Free Write Journal #239


Free Write Journal #239

March 31, 2023

Free Writes

Disciples in Vrndavana

Some of my disciples are visiting Vrndavana. Some are staying two weeks, some are staying five weeks. I appreciate that most of them are trying to tune in and participate in the out-loud readings on Zoom, which originate in New York. For the devotees in Vrndavana to tune in to our Zoom readings, they have to make a severe schedule on their sleeping. Especially the 1:00 P.M. reading is difficult for them—it starts 10:30 P.M. at night there, and it goes until after midnight. But they’re determined to do it. They so much like, and are attached to, the readings. Even though they’ve got the riches of Vrndavana dhama and holy places to visit, they consider the group meetings on Zoom for reading out loud to be just as precious as Vrndavana experience.

Prabhupada in Vrndavana

Writing about my disciples in Vrndavana makes me think of Prabhupada in Vrndavana. I served him there for a while as servant and secretary in 1974. He would get up at 1:00 A.M. and work on his translations and purports. Then he would stop and chant some of his rounds. Around 5:00 A.M., if the nighttime was turning into daylight, he would go out for his morning walk. He walked on Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg. A number of devotees went with him. He clipped his cane on the ground as he walked. Then he would occasionally stop and say something, or someone would ask a question and he’d answer it. He would walk for almost an hour, turning back to be on time for guru puja, with him sitting on the vyasasana. Then he would sing “Jaya Radha-Madhava” and begin the Srimad-Bhagavatam class. That was a great treat for all the devotees, maybe the only time some of them had to associate with him. After the lecture, he’d go up to his room and take breakfast. After breakfast he’d maybe go over mail he had received and give the answers he wanted his secretary to type. Maybe he’d talk to a guest. Around 11:00 A.M. he would put on his gamcha and sit down for a massage. His massage might last an hour. Then he went to take his bath, using buckets of water. After he dried off, he would put on fresh new clothes ironed by one of the devotees. Then it was time for him to honor lunch prasadam. He ate alone and didn’t talk to anyone. After finishing lunch, he lay down and took a nap for maybe one hour or an hour and a half. Then he’d get up, ready to meet with devotees or guests.

Following Prabhupada’s Order

I received a letter from a new devotee who was praising a Prabhupada disciple in his temple. He inquired from me how the senior disciples can be so dedicated to Prabhupada’s order. I replied to him that there are many senior devotees who are dedicated to following Prabhupada’s order and are giving their whole lives to this purpose. I said not only Prabhupada’s direct disciples but devotees who never saw Srila Prabhupada are directed to following out his orders. And I wrote to this new devotee, “You too can be completely dedicated to following out Prabhupada’s orders.” Then I added something that I heard a disciple say while watching him give his memories of Prabhupada. He said Prabhupada was asked, “How does one love the spiritual master?” Prabhupada answered, “You took a vow. Before the fire and the sacrifice. You must follow that vow (sixteen rounds and four rules) and in that way show your love for the spiritual master.” The devotee who was telling his memories said, “When devotees heard Prabhupada speak like that, they felt ashamed and thought of their own shortcomings.”

Finished Volume 2 of the Journal

I completed over five hundred pages of typing, which will come to a four-hundred-page book. The title is Srila Prabhupada Revival. It contains random notes on lectures by Srila Prabhupada, summer of 1966 at 26 2nd Avenue. I listened to the recording and wrote in stenographic shorthand (not verbatim) as much of the lecture as I could write down. I even describe the noises coming in the storefront, and I reminisced how sweet it was to hear him in those early days. I also took notes of other Prabhupada disciples telling their memories of him. Seeing them many years after they associated with Prabhupada made it particularly poignant. I also wrote, starting at 4:30 in the morning, a “Morning Stream Of Consciousness.” This is a technique used by many writers to reveal the unconscious and to tap into deeper Krsna conscious feelings. Admittedly, I looked at a few books on how to keep a spiritual journal. I didn’t use much of this, but some of it was helpful. Krsna-bhajana has done considerable editing and tidying up of Volume One of the Journal, Worshiping with the Pen. He is about to turn the manuscript over to Lal Krishna who will do layout and cover.

Lack of Servants

Right now, we have no extra servant; it’s just Baladeva and me (and Krsna dasi).  Atindra has volunteered to fill in whenever there’s a need in the schedule like this. He has many other commitments with his job, but he can arrange to work from here and still do personal service. He is a natural servant. I like his association. He is gentle and compassionate.


I finished what I consider the last Dictaphone that completes Volume Two of the Journal, Srila Prabhupada Revival. I have sent it to the typist, but he hasn’t finished it and sent it back to me yet. Meanwhile, I’m taking a break before writing any more. Most writers sit back and refocus before they decide what to do next. Some of them take years to do it. But I don’t have years. I want to make a fresh start, with new ideas. I’m waiting for Caitya-guru to give me direction.


A “rabbit” is an anecdote or story about devotees in our ashram at Viraha Bhavan, Stuyvesant Falls, New York. The rabbits are usually about the little life of a small band of devotees living in the country. But it may seem too little, the same thing, or boring to others. But in actuality, because there is some Krsna consciousness, and the activities are carried out for Krsna, they aren’t boring or hackneyed. So sometimes it may seem like showing family photos to a person who really isn’t interested, who doesn’t get excited by them as much as the person showing the pictures.

Although the inmates may be tired or overworked, they are happy because they’re working for Krsna and guru. The fact that we do the same thing every day is not wrong. It’s sadhana-bhakti. It’s full of variety. For example, we read for two and a half hours a day from Prabhupada’s books, and they’re always filled with exciting stories and philosophy, which is hard to achieve in most temple atmospheres for some reason. I welcome you to join with us. Everyone is encouraged to try and experience how Krsna exchanges with His little devotees.

Can’t Speak

Today during the out-loud reading session my ability to speak became worse and worse, as it has been declining over the past few days. Today was a turning point. I almost had to stop reading completely. Now I’m going to have to deal with it in a medically sane way so that I don’t damage any of the throat components. I can’t perform just because the devotees want to hear me speak personally. I can participate in the out-loud reading sessions just by hearing and being there. I just won’t be able to read. I think it’s gotten to the point where it’s a serious condition, and I’m looking around to see what medicines I can take, Ayurvedic, homeopathic, allopathic, etc. I hope it won’t last long because I really have pushed it to the maximum degree.

Starting Journal Number Three

The typists and I both thought I had enough pages done on Volume Two, Srila Prabhupada Revival, to call it complete. For a final product, it will be a four-hundred-page book. I waited a few days before attempting to begin the third volume. I didn’t want to repeat myself, so I was searching for new ideas. Today I had a breakthrough. Krsna is very kind, because sometimes writers have to wait years before they get the inspiration to start their next book. Today I kind of tricked myself and “jump-started” into a new beginning. I am underway. I am excited by this. But I have to be careful with my voice in dictating the manuscripts I write in hand. This is a potentially disruptive breakdown in the writing process, with the vocal breakdown.

Krsna dasi: Citizenship

Today Krsna dasi is going to the immigration department to apply for her U.S. citizenship. She has spent five years in the U.S. as a Permanent Resident, having been previously sponsored by her daughter. Now she has completed her five years, so she is able to start the proceedings. The first part is to do the paperwork initiating a background check, which means they want to find out if you have a criminal history or a history of political history. It hasn’t been an easy five years for her. As a Trinidadian (tropical bird), she has been afflicted by the cold weather, as it comes in three seasons by her definition. In the middle of all this, she lost her husband of forty years. All her friends, family—support system is in Trinidad, so it would have been easier to leave her service in Viraha Bhavan and go back there.

By taking this step for citizenship, she is showing her intention to stick it out here. We are glad she is doing it.

Out-Loud Readings

This “rabbit” will be short because I am saving my voice for my books. I’m encouraging the devotees who attend the reading to keep coming and take turns reading, even though I’m not reading myself. I attend the session, and sometimes my picture is on the Zoom. The sanga of reading Prabhupada’s books should be eternal. All of us should attend functions like this during the day since we have the facility of Zoom to make it a reality. If I recover my voice, I’ll continue reading again. I hope it doesn’t become a strain, doing everything I want to do with my voice: dictating the weekly Journal, dictating books, answering mail, and so on.


From Prabhupada Meditations, Volume 1

Srila Prabhupada’s Ecumenical Message

Sometimes clergymen or religion professors wanted to jump over Prabhupada’s roadblock and go on to discuss higher aspects of spirituality. But Prabhupada insisted that one cannot have a talk on bhakti unless he understands and practices “Thou shalt not kill.” There is an interesting exchange on this point in a conversation Prabhupada had with professors of religion in Los Angeles. Prabhupada said that one could not attain love of God as long as he indulged in killing God’s creatures. The scholars seemed a bit taken aback by Prabhupada’s insistence on this, as if he were stuck on the Hindu doctrine of cow protection. They wanted to talk about bhakti, and so one of them said, “Are you saying that love means not to kill? Is that your definition of love?” The professor’s implication was that Prabhupada’s definition was not a very satisfactory definition. But Prabhupada replied, “Yes, not killing is one of the items of love.” When Prabhupada said this, it became clear, if you thought about it, that one who professes to love must at least be unwilling to kill. How can I begin to consider a friendly loving exchange with someone if I’m not certain of whether he intends to kill me? Love presupposes nonviolence. Therefore, how can there be love for God if one is thinking of killing God’s creatures?

The day may come when Prabhupada’s influence will grow and people will start to study his conversations with priests and religionists and better understand what he was saying. Then they will not think of him as belligerent for bringing up his roadblock, “But one thing …” They will come to understand why he asked that embarrassing question again and again.

The Catholic Church has become very much aware that religious practice is not conducted only in a cloister. The Church emphasizes that love of God has to be shown in relation to one’s neighbor and in relation to the problems of the world. The Church makes strong statements nowadays about poverty and inequality. There cannot be God consciousness without social justice. The church is such a strong force in the world that political analysts say that the fall of the Eastern European Communist bloc could never have taken place without the influence of the Catholic Church in those countries. The Church has shown its leadership in responding to human suffering, but now they have to also respond to the suffering animals.

Now there is a growing animal rights movement in many countries of the world. Representatives of Christianity are going to be asked, “What is the Church’s position towards killing animals?” But unfortunately, the Church has only a barbaric and inadequate reply. Up to now they have replied, “What’s the problem? Yes, we kill animals. That’s what they were made for. They don’t have a soul. It’s all right to eat them.” And this is the same Church that wants to end injustice and suffering in the world—and which expects God’s mercy at the time of death.

So Prabhupada was hammering away at this point in his meetings in the 1970s, although few responded to him. We hope one day his voice will be heard. Then, those who are interested in ecumenical exchanges will understand that Prabhupada was actually in the forefront of ecumenism. He was pointing out the major difficulty, but once that difficulty is removed, there can be deeper exchanges and spiritually-minded people can begin to understand how all religions are one.

A Personal Note

As this volume comes to a close, I beg Lord Krsna and Prabhupada for the strength to continue the practice of Prabhupada meditations. I wish to  always be in touch with the process of praising and remembering him. I want to worship memories of Srila Prabhupada and uncover more of them. It is clear to me that these memories do not come at my own command, and so I wish to remain receptive and grateful for even the smallest wisp of a memory of Prabhupada, whenever it comes.

Srila Prabhupada emphasized his own communion and connection with his spiritual master, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. In his “Concluding Words” to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Srila Prabhupada wrote:

Although according to material vision, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada passed away from this material world on the last day of December 1936, I still consider His Divine Grace to be always present with me by his vani, his words…I think that His Divine Grace is always seeing my activities and guiding me within the heart by his words…Spiritual inspiration comes from within the heart, wherein the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His paramatma feature, is always sitting with all His devotees and associates.

Cc. Antya, Volume 5

Srila Prabhupada’s followers may also have immediate communion with him. It is done through the medium of service and by the realization that Srila Prabhupada continues to guide us and that he is pleased with our activities. We have much work to do on behalf of our spiritual master. He wants us to read the books he has given in order to better understand Lord Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he wants us to appreciate the importance of Krsna consciousness for the world. He wants us to work in the Krsna consciousness movement and to assist in spreading Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana. He wants us to help maintain the institution he created. The practice of meditation on Srila Prabhupada, as done in this book, by memories and reflections (or as done in one’s own way by any follower of Prabhupada), is also a part of the ongoing service to His Divine Grace.

From Prabhupada Meditations, Volume 3

From Prabhupada’s Point of View: The Pleasure and the Burden

In 1966, Prabhupada ended his lectures by saying, “Thank you very much,” but his words were followed with silence and no one bowed down. A few years later, the devotees began to offer obeisances and recite Prabhupada’s pranama-mantras. I think that Prabhupada was pleased to see his disciples become more joyful and offer him respect.

In 1968, a guest to the Boston temple challenged Prabhupada, “Are you happy?” Prabhupada replied that he had many levels of happiness. He said that as a householder, he had had several sons, but now that he was in the renounced order, he had dozens of sons and daughters, and these spiritual children were helping him more than his other sons. “Therefore, by renouncing and surrendering to Krsna, I have become more happy.” Prabhupada also said that he would become even happier when his spiritual sons and daughters grew up and began to manage the preaching business.

Srila Prabhupada was always blissful because of his full Krsna consciousness, but he had to take on a burden of managing incompetent disciples. He saw a shallow weakness behind our statements of surrender. He also saw that his disciples were motivated by desires other than the pure desire to serve Krsna. Prabhupada did not dwell on these imperfections, but he encouraged us to improve. Gradually, however, the faults began to manifest, and disciples fell away from following the principles. Thus, Prabhupada had to face tribulations by accepting disciples in the West.

From Prabhupada Meditations, Volume 4

Did Prabhupada Suffer?

One time, one of his young disciples came to Prabhupada in Hyderabad and reported that he had jaundice. The disciple said that his stool had changed color. Prabhupada replied that sometimes his stool was also one color and sometimes another color, but this wasn’t very important; it was simply the changing nature of the naturally defective body. This is summed up in Krsna’s statement to Arjuna, where He says the material world is temporary and changes just like the seasons, from winter to summer. Sometimes you are happy and sometimes you are unhappy, but one should learn to tolerate and not become attached.

We can learn a lot from this attitude. It can free us from many anxieties and from wasting precious time when we worry about our mouth or our back or even our heart. Better to use our time in Krsna’s service. If Krsna wants to protect us, then we won’t die from ill health; and if Krsna wants us to take another body in another life, then no amount of health cure will save us. We can be responsible and not neglect our health simply by leading the regulated life of sadhana-bhakti. But since there is no way to keep perfect or permanent health, we should follow Prabhupada’s example and fully engage ourselves in Krsna consciousness. Materially speaking, we will be very lucky if we can live as long as he did and keep in active form. As for accomplishing as much as Prabhupada did in his old age years, that is not possible. But we may worship his example.

Why not talk to Prabhupada?

I have been going too long without trying to talk to Prabhupada. We shouldn’t refrain from talking to Prabhupada out of a lack of faith. If a Christian can talk to Christ, and a yogi can talk to the Supersoul, why can’t a Prabhupadanuga speak his mind to Prabhupada? It just takes faith and hope that he will hear us—hope that Krsna will hear us. We may say, “Well, I definitely have faith in Krsna as the Supersoul.” But that faith may be more an acceptance of the scripture than direct realization of the Lord in the heart. But the same scriptures tell us that the pure devotee, by Krsna’s grace, can be just as present as the Supersoul in the heart of his disciple. We do not have to doubt that, even if we don’t have direct realization of it. If we do doubt it, then we have to pin our hopes on a prayer to both Krsna and Prabhupada, “Please, Krsna, deliver my message to Prabhupada. Please, Prabhupada, deliver my message to Krsna. Please, Srimati Radharani, forgive me for my offenses, and let me become a devotee of my spiritual master, Lord Krsna, and You.”

Let us have faith in our ability to talk to Prabhupada. We should place ourselves as his eternal servant and say, “Prabhupada, I am trying to remember you. My place in spiritual life is only to be your servant. Please allow me to serve your movement.” Whatever recent things you have heard about Prabhupada or thoughts you have had or places you have seen—each can be the stimulus to bring us closer to him.  “Prabhupada, today I came to your Bombay temple … ”

My dear Srila Prabhupada, let me talk to you wherever I am. Don’t let me become one of those people who think there is nothing to say and who let their communication with you lapse. You are present everywhere and in so many different ways. I cannot tell you anything you don’t know, but I can offer you my heart. Let me remind myself that you are the real shelter.

Sometimes a devotee may feel lonely or as if no one else fully understands his position. When this occurs, it might be helpful to talk to your best friend, Krsna’s pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada. Go before a picture or murti of Prabhupada and tell him your “story.” Prabhupada’s presence can give us all the strength to go on, and as he is present in his picture and murti, if we understand we are actually talking with him, he will reveal himself to us. Why not talk to Prabhupada?

From The Story of My Life, Volume 1

In Boston, Prabhupada held two fire sacrifices. In one he installed the Deities, and in the other he initiated the devotees. For the initiation he had Karandhara light the fire and do the priestly functions. There were a group of Indians in the audience, and Prabhupada lectured that “this boy” (Karandhara) was a qualified brahmana according to Rupa Goswami and entitled to do the fire yajna, even though he wasn’t born in the brahmana caste. He seemed to say this to set the Indians straight. He gave out lots of initiation names beginning with the letter “S,” Somadasa, Suhotra Dasa, etc. I was proud that the devotees to be initiated were all from Boston. It was a sign of good preaching and a live temple, even though we had been deserted by ISKCON Press. My wife visited Boston just to see Srila Prabhupada.

There was a little trouble with the Deities’ clothes. Wonderful Gauri Dasi (who has since passed away) had made green velvet outfits, but they proved to be a little too tight. Right under Prabhupada’s eyes, in the middle of the installation, she took out the stitches and re-stitched them. It didn’t take too long and she kept a cool head, and Prabhupada was patient without scolding her. When They were ready I took Krishna and carried Him to the altar. My knee buckled for a moment under His weight, but I made it smoothly to the altar and placed Him beside Radharani. Prabhupada conducted the ceremony, and I assisted him by pouring liquids on Them as They stood in stainless steel bowls. He read from the Brahma-samhita. The windows were open, and the fan was blowing to make it comfortable in the warm room. It was a triumphant occasion with Prabhupada in the center and the two new beautiful Deities assuming the altar beside the little Radha-Krishna. The next night when Prabhupada came into the temple to lecture, he bowed before the Deities and turned to me and asked, “What are they saying about the Deities?” I said, “Everyone says They are very beautiful.”

From Begging for the Holy Name

Everything depends on controlling the mind. Srila Prabhupada writes, “The mind contains hundreds and thousands of impressions, not only of this life but also of many, many lives in the past. These impressions sometimes come in contact with one another and produce contradictory pictures. In this way the mind’s function can become dangerous for a conditioned soul” (Nectar of Instruction, text 8, purport).

Srila Prabhupada goes on to say that if at the time of death we think of something not very congenial, we will have to take a corresponding birth in the next life. “On the other hand, if one can think of Krsna at the time of death, he can be transferred to the spiritual world.” In other purports, Srila Prabhupada has stated that the tongue’s utterance of the Hare Krsna mantra can forcibly capture the mind. As powerful as the mind is, the tongue and ear can capture it and fix it on Krsna-provided the mind is disposed in a friendly way. And why not? It’s for the mind’s own good. It’s nectar.

I propose that my mind take a friendly attitude toward nama-speaking and nama-hearing. Let us do some transcendental work together. “One interested in spiritual life should always engage his mind in the service of the Lord so that the enemies of the mind, who always accompany the mind, will be subdued. If the mind is not engaged in Krsna consciousness at every moment, there is a chance that it will give way to its enemies. In this way we become victims of the mind. Chanting the Hare Krsna mantra engages the mind at the lotus feet of Krsna constantly; thus the mind’s enemies do not have a chance to strike” (C.c., Madhya 11.10, purport).

From A Poor Man Reads the Bhagavatam, Volume 1

We may wonder how a disciple who is actually influenced by the lower modes is capable of proper inquiry. If the disciple is so handicapped by rajas and tamas, how can the spiritual master engage him in transcendental work? One answer is that the spiritual master’s order is transcendental. Even someone who is hampered by the material modes can work for the guru. Then the disciple becomes engaged in a gradual process of purification. He may not be immediately transcendental, yet he is transcendental because he is working under a person who is never tainted by material life.

Prabhupada gives the example of the ignorant apprentice who can do good work as long as he follows closely the order of the expert technician. The technician uses his screwdriver just so and indicates to the apprentice to do the same. If the apprentice follows that order, his work will also be expert. In terms of practicing bhakti, this may mean picking flowers for the Deity, reciting prayers from Brahma-samhita, or simply tending to the pure devotee’s physical needs-making his bed, cooking for him, and so on. The disciple also prays to be delivered from those modes which still haunt him.

This verse and purport also urge us to rise to the platform of sattva-guna. That doesn’t mean that within the material mode of goodness, we’ll be able to see Krsna. Neither should we be hankering to “see” Krsna. We are told to work in such a way that Krsna will see us. But the mode of goodness delivers us from the passion of working hard for sense gratification and the ignorance of laziness, sleep, and the madness of intoxication.

From My Dear Lord Krsna: A Book of Prayers, Volume 1

Please let me see You in the scriptures and in the prayers that You have given us. Let me be close to Srila Prabhupada. He has helped me more than anyone and I wish I was more enthusiastic in loving and serving him in return. I pray to Lord Balaram, who is the Lord who strengthens the relationship with the spiritual master, to bond me more to Srila Prabhupada and improve me to work for him in practical missionary ways. Prabhupada wants You loved by all the world, and I truly love Srila Prabhupada. I will work as a soldier in his mission. These are some of my desires, and I pray You will help me to fulfill them.

My head is calm.
Now if I can only think
of some pastimes of my Lord,
I can make a decent poem.
Turn to the many lessons, readings,
and live and recorded lectures
and talks I’ve heard from the
lotus mouth of my spiritual
master, Srila Prabhupada.

From the very beginning, he did
not hesitate to tell us of
Krsna, the Supreme Personality
of Godhead. He defended,
with theology and faith and
logic, how God can be a
person in humanlike
form, and yet, His energies
and expansions encompass
all existence. I accept it
as true, and it has
become matter of fact
reality despite the
inconceivable nature
of His position.

He does not tally with the
limited reality of persons and
expressions that we know in this
world. As Jiva Gosvami
says, unless you accept
God’s inconceivable nature
you can’t understand Him
a whit. He’s beyond the
normal ken.

From The Wild Garden


Srila Prabhupada, your spiritual master told you that you were qualified because you heard nicely. He didn’t recognize you because you gave donations to the Gaudiya Math or be­cause you got involved in management. He recognized you for your attention to chanting and hearing. In this way, your spir­itual master has forever emphasized the importance of these basic, Krsna conscious practices for us. And you yourself told us that because you were good at sravanam, now you were good at kirtanam, preaching.

Another point similar to this one is that you took your spir­itual master’s instructions so seriously that later they became the basis of your life’s work. For example, he only mentioned that you should become a Western preacher twice—once when he first met you and again in a letter he wrote you at the end of his life. He also told you during Karttika, 1935, at Radha-kunda, “If you ever get money, print books.” You allowed his in­structions to impress you deeply.

We cannot imitate your dedication to his words, but it teaches us that following the spiritual master to the utmost depends on the disciple’s capacity to take seriously and absorb what his guru is saying.

Also, we have to try and follow our guru’s instructions cre­atively. The guru may give us a seed instruction, a sutra-sized mention that gives us an indication of his desire. Then the disciple has to think carefully how to carry it out to the fullest extent.

Srila Prabhupada, you had to think about so many things in order to carry out your guru’s instructions, and yet you always did it in faith. Your faith was in the spirit of the instruction and was not always dependent on the “letter of the law.” Neither did you wait for him to spell out the details of how you could carry out his order. You used your creative intelligence and you were successful.

You have left us with much more detailed instructions, but even within those details, there is room for creativity. Times have changed and we may have to learn how to adjust our ap­proach in preaching. When you were here, the airports were open and big book distribution was going on full force. Now it is illegal to distribute books in many airports, so we have to think of another way. If we are following the spirit of your instruc­tions, we will be creative in our following.


Many of the devotees waiting for you in Sydney had never been trained by your senior disciples. They had been given a few instructions and told to go preach. They read your Bhagavad-gita As It Is, although they didn’t even really know how to lec­ture. Their daily classes consisted of reading aloud from your book. But they were faithful, sincere disciples, and they proved their sincerity by going out on your order to chant Hare Krsna in the streets despite repeated arrests.

The example of the Sydney devotees and their relationship with you is described in the Bhagavad-gita: “. . . there are those who, although not conversant in spiritual knowledge, begin to worship the Supreme Person upon hearing about Him from others. Because of their tendency to hear from authorities, they also transcend the path of birth and death” (Bg. 13.26).

In my class, I won’t have time to read all the memoirs those devotees gave, incidents which now seem amusing as they de­scribe their ignorance and your leniency. One of the most re­markable things of that visit is that you brought Radha-Krsna Deities and installed Them, even though the devotees were un­prepared. You did this for a reason—you wanted to expand the movement and Deity worship was part of that expansion—but still, your motives and tactics and timings were inconceivable. No one knows the mind of the acarya.

In Sydney you initiated persons who you knew were not qual­ified and then left them with Radha-Krsna. Later you told us that you prayed confidentially to Radha-Gopinatha: “Now I am leaving You in the hands of the mlecchas. I cannot take the re­sponsibility. You please guide these boys and girls and give them the intelligence to worship You nicely.”


From Sri Caitanya Maha-Kavyam: An Epic Poem Describing Caitanya’s Life by Kavi Karnapura, Translation by H.H. Bhanu Swami

When He performed His pastimes in Navadvīpa at His will, Lakṣmī personified appeared in all the houses, and all happiness personified also appeared everywhere. Prema for the Lord appeared in everyone continually, in newer and newer ways.

When the Lord played with great pleasure in Navadvīpa, there was no sleep, no fear, no hunger, no thirst, no whimsical actions, and no fear of time or punishment from Yama for anyone, by the Lord’s mercy.

The Performer of countless pastimes, entering Puri, went to Sārvabhauma’s house. The brāhmaṇa, suddenly seeing the Sannyāsa attractive with knowledge, felt great bliss.

Rising and offering foot water with devotion, Sārvabhauma gave Him a wide seat and after offering respects, quickly and intelligently asked about Him with politeness.

“Where did you come from and where are you going? You are charming, peaceful and in control of your senses.” When he asked all this, the devotees answered everything.

Understanding everything, knowing what he had not known, he was happy. He revealed his bliss before the lotus feet of the Lord, worthy of worship by all eminent people.

Understanding the Lord’s desire, Sārvabhauma immediately sent Him off respectfully with his son to the temple, as He desired to see Jagannātha.

With Sārvabhauma’s son, He arrived at the temple and happily but cautiously entered. He saw the jewel in the crown of Nīlācala, Jagannātha, and sunk in an ocean of bliss.

Gazing at the Lord, He offered repeated respects and prayers, and bathed His body in his tears. Circumambulating five times, with difficulty He left the temple.

Seeing the Lord, the jewel in the crown of Nīlācala, He felt bliss. Making a necklace of the jewels of the Lord’s names, He placed this on His neck and shone constantly.

Filled with bliss, seeing Jagannātha along with His devotees like Mukunda Datta, the Lord spent some days there.

Sārvabhauma, the best of brāhmaṇas, thought in his mind about Mahāprabhu’s influence and power, not knowing everything, since the merciful Lord was acting as a human.

Becoming deaf because of the waves from the ocean of Mahāprabhu’s learning, even Bṛhaspati became senseless.

It is not surprising that Bṛhaspati, who had great pride and deep intelligence, did not know the lotus feet of the Lord. He did not even know a particle of His great learning.

Sārvabhauma thought to himself, “This great person, chief of men, took sannyāsa at a young age for He has this appearance. There is no need to think further. It is not difficult for you to conclude.

“He is attractive to the whole world, with many signs of a great person. How can he spend his time maintaining the conduct of a sannyāsa?

“I have studied and made my students study many times with diligence.” The best of brāhmaṇas, in madness, attempted to teach the Lord.

Sārvabhauma, who was directly Bṛhaspati, spoke concerning Vedanta conventionally, using proud words. The Lord listened and then explained everything in a different way.

“What are you saying? What is the opposing argument? Are you showing the conclusion with proof? This is not the meaning of Vedānta. Please listen to what I explain.”

The Lord supplied arguments to counter Sārvabhauma’s conclusions and defeated Advaita-vāda. He established bhakti as His conclusion.

In this way with all proofs, using śakti, tātparya, laksaṇa, gauṇa and mukhya meanings as well as jahatsvārtha and ajahat-svārtha, He established his position.

Sārvabhauma, his intellect defeated by vitaṇḍa, chala and nigraha, presented a proposal to be countered. He was quickly defeated by the Lord with His perfect conclusions.

Sārvabhauma, advocating Advaita, and the Lord, advocating bhakti, both oceans of great intellect, served by their followers, spent a long time in arguing back and forth in various ways.

Most astonished, the best of brāhmaṇas, his heart confused by the Lord’s mind, spoke. “Who is this? He has appeared in this world to defeat my intelligence. Is He Bṛhaspati?

“I have always wondered about this. Bṛhaspati even with great effort cannot cross over the ocean of my intellect.

“He must be Kṛṣṇa. This can be understood from His actions.” Thinking in this way, he offered respects to the Lord of his heart, while his hairs stood on end.

“He is a youth. How much has He studied or taught? But I did not have the power to defeat Him, and He has the power to defeat me.

With tears flowing from his rolling eyes, singing verses of praise and offering respects, hairs standing on end, he pleased the Lord. The Lord, an ocean of mercy, pleased him.



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Essays Volume 1: A Handbook for Krishna Consciousness

This collection of Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswami’s writings is comprised of essays that were originally published in Back to Godhead magazine between 1966 and 1978, and compiled in 1979 by Gita Nagari Press as the volume A Handbook for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

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Essays Volume 2: Notes From the Editor: Back to Godhead 1978–1989

This second volume of Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswami’s Back to Godhead essays encompasses the last 11 years of his 20-year tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Back to Godhead magazine. The essays in this book consist mostly of SDG’s ‘Notes from the Editor’ column, which was typically featured towards the end of each issue starting in 1978 and running until Mahārāja retired from his duties as editor in 1989.

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Essays Volume 3: Lessons from the Road

This collection of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami’s writings is comprised of essays that were originally published in Back to Godhead magazine between 1991 and 2002, picking up where Volume 2 leaves off. The volume is supplemented by essays about devotional service from issues of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami’s magazine, Among Friends, published in the 1990s.

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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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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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A narrative poem. challenging and profound, about the journey of an itinerant monk who pursues new means of self-Seeking New Land

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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