Free Write Journal #291


Free Write Journal #291

April 5, 2024

Satsvarupa dasa Goswami Maharaja
Spiritual Family Celebration
Saturday, July 6, 2024


Meeting of Disciples and friends of SDG


The Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall
845 Hudson Avenue
Stuyvesant Falls, New York 12174

There is 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.      Kirtana

10:30 – 11:00 A.M.      Presentation by Satsvarupa Maharaja

11:15 – 12:30 P.M.       Book Table

12:30 – 1:15 P.M.        Arati and kirtana

1:15 — 2:15 P.M.         Prasadam Feast


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

SDG: “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-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 for April 5

It was another bad week for Satsvarupa Maharaja in the headache department. He had at least two regular headaches, and on a few days a migraine also. The super-duper migraine shot usually takes one or two weeks to really kick in, so we’re still hoping for no migraines next week. In general, he is feeling run-down and in recovery mode from the Journal Volume Five writing marathon. Still, our ornery patient refuses to put down the pen, the books, or chant a regular sixteen rounds and take the extra rest that he really needs. I predict, though, that hopefully this is the bottom, and we’ll have better news within a few weeks.


Japa Retreat Journal for 4/5/24

Japa Quotes from Tachycardia Online Journal, Part 2

Baladeva and I went to the beach early this morning, chanted japa in the car and went for a walk. It’s a nice routine. We meet people and say, “Good morning,” as Prabhupada used to on his morning walk. He often conversed on his walk, teaching his devotees the philosophy and how to meet opposing arguments. Sometimes he was quiet and just chanted on his beads. But if a disciple initiated a question, Prabhupada always seemed to welcome it and was willing to speak.


“Of all the regulative principles, the spiritual master’s order to chant at least sixteen rounds is most essential.” (Srila Prabhupada in Cc. Madhya 22.113 purport). That bhajana vow is done personally, and, in my case, privately. Occasionally I will chant with a buddy. I don’t like to chant japa in a large public gathering, because sometimes I get drowsy and it’s embarrassing. Besides, I find all the voices distracting. Chant audibly and hear your own voice. Call out to Krsna sincerely. And chant with numerical strength.


I had a headache early this morning when we arrived at the beach to chant japa. I took two pills and laid down on the mattress in the back of the car. It was completely dark. My mind roamed over things I’ve written in the journal, and the headache gradually subsided. It was so pleasant there I had to force myself to get up when my headache was clear. I could have gone on with peaceful Krishna conscious mind-roaming indefinitely. But we had come there to jumpstart our japa quotas, so I got up and sat in my seat in the front of the car. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna…..


He is most easily available in His name. I had another headache when we went down to the beach this morning and had to forgo much of the chanting time to recover. The walk is a pleasant, forced exercise. Other cars come down and park by the sea. They see the sky and are awaiting the light of dawn. We are usually almost the first car to arrive. I find it hard to vibrate the japa loudly in my chest, it’s tiring. So I keep it at low volume. But you can still hear yourself clearly and thoughtfully. It’s not good for me to chant in the company of loud chanters, but one other person, like Baladeva, is fine, as he does not chant loudly.


The early morning at the beach is the best part of the day. The japa rounds are clear, and we sit facing the sea. Feed the seagulls and then go for a walk. Finish off your rounds when you get back to the house, but they’re not as good as the ones on the beach. I can’t write any more.


Sitting in the car on a cold morning facing the ocean. I have always been harsh on my japa performance, but it has been a great comfort and an infallible stricture in my life. I never engaged in chanting the Jesus prayer or silent meditation. When Prabhupada chanted on my red beads in 1966 and said to chant sixteen rounds a day, that was it. Sometimes I chanted in the temple room with all the devotees, adding to the general buzz and keeping awake, especially in my youthful years when drowse never overcame me. Sometimes I chanted in my own room with votive candles before the altar until I heard that the smoke might cause headaches. Sometimes I took long walks on the back road near Tuscarora Creek at Gita-nagari until my ankle prevented me from walking. But always the chanting has been the basic principle of my daily sadhana.


I’d hate to give up this precious spot, which has been so helpful for alert, attentive chanting. Fewer cars come and part here, facing the ocean, so we have it all to ourselves. The mighty, silent elements draw you into a meditation where you can peacefully hear the sounds uttered by your tongue and heard by your ear, and then after chanting an hour, the two of us go out for a walk in the parking lot. And that’s also good for japa. Now I’m on the eleventh round and just about to open the door for the walk. Mark down how advantageous this period in your life has been.


April 22, 11:57 A.M.

Japa seminar

Chant early in the morning. Chant audibly. Have trust in the holy names. That is, be confident that if you “just hear” attentively, you will make immense gains. What more? Await lamentation. You are not really crying out to the names. Enjoy the exercise. Accumulate numbers, stay awake. Pronounce all the syllables.


He asked me for suggestions as to how to help her improve her japa. She admitted that there was a period in her life when she rejected japa along with the whole “package” of institutionalism. I told her her japa was a personal relationship she had with Krsna and nothing external. She expressed a loyalty to me, for which I thanked her.


Early this morning, three of us went on a lonely morning walk down the local roads, which were scattered with the dead leaves. We chanted japa all the way. At 10:00 A.M. I meet with my disciples for a 35-minute japa session. We peacefully sat on chairs in a circle. Today Jaya Govinda and Madalena’s two-year-old son Joshee was present. They had a variety of toys set out to play for him, but he was too restless to concentrate on them for long. He moved about and caused a distraction for the adults’ japa. Bhakti-rasa said that Joshee was symbolic of the wandering mind.


Haryasva is stressing that my disciples and I are together in japa and that I should speak on that. It is a strong point, and actually I believe in it. I believe in the importance of japa in my own life and in our bond. As Srila Prabhupada said to us in 1967 when he was going to India and we feared separation from him, “I will be chanting in India, and you will be chanting here, and we will be packed up together.” They can read my books, which offer guidance and personal relationship. They can keep the basic vows of their initiation. They can write letters to me and tell me of their lives. We can meet on occasions like this. Vapu and vani. I am here to rededicate myself to being your spiritual master, and I hope that you will rededicate yourself to being my disciples. Talk like that.


Srila Jiva Gosvami explains in his Krama-sandarbha commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.2.19 the benefits of affectionate chanting:

“The holy name can be chanted in two ways: ordinary or with affection. The ordinary, offenseless chanter will reach the Lord’s divine abode, but the Lord comes near only to an affectionate chanter, so an affectionate chanter attains the Lord’s personal service.”


It’s such an easy process, but it has to be taken seriously, to control the mind and stay awake. And then to go further, to feel faithful that I am reciprocating with Radha and Krishna through sound. You have to pray for mercy to pick yourself up to higher states. Once that predawn-to-dawn session is over, it’s hard to match later in the day. But I can relax with the maha-mantra and pass the time chanting, as with a friend. I like to write about chanting, but it has to come out of experience.


It’s embarrassing and shameful to report low states, so if you want to be a writer of japa meditations, you must realize some taste. Otherwise, you’ll have nothing to report, or, “I chanted poorly.”


I’m having to make a lot of admissions. Like this one: “But I cannot admit to repentance; I cannot say that I went up to the priest or myself and said I shall improve my sadhana and chant 16 rounds. I simply cannot chant 16 rounds. All I can do is pray for mercy and attempt to make chanting a priority and not let it lapse into just a routine, neglected thing.”


From Vraja-mandala Lament: A Writer’s Parikrama

pp. 61-62

Lord Caitanya continued:

“O Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, please hear from Me the symptoms of how one should chant the maha-mantra to easily awaken one‘s dormant love of Krsna. One who thinks himself lower than the grass, more tolerant than a tree and who is prepared to give all respects to others, can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.”

The Lord expounded on the pridelessness of a Vaisnava: “When there is a relationship of love of Godhead, its natural symptom is that a devotee does not think himself a devotee. Instead, he always thinks that he has not even a drop of love for Krsna.” He then spoke another verse of Siksastakam: “O Lord of the Universe, I do not desire wealth, followers, a beautiful wife or fruitive activities described in flowery language. All I want, life after life, is continued devotional service unto You.” By saying “life after life,” He even gives up the desire of deliverance from the cycle of birth and death. The Siksastakam contains layers of meaning all pointed on pure devotional service to Krsna and chanting the holy names. One chants one‘s japa with these verses in mind and enhances his meditation. Srila Sukadeva Goswami expresses the mood of the gopis when they met with Krsna at Kuruksetra:

“The gopis, who cursed the Creator for making
eyelids that obstructed their darsana with
Krsna, now saw Him after a very long time.
They took Him from the path of their eyes
into their hearts and tightly embraced Him there.
They attained the rare absorption that cannot
be attained by yogis or by Rukmini or the other
queens of Dvaraka who are always with Him.”
The gopis control Krsna by their crooked, sidelong

Enchanted by this prema-madhurya,
the queens of Dvaraka pray to attain the fragrance
of Krsna‘s lotus feet which are tinged with
the kunkuma from the gopis‘ breasts.
Blessed are these masterful gopis.
Rama Raya is living in painful
separation from Aindra. He‘s dedicating
his life to carrying out his friend‘s legacy
in Vrindavana. Last night he played
kirtana tunes for a devotee and I. One
was for four-thirty P.M. when Krsna returns from
the pasturing ground. And one was for ten P.M.
when Krsna gets away to meet the
gopis in the kunja.

Radha-Govinda receives my worship with a
new stick of incense. I don‘t have to endure
the Indian factor to get private leisurely
darsana of Radharani. They are here
in my room comforting me in my inability
and unwillingness to travel. I play music
to cheer me up. They stand gracefully in Their
classic pose on my altar and
I gaze upon Their beauteous forms.

From Calling Out to Srila Prabhupada

pp. 18-20

Found Poems of Srila Prabhupada Talking

Stick to One Duty

You appear a little restless,
I know that is your nature.
But you needn’t look further
to find some big challenge.
The challenge is near at hand.

Suppose I am established as a good carpenter,
then it will be foolish if after some time
I say, “Oh, I have done this cutting of woods,
now it is boring, let me become a doctor.”
Krsna doesn’t want that,
and it is not common sense.

I should stick to one duty
which is just suitable for me,
and consider throughout my life
I am obliged to perform it
to the best of my ability,
and not leave it
even for a so-called good cause,
as when Arjuna wanted to stop fighting.

We are preachers on behalf of Lord Krsna
that is our occupational duty.
We don’t have to search further
for a new challenge or change.
It has already been settled.
So the best thing will be
to develop more and more
what we have begun.

And there is so much to do:
I have built the skeleton
of the building,
but there is much more work
remaining before us.

—Letter of 2 January 1973

You Have a Desire

You have a desire
to become a famous preacher
and a famous Vaisnava singer
and also jagat-guru.
This is a spiritual desire.
But “famous Vaisnava” means
that you have no sex desire.
Whether you can be like that?
First be without any sex desire,
then think “famous Vaisnava.”

—Letter of 31 December 1972

Be Satisfied and Happy

Krsna consciousness means
we should always be satisfied and happy;
not that we must work something impossible,
become overburdened and then,
because we are unhappy by so much trouble,
we lose enthusiasm and give up all hope.

By all means we must preserve
our spiritual status, that is the point.

Not that we are mad after big buildings,
many devotees, life members, this, that—
no. These are only ways to engage the devotees,
so that they may apply the principles
of devotional living to some kind of work.
It is not the result of the work we want.
If we sincerely preach
to only one person in a day,
that is sufficient,
never mind big, big programs.

So do not be bothered by these things.
Krsna does not like to see His sincere devotee
suffer or become frustrated or depressed.
He will not stand idly by in such case,
so do not fear on that account.
Krsna has some plan for you,
always think in that way
and very soon He will provide
everything to your heart’s desire.

—Letter of 9 December 1972

With One Stroke of My Kick

You say your pathway has become
filled with stumbling blocks, but
with one stroke
I can kick out all stumbling blocks.
But if you don’t accept me as your guide,
what can I do?

—Letter of 9 December 1972

We Are Servants of God

I sometimes remember
that when I spoke in Portland,
there were many Christians there,
and they were very much favorable
whenever we mentioned that we also
are lovers of Christ.

So you may preach in that way.
We are not canvassing people
to convert or criticize;
we are canvassing
that they should simply use their time
for loving God
by engaging in His devotional service,
whether they are Christian, Catholic, Jew,
or whatever. We are after God, that’s all.
We are servants of God.

So preach like that, very simply,
and hold sankirtana all over the city,
and distribute prasadam profusely,
especially to the youth,
then everything will be successful.

—Letter of 2 August 1972

Sufferings of the Master

Regarding your question
about sufferings of the master,
you can simply ponder
over Lord Christ’s crucifixion.

—Letter of 31 December 1972

From Essays, Volume 3: Lessons from the Road (Volume 4)

pp. 136-38

Bhakta Kent and Sarad-vihari dovetailed their hiking desire with their japa by climbing the small mountain behind the camp. They brought back flowers, juniper branches, and visions of hawks, vultures, and a peregrine falcon speeding by in the thermal currents. (“Guru Maharaja, he’s the fastest animal alive; they can dive up to one hundred and eighty miles an hour!”) And an encounter with an antelope, as told by Bhakta Kent:

While chanting on a quiet meditative pathway, I spotted a male prong-horn antelope. It bounded off over a small hill, jumping on the run for about fifty yards, and then stopping to look back. After I circled the hill, I met up with him again. This time he allowed me to come much closer. I came as close as twenty yards, while the antelope stood ready to burst away. But all of a sudden he just began to walk slowly off to the side. After a few steps he stopped, picked up his ears and listened to the sound vibration of my now audible chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. He didn’t move at all as I walked closer and closer to him. I knew without a doubt that he was becoming absorbed by the maha-mantra. With each step closer I wondered how far he would let me within his boundary of safety. I eventually came too close and off he went. But every fifty feet he looked back, catching eye contact and then continuing on, almost as if not believing what had just happened.

With nothing better to do, two young teenagers go ripping through the hills all day, driving their motorcycles over bumps and ditches. Today, one of them was driving loudly back and forth across the little campground. On one of his close passes, he called out, “Bunch of queers!”

One of the devotees immediately called back, “Come here!”

The biker spun around as if to meet the challenge, but then sped off in another direction. He continued buzzing around like a bumblebee, into the hills and back past our campsite. He didn’t speak, but leered at us. During a slow pass, one of the brahmacaris said, “How are you doing?” No reply. But after dozens of passes, he finally ended his territorial dance and got off his bike. He was a blonde-haired boy about fifteen years old. From thirty feet away he said casually, “Where are you guys from?”

Kent replied, “We’re student priests traveling all over the U.S. telling people about God. Many people don’t actually know about God.” Krsna Bhakta dasa walked up and gave him a Back to Godhead, and Eric joined them. They stood around the motorbike talking of Krsna and the gear ratios: “Four down, one up.” A few minutes more and Krsna Bhakta was bobbing down the road on the bike. Then the two teenage bikers and devotees came together.

“Can you say Hare Krsna?”

“Yeah. Hare Krsna.”

I-80 West is the nonscenic pass through the Rockies. We are taking it to avoid the wear and tear on the vehicles and on the human body. It is flat, like a plane runway from which you never take off.

After two hours, while I was sleeping in the back, the van suddenly ground to a halt. Another flat tire.

Prayer on Interstate 80
While Changing a Flat Tire

Holy name of Krsna,
I come to You like a
hungry trucker to his
favorite diner. I am
eager, but crude. I
know I need You. I
pray to improve. (As
trucks zoom by).

You reveal Yourself
to one who prays
in the mood of Siksastaka.
Please grant me strength
to fight inattention
for my own sake
and for those whom I would help.

Please grant me taste so that
when I chant and when I
speak of hari-nama, people
will be touched.

If you think I will misuse
the taste of ecstasy, then
please help me
clear my pride.

I know I am abusive,
but I want to qualify.
Now it’s time
(the tire is changed)
for me to do my part,
chanting holy names.

From The Best I Could Do

pp. 37-39

Prayer and Tortoise Shells

This book has its own course to go, just let it speak. I did yearn for this retreat, therefore there is a work awaiting to come out.

Soon it will be 3 P.M. You should pause and wake Prabhupada and change his cadar, the post-lunch sleep operation. Staring out the window. Can’t claim someone interrupts me, if I don’t have something I’m onto. Or it would be nice, I says to myself, if I could read Govindam prayers and see in mind’s eye the Lord who is described therein with the eye of unalloyed devotion. Do your vaidhi-bhakti, even without love or spontaneity. And look at the blank awhile. The Lord may reveal Himself, and you have no alternative but to go on chanting and hearing with improved endeavor.

However, persons who have given up stereotyped worldly affairs and the beastly followers of these affairs, and who have taken shelter of the umbrella of Your lotus feet by drinking the intoxicating nectar of Your qualities and activities in discussions with one another, can be freed from the primary necessities of the material body.

—Bhag. 3.21.17

I did it. I changed his cadar. Sang the pranama song. I said I’d confess almost everything before I got done.

“The time factor cannot affect the span of life of the devotees. . . . The greatest danger is transmigration of the soul from one body to another, and only devotional service to the Lord can stop this process. . . . The time factor, however, cannot touch the lifespan of the devotees.

—Bhag. 3.21.18, purport

You think maybe you can move into some new territory in writing? That’s fine, but not if it requires contorted . . . I wouldn’t want it if it hurt my arm, like when bullies pulled back your arm until it hurt fierce.

It still does, I woke up with that pain from lying the wrong way. Then what do you want, effortless? Still jet-lagged?

He said (in the kitchen, the man who is loaning me this house) that Gaura-Purnima is actually not on Thursday as it states on one calendar. The full moon is actually on Friday. Is that all right with me? I said, yes. Later is better. It gives me more time. I almost thought he was going to say they decided not to observe it at all and I could go on reading and
writing without having to meet with them. I like those kinds of observances when only M. and I and maybe one other are in a house somewhere and we go on with our routine as usual. Maybe a short reading and kirtana or an extra cooking prep. And I mention it here.

This is confessing the littleness. The littleness of your fingers and fingernails. The guy has finally come to this retreat and is too tired to say much. Let me just lay back, he says, don’t push so much with your schedule. Why substitute the travel and lecture schedule with yet another demand, the demand of your inner and writing life? Can’t you do what you want for an afternoon? Go ahead, read in those Fair Acre pamphlets about prayer and desert fathers—if you want. You will discover. . . . .

Just passed about fifteen minutes to read on prayer. I liked what it said about accepting yourself as you are when you pray, not as an ideal person of prayer. I also accepted the point that prayer isn’t easygoing, but its purpose is to surrender to God, to offer yourself to be made in His will. But then stuff about passivity, I wasn’t sure about that. She said you could start prayers using imaginative gifts like writing a poem or painting a picture, but these are just the early stage and you have to go beyond it. When we first begin, our prayers are superficial and we want to get something from it, “instead of grasping that the essential heart of prayer is throwing away of ourselves in simple self-oblation to God . . . Any form of prayer which does not stimulate love to give all soon becomes dry and sterile, a formal duty or even a mantra as in some forms of non-Christian prayer.”

From Songs of a Hare Krsna Man

pp. 64-66


Little dreams reveal residue of each
day. Little writing may be like that
too. I only go deep enough to recall
what I read fifteen minutes ago and
what I saw and felt today.
Lunch menu was pasta for a change
and bread and butter and the rest . . .
the feast for minnows,
the words that don’t belong
where do they come from? Your aunt and uncle
your Godparents way back then,
and you can’t remember past life.

It doesn’t matter. You better remember
Krsna at the time of death.
But it’s a bhava, a feeling
and you will be calling and recalling you
will be bawling and crying you will be
crying and just gritting and grinding the
end will do you in,
the mortal death of pain at every stitch
and moment.

You pray to transcend and be
with your master but you have to
have loved him and served him
from the heart otherwise
out will come, when you don’t want it,
desire to read more dream workbooks,
desire to love a woman in seven countries,
desire to rape and incest and
smoke a cigar you never did,
desire to remember the truth of Public School 8
desire to be the hero of material realms
and desire to be free of GBC
once and for all, desire to be
accepted as Good Citizen by your Godbrothers,

desire for malted milkshake
“a black and white soda please,”
emeralds and seashores
another writing retreat in Kerry,
“Doctor can you give me four more years
so I can realize my plans?”
Desire to be a book distributor
and temple president
to buckle down and do the needful
to sleep and wake again, to be
my master’s personal servant
to give up the money, give it back
be a pure servant work hard
do as asked by superiors,
or something else.

If I had only attained ruci
for the holy name and found my home
in reading Srimad-Bhagavatam the
pure way. I blew it
I should have done this and that
I should have just been a good boy
and never left Boston?
Should have traveled until dropping dead in tracks
or stayed at home and spent last years
writing something, even this.

Now I just pray, Prabhupada
take me and bring me to you
for my next program of work.


Say what you want, you are not
independent. Nature is down on you,
forces you to feed to starve
to eat stool in the body of
the hog, forces you to hide
and dream, forces you
to face yourself.

Dr. Allen Gerson (?) says that
psychologists are teaching people they can
be what they want,
they have that power.
“It isn’t true” the devotees
chime, in the little walled-in garden
while outside you hear
children shout and play.

Prabhupada kept talking until the tape
ran out. Then they dubbed in him
singing hari haraye namah krsna.

Billy goat gruff. The troll stopped the goat
and then asked him questions
not unlike Mahabharata where
a Yaksa questioned Yudhisthira
and he answered everything perfectly
because Krsna was dictating to him
in the heart.

Waifs and waffles, the material side of life
diminishes as the spiritual rises.
So speaks Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
And the spiritual side wins out, is eternal—
after death of the body the soul takes
another body. I have nothing to add to that. I
don’t know anything.
I’m not a muni, not going to open my
mouth but walk in semi distance behind my
guru and hear him and control my mind and

I will repeat on the right occasions
what he teaches, tell the people
“You can’t live here
you have to take another body.” Tell
the people, repeat it
right away or
you’ll forget the next moment.

Oh, but I won’t forget
my master is my master
and I will sing the glories of Bhagavad-gita:
You take another body and the soul goes . .

Just repeating, that’s my style
don’t claim we know, don’t be a cheater
don’t claim I know anything
but sastra, guru in the heart and
Lord in heart. They can tell me all I need.

Wesson and Smith and other
vested interests lobby in D.C. but I am
saying if you are going to talk
and flatter someone
then flatter Krsna.
Really you ought to chant
holy names even if you only
count them up.
It does you good.

From Here Is Srila Prabhupada

pp. 67-69

While Prabhupada was resting, we chanted japa to catch up on our day’s quota. My mind is prayerful as I chant, but my mind is also roaming about as usual. At least most of my thoughts had to do with serving Prabhupada. “Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna—Do you have fresh milk for the evening? Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare—Is the heater working in his room in case the central heating isn’t sufficient? Hare Rama Hare Rama—Did you say that Baladeva dasa is flying into Dublin? Does he know how to get here? Rama Rama Hare Hare—How and when will I arrange for Srila Prabhupada to speak to the devotees and guests in the evening? What do I most want to say to him? Don’t forget to praise the spiritual master when you are in his presence!”

Even when he is here, my rounds are not attentive. If he could teach us, by magic or blessing, how to read his books once and for all . . . Should I ask about svarupa-siddhi and rasa? No, it’s premature. The origin of the living entity? He already told us. How may I serve you? Keep it focused on that. Maybe ask a question you asked many years ago about taste. Also ask about memories of the spiritual master, if you have time. You have to wait for the opportunity. Don’t intrude on him. Still, a list of questions is not impertinent. He will appreciate it if you are efficient.

The time goes by quickly, a mere one-and-a-half hours, and Prabhupada is awake again. I don’t feel ready to meet with him. I know Srila Prabhupada is my best friend, but I am still a little apprehensive. After so many years of not seeing him, after having had to grow up on my own—suddenly I have to face him again. He can see in my face that I didn’t turn out exactly like a pure devotee. Is it too late? I had hoped to be better by the next time I met him. Am I a stunted tree, or a tree that has grown in its own, twisted way? What can he do about that? They say the blind can see the stars by the grace of the guru. It all depends on Prabhupada’s mercy and my response to his instruction. Take courage. Go to him. There is no other way.

In the evening Srila Prabhupada speaks. We have a good, blissful kirtana in which devotees express their gratefulness to Srila Prabhupada through the harinama.

(Oh, and before that, he met devotees in his room for over an hour and heard their names, and by the Lord’s arrangement they were able to ask individual questions, be recognized, and have their desires fulfilled. I think of how we read in Caitanya-caritamrta that Lord Caitanya “bestowed various benedictions” on King Prataparudra, and He “blessed each devotee according to his complete satisfaction.” Caitanya-caritamrta doesn’t go into the details of those moments, but you guess that Lord Caitanya touched that person’s heart and fulfilled their unique propensity to love Him in a certain way. Whatever they desired in spiritual life was fulfilled, whatever was truly good for them. So Prabhupada blessed the devotees that were present in the house like that. I’ve been going through the wringer emotionally. I am more resolved, I can say that for sure. I feel hopeful and my aspirations are renewed. I can’t express it here, but I think that will be the natural outcome of this visit.)

We chant and cry out. We don’t care how it looks. It’s a kirtana among devotees. We cry together, “Srila Prabhupada, please bless us with a taste for the nectar of the holy name. This is the greatest gift. If we can carry on without your personal presence, but be aware of the power of the name, then it will be good for the whole world. Then we can serve you as we should.” We are losing ourselves in the best kirtana, the one taking place in the presence of the pure devotee spiritual master.

The kirtana is over and Srila Prabhupada is speaking Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta, conferring boons on those who can hear his words. He is offering the same opportunity he has always been offering, but he is making it even more accessible. He has enabled us to hear it better, to stay awake while he speaks, to listen with real attention and devotion. It is only by his mercy that we can pay attention as he describes Sukadeva Gosvami, Lord Krsna, Srimati Radharani, and the residents of Vrndavana, then Lord Caitanya’s lila—all in reference to the present ambitions and work of the ISKCON sankirtana movement. When a pure devotee speaks and people sincerely hear his words, everyone, and even the place, become purified.


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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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The Journals of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, Volume 1: Worshiping with the Pen

“This is a different kind of book, written in my old age, observing Kṛṣṇa consciousness and assessing myself. I believe it fits under the category of ‘Literature in pursuance of the Vedic version.’ It is autobiography, from a Western-raised man, who has been transformed into a devotee of Kṛṣṇa by Śrīla Prabhupāda.”

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The Best I Could Do

I want to study this evolution of my art, my writing. I want to see what changed from the book In Search of the Grand Metaphor to the next book, The Last Days of the Year.

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Songs of a Hare Krishna Man

It’s world enlightenment day
And devotees are giving out books
By milk of kindness, read one page
And your life can become perfect.

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Calling Out to Srila Prabhupada: Poems and Prayers

O Prabhupāda, whose purports are wonderfully clear, having been gathered from what was taught by the previous ācāryas and made all new; O Prabhupāda, who is always sober to expose the material illusion and blissful in knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, may we carefully read your Bhaktivedanta purports.

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Here is Srila Prabhupada

I use free-writing in my devotional service as part of my sādhana. It is a way for me to enter those realms of myself where only honesty matters; free-writing enables me to reach deeper levels of realization by my repeated attempt to “tell the truth quickly.” Free-writing takes me past polished prose. It takes me past literary effect. It takes me past the need to present something and allows me to just get down and say it. From the viewpoint of a writer, this dropping of all pretense is desirable.

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Geaglum Free Write

This edition of Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswami’s 1996 timed book, Geaglum Free Write Diary, is published as part of a legacy project to restore Satsvarūpa Mahārāja’s writings to ‘in print’ status and make them globally available for current and future readers.

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