Free Write Journal #303


Free Write Journal #303

June 28, 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 Health Update for June 28

“Hare Krsna,

“There’s not much news to report this week. Satsvarupa Maharaja’s doctor took away some meds, and then added one to regulate his sleep, and hopefully that will work. The headaches continue (one or two per day), but at least no three-headache days.

“Hari Hari,

Japa Retreat Journal for 6/28/24

Japa Quotes from Tachycardia Online Journal (Part 12)

9:45 A.M.

I had to chant eight rounds silently in the mind this morning because of the pain behind the right eye. But then it cleared up, and I chanted with my voice. I went over sixteen rounds. The morning walk chanting was pleasant. I was alert and awake. It is one of the best parts of my life. I’m very grateful that my ankle is strong enough to allow me twenty-five minutes of steady walking without a cane. We’re so fortunate to have the maha-mantra as a companion.


I can’t interpose meditations like, “O Radha, please capture my inner heart and deliver me from the bondage of material life,” when I utter, “Hare,” and, “O Krishna, please pull my heart to you,” when I say, “Krishna,” and, “O Radha, please steal my heart with Your sweetness,” when I say, “Hare” again, and, “O Krishna, please purify my heart by giving me, through Your devotees, knowledge of how to worship You,” when I say, “Krishna” for the second time, etc. Such things are impossible for me. But I can hear the literal syllables and pay attention to them, keeping my mind off other topics. I can enter a somber and even joyful state while walking and chanting in a simple way. “Just hear,” as Srila Prabhupada advised.


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.”


California Search for Gold is a starkly honest book. One of the main plots is that the autobiographical “I” admits to not chanting his quota of sixteen rounds. He says it is due to the side effects of the medicine he’s taking. The victory of the book is that by the end of the long manuscript, he’s back to chanting his sixteen rounds. But as I proofread it, I don’t have the courage to keep the passages where he says he’s not chanting sixteen rounds. I don’t want people to read that and think ill of me. And I don’t want them to think I’m taking too much medicine. So I’m cutting out the portions of sub-quota japa and side effects from medicine. That makes the book less honest but more likely to pass the censors and not as embarrassing to myself and not as faith-breaking to my disciples. Baladeva says by doing this, I’m taking away the main plot and triumph of the book, and in a sense, he’s right. But I just can’t go so naked. I can’t trust my readers to sympathize, and it’s just too darn embarrassing to admit.


The devotee knows he is the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord. He gives up trying to lord it over material nature. He does not think he is as good as God or better than God. He takes shelter in chanting the names of Radha and Krishna. He likes to reside in the holy dhama. He does not see the holy dhama as a material place. He doesn’t commit offenses to the dhama or to the residents of the dhama.


Today I heard Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita purport to Chapter Three, Karma Yoga, where he disapproves going to a secluded place and chanting Hare Krishna. He said Arjuna was skillfully trying to avoid the fight by thinking Krishna consciousness meant retiring from the field of activities. Krishna set him straight. He wanted Arjuna to continue his duty, but to do it on Krishna’s account.


I pause until I find something a little worthy to speak of. I finished Sacinandana Swami’s Nama-rahasya. It deals on the highest level of chanting the holy names and states that we can attain it. It comes, however, not by our own endeavor but by the mercy of the Lord. Krishna will appear dancing on the tongue of the pure chanter.


Nama-rahasya says that chanting the holy names will cure you of physical disease. He quotes several scriptures as evidence for this and says that it will work for those who have faith, whereas those who don’t have faith will remain sick.


From Shack Notes: Moments While at a Writing Retreat

pp. 25-27

I want to be part of the big group moving to Vrndavana with Krsna. I want to be walking behind one of the carts and sometimes catch sight of Krsna. I would like to compose poems to Krsna. There is quite a bit about that in the Tenth Canto. Prabhupada says that Mother Yasoda used to compose poems and sing them while she was churning butter:

It was formerly a custom that if one wanted to remember something constantly, he would transform it into poetry or have this done by a professional poet. It appears that Mother Yasoda did not want to forget Krsna’s activities at any time. Therefore, she poeticized all of Krsna’s childhood activities, such as the killing of Putana, Aghasura, Sakatasura, and Trnavarta, and while churning the butter, she sang about these activities in poetical form. This should be the practice of persons eager to remain Krsna conscious twenty-four hours a day.

—Bhag. 10.9.2

I heard Srila Prabhupada talking about composing Krsna songs during a meeting with gurukula teachers in France, 1976. One of the teachers told Prabhupada that they were sometimes composing simple songs for the children. Was this all right? Prabhupada said yes. Then he said, “KRSNA book is already easy, but if you want to make it more easy, that is all right.” He seemed to be hinting that he thought the KRSNA book was fine the way it was, but on other occasions he instructed devotees to put KRSNA book into verse form.

I somehow get the impression (although maybe it is my imagination) that Mother Yasoda was making up her songs with little attention to rhyming lyrics or Sanskrit rules. There is also a mention of singing songs when Krsna’s family and friends moved to Vrndavana: “As they rode, they began to chant with great pleasure the pastimes of Krsna.” Prabhupada explains, “They used to pass their time either by taking care of Krsna and Balarama, or by chanting about Their pastimes.”

Sukadeva says that after some wonderful activity by Krsna, the boys would then “declare the incident loudly.” Prabhupada states, “It was the practice of the inhabitants of Vrajabhumi to compose poetry about the incidents that occurred in the forest when Krsna performed His different activities of killing the asuras. They would compose all the stories in poetry or have this done by professional poets, and then they would sing about these incidents” (Bhag. 10.11.53).

Of course, one cannot do this unless he has bhava. I hope that as I go on hearing and reading, I will develop appreciation and deep respect for those pastimes. There is nothing better than attaining this taste. Then no matter where you are, you can think of Krsna and sing of His pastimes, and be free of all material disturbances.

4:00 P.M.                                                                                                                                           

There is a connection between the KRSNA book reading and this writing. I don’t want it to be only the obvious one.

I want to describe it, but can’t yet. I have heard enough about left brain and right brain theory to desire to race ahead of left brain. If there is wholeness, it is in Krsna.

I did one of those nonlinear exercises called “writing the natural way.” I put the word “flame” in the middle. Then you are supposed to write down words as fast as they come, and circle them, radiating out from “flame.” After doing that you pause, and something is supposed to click. Then you start writing in sentences. I put Krsna in there in such a way that He is in all things.

Cluster never seems to work for me. So burn it up.
All gets burned up
in Siva’s dance
the sun-god’s planet,
a match
to incense
waved before the Deities.
Flame of digestion,
my old flame—
can’t pull it all together, so
I’ll put it all to flame.

From Srila Prabhupada Samadhi Diary

pp. 129-31

October 7, Prabhupada’s Room, 5 A.M.

I put on your beadbag in the morning. It’s a duty they allow me do because I’m the first one to enter your room each day. I snap on the light (the fans are on all night), come close to you, and prostrate myself while reciting your pranama-mantras, clinging to some of its meaning.

Where else do I belong? Am I actually a Staten Island boy? No, if ever I was, that’s gone now; it may live in dreams and the mind, but there’s no reality to it. This place is as much home to me as anywhere. I say I fear Srila Prabhupada, fear to be in India, fear his order for me to surrender. The bell tolls. But this is my home and I want no other.

It’s dark outside. A light bulb illuminates some leaves on a tree. Occasionally, I look up and see the shadowy form of a devotee passing by on his way to the temple.

Srila Prabhupada, I’ll go upstairs and answer some letters on your behalf. I am telling them I can’t give them reinitiation or initiation. Better they take it from someone else. Should I talk with my Godbrothers about this? Air it? Keep it in me? What do you want?

You want me to sacrifice and get the higher taste, surrender to guru and Krsna. You want me to taste the happiness of the surrendered soul. You want me to do something for Krsna. We want to get a certificate from Krsna that this devotee has done some nice service. You said Lord Krsna doesn’t need our service, but it’s for our benefit that He accepts our sincere offerings.

I make these statements of aspiration when I come in here. I should be more silent and not say all that I’m, going to do. Shouldn’t I instead simply ask for your help?

Coming to you early for inspiration. Begging for purity. On the Jaladuta you prayed to Krsna to enable you to serve your spiritual master. All glories to you, Srila Prabhupada.

Your room is empty right now and I make that same prayer. Others will come now and make their sincere prayers and fill the air with hari-nama japa. So many love you.

Lizard on wall
ants scurrying on mat.
High ceiling.
My death on the way.

She said, “I came here four years in advance” (of her death). Said one should do this because there is no time to chant and hear in the West. She advises all who get notice of death to come here cheerfully and resigned, hopeful of a Krsna conscious departure. I’m not ready for that yet, I say.

I remember in 1966 one night, I was alone with you in your room, asking you a few questions about Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s book and other things. You spoke with me, but then said that I should leave so that you could do your work. I’m not much different twenty-seven years later, but you allow me still to come to you.

211 day on the go. Did I stay faithful? Did I misbehave and use your name to authorize wrong acts? In order to be here and commune with you, I need to be faithful and productive at the times when I’m away from here. I’m not perfect in my Prabhupada consciousness, so when I come here it’s a solace. You accept me even if I’m not the best.

Now I’m asking for more Prabhupada consciousness for my own life. I want to go where I can get it. If by leaving Vrndavana I could be truer to you and could read your books better, then I’d want to leave here. But while I can, I come to these special places.

From Obstacles on the Path of Devotion

pp. 38-39

What’s the Best Way to Read?

Even if our lives are relatively peaceful, we have to give our-selves a little preparation before practicing japa or reading. It may take only a moment to remind ourselves, “Now I’m going to chant the Lord’s holy names,” or, “Now I’m going to read a very special book, Srimad-Bhagavatam. Let me do it with reverence and submission. This is not ordinary reading.”

We should be aware that there is a transition from ordinary consciousness to speaking and hearing transcendental sound vibration. You cannot open the Bhagavad-gita as you would a newspaper and start scanning it or cramming. It will not work. First, you have to calm yourself and enter a state of worship. Only then can you actually read or chant. “Before reciting this Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is the very means of conquest, one should offer respectful obeisances unto the Personality of Godhead, Narayana, unto Nara-narayana Rsi, the supermost human being, unto Mother Sarasvati, the goddess of learning, and unto Srila Vyasadeva, the author.” (Bhag.1.2.4)

Devotees have to develop their own methods of preparing their consciousness for sadhana. The best method is in Krsna’s advice, “Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.” (Bg. 12.8) But Lord Krsna is aware that many persons are “too busy” or harassed to stay in a continuous flow of devotional meditation. So Krsna recommends, “If you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way develop a desire to attain Me.” (Bg. 12.9) This implies a deliberate turning away from other thoughts to the practice of Kona consciousness, which we do when we take up chanting and hearing.

One devotee makes this transition by first reading a few of his favorite slokas while accompanying himself on the tamboura.

Someone else first places the book on his head in reverence, and another offers flowers to the book. For japa, some devotees bow down to the ground and recite the Panca-tattva mantra before beginning to chant Hare Krsna.

It will be easier to make this transition if we perform our sadhana regularly. If I chant at the same time every day and in the same place, it will be easier to discipline the mind. And because I have arranged a time when I am not likely to be disturbed, I will be able to carry out my plans.

There is a special advantage in the early hours of the day, brahmamuharta. We do not have to stop in the middle of passionate activities as we would in midday. Business activities have not started. It is a new day.

Aside from arranging a daily schedule that is favorable to sadhana, we might also consider special times during the year which we can devote to chanting and hearing. Usually we go on pilgrimage to India for this purpose. But when we finally do get to India, we often find ourselves involved mostly in shopping, or getting sick, or meeting devotees from all over the world. It might be best to schedule a visit to India during an off-season, or even schedule a visit to some other place in the world, where we can be peaceful and devote ourselves to chanting and hearing. This kind of intensive work over a period of days or weeks can do a lot to help us overcome the obstacle of mechanical chanting and reading.

There are also methods of reading that make it more favorable for entering the devotional state. One favorable method is to read more slowly and prayerfully. It is not important to finish whole chapters or whole books. (This is especially true for those who have read all of Prabhupada’s books several times.) The important thing is to enter the spirit of even a single verse. Prabhupada has said that if we could understand one verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam, or one word in a verse, our lives would become perfect. Prayerful reading brings one into a personal relationship with the speaker of the verses, Lord Krsna and His pure devotees. We speak to Krsna with our prayers of intention, and then we listen to Him as He speaks in the sastra.

Slow meditative reading is not the only way to read. Sometimes we will want to study, taking notes. Sometimes we want to relax as we read. There are no hard and fast rules in chanting or reading, so we should do whatever works for us. Two or more friends can come together to read Srimad-Blogavatam and base their conversation on the contents of the verses and purports. Or we might want to sit with a friend or family member while each of us reads silently. If we start to practice we will find methods of our own inclination, and our interest will grow stronger.

From Begging for the Nectar of the Holy Name

pp. 88-90

The fifth offense in chanting is to consider the glories of the holy name to be imaginary.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes, “For instance, it is offensive to think, ‘The scriptural presentation of the glories of the Lord’s holy name is not entirely true, because hyperbole has been employed to increase the reader’s faith in the chanting of the name’” (HNC, p. 63).

Bhaktivinoda Thakura also states, “The smrti says that anyone who chants the holy name, whether with faith or neglect, attracts the mercy and attention of Lord Krsna.” I sometimes think that I am chanting and chanting, but Krsna doesn’t notice me or give me any mercy. Indirectly, this is committing the fifth offense.

This offense is similar to the fourth offense, which is to blaspheme the Vedic literatures. In particular, the many glories of the holy name, which are told in all the Vedas—the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Puranas, etc.—are important for the chanter. Srila Prabhupada himself has written enough purports on this point that they filled an entire book (Namamrta) about chanting. So to have any doubts about any of these statements regarding the powers of the holy name is offensive.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that the remedy for the fifth offense is to confess it in the company of Vaisnavas. Visvanatha Cakravarti warns us that one should not think, “I do not commit offenses.” If we do commit offenses—and that is proven by the fact that we do not experience any of the symptoms of krsna-prema when we chant—then we have to confess.

A person who does not think about offensive chanting has nothing to confess. First he must become conscious. Perhaps our first confession will be that we don’t even think about the offenses or about our chanting. We will have to admit that we chant only out of habit, as guru-daksina. We are afraid of death and we want to be saved. Therefore, we chant Hare Krsna. We have heard and been impressed by the Bhagavatam narrations of Ajamila and Puranjana. We are afraid of hell. We have understood that we need some religion, and we have abandoned Christianity (or whatever religion we were raised in). How long can we keep it up? This attitude is filled with offenses.

We have to dig beneath the surface of our complacency. We may think we are innocent of this particular offense, and we may not exactly blaspheme the scriptural descriptions of the holy name. Do we believe that even the shadow of the holy name can bring liberation? Do we chant Hare Krsna as if we believed it?

We commit this offense just by the fact that we chant so poorly. If we had faith in the scriptural statements of how wonderful the chanting is and how Krsna is present as His name, then how could we chant lackadaisically? Prabhupada gave an ex ample. If Kona came into our temple now, how attentive we would be to Him. We would care for all His needs and happily serve Him. But Krsna does come fully in the holy name. Why aren’t we attentive? This is a sign that we don’t completely believe. This is the offense of considering the glories of the holy name to be imagination.

We may not want to admit it, but when we scratch below the surface of our Krsna consciousness, we find a latent atheist lurking there. That atheist is not only thinking that the glories of the holy name are imaginary, he is thinking that Krsna is imaginary. He is thinking that there is nothing but this life that we see with our senses and that there is no other existence. We have to be very sorry for this and kick off all bad association. We have to pray for faith, hear the sastras, and live on the good side, not the bad side, of our own characters. Because we do have spiritual experience, we just have to fight to defend it against its enemies. Therefore, by associating with the devotees and the learned Vaisnava scholars, and by taking shelter in the scriptures, we can increase our faith and go forward. Then we can also accept the glories of the holy name and chant with taste.

From Churning the Milk Ocean: Collected Writings 1993-94

pp. 435-38

Charity Begins at Home

Memories of Prabhupada are wonderful things and they should be encouraged in myself and others. Recently, in the Srimad-Bhagavatam class in Vrndavana, I heard Suresvara Prabhu recount a memory he had. I had already heard that story and I have also read it in his memoir in Srila Prabhupada’ lilamrta. Suresvara tells the details more or less the same each time, but the last time I heard him tell it to that large audience, many of whom hadn’t heard it before, he was full of life and conviction. It is a real memory. Suresvara was actually there. He actually heard from Prabhupada. Over twenty years later, he is still a faithful disciple.

Suresvara begins the story: “The setting is Detroit airport, 1970. Prabhupada is returning to America after a couple of years away. Devotees have gathered from all over the Midwest and other parts of the United States . . . ” He tells how they anxiously awaited the first sight of Prabhupada. Suresvara had never seen Prabhupada, although he had read his books and heard his taped lectures. Then suddenly, Prabhupada appeared out of the tunnel, out of the flow of incoming passengers. All the devotees bowed down, and so did Suresvara. Or as he describes it, “I suddenly felt a weight hit me in the back of my knees, so I fell down and offered obeisances to Prabhupada.” He bowed by force in the presence of Krsna’s pure devotee. Then he describes how many devotees cried when they saw Prabhupada.

Prabhupada was offered an improvised vyasasana and he began to lecture. Suresvara tells us that this was the same philosophy he had been hearing from Prabhupada, but on hearing him speak it in person, it hit him very heavily.

And here I am, walking down a country road in freezing weather. Snow is dusting the hilltops. I am remembering Suresvara and his Prabhupada memory, remembering him telling it from the speaker’s asana in Vrndavana. With a little luck, I can also go back to 1970 and feel the weight behind my knees forcing me to bow to Prabhupada. Maybe I too can see the tears devotees are crying and hear Prabhupada’s heavy statements about the misery in the material world and the hope of Krsna consciousness. If I can be receptive, this kind of memory will open up to me.

If I am not receptive, then I will become cynical. When Suresvara begins to tell his story, I’ll think, “Oh, I’ve heard this before. He’s not really going to tell it again, is he? Who does he think we are?” Then today when I remember it, it will just be another layer of cynicism. It will make me cynical toward my own memories. What good will come of all that?

Therefore, I am asking you, dear mind, please be charitable. We know that charitable people are praised. We are encouraged to be charitable. We also know that charity begins at home. Please be kind to my Prabhupada memories.

One time Prabhupada came to Boston in 1971, not long after he had been to Moscow. We were thrilled to get our spiritual master back and to have him visit Beantown. We weren’t living in Boston, but in the transcendental world Prabhupada had created for us.

Prabhupada came into the temple room and saw our little Radha-Krsna Deities on Their red velvet altar. He encouraged us as always, but also took time to criticize our shortcomings in his gentle, fatherly way. I remember that we had first wanted him to stay at the Boston Sheraton Hotel in the most expensive suite, but they had no cooking facility and anyway, Prabhupada would not go there. He said a hotel was a brothel. We were quite unprepared for him to stay at the temple. Our big, so-called Victorian mansion was actually a run-down house by this time in its history. We didn’t even have enough money to heat the place. The rooms were not nicely painted, and there was no question of clean rugs or good floor coverings, drapes, and so on. But Prabhupada came into our bare atmosphere and accepted it.

From Given Time (Poems)

pp. 60-63

4:55 P.M.

I just drew, with oil crayons from Japan,
a woman, a man, devotees I
know, a star stolen from Miro, an echo
from Donald Hall, in less than
an hour taken and borrowed.

I work under the aegis of my Swami and always
hope some subtle propaganda value
will come out of my spontaneous art-scrawl.

Given time and many pages I might
be a versifier, a student of bhakti.
The books say many lives both
you and I have lived. We have always existed, each
of us and God. I read outside Gita but
come home to Him, our Lord,
our pure devotee, and me alone performing
for their pleasure.

December 10, 10:10 A.M.

The idea is to sneak in some
lines, a vignette, between head twinges.
0 humming electric heater,
mental conscience, I throw away the obscene,
the jest, post, even names—Suhotra, Tamal,
Genevieve (Therese’s sister). You can’t know my private life and
it takes too much to transcribe it—it’s all lost
by that time. But if I throb and thud what
counts to me, maybe . .

Romapada, footgear. A Brooklyn nightmare stole
my passport (again), and I was barefoot in winter, displeased.
Approached the police, “I’m a Hare Krsna!” but who could care
with so many bums and Dangerous Characters roaming about?
Written on the floor, in solitude, in Northern
Ireland, in my own room amid poems
and drawings, Krsna in my heart alive.
Given time, stitched together.
A pen runs out, I start with another.
making glass crafts, on the island
serving Govinda, a
few days more then, you won’t find me

4:02 P.M.

Am I on time? Cars. The sun goes
low, fast, even by three it’s heading down
to the horizon. I don’t worry that
I can’t write erudite poems, and
don’t worry much that I don’t love God.
I depend more on my good
fortune and my father’s mercy.

What I’ve done, what’s left to do—
to walk in mud. My heels have
worn out, but they’ll get me new boots
if I ask, and a Maine Game Warden’s
parka for the cold and wet.

So don’t worry, Alfred E. Neuman.
My body aches but
I complain so much you’d think the pain was
always severe. The up-dangling
branches of winter trees from this window .. .
Just give me Krsna conscious tea, biscuit I say,
any words . . . I don’t eat after lunch—
any words to tap the unconscious.

Be mindful of Krsna,
He says, and bow to Him, be His devotee. I
do in some preliminary way. But the
ocean of my disqualification doesn’t seem
to bother me just now. I don’t know
why. It seems enough to do what I
can each day.

The sun goes down. I don’t make it happen
but I participate in it, and
in darkness climb into my bed,
after putting Radha-Govinda into Theirs.
Teachers of Zen and Christian prayer can’t
teach me much. They
don’t know that Krsna lifted Govardhana.
Because I know—
is that why I’m complacent?

December 11, 9:50 A.M.

What could a writer do that would
please the almighty God who has
everything? He who is all-attractive has
already garnered great Sanskrit writers
although He keeps hidden
from the masses. Maybe He’ll like it if I write out
my little life and share it with friends.

If I rid myself of doubts and
unnecessary self-hate, declare I am
the servant of the servant of the Lord and
really mean it. Krsna also doesn’t
need a writer who is some kind of
hypocrite or malicious person.

All right, man—ISKCON
is behind me, is in me this quay
land is ISKCON, Syama is ISKCON
and his wanting to leave the island and make a
dancing and drama career in Dublin and
my advice—”Keep early morning
reading and japa your bedrock.”
This is my ISKCON.

I’d like to tell about it.
But I’m afraid.
Not interested.
Wait and look.

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

pp. 299-301

Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile

It’s the end of the 20th century, now a hundred years since our Prabhupada appeared. We feel his presence always. B. dasa wants to know in his life the sweet Prabhupada, not the all-concrete monument of the General in command created by some followers as “The Only Prabhupada.” Surely he had to lead the fight and to engage the tough guys and those with inferiority complexes who thought they should be tough in distributing Krsna consciousness, and he loved them. Gangsters came to him, and people like me who weren’t gangsters but no better. And he loved them.

(The Italians in this campground are up and making noise now, but we are assured they’re friendly.)

Someone said, “Write your book and if readers don’t like it, tell them to get off the train.”

Molto, man.
I’m here with a dear assistant whO
does all well and who made this
cubical livable and

and Nanda, a big man with some gray hair, and Dina, who was in a car accident and lost the use of his left side.

He held his left arm and hand in his right when we met. I embraced him and noticed that he looks much older, frailer, in his saffron pants and gray cadar wrapped around his shoulders. He said his body was no good, but his consciousness was all right. To signify the truth of this, he held up his bead bag. I noticed the Hare Krsna mantra written across it in a strange language—”Russian,” said Nanda, and picture of Radha and Krsna.

Motto bene, motto bene.

O Savior, O Supreme Lord, You are better than all gods, and Your pure devotees, especially the gopis, love You in a way unimaginable to others. Like a dog chasing its master, I read the nectar of Srila Prabhupada’s Cc. again and again.

4:03 P.M.

There is a typewriter in this van. It’s on the small, separate deskette facing the Prabhupada murti. It is a warm October day and quiet. I was thinking of breaking camp because people had set up tents next to us and in the late morning they play pop rock. “That’s enough,” I thought, “Let’s leave.” The sound seeps into my brain and consciousness. Earplugs reduce it to a faint roar, but what’s the use of enduring it when you can take shelter in a temple where the only sounds are kirtana, Krsna conscious and friendly? But now it’s quiet.

M. is squashed in his section of the van, which is larger than mine but houses many things. He is not able to move about freely. Now he’s trying to sort out the stuff and leave a few cartons behind. He has to decide what we can do without while traveling.

If this is travel, then where is home? It’s difficult for me to say. Geaglum is a new base; I have already lived there for a couple of months. Hardly what you would call home, though. I have no home. The van is not my home either. Perhaps my home is this body, but even that has changed from boyhood to youth to old age. The soul wanders as my body wanders. I wish I could develop a strong desire to know my original home in the spiritual world.

When Lord Caitanya met Rupa and Sanatana at Ramakeli (when He gave them their spiritual names), He told them that the letters they had sent Him had convinced Him of their sincerity and humility. He said He had written back to them advising them how to survive in Krsna consciousness while in this world. He gave the example of a woman who has a paramour and who always thinks of him while doing her household duties. She does her home duties even more properly so that her family won’t suspect her love. Srila Prabhupada offers the same example in his Introduction to Bhagavad-gita, As It Is: develop love for Krsna and think of Him even while living in this world and performing your duty.



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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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