HOW TO BECOME A PURE DEVOTEE OF GOD, KRISHNA.

There is one young and perhaps immature world wide religious organisation, the name of which I am going to keep a great secret. In that religious organisation, there is an aspiring member of the international board of directors, whose name I am going to keep a great secret as well. This man ( Yes, I can reveal that much: its a male, not a female, although there are females sitting on the international board of directors) has unsuccessfully cultivated this particular aspiration for many years. In that religious organization great devotees are honoured with the title “Bhakta” such as Bhakta Prahlada etc. etc……

So Bhakta X personally and privately owns one of the premises used and leased by this religious society as the main function premises in that particular city.

At least partly, He is also responsible for the colossal multimillion corporate land sale and land bungle and disaster. Whether any illegal activities have taken place during the sale of the land is still unknown. The land was sold quickly by the organization, at below costs-price, whereas successive owners thereafter pocketed legitimately millions of dollars of profit from the sale of the same land.

These types of proceedings are highly irregular and in stark contradiction to the very best interests of the said organization.

For the purpose of my article, let me present some of the basic doctrinal tenets of this religious organization.

1) God is the supreme owner and landlord of everything.

2) God is absolutely non-different from His authorized statue-representations. (“Statue-representations” is plural because God has got many different varieties of statue representations, just as He has thousands of names, including Allah and Jehovah.)

3) The constitutional position (dharma) of the living entity is to be servant of God.

Now if God owns my house, and everything else for that matter, and if I am servant of God, then how can I invite Him to my house and charge Him a fee for staying at my house? This is most foolish and contradictory!

I should instead be extremely honored that the great God, the supreme being in His authorized statue form, has accepted my invitation to stay at my house and employ my intelligence and wealth to serve Him and make sure He is well cared for and absolutely pleased with my presentations, so that He may be pleased to stay at my house for a maximum amount of time.

My house will then become God’s house, just as my body is the Lord’s temple as well. God in His expansion as the Supersoul lives in my heart at all times. No just my heart. He very kindly agrees to lives transcendentally in the heart of all living entities at all times, including dogs and pigs and others…. He is waiting for the day when we shall turn towards Him again and redevelop and cultivate our love for Him. In the present stage, we  have unfortunately turned our back to Him, just like a crazy and rebellious son rejects the connection with his well-to-do father.  Just imagine the benefits derived from closeness to God. It is not that I have been scheming for these benefits. But even if I did, its all right to scheme for God’s association, especially through the constant chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra:

HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA

KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE

HARE RAMA HARE RAMA

RAMA RAMA HARE HARE

I suppose my accountant will call them fringe benefits. They come automatically with the presence of God. I will then benefit from God’s “umbrella” and prestige, just like in the cold war times the European countries benefited from the nuclear umbrella of the powerful United States of America. Besides that God is also called Madhava, the husband of the Goddess of Fortune, Laksmi.

It is a kind of religious cheating as well. In Sanskrit it is called “kaitava dharma”. SB 1.1.2. It is firmly rejected by grantha raja Srimad Bhagavatam (SB) as a contaminated form of religion.

It is however not possible to cheat God!

To the cheater, God is the greater cheater, because He is supreme in all respects.

How can the servant demand and exact rental payment from the landlord? This is the world upside down! There is a confusion here about who is the servant and Who is the Lord and it needs to be eradicated!

Suppose I invite Prime Minister Turnbull to my house and out of his kindness he accepts my invitation.

But my hidden and actual plan and petty agenda is to charge Prime Minister Turnbull and his entourage for everything they do and require as soon as they step into my house. I am so hopelessly profit oriented that if I could, I would charge them for the air they breath in my house. It’s my house, it’s my air! Business as usual, right?

So the questions will then be: “What kind of a discourteous and stupid fool I am?”

“What will be the consequences for me for such an offensive behavior towards the best and leading man in the country?”

It will be a catastrophe and will have far reaching negative consequences for my own life!

The newspapers will publish plenty of derisible and sarcastic articles about my uncouth behavior.

This is the overall situation at this particular branch of this religious organization.

I have personally asked Bhakta X to please change this wrongful policy and breach of protocol. ”This is not going to happen.” was his final reply.

What can be done?

The future will show.

What is more is that the kitchen at this branch of this religious institution sits exactly on top of the septic tank. The septic tank concrete cover is right in the middle of the kitchen. YUK YUK YUK !!! And they cook a LOT. I mean a REAL LOT. They are known as the kitchen religion. Not sure whether this type of arrangement will satisfied X City Council’s food hygiene requirements. A case to be tested….. No wonder one gets immediate (with a few hours) gastroenteritis after taking one’s meal at some food outlets of this particular organisation. Over the year, I personally had this unpleasant experience several times, not less than at three different outlets of this particular organisation across the nation. To be followed…..

And what is absolutely intolerable is that the head of this particular branch obstinately quibbles and refuses to display a full set of constitutional books of the Founder in the main assembly hall, for everyone to consult freely. This is standard policy throughout the organisation.  But this particular individual strongly and stubbornly objects. Perhaps He plans to introduce his still non-existent own writings instead. If that is the case, let him go elsewhere and found his own organization. We don’t tolerate sedition. Neither do we tolerate those kind of corporate raiders. We fight them vehemently! Aggressors must be punished, as explained in Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, (BGAII), chapter 1, text 36. Any sane person,  with good common sense, in any organisation, would take the open and free display of the Founder’s constitutional writings for granted.

The Founder of the organization Himself absolutely insisted on the propagation of His writings in the hard copy book form. It is an open secret that the institution’s Founder  wants to see a set of His books in each and every home, what to speak of in His each and every establishments around the world!!! When someone employs one, one had better follow the directions of the owner of the concern; otherwise one is foolishly endangering one’s own position and future. This is especially true for someone in a leading position. Such attitude represents a kind of betrayal and deviation and would not be dissimilar to a leading politician, who openly defies the nation’s constitution and minimizes and disrespects the constitutional book itself: disrespects the book or disrespects the flag of the country for that matter. What will happen to him?

So far I have been unable to pinpoint the actual reason for such a grotesque refusal and opposition. It will be more than a mere clash of egos, because his original plan was to have no bookshelf at all. He had to be repeatedly and firmly prompted over a long period of time to even purchase a bookshelf. It’s probably just plain ignorance, whence the title of this article. Or would it have to do with the books’ content? In those books there are some candid assertions by the Founder that in this organization not everyone is a devotee of God. Opposite number imposters are present as well and one should strictly ignore them.

The test for being a PURE DEVOTEE OF GOD is very simple. It is as follows. One must strictly follow the rules and discipline of Bhakti-yoga as enunciated by the Founder of this organisation.

That is:

One must rise from bed everyday no later than 4 AM.

One must chant the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra a minimum of 1728 times every day without fail, with the help of some counting device such as beads or tally counter. If one fails, one has a chance to make up the difference the next day, in addition to the regular 1728 daily mantras.

One must strictly follow the four regulative principles, which are as follows:

No illicit sex.

No meat, no fish and no egg eating whatsovever.

No gambling.

No intoxication of any kind including tea and coffee.

We are not saying that meat-eating devotees of God are not devotees of God. They are some kind of devotees. My own mother was a very good example. We are saying that meat-eating devotees of God cannot be PURE DEVOTEES OF GOD, unless we renounce this nasty and bloody (Meaning full of blood. This is not some kind of an offensive adjective!) killing of poor defenseless animals and meat eating business. All living entities are sons and daughters of God. How can one son or daughter claim the right to kill and / or eat one’s sisters and brothers? What kind of a son and daughter is he /she? The comsumption of meat is not only primitive but is definitely sinful!

The animal flesh eater will generally express disgust at the idea of eating human flesh. But if humans are just another species of animals, then we may clinically ask the questions:  “Why not eat human flesh instead?” “What is the difference?”At least from a theoretical point of view, there will be no difference. Other questions will follow such as: “ Who will be my next meal?” And finally we shall have to confront the more frightening question “Whose meal I am going to be next?” The poor animals are constantly facing this question:”Whose meal I am going to be next?” It is a fact however that the predator may be non-human in that case. It is also said that under extremely harsh conditions of war, soldiers sometimes eat human flesh to survive, the flesh of the dead fighters from one side or the other.

Sadly according to Vedic Shastra (Sanskrit scripture), this is what the world is coming too in some thousands of years. But please don’t worry. This is only one negative perspective. Everything is cyclic. The seasons are cyclic. Days and nights are cyclic. Weeks are cyclic. Birth and death are cyclic. Similarly, according to Vedic Shastra, the cosmic evolution is cyclic as well. After the current Kali-yuga age, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the golden age of Satya-yuga will automatically be ushered in again by arrangement of the supreme commander, Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The cycle will start fresh again by degenerating order: Satya yuga, Treta yuga, Dvapara yuga and Kali yuga, the current age, all up some 4 million something years. The important thing is to realize one’s existential position as confirmed in Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, (BGAII) 13.8-12: to develop “the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease”. And consequently make a firm and determined plan to extricate oneself from this unpleasant situation. We are not these bodies. We are spirit souls. BGAII 2.12:” Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.” Our present prospects of happiness are about as ample as the prospect of happiness of a fish out of his natural environment: water. There is a fundamental dichotomy between our real spiritual identity and our present material atmosphere of existence. The solution of this dilemma is given in the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder of the International Hare Krishna movement. It is given both in theory and in praxis. The better we follow His suggestions, the greater our success.

The process is called Bhakti-yoga and it is infallible. The question is: “How strong is our determination to achieve the designated goal?”

Here in Australia there is the surfing challenge, there is the marathon challenge, there are the iron person challenge and so many other challenges. We are presenting the PURE DEVOTEE OF GOD challenge. It is open to everyone. It looks deceptively easy, but “Although nondevotees declare that the path of bhakti, or devotional service, is very easy, they cannot practice it. If the path of bhakti is so easy, as the nondevotee class of men proclaim, then why do they take up the difficult path? Actually the path of bhakti is not easy. The so-called path of bhakti practiced by unauthorized persons without knowledge of bhakti may be easy, but when it is practiced factually according to the rules and regulations, the speculative scholars and philosophers fall away from the path. ” BGAII 7.3 P. Please take it up and you will be greatly and eternally benefited. Thank you very much.

“In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” BGAII 2.40

HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA

KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE

HARE RAMA HARE RAMA

RAMA RAMA HARE HARE.

EPILOGUE.

We remember that when the great and enlightened Founder of this religious institution left his mundane family, the final trigger was his wife cashing in His holy books (SB) to enable her to purchase tea. When he learned about his wife’s misadventure, He simply uttered: “It’s the tea or me” and finally left his mundane family for the renounced order of life and execution of His glorious mission.

Similarly I am saying loud and clear to this communal family and especially to the leader(s) of the community:” No full set, no me.” I have indeed already implemented this policy. It is not only the leaders who are responsible. Every single members shares in the  responsibility for what happens in and to the community. So please anyone(s), stand up and take some proper initiatives on these issues. Thank you and Amen!

Om namah bhagavate vasudevaya.

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WHAT IS SELF REALIZATION ?

from Srimad Bhagavatam, amala puranam, Canto 1, Chapter 3 text 33, translation and commentary by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, Institutor of the BBT and Founder of BTG magazine. Published and distributed by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust / krishna.com.

 

TRANSLATION

Whenever a person experiences, by self-realization, that both the gross and subtle bodies have nothing to do with the pure self, at that time he sees himself as well as the Lord.

PURPORT

The difference between self-realization and material illusion is to know that the temporary or illusory impositions of material energy in the shape of gross and subtle bodies are superficial coverings of the self. The coverings take place due to ignorance. Such coverings are never effective in the person of the Personality of Godhead. Knowing this convincingly is called liberation, or seeing the Absolute. This means that perfect self-realization is made possible by adoption of godly or spiritual life. Self-realization means becoming indifferent to the needs of the gross and subtle bodies and becoming serious about the activities of the self. The impetus for activities is generated from the self, but such activities become illusory due to ignorance of the real position of the self. By ignorance, self-interest is calculated in terms of the gross and subtle bodies, and therefore a whole set of activities is spoiled, life after life. When, however, one meets the self by proper culture, the activities of the self begin. Therefore a man who is engaged in the activities of the self is called jévan-mukta, or a liberated person even in the conditional existence.
This perfect stage of self-realization is attained not by artificial means, but under the lotus feet of the Lord, who is always transcendental. In the Bhagavad-gétä the Lord says that He is present in everyone’s heart, and from Him only all knowledge, remembrance or forgetfulness take place. When the living being desires to be an enjoyer of material energy (illusory phenomena), the Lord covers the living being in the mystery of forgetfulness, and thus the living being misinterprets the gross body and subtle mind to be his own self. And by culture of transcendental knowledge, when the living being prays to the Lord for deliverance from the clutches of forgetfulness, the Lord, by His causeless mercy, removes the living being’s illusory curtain, and thus he realizes his own self. He then engages himself in the service of the Lord in his eternal constitutional position, becoming liberated from the conditioned life. All this is executed by the Lord either through His external potency or directly by the internal potency.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

 

The leaders of the Sankirtan Movement: Sri Sri Gaura Nitai.

Picture taken at ISKCON Vrndavan, India, Krishna Balaram Mandir.From the Mundaka Upanishad (3.1.3):“One who sees that golden-colored Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Lord, the supreme actor, who is the source of the Supreme Brahman, is liberated.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY

from Sri Caitanya Caritamrita

“The Absolute Truth is Sri Krishna, and loving devotion to Sri Krishna exhibited in pure love is achieved through congregational chanting of the holy name, which is the essence of all bliss.” CC Adi 1.96

” …these two brothers [Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda] dissipate the darkness of the inner core of the heart, and thus They help one meet the two kinds of bhagavatas [persons or things in relationship with the Personality of Godhead].”  Adi 1.98

“One of the bhagavatas is the great scripture Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the other is the pure devotee absorbed in the mellows of loving devotion.” Adi 1.99

“Through the actions of these two bhagavatas the Lord instills the mellows of transcendental loving service into the heart of a living being, and thus the Lord, in the heart of His devotee, comes under the control of the devotee’s love.” Adi 1 .100

“The first wonder is that both brothers appear simultaneously, and the other is that They illuminate the innermost depths of the heart.” Adi 1.101

“These two, the sun and moon, are very kind to the people of the world. Thus for the good fortune of all, They have appeared on the horizon of Bengal.” Adi 1.102

“Let us therefore worship the holy feet of these two Lords. Thus one can be rid of all difficulties on the path of self-realization. Adi 1.103

“Essential truth spoken concisely is true eloquence.” Adi 1.106

“Simply hearing submissively will free one’s heart from all the faults of ignorance, and thus one will achieve deep love for Krishna. This is the path of peace.” Adi 1.107

“If one patiently hears about the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Advaita Prabhu—and Their devotees, devotional activities, names and fame, along with the mellows of Their transcendental loving exchanges—one will learn the essence of the Absolute Truth. Therefore I have described these [in the Caitanya-Caritamrita] with logic and discrimination.” Adi 1.108-109

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MY GERMAN NEIGHBOR IN FRANCE ACCEPTS A COPY OF SRI ISOPANISHAD IN GERMAN LANGUAGE.

 

 

On the first day of my arrival in France, I went on an evening walk. Throughout the afternoon, I noticed that some of the neighbor’s vehicle’s doors had been left open for an unusually long time, as if somebody had forgotten to complete a single transaction. This family is originally from Germany and they had bought the house across the road as the original owners and village residents had died. When I started my walk the car was still open. When I returned the car was still open and now that the night had fallen I could notice that the inside lights were alight as well. Naturally I decided to take action and knocked on their door to inform them. It was then confirmed that yes, they had in fact forgotten to finish attending properly to their vehicle.

 

Two days later the lady neighbor, Helga, knocked on our door and delivered a jar of honey as an acknowledgement for my own gesture of care. I had in the mean time examined my stock of books and found that I had a good stock of German language books. I must have brought these books in the late seventies or early eighties, when I was depending on ISKCON Schloss Rettershof, Frankfurt, Germany. My sister had conserved them very nicely. They are all in brand new condition. Besides Sri Isopanishad, there are some copies of Easy Journey to other Planets, the wonderful Nectar of Instruction and especially Bhagavad Gita As It Is hard and softbound. There is also a single copy of Christ, Krishto, Krishna, which I shall definitely keep for my own library. This book relates a series of conversation by Srila Prabhupada, especially the conversation with the Benedictine monk, Father Emmanuel Jungclaussen of the Niederalteich Benedictine monastery, Germany, on the etymology of the word “Christ”. Therein Father Emmanuel states that the word “Christ” comes from the Greek word “Christos”. Srila Prabhupada, always in a superior position of knowledge as the Jagat Guru, in turn completes the loop and adds that the Greek word Christos simply represents the Greek version of the Sanskrit word “Krishna”. This important information established a most vital link between Hare Krishna and 2000 years old Christianity and could be vastly elaborated on!

 

So this lady was happy to accept a copy of Sri Isopanishad, a Hare Krishna classic. When I asked her, she also mentioned that she had heard about the Bhagavad Gita. It was Saturday April 8 2017 and she mentioned that in the afternoon she was going to sing in the choir of a well-attended regional church. Special attention and appreciation should be given here to the time span of Krishna’s plans in the matter of book distribution. This copy of Sri Isopanishad had been lying dormant for forty years and I am confident it was especially meant for these German neighbors. Also as per BGAII 15.15, V2:” I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.” Lord Krishna had controlled from the heart and blocked some family member’s remembrance to properly attend to the vehicle so that I could start the chain of events that would results in their receiving a copy of Sri Isopanishad. We further note that Sri Krishna has got all necessary and mystic means to carry out His infallible plans, more than any pasandi could even suspect. “Wonderful Krishna!!!” (Title of Krishna book, chapter 26.) I am a mere instrument. As Lord Krishna says to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra BGAII 11.33, V2: ”………..nimitta-mätraà bhava savya-säcin”. The complete verse translates as: ”Therefore get up. Prepare to fight and win glory. Conquer your enemies and enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement, and you, O Savyasäcé, can be but an instrument in the fight.” Let us hope this seed Sri Isopanishad will bear many further fruits. To be continued …..

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KRISHNA’S SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT.

Standing in the Bakery of the Krishna Balaram Mandir, Vrndavan UP India, and leaning on the bench against the white wall, I was savoring my evening hot milk. Since a day or two I had suddenly and inexplicably caught a cold, with a slight fever, sore throat and runny nostrils. In a different situation, my God-Brother Prasanatma Prabhu, later on offered the explanation that it was the change of season and the coming of summer that caused such discomfort. At the temple Bakery, the milk program starts at 7.30 PM only and I did have a first cup of milk outside about an hour earlier for ten rupees extra. The temple gives the better deal at rupees 20.00.

 

Especially in light of the many warnings given by Srila Pabhupada that too much milk will cause disorder, I was hesitating and thinking: “Shall I have a third cup of milk, that would be a bit much, would it not be?” Here is one of the warnings: “So if you take too much milk then there is possibility of dysentery, disorder of the bowel.” 690109BG.LA. The hot milk running down one’s throat represents in fact quite a sanitary feeling and I hoped to counteract the disease by drinking this as-hot-as-possible milk and let it act. Then Krishna decided to answer my question directly. He is actually Hrishikesa, the controller of all and everyone’s senses. He sent one Russian bhakta from Moscow to the bakery and without further preamble this young, tall and lean devotee, clean shaven and dressed in white dhoti and kurta, offered me a drink. He offered a choice of Fanta and Coca Cola, or something of that nature. The drinks were respectively orange and black in any case. I declined politely and explained that I could not mix these drinks with milk. These types of synthetic beverages are in fact strictly banned from my diet anyway. We don’t trust these artificial mixtures. So he immediately fetched me my third glass of milk. I accepted immediately of course and thanked him very much, as I saw it as Krishna direct answer to my question. No need to mention that I did not suffer from any stomach disorder as a result of accepting a third glass of milk but my cold disappeared as if by magic when I arrived in France.

I had briefly interacted with this devotee previously. We could not speak though, as he did not speak English and I do not speak Russian either. This is another instance that the relevant message can be gotten across and business transacted without speaking a common language. Srila Prabhupada gives the example of the burning house. When the house is burning the inhabitants can be saved without speaking their language. They can be saved “somehow or other”.

 

 

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BAD START TO ATTENDING THE GREATER NOIDA RATHA YATRA FESTIVAL, NEAR NEW DEHLI, UP, INDIA.

2

The impressive life size parampara display at ISKCON Krishna Balaram Mandir, Vrndavan, Prabhupada Samadhi structure, right side, first floor.

April 2nd, 2017, Vrndavan, UP India.

The idea was to assemble and ride at 6 AM in front of Citrakuth Mandir and the gigantic statues of Sri Hanuman and Lord Ganesh for departure to Greater Noida Ratha Yatra, near New Delhi, by bus. Citrakuth Mandir is situated just a few steps up from the ISKCON Krishna Balaram Mandir towards Dehli on the Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg. Two buses were planned to take all the devotees to the Greater Noida Ratha Yatra Festival, which in fact only started sometimes in the afternoon. But the early start was to give the devotees an opportunity to attend HH Lokanath Swami’s Srimad-Bhagavatam class at 8.30 AM on site. These are the impressions that were conveyed and I was resigned to these facts. I was in fact quite happy and enlivened to meet HH Lokanath Maharaja again, as we had been little close in the seventies. The previous day, April 1st, I had asked the devotee manager what we would do with all the extra time on our hands. Among others answers he said: ”You can sleep, if u like”. I did not like that answer at all. It sounded more like a cheap bribe to me. Sleep means ignorance. We should not overindulge in sleep.

When I arrived at the meeting point sometimes between 5.30 and 5.40 AM, the devotee manager forbid us to board any bus at all, because he still wasn’t “sure whether a second bus would be required”, as some devotees sometimes book but don’t follow up. When I asked for a sitting place, he got us to sit on a dusty and dirty brick wall and wait. Huddled together, the illustrious and sometimes cheeky monkeys of Vrndavan cooly spend their nights on these types of walls. He could have easily allowed us to sit more comfortably in one of the buses, irrespective of the fact whether the second bus was needed or not and with no loss to him whatsoever. That was managerial mistake number one.

 

Then he revealed that he had in fact segregated the devotees into Indians and non-Indians or westerners. Bus number one for Indians was progressively filling up in the meantime. After some minutes he allowed us “westerners” to board bus number two for non-Indians. It must have been around 5.45 AM. It would appear there is a major problem with this segregation consciousness. There is at least one Prabhupada letter where He clearly expresses that some Indians are very expert in “skin disease.” This incident may be a manifestation of it.

“We must avoid the risk of a separatist movement, unity is our purpose; just like in London where the Indians are starting their own Hindu Radha-Krsna Temple. We want to avoid skin disease and the Indian people are like the tannery expert. Such a cobbler is expert at skin disease. They will see our Sankirtana Party and think it is a white dance.” 730305let.HariprasadaBadruka

At about 6 AM or a few minutes later, bus number one for Indians started for the desired destination.

Shortly after 6.30 AM bus number two for westerners still hadn’t moved. I had lodged only one brief protest:” Why we are not going? Let us go!” and got the repugnant answer: “Yes we are going”, which in practical terms means nothing at all. As my excellent dentist Dr. Anuraga Kashyapa informed me, in India this is called IST or Indian Stretchable Time. But Srila Prabhupada does not accept IST in deity worship for example. He demands strict punctuality. Why should we act differently in ordinary life? Neither is the time of death stretchable. Nor do airlines work on stretchable times schedules. After sitting not less than 45 minutes in the bus, I decided to move instead and returned to Krishna Balaram Mandir. The whole episode gave me a strong headache, due to shackled mental energy by the relevant authority in charge of this particular Krishna conscious venture. After all we are supposed to be surrendered to the authority in charge. Without acceptance of and surrender to authority no organisation, be it a spiritual or material body, can function effectively. Best example is an army. I tolerated my headache until after prasadam, which is at 9 AM and throughout Srimad Bhagavatam class given by HG Akrura Prabhu, Temple president at ISKCON Vancouver, Canada.

I then successfully slept it off. But this is not the kind of experience I came to seek in Vrndavan, Lord Krishna headquarters, and I shall not participate in any further guided tours during the rest of my stay. I am sorry to have to say this.

Later on during the day, I really felt I had made the right decision and that Krishna had protected me, as the temperature climbed above 40 degrees Celcius. After all Lord Jagannath, the Lord of the universe, along with His brother Lord Balaram stand splendidly on the middle temple altar at the ISKCON Krishna Balaram Temple and I did not miss anything. Perhaps I missed out on the darshan of Lady Subhadra. I am confident there will be another opportunity to catch up with my Godbrother HH Lokanath Swami.

Special note for HG Pancagauda Prabhu, Temple President ISKCON Vrndavan: Prabhu, as you asked me about kitchari, I carefully accepted kitchari on April 2nd morning breakfast and I am glad to report that it really was very excellent. :):):)

I cannot help but mention here that IMHO His Grace Pancagauda Prabhu is perhaps the most “front line” temple president I have ever met, a welcome and fresh change from my previous home temple! Hare Krishna.

 

 

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CHANDIGARH AND PATIALA RATHA YATRA 2017, A GREAT SUCCESS!

First glimpse of ISKCON Chandigarh upon arrival.

Sunrise 28 March 2017, 6.32 AM, from the flat rooftop of ISKCON Chandigarh Temple building.

 

Their Lordship Si Sri Radha Madhava, presiding deities at ISKCON Chandigarh, India.

 

Lord Jaganath, Lord Balaram and Lady Subhadra of ISKCON Sri Rangam.

Promoting the event.                                       View from departing cart at 2 pm

CHANDIGARH AND PATIALA RATHA YATRA 2017, A GREAT SUCCESS!

Organized by the kind, genuine and expert devotees of ISKCON Chandigarh and Patiala, Patiala Ratha Yatra was help on March 25th 2017 and was indeed a resounding success, with local dignitaries attending the parade. Thousands and thousands of people participated. Throwing whole flowers and petals from balconies, washing the feet of the Holy Name, chanting and dancing in ecstasy, the whole town in fact participated. Humble apologies to my readers, as I did not take pictures of the cart itself. I was too busy dancing on the sound of the melodious Hare Krishna Mantra melodies.

As per ISKCON tradition and Vaishnava school recommendation, succulent prasadam was distributed free of charge to one and all at the end of the parade which lasted not less than six or seven hours. It may have lasted eight hours. (An after event check confirmed that the parade in fact lasted seven and a half hours from 2 PM to 9.30 PM. That is perhaps the longest ISKCON Ratha Yatra parade on record.) As Srila Prabhupada says in 760924SB.Vrn: “So at least we Indians, we are trained up like that. Not only trained up, we are born devotees. Anyone who has taken birth in India, that is special facility. In their previous birth, they had performed many austerities, much austerities. Even the demigods, they desire also to take birth in India to get this opportunity. So India… Don’t think… India means this planet, Bhäratavarsha.”

We would say they (the Indians) have an unfair advantage over those born elsewhere!!! (smile) Only a very few, rare individuals, under the influence of modernism, were annoyed by the parade and road obstruction created thereby. Riding their motorbikes, they disrespectfully tried to push through the parade anyway. Fortunately the police stopped them.

Last year ISKCON Chandigarh organized not less than seven Ratha Yatras of the same style and size in the adjoining districts. For example ISKCON Chandigarh organized a similar Ratha Yatra at Shimla, a town that had originally been created mostly for the comfort of the British occupiers. Some of the other towns blessed by ISKCON-Chandigarh-organized Ratha Yatra are Khanna, Mandi Govindgarh, Panchkula and of course Chandigarh itself.

The temple complex itself is an area of about 3 acres in sector 36 B of the town of Chandigarh, which features many parks, where people go about their morning routine such as jogging, walking or yoga. There is a park next to the temple that extends over three blocks.

Therein I have seen people chanting the pranava Omkara, which is not different from Krishna. “Pranava sarva vedesu”, “I am … the syllable om in the Vedic mantras” BGAII 7.8. But many people already chant in fact the Hare Krishna Mantra. For those who don’t, it often takes only minimum prodding to get them to join the chanting. The French architect Le Corbusier designed Chandigarh.

According to His Grace Akruranandan Prabhu, temple vice-president and my local reference and director, all temple complex improvements have been erected or at least were caused to be erected by the devotees themselves. It functions very efficiently under the expert guidance of His Grace Nanda Maharaja Prabhu, a householder, as his name will not indicate. In ISKCON, generally when we hear “Maharaja”, we think renounced order of life. But if we take the meaning of “Maharaja” as leader, president or saintly king, then “Maharaja” is totally appropriate indeed. HG Nanda Maharaja Prabhu is a disciple of His Holiness Gopal Krishna Maharaja, a long time initiating guru and GBC in ISKCON.

There are at least 20 Brahmacaris based at ISKCON Chandigarh.

The temple room itself measures an impressive 96 feet times 72 feet. (one foot equals 0.3048 m), with 7 columns on each side supporting a two storey high roof. There are two extra columns across in the back of the temple room. Deity area and inside back alley are additional length. There is a large reception area before entering the temple room itself. Marble tiles 60 cm X 30 cm are intertwined around one a central 30 cm X 30 cm tile, as if representing the whorl of a lotus flower. This design is repeated over and over again. All around the temple room there is a border with the very same design but the size of the tiles is halved.

We feel the devotees of Chandigarh have very much imbibed Lord Caitanya’s mood of Sankirtan and are dedicated preachers. As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu says in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 7.128:

” yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krishna’-upadesha

ämära äjnäya guru hanä tära’ ei desha

TRANSLATION

“Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krishna as they are given in the Bhagavad-Gitä and Srimad-Bhägavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.”

I beg to thank very much the devotees of ISKCON Chandigarh for their kind hospitality and personal care, as well as for their wonderful and enriching association. Jai Srila Prabhupada!

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