Goal for 2013 - 50,000 + books!

Last Update: Jan 31, 2013

Friday, April 29, 2011

Subway meeting

I was in the subway and had prashad with me-then I saw this nice lady come sit near me. I know we aren't allowed to sell on the subway and I was wondering what to do. Knowing the power of these books I thought they would sell themselves :). So I placed the chant and be happy on the seat between me and her. Then slowly I kept the fliers on it and tried to look away. Within seconds she picked the flier and I immediately said hi. We started talking and I showed her the chant and be happy. She started to tell me she had just returned after 10 years in Germany where she was studying spirituality and theatre. I told her how the Beatles studied yoga with prabhupada and she happily took the book with a donation. Then she learnt to say Gauranga as she was leaving.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Samadhi is possible

The word kriyäsu, meaning "by manual labor" or "by work," is important in this verse. One should engage in practical service to the Lord. In our Krishna consciousness movement, all our activities are concentrated upon distributing Krishna literature. This is very important. One may approach any person and induce him to read Krishna literature so that in the future he also may become a devotee. Such activities are recommended in this verse. Kriyäsu yas tvac-caranäravindayoù. Such activities will always remind the devotees of the Lord's lotus feet. By fully concentrating on distributing books for Krishna, one is fully absorbed in Krishna. This is samädhi.

SB 10.2.37

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Padam padam hi vipadam - danger at every step

It was almost 10pm and we were running out of UEY and I saw these two men having a serious conversation so i walked upto them. And asked them if they had ever tried yoga or meditation. They explained that they had heard but not tried, so i offered them a Bhakti yoga each. By then Sam and Rashmin joined too. They were really into it and started to ask about George Harisson and mantras he chanted. Each one of them started to share their story. I kept speaking with one of them and he just came out honest. He started to tell me he had lost everything, his family, his job, his relations everyone. He had not seen his daughter for 3 years due to his addictions. So i asked him how did that happen and he explained it was addictions. And I just asked him what addiction and he said he was fighting cocainne addiction. He started to explain he has lost everything and really wants to get it together but he cant. I told him to give up something lower, he needs something higher. He wanted to be happy and I told him to feel that he needs to know who he is. He then started to tell how he was also a guitarist - and his friend was schocked to hear that. Then he said he was a poet and read out two of his poems with sound effect. I was thinking it is so tough a world we live in, someone who is a poet and muscian and a father ends up alone fighting a deadly addiction. He very deeply appreciated Prabhupadaès book and it made us realise how much work we have to do. There are so many talented people, just struggling up in this world that we can reach out to with these beautiful gems of Srila Prabhupada.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This movement will only grow

"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion — at that time I descend Myself." In this age, at the present moment, there are inordinate discrepancies in the discharge of human duties. Human life is meant for God realization, but unfortunately the materialistic civilization is stressing only the senses of the body, not understanding the living force within the body. As clearly stated in Bhagavad-gītā (dehino 'smin yathā dehe [Bg. 2.13]), within the body is the body's proprietor, the living force, which is more important. But human society has become so fallen that instead of understanding the living force within the body, people have become busy with external things. This is a discrepancy in human duties. Therefore Kṛṣṇa has taken birth or taken shelter within the womb of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Men of Kaḿsa's class, therefore, are very much afraid and are busy trying to stop this movement, especially in the Western countries. One politician has remarked that the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is spreading like an epidemic and that if not checked immediately, within ten years it may capture governmental power. There is, of course, such potency in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. As stated by authorities (Cc. Ādi 17.22), kali-kāle nāma-rūpe kṛṣṇa-avatāra: in this age, Kṛṣṇa has appeared in the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is spreading like wildfire all over the world, and it will go on doing so. Men who are like Kaḿsa are very much afraid of the movement's progress and acceptance by the younger generation, but as Kṛṣṇa could not be killed by Kaḿsa, this movement cannot be checked by men of Kaḿsa's class. The movement will go on increasing more and more, provided the leaders of the movement remain firmly Kṛṣṇa conscious by following the regulative principles and the primary activities of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra regularly.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vaishnavanam yatha shambhu

I met a guy at Kensignton and he said he was a yoga teacher. He seemed like he would say he knew everything but Krishna had a plan. As I showed him the Bhagavad gita he appreciated it but said that they read about it in their Shivananda school. I had little hope but I casually asked his name and he said 'Shambu'. My response was ah Vaishnavanam Yatha Shambu. Suddenly I had his attention and he started to ask me what that meant. I translated it for him and explained how Shambu was the topmost of Vaishnavas. So then he asked me what is Vaishnava and we started to discuss that. I handed him an Isopanshad and told him this will enhance his study of Bhagavad gita. He asked me if the Iso had all details about that mantra and I said yes ! I also explained that Shambu is another name for Siva which means auspicious. He left smiling with the Iso - all glories to Lord Siva. This movement is so glorious that all demigods help with it.

Every minute is an opportunity

The other day we were looking for a place to rent and walked into a parlour. This was cutting right into my sankirtan time and I was praying for a miracle. That’s when the owner of the parlour walked in and started to speak with us. She started to ask us about what we do and that was the way in. One thing led to another and she mentioned she chanted the Aum. So told her to add another small mantra to her repository ‘Gauranga’ and there she was chanting Gauranga repeatedly. She started to talk about mantras and how she likes it and the next thing you know she had a Bhagavad in her hand. Rishi prabhu taught her the Hare Krishna mantra and was asking us several questions. She was very appreciative and gave a donation for the book. It was a lesson that every minute is an opportunity for Sankirtan – like Vaisesika Prabhu said, always keep a book with you.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Perfect teacher - nivritta trishna

A Vaiṣṇava is nivṛtta-tṛṣṇa; that is, he has no material purpose, for his only purpose is to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So-called scholars, philosophers and politicians exploit the importance of Bhagavad-gītā by distorting its meaning for their own purposes. Therefore this verse warns that kṛṣṇa-kathā should be recited by a person who is nivṛtta-tṛṣṇa. Śukadeva Gosvāmī epitomizes the proper reciter for Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and Parīkṣit Mahārāja, who purposefully left his kingdom and family prior to meeting death, epitomizes the person fit to hear it. A qualified reciter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives the right medicine (bhavauṣadhi) for the conditioned souls. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore trying to train qualified preachers to recite Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā throughout the entire world, so that people in general in all parts of the world may take advantage of this movement and thus be relieved of the threefold miseries of material existence.

SB 10.1.4

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A part of a grand orchestra

I was running out of the temple with two big plates of prashadam in my hand and I saw these 2 people walk into the temple and they looked like they had not been there before. I really wanted to talk to thm but I could not as I was really late. As I was walking out, i decided to keep a few books on top of the pile of the plates, just in case I saw someone on street and they agreed to speak with me. Going through Roxborough, I met someone and she bought a book and we talked for a few miutes. When I started to move on, i saw the same couple walk ahead of me. So i started to walk really fast (with these two heavy plates) hoping that they would see me and stop. Somehow after a few minutes I caught up with them and i said Hi! She smiled and we started talking like friends. She was inquiring about spirituality, turned out that she was from Karnal, Haryana and i remembered two days ago I had heard Srila Prabhupada say in a lecture that the Jats are actually Kshatriya race and so I repeated the exact same thing to her and she was all pleased. I told her so you are Kshatriya, a go-getter and she was all excited. I showed her the books I had and inquired about her having heard of Bhagavad gita and she said yes, she was looking for one and had found one online. I told her I had original copies and she was really excited to get a chance to read the original copy. We left exchanging emails and I realised as I was walking away that every word we hear from Srila Prabhupada in a lecture and read in a book - is a part of a beautiful orchestra. We just have to do our small parts. I also realised that I was carrying two plates of prashadam and even though it crossed my mind, I didnt have it in me to part with my plate of prashad although she would have taken it. I was contrasting it with how I was reading about Rantideva's passtimes this morning in Srimad Bhagavtam how he even offered the last drop of water he had and I cant eveb part with some prashad. I realised what a long way in Bhakti we have to go, its like we dont even have our baby teeth out yet.

Key for happiness - Yagya

Therefore the śāstras recommend, yajñaiḥ sańkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ: those who are intelligent should perform the sańkīrtana-yajña inaugurated by Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
kṛṣṇa-varṇaḿ tviṣākṛṣṇaḿ
yajñaiḥ sańkīrtana-prāyair
yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ
"In this age of Kali, people endowed with sufficient intelligence will worship the Lord, who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of sańkīrtana-yajña." (Bhāg. 11.5.32) Yajña must be performed, for otherwise people will be entangled in sinful activities and will suffer immensely. Therefore the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has taken charge of introducing the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa all over the world. This Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is also yajña, but without the difficulties involved in securing paraphernalia and qualified brāhmaṇas. This congregational chanting can be performed anywhere and everywhere. If people somehow or other assemble together and are induced to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, all the purposes of yajña will be fulfilled. The first purpose is that there must be sufficient rain, for without rain there cannot be any produce (annād bhavanti bhūtāni parjanyād anna-sambhavaḥ). All our necessities can be produced simply by rainfall (kāmaḿ vavarṣa parjanyaḥ [SB 1.10.4]), and the earth is the original source of all necessities (sarva-kāma-dughā mahī). In conclusion, therefore, in this age of Kali people all over the world should refrain from the four principles of sinful life — illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling — and in a pure state of existence should perform the simple yajña of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Then the earth will certainly produce all the necessities for life, and people will be happy economically, politically, socially, religiously and culturally. Everything will be in proper order.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

True Friends

Posted by : Bhakta Milind
I met two young men, Alex & Tyrone on their first visit to the temple last weekend. They were both curious, listened very attentively to the class, and were asking very thoughtful questions. One is of Mexican Heritage, and the other of Filipino-Sri Lankan heritage. As I was speaking, I saw that they seemed to know quite a bit already. I admired their sincerity very much and began asking about why and how they came to the temple. Tyrone said that a friend of his urged him to go... I know his friend, Vikas, he's a friend of mine too. Alex came with Tyrone... I asked them if they read the Bhagavad Gita, both of them already had a copy, and Alex had already begun reading it and was on Chapter 4! I asked them how they got their copies... both said a friend gave it to them. How glorious is that friend who leads us to a spiritual life, and how glorious is that friendship!

Both young men stayed all evening, appreciated Prasadam, asked many, many questions, danced wholeheartedly in Kirtan, chanted, got information about Urban Edge Yoga (Alex has passed by it many times, and is now looking to give it a try), and left with gigantic smiles on their faces. We hope that these two young men pass it forward. Indeed Tyrone has already engaged in his first act of Sankirtan, by bringing Alex along!

Who is this Krishna

Today was an interesting day, powerful winds brought with them one after the other people who I had met before and they were interacting as if they were meeting a friend. Particularly interesting was this girl who had met me a few months ago and taken a perfection of yoga. Next time she met me a few weeks ago she told me both she and her husband had read the perfection of yoga and they really liked it and she found it relaxing. Then she had taken a Bhakti Yoga from me. Today we met again and she was telling me that she is reading the Bhakti Yoga and she wanted to know more about – and then she got stuck as she could not remember the name. I prompted ‘Srila Prabhuapda’, she said no. Then I prompted ‘Bhaktivedanta Swami’, she said no. Then I prompted Krishna and she said yes. I offered to show her the Krishna book which talked all about Krishna, she greatly admired the book. Then I showed her the Mahamantra and explained how to chant at home (there is a nice description in Bhakti Yoga) She was smiling and repeating the Mahamantra in great happiness and then she said she would come next Friday for the Bhagavad Gita class.

Purport Madhya 19.151 : Following in the footsteps of Närada Muni, this Krishna consciousness movement is rendering service to humanity by giving everyone a chance to come in contact with Krishna. If one is fortunate, he becomes intimately related with this movement. Then, by the grace of Krishna, one’s life becomes successful. Everyone has dormant krishna-bhakti—love for Krishna—and in the association of good devotees, that love is revealed. As stated in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.107):
nitya-siddha-krishn-prema ‘sädhya’ kabhu naya
sravanadi-shuddha-citte karaye udaya
Dormant devotional service to Krishna is within everyone. Simply by associating with devotees, hearing their good instructions and chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, dormant love for Krishna is awakened. In this way one acquires the seed of devotional service. Guru-krishna-prasäde päya bhakti-latä-béja [Cc. Madhya 19.151].

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monthly Sankirtan Festival - Ramanavami Special

On April 30th, we will be celebrating the 23rd Monthly Sankirtan Festival with a very special Ramanavami Theme! When Sita was kidnapped by Ravana and was held hostage in Lanka, Lord Rama was able to rescue Sita from the evil clutches of Ravana with the help of Hanuman and his enthusiastic monkey army!

In the special mood of Hanuman and his monkey army, we will be heading out on the streets to help bring back Sita to Lord Rama and we will be doing this by sharing the love of Krsna Consciousness through kirtan, books, prasadam and a friendly smile!

There is service for everyone - help before, during or after the sankirtan festival in whichever way you like. This festival is an ideal opportunity to meditate on Lord Rama and his glories! Please join us for this amazing festival!

“Ramacandra's life… if we hear, that means we are associating with Ramacandra. There is no difference between His form, His name, His pastimes and Himself. He's absolute. Therefore either you chant the holy name of Rama, see the statue of Rama, or talk of His pastimes ;it means you are associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
So we take advantage of these days when the incarnation of God appears or disappears and try to associate with Him. By His association we become purified.”
- Srila Prabhupada lecture, March 27, 1969, Hawaii

See you soon! Please email toronto.sankirtan@gmail.com for more information.

4:30am Mangal Arti, Japa
7:45am Bhagavatam Class
9:15-10:00 am Building the Mood - Training & Goals
11:00am-2:00pm Street Sankirtan
2:00pm Maha-Harinama
2:30pm Lunch Prasad at the temple

How can YOU help?

1. Prepare Prasadam for distribution: From the comforts of your home prepare dry non-perishable prasad for distribution. Our goal is to distribute 5,000 pieces of prasad.
2. Package Prasadam for distribution: Friday 29th April 2011, 6:30-8:30pm
3. Stamp and pack books for distribution: Friday 29th April 2011, 6:30 PM - 8:30pm
4. Help with Logistics/Transportation: Saturday 30th April
5. Prepare Prasadam for Sankirtan team: Saturday 30th April 6:00-10:00am
6. Participate in Harinam - sing along, lead kirtan, play an instrument, hand out cookies or distribute books: Saturday 30th April; 11:00-3:00pm

Though the weather is improving, it is Toronto and sometimes, we are subjected to very strange weather patterns! Please bring a light jacket and an umbrella!

See you on April 30th!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wish fulfilling tree - Sankirtan Yagya

The purpose of yagya is to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this age, as we have explained many times, the yagya of chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the only sacrifice that can satisfy the Supreme Lord. When the Lord is satisfied, one can fulfill any desire, material or spiritual...Everything is possible by performing yagya. Therefore although Purüravä desired something material, he factually performed yagya to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord is adhokshaja, beyond the perception of Purüravä and everyone else. Consequently, some kind of yagya must be performed to fulfill the desires of the living entity. Yagyas can be performed in human society only when society is divided by varnashrama-dharma into four varnas and four äshramas. Without such a regulative process, no one can perform yagyas, and without the performance of yagyas, no material plans can make human society happy at any time. Everyone should therefore be induced to perform yagyas. In this age of Kali, the yagya recommended is sankirtana, the individual or collective chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. This will bring the fulfillment of all necessities for human society.
Srimad Bhagvatam 9.14.47

Sankirtan in the snow storm

Posted by : Bhaktin Rashmin
It was Sunday, eleven o-clock am. I am waiting outside Urban Edge yoga for my sankirtan partner. Suddenly it's 11:30am. Gigantic snowflakes start to pierce the street, the wind adding some "umph" to the blizzard. It turned out that she was horribly late and my hunger was growling. I had already left for temple having waited a while, but finally got in touch with her. I hesitated to go back into the cool streets and yet something in the back of my mind told me to go. Krishna wanted me to serve Him in this way. I asked for it so He gave it!!

The taxi pulled up to the corner of Bloor and Spadina and we dived right into our glorious sankirtan. This time around, I distributed flyers for the Inspirit festival with Devamrita Swami and Bada Hari Das this coming June, as well as my vegan cookies- ginger lemon :D. I had baked and carefully packed these cookies. I felt more confident that day, enjoying the feeling of changing peoples's lives and starting their Krishna consciousness. I even got someone to chant the Maha Mantra!! Mangal Aarti said something really nice to me: that other living beings in other planets are performing this very same service of Sankirtana. It kind of blew my mind away a little because I realized that there certainly are devotees not just on planet earth but elsewhere. Far out man, far out.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Last ten cents

As I was walking up towards my home I saw this man who was completely drugged. He was worse than anyone I had ever seen, completely haunted I think. His skin was torn and patched and eyes were dark and I think he was still smoking something strange. He was standing with this very decently dressed lady and speaking and I could not quiet wrap my head around that. Anyways somehow i mustered up courage to speak to them and she looked at the Perfection of yoga and said she had already taken it from me before and read it. So i showed her the chant and be happy and she was really appreciating it but said she had no money. At this point, this drugged man started to use swear words to describe himself. I cannot repeat those words but swearing and screaming this man basically said he was messed up and his life was useless and then he said all he had to his name was 10 c and he gave me that laxmi and told me to give that girl that Chant and be happy. Who can describe the mercy of Lord Chaitanya who incarnates to specially deliver then most fallen people of the age of Kali. How merciful is the lord that even when the consciousness is so covered, that man was a walking corpse, yet the presence of these books inspired him to use his last 10 c to buy a book for someone else. Somehow or other he participated in Sankirtan. Hare Krishna.

A journey around the world

Once in touch with Srila Prabhupada's books, always in touch with them. It was freezing today and nobody would stop but then these two girls biking away, stopped at the red light. So I walked upto them and offered them a Bhagavad Gita and they said they had it. They explained they were just coming from India and before that they were in Germany where they met devotees who gave them Bhagavad gita. Next I showed them a Krishna book and they said they had 2 copies of it and were reading it. Then I showed them the Isopanishad and they had that too. Finally I gave them a Perfection of yoga and a Bhakti Yoga which they took so happily. Pulling out all the cash from their pockets they also eagerly accepted the Hare Krihsna cookies Rashmin had so lovingly prepared. It was like these girls were on a global Prabhupada book collection spree travelling around the world and finding these nectar books everywhere. They chanted the Maha mantra and said they would come to Urbanedgeyoga. Please pray that they do, everything is possible by mercy of Vaishnavas. So please pray to Lord Chaitanya.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Real mercy in seperation

Lord Rāmacandra showed His favor to His brothers by ordering Them to go out. Many of the Lord's devotees residing in Vṛndāvana have taken the vow not to leave Vṛndāvana to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But the Lord says that Kṛṣṇa consciousness should be spread all over the world, in every village and every town. This is the open order of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma

sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma

A pure devotee, therefore, must execute the order of the Lord and must not gratify his senses by remaining stagnant in one place, falsely proud, thinking that because he does not leave Vṛndāvana but chants in a solitary place he has become a great devotee. A devotee must carry out the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, yāre dekha, tāre kaha 'kṛṣṇa'-upadeśa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. Every devotee, therefore, should spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness by preaching, asking whomever he meets to accept the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaḿ śaraṇaḿ vraja: [Bg. 18.66] "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me." This is the order of the Lord, who speaks as the supreme emperor. Everyone should be induced to accept this order, for this is victory (dig-vijaya). And it is the duty of the soldier, the devotee, to impress upon everyone this philosophy of life.

Sankirtana Yuga

Among the four yugas — Satya, Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali — the Kali-yuga is the worst, but if the process of varṇāśrama-dharma is introduced, even in this age of Kali, the situation of Satya-yuga can be invoked. The Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, is meant for this purpose.

kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann

asti hy eko mahān guṇaḥ

kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya

mukta-sańgaḥ paraḿ vrajet

"My dear King, although Kali-yuga is full of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom." (Bhāg. 12.3.51) If people take to this sańkīrtana movement of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Rāma, they will certainly be freed from the contamination of Kali-yuga, and the people of this age will be happy, as people were in Satya-yuga, the golden age. Anyone, anywhere, can easily take to this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement; one need only chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, observe the rules and regulations, and stay free from the contamination of sinful life. Even if one is sinful and cannot give up sinful life immediately, if he chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra with devotion and faith he will certainly be freed from all sinful activities, and his life will be successful. Paraḿ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-sańkīrtanam. This is the blessing of Lord Rāmacandra, who has appeared in this age of Kali as Lord Gaurasundara.

Srimad Bhagvatam 9.10.51

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Smart box Bhagavad Gita

Waiting at Yonge and Finch I saw this girl walking on with her pink jumper and we started to talk. She was very appreciative of yoga and meditation. She was wary of checking out if I was into a religious group and if I was Hindu. I explained that we are not Hindus, we are Vaishnavs. I showed her the picture of reincarnation and explained the nature of the soul and how if we lived our lives with this consciousness world would be a different place. She gave a nice donation and took two books. So I started to inquire how come she was interested in such knowledge. She told me she is very interested and is reading the Bhagavad Gita and I inquired if she had the Bhagavad gita as it is. She told me she was reading it and I found that she had a few months ago bought it from a store in Gerrard street where our books were available. I am guessing she got it from a smart box perhaps. All glories to the Smart box project

Perfection of yoga

Waiting for someone to stop I was simply chanting when I met Soudha. I didn’t remember her but she remembered the book I was holding. While I was thinking she would not even stop, she told me she had taken a book from me a few months ago. And to my greatest surprise she said she had actually read the Perfection of yoga and really enjoyed it. I asked her about her experience and she said it was very relaxing and not only her but her husband also read it. This time I gave her the Bhakti Yoga and asked her to read it and to keep in touch. She left with a smile and a promise to read her second book even though English wasn’t her first language.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jaipur - Vrndavan away from Vrndavan

I had not been out on street for a few days and we had been fasting all day for Lord Ramcandra's appearance. So mind was at it's 'uncontrolled' best but somehow Krishna helped and a nice lady stopped. She had almost gone into the subway but she stopped and turned back to speak. She was from Jaipur and we started talking about Govinda dev, Govindaji - the main dieties from Jaipur that are actually dieties from Vrindavan that were moved there.
So I showed her the Bhagavad gita and explained about Lord Ram's appearance day. She said she already knows everything about Gita and I then handed over the Isopanishad saying "I am sorry i under estimated you. You should read the Upanishads." I invited her to our temple and so she took it feeling happy that she was getting it on Lord Ramcandra's appearance day.

Softened hearts

2 weeks ago, we (Gaura Shakti Kirtan band) had the good fortune to assist Bhaktimarga Swami (www.thewalkingmonk.org) on a presentation of his world-famous "9 devotions of Bhakti Yoga" workshops in Hamilton, Ontario, at the Shanti Yoga studio. The workshop focuses on helping reacquaint newcomers to Bhakti with this ancient and timeless art and science of devotion to the supreme, explained in very easily understood language, covering the whole gamut. Bhaktimarga Swami takes care to very intelligently implement Prabhupada's "do not disturb or agitate" when presenting the science of Krishna consciousness. Some attendees were well-acquainted with the process of Bhakti Yoga already, others had been introduced to Bhakti Yoga elsewhere, but there were many who were completely new to all this.

When interacting with those who may never have been exposed to Bhakti Yoga before, one has to be very very careful. The least one wants to do is to drive that individual even further from Bhakti, from awakening their dormant Krishna consciousness. However, the imperative necessity is that one can never dilute the philosophy or present half-truths. To most of us conditioned living entities, the truth sounds really really harsh, and we will do anything in our power to avoid hearing such truth, and if we hear it somehow, we may do our best to run away from accepting it, or from the person presenting such truth.

But Bhaktimarga Swami's mastery over presenting this truth was self-evident, when at the end of the workshop, one lady, without being led in any overt manner to the books, spontaneously came up, offered a generous donation and took a copy of the Bhagavad Gita As Is Is home with her. Her heart had been softened by attending the workshop and she could sense that if this beautiful human being, this monk, who is so strict in his practice, can be so kind and loving to strangers, and if he lives his life by the principles in that book, then there is something really valuable inside that book.

And when this idea was presented to Bhaktimarga Swami, what did he say? He said "Oh, all those people were so kind and generous, they just opened their hearts, and I had to do nothing". And one could tell he meant it!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Yuga Dharma, recommended method of self realisation

In this age, the performance of yajña has been forbidden because no one can properly chant the Vedic mantras. If Vedic mantras are chanted properly, the desire for which a sacrifice is performed must be successful. Therefore the Hare Kṛṣṇa chant is called the mahā-mantra, the great, exalted mantra above all other Vedic mantras, because simply chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra brings so many beneficial effects. As explained by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu (Śikṣāṣṭaka 1):

ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaḿ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaḿ

śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇaḿ vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam

ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaḿ prati-padaḿ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaḿ

sarvātma-snapanaḿ paraḿ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-sańkīrtanam

[Cc. Antya 20.12]

"Glory to the Śrī Kṛṣṇa sańkīrtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sańkīrtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious."

Therefore, the best performance of yajña given to us is the sańkīrtana-yajña. Yajñaiḥ sańkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ (Bhāg. 11.5.32). Those who are intelligent take advantage of the greatest yajña in this age by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra in congregation. When the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is chanted by many men together, the chanting is called sańkīrtana, and as a result of such a yajña there will be clouds in the sky (yajñād bhavati parjanyaḥ [Bg. 3.14]). In these days of drought, people can gain relief from scarcity of rain and food by the simple method of the Hare Kṛṣṇa yajña. Indeed, this can relieve all of human society. At present there are droughts throughout Europe and America, and people are suffering, but if people take this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement seriously, if they stop their sinful activities and chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, all their problems will be solved without difficulty. In other processes of yajña there are difficulties because there are no learned scholars who can chant the mantras perfectly well, nor is it possible to secure the ingredients to perform the yajña. Because human society is poverty-stricken and men are devoid of Vedic knowledge and the power to chant the Vedic mantras, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra is the only shelter. people should be intelligent enough to chant it. Yajñaiḥ sańkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ [SB 11.5.32]. Those whose brains are dull cannot understand this chanting, nor can they take to it.

Srimad Bhagvatam, 9.1.17

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sum and substance

The duty of saintly persons, therefore, is to take up seriously the cause of sanatana-dharma and try to reestablish it for the benefit of the entire human society. The Krishna consciousness movement has been started according to this principle. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.3.51):

kaler dosha-nidhe rajan

asti hy eko mahan gunah

kirtanad eva krishnasya

mukta-sangah param vrajet

The entire Kali-yuga is full of faults. It is like an unlimited ocean of faults. But the Krishna consciousness movement is very authorized. Therefore, following in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who five hundred years ago inaugurated the movement of sankirtana, krishna-kirtana, we are trying to introduce this movement, according to superior orders, all over the world. Now, if the inaugurators of this movement strictly follow the regulative principles and spread this movement for the benefit of all human society, they will certainly usher in a new way of life by reestablishing sanatana-dharma, the eternal occupational duties of humanity. The eternal occupational duty of the human being is to serve Krishna. Jivera 'svarupa' haya -- krishnera 'nitya-dasa.' [Cc. Madhya 20.108]. This is the purport of sanatana-dharma. Sanatana means nitya, or "eternal," and krishna-dasa means "servant of Krishna." The eternal occupational duty of the human being is to serve Krishna. This is the sum and substance of the Krishna consciousness movement.

SB 8.14.4

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chanting and dancing - Bhaja Gaurango kaha gauranga

Out on Sankirtan yesterday I met this young couple who were headed to blockbuster to grab a video. They were all cheerful and interested in yoga and meditation. I handed them each a little book and they were really appreciative of philosophy. At one time they started to ask re Urban-edge and I explained how we had different classes. As soon as I mentioned the vegan cooking classes the guy almost jumped and smiled a sigh of relief and asked his friend to join those. They were both laughing and told me she was a vegan and he was into yoga. They took a little book but as they were leaving I asked them if I could tell them a mantra – ‘Gauranga’ which meant ‘be happy’. Within minutes of chanting Gauranga he started to dance and said – this mantra sounds like it needs to be danced to and sung. And he smiled and danced.
Prabhupada purport to Gauranga dui pada: If one is captivated by the pastimes of Lord Caitanya, simply by chanting and dancing and eating prashada the dirty things in his heart will all become cleansed. The heart of anyone who takes to this movement of chanting, dancing, and eating Krishna-prashada will surely be cleansed of all dirty material contamination…Lord Caitanya is so nice that one who simply takes the holy name of Gaurasundara, Sri Krishna Caitanya, will immediately develop love of God.
Lord Nityananda Sings : bhaja gauranga kaha gauranga, laha gauranga namo re
ye jana gauranga bhaje, sei amara prana re

Worship Gauranga, chant Gauranga, speak about Gauranga day and night. Whoever serves Gauranga is as dear to me as my very own life.