I have been falling asleep while taking my turn in the out loud reading group in the morning. Devotees are noticing and are a little worried. I think the reason is this: in the early morning hours from five to six I’ve been writing feverishly on my new journal. Rather than resting or doing something more peaceful, I’m very enthusiastic about this new journal I’ve started, and I’m making it my first priority. I told the devotees that if I keep getting sleepy during the reading I will stop trying to read at that time and ask them to excuse me. For a possible remedy, I am going to check my blood to see if it is diabetes or check my blood pressure to see if something is wrong there. To be continued.
Gopal Campu has taken two weeks off from his preaching activities in New York City. He is not my disciple, and I very much appreciate his sacrifice to help me out. He learned how to do the personal service from Atindra in one day and now he is mostly able to do it himself. He is here with his fiancé, who is staying at Krsna Dasi’s house. It is a very great help when devotees come forward and spend even a couple of weeks helping us out here. We are short staffed at Viraha Bhavan.
In our group out loud reading today, in Canto 3, chapter 31, the verses and purports kept repeating how dangerous it is for man to associate with a woman. In chapter 31, text 39, it states “one who aspires to reach the culmination of yoga and has realized his self by rendering service unto Me should never associate with an attractive woman, for such a woman is declared in the scripture to be the gateway to hell for the advancing devotee.” Seated at the table with us was a young a man and woman devotee who are about to be married. I felt sorry for them for all the “woman bashing” that we all had to hear. But then Prabhupada in his purport wrote a statement that relieved the heavy tension; “in the stage of Krishna Consciousness, however, such restriction of association may be slackened. Because if a man’s and woman’s attachment is not to each other, but to Krsna, then both of them are equally eligible to get out of the material entanglement and reach the abode of Krsna…Both man and women should be attached to the service of the Lord. Then there is the possibility of getting out of the material entanglement for both of them.”
We are now reading Srimad Bhagavatam, but in many purports Prabhupada quotes and gives reference to Bhagavad-gita As It Is. He writes that these three books, Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad Bhagavatam and The Nectar of Devotion, are all we need to become pure devotees and go back to Godhead. He says we should read these books over and over again, and we will continue to find new light in the reading. We are doing that, and we are not getting satiated. We keep going back to them again and again.
Devahuti, the mother of Lord Kapila and the wife of Kardama Muni, became freed from all ignorance concerning devotional service and transcendental knowledge. She offered her obeisances to the Lord, the author of the basic principles in the sankhya system of philosophy and she satisfied him with verses of prayer.
Devahuti says, “Oh how glorious are they whose tongues are chanting your holy name! Even if born in the families of dog eaters, such persons are worshipable. Persons who chant the holy name of Your Lordship must have executed all kinds of austerities and fire sacrifices and achieved all the good manners of the Aryans. To be chanting the holy name of Your Lordship, they must have bathed at holy places of pilgrimage, studied the Vedas and fulfilled everything required.”
In response to her prayer, the Personality Godhead said, “My dear mother, the path of self-realization, which I have already instructed to you is very easy. You can execute this system without difficulty, and by following it you shall very soon be liberated even within your present body.”
Even though Prabhupada never retired so to speak, there are many references to how one should finish out his Krishna consciousness in this lifetime. In our case that would mean listening to lectures, reading, taking advantage of the Zoom phenomena, and whatever else is necessary to think of Krishna all the time. If you are not traveling, deity worship is mandatory … observing Vaishnava holidays and fasting days. As Prabhupada said on the Bowery about himself, “I am never fatigued or bored. Always something reading or writing. I am never fatigued. You can ask Mr. Paul about my activities.” This place Viraha Bhava has the ideal goal to worship Krsna in separation. We hope we will attain that someday.
In our out loud reading group, we came upon verse SB 4.1.49–52: One of the remaining two daughters was given in charity to the Pitṛloka, where she resides very amicably, and the other was given to Lord Śiva, who is the deliverer of sinful persons from material entanglement. The names of the thirteen daughters of Dakṣa who were given to Dharma are Śraddhā, Maitrī, Dayā, Śānti, Tuṣṭi, Puṣṭi, Kriyā, Unnati, Buddhi, Medhā, Titikṣā, Hrī and Mūrti. These thirteen daughters produced the following sons: Śraddhā gave birth to Śubha, Maitrī produced Prasāda, Dayā gave birth to Abhaya, Śānti gave birth to Sukha, Tuṣṭi gave birth to Muda, Puṣṭi gave birth to Smaya, Kriyā gave birth to Yoga, Unnati gave birth to Darpa, Buddhi gave birth to Artha, Medhā gave birth to Smṛti, Titikṣā gave birth to Kṣema, and Hrī gave birth to Praśraya. Mūrti, a reservoir of all respectable qualities, gave birth to Śrī Nara-Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Srila Prabhupada is the founder-acharya of ISKCON. ISKCON is now in its third generation. Although they are all disciples, grand-disciples or great-grand-disciples, and maybe some are considered more important, in Prabhupada and Krsna’s eyes they are equally important. As the movement grows and grows, our genealogy table will be as complicated as the ones we read about in the Bhagavatam. It is more likely that there will be a spiritual genealogical table rather than a seminal succession. The spiritual succession will be more interesting to read about than the seminal succession, because the spiritual succession leads back to Srila Prabhupada, without a doubt. The main thing is to make it clear that the geneaology comes through Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada, without a doubt.
Kamesi Dasi is the name of Gopal Campu’s fiancé. They are both staying at Viraha Bhavan for two weeks. She stays with Krsna Dasi in the women’s ashram, and Gopal Campu stays at Viraha Bhavan in the back room behind the kitchen. I have had great trouble learning to pronounce Kamesi’s name. It was very embarrassing; all the other inmates at Viraha Bhavan learned how to pronounce her name. I had to remember her name when I introduced her to the devotees who were watching our out loud reading program, but I had to ask Gopal Campu what is the name of your fiancé? And he would pronounce her name for me and the devotees would laugh. I thought for a minute it might be due to old age. Somehow, I couldn’t catch her name. Baladev reminded me that the same thing happened with my long time disciple Narayana Kavaca for two years in California. I couldn’t remember his name and I would call him NK or Nara or some variation. Finally, I learned his name for good. What I finally did was write Kamesi’s name on a post-it and display it on the computer and I wrote it on another post-it in my room. She doesn’t seem to mind much that I mispronounce her initiated name. I still depend on the post-its, but at least I have it down now so I don’t mispronounce her name in her presence.
Guru dasa has had a relapse. He is in the hospital in Baltimore ten minutes away from the temple. He is taking very strong intravenous antibiotics to fight the infection in his leg.
We request that the devotees near the temple pitch in and help him get prasadam and get him any little things he might need, like a phone charger.
Atindra is pitching in by trying to cover some of Guru dasa’s Journal typing service. But we can expect shorter journals and some late ones. Perhaps someone can come forward and offer some help.
Gopal Campu and his fiancé went to a devotee’s place where a baby was having a grain ceremony, taking her first grains. Gopal Campu said the baby chose the money instead of the Bhagavatam. Gopal Campu was disappointed at her taking this choice, and he came back from the program right away. But when he told us about that, Baladeva remarked that when the baby grows up, she might collect lots of money for Krsna.
When I watched Bhurijana Prabhu’s memory, he told the time when Prabhupada imitated the voice of an ISKCON book distributor and the voice of a non-devotee.
The book distributor goes up to the non-devotee and says, “Please take this book.”
And the non-devotee says, “What’s it about?”
The devotee replies, “I don’t know. We just distribute them and we don’t read them.”
Then Prabhupada remarked, “This is one disappointment in my disciples. They like to distribute my books but they don’t like to read them.”
I visited with Vasudeva, the head pujari of the Bhakti Center in New York City and disciple of Kadamba Kanana Maharaja. He was with his spiritual master in Vrindavan recently in November. He says Kadamba Kanana Maharaja is still going strong. He gives a weekly lecture and one hundred of his disciples are staying in Vrindavan. Jayadvaita Swami is staying permanently with Kadamba Maharaja in Vrindavan. Kadamba Maharaja gives an evening lecture which is beneficial for all the disciples. Maharaja still has energy, but he spends time alone reading and chanting. He has some bodily issues with the cancer, but it is not slowing down his preaching.
Prabhupada had listed the Katha Upanishad as a book he wanted to eventually translate and comment on in his own work. Jayadvaita Swami and Kadamba Kanana Maharaja’s disciple Vasudeva are working together on this book. Jayadvaita Swami talks with Vasudeva about the subject matter and then Vasudeva does research with different commentators and does the writing. Vasudeva says it is very technical and laborious, gathering the commentaries of the different acharyas. He says that the Katha Upanishad is a theistic Upanishad, like the Sri Isopanishad, proving that the Lord is “sentient.” He admitted there is a lot of jñana in the research and not so much nectar, but it definitely proves that Krsna is the Supreme Person.
On another day, shining with intolerable radiance, the Lord, with hair scattered, fainted.
He was pleasing in his form as Balarāma, walking like an intoxicated elephant. He was as regal as an intoxicated lion. His eyes rolled with intoxication.
His cheeks shone and His body shone like a million suns. Seeing this form endowed with an agitated heart, the devotees spoke.
“O Lord! What is this? Is it a possession? Is it a show of Your greatness? What is the cause? Please tell us. You are the Lord, the creator of all things!”
Attractive with His pastime as Balarāma, His eyes rolling with intoxication, the Lord spoke with a broken voice words of beauty.
“I have seen the person with a plough in His hand, wearing blue cloth. He is beautiful like a silver mountain. He is amazing for persons like me in this world.”
Candraśekhara, the best of ācāryas, said to Him, “Where does this Lord, best of the strong, whom you saw, stay?”
As he said this, he saw Gaurasundara assume the form of Balarāma.
Assuming Balarāma’s mood, the Lord, beautiful as a million moons, danced with His overjoyed devotees.
The devotees easily considered the happiness of Svarga insignificant in describing with words drenched in nectar the dancing of the Lord.
During the day, the Supreme Lord danced with His devotees who bathed in a lake of sweet kīṛtana.
In the afternoon, when the Lord danced, the wind worshipped all directions completely with the fragrance of musk.
Smelling that strong fragrance of musk, the bees suddenly covered the sky like a cloud.
The great brāhmaṇa named Śrī-rāma saw many beautiful, greatly effulgent beings come from the sky.
They were decorated with shining ornaments and anointed with heavenly sandalwood. They wore heavenly garlands and had heavenly forms and qualities.
They were attractive with one earring in each lotus ear and heads furnished with silk turbans. They had joyful minds.
When others learned in the Vedas heard this from Śrī-rāma, they danced and sang spontaneously with enthusiasm, performing kīrtana of the Lord’s name.
A great brāhmaṇa named Vanamālī came there, and saw a plough, huge like a mountain, made of gold.
Seeing this, he was amazed. He was overcome with torrents of tears. His hairs stood on end. He could not remember his body.
Then beautiful Gaurāṅga, attractive with His manifestation of Balarāma, danced with the devotees who performed kīrtana.
In the sky all the devatās headed by Indra and Brahmā showered flowers and offered respects with bowed shoulders.
As the beautiful Lord danced, the night came to an end. The moon gradually kissed the Western Mountain.
At this time did the young girl personifying the eastern direction became attracted to see the dancing of the Lord, by turning red.
The gentle, fragrant breeze, embraced by the moon light, shaking the lotuses, worshipped the lotus feet of Gaurāṅga.
The Lord of the universe with His devotees approached the Gaṅgā and shone like Meru with other mountains.
The beautiful golden mountain, submerging Himself in the Gaṅgā, then played in the water with the devotees by splashing water with His hands.
After finishing various types of play, He went to His house just as the moon rises on the eastern horizon.
Smiling sweetly, the Lord said to Śrīvāsa, “Quickly bring My flute. Where is it? I do not see it.”
Smiling, the best of brāhmaṇas said, “The gopīs have hidden Your flute somewhere.”
Constantly remembering the Vṛndāvana pastimes, the ocean of mercy, submerged in great bliss, remained silent for some time.
Then completely absorbed, with hairs standing on end, Mahāprabhu spoke constantly to Śrīvāsa in a loud voice. “Tell me, tell me.”
The brāhmaṇa Śrīvāsa then described all the Vṛndāvana pastimes and pastimes in the Yamunā.
“You could not be satisfied with the good fortune which existed previously when you performed pastimes with the young gopīs in Vṛndāvana in deep prema. O Lord! If that were not so, how could that joy appear always newer and newer?
“‘Previously, like the incarnation of the art of love who produces joyful rasa, you entered incomparable Vṛndāvana, most dear to you, endowed with many bowers covered with attractive bees and performed pastimes.”
Hearing this, the Lord spoke sweetly, roaring like an intoxicated lion, “Speak more.” Then the best of brāhmaṇas by his mercy related with clarity all the Lord’s pastimes.
Śrīvāsa said to Gauracandra, who was submerged in an extraordinary ocean of happiness, “O Lord! Please hear of your pastimes that you previously performed. I will narrate them.”
Seeing the indescribable, attractive face of the Lord, the playful gopīs, with beautiful minds, eager to play with Him, performed astonishing actions with their limbs.
With their Lover, dark like a tamāla tree, the women of Vraja entered a grove, and in front of Him acted as lightning with a fresh cloud.
The attractive women, seeing their attractive Lord, dancing in their minds with Cupid, desiring attractive activity, developed loving sentiments for their Lord.
The beautiful women, possessing love filled with desire, surpassed the fear that first arose in their hearts, by the influence of Cupid.
Restricting entrance at the door, with great valor the Lord said, “See to it that no one can enter even for a moment.” First having all the devotees enter, Gauracandra with great joy presided there constantly.
Making one place the dressing room, the Lord, attractive with prema, fond of dancing, endowed with the greatest mercy, entered that room with one close friend who had great prema for His lotus feet.
At the beginning of the night, Śrīvāsa, dearest to the Lord’s lotus feet, assumed the costume of Nārada, and as the best brāhmaṇa, holding crystal beads for japa and wearing matted, tawny hair.
Then one pure servant named Śuklāṁbara, holding a kuśa seat and water pot in his hand and smeared with Gaṅgā mud, suddenly entered and offered respects to Nārada. He then sweetly spoke to the dear devotee named Gadādhara.
“Offering respects to Nārada’s feet, you should say, ‘I am always engaged in serving the feet of Mahāprabhu in Kali-yuga.” Hearing this, Nārada said, “O handsome one! Go to the Gaṅgā in Māgha month and bathe there constantly.”
“If you do this, by that puṇya, you will attain the Lord’s lotus feet. You have now become dear to the Lord’s feet by Nārada’s blessings. What is not known to you, O handsome one?”
With hair standing on end, Nārada explained the profound, charming glories of bhakti. “How can I describe the great power of the Name? It freed the sinful brāhmaṇa, husband of a prostitute, from great sins.”
When he said this, bringing great joy to all humans, he began singing the Lord’s name loudly. Śrīvāsa in joy, his hairs standing on end, began eagerly dancing, thereby making the first prologue to the play.
When he left the stage dancing and singing, Hari-dāsa, dressed sweetly, entered the stage like a host of moons, holding a fine stick (playing a Vaikuṇṭha guard).
He said, “Loudly chant the name of the Lord. Joyful with prema, speak topics of the Lord.” Beautiful as the moon, overcome with great joy at every moment, pointing with the tip of his stick, he tried to wake up the sleeping people of the three worlds.
“By the order of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is unlimited Vaikuṇṭha, I have first appeared on earth. Please hear that order, sweet as nectar, which will give life to all the people swallowed by the snake of Kali-yuga.
“No one is bathing in the sweet river of the Name. That is what I desire. I desire to come to distribute to this world the Name. All of you should chant the glories of the Lord.
Those who approach Krsna consciousness by their attachment to Prabhupada shouldn’t worry—they will get knowledge just by his blessings; their position is secure. In the case of Devahuti, she did not appreciate that Kardama was a great sage, she just knew that he was her husband. Because he happened to be a great sage, through her loving relationship with him she got all the benefits of transcendental realization. It is like that with Prabhupada also and the Prabhupada stories. They are a supplementary activity, a body of knowledge and a literature to help us have personal attachment to the pure devotee. By that personal attachment, Krsna is pleased. Yasya deve para bhaktir yatha-deve tatha-guroh—only by having faith in the guru and Krsna is the knowledge revealed. We should not think that we will pick up the science of transmigration and the higher stages of bhakti by intellectual studentship. There has to be a personal relationship with the guru. This will hold true also for future times. They will have a relationship with Prabhupada.
“Every learned man knows very well that attachment for the material is the greatest entanglement of the spirit soul. But that same attachment when applied to the self-realized devotees, opens the door of liberation.”
When the pure devotee appears in the world, his movements are mistaken by ordinary people, just as the moon appears to be moving with the blowing clouds. We mistake the activities of the pure devotee because of our material vision.
According to the Vaisnava acaryas, all conditioned souls have four defects: (1) the tendency to make mistakes, (2) the tendency to be in illusion, (3) the tendency to cheat, and (4) we have limited senses. These defects can be overcome by performance of devotional service. Atah sri krsna namadi, one cannot see Krsna with the blunt senses but by performing devotional service; beginning with the tongue (chanting the holy names and taking prasadam), Krsna becomes revealed. Until then, we perceive the pure devotee through the four defects.
By the defect of illusion, one thinks “I am this body,” although I am actually spirit soul. A person in the bodily consciousness thinks, “I am young, and Prabhupada is an old man. I am American with a Western college education and some wealth, but this guru from India does not have these things, and so I am better than he is.” This is unfortunate, because as soon as one thinks that he is superior to the spiritual master, then his spiritual life is ruined.
To even begin to perceive the pure devotee, one must have knowledge of the Absolute Truth. We have to understand, at least theoretically, that we are spirit souls and the material opulences are actually hindrances to our realization of that fact. In her prayers to Lord Krsna, Queen Kunti declares that attachment to material beauty, wealth, education, and aristocratic birth are all disqualifications for spiritual life. Only one who is materially exhausted is eligible to call out sincerely to Krsna.
Srila Prabhupada is on the liberated platform, and ultimately we have to become liberated to follow him. The more we obey what he says, the more we will be free of the defects.
Moments alone with Srila Prabhupada were rare, and I cherished them. Sometimes I daydreamed that I might always remain alone with him, but I would soon be awakened to the reality that Prabhupada was meant for everyone. If it came about that Prabhupada was alone with a particular devotee for some time, he accepted that, but when other devotees came into his association, he showed he was not attached to being with one over the other. If you began to think that you had a special relationship with Prabhupada and that maybe Prabhupada liked to be with you alone, that feeling would be shattered—as it was for me when our quiet air flight ended on arrival into San Francisco, where hundreds of people loved him and wanted his attention, and where he responded fully to them. After all, Srila Prabhupada was not meant to spend all his time flying alone in a plane with one servant. When he met his many devotees, he moved right into their center and exchanged with as many of them as possible.
In order to stay in touch with Prabhupada, we can’t be dead. We have to be active and reciprocate. However, there are some things that Prabhupada instigates himself. There is a spiritual strength, a faithfulness that I feel, which I know is from Prabhupada—it is almost like a growth of some kind, and it has its own existence and its own strength. According to sastra, this is the bhakti-lata, the devotional creeper. In Prabhupada Meditations we are mostly seeking his presence by actual memories, which we try to see and feel and touch. What I’m trying to describe now it not less tangible, although it is not exactly a Prabhupada-lila. It is Prabhupada being with us in an important way.
For example, when I hear skeptical talk against Krsna, there are certain responses of faithfulness that are within my power, in my consciousness and intellect, and so I reply with those. Sometimes I may become overwhelmed by opposition or distractions, but nevertheless, there is this supply of strength that keeps coming from being a disciple of Prabhupada. We speak of causeless mercy. Krsna and Prabhupada have claimed us, and in a sense we can’t get away, because we have sincerely surrendered. As the Bhagavatam says, “If you ever sincerely surrender to the lotus feet of the Lord, you can never go completely away even if you seem to. The Lord will claim you back.”
Let me try to describe it again. We say that we are staying in spiritual life by the blessings of the spiritual master. Sometimes we can actually feel that blessing living within us, in addition to our own meager resources, and in addition to what we are as persons. It is part of you, but you know where it comes from: from Prabhupada. One should use this strength courageously—and fight on the basis of knowing it is there. Krsna says His devotee will not be vanquished: Kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati. So one should think, “I’m a follower of Prabhupada, his sakti is in me, I can sense it. I needn’t be afraid. I can go anywhere and preach; he will protect me.”
I am writing this while sitting in the temple room of the preaching center on South Street, Philadelphia. On the altar are Gaura-Nitai Deities, Jagannatha deities, and a tulasi plant, but all of it comes from Prabhupada.
I just spoke with Haryasva dasa who runs this preaching center. He is my disciple, but we are both trying to please Prabhupada. The nourishing, transcendental goal is Prabhupada’s pleasure. Otherwise, why assume it is possible to do something on South Street by opening a spiritual center? Why assume to be a spiritual master of another person and claim to help him? We sometimes think that our Prabhupada connections are shaky due to our lack of sincerity and realization—but we are dependent on Prabhupada’s leniency and mercy.
Prabhupada came and set the example for preaching in this city. We have to follow. When he first arrived, no one was interested in Krsna. If it seems difficult now to impress Krsna consciousness, just imagine how much more difficult it was when there was no precedent for accepting “the foreign God.”
Today is December 20th, and ISKCON is in the midst of the Prabhupada book distribution marathon. Devotees are going out, but are they deeply motivated? Are they running mainly on competitive spirit? Whatever the motivation, their sankirtana is glorious. There may be flaws in their presentation due to youthfulness or the desire to acquire laksmi on behalf of their temples that desperately need money. Their faults are like pockmarks on the moon. How brave they are, how determined and surrendered. They stop one person after another and ask them, “Please take a book.” Although I don’t go out with them, I do not feel ashamed of myself, or resentful of what they are doing. I think of my own little service to speak on behalf of Prabhupada. I too am part of this movement. As they are distributing books with high energy and courageous inspiration, I am also directing my service to Srila Prabhupada. I know he will accept it.
As long as Prabhupada could speak, he expressed concern for those around him. He wanted to know if the devotees enjoyed the feast for Govardhana-puja, and he asked to hear the menu. Some of us found it difficult to tolerate our own bodily inconveniences: backaches and headaches and the mental strain of his imminent departure. We felt rivalries and did not know what the future would hold. It was heavy in Vrndavana, and very hot. Yet we were the healthy ones; we were not facing the ultimate test as Prabhupada was.
Srila Prabhupada gave instructions until the last breath, especially for preaching in various parts of the world. Go on developing the preaching in Africa. Take a theatrical group to Russia. Thank you for this blanket made from the sheeps’ wool at Gita-nagari; go on developing that farm. Distribute books to all the professors; print books in all the languages; go to Bangladesh with the courage of a British soldier and the heart of a Bengali mother.
In his last moments, Prabhupada began moving on the bed. Some devotees later referred to it as his “dancing.” I saw it as a struggle by Prabhupada’s body. Who can understand these things? I did not think it was something that I should be happy about. Our spiritual master was leaving his body, and, although theoretically we all knew that this was a glorious event, it seemed to us a terrible calamity. Those last moments by Prabhupada on his bed were like a swimming stroke, the Australian crawl. His arms and legs moved for a few moments, and then he left. You could tell the exact moment by the movement in his face. We did not need a last minute show. He did everything with dignity. He had taught us that the spirit is important and not the bones. We should preach in this world as long as we have life.
When we go back to his Vrndavana room with its black floor and dark atmosphere, we think of Prabhupada’s departure. We look at the articles which are preserved from that day. The calendar is stopped at November 14, 1977. We lament that we do not feel strong emotions, just as in 1977 we lamented that we did not feel them. Yet any favorable attempt to think of Prabhupada is better than not thinking about him at all. Trying to rededicate ourselves is never futile, even if the next moment we become forgetful. Prabhupada is the mainstay of our lives.
Srila Prabhupada taught us of the importance of the spiritual master. No one can understand Krsna except through the spiritual master. However, he never said, “I am that pure devotee. I am the spiritual master.” If somebody asked him bluntly, he replied, “That you can judge for yourself.” Yet he preached that we must surrender to the spiritual master. When Allen Ginsberg met Prabhupada, he suspected that they were both exchanging false egos. He thought, “Oh, he is trying to sell himself as the guru. He wants me to submit to him,” so Ginsberg resisted it. Some of us did not resist. We wanted the guru and we accepted him. We wanted a loving exchange with Krsna. We kept coming back night after night, morning after morning. “Why are they after me?” Prabhupada asked later. “I am just an Indian, I have no money. I never bribed them.”
One night, it was time to leave, but none of us wanted to go. He laughed and said, “All right, you can go home now. The store will be open at six in the morning.” He was the store, the storehouse of nectar. His hours were from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. He saw that we were after him—and he was after us, to bring us to Krsna.
I want to remember the sensory things, the Srimad-Bhagavatam , the prasadam, the room, his body, his eyes, the boys, the apartment. Even if I cannot feel them, I can say the words. Smelling the prasadam. The boys cooking in the kitchen and bringing the prasadam into the room. Swamiji sitting in his place eating, us sitting around eating with him … the two rooms … looking through the glass window and seeing him sitting there … sometimes he slept on his mat … his turtleneck jerseys with the stretched necks … bare feet … Swamiji smiling … strong teeth and so virile you are embarrassed in his presence.
I am saying these words just to feel his presence. Kirtana. Money in the basket. Cutting up the apple in a bowl. He calls your name, looks at you. Time goes by in the evening. You feel that he is as good as God.
Tired, he sits, nods, and discovers his mind has traveled throughout the universe of human and subhuman desires. He slaps at his mental image, and his attention returns to the name. But this corrective act is performed ad infinitum—where is the hope that it will permanently correct him? Even if he has no such hope, still there is the corrective slap, again, and he has a willingness and a firm resolve to correct again and again. Back to the name, back to Godhead.
Just the utterance will save him, as it saved Ajamila. He pours out so many names, all imperfect from the chanter, like poorly manufactured products from a defective assembly line-and yet each name retains its perfection.
He is confused at his own unwilling recitation of the names; he is illusioned by false ego, totters, and seeks physical rest. “When will I ever succeed?”
He is like a mountain climber. He gropes a hand forward and tries to lift his body, depending on the firmness of the thin ledge above. His foot probes, looking for a safe ledge below, as he continues his upward climb through the sheer height of mind. The rope around his waist is held firmly far above by the Lord, who is personally lifting the soul—then why is it so difficult?
Guides of the holy name, please grant the extra spark of mercy to the slow chanters of Your holy names! Ah, but You have already done this! Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has gone to unlimited lengths to deliver us by this easiest and sublime method. It is up to us. Now if we refuse! No, it is unspeakable. We must accept—we will not remain so fallen.
The Vaisnava poet declares that he must have been cursed by Yamaraja and therefore has no taste for devotional practices. Yet it is also true that Srila Prabhupada has come and rescued us from our own distaste for bhakti. By his chanting and dancing we are attracted, and by his order we go on patiently, placing the maha-mantra on our heads and aspiring to serve Him.
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.
The Vaiñëava poet declares that he must have been cursed by Yamaräja and therefore has no taste for devotional practices. Yet it is also true that Çréla Prabhupäda has come and rescued us from our own distaste for bhakti. By his chanting and dancing we are attracted, and by his order we go on patiently, placing the mahä-mantra on our heads and aspiring to serve Him.