Free Write Journal #280


Free Write Journal #280

January 19, 2024

Satsvarupa Maharaja’s Weekly Health Report (as of January 19)

“It was a busy week for Satsvarupa Maharaja, with doctors, a dentist, and more testing. The CAT scan didn’t show anything significant that would explain the mysterious pain in his abdomen. The MRI of the head didn’t show anything that wasn’t consistent with natural diminishing due to old age. He also saw a dentist who will try putting new hardware on his implants to stop the looseness of his dentures that was causing various cheek and tongue issues. Next week will be a comprehensive blood test and an orthopedic evaluation of the muscles around his abdomen surrounding the sore spot. By the end of the week, the biopsy results should be coming in from the ten polyps that were harvested during the colonoscopy. But don’t worry, folks, when the allopathic doctors have exhausted all their tricks and can’t help anymore, then we have a backup plan. It will be time to call in the mystic healers, crystals, magnets and powered pearls—anything to avoid the conclusion that adhibhautic miseries go along with the package deal in old age.

“Hari Hari,

January Japa Retreat for 1/19/24

In this new online Journal, I want to emphasize japa. I will give quotes about japa and quotes from my own japa retreats and books. In this way I wish to share with the devotees praise of the holy name, and share with them the treasure of the holy name.

For this first day of this journal-within-a-journal, I will share some excerpts from the songs of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who is one of the greatest relishers of hari-nama. Please take these and relish them with a fresh attitude.

* * * * *

“What is the use of so much worldly happiness, distress and fear, which arise from the false egotism of ‘I’ and ‘mine’? And what is the use of insignificant victory and defeat, anger, violence, and envy toward other living beings? Bhaktivinoda says, ‘Just take shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Gaurasundara and sing the names of Radha and Kṛṣṇa, and you will become saturated with the mellows of pure spiritual bliss.”

(Gitavali, “Ekbar Bhavo Mane”)

* * * * *

“Chant, chant ‘Radha-Krsna!’ Everyone chant! When Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda came dancing through Nadia, They gave these teachings: Chant, chant ‘Radha-Krsna!’ Everyone chant! You are caught up in a whirlpool of senseless action and are sinking lower and lower. Chant, chant ‘Radha-Krsna!’ Everyone chant!

(Gitavali, “Radha Krsna Bol Bol”)

* * * * *

“Lord Krsna is the beloved son of Mother Yasoda; the transcendental lover in the land of Vraja; the delight of Gokula; Kana [a nickname of Krsna]; the wealth of the lives of the gopis. He steals the mind of even Cupid and punishes the Kaliya serpent.

“. . . Krsna wanders along the banks of the River Yamuna. He stole the garments of the young damsels of Vraja who were bathing there. He delights in the mellows of the rasa dance; He is very merciful; the lover and beloved of Srimati Radharani; the great dancer of Vrndavana; and the shelter and only refuge of Thakura Bhaktivinoda.”

(Gitavali, “Yasomati Nandana”)

All glories to the holy name!
Your humble servant,

* * * * *

I haven’t done any free writing in a long time—worshiping with the pen, talking into the Dictaphone. I finished five volumes of Journals, over three hundred pages each. Now I am typing lots of japa. I have made japa my main sadhana.

* * * * *

Pray to Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; I pray to the spiritual master. I pray to the holy name. Say it again and again: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. I pray to the Consort of the Lord; the most beautiful, She who dominates Kṛṣṇa—Madana-mohana-mohini.

* * * * *

I came awake at midnight. I rang the bell for Baladeva. I had a strong urge where I imagined that I was waking up the Supreme Lord before He had time to wake Himself up. I felt the Lord was playing a miracle on me. Yes, I was experiencing a miracle!

I wanted to see what was happening, but it was pitch black and my flashlight wouldn’t work. (I need two flashlights so I can see the dictation machine and speak into it. I whisper in hope I won’t wake up Baladeva.) I have had miracles like this before, where I believe I am exchanging with Kṛṣṇa. I finally found a flashlight that worked. It lit up the Dictaphone, and I recorded for five or ten minutes. Then I turned it off. Then I couldn’t get back to sleep for about forty minutes.

* * * * *

It’s Sunday, 2:00 A.M., and when the sun comes up I can’t do too much because my Parkinson’s disease keeps me in a wheelchair; I can’t walk. I propose to make a free-write journal for my disciples and friends. I won’t make it a careful piece of literature.

This is the January Japa Retreat Journal.

My disciples are producing, discovering paragraphs about chanting, and I am saving them in a book. I am using them to help me chant more attentively. Here are a few they have contributed to me:

* * * * *

1.) I asked M. what he had been doing. He said in the evening his mind becomes too restless. He tried writing letters and then tried reading from one or two books. He couldn’t sustain anything, so he tried chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa on his beads and calling out in prayer, “Kṛṣṇa, what are You going to do with me? Please engage me.” I’m intrigued when I hear him speak of this prayer-quality he is able to inject into his chanting. I think it makes japa successful. Hearing any devotee’s testimony of faith or realization—or even their wish that we may take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness—is most pleasing. It brings us into the atmosphere of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

(Before It’s Too Late)

* * * * *

2.) Chanting and chanting, nothing seems to happen. But that perception is a lack of faith. It’s happening. Try to see it more. Enter the miracle of kṛṣṇa-nama. “Just hear, just hear,” my master says. There’s no point in complaining, “I don’t think of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes.” I work on staying awake and trying to hear, trying to pray in the most basic way, Please let me chant with devotion to harer nama. You have to do it again each time you pick up your beads, offer your free will each time.

(The Wild Garden)

* * * * *

3.) “By chanting, one is freed from the darkness of maya and becomes fully enlightened. The sun immediately dissipates mist or fog as well as darkness. We should try to make the sun of Kṛṣṇa rise within our hearts. Kṛṣṇa is like the sun, and that maya, the illusory energy, is darkness. Yahan krsna tahan nahi mayara adhikara: as soon as the sun of Kṛṣṇa is present, the darkness of maya immediately disappears. If we simply teach people to surrender unto Kṛṣṇa, God, all the fog and mist of illusion will disappear. The method is very simple: chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.

(Srila Prabhupada, Kṛṣṇa Consciousness: The Matchless Gift)


* * * * *

Where Your Mind Goes…

Where your mind goes
your japa will go.
You went so fast
because you wanted to
get them done, but your
mind was partly distracted
by something you had done.
Now, how do you expect
to pass the test if you
don’t keep your mind chaste
and away from waste?
So be stricter,
and you’ll do better in
your morning hari-nama.
Aye, Aye, sir.

(One Hundred Eight Japa Poems)

* * * * *

Go after it. Be greedy for this. Collect mantras. Cram mantras. Give yourself to the exclusive practice of chanting. Neglect other duties at this time. For so long you have done the other things dutifully and pushed the japa into a corner like a neglected child. So go and do it. But don’t be proud that you have increased your quota by a minuscule amount. “I did a big vratā. I discovered something.” Bosh.

You think, “Better to leave it in its state of perpetual neglect because once you pay attention, you will see how bad the case is. Advanced cancer. Too late? No, never. Go on chanting now and tell us about it as honestly as possible. Let your loud pen scratch us a simple report of these days and nights.

(Begging for the Nectar of the Holy Name)

(To be continued)

* * * * *

I am in something of a quandary now, but with hope. I turned to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and his songs are saving me. He writes in different moods, sometimes lamenting that he has wasted his life, as if he were a materialist. Sometimes he changes that mood, especially near the end of the song, and says, “Now I turn to you, dear Lord, only you can save me.”

Bhaktivinoda Thakura spent his life in writing songs to Kṛṣṇa, Radha and Kṛṣṇa. He was a family man with many children, and he was a court justice and was very busy and involved in settling court cases. But his main passion and interest and occupation, was worshiping Kṛṣṇa and writing books and songs about the Supreme Lord.

I have been turning toward Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and other great poets like him, such as Narottama dasa Thakura, who also sometimes writes in lamentation and sometimes in joy at his link with the Supreme Lord.

Living close to these souls, I myself will become spiritual and give up my materialistic leanings. This is the answer to my quandary—to live in company of the great souls and their followers, such as the pure followers of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I will try to share my own discoveries as I follow these pure souls and describe them every week in my “japa retreat.”

The spiritual path of bhakti is full of variegated emotions exhibited by highly elevated saintly persons. To an outsider with a poor fund of knowledge, they might appear to all be cut from the same cloth, yet the intense symptoms of pure devotion and particular attraction to Kṛṣṇa exhibited by maha-bhagavatas, the most advanced souls, paint a different picture.

For example, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura exhibited the deep lamentation of a conditioned soul at the end of his rope in Saranagati:

“Hear, O Lord, my story of sadness. I drank the deadly poison of worldliness, pretending it was nectar, and now the sun is setting on the horizon of my life . . . Devoid of even a particle of devotion, lacking any enlightenment — what help is there for me now? Only You, O Lord, friend of the fallen. I am certainly fallen, the lowest of men. Please, therefore lift me to Your lotus feet.”

(Saranagati, “Dainya,” Song 5)

* * * * *

Similarly, Srila Narottama dasa Thakura played the part of a common man totally burned and bewildered in the clutches of material nature:

“O Lord Hari I have spent my life uselessly. Having obtained a human birth and having not worshiped Radha and Kṛṣṇa, I have knowingly drunk poison. . . . Day and night my heart burns from the fire of the poison of worldliness, and I have not taken the means to relieve it

(“Hari Hari Biphale Janama”)

* * * * *

Great Vaisnavas are merciful to others but strict with themselves. Consider this prayer by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:

dusta mana! tumi kisera vaisnava?

“O wicked mind! What kind of Vaisnava are you? Your pretentious show of chanting Lord Hari’s holy name in a solitary place is only for the sake of attaining the false prestige of a worldly reputation — it is nothing but pure hypocrisy.”

* * * * *

Another Vaisnava acarya, Srila Bilvamangala Thakura, is decidedly celebratory as he proclaims the glories of his Lord throughout his Sri Govinda Damodara Stotram:

“Sri Kṛṣṇa! Govinda! Hari! Murari! O Lord, Narayana, Vasudeva! O tongue, please drink only this nectar—’Govinda, Damodara, Madhava!’”

Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji exemplifies still another Vaisnava mood. He led a life of profound humility, considering himself dasanudasanudasa, a million times removed. Yet the song he left us expresses the secret longing of his joyous heart:

“O Radha, daughter of Vrsabhanu Baba! Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was alway calling out, ‘Radhe! Radhe!’ Sometimes at Kesi-ghata, sometimes at Vamsi-vata. Sometimes in Nidhuvana, sometimes in Seva-kunja. Calling out ‘Radhe! Radhe,’ his eyes are bursting with a flood of tears. He wanders throughout the lanes of Vrndavana crying out, ‘Radhe! Radhe!’ (“Kothaya Go Premamayi Radhe Radhe,” Verses 3-7)

In a different mood, Vaisnavas like Jayadeva Gosvami love to praise the Lord’s many transcendental incarnations and Their glorious protection of the fallen souls:

“O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of a dwarf-brahmana! All glories to You! O wonderful dwarf, by Your massive steps You deceive King Bali, and by the Ganges water that has emanated from the nails of your lotus feet, You deliver all living beings within this world.”

(“Sri Dasavatara Stotram,” from Gita Govinda)

Finally, Vaisnavas exhibit endless patience as they wait out their time in the material world before being reunited with their Beloved:

gaurāńga bolite habe pulaka-śarīra
hari hari bolite nayane ba’ be nīra

“When will that opportune moment come to us, when there will be shivering of the body as soon as we chant Lord Gauranga’s name? While chanting Hare Krsna, when will there be tears in the eyes? (“Gauranga Bolite Habe,” from Prarthana by Narottama Dasa Thakura)

These are just a few of the unlimited transcendental qualities of a pure devotee.

Om tat sat


From One Hundred Prabhupada Poems

pp. 41-43

# 2 6

Dear Srila Prabhupada,
I am with Godbrothers Asta-ratha Prabhu
and Krsna-ksetra Prabhu,
in the ISKCON temple in South Germany.
You have transformed many men into
gentlemen like these.
The younger lads too,
clean and strong
learning to worship the Deity.
This morning Radha-Madana-mohana
in soft green colors and yellow dresses, lotus patterns,
a big rose offered to Them
and then offered to you . . .
After Tulasi songs Krsna-ksetra read aloud
from The Nectar of Devotion, your book.
You gave us Rupa Gosvami in your own way
and I want that. What did he say?
He said you need a continuity of bhakti
from a previous life, but even if you don’t have,
if you have a taste for these books
you can awaken your Krsna consciousness.
Then come outside in dawning, not yet
sunshine sky. Srila Prabhupada has already gone
back to Godhead. We linger here.
Let us not falsely love the earth
as if it is heaven complete
and we can live here always.
Let me feel some ache of separation
from my spiritual master.
Our van is gleaming white. Think of it as a
way to serve his mission. As long as you live,
be cheerful, as Prabhupada was
in separation from his Guru Maharaja.
Do good works and get the master’s blessings.
“Mold your life in such a way
that you cannot but think of Krsna
24 hours a day.”

# 2 7

Last morning here in Germany temple,
some devotees who live here get to
see His Divine Grace in this dim-lit
kirtana hall every morning, as they also do in
Gita-nagari or Denver or Bhaktivedanta Manor.
But I move on. So I take extra
fond looks this morning,
at you, Srila Prabhupada.

During “samsara” prayers I glanced at you,
keeping the women out of my
peripheral vision,
and even during Nrsimha worship
I peeked over to see you.
Then while I recited the Tulasi prayer,
I looked from the green plant over
to our spiritual father and best friend,
and I sensed a connection. How else
can we aspire to be the maidservant
of Vrnda in the groves of Vrndavana
except when we serve the pure
devotee, Srila Prabhupada?

From Increasing the Presence of Prabhupada (The Journals of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, Volume 4)

pp. 141-42

11:20 A.M.


I wanted to see Prabhupada talking. After about ten minutes of videos, Vicaru came to a Prabhupada conversation.

It was with a Dr. Mize in the Los Angeles temple (Prabhupada’s rooms, 1975), and they were having a conversation with several devotees listening in the room.

Dr. Mize asked about souls falling into the material world. Prabhupada said the souls fall due to a misuse of independence. Everyone has independence. It is an individual thing. Prabhupada says to the doctor, “You can go if you don’t like what I am saying. And I might not like to hear from you, and so I leave. When the spirit soul acts foolishly, he has to fall down.”

Prabhupada asks a devotee in the room to look up Bhagavad-gita Chapter 18, verse 63: “Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.” The devotee reads it, and in the meantime, while he is looking for it, Prabhupada gives a rough estimation of what the verse says. “. . . Thus I have explained to you all about (spiritual life), and now you can do as you choose. You can do whatever you like.” (I thought it was interesting how Prabhupada took the dialogue between Krsna and Arjuna, and made an analogy out of it into the dialogue he was having with Dr. Mize. Thus he says that if Dr. Mize didn’t like to hear from Prabhupada, he could go because he had independence. And Prabhupada spoke from his side and said if he didn’t like being with Dr. Mize, he could also leave. I had never heard that analogy before, and I thought it was very clever.)

If they didn’t have independence, it would be by force. (But that is not the way it is). Prabhupada spoke a lot about independence and misuse of independence. He said when we commit mistakes, that is also a form of misuse. He outlined the three material qualities, sattva, rajas and tamas. He described the big flame, which corresponded to the spiritual world. When the living entities fall, they are comparable to sparks. If they fall into sattva-guna, it is like falling into dry grass, and their fiery quality can catch up again into flames. If they fall into rajas, they can also catch up again (not clear what he said). When they fall into tamas then the flame goes completely out. When the soul falls, it comes to the material world.

Prabhupada spoke of a fall even from the spiritual world. He gave the example of Jaya and Vijaya, and briefly describes how they fell.

Prabhupada speaks of the four primary sinful activities which cause one to fall.

He mentions illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling. He focuses on lust. He describes how “in Paris old men are going into nightclubs at an old age. At 75 years old, and they are paying $50.00 for entrance to the club, and yet more money for other things.” (The doctor is sitting up straight. Prabhupada does most of the talking. He looks strong and healthy, and weards candana broadly smeared on his forehead, and he wears a gray cadar.)

Dr. Mize asks whether Krsna knows if the souls are going to fall, and how many will fall. Prabhupada answers that, “Krsna knows because He is omniscient. Even the government knows that citizens will fall into the prison, and therefore they build the prison house. There is a tendency to fall; not all fall.”

Prabhupada gives the famous example from Srimad-Bhagavatam of Ajamila, who is fallen from sinful activities, and was about to be sent to hell. (He was saved by chanting the holy name.) This was the right use of his independence.

The interview ends here. Dr. Mize was polite in the presence of Prabhupada, a great spiritual master, but he didn’t seem particularly interested in terms of his own spiritual life. He asked questions in an academic way.

From Sanatorium, A Novel

pp. 114-15

Swami dutifully headed upstairs for the kirtana, but as he climbed the stairs he thought of a way to get out of the lecture that might follow.

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Everyone in their own head. Some of the babies screaming. The two bearded swamis are leading the singing, and Swami Swims is gently rocking in the rocking chair and joining the singing in a semi-mesmerized state. He’s not thinking of much, except wondering if one of them is curious as to why he has shoes on in the temple room. He’s floating, sort of semi-conscious with the chant, which is a good sign. But he does glance at his watch now and then. Doesn’t want it to go over half an hour. He’s glad it’s a Hare Krsna kirtana, not a mixture of bhajanas.

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

It’s more relaxing than japa. Singing with some friends. He glances around the room, and some of the women glance back at him—not very good to do. Glances at some of the children. Then keeps to himself and hardly looks at “his” Deities on the altar. What do you do when your mind is wandering and you don’t see Krsna and Radha in Their murtis?

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

It’s nice to sing with limited time. This segment of the afternoon goes by in chanting the holy names in good company. They say there’s going to be a question-and-answer period later, but he’ll definitely walk out. And then it happens, the singing comes to an end. No one does anything. Then the tall bearded swami starts the “Jaya Om” prayers and does them perfectly. Then again nobody does anything, nobody moves. Swami Swims is the first to move. He grabs his cane and gets up and moves slowly in front of the altar and the others, to the stairs. He pats two-year-old Bhaktivinoda on the head, feels it’s sweaty and says, “Are you hot?” But the child never answers back.

From Can A White Man be a Haribol?

pp. 47-49


The bird lands and pecks
on the square in Alfonso
Delhi Howrah Station
dizzy mind of dream
lost was it
a hawk or a crow
landing on the monument
or was it
my head?

I had better straighten out if I
want to go back to Godhead—free
of siren sounds of all types especially
the kind you hear when it’s raining
in India and
traffic noise
although for some Godbrothers such sounds
are the spiritual world what
with the opportunity to
pack a stadium with 400,000 people—
an audience worth preaching to!

Location: Inis Rath,
water up to the neck here but
no rats or mice,
a simple cabin
on New Year’s eve
or Gita-nagari cabin on Halloween
the memories that hold
and always a new book coming out
then going to that house in Puerto Rico
where live the savage dogs and rough
Puerto Rican natives and I think I am almost
Location: a well—it seems that location
points my way, brings dissonance to life
where I find the pain and joy of writing
for my master—who has been rough and gentle
both, a rose and a thunderbolt
or the rain and the sun
but who gave me new life
and saved me.

Fantasies (Alternative Take)

Pain to go with the rainy day. Late afternoon.
Head just now freeing itself from the mist. A
ragged afternoon. I rest.

Krsna, Krsna, please appear
on my page, Lord of all. What word
do I know to call You?

Seeking through mental-spiritual space
memories of other ragged afternoons
New York City or elsewhere
thinking about the truth in the Upanisads
and what was a guy like me
doing in a place like that? Am I
still there?

Alone in my room. Still seeking on my own
terms, feeling the beat of old drums
or maybe it’s my heart beating
against my ribs—my chest
is so cold.
Fantasized I was a Franciscan monk or a Buddhist barefoot,
an Emily nut worshiping the God of the Upanisads.
I showed him the Dammapada and
he said, “Baka-waka”—he made fun of me, that Murray.
Didn’t like my searching.

Now I face pain almost daily
with a mighty Friend, although I still back out
and opt for pills so I can serve.
Rhinegold radicals write titles
that cover ISKCON’s realities—we’re not here
or there (Vraja) but living through
spring, it’s raining, and
autumn is not so far behind.
My head is full of colors.
I feel like a fakir with one reed
blowing in a tower. My poverty is almost intolerable
like in poor India where
vast chaos throws you down
and spits you out
and people’s dark faces inquire, “Who
do you think you are?” You respond with a sadhu persona,
which is all you know, then beg to be taken to ISKCON.

From The Best I Could Do

pp. 93-94

Chapter Twelve

It is Gaura-Purnima. I heard a relaxation tape. He said, “Every day in every way I am gaining more control.” I thought, “Wait a minute, do I want this more control?” Yes, in the sphere where I can control. But they should make a tape for devotees where you program yourself, “Every day in every way I am letting Krsna gain control over my life.” I visualize myself chanting with more access. I see myself sitting and chanting and entering the hearing of the holy name. I am reading The Nectar of Devotion and not just mentally noticing things in a bored or feeble, nondevotional way, but I am experiencing it as nectar. I am building my desire to serve the Lord and Srila Prabhupada by participating in the Hare Krsna movement’s crusade to inject Krsna consciousness into everyone. Yes, yes, that would be nice.

At 12:30 noon we went into the little temple room of this cottage and sang together. After a half hour, I said, “If I chant anymore, I will start to feel strain.” Then I looked up in a letters book for what Prabhupada says about observance of Gaura-Pornima. He said that when the moon comes out you can break fast as we do on Ekadasi. So M. said, “But they have been cooking for us non-Ekadasi.” I said . . . He said, “But they will have only one preparation then.”

“Oh well, maybe you can cook a second,” I said. He said, “I already cooked a sweet for today.” I said, “We can take it tomorrow.” He smiled and said, “Yes, it is St. Patrick’s Day.”

Every day, in every way, you on a tropical beach. (What do you mean, like Guyana, and any minute the jumbo-wumbos are gonna come and check the white men on their beach and say, “Hey mon, what are you doing here?”). No, a tropical island of the mind-imagination, and it is deserted and you are at peace with your environment. Again I say let us Krsna-ize that scene. You are preaching. Or you are at your desk writing a successful chapter of this book. How does it look? It looks very readable for the future. Like Letters From a Sannyasi and poignant expression of devotion to Prabhupada and you are in his presence and he tells you what to do. It is something that you can actually do, a way you can participate and help other people in their efforts to become Krsna conscious.

Ah yes, I visualize I am breaking the fast (this is not being told to me by a man with a gruffy/gentle voice and British accent), but I am saying it nonetheless, that when we eat we think of Krsna, we actually offer the food first to our Guru Maharaja and think that it is for him. He will eat and that is as good as offering it to Krsna. When you eat something after offering it to him, it is maha-maha-prasadam. I don’t know how it works, but you give it to guru and it works.

Bhagavad-gita, The Nectar of Devotion. I see myself being a better student of these books. Please, master, let it happen that I allow you to take charge of my life as fully as possible. The free will of the living entity, dove¬tailed in the service of the Lord.

Yes, and time enters, time is Krsna and takes away your life. You feel feeble physically when you raise to a standing position because you are growing older. Your body is feeling a little lighter now because you have not eaten? Yes, I guess so.

From Forgetting the Audience

pp. 126-27

If I am usually sarcastic with myself. I could be lighter. As I am kind to good friends—do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Seeing myself about to start a round (or at any time in the round), make a light, friendly suggestion, “Prabhu, since you’re already making the effort to chant, why not make a little more effort and hear what you’re chanting?” It can be expressed even nicer than that.

A friendly reader recently said, “Why are you so hard on yourself? I can’t accept the hard statements you make against yourself. Do I have to accept them?” he asked, or “Can I turn away from them?” I answered him by saying I have to tell the truth about myself. But maybe I am too harsh. He for one doesn’t like it. Of course, I can’t write to please him. But I’m talking about japa. I haven’t succeeded by my strong-armed tactics. Perhaps a sweeter encouraging approach might be helpful.

I do appreciate that I persist patiently even when there is no nectarean taste in chanting. I’m just suggesting if I could be alert and bring the mind back to hearing again, why not try it? All the authorities say that attentive chanting is very important. They must be right.

What is actually needed is the repeated effort, small though it may be, to bring the mind back to hearing the names. The mind will continually go off, and we have to continually bring it back. Unless we have a good-natured attitude, we’ll become soured at the stupidity and stubbornness of the mind. We’ll call ourselves demons, and then the mind may be insulted. We are asking him to do something he can’t do—give up all distraction. Rather than ask for the impossible, ask him to add something.

We tell newcomers they don’t have to change their lives, but just add chanting. This is similar advice . . . You are already chanting, so please remember to bring — the mind back. The mind will be glad to do it, knowing he’s not responsible for an impossible task. Ask him, and stay with him, “Shall we do it again, bring the mind back? Time to bring the mind back again. Here we go again, let’s bring it back. Hey mate, let’s go back and hear that mantra. Shall we hear it again? One more time. One more. Let’s hear the chanting. What was that you were just chanting? Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna.


<< Free Write Journal #279

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Essays Volume 1: A Handbook for Krishna Consciousness

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

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

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

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Essays Volume 3: Lessons from the Road

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

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Forgetting the Audience

Writing Sessions at Castlegregory, Ireland, 1993Start slowly, start fastly, offer your obeisances to your spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. You just drew his picture with your pencils. He appears carved out of wood…

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Last Days of the Year

I found I had hit a stride in my search for theme in writing, then began to feel the structure limiting me. After all, I had given myself precious time to write full-time; I wanted to enter the experience as fully as possible. For me, this means free-writing—writing sessions with no predetermined shape, theme, or topic…

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Daily Compositions

This volume is comprised of three parts: prose meditations, free-writes, and poems each of which will be discussed in turn. As an introduction, a brief essay by the author, On Genre, has also been included to provide contextual coordinates for the writing which follows…

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Meditations & Poems

A comprehensive retrospective of poetic achievement and prose meditations, using a new trajectory described as “free-writing”. This volume will offer to readers an experience of the creativity versatility which is a hallmark of this author’s writing.

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Stream of consciousness poetry that moves with the shifting shapes and colors characteristic of a kaleidoscope itself around the themes of authenticity. This is a book will transport you to the far reaches of the author’s heart and soul in daring ways and will move you to experience your own inner kaleidoscope.
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A narrative poem. challenging and profound, about the journey of an itinerant monk who pursues new means of self-Seeking New Land

expression.The reader is invited to discover his or her own spiritual pilgrimage within these pages as the author pushes every literary boundary to boldly create something wholly new and inspiring.

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