Free Write Journal #296


Free Write Journal #296

May 10, 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 May 10

I’m sorry to have been offline for several weeks due to recovery from a surgery. Satsvarupa Maharaja has also had a rough three weeks—headaches, fatigue and in general feeling ill. Whenever he is up though, it is japa or writing a new book for us. He’s looking forward to the summer festival, where many new books will be presented.


Japa Retreat Journal for 5/10/24

Japa Quotes from Tachycardia Online Journal (Part 6)

Japa can be accomplished every day. Each individual has his speed. Japa can be accomplished at your pace. Each person has his own. Go to Pimlico and watch the brilliant, silky jockeys and the silky, galloping horses.


December 27, 3:36 A.M.

Whispering japa, but rapidly. That’s how I have to do it nowadays. I remember Prahladananda Swami’s three tips on chanting: (1) hear the syllables carefully; (2) have faith you are reciprocating with the Divine Couple; and (3) enjoy the chanting. I enjoy the accomplishment of numerical strength and try to chant with faith and attention. Srila Prabhupada writes,

“This transcendental inspiration is called brahma-maya because when one is inspired, the sound it produces exactly corresponds to the sound vibration of the Vedas. This is not the ordinary sound vibration of this material world. There-fore the sound vibration of the Hare Krsna mantra, although presented in the ordinary alphabet, should not be taken as mundane or material” (SB 4.9.4, purport).

But Bhaktivinoda Thakura states that if, when chanting, one is thoughtlessly going through the motions, it is the outer covering of the mantra and not actually the transcendental sound vibration. All I know is that if your chanting is offensive, the antidote is to go on chanting.


Determined chanting will bring one to the stage of nama-bhasa (shadow of the holy name) and finally to the clearing stage. Prabhupada states that we should not artificially impose the form of the Lord on our chanting meditation, but that the day will come when He will spontaneously manifest.


January 6, 4:23 A.M.

The early-morning chanting is steady. I’m regulated now to rise at about 2:00 A.M. I hope I can continue that in Vrndavana. You get a good boost of japa before most people are up. But today I overslept for an hour. I rushed through the bathroom and started my rounds. I raced with the clock and chanted all the way through until 4:25 A.M. without a nap. My mind dwelt on the mantras themselves and getting them done. At least I was not ranging on various distracted subjects. I took shelter of the spiritual syllables without any particular theme in mind.


I would like to be able to meditate on Radha and Krsna, but that will have to manifest in its own time. It will come as I hear with more concentration and with more faith in the identity of Nama Prabhu. Now I chant for the profit of accumulation. I want to count higher and higher. It is a kind of thrill, like counting money. You want more and more, and you want it quickly. It is like eating delicious food, except you don’t soon satiate. The biggest detraction or letdown today was the fact that I was mostly trying to move quickly. The best point of the morning japa was that I was completely alert and fresh for the whole time. The time regulation was spotty, averaging over seven minutes a round. The chanting was audible. I was in charge. Or rather Krsna, in the form of the maha-mantra, was in charge. I simply followed and did my duty.


What about Prabhupada? He is present as the giver of the holy name. He handed me the mala of big, red japa beads after chanting on them. When he gave me my beads, I bowed at his feet and swooned, chanting the mantra nama om visnu padaya krsna presthaya bhutale/ srimati bhaktivedanta swami iti namine.


January 7, 4:00 A.M.

I chanted japa in the morning, starting at 3:35 A.M. Before that, in the bathroom, I heard a tape of Dravida reading from Bhagavad-gita As It Is, hearing about the different kinds of sacrifices, such as the yogis’ breathing the incoming air into the outgoing air, by which they can prolong their lives. And the sacrifices for attaining the heavenly planets. All sacrifices are meant for stopping sense gratification. The devotees are constantly engaged in devotional service, and they attain the kingdom of God. This stayed in my mind as I began chanting.


The first round is always slow, and then they go faster. Today they were not audible. Of course, I prefer it when they are audible; that’s the recommended process. One should chant with the tongue and lips and pronounce the syllables. Sometimes I just can’t make the effort, so I chant in the mind. But when I do so, I hold the mantras attentively and say them silently. I take shelter in spiritual thoughts, such as (a) reminding myself how important hari-nama is; (b) recalling statements from the scriptures about how dear the holy names are to great devotees; (c) reminding myself that if you “just hear,” eventually you start perceiving the form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord; (d) asserting that the name is the same as Krsna Himself and is even more merciful than Krsna. You think of these along with your utterance, and it boosts you and keeps you steady.


Today, after the first round, I averaged about six minutes per round. That’s moving as fast as I can without blurring or mispronouncing (not hearing). Quality is still more important than speed. I’m grateful that I’m not thinking of other aspects of my life while I should be chanting. Fortunately, other thoughts are not coming, and I streamline my consciousness to that of a japa chanter. If other thoughts do come, I gently put them aside and return to my business. Krsna has been kind to me to let me perform like a single-minded athelete. Today I was able to do that.


From Passing Places, Eternal Truths: Travel Writings 1988-1996

pp. 29-31


Last night I dreamt of the Guarinos. One group of us arrived at a place and had a car ride scheduled for the next morning. Then Uncle Mickey, who was physically big, and another uncle arrived. They needed a ride to the same place where we were going, but Mickey was considerate. He said maybe they couldn’t all fit in our car since I also had my luggage. I said in the morning when our car actually arrives, we can try to fit in. We’ll see. Then I wanted to tell them my childhood memories of the Guarinos, especially something my father used to say —that if the five brothers had gotten together to form a business—something like a furniture moving business—it could have been a great success, but they could not cooperate. Do I dream of them because only two days ago I learned that my father died?

Svevo mourns on principle. If he knew who he was, then he’d know his story, what he has done. He waits for words to be his own, not those of John Berryman’s “Henry’s Fate.” Is he the one right now ascertaining whether he has indigestion? Is it he who is hearing the highway sounds?

Is he afraid? All we can conclude with any certainty is that Svevo joined the Hare Krsna movement.

In another dream, I came back to my room and a black man and his family had moved in. We were to share the room. I played with his son, but he became disrespectful and pulled my ears as if I were a boy like him. I told him our natural relationship was that I was the spiritual master and he the disciple.

Speeders on the highway. It sounds different than surf, but similar. We hear distant death. Everyone in ISKCON knows our Armenian temple was attacked. We dream of it and see the photos of wounded devotees. I dreamt I saw a confidential file of photos showing the men’s wounds.

I would like this to be a bright and light narrative, like the way I felt when we first stopped for breakfast.

No use recalling childhood.
It’s not that we now and
even at the time . . .
were not God conscious,
doesn’t help me except
I was a self and so were they.
Illusion of happiness is
also a kind of happiness?
§rila Prabhupada said, “What if a man builds
a very nice house and you ask
him why he built it
and he says, ‘Just to set fire to it’—
you’d think he’s a crazy fool.”

Tortoise draws in limbs. “Swami” means master of the senses. I’ll be listening to Prabhupada’s lectures.

I have to write even when I don’t feel like it. The dictionary defines “marathon” as “a foot race of 26 miles, 385 yards run on an open field.” It refers especially to an event in the Olympic games. It’s derived from the story of the Greek runner who ran from Marathon to Athens to tell of the Greek’s victory over the Persians. A marathon is also “any long-distance or endurance contest.”

Lie on your back and dream. On your side. The day turns mild. We will reach our day’s end destination, Ljubljana, it’s called. Zagreb is to the southeast.

I was happy to put a wet towel on my head and bare chest and arms. Madhu was sitting in the sweltering front seat. We’re in a traffic jam. I asked him if he’d like a wet rag. “Yes,” he said. Later he thanked me and said it gave him some relief.

Those sentimental feelings others have. Mine are not like that?

“I stayed one night at Tripurari Maharaja’s temple,” he said. Now words come to me from the letters I have answered.

Did it ever occur to you that you are not making progress? Drive on, only two hours from the temple. I’m a faded, living legend, who wrote the biography, was there in the beginning, has no teeth, doesn’t care much what others may think. I anticipate danger, anticipate being thrown in the clinker, think of Amnesty International.

From Geaglum Free-Write

pp. 143-45

Krsna wrist. Krsna twist in all things, in His pastimes and teaching and names, in His order to devotees, He’s the most sacred and powerful. Don’t adulterate or trifle with His teachings. Don’t hide Him. Don’t try to take His place. Don’t neglect His Bhagavad-gita in your life. Don’t use the body He gave you for sense gratification except as necessary to keep healthy—while you serve Him.

Best use of bad bargain—brief existence on merry-go-round a few more years.

Don’t climb over fence in zoo into polar bears’ turf. Don’t swallow poison knowingly. Worship Radha-Krsna by worshiping Their pure devotee, who sings “Vrndavana-mahatmya” and “Hari-hari-biphale” and writes S.B. and Cc. for You, and pushes on this movement, and wants You also.

Somebody talk to this Satsvarupa and straighten him out. He’s a lout, a gout, “a trout.”

Really? I thought he was a nice guy.

Well, he’s gone awry, away.

Okay, I’ll teach him and say, “Wise up and cooperate.”

I’ll tell him you can eat apple pie, but be responsible, attend meetings and preach more lectures. If you must write, be more propagandistic and organize your essays as Sheridan Baker teaches in The Complete Stylist. Use the “hourglass” technique. If you want to tell of life in your van, make it calculated and organized.

Oh, go ahead, Sats. No one is complaining or caring. No one is looking. Say the whole truth fast.

I can’t find direct themes or stories. Write about writing. I like it. Gravitate to it. We’ll continue it. This day. Merry way.

He wants from me the unexpected, new adventures. Well, here it comes, folks, something new down the pike. It’s time to banish irrelevant, even playful asides and write holy as you get ready to chant japa. You’ve been at this long enough.

These youngsters are my life. They are the people I talk with and give counsel to. They expect a lot of me, but they also let me be who I am. Madhu posed this question last year in his letter to me on my birthday. He said it was fine with him that I was searching for myself and that I want to be myself, but since he has expected me as spiritual master, this sometimes presented to him (or let’s switch this now and not say this is Madhu, I don’t want to say I know his mind exactly, but let’s say it is “someone”)—a disciple might say that for a guru, we need someone perfect and careful in his behavior, someone unquestionably Krsna conscious and always thinking of Krsna. For that we go to Srila Prabhupada. After all, ISKCON is constantly telling how important it is that all of us worship Prabhupada, so why can’t we accept him as our main spiritual master?

In response to that, I say, “Yes, go ahead.” I’m sorry if I’ve been presumptuous about it, assuming to be someone’s guru when they didn’t see me that way. But then someone else approaches me and says, “You are the guru.” I have to make up my own mind and not be a person who merely responds to whatever one group or another wants from me.

I do need to search for myself, be myself, with memories, accept my fallibility, my Westernisms, and so on. I need to be able to grow and create and relax and admit who I am, at least to myself. Then they can take that as guru or friend or big brother or whatever. I think that’s the way to go about it.

I should not be affronted if they say I am not perfect enough for guru. Say to them, “Okay, then go to Prabhupada for that and I hope to help you with it.” Don’t demand or force them if their heart and mind is not in it. Srila Prabhupada could be their main guru as siksya-guru. Admit it and don’t resent it. I used to call this the leeway policy. Give them leeway to choose.

If some others come and say, “Srila Prabhupada is great but far away from us. You have actually been our guide our whole spiritual life. We follow the path you chalk out in your books. We want to hear of Srila Prabhupada and Krsna from you. You inspire us to grow and be honest. We can relate to you. Therefore, we accept you wholeheartedly as guru according to sastra.” To them I won’t say, “No, I cannot. I’m too faulty to be that.” I won’t tell them I must be to you what I am to those others who see me as too minor and whimsical. Get it?

From Essays, Volume 3

pp. 26-28

After the Fall

TECHNICALLY, a devotee falls from Krsna consciousness when he breaks the rules against illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating, or gambling. We all try to avoid falling. But when a devotee does fall, how can we help him?

In The Nectar of Devotion, Srila Prabhupada states that if one regularly discharges devotional service, one won’t fall down.

“But even if circumstantially there is some falldown, the Vaiṣṇava [devotee] need have nothing to do with prayascitta, the ritualistic ceremony for purification. If someone falls down from the principles of devotional service, he simply has to execute the rules and regulations of discharging devotional service, and that is sufficient for his reinstatement.”

Our main service to a person who has fallen, then, should be to convince him or her not to despair but to resume Krsna conscious activities.

When devotees fall, we shouldn’t discourage them by treating them like outcasts. No matter how serious their offenses or mistakes, Krsna can forgive them. Therefore, devotees too should be forgiving and helpful. Otherwise, if a fallen person thinks he must stay fallen, his sins may become habits, and his chanting and fellowship with devotees may stop.

Devotees should help other devotees who have slipped on the path. Lord Krsna Himself advises that no one deride a devotee for some mistake. “Even if one commits the most abominable action,” the Lord says in the Gita (9.30), “if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.” Srila Prabhupada comments that this is a warning that a devotee should not be derided for an accidental falldown. “He should still be considered saintly even if he has accidentally fallen down.”

An advanced devotee is sometimes like a thunderbolt and sometimes like a rose. Spiritual masters sometimes enforce strict discipline, as when Lord Caitanya banished Junior Haridasa for a slight mistake. This was in fact a spiritual pastime between Lord Caitanya and His liberated devotee. In this instance, Lord Caitanya wanted to set a strong example for others. But Lord Caitanya and His devotees were often lenient towards those who fell. Prabhupada once said that he himself, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and all the other Krsna conscious spiritual masters were “eighty percent lenient” toward their followers. This leniency grows from faith that the best remedy is not to push fallen devotees away but to encourage them to continue their devotional service.

On this point, Lord Caitanya’s dealings with His servant Kala Krsnadasa are instructive. Kala Krsnadasa was the only person to travel with Lord Caitanya on His tour of South India, but unfortunately a woman allured Kala Krsnadasa to join a band of nomads (Bhaṭṭatharis).Lord Caitanya went personally to the nomads and risked violence to save him, but when Lord Caitanya returned to Jagannatha Purī, He told Kala Krsnadasa He wanted nothing more to do with him.

Yet although Lord Caitanya rejected Kala Krsnadasa, Lord Caitanya’s devotees, led by Lord Nityananda, did not. They devised a plan by which Kala Krsnadasa could serve as a messenger to Lord Caitanya’s devotees in Bengal. This was certainly the best medicine for the fallen Kala Krsnadasa. It made him blissful and grateful and kept him in the association of devotees. “Therefore,” Srila Prabhupada writes, “the Lord’s devotees are more merciful than the Lord Himself…. The Lord Himself may sometimes be very hard, but the devotees are always kind.”

Back to Godhead, 25(6) (November 1991)

From Stories of Devotion: Am I a Demon or a Vaisnava?

pp. 44-46

Scenario: The hero of our story, Harsasoka, has been thrown into prison during the rule of Hiranyakasipu because of his leanings toward Krsna consciousness.

Harsasoka: It’s been a few days since I last wrote. The day after I gave Indrajit the note, Indrajit’s father resumed his duties. I was downhearted at the sight of his hard, grown-up face. I thought of saying something but didn’t. But that same evening, Indrajit came to see me. Now I know he isn’t coming on official duties.

“I went and played with Prahlada,” he whispered close to my cell. He was smiling, and I thought that he lit up the dim corridor with his effulgence.

“Did you like it?” I asked.

“Yeah! I’m going again. Every day, if I can. My dad says it’s okay since he’s the emperor’s son, but I didn’t tell my dad what Prahlada is doing. Haribol!” Indrajit pushed something into my cell with his hand, and then he ran away.

It was a letter from my son, printed in his own handwriting:

“Dear Pitaji,

“Please accept my humble obeisances at your feet. All glories to Narada Muni, who wanders throughout the universe praising Lord Hari and who was kind to a hunter, and who is the spiritual master of Vyasadeva and Dhruva and Prahlada. All glories to Prahlada Maharaja, who showers blessings upon us in the shape of the transcendental sound, Hare Krsna.

“Mom and I were ecstatic to get a note from you and to know where you are. We are praying for you. I know you must be feeling good because you wrote ‘Haribol’ and you induced the boy Indrajit to join our kirtana.

“I have heard that it will not be long before Krsna acts, as He says in Bhagavad-gita:

Paritranaya sadhunam
vinisaya ca duskrtam . . .
Yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata . . .

I am proud that my pita is so brave and Krsna conscious. Mom sends her love.

Your affectionate son,
Daitya dasa

P.S. We have an altar now at home. This is maha-prasadam from the Deity.

P.P.S. Prahlada Maharaja said this: “O my friends, O sons of demons, everyone, including you, can revive his original, eternal spiritual life and exist forever simply by accepting the principles of bhakti-yoga.”

The maha-prasadam was a morsel of dried halava. I knew it would be blissful, so I didn’t gulp it. I worshiped it first. My prison practice has been to imagine opulent offerings for the Deity, but since it is all done in my mind, sometimes the offering suddenly disappears and I can’t get back to it. I will be preparing sweet rice in one pot and steaming sabji in another pot, when suddenly my mind goes to some past demoniac scene, eating meat or laughing at Vaisnavas and so on. Or I just space out and the offering gets forgotten. And as for the daily slop they bring us, it’s hard to “honor” it. Still, I do it. I thank Krsna for providing us the bhakti method whereby we can give Him our devotion with prayers when we eat. I recite the Sanskrit and then I say to Krsna that I know we would be eating lumps of sin if we didn’t offer the foodstuff with prayers. I ask Him to let the prayers be more important to me than the sense gratification of eating afterwards, and I ask to be able to honor the prasadam.

From The Story of My Life, Volume 2

pp. 38-40

Writing exercises from Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg

Old Friend From Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir, by Natalie Goldberg is a good book for stimulating me to write in my autobiography. It contains many writing assignments that provoke memory from all phases of my life, both pre-Krsna conscious, my history in ISKCON, and my present moment. It enables me to work on the technique that Mark Twain used in his autobiography: write from any part of your life that occurs to you until the inspiration pales. Then take up again, without regard to chronological order, and whatever occurs to you. at the same time that you write from the past, keep it also as a diary, writing what has just occurred to you, what you read in the newspaper or the last conversation you had. I like the way these writing assignments keep me on my toes, as if I am being interviewed by a serious, curious reporter or biographer who wants to know all about me, who wants to empower me to reveal myself and talk about my life. My responses to the arguments are like so many potshots into the field of memory, coming one after another in rapid order. If you are willing to flow with them, I think they make a good read.

I’m looking at . . . the palomino weeds at the edge of the lake strait at Inis Rath. The Geaglum peninsula in Northern Ireland. That’s where I spent years reading Srimad-Bhagavatam and writing Every Day, Just Write. I’m looking at the dark sky. It’s 7:00 A.M. but still in summer, here in Stuyvesant Falls in New York, September 19, 2011. Is it going to rain? I’m looking at Baladeva, he’s dressed in saffron yogi pants and saffron t-shirt. His upper body is strong from working outdoors. He’s in his late fifties and has a hairy chest. He’s a great cook. Has a generous heart, he loves Vrndavana but first stays here with me being my caretaker. He puts flowers in vases on my altar of Radha-Govinda. I’m looking at Baladeva, he’s dressed in saffron yogi pants and saffron t-shirt. His upper body is strong from working outdoors. He’s in his late fifties and has a hairy chest. He’s a great cook. Has a generous heart, he loves Vrndavana but first stays here with me being my caretaker. He puts flowers in vases on my altar of Radha-Govinda. I’m looking at memories of SDG sent to the internet after he passes away. . . .People remember him from this world. They have read his books, the Prabhupada Lilamrta. I’m looking at his dead body lying in the crematorium. Put the ashes in an urn. Some in the Yamuna. I’m looking at Gita Nagari Press books lining in the shelves. How do you feel about them? It was good to produce them. They remind you of your mind at a certain time or place. I’m looking at a 1953 Dodge sedan, green and yellow, the family car of the Guarinos. It was replaced after three years by a 1957 Dodge two-toned grey with exaggerated long fins. I’m looking at a sky covered with stars, trying to count some of them, but there are too many to see. I’m looking at the autobiography, it’s epic.

I remember . . . yesterday’s walk, shuffling my gimpy crippled old man’s gait. Bala doesn’t nag me to walk better. I slump my shoes on the road. I remember seeing up ahead the spot where we’ll turn and come back and walk the other way. It’s a forced exercise.

I remember buying ice cream from the Bungalow Bar truck that drove through the streets of Queens when I was less than eight years old. He opened the back door and “smoke” of dried ice came out. He reached in and got a fudgesickle with nut flakes on it. He made change on a chrome gadget attached to his belt. I remember being afraid of dogs and tough kids. I remember reading comic books and swapping them with other kids as we sat on the front stoop to one of the houses.
I remember my father, being proud of his handyman capacity and the fact that he was a fireman.

From Prabhupada Appreciation


Srila Prabhupada was a theologian. We do not often think of him as such, but according to the dictionary, theology is “a science which treats the facts and phenomena of religion,” and a theologian is “one who is learned in the science of religion.” Upon hearing the phrases, “science of religion” or “science of God,” it becomes evident that Srila Prabhupada was a theologian. Srila Prabhupada himself translated the verse, “kiba vipra kiba ’nyasi” (Caitanya-caritamta, Madhya 8.128) as “Whoever knows the science of Krsna is guru.”

Prabhupada described Krsna consciousness as a science. Although it is not exactly the same as a material science, it has scientific laws of cause and effect, and can be studied both through theory and practice. Prabhupada wanted to appeal to people’s respect for scientific authority in his use of the phrase “Krsna conscious science,” but he also wanted to show that Krsna consciousness was a process with a definite and determinable outcome for one who followed it carefully.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada used the word “science” in many places. One example of this mentions science four times:

The Srimad-Bhagavatam is the science of Krsna, the Absolute Personality of Godhead of whom we have preliminary information from the text of the Bhagavad-gita. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said that anyone, regardless of what he is, who is well-versed in the science of Krsna (Srimad-Bhgavatam and Bhagavad-gita), can become an authorized preacher or preceptor in the science of Krsna. There is a need for the science of Krsna in human society for the good of the suffering humanity of the world, and we simply request the leaders of all nations to pick up this science for their own good … (Introduction to Srimad-Bhagavatam)

And Krsna Himself says in the Bhagavad-gita (10.32), “Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self.”

But Prabhupada was not a theologian in the Western academic, speculative sense of the term, and he criticized such persons. He used the word theologian in the 6th Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, in a translation of the prayers of Vṛtasura:

Many modern theologians argue about right and wrong without knowing what is actually right. Their arguments are always false and their judgements inconclusive because they have no authorized process with which to gain knowledge of You. Because their minds are agitated by scriptures containing false conclusions, they are unable to understand the truth concerning You. Furthermore, because of polluted eagerness to arrive at the right conclusion, their theories are incapable of revealing You, who are transcendental to their material conceptions. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.9.36)

The interesting part of Prabhupada’s purport to this verse is that it exposes theologians as being baffled by the contradictions in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He says, “Nondevotees cannot understand the contradictions present in the Supreme Lord and His devotees. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord says, bhaktya mam abhijananti: The transcendental pastimes can be understood through devotional service. To nondevotees they are inconceivable.” (Bhagavad-gita 18.55) Prabhupada’s translated phrase, “because of polluted eagerness to arrive at the right conclusion” is also interesting. Theologians may eagerly want to know the truth, but they are polluted. This is similar to the phrase, “avisuddha buddhaya,” impure intelligence.

From Essays, Volume 1:

Prayer to Visnu

In the morning
after heavenly porridge,
we go out the door,
down the street
flying with the maha-mantra
through dual atmosphere
of sad and glad,
trying to forget all that nonsense
and just fight for
reaching Krsna.

Soaring with the maha-mantra
into all that sad-glad material
blue sky and flags
 and karmis hurrying to work.
Visnu! guide me, protect me,
keep me assured to expect
Mercy in You.
How do I keep my mind on You?
With mace and conch-shell and
lotus and disc,
You, Great, Kind, Unattached Ruler of
Universal Good,
let me turn within to You—
soul of me, turn to Visnu!
let me dwell in Him,
and the rest can go on and on.

The sighing faces at work,
the demigod bosses,
bowing to the temporal Office…
it can go on and me with it,
but give me strength
to bear for you
acts in Your Name,
and since I’m unconcerned,
it can go on to end.

I say I want to
get out
to where
You are
just to be at Your Feet—
but what do I do? Why
don’t I answer every question
with Visnu? Why do I flinch
when they ask me why I’m flowering
just by the thought of You
—You the Indweller in all of us—
even the office boys who think
existence is a kind of joke which
they control.
Enable me
to turn a braver face to You
and then to talk out everywhere
for You and say:
“everyone should turn to
Godhead and yearn for that.”

Empower me, try me
with the courage
to do much more
so that at least
I can begin
at the foot of Love.

Back to Godhead, Vol. 1 #11 (April, 1967)

The One Real Eloquent Art of All the Worlds

is playing her vina
inspiring the
speech makers and musicians
only God-praise is
Somehow they get at
her, though,—the others—
from her generosity flows
measured lyrics, sounds, forms
of swan and river and
lotus and dye.

But for me the pure One,
Krsna, is all
I want to know,
and my divine teacher
is he who shows
me Krsna-direction.
First teacher is my Spiritual Master
Swami Bhaktivedanta father of light,
and then my God-brothers and sisters,
by their slightest
actions in His favor—

‘All we want to do
is please Him.
Anything else is
less than that.’
Also bugs are teachers
running up the sides of
bowls accompanied
by God.
And sunlight is a teacher.
Everything shows me
I am God’s,
all atoms are His.

Every painting reflects a piece of His nature,
Every voice is raised by Him,
He knows the minor spirits and demons,
He observes the wasted lives.
He is all—and you Mr. Artist, what is your proficiency?
Grab a broom and sweep
the temple floor.
Learn—know God is in clear
water and fragrant air
and beyond all the suns
and moons.

Begin serving the Lord—
And you can know what it is all about.
He is within you
He is everywhere
He is the Supreme
Person and He dwells in the Spiritual Sky.
Everything you need is in the
Bhagavad Gita and
can be learned at the feet of a Spiritual
Master who is a pure servant of God
like Swami Bhaktivedanta.

Very soon you’ll
learn the topmost eloquence
it’s Hare Krsna
Good wherever you go.
If you learn it
you’ll see the Promise
God made to man, Learn it now,
for wherever you go
Chant it always,—
the one real art of the worlds:
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

Back to Godhead, Vol. 1 #14 (July/August 1967)

Karmi Office

Karmis spread a
mental blanket
out over the office
talking to each other
so smart
and clever
Never praising the

Not even seeing in
their actions that
He is all
or they may even
say it but it means
nothing because
they have no
knowledge of God
and they have no knowledge
of God
they do not serve and

I am packed in
here like any other

Back to Godhead, Vol. 1 #14 (July/August 1967)


What difference will it make?
if I go down to the river to look for You
in the stream of the water—
or if I sit down here before Your picture,
Either way it is the same because
I have Your Name to recite over and over
and it seems I have actually done both,
by thinking of the river I have gone there
and I’ve come back to where I have not left—
sitting before Your picture
Everything seems empty and vacant
because I am not worthy
and do not really have You as my Lover and Friend.
Or I do not understand
that You Love me beyond what I can measure
—I cannot realize that.
I think only that You should love me
more than anyone
and then I think I am unspeakably low.
Nothing saves me but Your Name
To say “KRSNA.” and say all the words of the mantra
—and actually saying it hundreds and thousands of
times, alone with You—then I’m pacified.
Though the truth is I am lazy and
as empty handed as any impersonalist philosopher,
still recitation of Your Name is a balm
to this separated soul who is trying to come back
just on Your Name.

Back to Godhead, Vol. 1 #15 (1967)


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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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