Free Write Journal #304


Free Write Journal #304

July 5, 2024


Satsvarupa dasa Goswami Maharaja
Spiritual Family Celebration
Tomorrow, 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 (YouTube Live Streaming)

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 July 5

“Hare Krsna,
This week was relatively stable for Satsvarupa Maharaja in that at least 50% of the time he was able to get a few solid three hour blocks of rest in the evening. Today I give him his monthly shot for migraines, which has worked for four months in a row. Regular headaches, but no migraines!

“Hari Hari,

Japa Retreat Journal for 7/5/24

Japa Quotes from Tachycardia Online Journal (Part 13)

The Walk

Three long laps
on the large parking lot.
Sometimes we bump into each other.
My ankle feels wobbly.
We step through puddles and
avoid a litter bag from McDonalds.
Fresh air in your lungs,
the roof is the sky
instead of the car roof:
the chanting is awake.
It’s the best twenty-five minutes
in the day.
Hear the mantras clearly
vibrating from the chest.
Happy to be warmly dressed
and alone with one buddy.
I think of walking longer
but I don’t want to push it.
Three is enough, then we
stop and retire to the
car for more japa.


Daydream: I talk over japa with the devotees at the Govardhana Palace and admit my chanting is not in a very advanced stage. They say some things that help me. Where is the place in Begging for the Nectar of the Holy Name where I break down and express my lack and simultaneously my cry for perfection in chanting?


Each person has to do it on their own. Prabhupada may help them, Bhaktivinoda Thakura may help them, but we each have to go alone. It’s between me and Krsna, you and Krsna.


Affectionate chanting draws Krsna’s attention, and He gives you personal service in Krsnaloka. Non-affectionate chanting doesn’t produce the result. We’ve heard that the outer form of chanting, the mere pronouncing of the syllables, is not the holy names. You have to enter the inner experience by calling to Krsna through the maha-mantra. My counting mantras, mounting numbers, is not enough. You reach your bare minimum and put aside your beads until the next day. After sixteen rounds, your work is done; you are free to do whatever you please. And the sixteen were done in a fruitive way, just to fulfill the precious obligation. If this is all you do, you have not entered the life of prayer.


Real chanting is crying out, “Dear Radha, dear Krsna, please engage me in Your service.” Or it is like the cry of the child for the mother. Mother Hara will come to you and fulfill your desire to serve the Lord, if that is your intention.


Chanting Hare Krishna is powerful and supportive when we actually do it seriously. We need faith in Krsna and in the fact that Krsna is in His names. Dry chanting? Chant anyway and beg for wet. Even if your chanting is offensive, it must be continued and worked through. From imperfection, purity will come about. I am doing the right thing when I am attempting.


Remember, the names are absolute, so even a poor chanter is within the magic circle. He’s not wasting his time. He just has to endure and pray to improve. Don’t give up and go do other things besides chanting, thinking that you are hopeless. No, you are auspicious. If you just keep on chanting, you will gain success.


How do you chant? In a humble state of mind, says Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, thinking yourself lower than the straw in the street, more tolerant than a tree, offering respects to others and not expecting honor for yourself. In such a state of mind, one can chant the holy names constantly. We have no worth; we have no taste for chanting because of our offenses. But we beg to the holy names to pick us up and place us as an atom at the Lord’s lotus feet.


Bad times, depending on how you look at it. I woke up at 11:00 P.M. The headache wasn’t completely subdued, but I sat down to chant and was chanting rapidly at a whisper. I chanted almost twelve rounds by 5:15, and then Baladeva came up, ready for our morning outing to the beach. I told him my predicament, that I was starting to get a pain behind the right eye. When he heard I had chanted twelve rounds, he looked at it positively and said, “Well, at least you’ve got a life. I wouldn’t mind having a headache if I had twelve rounds done.”


Meditate on Radha and Krishna through their holy names in the maha-mantra. He chanted with us in the storefront and started us off. That’s a lifelong kirtana memory. Whatever kirtana I do now is a shadow of that early kirtana, the best, with him leading. But fingering the beads is the same, as he started us off. He chanted on my red beads, which I now keep on my altar. No, my head is not calm; it is still twinging behind the right eye. But I have said my quota for the day.


From Vraja-mandala Parikrama: A Writer’s Lament

pp. 237-39


I will always think of Kosi as the place where Srila Prabhupada had one of his early meetings with his Guru Maharaja. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s gigantic parikrama party stopped here, and Srila Prabhupada, who was then a young grhastha and as yet uninitiated, came for a day to hear from his Gurudeva. He said, “I couldn’t always understand the meaning of his words, but I liked to hear. He marked it, that this man does not go away.” That is the meaning of Kosi to me. It’s a place where hearing from the guru is praised as the most significant service and as the best way to attract his attention. If we hear well, later we will be good at kirtana (preaching).

Kosi means literally, “Who are you?” Krsna stopped by here at night and called to Radha in Her house in a way that Jatila wouldn’t hear. Krsna made sounds to attract Radha’s attention and She came to the window asking, “Who are You?”

Krsna did not say, “I am who I am,” but He presented Himself with many names, such as Hari, Sri Hari, Syamasundara, and Madhusudana. In each case, Radha took that word by a second meaning: lion, monkey, black rain cloud, bumblebee. She teased Krsna by these meanings and told Him to go away. These “rejections” brought Krsna more joy than the brahmanas reciting His glories in the Visnu-sahasra-nama.

Who are You?
He is our Lord.
Radha asks and He
replies and we listen
in the night,
hiding from Jatila.
“Who are You?”
“I am Krsna, come to steal
Your heart.
And who are You?”
“I am Radha, Your
And we are the jivas
(all three, Krsna, Radha, and
the souls, are contained in aum)
—who am I?
The servant of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna.
Please teach me,
O Vaisnava guide,
who I am.

It was a long walk to Kosi. In his 1987 Vraja-mandala reminiscence, Gita-nagari dasa wrote, “In Kosi, most of the pada-yatra spent the night in one large schoolroom. Eighty devotees sprawled out in rows packed closely together. Lokanatha Maharaja said with a smile, This is real sadhu-sanga!


I’m in the shack again. My mind is starting to wander to the end of this parikrama. I want to know how I will be employed when this yajna is over. I don’t want to just drop everything with no place to go. But I can’t decide. I should first concentrate on the remaining places without skipping tirthas. If I finish early, maybe I can rent a room at the Krishna-Balaram Mandir and study Srila Prabhupada’s books. I haven’t done that in a while. Anyway, I don’t wish away these precious days.

Nanda Maharaja and Krsna used to milk their cows here. There were over a hundred divisions or herds, and Krsna knew each cow by name. When He came to milk with His father, He would call each cow and pet her. If one was missing, He would go personally to find her. The milk used to moisten the pasture grounds. Krsna’s cows were all surabhis or kamadhenus. They gave milk and fulfilled wishes. Milk is the liquid form of religion. Cows are still sacred because Krsna took care of them. He also kept water buffalo (those odd-looking fellows).

The long yellow school bus pulls slowly up the paved hill. It’s lunchtime and the junior grades are dropped off at the doors to their homes. When you are stuck and can’t think of anything vivid to say about Vraja and the oceans of white cows, then you can return to America. The school bus is such a reality signal. It says, “Hello, welcome to earth.” I nod in recognition, but the bus and this street know my heart isn’t here.

If I don’t want to stay in Pennsylvania, can I mingle in the dust raised by the cows’ hooves at Paya-grama? Just imagine Nanda Maharaja’s face covered in dust as he milks beside his son. Please don’t kick me away. These are not the words of a pure devotee or Vaisnava scholar, but please don’t kick me away. Dear Lord, I am not like the rich man who gives You only a flower and water (since You ask for it in the Gita) and who saves his wealth for himself. I am giving You everything I have. The pity is, it doesn’t amount to much, this atma-nivedanam. At least it is given in earnest.

All glories to the actual Paya-grama in aprakrta-lila. All glories to the Paya-grama manifest in this world. All glories to Paya-grama as it occurs in the mind.

From Calling Out to Srila Prabhupada: Poems and Prayers

pp. 16-22

Found Poems of Srila Prabhupada Talking

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

“Why Not Everyone?”

“After leaving the material realm
does the devotee remain
forever with his spiritual master?”
The answer is, “Yes.”

But you speak of the pure devotee,
the saktyavesa-avatara,
as if we should obey only him.
This is the wrong idea.
All of my disciples are pure devotees.

It is not that only your siddha-svarupa
is a pure devotee, and not others.
Do not try to make a faction.
Why do you want to be in the spiritual sky
with only siddha-svarupa?
Why not all?
If Siddha-svarupa can go
why not everyone?
Siddha-svarupa will go, you will go,
Syamasundara will go, all others will go.
We will have another ISKCON there.
Of course, Mr. Nair must stay.

—Letter of 14 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

He Is Very Unhappy

The Krsna consciousness movement
is trying to bring back Vedic culture
so that people may be very happy.
It is not a business,
or religious sentiment,
but a program to make everyone happy,
sarve sukhena bhavantu.

Not, “I exploit you, you exploit me.
I cut your throat, you cut my throat.”
This is not human society
but it has already begun:
because you are very expert
in cutting the throats of the animals,
now you will cut each other’s throats.

So a sober man,
thinking of all this downfall
of the human civilization,
he becomes very unhappy,
he becomes very unhappy.

—Los Angeles, 7 November 1974,
Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.6.21

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

pp. 6-12


Am I a demon or a Vaisnava? That’s the real question. I know the daitya boys are meeting in secret tonight with Prahlada to chant the glories of Lord Visnu. I should report this to their teachers, Sanda and Amarka, but I don’t think I will.

Who do I think I am? I am Harsashoka, one of Hiranyakasipu’s clerks, right? And my son, Daityaji, is going to grow up to be an asura with connections to the royal family, right? Or am I wrong? Ever since my boy came home one night and started talking about Lord Visnu, everything has become topsy-turvy with me. And not just with me, it is happening throughout the whole palace. Now the emperor knows too. So look sharp, Harsashoka, and watch your step if you’d like to keep living.

I want to get my bearings, so let me briefly describe the history up to where we are now. What came first? We won back the empire from the demigods. Everything was fine. The emperor was powerful and happy enjoying his gold and soft bed and women. And we all had plenty of the same.

The unusual events started with the emperor’s son, five-year-old Prahlada Maharaja. The boy was always ecstatic, crying or laughing in bliss, but no one knew why. We just took it as babyish ways. Hardly anyone saw him except his mother. Since then, I have pieced together much more about him, including his extraordinary hearing of krsna-katha from Narada Muni, while still in the womb. At that time, I knew nothing. Who was even paying attention? Suddenly, one day during the recess hour when the teachers weren’t tending to the children, Prahlada Maharaja stood up and began preaching to them about the glories of Lord Visnu and chanting Hare Krsna! I wasn’t there, but I heard it that night from my son.

It has had a strange effect on me. At first I dismissed it as nonsense, as dangerous blasphemy against the asuras. It is well known that Visnu is the worshipable God of our enemies, the demigods, and that He has killed many demons who were dear to Hiranyakasipu. How could the emperor’s own son . . . ? But when my son explains it to me, there is something soothing and enlightening about it. Prahlada criticizes materialistic life and exposes it as a waste of time. He says that we are not merely our physical bodies and our possessions, these things that will soon be vanquished and that give us so much anxiety when we attempt to protect them. We are not our bodies, we are eternal souls. I have heard this before and always considered it rubbish, a dream of the demigods. But Prahlada explains it so carefully that I like hearing it from my Daityaji.

My boy looks so bright and happy as he tells me these things. He gave an example: As a geologist can tell the presence of gold in the earth and can retrieve it, so a realized sage can know the presence of the eternal soul in the body. But if you are absorbed in sex pleasure and money-making, you are disqualified from understanding the soul. Above the individual souls is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. My son said, “Being covered by the curtain of the external energy, to the atheist, He appears nonexistent.” I am fascinated and have been writing down what Prahlada tells them. I have done this for three days, and today, one of the clerks found my notebook and looked through it when I was away from my desk. “What the hell is this?” he asked. “Oh,” I said coolly, “I’ve just been gathering some of the arguments of the enemy so that I can debate against them in a lecture I’ve been asked to give at the boys’ school.” That put him off my trail, but it is a warning that the whole affair is surcharged with danger. And I can’t claim that I am unafraid.

My son taught me the Hare Krsna mantra. I chant it in secret. All this is new to us, and I can’t help myself from taking it in like a sponge. We have always been given a very limited, and I must say, distorted version of Lord Visnu and His teachings. It is as if underneath my demoniac veneer, I have a natural desire to learn about spiritual life.

From Forgetting the Audience: Writing Sessions at Castlegregory, Ireland (1993)

pp. 18-20

March 15, 12:40 A.M.

Beware the Ides of March. Take shelter in Krsna’s name, and guru and sastra.

We spent thirty minutes just now, fifteen for Bhagavad-gita with commentaries by Baladeva Vidyabhusana and Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and fifteen in The Nectar of Devotion, the summary study of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. I could do this much longer, but I want to come here and write. No one writes so much out of his own head and heart. I want you to justify it.

Yes. I want to know who I am. It’s a habit. I’m so far in this direction, I keep going. It’s a practice of an art to get better at it. We want to hit streaks of good writing etc. So many justifications.

Why—in the presence of such perfect, substantial exalted works as Bhagavad-gita As It Is and The Nectar of Devotion—works which are essential and which I haven’t fully absorbed—do I turn to free-writing, which often puts me on the trail of nonsense externals and my pre-Krsna conscious past?

Because, because . . . Okay, so you are demanding and ask that question of me. It is a serious one. I’ll try to answer not just by a quick reply, but by considering it and replying when I can.

Maybe I’ll reach a stage where I won’t feel impelled to write so much. Am I being influenced by Baladeva and Kdd in this and by my own created pressure to produce books, to attain stages in evolution I claim can be reached only by writing? Can I let it go, and if so, when? What do I want to do?

I recall stopping writing about four years ago under the influence of Amala-bhakta. He said I should stop out of humility. Only write after much inner pressure has been developed. Pray, don’t write. Who do you think you are that you should write so much? I stopped for maybe six months. During that time I spoke Entering The Life of Prayer, thinking it was just for me. But when I started to write again, I felt resentment that I had been stopped at all. Why should I be silenced? Why should I think I have no right to make poems? I went ahead again, looking for a form, and started with Ista-gosthi, then the Nimai series, Memory in the Service of Krsna, Truthfulness, etc. Then Prabhupada Meditations (which came after six weeks of talking of my life before Krsna consciousness in interviews with Baladeva). Then “Among Friends” started due to fear of ISKCON censorship. Then Shack Notes. For two years I’ve been doing that free-writing and mostly nothing else. Everything can come from it. Writing retreats, journals produced in three or four weeks as books. I love them. They are the essence of my bhajana and life in Krsna consciousness.

Now two of them are published and moving in the ISKCON market, Here is Srila Prabhupada and Begging. I’m mentioning all this to remind you that what we are doing is the result of previous development. I tend to see it as the home stretch, the big harvest of my productive years, my fifties. Even if I have productive writing years in my sixties, then what’s the harm in my thinking with urgency that maybe my fifties are my last years? Get your work done.

I will tend to sastra study also. I’m trying to balance it all. These three weeks are not the usual writing re treat. I give it three hours a day, no more. It’s a japa retreat. When I took the japa retreat last year, it was ideally combined with a deliberate attempt at a book, Begging. This year I’m deliberately not attempting a book. But I am writing seriously anyway.

I found this on page 88 of Begging:

“Come back again for more retreats like this and write more of this simple and sublime theme: ‘This what happens when you spend time chanting.”

From From Imperfection, Purity Will Come About: Writing Sessions While Reading Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Saranagati

pp. 81-83

The day is closed in with fog. No valley or mountains or blossoming trees, only white air in a wall. The birds’ melody goes on. And someone with a power saw. This is my 10-11 A.M. time. I’m not afraid of it. I dot my periods at the end of a sentence. Drink hot ginger tea.

Bhaktivinode Thakura is claiming a lot. He has held the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord to his head. Those same lotus feet were attained by Laksmi-devi only after severe austerities. Only when he attained a place at the Lord’s feet did Lord Siva attain auspiciousness, and Brahma, and Narada. Bhaktivinode Thakura says he too has surrendered at the soles of those feet and thus become free of misery.

What can I say? He who was singing the opening songs has already attained the param-gati which even great souls do not attain before many lifetimes of bhajana. He wants us to follow him, but I don’t know if I can. The most I seem to be able to do is honor him.

How are these songs going to affect me? That is also Bhaktivinode Thakura’s concern. He is writing them for us. He wants the songs to deliver us the joy of saranagati. He is an acarya.

My dear Bhaktivinode Thakura, I cannot attain so quickly what you have attained. I know it’s not so easily gained. We can read Bhagavad-gita in an hour and see Arjuna go from doubt to saranagati. We can read Brhad-bhagavatamrta and instantly traverse many lifetimes of Brahma with Gopa-kumara until he finally returns to Goloka Vrndavana. We can read Jaiva Dharma and observe the guru ask his disciples what rasa they prefer. None of these things take long to read, but it took lifetimes for these devotees to reach their goal.

Bhaktivinode Thakura’s complete surrender takes place within a relatively few stanzas. He is teaching us the way, how it will happen, what to expect when we faithfully practice Krsna consciousness with determination. But it’s not going to happen today.

God’s command is all-powerful. In fear of Him the wind blows, and the sun, moon and all others perform their allotted duties. He’s Supreme above all and lives in the heart of His loving devotees. Whomever He protects, no one can kill. “O Lord, Your eternal servant Bhaktivinode has bowed down at Your lotus feet. O master, he cherishes the faith that You will surely protect him from all dangers” (4.2.5).

Bhaktivinode Thakura next sings of Krsna’s pastimes in Gokula. He is the protector of the residents of Vrndavana. Bhaktivinode Thakura identifies himself as a vrajavasi and glorifies his protector. “You will kill Agha and Baka. I will drink the water of the Yamuna and Kaliya’s poison will not act because You will purify the water and Your heroic deeds will enhance our faith. You will protect me and the others by swallowing the forest fire. You will counteract Indra’s malice and rainstorms and protect us by lifting Govardhana Hill. You will protect me when four-headed Brahma steals Your boys and calves.” “Bhaktivinode is now the property of Gokula, Your holy abode. O Kesava, kindly protect him with care” (Saranagati, 4.3.10).

Where did the once-fallen soul learn all this nectar of Krsna’s protection in Gokula? He must have heard it from his guru and from Krsna Himself through the scriptures. May Krsna protect our attempt to follow our initiation vows and honor our allegiance to Prabhupada. May He protect us from demons of doubts and from the fear and influence of asuras. May He protect our newly sprouted desire to serve Him. Please protect our wish to live even now in the spiritual word, with no need of tidings from the three material worlds. Kindly protect us.

Yes, He will protect you, but you have to protect yourself by following as purely as possible. Krsna will reciprocate when He sees you are trying to protect what you have already been given. Don’t throw it away, don’t neglect it—the treasure of pure feelings and obedience to guru, sastra, and sadhu.

From The Voices of Surrender and Other Poems

pp.  33-36

Lines 1/82

The room is hot, outside it is cold.
Oh, I wish I were back in my homeland!
Why did I have to come here?
The room is hot, the outside’s cold,
the windows sealed, the night approaching;
and there is nowhere to walk
except a highway
racing with cars—no place.


Govinda is coming home
Balarama too
with flute and plough.
They walk the blessed earth
surrounded by cows.
Green-brown Vrndaban
trees fill the air,
birds singing
frolicking beauty;
but only confidential servants
live there.


Like a boat at sea
my soul floats in this bodily life—
ocean of birth and death. Lost at sea
alone, mad, lost;
a small lifeboat
on a vast ocean.
Cold and death-bringing,
the water rocks the boat
on the deep drowning sea
and I cling to the sides
clutching at life—
Oh Holy Name!


Govinda is
revealed to Brahma;
His garland is ever-fresh; His teachings are the Gita.
“Oh Govinda, I shall not fight.”
Govinda is the Lord
Govinda is the cowherd boy
Govinda is the truth.

A Prayer to Begin the Fifth Volume of Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta

Only as Krsna wills can I venture into the realm of
Prabhupada’s immortal life.
Spiritual master, you are like a distant star to me; I am
trying to follow your inconceivable orbit in the years of your ascending the dark sky of Kali-yuga.

You moved auspiciously through the heavens, 1974, ’75, ’76, ’77—please allow me to be with you again and through me grant the vision of your lila to the world.

I, a lost soul, desire to realize my mission of tracing your
path and traveling to be with you. I must go at all costs,
but I pray to you to lift me there.

Your life is a Milky Way—so many glorious heavenly bodies mix that I cannot count them all, and each one is an almost unreachable mystery.

By your grace I have already been granted the gift of
travel to the planets of your lila and have seen there your humanlike activities, beneficial for the people of the universe, and I have described it.

There is no end to the orbiting of your life. And now
I desire to go again—please take me further than ever before,
to those worlds where you enact the preacher’s mission.

We yearn to behold you again, preaching the message
of Lord Caitanya, dictating your books, moving with
infinite mercy throughout the continents of this earth.

Although you are fixed eternally as a star in the pastimes
of Lord Kuna and Caitanya Mahaprabhu, you simultaneously
appear before us as the incarnation of the devotee in
1970. Please come into my vision in that form, as the
saffron preacher.

The world was sunk in the Garbhodaka ocean, and you
dove, O bhagavata preacher, to the bottom and brought her
up again, carrying her on the tusks of your preaching. You
killed all demons and left behind staunch followers to carry
on the mission of Lord Caitanya.

You are as exalted as Vaikuntha’s majesty,
and you sit humbly,
and you preach as lion-guru,
and you move as jet-age mendicant
and set the pace
for ten thousand years
of devotional life on earth.

Whether we fail like Jatayu
or succeed like Arjuna,
there is only victory
if you allow us to engage
in your service.

Let the Lilamrta shower like
meteorites of mercy on the suffering,
demon-gripped earth,
and please grant me entry
into your lila.


Lila 1/82

Srila Prabhupada, you are walking
through a grove that dapples
shadows on your form.
Your words illumine
your face
and your followers
also beam, surrounding you,
as you pace quickly
through a lane, under the trees;
the morning is cool
and you wear a chadar.

Krsna Wills the Universe

Krsna wills the universe.
He makes me choose; He makes me anxious
to approach Him again, in love;
because He is the all-attractive abode of love.

Srila Prabhupada is spiritual master and friend,
for me and thousands on this earth.
He leads me to say, “Yes!” in answering the question—
“Will I live and die for Krsna?”

Krsna moves everything and is everything;
I am also His, but He is so great
that I cannot know Him.

But He is known to His pure devotee.
It is Srila Prabhupada who brings me to Krsna.
Sometimes I feel like Sisyphus rolling the stone
to the top of the hill, where it rolls back down again.
But he (only he) will lead me over, once and for all.

Krsna is all-powerful,
He makes me want to reform;
but if I desire, He places me under His illusion.
The illusion is His mercy, so I think, “Let me be God!”
Srila Prabhupada argues on my behalf to Krsna,
protects me, nourishes my devotional life:
“Let this soul be Your preacher, free of maya.”
I pray not to fail him, to offend or fall.

I am false ego; I dictate to the soul:
“You are as good as Krsna; you are yourself Prabhupada.
Take care of your body—get a woman, be notorious.”
But, by their grace, I cast ahankara aside.

The world suffers and all matter and all beings are destroyed;
I fear its power, pains and pleasures—
unlimited tortures, and all false promises!
I promise to help. I will follow the path
and work to save the illusioned.


Guru and Sisya

My dear disciples, please take to Krsna
not just because I say so, but the sastras say,
and Prabhupada says—that you must take the way
through me. Do you understand?

“We understand from the books and from your words
that you are our eternal guru. Sometimes it’s
difficult to control the senses, but as for you, it fits
to think you are our guide: Prabhupada has made you.”

Beloved sisya, I am unfit in love and realization,
but I believe this is His will, for your survival;
I am his spiritual son, his menial servant, not his rival;
and in the simplest way I can serve as your via-media to
the Lord. What do you think?

“‘We think that we have met your Goodness
by the will of Providence, just so that we may accept you
as the captain of the ship.’ Our faith in you
grows strong from your devotion to him.
The trouble is with ourselves.
We are so young and foolish, please give us strength.”
Since the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada, there has been
chaos as predicted, but sincere disciples help the guru to restore the order. I have also faltered and been mistaken before the task. I pray for courage and inspiration to push on.
Many Godbrothers have left the cause,
but greater merit is in staying.
The joy and the burden are with us; we are paying
the dues of self-motivation. Only he can save us.

And this bond grows stronger in love and understanding;
by divine will, through a perfect system, we bow at guru’s
I admit my error, pride, fear, distrust, and envy—but not
Today all I can say is “Prabhupada, please let me work,
because the transcendental system has to thrive,
and the sisyas are the leaders of tomorrow.”

Surrender and Symptoms

I surrender in the morning, rising.
Krsna is king; I raise my hands to Him.
What is the sense of pretending to rule or enjoy?
Unsurrendered we wander lost.
I surrender to my senses in my folly;
Whatever my mind wants, or the tongue,
words, taste, belly, sex organs, I go with them
and wind up with a shrunken body and fearful mind.
Who is the exception?
I surrender my wife and family and goods, said Bhaktivinoda
To Krsna, the Lord of my life.
I will maintain my life and home
as Krsna’s servant and use everything
to please Him. This is best surrender.
Krsna promises the surrendered soul
relief from sin’s reaction;
giving up the unwanted and feverish,
a relief, an act of love,
giving up a heavy burden, a mad pride.
Free will exerted, he gives everything to God
and owes nothing to anyone else.
It is difficult because we fear
we will be bereft if we give to Him.
“I’d rather die than surrender
my God-given right to do as I please.”
But the rub is I am driven mad.

He was the most surrendered,
he gave up Vrndavana residence
and peaceful chanting and entered hell
on the order of his guru.
He acted in oneness with the Lord
and everything he did was blessed.
Now the world has Krsna consciousness.

“Take sex pleasure away and I’m emasculated,
take my money and I’m miserable,
take my food and I’m dead.”
(I don’t know He provides for this soul,
I don’t trust.)
But Krsna promises, “My devotee is never
vanquished, and I take him to the other side
of birth and death.”
If I insist, He allows me unsurrender,
and the bitter reaction,
the proud possession of myself.

We all surrender, anyway, at death.
Last breath, then next life. Shall it be given in love
or only when beaten down by blows of death?
Final surrender is eternal life of bliss and knowledge;
he enters Krsna’s abode of unlimited freedom.
He surrenders the false and gains eternal
loving service to the Lord.


The Symptoms:

  1. To accept things favorable to devotional service—

like performing sankirtana, reading sastra, taking prasadam, the society of like-minded lovers of Krsna; taking the burdens and tasks and worries for His mission in this world. Says Bhaktivinoda Thakura, “Trouble taken in His service I will consider a great happiness.”

  1. To reject things unfavorable to devotional service—

Languor of long sleep, lure to revel in the maya of flesh-pleasures; madness of chemical hallucination; the centuries of speculative knowledge; the vain, mad chase for distinguished career, and safety and prominence and victory and service to man as the ultimate religion.

  1. To believe firmly that the Lord will protect His devotees always—

This is natural, as I am His child, a pure soul dependent on Him. He is all-powerful and can do anything He likes. The sun and moon and air move out of fear of Him, and death goes about taking it’s toll out of fear of Him. His protection is for all but especially those who seek it. Why should I worry or listen to another? He is fully manifest in His Name.

  1. To feel exclusively dependent on the mercy of the Lord—

There is no other way; He holds sway. The world is a prison; His own home is total bliss and meant for us. His mission in this world, assumed by His dearmost servants, invites us too—”Just act in devotional service, and depend upon Me for results.” To know that nothing happens but is willed by God; to work in His Name.

  1. To have no separate interest from the Lord—

Krsna’s not meant for supplying me, but I am meant for the joy of serving Him; this oneness is the perfection of surrender. Nothing is of interest, nothing has a promising future except His service. What Krsna wants me to do is my best interest; and pleasing Him, learning about Him, is my own desire. To teach this science of surrender, He appears as Lord Caitanya.

  1. To always feel oneself meek and humble—

It’s a fact, I need help; I’m tiny, I’m not great. To surrender to this reality of my fallen nature means I turn to Him, “Please help me to love You.” He has to help me or I’m lost. These are feelings of devotion, but they are also absolute facts.

These are symptoms, the ways of allowing Krsna to take charge of your soul.



<< Free Write Journal #303

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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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