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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sankirtan in the Gopigeet

tava kathāmṛtaḿ tapta-jīvanaḿ

kavibhir īḍitaḿ kalmaṣāpaham

śravaṇa-mańgalaḿ śrīmad ātataḿ

bhuvi gṛṇanti ye bhūri-dā janāḥ


The nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your activities are the life and soul of those suffering in this material world. These narrations, transmitted by learned sages, eradicate one's sinful reactions and bestow good fortune upon whoever hears them. These narrations are broadcast all over the world and are filled with spiritual power. Certainly those who spread the message of Godhead are most munificent.Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.31.9

Memories from 2 years ago

Right around Bloor and Spadina, I saw a girl pass by and somehow, I have no idea how, I remembered her face and said hi as if I knew her. She remembered me right away and started to talk about a meditation event we had organised at UofT two years ago with Devamrita Swami. She was on her way back from a job interview and we chatted a little and I started to realise that she had clear memory of the event as she started to describe Maharaj’s speaking style and his comments. As she was so deeply reminiscing that event, I invited her upstairs so I could show her some books and she came along. As we started to talk upstairs she really started to remember the prashad and her conversation with Maharaj and said several times how she wanted to meet him again. She took 2 books and I started to realise that even a moment’s association with Krishna’s devotees leaves a permanent impression in the heart. Otherwise material world is an atmosphere of forgetfulness, it is hard to remember things from yesterday let alone remember exact details of an event from 2 years ago. I pray this time she takes her Krishna consciousness seriously and comes to see us.

Ambassadors of good will

I met a girl near Urbanedgeyoga and upon first inquiry she didn’t seem much interested in yoga but the meditation intrigued her. As I talked more, she asked me if we were Hare Krishnas. I said yes and asked her how she knew about us. She explained to me she was from Kazakhstan and her friend was living on the Hare Krishna farm. So I was all excited and invited her upstairs and we had a quiet chat. She had read parts of the Bhagavad Gita so I showed her the Krishna book. She really admired the pictures and started to recall her time in the Kazakhstan farm community, she said that was the most calm she has felt and the best time she had had. She left taking the Krishna book and said she would write to her friend about our meeting.
As Vaisesika Prabhu said we are going out there to make friends – ambassadors of good will. Due to nice association with the devotees in Kazakhstan farm, and her appreciation for them (agyata sukriti) she could now come in touch with Krishna book and by donating for the Krishna book she became a participant in the Sankirtan Yagya.

It is a moment to remember the turmoil our Kazakhstan farm community devotees have been through and appreciate even more the fruits of their outreach efforts:
The Kazakhstan government destroyed 26 homes of Hindu practitioners of the community. Their land plots were confiscated. The owners of the destroyed houses were left homeless and never offered compensation or humanitarian aid. All of the land plots have been resold by the Kazakh government.
The Kazakh government also confiscated the 47.7 hectares (116 acres) legally registered property of the Krishna Society. This is the property where the only Krishna Temple in Kazakhstan exists. The claim for the confiscation is forgery but this point has never been proved in court. In both cases there are more than 40 examples of violation of due process and rule of law.
Read more: http://news.iskcon.org/node/2287#ixzz1Nn5QNPQF

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Krishna book special mercy

I heard in a lecture that Srila Prabhupada explained that one who reads Krishna book is sure to become a devotee and I could not help but remember that it was the book I read too before meeting devotees. So I had been carrying a Krishna book with me all day thinking perhaps someone will take it but no one asked for it. My arm was hurting but I had no luck so as I was leaving I was really sad that no one took a Krishna book. I was openly complaining and sad but then I did close all the books and started to walk back towards the subway. I was still carrying a few books with me as I was walking hoping that perhaps someone will ask for Krishna book, but then the person who I was walking with needed help so I had to finally put all books in bag and close down. So I stopped in the middle of the walkway and started to put all books in a bag, really sad in my heart. That’s when this guy came up to us and he asked what we had and who were we. I started to explain to him about Urbanedgeyoga and Inspirit but he wanted to know more. He was looking for spirituality and so I presented him the Krishna book and started to show pictures. He was so enamoured, he took a cookie, chanted Hare Krihsna and took a Krishna book with him. It was so special to see how Krishna controls Sankirtan on his own sweet will and plan.

Krishna shakti vina nahe tara pravartana

I met a lady today during Sankirtan and she was on the older side and she wasn’t initially interested in coming for programs as she lived away from Toronto. But something in her heart inspired her to talk for a few minutes and I found out that she was interested in spirituality, so I showed her the Bhagavad gita. As she was seeing it she started to talk about Shakti and her interest in her and that’s when the book opened up at the Karma picture – and she got all excited about the three ladies in the sky (as they looked like Shakti). I told her if she liked Shakti she should take the Gita and she started to say that she herself was ‘Shakti’s incarnation’. At this point I was thinking, oh no this is one of those people, she will never take the book. So I took shelter of Srila Prabhupada and somehow got her to see Srila Prabhupada’s picture in the centre spread of Bhagavad Gita. This is when she stopped and asked me – are you Hare Krishna as she recognized Prabhupada. I said yes and her face changed – I thought perhaps now is when she backs out. But to my surprise she said she has been to the temple years ago and she really thinks this is a sign and she would definitely take the book. Then she grabbed the book and kept it next to her heart and started to cry. She was so touched by the book and promised to read it. I gave her a cookie and she was simply crying and kept saying it means a lot. Then she said today is a special day and there are signs in the heaven and earth which she can’t tell me about. I thought to myself how special are these books and how do they transform people’s lives and hearts – we cannot even imagine the magic otherwise what hope do people like us have ?

CC Antya 7.11 : kali-kalera dharma—krishna-näma-sankirtana
krishna-shakti vina nahe tära pravartana

The fundamental religious system in the Age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Krishna. Unless empowered by Krishna, one cannot propagate the sankirtana movement.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

24th Monthly Sankirtan Festival - Lord NrsimhaDev's Special

On Saturday May 28th, we will be celebrating our 24th Monthly Sankirtan Festival (MSF).

This month marked the appearance of Lord Nrsimhadev - The Divine Protector. We invite you to join the upcoming MSF and share the divine and the only ensured protection in this world of calamities, in the form of the holy name, books and prasadam! Please join us and make the most of a sunny shiny saturday, experience the pleasure of bringing smiles to some lonely lives and earn spiritual credits for eternity.

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 27th May 2011, 6:30-8:30pm
3. Stamp and pack books for distribution: Friday 27th May 2011, 6:30 PM - 8:30pm
4. Help with Logistics/Transportation: Saturday 28th May
5. Prepare Prasadam for Sankirtan team: Saturday 28th May 6:00-10:00am
6. Participate in Harinam - sing along, lead kirtan, play an instrument, hand out cookies or distribute books: Saturday 28th May; 11:00-3:00pm

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hungry for a miracle

I was struggling to stay out, it was late but I just thought I can keep chanting. That’s when I saw this young man walk in my direction. He looked very dejected and kind of stopped near me. I gave him a card and inquired if he has heard about yoga. He said yes but questioningly asked ‘What can it do for me’. So I started to explain how most of our problems are in the mind. He interjected right away asking, ‘no will it solve my problem?’ I told him I don’t know his specific problem but generally when people are calmer they can solve more problems – he mildly nodded. I noticed all the while he had these hiccups. So as I was talking, again he interjected – will it solve my problem. So I asked him was his problem financial or health. He started to explain he had no where to live his family has kicked him out and asked me if I have a place to live. I told him I have a mantra that will give him strength and showed him the Hare Krishna mantra and he repeated it with me. Then again he asked but how will it solve my problem. He said every step he takes there is pain, he can’t even walk. Again he asked me, how it will solve my problem. At that very moment two very severely hunchbacked people walked past us and I pointed in their direction and told him that was pain and that real progress requires attitude of gratitude and he should chant Hare Krishna. He was really upset. I told him its not like the chanting will find him his house but it will transform his life. I was running out of ideas, but at that very moment he said ‘Oh my god, can you see my hiccups stopped’ He was a changed man in seconds – he was smiling and laughing. He said this is a miracle, I am in pain for so long, cant stop these hiccups and chest was hurting, could do nothing to stop it but now it stopped. He started to ask me – how did the hiccups stop (as if I knew). I told him everything is going on under Krishna’s will, these hiccups may come back again but you need to see you are not the body. He said I was not believing you, but now I believe you, I will surely read this book. He now showed interest in the books and started to inquire more about Karma. He left with two books and I requested him to chant everyday. I pray humbly that he just chants.

Looking back it, I was thinking how cheap our faith in Krishna is. We need to see a little magic show, a little miracle. We don’t realise that the very fact that we have human form of life and are in association with Srila Prabhupada’s books, Vaikuntha gems, is the greatest miracle. Srila Prabhupada explained that if someone just stops and appreciates a book and says thank you, doesn’t even take it, its Shraddha and that is enough to get them a human form of life. What is the destination of this young man, so frustrated and lost in life and little does he know that he left with the world’s greatest gems.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Transcendental samadhi - ethos of Krishna consicousnes

It is certainly the opportunity for us to experience what Samadhi is, to be absorbed in one activity, putting aside all other things. That activity being giving Krishna to others, making them fortunate. The difficulties that come along with that in terms of weather, in terms of officials, in terms of perhaps people not wanting us to be on street and what to speak of obstacles that our mind poses. This is all what it requires to actually become or overcome these things and to become a real vaishnav.To enter into Samadhi. Bhajananadis face them in some other form; we face them in this way. And when we practice doing so, we become practiced in meditating upon Krishna, being absorbed in Krishna. Srila Prbahupada often defines a first class devotee in terms of someone who is always thinking about spreading Krishna consciousness, when you are thinking about spreading Krishna consciousness you are thinking about Krishna’s service. And the other definition of a first class devotee is one who is always absorbed in Krishna’s form, Krishna’s name but the purity of heart required for both is the same. The actual focussing of the mind required for both is same; all that differs is the mood. One is enjoying Krishna consciousness and one is giving Krishna consciousness. And this mood of giving Krishna consciousness to others is the mood of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu it is what the Krishna consciousness movement is all about...

Any devotee who makes reference to Srila Prabhupada’s books, lectures will see that Srila Prabhupada emphasised the distribution of transcendental literature as the main focus of Krishna consciousness movement and all other activities are made successful by that one act and they are also meant to support it. Prabhuapda has not been with us for now over 40 years however that mission of Srila Prabhupada that ethos of Krishna consciousness movement has not yet changed. Prabhuapda has stated that you can check the success of a temple manager, the spiritual strength of a temple, and the success of a yatra by how enthusiastic devotees are for distributing books and also how many numbers of books. Srila Prabhupada wasn’t fruitive in anyways, yet he did quantify the success of Krishan consciousness. He quantified the distribution of books and he wasn’t the first to do that. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also did that, he said ‘yare dekhe tara kaha krishna upadesha’ ‘prithvite ate yati nagaradi grama’. He is talking about large numbers.

An excerpt from a lecture by HH Sivaram Maharaj titled Book distribution is transcendental Samadhi 2008.11.24 KecsKemet

Power of a flower

I crossed the street and saw that there was a little baby girl in her dad’s arms, not more than 2-3 months old and as I looked closer I noticed she was chewing a little Maha flower from the altar that we were giving out in zip-loc bags. I walked closer and started talking to the dad and it turned out that Kathleen had given them a flower. I started to tell the father that the child was not ordinary that at such a young age she had got this special flower and was literally licking it (that’s what kids do). Then I started to compliment the mother, who was not present at that moment, and offered the father a perfection of yoga to read. He started to explain that his wife was into this stuff and looking at the book he said that she had got this about an year ago from someone (before the baby was born). Now he really had my attention and I offered him a Krishna book. I started to explain the pictures and he said that he really liked the book. He explained that recently they had helped an Indian friend and subsequently met a lady who was spiritual and she was explaining to them all about Gods. So I told him how Krishna book has everything you want to know about and the beauty was that it's in a story format so he could read it to his little girl before she went to sleep. He happily accepted it and waited till his wife returned to give a donation. It was nice meeting his wife and realizing what an influence associating with Guru Parampara through perfection of yoga has on people's life.

Srila Prabhupada said that everyone who reads the Krishna book will surely become a devotee. Let us please share this with everyone.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In search for Kali

Sun was out and about and I was trying to reach out to people with Srila Prabhupada's books when this young man walked up to me and said he was a fan of Kali and he was looking for a book on her. He wanted to know her and asked me 'Do you have a book on Kali?'. Remembering Vaisesika Prabhu's instruction that no matter what the person says, say we have a book and keep handing them out. So I said ' Yes, I have a book on Kali'. As I said this I was wondering which book was I going to give him and that's when he said if he could get that book and wanted to see it? So i told him to wait and I need to look into my bag. So I started to look into my bag with no idea what I was looking for. Then i asked him to come with me to Urbanedgeyoga so I could get him the book on Kali. And there we were walking up to Urbanedgeyoga talking about Kali and I had no idea what I was going to show him. I was simply praying to Krishna for help and as we entered Urbanedgeyoga, I asked Sam to pass me the Krishna book. As I was asking for Krishna book, I had no idea how I would connect Krishna book to Kali but I thought lets keep praying and Krishna will do something. So very bravely I opened the Krishna book and it opened right at the picture where Durga devi is seen slipping out of Kamsa's hand and in her eight arm form. Thrilled I told him, here is Kali. He was very happy and gvae me a donation for the book. As he was leaving, with Krishna book in his hand he said, I am an atheist and off he went with Krishna.

2 years later

I was speaking to someone outside Urbanedgeyoga about a book and he was about to buy it when this short man with braided hair walked up to us and said, does this place still have yoga classes and does someone by the name of 'Mangal-arti' stll work here. I told him I was Mangal-arti and he said he had bought a book from me two years ago but did not have enough money at that time. So I invited him upstairs and he started to explain re his experiences and search in life. He took out a 20 dollar bill and said he wanted to pay for the book he had taken two years ago and he also took a Krishna book. He sat and spoke with us a really long time and I was wondering, how wonderful is the attractive force of 'Krishna'...just by association with Srila Prabhupada's books, this man remembered my name even two years later and came back to get his second book.

Is it just a matter of chance ?

I had just reached Kensington and started to give out cards when I met these two really interesting people. They were friends and the guy said he was really interested in Yoga and meditation and I handed them each a book. Initially I handed him a chant and be happy and her Bhagavad gita. She said it was too much for her to read and he said he really liked to read a lot so I got them to exchange the books. Then I started to show them the inside of Bhagavad gita and he simply fell for the book. Then I started to show her the chant and be happy and he started to say he was a fan of George Harrison. So he asked to get a copy of Chant and be happy and she said she wanted a Gita. This was turning into fun and then I found that they had both just purchased meditation beads and they really wanted to meditate. I told them I would give them meditation cookies and they were so excited. Turns out the girl was from Melbourne, Australia where I lived for a few years and she was leaving back for down under in a few hours. The guy had been looking for Bhagavad gita in Canada (originally from New York) and his expression was of complete disbelief and excitement. They told us they would join us for meditation later and I didn’t know. Later on in the evening as the time came to leave, I texted him asking if he wanted to connect again and they both said they were going to come back and join us. I saw them outside grocery store and they walked with us (Shyama-mohini leading Kirtan) to park where we meditated for some time chanting Hare Krishna in unison. As I was finally leaving, he told me he wasn’t going to come for meditation but I saw them outside the store and they just had to come then. He said he would come to Urbanedge and I request that we all sincerely pray that he does.

It is very amazing to witness these amazing pastimes of Lord Chaitanya and how he gets us all together at the right place with the right stuff.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

April Newsletter - Now online!

Hare Krishna!

By popular demand, we have decided to start putting an e-copy of our Sankirtan Newsletter online!

Please click here to download the April copy of the newsletter.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And we meet 10 years later

Right outside Urbanedgeyoga I met this guy who was with his friend and initially not ready to stop at all. But then his eye caught the perfection of yoga and he instantly remembered that in 1992 he had met a mataji distributing books and he had got a Bhagavad Gita from her. He told me she was also very enthusiastic about it. I asked him to take the Perfection of yoga and he gave me a donation without my asking for it. Then he started asking me about the nectar of Instruction I was holding and I explained the mantras and the explanation along with the picture of Radha Kunda. So then he decided to take that book and gave more donations so I probed deeper. Turns out that he had read the Bhagavad-Gita and then over the years even though he had sealed it in bubble wrap it had disintegrated. Now I started to show him the Laws of Karma and as he was taking his 3rd book his friend started to feel the pressure and said – I also want a book. So I gave her a Bhakti yoga and she gave a donation. Then she started to explain that she was a meditation coach and got interested in the Karma book I was showing her friend so she took one too. I thought I might as well show them the Maha Mantra – I tried to make them repeat it and the guy instantly remembered it and started to dance and sing Hare Krishna. He started to explain how he had seen Hare Krishnas before but was concerned and asking where we were now. Then the lady started to explain that she had a yoga student who had turned into Hare Krishna. It was like these two had so many stories about having met devotees and Srila Prabhupada in various stages of their life, must be special souls. Also makes us realise how much work there is to do, Srila Prabhupada has given us more than a lifetimes reading and distributing to do. For every book we distribute to someone, there are so many more to grab.

The Topmost Sacrifice

In the Bhagavad-gita, different types of sacrifice are mentioned. Some sacrifices are in the mode of goodness, some are in the mode of passion, and some are in the mode of ignorance. There are different kinds of tapasya and worship because there are different kinds of people within this world. But the ultimate tapasya, Krsna consciousness, is the topmost yoga and the topmost sacrifice. As confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, the topmost yoga is to think always of Lord Krsna within the heart, and the topmost sacrifice is to perform the sankirtana-yajna.

Krishna book chapter 88

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mantra cookies

I was walking up Yonge Street when I met an Iranian man who was new to Canada. I showed him the Perfection of yoga and he was very interested and then asked me if this was Transcendental meditation from Maharishi. Remembering Vaisesika Prabhu technique I said – Transcendental meditation, ah you should read the Bhagavad Gita as Maharishi read it a lot. He took it right away and was very interested but told me he had no money. So my material consciousness told me perhaps I should move on, but then I remembered Dharmaprana prabhu had told me a few days ago to just preach, don’t worry about ‘sales’. So I thought I would talk to him regardless as he was very interested in meditation. I told him about our meditation programs and he started to express how he has tried to meditate but his mind wanders. I repeated Srila Prabhupada’s quote I had recently read “What does mind have to do with it. Simply chant from your tongue and hear from your ears”. Then I remembered I was carrying cookies with maha-mantra on them and gave him one and showed him the maha-mantra. He repeated it after me and I told him to go home and chant it 108 times every day. I asked him if he had even a penny, because I really wanted to give him a book. He said he had nothing but gave me his email and promised to come on Monday. So then we parted ways and I was thinking in my heart that I wish there was a way he would have taken a tiny book or else how will he come in touch with Krishna. I had walked a distance when I heard someone trying to call out to me and as I turned around I saw him running after me. He had found some money somehow and had run back all the way to get a book. He came up to me and gave me the money and asked me what was best for him. I handed him the Bhagavad-Gita and asked him to read it. He was very happy and said he will definitely come. As he got to taste some Krshna prashad, here is an email he sent me a few hours after our meeting:

To day is a great day for me, I hope that be a good student for yoga.
I share my cookie with my family and I told my wife what happen today for me.
After I gave you money, you told me “I have never seen a person like you before".
I heard this sentence a lot's of time, because I believe the sign and I believe some thing good happen for me. Thank you my teacher, you help me more than you think.

Purity of children

Srila Prabhupada, our founder, often spoke about the purity of children and how it is so natural for them to get attracted to Krishna. On Thursday, I was out on Sankirtan with the sankirtan generals like Mangala Arati and Rasmin. A spanish lady walked passed Rasmin and I with 2 kids. I took a book to her mother - "Bhakti Yoga" - and before I could say anything, her daughter said "I want to see this book!". The mother stopped and Rasmin started to explain to her about the books. Meanwhile, the girl was still curious so the mother asked me to explain to her what is Yoga. I wasn't really sure what to do or what to say because here was a 5-6 year old girl asking me the meaning of yoga! So I asked her, does she believe in God? She said, yes and that she prays to him every night. I told her that this is yoga - to love and pray to God. She got so excited when I told her that she was a yogi! I told her to keep loving God and make him her best friend and she said, yes, I will keep loving God and forced her mother to get the book! Her mother ended up taking 4-5 books!!

I am not really sure if I said the right thing to the child but what really touched me was her natural love for God! I pray that one day, I can experience such love!

A coordinated effort

A few days ago I got a call from Justin and he wanted to know about Bhagavad Gita classes. While explaining the details to him, I inquired how he heard about us and he said he had met someone a few months ago near finch and got a book. I told him it was me and after a brief chat he said he would come this week. As promised he came for Krishna fest and joined us for kirtan. After the kirtan I asked him how he felt. To my great surprise he said he had heard some men in robes do this before. Now he had my full attention and I started to inquire re details. Turns out when visiting Vancouver he had seen a bunch of devotees on harinam and been attracted to their chanting. We had a good discussion through the class and then after lunch I went up to him and requested him to share with me why he took the book. He explained to me that I met him at a time when he was very seriously thinking about the questions of life and then one day I just 'materialized out of ether'. He went on the explain that I was saying some stuff but he didn’t understand or register anything except two words 'Bhagavad Gita' and 'Veda'. The word 'Bhagavad Gita' got his attention as he had in past explored an online version of it. So he ended up taking the Perfection of yoga and the Chant and be happy. He works as a software engineer and is very intrigued by Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad gita and plans to get it this Friday.
This experience made me realize that Sankirtan is not a one man show. Many devotees and many many gallons of blood go into getting one person curious about Krishna. This journey traverses planets, universes, lifetimes, cities and what not. We are never alone on Sankirtan as Srila Prabhupada is internationally coordinating this effort in some inconceivable vision. Only reason we think we are alone is due to our limited vision and material consciousness. We can’t see beyond 100 meters so we think we are alone. Just like someone thinks as I can’t see God - he doesn't exist. Sankirtan yagya is meant to transform our senses beyond the limited horizons of material eyes.

Rain or Sun - Sankirtan is Fun

It was meant to be a UEY sankirtan outing but the weather reports said it was going to rain today and for the coming few days. I left home thinking it’s cloudy and rainy and sankirtan would be really hard but as soon as I called Shyama, she told me everyone is ready to go to Kensington. So I reached Kensington only to find Vrndavan, Radhamohan and Shyamamohini Prabhus standing right behind me. We split the cookies Gayatri had made and started to give out cards, books and cookies. It was cold and damp but Radha-mohan and Vrndavan struck the drums and kartals, and the kirtan roared louder than the clouds. As the kirtan influence expanded we saw Lake come around from the corner telling us he had just distributed his first ever Perfection of yoga. Indeed a moment of great jubilation in one's life is the first step in Sankirtan. Around the same time Rasmin came in followed quickly by William. It was his first time on Sankirtan so he had the service of taking pictures. People were also coming up wanting to get pictures with us and that’s around the same time we met a young musician from BC and she said she really appreciated the Bhagavad-Gita and enthusiastically took a copy. I asked her if she would like to join our Kirtan. A little hesitant in the beginning she quickly joined us and played guitar chanting the Maha mantra for about an hour. Half way through the kirtan Kathleen turned up with her tambourine and started swaying to the Kirtan for as long as we were there. Each one of the shining sankirtan stars surrounded the moon of Krishna’s name and had quickly wiped any dampening effects of the incessant rain.

Glory to the Sri Krishna Samkirtanam which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years together and thus the fire of conditional life of repeated birth and death is extinguished. Such Samkirtan movement is the prime benediction for the humanity at large because it spreads rays of the benediction—Moon. It is the life of transcendental knowledge, it increases the ocean of transcendental bliss and it helps to have a taste of the full nectarine for which always anxious we are.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Care for all life

I met nice lady a few days ago and she was walking into Starbucks with her daughter when we met. She was telling me about how she likes to be careful of ants that get crushed as we traverse through the world. Remembering Jada Bharata and his interaction with King Rahugana I pointed out that this was the sign of a transcendentalist. She got all inspired and started to speak about her passion for animal rights. . She was big on animal rights and could appreciate the picture on Karma from animal killing that we have in the Gita. She instantly appreciated the philosophy of reincarnation and took a Bhagavad gita and Bhakti yoga.

SB 5.10.2: The palanquin, however, was very erratically carried by Jaḍa Bharata due to his sense of nonviolence. As he stepped forward, he checked before him every three feet to see whether he was about to step on ants. Consequently he could not keep pace with the other carriers. Due to this, the palanquin was shaking, and King Rahūgaṇa immediately asked the carriers, "Why are you carrying this palanquin unevenly? Better carry it properly."

Infinite return on investment

A few days ago I met a young woman near Yonge and Finch and she gave me 14c to get a perfection of Yoga. She was very apologetic about not having more money but promised to read it. I didn’t think much about the exchange, until she turned up at Urbanedgeyoga a few days later. When asked about if she read the book or not - she said she read the entire book and that is the reason she came. This time she bought a Bhagavad gita from Urbanedgeyoga and 5 days later she turned up for the Bhagavad gita. Much to my surprise she had read 313 pages in 5 days and said 'every word spoke to me as the truth'. With tears in her eyes she explained how the book explained her entire life, like this is what she was looking for. She has done bachelors and masters in social work, degrees in de-addictions and wanting to help everyone. Knowing her passion we had her reading the preface to Nectar of devotion and with a choking voice she read "In the primary stage a child loves his parents, then his brothers and sisters, and as he daily grows up he begins to love his family, society, community, country, nation, or even the whole human society. But the loving propensity is not satisfied even by loving all human society; that loving propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled until we know who the supreme beloved is. Our love can be fully satisfied only when it is reposed in Kṛṣṇa. This theme is the sum and substance of The Nectar of Devotion, which teaches us how to love Kṛṣṇa in five different transcendental mellows."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Do we really understand ?

I had the chance today to go out on Sankirtan with Shyama-mohini and it was a very heart warming experience, nothing like association of devotees. She prompted me to go up to this 3 people group so I walked in their direction. All three had their back to me so I didn't know what to expect. To my great surprise as they turned around I could see three faces worn out completely through the use of drugs. The skin was dry and like a towel and the eyes were dark. One of them had something coming from her nose and cuts over their face. Still what can be said about the mercy of Lord Chaitanya? Even in their apparent hallucinogenic state this lady was speaking sweetly. She immediately took Srila Prabhupada's book and agreed that meditation and yoga are really good for them. She said she and her friend were going through too much, even if I tried to explain something they won’t understand as they just did not have memory. I said I understand but she was quick to say - no you don't understand. You can't understand. So I quietly listened to what they had to say and they started to explain the tough things in their lives including the fact that they were dealing with some upcoming deaths in family. It was quiet a scene but two of them wanted a book each on yoga and meditation. Now was the hard part, asking them for laxmi as they were in no state of mind. But I encouraged them to find pennies and they scavenged through their purses to collect every penny they had. I taught them both to chant Gauraga and when i had a few moments with one, she was revealing her difficulties and I asked her to chant Hare Krishna with me and she simply repeated it and said she already feel better. I requested her to chant daily but I do not know if she will.
It made me realise how it is explained that 'para dukha dukhi' - compassion is a real quality of a Vaishnav. One can't just go up and tell people 'I understand'. Real compassion is something completely different and who knows how far we are from developing these qualities. How much is the living entity suffering in the material world and how can one understand?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Opportunity at every step

As I was walking outside Urbanedgeyoga, I saw a girl crossing the street and tried to give her a card and she said no she has her own practice. At that time i asked her if she was interested n a little book - she looked undecided but at that very moment i saw the little Ganesha earings she was wearing. So i told her by the way - you know Ganesha wrote these books (Vyasadev dictated and Ganesha was the scribe). She got all interested and started to tell me that she lived in India and thats where she got earings from. Encouraged by Ganesha, she took a book home to explore

We have a book from everyone

I had a few minutes and was walking down Yonge and Finch and could see almost no one when suddenly a man passed by. He didnt want to stop for Yoga and passed me by saying 'I am Buddhist'. Remembering Vasesika Prabhu's strategy - i asked him really - you are Budhist, wait I will give you a book Buddhists use and handed him a Bhagavad gita. Luckily for me as I opened it, opened right on chapter titled 'Karma Yoga'. I told him how Budhism talks about Karma and he readily agreed and appreciated the picture of Lord Buddha in the Bhagavad gita. He switched from saying no to taking a flier to giving a donation for Bhagavad gita.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Altar of Sankirtan

We wish that this mass of our body of flesh and blood may be sacrificed at the altar of preaching the samkirtan movement propagated by lord Chaitanya. We are not desirous of becoming a hero of work or a reformer of a religion, but our reality may be identified with the dust of the lotus feet of Sree Rupa and Raghunath for that is our everything...We shall have no love or hatred for anyone in this world. All arrangements made in this world are temporary. There is, therefore,unavoidable necessity for that ultimate need for every one in this world. You should attain the transcendental loving service of the objective, being situated in concerted action for that one aim. Let there be constant flow of the ideas and thoughts as conceived by Rupa Goswami and His followers. We shall not at any time show our slightest dejection for the seven tongued 'Sankirtan' movement. If we have undaunted faith in it we shall then only achieve all protections. You should all therefore preach with fearlessness and with utmost energy the message of Rupa and Raghunath under the guidance of the followers of Sree Rupa.

His Divine Grace Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj, 23 Dec 1936 a few days before his passing from this mortal world 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A risky life

Foolish persons do not know how risky life is here if one does not follow the instructions of Kṛṣṇa. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, therefore, has been started so that by practicing Kṛṣṇa consciousness one can avoid the risky life of this material existence. There is no question of accepting or not accepting Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is not optional; it is compulsory. If we do not take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, our life is very risky. Everything is explained in Bhagavad-gītā. Therefore, to learn how to become free from the miserable condition of material existence, Bhagavad-gītā As It Is is the preliminary study. Then, if one understands Bhagavad-gītā, one can proceed to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and if one advances further, one may study Caitanya-caritāmṛta. We are therefore presenting these invaluable books to the whole world so that people may study them and be happy, being delivered from miserable conditional life.

SB 10.8.49

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I remember

Two ladies were trying to cross the street at Avenue and Bloor when I waved and tried to stop them. As I reached out to them with a perfection of yoga and bhakti yoga each, one of them looked at the Bhagavad gita in my hand and exclaimed that she was looking for it as her friend had mentioned about it to her. So I opened the Bhagavad gita and started to show them. As I showed the picture of reincarnation the other lady started to say that she knew this picture, she had been seeing it from her childhood days. She told me she didn’t know what it means but since she was little, her mom in Russia used to show her this picture. Then as I turned the pages she saw the picture of Krishna and Arjuna on the chariot and she started to say she knew that one too – it was like her memories were flashing in front of her eyes. I could see pretty clearly the effect of association of Srila Prabhupada’s books. They both ended up taking two books each and gave their emails with nice donations. I am wondering how through the change of bodies from childhood, to youth to middle age one remembers a picture that they don’t even know the meaning of – surely there is some special power there.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An opportunity at every step

Submitted by : Bhakta Milind

We traveled recently to Chicago, the hotel front desk clerk seemed to be unusually bright for that job. So I asked him if he was the owner, as it is not unusual among hotel owners to stand in for their employees. He said no. Then I asked him what he was doing there. He explained that he had just completed a Master's degree in Health Administration, and was worried about getting a good job, that this was his "survival" job. So I asked him what he was doing about it... he used the words "Trying to making it happen". I asked him if he thought that "making it happen" was all in our hands. He said yes. So I asked him why then was he anxious when he clearly did not want to be anxious. That got him thinking. I asked him if he was interested in spiritual matters. He said yes, and immediately wary, taking a quick second look at my Vaishnava Tilaka and Prabhupada T-shirt, replied "yes, yes, as long as it does not interfere with my schedule". So I asked him if a 30-minute investment of time in understanding the nature of anxiety was too much of an interference with his schedule. He said no. I asked him if he would read some books that helped me a lot to overcome anxiety and are helping me succeed in life. He said yes. I commended him, praised his studious and honest nature, and went to the car to get several small books, Beyond Birth and Death, Bhakti Yoga, Dharma, Civilization and Transcendence...and some more, I don't even remember exactly which ones. I was thinking maybe he would take one, maybe two. He took all of them! Next day, when we were checking out, he gave me his email address, confirmed that I would write to him, and said he had only flipped through the books last night, but would surely read them soon.

Intelligent persons all over the world are just waiting to be introduced to this sublime philosophy of Bhakti Yoga, and the joyful life that comes from living the philosophy ourselves. WHen we try sincerely to live that philosophy, then our simple sincerity, inspite of all our imperfections serve to attract everyone to hear about Krishna. Our enthusiasm is contagious, everyone who is open minded wants to know, what are these people so enthusiastic about? What, they are not even making any money doing this? Why are they doing this? "Let me see." and they take a book. Which is the beginning of the end of their material imprisonment. We're all about freedom from enslavement, and the intelligent get it.

Network of sankirtan army

I was at Kensington for Sankirtan this Saturday but a series of events, completely unplanned, resulted in me reaching Bloor and Spadina for Sankirtan. As soon as I reached there I ran into a young couple who were just passing through the intersection. As I showed them Srila Prabhuapda's books, they recognised him and explained that they were from Ottawa. I told them we have a centre in Ottawa and they told me they were regular visitors to the Govindas. I told them I knew Shankar Prabhu and they said they did too and really loved the food. Their appreciation for Prashad and prabhu perhaps got them the bonus points needed to come in touch with Srila Prabhupada's books so they ended up taking books and saying they would read it.
My realisation was that we may think that here we are standing all alone doing sankirtan but that is a very limited and tiny vision. If you look at the big picture, there is a network of Sankirtan army all through the universe and we are never alone on Sankirtan. Very kindly Srila Prabhupada has given us all a spot here in Toronto, we just have to be there at the spot to recieve the people he sends our way to pick these books.