Goal for 2013 - 50,000 + books!

Last Update: Jan 31, 2013

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A perfect arrangement

We had been packing up stuff all morning and now I thought we can try to meet some people. That's when a guy who actually just passed me, somehow stopped to talk. He wasn't super enthusiastic about yoga but seemed interested a bit in meditation. As I showed him the books he realized he had one and told me that a 5 days ago his girl friend had bought a chant and be happy from me and they were both reading it together. I was so happy to hear that and thanking him for that I showed him the Bhagavad Gita. I started to show pictures inside and some of the mantras. I requested him to read it and he went to get some laxmi from an ATM. When he returned I told him how I wasn't planning on staying but just came here a few minutes back to stay for a bit. He told me he was home being lazy, and didn't want to leave home but because his girlfriend was sick and he just decided a few minutes back to come down and ran into me. I told him about our programs and asked to come visit us.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sublime yagya

Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya is the initiator of sańkīrtana [congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord]. One who worships Him through sańkīrtana is fortunate indeed.
(Adi 3.77)

Such a person is truly intelligent, whereas others, who have but a poor fund of knowledge, must endure the cycle of repeated birth and death. Of all sacrificial performances, the chanting of the Lord's holy name is the most sublime. (Adi 3.78)

Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the father and inaugurator of the sańkīrtana movement. One who worships Him by sacrificing his life, money, intelligence and words for the sańkīrtana movement is recognized by the Lord and endowed with His blessings. All others may be said to be foolish, for of all sacrifices in which a man may apply his energy, a sacrifice made for the sańkīrtana movement is the most glorious.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Param dhrishtava nivartate

Standing near University of Toronto, battling the first real cold sankirtan day of the winter for me, I was praying someone would come inspire me. That's around when I saw a guy who walked up to me and said - so you have the Bhagavad Gita. I was quiet taken aback as it’s not commonplace for someone to just come up and ask that question. Smiling and excited I asked him why he was looking for it. He told me how one year ago he had met two girls around Bloor and ST George and bought a Bhagavad Gita from them. I thought it was me and asked him if it was me. As it was a while ago, he could not remember. He had opened the Gita and tried to read it and was appreciative of it, so I gave him a Science of self realization and explained the contents. I showed him the reincarnation picture and asked him to think about the soul. Somehow the topic of soul drifted into vegetarianism and we started to discuss the latest veg.ca campaign to save animals. He started to tell me that he was eating most of his life and his parents would not have it any other way, but somehow 2 weeks ago, suddenly he had the thought of being vegetarian. He wasn’t sure where it came from. I explained to him the nature of super soul and how he guides from heart. Explaining param drishtava nivartate I asked him to develop higher taste by reading these books and he took the science of self realisation. He said he liked the fact that we were not those religious groups who look down upon others and that’s why he was taking the book. I showed him the picture in the Gita of the wise man who sees equally every being, even animals. He really appreciated it and left saying he would return.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Battle of life

After a really long wait of doing nothing, by Krishna's grace I met a young girl near Bloor and Spadina. She was in great rush like everyone else around downtown, but somehow she agreed to spare a minute to look at what I had. When she saw what the books were about she started to say how she really needs meditation and was looking badly for this. She explained that she had just lost her boyfriend who died from a 3 year battle against cancer, and it made her look at life differently. She herself wasn't very old, not over 25, and I started to think perhaps she went through a lot. Tried to show her the picture of reincarnation in the Bhagavad Gita and asked her to study it and keep in touch. She gave a generous donation for the book and left saying that she was looking forward to reading it.

A home away from home

I met two really young Indian students from Pune who were in University of Toronto for an exchange program here. We started to talk as I had also studied there. Initially they were hesitant but then they explained that they had visited our centres in India. I showed them a Bhagvad Gita each and asked them to read it. Even though they said that they had copies back in India, I showed the how this was different. They appreciated the Sanskrit and started reading the mantras. Then I requested them to please read it and share it with others. They were just students and quiet short on money, but they took all the change from their pockets and gave me donations for the books. They said they were really happy to have met me and I invited them to come to temple for Diwali. They were saying that they missed other festivals but were happy that they can make it to temple for Diwali. Praying that they actually make it to the temple.

We meet again

It was a wet and rainy day, and I was really slow meeting people due to the rain. That's when I met a girl who was passing through University of Toronto and stopped to talk to me. She was stressed and I showed her a Chant and be happy. We got talking about meditation and how it helps and I showed her a picture of Srila Prabhupada. She then remembered that she had met me a year ago near Yonge and Finch. I told her I had not been there for a while and was so happy to meet her again. She told me that she had read that book. Even though she had got it for her boy friend not so much herself, she had read it. Even today she started the conversation by saying she wasn't into yoga, but she was very inspired by her memory of our meeting last year and took a Bhagavad Gita. She said she would come back for an event with her boy friend who she said would be very inspired by knowing our story.

One can see how Krishna within the heart can give remembrance to the living entity and inspire their way back to Godhead.

Harinam power

A few days ago I was at the temple and Dharma-prana prabhu as always was inspiring me with his Sankirtan spirit, telling me to not me intimidated but be bold on Sankirtan. I was at UofT and remembering his little speech when I met a young man near the street car stop. He was going to go past, but then he recognised the maha mantra as I started to explain it to him. He said I know you are Hare Krishna and I obviously inquired how he heard about us. He explained that he had seen us chant near Bay and Bloor. That’s when I understood he was referring to the weekly Harinam that Krsnadas Kaviraj and Dharma-prana prabhus do. I was excited, and asked him more. He started to explain that he used to have a job there and from the window of the shop he worked in, he saw these devotees on Harinam and they were really attractive. He kept explaining they were really happy. He described Dharma-prana prabhu to me and explained he is really happy in mind and that he would like to be like prabhu because he looked so happy. Just from the window he was admiring the harinam party and has such deep appreciation. He bought a book and said he would come visit us.

Simply appreciation is giving him a touch of spiritual life. It is so nice. Shraddha. If they do not go against, simply appreciate, "Oh, they are doing nice..." So development of spiritual life means development of this appreciation, that's all. SB lecture 1.2.16 LA 1972

Friday, October 21, 2011

An Unforgettable Holiday

Submitted by - Gauracandra Das

I didn't plan to distribute any books in Hungary, I came to visit my family here, but Krishna gave me such an opportunity,I couldn't miss. I was visiting my sister-in-law and nephew in a small town, called Dabas. After a few days I was about to leave, but my sister-in-law told me, " please stay, the prime minister is coming to town, will give a speech for the inauguration of the new bell-tower, he is a nice fellow, please stay". I'm not interested in politics, so I still wanted to leave, but suddenly something came to my mind. I discovered that my nephew had two copies of Hungarian Bhagavad Gita by Srila Prabhupada. I asked him if I could borrow one of them. I thought I would try to give it to the prime minister, maybe he doesn't have one yet. And it turned out that it was Krishna's plan also. I didn't have to make a big endeavor, Krishna put me to the right place at the right time. Everything went very smoothly on that day.

The prime minister and other dignitaries gave a nice speech, and after the program I stayed in line to greet him.
As soon as he approached me I handed him the book and said " please accept the Bhagavad Gita ". First the mayor, who accompanied the Prime Minister, took the book from my hand and gave it to the audience, but the Prime Minister grabbed for it, thanked and shook hands with me. He walked away with the Bhagavad Gita. After a short follow up I found out that he also kept the book and it was the first time that he received it. Devotees in Hungary were very happy about my success and made my "holiday" unforgettable.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 minutes can make a difference

I was getting back from Bhakti Lounge and hadn't got the chance to go out on Sankirtan at all, but I had to do at least one book as it was Kartik. The streets were very empty and I was reconsidering my whole plan to do a book, yet trying to stop people. As I started to walk away, a guy came out of the shop typing away on his blackberry. His face was hidden under his hoodie but I thought I would try regardless. As he stopped and looked at me, he said he had met me before. He told me he had bought a big orange book from me 2 summers ago outside Bloor and Spadina. He even remembered the laxmi he gave me for it. I asked him if he read it at all and he explained that he wasn't so much into yoga but had taken the book for his sister. However he was trying to read and understand it and was some way through it. I was thrilled to hear that he had read it and invited him to come for our Gita workshops. He bought another book and left saying he would try to come see us.

Later I was thinking there is no way this is a co-incidence, how could he come out of the shop in the 5 minutes I was on a street so late in night. Probability can't explain this.

A new frontier

Earth’s population will cross the 7 billion mark by Halloween and Scientists predict that at some point, it would all be too much: starvation and disease would kill people more quickly than we can replace them. So the obvious solution is to discover new frontiers. Uncontrolled desires can never meet their end, be it on earth battered by human greed, or outer space. Recently I read research ideas presented at a government symposium devoted to ideas for visiting the stars. A scientist suggested “First, find an asteroid in an elliptical orbit that passes close to the Sun. Second, put a starship in orbit around the asteroid. If the asteroid could be captured into a new orbit that clings close to the Sun, the starship would be flung on an interstellar trajectory, perhaps up to a tenth of the speed of light”(NYT) So much endeavor just to search new resources for the further exploitation and hope for ‘sense gratification’.
What does Bhagavatam say?Persons who are actually intelligent and philosophically inclined should endeavor only for that purposeful end which is not obtainable even by wandering from the topmost planet down to the lowest planet. As far as happiness derived from sense enjoyment is concerned, it can be obtained automatically in course of time, just as in course of time we obtain miseries even though we do not desire them. (1.5.18)

In the purport Srila Prabhupada explains every man everywhere is trying to obtain the greatest amount of sense enjoyment by various endeavors.Some are trying to reach the moon or other planets by some mechanical arrangement, for they are very anxious to get into such planets without doing good work. But it is not to happen. Even if they are obtained, they can be lost again. One should not, therefore, waste time with these flimsy things; one should only endeavor to go back to Godhead. That should be the mission of everyone's life.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Looking for a home

I was at the corner of Yonge and College, one of the busy intersections in Toronto, and most people were simply zooming past me. That’s when a young girl with a smoke in her hand, stopped and turned back to look at what I had. She was really young so I wasn’t sure what to say. But I stuck with the basics and showed her the Bhakti Yoga. I had just read a beautiful note by Vijaya Prabhu about the ‘Dos and Don’t of Book distribution’ where Prabhupada explained that he wanted everyone to see pictures in his books as it would make them more curious. So I started to show her pictures and then requested her to take the book. All the while I was talking she kept appreciating the book but was looking at me with an empty stare and I could not quiet make out what it meant. When I requested her donation, she simply said ‘I am homeless’. I had a complete loss of words as the words just pierced my heart with shock. Gathering my wits I asked her oh, so do you believe in love or look for it. She gave a most definite yes and so I requested her to give me even a coin if she had it. She put a hand in her jacket and pulled out a begging coffee cup and gave me a coin that she had collected from begging. I gave her the book but could not check my emotions as she walked away. A quick look at some statistics showed that over 5000 homeless people in just the most affluent and industrial city in Canada. Actually who has a home in this material world, we were all living in homeless situations even when inside an apartment/house with what seems like a family. Had it not been for Srila Prabhupada’s powerful books and the magnanimous shelter of devotees, we would also be lost in the smoke screen of maya, wandering aimlessly through this life. Just like that little girl walking up and down the street with a smoke.

Srila Prabhupaa Lecture SB 6.1.25 Jul 1975 : Sanatana-dharma means when the sanätana-jiva, living entity, tries go to back home... That is our real home. Here it is not home. We have taken America as home. How long it is your home, sir? Say, fifty years, hundred years, that's all. Not this kind of home. So that home is eternal. That is called, therefore, sanätana.
Source Toronto.ca : If you include homeless people in Toronto’s correctional facilities, provincially run Violence Against Women shelters, and health care facilities, there were an estimated 5,086 homeless people in Toronto on the night of April 15, 2009, almost unchanged from the estimate in April 2006.
CBC News : Survey counts 5,052 homeless in Toronto

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Clearing the mind

I met a guy who was in a rush running towards the subway but somehow he agreed to stop and talk. I asked him if he had any experience with Yoga and Meditation and he said meditation but not yoga. So I handed him the Chant and Be Happy and showed him a picture of Srila Prbahupada. We discussed the book for a bit but then he said that his wife was more into meditation but he wasn't. Then he told me he can't read this book as right now he was suffering from inability to calm his mind. Noticing the rudraksh beads hidden under his jacket, I insisted that because he can't calm his mind, it is more of a reason that she should read the book. I told him how he can't solve the clutter in his mind by using his mind as he was proposing but instead he had to go to a higher level and the book would help him. He now started to understand and then unzipped his jacket to show me the beads. I tried to look surprised and asked him if he knew ho to use them. As he did not know I ask him to give me the beads and started to show him how to chant. He repeated the Mahamantra and took the book. He told me he lived far from the city and would tell his wife about our meeting and she may contact me.

Appreciation is the first step

I met a couple today as they were walking into the bank and surprisingly they stopped to talk with me despite the cold. The lady told me that a few years ago she had met me here and we had talked. I frankly admitted that I did not remember but was glad to meet her. As she expressed her interests in meditation, I showed her and her partner the Bhagavad Gita. She looked at me in disbelief that I was presenting her with the Bhagavad Gita. I requested a small donation and she pulled out some laxmi from her bag and gladly gave it to me. They were appreciative of Philosophy and said they would come back for a class.

Two years later we meet again

I was standing on Sankirtan completely unable to grab anyone's attention when a young Indian girl walked up to me and said Hi. Even though I recognised her at first I could not place our last conversation. Then she reminded me that two years ago we had met in the temple when I was trying to organise a program at my home. That's when I remembered that I had seen her one Saturday sitting in the temple and asked her to join me for Prashadam. After prashad I had explained to her how I was organising a program at my place and would be nice if she could come. She was in high school then and could not come on her own but now two years later we met again. She told me her parents volunteer at the temple sometimes but she had not read any of Srila Prabhupada’s books ever. She was now at University of Toronto and started to appreciate the Science of Self realisation. She had some laxmi left over from lunch and gave that to me for the book. I pray that she tries to read it.

30 year later

It was a rainy day and from under my umbrella I spoke with a man who stopped to discuss Srila Prabhupada's book. He told me hew knew all about the Hare Krishna and had our books. When I inquired further he explained that he had received a book with small globes on it at Union station in the 70s. From his description I could understand he was describing the Srimad Bhagvatam that he had associated with years ago. He started to ask me questions about some News about ISKCON he had heard in the 90s about the movement and we discussed his questions. I then presented to him a Bhakti Yoga as he already had most other books. Seeing Krishna on the cover he said he wanted to be like Krishna. I urged him to start from gaining knowledge about Krishna and once again he left with a book. Let us pray that this time he actually decides to visit us.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Victory is assured

"Among all the demigods, Brahmā was the first to take birth. He is the creator of this universe and also its protector. To his eldest son, Atharvā, He instructed the spiritual science of the self, which is the basis of all other branches of knowledge." Despite his exalted position, however, Brahmā still fears the influence of the Lord's illusory potency. Thus this energy seems virtually insurmountable. But Lord Caitanya is so kind that during His missionary activities in eastern and southern India, He freely distributed Kṛṣṇa consciousness to everyone, urging them to become teachers of Bhagavad-gītā. Lord Caitanya, who is Kṛṣṇa Himself, encouraged the people by saying, "By My order just become a teacher of Lord Kṛṣṇa's message and save this country. I assure you that the waves of māyā will never stop your progress." (Cc. Madhya 7.128)
If we give up all sinful activities and engage constantly in the sańkīrtana movement of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, victory is assured in our personal lives and also in our missionary efforts.

SB 12.13.10

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Make plans for Krishna - Urja Vrta

The auspicious month of Kartik is for Urja Vrata - that time of the year when devotees around the world encourage one another to make some vows for Krishna's pleasure - do a little extra.

I also made some small plans but last night on the very first evening I wasn't sure how to find the strength or ability to keep up my one tiny vow of trying to give a book a day. So I remembered Vishaka mataji's comment in a Bhagvatam class earlier this year. She explained that the strength to execute the vow comes from the vow itself. She further explained how when we are fasting even though we can't imagine going without food but the vow of fasting gives us strength.

So 9.30pm last night with my hands full and a few books on top of my hands, I had little hope of keeping my little promise but then Krishna reminded me of her nectar words and I prayed for help. So 2 girls stopped but didn't agree to take a book. Then when I gave up and started walking home, I saw a young Thai girl walk on my side so I mustered up courage to ask her. After a little conversation about how she doesn't like yoga, she revealed she was a Budhist and wanted to learn meditation. I started to show her CNBH and she rummaged her purse for a small donation. I felt a wave of excitement realizing its true, Krishna gives us the strength to even keep the small promises for his service through the shelter of his devotees and their words. So call your friends, make plans for service, discuss your vows and seek shelter of devotees to find the strength to keep them. Don’t be afraid, you don’t have to do it on your own strength.

The Nectar of Devotion -- Vrndavana, October 21, 1972: The best welfare activity is spreading this Krishna consciousness movement. So it was entrusted to the, to all Indians. Any Indian who has taken birth as human being; it is the duty of him to spread Krishna consciousness. But anyway, although there is only one Indian, (laughter) you follow, and, and spread this message extensively. After this ūrjā-vrata, you'll also spread this Krishna consciousness

Eternal rest or eternal engagement

The dream destination of material existence - 'eternal rest' is advertised enmass and so much money is invested in here. I saw an advertisement (refer picture) in the subway where Globe & Mail gets all trendy by saying 'Eternal rest is just a few clicks away' Ooooo all easy, sounds so convenient and nice.

But what is the Bhakti yogi's yearning ‘tathā prema-bhaktiḿ svakāḿ me prayaccha
na mokṣe graho me ‘sti dāmodareha’. Eternal rest or as yogis call it - Moksha is not the dream of a devotee. We pray daily during the month of kartik O Dear Lord Damodara, please grant me the gift of prema Bhakti, same as you granted to Nala kuvera, I do not desire moksha.

Our humble prayer is for eternal engagement in Krishna consciousness - that is why we are specifically called Hare Krishna 'movement' where there is the individual Jiva soul, Supreme lord and eternal activities to increase the love exchange. Hence we chant 'Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare’ begging Krishna for eternal engagement in devotional service. So let us please beg for more and more service during the month of kartik by chanting more and more. Materialists make so many plans for 'eternal rest' let's make plans for eternal engagement, not just engaging ourseleves but all those people who are busy planning for ‘rest’. Let us engage everyone through the power of Sankirtan.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A moments assciation

Last week I was at University of Toronto trying to hand out books to people and suddenly this young man stopped and started to talk to me about Srila Prabhupada and glorifying his books. He was a practicing Muslim who had recieved a Bhagavad Gita a while ago and was very appreciative of what Srila Prabhupada had to say. So I showed him a Krishna book and started to explain the various pictures. He was very attracted and immediately took the book. He started to explain to me how he was appreciative of what Srila Prabhupada said about Islam and later sent me an email.
I also mentioned that I accept and have great respect for Swami Prabhupada and Chaitanya Vaisnavism as a valid path to God, especially in this dark time of which we see so much quantity over quality... Once again, I am glad to meet others who spend the majority of their time invoking the Divine Name, even if a different form then the Islamic. I hope to come for a visit with some friends to the temple on Sunday in the future. Thanks again for the book and your time.
I had forgotten all about it but a series of sankirtan events today made me realize that there is no such thing as a chance meeting on sankirtan. I was walking on Yonge Street when I met a guy who was initially not interested but later agreed to get a SSR and requested me to wait for 10 minutes while he got some laxmi. I really did not want to wait as I was late but 9 minutes in, as I was about to leave I see the same man from University of Toronto cross the street and walk towards me. He started to talk like we were old friends and was appreciating the sankirtan effort. He lived in the same building as my friend and in conversations today it came out that a few years ago as he had entered the elevator of the building there was a Hare Krishna swami in the building and when a little later he returned, the swami had entered the elevator again. The picture was distinct in his mind and I could trace it back as I knew who he was talking about. We had a really nice second conversation within the same week and I started to realize that perhaps the sankirtan chain of events and a moments association with a Hare Krishna Swami is too hard for us to trace back and calculate the impact of!

And they lived happily ever after or did they ?

Often when offering a book to someone on Sankirtan, they may say ‘I am good’. I have often thought about this and wondered what makes people think they are good in material life – what could give this sense of comfort. Sometimes, at outreach engagements, people will debate the point about ‘happiness in the material world’. Think seriously – what’s the best material life can offer? What activities and options of endless joy, which is the real hankering of spirit soul, does material life offer? Srila Prabhupada summarizes it in a lecture on BG 4.18, April 7 1974 “Of course, in this material world there is no enjoyment. But with the hope of enjoyment, we agree to suffer. And that is called enjoyment.”
Still due to a lack of knowledge the goal of human life as understood by most people is money and attempts at sense gratification. How can one ever satisfy oneself without the knowledge of self, Supreme self and our loving connection with the Supreme self. Even if we seem to be successful at bagging the cheap thrills of material life – without knowledge and real experience of our loving connection with Krishna, it is good for nothing. Simply chewing the chewed can only grant bewilderment, not satisfaction – punah punah charvita charvanam(SB 7.5.30).

A recent article in Times of India, described how a young couple, in India’s dream vacation destination Goa, having lived an eventful life of sense gratification decided to end it. Their reason "We have lived a very eventful and happy life together. We've travelled the world, lived in different countries, made more money than we ever thought possible, and enjoyed spending as much of it as we could on things that brought us joy and satisfaction. We believe in the philosophy that our life belongs to us and only us, and we have the right to choose to die as much as we have the right to live."

They had lived the ‘materialistic dream’ but the end should make us think. Not only did they commit material suicide, they also lost the precious chance of human form of life. Without the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita little do people understand by that one push they hurled themselves, once again, into the abyss of repeated birth and death. So it is our duty, of course, as servant of Krishna, to awaken everyone to Krishna consciousness by this process of sankirtana movement

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The question of atonement (world we live in series)

Atonement is an age old quest of aspiring spiritualists in every culture and tradition. As people embrace a lifestyle of spiritual awareness or purification, one may start to realise the heinous nature of sense gratificatory activities one has indulged in and the guilt could be a heavy thing to carry. For the believers of Karma the realisation of the Karmic imbalance created can be scary sometime and a sense of urgency to get rid of the bad karma. So it’s but natural to try and look for means to clean the karmic slate and one such technique is shown in the gruesome images above.

So what method does a Bhakti yogi use to get over the bad karma? How do we atone? Indeed it is very noble of these monks to realise the power of bad karma and wanting to rid themselves of it, but what’s the merit in this process.

This same question of atonement was asked by Maharaj Pariksit to Sukadeva Goswami in the sixth canto of Bhagvatam.
Maharaja Pariksit said: One may know that sinful activity is injurious for him because he actually sees that a criminal is punished by the government and rebuked by people in general and because he hears from scriptures and learned scholars that one is thrown into hellish conditions in the next life for committing sinful acts. Nevertheless, in spite of such knowledge, one is forced to commit sins again and again, even after performing acts of atonement. Therefore, what is the value of such atonement? (SB 6.1.10)
Sometimes one who is very alert so as not to commit sinful acts is victimized by sinful life again. I therefore consider this process of repeated sinning and atoning to be useless. It is like the bathing of an elephant, for an elephant cleanses itself by taking a full bath, but then throws dust over its head and body as soon as it returns to the land. SB 6.1.11

In the purport Srila Prbahupada explains: In some religious sects a sinful man goes to a priest to confess his sinful acts and pay a fine, but then he again commits the same sins and returns to confess them again. This is the practice of a professional sinner…Regardless of how many times he is punished; one who is attached to sense enjoyment will commit sinful acts again and again until he is trained to refrain from enjoying his senses.

Sukadeva Goswami the son of Vedavyäsa, answered: My dear King, since acts meant to neutralize impious actions are also fruitive, they will not release one from the tendency to act fruitively. Persons who subject themselves to the rules and regulations of atonement are not at all intelligent. Indeed, they are in the mode of darkness. Unless one is freed from the mode of ignorance, trying to counteract one action through another is useless because this will not uproot one's desires. Thus even though one may superficially seem pious, he will undoubtedly be prone to act impiously. Therefore real atonement is enlightenment in perfect knowledge, Vedänta, by which one understands the Supreme Absolute Truth. SB 6.1.12

In the purport, Prabhupada sums it up by saying "Real atonement is full knowledge." And as we learn from the Bhagavad gita real knowledge is knowledge of self, Krishna and the relation between the two. Without which all attempts are just incomplete and further implicating.

Akarma means without reaction to work. The impersonalist ceases fruitive activities out of fear, so that the resultant action may not be a stumbling block on the path of self-realization, but the personalist knows rightly his position as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore he engages himself in the activities of Krishna consciousness. BG4.18

Power of sound

A young girl was walking buy me holding the hand of an older lady who looked like her mom and they seemed to be having a conversation, but they stopped to talk to me. I started to show them Prabhupada’s books and the older lady kept turning to the younger girl and they would speak to each other in an east European sounding language. I asked thought perhaps they were debating whether to buy it but the mother started to tell me in broken English that her daughter cannot see and the mother could not read or speak English. I realised how the whole time the daughter was translating and mother was describing visuals and that is how they were completing the experience. I told the mother even if you can’t read you should take the book as they are highly spiritual and will change the experience. They agreed to take it so I turned to the daughter and invited her to our events. I told her that by perfecting one sense, the sense of hearing she can achieve the perfection of all her senses. Explained to her the power of sound and hearing and told her to come to our classes for meditation and grow spiritually. She agreed to come for the cooking class as she was studying the health and nutrition program.

A 10 year journey leading upto Gita

An Indian lady was walking buy but she agreed to stop and talk briefly. At first I showed her the Chant and be happy and she said her husband had it. So I showed her the scienc of self realisation and she said she had it from a long time. Now I started to think she was trying to avoid me and cooking up stuff which people often do. But I wasn’t giving up before showing her every book as Vaisesika prabhu said show every book and they will take one. So I showed her the Bhagavad gita and she said she had the audio. Somehow the super soul guided me and I told her yes but your audio won’t have the purports which are the real jewel of the translation. She started to say that she was trying to read the Vedas online like the rg veda etc. I told her she did not have the life span of Sanskrit expertise to understand rg veda as it was not meant for us. I recited Srila Prabhupada verse from introduction to the gita sarva upanishado gavo dogdha Gopal Nandana and explained to her how Gita was the cream of all Vedas and she should read it. She started to inquire about how I got involved with everything and why. I told her just as fire burns irrespective of what you put in, doesn’t discriminate, similarly genuine knowledge burns the impurities in heart when you come in touch. I told her as she studied the Gita she would understand what I mean. She decided to take the gita and then as we discussed further, I realised that our meeting was just one in a series she had. She got the SSR 10 years ago from a devotee, then few years ago her husband volunteered at Toronto temple one day and got a Chant and be happy and then in Iskcon Bangalore she had got the audio of Gita – so today she bought the Bhagavad-Gita as it is.

Athatho brahma jigyasa

I met a girl and she was in a rush to go with her friend but stopped saying she was interested in Yoga. I started to show her the Gita and even though her friends went away she stayed on to discuss. She started to explain to me that she was recently studying Sanskrit in her Kundalini yoga practice and had the desire to go deeper in the language and it was strange to find the gita at the same time. While talking she started to express how something is missing in the world and how she thought that even though people are living we have created a world that is on the edge of breakdown and greater number of people wants to connect with divine. She told me how she came to university to get higher education and discover herself and grow, but the modern education only made people economically independent but there was no growth. I was amazed at her sharp observation and complimented her explaining that she has the right curiosity to make spiritual progress. Explaining to her that this inquisitiveness brahma jigyasa was the gift of human form of life and I invited her to the Friday night discussion at Bhakti lounge. She did not have much money and offered me her subway pass, my heart totally melted at this point and I asked her to simply come the next day. She gave me what she had, lets hope she can make it.

Global unity

One should not criticize a low-class materialist, thinking that a high-class materialist is nice. In other words, one should distinguish between the material and the spiritual and should not become absorbed in good and bad on the material platform. For example, an honest citizen distinguishes between the life of civil freedom and that of imprisonment, whereas a foolish prisoner distinguishes between comfortable and uncomfortable prison cells. Just as for a free citizen any situation in prison is unacceptable, for a liberated, Kṛṣṇa conscious devotee any material position is unappealing.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura indicates that rather than trying to separate conditioned souls by materialistic distinctions, one should bring them together to chant the holy names of the Lord and propagate the sańkīrtana movement of Lord Caitanya...Rather than praising and criticizing the high and low features of ignorance, one should be absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, on the spiritual platform of eternity, bliss and knowledge.

SB 11.28.2

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A photoshoot

This Friday at Ryerson University I was slowly reaching out to people asking to see Srila Prabhupada's books. However somehow I was feeling low on energy and had cops come almost close several times. So I thought I would maintain low profile and prayed that Krishna give me some inspiration. Right then I saw two girls standing with fancy cameras and I started to show them Perfection of yoga and chant and be happy. They appreciated the books but when I asked them for Laxmi they didn’t have any. But then one of them came suggested that they would take picture of the book and publish in their magazine as they were 'student journalists'. Now generally I would never like to get even 1 picture clicked but these two had me open ever picture page in the book, hold it up to them from different angles and clicked pictures for 10-15 minutes. I asked them to print a few lines of the text and our contact address with the picture. I do not know if they will, but somehow unknowingly they just rendered service to the book Bhagvata. They left with a small book.

Six years later

I was near Yonge and College and it was the 5 pm time when everyone was in super super rush and no one really wants to stop. I had taken a few books from my bag and all but 1 the chant and be happy remained. I really wanted to give it to someone but no one would stop. Somehow in this madness a girl stopped and I kind of recognised her. She reminded me of our meeting at some our early programs over 5 years ago. She said she wanted to chant and was looking for something that would help her chant. Surprised, I instantly handed her the chant and be happy and explained the glories of how the simple book helps with meditation. She gave a donation and said she would come back for a workshop.

Rational Self and the mind

I met a girl at University of Toronto, she was in a rush running into class but she stopped to talk with me. As I was showing her a small book and she was appreciating it, I asked her what she studied. She told me was a double major in Pshychology and Human Genetics. Praising her intellectual abilities I presented her the Bhagavad gita as the book read by great thinkers. I showed her the picture of the 5 horses and the mind and explained it to her. She was happy to hear that and told me how in her pshycology class her professor had shown them the picture of elephant and elephant driver and explained that the elephant was the mind and the driver was the rational self and how its so small and cant control the mind. I could see from that one example how cofused students must be when they leave universities with such degrees. I asked her to study the Gita and she told me she would go get some money and be back. But a few minutes later she texted me saying she could not get the money but would visit us on friday for Gita class and get the book then. I didn’t think much of it but she actually turned up for the class and meditated with us and bought a Gita before she left.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Remembering Mahamantra Festival Celebrations!

From September 10 - September 20, the Hare Krishna Mahamantra echoed all around Toronto (and even went as far as Orillia!) as the Mahamantra week was in full swing! Devotees helped to celebrate this auspicious occasion of Srila Prabhupada's visit to US by sharing the holy name through kirtan, special morning calls, prasadam, books and smiles! Here we have a small video highlighting the mahamantra week celebrations!