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Last Update: Jan 31, 2013

Monday, April 26, 2010

AtitaVancha - Krishna who fulfils your desires beyond expectations

A quick attempt at flyering a little bit on tuesday took place. The response was not as favorable as some other times, but keeping in mind the role of just "being there" I persisted. After sometime I saw this very simple yet intelligent looking person, I approached him - "we're having a yoga festival" to which he very politely replied " I am not from toronto". I then offered him a Perfection of Yoga as a present from Toronto. I enquired where he was from, and learnt that he was visiting a Neurology conference all the way from Switzerland! He was a little bit into yoga and meditation and was very happy to receive the book. He did not have change for donation, so instead of brushing me aside, he actually took the time to go inside the Seven Eleven Store and get some change. Touched by his sincerity I offered him another book and he graciously accepted. He then asked me about some restaurant of which I admitted to have no idea. As soon as we parted ways, I felt guilty at not having offered him prasad or inviting him to the centre. I felt like running behind him and stopping him, but he had left. The entire evening I was caught up in guilt and wished he would return.

On thursday, while the cooking class was going on, my wonderful husband was distributing flyers and books downstairs from Urban Edge Yoga. Where unknown to him, he met my friend from Switzerland. Upon talking further, he realized this was the same guy I had talked about...this time he invited him to come up... The cooking class had almost wrapped up and I was more than delighted to have met my Swiss Friend again...He not only came in, he had prasad (lots of it), and gave another donation...only to part with another book and a bag of goodies for his trip! He was very happy to have met us and left us his address, offering us to be his guests in Bern.

It was a special feeling of reciprocation. Krsna the master of mystics had yet again fulfilled my seemingly simple desire, beyond all my expectations!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 24 (Sat) 9:00am:- 11th Monthly Sankirtan Festival

Its the last saturday of the month and time again for our Monthly Sankirtan Festival (MSF):(Schedule below).

MSF - Our Monthly Sankirtan Festivals are an initiative to share Krsna Consciousness in an organized manner in the association of devotees, through distributing books, prasad, holy name and warm friendly smiles!

If you've been to a MSF before, you've experienced the joy of sharing the wonderful message of Krsna Consciousness with the passersby on the streets of GTA- so you need no more convincing, and for those of you who've never been able to come out - you'll really have to experience it to know what its like!

Please bring your friends and family, you're certainly in for an unforgetable treat. And please dress warmer than you think you'll need to, given the unpredictable weather. Looking forward to serving with you.

Schedule for Sat, April 24th:-

9:00am :- arrive at the temple

9:30am :- Training on "how" and "what" of going out experience

10:30am : - Team assignments10:45am :- Drive to various locations

11:00am-2:00pm :- Harinama Sankirtan at different locations

2:00pm :- Final harinam & Wrap up

2:30pm :- Return to temple for lunch prasadam

No More Steak!

The evening started on a low note with some disturbing conversations. However Lord Chaitanya really wanted his way! A couple of very pleasant encounters happened, and while Vraja (My sankirtan partner for the evening) and I were discussing how we should probably wrap up and head back in 15 minutes, I noticed a car that stopped in front of us. The people appeared friendly, so I approached them "Hi, we're having a yoga festival". To this, one of the guys (Peter) replied, yes I got one from you the other day and you also gave me a book! Embarrassed, I apologized. However, he gave the flyer to this other friend (Anthony) who was accompanying him for dinner. Anthony got into some serious thought and started to ask about the books. He then asked me if there was anything about KARMA! I said certainly, and showed him the Bhagavad Gita. However the size of the book scared him, and he preferred to read something simple. I ran up to the centre and fetched for him a Coming Back. On my way down, I felt this unknown urge to try and give him the Bhagavad Gita. So I again tried to push it, however he was adamant and wanted some small books. After some discussion, he took one copy of all of the small books I had and gave a kind donation.

We then got into a conversation, somehow Anthony opened Coming Back to the page of the above image and his expressions completely changed. He said he was scared...and upon asking he revealed how he had been haunted by a dream since he was 3 yrs old which had a similar channel and an old man pushing him down. I told him how it could have been his previous lives' impressions. We then got in to the discussion on Karma, next life and more...while talking he casually took the Bhagavad Gita from my hand and started to read through the book. He came across the images and the one of KARMA really struck him. There and then he said : No More Steak!. He read on, and was visibly attracted to the book. He asked me more stuff, about Karma, reincarnation...and also if he could eat fish! Eventually, he just took the book and offered a kind donation for it as well. We exchanged contact info, and Anthony is eager to stay in touch. All 4 of us parted as good friends would, with Anthony proclaiming - No more steak!

It appeared miraculous, but Sri Hari certainly has His own plan...how Peter remembered meeting me, and encouraged his friend to speak with me...How Anthony had this dream about the reincarnation picture...and How just one look at Srila Prabhupada's work convinced him for life!

Param Vijayate Sri Krsna Sankirtanam

No Language Barriers for Bhakti

Submitted by:- Mangal Arti dd

I met a Russian lady near Finch, while she was for her husband. I showed her the Perfection of Yoga which she appreciated and decided to take. However she was waiting for her husband to get the money. While waiting, we started to talk, she told me how her husband was interested in yoga but could not speak English. I insisted and she asked him to still try and come. Ultimately she gave me a nice donation and left with a book. I didn't think much of it until yesterday when her husband called me. He could barely speak or understand English and we had great difficulty communicating but somehow (miraculously) I did not loose my patience and even though it seemed like he understood nothing, he came for a class last night. At the end of the class he chanted very nicely- no language barrier there. He then told me he left meat years ago and his younger son refused to eat since little. He was trying to find about reincarnation etc, so I told him to get japa beads which he did. I tried to explain he can chant regardless of circumstances and he said he would.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The International Connection - Mercy from Down Under

Submitted by:- Mangal Arti dd
I was just stepping out of subway and was nervous to distribute fliers or books at the station. Somehow as I mustered the courage to approach this guy expecting him to say no - he looked at the Perfection of Yoga and to my sheer surprise said, ah Yes, I have read this book. Expecting an answer like Eaton Centre or something, I asked him where he received this book. I was in for another surprise as he revealed he found it in Australia - I told him I also found my copies of the book in Australia when I was living in Melbourne. I asked him where in Australia, hesitating a little bit, he tried to avoid the details. Then he said ah it was a hotel in Alice Springs where someone had kept it on a table and I took it, and he liked what he read. I showed him the Bhagavad gita and even though he looked attentively he said he was from Ottawa just visiting here and could not take it with him. I told him I dont feel right as i had to give him something.
I then showed him a Chant and be happy. He stopped and looked and I told him about Beatles. He said he would read it and also said his brother likes the beatles and would read it too. I asked him if he could give me some donation for the book and he gave me some laxmi for the book and left. In my heart I was thanking the devotee who left Perfection of yoga at Alice springs outback restuaraunt.

Amazon.com - The Transcendental Sankirtan Goof-Up!

Originally posted at :- http://rails.bharatavarsa.net/articles/show/10038 by H.G. Vijaya Prabhu

Jed was looking into Buddhism and found out about Krsna from one of the books. He purchased a Bhagavad-gita (not Srila Prabhupada's) and read it, but he couldn't understand what it was about. He still wanted to know about Krsna though, so he ordered a couple of books from Amazon.com about the life of Krsna (neither of the books he ordered was by Srila Prabhupada).
When he received the books he was surprised that one of them was Bhagavad-gita As It Is. He checked to make sure he hadn't ordered that book, and sure enough he hadn't. Amazon.com had goofed (or was it Krsna's arrangement?). He was getting ready to pack it up and return it to Amazon when he thought, "Well, they sent me the book. I might as well read a bit of it." So he opened it up and started looking through it. He was surprised to see such nice artwork; his other, non-Prabhupada Gita didn't have such beautiful illustrations. After studying the artwork, he started reading the Gita, and after only one paragraph he understood that "This is the highest truth." He located the Cape Town temple and is now Bhakta Jed.
The story continues . . . As last Christmas approached, Bhakta Jed asked his mother for an early Christmas present. She said, "Sure, what do you want?" Jed replied, "I would like you to chant one round a day for the month of Kartika, a special spiritual month of the year."
She agreed. And after a month of chanting she couldn't stop. She is still chanting and gradually losing her taste for material activities.
The story continues . . . Jed wanted to give his best friend a Bhagavad-gita As It Is. He was going to order the book from amazon.com, but before he did he had to clean out the attic of his house. While cleaning he saw a book in the shadows, and as he went closer he found that it was Bhagavad-gita As It Is! But it was the original, abridged one with the purple cover, published in 1968. His mother had bought it back around then, and it had ended up in the attic. Jed gave that book to his friend, who read it and became a devotee.

The domino affect . . . all started by some worker in Amazon.com's warehouse who was inspired by the Supersoul to send Jed "the wrong book" about Krsna.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cab Again...

I was having a not so pleasant day, and certainly was not enthused enough to attempt Sankirtan. As I hailed a cab on the way to Urban Edge Yoga, the cab driver greeted me with such a warm hello and started to speak. He asked me where I was going, I told him I was going to Urban Edge Yoga. He said yoga was not for him...he practices some rigourous excercises. The conversation went on and he told me how he liked reading about history - that was my cue. I asked him if he had read the bhagavad gita. He said he had heard about it, and would certainly like to read about it as well. As we turned towards UEY, I asked him if he could wait he certainly did, while my very kind husband ran up to the centre to fetch a hardbound Bhagavad Gita. Although Francesco (the driver) did not have enough money, he very eagerly gave me off all my cab-fare and grabbed several UEY cards for his customers as well....

So today was another start - cab sankirtan multiplies...Perhaps somewhere, Francesco is sharing something about Bhagavad Gita or UEY with one of his customers...

Param Vijayate Sri Krsna Sankirtanam

Religion, Faith and Dharma

Submitted by:- Mangal Arti dd

I was standing at a street corner and i saw this man - he was not very old but he had a huge beard that added years to his age. There was something that made him seem favorable even from far. I didnt disturb him and kept giving fliers out to others...but then he turned around and came upto me curiously asking what I had. While giving him the flier I noticed the urdu newspaper in his hand and wasnt sure whether to show him the Bhagavad Gita or Perfection of Yoga - especially since he did not practice yoga or meditation

As I handed him the Perfection of Yoga, he started to express his liking for reading about. He told me he was of Muslim origin, and  was studying Islam and Zorastrianism. I was certain - now I had to show him Bhagavad Gita. I started to show him the mantras and pictures ..he even tried to read some words. I encouraged him to take it with him for a donation and he very quickly made a generous donation. Once he was holding the Bhagavad Gita - he just started to open up even further. He gave me many good wishes and promised to write back. He recognized how sharing spiritual knowledge required special faith - I was amazed at how he was appreciating devotional service.

He was discussing what is religion - and i was remembering the introduction to BG where Srila Prabhupada explains the meaning of the word religion - I asked him to read it later. Srila Prabhupada says :

The English world religion is a little different from sanātana-dharma. Religion conveys the idea of faith, and faith may change. One may have faith in a particular process, and he may change this faith and adopt another, but sanātana-dharma refers to that activity which cannot be changed. For instance, liquidity cannot be taken from water, nor can heat be taken from fire. Similarly, the eternal function of the eternal living entity cannot be taken from the living entity. Sanātana-dharma is eternally integral with the living entity. When we speak of sanātana-dharma, therefore, we must take it for granted on the authority of Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya that it has neither beginning nor end. That which has neither end nor beginning must not be sectarian, for it cannot be limited by any boundaries. Those belonging to some sectarian faith will wrongly consider that sanātana-dharma is also sectarian, but if we go deeply into the matter and consider it in the light of modern science, it is possible for us to see that sanātana-dharma is the business of all the people of the world — nay, of all the living entities of the universe. Non-sanātana religious faith may have some beginning in the annals of human history, but there is no beginning to the history of sanātana-dharma, because it remains eternally with the living entities.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A meeting with Sunny on a windy day...

Submitted by:- Mangal Arti dd

It was an extremely windy day. At Yonge-Finch, there are always a lot of extremely shady men who often come up with unpleasant words.  The combination of strong winds and crazy people petrified me even though I know that we are always protected by Sri guru and gauranga. So I decided to move closer to some crowds but how much of a crowd can one find on such a windy day. As I stood scared but trying to smile, this young, clean looking guy stopped without me asking him to stop, this scared me even further. He asked me if I was stopping people to sell something. I told him I was a yoga teacher and asked him if he knew anything about it. He said he had been doing yoga for a year; trying to stay still in the blowing wind, I handed him the Bhagavad Gita

I opened the book and started showing him the mantras and he said 'don't open the book it will get spoiled. I believe you and I will take it. How much is it?'.  I told him it was a donation. To avoid the wind he offered to go to the side and talk-whatever was left of me, got further scared, but we stepped aside and  he just gave me the laxmi and was ready to go. But then I stopped him and said hey I have a mantra for you. I told him try saying Gauranga. He didn't say it but asked what it meant. I told him it means 'Be happy'. He said 'Be happy'. I said yes, just try it. He then went away and I got back to my insignificant sankirtan efforts.

Suddenly I saw him come back and all my fear signals went off. I decided to turn around and hide, started to walk away. He saw me and called out, I pretended to be pre-occupied with my phone. Finally, he screamed GAURANGA and then again GAURANGA, now I had to stop.

He had unknowingly actually started the process of Bhakti Yoga. Later he came to me and asked me some questions but by now my fear was dead. He had called out to the Supreme Lord - he must have been a devotee from some life. Such is the power and mercy of the holy name
This episode reminded me of the account of Gajendra. Vaisesika prabhu had explained that Gajendra did not remember that he was Indradyumna or a bhakta. After 1000 years of battle with the crocodile when he realised he was going to lose and die, he still did not remember Krishna. But he remembered the Bhakti Yoga process he had followed in the past life and started reciting the prayers from his past life, not knowing who he was calling to. But the lord accepted the prayers and came right away to deliver his devotee.

Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Thereafter, the King of the elephants, Gajendra, fixed his mind in his heart with perfect intelligence and chanted a mantra which he had learned in his previous birth as Indradyumna and which he remembered by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. SB 8.3.1

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Coming Up Next!

With the weather getting brighter and warmer, Sankirtan Activities are going to be so much more fun. Please mark your calendars for some upcoming events, because with exams out of the way, and winter not being an excuse anymore - we wont take NO for an answer :)!
- April 17th :-  CDM - Organized cleaning of the temple with a group of cleaning enthusiasts and pizza after
- April 24th :- The 11th Monthly Sankirtan Festival (MSF) (we hear a rumour there might be a beach sankirtan! - Stay Tuned for more info)
- June 26th :- MSF's 1st Birthday Party - Harinama Sankirtan in Niagara Falls (RSVP required)

10th MSF - Bringing Sita Back to Ram

Saturday, March 27th marked the 10th MSF with the theme "Bringing Sita Back to Rama". Befitting the theme, this MSF was one with many challenges – some of our major team members were missing and the weather was surprisingly harsh. However, by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, 22 devotees were able to go
out to distribute about 56 books and 1200 pieces of prasad!

This MSF also marked the launch of GTA's Wal-Mart Sankirtana. A display table was set up at a Wal-Mart in Scarborough from 10:30am - 5:00pm, with three devotees manning the table. The devotees met many interested people and distributed 700 prasad candies and 24 books for a total of 170 laxmi points! All the
participating devotees were visibly enlivened and had many wonderful experiences to share.

Meanwhile, downtown the sankirtana team was at its regular spot at Yonge & Dundas. Unshaken by the cold winds and missing team members, the sankirtana warriors distributed about 500 pieces of prasad and 31 small books for 70 laxmi points! The team also happily discovered two amazing kirtaneers in Sing Lung and
Anshul Prabhus! After the sankirtana, all participating devotees went back to the temple to honor prasad and share their realizations.

Wal-mart Sankirtan—The Magical Breakthrough

For years now, sankirtana devotees in the USA have been a regular sight at Wal-Mart Stores. In Toronto, however, this was unheard of – until now. Our 10th MSF marked the attainment of our first ever Wal-Mart permit, courtesy of an extremely sincere, hard-working devotee and sankirtana regular!
"When H.G. Vaisesika Prabhu was with us on Friday (March 2010) and asked whether anybody had a connection with Wal-Mart, I had a heart ache; I felt bad that I couldn't do any thing. I just made a humble request at Krishna’s lotus feet," Menaka Thambiratnam recalls. Soon enough, Krishna answered her sincere prayers. We received permission to set up a display, provided there was no other fund-raising initiative taking place. We jumped at the opportunity
and set up shop on March 27th!
"When we were on the road or did door to door sankirtana, most of the time people seemed to be in such a hurry. At Wal-Mart we had different experience - people approached our table; they had questions and were willing to spend more than 20 or 25 minutes talking to us. We met people who already have many of Srila Prabhupada's books at home and others who don't know anything about Lord Krishna" says Mother Menaka. Also helping out at the display in Wal-Mart was Mother Sita Thakurani and Milind Prabhu. The team members thoroughly enjoyed themselves, spoke to many people, gave out 700 prasad candies and distributed 24 books for 170 laxmi points!

"Back in December ’09, I saw a fundraising stand for a charitable organization at a Wal-Mart,” says Mother Menaka. “In my heart I really felt that we should have a table full of Srila Prabhupada's books in the same way. Thanks to Vaisesika Prabhu’s December visit, I had a clue that it might be possible. The rest was the Sankirtana Team and Wal-Mart – we all worked together. It was that simple. It seems that Krishna already made all the arrangements
and He was just wanting us to discover them. We all are on a limited visa, not an open one. We all can do much more to please Krsna. Everyday I am thankful to the devotee who introduced me to this joyful world. Thank you Srila Prabhupada. Thank you Vaisesika Prabhu. Thank you Sankirtan Team”.

In the months to come, we'll reach out to other Wal-Marts and stores in different areas, with a hope of taking the transcendental mission of Srila Prabhupada
to every store…every corner of the GTA!

Never know ... who you'll meet!

Submitted by:- Mangal Arti dd
I was at the corner of Bloor and Spadina but there weren't many people on the street. Suddenly, I saw a man with very long hair on a bike at the traffic light was about to drive off. I thought well why not - so i ran up to him and asked if he had heard about yoga and meditation. I was thinking he would call me crazy but he stopped and looked at the book, I was pushing in his direction. As he saw Srila Prabhupada's name - he looked at me and said 'I have books from Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada - are you Hare Krishna?'. My joy had no bounds and I said yes i am hare krishna. How do you know Srila Prabhupada. He explained to me that he used to go to the ISKCON temple in Mexico where he had even tasted prasad. His copy of Bhagavad Gita was back in Mexico and he didn't know devotees here. I showed him Urban Edge Yoga and invited him to our sessions. As he was buying the Bhagavad Gita from me he said he was starving and if he could get some prasad. I was so apologetic but then i remembered some super duper mini muffins in the cookie jar, upstairs. So i ran up and got him some muffins packed in a zip lock. He said he would comeback...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How Krishna engages the favourable in Sankirtan...

One day I was standing there contemplating if today was going to be a difficult test of my determination, after but a few rejections, when a young man, wearing a cap with a Che image stopped, and said he had been on a quest to find this knowledge, that he'd read many books on this matter, he mentioned titles but I forgot all but "Tibetan Book of the Dead" and something about the "Law of Attraction". Leo is his name, and he is from Argentina, and it was really no surprise to note that he was artistically inclined, played the Piano and was learning to play the Guitar. We talked, I was trying to explain too many things to him, but admitted that I couldn't even begin to delve into the depths in that short meeting... He was telling me about some psychic he was in touch with. But I didn't even have to go the whole way with my pitch, he just took out his wallet and asked how much. When I explained that we're not selling but gratefully accept any donation, he gave me what was a generous donation. And just like that, in less than 10 minutes of being on the street, the first copy of Bhagavad Gita was travelling in another backpack with a sincere seeker. Krishna was going to Leo's home, and Srila Prabhupada was following closely behind.

Shortly after, Patrick, after walking by a couple of times, stopped. He was in a hurry, before I could say much, he'd thrust some change in my hands, took the Bhagavad Gita "No, not the small ones, I want the big book" and was in his car driving away, while, in all the fumbling, the change he'd given me slipped from my hands onto the sidewalk. As I gathered Laxmi from the sidewalk, I reflected how miraculous it was that Krishna had arranged for Leo to give me a little bit more so Patrick could take Him home too. Leo gets the benefit of book distribution already, just by reciprocating with Krishna once, Krishna arranges for Leo to get the benefit of distributing a copy of Bhagavad Gita to Patrick.

Patrick didn't know Leo, and Leo didn't know Patrick was going to benefit, but Krishna sits in His Paramatma feature in the hearts of Patrick, Leo, and me, so, like an expert orchestra conductor, he waves his wand and does magic.

( Image originally from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Russian_Hare_Krishna_Devotee_on_Sankirtan.jpg)