Free Write Journal #249


Free Write Journal #249

June 09, 2023

Satsvarupa dasa Goswami Maharaja
Spiritual Family Celebration
Saturday, July 1, 2023


Meeting of Disciples and friends of SDG


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

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


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


Baladeva Vidyabhusana at [email protected]  or (518) 754-1108
Krsna dasi at [email protected] or (518) 822-7636


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


Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 20.124–125: “O great learned devotee, although there are many faults in this material world, there is one good opportunity—the association with devotees. Such association brings about great happiness. . . . .”


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

[Conversation with David Wynne, July 9, 1973, London]

Free Writes


With the current heat wave of 91° F. (33° C.), two men installed a new air conditioner in my room. The Hindu, Amith, and my visiting disciple from Schenectady, Haridasa, installed the machine in my window. It took two of them because the machine was heavy. It immediately made a difference in the temperature in my room, bringing the thermometer down from 90° to 80°, which is tolerable along with the fan. I used to be able to tolerate a lot more heat, like when we were in Vrndavana with Prabhupada, but still, I would get overheated and lose energy. Back then there was no A/C, just fans (when the electricity was working). Baladeva’s sister Kathi is visiting, and we put my old A/C in her guest room. It’s good timing, because the heat is not going to break for a week, and I wouldn’t want to feel light-headed; I wouldn’t want to have more difficulty in writing or be languishing in pools of sweat.

Busy Ashram

A lot was going on in the ashram today. Fortunately, we had a lot of extra help. Haridasa cleaned my whole room, including bathroom and workroom. He comes several times a month and does this. Haridasa doesn’t drive, so whoever brings him here also does some service. Today it was a driver and another devotee, who helped downstairs, as well as Amith, who was doing the air conditioning. The driver of Haridasa, and the other men, were helping in the kitchen because of the extra guests, including Baladeva’s sister. Krishnendu had to cook for four extra guests, which is double what he normally cooks. And it was good because he’s a good cook. Even with all the extra activity, the lunch and the out-loud reading were on time. Baladeva got back late from his doctor’s appointment and missed the fun. Then he had to turn around and deliver the car to Saci Suta in Albany. (Baladeva’s sister had to follow Baladeva in the car to bring him back.)

Car Adventures

Baladeva’s sister, Kathi, arrived yesterday, making the long drive from Maine. An hour after she arrived, she volunteered to follow Baladeva in the van to drop it off at Saci’s in Albany so he could use it for the weekend. Then she drove Baladeva back to Stuyvesant Falls before immediately going to Krsna dasi’s house to “crash out.” Then this morning she volunteered again to take Baladeva and Krsna dasi to pick up Krsna dasi’s little blue Toyota from the fix-it shop in Chatham, ten miles away. Krsna dasi, who hasn’t driven more than five miles, finally surrendered and made the ten-mile journey on winding roads from Chatham, with Baladeva in the car. She drove well, keeping up with the speed limit, staying within the lines, slowing down appropriately for any turns, and keeping to the right side of the road, which is difficult for a Trinidadian driver (or for any driver from a left side drive country). Baladeva was impressed with her driving, but he was depressed with the bill for fixing the car. The car is a 1998 Toyota inherited from Dhanurdhara Swami, who inherited it from an Indian, and it has 220,000 miles on it and showing signs of wear and tear. This trip to the auto doctor was $560 and showed that another repair was pending. So, we have to decide about getting Krsna dasi another small car, since she’s not tall enough to see over the dashboard of the van.


Before he left for Fiji, Vicaru left us with a number of fifteen-minute video clips of Prabhupada on morning walks or room conversations. I’ve been listening to them, taking notes, and putting them into the present Volume Three, Be Prepared. But they don’t seem to fit as well as the notes did in Volume Two, Prabhupada Revival, where I was using 1966 lectures by Prabhupada (all of which I attended). I have been disappointed because the videos haven’t worked so well. For example, this morning I watched an interview Prabhupada gave to a social worker in Australia. I couldn’t hear even a single word from the social worker. It was inaudible. But I heard Prabhupada clearly. He was talking about illicit sex, and saying how our Society prohibited its members from having illicit sex, although we allow sex for having children. The man was completely opposed to Prabhupada. He defended prophylactics and free sex. I heard the man say, “I enjoy sex.” The man just never surrendered and opposed whatever Prabhupada said. So, it was a disappointing conclusion, and I’ve decided not to use this series of video talks any more.

Five Guests

Five guests traveled the two and a half hours from New York City, giving us only three hours’ notice that they were coming, and arrived just before lunch. They were all devotees. Two of them, Jamuna dasa and Damayanti dasi, are my disciples from a long time ago. They are both very faithful, and generous and helpful during festivals. Jamuna became emotional talking to me, and said I was his eternal guru. Tears came to his eyes as his wife rubbed his back and Baladeva gave him several tissues.  The other persons present were Damayanti’s sister-in-law and her niece and nephew. These devotees were initiated by Romapada Swami. At this meeting I spoke, especially to the disciples of Romapada Swami, and told them that he allowed my disciples to set up a table of my books at the Gita Nagari Memorial Day festival. I was the only one who was allowed to set up such a table. I also heard that Romapada Swami said he advises his disciples to read my books. I appreciated him very much for doing that. The nephew, who is forty years old and a strong-built man, said he was five years old in Guyana when I came there as a sannyasi and guru. Although he was only five years old then, he remembered me to this day. He always had a desire to meet with me personally, so he was very excited by coming here. I asked Damayanti and Jamuna if they were chanting their rounds. They very positively told me, especially Damayanti, that they always chant sixteen rounds every day, without missing a day. I quoted to them Prabhupada’s written statement: “Of all the regulative principles, the spiritual master’s order to chant at least sixteen rounds is most essential.” I asked if they had any questions, but none of them did. They just wanted to have a personal meeting. Jamuna told me how he’s been cooking for the Brooklyn temple, which he attends, and for the temple restaurant. They have a booth at the New York Ratha-yatra where they sell prasadam, and they make $5000 for the temple. On top of that, they make several hundred samosas for the temple to sell at their booth. It’s nice to see how there are such strong family connections of devotees in a place like Guyana—the aunts and uncles, the cousins, the brothers and sisters, who will all be initiated devotees by different gurus. They come every now and then, and it’s a pleasure to see them. We’ll see them again at the July 1 disciples meeting, and they’ll be cooking and serving again.

Discovered Flash Drive

We found in a drawer here a mysterious flash drive. We haven’t seen the whole thing yet, but apparently there’s an unpublished book of mine, for starters, and there may be other books or manuscripts of mine on it. It points out how important it is to look at your old flash drives to see if anything from Gita-nagari Press has migrated there. If, for example, it’s a manuscript previously undiscovered, or even a book unprocessed yet, it may save hours and hours of typing, which could be better used on other projects. So please take this event as an inspiration to look at your old flash drives to see if there are any Gita-nagari Press manuscripts on them.

A Visit from Kathi

Baladeva’s sister Kathi drove a total of nine and a half hours from her home in northern Maine (she took a few breaks to take the strain off driving). She arrived at our house, and within an hour was summoned to help with a car situation here. She’s a great volunteer. She will do anything to help. While she was here, she was cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, groceries, going out to get milk, etc. Kathi and Atindra did a huge service, in marathon mode, to clean up the paperwork that Baladeva had accumulated for a year and a half. They cleared up the huge stack of papers, opening envelopes, filing, made up a filing box, got all the Gita Nagari Press papers straightened out, and cleared Baladeva’s desk. So now the huge stack of papers is down 100% to nothing, and the bills are all paid. She is a fantastic helper!

I had a talk with her. She told me about her Buddhist practice. While she was here, she got up at 3:00 in the morning and watched a Zoom of her Rinpoche, who was speaking in Germany and seen by hundreds of people around the world on the Internet. She praised him as being very learned, deep in Buddhism, witty, and simply wonderful. She accepts him as one of her teachers. She has several favorites. In Maine she does Buddhist meditation with a female partner, and on the weekends, she meets with a group who do meditation. And during the week she meditates on Zoom with different friends around the states. She has always been the main promoter of Buddhism among her friends. She leads the chanting and meditation for most of them. She told me about a time when she had bad vocal cords and couldn’t lead the chanting. She said she got a lot of help from something called “belly breathing,” which she’ll show me when she gets back.

Reading from Prabhupada’s books, I have a low opinion of Buddhism. He calls it voidism because they do not meditate on God or the form of God. I didn’t say anything critical to her but kept myself silent. But Prabhupada has said if one is a Buddhist and meditates on Buddhism at the time of death, one will become a rock in the next life. I personally heard Prabhupada say that.

Kathi is friendly with us, and we all avoid the “Buddha-bashing.” At the same time, her favorite tape to play in the car is Krishna Dasa, chanting “Hare Krishna.”

Update on Amith

I have written before on Amith in this Journal, but now his situation is different. He is still a hodgepodge Hindu, but now he’s here, paying rent and doing a lot of service. Some time ago he gave up his lease on his apartment, moved his stuff into Krsna dasi’s basement, and went traveling throughout the U.S., visiting ISKCON temples and seeing friends and relatives. In the middle of that his father died, leaving a grieving mother and a bankrupt business in India. So, the family had to sell their home and disperse. And he was sent back here, as the only wage-earning member of the family, to send money back to India. Now he’s created a home here at Viraha Bhavan. He does his work on the computer, does his puja, his bike rides, and helps a lot around the house.


Today in Stuyvesant Falls the electric power went out for two hours. It reminded me of the first times I went to Vrndavana, when the power would go out regularly for as much as ten hours. I first went there in the 1970s. I was with Prabhupada as his servant and secretary in 1974. I saw how Prabhupada behaved in the blackout. He simply had his servant light a candle, and he went on with business as usual. His “business” was conversations with people in the dark—visitors, guests. But there wasn’t enough light to do his writing. He didn’t have a generator to supply power.

I would like to mention how different it was in the 1970s. It was still something of a rural place. There was one small road going to Delhi. Mostly other roads were not paved yet—they were just sand. There was plenty of Vrndavana dust. To walk in it was heavenly: powder. You can’t even describe how wonderful it was to walk in Raman-reti. Now the place is built up with tall buildings packed close together. There is heavy car and truck traffic on the road, with motor rickshaws, etc. In the ’70s it wasn’t like it is now—with loudspeakers on every building competing for the airspace. Even if they had loudspeakers in the old days, it was mostly quiet because the power was so often out.  There were a lot more cuckoos and peacocks, and other birds making sweet sounds. It was like the KRSNA book coming alive.

I know that Vrndavana is still sacred, and that Krsna is still there. But I prefer my old memories when Krsna seemed more accessible to a nanve Westerner.


We are planning to try to place a Facetime call to Vicaru, who is probably still in Taiwan, where he went to celebrate his guru (Tamal Krishna Goswami’s) vyasa-puja occasion, among a gathering of many of his disciples. We didn’t want to disturb his mood of worshiping his Guru Maharaja, but we think now enough time has passed that we can reach him again.

He’s also in Taiwan to be checked out medically. He has serious problems with his health, and he’s hoping the doctors there can at least diagnose what the problem is, then get them resolved with the devotee doctors here.

We miss Vicaru and look forward to his return and his enthusiastic service attitude. And we will try to inspire him in writing his memoir book of his Guru Maharaja, Tamal Krishna Goswami. He spent three years together with TKG as a servant at Cambridge, U.K. when Maharaja was going to the university there. Vicaru’s Godbrothers and Godsisters are all urging him to do the book and finish it, and it seems like Viraha Bhavan is the perfect place for him to do it, where he can be settled down, calm and quiet, and associate with another writer. Here is a writer-friendly atmosphere.


From Prabhupada Meditations, Volume 1

Prabhupada Smaranam

He came down from his second floor suite
to see temple presidents
from several U.S. states.
L.A. was his new world headquarters
and he had called us there to learn.
I took notes of everything I saw,
purchased the exact same black rubber tape
that Visnujana Swami used on his hands
while playing the mrdanga,
and I bought the same plastic bottle
for drinking water, by devotees on harinama.
Seeing Prabhupada in New Dvaraka, I felt very small.
I was dressed in white.
When I led a kirtana Visnujana said
I should not pause so long in between phrases.
He said, “Every moment should be filled with music.”
At that time Karanadhara
was working with a jackhammer,
building a garden for Prabhupada.
We stayed out Friday night on harinama in Hollywood,
then went to a park the next day.
And Prabhupada lectured at the Sunday Feast.
What did he do, what did he say?
He said householders should
come to worship the Deity in the temple.
He asked a wife to live apart from her husband
so she could type for ISKCON Press in Boston.
He said, “Service is more important than marriage.”
He said I could quit my welfare job
to spend more time in the temple.
And I remember him standing by the picture
where Baby Krsna is being dragged in the mud.
He hadn’t planned to stop and speak there—
he was just walking out of the room
and the picture caught his eye.
So with us close behind, he turned
smiling with pleasure and said,
“An atheist sees God as death,
and a devotees sees God like this.”
Prabhupada was like that.


One time, Prabhupada reprimanded a devotee who was supposed to be guarding outside his door in Mayapura. Prabhupada had been ringing his bell but the man had wandered off from his post. A sannyasi disciple who observed this reprimand then asked Prabhupada, “How should we feel when the spiritual master is angry with us?” Prabhupada said, “You should be grateful that you’re getting attention. Just see all the people of the world, how they’re completely neglected, but if the spiritual master is angry with you, that means he’s giving you his attention.” Normally, when we are getting such attention, it feels uncomfortable, and it should be taken as a serious matter for rectification. But what is a disciple for, except to be disciplined? And so we should also be glad.

Prabhupada’s reprimands were often given because of an unintelligent act by a disciple. When he did this to me it was crushing to my false ego, but at the same time, I gained appreciation for Srila Prabhupada’s strong intelligence. I lacked all kinds of intelligence—practical intelligence to do things in the world, and also philosophical intelligence as well as the sensitive human intelligence to care for others’ needs. One time when I was with Prabhupada in Calcutta, I made a series of mistakes. Then when we were about to travel out of Calcutta, I purchased the plane tickets and brought them to Prabhupada to show him that everything was in order.

Prabhupada asked, “So will there be any delay at the airport, at the ticket counter or with immigration?”

“No, Prabhupada,” I said. “Everything is in order and there won’t be any difficulty.”

Prabhupada said, “That’s what you say.” He then began to comment in a general way about the importance of intelligence. He said that if a person has intelligence, he’s actually a strong man. If one has a good brain then he is strong. I thought that was a good description of Prabhupada himself. He seemed to imply that a person could get on well in the world, even if he wasn’t physically strong, or if he lacked money, provided that he had intelligence. And because Prabhupada wanted to see that strength in his own disciples, he reprimanded them when they acted like fools. Although one should be a fool before the spiritual master, the spiritual master doesn’t want his disciples to be fools when they act as representatives of Lord Krsna.

From Prabhupada Meditations, Volume 3

Prabhupada Meditations (February 5, 1991)

Taking solace from Cc. and then S.B.
I know action is required
as the response to these purports.
But now that you’re grounded,
waiting a day, don’t bother with the phone.
A few more letters answered,
but mainly the books.
Be happy in them.
Think of Godbrothers who love these books,
who can study them all day,
and then come out,
exclaiming in lectures
with learned references,
“He is teaching what we need to know.”
You’re not studying to write a book,
it is not for ammo in a debate,
not to prepare a morning’s lecture.
Then why? Because by hearing of Krsna
you spend time in the best way.

I Walk in the World as Your Man

Prabhupada never forced his followers to shave their heads or wear dhotis in public. Yet he liked it. So it produces a Prabhupada meditation when we appear as Vaisnavas and remind people of Krsna. The reason we wear these clothes and shave our heads is because we are his followers. I cannot attain the advanced stage of Krsna consciousness, I cannot surrender completely, but there are some things I can do right away. When I do them for Prabhupada, they count in my favor.

With this in mind, I need not be embarrassed when people see that I am a devotee. When I feel embarrassed, I can pray: “Prabhupada, please give me the strength to walk in the world identified as your man. And let me not make fun or be ashamed of the other devotees who are representing you.”

I want Krsna and Prabhupada to recognize me. Therefore, I will wear the kanthi-mala and Vaisnava tilaka even if it astonishes a bank clerk or the man at the airlines desk. Let me not give it up so easily. Let it be a little sacrifice I make on your behalf, a way to remember you. Let them think, “Look! There’s a Hare Krsna!” Let me think, “I am serving Prabhupada in this way.”

When we walked with Prabhupada, we were proud to be with him. We stayed close beside him on the street, trying to protect him. We did not care what people thought. We wanted to appear presentable as his servants, yet we had no concern for other’s opinions. The person we wanted to please was right there with us. He gave us courage to assist him. To walk beside him and represent him was prestigious. They could see the elderly, saintly Indian guru with his assistant alongside. Now we have to assist him without being physically with him, but we can meditate, “He is here and I am walking beside him. Let the people see it and think what they like.”

From Prabhupada Meditations, Volume 4

I’d be with him

We are ready in the morning
to go to Mayapura by car,
to stop at your mango grove …
Memories of you buried deep in me …
I will let others’ memories in too—
Srila Prabhupada is for everyone.
But be honest to your own Prabhupada.

If he were in Calcutta tonight,
I’d be with him at the temple
even if it meant rats roaming
slowly among sleepers on the floor.
I’d be outside your door, Prabhupada,
and in the morning eager
to accompany you.
I strived to be a leader so I
could please you and be included
in the breakfast stop
in the mango grove.

If you were in Calcutta tonight,
you’d meet some old friends
and give a lecture in Bengali,
and we Americans would sit through it.
We’d follow you to your room.
Jaya Srila Prabhupada—
maybe you’d call me in for something.
We would not be afraid of you,
but very respectful.
I can’t remember it.
But I know we did
as you said
and trailed after you.
And so tomorrow I’ll go to Mayapura
and seek you there.

From The Wild Garden


Tonight I spoke to about thirty disciples on how they should relate to the spiritual master. I told them the bur­den is on them. I admitted that there is a burden on the spiri­tual master also: “The spiritual master cannot accept service from a disciple without awarding him spiritual instruction. That is the reciprocation of love and duty” (Bhag. 3.23.52, pur­port). I didn’t raise the question of whether I am a spiritual master or not. You might say, “Of course you are!” But both the guru and the disciple may doubt that. I wanted to say, “As you are in training and working for improvement, so am I.” It’s good news, actually, but it stuck in my throat. I couldn’t say it. Can a father tell his son or daughter that he’s trying to im­prove in his parenting? Will they hold it against him if he’s not perfect?

This is another example of truthfulness. You try to hold all the disciples in some kind of control. One disciple came up to me after and said, “Please forgive me.” One asked how he could serve better, but when I told him, he said, “Maybe in the fu­ture.”

This is the last disciples’ meeting in Vrndavana. In a few days, many of them will go back to their countries. I will con­tinue to work on their behalf. There’s a limit to what we can accomplish by a quick exchange of letters, but something is there too.

The lights went out and as I sat in the darkness, I heard someone come to the gate and ask for me. Madhu gave him a time—11 A.M. tomorrow. So although I call this full-time writing, it hasn’t happened yet.

Someone heard me quote Srila Prabhupada on “working to top capacity.” Prabhupada said if we think that we will get the highest grade on the exam, then we will at least pass. If we think that we will just pass the exam, then we may fail. Top capacity? It seems rarely achieved. But I’m looking for it in my writing. Get beyond a sea of faces. Swim out to where it’s you facing the truth of your own thoughts and the big sky and the water and your surrender to Krsna. Top capacity? I don’t know.

I hear the train horn and the sound of its chugging. Take rest and rise. May Krsna bless you with full capacity to cry and beg for His mercy. I look forward to a writing day.

From Obstacles on the Path of Devotional Service

Prabhupada on Illness

What did Srila Prabhupada say about devotees’ illness? He was concerned and compassionate; he used to sign all his letters, “Hope this meets you in good health.” In Srila Prabhupada’s early letters, he often recommended home remedies for illness, and he suggested that devotees take good care of their bodies as instruments in Krsna’s service.

“As you are sick with the flu now,” he wrote to a disciple in 1969, “I think it is best that you do not exert yourself by working too much strenuously but rather you rest as much as possible until you are feeling better.” (Letter, January 16, 1969)

Srila Prabhupada taught that Krsna conscious life provided its own system of hygiene, including a balanced diet, exercise, rest, and optimistic mentality.

Ever since Srila Prabhupada first came to America in 1965, he contended with his own illness associated with old age. From his own experience, he directed his disciples.

Physically and mentally we may be disturbed sometimes, but we have to stand erect on the spiritual platform. I may inform you in this connection that I am at the moment physically unfit; I am having always a buzzing sound in my brain. I cannot sleep soundly at night, but still I am working because I try to be in position of spiritual platform. I hope you shall try to understand me right and do the needful.

—Letter, January 15, 1968

Prabhupada did not endorse a particular school of medicine or put full faith in medical panaceas. Neither did he say that doctors should be avoided. He advised that devotees take normal measures for recovery but mainly depend on Krsna by chanting Hare Krsna.

One time when Srila Prabhupada was lecturing on the twenty-six qualities of a devotee, he commented that “a devotee is friendly.” He said that when fellow devotees become sick, we should be very sympathetic to them and take care of them. The devotees are somewhat like soldiers in battle. When one of them gets sidelined, he or she sometimes has the unfortunate experience of being neglected. As ISKCON matures, it will give more emphasis to the care of the ill and aged workers of the movement.

From Japa Transformations

3:32 AM

For the time being, I whisper, but I don’t have to be ashamed of it or feel guilty. I can get the same quality as out-loud chanting if I concentrate. The main thing is to hear the holy names and pronounce them clearly, and beyond that, to sink into alert meditation on Hare and Kṛṣṇa and Rāma, over and over. I don’t get bored, I don’t get tired. So what if I chant at a whisper? It’s still heard by Kṛṣṇa, and He’s pleased to see me trying despite my handicap. A loud chanter could just be “blowing in the wind” without paying attention. The main quality is attention. I point my consciousness down to the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and exclude other thoughts. I put my feeling into it and call on Lord Hari. It’s the quality that counts, not the decibels. While I admit that loud chanting is better, I move with my crutch, not wanting to be pitied or blamed, and make my progress through the rounds. I try not to let the headache distract me and instead become attracted to the sounds of the mahā-mantra. It’s mind over matter. It’s spirit over mind. Just as they have special Olympics for paraplegics and cripples, the whisperer can break world records and become a champion chanter. Kṛṣṇa wants to see the effort and the pleasure felt as the chanter immerses in the pleasure potency of Mother Hara and Kṛṣṇa. Oh energy of the Lord, Oh Lord, please engage me in Your service.

From Passing Places, Eternal Truths

Requests from a Devotee Community to a Visiting Sannyasi

Can you help us pay the rent?
Do you know how we can stop quarreling?
How can we have more faith in ISKCON?
Can you revive our inspiration
to go out daily and meet the nondevotees,
to give them books, prasadam, and the holy name?
Can you overcome the ennui?
Do you know what’s wrong with us?
Can you impart some wisdom?
Do you have cures for rheumatism,
or at least relief from boredom,
relief from doubt and envy?
Can you create a taste
for reading the sastra?
Can you crash through the reluctance
of laziness
and the suspicion
that if we work hard
the others will remain lazy?
Can you convince us-and not just
by theoretical words of logic or
by quoting scripture, and not just
some momentary relief-but can you
make changes that will last?
Can you give us a new vision?
Can you bring back the old days
when Krsna consciousness was happy and fun
and we served without much thought for ourselves?
Can you lead ecstatic kirtanas,
give inspiring classes?
Will you sit and share prasadam with us?
Can you stay with us?
Or are you also
part of the problem?

From Begging for the Nectar of the Holy Name

The Supreme Lord is so powerful that He can strike fear into anyone; in His form as Time He destroys everything; in His sweet form, He completely enchants the pure devotees of Vrndavana.

That Krsna, in all His majesty and sweetness – especially His sweetness – is kindly appearing in His holy name. To think that the names we chant are different than wonderful Krsna, this duality is offensive.

We may not create this duality out of some intellectual impersonalism, but inadvertently we live in that duality. Our offense is not one of picking the wrong doctrine or of being misled, but by our misfortune, we live in this duality. We live in the consciousness that we are the body and that our bodily affairs are very important. Therefore, fear, hunger, thirst, fatigue, lust, envy – these affect us so much that they cover our consciousness. The holy name doesn’t appear to change that much in us.

This can only mean that Krsna is not appearing fully in our chanting. He is not responding to our calls; something about our chanting doesn’t move Him, doesn’t attract Him. Thus we live in this duality.

Therefore, when Krsna says naham prakasah sarvasya yoga-maya samavrtah – when He says that He puts a curtain between Himself and foolish people, doesn’t this include us too?

When I examine this duality closely, I see that it is not only based on my lack of realization that Krsna and His names are nondifferent, but there is also a duality in my own intellectual acceptance and my failure to actually have any live sense of this. Therefore, although I don’t ascribe to the mayavada philosophy, I inadvertently fall into this kind of mayavada dilemma.

Regarding the second offense in chanting, Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes, “The only remedy is to repent intensely and meditate on Lord Visnu, Krsna, for by His remembrance offenses are dissolved. Thereafter, one must meticulously avoid committing the same offense again. Remembrance of the Lord is the most effective penance; the Vedas always recommend imperiled brahmanas to meditate upon the lotus feet of Lord Visnu for protection. Remembering the Lord’s name is the same as meditating upon His lotus feet. The holy name can disperse all previous offenses, for it acts as the devotee’s best friend” (HNC, p. 46).


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

Pratāparudra crushed his opponents by his elephant trunk. He destroyed unlimited obstacles. Like the sun he shone at all times.

But he became a minor servant and held in his hand a golden broom. Seeing the pastimes of Jagannātha and Gaurāṅga, he became stunned with immobility.

Like the night which is forgotten when two meteors blaze brilliantly in the sky constantly, this occasion became grand with the sounds of drums and various instruments.

Coming near the cart and looking at the Lord, Gauracandra shone as His servants exclaimed, “He can be seen from here, from here.”

Ascending the cart, Jagannātha shone with joyful rasa. He was like the sweet moon rising over the eastern mountain, in a cloudless sky.

After Jagannātha ascended to the car on the road, Gauracandra with His devotees desired to go for bathing pastimes.

Attractive after their quick bath, the devotees gathered in front of Mahāprabhu. He also bathed in delight and anointed them with sandalwood paste.

First, the Crown Jewel of Rasa, overjoyed, applied sandalwood on Advaita’s chest, making his hairs stand on end with double bliss.

He then applied sandalwood on Śrīvāsa, the form of Nārada, the moon in his dynasty, and then his younger brother Śrīrāma. Then in order he applied sandalwood on the others.

His body was slack from great bliss and trembling. Merciful Gauracandra applied sandalwood on each of the singers’ chests.

Govinda came quickly, approached close, remained beside the Lord, sank in an ocean of bliss, and then departed. The beautiful devotees gathered together, blissful at every step. Their ocean of bliss, without limit, could not be measured within the universe.

Walking gracefully like a lion, with feet bathed in perspiration of joy, with hairs standing on end because of incomparable bliss, Gaurāṅga, brighter than the sun, went quickly on the path.

Attractive with joy and intoxication, with shining body, Gauracandra came in front of the chariot of Baladeva and offered respects on the ground like a stick, like a toppled golden mountain, flowing with tears of prema.

Mahāprabhu, like a golden mountain whose peak touched the sky, sprouting shining hairs on end, which made Him look like a shining golden tree with buds, raising His broad arms, began to recite verses in a sweet voice.

All glories unto the Supreme Lord, who is known as the son of Devakī! All glories to the Lord, who is known as the light of the dynasty of Vṛṣṇi! All glories to the Supreme Lord, whose bodily luster is like that of a new cloud, and whose body is as soft as a lotus flower! All glories to the Supreme Lord, who appeared on this planet to deliver the world from the burden of demons, and who can offer liberation to everyone!


<< Free Write Journal #248

Free Write Journal #250 >>


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.

Read more »



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.

Read more »


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.

Read more »


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…

Read more »



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…

Read more »



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…

Read more »


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.

Read more »




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.
Read more »




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.

Read more »