Goal for 2013 - 50,000 + books!

Last Update: Jan 31, 2013

Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Here, you need it more than I do"

Posted by : Mahabhagvat das

This was in Kitchener, we were part of the 40th Annual Multicultural festival. We organized a Harinama, idea was to gather a few devotees together and walk through the crowded festival singing out the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. We had a sizeable group however, Dhira Grahi Prabhu was leading, his brother Acharya Prabhu was holding the microphone for him. Enthusiastic Mayurdhvaj was inside our walking Bhagavad Gita, a giant book who walks and talks the message of the Bhagavad Gita. In this case, the person assisting our walking Bhagavad Gita was so enthused by the Kirtan that our Book was dancing up and down enthusiastically assisted by Mayur Dhvaj. It was a strange sight for many people, you know, persons of different cultures dressed in saris, dhotis and kurtas, with Tilaka marks on their foreheads. But people were smiling, some were waving, some danced a quick step, others just couldn't take their eyes (and ears hopefully) away from the joyous Harinama.

One young man, walking in the opposite direction, was mesmerized by this display of Bhakti enthusiasm. I approached him and said we were actually practicing a type of Yoga, a very joyful and naturally exuberant Yoga. He looked at me, looked at our dancing Bhagavad Gita, and as he was looking, I handed him a Bhagavad Gita and told him that he'd love to read it, to surely take it home with him, showed him a few of the pictures, the Sanskrit verses, the translations, and told him we don't need the money, but take donations to help us cover the printing and shipping costs. All of this was happening as we walked with the Harinama moving at a fast clip. He took out his wallet, looked at the money in there, one $10 bill, thought about it for a moment, and said "Here, you need it more than I do". I handed him the book, and he held on to the book, going back to filming the procession as it meandered through the festival site. I was very amused that this young man felt something, but also that he thought it was an act of charity. I was still touched that his heart was clean and pure enough that he could spontaneously part with all the money he had at the time. The charitable young man accompanied us all the way through the Harinama celebration, filming us all the time, just couldn't get over the sights and sounds of the Harinama.

Later, much later on the same day, we met again. He talked about how his Mom loved this sort of stuff, and how he wished she could take it all in. He gave me his email address, and we have been in touch since then. Being in Kitchener, he has tried some times but hasn't been able to come to any of our events, but please pray that he reads this Bhagavad Gita As It Is at least once, and realizes that Krishna is the one giving us all everything we have, and not the other way around.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yuga Avatara and Yuga Dharma

In the next millennium — this present age of Kali-yuga — the Lord incarnates to preach the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. In this age the Lord is yellow (Caitanya Mahāprabhu), and He teaches people love of God by chanting the names of Kṛṣṇa. This teaching is carried out personally by Kṛṣṇa, and He exhibits love of Godhead by chanting, singing and dancing with thousands of people following Him. This particular incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is foretold in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.32):

kṛṣṇa-varṇaḿ tviṣākṛṣṇaḿ


yajñaiḥ sańkīrtana-prāyair

yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ

"In the age of Kali the Lord incarnates as a devotee, yellowish in color, and is always chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Although He is Kṛṣṇa, His complexion is not blackish like Kṛṣṇa's in Dvāpara-yuga but is golden. It is in Kali-yuga that the Lord engages in preaching love of Godhead through the sańkīrtana movement, and those living entities who are intelligent adopt this process of self-realization." It is also stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (12.3.52):

kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuḿ

tretāyāḿ yajato makhaiḥ

dvāpare paricaryāyāḿ

kalau taddhari-kīrtanāt

"The self-realization which was achieved in the Satya millennium by meditation, in the Tretā millennium by the performance of different sacrifices, and in the Dvāpara millennium by worship of Lord Kṛṣṇa, can be achieved in the age of Kali simply by chanting the holy names, Hare Kṛṣṇa." This is also confirmed in Viṣṇu Purāṇa (6.2.17) where it is stated:.

dhyāyan kṛte yajan yajñais

tretāyāḿ dvāpare 'rcayan

yad āpnoti tad āpnoti

kalau sańkīrtya keśavam

"In this age there is no use in meditation, sacrifice and temple worship. Simply by chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa — Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare — one can achieve perfect self-realization."

Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, Chapter 8

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

All our senses must be employed in service of Krishna

So all together there are sixty-four items for discharging the regulative practice of devotional service. Out of these sixty-four items, five items—namely worshiping the Deity, hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam, associating among the devotees, sankirtana, and living in Mathura—are very important.
The sixty-four items of devotional service should include all of our activities of body, mind and speech. As stated in the beginning, the regulative principle of devotional service enjoins that all of our senses must be employed in the service of the Lord. Exactly how they can be thus employed is described in the above sixty-four items. Now, Srila Rupa Gosvami will give evidence from different scriptures supporting the authenticity of many of these points.

Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 6

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sankirtan Connection - every donation counts

I had a few minutes and I was debating whether I should even go out on Sankirtan but then I thought I should try so I went out. As I was walking on the street I saw a young couple walk towards me. I stopped them and showed them a small book. The girl said she knew the book as she had met us at a party. At first I thought she was cooking it up but then as she started to reveal the series of events, I was shocked.

She explained she had met us at the party where we had a stall and taken a book. At that time she had no money but just a multi-coloured plastic bracelet that she gave to my friend Shyama-mohini for the book. The part she didn't know was that when Shyama-mohini returned from the party we had discussed how she should use the bracelet in some way so that that girl gets a benefit. This was aligned with what Vaisesika Prabhu had taught us on his recent visit to use everything that someone offers in Sankirtan for some service. A few months had past since that incident but just yesterday Shyama-mohini had decided to use this bracelt and I had seen it so I recognized it. When this girl started to explain that she gave a bracelet - I immediately connected the two stories and described her bracelet to her (distinct pasta bracelet). She got all excited too and I showed her and her friend another book. I explained how these books take away all miseries of life and they should read it. She told me she didn't have another bracelet to give. Laughing I explained that we also take money. So her boy friend gave a donation for the book. They were both culinary students from Humber College in downtown Toronto and we talked for a while and they said they would come.

Returning back I was thinking of how Krishna is the Ultimate connection. How I met a man a few months ago on Sankirtan who invited us to this party to distribute books, how Shyama-mohini, Radha-mohan and Vrndavan Prabhu spent all night taking the austerity of being at the party and how they met this girl, how Shyama-mohini just decided to use her offering and I once again met her and she got another book. This is just the part of the story we know, we cannot even imagine what else Krishna does to make it all easy for us to connect with him.

BG 7.7: O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.

The Maha Manatra

Submitted by : Mahabhagvat Dasa

One lady approached our Sankirtan stall, without too much questioning, she took a Chant and Be Happy from a sankirtan devotee, but had questions, so she was looking around for someone to speak to. I greeted her. We spoke for some time. She told me how she was having difficulty keeping her children in school, the whole environment was so cruel and heartless and her kids were constantly getting in trouble, mainly for standing up for others, while the teacher looked away and pretended not to see what was going on "I didn't see anything!" was their refrain. The boys ran around and played hide-and-seek, leafed through books, were mesmerized by the nearby Harinama. Her comments made me think about Srila Prabhupada's dismissive "slaughterhouse education" comment, in relation to the modern education system. One of the boys, the older one was attracted to my "Distribute Books" and "7thgoswami.com" yellow bracelet. I took it off and gave it to him, he put it on immediately, beaming. The lady made sure the boy thanked me properly, though I myself had simply received that bracelet from Vaisesika Prabhu's hand a few weeks ago, so it wasn't really mine at all. She told me she was going to home-school her boys, and was nervous. She asked me some questions which I thought were somewhat on the intellectual level, and I was thinking how I could get her heart into it, then I thought, why not get her to chant the Hare Krishna Maha mantra. I asked her if she'd been introduced to the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, the great mantra before, and she said no. I explained a little bit, gave each one of them a card, and asked them to repeat after me 2 words at a time. They chanted dutifully. No sooner than the lady had finished chanting the Mahamantra, she burst out crying, tears rolled down her face. I asked her why she was crying. She said she didn't know but that she felt lighter. I begged her to chant and bade her and the two boys farewell. This is the magic of the Holy Name, Nama Prabhu. He dives right into the heart and makes Himself comfortable, kicking out all inhospitable things from the heart to make space for Himself

These books will solve the problems of life and help reduce the miseries of life

I met an Indian girl at university campus - she was really young and from Delhi. I tried to show her Bhagavad Gita and nectar of instruction explaining their value in her coming years in Toronto. But like many she said she knew all about yoga as she was from India. I generally don't but this time I really tried to reason with her but she kept ignoring and avoiding the books saying she knew everything and doesn't need anything. So I gave her a card and told her to keep in touch and invited her to free lunch at temple. She became a little curious but by this time I was ready with tears in my eyes. Finally remembering a letter from Vijaya Prabhu to Book distribution nectar about how Srila Prabhupada encouraged us to preach directly, I decided to try being bold. I explained to her how I wish she understood how rare these books are and her money doesn’t matter but even if she gave a penny it is magnified millions of times in wiping her Karma when offered in the temple. Something then changed her heart and she said ok I will give you a donation. She dug out 2 dollars from her bag and was still refusing to take the books, but I insisted she take at least a Bhakti Yoga. Once she had taken the book, she started to tell me she was starting her masters in Engineering degree in UOfT. I told her how my friend was also from Delhi and was finishing her PhD in UofT. Turned out this little girl had also done her Engineering from IIT, the most prestigious engineering school in India. I was thinking about the hard work this little girl was putting in and how the system is designed to completely cheat us of any ability to see spiritual reality. It was so hard for her to even consider perhaps there is something more she can learn about. She did leave happy and gave her cell phone to stay in touch for future.

Quote from Srila Prabhupada
Deepak prabhu introduced me to Srila Prabhupada and said, "Oh, this is Gopinath Acharya das. He is one of our leading book distributors." So Srila Prabhupada was actually very interested; and he turned his head very regally, he looked at me and asked me what I said to sell the books. So I mumbled and fumbled something to the effect that, "Oh, Srila Prabhupada, I just tell them it's about yoga. They think it's about exercises and like that." Srila Prabhupada thought very pensively for 30 seconds or so and he said, "You should tell people that these books will solve the problems of life and help reduce the miseries of life."
From Following Srila Prabhupada, DVD #6

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Intercontinental or Inter-galactic journey ?

I was really struggling to stand at University campus, there was no one and those who would stop were too busy. I even picked my bag; started walking towards the street car determined to find a place with more people but somehow could not get myself to leave the spot I was told to be at. So I decided to stay on and pray Krishna to send someone to engage me. That’s when I saw a thin young boy with a woollen hat - it was so hot and I could not believe anyone could walk alive with anything woollen. We started to talk and he was a travelling kid, born in Belgium and based out of Germany who had come to Toronto to discover himself a bit. I started to inquire about his family and asked him if his parents were happy. We started to talk about the Chant and be happy and he agreed to take a book. He did not have much money but he gave me what he did. He was leaving Toronto next morning and I invited him to spend his last evening in Toronto at Bhakti Lounge. He had a few places to visit but he said he would come over in the evening. I did not have much hope but to my great surprise he did turn up at Bhakti Lounge. He participated in the discussion and when we chanted Japa in the end, I asked him to describe his experience and he said ‘it was like waking up from a dream’. He was so much in awe and it was clearly visible – he kept describing how he felt like he was just waking up. Then he loved the dinner and just did not want to leave. He was only 20 years old and he told me when he was back home, he was not inspired to do anything as he could not figure out who he was and what was the purpose of his life. Moved by his sincerity, I showed him the Bhagavad gita, wherein I showed him the picture of reincarnation. He was so drawn by it and expressed how it resonated with him. He gave some more donation and took the gita and mantra beads. I requested him to chant japa daily but I do not know if he will. He just did not want to leave from the door and was the last one to leave – I could see that he was ready to cry and didn’t want to leave. Please lets pray that he meets devotees again in his journey. He was describing to me his travels around the world and I wanted to make him realise the lifetimes and different bodies he has travelled through, just to reach these transcendental books.

The journey continues

I was at University of Toronto and it being a Friday afternoon, there were hardly any people to be seen. With great difficulty I stopped a biker at the signal and he started to explore the world of Srila Prabhupada's books. He looked promising and I was hopeful he would get a book but another lady on a bike passed us and then stopped a little ahead of us saying aloud - what do you have there, I also want one. She looked completely crazy and was acting like it too. I kind a shouted back asking her to wait a few minutes and thought she would leave. Meanwhile a few minutes later as this guy was saying he had no money, this lady rode up to us on her bike. She started to tell him about Zen Buddhism and how she would practice it all the time. She explained she practiced Zen Buddhism and that meant she did not use the breaks on her bike and it moved automatically, now I was convinced she was crazy and started to try and cut myself away from the conversation. As I was doing that she suddenly turned around and started to describe 'I am telling you I know all this. I have seen these books (she said looking at Srila Prabhupada) and I have seen it in 1969.' She started to explain how LA is one of the busiest places in the world where no one has time for anyone or anything but there in 1969 she had seen devotees in the middle of the street - glowing with an aura and she knew they were the real thing. She kept repeating you Hare Krishna are the real thing.
I took the opportunity to ask a small donation for the book she was holding and she opened her mouth and asked me how many teeth I saw there. I saw only 2 teeth and told her that - she said she did not have money to fix her teeth so how can she pay for the book. I asked her to give me what she had and she pulled out 2 dollars from her bag. Then as if her intelligence returned for a few minutes and she started to recite the entire maha-mantra and I repeated it with her. I asked her to read it and she explained to me that she was going senile and was losing her mind. She told me she knew now she was not going to have her mind for long, she has lost the chance. I was holding back tears as I was thinking of what would it have been if she had followed devotees in 1969 – now she was here like an uncared for animal and still Lord Chaitanya was trying to get her back.

The most successful Sankirtana affairs are going on here in Los Angeles. It is actually wonderful in comparison to others. They are also thinking of opening a branch in Laguna Beach, and I have encouraged this idea. Personally, I also still maintain the idea of a world Sankirtana Party, but such things at the present moment are a dream only. But one day maybe it may come out successful.
> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Hamsaduta — Los Angeles 26 June, 1969

Sense Grat Uninterrupted - Ugra Karmanah

It was the hottest day in Toronto in recent history and there was an extreme heat alert with emergency cooling centers setup through the city. With humid-ex it was supposed to be feeling like late 40s. I spent the evening thinking whether to step out or not and even if I do perhaps everyone else will be inside and streets will be empty. So I debated all night but finally next morning by the grace of Lord Chaitanya I did step out. As I walked I was negotiating with my mind 1 hour – 2 hour no more than that – ok 3 hours, perhaps not. While I engaged in this haggling business I reached Ryerson University campus and started to show books to people. Then gradually it started to dawn upon me that the workers were still doing their construction business, cops still going out, men and women still engaged in enticing one another, clenching hands even on a sweaty day, layers of make up even through the sweat, people running to their jobs- sense gratification and the efforts to maximize it were going on uninterrupted. I noticed the zealous endeavors of people to serve their senses are not deterred by anything but my desire to serve Krishna’s senses was so easily swayed by a little news flash – having got a reality check I started to talk more to people.

BG 16.9: ugra-karmāṇaḥ — engaged in painful activities
Purport excerpt: They try to enjoy this material world to the utmost limit and therefore always engage in inventing something for sense gratification. Such materialistic inventions are considered to be advancement of human civilization, but the result is that people grow more and more violent and more and more cruel, cruel to animals and cruel to other human beings. They have no idea how to behave toward one another.

Nobody really wanted to talk to me and I didn’t know what to do to try and help the situation. This is when I met a young engineer (just graduated) and he was standing with his girlfriend (language student at Ryerson) and I started to show him Srila Prabhupada books. That’s when I noticed he looked familiar and I asked if I knew him and to my greatest surprise he said ‘you are Arti, I met you at Finch in the winter’ and I remembered he got a Bhagavad gita. He had tried to read it a little but he remembered the conversation so this time I showed a book to his girlfriend. She remembered having looked at the book he had got months ago and browsing through it.She appreciated the content and gave a small donation for Bhakti yoga. Thanks to prior association to Srila Prabhupada’s books these people were receptive to transcendental knowledge in such times.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Genuine enthusiasm inspires

As I was standing at University of Toronto Campus, a man was going past in his bike and stopped when I showed him the books. He was curious and started to ask me questions and see different books. He had come across devotees before. That's when seeing that something was going on, the lady behind him on another bike also started to inquire about what I had. Eventually while talking they had so many questions that I asked them to get off the bikes and come to the side of the road so we could talk and off they were from the road onto the grass and started to talk. They both wanted to learn the Maha Mantra but had difficulty remembering it and so I tried to show them Gauranga. They both took 2 books each and asked me to email them the Maha-Mantra. After a long chat we parted ways and they headed out with Srila Prabhuapda's books.

Harinam magic moving hearts

Friday night was Maha Harinam and it was very impromptu decision to go on Bloor Street. I didn't know it at first so I was running late trying to find the Harinam party and Shyama-mohini out of her saintly nature stayed back to help me. When we met HH Bhaktimarga Swami had gone way ahead with the Harinam party so we took a cab to catch up. As we were getting out of the cab i saw a young lady look at the Harinam party so i approached her with Srila Prabhupada's books and she was very appreciative. I asked her if she had heard the Mahamantra before and she said that she had and started to explain how when she was little her mother would sing this mantra to her and she was just overwhelmed. So she took a science of self realization. About 1 hour later, a little away from where we first met, as the Harinam party was returning I saw her there again. She was still spell bound. I walked up to her and started to talk and she simply had tears streaming down her eyes. Right there in the middle of a busy street, she could not explain anything as you could see she was choking up and was having some difficulties in her life. I tried to request her to keep in touch, keep chanting and she gave me her email. The purity of the Harinam just melted her heart and we hope she comes back.

Summer time tales

Last thursday I was at University of Toronto location and it was a huge challenge for me to be there due to a combination of scorching burning heat and slow traffic of people. That morning while reading Srimad Bhagavatam I specifically read the examples of great personalities like Rantidev who made monumental sacrifices for upholding the purposes of Dharma. So somehow as the heat kept drying up my throat, the whole day my mind kept ringing 'Rantidev' in my ears and i kept feeling guilty. A quick description of Rantidev's extraordinary austerity I had read that morning 'Rantideva, after going without even water for forty-eight days, somehow obtained some food and water, but then some beggars came and he gave it all away to them.' SB 10.72.21
At one point I was really down because hardly anyone could be seen on streets and it was extremely hot and as I was praying to Krishna, that's when He sent these two people. As I started to talk to them, they told me they were just talking about yoga and they thought yoga was just for gays and girls. They were so excited to find these ancient books and made me take out every book from my bag. One of them even had a tatoo of 'Karmanyeva adhikarastu' on his arm. At first they took the Bhagavad gita and gave me everything they had - but they also wanted the Searching for Vedic India. So I let them have it and they said they would find a bank and get me money. I didnt think much of it but they had me surprised when they came back after a while with a generous donation and promise to read it.

What is my true identity

I was at Ryerson University campus which is pretty much empty during summer time and quiet a 'mental challenge' to accept as a spot for sankirtan when its very close to crowded spots like Eaton centre etc. Going in, I could see some empty heads move through the empty streets of summmer time campus but it was my service that day to reach out to University students. So I found a narrow corridoor connected to the office where some students would go in and out of - I wasnt even sure if this was allowed. As i was there, a very young girl came out of the doors and somehow she stopped to talk to me. I started by showing her the perfection of yoga and asking her questions. AS we warmed up , she started to express her heartfelt genuine concern. She said - I was born in india, i grew up in Dubai till I was 10 and then past 8-9 years I am in Toronto. So what is my identity - am I Indian or am I Canadian as I relate myself as Canadian. Her question was a direct cut from the lecture I was hearing that morning from Devamrita Swami where he was explaining that our identities keep changing in the world, people have multiple citizenships and can even change things like gender in today's world. I quickly handed her a Bhagavad gita and repeated all I had heard in the lecture that morning. I was worried I was talking too much but she was right into it. Got her to do a little experiment that I had read in Searching for Vedic India to see her as different from her body and from her thoughts and emotions and asked her to look for the observer of all these and she could see the point. At one point she described when her eyes were closed she just saw black - so I asked her how did she see when eyes were closed ? And she became intrigued to know re her other senses. She took the Bhagavad gita and said that she would read it and I gave her my numer and invited her to Yoga meltdown this weekend. Later I was thinking I must have really bored her by all the talking, but somehow by Krishna's grace she actually came to the meltdown this weekend. Please pray that she can actually find the desire to study the Bhagavad gita cover to cover.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Heart of a preacher

Therefore, O Lord of lords, let the people of this world see the power of devotional service rendered to Your lotus feet. Please show them, O almighty one, the position of those Kurus and Srinjayas who worship You, and the position of those who do not.

Here we clearly see the heart of a preacher. The great devotee Yudhishtira Mahārāja implores Lord Krishna to demonstrate plainly the result of worshiping Him and the result of not worshiping Him. If the people of the world could understand this, they could begin to recognize that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that everyone's ultimate self-interest lies in surrendering to Him. As confirmed by great authorities, Yudhishtira Mahārāja is a pure devotee of the Lord, and thus his actual motivation in discharging his duties as a king was to establish the supremacy of Lord Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the real purport of the activities of the Pāndavas, which are described in both the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and the Mahābhārata.

SB 10.72.5

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Primary duty

One may not give up the basic principles of spiritual life merely because such principles are unpopular with people in general. As Lord Kṛṣṇa states in the Gītā (18.66), sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaḿ śaranaḿ vraja. The last word in spiritual duties is to surrender to the Supreme Lord, and that duty takes precedence over all secondary injunctions. Moreover, in this age Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu has kindly presented a sublime process that will attract all sincere people to come to the point of surrendering to the Lord. By following Lord Chaitanya's blissful process of chanting, dancing, feasting and discussing spiritual philosophy, anyone can easily go back home, back to Godhead, for an eternal life of bliss and knowledge.

Still, someone may argue that the members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement should not practice in the Western countries those ceremonies or activities that displease people in general. We respond that even in the Western countries, when people are properly informed of the activities of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, they generally appreciate this great spiritual institution.

SB 10.61.25

Directing life's energy

It took me almost 2 hours to muster up courage to walk through almost empty streets of Ryerson University, not knowing my way around. As I was trying to find my way around I met this young boy in Ryerson university clothes and when I tried to talk with him, he stopped and removed his big headphones. Thanking him for his kindness I asked if he had heard about Yoga. He said his mother did it and he had heard from her and was particularly interested in Meditation. So I started to show him the Nectar of Instruction as the meditation book for everyone. He really appreciated it and gave me a small donation for it. I started to ask what he did and he explained he was a Janitor at Ryerson, played soccer and was still in High school. I was amazed at how young he was and how much work he was putting in. Please give him your blessings that he can use his amazing energy in reading that book he took and come visit us someday.

Magic show of Maya

I met a young girl near Ryerson University and asked her if she was from Toronto. She started to explain that she had moved here from Ukraine and I described to her the various festivities we have in Ukraine every year. Soon we were talking and she explained she was studying Architecture at University and I complimented her on how it's not an easy field and how there is such scope here. To my surprise she said, doesn't matter what I am doing when I graduate I will be a over qualified receptionist. It didn't sound like a fair deal to me, a bad bargain at best. I was thinking what makes people sign-up for such a bad bargain, heavy fees, hours of study and an under paying job without any complains. (I remember Devamrita Swami trying to explain this very same point about where her material pursuits will lead her to a guest during InSpirit, but she was convinced otherwise. I could appreciate that this young one was able to at least see it and be frank.) And here we are presenting such a simple and beautiful way of life for just some donations and people find it hard to even consider. The curtain of Maya is so strong. That is why Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 7.14:

daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te

This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.

We still talked and I encouraged her to read a small book which she took for a donation. I requested her to visit us and we can only hope she find the time for it.

A book for everyone

It was a new place and a new people, the sun was as hot as I think it could get and there were a lot of people moving at a very fast pace. You could call it the Urban Jungle and I just did not know what to do. I was so lost for next steps that I just stood still, unable to speak anything, once I waved at someone and they turned and looked at me and no words came from my mouth because I do not know how to handle big crowds. Amidst this craziness 4 young students stopped and said yea we really like Yoga. Initially i was thinking they are so young, what will they be interested in but I tried. So I handed a book to one of the girls and said it was a book on yoga and mind control, while to the other girl I handed another book and said it was a book on yoga and love. So others started to say they want the same one. So I handed them all Bhakti yoga and started to talk about it. That's when one of them said she had heard about Sanskrit etc and on probing I found that she had taken religious study course. So I handed her the Bhagavad Gita and now everyone wanted it. I tried to explain the picture of changing bodies and they all so related to it. Then I made them experiment by closing their eyes and watching what’s going on. When they described what they saw, I asked them about the identity of the observer and they started to understand they were not body or thoughts. Two of them were sisters and could see how bodies have changed but they were still same. They each took a book and shelled out all Laxmi they had which was not much. Then I asked them what they were into and one of them was in high school, other person studying French, English literature and a last person studying psychology. So i realized from this experience, young or old Srila Prabhupada's books are for everyone. Everyone wants to know who they are - and what better way to do that than reading this transcendental literature.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Real goal of life

Caitanya Mahäprabhu went on to teach that for each and every moment he is engaged in some fruitive activity, the conditioned soul forgets his real identity. Sometimes when he is fatigued, when he is tired of material activities, he wants liberation and hankers to become one with the Supreme Lord, but at other times he thinks that by working hard to gratify his senses he will be happy. In either case, he is covered by material energy. For the enlightenment of such bewildered conditioned souls, the Supreme Lord has presented voluminous Vedic literatures such as the Vedas, the puräëas and the Vedänta-sütra. These are all intended to guide the human being back to Godhead. Caitanya Mahäprabhu has given further instructions by explaining that when a conditioned soul is accepted by the mercy of the spiritual master and is guided by the Supersoul and the various Vedic scriptures, he becomes enlightened and makes progress in spiritual realization. It is because Lord Kåñëa is always merciful upon His devotees that He has presented all these Vedic literatures by which one can understand his relationship with Him and can act on the basis of that relationship. In this way one is gifted with the ultimate goal of life.
Actually every living entity is destined to reach the Supreme Lord. Indeed, it is possible for everyone to understand his relationship with the Supreme. The execution of duties to attain perfection is known as devotional service, and in maturity such devotional service becomes love of God, the factual goal of life for every living being. Actually the living entity is not intended to achieve success in religious rituals, economic development or sense enjoyment. The living entity should not even desire success in liberation, what to speak of success in religion, economics and sense enjoyment. One's real desire should only be to achieve the stage of loving transcendental service to the Lord. The all-attractive features of Lord Krishna help one in attaining this transcendental service, and it is by such service in Krishna consciousness that one can realize the relationship between Kåñëa and himself.

The real tragedy of life

Two friends were walking past and I called out to them and asked if they had heard about yoga. They looked at me in surprise and said yes they were just talking about it. I said well things happen the way they do for a reason and started to ask about their yoga journey. One of them told me he had an accident few months ago and got a herniated disc that kept him bed ridden for 6 months and only now he had started to walk. I asked him this would have given him a lot of time to think about life and he explained how he was trying to work on himself. At this time I pointed that he doesn’t really know who the self is – and if he had lost a leg would he still exist or not? He said yes and so I pointed that he was not the body and showed the picture on reincarnation. His friend too I was showing the path of perfection to and the perfection of yoga. They both asked questions and the one with the accident history took the book. Meanwhile in this conversation a really badly dressed almost drunk man came up and said do you still have the place and I said yes. And he kept saying I need you guys and I need you etc and left smiling complimenting the book. Then I turned my attention back to these two and he decided to take the Bhagavad gita and read it. Then I started to speak with the other guy and he was asking me so many questions about which chapter did the perfection of yoga relate to and doing a comparative analysis between different books. So I asked him if he was a student and he said yes – from UofT and a psychology major and he was wondering how I knew. He took his book and now his girlfriend turned into the scene and I started to show her Srila Prabhupada’s books. By now those two had gone and we got into a serious conversation. She took a small book and started to explain how she too had a psychology degree from University and wanted to touch the lives of people. So I told her how was she going to do that when by feeding people you cant solve the problem of birth and death. She could really understand that and said she would come with her best friend someday. I don’t know if they will come back but all three friends ended up taking a book from Prabhupada.

May I please be honest with you

The age of Kali brings with it many surprises and we are so conditioned to these degradations that most times they go un-noticed. Today on Sankirtan some individuals asked me something really interesting. While I was showing them a book and they were holding it they said ‘Can I be really honest with you?’ She said it as a matter of fact and great pride that she was being honest – she was deciding to be different from others. And I said yes sure. Initially I said yes but when this happened a few times I realised – wow so now a day’s people need permission to be honest. In what other day and age would this be the norm and go completely un-noticed? Even when I am in the middle of a Yagya – Sankirtana Yagya, I did not realise that someone was asking me permission to be honest. It made me remember how Srimad Bhagvatam describes the meeting between Maharaj Pariksit and Kali personified.

‘In the age of Satya, religion was complete, still possessing its four legs of truth, mercy, austerity and charity. With the coming of each succeeding age, starting with Treta, these religious qualities each diminish by one quarter. In Kali-yuga the legs of religion retain only one fourth of their power, and even that will be lost with the progress of the age.’ Srimad Bhagvatam 12.3. Summary

Quotations in other places explain that the only remaining leg is this age is truthfulness and that too will disappear with the progress of the age.

Of the four principles of religion – austerity, cleanliness, mercifulness, and truthfulness – only truthfulness remains in Kali-yuga. When Maharaja Pariksit found the bull of religion after it had been attacked by the personified Kali, only one of the bull’s legs, that representing truthfulness, remained. (Gita Nagri Press, Satsvarup Das goswami)

It struck me how quickly the age of Kali is progressing with its wild effects and how important the Sankirtan Yagya is in such times. We should also not think we are immune to its effects and take deeper shelter of the Maha-mantra and the Sankirtan Yagya. At least through this yagya one can begin to see the degradation.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mood of a preacher

The author of Bhakti-rasämrita-sindhu, Srila Rüpa Gosvämi, very humbly submits that he is just trying to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world, although he humbly thinks himself unfit for this work. That should be the attitude of all preachers of the Krishna consciousness movement, following in the footsteps of Srila Rupa Gosvämi. We should never think of ourselves as great preachers, but should always consider that we are simply instrumental to the previous Acäryas, and simply by following in their footsteps we may be able to do something for the benefit of suffering humanity.

Introduction to the nectar of devotion

Years later we meet

This afternoon as I was trying to reach out and talk to people this very old lady was walking by me. I almost let her go and then thought I can't discriminate I should stop everyone. In this congregation of insanity I sure can't let someone go just because they are old - so I stopped her. And as soon as she saw Srila Prabhupada picture she said - he is my guru while taking the book close to heart. I was amazed and asked her where she met him. She told me years ago in her home country Venezuela she had seen a big deity of Srila Prabhupada in a temple and someone had gifted her book, ever since she was keeping Srila Prabhupada in her heart as her Guru. She said she had come to Toronto few years ago and was looking for Prabhupada since and not been able to find him but she was excited to have this book. She took nectar of instruction and asked me how much donation should she give - I told her to give what she had. First she gave me a small donation and went on. I was thinking in my heart how will this work - people are taking book but not giving donations and that's when I noticed her coming back from a distance - she told me she left but was feeling bad so she came back to give some more laxmi. it is true that Krishna is in the heart of every living entity.

Suhrdam sarva bhutanam

Spontaneous Sankirtan

There was a huge parade in downtown Toronto this weekend and I got my first experience seeing people in full party mood. In the insanity that engulfed everyone you could still see that people for some reason people held close a sense of sophistication - an arrogance of yes we can enjoy material nature. Yet through the curtain of loud music and costumes one could see the run down bodies and minds consumed by alcohol. School kids to old people alike, everyone was clearly under the influence and somehow I was trying to approach them to take a book. I met a group of high school kids and they somehow got all excited about yoga. First three girls were interested and they dug out few cents from their bags. Then one of their friends, another high school kid in a really strange outfit said he wanted yoga and asked for a book - I showed him a picture of Prabhupada and he wanted it but had no money. I asked him to ask his friends and they didn't have anything, so then one of his friends who have just bought a book said she would ask people for some money. So very spontaneously she started to stop people and ask them for some money and show them the perfection of yoga. No one told her but her sankirtan spirit was spontaneously awakened by coming in contact with the books and I gave them this book. I put a condition and asked them to chant Gauranga - I sang it out and told them to repeat it which they joyfully did dancing to the beats. So glorious is the mercy of lord Caitanya that even in such mad times it rains and sweeps the heart of a living entity.

The Hare Krishnas

Śrīmatī Draupadī was so devoted to Kṛṣṇa that she herself was called Kṛṣṇā, which is the feminine form of the name, and Arjuna was also called Kṛṣṇa because of his devotion to the Lord. Similarly, the devotees of the modern Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are often called "the Kṛṣṇas." So it appears that the custom of addressing Kṛṣṇa's devotees by His name has a long history.

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.58.5