Free Write Journal #272


Free Write Journal #272

November 14, 2023


His Holiness Satsvarupa dasa Goswami Maharaja
Vyasa-puja Birthday Celebration
Saturday, December 2, 2023


Spiritual family meeting of disciples and friends of SDG


Stuyvesant Falls Fire Company #2 Auditorium
9 Firehouse Lane, Stuyvesant Falls, NY 12174

(SF Fire Company #2 is just behind SDG’s home at 909 Albany Ave.)


  • 10:00 –10:30 A.M.: Opening Kirtana
  • 10:30 – 11:15 A.M.: Speaking
  • 11:15 –011:45 A.M.: Homages
  • 11:45 A.M.–12:15 P.M.: Arati, Guru Puja, Puspanjali
  • 12:15–1:15 P.M.: Browse the book table
  • 1:00-2:00 P.M.: Prasadam feast


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



“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.”

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-saṅga chāḍi’ kainu asate vilāsa, te-kāraṇe lāgila mora karma-bandha-phāṅsa (Gaurā Pahū, verse 3). Sat-saṅga. 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 phāṅsa. Entanglement.”

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

Satsvarupa Maharaja’s Weekly Health Report (as of November 24)

“There’s not much new to report this week. It was another rollercoaster. Satsvarupa Maharaja now seems set on just chanting with the devotees, reading one of the new books and resting up for the Vyasa-puja festival. He is looking forward to being with everyone on December 2nd, and hopes there will be good attendance at the firehouse auditorium. (The gathering is not at the VFW post this year—the venue has been changed.)
“Hari Hari,


The “News Items” section of Free Write Journal has been temporarily suspended while Guru Maharaja recuperates.


From Songs of a Hare Krsna Man

pp. 66-68


I’m really here
practicing to be a devotee.
I don’t want to be with
AG and JK, listening to their poems
and getting disgusted. They can jabber,
they can dream, I will go the way
of Vaisnava saints and sages.

There’s a map of Bengal and the places
of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes in back
of Cc. volume, but I
am here at typewriter in Geaglum,
rain outside . . . slow down.
You will be able to speak in the
temple room this Sunday morn
on liberation of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.

Temple and Deity room are so
cold it feels like ice when you
touch Radha-Govinda. A
pujari’s bare feet.
How about a wood burning
stove in the Deity room?

I love Prabhupada when he’s speaking
and I can perceive
the kindness and homeliness,
in morning Cc. classes in NYC 1966
and New Vrindaban ‘69 when he’s talking
from First Canto Bhag., Fifth Chapter
it’s really nice, him sitting on a
funky sort of vyasasana
Nara-Narayana dasa and others laughing when
he says, “Krsna consciousness is like
inoculation against the Hong Kong
flu of material life.”

I have to swallow
the fact that he is many-sided and
can get angry at his disciples. He
says, “Why are you asking that?
You’ve been a student for 10,000 years
and you’re asking that question?”
And he repeats again and again.
I am his cela, to hell with
those who make fun of me
as they did (or I imagined it)
when I raised my hands for the first time and danced
in Tompkins Square Park.
The laughable thing is my hesitation
not the dancing. They are right
to mock me when I look
fried. My guru is so
strong and forceful. If I accept him
and I’m confident—and if still they mock me—
then I simply don’t care.

I am blowing this on a Sunday morning
not a jazzman but
a small, faulty cela who is
actually happy and has something
to share.

From Last Days of the Year

pp. 58-59

Chant and your neighbors and community and family will be protected from danger, Prabhupada said. Prabhupada also said when he was in New Mayapur (in 1976) that the tomato was called a “foreign eggplant” in India, and they never ate them because they regarded them as a British influence. He also told the devotees how to make puffed rice by heating sand, then throwing the grains in with the sand. He said he liked kaucaris. I showed these various food references in the Diary to Madhu because I want him to know that even Srila Prabhupada had a tongue and inclinations for food. He asked his disciple to give him a snack at 9:30 at night. He wanted it. There’s no harm if I also think of food. Silly guy.

I’m rubbing my knees for warmth and gazing into the fireplace, asking the fire why it can’t be warmer.

I’ve got the gas heater on too. Oh, haberdashery, I do seek the thing in itself, neither America.
Prabhupada was asked something about his being attached to India. He said, “How can I be attached to India? T hat is not sannyasi.” Yes, the sannyasi has no homeland, no attachment to the country where he was born and raised. He may choose to preach to his countrymen because he knows them so well, but there are other options. Those devotees to whom I gave initiation in those first years—’79, ‘80—most of them are gone—Nama-sankirtana dasa and others. They no longer care for me, or perhaps they think I don’t care for them. If I did, they reason, I would visit the Brooklyn temple more often. But they don’t go themselves to the temple, except maybe once in a while on a Sunday night.

Place of thieves or excuses.
I answer letters, always have, and wander
in Europe. I’ll return to New York in a week.
If anyone wants me, that’s where
I’ll be—back in the city of my
youth, where I was full of sins and misgivings
and illusions of hope to become
a posthumous poet living in a great city.
I met His Divine Grace
and gave it all up.

From Seeking New Land (Every Day, Just Write, Volume 47: Ireland, September 1-22, 1999)

pp. 3-8

6:25 A.M.

Chanting is exhausting. The mind thinks dirty things, yes it does, Jaya Govinda. I must admit it. I have no taste. You have taste. You don’t fake it? Then you are a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

Go with your song/no siddha-pranali except humbleness.

Where’s your song?/Just a pond
before the dawn/a few birds but
is it their death cry?

Above this desk the picture of
Lord Caitanya in Vrndavana
wrapped around the old
and the deer coming close to
Him…is something always
wrong in this picture to be
corrected by me

“Why don’t spiritual masters speak
from their hearts in
their lectures?” she asked
Great question.
I said this and that but
I think my heart is
not worthy, dirty
and enhanced and pride wants
to make its own kind
of music not befitting
the Srimad-Bhagavatam scene
but at death you reach
out to him
you’re in the well –
“Please save me.”

Why try to forget it now?
Old Christian monks thought
of death as much as possible –
here it comes.

Krsna, think of life
with Him…gauranga-lila,
the waves of ecstatic union
and separation
as Prabhupada taught.

Don’t attack this movement.
It’s our master’s.
Go start your own if that’s
your inclination
ah me, better shut my
mouth, go live on a newly
discovered island about to be
washed back into the sea.

Spoke on two verses of Siksastakam. Devotees honor me. I spoke of humbleness. He asked, “How to become more humble?” I say, give up false prestige, even that of being a guru or sannyasi. Speak, speak lecture. Now I have one more left.

Speak, speak, Hare Krsna speak. He said the Ratha-yatra in Milan was all right. Not jumping up and down as he said so. Hare Krsna.

To give this lecture I’ll have to actually meditate, feel the memory-presence of Srila Prabhupada. It’s all true that I’m telling. I’m very grateful it happened. I don’t mind telling it again. They haven’t heard it from me in maybe two or three years. So, go ahead and enter it. It can be a relaxed feeling like entering for a swim in a cool lake, for all of us.

Prabhupada. Remember to praise him even more than adore your own little self. You cherish that you were the object of his attention and that’s important in the retelling. But don’t miss the chance for philosophical tidbits about his nature, Gurudeva, krpa, Krsna, Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, etc. You have that pause while the translator puts it into Italian. You have all the time you need.

When I explain to a friend that maybe I shouldn’t write a diary or that I doubt if a diary is best, he said why not consider lunar time, or orbit, or evolution, or archeological levels or dimensions other than daily? He said scientists and criminal investigators have to spend many days before they make a worthy discovery.

I replied that I work on the assumption that every hour in every day is worthy, needn’t be thrown away. Whatever I write is readable. I have to enter the moment. As I said this to him on the phone, I noticed better a wasp or two going in and out of the sunshiny open window-place.

From Vandanam: A Krsna Conscious Handbook on Prayer

pp. 46-48

Chapter Five

Difficulties in Prayer

The practice of prayer is bound to stir up some difficulties. Most of them arise within oneself, and some may come in relation to others. The greatest difficulty is that because of encountering difficulties, one will entirely stop the practice of prayer. As with most obstacles on the path of perfection, one should consult with one’s spiritual master for guidance. And if one wants at all to continue the practice of prayer, one should follow Rupa Gosvami’s first principles for favorable devotional service as taught in Upadesamrta: utsahan niscayad dhairyat, “being enthusiastic, endeavoring with confidence, and being patient.”


Is the practice of prayer, especially personal prayer, bona fide in the Vaisnava parampara? If you don’t raise this doubt yourself, someone else will raise it for you. I have already cited several statements by Prabhupada and the sastras to support that one should “submit to Krsna” whatever distress or confidential problem he has. And there are many, more statements, once one starts looking for them. How many times has Srila Prabhupada simply said, “Pray to Krsna”? Many times.

Srila Rupa Gosvami has therefore said that by affection and love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, devotees can express their mind to Him with their words. Others, however, cannot do this, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita: bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah.

—Bhag.10.2.36, purport

Since temperments differ, some devotees may be more inclined to the inner dialogue than others. Some may even pray regularly without really noticing it or labeling it as “prayer.” We needn’t advocate that everyone must pray in the way we do. But, although prayer makes no noise, some may become disturbed that anyone in their house is taking prayer so seriously.

The voice of doubt continues, “What has this to do with the preaching mission?” One answer to this is that purity is the force. Any spiritual activity which purifies us and makes us a genuine devotee will make us more fit to preach. Prayer will help us to become more convinced of Krsna’s presence.

As we become more Krsna conscious, the people we meet will be impressed that we are not speaking hype or trying to cheat them. Prayer will also give us the inner strength to face the opposition to preaching which comes from nondevotees.

By praying for others, one’s selfish heart broadens, and an automatic result is that one wants to give them Krsna consciousness. This attitude of caring for others and then wanting to actually do something for them is expressed in the prayer of Prahlada Maharaja:

“My dear Lord Nrsimhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence [mauna-vrata]. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know that without Krsna consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet.

 —Bhag. 7.9.44

Doubts may be raised endlessly, and in a positive sense, they may serve to correct or refine any non-Vaisnava elements that may have entered our prayers. But we shouldn’t run scared just because someone thinks we are odd. How is it even possible to stop praying? For a devotee it is as natural as breathing. The doubt whether prayer practice is bona fide is mostly a matter of misunderstanding. Like Prahlada Maharaja we should go on praying, without becoming an antagonist. If our behavior and enthusiasm for regular devotional activities improves because of praying, no serious devotee will complain about our “talks with God.”

From Radio Shows, Volume 2

pp. 26-28

Prabhupada singing: samsara-davanala-lidha-loka . .

I already told you about a Godsister who went into a coma and heard people asking in her room, “Is she dead yet?” She wanted to see the devotees. It took her two full days of effort to open her right eye. I didn’t tell you, though, that she said that for years she hadn’t been chanting, but had been engaging in sinful activities to the max. After meeting the devotees in New York City again, somehow or other back at her place, she tried to chant again. She said it was like being a mummy. By chanting, she felt herself peeling off layer after layer of covering until she again remembered that she was a devotee, that Swamiji had loved her, that she was meant to be Krsna conscious.

My dear friends, dear radio congregation, this is your announcer. There was a time when Vin Scully and Red Barber, who broadcast the games from Ebbets field, would say during World War II, “There is good news tonight,” or, “There is bad news tonight,” in those grave, rolling tones Gabriel Heatter used. Well, what does a Hare Krsna have to say? Does he speak like Billy Graham or as if he were part of a panel of religious experts? “Mr. Guarino (or shall I call you Satsvarupa dasa?), according to your faith, what is the meaning of religion?”

“Thank you for asking, Billy. In the Sanskrit language—the Vedas are written in Sanskrit and are at least five thousand years old—’religion’ is known as dharma, a term which is difficult to translate into English. Dharma does not refer to something appropriate.” I’ll just dig in and repeat something that Prabhupada said.

Here’s something he said: there is a difference between theoretical and realized knowledge. To illustrate this point, he told the story of the time he was at work in Subhas Candra Bose’s chemical laboratory in Calcutta. The firm owned a sulfuric acid chamber. Well, that machine wasn’t working one day, so all the big scientists conferred, consulted books, looked at the machine, and tried to figure out how to make it work. But they couldn’t. Then Subhas Candra Bose, the intelligent manager, at once sent a messenger to another chemical firm and asked an ordinary laborer there to please come over. This man was a laborer, but he was experienced with machines. He came into the lab, looked at the ailing chamber, and worked at it for a few minutes. Soon, it was producing acid again. Experience is important, and even a simple person can have it.

I forget if there were more details in his telling of that story, but just knowing how Prabhupada taught, I can conclude the analogy by saying that the “experience” to which he was referring in his reference to devotional service is feeling love for Krsna. We don’t have to become great tapasvis or have a vast material or even spiritual education. All we need is devotion, and an ordinary person can have it just as easily as a learned scholar. Sometimes even easier.

From Sketchbooks of Joy

pp. 26-28


While I was in Trinidad, I stayed mainly at Krsna-krpa’s simple wooden house about ten minutes from the Longdenville temple. His house is nice by Trinidadian standards, and is propped up on stilts in case of flooding. In the early mornings I sat before a candle and a picture of Prabhupada and chanted my rounds. Occasionally during the day, I tried to capture some of the small details by drawing—the little ghee tin in the corner of the room, the pink gauziness of my mosquito net (like most houses in Trinidad, Krsna-krpa’s house has no screens over the windows and a mosquito net is essential)—in color or in black and white.
After I leave a place, I tend to forget the smaller details of what I saw around me. Who could possibly carry them all in his head? Therefore, I like to draw some of them before I leave so that later I can share them with others. Of course, it’s almost impossible to convey the full effect of what we see, the wonder of our moment-by-moment aspirations being sparked by little experiences throughout the day, but I like to try in pictures.

In this small section of pictures from Trinidad, I tried to capture the freshness and the ease of the tropics and the palm trees and even the little lizards that run up and down the walls. I could get my head shaved outside instead of sitting in a chilly bathroom, I could honor prasadam while the mosquitoes “honored” me, and I could remember, in kirtana, the quick passage of time. Everything is in Krsna because after all, we are traveling in His service.

Prabhupada Road, which leads to the temple in Longdenville, Trinidad. Perhaps the bumpiest on the island. Devotees hope one day to see the road paved, but it hasn’t happened yet. The last ten minutes are the worst. The potholes are horrible, and the ruts worse.

From From Imperfection, Purity Will Come About

pp. 26-28

Writing is like japa: it’s important what you do before you start. What have you been eating, speaking, thinking, dreaming? A dream: a fire occurred in our house. Then Madhu got in an accident while operating a huge tractor. I ran to the scene crying, “My baby!” Didn’t want to record such a dream. There are reasons for that . . .

There are always some things I don’t want to admit. It turned out in the dream that the fire wasn’t so bad and neither was the accident. I took yogurt for breakfast, although three out of four Ayurvedic doctors tell me not to. Now I have indigestion. Why offer watermelon on too cool a day? Which way do the beads go, left or right when you chant? I forget, but I am happy to have such a life where there is always another chance to chant Hare Krsna.

“I have become supremely joyful by surrendering myself at Your holy feet… there are no more anxieties. I see joy in all directions” (Saranagati, 2.8.1). Is this the same person who saw only grief? How has such a great change come about? He has met a pure devotee. He cried with contrition and Krsna sent a Vaisnava. From that Vaisnava, he has learned to surrender.

“Unhappiness has gone away. I shall strive for whatever pleases You, fully devoted to Your lotus feet.” I admitted that I was the sinner in the early songs of Saranagati , but why do I exclude myself from these songs? I’m also serving the Lord. I’m also fixed at my guru’s feet. I still have some aparadhas and anarthas, and I don’t see how I will find relief. But I have found peace at Krsna’s lotus feet and I have given up the fear of worldly existence. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say I fear the kalacakra. I fear this world where you meet up with what you don’t want and are torn away from what you love. I fear it. I want shelter. I want devotional service for Krsna’s pleasure, but I’m also scurrying to His lotus feet out of fear of the material conflagration. Krsna, please save me. I’m not pure, but I want to be.

“Troubles encountered in Your service shall be the cause of great happiness, for in Your devotional service joy and sorrow are equally great riches” (Saranagati 2.8.4). This is a great verse. I have often quoted it in books and lectures. It’s useful for motivating subordinates who feel weak-hearted in their service. I also remind them of the glories of Madhavendra Puri. He carried over eighty pounds of sandalwood—undisturbed by toll guards or thieves’ threats—and walked thousands of miles for his Gopinatha’s service.

The question is, do I realize the truth of Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s statement? Do I live it? Taste it? It’s a little too much for me right now, but I definitely accept it as true, just as I accept that I am not this body and that material comforts are detestable to a pure devotee and that I should not be afraid of death.

What have I realized? I know that the practice gives you a good reputation among pious people, and they are willing to give you money and service. Am I being cynical? Yes, a little. My cynicism is like a leftover cloud raining dirt.

I’m conditioned to speak as perfectly as possible and never let on that I have any doubt. Can you imagine? You raise your hand and express a doubt and the devotee giving the class from the vyasasana says, “Yes, I have that doubt too. I don’t know the answer. Maybe we can’t do what the sastras say. I dunno.” Although he may give a humble preamble like that, we still expect him to come up with the goods. Otherwise, how can we let him speak?

When I meet troubles in the course of Your service do they make me happy? “Thanks,” he says to troublemakers, “You’ve made my day.” Sounds like a pure devotee, completely staunch and not out for self-aggrandizement. So what if I get arrested or hit on the head and harassed in some way? The main thing is to serve Krsna. That taste is always sublime.


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