Ananda Kisora, my siksa disciple, is doing good service for me based in Italy. He daily posts on Facebook three excerpts from my weekly Journal. He accompanies them with selected photographs or paintings which are relevant to the writings. He sends me the postings every day in my email. He has a wife and a young child, and a business. He’s a very good example of a fully engaged householder. He has a strong attachment to Radhanath Maharaja, his initiating guru, with my blessings. Four years ago Ananda Kisora and his family spent three months here at Viraha Bhavan during Linda’s school vacation (she is a schoolteacher). I have given his son, Filippo, the name “Acyuta,” which he wanted because all of his devotee friends have spiritual names.
Radha-Govinda have been wearing the same outfit for a week while Krsna dasi has been gone to a wedding in Trinidad. The outfit that They have now is beautiful, but it’s a nicer standard to change the outfit every three days. Radha-Govinda have almost eighty outfits, so everyone, when They are wearing it, looks new. Since taking darsana is a major part of my bhajana, I look forward to the change in outfits.
In our out-loud reading group, we are hearing Lord Caitanya speak on Vedanta-sutra to all the Mayavadis of Benares. Their leader, Prakasananda Sarasvati, criticizes Lord Caitanya and says to Him, “We appreciate that You chant and dance Hare Krsna in love of God, but why don’t You study Vedanta-sutra? This is the duty of a sannyasi.” Lord Caitanya replied, “If you permit Me, I will speak something of Vedanta-sutra.” The Lord then begins to explain all the sutras using the direct meaning without misinterpreting by using indirect meanings, word jugglery and false logic. He speaks at length, so excellently that Prakasananda and the Mayavadi sannyasis are all struck with wonder. Their minds are changed; they say to Him with submission that He has spoken the right conclusion of Vedanta-sutra. They say to Him that He is actually Lord Narayana. In his purports Srila Prabhupada says that the devotees in the Krsna consciousness movement, in addition to chanting Hare Krsna, should also know the philosophy of Vedanta so that they can defeat the Mayavadis. He did long purports with logic and arguments to counter the Mayavadis, and thus he teaches his preachers how this can be done.
Baladeva, my right-hand man, is seventy-two years old, and he has body issues. He says he has good strength, but it’s diminishing, and his joints are worn out and arthritic. He’s conscientious about his health and visits doctors and nurses as soon as any new issue begins, to make sure it doesn’t interfere with his service. I am worried about him. Fortunately, it seems that Krsna is sending steady new troops. Of course, there are no guarantees that the new helpers will stay here permanently, but it’s hopeful. We really don’t have room in the ashram for many new people at a time. But if we can keep two extras here to take up Baladeva’s overextended service, he could have some sadhana, and do paperwork and other things that are remiss. The new help is underway but not tested, and no permanent new person has arrived. It seems like we have one slot covered, with two men taking different months of the year. Then the second slot can be taken up by occasional visitors who stay for a few weeks, or a month at a time. They all need to be trained up, but Atindra is expert at doing that, and he’s also willing to fill in different slots that become empty and unfilled.
Two of my senior disciples, a married couple actively doing service, wrote to me. Their service is in America, but they spend six months a year in Europe tending to family matters such as children, grandchildren and disabled siblings. Recently I wrote them back and requested that they consider taking up the vanaprastha stage of life—giving up these attachments which distract them from their service. They agree with me on principle and will spend part of the next year in Europe clearing up their different relationships.
Their response to my request was,
“Additionally, our reading over the last couple of years has pointed us in the same direction of increased detachment from family life, as well as other devotees suggesting that we would be better off staying in one place and being less involved in the general goings-on of family life. So it seems that guru, sadhu and sastra are all saying the same thing, and therefore it is clear what we need to be doing and working towards.”
Their positive response made me very happy, and I am encouraged to put this request to other senior disciples. Prabhupada was very clear about wanting his disciples to wind down their material life at age fifty and increase their direct service to Krsna. Many of my disciples are already past this age, and they would do well to follow the example of this couple, whom I am very proud of.
Yesterday Atindra left at 11:00 A.M., leaving us alone without an extra servant. We expected Vicaru to come back by noon, but at noon he didn’t arrive, and we were left alone all day, just me and Baladeva. It was an extra burden for him. In fact, Vicaru didn’t arrive until 6:15 P.M., when I was already in bed. He brought with him a whole family who had hosted him in New Jersey. They wanted to bring him back and meet with me, but it was too late, and my voice was shot. Baladeva was getting ready to go to bed, but he went down to meet them. It was a real passionate change of the guards. The family was sweet, but they weren’t about to leave. Baladeva talked to the man, who was initiated by Kratu, and his wife was initiated by Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja. They were originally from Mathura and had come to America. Vicaru was very excited coming from five days of kirtana performances before many devotees in New Jersey. He did programs at a yoga studio, the temple, and many homes. They kept begging him to stay in New Jersey, so he did say at least an extra day. And then his hosts, who he was depending on for his ride, said they couldn’t come until their children came home from school. So that was why they were so late. They worked on “Indian Standard Time.”
Today we had an 11:15 A.M. appointment at the eye doctor for an annual checkup. First, I was examined by one of his female assistants. She said my eyes were okay and then told me to wait for Dr. Goodrich to come in and see me. He soon came in with his long white hair. He applied my head to different machines and had me look at numbers and letters on the wall—with eyeglasses and without eyeglasses—while changing the various lenses in each eye to determine my new prescription. It turned out that the prescription had changed enough to warrant new glasses. Unfortunately, it had changed too much, otherwise I wouldn’t have needed new glasses at great expense. I was fitted with new glasses. I kept my old glasses, and the technician told me I would have my new glasses in a couple of weeks. Baladeva also has new glasses coming, because his were damaged and still under warranty. A cloudy lens had to be replaced (for free).
A possible weakness in my meditations is that I claim to be yearning for union with Srila Prabhupada, yet I am afraid of an actual encounter with him—because he makes me surrender. If I’m afraid of an encounter, that means that I prefer to remember him rather than to be with him. In the memory form, Prabhupada cannot answer me back. He is the object of my worship, but he remains silent. This type of meditation could come dangerously close to worshiping an “illusory Prabhupada.”
But I shouldn’t damn myself and say that I am trying to avoid him. Despite my laziness, when Prabhupada speaks, I will obey. Neither is he entirely silent since his disappearance. He speaks through his many disciples, and I’m listening to them. He also speaks in my heart, and I respond. He speaks directly in his writings. Prabhupada meditations are not one-way talks with only me speaking whatever I like before an idol of my own creation. At their best, Prabhupada meditations are two-way conversations by worshipful followers. As one can “talk” with Krsna, so it is possible to do this with guru also.
Srila Prabhupada was once asked about communication with him “when you’re not with us.” At first, he said we can read his books, but the devotee asked, “What about in addition to your books, just as Supersoul speaks to us?” Prabhupada replied that it depended on the purity of the disciple.
Regarding his relationship with his own spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada wrote, “I think that His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati is always seeing my activities and guiding me within my heart by his words. As it is said in Srimad-Bhagavatam, ‘tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye: 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.’” (“Concluding Words” of Caitanya-caritamrta)
We used to imitate Swamiji in various ways, trying to act as spiritual persons, sometimes to show off to newcomers. One thing I began to imitate was a sound that Prabhupada made, an ecstatic utterance which sounded like “Mmmm.” Prabhupada would often do it, and we all took it as an ecstatic moment in his speech. He might be saying, “Krsna is very beautiful,” and then he would pause and feel something and make that sound, “Mmmm.” When I did it in imitation I was not feeling ecstasy, but I was Swamiji’s follower. It was something that I had picked up, and something that some of us did. It was the sakti of Swamiji. We had noted it and taken it up as our way.
So one day a guest was eating prasadam with us in Swamiji’s apartment and he sat down next to me. He was a marijuana smoker and was checking people out closely to see their mannerisms. When he sat down next to me there was a moment of silence and then I made that sound, “Mmmm.” He immediately noticed it and appreciated, “Yeah, I dig you, man! I see what you’re into.” My sound had proclaimed, “We are Swamiji’s followers and we’re not afraid of anything because we know Krsna.” If I had said the same thing, it would have sounded arrogant or untrue. But by making that sound, the young hipster picked it up and appreciated it. “Mmmm” implied that we don’t die, we’re eternal souls, Krsna is full of bliss, He is within your heart.
In discussions among devotees, I have heard that the Prabhupada we knew is temporary, and we will not see him again in that form. Only those who go back to Godhead will see him again, in his eternal liberated form. As the Six Gosvamis have spiritual forms—and therefore Rupa Gosvami is known as Rupa Manjari—so the liberated spiritual master may be seen in his spiritual form by his liberated followers.
These topics are beyond me, although I accept what is stated in the sastra. But on an emotional level, I do not like to hear it put so bluntly, that I will not see Prabhupada again. Perhaps some things are better not spoken about, because we do not realize them. When we try to speak, it does not come out right.
This much I can say: Prabhupada will continue to live for the people of this world, at least for the next ten thousand years. Even Lord Caitanya’s mercy will not be manifest after ten thousand years, because then, by the Supreme Lord’s will, the Kali-yuga will set in in full force. But as long as human civilization is capable of receiving Krsna’s grace and Lord Caitanya’s grace, Prabhupada will be celebrated as the great devotee of the Lord, the first one to effectively spread bhakti all over the planet.
Prabhupada didn’t need to go to a tirtha. Wherever Prabhupada was, there was Vrndavana. He could be anywhere and be in Vrndavana consciousness. And by creating ISKCON centers, Prabhupada was creating transcendental tirthas in Western countries. This was a far more important service on behalf of Krsna than touring His established holy towns in India. Prabhupada said he could have stayed in Vrndavana without any anxiety, but he went to the West to preach.
Most of Prabhupada’s followers are preaching in different places all over the world. Lord Caitanya predicted that His holy name would be distributed “in every town and village,” and Prabhupada fulfilled that prediction and sent his disciples everywhere. But Prabhupada also set the example that going on pilgrimage was important to purify his disciples. And as those same disciples get older, it becomes more and more important to visit places like Vrndavana and Mayapura and to fix the mind firmly on Krsna. Preaching in the West may be considered the best service, but it is wearying. For those of us who Prabhupada rescued from our Western culture of maya, it is easy to become too influenced by Western ways when we never allow ourselves to experience the alternative of the pure atmosphere of the holy dhama. To experience real Krsna culture, one has to go to Vrndavana and Mayapura, mix with the people and the land, and feel the presence of the Lord. Rejuvenated, one can then go back to preach.
Prabhupada did not need rejuvenation. He thought of Krsna no matter where he was. He was enlivened and inspired by preaching in the West. But in his later years, he seemed to be drawn more toward India. He spent more time there, partly to manage the establishment of his ISKCON centers in Bombay, Mayapura, and Vrndavana, but partly because those lands were so close to his heart.
Sometimes I experience a negative reaction when I read Prabhupada’s conversations. I have to overcome that, I know. I hear the voices of his disciples and feel what, twinges of envy? Or that the person he is talking to does not properly appreciate Prabhupada? Or is Srila Prabhupada imposing his own view on someone else? Is he being too heavy? I shouldn’t even admit these things, but I have to face them if I want to overcome them.
I feel like I am making a confession. A nondevotee psychiatrist would say, “Well, if that’s how you think of your spiritual master, you have to face it. Maybe he’s not all that you thought he was. Maybe you should allow yourself to think this way. Don’t repress it.” He might urge me to lessen my attachment to Prabhupada. A devotee psychiatrist would deal with it differently. “Just because these thoughts pop up doesn’t necessarily mean they are symptomatic of a deep problem. Don’t become paralyzed by these temporary feelings from the surface of your mind.” He would convince me that just because I see a little something like that in myself from time to time, it doesn’t mean I don’t love Prabhupada or worship him.
Living in the material world means there will always be imperfection. It is either too hot or too cold. One is either experiencing the growing pains of youth or the dying pains of old age. There is no ideal place because everything is temporary. Even in spiritual life the body and mind try to hamper our awareness and stop us from understanding or appreciating the pure devotee. It is not the pure devotee’s fault; therefore, we pray, “My dear Lord, please forgive me. I am offensive when I think of You sometimes. I don’t fully appreciate You and Your devotees.”
How can I live if I think I have abused my association with Prabhupada? I have to live by my attachment to Prabhupada. I won’t deny that attachment is there. I worship it.
We all have to worship Prabhupada, reciprocating with the kindness he showed us. And while remembering the things of the past, we have to live now and, in the future, only for his mission. Somehow or other, we have to be true to him. This is how we can show our affection, our real deep attitudes toward him.
So all these things are very auspicious, and they should be remembered. His rooms should be preserved. The pictures of him when he was here, the things he said here—all these things should be kept in his honor. We have to take this opportunity to increase our service; and that is the proper way to respond to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disappearance.
In Vṛndāvana [the site of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disappearance on November 14, 1977], the atmosphere is filled with feelings of separation from Prabhupāda, naturally One devotee came there from America and said, “Oh, there’s an atmosphere of remembering Prabhupāda that’s so thick here in Vṛndāvana you can cut it with a knife “And he was saying that in America he had sensed a tendency to take a stance of “business as usual,” to regard Prabhupāda’s departure as not a very important thing and to do business as usual. On my way back to America, I talked to my Godbrother Harikeśa Mahārāja in Germany, and he was telling me that the devotees there went out and, in one day, collected a large sum of money for Prabhupāda’s samādhi [building of memorial]. I mentioned to him that there was somewhere a tendency to take Prabhupāda’s disappearance without any change and to do business as usual. So he said, “Oh, that’s not true here. Here it is business more than usual.” He told how the devotees in Germany traveled to London to see Prabhupāda just a few weeks before he had passed away. So they have a very special feeling for Śrīla Prabhupāda. And this is good. Not that we have an official thirty-day mourning period in which we don’t perform any activities—rather, “business more than usual” Let us not take it lightly.
We’ve missed our chance for further association with a pure devotee in his personal presence. We may not have been aware of the opportunity, but now we should be aware. Everyone knows the tendency: you don’t appreciate something, you take it for granted, until it’s taken away. So now, at least in one sense, it’s too late. So don’t take this lightly Actually it’s not too late, but we have to increase our service. And in order to do this, we have to churn the remembrance of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions. What he wanted, his teachings, his pastimes, the significance of our relation with him—meditate on these things. It should be the most important relationship we have, the most deeply heart-felt. Let us meditate on how he is taking us back to Godhead. And if we have any feeling for anyone else, it is Śrīla Prabhupāda who is able to grant him liberation from material misery.
Bicycle bell. Water buffalo grunting, headed my way. I am on the edge of the parikrama trail. Some people use this trail as a thoroughfare, but there are others too, in the exuberant mood of parikrama: “Jaya Radhe!” I am somewhere between these moods.
The air is still nice, not too hot yet. The unmelodic flute goes on.
I would like to stay in Vrndavana. ISKCON devotees are starting to go back to Sweden and England and wherever else they are from. Some are writing me a last note: “I leave with mixed feelings,” or, “I’m full of inspiration and hope that I can keep a little of it, like in a bottle I can sip from when I’m out on book distribution in London.”
Raman Reti: Nearby, there is a black cow with one white patch on her side. She lifts her hooves to shake off the flies. Lots of turds in this field from cows and others. The cows are frisky, fighting each other by butting their heads. One black calf approached me and I patted her, but now she is interfering with my writing. A white female dog wags her tail. The cows and calves surround me. Madhu is keeping them from getting too cozy. One brown and white speckled cow is picking fights with other cows and even with the dog.
Raman Reti is right out of Krsna book. Parrots screech and fly from one tree to the next. But now it is a desert despite the rains. Still, I can imagine Krsna coming here and leaving the cows to pasture while He and His friends have a game of kit’kit in the field.
A well-dressed lady stops at the sacred well and pays her respects. Indian men and women sitting near the Krsna-Balarama tree draw designs in the sand. A firecracker explodes and peacocks cry out in protest. Parikramers with bead-bags walk the trail.
Śrīla Prabhupāda has advised us to hear and recite the standard prayers in Vaiṣṇava paramparā, such as the prayers of the Brahma-saṁhitā, and the many prayers contained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He has also encouraged us to pray in our own words: “With devotion one should feel, ‘God is great, and I am very small. Therefore, my duty is to offer prayers to the Lord’” (Bhāg. 7.9.12, purport).
Because one goes to God through the guru, it seems more natural to offer prayers to the spiritual master. How can I dare to directly address Śrī Kṛṣṇa? Prabhupāda says it is our duty. And Prahlāda Mahārāja states, “Anyone who has been forced by ignorance to enter the material world may be purified of material life if he offers prayers to the Lord and hears the Lord’s glories” (Bhāg. 7.9.12).
With this in mind, one may begin. But we should also always be aware that whatever prayers we make will be inferior to the best prayers already composed.
My prayers may be taken as additional proof to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam statement that devotional service may be practiced in all circumstances, by all living beings, including the demons, the beastly species, and the fallen souls.
Although I am enveloped by the modes of passion and ignorance, and although I actually have little desire to glorify You, I have nevertheless composed these pretended prayers, posing myself as a great devotee eager to praise You. O Supreme Lord, O maintainer of the earth, even though these prayers are a sham, please accept them anyway, and please also teach my mind how to properly glorify You.
—Stotra-ratna, Text 56, Śrīla Yāmunācārya
By 4:45 am, I had finished sixteen rounds. It was really nice to get them all done in a row like that. I was chanting at under six minutes per round for the first twelve rounds, then I became tired and slowed down. I even began to develop some head pressure, but persisted and finished the sixteen. Yes, Nārāyaṇa, there is a taste.
My Dear Lord, I pray to please You. This is the aim of bhakti, of the pure devotee. He has no other motive or goal in his life. He is above the mukta, or the one who seeks liberation from birth and death as the result of his austerities and spiritual purification. I do not claim to be a pure devotee with no other motive in my life but to please You, but I’ve heard from my spiritual master and from Lord Caitanya’s words in Śikṣāṣṭakam that this is the highest standard, and so I desire to attain it. I’m serving You and practicing vaidhī-bhakti, and I wish to do so for Your pleasure. I want my acts to be pleasing to You.
Personally speaking, I am on Your path back to Godhead. But one has to practice to perfection, or else one must return to the material world in his next life to finish his advancement. Sometimes, even if one has completed his progress, Kṛṣṇa sends him back to the material world to assist in missionary activities. In His Śikṣāṣṭakam, Lord Caitanaya prayed, “Oh my Lord, I do not desire wealth, fame or beautiful women. All I want in my life is Your causeless devotional service, birth after birth.” By this prayer, Caitanya Mahāprabhu bypassed even the desire for personal liberation in favor of eternal devotional service, even in the material world.
In a Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam purport, Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote that even if a devotee doesn’t desire to go back to Godhead, the Lord takes him and brings him to live with Him and His eternal associates in the spiritual world. It is comforting to know that You want us to come join You in Goloka Vṛndāvana and that You personally initiate our going there. I must admit that I desire to be with You in Your abode with Your intimate devotees. I pray that, by Your mercy and my own endeavor, I may come to the standard of desiring eternal devotional service and that I be satisfied with wherever You place me.
COMPASSION BY DEFINITION IS AN EMOTION felt when one perceives another in a suffering condition. In a sense, that puts the sufferer in a lower position. That is proper, because mercy always flows downward, not upward. But the scriptures define a maha-bhagavata as someone situated in the fullest expression of Krsna conscious humility; he sees no one in need of mercy but everyone as perfectly situated under Krsna’s control.
Does this mean that a maha-bhagavata feels no compassion? If so, why do we accept the maha-bhagavata’s mood as the highest expression of Krsna consciousness? Why do we accept Srila Prabhupada as a maha-bhagavata, yet consider preaching (compassion) the most important service?
Nowadays, with the influx into ISKCON of teachings from Gaudiya Math gurus, Srila Prabhupada’s commitment to preaching is often brought into question, as if it were something lower than bhajana. If he himself is not questioned, then devotees are told that preaching was something Prabhupada insisted upon so that his unpurified, unqualified disciples would have something to do while they were waiting to become cleansed. When they became purified, they would no longer be focused on preaching but on relishing devotional mellows through an intense practice of personal sadhana.
How can we answer this challenge? Is it just a question of difference in emphasis between Srila Prabhupada and other Gaudiya spiritual masters, or is there an absolute answer by which we can justify our acceptance of Prabhupada’s mood as topmost?
First, we should understand that the maha-bhagavata does feel the suffering of others. The advanced devotee is para-duhkha-duhkhi, “in other words, he has no personal troubles, but he is very unhappy to see others in trouble.” (Bhag. 6.1.6, purport)
To understand para-duhkha-duhkhi, we can think of the example of a father with a wayward son. The father is happy within his own life. If his son becomes a vagabond, in a sense, the father’s peaceful activities at home are not disturbed, but he thinks always of his son and feels incomplete without him. Similarly, a maha-bhagavata sees only Krsna everywhere, but still, as a Vaisnava he feels compassion and thus chooses to accept the madhyama mood in order to help those suffering from a lack of Krsna consciousness. In one sense, the vision of the maha-bhagavata and the vision of the madhyama-bhagavata cannot be compared. One sees that all persons are engaged perfectly in Krsna’s plan; the other discriminates between those who are serving Krsna voluntarily and those who are not. We should be careful not to measure one understanding against the other in a material way.
Therefore, we should also be careful about trying to assess Srila Prabhupada’s preaching mood in a material way. How can anyone say that Prabhupada’s desire to alleviate the suffering of the conditioned souls is a lesser position than constant absorption in some other form of devotional service? And the fact that Srila Prabhupada engaged his disciples in the preaching mission simply to purify them is not complete.
In the purport of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.3.17, Srila Prabhupada writes: “A moment passed in the association of a pure devotee by hearing and chanting the transcendental messages of the Lord is a perfect guarantee for eternal life returning home, back to Godhead.” He later states: “A devotee’s old age or disease in the present life is but an impetus to such guaranteed eternal life.” In a few days I will be seventy years old, and that is definitely old age. I don’t know how many years I have to live, although You know. Should I think that I have a guarantee of eternal life? I have certainly passed many moments in the association of Srila Prabhupada, and I have heard him speaking the message of the Lord. I still hear him on tape recordings. But don’t I have to be on a certain level of high consciousness to be guaranteed going back to Godhead? If I have faith in this isolated passage of Bhaktivedanta Purport, I am guaranteed going back to Godhead because I have associated with a pure devotee and heard him speak the messages of the Lord. Then my old age, which implies that my life is coming to an end, is just an impetus: “soon I will be going to join with Krsna.” It is a nice thing to contemplate. But I have heard other statements that I vaguely remember, that you can’t have a pinch of material desires or you are ineligible for going back to Godhead. Then there is a story of Prabhupada lecturing and saying you have to be cent-percent pure or can’t go back to Godhead, and then when he saw the devotees looked crestfallen he said, “At least 80 percent,” and then he finally lowered it to, “at least 75 percent.” Prabhupada and You are very compassionate.
I pray to go back to Godhead in this lifetime. I am getting closer to the time when I believe I will be taken by You to my next destination. I do not know if I have a guarantee. I have heard that a pure devotee is not even concerned with his liberation. He is willing to go anywhere, even in the material world, if he can continue unalloyed devotional service to You. “All I want in my life is Your causeless devotional service birth after birth.” (Siksastakam 4)
The devotees came to attractive Yājapurī and after bathing in the Vaitaraṇī River, entered the town.
Pratāparudra, after having a dream, sent a palanquin and put Advaita on it, and brought him.
Advaita was worried. “Knowing that I am conversing with a king, what will Gauracandra say to me?”
Though Advaita was the Lord he trembled in fear of Gauracandra. He brought Vāsudeva Datta with him.
Some followers of Advaita, surrendered to Gaurāṅga’s lotus feet, went with him on the road to Kaṭaka.
Hari-dāsa and other great devotees, letting Śrīvāsa go ahead, went to Haṁseśvara.
Spending the day there, they saw the deity of Śiva, and the next morning rose thoroughly refreshed and continued walking in joy.
At some distance, Śrīvāsa and others who had gone ahead were waiting. Their joy doubled as the other devotees approached.
The great-minded Advaita met with them, while thinking, “We will see the effulgence of Gaurāṅga’s toe nails.”
Together then went to Kamalaka-pura in great joy, spreading kīrtana everywhere.
Coming to the river, they bathed and gazed at the temple, for a long time. With its towering pinnacle, it seemed the sun had fallen from the sky.
With joy they saw the temple of Jagannātha shining like a million suns, endowed with nectar.
The great devotees gazed at the temple which gives bliss to all beings.
Seeing the temple, their hairs stood on end in joy as great as the size of the temple.
Seeing the temple, they felt an ocean of happiness. They trembled and offered respects while performing kīrtana.
Receiving a pure garland sent by Gauracandra, Advaita was overjoyed.
Overcome with happiness, Advaita danced along with the devotees who, joyful with prema, were doing constant kīrtana.
Dancing and chanting, greedy for Gaurāṅga, they arrived at the bank of Narendra Lake and proceeded happily.
Advaita again received a pure garland from Govinda. He heard Govinda’s words with eagerness.
After that, the devotees headed by Advaita saw Jagannātha, endowed with lotus eyes.
Seeing Jagannātha with His mighty chest, His huge arms and His blossoming eyes, they were overjoyed.
Then Gauracandra, shining like a million moons, overflowing with happiness, tears flowing from His eyes, arrived.
He made the earth tremble with His footsteps. He had the gait of an intoxicated elephant. He had the enthusiasm of a mad lion. His gleaming arms extended to His knees.
He was a moving mountain of gold, a mine of nectar, gushing with waterfalls of tears.
He was like a million moons rising simultaneously, emitting constantly long streams of nectar.
He shone with a red kaupīna and outer cloth. His effulgent thighs conquered two banana trunks.
With rays of sweet light emanating from His beautiful toe nails, the ocean of rasa illuminated the fortunate earth.
All directions were bathed in the intense light of His moon-like face. His conch-like neck was the personification of an ocean of happiness.
He had the neck of a lion, and a broad, beguiling chest. He had a thin waist tied with a waist cloth.
Reciting Brahmā’s prayer starting with naumīḍya te ‘bhra-vapuse, Mahāprabhu offered respects to Advaita.
Overjoyed, Advaita, his hairs standing on end, offered Him respects. They praised each other and offered respects continually.
Continuously they shed tears which formed pearl garlands. They spent a long happy time offering respects and praises.
Then Mahāprabhu, seeing the lotus feet of Śrīvāsa, became overjoyed and praised him profusely.
Śrīvāsa, becoming confused, seemed like he desired to die. The fortunate devotee offered respects and praises profusely.
His younger brother Śrīrāma and Vāsudeva Datta offered respects to the Lord together.
Mahāprabhu embraced them with His pillar-like arms. Śivānanda Sena then offered respects in bliss.
He brought two jars of Gaṅgā water to Mahāprabhu.
Seeing the water, Mahāprabhu, the ocean of mercy, sang its praises. His teeth gleaming between His lips, He spoke sweetly.
“Give one jar to me, for the bathing ceremony of Jagannātha. Separate these two jars of Vāsudeva and Śivānanda.”
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.
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.
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.
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.