Krsna dasi has returned from four weeks in India: mission accomplished. She did many things, mainly bonding with Tapan, the master mukut-walla in Vrindavan. She sat with him while he drew patterns on a stitching board, and she guided him in exactly what we want for Radha-Govinda. Krsna dasi ordered twenty sets of new clothes for Them; she then bought flutes, candrikas, clothes for Prabhupada, Baladeva and myself. Our Prabhupada murti also received pavitras (silk garlands).
Sastra bought clothes for Radha-Govinda and our large Gaura-Nitai as well from his walla contacts Mohit and Rasa Bihari.
Krsna dasi also bought altar accessories: bells, acamana cups, shoes for the Deities, flutes and turban pieces designed by Tapan for her specialty, making turbans for Govinda. In Mayapura she was very enthused to associate with the pujaris in the Mayapur Academy Deity Worship course, where she learned new techniques for dressing.
In our out-loud ashram reading, we finished Caitanya-bhagavata. Gadadhara Pandita approached Lord Caitanya and told Him he had forgotten the mantra Pundarika Vidyanidhi had given him at initiation, and he asked Caitanya Mahaprabhu to give it to him again. Caitanya Mahaprabhu corrected him and told him that he should not ask another guru to initiate him while his own guru was still alive. Lord Caitanya said Pundarika would be coming to Jagannatha Puri in a few days. When Pundarika arrived, Lord Caitanya called him “Father!” and embraced him. Pundarika duly gave the mantra again to Gadadhara.
Pundarika and Svarupa Damodara were close friends. They used to intimately reveal their minds to each other. At that time in Puri, the pujaris were offering Jagannatha His new winter clothing. Pundarika noted that Jagannatha’s clothing was starched and had not been washed. He remembered in the Deity worship instructions that the Deities’ new clothes should be first washed before dressing Them.
Svarupa Damodara replied that whatever the pujaris were doing in Puri was right. They should not be found fault with. The two devotees discussed this subject and parted for the night. During his sleep, Pundarika saw Lord Jagannatha and Balarama appear to him in a dream. They began slapping his cheeks for 40 minutes until they became red and swollen. Pundarika bowed down before Them and asked to be forgiven for his fault-finding. When he awoke he saw that his face was actually red from the slapping of the Lords, and he felt very happy to be personally chastised. In the early morning his dear friend Svarupa Damodara came to see him. Pundarika excitedly told him about his dream. He said Krsna and Balarama were punishing him for his criticizing the pujaris of Lord Jagannatha about dressing the Deities in new clothes without first washing them. The two devotees talked about it with wonder, and in ecstasy they began to laugh. Pundarika said he would not show himself in public until the swelling of his cheeks went down. Vrndavana dasa Thakura says it is very rare that Krsna appears in a dream like this, and rarer still that He would personally punish His devotee for an offense.
We finished hearing some last pastimes, and the book was over. We then decided to cast new secret ballots and decide which book we would read next. The election results came out three in favor of Bhagavad–gita and one in favor of Srimad-bhagavatam. We luckily have four brand-new copies of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is donated to us by the Yuga-dharma Harinama Party in New York City, and we will start reading Chapter One this morning.
In our out-loud reading of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, we are up to Chapter Three. In the first chapter, Arjuna asks Krsna to pull his chariot between the two armies. Seeing his intimate friends, relatives and teachers, Arjuna is overcome by grief and pity. He fails in strength, his mind becomes bewildered, and he gives up his determination to fight.
In the second chapter, Arjuna submits to Lord Krsna as His disciple, and Krsna begins His teachings to Arjuna by explaining the fundamental distinction between the temporary material body and the eternal spiritual soul. The Lord explains the process of transmigration and the characteristics of a self-realized person.
We have just begun the third chapter, “Karma-yoga.” Krsna says everyone must engage in some sort of activity in the material world. By acting for the pleasure of the Supreme, without selfish motives, one can be liberated from the law of karma and attain transcendental knowledge of the self and the Supreme.
I have an unmarried disciple in her forties who lives in Jammu, North India with her ailing, elderly mother and inimical brother. The father died recently, and the survivors are fearful and upset. I have repeatedly advised her to take shelter in an ISKCON temple such as Mayapur, but she adamantly refuses. She writes me letters saying I should save her, find her a devotee-husband, or bring her to live with me in New York—which is impossible. She writes that her brother and mother and she want to sell their house in North India and move to New Delhi, but she doesn’t know how long that will take. There is nothing I can say to her which she will obey: “I will never go to ISKCON.”
(This is why I traditionally don’t get involved in giving personal and material advice to disciples, because if they reject my instructions, it becomes an offense.)
Things are progressing well on all fronts. Lal Krsna has finished Meditations and Poems, the book that is to be ready for distribution at the July 4th meeting. He’s sending it to the printer this week. In addition, he is working at typing, layout and design of a reprint of Prabhupada Appreciations. Caitanya Candrodaya has just received Daily Compositions for layout, design and covers. It should be back within a month for final proofing. So those two books will be ready for the July 4th meeting, and we will also be selling them on Amazon.
John Endler is close to finishing transcription of the manuscripts for the two books that we will have ready for distribution on my Vyasa-puja 2020, Seeking New Land: At Sea with Hemanta Swami, A Story, and Kaleidoscope, a full collection of poems which John is excited about for their stream-of-consciousness improvisational quality. I am currently proofreading Kaleidoscope, which is a stream-of-consciousness retrospective book showing where I was at in 1999 in Wicklow, Ireland. I like it for its free association with personal Krsna conscious themes. I finished proofreading Meditations and Poems, and it will go to the printer tomorrow. I also finished Daily Compositions and sent it to Caitanya Candrodaya to do layout and design.
A donor has stepped forward to pay for the shipping of the reprints Nitai has done in India. We’re asking for a hundred copies of each, and Nitai is presently organizing it. Two more reprints are almost ready in India, and Nitai is waiting for them to be completed. Then he wants to send all four reprints at once by ship to save money.
. . . so I’ll just do free writing, keeping the hand moving without thinking. In the news, Attorney General Barr is obstructing justice by assuring President Trump that he has the “absolute” power to do whatever he wants. Judges across the country are protesting Barr’s behavior, but Trump is still doing whatever he wants.
We are reading Bhagavad-gita As It Is at mealtimes. I find it hard to stay awake and focused on the subject. I’m taking a vow to use a wet hand-towel on my eyes and call out “Jaya!” “Haribol!” “Radhe-e-e-Syama!” Our out-loud reading is really a wonderful treat, and I appreciate how the devotees seriously take turns reading. By this policy they turn the house into an ashram or monastery. The profuse Deity worship that goes on at Viraha Bhavan also transforms the building into a mandir. The webmaster for the Free Write Journal reported that the Journal has over 300,000 readers. I couldn’t believe in such a high number, and I asked him to confirm his statistics. He researched again and wrote me back that the number is actually what he first told me. I want to keep up the standard of regular features and come up with new ones.
In Dhanurdhara Swami’s 2019 homage to Srila Prabhupada, I read that he visited the ISKCON burial plot near the goshala connected to the Krsna-Balarama Mandir in Vrndavana. He wrote that he saw burial plots for Gunagrahi Maharaja, Yamuna devi dasi, Brahmananda, the first Russian devotee initiated, and other devotees whose names I cannot remember. This is the first that I heard that there was a burial plot for ISKCON devotees in Vrndavana. Previously I had thought it was only in Mayapura.
I became enlivened at the prospect of having my ashes buried in Vrndavana. In my ashram, Viraha Bhavan in New York, I culture separation from Vrndavana. I have Radha-Govinda Deities, and we keep Them in a bhajana kutir with surrounding plants and many, many new changes of dress. I wrote to Pancagauda, the temple president of Krsna-Balarama Mandir and told him that I desired to have a plot in the burial ground near the goshala. I told him that I was following Rupa Gosvami’s advice, to always live in Vrndavana, but if one cannot live there physically he should live there in his mind. Aside from keeping Radha-Govinda Deities in a mood of separation from Vrndavana, I read the dramas of Rupa Gosvami and other rasa-sastras. Pancagauda wrote me back that the decision whether I could have a plot would be made by the international board of Vrndavana, which was meeting soon. My disciple Sastra dasa, who visits Vrndavana for extended periods, told me that the meeting was held and permission granted to me to have a plot. But for a long time I heard nothing official. Now just this week I received the following email:
Adi Kesava dasa
cc: Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
“Point 5 from the international body’s meeting: V.E.B. will inform the GBC about the limited space available on the goshala land for accommodating Samadhis. The V.E.B. reserves the right to the last spaces left. All members are in favor of the request made by H.H. Satsvarupa dasa Goswami for his Samadhi, and a space will be reserved for him.
This has made me very peaceful and satisfied, to know that my remains will be placed in Sri Vrndavana dhama, the holy land I worship in my mind.
My disciple Manohar sent me a ten year collection of recordings of the Govardhana Retreats, which are held for a period of six days each year in the valley of Govardhana. The retreat is sponsored by the Vrndavana Institute of Higher Education, and the main speakers are Sacinandana Maharaja, Bhurijana Prabhu and Jagattarini Mataji. I have so far listened to one year’s retreat and I have started on a second year. The speakers emphasize the importance of devotee association and living in Vrndavana dhama, at least for a certain period each year. Sacinandana Maharaja focused on the glories of the holy name. There seem to be no end to the realizations he had about the importance of chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. I was impressed and delighted with his presentation. The devotees at the retreat reserved one day for chanting sixty-four rounds.
Bhurijana Prabhu spoke on the Srimad-Bhagavatam. He summarized several different pastimes, such as Citraketu being cursed and Dhruva Maharaja. He has almost memorized these pastimes from Prabhupada’s books, and he makes a dramatic presentation, making it relevant for devotees today. Jagattarini Mataji spoke on the special nature of the holy dhama. She had deep realizations and shared them openly with the devotees. She had brought with her an art diorama of Krsna’s pastimes which she had made in Australia, and she shared them with the devotees in a very interesting presentation.
After six days of talks with the main three speakers, the audience of devotees was asked to individually speak on the main impressions they had gathered at the retreat. Each of them spoke very honestly, with open hearts, admitting their shortcomings but speaking of the “jewels” that they had gathered from the retreat process. As for me, the main jewels I gathered was to be in the company of devotees at Govardhana Hill. Hearing them speak about Giriraja, one almost felt he was present there, seeing and hearing about Govardhana. The devotees’ emphasis on sadhu-sanga made an impression on me, and by being in their company by hearing the recordings, I felt I was with them in Vrndavana and getting the benefit of their association there. The presentation is increasing my feelings of separation from Vrndavana. At the same time, it is helping me to feel I am in Vrndavana at Viraha Bhavan, practicing bhajana in separation.
I received an email from Satyaraja (Steve Rosen). He is writing a book about Radha-Kalachandji of Dallas. He asked me if I could share any early memories.
I was the GBC of Dallas when the Deities were installed. We had an exchange of letters with Srila Prabhupada, asking if we could have Radha-Krsna Deities. He first asked us whether we had enough personnel to take care of the Deities. At this time, Dallas ISKCON was establishing gurukula. Many children had come, and teachers too, so we had enough individuals to fulfill his requirements for taking care of the Deities.
We heard that Kalachandji had been picked out by some women devotees traveling with Prabhupada in India. He was not being worshiped; He had been placed as a doorstop in a museum. He was a strong, stocky murti made in an old-fashioned way. He was said to be very old. His Consort, Radharani came separately, diverted from a temple that She was supposed to go to in the United States. Radha-Kalachandji was shiny black, and Radha was pure white and delicate. They arrived safely and were put in a special room before Their installation.
Kalachandji had decorative painted designs on His arms. The women who were in charge of taking care of the Deity raised some doubts as to whether the decorative paint should be taken off the Deities. One of the devotees, Jahnavi devi dasi, phoned the New York ISKCON temple and spoke to Bharadvaja. He had scraped off decorative painting on the Radha-Govinda Deities when They arrived. On his authority, and with my permission, Jahnavi and the other women scraped off the decorative paint on Kalachandji’s arms.
A few days after the Deities arrived, Prabhupada came to Dallas. When he saw Kalachandji and inquired about Him, he learned that His decorative paint had been scraped off. Prabhupada was angry to hear this; he demanded to know who had done it. As the GBC, I was the first one to take the responsibility, and he called me a fool and a rascal and other names which hurt my thin skin. Then I told him that the paint-scraping had actually been done by one of the women in charge, Jahnavi devi dasi. Prabhupada immediately demanded to see her. In a fearful state, she went before him. He was angry and asked her who had given her the authority to do this; it should not have been done. Jahnavi told Prabhupada that Bharadvaja from New York had given her the advice to scrape the paint off. When Prabhupada heard this, he said loudly, “Bharadvaja! Who is Bharadvaja? I am your spiritual master sitting before you! You should take permission from me, not Bharadvaja.” Jahnavi was terrified and she cried. Then she said they could restore the paint on Kalachandji.
But Prabhupada was only scheduled to stay a day or two to do the installation, and there was some question about whether the paint would be dry enough for the installation. The women set out on a marathon to repaint Kalachandji’s arms. The next day, on his early morning walk, Prabhupada asked about the Deity. One of the women had told me that she doubted Kalachandji would be dry in time for the abhisekha at the installation. I conveyed this on the walk to Prabhupada. He snapped into his angry mood and told his secretary, Syamasundara, to immediately get plane tickets and leave Dallas without an installation. We were shocked and ashamed, and we all felt great gloom.
Prabhupada came back to the temple from his walk, gave the lecture and honored breakfast. Some of the women approached me and told me they thought the Deity was dry enough. They had placed constantly running electric fans toward His body, and they thought He had sufficiently dried. I told Prabhupada this and he calmly received the news. He walked into the room where the Deities were kept. As he walked, he hummed a phrase from the Bhagavatam lecture he had just given: grhesu grhamedhinam. When he saw Kalachandji, he was satisfied He was dry enough for the abhisekha and the installation. A great weight was taken off our shoulders.
For the installation, we had large plastic tubs in which we placed each Deity and poured water, milk, yogurt and other liquids over Their heads. Prabhupada sat on a big cushion, and I knelt in front of the Deities and poured the liquids on Their heads. He read aloud from the Brahma-samhita, ending each stanza with Govindam adi purusam tam aham bhajami. Prabhupada went onto the stage. A devotee-carpenter had built a simple wooden altar. The Deity was so heavy it took several men to put Him safely in place. Prabhupada performed the first arati with large ghee wicks which flamed high as he circled Them; then he offered the other articles. By this time there were perhaps a hundred children in attendance at the gurukula, and they were very happy watching the installation.
When he finished the arati, Prabhupada went up to his room, and with a pen he wrote on a piece of ISKCON stationery:
The Deity of Dalas
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
September 12, 1972
In the weeks that followed the installation, the weather remained warm, and Kalachandji was often bare-chested, displaying His mighty arms and chest. We liked seeing Them at mangala-arati and in the last arati, when They wore no jewelry or garlands. The children had a happy reciprocation with Radha-Kalachandji. They would cheer when the curtains opened for darsana.
I wrote to Satyaraja that the Deity standard and dress remained simple until Tamal Krsna Maharaja took over as GBC, and then the standard skyrocketed. But the early days were sweet.
I just received a letter from Hrdaya Caitanya written on behalf of Ajamila, who is doing research on a book they are writing of Prabhupada’s visits to Nairobi, Kenya. They want to know the exact date that Prabhupada installed Deities in Nairobi; they have it narrowed down to late January 1972. They write to me that since I was Prabhupada’s servant then, I may know the date of the installation. I wrote them back that I was not Prabhupada’s servant in 1972, but I was for a month in 1973 and for six months in 1974. Plus, I’ve never been to Kenya.
I looked at my collection of letters from Srila Prabhupada and found that he wrote me on January 11th 1972, at my address in Dallas, Texas. I was there, completely involved in trying to purchase a big church for use as a gurukula building. I had approached Karandhara in Los Angeles for a loan for the down payment, and he granted me permission. But then there was a delay from the realtors, and Prabhupada said if we couldn’t clinch the deal right away, we should return the borrowed money. But it turned in our favor, and we were able to use the money to pay the down payment for the big buildings, which are now still part of ISKCON Dallas. At this time (January 1972), we hadn’t moved into the new buildings. We were operating a small gurukula in a building located at Turtle Creek Boulevard. Prabhupada encouraged me to push on with the gurukula and bring it to perfection.
Once we got the building and some teachers came, the children started arriving, and within months we had a hundred boys and girls in attendance at Dallas Gurukula. Prabhupada used to promote Dallas Gurukula in his lectures and even in his purports to his books. He came to Dallas and installed Radha-Kalachandji Deities in September of 1972; earlier the same year, I had been awarded sannyasa.
I remember when I was in the thick of dealing with the church owners and a realtor to buy the big building. I hesitated and asked Srila Prabhupada if dealing with realtors and down payments for a building were actually spiritual activities, or was it material? He told me that working to get the building, getting involved in finances, loans, etc. was definitely spiritual activity. I should never think of it as material. That encouraged me to work enthusiastically with the real situation and do the needful to secure the buildings.
So in January 1972 (when the devotees who are researching Kenya thought I was Prabhupada’s servant in Africa), I was actually GBC with a zone of some temples in the USA. I was also editor-in-chief of Back to Godhead, and I was typing some tapes of the Fourth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam for Srila Prabhupada.
“From hundreds of yards away I see a monkey walking on all fours across the gurukula roof. If they came to this roof, it would be too distracting. That’s another opulence of the Sant Colony—no monkeys.
“Yes, I know, this is surface stuff. I should know better. But I cannot expect to be one of those vairagi mendicants (mentioned by Prabodhananda Sarasvati) in this lifetime. They wear only torn cloth and wander homeless in Vraja, always crying in gopi-bhava. That form of worship is not even recommended by our spiritual master. At least I aspire to read verses like this:
“‘I think the ultimate goal of life is to attain even a small amount of love for the land of Vrndavana, which is opulent with the splendid pastimes of Sri Radha-Murali-manohara’s lotus feet.’ (Vrndavana-mahimamrta, Sataka 4.65).
“‘O Sri Vrndavana, I am now very fortunate. I have become the object of your very, very great mercy. You have given me the right to reside within your boundaries, a right that is prayed for by Lord Brahma, Sukadeva Gosvami, Sanaka Kumara, and other great souls. This gift gives me hope that some day I will directly serve the splendid, charming, eternally youthful, eternally amorous fair and dark Divine Couple.’ (Vrndavana-mahimamrta, Sataka 4.80)
“It’s humid. I can’t get inspiring dictation from my own skin, and right now, the sight of four young Vrajavasi boys loitering along the path doesn’t direct me to Krsna consciousness. Pray for mercy. You say you are what you are, but you pray, ‘Dear Lord, please forgive me and improve me.’ Prabodhananda Sarasvati prays directly to Sri Vrndavana: ‘. . . If you have granted me residence within your boundaries . . . then why do you now hesitate to allow me to serve the great souls that live within you?’ (Vrndavana–mahimamrta, Sataka 4.81)
“I can also pray to Vrndavana dhama by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy. Let me beg for attachment to the dhama; let me travel to its holy sites. Let me one day aspire to live here all the time.
“Recently, I read references to retiring to Vrndavana in your fifties as a vanaprastha (Prahlada recommended it to his father as “the best thing” he had learned.) But I am not a vanaprastha. Srila Prabhupada once said to one of his disciples, ‘Preach while you are young. When you are old, retire to Vrndavana and chant Hare Krsna. . . . But you cannot retire unless you have preached sufficiently. The mind will agitate. If you have preached, you can retire and chant Hare Krsna—so preach as much as possible.’ (Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta, Vol. 5, p. 94).
“What is young? What is a devotee’s retirement age? It varies. Retiring in the spiritual sense is for the very advanced. Mahanidhi Swami makes the point that Srila Prabhupada approves our living in Vrndavana if we continue preaching here (as I might do by writing—or if I could improve myself, as befits one who accepts disciples).
“‘Although Srila Prabhupada rejected Subala’s idea for solitary bhajana, he did accept that one could continue living in Vrndavana provided he preached vigorously. Srila Prabhupada told Subala: “Better we spend our whole life and die just to make one person Krsna conscious. That is our line, to become so absorbed in preaching Krsna consciousness, whether in Vrndavana or anywhere.”’ (Appreciating Sri Vrndavana-dhama, p. 247).
“That is a good point—that one may also preach in Vrndavana. When a brother hears that someone is residing in Vrndavana, he says, ‘Oh, but Srila Prabhupada wanted us to preach.’ The Six Gosvamis came here just to preach.
“Thoughts on a humid afternoon.”
“A person in Vrndavana bows down. He is proud, foolish, but he worships the dhama and the holy name. His writing is bhajana.
“A bird like the whippoorwill . . . ‘Now I will quit writing,’ he says, but no, go on.
“I am a little nuts, and this isn’t a perfect pen. ‘In Vrndavana. in Vrndavana.’ I keep saying it like a magic formula. I keep begging. But what do I want? I think I will be satisfied if I can write a pleasing, flowing record of my experiences.
“I am not being sarcastic, but why not go deeper?
“The writing should be the by-product of my prayer.
“And you ought to know by now that writing is your dharma, so stop criticizing yourself for it. You may desire to go deeper, but writing isn’t exactly a ‘by-product.’ It is your head on the earth and all parts of your body in dandavats.
“My prayers to Vrndavana are for simple things like, ‘Please let me chant with attention and love in the morning. Or let me feel unworthy that I cannot do it—but not in a neurotic way. Let me cry. Let me improve. Teach me how to chant.’
“Yes, Lord, I would like to write sweet love songs to You, but I am not qualified. So what does a guy do who wants to write in Vrndavana, who has come to Vrndavana just to write? He can write Prabhupada’s biography and purports to the ‘Prayers of King Kulasekhara,’ and he can do this—the simple days and nights in a house of old bricks and cement in Raman Reti. It is the best situation I have ever had in Vrndavana, and I thank You for it.
“I am just stressing and digging a little here to look for more. My wish/blessing: may you continue to hear in good consciousness. May Prabhupada’s words penetrate your thick skull and your dry heart.
“O Vrndavana-dhama, I need to quiet down.”
“When you answer many letters, you come out of yourself and use all you can to help, relate to, and instruct others. It’s good to have time like this where you just draw into yourself with quiet days alone. But your purpose ought to be this facing of self. Not in a mean or confrontational way. But as you ask to be able to pray the Hare Krsna mantra, also ask to know yourself so you’ll be more at ease with who you are. That will be something you can use in relating to others, which is your duty. We are not allowed to just stay by ourselves. Supposed to do something to help others. I justify a retreat because it helps form me as a more solid social person. But I also take time alone because I like it. I like how I breathe and seem to grow alone.
“Big motorboat – one of the biggest I’ve seen here with three visible separate indoor rooms – slows down and turns aside because the devotees’ rowboat was in its path. Thank you.
“Thank you. Find yourself and express yourself.
“Stereotypes include too-stern teacher, boring, dead, half-dead, non-loving. That lady wrote me that Krsna consciousness is sectarian. That fired me up in defense. I could give a whole lecture on that in a disciple’s meeting. She had a concocted religion.
“Let’s end this writing session and give some time to reading. You could even read a single verse and purport of Bhagavad-gita, avajanati mam mudha and the next ones. They’re all good and potent.
“I’m not talking about racism or classism or even ISKCON diseases (like tree diseases) and ISKCON strengths (the tall, mighty tree branching out), but pure soul questing, simple service in a day, getting to one’s self by gentle and quiet association as two people get to know one another with respect yet intimacy, monk of the code pursuing the particular service of writing yet tending to reading and aware that after another week he will have to start mixing more with others.”
“Tell Manu about my diary in Magellan-like exploring of every bay and inlet. ‘Yes,’ he says. It is a discipline I say. Yours flourishes. Well, prove it. Communicate, man. What’s the purpose?
rehearse your death
a fly buzzed
I finally understood
Emily Dickinson and died to
be reborn an English teacher.
“‘Stop it, stop it,’ he said to his wife. That strife I don’t know, or raising kids. Better off without it. Got good advantages, best guru not so late in life. ‘You are fortunate now. Don’t become unfortunate,’ he used to say.
“Yasya prasadad. Yes, you could take a siksa-guru, but I see it diminishes the position of Srila Prabhupada to do so. The new guru takes an upper position, and whatever you learned from Srila Prabhupada has to be filtered through the siksa-guru. I need the full embrace of Srila Prabhupada and need to be fully dependent on him. Declare it. As for going to be with the gopis, which is the goal, I understand it has to be done in a spiritual body. Can’t do it prematurely while you still have the material conception of sex. That’s what Srila Prabhupada teaches. So, get pure consciousness by serving guru. Attract Krsna’s attention by preaching according to your ability.
“Eleven rounds done so far and no headache. The first charge of the day. Keep out the thoughts if you can and hear. Oh, if I could pray, ‘Please, Krsna, allow me to sense worship of You in Your names.’ It (mercy) comes from guru. M. reminds me to do street harinama when I get a chance. I tend to bow out on that as a gentleman’s preference. After all, a headache-prone man of fifty-seven (almost) has to keep up a respectable front before his disciples. He might get pushed around or cursed on the street.
“Sprinkle ink. Then you think of some other way such as brhad-mrdanga for you to please the Lord so He will reveal Himself in His holy names. Cut through inertia and neglect, apathy – get on the move to hear as you walk on the ground, holy ground.
”Too many monkeys that freak out. At places like Seva-kunja they come to the screened windows, little ones almost getting through, delicate ears and skulls, mothers screech and pull them back, dirty monkeys…rascals, even in open temple worship like Radha-Ramana or Radha-Damodara, the monkeys come around, even steal from the altar and from the worshippers…In Ireland there are no monkeys, but then you get the pubs and Catholics and no Radha-Syama. Hare Krsna.
“The devotees know what to do and give us the best.
“‘Why so fast, pet?’ Because I want to beat the mind and it’s getting late (4:30), so I want to get something done before I go out. Write to Manu –
“(1) I’m a diarist. When I look in the mirror of my self I have to admit, ‘That’s me. I write primarily that way.’
“(2) Note how poems go in and out of prose.
“(3) Magellan. Give me your tips.
“Please your spiritual master somehow. Think of him. He wants tangible service. My integrity as a person I offer to him. Work at improvising myself as a disciple. Stay in ISKCON, guide disciples, that’s the idea. Don’t stray away. Don’t go for freedom feeling of not being constrained by the institution, but rather stay in it, thinking that’s what he wants. Your very act of cultivating selfhood, etc., is done for him. Just as I maintained the first Allston temple for him and went to the local newspaper and asked them to do a story on us, in that same spirit of preaching, for Swamiji (at Harvard too) and working at the welfare job, so you try to do these acts for him. You color and make art too. Yes, this is a good idea. Let’s try it. And I write a diary for my spiritual master. It’s not a notion, but you carry it out for him – private revolution. I write as a solitary to others – all are actually alone and serve the movement in this way without constant need for official approval. Know that you’re doing it this way and know that Srila Prabhupada approves.”
“Blackthorn blossoms. Syamananda’s mother told him not to bring the branches into the house because they bring bad luck. The blossoms easily shatter and fall. I lay them on a piece of paper towel on the altar as flower offerings to guru and Krsna.
“O Krsna, You are very kind to Your devotees and to the nondevotees also. You give everyone what they want. If someone wants the body of a tiger to eat fresh meat, You give. If someone wants to be naked, You (through Your prakrti) give him or her the body of a tree or animal whereby they can always remain naked and no one will object. If one wants the body of a god, or a body like Krsna, the Lord can award it. Whatever you want.
“Please give me Krsna consciousness. Let me know what I have to do to obtain it. I ask for the inspiration to attain it and the strength to go for it. Without Krsna’s help in various ways I’ll never be able to walk the bhakti-marg.”
“Think of loyalty to the spiritual master, carrying out his desires. They are not a secret. Yet, each person may have his own particular service to offer. The general order may be, ‘Form an army and fight the forces of maya.’ But then what part you play in obedience to that order may vary: rifleman, pilot, medic, writer…but serve the cause. Become yourself a genuine devotee, and then when people meet you they will be favorably affected.”
“Write to stay awake. Turns of thought. You try all day to stay awake and active and turn from one activity to another. Sow and reap, plough and turn, pick and gather…Hare Hare.
“I haven’t seen the power boats yet. Not a single sailboat do we see.
“The wind whistles, birds chirp, and I think over my discovery for the day – that bhakti unto Prabhupada can be rejuvenated. And it is probably best to think of it as doing what comes naturally for you, but offering it to him. Be confident he will accept your offering.
“Learn somehow to crave improvement. You don’t have to go outside the service of japa or writing to please Srila Prabhupada. Within these, call to him for help and call out. ‘Please help me, please help me.’
“Please be direct. Serve Krsna. Chant His holy names. Write a manual for training bhaktas: ‘Every temple should have this book.’ Write an essay against the atheist scientists, a summary of a Bhagavatam lila. And a diary in which a person finds himself in private thoughts and quietly asserts, ‘I am a devotee. I am a disciple of my guru, and through him I realize I am an eternal servant of Krsna.’
“Still bottled water for Ballgowan. Barbs on wired fence to keep out cows. Protect them from overeating. All kinds of problems. Keep people from becoming lonely, estranged, lusty, or apathetic. A devotee should rise by four o’clock in the morning as Prabhupada says they do in the village of India.
“Please keep awake and active.
“Work for Krsna in some way, as befits you and as fills an important need in the sankirtana effort.
“Let a sankirtana devotee sell books, a sannyasi wanders and lectures often. If you think you have another service, please write it on the form and explain it there and take extra pages if you think it’s needed. I know this form well enough. Please help us, Lord.
“There is a boat, a hope goes with it from me. Call in M. when you are stuck and start speaking something. Mainly keep the hand moving. There’s hope that this form of experience (shiny ink) can also help. All can be brought within service.
“Calm, calming effect. Don’t set off dynamite here. Say what comes to you in a flow. The room is a bit warm. Overhead light reflected on this plastic portable desk. Left hand keep the page in place. We saw a video of Picasso painting. The last one he did over again and again, rearranging figures and said, ‘Now, it is bad. Very, very bad.’ He then painted on separate pieces of paper and placed them on his canvas. His pictures kept changing, but he couldn’t resolve it. Then he said, ‘I think I know where I’m going now. I will start a new canvas.’ He did and quickly achieved what he wanted, what satisfied him, a certain visual statement or ‘story.’ Can you work like that? I am Magellan’s boat. My captain sends me to search out each cove that comes up. We don’t have another plan. We select some, but mainly follow life on a retreat. Finish this in a quota of less than an hour and then try to stay awake in other ways while reading.
“Your rejuvenating plan, the person who will do it to you. Can you explain these things? No. If I did, you might not appreciate or understand. You would take me for a fool. Suffice to say we needn’t grow impatient or sleepy with old age. One can continue to grow and feel young and play. You are reduced from heavier burdens. Let’s see you do it. Please relax.
“‘He allowed a permissive power of enjoyment to enter his body and mind.’ Say I know enough not to allow it to deteriorate. But I don’t trust the mind. So, you should keep some guard over affairs of the mind. Now, now the expiring powers, the worn hope will rise up.
“Old monk left me here. Says God doesn’t mind. What do they know? I shouldn’t have immediate…’ Bring me to Him.’ I have a moment…Rojo, red are your feet.
“Stay with it.
I think if you…
You are God
and a friend to intimates.
“Puffed rice with your spiritual master. You shall be a devotee who writes and wins persons to Krsna consciousness. You are still a spiritual master.
“Question: ‘But what if he’s not uttama?’
“Go out and see if the door is unlocked. Fire hose died down. This session wasn’t as clear as yesterday, but I persisted. It was writing time, so I acted on it.
“Now there is time to spend reading. M. has to keep track of the van, which should arrive in Liverpool tomorrow after its ocean voyage. But it is not so easy to locate or do anything, is it? ‘Hello, did a white camper van come?’
“‘Yes, it’s here.’
“Thank you. I have to prepare a Srimad-Bhagavatam talk right now, but I’ll call you back when I have faith in the name of God. Wherever you are, you follow a routine and insert Krsna conscious practices. They expect you to perform well, and you’re doing what you can.
“You daydream as if you were a doctor treating patients. I’m a spiritual doctor, but now I see I didn’t think that I can treat them.
“Little gray…arrange them, read this, and the next time you speak, you may…take writing…
“His virtue is he is awake plugged into writing. Now sign off. One of the flakier sessions this has been.
“There will be no bad talk here, please. Stay calm and do as I say. Everyone please sit down. Please sit down. If you don’t obey me, then who are you obeying? Don’t go berserk. Please obey. And so, they all sat and recalled a verse…that except for the mercy of Krsna, no one can know Him. He bestows His mercy on whomever He wishes.
“Not much time now. Turn to Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna. A dog or cat cannot understand this praying life. Just feed it.
“There is no gift that can help you now with internal work. See the hour and surrender. Do look after others.”
(55 minutes, Geaglum, North Ireland – June 11th at Manu’s house – sleepy)
“Just a sliver of a moon. When I arrived in Ireland, it was the full moon of June 1st, the sky is clear and is cool, all blue light. Darker blue clouds, some of the blue of water is a reflection in the sky. But the water retains its own blue. The dawn is not enough to bring out the bright green of the grass, but it’s still green, the border between my light and the sky. This is just a tiny patch of the material world. I’m not able to see with my tiny vision, looking out the window of the house. I can’t see any boats or people or houses.
“Can I see God, Krsna, can I hear? How sincere am I, and how to increase it? Or is it a decrease I need, a decrease in wrong sorts of ambition? Relax and pray to Krsna, God, in the Holy Names.
“In the bathroom I heard Prabhupada say, ‘You can’t go directly to God, but you need to go through the guru. If you want to go through a big man, then you have to go to his servant.’
“I have done this way of writing for years . . . .
“Sometimes it is ported to one structure or sometimes it is just in diary form. I can’t do anything other than this, it seems. I am at home in this. But I have been chosen to do it, it seems. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna.
“To be content with your lot and push it on . . . .
“‘When you are not here,’ I wrote in a note to Madhu . . .
“When you are not here it is like a song—it implies the final partings that we have to face. But we keep that from our minds.
“Ha. We are not this body. Some things are too horrible to mention. The stones turn soft when Krsna plays the flute. Prabhupada says the ‘horrible’ things are due to our identification with matter. If we can believe and realize that we are not these bodies, then it need not affect us, even our own suffering or the sufferings of others. We’ll understand that suffering is a mirage. The real self is the soul. Teach this to the ignorant masses; they are in need of it. Hare Krsna.
“The Christians want to simply convert people to their own religion. Do we want to do the same? No, we want to teach the science of God, we want to be aware of that. This is a fine point—how Prabhupada himself never thought that he was a Hindu but that Krsna consciousness was a nonsectarian teaching. In the ordinary sense, it appears to be the claim that others make, that only our religion should be followed. At least we don’t condemn anyone else’s bhakti practices, but we approve those practices in their own religion. We do claim that there is more bhakti in Lord Caitanya’s flow than anywhere else.
“These thoughts in the early morning, before you go on your walk. Be convinced in religion and sanatana dharma. Krsna consciousness contains all that is taught to others. Krsna is the most relishable form of God.
“Chant a few rounds and then get out there on the trail. Leave theology behind. You don’t leave Krsna consciousness behind, but you try to get off the discursive platform and try to hear the holy names. As you give some care to the old carriage of this body, chant and chant. I know so many thoughts will come, and they are not bad thoughts, but it is better just to chant. Chant Hare Krsna, the prayer of calling out to God directly, calling His holy names, calling to Srimati Radharani and wanting to be the faithful son, pleasing the guru. ‘To one who has unflinching faith, all the purports of the Vedas are automatically revealed.’ (Svetasvatara Upanisad, 6.23) The petty things that prevent you—such as the fact that English is his secondary language and that he sometimes makes mistakes in it—are not to be taken seriously. You expect him to also overlook things that are wrong in you. In the spiritual world you will speak the same language.
“All despondency is caused by not directly glorifying Krsna. Open up and pour it on. Krsna dwells in Mathura, Vrndavana and Dvaraka. People who don’t know who God is argue against them. Go ahead. Then we have to stop and not talk of ‘Krsna’ right away. (Srila Prabhupada: ‘Krsna is far, far away.’) Talk first about the soul. Even that they don’t want to know, they’re interested in working to research God’s laws but not God Himself.”