We heard a tape recording of 1966 of Prabhupada telling a delicious transcendental pastime. He said Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami lived as mendicants in Vrndavana. They resided under a different tree each night. One morning Rupa Gosvami was thinking that if he had some ingredients to cook, he could cook a nice feast and delight Sanatana Gosvami. Shortly after that, a young girl came to Rupa Gosvami carrying all the ingredients for cooking. She brought flour, ghee, milk, and vegetables. Rupa Gosvami was astonished and asked her where she had come from. The girl replied that she lived in Vrndavana and that her mother had prepared a feast today and these were the ingredients. Rupa Gosvami thanked her and began to prepare a feast for Sanatana Gosvami. Sanatana arrived and said with surprise, “Where have you gotten all these wonderful arrangements?” Rupa Gosvami replied that a beautiful young girl had come and given them to him. Sanatana Gosvami pondered on this and then said, “That was Radharani! You have taken service from Radharani! Oh, you have murdered me! We want to serve Radharani, not take service from Her. You have made a great mistake!” And Sanatana Gosvami began to cry.
Baladeva is leaving an incense stick before Radha-Govinda and distracting my mind from choosing another free write word. The roses on the altar are dead. He says that he will go outside and try to pick some roses by moonlight. But what if there is no moonlight? Yesterday we read the sloka that when Krsna comes home in the afternoon, He is covered by the dust cloud made by the calves’ hooves, and ordinary people can’t see Him. But the gopis can see Him. I cannot see Him in the cloud, but I know He is there.
John read out loud from my Meditations from EJW at lunchtime. One stated that my writing was repetitious, but then I said that the nearby ocean was also repetitious since the beginning of time. The tide goes in and the tide goes out. But it is an ever-fresh movement and experience. Similarly, I can write the same conclusions with variety. Manohara appreciated that John was so enthusiastic in his reading, and he said that he would make his listeners enthusiastic also.
Cheating is one of the four defects of conditioned souls. We have a tendency to cheat, even within the family or society, and politicians are always cheating. Prabhupada used the expression “the cheaters and the cheated.” He said because the people wanted to be cheated, Krsna sent them big cheaters in the form of bogus unauthorized gurus and false incarnations. The people actually want to be cheated, and so Krsna supplies them with cheating leaders. Near the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that this scripture eliminates all cheating religions and is for the paramahamsas, or pure sinless devotees. Krsna is sometimes called a cheater because of the tricky ways in which He deals with His intimate devotees, like the gopis and Mother Yasoda. But unlike cheaters in the material world, Krsna is worshiped as a cheater. It is all part of His inconceivable pastimes. Cheating is very prominent in the age of Kali. Hardly any dealings are free of it. There are no strong ksatriyas to stop the cheaters who flourish unchecked in society. They may avoid the government laws, but the cheaters never escape the jurisdiction of Krsna and His agent Yamaraja. The Pandavas had a weakness for gambling, and they indulged in it with Duryodhana. Duryodhana’s assistant Shakuni was an expert in cheating with dice, and as a result the Pandavas lost all their kingdoms and possessions, and they even temporarily lost their wife, who was insulted by Dusasana and the other Kurus. Gambling is a cheater’s sport. Sometimes a person is said to have cheated death by miraculously surviving a serious car accident, etc. But ultimately no one can cheat death. The saying is, “As sure as death.” There is a story in Vedic literature about a woman who cheated Yamaraja. Her husband died, and Yamaraja came to take the body. But the wife was so chaste, she wouldn’t give up the body. Yamaraja had to take the body before sunset, but the woman prevented the sun from setting by her ascetic powers, and so she cheated Yamaraja and kept her husband.
I like chocolate ice cream. The dairy store we go to has multiple flavors like lavender honey, raspberry swirl, peanut butter tracks. All of these ice cream tastes are sense gratification. But if they can be offered to Krsna before tasting, they can be transformed into spiritual food (prasadam). Until Prabhupada came to the West, no one knew about rice, dhal and capatis. Now it is our staple food. But ice cream offered to Krsna is taken in the West, and especially if it is made from the milk of Krsna conscious cows. The devotees of New Vrindaban used to like to bring Prabhupada samples of ice cream from New Vrindaban cows, which they carried frozen to India. He liked to taste it. It is potential maya, so it must be first offered to Krsna! Some devotees feel that the menu should be restricted to the foods traditionally offered and mentioned in the scriptures. But there is a controversy about this. Many devotees like to eat the ethnic foods of their country, as long as it is vegetarian. Presently, an Italian devotee is visiting us for three weeks. He is an expert connoisseur/cook of Italian food, especially pasta. He will be making pasta meals for three weeks, and we will be glad to honor them as prasadam. We also have in residence at our ashram, a husband and wife who are from Trinidad and like Trinidadian food. We take this food on a regular basis because they are the ones who cook it and of course, we offer it to our many Deities at Viraha Bhavan. But they not only like their Trinidadian food, they like it when we prepare American food like waffles, scrambled tofu, home-fried potatoes with homemade ketchup, etc.
Krsna liked to wear turbans as a cowherd boy in the village of Vrndavana, and so did His cowherd boyfriends. His father, Nanda Maharaja, wore a turban also. A turban is wraps of cloth that go around the head in a decorative way. We like to dress the arca-vigraha of Krsna in a turban rather than a crown. A crown is more like what Lord Narayana wears in Vaikunthaloka, where He is worshiped in awe and reverence. Vrndavana is more like village life. The turban has a practical purpose. In the summer it keeps the head cool, and in winter it gives some protection from the cold weather.
5 January, 1972
“My dear Satsvarupa,
“Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated December 27, 1971 and I have read its contents carefully.
“As you say there are some serious delays in the negotiations for purchasing the large buildings, I think you must immediately return the $15,000 loan to Karandhara and the $8,000 loan from San Diego. I believe there was some agreement on your part that the money should be repaid within six months, so nearly four or five months have already passed. You first fix up the contract definitely and when everything is settled beyond any doubt, then you should think of again getting the money.
“In the meantime, your school at Turtlecreek Boulevard can continue functioning. I have been getting good reports that you are all serious to develop this program, so I am sure that Krishna will bless you with the desired building. Good things do not come so easily; you know the difficulties that I encountered in my first year in your country. Sometimes I did not even know where I was to live, neither when I came did I have any friends. But I was always determined that somehow I would do everything possible to fulfill the desire of my Guru Maharaja, and despite all difficulties I always remained enthusiastic. So do not diminish your program in any way now. Continue the school project enthusiastically and expect Krishna’s mercy at all times.
Everything will come out alright.
“Regarding the land called New Naimisaranya, unless the land is signed over to us with proper documents, we should not invest any money in it. As you think best some of our devotees may stay there and even keep cows if this is feasible, but there should not be any money invested from our side until we are the legal owners.
“I have seen the All-India BTG issue No. 43 only in its dummy form, so I eagerly am awaiting the final copy. I received one letter from Hayagriva, he says he is not getting any material for editing. Is there some reason for this?
“I hope this meets you in the best of health.
“Your ever well-wisher,
“A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami”
There were delays in our negotiations for purchasing the large buildings in Dallas. We had borrowed some money from the BBT and from the San Diego temple, and Prabhupada tells us to return it until we make a definite settlement with the owners of the Dallas buildings. He encourages us to go on with our school in the house where we were living, which could not accommodate many children or devotees. We had two teachers in Aniruddha dasa and Jayadevi. It was going all right on a small scale, but we were eager to expand and needed the new buildings. Finally the building owners agreed to sell to us, and we got back the loans and purchased the buildings.
Then Gurukula in Dallas expanded tremendously. Eventually we had 100 children and a faculty of teachers, including trained teachers Rupa Vilasa and his wife Chandrika dasi. It is nice how Prabhupada reassured us that good things don’t come easily. He gives the example of his first year in America, where he had no money, no fixed residence and no following for a year. He tells us to depend on Krsna and everything will turn out all right. He wanted us to be determined, enthusiastic and patient, and told us that Krsna would eventually make arrangements for our buying the big buildings. And so it came to pass.
10 April 1972
[This letter follows an April 8, 1972 “Memo to All ISKCON Temple Presidents.” In that memo, Prabhupada says that the Governing Body Commission held a meeting in New York, but they had decided some appointments without consulting him. One of the items which struck him very much is as follows: “Atreya Rsi dasa was elected to be the Secretary of the GBC and receive all correspondence, including monthly reports.” Prabhupada goes on to say, “I never appointed Atreya Rsi member of the GBC, and I do not know how he can be appointed Secretary to the GBC without my sanction.” In his memo to the ISKCON Temple Presidents, he said this: “I AUTHORIZE YOU TO DISREGARD FOR THE TIME BEING ANY DECISIONS FROM THE GBC UNTIL MY FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS . . . ALL GBC ORDERS ARE SUSPENDED HEREWITH BY ME UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.”] In his letter to me, Prabhupada states,
“My dear Satsvarupa,
“Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated March 17, 1972, and I am very much pleased to hear from you that everything is going nicely at our Gurukula school, and also that two traveling SKP parties from Dallas are having such good success by turning in $3000 to my Book Fund in one month only. That is such nice service to Krishna, and it is news that makes my heart gladdened. Actually, I have very great hope for these traveling parties, our Gurukula school, and all our other projects, that by engaging ourselves in these ways, so long we do not forget the purpose of such activity, then we shall very much revise the nasty situation in the world as it exists present moment, and we shall observe that angelic persons like you all nice devotees will be very much prominent in public life everywhere. That is my hope. But I have been very much disturbed recently by the meeting which you all have had in New York, wherein you have passed so many resolutions and elected Atreya Rsi to GBC Secretary, and made so many other changes. I am very much puzzled by the whole business. Therefore I have not approved of it, and you may by now have received my letter why I have temporarily
suspended the GBC. Let us not revive this old matter, but I want to know from you what is your opinion of the matter, and how is it that Hamsaduta and Atreya Rsi were able to persuade you all senior leaders of the Society to follow their foolish activities? Kindly inform.
“From now on, the temples will operate independently and try to improve their spiritual life more carefully, so there is no more need for such financial arrangement of centralization, as you have proposed. Better you concentrate your time on improving Gurukula school, that is a huge task. You are responsible to train so many children in the highest knowledge of life, so that cannot be neglected in any way. You are also doing editing work, so I think that in these two ways you can remain yourself always busy in devotional service, without more work of management of many other temples required.
“So far your statement, ‘Our final success will be when you actually sit tight and translate books and let us manage successfully,’ yes, that is my desire, but if you can do it or not, that has again disturbed me very much. Now I have given you everything, but I do not see that even the basic principles of advancement in spiritual life are always there, and sometimes there is tendency to neglect what is our real purpose of life, namely, to become mad after Krishna, and instead we become carried away by big talk. So I am still thinking how things will go on.
“Hoping this will meet you in good health.
“Your ever well-wisher,
“A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami”
I do not remember so clearly how we were misled back in 1972, to empower Atreya Rsi to be the Secretary of the GBC and to empower Karandhara to work with him in centralizing things. Prabhupada was clearly upset and accurately pointed out the faults in our unauthorized meeting. I wrote him back my honest confession why I took part in the meeting, and how I allowed myself to be persuaded to agree on the conclusions. He advises me to pay attention to the Gurukula and my editing work and not get involved in the managing of other temples. I promptly did this and disregarded the resolutions we made in the April meeting in New York. On receiving our letters of apology and promises of rectification, Prabhupada calmed down and eventually reinstated the authority of the GBC. But it was a shock to hear him respond like this to our misbehavior. We all felt very repentant and foolish. We begged forgiveness and resolved to take the right path, following his strict instructions to become “mad after Krsna” and not divert ourselves with big, big talks and changes in management that were unauthorized.
16 June, 1972
“My Dear Satsvarupa,
“Please accept my blessings. I received your letter dated June 15, 1972, and have noted the contents carefully regarding your sannyasi travels. If you require more men and women to teach there at Gurukula, you can send from your jurisdiction as GBC man Central USA zone. You will not be too much involved with local temple management, but for management which will require the larger interests, that will be your responsibility as GBC. So you find out some teachers from your zone and send there. The women are best for teaching small children, especially if they are themselves mothers, and when they become brahmacaris at 5 or 6 years old then they may be instructed by the men. If Stoka Krsna is finding difficulty to manage things then you find out some men to help him from your zone. Let him do all of the organizing and be the authority in charge how everything is running, and let others follow his direction and free him to supervise.
“You mention you like to speak now very often, but the first business should be to preach to the devotees. It is better to maintain a devotee than to try to convince others to become devotees. It is the duty of the GBC to maintain the devotees, keep them in the highest standard of Krishna Consciousness, and give them all good instruction, and let them go out and preach for making more devotees. Your first job should be to make sure that every one of the devotees in your zone of management is reading regularly our literatures and discussing the subject matter seriously from different angles of seeing, and that they are somehow or other absorbing the knowledge of Krishna Consciousness philosophy. If they are fully educated in our philosophy and if they can get all of the knowledge and study it from every viewpoint, then very easily they will perform tapasya or renunciation and that will be their advancement in Krishna Consciousness. So first thing is to instruct all of your temple presidents and the other devotees to read daily, just as we have done in our morning class in Los Angeles. You may remember that we were reading one sloka each morning in Sanskrit and reciting it altogether and then discussing it thoroughly by seeing different new things. So you introduce this system and train the devotees first. Don’t be too much concerned for the time being with nondevotees, now we must fix-up what devotees we have got in the knowledge of Krishna Consciousness, then we will succeed. What good are many, many devotees if none of them are knowledgeable?
“You mentioned that you are not yet a very bold preacher, but you will become bold, if you have got sincerity. In the beginning I also could not speak. But Krishna is within you, and when you are serving Him sincerely He will give you courage, boldness, everything. We are not going to bluff anyone or cheat others, and we are delivering the message on behalf of the Supreme Lord, so we haven’t got anything to fear and we should be always mindful of our topmost position of occupation in life. To be the messenger of the king is practically as good as to be the king, so the king is the most exalted position. I act like a king because no one can defeat me, and similarly, you should take your responsibility very, very seriously as being the representative of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Who is God Himself, and always remember that you are one of the few men I have appointed to carry on my work throughout the world and your mission before you is huge. Therefore, always pray to Krishna to give you strength for accomplishing this mission by doing what I am doing.
My first business is to give the devotees the proper knowledge and engage them in devotional service, so that is not very difficult task for you, I have given you everything, so read and speak from the books and so many new lights will come out. We have got so many books, so if we go on preaching from them for the next 1,000 years, there is enough stock. Just like we have spent one day discussing one sloka, so you introduce this system in all of the temples, and very quickly the devotees will make spiritual progress by getting knowledge.
“So far the children are concerned they should know simply four things: 1. Simply think of Krishna always, 2. become Krishna’s devotee, 3. offer Krishna worship, 4. offer Krishna obeisances. These four things should be taught and everything else will follow nicely and they will be learned persons.
Give them nice food, let them play. Some can be cowherd boys, some can be cows, like that. Play and take food and be Krishna Conscious. As soon as they begin playing they will be inspired, only one has to direct how to play, that’s all. They should attend the regular aratis and dance before the Deities, just like the children are doing in Los Angeles, and there should not be separate special aratis for the children, although they may also learn how to do arati in the class before one picture. They must all go to bed by nine pm and arise at four am for mangala arati, and in day-time a little rest.
“As for the GBC members, if we study one sloka daily in our classes it will take you more than 50 years to finish Srimad-Bhagavatam alone, so at least 50 years matter is already there minimum. So we can finish Bhagavatam once in our lifetime and the next generation can begin again, like that. From a practical point of view, as I have not yet finished Srimad-Bhagavatam and we have got now 100 branches, so by the time I am finished with Bhagavatam there must be at least 1000 branches. I have worked alone, now you are so many. Our scope is unlimited, resources unlimited, so we must be exceptionally enthusiastic and sober-minded and responsible for working in that spirit.
“I hope this will meet you in good health,
“Your ever well-wisher,
“A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami”
This is a long letter with much crucial advice. He tells me I should recruit devotees from my Central GBC zone to become teachers in the Gurukula. An important point is that he says, “It is better to maintain a devotee than to try to convince others to become devotees.” He advises me to follow the practice of the Los Angeles temple and to chant one sloka of the Bhagavatam in the morning and speak on it with different interaction among the devotees.
I had written to Prabhupada that I am not a very bold preacher. He replies that if I have sincerity, I will become bold. Krsna is within me, and when I am serving Him sincerely, He will give me courage, boldness, everything. We have nothing to fear. We are like the messenger of the king, almost as good as the king himself. He says my mission before me is huge. “We have got enough stock in the books already published to go on preaching for the next 1000 years.” He gives concise instructions for how to engage the children. They should think of Krsna always, become Krsna’s devotee, offer Krsna worship and offer Krsna obeisances. Give them nice food and let them play. This letter is a call for me to rise to the occasion of being his disciple, entrusted with great responsibilities. I studied the letter again and again, and tried to carry it out.
The Pandavas are the five sons of Kuntidevi and Madri. Their common husband, Pandu, was cursed that if he engaged in sexual intercourse with either of his wives, he would die. But Durvasa Muni was very pleased with the service of Kuntidevi, and he gave her a benediction that she could call on any demigod and he would impregnate her to give birth to an extraordinary son. Kuntidevi first experimented with the boon while she was still a virgin. The sun god appeared to her and wanted to have union with her. He assured her that if she agreed, her virginity would be kept intact. So from the union of the sun god and Kuntidevi, Karna was born from her ear. Kuntidevi called on Dharmaraja, and from union with him Yudhisthira was born. She called on Indra, and from union with him Arjuna was born. She called on the wind-god, and Bhima was born. Two minor sons, Sahadeva and Nakula, were born to Kunti’s co-wife Madri.
The Pandavas were fully surrendered devotees of Krsna. They were all noble and powerful personalities. They all survived the Battle of Kuruksetra, and the four brothers served under their elder brother, Emperor Yudhisthira, who ruled the world. The Pandavas were put into many trials and tribulations by Dhrtarastra and Duryodhana. But Krsna always protected and saved them. They were competent on their own to protect themselves, but they remained dependent on the Supreme Lord. Especially as children they were protected from the intrigues of the envious Kurus. The Pandavas’ story is told in the Mahabharata.
Darkness is a manifestation of the mode of ignorance. During the night, thieves flourish and dangerous wild animals wander. A man or woman in darkness does not realize the goal of life, devotional service to Krsna. Their lives are wasted, and in the next life they take birth in planets of darkness or bodily species of ignorance, like the animals. The present age, Kali-yuga, is a time of increasing darkness. People in darkness sometimes worship Lord Siva, the predominating deity of tamo-guna.
On the other hand, Krsna’s bodily hue is like a dark monsoon cloud. Some of His names refer to this blackish hue, such as Kalachandji, Ghanasyama, Syamasundara, etc. Krsna has dark curly hair, and so does Radharani. The Vedas state tamasi ma jyotir gama: “Come out of the darkness, go into the light.” The Srimad-Bhagavatam is described as the torchlight of knowledge which will give sight to people in the age of Kali, which is full of darkness. The Bhagavatam is “as brilliant as the sun.”
The entire universe is dark. The only illumination comes from the single sun planet, from the body of the sun-god, which is a reflection of the light from Krsna’s body (brahmajyoti), which is the original light. Where the sun doesn’t reach—as in the lower planetary systems—they are in darkness.
Many of the ISKCON temples publish yearly calendars with color photographs of the Deities. These are looked forward to by all the devotees. The calendars contain many dates observed as appearance and disappearance dates of great saints, appearance days of Visnu avataras, and special festivals. Strict Vaisnavas follow as far as possible all the observation days mentioned on the calendars, which sometimes call for half days or full days of fasting. The biggest calendar events are Janmastami, Radhastami, Gaura Purnima, Govardhana Puja, Nrsimha Caturdasi, Rama Navami, etc. The calendar produced by the Krsna-Balarama temple in Vrndavana is especially striking, with its beautiful full-color photos of Gaura-Nitai, Krsna-Balarama, and Radha-Syamasundara. There is always a little controversy about whether to observe a calendar event on the exact date or move it up to a weekend, when more congregational members can attend. This is a difference between the conservative and the liberal approach. There is also a controversy about the observance of Ekadasi. All of ISKCON in the early days used to observe Ekadasi based on the Gaudiya Math handbook. But nowadays, Ekadasis are observed in different places according to the calculations of tithis. These are figured out by computer, and they may even allow for two different Ekadasi days within the same country. In our ashram we observe Ekadasi on the day they observe it at the Krsna-Balarama Mandir in Vrndavana. The devotees across the street from us follow the New York calendar with computer-generated dates for Ekadasi.
Krsna and His village associates used to walk barefoot over the sandy grounds and pastures in Vrndavana. The gopis were distressed thinking of Krsna walking barefoot in the forest. They said that His feet were so soft the gopis felt they were hurt when they were pressed against the gopis’ hard breasts. But when the gopis contemplated Him walking in the forest and being pricked by stones and thorns, they could not control their tears, they so much loved Him. But I have heard that Mother Earth protected Krsna’s feet outdoors as He walked.
Parikrama guides recommend that devotees walk barefoot around the holy places. They say the contact of the bare foot with the holy earth produces a certain “electricity” or auspiciousness. One year I observed parikrama in Mayapura led by Bhakti-caru Swami. On the opening day he told us that the participants would not be expected to walk barefoot, but they should wear shoes. This was a little unusual from the stricter standard, but I appreciated it. For me, with my chronic headaches and other ailments, I considered it was enough austerity just to walk on the parikrama. I appreciated Bhakti-caru Swami’s decision. He said he didn’t want the devotees to develop blisters, sores and bleeding on their feet while they went on parikrama.
Sanatana Gosvami in Jagannatha Puri walked on the hot blazing sands to reach Lord Caitanya. He did this because he did not want to walk on the main roads where the temple priests and attendants walked. Sanatana also had a disease which produced running sores. He feared that if he touched the regular inhabitants of Jagannatha Puri, he would contaminate them and commit an offense. Lord Caitanya approved of his walking barefoot on the hot sands.
In Vedic times, the bow and arrow was one of the main military weapons used by soldiers. Arjuna was a great archer, and he shot accurate arrows from the chariot guided by Krsna. Karna and others were also acclaimed archers. In those days, the bow and arrow warfare was much more potent than in later days. They used mantras to guide their arrows. By mantra one arrow could turn into ten thousand arrows and hit the mark, depending on the expertise of the archer. There were fire weapons, water weapons, etc. At the Svayamvara ceremony, where warriors came to compete for the hand of Draupadi, the king arranged a very difficult test of bow- and-arrow marksmanship. He had a wheel affixed high on the ceiling, and a fish inserted in the middle of it. The competitors could not look up at the wheel when they shot their arrows, but they had to look down at a tub of water reflecting the wheel and fish above. No one was able to pierce the fish except Arjuna. Karna also came there to compete, and he was as capable as Arjuna. But Draupadi disqualified him because he was known to be of a lower caste.
On the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, Bhismadeva killed many warriors on the other side (Krsna’s side). But he himself was shot through by so many arrows that he lay down on a “bed” of arrows piercing through his body.
Aside from the lion, who is considered the king of the jungle, the tiger is the most ferocious animal, and in combat with an elephant the tiger is considered most ferocious. Sometimes man-eating tigers terrorize a village, attacking and eating humans. The people have to hunt them down and kill them. As a baby, Krsna wore a necklace of tiger nails. Yogis sometimes sit on the hide of a tiger in their meditation. The tiger skin is supposed to keep away snakes and other animals. Krsna sometimes addresses Arjuna, “O tiger among men.” Prabhupada has written that tigers do not attack saintly persons who live in the jungle. The saintly person puts out some milk, and the tiger drinks it and leaves the saintly person in peace. In this way they contain even a tiger and live in harmony with the ferocious beasts. When Lord Caitanya was traveling with one assistant in the Jharikhanda jungle, He met many wild animals including elephants and tigers. He induced them to chant and dance with Him, and according to their capacity, they chanted “Hare Krsna.”
We have read about Vidura’s leaving the palace and going on pilgrimage of the holy places. He eventually meets Uddhava and inquires from him about Krsna. Uddhava becomes ecstatic and at first cannot speak in his intense remembrance of Krsna. But then he gives short descriptions of many of Krsna’s pastimes. Eventually Uddhava tells Vidura to go and hear from the sage Maitreya. Maitreya is old enough to be Uddhava’s father, and the etiquette is that one should not hear from a younger saintly person when an elderly learned sage is available. So Vidura goes and meets Maitreya while Uddhava goes off to Badarikasrama to carry confidential messages Lord Krsna gave him just before He departed from the world. At first, Vidura asks preliminary, common questions. He does this for the benefit of others. But before Maitreya can answer, Vidura says he is actually tired of hearing these topics but wants to hear krsna-katha. When Uddhava was with Krsna at the time He was about to pass away, by good fortune Maitreya also arrived there and sat down to hear Krsna talking to Uddhava. So he heard the confidential messages about Krsna’s disappearance and the annihilation of the Yadu Dynasty. Krsna asked Uddhava to go to the sages and the Deity of Nara-Narayana in Badarikasrama and tell them these messages. At the time Maitreya joined Uddhava and Krsna, he was not a completely pure devotee, but he became enlightened by hearing the talks between Krsna and Uddhava. When Maitreya began answering Vidura, he first talked about cosmic creation, and now we are hearing him talking about the universal form, or the virat-rupa form of the Lord. I must admit it was a little frustrating hearing these technical talks about the creation of the cosmos when Vidura wanted to hear krsna-katha. Prabhupada says that every word of the Bhagavatam is important, and so I know we should not become restless when topics are discussed that seem to us to be not directly krsna-katha. Nevertheless, I am hankering and waiting patiently for Maitreya to finish his descriptions about the cosmic creation and speak directly about Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is not that only we men at Stuyvesant Falls are impatient for Maitreya to move on to more direct discussions of Krsna, but even the sages, and Vidura in particular, were not satisfied with the talks of the cosmic creation. So it is not unnatural or faithless of us to feel some of the same impatience.
“Writing this after bathing and dressing Radha-Govinda, who wear another new set of outfits from Vrndavana. I’d like to offer Them a new set every day, at least every day of the week, and keeping room for new sets. This one is light tan/cream, with patterns of green to go along with it. Light and soft hues. I love Them to look nice, and They do. Prabhupada is near Them, and Nrsimhadeva is near Them, and I am Their pujari.
“Tuned in a little better to Bhajana-rahasya this morning. He’s telling what anarthas are and how to remove them, and how to achieve the perfection of chanting the holy names. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna. My own chanting is unfocused, but Krsna will be kind because I am, after all, chanting His Names (nama cintamani krsnas caitanya-rasa-vigraha). The holy name is Krsna Himself, and it bestows liberation and love of God when it is done rightly.”
“Jaya Nrsimhadeva! Struggling to decorate Radha-Govinda nicely. They wore for the first time an outfit from Vrndavana which is mostly white and pink. Radha’s blouse and Govinda’s dhoti are pink. There are little rosebuds sewn on it. It is delicate, and I see His lotus foot. It is Prabhupada’s kindness …
I say flowery things, caress my Deities with these words—why not? Must I always be harshly denigrating to everyone and everything in the name of honesty? Well, you should never be false. Even if your desire is to be sweet in Krsna consciousness, the sweetness has to be real. Aye. It is as real as I can be. They are on the altar, and I did what I could.”
“Radha and Govinda ‘cooperated’ today to allow me to dress Them in a delicious, almost-red color, outfits made by Maha-mantra dasi, who serves Radha-Govinda at Inis Rath. I have a big collection of Lord Nrsimha’s pavitras, which devotees make and offer to the Lord in Mayapur. Can someone gather them for me? Would Srila Prabhupada like to wear them? I like him to look regal, colorful, but not out of the dress of a sannyasi.”
“Radha-Govinda are so beautiful, and I am happy to dress Them in a complete outfit of deep maroon-pink and black, black chadars to keep Them warm in this cold room. His golden staff and flute, Her golden jeweled mini-crown. His lotus feet. Her flouncy skirt. Their closeness. The knowledge (even theoretical) that They become one in the form of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Krsna’s peacock feather is hanging down. I will have to pause here and go fix it right.
“Hare Krsna Hare Krsna. Warm water, tissue to wipe Them. Those minutes are very special. You feel how rare are these pastimes, how you don’t have the adhikara but you’re not going to stop doing it and hearing it. Keep away from bad thoughts, hear of Sauri in His yellow garment finally appearing to be with the gopis after being apart from them. You’ve heard these verses before, but they’re not to be abandoned. The best practice is to chant Hare Krsna and realize it is ultimately done in Vraja.”
“Now I’m seated before Radha and Krsna. They have very simple and pleasing outfits on. You could call it casual dress, dress for play. He wears a pinkish long-sleeved kurta and turban of that color. His dhoti is a pattern of colors with blue and light blue in it and some pink. Radha’s dress is all that blue-light blue-pink combination. Krsna with His silver buffalo horn, and flute, and leaning stick.”