yes, I could do it,’
and I do it all the time.
But I don’t want to die a rascal.
I read how Indra disrespected
his guru and grew weak.
Prabhupada says the guru should never be disrespected.
Bow down to him every day
whenever you see him.
I like that.
I like the Prabhupada murti.
Say I went into his room and he has
a stack of five volumes of Prabhupada Meditations.
He says, ‘From the looks of these books
you seem to be always thinking
of your spiritual master. Now
go bring me some lunch.’
He lives forever.
He is somewhere with Krsna.
We are living on his orders.
We offer him food.
He will accept it if we do it nicely
the way he accepted when he was here in the 1970s.
In the same way, put the plate there
and I’m glad to say that’s
all I have to do.
The mystery of how it gets offered
to Lord Krsna and turned into divine remnants—
it’s all taken care of just by cooking
and offering to our Guru Maharaja.
I don’t do it nicely, but
still, my whole day is more or less
in his service. Dressed and looking
and talking like him, I can’t claim
I’m thinking like him . . . but
I do try to dovetail all this.
I am a candidate like those musicians on the Bowery,
who came in 1966,
to whom he said,
“Just offer your music and poems to Krsna.
Is it difficult? You don’t have to change anything.
Even if you don’t do anything else
but come here and chant and hear and take prasadam
you become perfect.”
I’m not bragging that after thirty years
I’m like an uninitiated hippie on the Lower East Side.
But I am counting on his liberal essence.
And the truth of his preaching—
that we dovetail our consciousness with the Supreme and just do what we would do anyway,
make some poem or song
but do it for the Supreme.
God is Krsna and the Swami is our guru.
I can’t help but count on that.”
“Prabhupada had soul eyes, brown eyes.
When he looked at you across the low
table, he was unfathomable.
Deep pools, soul eyes containing mystic
secrets even beyond the words of his
lectures. You thought, ‘This person is
in touch with God.’ Sometimes he cried
tears when there was talk
of cow slaughter or abortion or the
suffering human souls. A tear would
streak down his golden cheek. His brown
eyes held mystery I can’t express, but
everyone who saw him knows what I’m
He had soul eyes. ‘The eyes are the
gateways to the soul,’ they say, and
it was true in his case. They filled
with compassion and the unspeakable
contact he had with Krsna. They
expressed beyond words his intimacy
with the Lord.
Prabhupada had soul eyes, brown eyes,
and they penetrated your own soul, left
you naked before him in all your
foolishness and sinfulness.
He exposed you with his glance. He
penetrated to your core.
I loved his eyes and the message they
conveyed. They said, ‘I love Krsna,
Krsna is my love.’
Prabhupada had brown eyes, soul eyes,
and they came from deep within.
He was friendly, yet distant. You
couldn’t get close to him. There was
a barrier in his eyes because he was
They kept you from getting too familiar
with him, like an equal or buddy.
He was on a transcendental plane.
He made you drop your eyes and not
look further after a while. He kept
you out, yet let you see he was a saint from another world.
Prabhupada had soul eyes, brown
eyes and golden skin. His lips were
full, his skin was smooth, but
especially his eyes caught your
attention and convinced you he spoke
He knew of truth beyond the surface.
His glance told all, but you couldn’t decipher it.
He was a mystery, looking out from
soul eyes frankly at whoever dared
to stare back at him. He was my
Prabhupada, all soul eyes, beautiful
brown eyes of the spiritual master,
who came from the spiritual world.”
“You are the person I think who wants to sing for
Krsna. Well, let’s hear it then . . .
“Once we wandered outside in the rain and knocked on his door, ‘Wake up!’ The morning was still completely dark and cold, and they were the treacherous ditches. ‘Wake up and get up and go into the kitchen.’ But Hank was not hungry.
“You better watch out
serving Krsna in attempts of
rainy cold outdoor wearing
“He said do not say, ‘I am ill and therefore can’t live with devotees.’ Because no matter where you go for health, you can’t leave the universe–so why leave the devotees?
Srila Prabhupada said he himself left his family. He said he could’ve been comfortable at home…
Hare Krsna, you make some effort
to please the Almighty Lord.
Krsna of the peacock feathered crown
who is the object of Vedanta
its compiler and knower who
gives intelligence and forgetfulness
the sastric route we will take and be
I thought you said you wouldn’t and couldn’t
fall asleep, but here I see you have fallen
at the switch.”
“Yet another exercise asks me to tell about a time I washed dishes. I often washed dishes in the first storefront temple in Alston, Massachusetts. I wrote to Prabhupada that sometimes I like to wash the dishes. He wrote back with his approval and said we should always be engaged in Krishna consciousness and that Krishna will give us the intelligence to know what to do at a particular time, such as when to do the dishes. I did them with a liquid cleaner and kept the warm tap water running. I washed off the remnants of food until the dishes were clean. I made them sparkle and stacked them horizontally to dry. I think I washed dishes more often than my wife did. It felt purifying. You dried the dishes with a towel. They were always accumulating – pots and utensils too. Sometimes you had to clean the stove and the range top. Prabhupada once wrote a letter in which he said that we should be “revolutionary clean.” Himavati once wrote a poem saying that she was thinking of going for a walk but decided to stay indoors and wash Krishna’s dishes. When we moved the temple to the mansion in Boston and many devotees joined, I didn’t wash dishes anymore. I was either working at the welfare office or seeing to my duties as temple president.”
“Today I walked down a lane in Raman Reti. The man I walked with needed my attention, so I spoke to him about himself and noticed almost nothing else around us—the street, the people, the houses—I didn’t even know where we were going. We could have been anywhere. I did some counseling, but I can’t say that I took a walk in Raman Reti.
“Can’t I remember anything? We stopped outside the gate and an old man in bright orange approached us. When he got quite close I offered him my pranams. As I looked up, I saw he had no tilaka on his forehead, just an orange, circular smudge. He returned my respectful greeting. Then from behind I heard the rhythmic beat of karatalas. I turned and saw a man performing kirtana, chanting and walking alone in the dirt lane. We turned and went into the alley toward the house we were visiting. Although I just wrote, ‘I noticed almost nothing,’ actually the impressions are there.
“I saw a hog yesterday, rummaging with his pink snout along the ground. That was somewhere . . . while we traveled around Govardhana. We stopped in a village to get bananas. Three young schoolchildren stood together on the road. They seemed dazed by the sights, sounds, and odors around them.”
“The moments of bliss or realization are indications that our chanting is coming to a clearing stage. When Lord Caitanya chanted Hare Krsna on the order of His spiritual master, He experienced all the full ecstasies of love of God. Then, when He reported these symptoms to His guru, Isvara Puri confirmed that His ecstasy was a symptom of love of God.
“On the other hand, it’s not that those moments of clarity or enlivenment, which are usually rare and isolated, are the only indications that we are making progress. If we start thinking they are the all in all, then we will overlook the benefit of tapasya. Nothing good comes without tapasya. Maharaja Rsabhadeva advised his sons tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam, suddhyed yasmad brahma-saukhyam tvanantam, that happiness which is transcendental to material happiness and which lasts forever.
“We have been warned not to be too greedy for peak experiences in spiritual life. Maya is tricky; attachment to peak experiences can become another kind of sense gratification. Even the bliss of brahma-bhuta, realization of oneness with the Supreme, has been called ‘the last snare’ of maya.”
“Sitting on porch, I’m in Vrndavana. Vrnda, save me, my head gets—you know.
Repeat Prabhupada’s messages and never tire. Please bless me with that. Don’t let me stray from his feet. Prabhupada is ‘good enough’—let my words help others.
“Vrndavana-dhama, damn my hard dull etcetera.
Rama Rama Ramana the words of the sense
enjoyer can never know peace nor soothe
the hearing of aspirant devotees.
“Vrnda. Baladeva’s house. The cricket game continues. I’m facing away from it as I write, facing a man painting a railing on the building next door. Sitting on the veranda, four of us chanting japa. Peaceful, cool January afternoon at Sant Colony. Narayana Maharaja has gone to Australia, and his sisya, my one-time disciple, has gone to a book fair in Calcutta.
“I’ve stacked up six books I’ve decided I’m not going to read in India. Find someone to carry them back to America. I probably won’t read them there either. Then carry them to Ireland. Srila Prabhupada says the scholar is like a donkey carrying books here and there and never reading them. Ah, me. Is Frankie Sinatra dead yet? If so, why didn’t they tell me? And Sid Caesar? And Imogene Coca? Did they get a divorce? Will I be able to let all this go?
“I used to write of my sublime struggle here years ago in this house. It was 1992. Now I’m hardened to that particular struggle. I have stopped trying to learn all the technicalities of bhakti and am concentrating more on my need for honesty and heart. But I need sastra, and in particular, Vraja-Krsna.
“Krsna Krsna, I filled up a glass vial with Vraja sand from just outside the Krishna-Balaram Mandir gate.
“In Vrndavana I sprained a joint but never smoked one. In Vrndavana there are secrets revealed to sincere devotees. In the past, Syamananda found a bracelet belonging to Srimati Radharani. That kind of miracle can’t happen to me. Give me a red dot on the forehead. I belong to She who loves Syama. It would be nice to be marked as belonging to Srila Prabhupada.
“Listen, friend, there’s no pen like this fat, black Sheaffer. I decided writing is as good as chanting or reading. Each has its place. Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
“The generator went off, so no lights tonight.
I put a big log on the fire and for two hours I’ve been wasting
time trying to get it going. It’s just a big black lump. Gas
water heater broke, so no water except ice water. I skipped
my noon bath.
My japa this morning was sleepy.
Wasted time. Dull and covered over.
But of course there is good news.
I’m engaged in devotional service, my spiritual master is
loving and guiding me from wherever he is and from within
I read Srimad-Bhagavatam for an hour.
I wrote for an hour, twice.
I had some ideas for a book he asked me to write,
All Things Fail Without Krsna.
Neither good nor bad—the white frozen pond.
Actually it’s all good if you can see it —
the broken generator means no light, the gas heater,
no hot water—do I die without that power?
Wake up, friend. Don’t complain.
Look for the Lord within. Let all events transpire to bring
“Krsna consciousness is an evolution. My re-lationship with Srila Prabhupada is part of that evolution, the most important part of my evolution. I need to express it aloud, to write about it, to digest it and assimilate it. Although the writing medium is usually considered a place for settled, perfected pre-sentations, writing can be used as a tool in my evolution; it’s like having an informal talk with myself.
“It takes time to break down the barriers created against self-exploration by formal, structured thought. I often compare it to when Prabhupada would continue to speak in his room after giving the evening lecture. As the evening got later, fewer guests would stay and sit with him. As each person left, the talk became more personal. Finally, we would be alone with him. We could ask him our most personal questions, the ones we would never dare ask in public. ‘Swamiji, is there a spiritual progress one can make from which one doesn’t fall down?’ Or, ‘Srila Prabhupada, should I take sannyasa? Should I travel and preach or do you want me to stay here and manage?’ Important issues that require thought and attention.
“Sometimes Srila Prabhupada wouldn’t give a definite answer. One of his methods of instructing us was to teach us how to figure things out for ourselves. This private writing is one of my messages for learning about myself in relation to Prabhupada. I’m not an acarya like Srila Prabhupada. I sit on the floor of the asrama like everyone else. Now that I’ve explained it I feel much better. I think you understand me.”
“I was in Dallas gurukula when I received the telegram to join Srila Prabhupada in Mayapur. Jagadisa dasa, Prabhupada’s G.B.C. secretary for the previous month, had signed the telegram stating that I should come as soon as possible. Within a few hours I was on a plane to New York. In New York I obtained my first U.S. passport. Visnujana Swami went with me to the Manhattan passport office and vouched that he personally knew me as a U.S. citizen for the last five years. But when they asked him my name, he didn’t know! ‘His spiritual name is Satsvarupa, that’s all I know.’ We all laughed at the joke and they granted me the passport.
“I flew alone to India. On the plane I met an Indian man with a Ph.D. in chemistry and when we arrived in Calcutta we shared a cab. Seeing the squalor and congestion of the city, intensified by night with candles in the outdoor street shops, animals and people in moving shadows, threw me into a first-class culture shock.
I arrived at ISKCON, 3 Albert Road, about one in the morning and lay down on the floor next to Pancadravida Swami. Soon it was time to rise, and I was out for the first morning train to Krishnanagar. I crossed on a boat to Mayapur holding my danda wrapped in a pink carrying case. At Mayapur, Bhavananda Goswami escorted me before Prabhupada, who seemed pleased that I had come quickly at his request to be with him in his beloved Sridhama Mayapur. He said that with me there, now there were five sannyasis present. He asked me what I thought of Calcutta. When I told him, he replied with the statement I recorded in the diary, “Used to be an attractive city.”
“And so I settled in the room next to his, official secretary for the month, learning for the first time how to take his dictation and type his correspondence, how to take the heat of the Bengal summer, and very much enlivened by the direct association of my spiritual master.
“As for the diary notes, starting June eighteen, they are immediate, written just after being with him. I would go from his room to mine and jot down what I could remember, or sometimes I would make a few notes in his presence. Usually his words appear without quotes or a ‘Prabhupada said,’ but they are the direct words of His Divine Grace.”
A devotee doesn’t have such
a hard time. We read that
today. It meant he may
“meet with reverses”
but he survives cool and
calm because he’s near to
Krishna. Again, and again, Prabhu-
pada gave evidence.
Madhu and I said nothing to
contradict it or assure
it. We knew it wasn’t
us. We’ll get upset
when stuff happens.
But we want to believe some
kind of ideal devotee
doesn’t suffer. We want
to believe the philosophy,
in Lord Krishna and His
They go on chanting His
holy names, see Him
in their lives, even
die in spiritual light
and the awareness, “Krishna is
my Lord. May everyone
“Even if they can’t do it
but just wish they could,”
I heard him say,
they are liberated.
Go down and see if you can improve.
He hurried as best he could
because his Ma was waiting
he delayed because he was afraid
of the gang at the corner
he made this up at his class-
room desk because images
are made in Krishna conscious
workshops. We had to
hesitate, knowing the Lord
of the senses
is Krishna, Supreme god, declared by Him and
Asita and Devala and Vyasa?
A man is given disciples to
take care of, if he can direct
them in a straight way
I’m sure you know what
He sang, O Lord, I’m pleased to
become Your cela, please keep
me awhile in Your menial
I give this to You. In the
days he was strong, he gave
his best to Lord Hari.
Knew Lord Vishnu was the
Lord’s hamsa and true
original is Krishna as stated
He prays and I pray too.
Swinging with His
name like swinging on a
All forlorn is gone
Hurry, you better not
get left behind –
why do they insist on
going so fast? He asked
I said because it’s fall
and the leaves are down
I chanted to the crow
in his language, he didn’t
answer or move
then to the tree, wet and
silent as Haridasa
said you could
You can call to God
in any place but it’s
best when you believe
He came as a cowherd boy
and played and His own friends
made fun of everyone
Indra thought, who’s
this kid, He’s not my
God, and he scorned
but the gopis did
as Krishna told them and
He saved them on a plate like a pizza
or mushroom He stood, holding the hill
today, if you go to India
you will see it, not
less than six miles
Oh, I see, I do accept
Him. Put my name down
as one saved, a belief in
the One who blows
the flute and holds the hill
the original Personality of Godhead
Grant me a giant step despite
my little feet
may Vrindavan carry me as
it did Krishna
Lord, I talked with
Madhu about where
to hold meetings of
in February. In a cabin.
It’s still secret,
I must choose topics.
My breast ready to meet
a bullet or court order
in hand. Worry-
brain. Sleep in a
cabin with no mice.
St. Francis. St. Goswami
jokes sparkle. Give out
cookies after each lecture.
His flesh is hanging under
his chin, but not bad
yet, for an old guy…
Why doesn’t he feel happier?
Why doesn’t he want to
paint? Why is he so
sleepy? O master,
you must see me and
believe I am sincere.
He’s gone to get my snack,
Such easy times, innocent
days in the first of November.
An Air Ryan flight booked
for the end of the week.
Did it come in the mail
yet? Why do you break
your lines so early?
Why do you rest so
early and rise so early?
My candle is the first to go
down and out. At 6:00 P.M.
I started. “Namamisvaram” –
“He can lead, we can follow”
It’s easy and innocent for
now, but I hear hard
times coming for my friends –
his mother has cancer,
and his wife has it
and his boss won’t pay him
and I don’t know what
thing will come next.
But it seems all right
tonight. Somehow, I pushed
through as normal, met my
fourteen pages on the road.
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…
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…
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…
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.
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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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.